Seeing the blood staining the white sheets, for a moment Shang Qinghua is at a loss. When he finally comes to, the first thing that comes out of his mouth is…
“Um, are you okay?”
The cat continues to lick its wound, completely ignoring him.
What was I even expecting?! It’s a cat!
Being a writer who can conjure all kinds of strange scenarios, the sudden appearance of a cat isn’t that odd. He stops freaking out, and then moves to pick the cat up. Can’t let the little kitty staining his sheets.
As Shang Qinghua draws closer, he notices the cat is around the same size as his friend’s dark brown toy poodle. If it weren’t for the big gash on the left side of its body (how can a cat even get injured like that?!), the cat seems to be a rather healthy tomcat.
Shang Qinghua reaches out to pick the cat, but just as his hands are about to touch him, the cat looks up–icy eyes meeting Shang Qinghua’s. And before he can pull away, the cat strikes at him with very sharp claws.
“AAAAH!” Three red lines instantly appear on Shang Qinghua’s right arm. His face pales.
“Oh my god, I’m gonna die!” he shrieks as he steps back. And since the room is so narrow, he crashes into the cabinet right behind him. “Fuck!”
Shang Qinghua runs out of the room and immediately washes the wound with soap and water until the bleeding stops. The next thing he does is, of course, take out his phone and search on Baidu*:
“Cat scratch what to do”
“Cat rabies first-aid”
“Stray cat scratch rabies”
“Will cat scratch kill me? How much longer do I have to live?”
[Author's Note: *Baidu = A Chinese search engine]
Although Shang Qinghua sleeps only three hours a day, eats unhealthy food, rarely takes baths, and, overall, doesn’t really take care of himself that well, that doesn’t mean he wants to die. He still has a dream he wants to reach. He wants to be a famous writer and have his novel become a donghua. He wants to go back to college. He wants to see his parents look at him with proud eyes. He wants to fall in love. He wants to have sex. Fuck, he’s already twenty-four but he’s still a virgin. Ah, ah, I can’t die yet!!!
Shang Qinghua frantically clicks on the top search results…
[Rabies is found in the saliva and is usually transmitted through bites…]
Shang Qinghua: ٩(^ᴗ^)۶
[… but since cats clean themselves by licking their bodies, saliva can get into their paws. Cat scratches may also cause infection…]
Shang Qinghua: (⁰Д⁰ ; )
[Stray cats may have rabies. It’s important to get an injection right away…]
Shang Qinghua: ( ⁰д⁰)
[Rabies is 100% fatal. It is incurable…]
Shang Qinghua: (✘ㅿ✘)
Shang Qinghua’s legs droop onto the kitchen floor. Then he completely lies down on the ground with his face buried into his hands. He rolls his whole body to the left, then rolls back to the right. He does this several times, and when he can’t roll fast enough to outrace the thoughts running in his mind, he just–
–screams at the top of his lungs, his voice echoing throughout the empty house, bouncing off the walls and back to him.
Outside, the snowstorm rages on. Billowing wind knocks on window panes and seeps into the cracks between doors, demanding entry. Shang Qinghua lies on the slightly cold floor. Yeah, he can just lie there forever…
“BUT NOT TODAY, SHANG QINGHUA!” The man abruptly jolts to his feet, like a battery-dead machine suddenly brought back to life. He marches to the counter with his hands clenched into fists. When he reaches for a knife, the determined look in his eyes resembles that of a murderer’s bloodthirsty stare rather than the look of someone who desperately doesn’t want to die.
He takes a few cloves of garlic and starts a mad frenzy of chopping them into smithereens. “NOT TODAY!!!”
Shang Qinghua pours some vinegar onto his wound, wincing at the sting it brings. Then he rubs the minced garlic all over it. According to his 2-minute research, this is one way to disinfect cat scratches. Rabies in cats is also not that common. Shang Qinghua can’t possibly be so unlucky to have actually encountered a cat with rabies, can he? Can he???
He’s just used up all his money on groceries, so now he can’t afford to get a simple tetanus shot. Garlic and vinegar would have to do.
Shang Qinghua sits in the kitchen, enduring the more biting sting brought by the raw garlic on his wounds as he admonishes himself, “Ai, ai, Shang Qinghua, how embarrassing can you be? Of all the near-death situations you could be in…”
After some time, his wounds no longer hurt and Shang Qinghua finally calms down. He washes his wound again, but this time he does it more thoroughly to completely remove the strong garlic smell. Wiping his wet arm on the hem of his shirt, he glances towards the door of his room.
Now, what is he gonna do with the cat? He seems heavily injured, making him act all defensive against strangers. Approaching him would be dangerous.
Shang Qinghua's eyes wander to the sink and land on the kitchen gloves. His eyes narrow.
Inside Shang Qinghua’s room, the black cat is also no longer licking his wounds. After confirming he’s circulated enough spiritual energy to stop the bleeding and alleviate the pain, he finally relaxes.
This black cat is no ordinary cat. He’s actually a cat that recently gained awareness and started cultivating the energy of heaven and earth not long ago. Earlier, he was on the rooftop of the apartment building to better absorb qi into his body when the wind started blowing too strongly, throwing him off. Something sharp stabs him as he fell. He didn’t see what it was, the snow and the wind making it hard to see anything, but it felt like a thick wooden stick with a pointed end.
The pain was unbearable, but being a cat, and a spiritual one at that, his reflexes were fast and he immediately turned over in the air to make his feet face toward the ground. Then, using his spiritual power, he slowed the rush of his fall, making him gently float down. He landed on a random empty window box.
Luckily, the window was open. He limped into the apartment unit, seeking warmth. Ever since he started cultivating, the cold no longer bothered him. But right then, he was injured and his qi was in disarray. He searched for the warmest place in the house and made himself at home as he nursed his wounds.
Right now, the cat is quietly observing the room he’s in. The room is like one big box, with clothes littered all over the floor like a cushion. It would’ve been very comfortable to sleep on top of them, but the cat finds they smell rather unpleasant. He turns his nose away in disdain.
And like a box, the room has almost no openings at all. The windows are shut closed and so is the door. When the human rushed out earlier, he didn’t close it but it closed on its own. Now all four corners of the room seem to be pressing in on the cat, but he doesn’t find it suffocating at all. Rather, it has been quite comforting. Like this, nothing can take him unawares. Enemies will have to enter through the door, which is right within his field of vision. The cat doesn’t mind settling in here for the winter. The area around this building is also rich in spiritual energy, very suitable for cultivating.
And speaking of the door, it suddenly opens. The cat turns his head away when he sees the human from earlier walk in.
The human has his hands behind him. Hmph, probably learned his lesson to not just casually touch me.
“Hey, kitty…” says the human as he gingerly approaches the bed. The cat looks up at him, unmoving. Now, what does he want?
The human looms over the cat, casting shadows upon him. The cat feels like something is amiss. Then, something bright yellow flashes in his field of vision. On instinct, the cat strikes out his claws again, but then he realizes that he can’t scratch through the bright yellow thing. It is smooth and hard, his claws can’t get a grip.
The human snickers, the cat smells trouble. The next moment, there is a grip on the cat’s scruff…
He dares! This human actually dares!
This is terrible. The cat feels himself losing control over his body. The human picks him up and he can’t even struggle!
“Hahahaha!” The human laughs. “Got you! Now you must pay for what you did to me, you heathen!”
Then the human turns to the door, bringing the cat with him. The cat desperately wants to break free, but his whole body is limp, his nerves yelling at him to submit.
Unacceptable! This is unacceptable! How could a mere human assert his dominance over me like this?! I am no ordinary cat! I am a cultivator. I am above these stupid men who don’t know the immensity of heaven and earth. I am–
The cat’s train of thought screeches to a halt when the human brings him to a white-tiled room. In the middle of the room is a basin filled with water. His eyes instantly narrow into slits.