Chapter 5: There's Still a Cat
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Hao Ren had a lot on his mind.
The virtue of gratitude; revolutionaries who dedicated their life to their cause and the truth; his first, brave attempt to fight back against the bully who took his chocolate during his primary school years and whatnot. However at that moment, there was only one thing he was interested in. That girl, Lily was mystical; of something unusual. She was anything but human yet she was not bad as she just saved his life. Hao Ren knew it. He was the primary target when the half-human, half-bat creature attacked him.
He was just another ordinary man but he took pride in his sharp instincts and his ability to remain calm in all kinds of situations thanks to his upbringing. He was known as a bad boy during his childhood and he laughed in the face of danger. This honed and sharpened his instincts as he grew up.
Lily on the other hand, did not notice this subtlety. It was probably because her mind was set; she thought that the bat was coming after her all along. It might also have been due to the fact that she was a little dumb.
No matter what he thought of her as a person, the werewolf girl had indeed saved his life. Moreover, it was dark at night and she had nowhere to go. He couldn’t leave her alone at that desolate place. He wouldn’t.
Of course, he was also being pragmatic: the bat could have returned at anytime. So, he figured that it would be safer if Lily stuck with him—her flaky Shooting Brick was a better weapon than his rolling pin in the kitchen at the very least.
That might have been a little self-deprecating but he was fully aware of his ability, or lack thereof. Lily was the best option.
"Let’s go, it’s getting late." Hao Ren rubbed his legs as they were still numb from the chill earlier. He then went ahead of Lily. "I will get you something to eat once we are home. Are you okay with a vegetarian meal?"
However, he immediately realized that it was a silly question—Lily was a werewolf!
"Anything is fine!" Lily nodded happily as she carried her 100-pound suitcase, walking beside him. "Aren’t you scared? Have you seen ‘the other kind’ before? I have seen it in movies, those people are afraid of us. But fret not! I’m not going to hurt you."
She was at it again—overly amiable, naive, dumb and being too chatty. He had a headache; he couldn’t answer her questions. He sighed and said to her, "Frankly, I’m still feeling a little dizzy right now. I need a nicotine fix to soothe my mind before I can answer your questions. Shall we talk about that later when we get home?"
Lily was unexpectedly compliant. She kept her mouth shut. They did not utter a word as they passed through the alley and arrived at Whitestone Road.
Hao Ren’s house was right at the end of the street with concrete pavement. Beyond that was an endless wasteland. The location of his house was one where civilization met the wilderness—a cool description Hao Ren had always used when referring to his dwelling to portray his young state of mind despite his age. On both sides of Whitestone Road were rows of motley, old residential buildings of two or even three stories. However, most of them were vacant. They felt haunted especially at night. Developments had not come by and more people moved out than in. His apartment was one of the few which still had occupants in the sleepy town.
"It would feel spooky around here if not for the still-functioning street lamps," Hao Ren mumbled.
"Huh? Spooky?" Lily had sharp hearing, true to her canid origin.
Hao Ren waved his hand, gesturing that he was just talking nonsense. Lily did not give it much thought. She was staring at the house with satisfaction, "This will make a good hideout. Quiet; deserted. You know, it’s tough to live within the human society. You have to constantly worry about being exposed and sent for biopsies. Not only that, the human world has too many conmen. It’s tiring."
"Would you look at that! A fearsome werewolf is afraid of a biopsy blade!" quipped Hao Ren as he took out his keys to open the doors.
He was amused by the antilogy.
Lily nodded aggressively. "I saw it in the movies. The human species is inherently exclusive and resents other species. In America, extraterrestrials that are caught always end up on a biopsy table. Whereas in China, they always end up on a plate!"
It sounded like a load of crap to Hao Ren so, he decided to keep his mouth shut.
The entrance had two layers of structure—a security door on the outside and a paneled door on the inside. The doors’ locks were decrepit and difficult to open. Hao Ren had spent a considerable effort to open them one by one before he was able to get in and switch on the hall lights to usher Lily in.
Once they were inside, Hao Ren locked the doors. He proceeded to show Lily around the house. "My dad was the house’s chief designer," he began to explain. "His idea was actually quite ‘novel’ if you know what I mean. This is the living room; there are bedrooms on both sides of which one is for you and the other is for me. The door on the north side of the living room is a passage way to the kitchen as well as the washroom. There are four bedrooms upstairs but they are all vacant at the moment. Let me show you your bedroom—do you have your own bedding? Well, most girls are quite particular about that. Anyway, the rooms are quite clean and tidy."
"I’m fine as long as there’s a place to sleep!" Lily was energetic as she tapped her suitcase and said, "I don’t a have personal bedding set. It wouldn’t fit in my suitcase."
Hao Ren was impressed. He felt that Lily was not your typical girl; she was of the ebullient type.
Lily hauled her heavy luggage into her room. She didn’t ask for help. It could have been out of her own shyness or nervousness. She hastened him into the kitchen while repeating that she would pay for dinner.
There was not much left in the kitchen. He took out some dried noodles and other ingredients from the refrigerator. He hummed his favorite song as he turned on the gas stove. After that night’s episode, he needed a nicotine fix to clear his mind. He took out a cigarette and tapped it a couple of times before putting it in his mouth.
However, he quickly realized the stupidity in his action. He turned off the gas stove lest it be the last cigarette he smoked.
He heard Lily busily unpacking her suitcase and he wondered what kind of luggage she had. As he was cooking, he tried to reorganize his thoughts and make sense of everything that had happened: he was looking for a job but ended up napping in the park; then he woke up with an amiable girl who presently had become his new tenant; he bumped into some bizarre creatures—the werewolf was one of them; he had a supernatural and near-death experience—all of which defied his understanding of the world.
"What could the half-human, half-bat creature be? Also, that scent of blood and chill?"
He figured that it could have been a legendary vampire—the archenemy of the werewolf. After all, the werewolf was already real.
However, the werewolf he had encountered was anything but legendary— there was no green-eyed monster, there were no long fangs and none of the scary features. She was just sort of cute, dumb and almost comical.
The harder he tried to think, the more perplexed he became. He decided to leave his thoughts on the back burner. He figured it was wiser to ask the werewolf girl to explain herself.
The noodles were ready. He served it in a bowl and brought it to the living room as Lily waited eagerly at the table. Her nostrils flared like a puppy as she smelled the delicious scent in the air. Hao Ren was amused.
Lily grabbed a pair of chopsticks and started stuffing the food into her mouth. Suddenly, Hao Ren headed to the stairs and yelled, "Rollie, it’s dinner time!"
Lily was curious. An obscure black and white creature suddenly ran down from the stairs. As it approached Hao Ren’s leg, it rubbed its head against his shoe—it was a black and white cat.
Lily almost jumped out of her skin upon seeing the cat. She leaped out of her chair and fled to the back of a nearby sofa. Why on earth was a fearsome werewolf scared of a cat?
This sudden turn of events left Hao Ren dumbstruck.