Chapter 13: Boy or girl?
Despite the missing children being all girls, the “person kidnapping children” still inspired fear in any family with children. One example was Xiao Xia’s colleague Sis Wang. Prior to her leaving for a business trip, she didn’t feel at ease leaving her son to a nanny and insisted on having Xiao Xia help out.
“Don’t you live with your boyfriend? He also owns a bar which means it’s lively there at night. Chances of something happening there are slim to none. How about it, can you help this big sis out?”
Xiao Xia didn’t know how to explain her relationship with Ruan Zhan to Sis Wang. She really wished Ruan Zhan was her boyfriend, and also wished they were living together. The problem was that despite some ambiguity between them, there really wasn’t any special relationship. But hearing others misunderstand still felt a little sweet.
Seeing Xiao Xia remain silent, Sis Wang thought she wouldn’t agree and hurriedly said, “I’ll only be gone for three days. Although Yang Yang is a little naughty, you can handle him as you please. He also goes to kindergarten during the day, so it shouldn’t affect your daily life. Furthermore, young children sleep early. It won’t prevent you guys from getting intimate!”
Her expression was ambiguous and pointed, making Xiao Xia who was usually shy in regards to relationship matters blush, not knowing how to respond.
She really wanted to help Sis Wang. She was a single mother, and it was already rather impressive for her to have become a backbone of a prestigious law firm like Vast Sky. The problem was that she was already freeloading at Ruan Zhan’s place. Was she to bring a child on top of that? However, she had never been good at saying no. Now that Ruan Zhan had moved to Wan Li’s place, maybe it was alright to take care of Wang Yang for three nights.
“Alright.” Xiao Xia answered reluctantly. “I will do my best to protect Wang Yang, but if he ends up getting some minor scrapes…” Sis Wang had brought Yang Yang to the company retreat before. That kid was famously unruly, practically a little devil.
“That’s fine. I’d be more disturbed if he didn’t end up with some minor scrapes and bruises.” Sis Wang smiled bitterly. “Xiao Xia, then I’ll have to trouble you.”
Just like that, Xiao Xia was treated to dinner after work by Sis Wang and then went to her house to pack up Yang Yang’s things. By the time she got back to the bar, it was already past eight. When she walked into the bar holding a child’s hand and carrying a large suitcase in her other hand, she wasn’t happy to hear the bar falling silent. Countless eyes fell upon her.
“Miss Yue already has a child? To think he’s already so old.” A woman said.
Xiao Xia didn’t respond, feeling very helpless. Because she lived at Ruan Zhan’s place and seemed to have a very intimate relationship with the three handsome men, despite not really crossing any lines with any of them, she had to endure the countless jealous glares of women daily.
She looked at the three men in question and saw their astonished expressions. They naturally knew this wasn’t her own child, but they were clearly very surprised by this situation.
“However, that little lass is really quite beautiful!” Another woman said.
Xiao Xia silently sighed. Wang Yang was a rather adorable little boy. His fair skin made him seem especially delicate. Along with his unisex denim clothing and longer hair, it was easy to mistake him for a girl. Women had innate motherly instincts. They couldn’t help but cherish cute children. Whenever this happened though, this kid would always do something incredulous.
He was very proud to be a boy, and especially hated to be called a girl. Therefore, he would use the easiest method to prove his gender.
As expected, before Xiao Xia could figure out how to stop him, Wang Yang struggled free of her hand and charged into the group of female customers. He grinned up at the many cute aunties. He allowed them to stroke his little face, hair and nose while he himself swiftly pulled his pants and underwear down around his ankles.
“Take a good look. I have a willy. I am a boy!” He proudly put both hands at his waist and puffed out his chest. “Look, aunties, I am really a boy. I have proof!”
The crowd didn’t expect Yang Yang to do this and froze. Then, Bao Da Tong exploded with laughter and the rest followed suit. Even Ruan Zhan couldn’t help but smile.
Xiao Xia was between laughter and tears. She ran over and tried to pull up his pants, but the little “entertainer” deftly dodged, running amok with his pants and forcing all the women to examine his “evidence”.
Seeing Xiao Xia out of breath from the chase, Wan Li scooped Yang Yang up onto his shoulders. “If a little thing like you is already so wild, what’s going to happen once you grow up? Come, go upstairs with Auntie Xiao Xia and sleep!”
Yang Yang was having the time of his life and naturally wasn’t willing to listen. However, he was helpless against Wan Li’s strength and could only go upstairs obediently. Then, Xiao Xia practically imprisoned the little devil in her arms while desperately telling him stories. Only through the use of both brains and brawn did he finally fall asleep. Sis Wang had said this kid didn’t fall asleep easily, but once he was asleep, he also didn’t wake easily. However, she hadn’t told her that it would be such a struggle and pain to get Yang Yang to fall asleep.
It was currently already half past nine. Several soft knocks sounded at the door. Xiao Xia hurriedly got up from the bed and opened the door. It was Ruan Zhan.
Xiao Xia suppressed her beating heart. She closed the door behind her and stood with him in the dark, narrow hallway. “What’s up?” She asked, noticing her voice was very unnatural.
“This is for you.” Ruan Zhan reached out. Seeing Xiao Xia spacing out a little, he directly placed the protective amulet around her neck. “I added some extra power inside. Now, no one apart from you can take or tear it off.”
Xiao Xia stroked the warm jade, sensing Ruan Zhan’s lingering body heat. “What about you? Are you also unable to take it off?”
“Do you want me to?”
“No, I want to always wear it. It’s as if I have someone who loves me by my side the whole time. It’s as if you…were also by my side the whole time.” Xiao Xia didn’t know why she would say this, but she felt a warm current bursting from her heart. Her head was lowered, almost coming in contact with Ruan Zhan’s chest. She seemed to hear his heart also beating wildly.
She couldn’t help but reach out with her arms. She merely wanted to hold him and listen to his heartbeat. Yet he shrank back as if scalded. “I have to go out and do something with Bao Da Tong in a bit.” He said hoarsely, lightly pulling free from her. “Wan Li will remain on guard here. If something happens, run downstairs to find him. Remember, no matter what happens, no matter what calls you, never leave the doors of the bar. Got it?”
“Then go back and sleep. Don’t be scared. I will…” He suddenly stopped speaking and stood there silently. Then, he abruptly turned and left, leaving Xiao Xia alone. After leaving her line of sight, he leaned against the wall of the staircase for a while before finally going downstairs. “Mommy! Mommy!” A shrill cry suddenly woke Xiao Xia from her sleep.
The room was silent because the soundproofing was rather good. The noises from downstairs were very indistinct. Xiao Xia realized she was sleeping on her side, facing the window. The wind had caused the curtains to billow. She clearly saw that there was nothing outside the window. Reaching back to check on Yang Yang, she found the little fellow still lying properly in place behind her.
Perhaps it was a nightmare, or perhaps she had allowed her mind to become influenced again. Ruan Zhan and the rest had said the mothers of the missing children had heard someone calling for mommy. Lil’ Yang wasn’t her child, and he was also a boy. There shouldn’t be any problems. It must be her mind playing tricks on her!
“Mommy!” Just as Xiao Xia closed her eyes and tried to go back to sleep, a child’s voice came from outside the window again, causing her heart to almost stop beating.
Her eyes snapped open and she became wide awake, staring towards the window!
The ticking of the clock seemed especially loud with Xiao Xia holding her breath and the silence of the room. Tick, tick, tick, tick…
However, Xiao Xia felt a chill on her back. Something seemed to be blowing against her back, making her hairs stand on end. She didn’t dare make any sudden moves. She slowly groped about under the blankets and felt Yang Yang’s little hand on her waist. It was warm and soft, without any abnormalities.
“Mommy!” The voice sounded for a third time. This time, it was clearly coming from somewhere inside the room!
Xiao Xia leapt out of bed with a scream, immediately turning on the light and reaching out to grab Yang Yang. She had just touched his shoulder when she suddenly felt something wasn’t right. Yang Yang wasn’t asleep. He was lying there with his eyes wide open. His hand was extended in the same place as it was when it rested on her waist!
“Yang Yang!” Xiao Xia subconsciously called.
Yang Yang moved.
His small figure slowly stood up. His eyes were still fixed on Xiao Xia but his gaze was sluggish, vacant and unfocused, making Xiao Xia feel as if something was behind her. She whirled around but saw nothing. Even the curtains had stopped moving. Turning back around, she saw Yang Yang stiffly putting on the clothes Xiao Xia had folded before bed. Then, as if unable to see, he fumbled his way towards the closet.
The child seemed to be sleepwalking, and Xiao Xia had to cover her mouth to prevent herself from crying out!
Yang Yang had been sleeping towards the side with the door, blocking the way out and preventing Xiao Xia from going downstairs for help. Yet she was also afraid to cry out, afraid of forcibly awakening the sleepwalking Yang Yang and putting his life in danger.
Yang Yang groped around for a spell and slowly pulled open the closet door. Upon the door was a full mirror. As Yang Yang stood there, a boy’s figure slowly surfaced.
Delicate features and long hair. It was Yang Yang’s face! However, the expression wasn’t his. It was more like that of a startled rabbit: innocent, frightened and a little bit curious. It was similar to the expression Lil’ Tong had before he transformed!
Xiao Xia mustered up her courage and tiptoed over, wanting to pull him away from the mirror. Step by step, she inched closer.
As she approached, a woman’s figure appeared in the mirror. She knew it should be herself, but it wasn’t! Especially those eyes, which seemed forcibly installed. There was no hint of life within, just like two glass orbs! In an instant, her face grew blurry and her entire figure became a dark shadow. Yue Xiao Xia no longer existed in the mirror, only a dark shape!
She gritted her chattering teeth and glared at the mirror, slowly reaching for Yang Yang’s shoulder. In the mirror, the shadow also stretched out its hand, but grabbed towards Yang Yang much faster. This scared Xiao Xia into immediately stopping, afraid some entity would use her own hand to harm the child!
“Mommy!” The Yang Yang inside the mirror suddenly called.
Before the voice fell, the Yang Yang outside the mirror started moving again. Because they were so close, Xiao Xia could see that although he slowly left, the figure in the mirror didn’t move. Yang Yang’s face, Lil’ Tong’s expression and the skin was covered in rusty nails!
Who was that? Yang Yang? Lil’ Tong? Or some other child? Ruan Zhan’s place had extremely strong protections. His treasures were also here, so nothing should be able to sneak inside. Then who was this person using the mirror to harm Yang Yang?
Xiao Xia hesitated before deciding to deal with the matter at hand first. Seeing Yang Yang open the door and walk out, she felt slightly more at ease. She vigilantly observed the surroundings while following him out. If Yang Yang wanted to leave, he had to go through the bar downstairs. Not only were there many people, but Wan Li was there too. Therefore, everything would be fine!
However, things developed outside her expectations. Yang Yang had slowly made his way to the staircase and was about to descend when he suddenly jerked back as if pulled by someone. Then, he suddenly turned and swiftly ran back to the room!
Xiao Xia ran over but had just reached the door when a gust of wind slammed it shut in her face. She pushed hard but it had actually been locked from the inside! Cold sweat trickled down her back as she realized the kidnapping thing was going to take Yang Yang through the window!
“Wan Li!” Xiao Xia ran to the staircase and shouted before immediately running back upstairs.
Hearing her voice, Wan Li immediately realized something had happened. He vaulted over the bar and ran up the stairs, immediately seeing Xiao Xia desperately ramming the door.
Without a word, he pulled her aside and kicked the door a few times, breaking it down in a couple tries. He made it just in time to seize Yang Yang who had climbed onto the windowsill and was about to jump down!
“Mommy!” Yang Yang mumbled, his gaze still sluggish.
Wan Li gestured towards Xiao Xia. She immediately understood and did as told, locking the window tight and placing the unsealed tattered banner in front of it.
At the same time, Wan Li ran to the door and blocked the exit.
“Where’s mommy?” He asked softly, his voice gentle like silk.
“Mommy is taking me to go play with children.” Yang Yang spoke as he circled around the room. “So many, so many children!”
“Are they boys or girls?”
“So many…so many…girls!”
“Yang Yang is a man who doesn’t play with girls.” Wan Li continued. “They must have mistaken Yang Yang for a girl!”
“I am a boy!” Although Yang Yang’s face was still expressionless and his eyes wide, his tone was very angry. “I have a little willy. I am a boy! Take a look if you don’t believe it!”
He went to pull off his pants as he spoke, but because he wasn’t conscious and since he was still walking, he immediately caused himself to trip. His head knocked against the corner of the nightstand and he immediately passed out, fresh blood trickling from his forehead.
At the same time, a long crack appeared in the mirror!