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XE Chapter 1

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Chapter 1 – Dream

The strange and distorted sky seems more dreadful than usual at the moment.

The world is painted a pessimistic gray. Gray skyscrapers, gray alloy floors, gray vehicles, gray sky, and three gigantic gray spheres hangs suspended in the sky.

This is the death of a metal world.

This should be a ruin, right?

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Walking through the steel jungle, although this thought repeats in my head, my impression of the ruins are different. There isn’t a single trace of damage here. Even a scratch cannot be found on the ice-cold steel surface of the world. They don’t seem to have been discarded here due to taking serious damage, rather, they seem to just lying dormant, like a hibernating beast. I think that is a much better way to address them.

In this dormant world, the only sound is my footsteps. After walking for who-knows-how-long, I’m finally beginning to tire, so I found some sort of aviation hangar to sit down on.

It’s going to take some time to leave this area, and I’m already bored senseless. I gaze at the three gigantic spheres in the sky. They really are huge; they cover a third of the sky. I can see numerous faint lines in a grid-like pattern on its surface, making it seem like a planetary stronghold from a sci-fi movie. To tell the truth, this world is more sci-fi than any sci-fi movie out there.

Just like this, I continue to watch the three planet-sized metal balls until I can’t help but avert my gaze from their oppressiveness.

It feels like they had moved a bit closer.

In fact, they really are getting closer. When I had first arrived, they were just three black specks high in the sky, but now, they are moving closer and closer. Sometimes, the gap closes by a lot, and other times, the change is negligible. If you didn’t pay attention to it, then you might not even notice it moving. I knew that they were descending though. Perhaps, one day, they’ll touch the ground, and who knows, maybe the world will change in some way? With how bored I am, this will be something I’ll really look forward to.

“Still haven’t found it…” A voice suddenly pierces through the sky, resonating throughout the world.

Jingle! Jingle!  The alarm clock suddenly wakes me up. With great effort, I open my eyes and shake away the dizziness after a moment. After another moment, my head is finally clear of the weird dream I had last night.

Such a strange dream…

I don’t know when it started, but I had been having strange dreams where I am wandering alone in a deathly still metal world. The surroundings were really futuristic and bleak, as though Judgement Day had already passed. Despite how stifling that world was, I had never felt any alarm when I wandered about, as if I was already familiar with the place. My dream would end with that piercing voice every single time, and each time it would say in despair, “Still haven’t found it…”

But that voice has never told me what she’s looking for…

Just what is that voice looking for? Unless, she is hoping that I would find it?

Unfortunately, I have never found the answer in my dreams.

I have never told anyone about these dreams I have. Although I don’t know what they mean, my intuition tells me that it’s quite special and that telling others will bring me a lot of trouble.

“Ah… It’s Monday.” I grumble to myself, unwilling to get out of bed. I can’t help but shiver from the cold winter air. In the end, though, I manage to resist the warmth of my blanket because if I didn’t, I will be late for class. At the very least, I need to show up at least once before the teaching director forgets what I look like.  

I, Chen Jun, am a student in 12th grade and an orphan. A business couple adopted me when I was a child, but after they passed away, my non-blood-related older sister and I only had each other to depend on. My life is as plain as a cup of water. The only thing to rejoice about is the fact that this cup of water has been boiled and still has some heat to it. My older sister had received a large inheritance from our parents, so our lifestyle doesn’t resemble that of orphans at all. I have been taking care of the house since I was young, and my sister treats me pretty well too. At the very least, I can still feel the warmth of a family.

Just as I am contemplating the previous night’s dream and whether there was something different from the usual, I hear my older sister call out from behind the door. “Ah Jun, are you up yet? It’s already late!”

“Oh, I just woke up!” I answer while quickly making my bed. I put on my clothes and a pair of socks. I take off the sock from my left foot and put it on my right foot, until I remember that they’re identical. Finally finished, I frantically rush to open the door. You can see just how great and lively my morning routine is.

Outside the door is a beautiful girl with long hair, dressed in a homely long skirt. She wears a big smile on her face while holding a pot in one hand and a kitchen knife in the other. This is a dangerous habit of hers that she still hasn’t changed to this day.

This is my adoptive older sister, Chen Qian. She’s older than me by five years, yet her appearance is that of a delicate girl’s. Despite her appearance, she has been a little devil since childhood, dragging me, her little brother, everywhere. As the person supporting the household, I can only imagine how strong she is. Because of this, I think my older sister is the world’s strongest person. This isn’t an empty thought, I have personally experienced her might since childhood…

“What is it Ah Jun? Is there something on my face?” Maybe, because I have been staring at her for so long, her face blushed when she asked me.

“Ah, it’s nothing. I’m just thinking about something… Well, I’m going to school now then!”

“Hey— wait! You still haven’t eaten yet…”

“No time left; I’m heading out first!”

Canglan Private High School is a school for the nobility. Apart from the high tuition fees, the quality of teaching also far exceeds public schools. This causes the school to become associated with nobility; normal students will never even think of attending. Any student that is able to attend this school is not only smart, but their family will either be millionaires or influential officials. It’s also full of the nation’s greatest super geniuses. After all, a school can’t grow with just lots of money; excellent students are also essential to gaining prestige. In summary, this school stands out in every single aspect, filled with Cinderellas and Prince Charmings. South Korea isn’t even needed here; they can just use any student within this school to film anything they wanted…

The reason I spent so long describing this school is because I attend that school—the school across from it.  

K City High School is my alma mater. Even its name has a rustic feeling to it. Regardless of how you look at this school, it’s completely average. Compared to the royal garden that is Canglan Private High School, one is Paris while the other is Changli. The students here are commoners; in fact, most of us won’t even be able to recognize the brands the students from Canglan wear. Only a thin street separates us, marking the famous scene of the two completely contrasting schools.

I am just a student here, after all. Although my family may not be poor, we are still far from being able to send me to Canglan Private High School. I can only rely on guessing during multiple choice exams while the exam questions tear apart my mind. I’m definitely not the type of elite student to get recruited.

“Ah Jun!” A crisp voice calls out from behind me, and I turn around to see a short-haired, petite girl running toward me. Her skirt and hair flutter in the wind, as if she is a little flower dancing in the spring wind. En, it is just that the wind is a bit stronger now.

The girl running toward me is Xu Qian Qian. She’s a good friend of mine that I grew up with. However, in middle school, her family had moved to another city, so I wasn’t able to see her that often. That didn’t influence the relationship between me and Qian Qian though. By coincidence, we both chose to attend the same high school, and it was a pleasant surprise. From then on, the two of us returned to our old routines. According to this plotline, we are childhood friends that have an eighty percent chance of becoming lovers in the future. My life has been pretty good from then on. In reality, even though we both feel this way, for some reason, neither of us has taken the next step yet. We have just been maintaining a relationship somewhere between best friends and lovers. As for the reason… It might be because we are too familiar with each other?

Indeed, that must be the reason. After all, I grew up with her and know everything about her. It’s really hard to view her in a romantic light.

“Ah Jun, what are you thinking about?” Qian Qian has taken a few quick steps to face me, and her nails wave in front of me as she said this in disatisfaction.

“Oh. I’m just introducing the situation with the heroine to the readers…”

Qian Qian: “…?”

Right at that moment, a distant crowd catches my attention.


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