Li Du left with Ah Ow, her bed, and toys, as Sophie stood at the door, looking wistful and sadjust like a mother staring at her departing child.
Ah Ow was a heartless little fluffball. Having eaten and drunk her fill, she was curled up in her bed, snoring loudly.
Li Du put Ah Ow in the car; Ah Meow and Crispy Noodles were confused. Ah Meow looked Ah Ow in her bed, and then looked at Li Du, and then cried out, "Meow! Meow!"
"Stop complaining. She will now be living with you guys as your little sisteryour little playmate."
"Daddy still loves you the most. Stop howlingplease, dear boy? Look at how cute your sister is. She's sure to follow you around like a shadow."
"Enough, enough. Why are you not stopping? What a pain in the *ss, it's not as if I don't want you anymore. She's not going to snatch your dried fish. Look at Crispy Noodlessee how sensible he is?"
Sensing that Li Du was staring at him, Crispy Noodles sat upright like a good kid. However, he snuck periodic glances at Ah Ow, with danger lurking in his eyes.
Li Du was well-aware that Ah Meow was a spoiled brat; he liked to throw tantrums but he did not mean any malice.
Crispy Noodles was the oppositethis child was vengeful. He had to be wary of himCrispy Noodle could make a sinister move at any time.
Back at Pine Tree Tops, a lethargic-looking Luo Qun was about to eat a sandwich.
Seeing him, the lady cop's eyes lit up and said excited, "Hey, hey, hey! The rice bucket is back."
"What?" Li Du stared at her.
The lady cop gave him a forced smile. "Sorry, I was too excited and spoke what's on my mind. How should I say it? Ohit should be the 'head chef' is back, right?"
"So that's how you label me?" Li Du sighed. "To think I treat you like family, and count you in for all the good stuff." As he spoke, he took out a small gift box and handed it to her.
Seeing the gift box, the lady cop became quiet. She put down the sandwich and looked at him, her face revealing hesitation and confusion.
Li Du asked, "What's with you?"
Luo Qun did not answer him, but instead asked, "Why are you giving me this? What special day is it today?"
"Take a look first, and then I'll explain."
Luo Qun used a napkin to wipe her hands and opened the box to see a bracelet made of rosewood.
Li Du did not choose scented rosewood for her, just plain rosewood, which symbolized authority and peace.
"What's this?" Luo Qun asked.
Li Du said, "Just a bracelet."
Luo Qun glared at him. "Am I blind? I can tell" She seemed to recall something and hurriedly changed her tone. Using a softer voice, she said, "I know it's a bracelet, but why give me this?"
"What do you see on the beads?"
"The image of the Buddha?"
"Right, the image of Buddha," Li Du said. "Buddha will protect you, keep you safe, and grant your wishes."
Luo Qun thought about it for a while. "But that's God's job, right?"
Li Du said, "It's finemaybe God and Buddha have business dealings with each other? They will protect you together."
Luo Qun shrugged and wore the bracelet on her wrist with a smile. "What's that in your arms? Looks like a cradle."
Li Di said, "No, it's a puppy's bed."
After he put it down, Ah Ow yawned and opened her bleary eyes before using her little pink tongue to lick her mouth. Then she slowly crawled out from the bed.
Luo Qun glanced at it then glanced at the bracelet on her wrist. "I know why you're giving me the bracelet," she sneered. "Keeping another pet?"
Li Du said, "How can you gauge another's sincerity with such a mean measure!? I'm not keeping Ah Ow here. I will bring her to the cabin where she will be the watchdog!"
Luo Qun blinked, and then smiled. "Oh right, sorry, ha. I've been a cop for too long and have the habit of suspecting people of this and that."
Ah Ow rested her head on the side of her bed and then looked at Luo Qun with her bright, clear eyes. Luo Qun said, "This little thing is quite cute anyways."
She didn't know why Ah Ow was looking at her that wayif she did, she wouldn't have been happy about it.
After staring at Luo Qun for a while, Ah Ow finally realized that this was not Mommy Sophie, and started to panic!
She glanced around at her surroundings, and then realized this was not the familiar environment of Sophie's house. She howled, "Ow! Ow!"
Li Du hurriedly said, "Stop howling. Ah Ow, be quiet."
Ah Ow continued to cryhow could she be quiet? "Owoo! Owoo!"
Luo Qun said in surprise, "This is a dog? Are you sure? Why do I think it's more like a wolf pup?"
Ah Ow didn't care what they were saying about her. She stood up and used her front paw to claw at the side of the bed. Her body was bent and her neck was straight, as she raised her head to howl, "Owoo! Owoo!"
Li Du also believed this was a wolf pup; a puppy did not usually behave this way. But he wasn't willing to admit this. "This is a Czech Wolfdog. You know it? The pups of Czech Wolfdogs are like this."
Luo Qun shook her head, "No, this is definitely not a Czech Wolfdog. I may not know about other dogs, but I'm very familiar with Czech Wolfdogs. We use Czech Wolfdogs at the police station, and their young do not behave this way."
Li Du's heart sank. "You're sure about this?"
Luo Qun ran to the study. Li Du wasn't sure what she was doing, but he picked up Ah Ow to comfort her.
Soon, Luo Qun returned with a photograph, "See, this was a photograph of Toby when it was young. Look at it, it's not the same as a wolf."
Li Du looked at the photograph; it showed a greyish white pup, which looked almost the same age as Ah Ow.
The pup's bone structure had become more refined, and her ears were longer. Her face was also longer while her eyes and forehead had softer lines.
Luo Qun looked Ah Ow closely. "This is a North American gray wolf. This is definitely the pup of a North American gray wolf!"
Li Du said calmly, "You know this too? You really know a lot."
"Of course I know. There are Mexican wolves in Arizona, you know? Each time the wolves appear, we form groups to drive them away. We've had many encounters."
Mexican wolves were a type of gray wolf, and were considered predators higher up on the food chain. They usually moved in packs and could be found in mountainous areas of southwest America and northwest of Mexico.
In the family of gray wolves, their build was considered small, but they moved fast and were resilient, intelligent and craftyopponents many hunters did not wish to face.
"Mexican wolves have a narrow chest, but strong backs and legs. They are very agile. Look at this little thing. Although it is not yet fully grown, it already looks like this."
Hearing Luo Qun's words, Li Du observed Ah Ow's bodily features closely, and she indeed resembled the description.