► xiao jing
1524 / 500 words
|he significance of human transport would have very much eluded Xiao Jing for the rest of his life had he not come across a band of space pirates that fateful day, when ten-year old him owned nothing more than the clothes on his back and his sister's ashes. His young, prepubescent brain tasted so much misery in a short time frame of six months that...the grandeur of a large, floating spaceship breezing so effortlessly through the dead, Desierto sky was enough to breathe some semblance of hope into him - a reason to stay alive, even, just enough to see the day that he'd pilot the same, elaborate mechanism.|
Later, at least twenty years from the shadow of a boy that he was, Xiao Jing, now a grown man with better tricks up his sleeves grapples at the day in order to ensure the proper foundation for his dream to navigate the stars.
Behind the wheel, that is.
"Alright, deary, let's go over this again. Shall we?" smiled his driving instructor, her pale fingers clinging gently unto a folded bunch of papers, no doubt being Jing's bio-data and driving experience that he had to submit beforehand. "Oh and dear, try not to murder anymore traffic cones, okay?"
At his lap, Meilin seemed to stir in her pseudo-sleep, her breathing erratic as she tried to contain her giggles from escalating to hysteric laughing. Ignoring the exceed's reaction, the ginger carefully slid his fingers over the wheel, his grip unnaturally shaken as compared to how ecstatic he was when he first encountered the vehicle.
"I'll...try my best, ahma, haha..." he said, his laugh appearing too dry for the situation, though he couldn't feign his usual attitude even if he tried at that point. Why was he there again?
Oh, right, he remembers. It only recently occurred to him, through some form of divine intervention (which is, in fact, being unable to purchase ship parts), that it was a quintessential requirement to own a driving license in order to even remotely pilot something. Given the term 'essential', the ginger set off to immediately acquire it for himself, if not with impressive enthusiasm to boot.
Needless to say, after at least five attempts that all led to both the car's bumpers being dented, the essence of failure began to sink into his system, further dampening what little pride he held unto after he discovered on the first try that he couldn't, in fact, drive a spaceship if he didn't manage to master the land vehicles.
Jing swallows harshly, trying to push any sort of disappointment and shame that dared to bundle and toy with his system down into the pits of his guts, hoping that they'd stay there, until the end of the session, if at all. His display of such fragile masculinity was beginning to egg on his ego, and he'd much rather not have the sweet old woman and his sassy black cat seeing his facade be foiled by trivial things.
He forces his foot back down unto the accelerator, sweat beading off his arms and face as the engine hummed in response, sending a jolt that visibly rattled his on-going example of self-preservation. In the mean time, his quaint, and extremely patient driving instructor calmly repeated the words 'Relax,' and 'Don't let the panic control you.' like an old healing mantra, her voice audible despite the roar of burning gasoline.
Forward. He felt the car buzz before moving down the driving lane at a leisurely pace, the beaten traffic cones taunting him with their orange hue that amusingly matched the color that sat atop his head. Jing sunk his teeth into his lower lip as he encounters a curve, moving the car wheel as an automatic response to the road bending one way.
To his surprise, the car opted to follow his lead and not bump into the wrong direction and into whatever was in the vicinity, somehow pumping a little air back into his deflated ego as soon as they reach the end of the curve. To his right, he could hear a soft, relieving click of a ball-point pen, the check mark gleaming from a piece of paper that the instructor held unto.
She presented him with a thumbs up, her smile easy and congratulating.
How a simple gesture managed to uplift his spirits more than what he could ever achieve alone...he would never know.
- - - -
The sunset was just beginning to spill from the horizon when they reached and finished the final obstacle of the drive course, the event being celebrated with a quiet, pleasing smile from the lady instructor, and a triumphant sparkle gleaming over Xiao Jing's tired face.
"You did well, dear, you finally managed to get your driver's license." she told him, her hand patting him on the back as he hunched over, digging his face into the steering wheel.
Jing looked up at her in response, breathing in as a wash of relief overcame him, successfully trumping the self-deteriorating shame he withheld earlier. "Thank you, ahma, you were too kind for a driving green horn like me."
The lady shakes her head, the beads that lined the strings on her glasses shaking and shining at the same time, "It's all in good heart. My daughter was a bit like you, and dare I say, a bit worse than you, too, but she came through still. And with an even stricter driving instructor too." her smile softens even further, and secretly, at the back of skull, Jing wonders how a human be so soft and...fluffy?
"And your profile says that you have absolutely no experience driving at all...for you to so bravely saunter here without it..I knew I had to be a little more forgiving than normal for you to pass." she said, her eyes scanning through the rolled pieces of paper in her hands, stopping several seconds in-between to read the bits in Jing's history that interested her.
The silence that followed prompted the ginger to ravage through his belongings for a milisecond, an idea sprouting seeds of gratitude as he retrieved a tiny glass box from the very bottom of his bag of trinkets. The object made a little tinkle as he cupped it in his hands, fingers tracing the little embellishments on the sides before he cranes the tiny nob at the bottom.
A faint, but charming tune started to fill the interior of the car, surprising both his instructor and the exceed that pretended to be limp at his lap. For a few seconds, the song seemed to create a bubble of time that encased the three of them in a daydream, the dream melting away as soon as the music fades into the noises of the night.
"A music box." he started, wearing a smile that was very much genuine, "I salvaged whatever I could find from an old broken one, and tried to replicate the mechanism inside. Sadly, the box wasn't in any shape to be repaired, so I made a new one out of glass."
He settled the trinket on his left palm, gingerly outstretching the arm so that it could reach the lady from his side of the car. Her reaction was prompt and unbridled, as her face appeared to have been lit by an iridescent glow of stars. "This..I...really?"
"Absolutely." he said, "After the hell I had you endure, I think you at least deserve a modest form of thanks."
As she giggled and appropriated the mood with many-a thank yous in a sweet voice, his instructor reached into her own bag, producing a small brown envelope. "And I, to you, you've earned it."
"YE-!...I mean, thank you."
It was in her best wishes to not ruin the mood with his overzealous reactions, he thought, so he tries to style his happiness to fit the mood. Perhaps he'd celebrate a little with some steamed buns, or a little cheap wine, but either way, a manner of festivity was due.
- - - -
A good, nightly shimmer eventually took hold of Motor City as he bid the lady good-bye, and as soon as they reached several meters away from the driving lane, Meilin shed her sleeping state with mewl, balancing her weight on her master's orange head.
"You know, I've been meaning to ask you this," a pause, as if the cat hesitated to raise the question, "But...uh...how did you manage to get over your motion sickness?"
As if expecting the nature of question, Jing revealed a small lacrima that hung at his neck with the help of a gnarly piece of string. It looked to be about several years ancient.
"This came free with the slayer lacrima, and it makes the dizziness non-existent whenever I wear it."
Meilin's face skews into an expression of both wonder and confusion, "So...does that mean you stole two things from a noble family...?"
With little to no shame at all then, Xiao Jing replied with a hearty "YES!", an act that earned him more than just a handful of stares from the passing crowds and a single, amused snort from the black-furred creature on his head. Not that he minded, anyway.
Do you hate car puns?
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Lineage : Blessed by the Fourth Wall
Position : None
Posts : 358
Guild : Onyx Moon
Cosmic Coins : 0
Dungeon Tokens : 0
Mentor : Tan Zheng✝; Damaris Hopes
Experience : 650
First Magic: Dì Sì Shùnxù [ 2nd Gen ]
Second Magic: TBA
Third Magic: TBA
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