Chapter 7: The First Batch of Visitors (1)
The total number of students from the first grade to the sixth grade in Tongxin Village Primary School amounted to a maximal of fifty plus. Both Teacher Zhao and another teacher, Teacher Yan taught six classes and it included all subjects.
When Teacher Zhao told everyone that they would still be visiting Cape Zoo— no, it should be called Lingyou Zoo now, like every other years, all the students rejoiced.
The senior grades students were still discussing: “I am going to see Shasha1, it will definitely remember me.”
“Nonsense, it is obviously Leidian2…”
As they went every year, they have given names to the animals, it’s just that everyone gave a different name so they argue easily.
On the podium, Teacher Zhao repeatedly emphasised the announcement and the timing for the outing the day after tomorrow.
On the third day, the students of Tongxin Primary School gathered in the front of the teaching building and were divided into two teams. A student at the back was tugging the clothing of someone in front of him.
However, Teacher Zhao saw an unfamiliar face among the group of students. “Little classmate, you are not a student from our school, where are your parents?”
The child was probably an fifth grader. He looked fair, tender and was also dressed cleanly. But the expression on his face didn’t seem to be very happy. Teacher Zhao basically knew all the children in Tongxin Village but he had never seen this child before.
“Teacher, he is my cousin. He came to my house yesterday to play. My dad and mom said to let him come with me.” Another child raised his hand and explained.
“Zhang Shun, is this your older cousin? Doesn’t he have to go to school?” Teacher Zhao was feeling a little helpless. As Zhang Shun’s parents had to work at the fields every day, so if their relatives’ children came over, they most likely would not let Zhang Shun attend class, and he had to repeatedly persuade them by saying that Zhang Shun must come to school. Now, this was good, Zhang Shun wasn’t skipping class, but he brought his relative along.
“Yeah, my gē3 is on his holiday! He is a student of Shiyan Primary School, they are having a holiday!” Zhang Shun was feeling extremely proud as he said this.
Other students didn’t sense anything wrong and were looking at Zhang Shun’s cousin enviously. However, Teacher Zhao was aware that something was wrong. Which school had a vacation at this time? However he didn’t say it out loud, instead, he asked Zhang Shun’s cousin, “Then come and join us for our outdoor activities today. What is your name?”
“My name is Zhao Bo.” The child said in a low and muffled voice.
Of course, Zhao Bo did not come here because of his school’s holiday. He fought with his classmates in school and was ordered to go home by his teacher. He was then thrown into the countryside by his parents, saying that he should experience some sufferings.
Zhao Bo rarely went to Zhang Shun’s family. Even if he did, he had never spent the night before, even though Zhang Shun would go to his house to play frequently. He was only here for one day but he had already died from the torments. There were no air conditioning and no computer, his phone had been confiscated, there was nothing to play, his cousin only knew how to play with mud, and today, he still had to go to some zoo…
Teacher Zhao repeated the announcement to Zhao Bo and asked Zhang Shun to look out for his cousin before announcing their departure. Everyone then lined up, walked to the road, and waited for the public bus.
Before they arrived at the zoo, Zhang Shun couldn’t help introducing his good friend to his cousin. “Cousin, there is only one in the zoo— a big lion, its voice is super loud. There are also monkeys…”
Zhao Bo listened to Zhang Shun’s ramblings until he felt very impatient. “What’s so great about this? There are a group of lions in the city’s zoo, as well as tigers, crocodiles, camels, giant pandas…”
Zhao Bo listed a lot of animals in one breath before adding another sentence, “Hey, I don’t like to go to the zoo. There is nothing fun about it.”
Zhang Shun felt extremely yearning as he listened on. He was very surprised to find that Zhao Bo didn’t like to go to the zoo. If he lived in the city, he would go to the zoo mentioned by his cousin every week.
When Zhang Shun’s classmates heard Zhao Bo’s words, they racked their brains to think of the zoos’ differences. They thought it over and over again but they couldn’t come out any differences and even animals here was lesser then what Zhang Bo had listed.
In the end, they could only stammer, “…Cape Park is next to the zoo.”
—There was really nothing to brag about the zoo. They went to the zoo every year and didn’t see any increase in the animals, but the lion was getting thinner each year.
The students chattered and fussed around all the way until they reached “Cape Park Station”. They got off the bus and ran to Lingyou Zoo that was next to it.
The zoo had not opened yet so the gate was locked. Teacher Zhao took out his phone and called Duan Jiaze. Not long after, Xiao Su ran over to open the gate.
“Hello, Teacher Zhao, our Yuánzhǎng is tending to a new bird.” Xiao Su and Teacher Zhao shook hands. “I am Xiao Su, for today, I will be accompanying all of you for the tour.”
“Thank you, we will be troubling you.” Teacher Zhao said with a smile. In fact, they have came here so many times that they were all familiar with this place. In the past, Cape Zoo would not specially send someone to accompany them.
But after entering, Teacher Zhao knew why, it wasn’t because the zoo placed a great importance on them, but at first glance, it seemed that there were no other employees at all.
The conditions of the zoo’s enclosures were very plain which was unlike the larger zoo; They used glass to completely separate the tourists and the animals, but here, it was easy for visitors to flip over the guardrail so it would only be safe if there was a staff supervising.
But right now, they could only see a male zookeeper that was busy feeding the monkeys not far away. Duan Jiaze was said to be taking care of a bird, no wonder this Xiao Su was following them…
Teacher Zhao and Teacher Yan naturally have a set of commentary, and they visited the enclosures one by one, explaining to the students.
As soon as they walked to the opposite side of the cage and saw the animal inside, Teacher Zhao was stunned and asked Xiao Su, “Have the zoo brought in a new lion?”
“No?” Xiao Su was a newcomer and she was not very clear, “Yuánzhǎng said that they were all left by Cape Zoo, so it shouldn’t be the case.”
“No?” Teacher Zhao and Teacher Yan glanced at each other. The last time he came here, he did not enter the premise. Now, at first glance, this lion’s spirit and momentum were very different as compared to last time. The fur on its body was clean, smooth, shiny, and its eyes were full of expressions. Although it was laying down, it lacked the listless appearance it used to have.
Under the watchful eyes of the children, the lion stood up and roared. The sound trembled across the sky and was ten times more domineering than before, scaring the first graders that were visiting for the first time to the point of crying.
Xiao Su knocked the railing with a stick, and the lion adjusted its head back and laid down. She then comforted the children. “Don’t cry, look, the lion isn’t roaring anymore.”
Teacher Zhao was even more surprised because the lion wasn’t never this obedient before. The animal keepers at the time had no standard that the lion couldn’t even maintain a fixed excretion spot.
“Is the lion trained by you?”Teacher Zhao asked.
“Train what?” Xiao Su said unsurely, “I am not a animal keeper, I am in charge of finance.” Although she had helped to feed the animals these days, she had never fed the bigger-sized animals.
“Someone else trained it? I see that it quite listens to you.” Teacher Zhao said with a smile.
Xiao Su scratched her head. She was also puzzled by this. “I don’t know either. Maybe Yuánzhǎng have looked for someone to train them. This is my first time knocking the rail. I just saw them doing this before.”
The two were not experts, so they simply did not go deeper. Teacher Zhao began to tell everyone about the story of the lion, where was the hometown of the lion, and what was its habit.
Although the students were happy, with the number of times the older kids came, they didn’t really listen to Mr. Zhao’s words. They formed groups of three to five and leaned on the guardrail to look at the lion.
“Look here, Leidian!”
“Wow, it has grown up, I really want to touch its fur.”
Zhang Shun’s cousin, Zhao Bo who was also frightened by the lion’s roar quickly try to find ways to remedy his behaviour. “What is this? I have seen several lions roaring together, it was louder than this volume…”
Teacher Yan asked Xiao Su at the side, “Your zoo will be reopening soon, has any new animal been brought in?”
“Yes, we have brought in many birds, a new one just arrived today. There are aquar… well, ornamental fish.” Xiao Su almost spilled her mouth and said aquarium. Ever since Duan Jiaze said that, they would jokingly call that tank of ornamental fish that.
“Then we will go see the birds first!” said Teacher Yan.
After visiting the only beast in the zoo, Xiao Su took them to the bird shed.
The keeping ground for these birds was also very plain and you could tell from its name. It was in a shed with a thick fence with many bird cages hanging high and low.
From far, you could see Duan Jiaze standing in the shed and fiddling with a bird. The bird was the only one that did not enter a cage, instead it was standing on Duan Jiaze’s arm. Its color was as bright as fire, and its size was large than average. It was quite good looking.
Teacher Zhao pushed up his glasses. “Is that a parrot?”
Teacher Yan: “The mouth does not look similar.”
They were not professionals, and they only discussed two sentences before stopping.
Compared to the last time, there were dozens more cages in the bird shed, which made it more crowded. But when they arrived, Teacher Zhao noticed a detail, that was, all the cages of the birdcage were not closed.
An arm could easily pass through the space. The birds would not fly away despite not having the cages closed? Was this also the result of training?
Looking at the side, next to the bird shed, the big cage where the pair of peacocks lived was also not closed. The two peacocks swayed and walked to the bird shed, and finally squatted at Duan Jiaze’s side.
The colorful birds were still very attractive, especially the peacocks, and the children were excited to shout at them: “Open the tails! Hurry open the tails!”
Duan Jiaze and Teacher Zhao greeted each other. Under his introduction, he also greeted Teacher Yan.
The two teachers lamented: “Compared to before, the zoo has really changed a lot. The lion has more spirit, the number of birds has grown. What kind of bird is that on your hands? It is really beautiful.”
“The birds are actually raised outside the cages, you’ve trained them very well!”
“This is a golden crow…” Duan Jiaze “Hehe”d and gave a smile.
That’s right, what was on his shoulder was the last Three-legged Golden Crow in the three realms, the original appearance of Luya- shrunk-with-his-third-leg-kept version.
“Golden crow? This variety is very fresh, it must be especially rare… So beautiful.” Teacher Zhao praised.
“Yes, it is very rare.” Duan Jiaze looked at Luya raising his head. Looking at how prideful he was now, he continued. “Right, in fact, we have a small performance for the students.”
Indeed after changing the owner, it was really a world different. Now there was still a performance. In the past, at most, it was calling the monkeys to flip.
“That’s great,” Teacher Zhao clapped. “Students, be quiet. Yuánzhǎng-gēgē said that the birds have a performance for us. Do you want to see them?”
“Want!!” The elementary school students shouted in unison.
Zhang Shun shouted the loudest. He also pulled Zhao Bo’s sleeve. “Cousin, is there any performance in the city’s zoo?”
Zhao Bo disdainfully said, “Why not? The parrots there still talk and count.”
Zhang Shun stared at a parrot in the bird shed. “Maybe ours knows too…”
“Dàojūn, it will depend on you now.” Duan Jiaze softly said before he raised his hand and released Luya.
Luya rolled his eye at Duan Jiaze— a slight feeling that they were making a fuss over a trifle, but their scale was small, so he himself, Luya Dàojūn, also had to go out and take the lead to make a living by selling performance. In order to let Luya take actions, Duan Jiaze really made effort to talk his way through.
Luya flew one round inside the bird shed, and the parrots, starlings, oriole… one by one, jumped out from the cage. They fluttered the wings and spiraled with Luya. Luya flew a few laps until all the birds had came out from their cages and followed it behind, orbiting.
At first, it flew along the wall of the shed, but later on, there was a route, which was to shuttle between the gaps of the high and low bird cages as if they were showing off their flying skills.
This scene was really a little spectacular.
The wild goose flying to the south was also done in a group, the sparrows in the treetops were also in a clustor. But a group made of different birds so neatly lined up flying; it was even more dazzling. This was not even seen on television.
Zhao Bo, who originally was pretending to look elsewhere to express his disdain forgot to continue his pretense. He was staring at the group of birds, unable to take his eyes off them. He especially felt regretful that his parents had confiscated his phone. Otherwise, he would be able to take pictures of this scene and let his classmates take a look when he returned back to school. It would definitely open their sights.
When Duan Jiaze saw how the program he had arranged had such a good effect, he grew happy. He coughed and reminded Luya of the next step.
Duan Jiaze only saw Luya reversed back and landed on his head. Duan Jiaze made an effort to smile, not letting others see that Luya had deliberately held his head until it was painful.
The dozens of birds followed suit and scattered around. One, and two, and all flew out of the gap in the fence.
Teacher Zhao let out a scream, and he just wanted to say that they were all flying away, yet he saw that the birds did not fly toward the blue sky, but one by one, landed on the heads and shoulders of the students.
In an instant moment, this caused a greater voice.
The students that were cheering, cheered, those screaming, screamed, and some did not dare to move, afraid that they might scare the birds away.
Zhao Bo had a colorful parrot on him and he was frenzied. Where was the boredom he had from the beginning? “Shun’zi4, look! My parrot!”
Zhang Shun also had a bird on him, it was a chubby zebra finch, but he couldn’t recognize the breed, “Mine- mine is so cute, Teacher, what kind of bird is this?”
“Ah, ah, ah! I can’t see the top of my head, what kind of bird is it on my head?”
Even Teacher Zhao’s shoulder had an oriole on it. He felt incredible and wonder how this was trained.
However, there were more than fifty students, all the birds in the bird shed had landed on a person but there were still a few students who didn’t have any bird with them. When they saw that everyone had a bird on their body but they didn’t have, other than not bursting into tears yet, they were wallowing.
Teacher Zhao and Teacher Yan quickly took the birds on them and placed them on the two students, and in this way, there were still two students who didn’t had any bird.
“Wuwuwu5— I also want, I also want!”
“Teacher, why I don’t have, sobs, was it because the birds don’t like me…”
Teacher Zhao turned to Duan Jiaze for help.
“Don’t worry, classmates,” Duan Jiaze took the bamboo pole and drove the two peacocks out. “They are yours!”
For a time being, these little pities became the most enviable object of everyone.
The two children were more than elated.
The two peacocks seemed to have human characteristics, they actually stationed themselves each next to the students’ side. The male peacocks then fluttered their tail and opened them.
The fancy feathers spread out like a fan in the crowd. The peacock raised its head and displayed its gorgeous coloured feathers, and it caused a burst of exclamation from the onlookers.
“Children, everyone pay attention, you can touch the birds, but you can’t pinch them, otherwise they will fly away.” Duan Jiaze reminded, “Next, these birds will accompany you to visit the zoo and be your companion until you leave— as long as you love and protect them, okay?”
Duan Jiaze pondered on how to use the limited resources to attract tourists, naturally that was to use the animals and make something out. This was actually an experiment.
Projects such as animal accompaniment were not well promoted. In addition, there was not enough manpower to guarantee the safety of the birds, and having more of it made it less unique, but random interaction with a small number of tourists was feasible. Just looking at the enthusiastic reactions of these children, you know that it was very attractive and could improve the rate of return.
In the face of Duan Jiaze’s question, these fifty plus people shouted out the momentum of five hundred people at the same time, “Okay-!!”