Chapter 125 – Raising a Big Cat in the Apocalypse (4)
There was a little leopard-shaped lump in the quilt to Chi Xiaochi’s right; it was clearly that mewling, affection-seeking little leopard.
……He didn’t know when it had crawled onto the bed.
Chi Xiaochi pulled away the blankets to find that the little leopard’s sleeping posture was very graceful. It lay on its back like a human, revealing the fine fur on its belly. Its two front paws were up by its ears. Its little flesh-coloured nose twitched.
Chi Xiaochi reached out a hand and gently poked its little paw pad.
It moved, reaching out and grabbing Chi Xiaochi’s index finger between its two front paws, then rolled over to lay on its side as it closed its mouth around his finger like it was suckling. It gnawed on his finger with its barely-grown-in teeth, like it was acting spoiled, but also like a kiss.
Chi Xiaochi knew, it probably thought he was its mother.
In the beginning, in order to take care of Dog Meat, Chi Xiaochi had specially gone with Lou Ying to a pet store. Yet all he had learned was how to take care of cats and dogs, to the point that even now, Chi Xiaochi’s first instinct was still to get a bag of cat food when he looked at this big cat.
Chi Xiaochi teased it, “Do you really want to come with me? There won’t be any meat in it for you.”
The little baby leopard woke up. Slightly squinting its watery grey-blue eyes, it instinctively nestled into Chi Xiaochi’s chest.
Chi Xiaochi’s heart melted. He thought, it was so small, where could it go anyways? Maybe the moment it left the door it would be caught and cooked into braised meat.
Chi Xiaochi gave it an ultimatum. “Let’s get this settled first, if you dare to eat me, I’ll dare to eat you.”
The little leopard lay down on his chest. Seemingly very satisfied with this new resting place, it fell asleep.
Chi Xiaochi asked, “Liu-laoshi, can it understand what I’m saying?”
“It’s just an ordinary leopard,” 061 said, “Since it doesn’t have cancer, it’s not going to evolve intelligence.”
As Chi Xiaochi flipped through Ding Qiuyun’s memories, he couldn’t help but think, in the end, it’s still better to not have human-level intelligence.
Everything having their own intelligence, was naturally better.
Everything having human-like intelligence, and simultaneously having the b.e.s.t.i.a.l nature and hunting skills they’d developed over thousands of years was what was truly horrifying.
There was still half an hour before three.
During this period of time, Chi Xiaochi finished downloading all the real-time maps of China.
This catastrophe would be different from geological disasters like earthquakes or landslides. It wouldn’t cause any huge changes in the terrain. With a map in hand, he could avoid taking unnecessary detours when looking for supplies.
061 asked him, “About Gu Xinzhi, what are you planning to do about him?”
“What can I do,” Chi Xiaochi said, composed, “When dealing with this kind of person, if I myself don’t die once first, he won’t even think that he’s done anything wrong.”
He shifted his body slightly. In a half-joking tone, he said, “Exactly how much does your Lord G.o.d want me dead?”
With this movement, the little leopard sleeping on his chest stirred slightly. It lightly rubbed its nose with its paws.
Chi Xiaochi held his communicator in one hand, and used the other to gently stroke its soft belly with his finger.
The little leopard gradually quieted down.
061 smiled. “You’re treating it so well.”
As Chi Xiaochi calmly caressed the little guy, he said without a hint of shame, “Of course, this is my emergency food reserve.”
The little baby leopard, “……”
The emergency food reserve wanted to bite someone.
Chi Xiaochi held the little baby leopard with one hand and sat up from the bed. He hid it under the still-warm quilt, picked up a flashlight and ran straight to the Ding parents’ room in the dark.
When the temperature control system shut off, the intelligent gla.s.s that could adjust its insulating ability turned back into ordinary gla.s.s. The heat that had acc.u.mulated in the room was devoured by the beast-like cold. In just the short time it took for him to get out of bed and knock on his parents door, the temperature in the room dropped tangibly by several degrees.
When he grabbed the door handle, cold rushed straight up from his fingertips, making Chi Xiaochi’s eyelids jump in shock.
The Ding parents still hadn’t woken.
Quilts could indeed give one a false sense of warmth and security.
Chi Xiaochi nudged them awake. “Dad, the temperature system stopped.”
Father Ding was still a little confused. He sat up. “It’s fine, just wait in the house, it should turn back on after a while.”
Chi Xiaochi said gently, “It should be a city-wide outage, all the power in the house has cut off. What if it doesn’t recover for the entire night? Us men might be able to bear it, but Ding-jie might not be able to.”
Thinking about it, Father Ding found that his words were quite reasonable. He woke up Mother Ding, planning to stay in the car for the night. Chi Xiaochi then brought over two sets of winter clothes and lit up the room with the flashlight to make it easier for his parents to get dressed.
When Father Ding received the winter clothes, he was a little shocked, asking Chi Xiaochi where he’d gotten them from.
Chi Xiaochi answered, saying that he’d come home today precisely because it had been too cold lately, so he wanted to give his parents each a set of winter clothes, just in case.
Father Ding really trusted his son, so he stopped asking after one question.
Next to them, Mother Ding said, smiling, “Our son’s grown up, he knows how to be filial now.”
Chi Xiaochi smiled, went out of the room, and busied himself helping pack his parents’ toiletries, usual cups, and the almost-complete double-sided embroidery into his bag.
After all that, he raised his wrist and looked at his newly-bought multi-function watch.
By this time, many people should already have been woken by the cold. However, a lot of them wouldn’t be willing to leave their homes, simply shivering as they waited for the heating system to recover, until eventually their quilts froze through, forming a cold and heavy shroud.
After checking that the Ding parents had already sorted themselves out, Chi Xiaochi slung his backpack across one shoulder, walked back to his bedroom, and brought out the little leopard who had gotten 20 more minutes of nap time, unzipped his jacket, and stuffed it inside.
Before they left, Mother Ding wanted to drink some water. Who knew that when she tried to turn on the tap, the entire water pipe had frozen, and the few drops of water that fell from the tap were cold and smelly, full of rust. She couldn’t help but cover her nose as she exclaimed, “What’s going on?”
Father Ding’s mind was still clear. Finding that the situation didn’t seem quite right, he didn’t obstinately try to get to the heart of the matter. He simply placed his hand on his wife’s shoulder, guiding her along and saying, “Let’s go, to the car.”
They pushed open the door to a deathly silent corridor. There were three or four families like the Ding family who had quickly packed up their stuff and were heading to their cars to spend the night there.
Naturally, the lifts too had stopped, so everyone started heading down the stairs.
Since the advent of artificial intelligence, human relations had gotten a lot colder. Everyone was used to talking over the screen, but weren’t good at talking to the living people themselves face-to-face.
After b.u.mping into one another, everyone silently nodded at each other, and like that, their greetings were done.
Only Mother Ding spoke up to ask, “Mister He, has your water stopped too?”
The man surnamed He “en”-ed. He held his communicator in one hand, using it to light the way, and hugged the sleepy child in his arms closer to himself, his movements as wary as his expression.
The little girl was around seven or eight years old. She buried her face in Mister He’s arms, and said in a m.u.f.fled voice, “Daddy, you’re so cold.”
Mister He said, “Daddy’s not cold, be good, get more sleep, ah.”
The little girl said, “You’re cold. I’ll warm you up.”
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Then, her little tender hand reached out from under the small blanket, and pressed against Mister He’s face.
There was no one outside, but on the gla.s.s appeared a faint mark that looked like a child’s sweaty handprint.
A child-like voice softly said, “Uncle, help me.”
Mother Ding, sitting in the back seat, also heard the voice, and subconsciously went to open the door.
Chi Xiaochi’s reaction was faster. He first pressed the b.u.t.ton to manually lock the doors, then turned around and shook his head at Mother Ding with a frown.
Mother Ding couldn’t quite understand. “Qiuyun, there’s a child outside.”
Chi Xiaochi made a shushing gesture, then pointed at the handprint to let Mother Ding have a closer look.
……What kind of person’s sweat, was green?
The baby leopard in his arms leapt onto his knees. It arched its back, put on alert, letting out a tender growl from its throat.
Only now did it make Chi Xiaochi feel like it was an actual leopard.
When knocking on the window didn’t work, the thing outside began to pull at the door.
Pata, pata, pata.
The sound of it pulling on the door became more and more urgent, becoming violent and savage, like a gale of rain, but the child’s voice was still as sweet and helpless, filled with an innocence that made one’s heart start to beat faster. “Open the door, uncle.”
“Open the door, open it, open it.”
The Ding parents had never been slow people. At this point, they also noticed that something wasn’t right.
Just as the husband and wife were looking at each other in dismay, the car parked across from the Ding family’s car exploded with a shrill human scream from the inside. The car started to shake, as if there was someone struggling inside.
Father Ding instantly turned on the headlights. That glance, almost gave him a heart attack.
The windshield across from him was completely splattered with blood. The man who had originally been sitting in the driver’s seat was already slumped to the side, with a huge, b.l.o.o.d.y hole drilled in his chest, and two vines of Boston ivy growing out of his eyes.
……Yes, Boston ivy.
In order to beautify the district, property management had specially set up several walls covered in Boston ivy around the neighbourhood.
And this verdant vegetation, like many other plants, had, after the end of the world, become a killing weapon.
The Boston ivy, now possessing human intelligence, quickly determined that its most ideal fertiliser was humans.
As such, humans became their flowerpots.
The branches pierced through the human body, running rampant and happily absorbing flesh from the body, swallowing huge mouthful after mouthful.
His young wife opened the car door, screaming as she fled towards the stairs. However, before she could get more than a few steps away, she was pulled to the ground by a strange force.
The Boston ivy had wrapped around her ankle, and dragged her under a nearby car.
The woman’s high heels kicked at the car, making it bounce up and down, accompanied by screams of horror and pain. The owner of the car shrank down in his seat, tightly clutching his steering wheel, his teeth gritted, not daring to move.
Soon, there was no more sound coming from under the car.
The Boston ivy contentedly climbed over to the next car.
Its vines rose unsteadily, simulating the shape of a child’s hand, and slapped against the window of the next car, and let out a child-like voice, “Uncle, open the door.”
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