Uh. . .
Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu held the thermometer, at a complete loss. Why did he react so badly? Did he not like it?
But, before, when she took her American short hair's temperature, it did not resist so badly, ah! She could not understand, so she approached again with the thermometer. This time, she had not even touched the leopard's body when it quickly darted forward, turning to not exert any weight on his injured leg, and swiped at Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu's hand, forcing the thermometer from her hand.
The small leopard stood before her in a single breath. He gnashed his teeth together, grumbling angrily, and glared up at her like a tiger watching his prey.
Looked a little like he were about to fly into a rage due to humiliation.
Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu sat cross-legged under the tree, the leopard standing before her, his huge eyes glaring hollowly.
Half the day later, Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu tilted her head and was finally able to understand the situation a little, "You. . . you do not like to take your temperature?"
The cub shifted his line of sight to the thermometer lying in the grass, and his expression was awfully expressive.
Well then, he did not like it, Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu presumed. The little one was undoubtedly feverish, but since he refused to take his temperature, she would first use alcohol to cool him down.
Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu dipped some cotton in alcohol but began to feel awkward.
Using alcohol to wipe the paws would be helpful, but would he let her touch him after such a reaction?
She reached out to scratch the leopard's chin like she usually did with her cat at home.
The little leopard did not move but his dark eyes turned to the cotton in Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu's hand.
"This is sterilized cotton dipped in alcohol. It can help cool down the fever you have right now. . ." Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu was unsure why, when confronted with this pair of all-knowing eyes, she always couldn't help but want to explain.
The leopard did not resist this time. She did not know if he could understand her words, or had lost his last traces of strength.
Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu held him in her arms, careful to avoid the wound, and propped all four of his limbs out one by one to rub each paw a little.
A feline's paw pads were pink, and this little leopard was no exception.
The cub's left fore paw had a brown scar in the middle of the paw pad, almost like cutting through the palm of the hand.
The scar was long and deep, very eye-catching, and had to have been from a severe injury.
Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu restrained her desire to touch, telling herself that this leopard was very easy to provoke unlike her cat at home.
Even if he was hurt, he could easily kill her if unhappy.
Finished rubbing the alcohol, Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu took out a towel and watched it in the river.
It was autumn now, and the stream was cool. It was not as effective as ice, but it was better than nothing.
Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu stacked the wet towel on the leopard's stomach, then every ten minutes took it to the stream to wash again.
After all this work, Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu was able to rest at long last.
This morning, again, she did not eat breakfast, ran for two hours in fear, then was occupied with treating the leopard. She was bound to feel hungry.
Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu turned to bury her head in her backpack, stealthily looking through the food stored in her space.
She still felt incredible but was slowly coming to accept this setting. If she didn't have the space, she might have slept under the tree last night and been bitten to death by some wild animal.
She took inventory of the supplies in her space and found that aside from what she had seen previously, there were an additional two bags of rice, two bags of flour, five boxes of instant noodles, five boxes of milk, ten cases of mineral water, several bags of beef jerky, two boxes of Dove chocolate, and two Snickers bars. There was frozen beef and seafood as well, more ice cubes, and a variety of dried fruits and nuts. . .
Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu noticed that even after a night, the ice used to preserve the beef had not melted at all. The seafood, too, was still a fresh color. It looked like this was a natural cold storage.
Time seemed to pass slowly in the space, so she did not have to worry about the expiration or deterioration of goods.
There were other articles of use there to inventory.
Various flavorings like oil, salt, soy sauce and vinegar were all there along with pots and pans, a gas stove, and a barbecue rack. There were binoculars and sunglasses, sunscreen, shampoo and shower gel, quick-drying towels and several mugs. . . Her classmates really had brought an assortment of things, Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu even brought out a selfie stick to her surprise.
Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu ordered her things carefully then returned everything but a bag of jerky, a pack of cereal, two cartons of milk, and a pack of instant noodles to her space.
She took a small pot and went to the stream to fill it halfway with water. She then took out the gas stove and placed the pot on top, twisted it on and a pale blue flame rose.
Soon, she could hear the boiling water in the pot.
Lying quietly beside her, the young leopard raised his eyes to stare silently at the stove, his gaze faint and claws digging into the earth.
Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu was completely unaware.
Jǐ-fù (formal father) was an outdoor enthusiast and kept a lot of sports and outdoor equipment at home, so Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu was not unfamiliar with these. Once the water was boiled well, she ripped open the noodles and poured them into the boiling pot, adding seasoning, then stirring it with chopsticks.
Taking advantage of the time it took to cook, she cut open a milk cartoon and drank a little. She poured the cereal into the milk and placed it in front of the leopard.
"You are injured, drinking more milk will help heal you. There is also beef jerky, while I cut it into pieces, you can eat." Spending two days without talking to people, Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu could only face the leopard and chatter on and on. She was a bit admired with her ability to adapt.
The cub drank a carton yesterday so he did not resist and shifted his gaze from the stove, drinking his milk.
Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu also opened a box for herself, and she drank two. The meal was more or less finished, so she turned off the stove.
Yesterday, she had only eaten two chocolates all day, and now she could eat a hot meal. Although it was simple, she was very satisfied with it.
She looked over and saw the leopard also eating and her heart gave a little stutter.
The beef jerky bag was torn to pieces and everything inside was eaten clean.
Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu was anxious about the smell of food attracting the wolves, so she quickly went to the stream to clean the pot, then put it and the stove back into her bag. The stove was not very large, even if stuffed into the bag it would not seem too surprising, so she did not avoid the little leopard.
The leopard looked at Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu's small and compact shoulder bag.
For a short while, he shifted his eyes towards the busily working girl.
Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu would not find a place to throw away the rubbish, and she should not readily toss it into the forest, so she dug a pit and carefully buried the milk cartons and bags under the soil.
She wiped the sweat off her cheek with her hand, leaving behind a smear of dirt on her face.
She realized this and went to the stream to wash her face. With her long lashes heavy with drops of water, her bright and clear eyes, porcelain skin and smooth face, her entire body was delicate.
Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu returned to the little leopard with rosy cheeks to find him blinking at her.
The little leopard retreated a few steps nonchalantly and shifted his line of sight away from her.
Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu removed the towel from his stomach and touched his paw pad. The temperature was lower, so giving him the medicine later should not be a problem.
Across the stream was a towering mountain range that stretched straight for the skies.
Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu remembered that she had fallen from the mountains, so climbing up there should bring her back to a place she was familiar with.
She had intended to go up the mountain right after dealing with the little leopard's wound, but when she looked down at her watch, it was already 2 o'clock in the afternoon.
If she went up now, by the time she reached the top, it would already be in the wee hours of the morning.
There was no one at the peak at that time, so it was no safer than here.
After considering her possibilities, Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu decided to stay here for another night and set off early in the morning.
Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu held the leopard in her arms and looked at the brook in front of her.
This rapid river was sandwiched between the forest and the mountains. If you wanted to reach the other side, you would have to cross the creak.
She picked up a dried branch off the shore and explored the depth of the water. Comparing it to her leg, it was not all that deep and just barely reached her calf.
Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu wore wide bottom pants and effortlessly rolled them up to the calf. Carrying the cub with her, she slowly crossed to the other side.
The opposite bank also had a primitive forest, but the trees were gentler and not as arrogant or despotic as the others.
Here the sun shone brightly over the lush verdant, and it made one feel carefree and untroubled.
Further more, Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu was happy to see several familiar trees here.
Inclined ahead were several Chinese Fir, to the left was a stretch of Ash, the further in there were Camphor, Oak and Birch trees. . .
She saw something she was familiar with at long last!
Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu was therefore even more convinced that she would find her classmates and teacher when she climbed to the top of the mountain.
But, Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu had not lost her reason and walked for more than an hour to find a hill that wasn't too low. Concealed here by leafy trees and backed by the mountains, most wild animals would not find this place. They could rest here tonight.
At five o'clock, Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu gave the leopard another dose of anti-inflammatory medicine and fed it some more milk, cereal and jerky. because of her late lunch, she was not very hungry and only drank a carton of milk. From her space, she retrieved her sleeping bag and settled to wait for "dark".
At half past six, the forest plunged into darkness right on time.
Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu still could not comprehend the natural phenomenon here, but she forced herself not to think about it any longer. Turning to look at the leopard beside her, she found him already asleep. She watched him in thought for a little while then took a knitted blanket from her space and covered him up.
The night sky was covered in thick clouds and there was not a star in the sky.
Early the next morning, when the sky had only just returned to brightness, the leopard opened his eyes and saw that the sleeping bag had disappeared. The blanket and milk carton were also gone.
Even Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu had disappeared completely.
The striped leopard slowly rose to his feet and looked at where Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu had been lying the night before. He suddenly remembered his injured leg and turned to look.
The top of the gauze was clean, it looked like it had been changed that morning, and was tied with a dazzling bow as always.
The leopard stared fixedly for a moment, then slowly turned his gaze away afterwards. He licked his teeth and walked towards the depths of the forest at his own pace.