She seemed to have understood why the ferocious creature was called Er Mao. When it was unprovoked, it seemed to be a completely different being from the one she faced the other day.
Finally, as the two of them were done rolling about and leaving mud prints on the ground, they returned to the fire. Xia Ling realized that Li Lei’s wound seemed to have opened up, and the air around was beginning to smell of blood. He undid the bandage around his abdomen and began treating his wound, appearing more skilled than even a medical professional.
Er Mao lazily lied beside him, head resting on its front paws and eyes half-closed as if it was already asleep. Xia Ling wasn’t sure if her gut feeling was right, but she felt that his line of sight never left her. Yet it was not the least bit interested in the smell of blood that came from its owner. It seemed like he really could differentiate what he should and shouldn’t eat.
Li Lei cleaned the dried blood around the wound without even batting an eyelid. Xia Ling felt the pain just by looking at it, yet he acted like it was nothing — there was not a trace of pain on his face. He even reassured her while cleaning his wound. “There’s a storm now and Er Mao is here because it’s worried about me… You don’t have to be afraid of it. Since you’re wearing my clothes, it won’t hurt you.”
However, she wasn’t convinced by his words at all. The way the leopard sized her up didn’t seem very friendly, and she felt that it could pounce on and kill her anytime.
Xia Ling took a deep breath and gathered the courage to voice out. “Boss, I’m going to go take a breather.”
Li Lei looked up at her, and then at Er Mao. He gave up trying to push for a peaceful coexistence between the two of them. “Forget it, go ahead… It really doesn’t bite.”
Xia Ling wasn’t swayed as she took her leave.
Old Chen, who was at the mouth of the cave, wasn’t surprised to see her walk out. He smilingly said, “Miss, come and warm yourself by the fire. I saw Er Mao enter just now and guessed that you’d be coming out.”
“Oh?” She looked at him, puzzled.
Old Chen was using dried twigs and branches to nurse the fire. “Young Master’s leopard grew up eating flesh and meat. Though it doesn’t usually attack people, it’s still a wild animal, and most people can’t stand to stay around it.” Old Chen was not a part of Skyart Entertainment, he was the Li family’s servant, thus he only knew Li Lei as Young Master and not Boss.
“Then, are you afraid?” Xia Ling casually asked.
Surprisingly, Old Chen shook his head. “Initially I was scared, but after knowing that Er Mao had saved Young Master’s life several times, I wasn’t so scared anymore. Miss, let me tell you, this leopard has a spiritual nature, and animals like that don’t attack anyhow.”
“Yeah.” She acknowledged half-heartedly as she looked across the fire at the rainy scene outside the cave.
She thought to herself. No wonder Li Lei was so happy to see that leopard. His expression was softer than when he faced her. Having been in the entertainment industry for her whole previous life, she was discerning enough to tell that even though Li Lei was polite and nice to her, he did not feel much towards her. When he saw the leopard, however, the tenderness and love he expressed towards it were genuinely sincere.
Oh well, so in Boss’s eyes, she couldn’t even hold a candle to a leopard.
The rain pattered down outside the cave, and after sitting by the fire for a long while, she finally felt some warmth. Xia Ling leaned her head against the wall of the cave and dozed off, yet in her subconsciousness, she dreamed of something, thus she could not sleep soundly. The wound in her shoulder was starting to hurt slightly. She tossed and turned in her sleep, the discomfort getting increasingly distinct, but still, she refused to wake up.
Some time passed before somebody apparently called out her name. It was a gentle voice, almost seductive.
She softly mumbled. “Brother Pei…” She dreamed of Pei Ziheng’s gentle and handsome face. She was still young when she over-exerted herself during practice and came down with a high fever. The family clinic happened to be closed that day, and at two in the morning, Pei Ziheng had carried her to the hospital. They were the only people in the emergency room in the dead of night, and he had removed his coat to wrap around her. She remembered him foolishly humming a tune as they waited.
At that time, Xia Ling had criticized his singing and minded that he comforted her like a child.
Twelve-year-old Xia Ling had frowned when she told him to stop singing. She had told him seriously. “Brother Pei, I’ve grown up, don’t treat me like a child anymore.” Back then, her sister, Xia Yu, always endearingly called him Brother Ziheng, while she only ever called him Brother Pei. When they became a couple after that, she only addressed him as Ziheng.
Acting all coquettishly around people was something she never could bring herself to do.
Hence, from then on, she never heard him sing again.
But now, she really hoped to go back to the time when she would tug at his sleeve and say, “Sing me another song…”
Semi-conscious, she seemed to hear a sound. It was broken up and disjointed, just like her memory. Yet it was in these notes and melody that she was finally able to be at peace, finally falling into a deep sleep.
When she woke up, Xia Ling found herself in a car.
Night had fallen, the shadows from the trees along the sides of the road stretching across the car. It was very quiet in the car, but as the dim street lights peeked inside, it revealed the handsome face of the man holding her.
It was Li Lei.
He had her on his lap and his eyes were closed, probably asleep. His head was resting on the seat of the car, his long lashes casting a faint shadow beneath his eyes. The image she saw had a little less life than in the daytime, but a lot more gentleness.
He was truly a very attractive man.
Xia Ling flinched a little and he sensed it right away. He opened his eyes and took a glance at her, smiling, “Why are you up so fast? How are you feeling, are you in any discomfort?” His deep, dark green eyes were so full of life that they looked like a night sky full of stars.
Only then did she realize that she felt cold despite being wrapped in a thick blanket and having a warm towel on her forehead. She opened her mouth but struggled to speak, her voice so hoarse that she could barely recognize it as her own. “What… happened to me?”
“You’re running a fever,” he replied light-heartedly. “Told you to take your soakingly wet dress off, but you refused to listen. You were so stubborn despite being drenched in the rain… serves you right that this happened.” He was being harsh with his words, but meanwhile, his hands never stopped working, helping her up a little and holding a cup of water to her lips. “Drink up.”
She drank a few sips of the water; it was actually warm. She wondered how they could’ve gotten warm water in the car.
He seemed to have noticed her bewilderment and said, “You were already running a fever this afternoon when we sought shelter from the rain in the cave. Seeing that you were unconscious, I had no choice but to get Old Chen to contact the emergency team on the mountains. Once the rain stopped, they came to get you with all the medical supplies.”
“Thank you…” Her throat was strained.
“What’s there to thank me for, I’m your Boss. I heard from Tan Ying that you’re still somewhat of a newbie. If anything happened to you, where would all the resources that we’ve pumped into you go?” He joked.
She was slightly confused listening to him. So, he was taking such care of her because of that?
Rich people really are jerks.