The Record Of Unusual Creatures - Chapter 326
Everyone had gone back to their rooms, but Becky's spirit remained low. As vivacious as Becky was, she was different from Lily. She was different in the sense that although she was playful and adventurous, she always had her home at heart. No matter how exciting Earth was, it was only a place of interest—nothing beat her little, cosy nest back home.
Perhaps, that was how every normal traveller felt. The enthusiasm would die down after a while. Once the passion subsided, it was time to go home. At least, Becky was more fortunate: it wasn't like she could not go home at all, it was just that she had limited time in terms of how long she could be at home.
Hao Ren hoped Becky would eventually think of it that way. As soon as she did, it would no longer be such a big deal.
The next morning.
As usual, Hao Ren was slapped awake by Rollie's tail. The moment he opened his eyes, he saw the round and fluffy face of his black and white cat—it was the only one in the house one who could maintain its usual pace in life. He put on his clothes, tipped some cat food into Rollie's bowl and checked that Lil Pea was still sleeping soundly in the pot. He then came down to the living room, expecting to see Becky sitting at the tea table. Her eyes were on the TV, but her sights were somewhere else.
Becky was an early riser, second only to Vivian. Since she had been feeling troubled lately, it was not surprising to find her sitting still and staring blankly into space early in the morning.
Hao Ren dialed the volume on the TV down, then sat beside Becky. "How're you doing? Feel better?"
"I'm fine..."Becky looked like she had not slept for three days. However, emotionally she was better than last night. "I've been thinking about it. It's not that I can't go home, it's just that I can't stay as long... So, like you said, I can only go home via dream. I'll have to lie in the hibernation chamber and get out of The Plane of Dreams within the stipulated time, right?"
Hao Ren nodded. "The hibernation chamber could let you have a longer stay in The Plane of Dreams. But, considering the unstable connection and load on the equipment, it's recommended that each stay does not exceed 15 days. Ten would be ideal. After that, you'll have to get some rest on Earth while you wait for the connection in The Plane of Dreams to stabilise. The down time varies, normally not exceeding one month."He told her everything about the hibernation chamber, figuring there was no need to hide anymore.
"Spend most of my time on Earth."Suddenly, Becky smiled. "That's fine with me. It doesn't sound much different than my time as a mercenary. It just feels a little awkward though—like being confined. Yeah, I feel a little frustrated."
Hao Ren shared her pain. Simply put, it was like being forced to follow a pre-planned itinerary. She was actually not frustrated about spending most of her time in a foreign place. She was just upset over the thought of being constrained. As long as she could overcome the thought, she would be alright. Sensing that Becky had finally gotten over it, he let out a sigh of relief. "That's okay. It'll feel difficult at first, but we're figuring how to solve it as well..."
"I heard Wuyue saying that you're looking for an existing 'opening'to send me through."Becky nodded as she spoke. "I don't know what it is, but it sounds like something hard to find. Anyway, you don't have to force yourself to find it."
Hao Ren knew she was not completely over it yet, but she would with time. They were chatting as they normally did, talking about life on Earth, things in The Plane of Dreams and stuff like that. Soon, all the other souls began to creep out of their beds and the house was back to its noisy state. Vivian had returned from the morning market. She brought back a basket full of fresh vegetables as well as two fishes, which were still alive and kicking. She peeked around nervously and asked, "Is Lil Pea awake? Is Lil Pea awake? I bought two fishes today..."
Hao Ren took a gander at the fish in the basket, parlty laughing and partly crying. He then said quietly, "She's still sleeping. Do it quickly, and don't forget to cut them into smaller pieces."
Becky quickly got to her feet and volunteered to help. Her voice was just as soft. "Let me help. Two is better then one."
Y'zaks, scraping his bald head, lamented. "Is that really necessary...?"
"Absolutely. We would have a hard time if Lil Pea saw this!"said Nangong Wuyue as she glanced over the kitchen, almost drooling. "It's not easy, man... We're like cats stealing fish. It's been a month since the last time we had fish..."
Hao Ren felt a sense of sadness: since he brought home the little mermaid with a messed up worldview, eating fish had become a risky affair. The little one had absolutely no impression who her mum was. Any creature who had the slightest resemblance to her would be treated as her own kind. Gosh, when she saw a chef holding a fish in a cooking show, she acted like she was watching a horror movie. So, the thought of doing that live at home was not possible. But unfortunately, both Hao Ren and Nangong Wuyue had a taste for fish...
After many trials and errors, Vivian finally found a solution to the problem: once the fish was cut into pieces, Lil Pea would not be able to tell. They just had to prevent her from seeing the cooking process...
That was the reason why they had to tiptoe when cooking the dish. Sometimes, Hao Ren had to even guard Lil Pea lest she wandered into the kitchen while Vivian was preparing the dish—she was just like a peeper on the loose sometimes.
Seeing Nangong Wuyue's excitement, Hao Ren got a little perplexed. "Are you okay eating fish? Isn't that like cannibalism?"
Nangong Wuyue looked back at Hao Ren with an interesting expression on her face. "Haven't you heard of big fishes eating smaller fishes? Do you call sharks that eat cutlassfishes cannibals? And mind you, I just have a fish tail and that doesn't make me a fish!"
The topic opened a floodgate of curiosity. Hao Ren asked, "I've wanted to ask you for a long time: when you shapeshift into a fish, do you have fish bones inside?"
Nangong Wuyue was stumped. She glared at Hao Ren. "I wonder what's actually in your head! Such a question!"
Hao Ren took a step back. But suddenly, Nangong Wuyue began mumbling to herself. "But, that's a good question anyway. I wonder too!"
Y'zaks could not stand the stupid conversation anymore. He chimed in, "Why harp on this, it's not like you're going to eat it. And, isn't Lily up yet?"
Hao Ren had a mental kick. He just realised the reason for the quiet morning: Lily would usually be up half an hour before breakfast, on the dot. But today, all was quiet. He put the remote away and went knocking on her door. "Hey Doggie, it's breakfast time."
He waited for a moment, but there was no response.
"Lily?"—he knocked again—"are you awake yet?"
Then a scream could be heard inside the room.
Hao Ren immediately broke the door down. He was about to go inside, but soon screamed in shock too. "Hey—you, the furry ball, freeze!"
"Come on, Landlord."The furry ball moved and turned. "It's me..."
Hao Ren looked at the husky with his jaw on the ground. "What happened?"
Lily had grown a large, furry tail as big as herself. Because her back was facing Hao Ren earlier, all Hao Ren saw was a furry ball. Once she turned and faced him, the visual illusion disappeared. Nonetheless, the husky looked like a vixen somehow...
Lily was in tears. "The hair restorer..."
She was dragged out to the living room as Vivian looked at the overgrown tail, sighing. "I should've stopped you yesterday. Didn't I warn you not to overuse it?"
"What am I going to do now?"Lily turned and looked at her own tail in tears. "It's stopped for now, but it's already too long."
"The way I see it, it looks pretty good. Don't you think?"Hao Ren smiled, but it looked fake. "Just pretend like you're a vixen."
The big, fluffy tail was indeed beautiful like the tail of a fox. However, the person in question did not think so. "How can it be pretty? It's so cumbersome."
"Don't fret about. It'll be over very soon."Vivian used her hand to pinch the tail. "It'll probably grow two or three more times before it finally stops."
Lily was shocked. "Two or three more times?"
Vivian pondered about it for a while. Then, she looked at Hao Ren. "Do you need an apron?"