Chapter 3 – A Different World
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Mi Li searched the internet for some well-known authors but did not find her specified target.
Old Bai was 29 years old this year. Although she didn’t remember his exact appearance, according to her recollection he was handsome with a sexy body and exuded a masculine charm from head to toe. Most of the male writers who had published their photos on the Internet were of average appearance. Of those who were better looking, their age, height, and other relevant information did not match.
It was clearly impossible to find Old Bai through the internet, but Mi Li was not in a hurry. When she saw him next time, she could directly ask him where he lived.
After a few experiences of her soul leaving her body, Mi Li gradually adapted to this change. To avoid mishaps because of sleepiness, she made a sleeping schedule. With an additional 2 hours of sleep every morning, afternoon and evening, it totalled up to about 14 hours she needed to sleep per day. If she couldn’t get enough sleep, she would suffer from mental instability and decreased work efficiency, which would seriously affect her daily life.
Instead of forcibly resisting drowsiness, it was better to manage time as reasonably as possible.
After lunch, Mi Li exercised at home, then laid comfortably on her bed. She adjusted the alarm clock, then went to sleep.
The familiar fleeting feeling reappeared, and a vague noise came from all around. As the light gradually brightened, the first thing that appeared in Mi Li’s vision was a pair of large beautiful eyes. They belonged to a seven or eight-year-old girl with double french braids, clasping her hands on the display cabinet, and staring at her with shining eyes.
[Hi, little beauty, hello.] Mi Li greeted her kindly.
However, the little girl turned a deaf ear and shouted to the woman not far away, “Mom, I want to buy this bunny!”
The little chubby hand pointed straight at Mi Li.
Mi Li realized that the little bunny the little girl was talking about was herself. With a big head, long ears, squinty eyes, chubby body, and half a person’s height, her appearance was both simple and cute. She sat neatly in a circle with six or seven plushies of various appearances.
People came and went, their eyes sweeping over her occasionally — mostly from children.
At this moment, Mi Li suddenly found a familiar figure in the crowd pushing a shopping cart, passing by the snack area.
[Old Bai!!!] Mi Li uttered a cry from her soul.
Xi Baichen halted his steps and looked around.
[I’m here, at your 10 o’clock direction!]
Xi Baichen turned his head and stared straight at the 10 o’clock position.
[Yes, do you see the super cute bunny on the display? That’s me!]
Xi Baichen stepped in front of the display cabinet, found a lively chubby bunny plushie, and looked at it in silence.
[Congratulations! You found a cute pet, please take it home immediately!] Mi Li’s rabbit ears shook lightly.
“Uncle likes the bunny too?” A childish voice came from the side.
Xi Baichen glanced at the little girl next to him and said coldly, “I don’t like it.”
“That’s good, I thought you were going to fight me for it.” The little girl patted her chest with a relieved look, and then immediately asked again, “The bunny is so cute, why don’t you like it?”
“Don’t you think this donkey is cuter?” Xi Baichen casually picked up a plushie next to the bunny and handed it to the little girl.
The little girl was silent for a moment before casting him a disgusted look, “This is a grass mud horse.”
Xi Baichen: “…”
[Hahaha, you’re killing this rabbit baby!] Mi Li laughed until her ears trembled.
The little girl seemed to sense something. When she was about to look up, she heard her mother’s voice from the side, “Xinxin, what did you just say you want to buy?”
“The bunny!” The little girl was distracted and happily pointed towards the rabbit. During that gap, a large hand reached over her head. Picking up the rabbit ears, he threw it into the shopping cart, and then drifted away under the little girl’s inattention.
Didn’t you say that you didn’t like the little bunny? How could you fight her over it? Do you have any dignity as an adult?! You big scammer!!!
The little girl widened her eyes with an expression as though struck by lightning.
[Is it really okay for you to be like this?] Mi Li felt that Old Bai would never have children in this life.
“Who told me to take her home?” Xi Baichen glanced at her disapprovingly.
[You should treat children gently.]
“Hmph,” Xi Baichen snorted in disdain.
After paying at the cashier, Xi Baichen walked out of the mall with a shopping bag in one hand and a bunny in the other.
Putting the bunny and the shopping bag in the back seat, Xi Baichen was about to close the door when Mi Li quickly said: [Wait, help me change my posture. Don’t leave me lying on my belly, I want to see the scenery outside the window.]
Xi Baichen returned and set her upright, propped up against the car door.
Mi Li reminded him, [Don’t forget the seat belt.]
Xi Baichen helped her fasten her seat belt.
[Thank you, you are such a good person.] Mi Li unhesitatingly gave him a good person card.
Xi Baichen sat in the driving position, expressionless, and started the engine.
Mi Li directed her gaze out of the window and paid close attention to the iconic buildings, landmarks and billboards.
Shoufeng Building, Thorns Museum, Baijia Road, Yunlang Central Hospital…
Yunlang City? Is there a Yunlang City in China? Mi Li felt somewhat confused.
The language, customs, ethnic characteristics, etc. were no different from the country in which she lived. Why was there a city that she had never heard of before?
Could it be that she subconsciously made it up? Or did her soul break into some sort of parallel dimension?
She originally thought it was bizarre enough for her soul to leave her body, but she didn’t expect things to become even more complicated.
[Old Bai, where are you from?] Mi Li suddenly asked.
“I’m a Yunlang City native.” Xi Baichen asked casually, “What about you?”
“Hangzhou?” Xi Baichen asked curiously, “Where is Hangzhou?”
[…Is this China?] Mi Li asked once again.
“Of course it’s China.” Xi Baichen glanced at her strangely through the rearview mirror.
Shocked Mi Li: They are both in China, why is there such a big difference???
It would be fine if it was a third or fourth tier city, but Hangzhou was the capital of ZJ and one of the eight ancient capitals of China. Even if you had never studied geography, it was impossible not to know where Hangzhou is!
Yunlang City was obviously not a small place. Looking at its consumerism, transportation hubs, landmark buildings, it had definitely reached the first tier level. As a Chinese person, how could it be possible that Mi Li had never heard of such a big city?
In her befuddlement, Mi Li was carried into the villa by Xi Baichen and placed stably in the middle of the sofa.
Xi Baichen took care of the things in the shopping bag, poured himself a cup of hot tea and sat next to Mi Li. He then took out his mobile phone and ordered a seafood pot online.
[Why didn’t you eat out earlier?] Mi Li couldn’t help but ask upon seeing him order takeout again.
“Too crowded.” Xi Baichen threw his phone aside, picked up the hot tea, and turned on the TV.
[You don’t cook?]
“I don’t.” Xi Baichen had a lazy demeanor, showing his lack of interest in this topic.
[Eating too much takeout is bad for your health. You should learn to cook on your own. If you really don’t want to do it yourself, you can hire someone.] Mi Li taught him earnestly, turning into a nagging nanny.
“I don’t like cooking nor other people coming in and out of my house.” Xi Baichen’s eyes were half closed and his whole body exuded an antisocial atmosphere.
[Aren’t I an outsider?] Should she feel honored that Xi Baichen did not throw her out, but chose to accept her existence?
“You aren’t a person.”
Mi Li: […] Sure enough, you can’t expect much out of a bachelor.
Half an hour later, Xi Baichen’s takeout arrived.
The seafood pot looked good and the portion was generous. Xi Baichen ate mechanically with a bland expression. It was impossible to tell if he liked it.
[Is it tasty?] asked Mi Li.
From his appearance, he didn’t care about enjoying food at all and simply shoveled it into his mouth.
Shopping alone, eating alone, writing alone… Each time I see him, he seems to be alone.
It wasn’t strange that an author had his own house. However, looking at his well maintained figure, he was a male god. He could totally make money relying on his face alone, yet he insisted on using his hands.
While Mi Li was lost in her delusions, Xi Baichen had already finished the whole seafood pot with not a crumb left in the takeout box.
After clearing the table, washing his hands, steeping a cup of strong tea, and turning on the laptop, Xi Baichen started to type again.
Mi Li became alert. She still remembered the plot she saw last time and coincidentally wanted to keep reading.
The room echoed with rhythmic and continuous typing sounds.
Mi Li sat beside Xi Baichen, staring at the screen intently. Looking at it, she suddenly felt something was wrong.
[What are you writing???] Last time it was obviously a supernatural mystery, how did it turn into an urban romance? The male and female leads had various misunderstandings because of a vicious female antagonist. The two kept their love in their hearts, sparing no effort to hurt each other. It had a dog blood plot and cringey dialogue. Mi Li doubted whether or not Xi Baichen had been possessed by a mentally impaired girl!
Xi Baichen had an expressionless face and his fingers flew. Using his sharp hands, he sketched out a brainless plot. He sprayed out tens of thousands of characters: bleeding words, heart-stabbing phrases, and even punctuation marks that cried out tears. The more she read, the angrier she became and the angrier she became, the more she read. Mi Li finally cried: [Brother, please, don’t submit this! Isn’t it better to be a king-hearted person?]
No matter how exciting the setup, a story can still collapse during execution.
The supernatural mystery was well written, why weren’t you able to see things through?
“Isn’t it a good read?” After Xi Baichen finished writing, he saved the document and sent it to the editor. He lit a cigarette and casually squinted at the silly rabbit beside him.
[Do you not understand what “good read” means???] Don’t you know that this kind of abusive relationship would cause you to be spat to death by readers at any moment?
“I think it’s okay to just write casually.” Xi Baichen blew out a smoke ring.
As if!!! It’s the sorrow of literature, inciting tears when you see it. If you insist on reading it will definitely cause your three views to collapse. Is that okay?
Mi Li said with her heart and soul: [Continue to write supernatural mysteries, romance doesn’t suit you.]
“Do you understand romance?” Xi Baichen shook his cigarette, folded his legs and laid comfortably on the sofa.
[Certainly.] Mi Li said confidently, [I’ve dated more guys than you’ve written novels.]
Xi Baichen let out a low chuckle, “I didn’t expect you to be a flirtatious ghost.”
Flirtatious ghost → Mi Li: […]
“Since you are so experienced, next time you can help me,” Xi Baichen said offhandedly as he put out his cigarette.
[OK! I’d love to.] Mi Li said in high spirits. [With my help, you are guaranteed to be popular.]
Xi Baichen turned a deaf ear to the silly bunny, tugging it over before squashing it.
[AAAHHH! Let go, don’t touch me! ] Mi Li protested loudly.
“Can you feel anything?” Xi Baichen grabbed her bunny ears and pointed them forward.
[Yes, of course.] Although it wasn’t very obvious, there was still a subtle feeling. Crisp but numb, soft and sticky, it was like being blown by a warm wind or brushed with feathers.
Xi Baichen turned the bunny over and shook it, as if he wanted to shake Mi Li out.
[What are you doing?] The bunny suddenly stretched out two paws and hugged his arms.
“Huh?” Xi Baichen was interested, “So you can move.”
As soon as his voice fell, the soft claws slipped from his arms and hung leisurely in the air.
Mi Li can control the possessed objects to a certain extent, but she couldn’t persist too long nor violate their inherent characteristics. For example, as the small night light she could control the on/off switch, but couldn’t move or explode in place.
While fooling around, the laptop sounded with a notification; Xi Baichen’s editor sent a message.
Bai Chen held the bunny in his arms and clicked on the message window.
[Drunken World: Dear Master Rainbow Fart, your writing is too good!!! I was abused til I cried!!!]
Mi Li: What the h*ll is Rainbow Fart?! Old Bai’s pen name is Rainbow Fart???
Xi Baichen used a single finger to reply with the word: [OK.]
[Drunken World: Master Rainbow Fart, are you really not going to put it on the shelves? It’s a shame for such a good read to be free!]
[Rainbow Fart: Not on the shelves.]
Mi Li: Wait, is the aforementioned “good read” the same sadomasochistic love story as just now? That’s a good read? Seriously?!
[Drunken World: Aahh, master is truly a qingliu in the Internet world.]
Mi Li: …
[Rainbow Fart: You can upload it for me, and if there is nothing else then goodbye.]
[Drunken World: Wait, Dongqi Media has taken a fancy to your “Spicy Wife, Fierce Husband” and asks if you have any intention to sell film and television copyrights.]
Mi Li: What the hell is “Spicy Wife, Fierce Husband”?
[Rainbow Fart: Not for sale.]
[Drunken World: Master, why don’t you think about it? They bid more than 3 million.]
[Rainbow Fart: Not for sale.]
[Drunken World: Well, okay, who asked you to be someone that doesn’t care about money.]
When the two of them finished talking, Mi Li couldn’t help asking: [Old Bai, how on earth do you decide what to write?]
“According to mood.” Xi Baichen pulled out another cigarette and reached for his lighter. Suddenly a soft paw held him down.
[Smoke less.] Mi Li put on a serious face, [Smoking is harmful to health, pollutes the environment, and also reduces *** function.]
Xi Baichen paused and stared at the dumb bunny face, but in the end, still set the cigarette on his lips.
The paw slipped and the bunny stopped talking.
The air was suddenly quiet, and there was no response.
Xi Baichen leaned against the sofa, plucked the cigarette from his mouth, and tossed it on the table.
A few rays of sunlight penetrated from the window, shining on the figures of the man and bunny on the sofa.
Author’s Note: The location names in this article are all homophones to avoid unnecessary trouble. @^_^@
- Grass mud horse (草泥马) is Chinese slang for f*ck your mom.
- ZJ probably stands for Zhejiang province but refer to the author’s note above.
- In this case, hands refer to Xi Baichen’s writing skills.
- A dog blood plot means it is cheesy and contrived.
- The three views are one’s outlooks on life, world, and values.
- Qingliu (清流) means clear stream but usually refers to someone untainted by worldly concerns (eg money).