Chapter 188: Missing
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
She had only just managed to adjust to the weather the second day she was there, and started to chat with the other people living in the hostel. She did not speak much, but she was always smiling whenever she did. This gave the people in the hostel a good impression of her, and they arranged to have a three-day hike across the desert together the next day.
Compared to the other travelers who were laden with luggage, Xia Qingyi had a pathetic amount of belongings. The leader did not dare to let her go to the desert just like that, so he took her to the high street to buy a few essential tools and put them in her bag.
At night, she secretly packed the pair of slippers she brought from home as well. Even if she knew it was unnecessary, it felt as though she would be reassured with this pair of slippers by her side.
The next day, there were five people on the trip, including the driver. The driver drove a black SUV, suitable for driving in the desert. Xia Qingyi talked less and was the quietest while they were on the road. She sat at the rightmost corner of the last row, and rolled the car window down a little, watching the scenery fly by outside.
The car drove forward, leaving S City further behind.
After an unknown amount of time passed, the roadsides was already gradually turning to that of a desert. A glance outside, and it was simply a monotonous yellow everywhere. Only the towering sky above was a light blue color, and there were sparse pockets of bush on the ground. The car kept on surging forward continuously, the tires emitting a stream of sounds as they rolled over the yellow grains of sand. Xia Qingyi stared at the long road ahead, feeling as though they would never reach the end of the road.
It was noon, and the scorching sun hung high up in the sky, making Xia Qingyi unable to open her eyes. The temperature in the car rose, and the surrounding heat waves made them feel as though they were entrenched within blazing flames.
The winds and sands from the outside could be felt from within the car, and the heat brought along with the wind constantly lunged towards Xia Qingyi. A boy sitting beside her saw that she was so hot that her neck was covered in sweat and dirt and kindly gave her a mask so that she could block her face from the wind and sand.
Xia Qingyi thanked him, wore the mask and continued to look at the yellow world outside.
The car continued to move forward bumpily, and a plain of yellow sand in the distance slowly came within Xia Qingyi’s sight. Even further away were the rising and falling hills made of yellow sand. The car slowly came to a stop.
Xia Qingyi looked at the plain of sand dunes, and understood that the desert was right before her eyes.
They got out of the car.
The seventh day that he endured with difficulty was over, but Xia Qingyi had not returned.
Mo Han could no longer wait. He was scared that firstly, something had happened to her on the road, and secondly, that she was still angry, and that she was too comfortable over there and no longer wanted to return. No matter what the situation, it was unacceptable to Mo Han.
He determinedly packed a few simple belongings with him and booked a ticket to D City. He had already found someone to investigate the hostel she had stayed in at D City these few days, so when he reached there, he would be able to see Xia Qingyi.
If Xia Qingyi wanted to leave, he would bring her back to S City. If she had not have her fun yet, he would stay and play with her, wait until she was happier and then bring her back.
Mo Han only brought along two sets of clothes, his passport and identity card, and took his wallet and keys. Most of the things he took were Xia Qingyi’s belongings. He was very worried about Xia Qingyi. She had simply run out like that by herself and had not taken anything along with her, so there would have been many things that were inconvenient for her. No-one was there to take care of her, and she would have to do a lot of things by herself.
Her skincare, bottles of all sizes, he was not sure exactly what they were and what they were for, but he put them all into a bag. There was also her favorite chili sauce and her favorite cartoon pajamas, which he had neatly arranged and packed them into a big bag on his bed.
Mo Han stood before the bed, still thinking about what Xia Qingyi would need so that he could bring it along, and the phone in his pocket rang. It was from Liu Zhiyuan.
“Boss, have you seen today’s news?” he asked.
“Little Liu, I already told you this morning. This is my vacation time now, I need to go out for a trip. Work-related things can wait till I’m back,” Mo Han said as he searched for things in the house.
“No… not work-related things.” Liu Zhiyuan sounded a little hesitant.
“No matter what it is, it can wait till I’m back. Or you can wait until I get to D City, I’m going to the airport in a while, we can talk after I get off the plane.”
“Boss… ummm… I feel that this matter is very important.” Liu Zhiyuan’s tone was serious.
“What…?” Mo Han furrowed his eyebrows.
“Switch on the television, you’ll understand when you look at the news on Central Channel 13.
Mo Han walked to the living room outside, switched on the television, and adjusted it to the news on Channel 13.
He saw the newscaster sitting upright on the television speaking in a monotonous voice, “According to our channel news, a rare huge sandstorm that happens only once in a century had occurred near the perimeters of D City. The surrounding houses had suffered serious damage. According to reports, the most serious damage happened at the desert near the borders. Unfortunately, a tour group was driving in the desert when they met with the sandstorm, and a total of five people are missing in the desert. The death toll of the sandstorm currently stands at four people, with 37 missing. The mayor of D City is currently heading towards the disaster area to provide assistance, and to help with rebuilding work. Do stay tuned for further reports on our channel.”
Mo Han felt his blood turn cold, and the remote control in his hand dropped onto the ground.
“Boss… Boss… Did you contact her these few days? Is she really still in D City now?” Liu Zhiyuan heard nothing from the other end of the phone and knew that things must have gone wrong.
Liu Zhiyuan knew about his boss’s fight with Xia Qingyi. When Mo Han spoke to Liu Zhiyuan this morning, he had also said that Xia Qingyi had gone to D City to relax, and that he wanted to take a break and fetch Xia Qingyi back. Liu Zhiyuan and Barrister Liao could handle the company matters.
Which was why when he happened across the news and D City was splayed across the screen, he started to worry and called Boss.
“Boss… Boss… are you still listening?” he asked.
“Liu Zhiyuan, I’m going to D City now. If there’s anything, leave it till I’m back.”
At that moment, Liu Zhiyuan did not know how to describe Mo Han’s voice on the phone. His voice had suddenly turned hoarse, and he spoke in a low tone. Hearing how he was forcing himself to speak was heartbreaking.
“But… there’s already a sandstorm at D City, the traffic probably will not be able to go near there, will you be able to get there?”
“I will find a way.” Mo Han finished speaking this sentence, and did not have anything else to say to Liu Zhiyuan, so he said, “I’m hanging up.”
After Mo Han hung up the phone, the television was still reporting the news, and the practical way the newscaster reported made Mo Han feel scared. He picked up the remote control and switched off the television.
The room was so quiet that it was horrifying.
It was only then that Mo Han realized that the hand holding onto the remote control was still trembling. He half-lidded his eyes and there was no expression on his face, but his insides was burning like the grass in the wild plains, as though it was going to burn all the darkness surrounding as well. The huge fire was slowly spreading to every corner of his body.
Mo Han’s brain had stopped working, and everything in front of him was a blur. The room spun around him, making him feel as though this was not reality.
All thoughts had disappeared from his brain, only leaving the thought that he had to go to D City and see Xia Qingyi with his own eyes.
There had never been a moment when he was that impatient to see Xia Qingyi. As long as he could see her safe and sound, he had no other wishes.
Mo Han went into the bedroom. He did not take any of the luggage, and only took his own passport, Xia Qingyi’s identity card, wallet and hurriedly rushed to the airport.
The plane to D City had already been canceled due to the weather. Mo Han bought another ticket to the neighboring F City, and took a train from F City to D City.
The journey to D City was not that smooth. He got down the plane and waited nearly an entire day at the train station at F City before there was a train to D City. The entire trip took 12 hours, and because the tickets were sold out, Mo Han could only buy a standing ticket. The clothes he was wearing was terribly wrinkled, and there were all sorts of smells on the train. Mo Han stood in the carriage alongside weary middle-aged men with weather-beaten faces wearing tattered coats, and stayed together on the rumbling train traveling towards D City.
D City was a small place. Because it was not too far off from the core of the windstorm, it had not experienced heavy damage, and only the trees on the west side were scratched. Mo Han did not stay on the roads for long, he did not spend much time before he arrived at the hostel Xia Qingyi was staying in.
It was a rather small, and a little worn down hostel. The doors were made of wood, and the metal on it had already rusted. The door was locked from the inside, and sturdy trees growing all the way out of the hostel could be seen from afar.
He took in a deep breath, and knocked on the hostel door.
Mo Han knocked a few more times, and after he waited a long time, someone finally came to open the door for him.
“Staying here?” The person who opened the door stood in the doorway and asked Mo Han. It was a rather short middle-aged man.
“May I ask, did a Xia Qingyi stay here before?” Mo Han really could not control the intense beating of his heart in his chest when he asked the question.
“Xia Qingyi…? Sounds like there’s such a name.” The hostel boss opened the door and let Mo Han in. He walked inside and scratched his head as he thought.
The hostel boss did not walk far before he suddenly lifted his head and turned around to look at Mo Han. “Xia Qingyi, is she the girl from S City, with big eyes and hair reaching to her shoulders?”
The hands that Mo Han held together started to tremble again, and he nodded his head.