P. 1
The Round Bead

The Round Bead

|Views: 107|Likes:
Published by Caitlyn Baker
A girl and a boy are washed ashore into China. Their adventures had just ended, but it actually had just begun.
A girl and a boy are washed ashore into China. Their adventures had just ended, but it actually had just begun.

More info:

Published by: Caitlyn Baker on Jul 12, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as DOC, PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less






Madison dragged her bag across the room,
sliding down the stairs, and jumping into the
kitchen. Steven eyed Madison’s cruddy landing
in her cushiony seat.
“Madison, those cannibals will probably
eat us if we don’t hurry with their other food.”
“I must hurry,” Madison spoke in her
imagination. “Steven’s right! I should be
hurrying. Those cannibals could do anything!”
Madison stuffed her face with a hard-boiled egg
and ran out of the sanctuary.
She entered the rainforest, sweating with
fear. She didn’t know if the leader wanted the
bananas or the mangos tossed in the fruit salad.
“Uh oh…” she whispered, cringing from
the thought of her being eaten slowly over the
years. Madison swallowed loudly and began


Caitlyn Baker

The Round Bead

picking every single piece of ripe fruit in the
forest that she could reach.
“You’re doing great, Madi,” her inner voice
said. “Just keep going and think of Zaitian while
you’re at it!” Madison smiled and continued
picking the fruits, knowing everything was going
to be alright.

Madison remembered what she and
Zaitian shared, ever though it was a short time.
He had taken her around the whole palace; he
had brought her to dinner, held her hand, and
even hugged her around the waist. His words of
encouragement echoed in her head. It was a sad
memory, really, but Madison was able to see it
over and over again in her mind.
After Madison finished picking the fruit,
she met Steven in the forest, who planned to
take her to dinner. Madison left the basket of
fruit at her own door and followed him.
“Hi, Madison,” Steven said, taking her into
the restaurant. Madison looked up; it was
entitled, ‘The Restaurant’ in Chinese letters.
Madison giggled and walked right in.
“So, Steven, what brings you to stay here
in the sanctuary?” Madison asked him, shuffling
her thumbs around.

“The culture is very nice, I should say,” he
said. They were interrupted by a bang on the
window. She turned her head and saw it was
some sort of a person, banging his head on the
window. Madison laughed quietly.
“What the heck?” she asked herself.
“He must be trying to scare us,” Steven
replied. Madison looked closer, even though she
didn’t get up from her seat. He was bleeding out
of his head; it gushing out blood. It must of have
been a native having some sort of seizure or just
trying to scare the kids.
“Whoever he is, he’s certainly doing a
good job,” A moment passed and he

Madison walked to the rainforest, not having to
worry about her fate. She kept her mind on no


Caitlyn Baker

The Round Bead

one but Zaitian and no one else. She sat down
and picked a banana from a low branch of a tree
and peeled it for herself. Madison bit into the
soft texture and tasted the sweet flavor. All of a
sudden, some one with a dark skin color began
yelling and screaming and running in a different
direction than Madison. He turned around when
he spotted her and spoke in Chinese.
“Little Girl,” he said. “You have to get out
of here! There’s no time!” The stranger ran off
and continued his alarm of screams.
“Uh oh,” Madison said to herself. She
sniffed the air. “There isn’t a fire nearby,”
Madison climbed a high tree and examined the
area; people were running about. There was
blood covered on the ground.
“Everyone on the beach must get away as
fast as they can,” A voice rung through the
trees. Madison shuddered.
“There has to be a problem!” Madison
thought. She ran out of her hiding spot to find
Steven and get out of the region.
Madison found the beach house where
everyone who wasn’t bleeding on someone else
was hidden from view inside. I hope Steven is in
there, safe from all harm, Madison thought. She
ran up to the attic where some of the friendly
natives were. They were all looking through a
window to see what was going on.
“I don’t want Ashu-Bak to get hurt from
whoever is attacking us, but where she?”
Madison spoke in Chinese. The other girls

“There has been a death in the village,”
the chief spoke. Madison gasped.
“Who could it be? Who did this?” she


“Ashu-Nak, one of our medicine sellers,
has been brutally killed by some sort of
creature. Beware of these creatures, for they are
very dangerous! They have sharp teeth, blood,
and craziness,” Madison gasped again. The
creature in which the chief described so far was


Caitlyn Baker

The Round Bead

the same one Steven and I had seen at the

Looking out the window, I saw the
demented people, browsing the village for more
victims. One of the citizens was still outside.
“Oh my God,” the chief said. The creature
was devouring the person, but as seconds
passed, the person’s wounds healed up and he
walked on, as if the incident never happened.
“What’s going on?” A girl asked. Madison

shook her head.

“That was one of Ashu-Bak’s friends,” she
replied, hoping that Steven was okay. “If every
single person who becomes infected can do
that, then that means that anyone in this room
could be dangerous!” Madison exclaimed. The
chief started to cry. He pulled out a big sack.
“I didn’t want to do this, but since we
don’t know who is and who isn’t, we should have
to drug everyone, monster or not. All of us will
have to put everyone to death, even me.”
Madison cried too.

“Where’s Steven, Madison?” Ashu-Bak
asked, running up to Madison. She shook her
head again.

“I don’t know. I hope that he is not out
there, biting everyone.”
A day passed and Madison wrote a letter
to Zaitian and sent it by Ashu-Bak’s bird.
“We are being brutally attacked by some
sort of creatures, as if they climbed out of a
book, are attacking schools around The
Philippines, Japan, and other Asian countries...
Palaces are being closed down and every
person, creature or not, is being put to death, in
other words, drugged. Please, Zaitian, do
something about this.”
Madison exited the attic unnoticed. She
didn’t want to be drugged. Not that moment!
She wanted to find Steven at that moment and
get out as soon as possible. But she was
interrupted by a hand on her shoulder.
“Madison, the chief isn’t here yet.
Everyone is going to spend the night at the


Caitlyn Baker

The Round Bead

beach house until he is prepared. Until I leave
you, you need to get yourself out,” Ashu-Bak
said. She was happy that he wasn’t there yet.
“Do you think we might find a chance to
find Steven?” Madison asked. Ashu-Bak stared
into her eyes. Madison took that as a ‘yes’
“Okay Ashu-Bak. Let’s get going.”
“Sure, we can find him! He could be in
another room, looking for you!”
“It’s possible,” Madison replied.
Another hideous night passed and
Madison was awoken by the sound of a scream.
“Oh no,” she heard. “Not Ashu-Bak,
please!” That was a woman’s voice. She came
sliding into the hallway where Ashu-Bak was
lying. “Madison, Ashu-Bak is about to be

Madison looked to her right; Ashu-Bak was
being pulled upstairs by two men in robes,
walking to the attic.

“What could possibly be going on?” she
asked herself. Madison snuck up to the attic,
following the path the men took. A square in the
ceiling was the entry to the school’s attic. She
pushed it opened and screamed at what she
saw. A bloody footprint was left on the floor!
That was it; just a red footprint. She figured that
it must have been one of those mutated
werewolves that had left it. Madison saw some
others leading to different passages, but she
didn’t follow. Madison remembered Ashu-Bak’s
voice, and it seemed helpful when she heard her

“I didn’t transform, I swear it!” her words
echoed. Madison peered in through a small
window, actually a hole in the wall. Ashu-Bak’s
arm was outstretched, being held by her mother
and one scientist. The other scientist held the
vial, which had the toxinater!
“A—Ashu-Bak…” I whispered.
“Hi Madison,” she replied. She had
stopped screaming. “I am afraid, but not enough
to scream again. My words are useless.”


Caitlyn Baker

The Round Bead

“Stop saying crap like that,” Madison
yelled. “Your death will not be in vain,” Tears
filled up in her eyes until she had to let them go.
Ashu-Bak nodded.

“I know,” The drug was plunged into her
vein. “I feel…dizzy, Madison. Please, hold me.”
Madison held Ashu-Bak in her arms until
life left her eyes. She cried quietly. She didn’t
want uproar.

After that moment, Madison went to find


“Just stay alive until I get to you,” she
whispered to herself, as if she were talking to
Steven. “I’ll get you out of here in time,”
Madison ran past creepy pathways and trees,
breathing deeply, trying to keep calm.
“Be strong,” she yelled. “Steven, where
are you?” she screamed. Suddenly, Madison
heard a noise, the sound of a person falling to
the floor. She turned around, swinging her black
hair with her.

“M—Madison,” a voice called. “Don’t go
near there.” She knew that voice. Her heart
pounded in my chest from the excitement.
Turning around, she faced Steven. She ran to
him with her arms outstretched.
“Steven! Are you infected?”
“No. Madison, are you hurt?”
“No, I am not,”
“I finally got the ship finished. It’s this way
and that way…” Steven stopped, panted, and
pointed, “is danger,”
“I lost Ashu-Bak. She was killed before my
very eyes. You are my only companion left here
before the creatures eat us alive.”
“I’m sorry, Madison,” Steven said, about to
hug her. He stopped when he heard another cry
of a person. “We have to go.”
“Let’s go, before we are eaten or poisoned
next!” Madison ran with Steven, hand in hand,
not letting go. They passed by open rooms filled
with people waiting to die. Some married
couples were kissing, saying their goodbyes.


Caitlyn Baker

The Round Bead

She felt really bad, but at least their loved one
would die with them. They had nothing else to
live for…how sad…she thought.
They reached a dead end suddenly.
“Dang it,” Steven yelled, kicking the tree
to see if it would budge. “We can’t stay in here
forever; there is a weird virus that natives get in
here that we don’t even know about. All I know
is that a passing of body fluid, such as saliva in a
bite, can pass on the infection. One bite to a
person can still turn them into the sick person
they are, depending on where the person was
bitten. The creature never knows he or she is
one, ever. If the infection is permanent, the
person cannot be killed unless he or she is
burned alive or drugged. I’m sure that you are
very scared; all of the cannibals here are either
dead, infected with the fever, or waiting to be
dead. We cannot get out. We either become one
of the infected, or die.”
“I don’t want to die; I want to see
freedom…and Zaitian,” Madison whispered to
Steven. She turned behind her and most of the
kissing couples were both gone and dead.
Steven held Madison.
“I will die by your side, becoming a
monster or no monster, drugs or no drugs. I will
get you to Zaitian, no matter what happens to
me. I will never see you become one of the
infected, ever!” he said both strictly and
devotedly. He cleared his throat. “Did—did any
of the monsters bite you? You look a little yellow,

“No, not at all; I feel really sick, though,”
she said. Madison was right; her stomach hurt
so badly. Looking in a mirror would only reflect a
yellow face. “Did any hurt you?”
“I don’t think so. I feel sick as well. I know
that whenever someone has the infection, they
get sick, then later on, their body changes—and
now look at what they become!” Steven pointed
to a carcass of one of the creatures. Madison
threw up next to him.


Caitlyn Baker

The Round Bead

“I must have not delivered the fruit to
them in time. Maybe that’s why they want it so
much. Instead, I went with you to the restaurant
and that guy outside was freaking out because
he was…”

“Madison, get away,” Steven said, backing

away quickly.

“Steven, what’s the matter?” Madison
asked, worried to heck.
“There is something wrong with me—I’m"
Steven held his head; I knew he was in pain. She
felt pain herself from watching him. “I’m just
dizzy, Madison,”

“We have to get to your boat to have you
live. It’s the only way,” Madison said, trying not
to freak out. “I’m carrying you,” she said. Lifting
Steven’s body onto her shoulders, Madison
groaned and started to run. She finally saw light
ahead—and there was the ship!
“Ugh,” Steven muttered.
“Just a little further, buddy,” she said to
him. Madison heard a masculine voice behind
her. “Oh no, the chief! He’s going to kill us if we
don’t hurry!” Madison tried running faster, but
she was too late. The chief held up a spear with
pink stuff on it. He threw it as fast as he could…
and it hit. Steven had heard the whoosh of the
spear and he jumped off Madi, pushed her to the
ground, and took it in him. Silence came after
and Madison’s scream broke the silence.
“STEVEN!” she yelled. The drug was officially in

The chief looked foreword; Madison was
holding Steven in her arms. He saw a vision of a
beautiful woman holding a man with a stab
wound in his side with holes in his hands and in
his feet, both with angel’s haloes above their
heads. Madison cried silently, holding her dying
friend. The chief took his weapon and killed
himself for what he had done.
Madison took out her pocket knife and cut
open one of Steven’s arms. She sucked out the
drug as much as she could and spat it out and
rinsed out her mouth. She took the spear out of


Caitlyn Baker

The Round Bead

Steven, but he was in so much pain already, he
didn’t even notice it. Madison pushed Steven
into the boat and ran in the water to get it

Days passed and Madison had done
nothing but to feed her and Steven fish, look
after him, and throw up. Steven said his first
words in days to Madison and he smiled a lot
more often. Seeing land was scarce.
“We must be lost,” Madison said.
“No, I know we’re close, trust me,” Steven
said. Madison thought he was speaking weird
from his injury, but then she realized that trust
was definitely the main leader to hope.
Chapter 4

A ship docked in Hong Kong on a cloudy
and misty day, more like afternoon. The door
opened and Madison, walked out with Steven.
Both were soaking wet from falling into the
ocean from time to time.
“Where are we? This isn’t Fuzhou. This is
much more…” Madison put her hand above her
forehead as if blocking the sun from her eyes.

“There must be some explanation for this,
Madison.” He put his arm around her shoulder.
“What are we going to do?”
“I guess we can leave this place.”
“Yes, I guess so. But then, we’ll end up in
another mess, so I suggest we ask someone
where to go and move on from there,”
“We still can’t really live here, even if we
successfully docked,” Steven proudly said,
pointing to an almost broken-down boat.
“But Steven,”
“No, Madison. We were banished,
remember?” Steven yelled. He then realized
people heard in, and it was possible that they
might have heard about their forbiddingness.
“Never mind; let’s just get out of here.” He took
her hand and ran out of the tiny docking area.


Caitlyn Baker

The Round Bead

“Why?” Madison asked as soon as they
reached the rainy area outside. “I thought you
said you were going to get me here,”
“Well, I don’t feel right about this. I
certainly didn’t give myself the time to think
about how we’ll get our custody back. I don’t
even know how we’ll tell Zaitian!”
“If we find a place to stay quickly, we’ll
think of an idea. Come on!” She took Steven’s
hand, and walked toward a path leading to
nowhere but grass and pasture.
Two days later, Madison and Steven
walked down a promising road leading to an old,
used wooden house.
“We’re in luck!” Madison squealed,
excitingly running to the wooden sanctuary. She
gasped at what she saw. There were two beds;
both with quilts finely sewed. There was also a
little stove for warmth in the cold weather (They
were six hundred miles from the Himalayas.) an
icebox, and lights.

“Wow,” Steven said, entering the house. “I
wonder who made this.” Madison opened the

“Yes and whoever did this must have
known we were coming.” She had said that for
there was fresh food and drinks.
“That can’t be…hey, can I ask you
something?” Steven wondered. Madison
nodded. She yawned and lay on her bed. Steven
lay down on the same bed. “Are you nervous?”
he asked. Madison threw a pillow at him.
“Pervert!” she muttered.
“No! No!” Steven yelled, waving his hands
and blushing rather red. “I meant, how are we
going to live here, I mean, I’m nervous!
Someone can catch us and get us both killed.
Speaking of which, I wonder what that whole
Boxer Rebellion is about.”
“You can find someone to talk to tomorrow
after we get some shuteye.”
“How about you do the talking,” Steven
asked throwing the pillow to Madison. She threw
it back to him.


Caitlyn Baker

The Round Bead

“Hey! I’m just nervous if I talk to girls!”
“Well I’m just as nervous if I talk to boys!
Besides, you don’t seem nervous whenever you
talk to me!” Madison said, sipping at Steven’s
tea when he wasn’t looking.
The room got colder at nightfall, so Steven
had to turn on the oven.

My job now is to protect Madison. She
gave her life for me and now I have to do the
same. He thought.

The plants moving around in the windless
night changed his feelings of bravery.
“Hold still!” Madison yelled, holding

Steven down.

“You can’t touch my hair!”
“If we’re gonna look like Chinese citizens,
you’re gonna have to put it up somehow—and
I’m gonna have to do it for you!”
Madison fought Steven until she found a
rope, tied him to a chair, and played with his

“We still need the buns in our hair,”
Madison said quietly. “I’ll have a nice hair-do
later. I found a nice dress to go with it,” Steven
smiled at the thought of his best friend all
prettied up. “I found it under my bed,”
“My hair is too short,”
“It’s not! You are going to have enough
hair to have a bun in it! You looked like…I don’t
know…a girl or something!” Madison laughed.
She pulled the whole lock of hair and twisted it
and made a bun in Steven’s hair. “There, all
done, now go take a bath. I’ll be in the house; I
won’t peek. We also,” Madison tossed him some
robes to try on. “Need to speak in the Chinese
dialogue. No one here, except Zaitian, speaks

Twelve minutes later, Steven put his
clothes back on and knocked on the door.
“Madison,” he yelled. “We should go
fishing tomorrow.” Madison walked out of the
house with a long, silky dress. The color of
ocean blue was splashed onto it with the brown


Caitlyn Baker

The Round Bead

of earth, decorated with lilies and lotuses
painted on. Madison’s hair was tied up, not in a
bun, but two bun pigtails were on the sides of
her head while the rest of it flowed down over
her shoulders. Chopsticks decorated the hair-do.
Madison held a red fan over her ruby lips,
outlined eyes, and pale, china-doll face.
“I found the dress I was talking about
earlier,” she said. Steven had totally forgotten
about the fish thanks to Madison’s beauty. “How
do I look?”

“Um…” Steven blushed badly. “You mean
you or the dress?” Madison giggled.
“Both, I guess.”
“It looks good, and it’s mine.” A voice
called from the shadows. Madison jumped, but
didn’t scream. Steven got into the house,
holding Madison to protect her from whoever
was out there.

“The house is mine, along with the
silkworm dress, and everything else you’ve
used,” The voice said—it was a girl’s voice,
which was deeper than Madison’s. It was coming
from outside.

“I think we should leave,” Steven
whispered. Madison nodded. As they walked
quietly toward the door on the wooden floor, the
plants outside where the voice came from
started to move. Finally, the girl stood up and
presented herself to Steven and Madison.
She was no older than Madison. She had
the exact same hairstyle as Madison. Her dress
was silky, but green. She had no makeup on,

“Who…who are you?” Steven asked in her


“I am the keeper of the house. I go by the
name, Hwa Mai Min, but you can call me Min.”
She said. Her eyes were a soft green and blue
color. Min was very beautiful; her looks made
Steven blush.

“Hi, Min, I’m Madison, and this is my
friend, Steven.” Madison said the names as if


Caitlyn Baker

The Round Bead

they were Chinese; she did it very badly, but Min
didn’t seem to notice.
“Boyfriend?” Min replied, raising an


“Um…” Madison said in response, trying to
find the perfect words.
“Kind of…” Steven interrupted. “Not
really.” Steven said this in order to make
Madison feel more relived, but he was also
feeling a little something for Min, but Madison
also thought that Steven thought that Madison
was still with Zaitian. Madison elbowed him in
the ribs. “Ow,”

“You are welcome to stay here. I’ve always
wanted to meet Americans. What’s it like in

“Very beautiful…” Steven said. He was
obviously talking about Min, causing Madison to
feel angrier. Steven wasn’t supposed to fall in
love with anyone, since he would let his secret
slip, letting the trust bond fall.
“It’s more of a dry land, but very green
indeed—cough!” Madison snapped at Steven to
embarrass him. Min chuckled.
“I see, sorry to have bugged you while
getting your clothes on.” She said.
“Oh it’s fine. I was just about to get Steven
to come to lunch with me. Do you know where
we can find a restaurant?”
“Yes, there’s one nearby. How about you

two go, I’ll stay.”

“You can come with us…” Steven started.
Madison smacked him.
“Shut up,” she whispered. “She might tell

other Chinese!”

After a fifteen minute’s walk, Madison and
Steven finally reached a Chinese restaurant
called the Tea Weevil. It was a tribute to the
name of an idea of a tea shop in the
Nickelodeon Television Series, Avatar the Last
Airbender. It was a stupid idea, I should say.
Madison wrote something like that in her journal,
and I totally agree with her!


Caitlyn Baker

The Round Bead

“Steven, the last time we ate at a
restaurant together, you were telling me how
much you…wanted us safe.”
“Uh huh,”
“Well, now…since Min came, you’ve been

all over her lately?”
“Uh huh,”
“Um…well…the people who worry about
you, to see you like this, it’s very hurting to see
you this way…because…getting an attachment
to this world…they could find out…Min could be
a spy!”

“Uh huh,”
“Are you even paying attention to me? Is
that your favorite thing to say? Uh huh; well,
since I’ve started talking to you, you’ve never
taken the opportunity to get your head out of
the clouds and into the same situation we’ve
been dealing with since we’ve met Zaitian,
saving us, that’s what!”
“Yeah—huh, what did you say?” Madison
couldn’t take it any longer; she slammed her
hands on the table and left into the rain outside.
“Oh geez, what did I say?” Steven asked. He ran
out, but Madison was already gone. He decided
to look for her.

Min sat in front of the window. Steven is
kind of cute. He is gentle and sweet; Madison,
on the other hand, is very hard on him and
seems jealous of me. She is pretty, and if they
are together, I let them be together. Madison
shows in her mood that Steven loved her and is
starting to betray her. I should leave them for a
while. No. I need to make sure they are safe and
don’t kill each other. Min’s mind told her while
she was meditating on a peculiar idea, but she
didn’t understand the situation.
Steven searched for Madison in the
pouring rain. Madison was hiding behind the
building of the restaurant. She was too upset to
show herself. My life now is a soap opera! I can’t
live like this! But her thoughts changed in one
moment. Steven had found her and put his arms
around her. Madison’s body was warmed up


Caitlyn Baker

The Round Bead

quickly from the cold while Steven embraced
her, keeping her close to him.
“I’m so sorry! I won’t ever make you feel
that way ever again! Not while you’re here with
me.” Steven said. Tears rolled down his face
from the feeling of Madison’s sadness.
Surprisingly, Min was watching from a corner.
She saw the embrace. Min smiled at the sight,
knowing Steven and Madison were happy, but in
her heart, Min was alone.
She had a feeling that the separation
between the two would come to them too fast
and that maybe she, Min, should step in, and
Madison would have to deal with it.
“So you guys are Christians?” Min asked.

Steven nodded.

“Yeah, we came here to China by accident.
We were headed for somewhere else for a
mission, but our ship was shot down and
Madison and I were the only survivors. The
nearest coast was the southern beach of China.
We were then captured.” Steven said.
“We ran into a guy named Zaitian,”
Madison said, trying not to blush, since Zaitian
was a handsome, young man.
“You met Zaitian, the future emperor of
China?” Min screamed.
“Unfortunately, we did meet him! Worse
than that, Madison fell in love with him, and that
makes us banished!” Steven said angrily. Min
couldn’t believe her ears. Madison blushed. She
had just finished telling Steven to get his head
out of the clouds and Madison couldn’t do the

“See how it feels, now?”
“Our mission trip turned into a ‘saving
ourselves’ thingamajig! We brought hope to
Zaitian to help him with his Aunt’s project, but
we were…traveling on a short vacation, got lost,
and captured again!”
“Maybe I could get you to the palace in
anyway I can!” Min suggested.
“Perhaps,” Steven said. “But we have no
money to pay you, let alone get us food and


Caitlyn Baker

The Round Bead

water. We could be home already, but Madison…
I can’t explain.”

“Besides, our parents think we’re dead, I
don’t think our letter was reached, and I can’t
read all 65,000 Chinese symbols, but we can
speak most of the language, so there’s nothing
we can do anymore except look for Zaitian if
he’s not looking for me!” Madison yelped. “I
guess we’ll have to get jobs here, Steven.”
“I am happy to help you guys!”
The three embraced together in


“Just as long you don’t tell a living soul on

this planet,”

“I won’t I promise.”
“Min, what’s your life story?” Steven
asked. He was glad that Madison wasn’t getting
at him for asking Min that kind of question.
“Steven…well…I’m a full-bred Chinese
citizen. I have had a rough life, though. My
parents died in the war between the Chinese
and Japanese long ago. They were patriots for
our side. They were killed…um…four years ago.
I was eleven when I built this house.”
“It looks really good!” Madison said,
examining the cupboards. “You did a good job.”
“I didn’t do it by myself, but thanks. That’s
why I have the other bed. She was my best
friend. She gave me courage, strength,”
“Who was she?” Steven asked with a
worried expression.
“Her name was Mrs. Pretty.”
“Mrs. Pretty? Where is she now? Is she


“No, Steven. You’re sitting on her,” Steven
shot up off the bed the moment he heard he
was sitting on a doll.
“THAT’S MRS. PRETTY?” he asked, holding

up the torn-up doll.

“Yes,” Min replied, trying not to fall of the
other bed (she was laughing so hard!).
“Her bed is a little big,” Madison said,

eyeing the bed.


Caitlyn Baker

The Round Bead

“I know. I keep it as storage for most of my
possessions. Even so, Mrs. Pretty isn’t really
pretty anymore.” Min laughed again. Her laugh
was like the sound of a bell to Steven’s ears.
“Another question,” Madison asked, “Is
there anyone we can talk to for help?”
“There’s a general store nearby this


“There’s a general store?” Steven asked.
“We can get a job there!”
“I already work there, Steven,” Min said. It
would be kind of unfair to work at the same
place. Take some time separately for each of
you at your different job.
“I’ll apply at the tea shop tomorrow, I
guess. Steven could work at the school, and Min
should still be working at the general store.
Pretty soon, we’ll have the money to get out of
here. We’re going to patch things us with Cixi,

This section of the story is now narrated
by Madison. I extracted this from her Diary of

At night, I was walking through a dark area
—a forest if you will; there were a lot of trees
present in front of me. I ran instead of walked. I
kept traveling until I saw a figure before me,
stopping my tracks; a boy, I could tell because
of the bun. He was tall and thin and had black
hair, pale skin, and amber eyes—Zaitian! I
choked on my words; I didn’t know what to say.
“Oh!” That was all I could say, just a

simple oh.

“Madison, it’s me.” He said soothingly.
“I know who you are; I’ve never forgotten
you.” I blushed hard and red.
“I’ve never forgotten you, either,” Zaitian
replied to me. “I have come to you in your
dreams to tell you that there will be danger for
you and your friends on the night of a lunar
eclipse. Thus, you must wake up now. I can
reach you in your dreams by strict meditation


Caitlyn Baker

The Round Bead

lessons from my father. You are meditating as
you sleep, are you not?” I was spooked by
Zaitian’s vocabulary.
“I can’t believe this is a dream,” I
muttered. “Zaitian, I don’t want to wake up. I
want to stay here and help you with your dream
of saving me.”

“There is more to what you need to do
than to save yourself. I am still a young
emperor, and I am still older than you, Madison,
and I’m telling you to wake up,” Zaitian softly
commanded while stroking my cheek. I rose
slowly from sitting down. I felt heroic and brave.
“Thank you,”

Madison had quit writing in her diary, due to the
fact her dream had ended, of course. Otherwise,
she would have written more about her amusing

Madison woke up from her trance. The
person stroking her cheek was Steven himself.
Min was preparing scrambled eggs and tofu over
a fire outside.

“Are you alright, Madison? You were crying
in your sleep,” Steven said calmly. He held
Madison in his arms. “You must miss him, don’t
you? I know, I understand. He helped China a
whole lot and helped us. I forgive for what he did
to us.”

“How did you know that I was dreaming of


“You kept saying, ‘Zaitian!’ in your sleep.
The first time you said it, your face was wet with

“I’m sorry if I woke you guys up,” Madison

said sadly.

“No, you didn’t.” Min said, putting the
plates of food on the wooden table. Madison
imagined how sad it would be for her if she woke
up Steven and Min by babbling out Zaitian’s


Caitlyn Baker

The Round Bead

“Steven, do you think I could make up a
story about my dreams?” Madison asked Steven.
Steven shrugged.

“Sure, Madison. You might make yourself a
scholar here in China, and then we can get loads
of money!”

“Um…Madison, I forgot to say
something…” Min whispered.
“What is it?” Steven asked for Madison,
since Madison had noodles in her mouth. Min
showed the two teenagers a flyer of a romantic
dance at a ball in the restaurant that she and
Steven went to.

“A dance, tonight, you say?” Madison
asked Min after she swallowed her food. Min

“Yes, and you can present your book there
as well if you get it done. Many citizens adore
books written by Americans.” Madison could see
herself holding her published book. Madison
was dancing around with joy that something fell
out of her pocket. It was the round bead with the
weird symbol that Zaitian had given to her. Min
picked it up with great curiosity. She and Steven
didn’t know that Zaitian had given it to her.
“Oh, Madison!” she squealed.
“What is it, Min?”
“You are a lucky girl, Madison. The man
who gave this to you loves you with all his
heart! It’s a tradition.” Min said. Madison caught
herself blushing very badly.
“Oh…I kind of found it floating in the
ocean…and I…uh…thought it was pretty.”
Madison lied. Steven didn’t recall Madison
picking up a bead, but he decided to ignore it.
“I can’t wait for the dance, Min.” Steven
said, disrobing and putting on a different outfit.
Madison washed her face and put on a
beautiful makeup. Her heart beat with jealousy
to be better than Min to win Steven back. I don’t
really know if I do like him. Is it possible I still
love Zaitian? No, it can’t be true. Madison’s
mind rattled inside of her, giving her a headache
of thoughts. Her hair was put up in curls,


Caitlyn Baker

The Round Bead

matching Min. Outlining her eyes and decorating
her mask for the masquerade, Min noticed that
Madison was up to something, but she didn’t
talk to Madison.

Finally, after fifteen minutes, both girls
followed the directions on the brochure and
followed Steven’s steps. Dragging her dress,
Madison thought terrible thoughts about Min.

Maybe she can become a Christian and be
executed right in front of us! Or, I’ll hire a
suicide bomber to blow up the dance party and
me and Steven escape. In other words, Madison
was thinking, I wish Min disappeared from our
lives forever! After moment or two, Madison’s
good conscience stepped into the problem. Why
am I thinking terrible things about her? I
probably have a very ugly look on my face. That
wasn’t true, exactly. All the evil was hidden
behind the face of Madison, whose face was
round and cute. I’ll just forget I said anything
and have a fun time. That thought was easier
said than done.

Dozens of people seemed scattered
around the building, which was a restaurant,
dedicated to the masquerade for partying.
Steven walked out of the restroom to see the
two baccalaureates (Madison and Min.). Blushing
terribly, he couldn’t decide who to take to
dance. Madison’s heart beat quickly, she was so

“You can take Min, Steven. I don’t mind.”
She said. Steven shrugged and took Min’s hand.
Madison put her full weight on a pillar, resting so
eagerly with the thought of dancing with

Stupid Min. She has no right to be happy,

Madison’s mind said to her again. An “Angel
Madison” stood out of her, saying, be happy for
Min. You still have Zaitian to worry about.

Madison’s heart skipped a beat, literally skipped
a beat—she couldn’t breathe well enough like
she used to. Steven swung over to her.
“Madison, are you alright? You look like if
you’re about to cry,” he said this because she


Caitlyn Baker

The Round Bead

was breathing very deeply and very loudly, and
some people do that when they begin to start
bawling their heads off. Madison shook her
head. Steven left Min’s hand and offered his
hand to Madison. “May we have this dance,
Madison?” he asked. Steven knew how bad she
felt about not getting what she wanted. Madison
placed her hand inside his, but as she did, one
of the windows broke.

A burglar dressed in all black dove into the
building, interfering with the romantic dancers,
and snatched up Min.
“Yes, this is the one,” he seemed to say.
Crashing through the door, the burglar

“I’m sorry, Madison, but I have to go after
Min. She’s been abducted,” Steven said, trying
to keep himself calm.
“I’ll go with you,” Madison said, tugging on
his silk robe. Steven shook her hands off him like

“No, it’ll be best if I went alone,” he said.
Madison’s eye twitched again in response to the
decline of her offer. I’m going to have to go after
him if that’s the case! He can get lost and then
how on earth will I reach Zaitian?

Steven began to run quickly through a
dark forest, following the path of the kidnapper.
Why would they want Min? He asked himself.
She didn’t do anything wrong, did she? Do they
just want her because she’s pretty?

Steven stopped when an arrow wisped by
him, barely missing his head, but cutting his hair
a bit. He turned around quickly, his body
uncomfortably turning to see the culprit. It was
one of the burglars who had kidnapped Min. The
masked man jumped and sprinted away to his
hideout, hoping that Steven wouldn’t follow
along, but Steven’s strong legs were able to take
him to the destination and went after another

“I’m sorry, Madison, but I seem to be in
love with Min. I can’t help you anymore! I can’t


Caitlyn Baker

The Round Bead

hold you back from who you love anymore.”
Steven journeyed into a forest near the school,
following Min’s tracks.
I’ll save you from those magicians! He
thought. He had figured out they were
magicians because of how fast the burglar went.
It seemed faster than the speed of sound.
Out of the blue, another arrow ran past
Steven, cutting him on the cheek.
“Whoa! That was close!” he muttered.
Another arrow came, this time Steven wasn’t so
lucky. The arrow went through his leg, sending
him downward to the ground in pain. He looked
at one of the magicians, who had obviously shot
Steven; Steven couldn’t give up. He kept
running until he reached a building.
“Do the magicians take people for fun or
do they experiment with them?” Blood trailed
behind Steven as he thought deeply. A screech
filled the chaotic night. “Min, I’m coming!”
Steven’s heart pounded hard in his throat as he
opened the door. Inside was Min tied to the wall!
“For the safety of China, we must burn this
spy alive!” one of the pedestrians shouted.
“Spy? You mean,” Steven looked closer at
Min. Her eyes were slanted differently than the
other pedestrians. “She’s from Mongolia, I think,
hey! Let Min go, she did no harm!” Steven yelled

“Steven, yes I did. I organized these
groups of magicians to disappear and re-appear
to kidnap different people in China. When I
slipped one day and told my secret by accident
back at the ball, I was taken captive. You must
not let me go,” Min said with tears traveling
down her skin.

“No, I can help you,” Steven broke the
back of his arrow off so he could stand and get
out of kowtowing position. He looked around
him; five or six magicians filled the room. They
were able to re-appear into different places,
multiply, or cast a spell whenever they wanted.
“Min, how do the magicians lose their
power? What is their weakness?” Steven asked,


Caitlyn Baker

The Round Bead

cringing from the tyranny of the condition of his
wounded leg.

“Well, there is a, ah!” Min gasped as she
looked out of a small window at the moon,
“Jesus Christ, we’re lucky! Steven, a lunar
eclipse! They lose their power during any
eclipse. There’s a lunar eclipse tonight! It may
be possible to run away from them while we still
have a chance!” Min explained. Steven shook
his head and untied Min from the wall.
“I will fight them head on in a couple of
minutes when the lunar eclipse starts. They will
lose their power and I’ll defeat them. You leave
and get to Madison for now,” Min nodded in
agreement and ran. But before Min reached the
door, Steven said one last thing, “And Min,” Min
stopped in her tracks and looked into Steven’s
blue eyes, “thanks for your help,” Min nodded
again and ran down the same road Steven took
through the woods.
Meanwhile, Steven fought at the
magicians surrounding him. There were no
wands at all and there were no metamorphoses
used, but many different techniques were used
in the process: birds and bats would fly out of
nowhere; the magicians would disappear and re-
appear into different spots, except one thing!
They weren’t multiplying; one was already
multiplied! Steven touched one ditto and it
disappeared, leaving a poof of smoke. The
others dissinigrated as well, revealing one dark
figure standing near Steven. He vanished,
trailing a red mist behind. The guy came back,
floating in mid-air.

“Who are you and why aren’t you
attacking? Why are you running and being a
coward? Quit hiding and face me!” Steven

“My apologies. My name is Ikuzo. I am a
trick master, longing to fulfill my promise in
myself to become a powerful magician and fake
out all. I dare not waste my energy on you, my
boy,” Ikuzo said. Steven gaped at him. His hair
was long and black and it nearly reached his


Caitlyn Baker

The Round Bead

waist. Ikuzo had pale eyes and an evil smile,
making fear run down Steven’s trembling spine.
Steven’s fear left him when he saw the red
moon above him. Ikuzo came down
unexpectedly, afraid that his own power was

“You are no match for me, now. I have my
friend’s knife in my pocket. As I pull it out, you
will…huh?” Steven searched his pockets for
Madison’s knife, and then looked, seeing the
pocket-knife in Ikuzo’s hand. “Uh-oh,” Steven

“That’s right, boy. Say your prayers, for I
will,” Ikuzo was interrupted by a war cry and a
sword going through his body. The sword was a
long sword, dripping with blood. Its handle was
carefully carved with care, and holding it was

“Min, I told you to get to Madison and run
back to your house!” Steven said after Min
pulled her sword out of Ikuzo. She dragged his
body up a tree in the orchard nearby and left
him there. “Min, you came back to me because
you were worried about me?”
“Sure, Steven. Of course that’s why I
followed you back. Yes, I was thinking that Ikuzo
would steal Madison’s knife from you before the
lunar eclipse started, so I found my sword in my
secret hiding place, and I decided to kill Ikuzo.”
Min replied. Madison was hiding in one of the
trees above them.

You’re imaging things, Madi. Min wouldn’t
fall in love with my friend. Madison thought. She
didn’t want to interrupt the conversation;
Madison watched closely to see what would

Min took Steven’s hand and put it in hers.
“I’m glad that you are safe,” Min


“I’m glad that you are, too,” Steven
replied. He looked at Min; her makeup was still
on, her dress was unharmed, but Min’s curls
were messed up when she put them up in loops.


Caitlyn Baker

The Round Bead

“Here, let me help you with your hair,” he said,
taking out the tie that held it together.
“No, you don’t have to worry about it,”
Min explained, seeing it was too late. Her curled
hair flowed down her shoulders to her waist.

Ugh, he’s taking out her hair! I’m going to
throw up! Madison thought again. Jealousy grew
in her heart as she saw the couple together; it
would not soften. Steven is so dirty, betraying
me in order to get to the prettier, Madison’s dark
thoughts made her heart hate instead of love.
Her beautiful face reflected solomness and
anger, her dress was torn, and her curls came

“You do realize…for a while…how much
I’ve…kind of had feelings for you,” Min bashfully
said, “I don’t want to take you from Madison,

“Don’t worry; Madison is already in love
with Zaitian,” Steven replied, inching closer to
Min. Min jumped.

“Seriously?” she asked. “Madison is in love

with Zaitian?’

“Yes, so we don’t have to worry about
Madison’s feelings toward me,”
Madison gaped down below her.

How does Steven know I…I don’t love him!
I’ve been falling for you, Steven, seriously! I
want you to stop it now and think about why
we’re here: to rescue me and to get me back
with Zaitian. That’s what you said yourself. I
would rather go home now without you!
No, Madison, no! Think about Zaitian!
Think about what you’ve done with him! You
know you want to see him as much as he wants
to see you!

I’m afraid I don’t have much of a choice.
Min has gotten too far with my feelings and now
I’m…oh no!

Oh no was the correct reaction, because
Steven was being kissed by Min. Madison
started to cry.

Oh no! She’s kissing him! What did I do to
cause this? It wasn’t supposed to be that I’m


Caitlyn Baker

The Round Bead

confused! It really wasn’t supposed to be this
way! Steven kissed Min back, returning her
feelings while Madison watched in sadness. She
eventually stopped watching the moment and
went to Min’s home.
Madison quickly stripped off her jewelry,
tearing her dress down and changing into a
Chinese robe. She put on her Chinese disguise
makeup and waited for Steven and Min to come
home so she could finish what she had started.
The door creaked open slowly, letting a
couple of dust bunnies into the house. Steven
poked his head in and stepped in, along with
Min. Madison held her breath and also her inner
fire. She had to say it, not to calm her inner fire,
but also to put out her last tiny drops of love for
Steven and to keep thinking of Zaitian forever.
“Steven, I’m finally glad that you are in
good condition with Min. You are no longer in
danger and you are safe,” Madison said, hiding
her falling tears.

“You think that? Oh, good,” Steven replied
with his back to Madison while watering a small
lotus tree.

“But I have made a decision tonight,”
Madison added, her heart pounding in her head.
“We no longer have anything to do with
traveling together,” Madison slipped the pocket
knife out of Steven’s pocket, threw her hood
over her head, and left the house without saying
goodbye to anyone.

Madison limped down the road from the
achiness of her shoes. She suffered from the
bitterness of the cold December night, the cuts
and bruises from the attack, and the anger deep
within her heart.

How did it come to this? It wasn’t
supposed to be this way! Steven, I thought you
were my best friend, I thought I loved you, but
why did you leave me when you realized I loved
you too? Now that I don’t know who to choose,
I’m so confused! It started to rain, heavying
Madison’s clothes and cooling the temperature
even more.


Caitlyn Baker

The Round Bead

At dawn finally, Madison saw something
that was dangerous to her, yet she seemed to
have to deal with it and it also happened to be
that thing that she was looking for. Madison
dragged her cold, dirty body across the border
of Fuzhou, leaving Beijing for good.

You're Reading a Free Preview

/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->