The Complete Guide to the Use and Care of a Personal Assistant
First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter One Hundred and Seven
Ling Miao opened his eyes and saw only darkness. He confusedly stared into the dark and thought, Even if the sun’s gone down, surely it’s not so dark to the point where I can’t see anything?
Suddenly, Ling Miao felt something covering his eyes. He raised one hand to move the thing blocking his vision, but his arms only moved horizontally before he felt a light ring over his wrist. If he hadn’t tried to move his hand, he wouldn’t have discovered this—and that his hands could only move a very short distance.
Ling Miao then tried to move his legs, but he could similarly only move his legs a very short distance.
All Ling Miao’s limbs had been immobilized. He could only move his neck and his waist.
I’ve been kidnapped? A terrifying notion flashed across Ling Miao’s mind. Fear battered every part of his body like roiling waves.
Reflexively, Ling Miao started yelling: “Who is it? Fuck it, who kidnapped me? Get the hell out here! Fucker—mmph—mmph…” Every shout was louder than the last, and what he got in return was a ball-shaped thing shoved in his mouth.
Ling Miao stuck his tongue on top of the ball-shaped object, trying to push it out, but something pushed back on the other side of the ball. Ling Miao’s tongue had gone numb and he still couldn’t push it out, so he had no recourse but to give up.
He couldn’t see anything, so he listened especially acutely. Soft footsteps sounded by his ear. That person lifted Ling Miao’s head and Ling Miao felt something thin and long extend from the corners of his mouth then knot together at the back of his head. Ling Miao now couldn’t say anything at all.
Ling Miao’s mouth was open and the saliva he couldn’t swallow dribbled from the corner of his mouth. The warm liquid gradually cooled as it left his mouth, sliding soundlessly over his skin. Ling Miao twisted his body in resistance to the person’s actions.
The person looked at Ling Miao on the bed, who was struggling like a fish out of water. A dry and hoarse laugh spilled from his throat, satisfaction in the sound.
Ling Miao heard the person laugh and momentarily stopped struggling. He didn’t want to become a joke to others, especially his kidnapper.
The person saw that Ling Miao had quieted down. Seeming to lose interest, he turned and left.
Ling Miao heard the footsteps gradually growing distant and the fear in his heart quieted. He began to recall the events before his kidnapping.
In the morning when Ling Miao made breakfast, he had discovered that there was not much vegetables and meat left in the fridge. He asked Su Yuyang to accompany him to the supermarket to shop for groceries.
Su Yuyang had told Ling Miao regretfully that he needed to go to the post office to pick up a parcel—the postman for Su Yuyang’s area was ill and couldn’t deliver today. Non-urgent mail would be delivered tomorrow but urgent mail had to be picked up personally.
Coincidentally, Su Yuyang’s mail was extremely urgent. The publisher had sent him books that he needed to sign immediately and send back.
Even more coincidentally, the post office and the supermarket were in opposite directions. Su Yuyang went to the post office and Ling Miao went to the supermarket.
When Ling Miao grocery shopped, he did it aimlessly. He took whatever he felt he needed so by the time Su Yuyang had autographed all the books and filled out the postage, Ling Miao still hadn’t returned.
The hungry Su Yuyang called Ling Miao to hurry him home to cook. Ling Miao ambled to the cashier to pay then took a shortcut home.
Ling Miao left in too much of a hurry and hadn’t observed his surroundings well. Even if he had discovered someone following him, he would probably have assumed it was someone who was also trying to take a shortcut home.
The back way! Ling Miao tried to recall what happened next, but the next image that came to mind was the darkness he had seen when he woke up. Suddenly, he put the pieces together: he had been kidnapped in the back road.
Someone who had taken him from a back road must be someone who was familiar with the area. That person must have been following him since he left the apartment.
Ling Miao’s breathing grew ragged. He was angry at himself for being careless and also at the act of kidnapping that had been done to him.
The sound of footsteps started up again and they sounded like they were getting closer. Ling Miao involuntarily held his breath. The footsteps stopped beside him. Ling Miao turned, trying to see his kidnapper, but all he could see was blackness.
“Mmph mmph mmph (who are you!)”
The person ignored Ling Miao’s meaningless shouting. He put a cup by Ling Miao’s head. Ling Miao heard the thunk and feared that the person was going to hurt him, so he obediently stopped shouting.
Several seconds later, he felt a pair of hands untying the restraints at the back of his head. Then a hand lifted his head and something cold touched his lips. Initially, he wanted to reject the thing the person had shoved into his mouth, but the feeling at his lips was water.
Ling Miao thought: Water is the fountain of life. If I don’t drink water, I won’t live even a few days. Even if he put something in the water, it’s not a big deal. He began gulping the water, moving his stiff facial muscles in the process.
Ling Miao had drunk too quickly and started choking. He coughed violently.
The cup of water left his lips and Ling Miao’s head violently fell. The back of his head landed on the headboard with a thunk.
“I—” Ling Miao was about to curse again when the gag was shoved into his mouth again. “Mmph! Mmph! Mmph!” Ling Miao violently shook his body. The person let out a cold sneer. Ling Miao huffed and ignored what the person was doing to him.
Does Su Yuyang know I’ve been kidnapped? Ling Miao dazedly looked into the pitch-black world and saw Su Yuyang’s silhouette. Why did he want to kidnap me? For money? Or…
Suddenly, Ling Miao thought of the most likely possibility, which was also the most terrifying—his kidnapper was Tang Xuan!
Ling Miao wanted to ask the person next to him—are you Tang Xuan? But something was stuffed in Ling Miao’s mouth and aside from drooling and expressing sounds of anger and resistance, he couldn’t do anything.
Out of nowhere, an ice-cold hand touched his skin. Ling Miao shuddered and his gooseflesh rose. The hand seemed to be carved from ice; Ling Miao couldn’t feel human warmth from it at all.
Ling Miao felt the fingers slide from his wrist up his arm toward his shoulder. The ticklish feeling made Ling Miao shudder.
What is he going to do to me next?
The fingers had reached Ling Miao’s chest. They stopped. Ling Miao’s heart was strung up in his throat—he didn’t know what the person would do next.
“Heh heh.” Another chilling laugh. “Ling Miao, Su Yuyang hasn’t held you before, right?”
The words struck Ling Miao like thunder from a calm sky, almost reducing him to ashes. The owner of this voice was Tang Xuan!