Chapter 61 – An Acrobatic Cat
According to Jian Nan’s recommendations, Xijing was the heart of communication and trade from the North to South in Qiliang Country. With both water ways and land routes, it was a venerable destination for business exchange everyday. The sight of many merchants throwing out thousands of gold was a commonplace, which has led to it to become a very bustling city. The people’s living standards also seem to be comparatively high, therefore making it a lively place with many market transactions.
In an ordinary town or village, only on the 15th of every month would it be so lively, but at Xijing, this was a scene frequently seen. Everyday was very busy and bustling here. There were four main streets, of the four, the eastern street was where the officials and soldiers assembled, and had high gates and a lofty extravagance all around. The western street was where the rich and luxurious people assembled, their houses were extravagantly and expensively decorated, as well as always fighting to appear the grandest, the two most famous restaurants were also located here. The southern street was the residency area for the common folks, it was near the river, had a busy canal, included many blush and rouge shops, medicine shops, and silk fabric stores. The northern street was the residency area for the poor people, it had some very interesting features like, the various entertainer and troupes that juggled and performed miscellaneous skills, and as long as they paid their protection fees, they were free to perform and make money, there were also many tanghulu venders as well as other little businesses.
Within these theatrical groups and troupes, Shao Zhong’s martial arts was considered quite good for a young demon, but he however, lacks creativity and imagination, thus his performances had a shortage of fanciness to it. It was not fun to look at, at all, and plus, he was still a child, so he could not get more than a few copper coins.
Because of today’s performance, myself and the two odd jobbers Jian Nan and Luo Luo, had to painstakingly revise our strategies.
In the lively Northern Street, there were ongoing bursts of drum beats, waves of applause, and the voices of sales…..
On my left hand side was a little monkey dressed in colorful clothing, and from a performers drum beats, it kept somersaulting, making funny faces, and was even able to perform with a hoola hoop, which won bursts of applause and a ground full of coins.
On my right hand side was a playful dog, the little dog was also wearing colorful clothing. From the owner’s calls, it performed simple calculations, walked upright, bowed, and did tricks with a ball. This had also won bursts of applause and a ground full of coins.
In between the monkey and the dog, I had turned into a cat dressed in colorful clothing and my tail hung a bell. As I gracefully sat on a tall chair, I sadly looked across to see the Shao Zhong that has only earned a little bit of coins. I gave another glance to the animals that had been dressed very hideously, and my heart felt depressed. It was not easy to jumping off of the chair and running away, I could not throw away the dignity of the cats any longer…..
Shao Zhong seeing my unease, he whispered to my ears, “If we do not complete the task, we would lose even more face when we return.”
My fur hid away my burning cheeks, with my head dipped low, I silently agreed to his suggestion.
Anyhow, it’s good that the people do not know me here…..but if we return to the school, then everyone would recognize me…..and Bi Qingshen Jun, Jin Wen, Wawa and them would disappointed…..both are so humiliating, but it’s best to select first one.
With my low self-esteem, I raised my head up, and said to Shao Zhong, “Let’s get started.”
When Shao Zhong saw me nod my head, he immediately picked up the gongs and drums, and began to beating loudly to attract the attention of the crowd. Jian Nan used demonic arts to transform into a man with a sturdy looking appearance to mix in with the crowd and was ready to take iniative in cheering and applauding. And using the same demonic arts, Luo Luo who had to conceal her red pupils was beside me as the little monkey. Her face was flushed red, and she didn’t seem to want to come, and made it look as if I wasn’t the one in humiliation, but her instead!
Seeing that more and more people were surrounding us, Shao Zhong cleared his throat and loudly called out, “Sirs, Uncles and Aunties, and Grannies and Misses passing by, you all mustn’t miss this opportunity! Here, I have the newest and most amazing performance in the world! I will bet you all that you have never seen anything like it before! If you miss this chance to see, then you will forever regret!”
The people were whispering and talking, and Shao Zhong timely and cleverly opened his mouth to say, “You all must be thinking, what kind of new performance? Well, if this is not new to you all, then I will personally let you all beat me!”
“Yes! If it’s not good then we will beat you!” Several people yelled out, and after their words had fallen, the scene became more lively, and even more people had surrounded us.
Shao Zhong’s face had a big smile, he paused for a moment, waited until it was quiet, and then shouted, “Xijing is a bustling and lively place, there are various and many tricks and performances one after another, and you have all seen many marvelous performances, but…..have you seen a cat do acrobatics?”
“A cat can also do acrobatics?! This isn’t a lie right?” It was Jian Nan that lead the curiosity among the crowd, he continued to shout, “I have seen monkeys and dogs and pigs that can do acrobatics, but a cat is different from a human, so how can it do acrobatics?”
“Yeah! Yeah!” Other people also followed and jeered.
Shao Zhong came towards me, took out some already prepared props and a whip, and then winked at me.
As of now, I was scratching my head, and as a looked up, using a sweet and loud voice, I let out a long call, “Meow woo~~”
All around us suddenly burst into laughter. There were also many young ladies as well as single ladies who rushed to praise and asked in confusion,
“This cat looks really cute~”
“Will it listen to commands?”
When Shao Zhong heard these words, he waved his whip, and ordered me, “Miao Miao, come down.”
According to the arrangements made yesterday, I would obediently jump down from the chair, and then roll on the ground to expose my white and fluffy belly and my cute and pink paw pads. Then I would use my most whiny voice, and call out a few times.
“Is this all your tricks?” Jian Nan from the crowd shouted, “Show us some more and impress this uncle here.”
Shao Zhong lashed his whip again, and ordered, “Stand up, and greet everyone!”
Using my two legs, I struggled to support myself up from the ground, and slowly, I circled around in a circle for the crowd. And while walking around and around, I nodded towards them, winning some laughter. There were also some audience who could not help but touch my head a few times. The me that hated the touch from unfamiliar people could only endure and suffer in silence, I did not care much about these guys.
Copper coins began to fall and scatter on the ground, and Shao Zhong with a content face went to pick them up. But as I gave the ground a glance, I noticed it was far less than the amount we needed to pass.
So we had to raise the difficulty of our performance, and under Shao Zhong’s commands, I performed simple calculations from one to ten, did somersaults, and also caught a ball that was thrown in mid air…..In short, anything that a dog was able to do, anything that a monkey was able to do, I was able to do them all…..just that the pig’s high diving into water, I did not try.
More and more people came to view our performance, with our performance and Jian Nan’s cheers and broadcast, we stole the limelight from of all the performers in the area. The copper coins were growing and growing, and Shao Zhong’s smile were so genuine they began to conceal his eyes.
All of a sudden, a dog’s lanky owner beside us suddenly exclaimed, “What is the point in a cat performing? And with only that level of difficulty! Come! Come! Come! Over here, the performance where our dog will jump over flaming hoops is about to begin! It’s guaranteed to be of high difficulty and high expertise! We will make sure that your eyes won’t even have a chance to blink!”
A small number of people were responsive to the commotion, and seemed to want to go over there. Shao Zhong suddenly became anxious, so from out of nowhere, he conjured up a small iron hoop, and then loudly shouted, “Our cat can also jump over flaming hoops! The difficulty is even higher and will be even more amazing!”
After he finished speaking, he quietly lit the hoops with magic, and with a smile, he said to me, “Miao Miao~ Quickly jump~ Quickly jump~”
I stared at the flaming hoop in which a cat could barely fit through, thought of how in the past, I was burned by the Samadhi fire, and then stared at everyone that was giving me support to jump over the flaming hoop. The last strands of sanity in my head had been broken, and this cat had began to collapse…..