The forest was surrounded by barbed wire to increase security and prevent wild animals from breaking into the community.
The residents living near here had this concernalmost every household had a dog.
While Li Du was thinking about how they could bypass the barbed wire to enter woods, a very fierce Husky ran over to them and aggressively barked at Crispy Noodles.
Sophie was a little scared, and waved her hand frantically at the dog. "Get back! We arent bad guys! Please go home! Stop barking!"
With its tail wagging and wide eyes, the dog rushed up to Sophie while she was waving her hand.
Sophie was terrified! She thought the Husky was going to bite her. But it proved to be one of the least aggressive dog breeds. The Husky ran around Sophie and continue barking at Crispy Noodles, trying to protect her.
Sophie was touched, yet amused. Li Du also found it amusing, and thought this Husky was good at picking up girls.
It was very common to see raccoons in the woods; this animal often broke into peoples trash. Dogs would naturally chase these animals away, and people trained them to do so.
Also, after Li Du had come to Flagstaff, he found that the United States had a very rare occupation that was not common in China: a dog trainer.
They believed that this husky was a trained dog as he was so focused on Crispy Noodles.
The raccoon was a gentle-tempered animal, however, and Crispy Noodles sighed innocently while the Husky barked at him. He was sitting on the ground and stared at the dog with limpid eyes.
Youngster, dont you feel ashamed to yell at me with the way Im staring at you?
The Husky continued to bark aggressively. "Woof, woof, woof, woof!"
Ah Meow was getting impatient; it ran up and jumped on a tree stump next to them. It dived off of the stump like a hawk and after it landed showed its claws and fangs, giving a fierce look to the Husky.
The Husky tilted its head and blinked at him, then suddenly his tail tucked itself between his legs and the dog ran away.
Sophie asked, "What is going on?"
Li Du shrugged his shoulders. "Who knows? This is a Huskythey are mentally ill."
Ah Meow became upset and thought: What? Why didnt you say so earlier? I was so close to that psychosis! I hope I wasnt infected!
Li Du finally found an entrance: a small gate in the middle of the barbed wire. He opened it and beckoned Sophie over. "Come! Lets go this way."
Sophie started worrying. "Will there be snakes?"
Li Du threw Ah Meow into the woods like the way soldiers threw grenades. After waiting thirty seconds and seeing Ah Meow still alive and upset with him, he shouted, "No!"
The trees didnt seem very huge or strong. Obviously, the woods hadnt been here for a long time. The underbrush was thriving, however, the plants along the ground flourishing. Li Du took a deep breath. "The air is really fresh here!"
Sophie used a stick to sweep away the weeds, and looked surprised staring at the base of a tree. "Look! Li! I found a bed of mushrooms here! This is great!"
Li Du stared at the mushrooms, wondering where that many mushroom spores had come from; there must have been millions of them.
The mushrooms around the root of the tree looked chubby and white. Their shapes were regular: round with a thick cap. They were soft to touch. Sophie flipped through her book.
"This is a white mushroom," said Li Du.
She read seriously: "White mushroomAgaricus bisporus. Its mycelium grows a silver-white color, with a short, thick, and rounded cap, smooth and firm texture. The spore print is dark brown"
She closed the book and nodded. "Yes, these are white mushrooms, and theyre edible." She started gathering the mushrooms carefully and placing them in a basket.
Watching her pick them, Li Du asked, "Hey, do you have a handkerchief?"
She raised her head and stared at him blankly. "Do you need it to wipe your sweat away? Im sorry, I only have tissues."
"Hand me a tissue," he said.
Sophie took out a packet of tissues and handed one to him. He unfolded it and found the tissue was pretty large, then placed it on her head.
She chuckled and pushed him away. "What are you doing?"
"Insect feces will fall from trees, and also bird droppings, spider webs, leaves," Li Du said. "Im giving your hair a cover."
Sophie rolled her eyes, and on second thought she lowered her head and let Li Du put the tissue on her.
After covering her hair, he said, "Dont move! Let me take a picture."
Li Du actually had bad intentions for putting the tissue on and taking the picture of Sophie. He had suddenly remembered the song "Mushroom Girl" while looking at the way she picked the mushrooms. He remembered that the girls head in the music video was wrapped in a headscarf.
Both of them continued to explore using sticks, and soon they found another bed of mushrooms.
"Tonight well have a delicious mushroom soup," Sophie laughed.
"These fresh mushrooms are suitable for barbecue," Li Du said. "With some olive oil on them, theyll taste fresh and delicious."
"Dont eat too much barbecue, its not good for your health. Mushroom soup is great, isnt it?"
Li Du struggled his shoulders. "Just tell me what you want to eat, and Ill cook for you."
The sky was getting dark; walking in the woods, the air was much fresher than in the street, but the humidity was high. There were also a lot of muddy ditches around. Their legs would have been stained with muddy water if they accidentally stepped into one.
Crispy Noodles walked for a while before jumping up to Li Du, feeling aggrieved. Li Du took a look at Crispy Noodles; the raccoon was dirty, its belly covered in mud and water.
Ah Meow swaggered onto a tree, fully demonstrating its ocelot skills in this natural environment. It walked on the tree without falling. It also fully-exploited its hunting instincts. A pheasant came out from the bushes; it immediately jumped on it and pinned it to the ground.
It had acted quickly, like the wind blowing through the woods. It also moved slowly like a tense, quiet forest. It was on defense, like a mountain that couldnt be shaken, and attacked the animal like a fierce fire. Li Du was just about to give Ah Meow an applause, but the pheasant screamed, and the ocelot jumped away from it, running back to them in a panic.
Li Du and Sophie were shocked, and they checked on Ah Meow. Luckily he wasnt hurt, and there were no threats afterward.
Was there a secret weapon on the pheasant? He stared at it in wonder as it ran for its life, but couldnt make much of it out.
Ah Meow moved as if he were dancing, showing them his paws, one following another.
It took Sophie a long time to realize. "Oh my Godyou yelled like that just because you stepped in the muddy water?" After hearing what shed said, Li Du finally noticed its back paws were covered in muddy water.
Ah Meow had been looking forward to getting comfort and love from his father. Unfortunately, all he got was a smack.