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The steps were slightly higher than usual, but they weren’t a problem for Fina. In fact, no steps would be obstacles for Fina. She raised her legs high, landed on step after step dexterously, and went upstairs quickly.
Snowy Lionet, with its short legs, long fur, and poor athletic abilities, was having a big headache. It didn't want to make its fur dirty, but it didn't want to stay outside by itself either. Now that everyone had gone upstairs, Snowy Lionet became quite nervous, but it could do nothing.
Zhang Zian was halfway up the stairs when he turned around and saw Snowy Lionet in vexation. He offered, "You want me to carry you up there?"
"Pfft! Don't you touch me, you jerk!" spat Snowy Lionet decisively.
"All right, whatever." Zhang Zian shrugged and went upstairs by himself.
Snowy Lionet quickly asked Fina for help, "Your Majesty, could you please help me out? The steps are too high, and I can't climb up there!"
Fina looked down at the stairs and felt quite confused. They were just a few steps, what was so difficult about climbing up them? "How exactly do you want me to help?"
"Your Majesty, I would like to stay on your back while you are climbing the stairs," said Snowy Lionet sheepishly.
Fina declined before Snowy Lionet finished its sentence, "Nope. Think of another way." Then Fina jumped gently upward another step, and disappeared from Snowy Lionet’s vision in no time.
"Purr! Purr!" Snowy Lionet was so nervous that it was about to cry. There was so much dust on the steps. Even when it really made it up the stairs, its white fur would become grey fur... What's worse, it would be so embarra.s.sed if its fur was half white and half grey.
Guo Dongyue’s house was on the second floor. Aunt Bai took out the keys to open the door. After she pushed open the door and they were about to go inside, Zhang Zian arrived and held the door.
"Aunt Bai, do you have any empty boxes or baskets? Can I borrow one?"
Aunt Bai stayed still, "Yes, we have some, but you need them for…?"
Zhang Zian pursed his lips and looked towards downstairs, "It's my grumpy cat. It doesn’t want me to hold it and bring it upstairs, and it will scratch me if I try to touch it. So, I'm going to bring it up by putting it in the basket."
"Wow, such an ill-tempered cat." Hearing this, Aunt Bai gave up the idea of buying these two cats, "Wait a minute, I’m going to find one for you."
After the door was open, Guo Dongyue went in first, and Zhang Zian waited outside for half a minute before Aunt Bai came out holding a bamboo basket she used for buying groceries, "How about this one? I'm not sure whether it's big enough for your cat."
Zhang Zian looked at the basket, "Yes, I think it will be fine. My cat just looks big, when in fact, its fur takes up half of its size. So, this basket will work. Why don't you go into the house first, I'll be right back."
He went down the stairs quickly, only to find that Snowy Lionet was crying bitterly. Its big blue eyes were filled with tears, and its long fur was not tilted upwards like usual, but instead drooped in dismay.
"You jerk! Why do you come back? To mock me?" Snowy Lionet pretended to look fierce, but its fur was not tilted upwards, so its ears were not in the shape of a plane, which indicated that while it might look tough, it was fearful inside.
Zhang Zian was amused by Snowy Lionet. It was so concerned about its reputation, even trying to look tough during this difficult time.
He patted the bamboo basket and put it in front of Snowy Lionet.
"What do you want?" The ingrained curiosity of a cat made Snowy Lionet forgot about its grievance temporarily. Snowy Lionet looked inside the basket, only to find that it was empty.
Zhang Zian pointed to the empty basket, "Jump inside the basket, and I'll carry the basket to bring you upstairs, deal?"
Snowy Lionet raised its head and stared at him surprisingly, as if trying to figure out his true purpose.
"Is this some kind of trap?" Snowy Lionet asked doubtfully. "Are you trying to sell me after I go in there? Don’t even think about that in your life!"
Zhang Zian thought to himself, "Though Lu Xun had said, ‘I am always willing to think the worst of my fellow-countrymen’, you don't have to always think the worst of every man!"
He was about to leave Snowy Lionet there and go upstairs by himself. Suddenly, he stopped as if he had recalled something. He looked down at the steps.
How did Snowy Lionet die in Chin Ping Mei?
If he remembered it correctly, Snowy Lionet was dropped to death on steps by Xi Menqing.
Dropped to death on steps...
Though he didn't know what the steps were like in the novel, steps in the world might look very much the same.
He turned his face casually, looked at Snowy Lionet from the corners of his eyes.
Snowy Lionet was tightly pursing its lips, tilting its head to look at the autumn scenery outside the corridor, trying not to let its tears fall.
That was why Snowy Lionet...
Zhang Zian was confused before: he knew that Fina was germaphobic, but he didn't know that Snowy Lionet cared so much about cleanliness. When he met Snowy Lionet for the first time, it was hiding in the underground storage room of the Yuanhua Building, and it had fun playing there. That storage room was anything but clean — there was dust everywhere, with thick spider webs on every corner of the ceiling.
Snowy Lionet was not afraid of its fur would get dirty—though it believed that was the reason. But in fact, it was the steps that Snowy Lionet hated.
Zhang Zian withdrew his feet that were stepping upward. He snapped his fingers to attract Snowy Lionet’s attention, "Hey, are you coming in or not? Fina is waiting for you upstairs."
Snowy Lionet glanced at him quickly, but did not look straight forward to his eyes, "Why are you still here?"
"Why would I leave you?" He felt a little bit guilty that he almost left without it.
"Because you are a jerk!" Snowy Lionet looked fierce, but was talking in a nasal voice. Though it was trying to cover its nasal voice, Zhang Zian had heard it.
"All right, if I go upstairs, where will you go?" Zhang Zian did not leave, instead, he squatted down, putting his shoulders against his knees, resting his chin on his hands and looked at Snowy Lionet.
"I have plenty places to go!" Snowy Lionet was talking tough again, and to show that it was not bluffing, it started to go out from the corridor.
"You don't like Fina anymore?" Zhang Zian shouted from behind.
Hearing the name of Fina, Snowy Lionet’s movements froze for a moment. It didn't turn its head, and its fur was gently trembling, though there was no wind in the corridor.
"Yes, I do, and I will always like Fina. But My Majesty doesn’t like me." Its nasal voice got more severe.
"How do you know Fina doesn't like you?" asked Zhang Zian.
"Because…because...." Snowy Lionet thought it would be an easy question to answer, because Fina could dislike anyone for no reason. But Snowy Lionet was reluctant to accept that. It was good looking and it was faithful to Fina, so who could be a better servant than it was? Why would Majesty Fina not like it?
Zhang Zian chuckled, "So you are not sure of the reasons either. You just made that judgement from your instincts, and now you are leaving Fina out of a momentary impulse."
"So what? I will go wherever I want to go and no one can stop me." Snowy Lionet was provoked by Zhang Zian’s words and turned around its head suddenly, with tear stains on the corners of its eyes.
"Where exactly are you going?" Zhang Zian asked again, "You’ve got to have a destination, right? Or are you going to wander about like an unemployed cat?"
Snowy Lionet could not keep a straight face anymore.
Snowy Lionet was amused by Zhang Zian, but then showed its teeth trying to look fierce.
"What the h.e.l.l is an unemployed cat?"