The pet craze in Fengcheng had not yet faded when there was a wave of tourism.
Although the mainstream media in China had suppressed reports on the changes in Fengcheng, people on business trips, tourists, those who had inadvertently passed through Fengcheng and those who were inextricably related to the residents of Fengcheng had all learned about the changes in Fengcheng from various sources. One passed to ten, ten passed to hundred. The rumour mill was full of gossip. Some said that Fengcheng City had been transformed by alien technology, others said that Fengcheng City was a mythical holy place of cultivation…. No matter how ridiculous the rumours were, the core content inescapably was the improvement of the human body caused by the environmental changes in Fengcheng. For this reason, waves of people flocked to Fengcheng to see this legendary city for themselves.
Peng Jing was one of the first visitors to arrive in Fengcheng.
Two years ago, Peng Jing graduated from the University of Science and Technology in Fengcheng and returned to her hometown. Although she had left Fengcheng, her four-year university career still made her feel a strong affection for the city. Of course, no matter how her memory embellished it, Peng Jing remembered that the sky in Fengcheng was always grey, the water was black and the air was full of floating dust. In spring, summer, autumn and winter, there was dirt everywhere when the wind blew, and there was no way to avoid it. The professor at the university told her that this was a pain of a heavy industrial city that couldn’t be avoided, and that unless the industry was transformed, the environment would only continue to deteriorate.
For this reason, Peng Jing gave up the opportunity to stay at the university after graduation and returned home to become a junior high school teacher. She thought the environment in Fengcheng would always be like this, but since the beginning of spring this year, it seemed that everything had changed. Peng Jing found that many of her classmates who stayed in Fengcheng had suddenly taken up a new hobby – the hobby of taking photos of themselves. The photos they took were of their neighbourhoods, their workplaces, or just a casual shot on the road. In all of them, the sky was as blue as if it was washed, and there was always rich and vibrant vegetation in the corners of the photo.
Peng Jing heard her friend Keke, who stayed at the university, say excitedly that Fengcheng was now a very different place from before. The sky was blue, the water was clear, there were all kinds of green plants everywhere you looked, and the whole city was like a large botanical garden. Keke’s descriptions attracted Peng Jing, especially coupled with the mysterious evolutionary abilities Keke mentioned. Peng Jing immediately bought a ticket to Fengcheng, intending to come and experience everything Keke had told her about.
From the moment she left the airport, Peng Jing felt that her eyes were not enough to see. The flowers and plants outside were clearly more appealing to women than to men and the camera in Peng Jing’s hand didn’t stop clicking on the way. She felt that she no longer knew this city at all, the city surrounded by greenery.
The taxi driver treated Peng Jing as if she was a first-time visitor to Fengcheng and explained everything to her with enthusiasm all the way. Peng Jing listened with a smile on her face, and a sense of pride welled up in her heart. Half an hour later the driver dropped Peng Jing off at the entrance of the University of Science and Technology, and charged her two yuan less.
“It’s not easy for a young girl to go out, just round it down to zero.”
“Thank you, mister.”
Peng Jing said goodbye to the driver, and when she turned her head, she heard her best friend Keke’s greeting.
“Peng Jing’s here!”
Peng Jing ran over happily. Keke was standing in front of the school in a green dress, waving to her and holding a ginger kitten in her arms.
“So cute.” Peng Jing saw the kitten at a glance. She cautiously stroked the kitten and asked excitedly, “Keke, can you communicate with it? Is it that mysterious ability you told me about on the phone?”
Keke puffed out a laugh and shook her head, “Her name is Naiyou (Cream) and I just got her. You remember, right? There used to be a stray big ginger cat behind our dormitory, and Naiyou is the child of the big ginger cat. A few days ago, the cat was adopted by the head of our department, and I had a hard time snatching up Naiyou. Naiyou and I are still at the stage of getting to know each other, and we haven’t developed that kind of ability yet. But it doesn’t really matter if we get the ability. You see how cute Naiyou is. I was honestly hoping for that kind of ability at first, but after a few days of raising her I really like her, so it doesn’t matter if we have it or not.”
Keke nudged the little kitten’s nose and said affectionately, “Naiyou, don’t you think so?”
Peng Jing looked at the little kitten’s well-behaved appearance and her heart simply melted.
Keke took her arm, “Let’s go, I’ll take you to the university to take a stroll and see the new appearance of our school.”
“What’s new about it?”
“You’ll find out when you go.” Keke decided to keep listeners in suspense.
Fengcheng University of Science and Technology had been green before, and now the environment was better than ever. Peng Jing looked around all the way; teaching buildings, office buildings, dormitory buildings, playgrounds, almost everywhere her eyes could see was covered with lush greenery. Keke said, “Everywhere you go now is green and the classrooms are cool. We haven’t turned on the air conditioning at all this year, and the logistics director is overjoyed to save a huge amount of money on electricity.”
Peng Jing smiled and took a deep breath, enthralled, “The air is so beautiful.”
Keke nodded, “Now that the air is better, there are more students doing morning exercises. There are hardly any late sleepers, everyone rises early and either works out in the playground or runs around the school, living a healthy life. Attendance in the first period has really improved.” The two of them were walking and talking when they heard a chirping sound above their heads. Peng Jing subconsciously looked up and opened her mouth wide in surprise. Above their heads, a large flock of birds circled and flew past, disappearing in the grove ahead.
Peng Jing could see clearly that the flock just now consisted of different birds. Some of the birds she didn’t recognise but there were also parrots, starlings, magpies and others. It seemed that, roughly estimated, there were thousands of them.
“Here we are.”
Keke pulled Peng Jing around the rockery, directly towards the grove. In front of the grove, Elder Xie, the head of the school’s maths department, was laughing, talking to a parrot that was perched on his shoulder, “Xiao Li, take the group to fly once more.”
The parrot known as Xiao Li pecked at Elder Xie’s ear and with a clear chirp, the flock of birds in the grove followed, circling Elder Xie in the air and flying back into the woods.
Peng Jing was simply stunned.
Keke smiled and said, “How’s that? Elder Xie is now a new spectacle in our school. Every day when he doesn’t have class, he comes here to entertain the birds. He is happy and everyone is happy to watch him. Don’t look at the many birds there, they all have owners. Even a few humble little sparrows have been claimed by the first-year students. I don’t know how they can tell the difference. Every day at noon, they make a special effort to come and feed the birds carrying little cups marked Sparrow One, Sparrow Two and so on.”
Peng Jing imagined this scene and couldn’t stop laughing for a long time. She looked around with emotion, “It’s only been two years since I graduated, and everything has changed so much. How do you think it all happened?”
Keke stroked Naiyou in her arms and said seriously, “I don’t know how it all happened, but I love the change. It’s not about the rumours of evolution and abilities out there; just this environment is enough to make me thankful for it all. I wish I could do my best to protect the environment now and not let it be ruined once again at the hands of our generation.”
Keke’s thoughts were also those of most of Fengcheng’s residents. The social unrest that the expert group had feared didn’t happen, and no conflict had risen between evolved and unevolved people. As for the ability of people to communicate with animals, people who didn’t have it just had an envious attitude and looked forward to having it one day in the future. Compared with this ability, everyone was more concerned about the environment of Fengcheng. Everyone understood that whether it was evolution or ability, the improvement of the environment was the prerequisite for everything.
Everyone spontaneously and voluntarily began to protect the environment around them. Without the supervision of the environmental protection department, all the small steel mills in the suburbs that had substandard emissions stopped working. The owners and employees of these mills were also the beneficiaries of the environmental changes in Fengcheng, and they enjoyed the benefits of this change in a tangible way. Some of them were already planning to shut down their mills and open farmhouses. According to the magical changes in Fengcheng, it would inevitably become a tourist destination for the whole country and even the whole world.
While everything was flourishing in Fengcheng, the busiest and most chaotic party of the city was the police. Because of the influx of tourists, the police in Fengcheng had to suspend all their holidays and go on duty to maintain order. As a heavy industrial city, Fengcheng had no previous experience of receiving large numbers of tourists. It was only after the first few days of confusion that everyone slowly got used to it.
A few days later Yan Yue received a call from Fang Lei.
“Yan Yue, I’ve really been screwed by you.”
Fang Lei scolded Yan Yue while holding the phone between his shoulder and his ear and frying small fish for Xiaohui in a pan. After a week of working overtime and being on call 24 hours a day and unable to leave the station, Fang Lei finally managed to get a day off and was able to go home to see Xiaohui, Master Cat.
As expected, Xiaohui scratched him twice as soon as he saw him, in retaliation for being left behind for a week. Fang Lei held Xiaohui and coaxed him for a long time. Not even bothering to take a shower, he first hurriedly gave Xiaohui a bath and then started to fry him some fish to eat. Now in the gap of frying fish, Fang Lei finally caught Yan Yue to scold him a bit.
“Where have I screwed you?”
Yan Yue decisively refused to admit anything. He smiled as he listened to Fang Lei’s complaints and changed the topic, “I heard that because of the influx of tourists, Fengcheng has started planning to strictly check temporary residence permits and limit the length of stay of tourists. Have you received any news?”
Fang Lei gloated a little, “Yan Yue, you don’t have a Fengcheng household registration yet, do you?”
In the foreseeable future, the Fengcheng household registration would be a much more valuable existence than the Zhongjing household registration.
Yan Yue chuckled, “It was inconvenient before, but now it’s just the right time to move my household registration over and transfer it with Xiao Xi.”
“Then you have to hurry up, I’m afraid it won’t be easy after a while. The temporary residence permit is sure to be checked in the future. As for the tourists’ stay time, this has not been decided. The tops pressed down the proposal, I guess, afraid of tourists making a fuss.”
Of course, if there were still so many tourists, the authorities would eventually ruthlessly limit the length of stay, otherwise Fengcheng would definitely not be able to bear it. Let’s just say that there was no place to stay in Fengcheng now, every hotel and rented apartment were full, so any more people would really have to set up tents on the streets.
Fang Lei had a headache just thinking about this scenario. It would be them, the police, who would be suffering. As the thought flashed through his mind, he gritted his teeth again. This time he was really screwed by Yan Yue.
Yan Yue listened to the sound of Fang Lei gritting his teeth and hung up the phone with a smile. To be honest, it was a bit risky for him to release the expert group’s investigation information, but it was really the best way to muddy the waters. If he let the expert group suppress the matter and slowly investigate it in secret, he couldn’t help but worry that Xiao Xi’s identity would be exposed. Although he had already made quite a few arrangements since last year, it was better to disrupt the pace of the expert group to be safe.
Now that the nation’s attention was focused on Fengcheng, the expert group was no longer as leisurely as before and had to find a reason for the change in Fengcheng as soon as possible. And Yan Yue had already prepared that reason for them.