Vicious Female Married Me With A SmileChapters List
Chapter 185: Extra - Return 
Kui Qingqing peacefully closed her eyes, and Tao Ran walked out of the room alone. The grapevines in the courtyard were laden with clusters of green grapes, but unfortunately, Kui Qingqing didn't live to see them ripen.
Tao Ran sat on a bench under the grapevines. Xiao Mei slowly climbed onto his lap, her tiny eyes wide open. "Congratulations, Host. You've successfully completed ten missions. According to the contract, you're about to return to the real world."
Tao Ran sat there in a daze for a while before asking, "Can I go back… now?"
"Yes," Xiao Mei replied cheerfully. "Host, are you happy? Not only are you going back, but you're also taking home a reward of 99,999,999,998 yuan."
Tao Ran vaguely remembered feeling ecstatic when he first heard that amount, but now, he felt oddly indifferent. Perhaps it was because he'd never lacked money in all these different worlds.
With a hint of uncertainty, Tao Ran asked, "Um... I seemed to be a woman before, right?"
"Yes." Xiaomei hugged Tao Ran's leg and said, "What are you doubting, host?"
Tao Ran didn't know himself. He had been doing these missions to go back, but now that he was about to return, he felt scared. He was afraid of returning to the real world where he had no one who needed to be raided, no Xiao Mei by his side. Tao Ran struggled to find words, "After I go back... will I be just an ordinary person?"
"How could that be, Host?" Xiao Mei said, "Remember, you have a reward option. You can choose any ability from any character you've become during these missions to keep with you. If you choose Chao Ge's ability, you won't be an ordinary person."
It seemed there was indeed such a reward, but Tao Ran couldn't quite remember. He fretted, "What should I do? I don't remember anything from before, how will I live once I return?"
Xiao Mei blinked. She found Tao Ran a bit strange. Previously the host seemed fearless, unflinching even in the face of threats from the system. So why did he now seem hesitant? She reassured him, "Host, don't worry. I'll help you strengthen your memories."
"But..." Tao Ran wanted to say more, but Xiao Mei interrupted, "Host, it's time to go home. Are you ready?"
Tao Ran's mind was filled with a flurry of images, like snowflakes drifting by, and he heard Xiao Mei's voice saying, "Please choose your reward skill."
Tao Ran pondered for a moment and replied, "Let's just take Chao Ge's ability."
"Alright, reward skill: Telekinesis. Do you want to cleanse the emotions of this world?" Xiao Mei asked.
Tao Ran couldn't help but reminisce about Kui Qingqing, who had been with him throughout his life. Despite her imperfections, she never made him feel alone. But now, he was about to return home and start a new life. Tao Ran closed his eyes and said, "Yes, cleanse them."
With a familiar sensation, the memories of Kui Qingqing in his mind began to blur. Xiao Mei continued, "Begin to strengthen the original memories."
As memories were strengthened, Tao Ran recalled her childhood, the dumplings her grandmother used to make, and her first crush on a classmate and also remembered her friends. She remembered working hard to finally buy her own house later on.....
These once-forgotten memories resurfaced with clarity, as if she had never left, as if she had always been the ordinary Tao Ran.
Tao Ran's eyes brightened up, and she opened her eyes. She found herself in front of her office computer. Seated at her desk, she watched as a coworker, who had invited her to lunch earlier, hurried back in high heels, asking anxiously, "Where did I leave my lipstick?"
Tao Ran glanced at her and said calmly, "In the bottom drawer, on the right-hand side."
She opened the drawer and, indeed, found her lipstick. She was pleasantly surprised, "It's really here. Thanks!"
Tao Ran simply replied, "You're welcome."
"..." Somehow, the colleague felt something weird about Tao Ran. She asked, "Are you sure you don't want to join us for lunch? There's a handsome guy there. Last time, didn't you say you wanted me to introduce you to a date?"
Tao Ran stood up and replied, "No, thanks. By the way, your boyfriend isn't a good person. I overheard him talking to a girl named Lily outside the office last time. Also, I'm planning to resign, take care of yourself."
Without waiting to look at her reaction, Tao Ran just left the office. Standing outside in the scorching sun at around 5 PM, she felt the heat. Xiao Mei told her that the money had already been transferred to her account. She expressed how much she had enjoyed doing missions with Tao Ran and how she would miss her in the future.
Tao Ran took a taxi back to her own home, and her two-bedroom apartment now seemed a bit cramped. After a refreshing shower, she faced her own familiar yet unfamiliar body, which felt incredibly odd. The underwear felt uncomfortable, and she twisted her neck. Realizing her lack of muscle on her abdomen she wondered how did she even manage to climb two flights of stairs with this physique. How on earth did she survive before?
Tao Ran went online and purchased a gym membership. Opening her fridge, she found it full of snacks. She threw all the snacks into the trash can with disgust and then carried the garbage bag downstairs. After that, she headed to the supermarket to buy groceries, including vegetables, meat, and fruits, returning home to prepare a few dishes for herself, and ate them all by herself.
In the evening, her mother called to check in on her and asked how she was doing.
Tao Ran replied, "I'm doing fine."
Ever since giving birth to Tao Ran, her mother had a never-ending source of worries. "Even if work is tiring, you mustn't be careless with your meals. Outside food isn't hygienic, so you should buy groceries to cook often."
Tao Ran reassured her, "I'll cook every day. Tonight, I made stir-fried vegetables, braised chicken wings, and a crucian carp soup."
"Oh..." Her mother didn't expect Tao Ran to be so diligent on her day off. "You shouldn't sleep in too late during your days off; you should go out and do some exercise….."
"I've already signed up for a gym membership, and I'll be going there every day," Tao Ran said.
Mom: "Oh..." It seems that there is nothing more to say.
"Oh right." Her mom finally thought of something, and asked, "Do you have a boyfriend?"
Tao Ran: "No."
Mom: "Is there a boy you like?"
Tao Ran: "No."
Mom: "The boy you used to like back in high school, well, mom ran into him last time she went to the supermarket. He's still single, you know."
Tao Ran: "Oh."
Finally, her mother remembered something and asked, "Have you been strange today?"
Her mother talked on and on, and Tao Ran listened quietly, occasionally responding with a word or two. Finally, her mother said, "You are really strange today, didn't even mind my nagging."
"No," Tao Ran replied, "You can call me anytime you want from now on, it doesn't matter how long it takes."
"Oh..." Her mother suddenly felt a mixture of relief and melancholy. She said, "My daughter has grown up."
From these words, Tao Ran sensed a bittersweet feeling. After a moment of thought, she decided not to mention her resignation just yet, thinking she might as well wait for a while.
After hanging up the phone, Tao Ran checked her bank account balance online. She then contemplated whether to find a peaceful place with a clean environment to buy a villa. The place where she lived now was a bit too noisy, and with so many people living in one building, it felt like there was no privacy at all.
She wasn't one to procrastinate, so once the idea struck her, she took action. She started by browsing online, but soon realized there were no suitable places in her current city that could satisfy her. So, she began to consider other cities.
Around nine in the evening, Tao Ran went to bed. This was a habit cultivated over many years, so she was not used to staying up late.
She woke up at seven in the morning, changed into workout clothes, and ran to the nearby park, just two streets away. However, she quickly felt like she couldn't hold on. Her physical condition was poor, and she regretted not choosing the reward to have a cultivator's body, which would have saved her a lot of unnecessary exercise time.
Nevertheless, Tao Ran ran for two hours. When her whole body was drenched in sweat, someone called her.
Her manager's voice was filled with suppressed anger, "Tao Ran, what's going on? It's been an hour since work started, and you're still not here."
It was only then that Tao Ran remembered she had forgotten to resign. She apologized, "I'm sorry, it was my oversight. I'm currently running, but I'll come to the office immediately to prepare for my resignation." With that, she hung up.
The manager held the phone with a bewildered look on her face.
Tao Ran returned home, took a shower, and opened her closet but couldn't find a single piece of clothing that she was satisfied with. In the end, she settled on a blouse paired with high-waisted wide-leg pants. A closet full of skirts can be really frustrating. It seemed that compared to buying a house, the matter of buying clothes was more important.
Tao Ran entered the office building, and in the elevator, a few people glanced at her intentionally or unintentionally. Some of them seemed familiar, but she couldn't remember their names. However, it didn't matter. Tao Ran didn't need to care about these unnecessary interpersonal relationships anymore.
Upon entering her office, she noticed several colleagues turning their heads to look at her.
Tao Ran walked directly to her computer, drafted a resignation letter, and then headed to her manager's office.
Her manager was a woman in her thirties who, Tao Ran heard, had an unhappy marriage and was divorced. When the manager saw Tao Ran enter, she was about to speak, but Tao Ran handed her the resignation letter and said, "I want to resign."
The manager said, "If it's because of my tone of voice this morning, I apologize. Your abilities are excellent, and there will be opportunities for promotion soon. If there are any personal issues, you can take a leave of absence. As long as the reasons are valid, I will allow it. Resigning now would be a pity, wouldn't it?"
Tao Ran replied, "You've misunderstood. I don't have any personal issues; I just don't want to work anymore."
"Why?" The manager asked, puzzled.
Tao Ran explained, "Well, I believe life offers many things to explore, but spending my life in a place like this doesn't feel right to me. So, I've decided to resign."
Manager: "..." What's wrong with a place like this? Others can't come even if they want to...
After leaving the manager's office, Tao Ran encountered the colleague from the previous day, who asked, "Did you really resign?"
Tao Ran nodded, "Yes."
"Why? Have you found another job?"
"No," Tao Ran said, "I just want to take a break."
The colleague asked, "What about your mortgage?"
"I plan to sell my apartment." Then buy a villa.
Her colleague's eyes widened in astonishment. After a while, the colleague said, "Honestly, I envy you. You're so carefree, able to leave whenever you want. I, on the other hand..."
Tao Ran couldn't tell her that she was doing this because she didn't lack money. She patted her colleague on the shoulder and said, "You'd better work hard."
Her colleague's eyes suddenly welled up with tears. "What you said is true. He really cheated on me, and I was oblivious all this time..."
Tao Ran didn't know how to comfort her in such a situation. If she was still a man, she could have sent her a boyfriend. But now, as a woman, there wasn't much she could do. Her colleague asked, "Do you have plans tonight? Can you come out for a drink with me?"
Tao Ran thought for a moment, "I have to be back before 9 PM."
"After 9 PM, do you have something else to do?"
Tao Ran: "I need to sleep."
Because she didn't know when Tao Ran developed this habit of going to bed early and waking up early, her colleague, Su Ru, came to look for Tao Ran right after work. Tao Ran was at home doing laundry. Newly bought clothes must be washed before they can be worn; it was something Kui Qingqing taught her. She had no choice but to use her powers to quickly wash and dry the clothes before going downstairs.
Su Ru recently bought a new car, which she had been lending to her boyfriend to drive. But now, it seemed she no longer had a boyfriend. Tao Ran got into the car, and Su Ru kept staring at her.
Tao Ran tilted her head slightly and asked, "What are you looking at me for?"
"I feel like you're different," Su Ru said, her expression subtle. "You seem..."
Tao Ran: "?"
Su Ru: "Kind of charming."
Tao Ran: "!!!"
Seeing her reaction, Su Ru burst into laughter. "Too bad I'm not into women; otherwise, I wouldn't let you go."
Tao Ran felt a little scared. Although her sexual orientation was female now, she felt that it was not natural and she could revert at some point. If a woman came to seduce her at this time, she wasn't sure if she'd resist.
The two of them arrived at the bar. There were still very few people at this hour. After each ordered a drink, they got to the point. Su Ru, with reddened eyes, began, "It's been three years, I've been with him for three whole years. And he went behind my back and cheated on me while spending my money and driving my car."
Tao Ran comforted her, saying, "There are good men out there; you shouldn't let scum like him get you down."
"I understand all that," Su Ru said, burying her face in Tao Ran's shoulder as she cried. "But I just can't accept it."
As Tao Ran was softly consoling her, a man suddenly walked over and said, "Xiao Ru, why haven't you been answering my calls?"
Tao Ran glanced over and recognized him as Su Ru's ex-boyfriend.
Su Ru turned her head away and said, "I don't want to see you."
"Listen to my explanation. I was confused for a moment. Give me another chance; I promise I won't do it again."
Tao Ran said disgustedly, "Didn't you hear her say she doesn't want to see you? Get lost!"
"Which onion are you?" Su Ru's ex-boyfriend retorted arrogantly. "I'm talking to Xiao Ru. Get lost."
Tao Ran shot a stern look at him and reached out to grab the man's collar, warning him, "Don't bother Su Ru anymore. I don't want to repeat myself."
There was a flicker of embarrassment on Su Ru's ex-boyfriend's face, and he raised his hand as if to hit Tao Ran. Tao Ran was on the verge of delivering a beating that would have left him sprawled on the ground when a slender but powerful hand intervened. "A man who repeatedly makes mistakes, refuses to reform, and resorts to use violence against women doesn't deserve to call himself a man."
Tao Ran turned her head and saw a man in an expensive shirt. He asked her, "Miss, are you okay?"
Tao Ran regretfully thought, If you had arrived half a minute later, I would have already knocked him out cold.
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