“Goodness! You’re bleeding!” Xiao Xia pounced over and pulled Yang Yang into her arms, both worried and upset, eyes brimming with tears.
“At least it’s better than going missing!” Wan Li let out a breath. The situation earlier made him feel some fear!
If he hadn’t happened to know Yang Yang’s fiercest belief, the affirmation of his gender, he might not have been able to awaken him from such deep hypnosis. Even if they forcibly stopped him, it might have resulted in serious damage to his body.
However, in cases of hypnosis, even professional doctors required contact with the patient. Even the most skilled hypnotists couldn’t control someone by just transmitting their voice, let alone make it so only the child and the mother (or in this case the child’s temporary guardian) could hear them. Therefore, it was clearly a hypnosis spell, or perhaps a soul summoning.
“He won’t die, right?” Xiao Xia saw that Yang Yang was still unconscious. “When he bumped his head…”
“Relax, I am very certain. At that moment he no longer wanted to play with those girls anymore. Therefore, he was already in a conscious state.” Wan Li comforted Xiao Xia. “He is merely knocked out.”
Xiao Xia stroked Yang Yang’s forehead. Seeing that the small wound was no longer bleeding as much, she felt slightly better. “But even if it’s just a bump, it’s better to get it checked at the hospital. However, Ruan Zhan said I can’t leave the bar at night.”
“That’s no problem. I’m also a doctor, although my specialty is psychiatry.” Wan Li helped Xiao Xia up from the floor and had her sit on the bed. “Don’t hold him so tightly. He can’t get enough air that way.”
Xiao Xia blankly loosened her arms and watched as Wan Li performed a basic physical exam. She didn’t know what to do or say.
“He’s fine, he really just fainted. His pulse and breath are both very regular. Look, his leg is even kicking me, proving his mind is lively and he is dreaming again.” Wan Li placed Yang Yang stably in bed. “If you really don’t feel at ease, we can go to a pediatrist and get this little pervert examined in the morning.”
“He’s really ok?”
“Don’t you trust my medical skills?” Wan Li patted Xiao Xia’s hand. “No wonder children and animals love you. Your affection is sincere and abundant.”
“Stop joking around!”
“I’m not, I’m telling the truth. However, you should get dressed and go downstairs. Bring this little pervert with you as well. No matter how powerful the thing kidnapping children is, it cannot do anything with so many people around.” Wan Li surveyed the room. “They cannot get inside, but the warding formation is unable to block out sound.”
Xiao Xia nodded. She stood up and went to the closet for her clothes, but couldn’t avoid seeing the mirror once again. It was currently like a sheet of metal, unable to reflect anything. The vicious crack across its middle had started seeping something that looked like blood. The liquid flowed along the mirror’s surface, forming two large crooked words: Nice formation! Yang Yang showed Xiao Xia what it meant to have a thick skull.
This kid had a gash on his forehead but still managed to sleep the entire night. When he woke up in the morning, apart from rubbing his head, it was as if nothing had happened. He was even a little proud of the scab on his forehead.
However, since Xiao Xia was helping Sis Wang watch her kid, she couldn’t help but worry. Therefore, she insisted on getting him examined at the hospital. Yang Yang was very happy to skip kindergarten. He rather cooperatively ate a huge breakfast and skipped along with Xiao Xia to the pediatric hospital.
Since Wan Li had to work that morning and Bao Da Tong was talking with his father who was extremely far away, only Ruan Zhan could accompany Xiao Xia and Yang Yang.
The two of them led the child as they walked to the hospital, seeming like a family. This made Xiao Xia feel a sort of secret bliss. Although Ruan Zhan cherished the moment together with Xiao Xia, his thoughts were occupied with serious matters.
He had heard about the events of last night. He hadn’t expected the unknown being to accomplish its goals by transmitting its voice through the mirror. It seemed his defensive wards needed to be modified. But what was its goal?
The missing children were all girls. Why did it choose Yang Yang as its target this time? Was it because he looked like a girl, or because of Xiao Xia? Did the blood on the mirror have anything to do with Xiao Xia’s hand being cut?
If so, it proved there was something wrong with Lu Yan and her son. However, he had kept watch outside Lu Yan’s house all of last night. He could see the two moving about from the window, and was certain they hadn’t gone anywhere!
Could they be powerful enough to control things remotely? Or was there someone else making mischief behind the scenes? For example, that Zhang Jia Lin!
This was a possibility. They had discovered a hint of abnormal fiendish aura last night. Therefore, Bao Da Tong had been tracking it all through the city! Although he came back empty-handed in the end, it at least proved something fiendish was causing mischief in the city.
“How should I explain this to Sis Wang?” Xiao Xia sat in the hallway of the hospital, a little vexed. “She trusted me with her child, but he ended up with a gash on his forehead. And it’s only been one day!”
“Didn’t the doctor say that despite looking bad, it won’t leave a scar?” Ruan Zhan said comfortingly.
Yang Yang had been taken by the nurse for a CT scan to check if he had a concussion.
“That may be the case, but…” Xiao Xia looked at Ruan Zhan, her eyes filled with unease. “I suspect Yang Yang was targeted last night because of me. If that is so, there will still be danger tonight.”
“Don’t blame yourself for everything.” Ruan Zhan comforted her gently. “Many children had already gone missing before you even knew about this case. You aren’t the cause of it. We don’t have any leads yet, but I promise to help you deliver Yang Yang safely back to his mother’s hands.”
“But this matter still needs to be resolved. Otherwise, more children will go missing.”
“I’m here.” Ruan Zhan patted Xiao Xia’s head. “Don’t worry, I’m here!”
Immediately, Xiao Xia became dazed. She felt the scene was so familiar, as if it had happened before in a dream despite her not remembering it.
“What is it?” Ruan Zhan asked worriedly at seeing her turn pale.
“Nothing, I just have a headache from not sleeping well last night.”
“Then I’ll go pickup the medicine. You should sit here and rest.” Ruan Zhan stood up and grabbed the prescription from her hand. He turned and walked off into the crowd.
Seeing his figure fade, Xiao Xia let out a long breath. She ignored the absentmindedness caused by desperately trying to recall something, knowing she was going to wait a while. This pediatric hospital was famous throughout the city. Many people came daily for consultations and prescriptions. There was a wait for everything. She started feeling a little bored after waiting for a while, and started looking around. As she did, she got the feeling someone was watching her. Turning to look, she saw a small head peeking around the corner. There was a band-aid on his forehead with cartoon characters. Seeing that he had noticed him, he laughed and ran off.
The little thing was so lively, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with him. On the way here, Ruan Zhan’s silence and relative coldness kept him a little more well-behaved. Not that Ruan Zhan was gone, he started making mischief again.
“Yang Yang, don’t run around.” Xiao Xia couldn’t help but shout. When everyone in the hallway looked towards her, she knew she couldn’t cause a ruckus in the hospital and could only chase after him.
Unfortunately, Yang Yang wanted to play hide and seek with her and was also slippery like a fish. He chuckled as he slipped through the hospital’s complicated hallways, preventing Xiao Xia from catching him.
“Great kid, just you wait. See how auntie deals with you when I catch you!” Yang Yang’s actions provoked Xiao Xia’s temper. She gritted her teeth and rolled up her sleeves, running after him to the rear lobby of the long-term stay area of the hospital.
Yang Yang’s denim-clothed figure vanished behind the door, yet the bit of blue sticking out indicated he was hiding there.
He was a child after all, completely naive. He was so cute even when he was being naughty!
Xiao Xia smiled and pretended to look everywhere, slowly getting closer to the steps in front of the door. Then, she suddenly ran into the rear lobby!
She had clearly seen the blue hanging by the door. It hadn’t moved, so how could he not be there? Furthermore, not only was there no Yang Yang, the entire lobby was devoid of people. Despite being the middle of the day, Xiao Xia inexplicably felt nervous.
She decided immediately to leave, but had just turned around when here eyes caught sight of a mirror. Or rather, her figure appeared in the full-length mirror!
She had barged straight in, assuming Yang Yang was hiding behind the door on her left. There was a fire-escape ladder there. Across from her was a dark and silent hallway. She hadn’t paid attention to her right previously, and only now realized there was a large mirror that faced the fire ladder!
The scary thing was that she wasn’t alone in the mirror. There was a child standing behind her, slowly peaking her head out. The old-fashioned flower patterned dress, the long hair and oval face, the large eyes…it was Zhang Jia Lin!
She instinctively looked back but there was nothing behind her. But when she looked in the mirror again, she saw the girl had already started climbing onto her back! She grabbed at her back in fear but didn’t catch anything. However, the girl in the mirror kept going!
“Praise be the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva!” Terrified, she chanted loudly.
There was a flash of yellow light and the girl on her back disappeared. However, a voice rang out on her other side!
Xiao Xia looked over. In the dark hallway, small fluorescent lights flickered. They came in pairs, twinkling and slowly moving forwards. When they got close, Xiao Xia was stunned to realize they weren’t lights, but the eyes of children! There were many, many children and many, many eyes! Their eyes glimmered like nocturnal animals, their faces and bodies mutilated. However, their mouths continued to move as they called out:
Having experienced so many dangers, this was the first time Xiao Xia’s legs gave out. She practically couldn’t stand steady, but she still desperately urged herself to run! She ran out of the rear lobby in a couple of steps and wanted to go back the way she came.
She didn’t know what she had encountered. It was the middle of the day, but she still managed to encounter something like this. She didn’t understand why!
“Auntie Xiao Xia!” A crying voice sounded behind her.
She could clearly tell it was Yang Yang. Turning to look, she saw Yang Yang being held captive by Zhang Jia Lin under the shadow of a row of garages. He kept crying and screaming, his hand reaching for her, his face filled with terror and tears, as if asking her to save him!
Anxious, Xiao Xia immediately wanted to run over. However, she suddenly realized something wasn’t right! The band-aid on Yang Yang’s forehead didn’t have any cartoon characters. That wasn’t Yang Yang, but an illusion!
Realizing this, she turned to run. However, she suddenly felt a large force seizing her hand, causing her to spin in a circle and flinging her towards a small, white door. She didn’t even have a chance to struggle before being pulled inside, the door slamming shut behind her!
Xiao Xia immediately knew where she was the moment she entered. There was the particular smell of disinfectant and decay, two rows of metal lockers and four autopsy tables in the middle. White sheets covered the tables, beneath which was the shape of a person. All this proved her assumption correct!
Xiao Xia fearfully looked at the scene before her, slowly walking backwards. She did her best to tread softly, but before she could reach the door, the sheets on one of the tables in front of her suddenly moved!
With a sudden cat’s cry, a black shadow leapt towards Xiao Xia. She instinctively dodged and felt a burning on her hand. Her wounded hand was once again heavily scratched! After the black cat scratched her, it scurried under one of the other tables!
Where had the black cat come from? It’s said that if a black cat appeared from beneath a corpse, the corpse will get reanimated!
Clang. One of the tables sitting properly in place suddenly knocked lightly against the metal locker, making a weird noise. Then, the objects beneath the sheets slowly sat up. On two of the tables, the corpses were rising on either end!
Xiao Xia didn’t even dare to breathe loudly. She had heard that one shouldn’t run or breathe loudly under such circumstances. Reanimated corpses follow air currents. If there was no movement, they wouldn’t get startled. Therefore, she had to breathe extremely lightly, and definitely couldn’t move!
The corpses on the four tables slowly sat up straight and the blankets also slid down. Xiao Xia saw two of them were mutilated young women. The two tables that had both ends rising held four sinister and horrifying child corpses. They had been arranged feet to feet, and had sat up at the same time!
Don’t move! Don’t move! Don’t breathe! Don’t breathe!
Xiao Xia continuously reminded herself, inching towards the door one millimeter at a time…
Suddenly, she felt something was wrong in the upper-left direction. There seemed to be something staring at her. The feeling was so strong that she felt the left side of her body turn cold. It was as if the thing staring at her was inches away!
Slowly, she turned and looked up.
Two fair and slender legs were hanging from the refrigerated lockers on the left. A girl’s pale little face was looking at her with a grin, as if she had been sitting there for a while!