The Protagonist's Way Home - Short Story

I opened my eyes to a sky I didn’t recognise, you’d think that every sky would look the same, but it felt different somehow. My vision was fuzzy, and my hearing was muffled. As my vision cleared up, I heard voices calling out something, were they calling to me?


“dren..Audren...Audren!” A woman’s voice called. They watched as I blinked my eyes, “Oh, thank goodness, I had my doubts you would ever wake up!”


I took a breath, “where am I..?” I asked. My memory was jumbling something, I felt as if I were gaining memories that I had no memory of, I was confused.


The person replied, “we’re outside of the school, you randomly collapsed, are you okay, do you remember who you are?” I stared at the clouds for a second, then sat up. I looked at the person’s face, she was reasonably attractive for a teenager. The woman had long dark hair that was tied back in a loose bun using a white ribbon, she looked familiar.


I stood up, “my name is Auxien Lishang, I’m a culti-” before I could finish, I was hit in the back of my head with a rock and knocked back down on my face, “OW, what the heck?!”


A man’s voice arose, “your name is Audren Li, we are in Canada the year 2017!” This man, where had I heard his voice before?


I processed in my head, (2017..2017?! What’s happening? I’m positive I know this guy……………….wait...) I stumbled back.


My voice stopped cooperating and failed to speak clearly, “Xi..Xian-”


“I’m Tanyu, now get on your feet!” He cut me off again. I immediately jumped to my feet. This place I was in, I had never heard of it, what happened to me? I caught up to Tanyu, and the woman followed behind.


I turned to the lady behind me and smiled, “Kiyori..thank you for watching over me,” (I hope I got that right!)


The girl lit up like a star, “Yes, of course! You remembered who I am, I’m so relieved!” I let out a sigh of relief, I was able to get one name right.


I looked at the scene before me, there were red and yellow leaves flying from the trees, and happy faces walking down tree rowed paths, it was the most beautiful thing. I couldn’t help but smile at this sight, why didn’t we have things like this where I came from? I looked back at the sky, the sun was descending behind a mountain in the distance, it coloured the sky as it went. The clouds turned pink, yellow, violet, what had I been missing all my life? There were fancy looking buildings made with an unusual material, I was intrigued by this new world. I looked down at my clothes, it wasn’t my usual robes, the sleeves were short, and the design was unfamiliar, everyone's garments looked different and peculiar.


I was pulled out of my walking trance when Tanyu called to me, “Hey, Audren Li! Pick up the pace would ya?” I realised that Kiyori was no longer behind me, I was falling behind! I switched to a fast walk and quickly caught up with them. After walking for a while longer, we stopped in front of a line of buildings. There were two young children waiting at the house in front of us. The house was quite beautiful: two stories, a slant roof, I had never seen anything like it! My memory slowly started to fill in the blanks, the place started to look more familiar, but I knew I had never been there.


Out of the two kids, there was a girl and a boy. The girl cheered excitedly, “brother Li, you’re back!” She jumped into my arms with full trust that I would catch her. My memory processed, the two children were my younger siblings.


I swung her around and laughed, “Rizzie, were you waiting for me?” The little girl had an adorable round face, her hair was short and black, while her eyes sparkled a lime colour. The young boy looked exactly like the girl, they even had the same haircut, but he was male. I put Rizzie back on the ground and smiled, “run along now, take Auzzie with you back inside to get ready for dinner, okay?” Rizzie nodded and ran up to her look-alike, she grabbed his arm and pulled him back into the house.


Tanyu glared at me with a deathly aura, “I’m leaving now, see you tomorrow Audren Li.” I shivered, then nodded as he and Kiyori walked separate ways.


(Must you glare at me while saying something so simple..?) I stood outside alone as the light around me slowly went dim from the rising moon and falling sun. I was just about to step up to the house when I heard a ‘ding’ sound in my ear. A strange object appeared floating in front of me, where did it come from? The object was in the shape of a piece of paper, it was like a floating list of some kind.


A voice sounded, [I am the system, I am speaking directly into your head. You have travelled to another dimension’s novel called, “The Pedestal I Stand On”, I exist to guide you through it. Some people you may recognise are here as well, they have been given certain roles in the story. You are the only one with access to the system, the role you play is protagonist Audren Li, would you like to read the novel before we begin?]


My mind went completely blank; I panicked, “I’m in a novel? What does that mean? How did I get here? How do I get out?”

[SYSTEM] Before I answer your questions, I repeat my own question. Would you like to read the novel before we begin?


“Fine, yes, I’ll read the book!” The object changed to what looked like a buffering sign, and the screen changed to a bunch of words.

[SYSTEM] Drag on the screen to scroll, everytime you wish to pull up the system, just ask for it.


I started reading the story as I walked into the house, it started with Audren Li being born as a spectacle of love and beauty. The second he spoke in grade school, everyone loved him. (What?! He literally said one thing, why does everyone love him all of a sudden??) I read all night, the story got worse and worse the further I got into it. The gist of the story was that everyone loved Audren Li, but then Tanyu pushed him off his pedestal of popularity. Audren Li’s friends still trusted him for some reason, and after a while he was able to get back to his pedestal. The way it ended however, was so random and had nothing to do with the story! Audren Li, who was so wonderful, couldn’t swim and fell in a lake after Tanyu pushed him out to the water on a canoe. He was in the canoe because Tanyu told him he’d teach him how to row it. (Why would Audren Li want to learn how to row a canoe when he can’t swim?!) Tanyu decided he felt bad and never wanted Audren Li to die, so Tanyu miraculously saved Audren Li from the freezing lake and declared his sudden love for Audren Li. (Wait..I thought Tanyu hated Audren LI!! When did this become a cutsleeve{cutsleeve is a chinese term for being gay}story?! I was sure it would end up being some kind of herem novel! If you didn’t want him to die, why’d you put him on a canoe when he CAN’T SWIM?!) After that, the protagonist and antagonist got together and everyone somehow loved Audren Li again. (What the heck is wrong with this story? It makes no sense!)


I stepped outside into the cool air of 4 AM and called, “system! We need to discuss this novel!”


[SYSTEM] What took you so long! I swear, you read as slow as an old lady crossing the road on crutches!! Now, what did you think of the novel?

I replied angrily, “What did I think of it?! It was horri