(PS: A little note before reading: this book does not reflect reality. Please do not read it with a realistic worldview. The genre of this book is fantasy. Fantasy books are unscientific! Unscientific! Unscientific! I too would like to know how to create fireballs and how to spew lightning).
Carrying a red school bag, Gao Peng fished out a key card. Ding.
There was a creaking sound from a worn metal gate as Gao Peng stepped into the building. The building was a little old, with bits of rubbish piled on the floor. Fortunately, they did not give off any weird smells.
Standing under the dim light, Gao Peng lowered his head and glanced at the ground. A fierce looking black shadow was cast on the ground that made pulling and stretching movements continuously.
Gao Peng frowned and looked up. There was a giant spider the size of a millstone resting by the ceiling light. It had a made a greyish-white web across the entire ceiling of the stairway, and had visible blood-red eyes that twinkled in the light.
Gao Peng sighed. "Looks like the little spider raised by Granny Chen escaped again. This will be the seventh time this month, I guess."
Used to the sight of this escapee, Gao Peng carried on as though he saw nothing and went straight up the stairs…
But as he left the scuttling sounds of the spider behind him, Gao Peng suddenly stopped as though he thought of something. A little hesitantly, Gao Peng turned back around and looked at the giant grey spider scuttling around the ceiling.
"This… looks like a Striped Grey Plate Spider? I recall that the teacher said this is a relatively gentle creature?"
Gao Peng blinked and hesitated for a moment. Then he put down his schoolbag, took out a piece of paper, crushed it into a ball, and took out a lighter from his pocket.
Gao Peng pursed his lips and hesitated again. After all, no matter how gentle this Striped Grey Plate Spider was, it was still the pet raised by Granny Chen from upstairs… No! That's not the main point!
No matter how gentle it was, it was still a monster! Before the change in planet Earth, even a normal tier monster could have rivaled lions and tigers as apex predators at the top of the food chain.
If Gao Peng angered this monster, in this stairwell with nowhere to escape, he would be like a lamb waiting for slaughter.
Sighing again, Gao Peng shook his head and turned around, heading back upstairs.
Suddenly, at lightning speed, Gao Peng lit the paper ball with his lighter and threw it towards the ceiling behind him. Then, he fled like a madman up the stairs.
I remember Mr. Zhang saying that these creatures had gentle personalities.
Zhi! A shrill and angry squeaking sound suddenly came from behind. Gao Peng who was running up the stairs stole a glance behind him as he turned around.
The Striped Grey Plate Spider had fallen to the floor of the stairwell. With its eight legs scuttling around in a frenzy, the spider frantically climbed up to another wall. In the opposite direction that the spider fled was the flaming paper ball, gradually burning out.
Gao Peng's eyes lit up and his heart pounded. The Striped Grey Plate Spider really was afraid of fire!
Oh d*mn! The thing that appeared in his mind really wasn't a figment of his imagination!
At this moment, Gao Peng felt he was one with the wind as he sprinted up the stairs. Behind him, the Striped Grey Plate Spider was making extremely angry squeaking sounds.
"Ah, Mr. Zhang lied to me! Who ever said these things were gentle!"
Currently, Gao Peng's mind was racing but he dared not slow down his steps. Having this kind of angry monster chasing him was no joke. If it caught up to him, it could easily crack his skull open or spill his guts if he wasn't careful.
This was a monster from a different dimension! During the beginning of Earth's transformation, many humans died at the hands of these monsters. No matter how gentle they may have seemed now, it did not change the fact that they were monsters.
As the sounds behind him kept getting closer, Gao Peng could clearly hear the impact made by the Striped Grey Plate Spider before it made each leap up the stairwell. It was like steel pipes knocking against the ground.
One more floor till he reached home!
The Striped Grey Plate Spider with blood-red eyes opened and closed its ferocious jaws. Its strong, well-formed spider legs were like springs, bending downwards and then springing upwards with great force! Each of these leaps could cover four or five flights of stairs.
It was getting closer and closer to Gao Peng…
An overbearing and angry hiss permeated the thick walls and filled the entire stairwell. It was a deep and commanding sound.
The Striped Grey Plate Spider's legs that had just started to bend in preparation to leap momentarily froze. The spider stood still. Its blood-red eyes stopped twinkling and it began to produce a string of low squeaking sounds from its mouth.
But the monster that made the sound earlier did not hiss again.
After a moment's hesitation, the spider's blood-red eyes started to twinkle again. With uncertainty, the spider raised one of its legs to climb the stairs.
"Sssss!" As if provoked, this hissing sounded even angrier than the one before.
"Zhizhizhizhi..." retracting its raised leg, the Striped Grey Plate Spider jumped down the stairs and fled.
Gao Peng let out a breath and wiped the sweat off his brow. Why did the spider run back downstairs?
Could it all have been a game of tag for the spider? Chasing me for fun and happily going back down to its web after seeing that I'm almost home? Thought Gao Peng.
Gao Peng rubbed his chin. Hmmmm… Even he did not believe the nonsense that he just thought up.
Gao Peng took out his keys and unlocked the door. "Pa, Ma, I'm back," he said with a bright smile on his face.
Gao Peng pushed open the door to an empty house. It was so quiet that it seemed as though he was in a world inhabited only by him.
A gray-brown sofa was placed in the living room. Opposite was a rather old looking television set. The house was clean on the inside, with minimal decorations and furnishing. It was easy to see that the owner was diligent and cleaned the place often.
Adjusting his mood, Gao Peng took a deep breath and opened the bedroom door. The curtains were drawn, blocking out the glare of the strong sunlight and giving the room a dim look.
The bed in the room was neat and tidy. Gao Peng's face was lit with a smile and he happily said, "Pa, Ma, I finally came in first in class for my exams. You guys must be really happy."
Gao Peng was speaking to a framed black and white photo.
In the photo frame was a picture of a couple. The male looked elegant and gentle while the female looked dignified and virtuous. The couple smiled happily, as though through this thin piece of paper, the people from two different worlds could make eye contact with each other.
But the two people in the photo did not reply Gao Peng. They simply smiled with the same unchanging smile on their faces.
Gao Peng forcefully put on a prideful grin. "My school results have always been bad, and you guys often scolded me for it. But now, I'm finally first in class and fourth in the grade. You guys must be so happy, right? You don't have to worry about my studies anymore," Gao Peng said, as his eyes began to redden.
The thinly clothed teenager simply stood in the middle of the bedroom, his thoughts wandering in the silence. It was only when the sky became dark that the teenager came to his senses with a start. With an apologetic smile on his face, he said to the couple in the picture, "Pa, Ma, the school is organizing an excursion tomorrow, so I probably wouldn't be back for a few days. But don't worry about me! The school has hired professional bodyguards to assure our safety. I will make sure to be careful!
"I've heard that this time, the school has hired bodyguards from the BlueShield Protection Company. According to what I've heard, BlueShield Protection Agency has lots of Monster Trainers. If I could become one as well, that would be the best! At least half of my classmates hope to become Monster Trainers themselves!"
In a dark and dim room, a thin and fragile-looking teen talked to himself while facing a photograph. He waved around both his hands as he spoke, clearly in high spirits. His eyes shone brightly as well, embodying his yearning for the future and his desire to grow stronger.
But no one answered his words. How he wished, at that moment, that someone could give him a thumbs-up, or some words of encouragement. Even if the people in the photo were to pop out just to oppose his plans for the future, it would still be wonderful to him.
But it did not happen. The couple in the photo remained in the photo, smiling warmly, side by side.
The room quieted down. All that was left was the sound of the teen's own breathing.
The teen suddenly felt a little cold and rubbed his elbows with both his hands, looking dejected. But soon enough, the depressing atmosphere was blown away by a sunny and confident smile on his face. He returned once again to being the bright and optimistic teenager that he was.
Leaving the bedroom, Gao Peng carefully closed the bedroom door, as though to avoid disturbing the couple in the photo.
Nobody saw it: it might have been a trick of the light. But for a moment, the smile on the couple's faces in the photo seemed happier and sweeter.