When life becomes a routine, times passes quickly.
Zheng Tan's mornings now consisted of running, climbing stairs, climbing trees and practicing jumping.
The Jiao family calendar was flipped to November already. Only when he saw it, did Zheng Tan realize how much time had passed. He had been here for five months now.
Zheng Tan flexed his paws. Sharp claws appeared. These claws looked no different from the claws of other cats, but Zheng Tan knew, they were not the same.
At least, they were different from what they were two months ago.
He never deliberately grinded his claws, nor did he cut it. His claws grew, then his training wore them out. Then it grew again and was worn out again.
Cat claws were indeed a very magical thing. There were sharp, flexible and retractable. Some said that cat claws were like portable Swiss Army knives.
So Zheng Tan was training his to become more sharp and more tough.
Zheng knew he was different from other cats. He heard Papa Jiao say before that cats cannot taste sweetness, but he could distinctly taste it.
He could also eat a lot of things cats were supposed to avoid. People debated whether cats were color-blind.
He didn't know what it was like for other cats, but at least he could distinguish between colors.
Then there was the issue of claws.
Even if other cats underwent continuous training, they would not experience the surge in strength Zheng Tan was experiencing, nor would their claws change drastically.
However, that was about it. He didn't experience anything miraculous. Even if his strength was now close to the level of an adult, he was not physically turning into a human being.
Just like even if he trained like a monkey, he was not becoming a monkey.
Was this really what it was going to be like from now on?
Zheng Tan pondered these things while running. Not only was he significantly faster, he could now afford to distract himself with thoughts.
He wasn't tired to the point where breathing was painful anymore. At most, he experienced some mental fatigue, which went away after a bit of rest.
After completing two laps, Zheng Tan came to a small patch of woods on the edge of campus.
It was larger than the grove in the eastern quarters and usually deserted due to its distance from classrooms.
The school recently demolished some red brick buildings that had 'too much history' nearby and was planning to build a new dorm in its place.
The university was expanding rapidly, and the old dormitories were filled up to capacity.
Therefore, the area was frequented only by construction workers and construction vehicles. Students and faculty living off campus usually avoided coming in through the side door here.
Zheng Tan came here every day to climb trees after his run because no one was here to discover any peculiar behavior of his.
Wei Lin had been helping that police officer recently. Apparently, the case he was investigating was not yet solved. Zheng Tan mostly ran and trained alone these days.
As for the other three cats, he gave up on trying to get them to exercise with him since the first day.
After taking a short break, Zheng Tan began his daily tree-climbing exercise. Another advantage of training here was that the trees were larger, which meant they were more suitable for climbing.
Zheng Tan hopped onto a big pagoda tree. He scratched the trunk a few times before picking a branch that could withstand his weight. He slipped off the branch, hanging himself upside down.
He held on tightly with his legs, then took a deep breath.
His hind legs let go of the branch, leaving him dangling by only his two front legs. His claws sunk into the tree, and he started moving outwards to the tip of the branch.
When he was almost there, he swung himself back onto the tree.
He then looked around, selected a suitable branch within a reasonable distance. He prepared himself before jumping onto the new branch and repeated the whole process again.
When he first heard of this training method from Wei Ling, Zheng Tan had his doubts. After all, he was a cat, not a monkey.
Wei Ling acknowledged Zheng Tan's confusion. He asked, "Do you think it's not possible? Or that no cat can do it?"
"I had known a cat that could run through the woods with the agility of a monkey. It moved from branch to branch, tree to tree without touching the ground.
Ever since it learnt to climb trees, it had spent most of its time on trees."
"Remember, sometimes for cats, trees are your last lifesaver."
So, Zheng Tan began his training, hoping one day, he might be able swing from branch to branch on one leg like a monkey.
After climbing five trees, Zheng Tan jumped onto an old Liriodendron tree. He first noticed it, because of its oddly shaped leaves.
At the time, Zheng Tan was resting on its branches, when a leaf fell in front of him. It looked just like a vest.
Wei said that this tree was called Liriodendron and was a rare and endangered species. In a city, it was seldom seen anywhere out of a botanical garden.
The fact that one of these existed on campus was a testimony to Chuhua University's long history.
Liriodendron flowers looked like tulips. Its English name could be translated to "Chinese tulips", but unfortunately, Liriodendron blossoms bloom in May and June.
Zheng Tan planned on bringing the Jiao family here next year to see it together.
Zheng Tan listened to the leaves rustle around him. The wind was softly caressing his fur. He looked side to side, the trees were slowly turning golden.
Soon, the temperature was going to drop again. Then, after a rainy or windy day, the leaves would start falling.