While Lu Lingxi and Yu Xiaojuan were looking for Xiao Shi, Xiao Shi was sitting in a small motor tricycle and shouted, “I want to pee.”
There wasn’t much space in the tricycle; apart from the middle-aged man driving the tricycle in the front, there was Xiao Shi sitting in the back and a woman holding a baby. The woman glared at Xiao Shi with some impatience and said in a low voice, “You’ve peed a few times on the way, little boy.”
Xiao Shi covered his stomach and muttered, aggrieved, “My stomach hurts, I want to pee.”
The baby in the woman’s arms seemed to have been woken up by his deliberate shouting and began to show signs of crying.
“Let him pee if he wants to.” The tricycle stopped abruptly on the side of the road and the man in the front got out of the car with a grim face and lifted Xiao Shi to the ground. “Pee quickly.”
Slowly, Xiao Shi unzipped his pants and peed on a tree by the roadside. A yellow dog leapt out from a distance and Xiao Shi was so scared that he darted behind the man halfway through his peeing. “Uncle, I’m afraid of dogs.”
The man felt half of his trousers getting wet. He resisted the urge to push Xiao Shi away and yelled at the big yellow dog in front of him. The yellow dog seemed a little afraid of people and ran away quickly. Xiao Shi hugged the man’s leg, his eyes shining brightly as he looked at him, “Uncle, you are so powerful.”
The man’s gloomy face eased somewhat but when he saw his half-soaked trousers he couldn’t help but get gloomy again. He roughly carried Xiao Shi to the tricycle, “Sit down, let’s continue our trip.”
Xiao Shi had an innocent look on his face, “Uncle, you said you were going to take me to find my daddy, where is he anyway? Last time Daddy said he was going to buy me Transformers, did he buy them?”
Before the man could say anything, the woman holding the baby spoke impatiently, “Didn’t I tell you to be good and obedient? Then we’ll take you to your daddy.”
Xiao Shi said, “Oh,” and with a twinkle in his eye, he said loudly, “Auntie, I want some water.”
“Here.” The woman handed him a bottle of mineral water with a cold face.
Five minutes later, Xiao Shi screamed again. “I want to pee.”
The woman looked at Xiao Shi sullenly, but there was nothing she could do about it. If she didn’t let him get out of the tricycle to pee, he would make a lot of noise. In order not to wake the baby in her arms, the tricycle had to stop once more. The man stood behind Xiao Shi with a black face, dreaming of quickly selling this little one.
Xiao Shi dawdled, took off his pants and peed on the tree beside him. After peeing, he slowly began to put on his pants again. Before he could finish putting them on, the man behind him impatiently carried him straight to the tricycle. Xiao Shi took the moment when the door was closing to look out, and Ah Huang’s figure flashed across the road. Knowing that Ah Huang had been following him, Xiao Shi obediently sat back down in his seat.
Ten minutes later, the tricycle turned into a small village on the side of the road. The village was called Xigang Village, located east of Songjia, very far from Fengcheng City and in a very remote location. It was noon meal time and there was basically no one outside in the village. The woman became alert from the moment they entered the village, putting the sleeping baby under the seat and keeping her full attention on Xiao Shi. As long as Xiao Shi didn’t scream, from the outside there would be no way to notice that there was a child inside. The little tricycle was specially designed to make it easy for them to take children in and out.
The tricycle sped all the way and soon came to a stop in front of an ordinary farmhouse. The man breathed a sigh of relief and called for the people at home to open the door quickly. Usually no one was around at this time of the day, but today, for some reason, the neighbour next door heard the sound of the tricycle and came out to greet them, “Lai San is back?”
The woman fiercely reached out and covered Xiao Shi’s mouth. The man known as Lai San tried to squeeze out a smile and nodded, “I’m back.”
The neighbour looked like he wanted to say something else when the door to the small courtyard opened and Lai San’s brother, Lai Si, stood at the door, exclaiming, “Brother, Sister-in-law, you’re finally back, I’m just waiting for you to eat.”
When Lai Si said this, the neighbour couldn’t continue his conversation. Smiling, he nodded to them and turned to go back into his house. The woman slowly let go of her hand; Xiao Shi’s face was red from suffocation and he was gasping for air. The woman stroked his head and praised, “Good, you were very obedient just now, as long as you stay this obedient, I’ll take you to your daddy.”
Xiao Shi blinked and didn’t say anything. Until he entered the courtyard, he behaved very quietly and docilely. Lai Si greeted his brother and said in a low voice, “Brother, did it go well today?”
Lai San nodded with a sullen face and reached out to carry Xiao Shi out of the car.
Lai Si was a little surprised to see Xiao Shi, and after a glance up and down, he said, “This little brat is a bit old and starting to remember things, so I’m afraid it wasn’t a good idea.”
Lai San grunted; he had a headache from Xiao Shi all the way. It was just that he hadn’t been able to do anything on the road, or he would have beaten Xiao Shi up. When he heard Lai Si say that, he immediately smiled sinisterly, “If we can’t sell him, we’ll give him to Old Yaotou. Didn’t he want to find some little beggars to go to Zhongjing lately? When the time comes, if you keep this face and break his legs, he can beg for a lot of money a day.”
The two men said this in front of Xiao Shi, who stared in horror. Lai Si laughed and grabbed Xiao Shi like a hawk grabbing a chicken and threw him into a small shed on the east side, locking the door from the outside. There were three other children in the shed, two boys and a girl, all younger than Xiao Shi. The children cowered in the corner in fear, staring blankly at Xiao Shi.
Xiao Shi was originally a bit scared, but when he saw the children, he wasn’t scared anymore. He let Lai San catch him on purpose. He knew that Lai San was a bad guy and wanted to help Uncle Fang catch him. A few days ago, when Fang Lei was visiting Xiao Shi, he casually mentioned that there were many children lost in Fengcheng recently, so he asked Xiao Shi to pay attention and not to run around alone all the time. Xiao Shi was not afraid of anything because he had Ah Huang. Today, he was playing hide-and-seek with Ah Huang when he came across the human traffickers that Fang Lei described. They said they were going to take him to his daddy, so Xiao Shi followed them with a twinkle in his eye. He knew that Ah Huang would follow him, would find the bad guys’ home and bring Uncle Policeman to catch them.
The thought flashed through his mind and Xiao Shi began to worry about where Ah Huang was now. Had he followed him all the way here? In the middle of his thoughts, a dog barked outside the courtyard and Xiao Shi’s eyes lit up. He peeked through the door and listened for a long time. Ah Huang was going back to find Uncle Li to rescue him. Xiao Shi nodded vigorously; although Ah Huang couldn’t see, he believed in Ah Huang. Soon Uncle Policeman would come to catch the bad guys.
Lu Lingxi didn’t know these thoughts of Xiao Shi. If he did, he would have to spank him hard. He and Fang Lei had followed Dahei all the way in search of Xiao Shi and were now near Songjia Village. Dahei smelled the scent left by Xiao Shi here and called out to Lu Lingxi in a low voice.
Lu Lingxi stroked Dahei’s head and looked at Fang Lei and affirmed, “The direction is correct.”
Fang Lei let out a sigh of relief, “Let’s keep going.”
The two of them got into the car and Dahei ran ahead, followed by seven or eight large dogs behind them. The police dog that Fang Lei had brought with him was also here, working very hard all the way.
In the distance, a large yellow dog ran over, and Fang Lei suddenly braked the car and said sharply, “It was Ah Huang.”
Ah Huang obviously saw them too and stopped in his tracks, turned around and ran towards Xigang Village.
“Follow.” Lu Lingxi and Fang Lei said in unison.