Let Me Look For Her
This was not the way home.
Ning Ning looked out of the window of the car, “Where are we going?”
Xu Rong, “…”
The last rays of sunlight faded out outside the window. Afterwards, streetlights and car headlights started to light up, lighting up the streets of dusk, Xu Rong was holding Ning Ning as they sat in a taxi. She slowly looked down and said, “Didn’t you want to go out and play?”
Ning Ning was stunned.
“Where do you want to go?” Xu Rong smiled. “I’ll bring you there.”
Ning Ning hesitated. She did have a lot of places that she wanted to go to. For example, Friendship Bistro, Nineteenth Secondary and the hospital Chen Ju stayed in to name a few… It was already the third of September, had Friendship Bistro been burned down? Had Mu Er dropped out of school? Had their mother been taken to the hospital?
Just as she was hesitating, the taxi driver abruptly stepped on the brakes, causing both of them to lurch forward.
“What’s wrong?” Xu Rong asked after she sat back up.
The taxi driver wound down the window then reached his head out to take a look. He answered, “There’s a traffic accident in front of us.”
A lot of cars had stopped in the middle of the road, horns were honking continuously. Between the honking of the horns were the angry shouts and complaints of the drivers.
“No one died. One car rear-ended the other, blocking off the road.“
“One of the cars seems to belong to a quite famous director and a famous actor onboard…”
“Famous actor? Who?”
A car door suddenly flung open. Xu Rong walked out of the car with Ning Ning in her arms. They weaved through the cars. Ning Ning held onto Xu Rong’s neck. She looked back at the road that was slowly getting further as they walked away, the cars that had stopped were forming a crooked line that looked like a snake, it wriggled and wriggled…
“Come to think of it, there was also a traffic accident the last time we came out, I don’t even know how that little lady is doing now.” Xu Rong said into Ning Ning’s ear, “Ning Ning, can you really dream of the future?”
Ning Ning turned her head to look at her.
The streetlights and headlights were shining on Xu Rong’s face in symphony. She smiled, as if wearing an ostentatious smiling mask as she asked, “Have you ever dreamt of your Big Sister Xiao Yu? Can she become an actress in the future?”
“She is an actress now.” Ning Ning answered her, then pointed in a direction. “I want to go there.”
The place she pointed to was something like a farmer’s market. There were quite a lot of old and broken down private houses nearby, the streets were lined up with a number of street stalls; there were cheap clothing and toys, fruits and vegetables. Now that the sun had set, the stall owners had already started to pack up, giving up their spots to the people who were there to sell night snacks.
Ning Ning directed Xu Rong to bring her to a restaurant.
To be more specific, the ruins of Friendship Bistro.
White smoke seemed to still be visible above the broken tiles and dilapidated walls, swaying in the air, seemingly broken.
Coincidentally, someone walked out of the ruins at this moment. Ning Ning grabbed him and asked, “When did this place burn down?”
“It just burnt down a few hours ago.” The other person answered.
Ning Ning acknowledged it then pursued the matter further, “Who is so bad to burn down someone else’s house?”
“It’s the kid from this house,” the person complained, “he burned down the house while trying to cook, my house was almost caught up in it too.”
…It was Mu Gua.
Ning Ning looked back at the ruins.
She looked at the place that used to be called Friendship Bistro.
“This is the history I have altered.” Ning Ning thought, then inspiration struck her. If this was history that she had altered, wouldn’t that mean…the Mu Er now, could possibly not be the real Mu Er, but Ning Ning transmigrated as Mu Er?
Was that possible? Ning Ning licked her lips, if it was really possible, then, would there be anyone else who was more trustworthy and reliable as an ally than herself? She turned her head to look at Xu Rong and said, “Let’s go.”
After Friendship Bistro burned down, the siblings Mu Gua and Mu Er had lost their home; they could only temporarily stay with a relative, but it was impossible to rely on their relatives to let them stay permanently; that was why Mu Er went out looking for jobs all night. She would find a job at a restaurant tonight… Ning Ning arrived at a restaurant named Jade Rabbit.
“Welcome,” the staff bowed, “little girl, are you here alone?”
Ning Ning turned her head and discovered that no one was behind her, Xu Rong—who had been following her—had disappeared.
“Little girl?” The staff looked at her with an inquisitive expression.
Ning Ning looked back at him and said coquettishly, “My father is inside.”
“Do you want me to bring you to him?” The staff asked.
“No.” Ning Ning shook her head, opened up her short little legs and walked into the restaurant. “I will look for him myself!”
It was dinner time, the restaurant was crowded, almost every table was filled with dishes and surrounded by people. Ning Ning walked past table by table, her vision was not on the customers by the tables, but on the staff members.
She attempted to look for a familiar face among the staff members.
A person walked by, then another in the other direction, her head turned along with the pairs of legs that were walking in front of her. Suddenly, a man’s voice rang out from behind her slowly in a lazy manner, “What are you looking for?”
“I’m looking for someone.” Ning Ning answered reflexively, then her body froze. She slowly turned her head around.
Behind her was a pair of big and long legs, towering in front of her like pillars. Her vision went up along the two legs—a lean waist, broad shoulders, and finally a familiar face…that would always appear in her nightmares!
He squatted down in front of her—an urbane face, a pair of gold-framed glasses reflecting the light. He smiled and said to her, “What a coincidence, I am also looking for someone.”
“…Mama said, I cannot talk to strangers.” Ning Ning looked away, her heart thumped. Why would Pei Xuan be here? Who is he looking for? Is he here to look for Mu Er too?
Based on the timeline, it seemed plausible.
Yu Sheng had had her accident brought forward. Pei Xuan, now more than before, would need a replacement to act as the rich little miss in his plans. How could he let the Mu Er, whom he met at the hospital when she was visiting her mother—who also looked exactly like Yu Sheng—go?
Did Pei Xuan tail her from the hospital? Would that mean that Mu Er is nearby right now?
Ning Ning’s eyes started to wander, she tried her best to look around for Mu Er’s figure.
She did not find Mu Er, but found another familiar face.
“It’s you!” She walked towards the other party, “Why are you here?”
Chen Shuang He turned around to look at her, his little suit did not fit in with the rest of the people. Ning Ning looked behind him…there was another person who did not fit in with the rest of the people.
Chen Shuang He did not come alone, behind him was his father, Chen Guan Chao. The father-son pair were both wearing handmade suits with expensive ties, not a strand of their hair was out of place. They looked like they were going to attend a movie festival, not to have dinner at such a commoner’s restaurant.
“You think that I want to come to such a place?” Chen Shuang He said grumpily, his vision shifted to Pei Xuan. “…Why is it you again?”
Ning Ning was stunned. “You two know each other?”
“Me and my father were originally on our way to watch an opera, our car was hit by this person midway.” Chen Shuang He said with a little rage, “Now, we cannot make it to the opera on time, we can only have dinner here before going home.”
So they were the ones who got rear ended earlier.
Ning Ning looked at Director Chen then looked at Chen Shuang He, they matched. A quite famous director would naturally refer to Chen Guan Chao, as for the famous actor…Chen Shuang He was definitely the hottest child actor at the moment. If you were to switch on your television, he would be the child version of the male lead on any show, any channel.
“Let’s go.” Director Chen finally said after staying silent for a long time, “Let’s eat somewhere else.”
Ning Ning was taken aback. She glanced at Pei Xuan who was behind her, then followed them out of the restaurant in a hurry.
The three of them had to flag a taxi because of the traffic accident. Once they got in, Chen Shuang He placed his hands behind his head and called out to Director Chen who was sitting in the front, “Father, who were you talking to on the phone just now?”
Director Chen ignored him.
Chen Shuang He was inviting a rebuff, he turned around and complained to Ning Ning, “A woman called my dad just now, he was too busy talking to her to notice a car driving onto us…”
“Shut up!” Director Chen shouted at him.
“Am I wrong?” Chen Shuang He flared up. He used all his might to kick the back of Director Chen’s seat with his leather shoe. “Can you face Mother?”
“Enough!” Director Chen got angry as well, he turned back and shouted, “Do you not see that there are other people here?”
“You didn’t hear anything!” Chen Shuang He looked towards Ning Ning tearfully and obstinately.
Ning Ning immediately covered her ears with her hands, indicating that she didn’t hear anything.
Chen Shuang He snorted. He touched the tears on his face. After an instant of embarrassment, he told Ning Ning ferociously, “…Close your eyes! You didn’t see anything!”
Ning Ning obediently closed her eyes, indicating that she didn’t see anything.
But the taxi was only that big, her hands did not have noise-cancelling capability either. They were still arguing loudly, so Ning Ning heard everything no matter if it was something she wished to hear or not. She vaguely found out that Director Chen did not seem to have a good relationship with his wife. Compared to his home, he would rather spend time on the set; compared to his wife, he would rather look at the various actresses on the set.
The young Chen Shuang He only chose to be a child star because it was the only way he could see his father who would always be away from home, it was the only way he could talk to his father…
The taxi suddenly came to a halt.
“We’re here,” Chen Guan Chao said, “you can get off now, your mother is here to fetch you.”
Ning Ning opened her eyes to find out that the taxi had already stopped at the doorstep of her house. A woman had rushed out of the door and ran towards her.
“Mama!” Ning Ning had just got out of the car when she heard someone shushing from behind her. She looked back and only saw a screen of tail gas, she coughed lightly twice as she looked at the taxi pulling away. She did not understand why they had seemed to have left in a defeated manner, but upon thinking about it carefully, she understood. After all, she had just heard the private affairs of their family, it would be awkward for them to look at her now.
Then, she was lifted up by someone. Ning Yu Ren hugged her tightly, as if she was hugging a treasure that was returned to her.
“Mama…” Ning Ning felt a little guilty, she even started to consider coming clean about everything to Mama. Mama would definitely understand, Mama would definitely help her…
“Oh God, thank God, Ning Ning you are finally back.” Xu Rong ran out from the side at this moment, wiping her tears as she said, “How did you get lost while we were walking about? I was scared to death. I was just discussing with your mother whether to call the police…”
“…There’s no need.” Ning Yu Ren said blandly, “I will bring her to her room to rest, she is a little shaken.”
After she finished speaking, she brought Ning Ning back to the house herself. Xu Rong froze behind her for a while before following Ning Yu Ren back in frantically. She said repeatedly on the way in, “I know it was my mistake this time, you trusted me enough to let me take care of your child yet I lost her, but I guarantee that this will be the last time, really…”
“Last time?” Ning Yu Ren muttered, then she closed the door behind her, leaving Xu Rong outside of the bedroom.
Xu Rong paced up and down outside the door. She started to choke up and cry in a low voice as she paced around.
“Mama…” Ning Ning was a little suspicious. She was even a little afraid of the Ning Yu Ren she saw in front of her.
She held Ning Ning with one arm, her other hand was by her mouth. She bit down hard on the back of her hand and gave out the gnawing and whimpering sounds of a beast. It seemed like she could only control herself by doing this, allowing herself to remain calm temporarily and not go crazy.
Upon hearing Ning Ning’s beckoning, Ning Yu Ren suddenly came back to her senses. She loosened her jaw, the ferocity in her face faded. She turned and looked at Ning Ning with a smile, “Don’t worry, Mama is fine…”
Ning Ning held Ning Yu Ren’s other hand in front of herself, teeth marks were left on the back of her hand, it was even bleeding. Ning Ning looked up at Ning Yu Ren’s face, she was smiling, there was a little blood at the corner of her lips.
“Mama, what’s with you?” Ning Ning murmured.
From what she remembered, as an actress, Mama cherished her body, because the screen would magnify a person’s flaws infinitely. She did not allow herself to gain weight, she also did not allow herself to have any obvious scars on her body.
“Don’t be afraid, Ning Ning. Mama will not hurt you.” Ning Yu Ren touched Ning Ning’s cheek with her bloody hand, saying with a smile, “Anyone who wants to hurt you, Mama will…get rid of all of them.”