Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
After listening to Brother Wolf’s words, a poacher cried up with an expression of injured innocence, “This has nothing to do with us! We didn’t steal this bird. It was pushed out from the nest by its brothers, and we saved it!”
Li Du said, “Save your words for the police and the judge, maybe they will believe it.”
Brother Wolf said in a low voice, “It’s possible. The Andean condor lays one or two eggs in a clutch, but the raptors are voracious eaters, and sometimes the parents can only feed one chick. In this case, if there are two young birds in the nest, they have to fight for food.”
During the fight for food, the stronger bird bullies its weaker sibling, snatching the food and getting stronger and stronger, while the other bird gets weaker and weaker.
Eventually, when a chick is strong enough, it pushes weaker siblings out of the nest as the parents leave.
The frightened condor did look like someone who was bullied all its life.
Li Du tried to free it from the cage, but the baby seemed to feel safer inside and refused to come out.
Lu Guan said, “Boss, if it doesn’t want to come out, just let it stay inside.”
Li Du said, “No, we need more cages.”
“What for?” wondered Lu Guan.
The answer was soon revealed. Li Du, Brother Wolf, Firecracker and Godzilla opened all the iron cages and locked two poachers in each cage.
The poachers were furious. One shouted, “You are abusing us. You are depriving us of our human rights!’
Li Du said in ease, “Then go and sue me in court or report me to the police.”
Under the strong mountain wind, the smoke in the cave was soon blown away. At that time, the rain became heavier. Li Du took his group into the cave to take shelter from the rain.
His satellite phone was still in the signal area. He dialed the Pittsburgh police department and reported that he had caught a group of poachers, including a pair of brothers named Markelov who were murderers, who had unfortunately escaped.
“The Markelov brothers? I’m sorry, but we don’t have a police file on either of them. Please give me their names,” answered the policeman.
Naturally, murderers were more important to catch than poachers.
Li Du asked the names of the two brothers and told the police that they were Ukrainian and had killed people in their native country.
After a while, the officer said, “We contacted our San Francisco police colleagues and there are no such murderers. However, if they are Ukrainians, that’s the surname of two Ukrainian deserters wanted by the embassy. Wait a minute, I’ll identify them for you.”
The officer then located Li Du’s mobile phone number and said they would arrange the police to go up the mountain to meet them overnight. He also asked them to be extra careful.
“These two brothers have been trained in the Ukrainian Special Forces and are very effective and capable. If possible, please try to find a safe place to hide and do not engage with them,” the officer told him. “We will arrange for the police to go up the mountain as soon as possible, but now it’s raining hard and they may not be able to do the search so quickly.”
Li Du agreed. He was not afraid of these two criminals. He was more concerned that they might escape.
Brother Wolf took Ah Meow while Firecracker took Ah Ow. They divided into two groups of watchers, hiding in the rain under outcroppings of rock outside the forest. If the Markelov brothers would come back, they would notice them in advance.
It rained cats and dogs all night. The rain became very heavy by midnight, and the temperature dropped.
Li Du lit a pile of dry wood in the cave, cooked some coffee and roasted meat.
Shrinking in a corner of the cage, the baby bird’s eyes lit up when it saw the dried meat. It flapped its wings and stepped out little by little.
Li Du noticed, and said with a low laugh, “Another foodie.”
Brother Wolf, who had just returned to the cave, wiped his hair and said, “Of course, the Andean condor loves to eat.”
Like other vultures, the Andean condor is a scavenger, a voracious eater that never leaves until it has eaten the whole animal carcass.
In their natural state, Andean condors often sit high on cliffs after eating, because they have eaten too much and are too full to move.
However, they have a powerful digestive system that works well even when they eat too much.
The bird stepped furtively up to the mouth of the cage. Then it craned its neck to see if there was any danger. Slowly, it moved towards Li Du.
Li Du found that the bird was not afraid of strangers. He smiled and threw a piece of dried meat on the ground. Instead of eating it, the baby condor looked to the right and left first, and then grabbed the meat with its claws and waited for a while.
Although it was young, it was very agile. It ran swiftly back to the cage, then stood on the edge before starting to eat.
This repeated ten times, but it looked as though the young bird was not full yet.
Li Du saw how much it ate and how gluttonous it was. Ah Ow and Ah Meow looked at it enviously. The baby condor ate about as much as them, but both of them weighed several times as much!
The rain came and went quickly. It lasted for two or three hours. Then it slowed down and cleared up in the early morning.
Li Du went out of the cave to look out. After the rain, the Blue Ridge looked even more beautiful.
Li Du took two deep breaths of fresh, moist air that went straight to his lungs, refreshing his whole respiratory system.
The green trees and the red flowers were more colorful, the grass and leaves glistened green as if they were about to drip juice at any moment.
The sun shone on the wet grass and trees, the droplets of water sparkling like gems.
Looking down from the top of the hill, there were spots of light everywhere as far as the eye could see.
The wind blew over the mountains and the branches and leaves rustled. The birds and animals left their nests and came out of hiding when the sun appeared after a night of wind and rain.
After a rain, there would be mushrooms in the mountains. Brother Wolf and Firecracker searched around and brought back a big bag of different kinds of mushrooms.
There was a fire in the cave, and they had roast mushrooms for breakfast. Li Du prepared cumin, pepper, paprika and a little salt for seasoning. The mushrooms smelled tasty.
The wild mushrooms contained vegetable oil, which seeped out when roasted over an open fire and dripped onto the wood, causing clusters of fragrant flames to rise.
The mushrooms Brother Wolf picked were plump and fleshy. They were juicy, succulent, and far more delicious than any store-bought mushrooms.
The poachers caught the scent and begged for some food.
Lu Guan rummaged through their food bags and took out some dry bread, compressed biscuits, and dried meat, and threw it to them, “This will tide you over. There will be plenty of food waiting for you in prison.”
A poacher shouted, “Why do you have to do this to us? Can’t you leave us alone?”
“Yes, let us go! Everybody has to make a living, we have no choice but to do this.”
Li Du looked through their phones and saw photos of animals, some of which were skinned, and of birds that were stuffed and mounted. There was also a video of animal slaughtering.
He showed them the photos and video, then said, “You ask me why I’m dealing with you? I’ll tell you why. I’m doing it for justice!”