Chapter 31: The Abiding Childhood Memories
Wang Shu’s family lived in a small area just a few hundred meters away from the East Sea City Zoo perpendicularly. When they were young, they often went to the zoo to play and knew it almost like the palms of their hands.
When she grew up, she graduated from university and joined the working forces. Although she had lesser time to visit the zoo, her boyfriend was a lion keeper in the city zoo, named Xu Zhouxian.
Not long ago, Xu Zhouxian told her that the lioness, Huanhuan, whom she had in her earliest memory of the zoo had been abandoned. It was already transferred to a private zoo on the other side of Cape Mountain.
Wang Shu’s feelings were immediately aroused. Before she went to the zoo and met her boyfriend, she already felt that Huanhuan was getting worser with time. Now it was even abandoned. She did not even know what kind of conditions would that zoo provide and what Huanhuan was going to experience in there.
Wang Shu found some old pictures she had taken in the zoo and sent them to her friends’ circle.
“One of my childhood memories is the lioness in the city zoo, Huanhuan. Recently, it was sent to a private zoo called Lingyou to live its aged life. I don’t know if it will live well there.”
Unexpectedly, there were a lot of messages under the topic.
“Oh my God, I remember Huanhuan. I liked it a lot when I was a child.”
“QAQ my happy childhood ah! Where is the zoo? I want to see it!”
“Huanhuan was sent to Lingyou? I’ve been to this zoo before and it’s very good. The environment is good, Huanhuan will love it there! “
“Lingyou? My niece is staying at my house, and last week she’s been shouting for me to take her there…”
“Can we form a group to visit Huanhuan? When I saw it, I thought back to my childhood.”
Having her intentions being repeated by so many people, Wang Shu was even feeling more sentimental. She found her boyfriend and dicussed about visiting Huanhuan. Some friends of her own also had this intention too.
Xu Zhouxian scratched his head: “That is too coincidental. I’ve just organized with several people who care about Huanhuan to go to Lingyou together, so let’s go together. Last week when their director came to our zoo, he told me that our Huanhuan is doing good.”
Now that this situation could be considered to be together from the first beat, Wang Shu made an appointment with some of her friends. They all went to Lingyou Zoo to visit their old childhood friend.
Wang Shu was full of emotions. In her imagination and that of many similar people, Huanhuan was now getting old, no tourists would remember her, but only they would still think of how it had brought them their childhood’s laughter…
Walking into Lingyou Zoo with this feeling, Wang Shu found that there were many people here, but as soon as they spoke, they knew that these people came to see pythons.
The posters pasted in the zoo also informed them that a White Mutant Burmese Python and a Green Tree Python were newly introduced here. There was also a golden Python that was provided by a citizen. There were also nicknames given by netizens, such as White Lady, Xiao Qing, and Fahai. You can see Wang Shu getting 囧.
Previously, Wang Shu thought that this private zoo which she had never heard before would be like those small, dirty, messy and irregular zoos she had seen in the news before. But after Xu Zhouxian and some friends who had been to Lingyou told her, she knew that her thoughts were not correct. But it was only when she really arrived here that she had a clearer idea.
The things here were not only standardized, but it was practically in excellent quality — except for that ugly old office building — it was new and modernized. It was even better than the city zoo by at least some degree. However, it was just not very big.
They first passed through the Reptile Exhibition Zone, which was very crowded. They also saw a group of tourists feeding sparrows, and from time to time there was a whine indicating that their food had been stolen by the sparrows.
But these exclamations were largely accompanied by expected laughter. Some of the people came for feeding because of these hoodlum sparrows.
Wang Shu didn’t like snakes, but she liked birds. Of course, this time she came mainly to see Huanhuan. So Wang Shu’s footsteps were firmly pacing toward the Lion Exhibition Area.
After walking a distance, she even saw a Taoist Priest. Now Wang Shu and her group could not help slowing down their footsteps and watched.
Why were there even Taoist Priests visiting the zoo? East Sea City had a Taoist Temple, so this Taoist Priest should be from Linshui Temple, right?
Wang Shu couldn’t help asking her own doubts: “Why are there Dào Shì here?”
Could it be that Taoist Priests also engaged in animal and science education?
A commuter swore solemnly, “Last week when I went to Linshui Temple to burn incense, I saw an advertisement for Lingyou. The tickets for Linshui Temple and Lingyou could be purchased together. I think they have a collaborative partnership. This Taoist Priest may has came here in order to support the zoo.”
A zoo cooperating with a Taoist Temple? And there was still support included? Hearing this really made one filled with doubts.
—— This Taoist Priest was actually Shao Wuxing who came here to report on his work.
Wang Shu and her party entered the Lion Exhibition Area, where there were few large animals. Although most of the tourists were attracted by the new pythons, there were also some people here who were very happy to see what was in front of the glass wall.
Wang Shu and her group couldn’t see from behind, so Xu Zhouxian led her to the front.
For quite some time, Huanhuan had already merge the cage with the male lion next door. Xu Zhouxian even heard tourists shouting the name of the lions inside— some called for Huanhuan, some called for Lele. Obviously, the name of the male lion was Lele.
Huanhuan lay there and wagged its tail lazily from time to time. Yes, it was lazy, not listless. Its eyes were bright and its hair had magically restored to its luster. Even its fur color was as deep as its former days. If Xu Zhouxian was not familiar with its appearance in the old days, he would not have recognized this new lioness.
Its state of mind and physical condition were not like before where the weak Huanhuan could not even swallow down its food in the city zoo!
As for Lele, it was much more lively than before. It was pouting its butt and wagging its tail with its paws; It was full of curiosity. Lele only spent some time with other lions when it was young. After learning some basic social skills, Lele was then sent to Lingyou Zoo where it spent its time being a hungry teenager before entering adulthood.
Possibly because of this, after merging enclosure with Huanhuan, it had a great interest in Aunt Huanhuan. It often actively interacted with it, hoping to get some responses.
Unfortunately, old Aunt Huanhuan was not in good health at first. It was afraid of the strong lion and always avoided it. Later, it became very cold and did not want to entertain this bear child.
Lele played with its tail before turning to the front mischievously. Its face was then patted by Huanhuan’s paw.
Many tourists laughed when they saw this scene.
Wang Shu was a little dazed at first as this was not what she had expected, but after seeing Huanhuan’s contented appearance, she felt her nose getting sour and wanted to cry.
She had a hunch that she might cry today. She had seen how Huanhuan couldn’t eat when it was in the city zoo. She remembered Huanhuan’s energized appearance was when she came to visit it during her childhood. If she saw the old lioness Huanhuan again today, how could she not cry? But unexpectedly, she saw the Huanhuan spiritedly playing with her companion and this caused her to cry even more.
Wang Shu lay in Xu Zhouxian’s embrace and said tearfully, “I seem to have seen Huanhuan in its childhood…”
Xu Zhouxian was almost driven to tears by this sentence, and he nodded his head forcefully.
After coming out of the Lion Exhibition Area, all the companions who came together had red eyes.
Huanhuan was their common childhood memory. Their moods were very complicated when they learned that Huanhuan had been transferred to another zoo because of its senility.
Now that they had seen how well it was doing and that it even had a little bit of its spirit from its past. How they wished that it would never grow old, just like how it was in their childhood.
Xiao Su opened Weibo and found out that she was being @ again. When she clicked on it, a citizen of the East Sea City mentioned Lingyou Official Weibo and sent out a long Weibo post of hundreds of words with several pictures.
This citizen was one of the people who came with Wang Shu to Lingyou today. After returning home, he was greatly impressed. He found some old photos and sent them to the Weibo together with today’s photos. He described the experience and mental journey of visiting the abandoned and transferred lioness today. He recalled his childhood and mentioned the official Weibo of the local media.
These official blogs had been forwarded. Their followers were mostly the East Sea citizens and many of them still remembered Huanhuan. As such, the article had been forwarded hundreds of times.
East Sea Daily forwarded: Do you remember the lioness in East Sea City Zoo? How many people have taken pictures with it? It’s twenty years old now.
East Sea Micro Life: This editor also went to see Huanhuan when he was a child! I remember hearing about the introduction of a lioness in the city zoo at that time. I was very happy. When I first saw Huanhuan, it was still a little girl, QAQ.
East Sea City News: It’s so touching. Let’s get together and see Huanhuan when we have time. Would it be lonely if it moved house?
Some ordinary citizens had also dug out their old photos, many of whom had taken photos with Huanhuan.
Huanhuan in the photos looked good, but it was obviously old. It was lying down like it was in a state of enjoying its old age.
In this way, it really reminded many citizens of the joy of playing in the city zoo.
“Oh, my God, I’m twenty years old too. I haven’t been to the zoo in my memory. But I just asked my mom, and she said how could there be not. She then found a picture of me when I was three-year-old and the same three-year-old Huanhuan in the same photo.”
“Huanhuan should be the oldest one… I still remember that there was a male lion who died five or six years ago. Now the lions in the city zoo are almost all adults.”
“A few days ago, I went to the city zoo to see the old and new photos, and there are a lot of changes, but there are still some places that look the same. Look at the tree ten years ago and ten years later.”
“I remember Huanhuan, too. The school organized trips and we had to write compositions when we came back. The most impressive animal I wrote was Huanhuan. At that time, Huanhuan was the top ah!”
“The trump card of those years had retired and returned to the village zoo for its aged life…”
This led directly to two situations; one was to run to the city zoo to find their childhood, the other was to run to Lingyou Zoo to see Huanhuan.
Although it was said that Huanhuan was living pleasantly as its body had been restored by the spiritual energy and that it was cohabiting… pretty well with Lele, it was still able to satisfy everyone’s feeling of visiting an old friend.
But it also did not necessary mean that it had to live a miserable life for things to be good. The state of Huanhuan made people thought that East Sea City Zoo was not ‘abandoning’ it because of its old age. Although Huanhuan was really old, it’s just like what the official blog had said; that it was enjoying it old age after retirement and everyone felt happy for it.
The zoo was next to other attractions, so the sales soared without much effort. There were also tourists attracted to the zoo for various reasons. Seeing the steady flow of visitors, Duan Jiaze was in a good mood.
It had been half a month since he last went to Uncle Sun’s house. Duan Jiaze still remembered that he was going to send a golden-retriever puppy to himself. So when Sun Aiping called, Duan Jiaze immediately thought, “Uncle, your Baobao has puppies already?”
Sun Aiping said gloomily, “Don’t mention it. Your aunt is making a scene. She also told her two friends about the little golden retriever and wanted to send the puppies to them. A few days ago, the dog gave birth. It turned out to be a litter of five native puppies. After some inquiry, Baobao and the golden retriever in that family might not have mated at all, but their neighbor did have a local dog.”
Duan Jiaze: “…”
Sun Aiping: “I tell you, that dog is really— nothing golden at all! Why is that native dog’s genetics so strong? Their two friends refused to ask for the puppies as soon as they saw it was just a native dog.”
Duan Jiaze sweated, “Its fine by me. The dog will still be watching after the house regardless of anything.”
Sun Aiping ashamedly said, “Would you mind raising a few more? It’s not a good delivery for this dog either. Your aunt has to say that they are mixed-breed golden retrievers. They will have golden hairs when they grow older. She couldn’t find anyone who wants to have a native dog, and those who were willing to take the golden retriever puppies were not willing to take the native puppies.”
Duan Jiaze did not mind. A few dogs would not take much effort. He had a big place here, so the dogs could enjoy themselves at will. “Yes, you can even send a few.”
Sun Aiping was relieved. “I will see if I can send them out. When the full month is over, the rest will be sent to you for raising.”
Duan Jiaze: “Ah, okay. Just send them all, I’ll definitely raise them well.”
Duan Jiaze hung up only to see Luya standing at the side.
Duan Jiaze: “…”
Duan Jiaze: “Why?”
“What sending? And that you still have to raise them yourself?”
Duan Jiaze: “… Dogs.”
Luya was very dissatisfied. In Lingyou, everyone silently acknowledged that Duan Jiaze was responsible for managing and feeding Luya— or, in the words of Luya, serving him.
This symbol represented the status. Although Lingyou was small, Daojun should also be the first ah.
Now Duan Jiaze was actually discussing picking up dogs to raise them? Luya was very dissatisfied. This was equivalent to a challenge to his status.
“Dogs? With Běn Zūn around, you still have the heart to keep dogs?”
Duan Jiaze: “Don’t say this sort of words in front of Xiao Su…”
Luya: “Don’t divert the topic.”
“…” Duan Jiaze was speechless, “I’m keeping them to guard the door…” Saying this halfway through, he also felt that something was wrong. Could dogs be even better than Luya?
“Ah, this had been already agreed. I’ve been helped by the other party frequently. Anyway, it’s just that few feed.”
Luya angrily said, “So you must keep the dogs?!”
Duan Jiaze: “…”
Luya: “You will regret it!!”