Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
Mag looked down. The kitten was already awake. It looked up at Amy and cried out a few more times, each time louder than the previous. Damn!
The classroom fell silent immediately. Luna looked to the window, thinking that some wildcat had distracted her students.
But her face lit up when she saw Amy. She strode towards the door quickly.
“It’s Amy! Hello! Wow, I like your hair,” a window-seat girl wearing her hair in a mushroom bowl said delightedly as she looked at Amy, her eyes shining with excitement.
“Shush, Daphne. Don’t talk to me or say my name during class,” Amy said immediately.
“Why are you here again? I don’t like seeing you here,” a demon child said solemnly. On his head was a blade of grass like a mung bean sprout, and his hair was in a mess.
“Shut up, Ignatsu! Or I’ll pluck out your bean sprout again!” Daphne said aggressively, glaring back at the little demon.
“I’m not afraid of you,” he replied, but he leaned back.
“Ugly Duckling, stop crying! Or I’ll roast you!” Amy snapped.
The kitten had been afraid of this sentence since it was an egg. It became silent right away, cowering and shivering in the little basket.
Mag petted its hair, trying to comfort it. The possibility of getting roasted may hang over its head forever.
Luna walked out with a smile, holding a piece of chalk. “Amy, you’re—” The sight of Mag holding a basket startled her before she could finish her words.
“Teacher Luna, I’m here to attend your class and to see you. And I want to sing for you,” Amy said to Luna, giving her a big smile. Then she took a look into the classroom and became a little upset. “But I seemed to have disturbed the class.”
“I’m sorry. I brought her here. And I apologize for the cat,” Mag said apologetically as he stroked Amy’s hair.
Luna was wearing a powder blue dress and the same white silky scarf embroidered with a golden lily flower today. Apparently, she really liked that scarf. Her smile was so gentle when she looked at Amy.
“Don’t worry. The kitten has intrigued the kids. It’s been days since you last came here. They all miss you,” Luna said, looking at Amy’s depressed face and her father, who tried to take all the blame on himself. Then she took Amy by the hand, and added softly, “Come on. Introduce us to your little friend, and sing your song for me and the class.”
Mag gazed at Luna. Right now, her face seemed to be shining with love and care. Her kind encouragement moved him. She is a good teacher.
Amy’s eyes brightened. “Really?” She came down from the rocks, looking at Luna’s smiling face full of encouragement. Then she took the kitten out of the basket and turned to Mag. “Father, I… I want to…”
Mag gave Amy an encouraging smile and nodded. “Go, Amy. You can do it.”
Luna glanced at Mag, surprised. It’s not very common for a father to be so sensitive to his child. He knows what his girl wants and how to encourage her.
The sight of Mag reminded her of the roujiamo she had had that day, and her heart started racing. Although she had felt a little abashed, the Yangzhou fried rice and roujiamo had been really good. If she hadn’t spent all her money she had received from home on the kids, she might have tried them one more time.
He is such a good cook! She had never eaten anything better before. The thought of the good food made her mouth water despite herself.
“Okay,” Amy said. Mag’s encouragement put confidence on Amy’s face immediately. She walked into the classroom with Luna.
Mag stood by the window, smiling and gazing at Amy who was in a purple dress, holding Ugly Duckling in her arms.
She was no longer that shabby little girl, and he wanted her to be more confident.
“You haven’t seen Amy for many days. Did you miss her?” Luna asked the children, smiling.
“Yes! I do!” Daphne shouted immediately. Amy looks so different with her beautiful hairstyle and new dress.
Ignatsu shook his head. “Not really.” But he couldn’t divert his eyes away from Amy. Why is she suddenly so pretty? She’s like a china doll.
Other kids were all staring at Amy out of curiosity. She used to be so ragged and her hair was always messy. How has she become so beautiful all of a sudden? She is even more adorable than the elf next door.
When they saw Ugly Duckling in Amy’s arms, their eyes widened in delight. It’s so fluffy, so small, and so cute! I want to hold it and give it a stroke. And it’s white and orange, cuter than those black or white cats.
For the first time, Amy had received so much admiration and envy. She was nervous, but also happy. They didn’t look at her with disgust and pity any more. She felt so good that she smiled.
Luna was also smiling. She had tried to build up her confidence, but every time the little girl got picked on, she got more frustrated and less confident.
It’s only been a few days. Amy seems to have changed completely, not just on the outside, but on the inside as well. She seems to have become stronger and more sure of herself. She has stopped worrying about her being different from others.
No one else but Mag has brought about this change.
Why does he suddenly seem like a different man, starting to care about Amy? she wondered.
“Amy has brought a new friend with her today, and she wanted to sing a song for us,” Luna said, smiling, giving Amy an encouraging look.
Holding the kitten in her arms, she said, “This is Ugly Duckling, my…” Then she paused a moment, trying to figure out what it was to her. “Father said it will become a swan when it grows up. Now I think it’s my pet.”
“A swan?” The children became really intrigued. They gazed at the orange cat in Amy arms, and didn’t know what was ugly about this cute cat. It doesn’t even look like a duck. And it will become a swan?
“Why is it called Ugly Duckling?” Daphne asked curiously.