Quality Checker: Tezuka
First Published on Chaleuria.
Not even three meters from us, there was indeed the small stream I remembered from my dream. The big jujube tree had been cut down by workers, but we could still see the remnants of the tree trunk.
“Is this the place?”
I nodded, looking at the view spread out before me. The memory of the dream was so clear in my mind that I could almost see it overlap across the scenery in front of me. I was just about to open my mouth to say something, but I noticed that the underbrush in front of us shook, as if something was hiding in it.
“What is that?” Shi Yitong had sharp eyes and had also noticed the movement.
The three of us stared at the shaking underbrush, on guard, afraid of something strange popping out.
After a while, a black shadow slunk out, brushing past the grass with a long mewing sound.
We all froze. Su Xiaoyun called out, surprised, “Coo?”
After taking a closer look at the little black thing sitting there, licking daintily at its paw, it was indeed Su Xiaoyun’s pet cat, Coo.
“Aren’t you supposed to be in the veterinary hospital? How did you get out? Ah, and how did you find us?” Su Xiaoyun bent over and tried to pick up the cat. “Is your tummy okay now?”
Unexpectedly, Coo meowed loudly and nimbly jumped out from Su Xiaoyun’s arms. He stared directly at me with his emerald green eyes.
I don’t know if you’ve ever had this sort of experience, but when being stared down by a completely black cat, the feeling can’t be expressed with ‘ominous’ or ‘unlucky’, but rather goes straight into ‘creepy’ territory.
Shi Yitong and Su Xiaoyun were also frozen in shock, not knowing what was going on. Before we could react, the little bastard snuck away and vanished like smoke down the mountain, faster than an arrow!
“Oi, Coo!” Su Xiaoyun sounded both vexed and angry. She didn’t even pause before she ran in the direction Coo went. “Stop fooling around!”
I exchanged a helpless glance with Shi Yitong before following Su Xiaoyun all the way down the mountain to chase her stubborn cat.
However, once we got to the bottom of the mountain, Coo was nowhere in sight. The three of us stood in a circle, puffing from the exertion in anger and helplessness.
“Really! If I catch you this time, I’m definitely going to lock you in the dorms for a week!” Su Xiaoyun said angrily.
“Forget it, why are you getting angry with a cat?” I waved my hand weakly, offering a suggestion. “How about the three of us split up to search? If anyone finds him we’ll give the other two a call.”
Shi Yitong and Su Xiaoyun both nodded and then we split at the foot of the mountain, each in search of that evil little bastard.
“Coo~! Kitty~! I called out feebly as I walked. “Where are you, you little bastard? Can you stop wasting my time like this?”
With my sensitive hearing, I picked up the faintest sound of a meow nearby. I immediately looked towards that direction and was rewarded with the sight of a black shadow darting past.
How dare you run! I immediately sprinted towards that way. But no matter how much I chased, I couldn’t close the gap between me and that stupid cat. One moment he darted into the underbrush, the next moment he’d stand right before me as if mocking my speed.
I didn’t even know how long I spent running after that cat. Even though I was relatively fit, I still couldn’t handle this sort of long-distance marathon.
“You wait! If I get my hands on you, you’re dead meat!” I hollered at him angrily.
Coo lead me on a merry chase forward and by the time I realized, I found myself standing on the mountain behind my school. With a ‘meow’, he darted into the tall wild grass.
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. This cat led me round in circles and somehow still ended up leading me back to the old residence behind the mountain. What sort of special feeling did this cat have for this place?
Since I was already here, I might as well go in. Thus, for the second time, I barged into Wen Jiubo’s old residence in search of a cat.
However, what differed this time was that as soon as I walked through the front gate, I could already see Wen Jiubo standing at the door.
Wen Jiubo wasn’t inside the house. He had stepped out through two sets of doors and was standing outside the front gate. His eyes were narrowed when he looked at me with his arms crossed as if he had been waiting for me with that traitorous cat standing next to his feet.
Wen Jiubo forestalled any attempt before I could even speak.
“I couldn’t call you and you didn’t respond to my texts. I thought you had gone missing or something.” Even though there was no real change in Wen Jiubo’s expression, I still felt as if he was a little angry.
“Ah?” I paused, pulling out my mobile phone from my pocket. It had turned off at some point due to low battery.
“You… were looking for me?” I tucked away my phone, feeling a little guilty. To be quite honest, I don’t know how he knew my phone number.
“Come in.” Wen Jiubo said before walking back into the house. “I found them.”
What? After hearing those words, my mind blanked out and I hurried after him.
“What did you say? Who did you find?”
“Who else?” Wen Jiubo said as he strode over the tall doorstep. “There’s only one request that I’ve accepted recently.”
“Are you saying…!?”
I quivered with excitement, heart pounding as I followed Wen Jiubo into the room. He really found that person! Apart from the excitement in my heart, there was also a trace of relieved gratification. Wen Jiubo’s bark was indeed worse than his bite – even though he said he wasn’t going to accept the request, but in the end, he still helped Grandma Li find who she was looking for.
“This is the person.” Wen Jiubo lifted the curtain across the door, allowing me through.
There wasn’t much light in the room and it took my eyes a second or two to adapt. There was an old man standing inside, back stooped with age. He smiled at me when he saw me come in.
I froze, unable to react. “Mountain god? Is that you?”
But in my dream, that person was clearly a beautiful youth dressed in white. How…?
However, Wen Jiubo didn’t give me a chance to voice my doubt. “You still have the old lady’s contact information right? Can you tell her that we found who she was looking for?”
I didn’t dare delay, immediately charging up my phone. The first call was to Grandma Li, the second was to Shi Yitong and Su Xiaoyun, telling them that I had found Coo and for them to return to school.
It wasn’t long before Grandma Li hurriedly arrived. When she saw the wrinkled face of the old man, she also paused, before asking in a quivering voice,
“You… Brother Bai? Are you Brother Bai?”