Chapter 53 Red Autumn
“Huang Jingyang, Huang Jingyang! Come quickly! There are a lot of birds in the orchard, they’ll eat up all the peaches!” Teacher Lin yelled out to me from the back of the house.
Earlier she had called the birds cute things, but after having tasted the peaches the little birds had turned into nasty little enemies.
“Coming, Coming.” I went outside holding the kestrel’s cage.
The peach tree was atwitter and the little birds were all gathering on it. Teacher Lin was throwing stones at them from below, but the little birds only flew away and then returned after flying in a circle, completely nullifying Teacher Lin’s threat.
Teacher Lin saw me running and promptly said, “Huang Jingyang, hurry up. I’ve been out back for the whole day, and if you hadn’t come to help, these peaches would have all been eaten by the birds.”
“Not so long ago you said that these little birds were so adorable, how could I have driven them away?” I said laughing.
“Who asked them to be so greedy, the peaches are all being eaten. Simply too greedy!” Teacher Lin folded her sleeves and prepared herself to drive them away with the bamboo pole in her hands. However, these little birds had already tasted the peaches, how could they be willing to leave?
“Teacher Lin, you’re probably mistaken about the birds. Those in the morning must have been their relatives, they surely told their family members about it, so they came over in droves from afar. Now that they’ve started eating, you want to drive them away… Naturally, they wouldn’t agree to it.” I laughed at my own joke.
“Huang Jingyang! Are you going to help or not?” Teacher Lin glared at me, stomping with her jade-like feet adorned with white sandals, whilst she flung her long hair. This scene was enough for men, women, young and old alike to engage in killing. I, myself, was somewhat distracted seeing this scene.
The kestrel in the cage I held was letting out angry noises, at the same time scratching the cage with its sharp claws, making high-pitched screeches.
All the birds flew up at the same time. The sound of their simultaneous flight carried an unexpected air of grandeur. The birds weren’t leisurely escaping this time. This kind of fear towards one’s predators made my heart quiver. It was a kind of fear that was born in the bottom of one’s heart. I was able to see quite clearly the quivering of those birds as they were doing their utmost to flee. Not caring at all about the fact that the kestrel making said noises was actually shut in a cage, they still flew away into the sky.
The orchard became quiet all of a sudden.
Teacher Lin was dumbfounded at this scene: “Huang Jingyang, how did you do it? Oh right, what is in this cage?
Teacher Lin came forward to take a look, and only then she came to know that a kestrel was locked in the cage.
“Kestrel, this fellow is the natural predator of those little birds. Hearing the sounds this fellow was making, those little birds must have been frightened out of their wits,” I said laughing.
“This bird is really impressive.” Teacher Lin wanted to get closer to the cage to take a better look.
The kestrel had kept his anger pent up, and seeing this refined, cultured, soft and delicate-looking Teacher Lin, he went straight for her face.
Fortunately, I responded in time and quickly pulled the cage away, preventing the possibility of Teacher Lin’s disfigurement.
Teacher Lin had a big scare, her chest was heaving as she let out deep breaths. This time, she truly was frightened.
“Teacher Lin, this fellow is really hot-tempered. We’ve caught it not long ago and we still haven’t tamed it, so its temperament is still wild.” I was quite scared myself. Once I finished speaking, I slapped the cage fiercely, “Do you want to die? You dare to bully our Teacher Lin. Be careful for I will slaughter you for meat!”
The kestrel was easily provoked. I hadn’t even finished speaking when it started attacking the bamboo cage, trying to vent the anger in its heart.
“Brat, how did you manage to catch this kestrel? You must be careful, such vicious birds are very dangerous.” Teacher Lin said, a bit worried.
“It’s all right. By the time I manage to tame it, it will be even more sincere than Black Bean.” Barely had I mentioned Black Bean, when he came out running from the house, making ‘huhu’ noises while the three young wives were trailing behind him.
Black bean directly pounced on me as soon as he reached me, grabbing my waist with both his feet and trying to reach my face to lick it. The three little yellow dogs couldn’t find any room, so they just circled around me before going towards Teacher Lin.
Teacher Lin was giggling incessantly, surrounded by the three little balls of fluff in the shape of puppies.
The kestrel was jumping around in the cage. Actually, it was very nervous, as its freedom had been restricted, which made it feel very restless.
I condensed a strand of Primordial Qi and casually tapped it into the kestrel’s head. The kestrel who was originally nervous and impatient suddenly calmed down. This was something really useful. Regardless of the species of animal, they seemed to instinctively know that Primordial Qi was something really useful for them. After receiving the Primordial Qi, it showed a blank expression all of a sudden. It instantly quieted down, then lay down inside the cage, seemingly going to sleep.
“Yi, how did you do that?” Teacher Lin asked in amazement.
“I just grabbed its weakness. I had something it liked in my hand.” I couldn’t take out Primordial Qi to show Teacher Lin. It was difficult for ordinary people to perceive its existence. People were not as sensitive towards Primordial Qi as animals. Despite the fact that Primordial Qi had huge health benefits, Teacher Lin was still unable to sense it. Just like the case where I used Primordial Qi to cure people of the village, and everyone had simply thought that I had a good massage technique. They didn’t know that I was actually only relying on the Primordial Qi I had condensed.
An adult falcon was just as difficult to train as an eagle. In order to tame the falcon, one needed to have enormous will and patience. It was not that easy to achieve this, and therefore few people believed that I could tame this short-tempered falcon. In the village, only Huang Shulang and Ma Jindong fully believed in me, without a trace of doubt.
The kestrel also repelled me from the beginning. It ignored whatever I fed it, using hunger-strike as a means to threaten me. However, each time it grew violent, I would give it a strand of Primordial Qi. It knew that this was a good thing, and, gradually, its attitude towards me got better. It even began to talk when I was feeding it things. Several times it even chirped some things to me in a low voice.
Even though Huang Shulang brought half a jin of meat to feed the kestrel everyday, the Kestrel didn’t accept the fatty’s feelings. Every time the fatty committed the offence of teasing the kestrel, he would end up being attacked. However, it was something that the fatty enjoyed every time.
Finally, the day arrived when I believed it was time to let out the kestrel. I decided that before letting it out, it had to be given a name. My four dogs and three pigs all had domineering names. It would be nice to also give this kestrel a good name. This time Teacher Lin didn’t let me give a name of my choosing to this kestrel because she was worried that if I were to give it a name, then it was highly likely that it would end up with a maidservant-like name. How was Little Red a maidservant name? Actually, I had thought of a very domineering name, Long Red. It had a military quality, ah.
“Just call it Red Autumn, by the colour of its feathers. And even its name would have a chirping sound when spoken. It just happens to embody all the characteristics within it. Moreover, it is very pleasant to hear.” Teacher Lin had very democratically and amicably consulted me regarding the name of kestrel. As a result, there was only democracy, but no consultation. Teacher Lin had already taken the decision.
“It is very pleasant to hear.” Could I even oppose it? No, here I could only lift my hands in agreement.
“Are you really intending to let it out? If it flies away and doesn’t come back, then it would all just be a waste of time and effort.” Teacher Lin was still somewhat anxious.
“If it dares to run, I will just go catch it and bring it back. However, it is living like an emperor right now. Even if I were to drive it away, it wouldn’t necessary want to go.” I could feel Red Autumn’s current state of mind. Animals were not like humans, who were extremely unctuous when it came to expressing their feelings. They were either tame or as unruly as noble steeds, but very few could display a sham gesture of compliance.
I lifted the cover of the bamboo basket, but Red Autumn didn’t come out in the open for quite a while. It was as if it had grown accustomed to this cage and didn’t want to abandon it. I couldn’t just let it eat and sleep every day. A peasant family did not raise idle birds.
I slapped the bamboo basket, and Red Autumn, just like an old man, begrudgingly came out from the basket. It actually flew onto my shoulder and rubbed its head against my cheeks.
Teacher Lin looked somewhat blank upon the scene and thought of reaching out to touch Red Autumn.
“Be careful!” I immediately grabbed Teacher Lin’s hand and swept it aside. As expected, Red Autumn had fiercely pecked out with its long beak, just barely missing Teacher Lin’s hand. I slapped Red Autumn on the head, “Courting death, ah? You’d unexpectedly dare to peck at Master.”
Red Autumn shrank its neck, obediently standing on my shoulder. It was a very proud bird, and even though it had recognised me as Master, it was still extremely unruly towards the others.
“Huang Jingyang, how did you do this? I have heard others say that it takes a huge amount of effort to tame a hawk. You haven’t probably made too much of an effort, so how were you able to tame Red Autumn?” Teacher Lin asked in surprise.
“Which animal of ours isn’t docile before me?” I grabbed Red Autumn and threw it at the sky. Red Autumn, was caught unawares at first, but, after all, it was a true warrior of the skies. Soon thereafter it opened its wings, steadied its body, and began flapping its wings, flying towards a distant place at a very high speed.
“Good, now with this it definitely won’t come back,” Teacher Lin said anxiously.
“Relax. It is stretching its body. It’ll come back very soon.”
Over an hour had passed, but there was still no trace of Red Autumn.
“I told you that it was still a bit too early. Its wild nature still hasn’t been eliminated. When you set it free, why would it come back?” Teacher Lin thought it was very unfortunate, since this Red Autumn was very pretty.
Even I lost a bit of my faith in Red Autumn. It seemed that I had been overconfident. In my conceit, I had lost Red Autumn. My tears started flowing with ‘hua la hua la’ sounds.
Teacher Lin, after staying with me every day, had almost forgotten that I was only a first grade kid in primary school. At this time, seeing me burst into tears of sadness, she suddenly discovered that a child was, after all, only a child.
“Don’t cry, don’t cry. Red Autumn will come back.” Teacher Lin hugged me and repeatedly comforted me.