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(The Game of the Twins (18)

“At the time, the kids’ grandpa was paying. I was busy counting the money, so I didn’t really pay attention to where the kids went. What’s going on? Are they lost?” the owner replied with a thick country accent as he spoke.

“Sir, my daughters are nowhere to be found. If you’ve seen them, please tell us,” Huo Mian begged as Qin Chu squeezed her shoulder in comfort and support.

“Oh, what a shame! Your girls looked so beautiful; it would be troublesome if they were targeted by human traffickers. You guys might not know much about it, but little girls have been very popular with the traffickers, whereas little boys are not worth much. The men that live within the villages in the deep mountains have trouble finding wives. It’s rather difficult to traffic adult women because they would think about running away. So, for the past few years, it’s become a custom to purchase young girls and wait till they grow up to be around fifteen or sixteen to become wives. Some people even purchase child brides so that the girls can grow up with their sons together. It’s a very outdated view, but just last month, a six-year-old girl went missing right here. They still haven’t found her, she looked beautiful as well,” the owner babbled on, and the more he talked, the more shaken everyone became.

Unable to bear it any longer, Qin Ning interrupted, “Hey you, do you know where my nieces are or not? If you don’t, quit telling us useless information. Can’t you tell you’re scaring my family? Who are you trying to scare? If anything, you’re jinxing everything; can’t you speak of something more positive?”

“Watch your tone, girl. Have you got no manners?” the owner replied angrily.

“Sir, could you kindly ask your employees if they have seen where my daughters went?” Huo Mian asked politely, afraid that she might miss the only lead they had found.

“You’re much better. Wait here, I will ask.” As the owner finished speaking, he hollered at the back kitchen and the entire staff came out.

“Did any of you notice the twin girls that were in today? The ones that looked rather beautiful. Did anyone notice where they went afterward?”

“Oh, the two little girls? I saw them,” an auntie that worked in the back kitchen said.

“Where??” Huo Mian and Qin Chu asked at once.

“They left by the side door, over there.” The auntie pointed towards a hidden side door.

“Thanks.” Huo Mian hurried over while Qin Chu thanked the auntie with a couple of hundred yuan bills.

The group followed closely, only to be disappointed the moment they walked through the side door.

It was an old-styled narrow street that had not been modernized; therefore, there were no cameras to be seen. Beside every door, there were cans of garbage all up and down the street. The entire street reeked of rotten food with no twins to be seen.

“How… How should we even begin searching? Sis-in-Law, is it possible that the girls didn’t want to go to the U.S, so they ran away? Maybe they are hiding in a place, waiting for us to leave.”

“No, not likely. They might have done something like this before, where they would do this for fun or because they didn’t want to leave us. But, the last time they were in the U.S., they went out to buy Su Yu a present alone and scared Qin Ning half to death. After that, I’ve had a long talk with them and ensured that no matter what, they must stay with an adult when they are out. This was a promise that the girls and I made. Pudding especially, she’s a kid that keeps her words, so I don’t believe it for a second that they left on their own. I think something must have happened,” said Huo Mian slowly, her eyes red and filled with tears.



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