After leaving Fan Zilan, I missed him a bit. I missed the pine flower cake he made. I missed his gentleness when he combed my hair. I missed his warmth when he slept next to me.
I picked up a cat from the street. I wanted to sleep with it in my arms, but it scratched me fiercely. It’s wild eyes glared at me provocatively. I got so angry that I threw it away. No one could be compared to Fan Zilan. That weird brat. While I was thinking, the corners of my mouth unconsciously went up. Did he really go take the imperial exam?
The days of a fox passed quickly. Even I didn’t remember how many years had passed. Fan Zilan didn’t found me again. Because this time, I didn’t give him the opportunity. The god of dreams often reported to me about Fan Zilan. “He’s searching for you in Changan.”
I went to Jiangnan.
“He’s searching for you in Jiangnan.”
I went to Xiyu.
“He isn’t searching for you anymore.”
The god of dreams saw me raise my eyebrow in surprise. “He’s studying. He wants to participate in the triennial provincial imperial exam.”
“Oh…” “I was just joking, he took it so seriously.”
The god of dreams didn’t know whether he should laugh or cry.
“Then, I will enter his dream and tell him.”
I said, “No need.” I paused and said, “Perhaps that brat could really become the highest ranked at the imperial exam.”
I didn’t know how much time had passed again. One day, I was passing time in a teahouse, when I accidentally heard people talking about the new highest ranked at the imperial exam Fan Zilan. They said that Fan Zilan was very talented. The moment he opens his mouth, essays would come out. They said that Fan Zilan lived humbly and was single. They also said that Fan Zilan was an introvert and didn’t like to go out.
I got angry. That brat didn’t go out; how would he marry the wife he likes? I better go visit him. Fan Zilan’s residence was decreed. An empty big mansion. There were flowers and trees here and there. Only outside Fan Zilan’s study were bamboo trees planted. They swayed in the night wind. The sounds of the wind didn’t stop.
I stood outside his window. Suddenly I was a bit afraid. What should I be afraid off? I mocked myself. I’m a fox. He is a human. I could eat him in one gulp.
I tiptoed. I poked a hole into the window paper and looked inside. Inside the room, the light was like a bean. Fan Zilan sat in front of the table with a brush in his hand and he was painting. What was he painting? I got curious and went a bit closer. Ha…look at that cloud hairstyle, that playful gaze and a smile on the mouth. Wasn’t that me?
“You painted the nose in a crooked angle,” I reminded him good-heartedly.
Fan Zilan froze as if he had been hit by lightening. He slowly rose his head and faced me. I blinked. He didn’t blink. Suddenly, he threw the brush down, climbed on the table and pushed the window open. He was flustered. He jumped. I was afraid that he would break his legs. I quickly supported him.
Fan Zilan hugged me. He buried his head in my neck and vaguely called, “Shuang Shuang. Shuang Shuang, you came back.”
I was hugged so tightly by him that I almost couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes.
“Who is called Shuang Shuang? It’s more appropriate to call (me) grandmother.”
He held me while he cried and laughed.
“Three years. It had been three years. Shuang Shuang, you’re so heartless.”
It had only been three years. Did this brat have to be like this? However, he is a human. A fox sister in Qiang city once said, “A human’s heart is something we, foxes would never understand.” I thought she was very right.
Fan Zilan led me inside the room.
“I made the pine flower cake you love the most. Come quickly and have a taste.”
When I heard the three words ‘pine flower cake’, I immediately became happy. I even forgot to reprimand him. I sat on the bed, hugged a huge bowl of pine flower cake and devoured ravenously.
Fan Zilan sat at a side and looked at me. I couldn’t understand his gaze.
“You’re so heartless,” he said again.
I touched my mouth and said, “Why are you like a sorrowful (complaining) wife?”
He said, “You wrote on that piece of paper saying that you will come see me on the day I become the highest ranked at the imperial exam. I already became the highest ranked at the imperial exam for a month. You only came now.”
“What piece of paper?”
I couldn’t remember what I wrote. So, I acted confused to the end. Fan Zilan looked once angrily at me and took out an exquisite pouch. He opened it and took out an ugly piece of paper. He put the piece of paper in my hand.
“How can you still deny?”
I looked at it and vaguely got an impression. It really seemed like those ugly words I wrote. It was tough on him to still keep it.
“You have to know that a fox never keeps its words.”
I took a bite of the cake.
“It was already very great that I remembered to come see you.”
Displeasure appeared on his face. “You will leave?”
“Could it be that you want me to stay here and keep you company,” I said smilingly.
Fan Zilan stared at me. Suddenly, he grabbed my hand.
“Then, take me with you.”
I broke free from his grasp, took a cake and put it in my mouth.
“Do you still think you’re a five-year-old boy? You already became the highest ranked at the imperial exam. Why are you still so effeminate? Aiya, it’s so shameful.”
He said, “It was you who told me to become the highest ranked at the imperial exam.”
I guided patiently, “Wasn’t that all for your own good?”
“I’m not good (fine) at all.”
Fan Zilan looked at me. His mood was bleak and depressed. He held my hand and said once again, “These past three years I haven’t been fine at all.”