A goofy girl can't seem to get out of her own way, but keeps working at it regardless.
| “Qiaokeli it has been three hours. Have you made any progress?”
Uh-oh, Nu Wa has returned! The unopened scrolls sit on the table. I tried studying but couldn't focus!
“Um, Qiaokeli tried her best but in the end, she gave into daydreaming.” I hope she buys this cute act.
Nu Wa's robes brush up against me as she approaches. A look of disappointment spreads across her face. After an awkward silence, a knit bag appears in her hand in a flash of light. She begins to shake it around, Jingle! Jingle! My eyes sparkle at the thought of what's in the bag.
“New bells! New bells! Oooh gimmie gimmie!” I stand and try to reach them but Nu Wa towers over me. Ugh, no fair!
“I noticed the bells on your hat had not been ringing as loudly recently. To show my gratitude for diligent studying, I thought I would reward you with them.” She takes another look at the scrolls.
“I guess I thought wrong, Qiaokeli.” She crosses her arms, waiting for a response.
I pout. “You know, I’ll see myself to my room. I already know that’s what's coming.”
I get up and collect the magic scrolls. After putting them back in the rack, I take the walk of shame to my room. Since I am connected to her, I feel the doubt inside Nu Wa’s mind. I still believe that she made the wrong choice, yet the goddess chose me to become her essence. It's been a couple of months since I have lived here with her, but it seems like yesterday I was just another orphan living down at the Yezi Plaza. I sit down on my bed and open up a large brown book. As I turn the pages, my eyes dart across the pictures my friends took down at the orphanage. Here’s me with a cast on my leg. Jumping off the roof of the house really wasn’t the brightest of ideas. There’s another of me and Bao throwing mud at each other. I wish I could go back to being a normal kid but now I have the powers of Nu Wa. I can’t keep letting her down, especially if she’s going to give me new bells!
There has to be a way for me to impress Nu Wa. Every time I attempt to, I end up doing something clumsy. I want to do better, but I can’t focus on this boring stuff. I’d prefer to be down in the village playing like the rest of the kids. I want to be free, free to just run around and play. Now I have to sit inside and study.
KNOCK! KNOCK! The sounds stop my thinking. “Come child, it is time for our Ming Xiang.” Nu Wa says through the wooden door.
I pounce off the bed and put away my photo book. Maybe this week will be different, maybe I can make Nu Wa proud!
“Coming!” I yell.
After opening the door, she is nowhere to be seen. Nu Wa must have already teleported outside like usual. I’m so jealous, I wish I could do that! Oooh, maybe that’s one of my powers she keeps telling me I have. She always says I have a ton of potential and that “we were destined to become one;” whatever that means. All I want to do is teleport around, and maybe even shoot fire from my hands!
I put those thoughts in the back of my mind and walk down the hallway. After making my way through the back door, I see Nu Wa sitting on her knees in the middle of the white-lined meditation circle. It's time for our Ming Xiang, where once a week I try to awaken my powers. Though this usually results in Nu Wa attempting to comfort me after failing. I can always sense the disappointment in her mind. I walk down the stone steps and sit next to her. Her silky clothes hit me in the face as the wind picks up.
“Today my child, we will try something a bit unusual.” Nu Wa breaks the silence.
As she finishes talking, wooden pillars come up from the ground around us. These things are super high off the ground and have aHanzi written on them. I want to climb them so bad! Let me at them!
“I can feel your excitement, good. Now go ahead and climb the pillar marked with Jīn.” Nu Wa says.
I start to climb a wooden pillar. As I reach the top, the Hanzi symbol begins to glow an odd silver color. After reaching the top, I have to stand perfectly balanced to avoid falling. This was her evil plan all along, she tricked me! There is a small sheet of metal on top of it. I see my tanned face reflected back at me. My brown hair dangles in the breeze. I stick out my tongue and move my hands to the side. Silly faces are the funniest thing! This time I’m a fish, swimming deep in the ocean. Hehe I am too good at doing these! That's the perk of having yellow eyes like a cat.
“Focus Qiaokeli! You have potential but you are holding yourself back with such childish acts. Now pick up the metal sheet.” Nu Wa scolds.
Well, I probably should stop making her mad. Spending the rest of the week in my room sounds super boring. I do as I am told, and grasp the cold metal in my hands. Surprisingly, I am managing to keep my balance well. Sharp pain begins to shoot throughout my body, like needles poking me from within.
“Nu Wa, this hurts badly! Ow!”, the pain comes out. It feels like the metal might rip me apart from the inside.
“Yes my child I know, I can feel your pain. You must endure it; this is the power of metal resonating within you. Endure for a bit longer, and you will finally unlock a portion of your powers.” She tells me.
I look down at her and notice she is bleeding too. The blood is trickling down her forehead, elegantly just like herself. We really are one in the same now, she is going through what I am right now. I can do this, if not for me I'll do it for her! She’s the one who took me in, after I found her. We were both abandoned, and now we are together. I still remember the day when I met her, I instantly knew she was different from anyone else—
“GASP!” I cut my thinking short.
The metal sheet slips from my hands and lands near Nu Wa. Flailing does nothing to help as my shoes loose footing. Next thing I know, I'm falling toward the ground. After landing in the dirt, no pain can be felt. Being connected to a goddess does have its perks. The bells on my hat are ringing. Wait a minute, that ringing is in my head! My vision is a bit hazy as a shadow appears over me.
“What happened Qiaokeli? You did great until you suddenly broke concentration.” Nu Wa asks.
“Well, um I was thinking of when I met you and the next thing I knew, I was here on the ground.”
“You did much better than you normally do, even if you failed to awaken this element properly. Now get up, dust yourself off. I need you to go into the village.”
“The village? Yay!” I jump up.
“Calm yourself. I need you to pick up some ingredients for our dinner.”
Nu Wa writes out a list, and sends me out with my green backpack. I walk down the stone trail from our house, as we are a far walk from the village. I can see it downhill, cloaked in orange leafed trees. The river beside the trail is calm like normal. Soon I pass by a merchant carriage pulled by a rhino. It’s amazing how they are able to get the rhinos to listen so well! It grunts at me as I pass by, but I don’t mind it. They are more reliable than those lousy tigers we used to have here. As I am humming to myself, a strange feeling comes over me. I turn around and BANG! A loud noise cuts through the sounds of nature. After ducking behind a tree, I peek around. It looks like a thief is robbing a merchant with gun in hand. He suddenly kicks the merchant away, and hops onto the carriage. This guy is stealing the entire carriage! I can’t sit back and watch this; Nu Wa would never forgive me.
I leap out from my hiding place. “Hey you, Mr. Thief! Stop now!”
“Huh, who left this kid out here? Eh, not my problem. I got the stuff now time to get away!” he says.
“Kid? Oh, I'll show you kid!” I point confidently.
Now its time to prove I can do this. I reach into my bag and pull out the wand Nu Wa gave me. Maybe today will be different but I have yet to get this thing to work. I stare at the wand and begin picturing Nu Wa. Then the thoughts of the metal sheet run through my head. Suddenly the feeling of metal pokes my body like before. This time it doesn’t hurt at all. Oh yeah buddy, I'm coming for you! I point the wand at the thief and it shines to life. The silver color from the Ming Xiang illuminates the shade from the trees. Orange leaves blow around us from the force of the wand. The Hanzi for Jīn appears floating in front of me. A deep feeling of energy is building up inside. It feels like I can take on anything!
“Woah, kid watch what you are doing! What are you trying to do?”
“I’m stopping a petty thief in his dirty tracks! Now take this! Qiaokeli attack go!”
All of the building energy is released, creating chunks of metal. They head straight for him but the thief ducks down, avoiding the silver rain. He gets up and runs to the other side of carriage.
“Oh no you don’t!” More energy releases from within as metal chunks fly toward him. They crash into the side of carriage, knocking the thief on the ground.
“This is crazy, I was looking for a quick score but this isn’t even worth it anymore!” the thief says. He gets up and sprints away, leaving his gun on the ground. The merchant comes out from underneath the carriage.
“I did it! I can’t believe I actually did it!” I yell out in excitement.
During my celebration dance, a large crash interrupts me. The carriage wheels have broken off and the crates of food fall out, spilling into the river. The gentle stream carries all of the crates far away out of our sight.
“No, my produce! It’s all gone! I need to sell those off to meet this month's quota. I’m ruined!” he begins crying.
It seems I made the problem worse, rather than fixing it. Nu Wa suddenly appears, and hugs the man. This is the same hug I have been given time and time again after failing. She waves her hands and creates gold, handing it to him with a bright smile. This is another cool power she has, while I have nothing. The merchant thanks her and leaves, now happy he won’t go out of business. I finally did something good but in the end more trouble was caused. Qiaokeli, why must you be like this? Why does Nu Wa always have to clean up your messes?
Nu Wa turns to me and says,“Yibu yige Jiaoyin.”
One step, One footprint. As long as I keep trying my dreams will become a reality. I'll even learn how to teleport! I won’t always get in my own way, as long as I keep trying. Qiaokeli will be great! Maybe then Nu Wa will give me those bells. Oh how badly I want those bells!