Xiao Tu was stirred awake by the constant movements happening outside his blurry vision. He tried to move his hands towards his face to clear his vision but was unable to. He felt rope on his skin, chafing it as he tried to free himself. Knowing that the struggle was futile, he waited for a few minutes for his vision to be clear once again.
Xiao Tu noticed that he could see a brown fabric in front of him; guessing that he was probably thrown into a cloth sack. He could only see vague blurs of things outside due to the fact that the old man was probably moving too fast for his eyes to catch every single detail as they travelled.
He heard sounds which reminded him of the sound of footsteps when walking on polished stone. He felt the man carrying him shift his weight and heard the noise of a door grinding onto a stone floor. It was moments later where he could feel himself being weightless for a few scant seconds before landing with a loud thud on the hard floor. He could hear another thud beside him. He guessed that it was probably Ye Xiu because the last thing he remembered was the both of them reading a book on different poisonous plants that could be found in the wilderness.
The sacks were taken off them and Xiao Tu pretended to still be unconscious so that he didn't catch their captor's attention. The sacks and ropes from their limbs were taken off before the sound of the door closed together with the latch of a lock echoed through the room.
After being able to see, Xiao Tu decided to look around the room to see just where they were so that he could plan an escape for Ye Xiu. The room was completely dirty, it looked to be as if it was uncleaned and he could see dark dried stains of red and brown all over the ground. Every time he touched a surface in the room, he could feel the grime between his fingers.
Disgruntled by the condition of his cell, Xiao Tu proceeded with his examination of the room. He could see a small bucket in a corner filled with a liquid which smelled rancid. His face showed his repugnance at the entire room since he had never been in such a dirty place ever in his entire life.
The sound of water dripping on the floor was a constant. Xiao Tu could hear the rats scurrying about in the darkness of the room. As he re-thought his situation, Xiao Tu's emotional state started to deteriorate. He started to sniffle and small water droplets fell from his tear ducts. Xiao Tu wasn't able to stop sniffling until he could hear the sounds of a body moving on the ground. He looked towards where Ye Xiu was and noticed that he was about to come into consciousness. He quickly tried to stifle his sniffling and quickly wiped away the tears from his face.
Xiao Tu wanted to be the tough guy in this situation, he wanted to be the one to make sure everybody would feel safe and do all the heavy work just like in his father's stories. He had promised himself that he would protect the people that he cared about; the only people he truly cared about was his family, Ye Xiu and his parents.
To him it was the responsible thing to take care of those younger than you, so with determination, he worked up his courage before he walked over and nudged Ye Xiu with his feet. "Ye Xiu wake up. I need you to wake up please." He started to shake Ye Xiu awake.
"Yes, mother? What are you calling me for? I didn't think we had any plans for today." Ye Xiu stretched his limbs and started to get up.
"Ye Xiu, try and remember the last thing you saw clearly." He asked him urgently.
"Weren't we just reading a book in the store? The last thing I saw was..." Ye Xiu's sentence trailed off. "Oh, please tell me we didn't get kidnapped when we got knocked unconscious." Ye Xiu took his tiny hands and rubbed them over his face.
"Yes we did, and it's not the time to panic so stay calm and hopefully we'll figure a way out of this." Xiao Tu tried to keep the situation as worry-free as possible.
Whilst Xiao Tu kept on trying to 'convince' Ye Xiu about being calm but Ye Xiu knew that it was probably also a way for Xiao Tu to reassure himself of the situation. Ye Xiu started to think of a way he could escape.
'I don't see much in the room that can be used to facilitate an escape. There aren't even any windows here so we don't know whether it's night or day which would be troublesome. We wouldn't be able to tell the time unless Xiao Tu managed to keep his inter-spatial ring on him. I remember sneaking in a timing device that was taken from father's office into it when I passed him a few clothes that we bought.'
'Even with we are able to tell the time, we don't know if our captor is powerful or not. If he's a cultivator... we'd have no chance. Let's just forget the idea of escape for now." Ye Xiu shook his head to clear himself of his thoughts.
- At the same time -
Mei Ling, Mei Tu and Yu Er had rushed back to the residence as fast as they could to inform the others of the kidnapping. They had rushed home because the darkness had started to close in so they were unable to search anymore. They ran towards the living room where everybody else was making conversation.
'A panting Mei Ling means something bad has happened.' Ye Xiu thought as the women entered the room with haste. "What's wrong?" He asked.
"Our boys are missing!" Mei Ling shouted.
"Missing? How could they be missing with you watching them? I know that you'd never take your eyes off either of them in any situation." Xiao San asked with a frown on his face.
Yu Er stepped in to answer, "They ran into the crowd when they said they were visiting a store."
"Have you checked every shop?" Shen Jing asked starting to get up from his seat.
"We have but nobody had seen them." Mei Tu responded to her husband.
"The best we can do right now is to spread out and look for them. Arm yourselves, it's night time and we don't know if the murderer is still out there." Shen Jing told them.
"Wait, what if our babies were kidnapped by the murderer? You said that some of the corpses were identified to be missing persons." Mei Ling asked her father with a serious face.
"Then it's all the more reason to start searching and to find them quickly. I'll contact my informants to see if they have any information on the whereabouts of the killer." Shen Jing started leaving the room before jumping off into the night.
- An Unknown Location -
The elderly man from the store sat on a chair drinking from a wine glass. He sipped the liquid into his mouth, smacking his lips together at the taste, "Human blood is always the best drink to have after a rough day." The sound of pages being rustled and then turned could be heard in the room. "It's also a great drink to get my mood positive when I'm reading this book. 'Torture methods to drain the blood out of a body' is such a great book to find out ways to drain these fragile body physiques of humans of blood without them dying instantly.
'I better go feed those children shouldn't I. Wouldn't want them to die just yet.' The man started to get up from his chair and opened up the cellar door to feed the children he held captive.
He walked into the room where the boys were held captive and threw bread and left a bowl of water for them at the door. He walked closer to Xiao Tu and grabbed his chin with two fingers; pulling him closer towards the man. "I wouldn't want my tasty morsels to be hungry so you better eat and drink up. You'd be too tender for me to eat otherwise." The man had let go of Xiao Tu whilst laughing. The man walked out of the room and locked it again, leaving the two boys in silence.
"The guy is creepy." Ye Xiu commented.
"Yep. What do we do now?
"I left a device which could tell the time in your ring. Do you still have your ring?"
"Yeah, I do. The man never bothered to remove anything from my person. Tell me what it looks like so I can retrieve it for us."
"It's round and it has twelve numbers arranged in a circle with two arrows, one short and one long." Xiao Tu retrieved it quickly and asked him what they were going to do with it.
"We have food and now we know the time. All we can do now is use the time wisely and train our bodies up. The stronger we are the higher the chance we have to survive this."
"Alright, let's begin training then." The two boys started their body exercises which they had learnt from their parents. They continued until they were tired. Ye Xiu had wanted to enter his Dimension but restrained himself because it would look suspicious for him to be clean suddenly. The two boys fell asleep quickly from fatigue.
As the boys fell asleep a voice on the other side of the capital could be heard, "What do you mean you have no information on the killer! You are the best organisation for collecting information discreetly. You've never failed me and now when it's urgent you have?" Shen Jing's face was aflame with fury.
"Sir, you'll have to give us more time. We don't have enough people in the capital right now because they are busy looking for clues in other parts of the country. Please forgive us." The masked man spoke.
"Fine, just get me some kind of information by tomorrow, otherwise I'll just kill you all and hire new people." Shen Jing sat down in his office thinking about everything that had gone wrong. He sighed in frustration.
- The next morning -
"Sir, we've found information you may want to hear." A voice sounded out from outside the window.
"Come in then, don't dawdle." Shen Jing ordered the man.
"Sir, we've had reports from the civilians that they had spotted a man jumping across rooftops at night with what had looked to be two sacks on his shoulder. They saw him entering a rundown building in the slums. It should be easily recognisable since it's the only building which has black tiles on the roof."
"Hmm, that must be the boys. Tell the others good job and thanks for the information. You may leave now." Shen Jing dismissed his employee.
As the masked man left, Shen Jing suddenly shouted, "I HAVE INFORMATION ON THE WHEREABOUTS OF THE TWO BOYS! Come here and we'll leave immediately!"
In less than a minute, everybody had gathered up. Shen Jing could see that the hair of Yu Er and Mei Ling was completely out of order. "Listen up, the boys are held by a man who is in a building in the slums. It's a rundown building and it's the only building there which has black tiles. Spread out and tell the others when you've found it. I don't want you going alone."
The group dispersed immediately, making their way towards the slums to find their children.