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Until today, Zhang Zian thought apprehension only meant "understanding languages". But now he learned that it was not just about "understanding", it was more about a.n.a.lyzing and decoding languages.
He had underestimated Richard. Decoding languages was much superior and fancier than purely understanding languages. Decoding languages involved tracing back to the source and approaching the nature of language.
Hearing that Richard thought the languages of humans, animals and computers were the same, Zhang Zian was rather surprised, but on second thought, he believed that it probably made sense.
Putting animal languages aside, human languages were merely formed under finite rules by fixed p.r.o.nunciations, which was the foundation of encoding and decoding, and in that sense, human languages were no different than computer language in nature. If there was anything different between decoding and encoding, decoding would be more difficult—if encoding was like building sand into a tower, then decoding would be a reversing engineering project such as disintegrating the tower back into grains of sand, which would require mastering of the exact shape and position of each grain of sand.
"So, you also know about computer language?" Zhang Zian asked curiously. These things said by Richard, such as decoding and encoding, apparently were the professional terms from the field of computer and electronic communication. If Richard was an expert on computer language, he didn't have to run the pet shop anymore! He would threaten Richard and asked it to hack into the banking system and transfer 100 million Yuan to him.
"No, I don't. The languages in this world are as many as the stars in the sky. Instead of knowing a little bit about each language, I think it is better to be an expert on the languages that are more important and are used widely." Richard had read Zhang Zian’s mind and raised its claw, "Besides, even if I did know computer language, how would you expect me to click on the keyboard with these claws?"
Obviously, Zhang Zian was thinking too much! He felt very disappointed, liked he had lost billions of money.
"Let's get back to business. You are so capable, so it will just be a piece of cake to you to teach these parrots to speak, right?" He went to the display case and lifted the cloth on the birdcage.
He hadn’t unveiled the cotton cloth yet after returning to the pet shop yesterday, so that the two red-headed lovebirds could get used to the new environment slowly.
Richard fluttered its wings and flew over to the birdcage, and observed the two creatures of its same kind.
The red-headed lovebirds were much smaller than the grey parrot. Even if you put the two together, they were still smaller than Richard. They stayed close to each other, and observed the environment around them nervously.
"Pfft! A b.l.o.o.d.y couple!" Richard said disdainfully and went to the other side of the cage to size them up.
Zhang Zian noticed that the red-headed lovebirds were so afraid of Richard that they always stayed as far away from it as possible—when Richard flew to the left, they would hide on the right side; when Richard went to the right side, they would retreat to the left side. Of course, anyone would panic when put in a narrow, closed s.p.a.ce facing a giant creature, not to mention a gigantic gap in their sizes.
"Hey, Richard, it seems that you have frightened them," he reminded.
Richard turned around and looked at him aggressively, "You want to come and try?"
Zhang Zian complained to himself, what an arrogant b*tch bird, just because it could do something no one else could.
The red-headed lovebirds were so frightened that they made some indescribable squeaking sounds. The male parrot, Little Purple, courageously stood before the female parrot, Yellow Pea Cake, protecting its spouse with its body.
Zhang Zian figured they probably were screaming for help, saying something like, "A bully is robbing my wife in the street!"
And Richard did behave like a bully. It looked at Zhang Zian and demanded, "Open the gate of the cage."
Zhang Zian felt sorry for the red-headed lovebirds. They were making those poor squeaking sounds towards him, and probably thought he was the only one who could rescue them.
Galaxy stopped playing. It opened its mouth slightly and looked at them curiously, "Meow, meow! Zian, why are they wailing?"
Zhang Zian said to Galaxy, "I don't know either. Why don't you go to the second floor to play? I will go upstairs later."
Galaxy nodded and trotted towards the second floor.
The compa.s.sionate Old Time Tea paused the morning news and looked at them. Silent for a moment, Old Time Tea figured it wasn’t its business and went back to watch the public servants holding meetings. Though Richard seemed untrustworthy by its look, Old Time Tea believed it was not a bad bird that would be capable of inflicting cruel torture or slaughter.
"I mean... Can you be a little bit nicer?" Zhang Zian tried to persuade Richard, "You know, they are new to this environment, and they are scared. If you keep threatening them..."
"What?" Richard became aggressive. "If I scare them, what will happen to them? Will they be scared to death?"
"No..." Zhang Zian admitted, "But..."
"Or you want to try to teach them instead?" Richard played its master stroke, "You can, you’re up; you can’t, shut up."
Zhang Zian shut up and complained to himself. He usually said that sentence to others, and when that trick was used against him, the feeling really sucked...
"Of course, if you want to take things slow, I have no problem with that." Richard said, "How about that? Make up your mind."
Zhang Zian was speechless. He could wait, the red-headed lovebirds could wait, but Guo Dongyue’s mom couldn't afford the waiting. Who knew when her disease would deteriorate further?
"I got it, just don't be too mean." He opened the gate of the birdcage.
The door was a little small for Richard. It had to bend a little bit, and tightened its wings close to its body to get through the gate. It stood at the gate so the red-headed lovebirds had no way to escape. Even if they did escape from the birdcage, they could not fly away from the pet shop, because the shutter door was closed.
Little Purple and Yellow Pea Cake were hiding in the corner, wailing even louder.
Richard looked from left to right, and right to left for several times and said, "I am Richard, and I will be your instructor and teacher from now on. What are your names? Tell me now!"
"They are called Little Purple and Yellow Pea Cake. Little Purple has a more obvious blue color on its back." Zhang Zian answered for them, because clearly the two parrots couldn’t answer.
"I'm not asking you." Richard stared at him.
Zhang Zian didn’t know how to teach the parrots, so he could only shut up. How exactly would Richard teach the parrots, he wanted to see.
"All right, you morons. Start by remembering who I am. If you can’t remember my name, just call me Grey." Richard opened its wings and showed them the silver-grey feathers all over its body.
"Grey," it repeated, "I am Grey."