Sui Yuan is treated like a valued guest in Liu Mingzhou’s house, with the Crystal beast as a playmate; the Nightmare beast as an occasional rival for affection and Liu Mingzhou’s wholehearted doting. Despite it all, Sui Yuan still lost quite a lot of weight, appearing extremely wan and sallow. Still, this shocking transformation does keep in line with his ‘recovery from a grave illness’ act.
No matter how badly Liu Mingzhou might want to take the Samoyed for his own, he has no choice but to acknowledge the dog has another legal owner. After refusing to allow an anxious Wang Yican to see her beloved pet for the third or fourth time, he has to compromise eventually. Thus, he relents, giving her permission to visit his house and take a look at Sui Yuan.
Placing the phone down, Liu Mingzhou glances at the Nightmare and Crystal beast, giving them a single command. “A guest is coming, disguise yourselves as an ordinary cat and rabbit.”
The Nightmare beast swishes its tail reluctantly while the Crystal beast’s long ears tremble faintly. Nonetheless, no matter how much they might oppose it, the two spirit pets obediently follows his order. Evidently, they have already cowered to his authority after interacting with him for a long while, neither daring to throw a tantrum.
Watching as the Crystal beast’s long tail morphs into a bobtail, Sui Yuan sidles up ‘inquisitively’, tugging on the fluffy ball lightly with a paw. Raising his head, he meets Liu Mingzhou’s gaze only for the latter to beam brightly, dark eyes expressing “is it very amusing to continue acting?” clear as day. Sui Yuan deflates instantly, turning his head away in a huff and presenting his butt to the man.
Every day upon waking up, he will always be faced with this man lying in wait, intending on catching Sui Yuan’s pigtails. This pressure he feels is far from ordinary. If he continues down this frightening path, he is certain a nervous breakdown wouldn’t be far away!
Therefore, when Wang Yican arrives at Liu Mingzhou’s house, Sui Yuan becomes so emotionally moved, welcoming her passionately as though she is the Saviour. Throwing himself in her arms with a whine, he licks her face and wags his tail enthusiastically, exerting all his strength to display his hope that his owner will take him home.
Seeing her beloved pet so spirited, Wang Yican can get rid of the weight in her heart at last. Even though Little Snow lost some weight, it is a lot better seeing him so spirited compared to the half-dead state he was in that night. All Wang Yican feels for Liu Mingzhou is deep-seated gratitude.
Watching the loving interaction between Sui Yuan and Wang Yican with cool, calm eyes, the corners of Liu Mingzhou’s mouth is pulled up in a faint smile. However, this smile is piercing and appears somewhat sharp. Naturally, Wang Yican is able to sense this gaze on her, causing her to turn towards her teacher embarrassedly. Due to her joy in seeing her pet again, she was lacking in manners and hurriedly apologises for her poor conduct.
“Many thanks, Teacher Liu, I’ve never seen Little Snow being so lively before!”
“Samoyed dogs require the companionship of their owners,” Liu Mingzhou replies, smile still in place. Stooping down, he rubs the top of Sui Yuan’s head gently, a trace of reproach in his tone. “Since you regularly leave him alone at home, he naturally becomes downcast and can’t bring himself to be active.”
Sui Yuan: …This liar can really spout nonsense without thinking!
Wang Yican startles in alarm, recalling that no matter if she is going to school or on school holiday, she indeed leaves Sui Yuan at home frequently. She can’t help lowering her eyes to stare at the snow-white dog, dark pupils remorseful.
“It’s reasonable to say that as a senior high school student living alone and swarmed with schoolwork like yourself is not suitable to rear pet dogs.” Picking up on Wang Yican’s wavering heart, Liu Mingzhou follows up his victory with another attack. “Not only will it influence your grades by distracting you from your studies, it will cause the young dog to lack care and attention. Presently, your circumstance is still all right. But once you reach your second and third year? Did you think about this?”
“Then…then what should I do?” Small amounts of panic seep into her heart. She can reduce the amount of time she spends going out with friends during the holidays to accompany her pet, but vacation is almost over, so she cannot do anything but leave Sui Yuan at home by himself. What’s even more terrible is there will be revision classes in the evening when she enters the second year, and in the third year, she will most likely board in school. Thinking up until here, Wang Yican feels she wasn’t very responsible when she bought this Samoyed from the store a year ago. It’s just that she fell in love at first sight with the puppy and didn’t consider too far ahead about whether or not she is well-prepared to undertake the duty as an owner of another living being.
As the girl squirms in discomfort, seeking help from him, Liu Mingzhou smiles soothingly, having already manipulated her emotions so his desired outcome will be reached. “What should be done ah…? In the off-chance you don’t have the energy to take care of him, just leave him here with me. I have a cat and a rabbit, but lack a dog.”
“Really?!” Wang Yican perks up instantly, then hesitates. “In this case…would it be an inconvenience to you?”
“No in the slightest.” He reaches over to lift Sui Yuan from her arms, cradling the dog close to his chest and kissing his forehead fondly. “I really like Little Snow. Sometimes, I think how good it would be if he is living in my home.”
A surge of jealousy suddenly hits Wang Yican when she sees the practised interaction between Sui Yuan and her teacher, as though her beloved is being coveted by another and said beloved is about to run away with him. Still, this idea is rather laughable when one has second thoughts about it – isn’t it natural that her pet will be closer to someone who devotes so much attention to it than its irresponsible owner?
Of course, while this is to partially persuade herself, Wang Yican still want to show that she is a good owner who is very concerned about her dog. “That’s right, Teacher Liu, I have already made an appointment with the pet clinic to do a full-body check-up for Little Snow, and see if he has recovered fully. What do you think?”
“Check-up?” Liu Mingzhou freezes, glancing down at Sui Yuan, whose attention remains firmly on the girl even if he is in the man’s arms. A mildly odd smile curves his lips. “Of course, it is necessary. Just in case there are any lingering side-effects from the medicine.”
Obtaining Liu Mingzhou’s permission, Wang Yican smiles happily. “I see Little Snow is more or less recovered, so may I bring him back home with me now?”
“Let me drive you home.” Liu Mingzhou nods, setting Sui Yuan on the floor before throwing on a coat and grabbing his car keys, gesturing for Wang Yican to head out the door.
Sticking close to the girl’s side, Sui Yuan’s heart palpitates excitedly as soon as he sets foot outside the lair of the demon Liu Mingzhou. All he has to do is wait for his full-body check-up to be done, proving he is sound of health, then he can return home with Wang Yican. Is there a finer matter compared to this?
Thus, on the whole journey there, Sui Yuan is in very high spirits. Even the wretched, reluctant look on the Crystal beast’s furry face doesn’t dampen his mood. The only consolidation Sui Yuan gives it is a prominent, apologetic expression.
Seated in the passenger seat, Wang Yican and Liu Mingzhou’s conversation topic never strays from Sui Yuan. Did he give Teacher any difficulties at home these few days? Are there any other pointers to better take care of Samoyeds? And so on. Like a good teacher he is meant to portray, Liu Mingzhou patiently answers each of his student’s questions. But from time to time, the glances he shoots towards Sui Yuan causes the dog’s scalp to go numb, as though the former is pondering over some strange affairs that wouldn’t bode well for the latter.
Like this, in the gradually escalating atmosphere of tense excitement, the car arrives outside the clinic. As Wang Yican talked to the vet over the phone, they are naturally aware Sui Yuan’s grave illness came from catching a cold, so without asking unnecessary questions, the doctor begins to examine Sui Yuan carefully.
Sui Yuan acts like a clever and compliant dog, putting up only the minimum expected resistance when the vet extracts a sample of his blood. Occasionally, he will also act stupid under Liu Mingzhou’s sharp gaze. Due to his well-behaved act, the doctor repeatedly praises him for being docile and obedient – up until said person takes out a mercury thermometer to take his body’s temperature.
Lying on his stomach, Sui Yuan stares at the thermometer in the vet’s hand as they sterilize it, wiping the narrow tip down with Vaseline. It is here that an abrupt sense of bad things to follow arises involuntarily.
“Who is the dog’s owner? Would you mind helping me secure his head and forelimbs to the table? I would like you to both soothe him and ensure he doesn’t move around too much,” The doctor says mildly, glancing between Wang Yican and Liu Mingzhou.
Wang Yican promptly walks forward, following the vet’s request and holding Sui Yuan’s upper body down, placating him with soft, reassuring words. But Sui Yuan is not the least bit comforted as he fixes his eyes on the vet, alarm bells going off in his mind, watching the stranger come to a halt behind him and lifting up his tail.
– Ple – please let me off!!
When the ice-cold tip of the thermometer touches the skin beneath his tail, Sui Yuan’s doggy-mind descends into disarray, subconsciously beginning to struggle. Unprepared for this sudden movement, Wang Yican’s thin arms fail to hold him down. Without giving her any time to recover, Sui Yuan throws her hands off.
The Sui Yuan who absolutely refuses to be poked in the arse – moreover, in the arse by a thermometer!! – doesn’t dare believe humankind is capable of doing such wretched things to a pure and innocent dog! In a public place, in broad daylight, under the gazes of multiple people! Regaining his freedom, Sui Yuan is about to jump down from the table to the floor when he is scooped up by Liu Mingzhou, who has already prepared himself for this possibility.
Believing it is because of her inadequate actions, Wang Yican apologises repeatedly to the doctor, coming forward with the intention of placing her dog back onto the table. However, this time, Sui Yuan refuses to be docile any longer. After fighting Liu Mingzhou’s firm grip for a while, he comes to realise the man doesn’t plan on handing him over. Reassured, he burrows further into Liu Mingzhou’s embrace, hiding his face in the crook of an arm, leaving Wang Yican to stare helplessly at his back.
The Liu MIngzhou who sullenly watched owner and pet being all lovey-dovey in the car is now filled with smug satisfaction as he pats the frightened dog consolingly. Under the two imploring gazes from Sui Yuan and Wang Yican, he chuckles and finally speaks, “Since Little Snow is unwilling, let’s skip rectal thermometry. It would be very dangerous for him if the thermometer is inserted and he struggles too much. Who knows, it might break and be stuck inside. How about taking his underarm temperature instead?”
“Thermometer inserted…”, “stuck inside…” and a few other words enter Sui Yuan’s ears, causing his fur to stand on end. He never knew that being a dog will still force him to encounter such awful things. No, he should say because he is now a dog, these things sound more dreadful than ever!
Reaching adulthood and going into rut will result in castration, falling ill requires a thermometer to be inserted in the rectum…it’s more terrifying being a dog than a human! Humans can fool around with each other all year round without facing the threat of castration! Catching a cold will not require taking temperature by inserting something down there! At this very moment, Sui Yuan can’t help the rising sense of resentment towards humans. He reckons deciding to play the role of a dog is the worst choice he made in his entire life! Worse than anything he experienced before!
5237: “Yiyiyiyi…I made a terrible mistake……light a candle, light a candle, light a candle…”
With Liu Mingzhou interceding on his behalf, Sui Yuan successfully escapes the rectal temperature examination. When he is carried out of the clinic, he appears listless like a limp eggplant, soul already half-expelled from his body due to suffering a heavy strike.
After helping Wang Yican open the passenger’s side door, Liu Mingzhou climbs into the driver’s seat with Sui Yuan held close to his body. As he strokes the snow-white fur, he murmurs lowly, “Now you know how frightening it is for someone with a human’s conscience to be trapped in the body of a dog? Especially when your owner doesn’t know you have the mind of a human, and treats you like an ordinary animal.”
Liu Mingzhou’s fingers worm their way to his chin, lightly scratching the spot there and tilting his head up so their eyes meet. “You ought to know who is the best choice for you, am I right?”
– If you don’t choose me, you will be castrated!
– If you don’t choose me, I will take you back to have your temperature taken again!
This close to each other, Sui Yuan can read every thought that flashes through Liu Mingzhou’s eyes, and every warning bellied beneath the seemingly gentle smile.
Silently lights a candle for himself…