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Aerial Rain
Translating Web Novel

MSRV Extra 3 Part 2 – An Illusory Dream (II)

Chi Wen remembered that he was knocked unconscious and lay on the cold ground for half a day, eventually catching a fever. This led to the orphanage director cursing for half a month, angry about the money wasted on him.

So it was at this time—Chi Wen thought to himself. But now that he was here, he hadn’t been lying on the ground for long, so he probably wouldn’t get sick.

After lying in bed for a while, Chi Wen suddenly sat up.

The chattering child was startled and fell silent.

Chi Wen looked at the child in front of him, “What’s your name?”

The child looked at Chi Wen, then suddenly his lips quivered, and tears started flowing, “Chi Wen, did you really hit your head? Don’t you remember me? I’m Doudou…”

Chi Wen was annoyed by the crying, “I remember now.” Doudou was a child who used to follow him around, a year younger than him. Although thin, Doudou was taller than Chi Wen. He wasn’t in the orphanage from infancy but was sent there about half a year ago. Chi Wen remembered that not long after, Doudou was adopted and he never heard from him again.

“Really?” Doudou said through his tears.

“Really.” Chi Wen got off the bed and then said to Doudou, “Come with me.”

Doudou wiped his tears and followed Chi Wen, “Where are we going?”

“Find something to eat.” With the little strength he had, Chi Wen wanted to secure some food first. He couldn’t understand how he survived back then; he felt like he could starve to death at any moment.

“Oh…”

In this orphanage, the kitchen was the only place with food, so Chi Wen first led Doudou there. The dining hall door was locked, and they couldn’t get in, which meant they also couldn’t access the kitchen. But what was an insurmountable lock for a child was a minor obstacle for Chi Wen, who had the intellect of an adult.

Chi Wen had Doudou keep watch while he found some tools and quickly picked the simple lock. Quietly, he entered, then closed the door behind him. The so-called dining hall was actually a small room of twenty to thirty square meters, with worn-out tables and stools. A door on the other side of the room led to the kitchen, which wasn’t large. The orphanage that took him in only housed a small number of orphans and wasn’t a government facility. Without financing from the government, their operating budget mainly came from occasional donations from nearby residents. The children’s clothes and toys were all donated, and the director’s savings barely kept them afloat.

So, Chi Wen didn’t hate the director. Although the director was harsh and didn’t treat them well, she provided them with shelter. However, Chi Wen despised the man in charge of the kitchen, who cooked for them daily. The orphanage’s financial resources weren’t so dire that they couldn’t afford to feed the children, but the cook embezzled part of the money meant for buying food, which led to the children’s suffering. However, the director trusted the cook a lot since he was a distant relative who came to help for a small salary.

Perhaps trusting the outer lock too much, the kitchen itself wasn’t locked, just closed. Chi Wen looked around the kitchen. There wasn’t much food. No meat, only a few wilted vegetables, probably for their lunch. The most abundant item was raw rice, but the children could only dream of eating proper rice as it was reserved for special occasions. They usually just had porridge otherwise.

Chi Wen ended up taking a small pot, a few handfuls of rice, and some matches, knowing the pot was used by the cook for his meals. He couldn’t take too much, not even the vegetables, or it would be noticed, but a little rice missing might not be. Chi Wen planned to return the pot later that night after using it.

Doudou was shocked to see Chi Wen returning with a small pot in hand.

Chi Wen shushed him, then led Doudou away stealthily. The orphanage was located in a desolate place, so Chi Wen and Doudou easily found a secluded spot, gathered some firewood, washed the rice, and cooked it. Then, they shared and ate the meal.

Doudou licked his lips in satisfaction and patted his stomach, “It’s really delicious. So this is what it feels like to be full.”

Chi Wen was also full. Both kids had been hungry for so long that their stomachs had shrunk; half a bowl of rice was enough to fill them up.

It was getting dark by then. It was already autumn, and the weather was turning cooler. As the orphanage couldn’t provide the children with enough thick clothes, it would be another tough year for them.

Chi Wen noticed his hands were still grimy and thought he could smell an odor…

Having temporarily solved their hunger, Chi Wen turned his attention to himself. He couldn’t stand being dirty, so he went to a nearby stream and started washing his hands. The water was ice cold, and he shivered as soon as he dipped his hands in. As he immersed his hands, the dirt spread in the water, and he hurriedly scrubbed them clean.

Doudou watched curiously as Chi Wen washed his hands and feet and then his face. “Chi Wen, aren’t you cold?”

“I am,” he replied. But he was more bothered by the dirt. If the water weren’t so bitterly cold, he would have liked to wash his whole body. The dirt made him uncomfortable all over and he couldn’t stand it.

Chi Wen scrubbed his skin until it turned red, and it took him a long time to stop. In this kind of environment, this was the best he could do.

Then, he and Doudou ran back to the orphanage, running to keep warm. By this time, it was completely dark.

Chi Wen first hid the pot and matches in a concealed corner near the kitchen before heading back to their room. From a distance, they could hear the loud voice of the orphanage director: “Where have you been dying? Get back here and go to sleep now!”

Doudou shrank back, instinctively grabbing the edge of Chi Wen’s clothes.

Chi Wen reminded him, “Do you remember what I told you?”

Doudou nodded eagerly, “I remember, I remember!” He definitely wouldn’t give them away; he wanted to keep eating well!

Then Chi Wen led Doudou back. As they entered the room where they slept, the director’s loud voice wasn’t muffled anymore and was very clear. Several children were already sitting or lying on the beds in the room. All the children of the orphanage, a total of eleven, were in this room. The older children slept on the top bunks, and the younger ones on the lower bunks.

“Is everyone here? If so, turn off the lights and go to sleep. Don’t waste electricity!”

Chi Wen and Doudou quickly climbed into their beds. Seeing everyone lying down, the director turned off the lights, closed the door, and left.

Chi Wen lay motionless on the cold, hard bed, listening as the room was silent. There were no entertainment activities in the orphanage, and the children instinctively knew that sleeping more meant they wouldn’t feel as hungry. So as soon as it got dark, everyone would go to sleep.

During the day, apart from mealtimes, the other children would go out looking for food. The director didn’t restrict the older kids from going out, but the younger ones were kept inside the gates to prevent them from being abducted and forced into begging.

Chi Wen closed his eyes to sleep, silently praying that when he woke up, he would be back with his family…

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4 thoughts on “MSRV Extra 3 Part 2 – An Illusory Dream (II)”

  1. Its-MachiavellianCheese

    The poor baby, is this dream supposed to remind him of something? I wonder what it could be?

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