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The Round Bead

The Round Bead

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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.

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Published by: Caitlyn Baker on Jul 12, 2008
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The next day, a bike rider rode past the
evergreen forest. His legs pedaled faster to beat
the birds on their flight. He threw a newspaper
bundle on one yard. He passed Mei’s house and
threw another; the bundle landed in the pond.
The biker threw one last bundle, landing on poor
Mao Dun’s head. The force of the hurled bundle
threw him down on the start of his morning
walk.

“Thank you!” he yelled.
“You’re welcome!” the biker replied. Mao
Dun rubbed his sore head as he walked down
the road, reading the newspaper. His eyes
scanned the tiny words, looking for interesting
events and entertainment. Finally, he spotted it!

Annual Celebration of the Dragon!

Come to dance and drink tea!
No purchase necessary
Celebration is held at Yangtze Park
Starts at sunset
Ends at sunrise

Mao Dun couldn’t believe what he was
reading. That event was his only chance to take
Li-Hua out. He ran back into the house, almost
tripping over his stuffed bison.
“Auntie!” he screamed. Cixi jumped up
from her small into snooze town and stared at
her nephew. “Auntie, tonight is the annual
celebration of the dragon! Can Zaitian and I
go?” Mao Dun stammered. He was still shaken
from the invitation. Cixi sighed and read the
article.

“Mao, you and Zaitian can go, but…it only
starts in a week. You didn’t pay attention to the
date!” Mao Dun looked at the article again. It
said in big letters at the bottom:

Date: December 24th

, 2007

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Meanwhile, Zaitian was cleaning his room,
picking up his stuffed animals and placing them
in the trash. His bed was made neatly and the
wooden floor had the reflection of it. Zaitian
swept so the shiny floor had nothing on it except
the furniture. He was putting his hair up into his
usual bun when Mao Dun barged into his
dormitory and tripped over the garbage,
knocking over the stuffed animals, including the
platypus.

“Mao Dun, I just did that!” Zaitian
groaned, picking up the toys.
“I’m sorry, Zaitian. I have extraordinary
news!” Mao Dun said without taking a breath.
“Well then spit it out!” Zaitian demanded.
Mao Dun was too excited to tell, so he shoved
the paper close to Zaitian’s face, making it
practically touch his nose. Zaitian took the
article and read it. He jumped up in excitement.
He and Mao Dun gave each other high-fives and
yelled.

Mei heard the noise from the other house
and looked out the window.
“Well, Zaitian’s optimistic today. I wonder
what it’s about.” She said. Zaitian saw Mei
moving about near her window. He decided to
tell her the sheer joy. Zaitian jumped out his
window and ran around the pond to Mei.
“Did you get the paper?” Zaitian asked.
“I don’t think so,” Mei said, jumping out of
her window. Suddenly, Mei looked in the pond
and saw the wet newspaper. She picked it up
with one hand stained from black ink dripping
from the mess. “Oh, gross!” she dropped the
newspaper onto the ground and kicked it away.
“What did it say?” Mei asked. Zaitian explained
the article.

“I was wondering…if you wanted to come
with me…to the…dance…” Zaitian stuttered
with his cheeks swollen with redness.
“Oh, Zaitian! I’d love to!” Mei did
something she had never done before and
hugged Zaitian. She so likes me! Zaitian
thought, smiling sweetly.

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Zaitian once again creeped out of the
window at dawn. Mei sang beautifully and didn’t
care if Zaitian watched. It had been six days
since the article came and Mei was trembling
with excitement. There was one day left to wait.
Mao Dun received a newspaper about the
day of the celebration. There would be a lunar
eclipse during the dance. It was exciting
because Mei had never seen one before.
It was the day before the celebration. Cixi
had decided for herself that she was not going
to go as a result of having to sit on the throne
for so long. Her weary legs wouldn’t move her,
so she would feel lazy almost the whole day.
Mao Dun was going with Zaitian only
because he needed something to do. But Mao
Dun had a secret meeting with his girlfriend, Li-
Hua, who was about Mao Dun’s age, had
beautiful, long black hair, straight teeth, and the
most beautiful smile around. Mao Dun loved
her…a lot. No one knew, except for his own
diary, in which Zaitian had been stalking for the
past two years. Mao Dun never knew if Li-Hua
was going to the dance or not. He was too shy
and too stupid to ask her.
Mei was finally getting ready. Her dress
was long and silky and red. She let her hair drop
to a short length that curled at her jaw. Her face
was white from the makeup and long earring
dangled from her ears. She outlined her eyes
with black eye-liner. Mei then left her house and
ran to the grove in the woods.
Zaitian didn’t dress much. He just took a
shower. He walked out of the house, but he
wasn’t looking and he fell into the lake. It was
much deeper than he thought. Zaitian kept
sinking. He tried swimming (in which he was
really good at.), but something kept pulling him
down. Zaitian kept trying and trying, but that
thing wrapped around his waist and wouldn’t let
go. Zaitian looked down and saw that it was
Madison, almost dead, covered in blood.

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“Zaitian…why? Why did you leave me?”
she yelled. Zaitian’s air ran out and he
screamed at the top of his lungs in his bed.
It was only a dream.
Zaitian woke up in the afternoon, throwing
off his covers and clothes and jumping into the
living room, across the kitchen, through the
bathroom, and into the tub. Water splashed
everywhere. Mao Dun sat in the hot tub in front
of Zaitian.

“What are you doing in here?” Mao Dun

asked.

“Getting ready,” Zaitian replied, wringing
out his long hair. Mao Dun shrugged. “You’d
better shave your mustache, Mao Dun. Li-Hua
won’t like it.” Zaitian giggled. Mao Dun splashed
the water.

“How do you know about Li-Hua?” The
eighteen-year-old yelled in embarrassment.
“Let’s just say…after I woke up from a
nightmare last night, I needed something to put
me back to sleep, so I finally found your diary
after two long years!” Mao Dun jumped to
Zaitian, steaming red, splashing water onto
Zaitian. He lured Zaitian to the faucet and
turned on the very cold water. Zaitian yelped
like crazy.

“What is going on in here? Mao Dun, did
you bring another girl in here? Oh, it’s just you,
Zaitian.” A soldier said, dodging the puddles.
“Boys, it’s all wet in here!”
“Sir, Zaitian! He…” Mao Dun started.
Zaitian threw water on Mao Dun’s head.
“Boys…um…boys…the dance will start in
an hour.” Zaitian and Mao Dun looked at each
other and ran to their rooms without any clothes
on, pushing and shoving to get ready. The
soldier laughed.

Mei was getting ready just like she was in
Zaitian’s dream, only her dress was blue. She
sprayed perfume her mother made her two
years earlier. She left her incense burning and
left for the grove, putting on the rest of her
makeup.

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Zaitian had just finished putting on his
dress clothes. He laughed when his brother
walked out with no mustache and his hair was
goofed. Sausage, his pet ferret, licked his leg
and crawled up his robe. Mario, his other ferret,
joined Sausage.

“Brother, help me!”
“C’mon, Mario!” Zaitian gently said,
picking up the ferret. He set Mario in the house
and closed the door, along with little Sausage.
Zaitian then turned to Mao Dun and fixed his
hair. “You look…um…” Mao Dun looked in the
mirror.

“Stupid.” He muttered. Mao Dun looked

worse.

“Mao Dun, we need to get to the grove.
Now. Madison—err—Mei is waiting for us.”
Both boys ran to the edge of the forest to

meet the beauty.
“Whoa!” they both said.
Mei was beautiful alright. She finally wore
makeup and put her hair up differently. It wasn’t
a plain bun anymore. Her dress looked long and
silky and blue. Mei held a fan over her pale face.
“Alright, let’s get going.” She happily
chirped. She grabbed Zaitian’s hand and walked
toward the music and smell of food.
The dance was about to begin.
The Chinese music started. Couples
started to dance. Some were eating. Mao Dun
stopped when he saw Li-Hua.
“Li-Hua,” he started.
“Yes?” she asked.
“Do you want to dance with me?”
“Oh, Mao Dun! That’s a stupid question.
You don’t even have to ask!” she exclaimed. “I’d
love to!” Li-Hua leaned over and kissed him on
the cheek. Mao Dun’s whole face swelled up
with red. Zaitian nudged Mao Dun.
“Have fun you two!” he laughed with Mei
after saying it. They walked to the table with the
food to get some rice and egg rolls.

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“Hey, Mei,” Zaitian asked, blushing as red
as his brother. “Let’s dance,” he said, taking her
hand.

“Okay,” she replied. The couple danced for
a while. People dressed as dragons ran all over
the place. Acrobats flipped and jumped
everywhere like mentally retarded zombies.
Zaitian and Mei stood out in the night.
They danced as if they’ve practiced for years, as
if they were professionals. Mao Dun looked with
Li-Hua at Zaitian and Mei.
“There is truly love in there,” Li-Hua said.
“I agree,” Mao Dun replied. “He has loved
her for a month or so. I have loved someone for
that amount of time…you.”
“Me?” Li-Hua was warm inside. She held
his hand and leaned against him. “I may be just
your girlfriend, but I’ve always loved you too.”
Meanwhile, Mei and Zaitian were the only
ones dancing (except for the dragons.) Everyone
else had decided to watch. They clapped and
cheered for the guidance and leadership of
Zaitian and the graceful and quick twirls of Mei.
They ended in one final dip. The crowd
applauded like the sound of one thousand birds
flapping their wings on their flight. Mei’s heart
was beating fast as she stood up with Zaitian’s
hands around her waist for support.
Zaitian remembered the last day he had
seen Madison. He had hugged her like that. He
couldn’t get her out of his mind at all.
The moment was interrupted by the few

words:

“Look to the skies!” Everybody turned to
the sky and looked up. There was a lunar
eclipse. The sun was completely over the moon.
A reddish glow reflected over the pond nearby,
the trees above, and on the people below. Mei’s
eyes looked up at the unusual moon. Zaitian
nudged her.

“Don’t look up there too long. You’ll hurt
your eyes.” He whispered.

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Unfortunately, Mei wouldn’t have to worry
about that because the lunar eclipse was over in
those two short minutes.
Afterward, Zaitian led Mei to their secret
grove after the gigantic feast of pie. It was dark,
but reflecting light of the moon shone upon
them.

“I am so happy! I want to thank you for
bringing me here!” Mei cried out. Zaitian and
Mei stopped running. Zaitian took hold of her
hands.

“Before you do, I want you to understand
something first. I am going to be the next ruler
of China after my aunt dies. I have the power to
choose these things, but it will be hard for me to
look at you when I tell you this. I met a girl, an
American girl. Here’s what you should
understand,” Zaitian took a deep breath, “The
reason I am always thinking of her is because,”
“You…love her…”
“I actually do. Madison was shortly
banished from China, but I believe she came
back in secret. But when I met you, you
reminded me of her. I see her strength and
personality in you. Madison came here first on
her way to a mission trip. She survived her ship
being blown up by Japanese troops…I think…I
found her in the woods and took her to Fuzhou,
here, to take care of her. I was an idiot to let her
go; I did all I could to protect her, but my aunt
banished her and her friend. A few weeks after
she left and I heard you sing, you reminded me
of Madison.”

“So…I’m like Madison?”
“In a way. I can’t get you and her out of
my head…so…I think I’m in love with you…” he
confessed. Mei gasped and pulled out a
necklace.

“You see this?” she asked. “It’s a cross. I’m
a Christian. If you love me, I will be persecuted
faster.” It was a sterling silver cross connected
to a silver chain.

“I don’t care,” he whispered. He leaned in
toward her and kissed her.

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“I love you too,” she whispered back,
finally finishing their kiss.
Mao Dun came into the grove to meet
Zaitian there, but when he noticed that he and
Li-Hua had almost interrupted the moment, he
and Li-Hua left.

After Zaitian and Mei finished kissing, Mei
said two final words before she left for home.
“Thank you,” she kissed him one last time
and ran to her house. Zaitian smiled and walked
to Mao Dun, who was waiting outside Li-Hua’s
house.

“What’s the rating? I knew you were

watching!”

“Ten out of ten.”
“Yes,” Zaitian screamed out and jumping

into the air.

“Did you guys like...kiss…like…the

different way?”

“Hm…maybe…” the two brothers laughed
and went inside their own house. Zaitian took off
his robe and lay on his bed. His head began to
pound. A girl’s voice echoed in his head.

It may have felt good then, but it will
reflect off you as a regret later…what about
Madison? What about the girl you search for? Is
Mei really the same as Madison; the soft hands,
the slim body, the smile like the gentle curve of
an apple? Where is all that now? You are going
insane because she is gone from your delicate
hands!

Zaitian thought more to himself.

You’re right. Mei’s hands weren’t like
Madison’s. She doesn’t stroke my fingers like
Madison does. What have I done? My first kiss
has already faded away! It was supposed to be
with the girl who actually cared, not because I
talked to her on a cloudy day. What have I
done? Zaitian fell asleep shortly afterward.
Zaitian woke up by a tap on the shoulder

by Mao Dun.

“What?” he jumped.
“There’s somebody coming!” Mao Dun

explained quickly.

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“What about Cixi?” Zaitian whined. “Can’t

she deal with it?”

“She’s out there. It’s about Mei.
Apparently, it’s not good.”
“Uh oh,” Zaitian leaped out of his bed and
ran to the door where his aunt and Mei’s parents
were standing. “Um, I know it was awkward to
open-mouth-kiss Mei last night, but,”
“The dance and the kiss are another
matter, Zaitian,” Cixi sternly said. Zaitian
noticed that Mei’s mother and father were
crying. “Mei is going to be executed.” Zaitian’s
heart skipped a beat.
“What?”
“The necklace she secretly wore, when
she showed it to you, she accidentally left it out.
The sign of the cross is the sign of Christianity…
and your aunt is the ruler of China; she wants to
kill our daughter!”

“Auntie, this is like Madison leaving China!

You can’t do this!”

“Zaitian, I am sorry. It is for the best of our
people.” Zaitian gave a dead glare toward his
aunt. “The parents are to be executed as well.”
“Then I shall be executed as well!”
“No, Zaitian. You are to rule China when I
am gone! Do as I say and go back indoors.”
“I love her! I want her to live! I’ll do
anything to have her spared!”
“It was a foolish choice of her to say, ‘Yes,
I am a Christian,’ when my soldiers asked her. It
wasn’t your choice.”
“May I at least see her? One last time?”
Zaitian asked. Tears streamed down his face as
Cixi nodded in a mean way.
They traveled down into the city to the
prison hall. In cell B7, Mei was suffering.
“Mei!” Zaitian called when he saw her.
“Oh Zaitian! I am so frightened! It was my
fault I am in here! I should have hidden my
secret, but I chose not to. I was too proud!
Zaitian…I…” Zaitian interrupted her sobs by
covering her mouth with his fingers. Poor Mei
was beaten beyond recognition. She had scabs

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everywhere and her face was covered in blood
and bruises. Her hair was messed up and her
makeup smeared. Her eyes were red from
crying.

“You…don’t need…to worry…anymore…
your parents are deciding to die with you. I
would if I could, but I can’t. My aunt won’t let
me. I would do anything to save you. I really
tried.” He touched Mei’s scabbed chin and then
hugged her, holding her close.
“I look so disgusting! When I die in front of
those people, my face…it’ll bring shame upon
you, me, my family, and my ancestors.” Mei
cried.

“I love you, even if your face is a little
wrecked. No matter how distorted you look, I will
always love you,” Zaitian said, cradling the
frightened Mei. He then whispered to her, “Don’t
you ever think that you’re ugly!” He tried to kiss
her, but she backed away to the back of the cell.

He’s not looking at me. He’s looking through me
at Madison. How dare him! Zaitian knew in a
way what she was thinking. He walked away,
holding her cross and weeping bitterly, knowing
that he would never see her ever again. He
couldn’t bear to watch her and her parents die.
He went home as soon as he saw his aunt.

Zaitian’s Diary

It has been one day since the execution. I
miss Mei so much, but she is in the Nirvana, I
hope. My feelings for her are gone. I’ve learned
to live on with my life in search of Madi. Mei
didn’t love me yesterday because she figured
out I only admired her for her look of Madison. I
feel like a big idiot, but my brother helps me get
over it.

Speaking of which, Mao Dun and Li-Hua
got engaged this morning! I am so excited about
their wedding! They will probably have a lot of
children in the future. I wonder what lays ahead
for my future or Madison’s. I want to find her as
soon as possible and have her and me live
together one day, away from my aunt, away

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The Round Bead

from the Boxer Rebellion that killed Mei, and out
of China forever.

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