The Record of Unusual Creatures

Chapter 2: An Unexpectedly Odd Encounter

Chapter 2: An Unexpectedly Odd Encounter

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

Looking at the address, Hao Ren was stupefied—the all too familiar address was none other than his home!

"Why is it that you are looking for this place?" Hao Ren had no idea as to why the stranger was having his address. He was a little flurried because of her, but was also pretty sure that he would never get lucky with women, except that time during his primary year three when he was seated next to a female classmate. He stared at her, feeling a little perplexed.

He began to size her up; she had a pretty face and a slender body to complement it. Though her height was quite a letdown, her cheerful personality pretty much made up for that.

"I'm looking for a place to stay!" said the girl. "I have been searching high and low for it the entire day. Despite that no one could tell me where it is."

Hao Ren felt the girl was overwhelmingly amiable but there was one particular thing that caught his attention: I'm looking for a place to stay! He finally came out of his drowsiness: "Oh, I almost forget that I am a landlord myself. The classified ad for my apartment I placed in a local newspaper two days ago—was that the reason this girl is here?"

It appeared that he finally found his tenant!

Hao Ren folded the paper and gave it back to the girl, "Of course I know where it is. Follow me." he said.

The girl was elated. She shoved the paper back into her bag and said, "Thank you so much! It has been a long day..."

Hao Ren got up and did a little stretch. Just as he was about to leave, he sensed something was off. "Wait a minute! Did you just say that you were looking for this address in town the whole day?!"

"Yep, I was! It was a pretty hard to find place." She said candidly as she nodded her head.

"No wonder!" Hao Ren thought she was either fooling around or just plainly dumb, "Can't you see the address' 'southern suburb'? And yet you were here looking in the downtown area?"

"But it also clearly states 'Whitestone Building' there." said the girl as she was pointing to the direction of the downtown, "Isn't Whitestone Building in the town?" Hao Ren knew immediately what she meant.

He was dumbfounded. "No! It's not Whitestone Building but Whitestone Road!"

As he was about to point out that she did not read the address properly; she overlooked the word 'Road' after Whitestone and assumed it was 'Building'...

"Aaah!" She quickly realized her mistake, "My bad. I am always a little absentminded. So do you know where Whitestone Road is? Get me there."

Hao Ren sensed that something was amiss about the girl. But being a landlord for the last couple of years, he had gotten used to being apathetic to his tenants, so he did not give it another thought. He pointed to the park entrance, "We need to take the bus. Our destination is in the southern suburb so it would be nightfall by the time we get there. Oh, and by the way, about the address, it's actually my house. I am your landlord."

The girl was startled. She looked at him wide-eyed, "Ah, is that so?"

Before Hao Ren could nod his head, the girl was jumping with joy, "Ahh! What a coincidence! Could it be destiny?!"

Hao Ren had felt that the girl was tripping over words from the moment they met. He could no longer mince his words, "What if I am bad guy? Aren't you afraid of being kidnapped?"

That was his best effort to politely tell her that she was naive, really naive! How could she trust a stranger and follow him to the middle of nowhere? Girls nowadays had no sense of danger whatsoever. It must have been a miracle that she had not fall into the hands of human traffickers all these years.

As he was thinking of that, the simple girl (quite appropriately) looked at him suspiciously, "Human trafficker? Are you going to kidnap me?"

"Of course not!" but he felt he should now keep a distance from her; if not for sake of the rent, he wouldn't have talked to her for so long!

She was relieved, "Okay then. Let's go!"

Hao Ren sighed. As he was about to leave the park, he felt his steps became heavy all of a sudden.

They boarded a bus from the downtown which was heading for the countryside; it was an ear-bending journey; Hao Ren had discovered that not only was this new tenant amiable, tripping over words and naive, but also extremely chatty. She was too enthusiastic, babbling on about everything from B-list celebrity gossip—domestic or foreign—to house prices in second-tier cities. Hao Ren could not recall when she started rambling nor did he know when she would stop, the girl would just ramble on as long as he nodded his head occasionally pretending as if he was listening. That was not a problem for him as he took it as an oppotunity to learn more about his new tenant, to gauge her character.

The naive girl was Liu, Lily Liu. She told Hao Ren to call her by her first name, Lily. She claimed to be a wanderer, veterinarian and a casual prose writer (though she was not really sure what a prose writer's job was) who had just arrived from another city and planned to settle down here. Also she did not mind what kind of a place she will be staying in as long as there was a roof over her head—her works were quite flexible anyway.

Based on the information, Hao Ren concluded that his new tenant was spirited, had no stable job currently but would not give him any trouble. He was happy with it. In fact, such a little girl would not cause much trouble at all. Although she seemed a little naive... but that was also her personal problem, he just had to play his part as the landlord, he thought.

Just as he predicted, the sun had set by the time they arrived at the bus stop in the southern suburb.

Hao Ren disembarked, with Lily following closely behind. Before Hao Ren could catch his breath, Lily yelled, "Is this Whitestone Road?"

"It's Southern Suburb Stop according to the road sign! Whitestone Road is an old street, we have to walk through the alley to get there. Have you ever seen a bus travelling through an alley?"

"Oops! Haha. Do excuse my ignorance," she tittered and continued maundering. "It is quiet here." She frowned as she was examining the surrounding.

The rickety bus stop was sitting on the shoulder of a disrepair road which was covered in potholes. The nearby buildings were old and run-down, with most of the shops closed. The 5-storey apartments behind the shops were equally ramshackle. This desolate place was the 'downtown' of the southern suburb. Sometimes, Hao Ren wondered whether this place was a castaway and forgotten by the modern society. But he would always remind and comfort himself at the end of every month that this place was not forgotten but very much remembered—by the water company, the electric utility, the gas supplier, and even the telephone and insurance companies.

"Hurry up," said Hao Ren, "though this place is pretty safe, you don't want to bump into some drunkards at night. Let's head back to my place. And don't be wandering around outside at night, I am not about to get into trouble because of you. Just a reminder."

By right, as a landlord, he shouldn't be that blunt lest the tenants were scared away. But Hao Ren was just trying to be frank; he despised dishonesty and took no advantage of others. This was the reason behind his failure to get keep tenants sticking around his apartment lately because prospective tenants were literally scared away.

However, Lily was totally at ease, "No worries, Mr. Landlord, I have learned a thing or two about fighting."

Hao Ren felt as if he was talking to a weird fellow, "I am not saying that... Let me make myself clear: Aren't you afraid of nasty fellers?"

He had only met her for less than a day, he knew he should not be a busybody. But she was the weirdest girl—who was gullible and yet amiable to the point of being naive—he had ever met. So he was prepared to go the extra mile.

Lily was unfeigned, "Landlord, you are such a good man! But I am not afraid at all. I think I am strong enough. I had fought bad guys off on my own before."

"You surely have met bad guys before, but lowering your guard just because you have fought them off before is just…" Hao Ren murmured.

Lily did not respond. She looked at Hao Ren with a smile while lugging the massive suitcase behind her. Suddenly they heard two clunking noise—the luggage wheels had come off and rolled away.

"Hahaha, maybe the suitcase is too heavy." Lily scratched her head in embarrassment.

"No, it was the potholes..." Hao Ren looked at the pothole-filled road and took a long sigh. As a man, he felt he needed play the gentleman, "Let me take your luggage...I'm wondering what's in there."

He grabbed the luggage from Lily. But immediately he felt like he was hauling a concrete block—the suitcase was so heavy that he could barely lift it off the ground.

Lily did not notice Hao Ren's weird expression. She chuckled as she lifted the suitcase with one hand onto her shoulder as if it was empty.

Hao Ren was left slack-jawed as Lily carried the suitcase on her shoulder and went ahead. He froze as he couldn't believe what he just encountered. Then he heard Lily yelled at him to hurry up. She murmured "That's ok. I am just born with strong arms. You do see such thing on TV shows sometimes..."

As Lily kept rambling on while Hao Ren's head was packed with unanswered questions, they veered off the main road into a pitch-dark alley. At the end of the alley was Whitestone Road where Hao Ren's house was situated.

Along the alley were two street lamps, one already went out. The dilapidated old houses nearby amplified the spooky ambience. Hao Ren would have freaked out if not for the faint moonlight illuminating the road ahead, enhancing the visibility of the alley. He looked at Lily, who was following him closely. She appeared to be in a pleasant mood.

It was a dark night; not a soul could be seen on the road; a foreign place; and stranger—any one of these factors would have caused one to be more cautious. But Lily was not at all nervous. Was she just oblivious or was she really that capable of keeping herself safe?

"Flop, flop, flop…"

As Hao Ren was still worried for the girl, he heard the creepy sound of flapping wings right above them.

He was startled. Immediately, he looked up and vaguely saw a shadow gliding across the night sky above the high walls of the alley.

The shadow looked like a bat, but its size wasn't so.

"Whoa, what was that thing?" Hao Ren shouted, trying to keep his composure as he did not want to lose face, especially in front of Lily. He turned around, expecting Lily to be as scared as a soaked monkey, but...

What he saw was a pair of ears like those of a wolf, popping up from her head!

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