By the next day, the rain had started to let up a little.
When Qi Jing woke up, the pitter-patter of the rain against the window was barely audible, each droplet fell softly, like cotton.
Well, thanks to that car accident, since his admission to the hospital, he has had the most regular sleeping schedule in years. Even though the quality of his sleep still wasnt that great, it felt quite peaceful to see the bright morning light when he opened his eyes.
Of course, it would be even better if he could turn his body while he lay in bed.
Besides his sleeping position being restricted, Qi Jing felt that the two most excruciating things were, getting dressed and taking a bath.
When he was in the hospital, he could still get help from the nurses. And for the first few days after the operation, he would just casually wipe himself down with a towel and a basin of warm water. When he got better, and started going to the hospitals public bathhouse, he would ask someone to help cover his cast in a plastic film beforehand; it was good as long as he paid attention not to make it wet.
Now that hes back home, with only one viable hand, doing those two things was rather hard for him.
Fortunately, he didnt have to worry about eating—at least, thats what he thought.
There were a lot of restaurants in the neighbourhood, and the food tasted much better than that of the hospital canteen. He planned to completely rely on the take-outs to survive this month; he wasnt picky, vegetables or meat, spicy or mild, he could eat it all.
It took Qi Jing a lot of effort to get properly dressed. After a simple wash, he took an umbrella and went out to buy his breakfast, lunch and dinner for the day. He planned on leaving it aside and heating it up in a microwave later.
On rainy days, besides a dull pain coming from his injury, opening the umbrella also posed a technical problem.
At that moment there was no one around his apartment building, so there was no one he could ask for help from. He had no choice but to rely on himself. He tilted his head to hold the umbrella between his neck and his shoulder, then he used his right hand to open the umbrella. While he fought with the umbrella , he accidentally scratched his neck and felt a burning sensation coming from it.
He was just about to walk out of the corridor when he suddenly heard an extremely faint “meow”.
He froze, before looking down towards the source of the sound: a small white Li Hua cat curled up under the eaves.
It seemed to be a young stray cat, muddled and confused by the world around it. Its fur was wet from rain, and it looked like it had stumbled to the corner under the wall, to take shelter from the rain. He didnt know how long it had been there, but the concrete floor showed a patch of mud marks made by the kittens limbs rubbing against it, its tail hanging limply.
It looked like a beggar, all dirty with its body curled up and shivering in the autumn wind. Hungry and cold, it looked at him bewildered with its blue eyes, and when it called out feebly, its baby teeth could be seen.
“Meow.” As if it was asking for help.
Qi Jing took three steps back and let out an audible gasp. As much as it pained his heart to see it that way, he apologised, “Im so sorry, but reporters are the nemesis of pets. I cant keep you.”
“Meow.” The kitten continued to call out to him miserably.
“I really, really cant keep you.” Qi Jing felt his heart sting from its call, but he had to be realistic. Reality is very harsh.
After saying this, he put the umbrella aside and went back to his apartment. He found a spare cardboard box, wrote “Im cute, Im obedient, please adopt me” on it with a marker, put a small blanket inside and brought it downstairs. When the Li Hua cat saw him appear once again, its meowing grew even more urgent. But all he could do was pick it up carefully, put it in a cardboard box, squat down to dry it off from the rain and cover it with a blanket.
Little fella seemed to feel a little warmer, as its calls became less miserable. It poked its head out of the blanket, continuing to look at him with its two big, wet and round eyes.
“Dont look for an owner that cant even take care of himself.” Qi Jing smiled slightly and rubbed the kittens ear.
“Meow.” The Li Hua cat hid back under the blanket dejectedly, only the tip of its tail swinging around showing.
Qi Jing moved the cardboard box to a more conspicuous place, hoping that some kind-hearted person would see it. He on the other hand hardened his heart and picked up the umbrella, walking out of the apartment building.
He ordered three portions from a nearby restaurant selling local delicacies. While the chef was preparing the food, he went to the convenience store and bought a carton of milk, a bag of soft dry food for small cats and two plastic bowls. On the way back, he not only held an umbrella with his right hand, but also had to carry a couple of heavy shopping bags. All the way back through the rain his umbrella was crooked, and half of his trousers got wet.
Despite going away for some time, the cardboard box remained unattended to.
The kitten pawed weakly at the cardboard box and when it heard his footsteps it began to meow once again, pawing the walls of the cardboard box with even more vigour.
“Easy, easy, I came here to feed you.” Qi Jing put things down in a hurry and took out the milk and dry food bought for the kitten. After trying a lot of different ways, from biting to tearing, he finally managed to tear the packages open with difficulty. He placed them into two separate bowls and put it into the little fellas cardboard box.
“Meow meow!” The cat was probably starving, as soon as the plastic bowl was put down, it pounced on it with its two front paws and knocked everything over.
The milk spilled on its face, and the biscuits fell all over its fur. It rubbed its face with its paw and licked it with its tongue making an innocent expression.
Qi Jing didnt know whether to laugh or cry. He quickly rolled up the cat in a blanket and took it out of the box. He cleaned the box up, wiped the milk from the kittens fur and one by one put the dry food back in the bowl. Only then did he put it back again and tapped it on its forehead to signal that it should not get too excited. The kitten seemed to get the message, and moved very carefully this time when it gulped down its meal.
Qi Jing watched the little guy quietly by the box for a while. He shaked his head before a certain memory could re-emerge, picked up his meals for the day and went upstairs.
After feeding the cat he cant forget to feed himself.
After breakfast, Qi Jing turned on the news channel as usual, but he kept spinning the remote control in his hand, somehow feeling a sense of uneasiness gnawing at his heart. As soon as the news presenter said, “Thank you for watching todays morning news,” he abruptly got up, turned off the TV before running down to check on the situation downstairs.
The Li Hua cat was still there. After finishing off the milk and dry food it was dozing off contentedly in the small blanket.
Qi Jing observed it from the stairway for a while, then returned to his house feeling upset.
He spent the morning hours focusing on the work. Currently, he was an all-purpose assistant, not only the news departament, but other departments would also send him miscellaneous jobs to do as long as it didnt require using complicated computer programs. By the time he had finished compiling the information for his colleagues and sent it out one by one, the hour hand on the wall clock had already crossed 12 PM.
Outside the window, the raindrops rapped across the glass. The rain showed signs of intensifying, the on and off noise made one ill at ease.
Qi Jing couldnt help but go out again to the ground floor to check the situation.
He was still greeted only by the kittens feeble mewing and the sound of it pounding around the box. The inside of the cardboard box had been scratched by the cats paws. The paper scraps that were scattered all over the blanket, were rolled by the kitten into crumpled balls. The kitten even tried to chew on it.
“Aiya, you cant eat that.” Qi Jing came over in a hurry and lifted it by its scruff.
The cat cocked its head, its limbs hanging in the air moving restlessly as if it felt wronged. Qi Jing eyes met these two wet, blue eyes. Suddenly he found himself resonating with the kittens predicament.
He sighed unconsciously, put the kitten down and squatted to rub the small patch of fur on its forehead with his thumb. Perhaps because of the care it received, the little guy took him for the meal provider. It stood shakily on its back legs and rubbed the belly of his thumb with the tip of its nose.
Qi Jing couldnt help but smile when he looked at it trying to ingratiate him, before he knew it, the most delicate part of his heart had been broken into.
“Only for a month, okay” He narrowed his eyes and lowered his head to bargain with the little guy.
“Meow.” The little guy didnt comprehend the situation at all, and proceeded to cover his thumb with a pair of meaty paws, as if it was shaking hands with him to seal the deal.
“I will call youReturn Date, okay” Well, Qi Jing figured it wasnt a loss for him to gain ason.
So both, Big and Little Return Dates, went back to the apartment on the seventh floor together. Big Return Date put Little Return Date in a bathtub, plugged it and filled it halfway with warm water to give Little Return Date a wash.
The water was pleasantly warm, but Little Return Date couldnt overcome its innate fear towards water. It actually used all the energy from eating the food and milk earlier this day to struggle and resist the washing. Not only was water splashed all over the floor, it even left a bloody gash on the back of Big return dates hand.
Thats some sharp claws youve got there. Qi Jing forced himself to endure the pain and didnt deal with his wound, prioritizing washing off the mud from little fellas fur first.
When he was done with washing, he used a towel to dry it off the excess water and carried it to a living room.
Qi Jing couldnt use his left hand, so he had to sit on the floor and gently hold the kitten with his two feet to prevent it from running around. He held the hair dryer in his right hand and carefully blew it with warm air from a distance, so as not to burn it by accident.
The cat seemed to be very comfortable with being blow dried, and its eyes narrowed into two slits.
Qi Jing could swear that he spent more energy to take care of this kitten than taking care of himself these days. Just washing his hair required him to bend down for a long time under the shower, to the point when he lifted his head back up, his neck felt sore as if it was soaked in vinegar and he felt dizzy from blood flowing backwards. How could it compare with the little guys luxurious treatment
The wound on the back of his hand was no longer bleeding at that time. He put the Little Return Date in another clean cardboard box and wrapped it in a blanket, only then did he go to search for rubbing alcohol and cotton balls for disinfection.
It took him a long time to tear off the packaging of the band aid. He used a great effort to pick it up with his teeth, place it, and slowly stick it up in place.
Suddenly he felt as if he became a cat.
Thanks to Little Return Date, he was actually able to experience the busyness from when he was working despite recuperating at home.
It was nearly 2 PM when he finally had the time to heat up and have his lunch. In the afternoon, he was typing slowly on the documents from work while occasionally teasing the cat with his toes, letting it use the back of his feet like a platform for jumping practice. It was not as hard to get through that day.
The milk and dry food bought in the morning was not enough for it to eat, so Qi Jing went out again and brought a big bag of food home.
The kitten has probably caught the smell of food. It flipped on its back with all four feet to the sky, pedalling in the air, very sensibly acting cute on the floor for him to see. Qi Jing kept it amused for the whole afternoon, and this time, it was now his turn to be amused by it. He gave the kitten a few grains of dry food with a smile on his face.
Actually, if one looked carefully, the coat of Little Return Date was very simple yet elegant. Silvery white fur was adorned with black stripes typical for Li Hua cats, its neck and belly was pure white and paws were glossy. Overall, it looked very lovable.
A kitten like this shouldnt have problems with finding an owner—
“Return Date.” He lowered his head and called it.
Little kitten rolled over and stood up, as if it already recognised its name.
Qi Jing smiled and stroked its back to smoothen its fur, and lowering his eyelids, he said: “Return Date, when you find a good owner, forget about me as soon as you can. Do you understand”
“Meow.” The fur ball below responded feebly.
It was after dinner and Little Return was still so young, perhaps it got tired from fooling around, but it snuggled by Qi Jings leg and fell asleep.
Qi Jings computer was on all this time with headphones close at hand, so everything was ready for accepting the call. He leaned casually on the chair and browsed the web, occasionally glancing at the list of friends online on QQ.
But the profile picture of that man didnt show up.
After some time, he subconsciously switched the view to the list of recent contacts, that picture of the birds head was still grey.
Geese Fly Norths QQ signature was still that “Temporarily not accepting new roles”. It could be deduced from this signature that he was rather busy with his work at the moment, and Qi Jing didnt even know what kind of work was that. However, since he could say “tomorrow, at the same time”, then it proved that his working hours were relatively regular, he was probably an ordinary office worker.
He certainly isnt a reporter—thinking like this, Qi Jing smiled self-mockingly.
He opened that persons profile page, and just as he expected, it was virtually blank. There was only a lone QQ email that one could figure out just by looking at the number, sitting there.
Photo album, blank.
He opened the “friends impressions” column out of curiosity, and three huge words “Forever a Grandpa” appeared in his sight. Clearly, it was left by a certain producer. Qi Jing fell on the table and started laughing for ten seconds without a care for his image at that moment.
While laughing, he couldnt help but click on the “leave a description” option. After a blank box popped out, Qi Jing sat in front of the computer desk and carefully looked for the right words. Since he got to know Geese Fly Norths original voice and capability of acting, he couldnt look straight at this “Forever a Grandpa” title anymore. He wanted to give him something special.
After last nights talk, he felt that Geese Fly North wasnt cold at all, but gentle, kind, and understood the boundaries.
He didnt know why this term had suddenly appeared in his mind. Qi Jing was startled for a while and suddenly felt a little uncomfortable. He was quick to reject this word. It made him think of another person—it was unsuitable.
Just as he was in a daze, a voice call window suddenly popped out. The long awaited green microphone has finally appeared.
Qi Jing immediately put away the things in his mind and quickly picked up the headphones to put them on.
Last time his breath was ragged at the beginning of the call, this time the roles were swapped.
“Im sorry, I had to work overtime and it took a while.” That persons voice sounded a little hoarse.
“No problem, no problem, work is important.” Qi Jing said quickly.
Actually, he kind of wanted to ask Geese Fly North about the nature of his job, but prying into the 3D private matters was a taboo of the online voice acting community, he wouldnt go as far as violating it because of his curiosity.
At that moment, a series of restrained coughs could be heard from the headphones.
The sound was very muffled, the other person must have used his hand to cover the microphone. However, Qi Jing could still tell that his throat was not very comfortable, and his expression got serious: “Are you sick”
“Im okay,” Not only was he coughing, some fatigue could also be heard in his voice, “The weather changed last night, and it rained a bit in the morning. I might have caught a cold”
“What a coincidence, it also started raining last night here at my place.” Qi Jing smoothly continued the topic.
The sound in the headphones stopped for a moment, not even the sound of breathing could be heard. Only after a moment Geese Fly North said lightly: “A lot of places across the country are experiencing such weather.”
Qi Jing always had a habit of watching the news, so he also watched the country-wide weather forecast in passing as it was right after the news. As far as he remembered, the forecaster said that it would be raining mainly in the few neighbouring provinces these two days—who knows, maybe Geese Fly North was located not so far away from him.
“By the way, I went to read the post thread. I was scolded quite severely by the fans of the novel.” Qi Jing remembered how he went to look through the reviews after they ended their conversation yesterday, so he smiled and sighed with emotion.
“Dont mind them.” Geese Fly Norths response was just as he had imagined it.
Well, its not like he did to begin with.
After reading all of the comments, he opened a Word document and spent a whole hour writing a few hundred words long reply. Basically, he started from explaining the reason for his disappearance, then he mentioned a little about his own understanding towards the source novel without singing a different tune than Bronze Sparrow Terrace. Finally, he thanked his fans for their support and critique while expressing that it was the crew that would make the final judgement.
He logged on to his main account, “Dont ask for my return date”, copied and pasted his response in the forum, then sent it.
At that time, the post thread has already turned to page 5. His reply was at the very least, in the 1400s, so the 1122nd comment that he wrote under a fake, new account shouldnt be...
“The 1122nd comment, was that you” Geese Fly North suddenly asked him this.
“C-Cough cough cough...”
Qi Jing choked in front of the microphone and coughed so much that his face was burning. Maybe he should also blame it on the rain from last night.
“How, how...” was it discovered. He felt like a child that was caught doing mischief, and his voice became weaker.
“Intuition.” The other party gave him a simple reply.
This kind of intuition is rather too scary, can it be that youre actually a cop, just like that character from《Trap》
Qi Jing was completely shocked. He never thought that he would be recognized when he commented with a fake account, not only that, he was also recognized by the person he was commenting about. The words in his comment added up to less than a ten...
And now that he thought about it, he used such a shameless ID as Grandpas Fan—it was too embarrassing to recall.
Qi Jing felt that this was by far, the darkest moment in all of his dark past. “Meow” and the likes of it were simply weak in comparison—
The source of this content is n0/v//el//bin[.//]net'
“Im sorry, but I do sincerely think that way from the bottom of my heart.” Anyway, an apology comes first.
“Why do you need to apologise” Geese Fly North didnt seem angry or have any meaning to ridicule him, he was just as gentle as always.
“Because...” I really thought so. Qi Jing stopped all of sudden, realising that this reason didnt make sense at all, and didnt know what to say for a while. In fact, the thought that he had to apologise sprouted out because he felt that his actions could make the other party feel uncomfortable.
Just as he was about to explain himself, the kitten by his leg had already woken up at some point, and it started meowing with its eyes still drowsy from sleep.
Qi Jing didnt even have time to lower his head to respond to it as the person on the other end of the line seemed rather stunned.
“You have a cat”
There was a surprise in his voice.
He was probably curious because an unfamiliar sound he didnt hear the night before appeared.
“Ah, its not mine, I have just picked it up on a street earlier this day.” He explained.
“Is it... A stray cat” The voice from the other side seemed to sink, as if he thought about something.
“Yes,” Qi Jing recalled the battle in the bathroom he and Little Return Date had today and smiled lightly, “This little guy is so naughty, I gave him a bath because he was so dirty, and he scratched me until the blood came out.”
At that moment, he suddenly heard a sharp breath in his headphones.
“Immediately go to a hospital.” Geese Fly North spoke suddenly, his voice unusually low and earnest.
“Huh” Qi Jings thoughts didnt catch up, and he was still slightly confused.
“Immediately go to the hospital and take the injection of immunoglobulin, no matter the price. Immediately!” It was the first time for him to hear that man speak so urgently, even a slight tremble could be heard in his voice.
At that point, Qi Jing has finally realised what he meant.
So... He was afraid that hell get rabies. Qi Jing couldnt help but feel warm in his heart when he smiled and disarmed the alarm: “Dont worry, because of my work, I have already been vaccinated. Its okay.”
The other party seemed to be stunned. He didnt say anything anymore, and his breath gradually calmed down.
At last, he breathed out slowly with relief: “...Then its okay.”
The false alarm has passed, but the gratitude that filled his heart didnt disappear.
It seems that I unconsciously got to know another side of Geese Fly North. The smile on Qi Jings lips could no longer be contained as he deliberately said in a joking tone, “I wouldnt imagine that even you have moments where youre this nervous—”
That person was silent for a long time and seemed to sigh in very, very low voice: “Because you cant joke about these matters.”
“Mhm, I understand.” Qi Jing smiled sincerely. “Thank you.”
Hi, Lucilla here~
Ive been helping Lilies with translating for the past couple of weeks and now Im also an official co-translator for the EROVA project. I hope you enjoy our translation ^^