((Unedited – will be updated with edited version soon.))
“Chi-ge, do you need me to stay?” Xiao Wu asked in a raised voice as he stood at the door.
From inside, unexpectedly, came Su Chi’s crisp gentle voice. “No need, you can go back.”
Xiao Wu responded with a simple ‘Oh’, then squatted down to ruffle a bit the little orange cat that was squatting in front of the mirror, a bit reluctant to part with the other. “Then I’m leaving. Take care of yourself and your little cat.”
The little orange cat was presently staring at his own self in the mirror with a serious expression, but then got caught off-guard by a large hand, causing him to totter. Stumbling a bit, he only barely managed to regain his footing after taking two steps back. Xia Rong growled a bit from his throat, he was very displeased with this human that would always treat him like a real kitten. He twisted his head and raised a paw toward the other— giving the other a middle-finger along the way.
“F★ck!!!” Xiao Wu was so shocked that his originally squinted eyes had widened into circles. “This one is also a human?! Heavens, are cat aliens going to occupy the earth?!”
Huffing and puffing, he managed to push this startled, stupid human out the door, then the orange cat version of Xia Rong retreated back to the mirror to carefully looked over his body once again.
Although it has been said that ‘out of ten orange cats, nine would be fat while the last would be able to overwhelm a kang1Raw: 炕 [kàng] a type of heatable brick bed.’, Xia Rong’s body has yet to begin developing laterally but was rather quite healthy and lithe. The small face was on the rounder side, while the eyes were dark and shiny, and when his ears flick, that missing piece at the tip would be very obvious, adding a kind of delicate and pitiful feeling—
This was also one of the main reasons why Xia Rong could say “I’ve seen this orange cat before.”
Whereas the other equally important reason was the color of this orange cat. While this body was mainly orange, just like all other orange cats, this body’s belly and paws were a softer and lighter milky white; so its overall color seemed much lighter in comparison, just as if when the orange color was added to this cat, they had run out of ink in the middle of the way.
This seemed particularly the case with these paws, which changed from orange to white a third of the way up, appearing just as if he was wearing four fluffy white gloves.
But this could only be blamed on those anxiety-inducing environments that Xia Rong had transformed in all those previous times, where there was either already imminent danger at his doorsteps or everything was pitch-dark, causing him to be so busy working on changing himself back into a human that he didn’t have any spare time at all to pay attention to any of the special features of this body.
Behind him came the light sound of slippers against the floor, and only then did Xia Rong realize that Su Chi had already changed into clothes and had come over. Now that he thought about it, it should have been the result of Su Chi licking his saliva that was on the phone screen. Unexpectedly, the effect already came through so quickly. It was only about ten-ish minutes in total and the other already turned back, it was so much more effective than his nonstop licking for half an hour.
And looking back at it, Su Chi probably started scratching at the door precisely because he had sensed that he was about to change back. Perhaps he had even had to suppress himself for a good several minutes in order to last until they were finally at the hotel. Putting it this way, in the case of any emergencies in the future, they would really need to rely on something similar to this method to be fast enough…
Xia Rong was still thinking wild thoughts when Su Chi bent down and ran his fingertip down his head a few times. “You said you’ve seen this cat before? When and where did you see him?”
“Should, it should have been a few years already. Er, I picked him from the garbage can downstairs.” In order to take a good look at himself from all the angles possible just, Xia Rong had sat on the floor with his legs spread open, and when Su Chi came over, he was still looking down, pulling at the fur on his stomach. Then he finally came back to his senses and while feeling embarrassed, quickly closed his legs back together and got up as he thought back. “…At that time, I had just debuted and was still living in the company dormitory. When I came back from buying food, I saw a cat lying next to the garbage can whose head was all bloody. I saw that it was still alive and that it was going to rain soon, so I secretly brought him back.”
Su Chi probably felt that it was too tiring to listen to him while stopped over like that so he picked Xia Rong up and walked back towards the bed as he lightly said, “…That indeed sounds like something you would do.”
“Was that to compliment me or was that to insult me?” Xia Rong couldn’t help but retort with a sentence, but this didn’t distract him from continuing to recall. “At that time, I was hurrying to prepare for my performances, so the intensity of all the singing and dance training was very high. So I didn’t lack any bandages or bottled medicine2Raw: 药水 [yào shuǐ] literal translation: medicine water. In use, it can and typically refer to any liquid in your first aid kit. in my room. I gave him a wash then went to bandage him up, after which I found him to be quite good-looking. It was just that a part of his ear had been torn off and he had lost a lot of blood. I felt that its situation was actually quite serious. If I hadn’t saved it, it probably wouldn’t have survived after the heavy rain.”
Su Chi continued to hold the other in his embrace as he sat down on the bed. Whereas, Xia Rong just sat in the other’s arms obediently as he immersed himself in his memories and for the moment, didn’t have the intention to break free. “He was actually quite tenacious. At that time, I didn’t know what cat food I was supposed to buy and I had to hide him from the roommate of the same company, so it was inconvenient to get him things. So in the end, whatever I ate, it would scramble to eat as well and he got better rather quickly. I also went and gave him a name, naming him ‘Glass’. Later, Cheng Yu also started raising a cat. He told me that my raising method wasn’t good for cats, that the digestive system of the kittens are particularly delicate, such that with a slight mishap and it would die. And so, I only found that out then. But the one I picked up was just different—”
Speaking of his pride, he happily patted Su Chi’s arm with his paw. “Glass would eat whatever I feed him, and the longer I raised him, the healthier and lively he became, his fur smooth and shiny. His appetite was also great, such that when I bought food, I was buying double the standard amount back then. My roommate even thought I was overeating! Alas, a pity… As soon as the wound finished healing, he ran away. I remember I had a performance that day, and I had already closed all the doors and windows before leaving. Then, when I got back, I couldn’t find any trace of him, except left at the door there was a small dried fish that he got from who knew where.”
Upon recalling that parting, Xia Rong gave a weak sigh. Meanwhile, Su Chi stretched his hand to nip at the other’s paw, pinching it to and fro as he asked, “Which is to say, you picked up Glass about four or five years ago? And even saved his life?”
“En… That seems to be the case.”
“That shouldn’t be right then. If you picked him up four or five years ago, no matter what, he should be an adult cat already. So even if you exchange bodies with him, the age of his teeth should be older.” Su Chi then took another look at Xia Rong’s mouth again. “From the degree of wear on your lower front teeth, this cat shouldn’t be more than two years old. Have you picked up any other cats that looked like Glass these past few years?”
“No.” Xia Rong shook his head. “I’ve only picked up this one. Moreover, this one was a long time ago, and we had only gotten along for a few days in total. If it weren’t for the recent events, I probably wouldn’t have been able to recall about him.”
“Is that so…” Su Chi sank into pondering.
“If I had to say, the only second cat I’ve picked up in these recent years would be you,” Xia Rong joked, “Every time I pick up a cat, something would always happen. It’s truly ‘one must be cautious when picking up a cat.’”
This little joke from Xia Rong sparked a new direction of thought for Su Chi. “Right, then have you ever seen a cat that looked exactly like me?”
“…Don’t think so?” Xia Rong also wasn’t very sure. “Yours didn’t have any special characteristics. From how I see it, you looked just about the same as a lot of other cats… Except more good-looking!”
Knowing how to discern what the other was thinking from his expression, the little orange cat promptly changed his words in time and laughed ‘xiuxiu3Raw: 咻咻 [xiū xiū] the sound made by certain birds or animals.’, which was akin to a human’s ‘hehe’. To which Su Chi could only respond with a helpless smile and a pinch to his paws.
Xia Rong swung his tail and thought to ask Su Chi, “Then have you ever seen the cat you’ve been changing into? Could you be in a situation similar to mine?”
Su Chi shook his head. “No. I wouldn’t have asked you if I had. Since there isn’t a clue at all on my side, let’s leave it for the time being and discuss yours first. Do you think that that cat you had saved is currently swapping souls with you? Or is it simply just transforming your body to look exactly like him?”
“What is he trying to do?” Xia Rong asked, “Is there something that he wants to do that he needed to borrow my help for? Or is it… he’s repaying the favor?”
YinYue has something to say:
Happy New Year! Sorry for the delay! Next part will be up as soon as possible (but will probably be unedited with an edited version to be updated later).