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 and you still have not made any progress?”
Oh no, Nu Wa has returned. The magic scrolls sit in front of me, still unopened. I tried studying, but I 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 approaches me with her robes brushing up against my leg as she stares down in disappointment. 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 begin sparkling at the thought of what's in the bag.
“New bells! New bells! Oooh gimmie gimmie!” I stand up and try and 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 you diligently studying, I thought I would reward you with them.” She takes another look at the sealed scrolls still sitting on the wooden table.
“I guess I thought wrong, Qiaokeli.” She crosses her arms, waiting for a response.
I begin pouting. “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 begin taking 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 leather 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 power 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, but 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. I want to be free, free to just run around. 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 out.
Opening the door, she isn’t standing there. She 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 Nu Wa 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. 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 and awaken my powers but it just results in Nu Wa trying to hold back her disappointment and comfort me. I walk down the stairs and sit next to her. Her clothes are blowing in the breeze, the smooth silk keeps hitting me in the face.
“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 a Hanzi written on them. Oh, 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 begin climbing the wooden pillar. As I climb past it, the Hanzi 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 can see my reflection in it, my brown hair barely hangs out from my hat. I stick out my tongue and move my hands to the side of my face. Silly faces are the funniest thing! This time I’m a fish, swimming deep in the ocean. Hehe, my yellow eyes are perfect for mimicking things, it's like staring into the eyes of a cat.
“Focus Qiaokeli! You have the 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 still managing to keep my balance well. I begin to feel something painful, like needles poking me from inside my body.
“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 with a loud noise.
I got so caught up in the memories that I began losing my balance. Trying my hardest to correct it, I end up dropping the metal sheet. Next thing I know, i'm falling toward the ground. After landing in the dirt, suprsingnly no pain can be felt. Being connected to a goddess does have its perks. My bells are ringing, oh wait, I think that's coming from my head. My vision is a bit hazy, and I see a shadow appear over me.
“What happened Qiaokeli? You were doing great until you suddenly broke concentration.” Nu asks.
“Well, um I began thinking of when I met you and the next thing I knew, I was here on the ground.” I respond.
“You did better than you normally do, even if you didn’t awaken to this element properly. Now get up, dust yourself off. I need you to go into the village.”
“The village? Yay!” I shout.
“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. There is tons of food in it, but I have to go to a specific store since they carry Nu Wa's favorite fish. 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 the silence. I quickly duck behind a tree and watch what's happening. It looks like a thief is robbing a merchant with gun in hand. He suddenly kicks the merchant away, and hops onto the carriage. No way, he 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!” I yell at him, pointing at him confidently.
“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 yell back.
Now is the time to do it, prove to myself I can do this. I reach into my bag and pull out the wand Nu Wa gave me. I have yet to get this thing to work, but maybe today will be different. I stare at the wand and begin picturing Nu Wa. Then the thoughts of the metal sheet run through my head. Suddenly, I begin feeling the metal poking 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 begins to light up the same silver color I saw during the Ming Xiang. The Hanzi for Jīn appears floating in front of me, and I begin feeling something building up inside. It feels like I can take on anything!
“Woah, kid watch what you are doing! What are you trying to do?” the thief asks.
“I’m stopping a petty thief in his dirty tracks! Now take this! Qiaokeli attack go!”
I release the building feeling into the wand, and it begins shooting out chunks of metal. They head straight for him, and he quickly ducks down, avoiding them. He gets up and runs to the other side of carriage.
“Oh no you don’t!” I create some more metal chunks and send them flying his way. They crash into the side of carriage, knocking him 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 needed 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 calms down the man. She waves her hands and creates gold, and hands it to him. 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 begin moping, thinking I finally did something good.
Nu Wa turns to me and says,“Yibu yige Jiaoyin.”
“One step, one footprint.” She’s right, as long as I keep trying, I’ll make it there. I’ll be able to even teleport just like her! I won’t always get in my own way, as long as I keep trying. Qiaokeli will be great!