Not long after exiting the restroom with Little Pepper, I saw a group of men in suits rushing over.
They had grim looks on their faces as they searched the area.
I couldn't help but cast a curious glance at the restroom as I wondered, Are they looking for that injured man in black?
Suddenly, the injured man ran out of the restroom. While brushing past me, he used his bloodstained hand to stuff something inside my pocket and muttered, "Hey, punk. I'll come back to find you!"
In less than a second, he dashed into the stairwell, and the group of men quickly chased after him.
My eyes grew wide.
Whoa! This is just like the movies! How cool!
I stared after them until they were out of sight before reaching into my pocket to retrieve the item that the injured man had passed to me. It was a sophisticated-looking little box with a tiny piece of gold the size of a peanut.
On closer inspection, I realized it wasn't a piece of gold. It looked more like one of those gadget components that Barnabas often used. I deduced that it could be a chip, but I wasn't completely sure.
Just as I was lost in thought, Little Pepper opened its beak and swallowed the chip as if it were a seed.
I was horrified. I quickly tapped Little Pepper's little green head. "Little Pepper, spit it out! Hurry up and spit it out!"
Squawk! Squawk! Squawk!
Not only did it not spit it out, but it was startled by me and ended up swallowing the chip.
"Ahh!" I was about to lose my mind. I held Little Pepper by the tail and swished it about. "You can't eat that! Spit it out. Spit it out now!"
Little Pepper's eyes began to roll from being swished around like that. Even its pink little tongue was lolling out of its beak.
"Hey! What are you doing, Robert?!"
Just then, Rose shrieked and raced over to grab Little Pepper before holding it protectively against her chest. She fumed at me. "Why are you hurting my Little Pepper? I'm telling Mommy!"
"No, Rose, that's not it—"
I tried to explain, but Barnabas came and cut me off as he lectured me sternly, "Robert, you're not allowed to mistreat Little Pepper."
I pointed at myself and Little Pepper, who had fainted from the exertion. I felt aggrieved, but I didn't know how to explain what had happened. Little Pepper had swallowed the little golden chip, and I had no proof to show that I wasn't trying to hurt it.
I had no choice but to keep this secret to myself…
Elijah Stone's POV
I sat in a private room inside the Italian restaurant and had a glass of wine as I waited to hear from my men.
Before coming over, one of my subordinates had found out that Panda would be making the exchange at Central Mall today, so I had to nab him before the chip left his hands!
Right at that moment, Larry hurried over to me and reported, "Mr. Stone, Panda has escaped!"
"A bunch of useless fools!" I snarled in fury.
"Sorry, sir…" Larry bowed his head and held his breath.
"The X chip holds confidential information regarding all of the company's latest technological developments. The damage would be catastrophic if any of that gets out. We must get it back!" I emphasized the importance of the chip.
"Yes, sir," Larry replied. "We will catch Panda within three days!"
By now, I was in a foul mood. I got up to leave the private room, and my bodyguards held their breaths as they trailed behind me.
My expression remained gloomy as I went to the basement parking lot and climbed into my Rolls-Royce Phantom. The driver was just about to drive off when I saw a small figure running over—it was a little girl.
"Stop the car!" I commanded at once.
The driver immediately slammed on the brakes just in time to avoid running over the little girl who flew out so suddenly.
"Go and take a look." I got Larry to see what was going on.
He climbed out of the car and walked over to the little girl. "Hey, little girl. Why are you here by yourself?"
"My Little Pepper flew down here, so I'm coming after it…"
I saw the little girl chasing after a parrot. It flew around for a bit before eventually gliding into my car. I frowned at once as I hated these sorts of flying creatures.
"Stop flying around, Little Pepper. Come here."
The little girl darted into the car as well. She looked up at me and immediately stopped talking. I could sense her fear and discomfort as I noticed the way she shrank backward.
Just then, I finally got a good look at what she looked like. She was adorable, just like a pretty little doll. Her clear eyes seemed to sparkle like the stars in the sky.
For some reason, I didn't feel irritated by her presence. On the contrary, I felt an unusual sense of affinity toward her.