Chapter 381: So nothing was that important after all
As Xu Tingsheng said this, the look on his face had already changed completely as he rushed forward, grabbing that woman’s arm as he was about to enquire about the young girl she had seen inside.
“I broke Little Ning’s phone yesterday,” Mrs Xiang said from behind him.
“Calm down, Tingsheng. Little Ning should have returned home,” Mr Xiang said.
In truth, the two of them were feeling worried too.
“How did you say the girl inside looked like again?” Xu Tingsheng pressed on that woman’s arms, asking loudly.
“She looked fifteen or sixteen...she was tall and thin...with long hair...she wore...that colour…”
The woman recalled and described that girl from upstairs. With every phrase she said, the hearts of the trio would sink somewhat.
“It couldn’t actually be Little Ning, right?” Not having paid attention to how her daughter was dressed earlier, Mrs Xiang tugged at Mr Xiang’s arm, asking as she trembled in her entirety.
“I…” Stunned by the rampant fire before them, Mr Xiang was already unable to speak now.
Perhaps they might have rushed inside the very next moment.
However, Xu Tingsheng had already rushed into the site of the fire without any reservations whatsoever before they could even react.
He was certain of it.
His analytical ability was greater than theirs. When he had previously heard the woman saying that the girl had come down from the fourth storey and run towards the third storey corridor, Xu Tingsheng had already felt that that was likely to be Little Xiang Ning. It was not because of her fright that she had randomly run off in the wrong direction...she had gone to look for her parents and Xu Tingsheng…
Now, coupled with that description, Xu Tingsheng was already certain that it was her.
“So long as you want it, as long as I have it. All that I can give to you, I will.”
This was the mushy stuff that Xu Tingsheng had said to Little Xiang Ning the previous day.
Now, he wanted to add, “...My life included.”
Without any hesitation or further consideration whatsoever, Xu Tingsheng realised now that at a time like this, nothing was really that important after all, besides Little Xiang Ning. There was simply no time to waste on any pointless thoughts too.
“Hold them back!” Xu Tingsheng yelled at the boss of the restaurant without so much as a backward glance even as he dashed towards the burning building.
The boss of the restaurant had an uncomprehending look on his face as he only realised what Xu Tingsheng had meant on hearing those tragic cries behind him.
“It’s Little Ning…”
At that moment when they saw Xu Tingsheng dash inside, the sole remaining doubts and hope in the hearts of Mr and Mrs Xiang collapsed all at once. The two let out heartrending cries even as they charged forward, wanting to dash into the burning building along with Xu Tingsheng.
“There was already one inside, and another’s gone in...for another two to enter? ...If it really ends up...that would mean four whole lives…”
The boss of the restaurant immediately spread his arms wide and blocked Mr and Mrs Xiang from going forward, additionally calling for his employees to press them down. The two were apprehended just like that as the employees dared not let go however much they struggled, however much they wailed and cursed…
“If she can be saved, the one who just went in will save her. If she can’t be saved, we can’t just...hand another two lives away...”
Little Xiang Ning had really been very angry upon leaving the private room, having loathed Xu Tingsheng greatly as she had been thinking, “I won’t care about you anymore.”
Still, she had halted on the staircase even before reaching the second storey.
Little Xiang Ning was still unable to set her mind at ease as she decided to wait for that meal to end. That way, if things really ended on a bad note, she would still be able to intercept them and try to remedy the situation then. After wandering around the restaurant for a time, she reached the fourth storey whereupon she sat down at the stairwell which led to the balcony, deciding to sit and wait there for a while.
The people on the fourth storey reacted latest to the incident, especially Little Xiang Ning whose mind had drifted away as she pondered about Xu Tingsheng and what might occur in the private room. As her location was rather out of the way as well, she only heard the noise and reacted to the fire several minutes later as part of the latest, final batch of people to have been alerted of it.
Little Xiang Ning was really frightened as she hurried along after those frantically fleeing people before her.
As she reached the third storey...Little Xiang Ning was spurred on to dash to the corridor there at a sudden thought as she sought to locate the private room that Xu Tingsheng and her Mum and Dad had been in.
The person who had been with her seemed to have yelled at her to stop, but she did not pay any attention to that, having not the leisure for such now.
The little girl was frightened as she immediately thought to find someone whom she could rely on, who could protect her. This was an instinctual process that was completely understandable.
Yet, this was actually still secondary in her mind. The foremost, most prominent thought in Little Xiang Ning’s mind was that a fire having started, she had to grab her parents and Xu Tingsheng and flee the area together…
Little Xiang Ning had not been aware of the situation at the time. She did not know that she was already amongst the last ones to flee from the burning building, having no way at all of judging that. Amidst the pandemonium, worried and frightened, she instinctively thought to inform her parents and Xu Tingsheng about this, getting them to hurry up and run…
She had not even analysed the situation, considered the possibility that her parents and Xu Tingsheng had probably already fled the building.
Only when she discovered the door of the private room ajar with no one inside did Little Xiang Ning realise what must have happened.
Alone in the empty room, Little Xiang Ning was instantly overwhelmed by a strong sense of solitude and helplessness. She wanted to look for her Mum and Dad, wanted to look for Xu Tingsheng, but they were just not there…
“They must think that I already went home.”
Xiang Ning reached for her handphone, but realised that she didn’t even have that.
Holding back her tears, Little Xiang Ning resolutely turned and ran back to the stairwell alone. Yet, the flames were even more intense than before. Roiling waves of heat assaulted her that were so terrifying, so intimidating…
She was still just a young girl, after all. She felt shocked, fearful, lonely, helpless…
Little Xiang Ning’s legs grew weak as she sat weakly on the ground just like that.
“Mum, Dad, I’m still here…”
“Xu Tingsheng, I’m still here…”
“Sorry for not listening, for not going home yet...please don’t not care about me…”
The fire had actually not blazed for too long at this point in time as it had not spread over to her yet. However, the fear of death had already overtaken her as she wept while shouting inwardly, “Xu Tingsheng, Little Xiang Ning is still in here! Please don’t not care about me…”
Despair had actually already seeped into this desperate plea of hers. Xiang Ning knew that her parents and Xu Tingsheng definitely already believed that she had returned home. They might be standing outside at this very moment, yet there was just no way they would think that...she was still inside.
The fire was fiercer on the exterior as even the windowsills on the rooms had already started burning. She was unable to even go to the window and call for help.
“Mum and Dad, Xu Tingsheng...your Little Xiang Ning won’t be able to come out…”
“You won’t be coming to look for me, right?”
Fortunately, the staircase was not made of wood. It could still be passed through.
Little Xiang Ning heard footsteps. Then, through the flames, she saw someone running towards her...Xu Tingsheng, Uncle, Uncle Liar, Uncle Black Bear, dirty ruffian…
Xu Tingsheng heard her. He was most worried that Little Xiang Ning might be hiding in some corner due to fear, in which case he would have to search everywhere for her. He was already prepared to begin yelling as soon as he rushed up the staircase, even if he kept choking on the pungent smoke.
Hearing the yell, he sprinted over, and saw her.
The heavens were watching over them. Xiang Ning was standing at the stairwell.
Xu Tingsheng turned back and glanced around at their surroundings. The fire was blazing the most intensely at the exterior of the building. The staircase...they should still be able to make it.
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