Chapter 12.5 – Dusty’s Short Story
“Hurry up and keep going! You dumbass!” That scary looking human yelled at me; then he hit me again for heaven knew how many times today? I had lost count. Anyway, being beaten up, my body now hurts all over; and on top of that, my magical energy is almost completely gone. The way I am now, if I don’t form a contract with someone, I will disappear soon, won’t I?
At the time, I very much regretted coming to the Human World. Actually, I can’t even recall how I ended up here in the Human World in the first place. I just remember that at the time, I was out looking for food with my clan; then I accidentally fell into the river and got carried away by the current.
I swallowed a lot of water. What happened afterwards, I don’t remember…. But when I came to, I was already in the Human World.
After that, I was taken away by that scary looking human. He forced me to use my magical power to help him loosen the soil and move the dirt…
At the worksite, there were a lot of other spirits like me, but they all had formed contracts, that was why they could continue to work so hard, right?
I also want a master, but there isn’t a single person who wants me. They all seemed to have said that I was the lowest class spirit – among all the spirits, my kind ranks the lowest. That is the reason why no one wants to form a contract with me, right? If I don’t form a contract soon, as a spirit that has used up all its magical power, if I continue like this, I will disappear for sure.
So, that night, while they were all asleep, I snuck out…
After I confirmed that I had run far enough away, I spent a night in a broken down shed.
The next morning, I made the decision to go outside and look for a master of my own.
As I walked on the road, every human would take one look at me and turn away; they wouldn’t even take a second glance at me. Why was that? Could it really be because I was the lowest class spirit?
I couldn’t tell how long I had walked, I just felt really tired, and I was really hungry too. Right at that time, I saw a bunch of human children gathered together, eating something. I sat down at a place not too far from them, hoping that they would give me a little bit of food.
Unfortunately, they didn’t. Then, one of them dropped some of the food that he was eating onto the ground.
Since it had already fallen onto the ground, they probably wouldn’t want it anymore, right? As I thought about this, I walked over towards them…
“Oh! My meatloaf fell onto the ground, damn it!!!”
“Then, don’t eat it. Look, doesn’t it look like that dog wants it?”
“It is so ugly, and it has cuts all over.”
“Right, right. I am not gonna give it any of my food.”
After he said it, those human children began to pick up things that were laying around and threw them at me. The stuff that they threw at me really hurt. I cried out in pain, but that seemed to have only made them happier. Then, they picked up some sticks and began chasing me, hitting me….
When I was running away, a lot of people saw us, but not a single one of them came over and stopped those children.
At that moment, I regretted my decision to come here; why did I have to run away? Even though I got beaten up every now and then, at least there was food and shelter at the work site, it wasn’t nearly as painful as this…
Ouch! It hurts! My foot hurts a lot.
One of the human children threw something sharp at me and it landed on my foot.
“You can’t run away anymore now, can you?”
My foot was injured; in addition, I was backed into a corner. It looked like I was dead meat for sure this time. But why? It wasn’t like I wanted to come to the Human World in the first place…
“Kill it, kill it! Haha!”
These humans were so small, yet so evil. Humans are really scary.
“Rooff… rooff….” I could only whimper as they threw rocks at my body.
“Hey, you kids, what the heck are you doing?” All of a sudden, I heard someone yell.
Those human children got scared and scampered away.
This is great; at least, I won’t die such a painful death…. This human, what is he doing? Why is he walking over to me? It looks like he is taking out a box? Isn’t there a lot of food inside it?
There isn’t any problems with the food, is there? I glanced at that human, then sniffed the food; I didn’t care anymore – I was really hungry. I was just gonna eat what was given…
When I was done with the food, the human picked up the box. I didn’t quite understand why he did what he did, so I just kept staring at him. Then, he put the box down, reached out his arm, and even patted me on my head….
What is going on? What is this warm, tingling feeling? It also has a bit of magical power?
“Are you all by yourself?” When he opened his mouth and asked me, the way he spoke was really gentle.
“Ar rooff… rooff.”
I am all by myself…, very lonely, very painful… I miss my family…, I need a master…
He probably couldn’t understand me, right?
“You, do you wanna come to my place?”
Could it be that this human understood what I just said?
I wanna, but… I got cuts all over. Besides, I am the lowest class spirit… On top of that, I am gonna disappear soon enough anyway, so let’s just forget about it.
Maybe he heard what I said, that boy continued to clean up the box. After he put the box back into his bag, all of a sudden, he picked me up and hugged me.
In that instant, an indescribably powerful magical force flooded into my body – what was going on?
My wound was rapidly healing up. This was incredible! Was this power from that human?
Originally, I thought I would wither away as my magical power depleted. I couldn’t believe that right at this moment, not only did I have my magic power replenished, it even felt like my power had increased.
I was really happy. I jumped around in front of him, so as to convey to him my happiness. This human was incredible.
On our way to his place, he told me a lot of things. He also picked out a name, Dusty, for me?
Is Dusty my name? I got my own name?! That made me really excited. This must mean that this human had accepted me, right? I should be able to call him my master, right?
“Dusty, I am not sure if I could let you stay at my home, but I will try my best.”
“Welcome back.” Master opened the door and went inside. Inside that house, there was a human female with jet black hair. Wait… the aura she has….she…is like a spirit? No, it can’t be, can it? How could there be a spirit that looks like a person?
“Erm, I am back. Right, let me introduce you two.”
Then, master pointed at me, and I followed him inside and sat by his side. It looked like if I wanted to stay here, I had to get this… human? Spirit? Argh, unknown being’s approval.
“Little Silent, I met it on my way back. It doesn’t have a home or a master, so I figured that I could let it stay here until it could find itself a home. Is that alright?”
This would be my home – I like it here; I like Master, I like humans who are like Master.
“Master, this is your home, why do you need to have my permission? Besides, I understand the feeling of being homeless, and without any family. So, I will be more than happy to let it stay here.”
It was totally unexpected. The unknown entity standing in front of me didn’t give me a hard time? I originally thought that she would definitely make fun of me, saying that I was the lowest class spirit. She said she understood that feeling of being without a home, being without a master. Could it be true that she really was a spirit? But… I had never seen any spirits who looked like a human before.
“Ah, that’s fantastic! Dusty, this will be your new home now.”
I have a home, I have a home now! This master of mine is a really nice human being.
Bath? Master told me to take a bath. Even though I don’t understand what that means, it should be a good thing, right? I followed master into a room filled with steam… then, Master started to take off his clothes?! Whoa… This was my first time seeing the naked body of a human… Why, why do I have this strange feeling, like I was feeling a bit dizzy?
“Come, sit, and don’t move.”
Master pointed at the tub that was filled with water and told me to sit in there. I was a bit scared of water, but… since he told me to do so, I just followed his orders.
When I sat in the tub, he hosed me down with something that shot out water – that startled me. But, but… if Master wanted to do this to me, then I had to obey…
Oh? It was really exhilarating. How come it was so fragrant and refreshing? What was this bubble? I took a lick of the bubbles…. Very bitter… These bubbles, not edible….
‘Bzzz, bzzz, bzzz.’ A strange sound rang out. I looked up and saw that Master had put an object that was emitting light near his ear…. This I knew – it was called a cellular phone. That scary looking human talked to it happily all the time. But why? Why did Master look so alarmed?
“Hey, Takahashi, what is going on?” The way Master spoke, he was close to yelling, and that scared me – it looked like something had happened.
“Master, did something happen?” That humanoid spirit asked. So nice; to be able to speak in human form – I too want to have a human form… that way, I will be able to speak with Master, and I have a lot of things I want to tell him.
“Nothing, Silent Water, I am gonna go out for a bit.”
So, that humanoid spirit is called Silent Water.
“Master… please, let me come with you?”
Don’t forget about me!
“No need, I am just gonna go out for a bit.” As he was saying this, he hurried outside.
“Woof, woof!” I looked at Big Sis Silent Water and she appeared to be worried about something. If you have time to worry about it, then just hurry up and follow him!
She took a look at me, then with her narrow brows hanging really low, she went back to pondering about something….
“Dusty, quick, follow Master.”
You said that after waiting for so long? What were you thinking?
I ran outside and tried my hardest to catch that unforgettable scent of my Master… Over there?
Following Master’s scent, we arrived at a strange forest… When the smell of Master’s scent got stronger and stronger, I could smell the scent of blood mixed in as well. Then, I saw my master lying on the ground. He had his hand pressed hard against his stomach, but I could still see blood gushing out.
“Woof!” I ran as fast as I could towards my master.
That is the Master that I just got. He is someone who treated someone like me, who is one of the lowest class spirits, kindly. How could I bear to see him get hurt?
But, this human in front of us was emitting a really scary aura. Was it the aura of a demon? Could he be possessed by a demon?
There was a human female hanging off of a tree. Was that Master’s friend?
“I cannot forgive anyone who would hurt master.” Big Sis Silent Water appeared to be really angry. She initiated her magic. The magic formed a water pillar? How much damage could water possibly do?
“Ktunk…kachi-kachi-kachi-kachi-kachi…bong…” Seven big trees fell over after being hit by the water from the water pillar?! This… What power!
After Big Sis Silent Water continuously fired off her water pillar attacks, I suddenly felt a powerful magical power coming from her. Then, I saw two water tornados appear out of thin air. All the trees around us began to shake.
Isn’t this too powerful? Just what class of spirit is she?
Wait, that tornado is moving towards the demon – wouldn’t that human female be in trouble now? I hurried over there, jumped onto the tree branch, and chewed off the ropes that were tying her to the tree….
“Woof…” I carried the human female and put her down by Master’s side.
Master appeared to have let out a sigh of relief. He shook that human female a bit – luckily, that human female had only fainted…
“Bwoom…” Three streaks of black lightning struck down from the cloudless sky and hit Big Sis Silent Water.
That demon, how could he do this? He first injured Master, now, he hit Big Sis Silent Water?
Even though I don’t have much battle power, and the opponent was someone so strong that even Big Sis Silent Water couldn’t handle, I wasn’t afraid. I ran over there with only one thought on my mind: even if it kills me, I will take a bite out of you…
Hurt, hurt, it hurts a lot… Can’t move, that black flash of lightning paralyzed my whole body.
Master? Master stood up? Is he alright already? What is he doing talking with that demon? Oh, watch out!
When I saw a black flash thundering down from the sky, my first thought was: it’s over, my master is done for…
But, to my surprise, Master was alright. Not only that, he was laughing. There was this scary, yet familiar white light coming out of his right hand. What is happening? Is the demon trying to run away? Is it because the demon saw my master’s magic and it terrifies him? A single strike?! How could that be? One hit and the demon was purged from the body of that human and ended up dead?
What a powerful being my Master was?!
Did Master form a contract with Big Sis Silent Water?
Hiding behind the kitchen door, I saw the whole thing. For some reason, it stung a bit.
We have been together for so long; why did he wait until now to form a contract? Was it really like Master had said, that he was worried that he would drag Silent Water down? What about me? What can I do? It would be enough if I am not a burden to Master, but why do I feel jealous of Big Sis Silent Water? Big Sis Silent Water is so powerful, and she is a king class spirit while I am one of the lowest class spirits. Even though I have absorbed some of Master’s powerful magic a few times, and I have a feeling that my power may have grown as a result, I… I feel like I am still a burden to Master. I don’t have any skills, I don’t have any real strength, I can’t talk, and I don’t know how to make Master happy – quite the opposite, Master always having to play with me to cheer me up… Someone like me, is it really okay for me to be here?
“I’m home.” Master was back home from school, but I couldn’t get myself excited about it. Even though after Master came home, he would usually pat me on my head, I still felt like seeing Big Sis Silent Water was what made him the happiest. Was it really alright for me to stay here?
“Dusty is inside. It might be feeling a bit down today.”
“Oh? Why? Have you not given it any food today?”
“I have given it food, but….”
“I’ll go check on it.”
I thank you for your concern, Master… But, I feel like that there is no meaning to me staying here. I am very grateful that you let me stay by your side for so many days….
When Master came to the living room, I hid underneath the sofa. I waited until Master went upstairs to look for me, then I quickly ran to the foyer, stood up on my hind legs, turned the doorknob, and opened the door…..
This grassy field… Master always took me here to play…
Don’t think about it! Why am I still thinking over about this so much; since I have already decided to leave?
Master is here already? That fast?
I quickly hid myself behind a tree and peeked out just enough to see Master staring at the grass in a daze… All of a sudden, it felt like something tugged at my heart… I don’t want to leave Master behind….
When I saw Master leave for another place, I quietly followed him.
If… if Master gives up on me, then I’ll leave.
——————————— An hour and a half later
Why? Why is it that Master is still looking for me? It has been a while already, shouldn’t he have given up by now?
When I saw my master in a corner, digging through garbage heaps and junk piles looking for me, I felt a pain in my chest…
I won’t run away anymore.
Master really looked for me, and he continued to look for me, even when he had become drenched in sweat, he still kept on looking. From his expression, he showed no sign of giving up – I couldn’t let him suffer just because I felt bad about myself…
Should I just show myself right now? But if Master sees me now, won’t he yell at me? Maybe I should go back home first and wait for him by the door. He has to go back in the evening; at that time, I can apologize to Master…
——————————— Half An Hour Later
At the far end of the road, I could see Master; he was running towards me. Did he know that I was back? How did he find out? Did Big Sis Silent Water tell him?
Master ran over and gave me a big hug, and patted me on my head gently, “Really, what were you doing? Next time you plan to go somewhere far away, leave me a note, dummy….”
But Master, I don’t know how to write…
“Come, let’s go inside. As your punishment, you have to eat all of the dinner that I am going to make you tonight.”
Lying on Master’s bed, while I looked at Master’s sleeping face, I felt a bit perplexed.
What was the matter with me today? It was clear as day that the best thing on earth for me to do was to stay by Master’s side. Why did I even consider leaving him? Master didn’t consider me a spirit, rather a part of his family, why did it take me so long to realize it? I have caused Master a lot of troubles, but going forward, I definitely wouldn’t do something like this again. Because…
He is the perfect master, a perfect human being, I like him, I like him very, very much, regardless of how he sees me, I don’t want to ever leave his side.
He… is my master… His name is Lin Xiang…
TL: The parts in italics are the parts where Dusty thinks to itself.