Reborn into a Hamster for 233 Days
Quality Check: Draygan
First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter 13: What’s wrong with being stingy
After clearing up the suspicion surrounding Yan Jin, Xiao Yu once again sunk into deep thought.
It was an undeniable fact that Lin Zhou had copied his work. Those pieces of work were no longer considered copied, stolen would be the more appropriate term.
But… he did not manage to gang up with Yan Jin – that did not tally with what would happen in the future. Just that point alone would overthrow the assumption that Lin Zhou was the anonymous designer.
When he realized that Lin Zhou was the one who had stolen his design drafts, anger immediately rushed to Xiao Yu’s head. Now that he had calmed down and had time to clearly think about it, he realized that there was one piece of evidence that indicated that Lin Zhou was not the anonymous designer.
It was solid evidence – because Lin Zhou did not have the ability to alter his designs to that kind of a level.
It was not that Xiao Yu was conceited, but the anonymous designer seemed to have a similar train of thought like him. At one point, he even suspected that perhaps that designer had learned his skills under the same teacher as him and was probably his senior. But Lin Zhou’s design style was completely different from his. After working together with Lin Zhou for so many years, he saw himself as someone who understood Lin Zhou very well. Unless Lin Zhou had a split personality, he could not have changed so abruptly.
Not many people had the opportunity to obtain Xiao Yu’s designs. When Xiao Yu first began to eliminate the possible suspects, Lin Zhou was one of the first few that he had excluded. Aside from the trust he had in this senior of his, it was also because of their vastly different designing styles — hence Lin Zhou did not fit the criteria.
Okay, let’s summarize all the results obtained so far.
After sneakily investigating for almost half a day, all results returned negative.
Instead, things just got even more complicated.
The issue of Lin Zhou taking advantage of his trust and stealing that much work from him was not over yet.
Xiao Yu admitted that he was not a person who would seek revenge for the smallest grievances. But the new findings with Lin Zhou were simply too surprising and too frustrating. It was not like Xiao Yu had not been betrayed, lied to, or backstabbed before. But being lied to for so many years and to be completely ‘sold off’ by someone? That was really a first for him.
To be sold off but still helping that person count his money, it was hard to bear no matter who it was. Lin Zhou should be thankful that he had held himself back and would not track him down to fight it out with him.
Five years ago, he was still an average university student and Lin Zhou was already an active designer. Even if he found out that Lin Zhou had plotted against him, there was no way for him to have fought back.
You can bully an old man, but never look down on a poor young man.¹
When Lin Zhou cheated him when he had nothing back then, did he ever think that he would become SI’s chief designer within a few short years?
For a young man will stand on his feet one day, never assume he will be poor forever.¹
Xiao Yu wondered how Lin Zhou had felt when he found out that he was joining SI. Maybe he was thankful. After all, Xiao Yu did stupidly treat him like a benefactor.
The more Xiao Yu thought, the angrier he got. The sadness from the betrayal accumulated into an overflowing raging fire that soon exploded.
Yan Jin used his fountain pen and poked at Xiao Yu’s little head.
“What are you wailing about?”
Xiao Yu rubbed his head feeling aggrieved, but he did realize that he had made a few strands of gray fur stand upwards by doing that.
Yan Jin watched with amusement before he suddenly recalled something. He took a bag from the table, pulled open, and poured the contents out in front of Xiao Yu.
Xiao Yu’s eyes widened as he watched. He could not recognize these colorful things in the past, but they were now things that he knew too well now.
Hamster food. He saw hamster food again.
“Chu Ge said that you can’t eat human food. You’ll just have to eat these from now on.” Yan Jin said.
Xiao Yu knew that this would happen one day, but he did not expect it to arrive that fast. Depressed, he picked out a few melon seeds with experience and started gnawing on them.
Boop. This one’s done, putting it aside.
Boop. Another one.
A normal hamster would have shoved the seeds into their cheek pouches to only take them out when they were going to eat it. But Xiao Yu was different; he was more advanced than them. He would pick the seeds out, set them aside together, and then eat them all in one-shot. There was no need to hide them in his cheek pouch.
Not too long later, Xiao Yu paid a ‘heavy price’ for such actions.
When Xiao Yu was cheerfully piling up his melon seeds, he thought that Yan Jin was doing his own thing. Little did he know that Yan Jin was, in fact, watching meaningfully from the side, staring at how his hamster continuously peeled the seeds one by one.
Chairman Yan rubbed his chin but remained silent.
The peacefulness continued for a few days. Other than spending every night getting taken away by Yan Jin to the sink to bathe and endure the hellish hair dryer, Xiao Yu’s life was still considered not that bad.
It was the weekend again.
Yan Jin’s desk had completely transformed into Xiao Yu’s territory. His gigantic cage took up a quarter of the space. His food was not always in his food dish but directly sprawled out on the desk. Yan Jin would always conveniently pour some food on the desk for him. In fact, even if Yan Jin did forget to do so, it was still alright as the bag of hamster food was always placed horizontally. Xiao Yu could help himself and put back the remains by himself perfectly. He’d clip the bag and Yan Jin would never find out about it.
The cage was always open during daytime which meant that Xiao Yu could come out to play any time he wanted. When nightfall arrived, Yan Jin would catch Xiao Yu and put him back to sleep and then he would lock the cage. When Yan Jin said that the iPad was for him, he really meant it. Yan Jin would play some cartoons for Xiao Yu every morning and then leave for work. Other than that, he did not touch it at all, which left Xiao Yu to operate it on his own. At first, Xiao Yu did not dare to do anything too obvious. A few days later, he became more courageous. He even logged in to his previous QQ account at more appropriate times and saw that ‘he’ was living well. That made him sigh with sorrow.
In fact, if Yan Jin were more attentive, he would have found out about Xiao Yu’s strange behavior. But although Yan Jin’s name sounded strict2, his strictness only pertained to his work performance. Meanwhile, he would simply muddle his way through his daily lifestyle. Plus, he really did not have any experience with keeping pets and he did not think too much about the way Xiao Yu usually acted. As such, Xiao Yu’s unstable cover was not blown off during this time period.
Xiao Yu’s days were simply too peaceful. Yan Jin treated him fairly well – water and food were always available, and even the food brand was decent (Xiao Yu saw that the ingredient list was mostly English and German, so it was probably quite expensive). The air-conditioning in the room ran around the clock, twenty-four hours a day. If it wasn’t for the fact that he knew that the anonymous designer was going to appear soon, after living such a life without having to worry about food and water with a roof above him and being able to play all he wanted without having to work, Xiao Yu had almost forgotten that he was once a human.
Thankfully, the doubts from the past and the hatred from the present supported Xiao Yu’s will, and it prevented him from withering away.
Xiao Yu was not sure if it was because of his habit of picking out the melon seeds first before eating, but when Saturday came around, Yan Jin had specially bought two bags of melon seeds.
One bag was tomato flavored, and the other was crab meat flavored.
Before that, Yan Jin dragged Xiao Yu to the sink and bathed him using warm water. This time around, Yan Jin even carefully pried his mouth open and brushed his teeth. Xiao Yu was cooperative. He used to be a human after all, and for him to not bathe and not brush his teeth was unfathomable.
Xiao Yu looked at the two bags of seeds and joyfully hopped to the crab meat flavored one. He tapped on the package.
This one, this one.
Yan Jin pulled open the bag of crab meat flavored seeds and poured some onto the table.
Xiao Yu happily ran over to peel those melon seeds. Although there were quite a bit of melon seeds in the hamster food packaging, most of the content consisted of grains and beans. Xiao Yu had to search for his favorite melon seeds and dried fruit pieces for a long time before he found them.
To be able to eat so many melon seeds in one go — of course it was wonderful.
Xiao Yu began peeling the seeds.
One after another.
Xiao Yu was unsure if it was a side effect of becoming a hamster, but he could feel the emptiness in his heart slowly filling up as he watched the small pile of seeds grow.
One after another.
Xiao Yu was like a real hamster, slowly storing up his provisions. When he was done peeling his last melon seed, he placed it on top of the small hilltop.
A small hilltop.
Where’s… the small mountain?
Xiao Yu was dazed for two to three seconds. Then a thought went through his mind, making him look up in disbelief.
He saw a big hand that belonged to a human, grab the seeds that he had painstakingly peeled and dump them into his own mouth.
Everything was like a slow-motion film. Xiao Yu clearly saw how Yan Jin ate away the fruits of his hard labor in one go.
There was the sound of chewing.
Every strand of gray fur on Xiao Yu’s body stood up in anger.
“SQUEAKKKK!!!” YAN JIN GO TO HELL!!!
Xiao Yu wished he could crush Yan Jin into ashes. The latter had also expected his reaction. Yan Jin picked up his fountain pen and positioned the smooth end of the pen on the hamster’s white stomach that was prepared to charge at him.
“Why are you so stingy?” Yan Jin did not feel guilty at all and even thought of taking a picture of the hamster to send it to his friends. “I only ate a few of your melon seeds.”
“SQUEAK!” What’s wrong with being stingy? I am stingy!
Recompense injury with justice, and recompense kindness with kindness! Not just the melon seeds, or the drafts that Lin Zhou stole — everything that everyone owed him, he would not forgive nor forget!
Xiao Yu was crazy with anger – he went around the fountain pen aiming to land a bite on Yan Jin, but he was once again stopped by the latter.
“Fishy, you got to offer something in return for freeloading for so many days.” Yan Jin spoke with seriousness, “It’s just peeling some melon seeds, and I’m the one who bought them.”
Pui, there’s no such saying!
Xiao Yu continued speaking for a while to voice his protest, but Yan Jin completely ignored it. Instead, he pushed another pile of melon seeds to Xiao Yu.
Xiao Yu turned on his back, refusing to do free labor.
Yan Jin was all smiles as he promised, “I won’t steal them this time.”
Really? Xiao Yu turned his head back and looked at Yan Jin’s evil face suspiciously.
“I swear.” Yan Jin raised his hand to swear.
Xiao Yu mentally thought to himself – this time he would not leave them outside. Once he was done peeling them, he’d put them in his cheek pouch. He’ll watch how Yan Jin try and steal it again.
In actuality, Xiao Yu had worried too much; Yan Jin was still a man of his word. As Xiao Yu peeled the seeds, Yan Jin also joined in to help. Sometimes, he would even pass some seeds to Xiao Yu and the latter would generously accept all of them. The human and hamster spent their entire afternoon with that pile of melon seeds.
When it was nighttime, Xiao Yu realized that the water bottle that he usually used had a few pieces of dried chrysanthemum flower added in, making his heart feel strange.
It was a known fact that eating too many melon seeds would cause a person to be heaty3, but he did not really care that much when he was a human. Little did he expect that his quality of life would improve now that he had become a hamster.
He recalled that the second morning when he first arrived at the villa, there were a few pieces of dried chrysanthemum flower in his water bottle as well. It was probably because Yan Jin thought that the outdoor temperature was getting higher and hence prepared it for him. At that time, he thought that it was the helper who had done it for him.
The melon seed incident passed just like that. But there was an incident later that led to a very long series of events.
At that time, Yan Jin was making some phone calls on his phone and Xiao Yu did not dare to mess with his iPad with Yan Jin around. As he got out of his cage, he aimlessly played on the desk. He was quite grateful to Yan Jin, who did not lock the cage to allow easy access for him. He even noticed that Yan Jin had changed the floor mat below the desk to one of those colorful jigsaw plastic mats that were meant for children and had covered it with an extremely thick, fluffy floor mat.
Xiao Yu couldn’t help but feel touched. He didn’t think he would be that stupid to fall a second time, but Yan Jin’s preparation for the worst made him feel like he was being cared for.
However, Yan Jin did indeed feel that this humanized hamster would surely fall a second time, which was why he especially changed the floor mat.
What a beautiful misunderstanding.
 宁欺白须公，莫欺少年穷，终须有日龙穿凤，唔信一世裤穿窿 – this is a Cantonese proverb that basically says ‘You would rather bully an old man but never look down on a poor young man’ because a young person may work hard and be successful one day.
 颜瑾Yan Jin has the same pronunciation as 严谨 (Yan-Jin) which means ‘strict’.
 Heaty is a Chinese Traditional Medicinal term to describe a person’s body that has too much internal heat(?). Things that cause a body to become heaty can be rambutan, durians, melon seeds etc. So to counter the heat, we drink ‘cooling’ drinks like chrysanthemum tea etc.