It was a mid-year exam season again.
Mount Putuo was flooded with people and incense burning! It was that time of the year when Mount Putuo would get even more crowded than New Year’s. This was because students were about to sit either for the senior middle school or university entrance exam.
“Sigh…” I sighed. As I stood by the car with my backpack, I felt the breeze ruffle my short hair.
I, a materialistic person, am burning incense and praying in Putuo!
How could I let Marxism and political ideology down!?
As the parking lot was full, my parents had to wait for a very long time before they were finally able to park the car in a free spot. I couldn’t resist the urge to recite a poem as I looked at the overflowing parking lot.
“Once more, it’s time for the senior middle school entrance exam,
Burning incense in Putuo,
I do not pray to pass my civil exam!
But I pray to die in a battle!”
*Slap!* Someone slapped the back of my head. “What are you talking about!?” Dad’s raging voice rang out as my handsome dad walked over to stand next to me.
Dad used to be a soldier in the special forces, which in my opinion, was exceptionally remarkable. After retiring, he started a security company of his own. He even has an armored car! He is just super cool!
“Stop hitting her! Look at you! You train her as if she were a guy, and now she’s not serious about anything!” Mom had come to my rescue. Mom, hug me. Dad is hitting me again.
Dad immediately frowned, “I wanted her to join the military!”
Mom let go of me and took a step forward. Her eyes were opened wide as she argued, “What’s so good about being a soldier? Is she really your own daughter!? Why would you be willing to see her suffer by sending her through a world of hardships?”
“If you wish to be the best, you must face the harshest things and go through the bitterest of struggles!”
“A girl should behave like a girl, and stick to singing and dancing, or being an actress! Just look at our daughter, she’s so much prettier than the celebrities on TV. But now, she is more of a tomboy, and is always hanging around with the boys playing basketball, soccer, and even getting in fights! Oh, my goodness!” My mom, who couldn’t even stand a floor fan on her own, let alone take care of any hands-on work, looked as if she might faint when she brought up my situation.
“Don’t you think that a G20 soldier looks rather handsome? Plus, most of the actresses are known to sleep around! Considering these facts, I should be the one to ask whether you really are your daughter’s mom!”
“Luo! You have said this before as well! And, your daughter is listening! Do you really have to make it sound so bad!?”
“I am a soldier! I speak only the truth!”
Mom and Dad were at it again. My dad wanted me to join the military or the air force and fly a jet. He thought that the best possible option for me would be to get chosen by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to be a jet pilot.
My mom, on the other hand, wanted me to sing, dance and be an actress. According to her, the best possible option for me would be if I got admitted to the Central Academy of Drama and became a leading actress! But all of this would have to wait until later on, as right now I was still busy worrying about my senior middle school entrance exam.
Oh, my goodness! This is so annoying! Hurry up and let me leave this world if I am not even able to make any decisions of my own.
All of a sudden, the wind started blowing and the clouds started churning. The sand was flying around and the rocks were rolling over!
Out of nowhere, the wind became stronger, while a strange shimmering spot materialized right in front of me and started expanding. It stopped growing when it was roughly the size of a door, but then it started spinning rapidly in the midst of a sandstorm.
“Mom! Dad! Look, it’s an alien!” I cried while pointing excitedly at the floating silvery, shimmering sphere. I heard simultaneous replies from behind, “Stop your nonsense!”
I turned to refute immediately, but instead, I saw my mom and dad’s dumbfounded expressions. They had seen it too!
Feeling smug at being right, I retorted, “I told you that there’s an alien!” But suddenly, I felt a strong pull from behind and I flew sideways. I was shocked. I could see Mom and Dad running towards me, “Xiao Bing~”
I was pulled into the shimmering sphere instantly, and even then I could feel my parents holding on to me tightly. But suddenly, I felt my shoes coming off from my feet as I was pulled into the mysterious sphere, and my body flew forward at a high speed.
Buddha on Mount Putuo is so effective!
No wonder there are so many people burning incense and praying on Mount Putuo!
I… I… I… I… I’m sorry.
I was only joking.
It felt as if I was sliding down the perpendicular slide at the Water World. I rolled and tumbled downwards.
*Bang!* I landed heavily on the ground, and I felt like all my bones were either dislocated or even broken. My heart skipped a beat, as though it had stopped momentarily.
I felt extremely dizzy and couldn’t get up at all. My mouth was full of soil that tasted acidic and bitter. It was also extremely smelly, like a dog’s poop full of rotten eggs. *Retch!* But I was too dizzy to vomit.
“Look, Boss! We got one without any effort, and it’s a living person that fell down from the sky!” I could faintly hear people talking.
“He seems to be a radiationer. He’s not even wearing an anti-radiation suit!”
“Hurry up and catch him! Let’s return to offer him to King Shura!”
What the heck… What was going on…
What radiation? What King Shura!?
Suddenly, I felt like I was being dragged. I wasn’t even able to discern my surroundings properly before I was engulfed in darkness…
This, god damn… What’s going on…
When I woke up, I felt as if I was still being dragged. Opening my eyes slowly, I saw the ground under my heels moving backward. I was still being dragged. I was being hauled off by the arms by two people as if they were dragging a dead body.
I blinked and realized that my eyelashes were caked with dried up soil. Befuddled, I scanned my surroundings through my blurry vision, and saw many cages holding prisoners!
These cages were stacked onto strange-looking, dirty trucks… the kind that was used for transporting pigs. The people in the cages were holding on to the rusty bars as they stared at me. They looked terrified. All of them were dirty, wizened and scrawny, and were dressed in rags to boot. They looked very poor and starved.
I was dumbfounded for a moment.
Am I dreaming? Did I watch too much of Avengers to have such a strange dream?
It felt like I was in the lair of a terrorist organization.
*Bang!* Someone threw me into a cage that was a bit more spacious. I landed on the ground, face first and ended up getting dirt in my mouth. Pfft. I spat and forcefully sat up. All my limbs felt shaken and I was aching all over.
Damn. I am so dizzy…
I patted my head. Why would I get dizzy in a dream? This is so strange. And my body is aching all over! I stretched and finally didn’t feel nauseous anymore. I was still wearing my blue and white school uniform. But now, the white had all turned black because of the soil. And… There were patches of weird red that had a pungent odor.
“You are a radiationer?” Suddenly, a guy’s voice came from within the cage. This voice immediately caught my attention, as it sounded nice and clear. It was smooth and had a clean timbre.
I suspiciously looked in the direction where the voice had come from, only to realize that there were two other guys in the cage with me.
What the hell is a radiationer?
One of the guys was dressed shabbily like the people outside. He was in grey catsuit-like overalls that looked very ragged because of all the patches it had. It had been a long time since I had seen patched-up clothes, and it felt like I was looking at an antique.
There was a scarf around his neck that looked cleaner, but very old. The grey color made the scarf appear rather dirty. It seemed like it was used for covering up his face because the front part was kept longer so it could be pulled up over his face, similar to how we would use our scarves as a mask on hazy days.Next Chapter