CHAPTER 8

A DANCING LION

"Lions will help you find your way," explained Papa Mao, leading his sons down to the pier.

The first streak of dawn. The first signs of human activity: men carrying trays of sweet-smelling buns, school children kicking kerbs.

Stolly puffed up his fur.

catsoup ch08 v01"It's all your fault," whispered Runty.

"And there's the Lion Rock King," boomed Papa Mao.

The kittens stared goggle-eyed at the high mountain rearing above them from across the water.

Papa Mao nosed them good-bye. "Be careful of all concrete," he warned.

The kittens hid up a tree.

"After me!" Runty scraped down the trunk. A grandma had parked a stroller nearby. While she shopped, the kittens buried themselves under the covers beside a baby. Soon they were bumping down a ramp to the ferry.

"I feel sick," mewed Stolly.

"Ssh," said Runty.

Fortunately the grandma was deaf.

It was hard to breathe under the covers. What the baby couldn't express in words, she did with her legs.

"Ouch," mewed Stolly.

Runty gave him a reassuring lick.

Beating drums and crashing gongs. Runty peeped: a colourful procession moved along the waterfront, all flapping banners and bobbing balloons. Policemen had stopped the traffic. Coachloads of tourists cheered.

The baby started crying.

"Ayaaaaa," cried Grandma, as the kittens bounded out of the stroller and disappeared into the crowd.

Leading the procession was a lion with an enormous head and a long silken body. It twitched its eyes and flapped its ears when it saw the kittens.

"The Lion Rock King? Keep going," it said, tapping its legs to the rhythm of the drums.

"Pussy cat!" shouted a boy, pulling away from his mother and running towards Stolly.

Stolly bolted.

"Wait!" called Runty.

The lion jerked his head towards the high-rise buildings ahead. "Ask for Mr. and Mrs. HSBC."

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