Chapter 43: A loyal friend (Part One)
“It sounds like cat jackals. We’ve stayed here a bit too long and drew them out!”
When Ouyang Hongye spoke, countless green eyes appeared in the forest as a large group of cat jackals surrounded them in the clearing. As he had described, the cat jackals had brown hair, small cat heads and strong jackal bodies; their yells sounded like a cat’s but much shriller. When they howled, they revealed pointed sharp teeth which shined chillingly under the moonlight. The leader was multiple times bigger than the others, looking like a fierce tiger.
“We must stick together. They’re apt to pounce on lone prey. These creatures are very good at group attacks and move very fast. They are tough to deal with!”
They followed his instruction and stood back to back; summoning their weapons, they were ready to battle. The hungry beasts were good hunters in this place and greatly outnumbered their prey. After surrounding their prey, some of them would attack suddenly and retreat to be replaced by others, so they could launch attacks continuously.
“They are as tenuous as those feeder death ghosts.” Wangyue was frustrated by their continuous attacks.
“They must be starved. They’re so persistent!” Fenghuo got restless, too.
“They are as passionate about food as you’re.” Ouyang Hongye didn’t know how many attacks he had blocked.
The cat jackals were more intelligent than they looked. Soon, they found Xia Qiu was the weakest one and launched more attacks on her. Ouyang Xiaoleng shielded her and Qianqi shot Godly Dragon Fire Arrows at the cat jackals pouncing on him and Xia Qiu.
As they fought, familiar shrieks came from the sky and pierced the dense canopy. Immediately Ouyang Hongye recognized the shrieks; they came from the Black Lion Eagle Beast. He wondered if Little Nan was among them since there were more than one. He hoped they were not other predators who had smelled their scent.
As he thought, a pair of huge black wings blocked the sky above their heads and two huge sharp claws caught two cat jackals which were pouncing at him. They were brought into high sky and then thrown down; after crashing to the ground, the two cat jackals died with a few screams.
It was Little Nan who had come to their rescue with its companions. Ouyang Hongye recognized it in one glance; it had grown bigger in the last couple of days, but its eyes were as innocent as before.
Little Nan and its companions hovered above the forest and issued warning to the cat jackals, but the cat jackals didn’t heed it; the leader was poised to attack Ouyang Hongye again. Little Nan dived down in a beautiful arc and caught the cat jackal leader with its sharp claws. It flapped its wings and flew up high in the sky before throwing the cat jackal to the ground. With a shrill scream, the cat jackal twitched a few times and spat out blood; then it died. Some cat jackals ran up to avenge their leader but were killed by Little Nan and its companions with the same method. Scared by the sight, the other cat jackals fled in screams.
“The cowards abandoned their leader and fled. Your big cat with wings is more loyal than those creatures,” Fenghuo said with two big axes in his hands.
“Your big pet is so loyal!” Wangyue looked up at the Black Lion Eagle Beasts soaring in the sky and commented, “It’s been guarding you and came to your rescue with its friends.”
“Little Nan!” Ouyang Hongye called out to the sky.
Little Nan answered him with its piercing shrieks and landed on the ground before him. It shook off twigs and leaves off its body and nudged its head against his hand like a child who was waiting to be praised for something well done.
He patted its head gently and praised it, “Good child! Good child!”
Happy grumbles came from its belly.
Only Ouyang Hongye could tame a Black Lion Eagle Beast; he could charm both people and animals, reaching their hearts with his innate gentleness.
Little Nan’s friends hovering in the sky called out to it. Hearing their calls, it nudged its body against Ouyang Hongye and flew up into the sky again.
Ouyang Hongye knew that it had found its friends or even followers since the others seemed to trust it. With Little Nan’s lead, the others wouldn’t fall into darkness as their kind usually did; instead, they’d become simple and happy fairies. He was so happy for his Little Nan.
After the fight, they began to walk out of the Golden Firefly Maple Forest; they still couldn’t see the end of it, but Ouyang Hongye estimated they’d soon get out of the forest. Little Nan flew above their heads with its companions as their bodyguards and didn’t leave until they were out of the forest.
They were relieved when they came out of the forest. Despite the incident with the cat jackals, they couldn’t forget the dreamy view of thousands of fireflies flying through the maple trees. Ouyang Xiaoleng and Xia Qiu were still joyous about the plum flower pattern formed by the fireflies; this view was engraved onto their minds just like their images had been engraved in each other’s heart.
Qianqi wasn’t a sensitive guy, but even he could sense the chemistry between Ouyang Xiaoleng and Xia Qiu even though they seldom talked; the air between them was so sweet that Qianqi felt sick about it. He detested it and wished he had met Xia Qiu earlier than Ouyang Xiaoleng did. Then he’d keep her by his side resolutely, unlike Ouyang Xiaoleng who was still indecisive and hesitant about their relationship. But Qianqi didn’t want to admit defeat and thought he still had a chance. Xia Qiu was more in sync with Ouyang Xiaoleng because she met him earlier; Qianqi thought he’d have more weight in her heart if he worked harder. At this thought, he smiled and squeezed between Ouyang Xiaoleng and Xia Qiu, talking and laughing with them.
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