2 Waking Up to the First Day of Work

There was sudden loud beeping monstrosity of a screech, just like Xiao Ying's stupid alarm clock that he had chosen on purposefully because of the horrific noise it made.

Xiao Ying flopped his arms about uselessly, reaching out away from his curled up body laid upon something soft and warm, trying to find that shitty hunk of metal that was sending waves of pain through his head.

He used one of his hands to curl around his head and blot out the noise of the mechanical screaming banshee that was trying to burst his eardrums.

Xiao Ying didn't remember setting the thing to be so loud last night, and he scoured his memories for any potential reason he could've had to do so.

He remembered finishing up his last exams, throwing his pen down as he wrote the final word and leaving a long, garish ink stain across his page.

Xiao Ying internally cringed at that, curling his head further into his body.

Quickly moving on to the next memory, Xiao Ying had left the exam hall with his backpack to go to work, skipping out on having some lunch to go to work, knowing full well that there was nothing in his fridge, and that there was no way that he would be able to beat the lunch time rush for food.

He made his way to the stationary store and worked the afternoon and evening shifts, before going to the cheap, little store that he had found a few miles from his apartment. He remembered buying himself a couple weeks of food there, resigning himself to repeating the same meal over and over again until the winter, and then walking back.

Xiao Ying scrunched up his eyes as he tried to remember actually entering his apartment, and putting his groceries away. He couldn't remember brushing his teeth either, nor actually going to bed.

The painful beeping noise still hadn't stopped as well!

The throbbing headache that had now formed in Xiao Ying momentarily took over his focus as he pried his eyes open slowly, immediately shutting them as his vision was flooded by a bright, white light, almost blinding him and leaving behind several multicoloured floaters to keep his eyes company.

Xiao Ying struggled to turn his body away from the light, and discovered that he had been sitting upwards this entire time, leaning into the backrest of a chair.

He shuffled his body around, awkwardly manoeuvring his limbs between the sides of the armrests to twist his body an entire 180 degrees.

Once he was sure that no light would be trying to fry his retinas, Xiao Ying opened his eyes to stare into the blackness he saw in front of him.

The beeping noise stopped as well.

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Xiao Ying gave a sigh of relief, letting his shoulder's drop, and his face relax into something less painful for his head. He blinked several times and looked over to the back of the chair that he was in, only seeing a blank, dark grey wall, lit up by the light pouring out from behind him.

His eyes widened suddenly as he remembered.

There was a light from a car that was trying to park at the side of the road. It's light was coming from behind him. The railings around the apartment building lit up. Something crashed into his side. He had fallen down. He had been bleeding. The whole world went black.

He had been hit by the car!

Instinctively, Xiao Ying brought a hand up to the side of his torso, where he had been hit. He breathed in harshly as he ran his hand down his side, feeling nothing but his shirt melding to his torso under the harsh force of his shaking fingers. He exhaled almost madly when he felt that everything was dry, and that there was no wound to speak of.

But what had happened to him?

He should have either died, or taken to hospital.

This wasn't a hospital though!

Where was he?

Xiao Ying gradually inched his head around to the right, trying and face the light behind him, squinting his eyes to try and see anything through the one, giant blur that was becoming his vision. He rubbed his rapidly tearing eyes several times, before trying to make a small shield, letting only thin, wisps of light through his fingers, but ultimately failing as his eyes continued to water.

He closed his eyes, waiting for the burn to subside, before opening them, eventually getting his whole body to shift back to face whatever it had woken up to.

A blank white screen enveloped his whole vision, trapping him within its light.

Letting his eyes scan over it, Xiao Ying could only draw a comparison between it, and one of those excruciatingly expensive gaming computers with their big, bulky monitors, giant screens and giant keyboard with a mouse on a non-descript, blank mousepad.

Nothing like the tiny laptop that he had bought for himself for over half price off, out of necessity and very reluctantly.

Xiao Ying looked to the left, deciding to see if the wall over there was any different to the blank, empty wall on his right.

Startling slightly, he recoiled at the sight of a door, and slowly peeled himself out of the chair to try and see if he could pull the door open.

The few scant steps that he took were tense, as his feet touched down on a wooden floor, and despite Xiao Ying's thankfulness for the wood, it sent an annoying feeling through him to be wearing his trainers in doors.

He looked down at himself to see that he had been wearing the same clothes that he had worn when he had been hit by that car, his faded black T-shirt and faded, slightly ripped jeans.

The door handle was a dull brass, different enough from the grey of the door and walls to stand out, but not different enough to stand out well.

Slowly and cautiously, Xiao Ying brought up his hand to the handle and touched its smooth surface. The lack of temperature from the item made Xiao Ying pause for a second, absorbing what he was feeling from it, before trying to twist the handle slowly to open it.

It rattled once, then twice, defiantly not opening, before he tried turning it the other way, the handle still not doing moving.

Xiao Ying stepped back from the door, deciding to crouch down onto the floor to see whether he could see anything from the small space underneath the door.

Just as he fell onto his knees, a blinding white light erupted from the other side of the door, and Xiao Ying stumbled backwards, his back slamming into the chair he woke up in.

Heaving deep breaths, he scrambled to stand, hitting his head once on the way, before scurrying around the room to get as far away from the door as possible, slipping on the wood as he went.

After almost slamming face first into the wall, he desperately threw his body around to face whatever foe that he was going to meet, coming from that white light.

Suddenly the room darkened and Xiao Ying's eyes turned to look at the only light source.

Something was written on the computer screen.

Xiao Ying held his breath as he plastered himself to the wall, tiptoeing around the skirting board to be able to read the writing on the computer screen.

"The Legendary Tale of the Holy Emperor Ming Chen," he mouthed and sounded out to himself, reading those words.

All his fear suddenly forgotten in the face of his failed business exploit, a sudden burning anger at the fact that this stupid book would be the thing to define to define his life. This failed shitty book that was apparently so bad that it didn't even deserve a single reader on most days, despite the hundreds of thousands of words that he had produced for it.

Hitting the final nail in the coffin, were the words that followed it, making Xiao Ying's right eye uncontrollably twitch.

"Good Luck," he intoned to himself, his voice forced into flatness so dull that it looped all the way around to anger in his ears.

And as the image of Xiao Ying's protagonist suddenly flooded the screen - a small, dirty child with mud all over his legs, and bruises and bite marks on his arms begging an old lady for some food, only be be hit by the handle of a broom by her husband - Xiao Ying felt something within him snap.

"The Legendary Tale of the Holy Emperor Ming Chen," Xiao Ying mused to himself, almost bursting out into delirious laughter, was the story that he had written and published once online to absolutely no reception.

And now, some deity up there had deigned his unpopular wreck of a work as his great trial to stave off death!

He was supposed to guide his own, fucking protagonist, brought to life before his very eyes on the other side of the screen, to his own death - just so Xiao Ying could go back to experience his own proper one at a later date.

If he was an idiot, then he would've just ignored what was before him, but unfortunately, the consequences of such a thing were unknown, effectively giving him no choice but to play alone with this stupid game.

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