Strange Life of a Cat - lightnovelgate.com
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Zheng Tan knew he was not particularly smart, but he had a good memory. He remembered the route Fang Shaokang's car took last time, combined with his memory of the map of the city he once saw, he could roughly guess where they were.
Though not at the center of town, this area was still one of the busiest parts of the city. Unlike the university environment, even the air smelled of commercialization around here.
Most of the shops and stores near the school were targeted towards students. The rich and successful, on the other hand, frequented this district.
As the car stopped at a red lights, Zheng Tan took the chance to look for road signs. The name of the street was familiar. Then a giant neon sign saying "Shaoguang Hotel" caught his eyes.
Darn! Wasn't that the name of the hotel for which Fang gave Papa Jiao a membership card?
Zheng Tan inched closer to the window. He didn't know much about architecture and would have trouble saying anything meaningful about the style of building. However, looking at the building he felt that the city, with all its metal and concrete, suddenly seemed less cold and intimidating. The building's style was fresh but still commanding.
It was obvious Fang Shaokang had spent quite a bit of effort on the design.
Seeing that Zheng Tan was admiring the building, Wei Ling said, "That's Shaoguang Hotel. I heard you were close with it owner Fang San Ye ?
San Ye? Was that what people called Fang Shaokang? Zheng Tan didn't think they were close. They did stunts together. That was it.
Wei Ling didn't expect to get an answer out of a cat. He had heard a lot about Fang Shaokang. He was a character shrouded in mystery. He felt that the man was akin to a cat. You could never guess what he was thinking or what he would do next. Maybe geniuses didn't think like normal people?
The light turned green, he started driving again.
It was dark when they finally reached their destination. All sorts of lights lit up the city and welcomed those out at night.
Wei Ling parked the car in front of a large club and took Zheng Tan out.
Technically, pets were not allowed. No one would stop Wei Ling, but he felt bad taking the front entrance. The pair made their way to a side door reserved for staff. The guards there were better and more strict.
Zheng Tan looked at the club in front of him. Even before stepping foot inside, he could feel the heat inside. He once thought that this kind of life was forever gone. He thought he could never step foot in a place like this again. Whenever he saw a club, even a small one, it reminded him of the life he once had.
It felt like just yesterday.
Not everyone who came to clubs lived how Zheng Tan use to. Clubs were not linked with deprivation and decadence. As the economy grew, stress levels increased as well. Society was changing and clubs were becoming the most popular form of entertainment for the young.
Everyone encountered problems, both related to work or personal life. After a while, the problems and added stress numbed a person. Clubbing with a few friends and letting lose for a while allowed the short escape most needed.
Zheng Tan didn't see the front of the club. However, there was a sign on the side as well.
Night Tower -- Yeah club.
Zheng Tan liked the name 'Building of the Night' better then the English name 'Yeah'. The night in Chinese sounded like Yeah, but the meaning couldn't be more different. The owner of the club must have his reasons for choosing these two very different names.
The club was in a glamorous area that was home to many businesses in the morning. It was easily accessible, so it was natural that the place got a lot of traffic.
It was the club's good management, however, that kept the customers. Zheng Tan could tell from the packed parking lot that it was truly a popular place.
People were arriving in groups. Zheng Tan watched them longingly. Suddenly, he saw a familiar figure.
Zheng Tan's senses were very sharp now. He trusted what he saw. Even if the figure was now half hidden by a few pedestrians, he knew just by that one glance it belonged to someone he knew. Who though? He wasn't quite sure.
To find out, he ignored Wei Ling and headed towards the other side of the road.
Wei Ling swore, but followed the cat.
At this hour, people were so blinded by the bright buildings around them and so fixated on their destinations that they would be oblivious to a black cat moving about stealthily.
Zheng Tan waited for gaps in traffic to cross the street.
Right across from the Night Tower, on the other side of the road was a person squatting under a street lamp. By the looks of him, he was in his twenties. The man had a cigarette in his hand but was not smoking. He stared, entranced, at the club, appearing lost. He looked like someone who was disappointed by life.
He was just one of many in the city. The business world never lacked those who had fallen or those who never made it at all. People were used to the sight. Even if someone was laying drunk on the ground, no one would bat an eyelid let alone offer any help. In the morning the sanitation workers would sweep the ground around him as if he wasn't there.
The city was a cold and brutal jungle.
The young man used the hand not holding the cigarette to ruffle his hair. He knew what he looked like at the moment. He hadn't had a shower for days and smelled. His clothes were rumpled and his hair a mess.
He remembered the stray dog he saw that morning when he went to buy breakfast. The dirty stray had yellowish fur. Not the kind with a golden shine. It was more like the color of dead leaves. It's fur was in strands and covered its eyes. The dog avoided people. It limped when it moved with its tail between its legs. Sometimes though, the dog would stop to watch the people on the street as if it was looking for something, wishing for something.
He remembered when he lifted the fur from the dogs eyes and saw the expectant, pleading expression. The look hit him like a punch out of nowhere. It was all he could do to throw the dog the bun he had just bought and run away. He was scared. He was scared he would turn into that stray. It at least had him giving it a bun. What would he have?
Maybe that's what wandering really is like.
Had he been wrong? Had he overestimated himself?
Should he give up? Turn back? He was reluctant to accept it.
He was lost in thought when he felt a push on the cigarette in his hand.
He saw a pair of black paws. Looking up, he was greeted by a pair of curious cat eyes.
He blinked. He was still half in thought. When he finally realized what was happening, he was incredulous.
He had passed through several large cities and seen many black cats. They all looked like this one, but the similarities stopped there. This cat, however, really did seem like that idiot that banged bottles.
Was he hallucinating. Had starvation caused his brain to play tricks?
"Charcoal! What were you doing running off like that. What would I tell your mom and dad if something happens to you." Wei Ling was furious. He was still covered in cold sweat after watching the cat cross the busy street.
"F*ck! It really is you, Charcoal!" The young man looked pleasantly surprised.
"What? You guys know each other?" Wei Ling looked at the disheveled young man squatting on the ground then back at Zheng Tan.
Zheng Tan ignored Wei Ling. He was curious as to why A Jin was in this state. Where were the other four people. Where had they gone? Weren't they starting a band together?
"We met some twenty days ago and Charcoal did us a big favor. Where's Mr. Fang?" A Jin looked around looking for Mr. Fang with his camera around his neck.
Twenty days ago, Wei Ling raised an eyebrow. That was when the cat was still living on the streets. With Fang San Ye it seemed.
"Well, let's not stand on the street. Let's find somewhere to talk." Wei Ling gestured to Zheng Tan then motioned for A Jin to follow along.
"Where?" A Jin tossed his cigarette into a nearby trashcan.
Wei Ling pointed at the Night Tower.
A Jin's legs gave away. He hit the ground, kneeling almost directly in front of Zheng Tan and Wei Ling.
Zheng Tan wanted to hand him some incense to make the scene complete.
"Young man, there's really no need to kneel. A handshake would suffice."
"...My legs were numb, I was squatting for too long."
1. Ye is used in China after a person's last same to show respect. San is 3 in Chinese, meaning Fang Shaokang was third child in the Fang family.