Gentle Beast 26

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【开至荼蘼 - Opening of the Tea Millet】

The snow capped mountains had little sign of habitation. Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu walked for two hours, but felt more and more as if something wasn't right.

When she had been thrown out of her space yesterday, there had been many small animals nearby. The ferrets, sparrows, mink rats. . . they all foraged for food and left myriad of footprints in the snow.

But now, not only has she not seen an animal,  she hasn't seen any more footprints either.

Looking around, she found that hers were the only ones.

Was the weather too cold for them to come out?

Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu thought it wasn't without possibility. With the weather so cold, it was only her, homeless, wandering around.

Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu took a deep breath, wrapped her clothes tighter around her, and continued moving forward.

To keep warm, she had put on all the warm clothes she had but she was still rather cold and numb, her lips purple.

A layer of snow was frozen on her eyelashes, and she could not see the road ahead. Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu dared not to rub them, in fear of their roots falling off, and she bowed her head to bury it in Ryan's neck.

Ryan's body temperature was higher than hers, and soon the lashes began to melt.

She blinked and rubbed at his fur lightly, brushing off the melted snow, and asked, "Táo Táo, are you cold?"

The girl's cold cheek was pressed to his skin, and Ryan did not utter a sound.

Animals had a thicker coat of warm fur which was much harder than hers.

Not to mention she had even put him inside her clothes to keep him warm. She fended off most of the cold for him.

. . .

She had done much more than was required.

Ryan silently looked at the girl in such close proximity. Her skin that was usually porcelain white was even more white now, almost transparent.

He thought, was she this kind to all without even a hint of reservation?

After a long time, Ryan took his eyes from her face and closed his eyes, letting her hold him to keep warm.

Walking still, Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu finally saw a snow squirrel.

The little squirrel stood not too far away, with a short-clawed paw holding tight to a pine cone, looking at them both blankly.

Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu's mood relaxed a little.

It turned out there were other living things here. It wasn't just her alone!

She was about to go say hi to the little guy when she made a single step and the small critter suddenly tossed the pine cone and with a grumble of his stomach fled into the distance.

Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu stared distractedly at the place it had been, "??"

She didn't look like an aggressive beast, so why did the squirrel run when it saw her?

Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu remembered before, reading in a book, that the abnormalities in animal behavior was often the harbinger of disaster to come.

A disaster on the mountain. . . was there going to be an avalanche?

Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu's heart filled with horror, and she looked up at the mountain. The sun was shining and the snow capped mountains were quiet, so unlike an avalanche.

But. . . afraid, Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu took out her compass just in case and determined her direction, wanting to leave as soon as possible.

The compass had a brass mirror and Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu's thumb pressed along the edge. She inadvertently looked at it and when she saw the image in the mirror, she went stiff.

The mirror clearly reflected the outline of a beast with dark fur, powerful limbs, and it wasn't very far away.

Pale yellow eyes stared fiercely at her, full of aggression.

It wasn't in human form, but rather a true black panther.

Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu dropped the compass to the ground in surprise.

In that moment, her mind blanked and became incredibly clear.

No wonder there were no small animals along the way, and no wonder that squirrel saw her and ran. . .

Not an avalanche, but——

Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu forced herself to remain calm and stooped to pick up the compass, but she trembled uncontrollably.

——How had Laurence caught up?

How long had he been following her? Since when?

A series of questions filled her mind, and Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu could not think normally.

Both her hands were sweaty and she held the compass tightly, a little overwhelmed.

What to do?

Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu seamlessly picked up her pace and stepped behind a large rock, backed by a cliff, distraught.

Last time, she and Táo Táo hid in her space to escape calamity, could they go in now too?

Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu forced herself to calm, then closed her eyes and tried to "put" herself into her space. She tried twice, but it bore no fruit.

She was still there, no change.

Last time was an accident, but no matter how many times she tried again, it was of no use.

*

Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu finally gave up, no longer wasting her time, intending to escape.

However, she took one step forward and there was a pair of yellow eyes facing her head on.

Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu was surprised and stepped back repeatedly.

She didn't know when Laurence came up and stood on the other side of the stone, still maintaining his beast-like appearance.

"Where are you going?" the panther stared at her, his mouth closed.

Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu's legs went soft and she almost fell to the ground. This was the first time she was seeing a talking panther, and the experience was not pleasant at all.

The panther stepped forward one after another, and Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu retreated one after another.

Laurence's claws gouged into the ground, and with each step, the snow sagged an inch.

His eyes were precise and they locked on Ryan.

Yesterday, they had disappeared without a trace, and he had spent great effort in figuring out their whereabouts. This time, he would not let them go.

Laurence's limbs contracted, then he jerked forward in a sudden leap towards Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu!

Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu body hurled backward in panic.

There was only a slope behind her, and one foot came upon empty air. Her body felt light all of a sudden and she could not react fast enough, her entire body rolling down.

She unconsciously folded her body to protect the leopard in her arms.

While rolling down the mountainside, Táo Táo was unharmed, but her back, hands and feet were knocked around by stones.

Especially her ankle, the pain was intense, and it was likely sprained.

Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu stood up unbalanced and her arms suddenly loosened, tumbling Ryan out of her embrace.

His blue eyes were indifferent, and he stared straight at Laurence.

Laurence also looked down at him on the hillside.

One young leopard and one adult, not only was their size different but for strength. . . it need not be spoken aloud.

Seeing Ryan's back bow, ready to strike, as if to fight Laurence alone, Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu hurried to grab Ryan's body, "Táo Táo, no. . . you are not his opponent, you'll only be killed by him!"

Ryan struggled in her arms. His dignity as a leopard would not allow him to hide in the bosom of a female like a coward.

He growled in a fit of anger.

Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu held tight and refused to let him go, watching Laurence approach. Her heard pulsed and she closed her eyes, quickly putting Ryan into her space.

She had no way to hide there, but Táo Táo could.

She must keep him safe.

*

Once again, Laurence watched Ryan disappear from under his nose.

——Because of that female.

Laurence's eyes sank, looking at Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu full of anger. Furious, he jumped.

Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu endured the pain to stand up, and stumbled to turn and flee.

Helpless, a human's legs could not be compared to a leopard's limbs. Not to mention her left ankle was sprained.

She did not get very far. Laurence caught up and pushed Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu down, pressing her down with his weight.

Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu's forehead heavily knocked against the stone, and her brain rang with a buzzing sound.

At the same time, Laurence flipped her over and pressed against her throat, "Female. Hand over Ryan."

That hit just now was too strong and she did not hear his words, struggling to ask, ". . .Who?"

Laurence's tail wrapped around her neck, and he coldly said, "Ryan. Hand him over."

"Ryan", that word, so clearly articulated, impacted her eardrums.

". . ."

Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu laid in a daze on her stomach, her consciousness finally aware.

Why did he keep mentioning "Ryan"?

That "Ryan" from his mouth. . . could he mean her Táo Táo?

Thinking such, Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu shook her head, lying, "I do not know him. . . I have nothing to do with him."

Whether or not it was true, she would not give him her cub.

Unfortunately, that panicked tone and unsteady gaze, Laurence easily understood it was a lie.

Needless to say, he had just watched her "hide" Ryan.

Laurence's anger escalated, his eyes reaching the point of freezing, and his tail around her throat suddenly tightened.

He roared, "Stupid——female!"

The panther's patience was exhausted and he no longer dealt with the girl.

Claws extended like razor blades, Laurence raised his paw and brought it to her abdomen, fiercely stabbing——

Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu's body went stiff, and she put a hand at her stomach, grasping it carefully.

She wanted to raise her head, but her neck was tightly held, and she could not move.

Scarlet blood seeped from the girl's belly, flowing under her, quickly dying the snow below.

Laurence increased his strength, clawing deeper into her body, then jerked them free, blood splashing like a flower.

Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu shook in convulsions, without the strength to even cry out.

Her throat tasted sweet, and she wanted to cough but she couldn't, a mouthful of blood choking in her throat as tears flowed from her eyes.

. . .

It hurt so much. . .

Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu covered the injury with her hands, blood gushing forth in streams, but it was too big to cover.

Blood flowed out a great distance on both side of her like the fast growing tea millet.

In the middle of the flower, deep inside, the girl's life slowly began to pass.

Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu looked at this dome of blood and could not help but feel cranky.

This time, she really was going to die. . .

When she died, would she return to her world?

Jǐ Xiǎo Ōu closed her eyes in exhaustion. But in her sleepiness, she heard an abrupt roar.

Like it was coming from a distance.

But also so close to her ears.

Shortly thereafter, a slender but swift beast leaped over her head.

Gray-black spots, a gigantic body, and a thick tail trailing after it.

——The beast flew at Laurence from a distance, two claws tightly grasping the panther's shoulders, and dark blue eyes stared at him with indifference. He ground his teeth, exposing a ferocious anger in his expression.

End Chapter 26 of 77

20 comments:

  1. thank you for the update.

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  2. Just want her to go back to her world for her safety... Thanks for this chapter.

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    1. I know the feeling! But at the same time, I want to see how the squishy human goes up against all the beasts. Such a conundrum. . . You're welcome!

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  3. Meatbun Delivery~
    Thank you for the chapter ( ●w●)

    Little Tao Tao grew up so fast.. *wipes tear*
    😂
    Go TaoTao! Beat that baddies real good!

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    1. By the way, the author mentioned menstruation period of Xiao Ou, i was wondering if there's a line or two about peeing and pooping.. it seems odd that she didn't need to do that for days..

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    2. LOL! No wonder I felt something was a little off. I didn't even really notice that. I haven't seen anything anywhere that even hints at the bathroom aspect of things yet, so who knows?

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  4. Oh my God! He dares hurt our Xiao Ou!! Show him who's boss, Tao Tao! Ahh first auntie, now semi mauled.. the blood loss is strong with this one. SMH.

    PS. Frozen eyelashes.. crap.. that is something I do NOT want to experience lol..

    Thanks for the chapter!!

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    Replies
    1. At least he's back to his original body~! He'll be able to better protect her now. Though, there's probably going to be that awkward phase of "who are you?"

      Eek, yeah. Frozen lashes sound painful.

      You're welcome!

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  5. Go Tao Tao, I choose you! Take down that jerk and show him who's the boss!

    XP thank you for the chapter! - MiniSquirt

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    1. Is that a pokemon reference I spy there? <3 <3 <3

      You're welcome~!

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  6. thanks!
    -sobs for ou- no--- boo lawrence! go and die! finally, ryan went back to normal form again!!?

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    1. You're welcome!
      And I know, right!? It was so sad. I'm still having trouble translating the chapters here.

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    2. yeah, i really felt bad for Ou, taken away fro her family into a strange world and being in danger...poor girl...
      all the best to translating!

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    3. Yeah, but at least she's doing really good with the survival thing!

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    4. that's right, she is! well, having a space also helps!

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  7. Ouch... imagining her being stabbed is just ouch...
    Thanks for the chapter

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