Chapter 6 - Elephant God
Seizing Dreams Ch6 – Elephant God
In the next moment, the black dragon uttered a roar, then this giant winding snake in the sky dove straight down to the ground at breakneck speed!
“We’ve been discovered!” General jumped to his feet and shouted, “Run!”
Yu Hao wanted to rush into the palace, but General caught hold of him.
“Don’t be so hasty!”
Yu Hao said, “But we’re so close!”
Their destination was right in front of them yet they had to give up on it. Yu Hao sighed angrily, then rushed into the market with General. But within the blink of an eye, everything between heaven and earth appeared to have changed: dark clouds rolled across the skies, thunderstorms erupted one after another, and streaks of lightning crackled around the black dragon as it spewed out a violent black torrent which swept across the entire street!
The houses that lined the street were submerged under the flood one by one and the whole city turned into a vast expanse of water; only the roofs in this huge city remained to be seen above the waters.
“Damn it my dream is going to be ruined!” Yu Hao shouted.
General led him into a street filled with NPCs, then answered with a shout, “It’ll be restored! As long as you regain control of this world!”
The repressed dreamscape had turned into a nightmare within an instant: endless cries of sorrow, shouts and curses lingered on in one’s ears. Wherever the black flood passed, countless houses would crumble immediately. The NPCs on the street emitted black gas, and one after another, they began to attack Yu Hao and General!
“Where do we run to?” Yu Hao said.
General pushed aside the NPC that had rushed towards them, then said to Yu Hao, “Don’t you have a single friend in the real world?!”
“No!” Yu Hao said unhappily.
General picked Yu Hao up and carried him bridal style, then rushed into a small alley. The black dragon swooped upon them from behind, the torrent gushed into the alley and pushed the two onto the ground.
“Never mind.” General jumped up, unsheathed the broad sword on his back and turned around to guard the alley. He murmured, “If you don’t have any then so be it, it doesn’t matter because you still have me. Go to your safe haven! Hurry!”
Yu Hao said, “We’ll go together! I can’t leave you behind!”
Yu Hao dragged General along by his wrist and they bolted through the alley. Behind them came the angry roar of the black dragon; houses around them were collapsing rapidly one after the other. Yu Hao ran at the fore as he rushed towards the abandoned temple and prayed incessantly that it must definitely be useful!
General waded through the waters behind him. Yu Hao shouted, “General!”
General didn’t reply, he only shouted back, “Just run!”
The temple was within arm’s reach, it looked even more dilapidated up close. Yu Hao stopped running and shot it a skeptical look.
“Believe in yourself!” General rushed to his back as he shouted. He wrapped one arm around Yu Hao’s waist and the two of them rushed to the front of the temple, then threw themselves forward simultaneously.
And at the same time, the black dragon summoned a huge tsunami that hovered overhead as it threatened to crush them.
Yu Hao looked up at the black dragon in horror while General held him in his arms. The two of them looked up at the same time, and at that moment, a miracle occurred.
The tsunami controlled by the black dragon slammed down with a loud boom, but a bright light suddenly flashed within the temple and an invisible barrier blocked this flood from gushing into the dilapidated temple!
Yu Hao turned around to look at the temple, then looked at the black dragon, utterly shocked. The temple was so old and dilapidated that it seemed like it would disintegrate into ashes with just a slight bump, yet it managed to firmly withstand the forceful impact of the black dragon’s attack!
“This is my first time encountering such a powerful monster.” General said, “Almost drowned me to death.”
General waved his hand, but soon after, the space around the dilapidated temple shook. The black dragon was ramming into the invisible barrier that surrounded the temple!
Its fury was unparalleled as it roared loudly and pounded the barrier incessantly with its monstrous rage. Every time it rammed into the barrier, the temple would tremble and dust would fall off from its exterior structures.
“It’ll destroy this place!” Yu Hao was at a loss for a moment.
An old voice rang out from behind Yu Hao.
“Get away from here!”
General was lying on the ground. Yu Hao turned around abruptly, but all he saw was a dazzling golden light within the dilapidated temple — a figure was standing on top of a chariot as it gradually drove out of the temple.
The human figure had an elephant’s head — it was an elephant god adorned with gold ornaments all over its body!
Elephant God wielded a huge golden staff that was about 1.5m long, then pointed it towards the ground and shouted angrily, “Go back to where you came from!”
In the next instant, Elephant God brandished the golden staff at the roaring black dragon and shot out a bolt of lightning that levelled the ground as it travelled towards the black dragon. It immediately electrocuted the black dragon so badly that it began to struggle and convulse violently. Immediately afterwards, a tornado was sent out which rammed into the black dragon ruthlessly and swept it into midair, then threw it into the distance.
Hurricanes erupted all around the dilapidated temple. Elephants that came from nowhere began to move towards the temple spontaneously, then they formed a sturdy wall of elephants and faced the sky as they cried out in unison.
The light receded, and the elephant god began to morph. In Yu Hao’s eyes, the elephant god turned into a stooping, wrinkly old person.
“Grandma?” Yu Hao’s voice was trembling as he called out, “Grandma—-!”
When the elephant god disappeared, Yu Hao scrambled to stand up and rushed into the temple.
The moment he entered the temple, Yu Hao felt like he had returned to his narrow, cramped house that was littered with newspapers, flyers and plastic bottles. All these waste were emitting a faint golden light that could barely be seen with the naked eye.
Yu Hao’s tears instantly began to flow — this was his home! This was the 20-square-metre house that he had sold after his grandmother passed away!
The clanking of armour could be heard, General had entered the temple as well.
“This is an absolutely safe zone within your consciousness.” General said as he glanced around the surroundings.
There was a TV in the living room that was broadcasting a silent serial drama. Dusty bookshelves, a wheelchair, a palm-leaf fan1 dotted with holes, his father’s deceased portrait on the wall, the squeaky ceiling fan that was rotating slowly above their heads……..there was a golden cane that had a forked end leaning against the corner of the wall, and there were still remnant streaks of lightning flickering around the it.
“You’re back?” Grandma’s voice travelled out from the kitchen, “I’ll heat up some soymilk for you.”
Yu Hao’s feet felt like they had been welded to the ground. He saw his grandmother carry a pot out of the kitchen, then she poured soymilk into a bowl with her trembling hands. After she finished pouring the soymilk, she used a rag to wipe up the soymilk that had spilled onto the table.
“After you finish drinking this go and study ah. When you get into college, Grandma will reward you with a new handphone.” Grandma handed the bowl of soymilk over to Yu Hao, then said, “I’ll go watch some TV.”
Yu Hao’s grandmother didn’t seem like she could see General. General sat down quietly in Yu Hao’s house. Yu Hao put down the bowl of soymilk and walked over to his grandmother’s side. His grandmother was sitting on the sofa, and her eyes looked slightly vacant as she watched each and every move on the TV.
Yu Hao collapsed onto her knees and began to wail loudly.
His grandmother rubbed his head and said, “Haohao, what’s wrong?”
Yu Hao shook his head, then raised his hand to wipe away his tears.
General walked over to the window and looked out. The water had receded, and only the ruined ancient city remained. The black dragon had disappeared as well. The world beyond the window had overcast skies; a thick black vapour that emanated from the top of the palace was gathering in front of the palace.
He turned back to look at Yu Hao. Yu Hao said to his grandmother, “Nothing, everything’s fine.”
Grandma looked at Yu Hao, then said, “Are there any bad guys who are bullying Haohao?”
Yu Hao choked back a sob, “No.”
Grandma said, “If someone hits you, hit them back, don’t endure it silently okay?”
Yu Hao nodded and sniffed, then said, “Okay.”
“I’ll give that to you.” Grandma pointed at the golden cane leaning against the corner of the wall, “Haohao, hold onto it properly. Your father’s not coming back anymore, so you are the only one who can stand up for yourself.”
“Okay okay.” Yu Hao said reluctantly, “I know.”
Grandma smiled, and the wrinkles on her face huddled together. Yu Hao suddenly recalled that he would often say how his grandmother’s wrinkles looked similar to that of an elephant’s. Now he knew how the elephant god had come about.
“We can’t stay here for too long.” General said, “Yu Hao, I know saying this isn’t very appropriate, but……”
“I know.” Yu Hao looked up at his grandmother, then murmured, “She’s just the Grandma from my memories.”
Yu Hao continued, “When she passed away, I had already cried for her and thought about her.”
He had already experienced the sorrow from losing her a few months ago, and right now, what Yu Hao had gained was not so much sadness as it is joy — she had never really left, she would always have a place in his consciousness where she would quietly protect him from.
Grandma stood up and walked over to the corner, then picked up the golden staff. A simple pattern entwined around the staff, and the head of the staff was slightly forked like a tree branch.
Yu Hao instinctively accepted it, and the moment the staff touched his hand, it began to glow brightly with a white light. With one glimmer, it had turned into a retractable laundry fork2.
Yu Hao, “……”
“HAHAHAHA—!” General burst out laughing and said, “Were you often smacked with this laundry fork when you were a kid?”
Yu Hao’s face flushed red as he said, “How do you know that too? Stop laughing!”
There was an obvious hint of laughter in General’s voice, but he didn’t continue talking. Yu Hao said goodbye to his grandmother and left his safe haven. He thought about how he would always see his grandmother hold this laundry fork when he returned home after school as she hung clothes up to dry on the balcony.
It suddenly dawned on him that during his childhood years, this fork had symbolised strength and a type of power. When he thought of this, he felt that it was quite funny as well. He turned the fork around in his hand twice then said, “I don’t know if I’ll be able to use it as well as Grandma.”
“If you believe so then you can.” General unsheathed the broad sword at his back. The two of them stood on the street shoulder to shoulder. At the end of the street stood the huge, black entrance of the palace.
A large group of soldiers had gathered in front of the palace, each of them wielding a halberd. This dense, dark mass of troops that stood in front of the palace looked like a raging sea that could cause the sky to collapse; the black dragon was nowhere in sight.
“Are you confident?” General murmured, “They’re not easy to deal with, you’re the only one we can count on now.”
“Yes.” Yu Hao no longer hesitated. He elongated the laundry fork and murmured, “If I’m bullied, I need to fight back. I’m no longer afraid of them.”
General chuckled from inside of his helmet. He wielded his sword and roared, “Come at us!”
Immediately afterwards, the thousands of troops in front of the palace began to charge towards them!
But right at this moment, a peal of “dididi” sounds rang. Yu Hao looked all around him to search for the source of the sound.
Yu Hao, “What sound is that?”
“No way!” General faced the army in front of them and shouted as he blew his top, “You set an alarm?!”
“What do we do?” Yu Hao said, “I’m about to wake up……”
He hadn’t even finished speaking when Yu Hao suddenly opened his eyes, traces of dried up tears could be seen at the corners of his eyes. He groped around for his handphone and turned the alarm off.
Yu Hao, “What the hell?”
Yu Hao turned over and closed his eyes to try and sleep a little longer, but no matter what he did, he couldn’t fall asleep anymore. After tossing and turning for a long while, he reluctantly got up and heaved a big sigh, then scratched his head.
Do dreams end when the dreamer awakes, or would it pause momentarily? Wait no, what kind of theory is that?
If he entered that dream the first time because “one dreams at night what one thinks of in the day”, then the second time was just strange through and through. Yu Hao tried his best to recall his dreamscape, but his memory became more and more blur in the few minutes after he had awoken. Was there really a person called “General”? What exactly is his identity?
But no matter what, Yu Hao felt like he was in a better mood than before he went to bed last night. The heavy stone that was weighing on his heart had disappeared, and although he still had many worries, they didn’t seem to be as worrisome or painful as before.
Dawn broke; there was a sudden drop in temperature last night, the overcast and rainy skies covered the entire Ying city. Gingko leaves littered the floor after they had been pelted by the rain. When Yu Hao left after washing up, his roommates returned one by one and curled up in their beds as they shivered from the cold.
“Going to class?” His roommate’s gaze was hesitant and speculative.
“Un.” Yu Hao answered simply. His roommate’s gaze didn’t seem quite right, he probably knows about what had happened yesterday.
The drizzle fell continuously with a pitter patter. Yu Hao pulled up his hood and filled his thermos cup with hot water in front of the teaching building, then entered his classroom. His first period on Tuesdays was Higher Mathematics. In the beginning, there weren’t many people who attended lecture, but after half the cohort failed their mid terms, the entire department had been scared to death so the lecture was currently full house.
Yu Hao had been dreaming all night, and he kept feeling like there was a problem in the connection between the time in his dream and the time in reality — time in his dream could pass really fast sometimes but slow at others. After a whole night of dreaming, it made him feel like he hadn’t slept. He sat at the third row from the back. There was a guy who was lying on the table next to him. In this kind of ten degree weather, this guy was only wearing a short sleeve shirt and was using a sports jacket to cover his head. When he heard Yu Hao moving in, he took off his jacket and glanced at him.
Red hair, it was actually Zhou Sheng again.
They looked at each other for a moment, then Yu Hao took the initiative to say, “You have a cold and yet you’re still wearing so little.”
Zhou Sheng yawned, then wore his sports jacket and took out his cold medicine without much concern. He didn’t ask for permission before he unscrewed Yu Hao’s thermos cup and drank the water in it to take his medicine. Afterwards, he used his sleeve to wipe the water that had spilled onto his table, then hugged Yu Hao’s thermos cup and continued to lie on the table.
Yu Hao said, “Don’t you wash your clothes?”
“Will you wash them for me?” Zhou Sheng said mischievously.
“Ok.” Yu Hao said, “Let’s switch, I just washed the one I’m wearing.”
Zhou Sheng was just joking at first, but when he heard this he took off his jacket without another word and passed it to Yu Hao. Yu Hao then took off his own jacket to give it to Zhou Sheng. People began to stream into the lecture hall, and the teacher began his class.
“No roll call?!” Zhou Sheng lashed out irritably, then looked to his left and right before he said, “To actually not take roll call, is this teacher still human?”
Soft laughter could be heard from the row behind them.
“Shh.” Yu Hao motioned.
Zhou Sheng lamented a few times for his bed during this wintry afternoon, then took his phone out and began to scroll through the news. He suddenly thought of something, then asked Yu Hao for his QQ to add him as a friend.
Yu Hao was extremely sleepy. After he dreamed for a whole night, it was as if he hadn’t slept at all, plus he kept thinking about “General” so he couldn’t concentrate in class.
“Hi……I’m currently in my Higher Mathematics class, I’ll let you guys see our Higher Mathematics teacher……” The girl in front of them was live streaming. She tidied up her long hair such that it covered half her face, then lowered her head slightly and revealed a sweet smile.
She’s streaming during Higher Mathematics? Yu Hao wanted to kneel before her, but what she said next almost made him hide under his table.
“Yeah, there are two handsome guys behind me, I’ll let you guys see them……”
Zhou Sheng used a textbook to block his face, then said in an impatient tone, “Stop broadcasting, I didn’t wash my hair in the morning!” While he was at it, he placed one hand on Yu Hao’s shoulder and got him to move in a bit closer, then whispered to him, “Did our form teacher look for you yesterday?”
Zhou Sheng was leaning very close to Yu Hao and their faces were just inches away from each other. Yu Hao suddenly became nervous; he rarely comes into such close contact with another person, and Zhou Sheng had a faint smell of smoke on his body.
“Then have you brushed your teeth?” The girl turned around to ask.
“Brushed.” Zhou Sheng grinned to show off his neat row of beautifully white teeth, then coldly said, “Turn off your stream, or else I’ll upload your un-photoshopped photo onto my Qzone3.”
Yu Hao helplessly tried to move away and said, “He didn’t.”
“Do you think he’s really willing to help you, or that he’s just doing it for his job performance review?” Zhou Sheng was practically hugging Yu Hao as he whispered.
The girl wasn’t scared of Zhou Sheng at all. She put on her earphones and whispered, “The redhead on the left is wearing the clothes of the xiao shou4 on the right. Just now I overheard the xiao shou promise redhead to wash his clothes……”
Yu Hao, “!!!”
The ignorant Zhou Sheng asked, “What’s xiao shou5?”
Yu Hao said, “Stop broadcasting! Turn it off quickly or else Laoshi will find out!” He pondered for a bit, then said to Zhou Sheng, “I don’t think so ba, don’t think so badly of people……”
Zhou Sheng, “He feels a bit fake to me. Be a little more careful, don’t just tell him everything……”
Girl in front, “You guys want the handsome guys to kiss? Lemme ask them……”
“Kiss your ass.” Zhou Sheng said.
The girl said, “Give him a kiss and I’ll treat you guys to lunch. C’mon everyone~ send us some rockets6~”
“Send us some rockets! Send us some mansions yo~!” Zhou Sheng immediately said as he faced the screen, “Look veeery carefully! Our lunch depends on you guys!”
And immediately afterwards, Zhou Sheng quickly slipped his hand onto Yu Hao’s waist and pressed down on it.
“What are you doing?!” Yu Hao immediately shouted.
The girl promptly faced the row behind and held up her handphone. Zhou Sheng inched closer to Yu Hao, Yu Hao began to move backwards to dodge Zhou Sheng’s advances but failed, then the two of them ended up falling off their chairs because of their unstable center of gravity.
“Students at the back!” The teacher called out.
The last three rows burst out laughing. Yu Hao was stuck in an awkward predicament with his face flushed red. He crawled up from underneath the table, while Zhou Sheng casually sat up straight and stretched lazily, then lied back down on his table as if nothing had happened.
“The student sitting at the third row from the back on the rightmost seat, come up here to solve this problem.”
Another round of guffaws immediately rang out from the back. Yu Hao could only lower his head and walk up to the platform with a blush that reached his ears, then he began to work on the problem.
Zhou Sheng craned his neck to take a look, then asked the person behind him, “Did he get it right?”
Luckily Yu Hao’s answer was right, so Zhou Sheng was relieved.
After class, Zhou Sheng went to attend his sports theory class while Yu Hao went to attend his psychology class.
And it just so happens that this psychology class mentioned the topic of “emotions in dreams”, and used the occurrence of robberies in dreams as an example. When we evaluate emotions of the mind, we often link the emergence of these emotions to a certain concept. For example, when robbers show up, we would assume that their appearance should definitely be accompanied by the emotion of ‘fear’.
But the truth is, situations in dreams often have nothing to do with our emotions. For example, when you see a knife-wielding robber in your dreams, not only would you be devoid of fear, but you would even be extremely amused instead. On the other hand, if you were to see bright and vivid colours in your dream, these colours could make you terrified for no apparent reason.
When he heard this, Yu Hao suddenly understood his dreamscape a lot better. At the same time, his teacher explained this further by talking about how real life incidents could be repacked in dreams. An actual example would be when a little girl began to bawl after she saw a red balloon. The reason for this was because she had just seen a movie not too long ago where the family in that movie had been sitting in a red car when they got into a car accident.
Then, what did the black dragon represent?
Yu Hao suddenly remembered the reservoir that his mother had brought him to when he was five. Perhaps the dragon was a manifestation of a creature that lurked in its waters — as a symbol of his fear of being abandoned. This was the first time he made such a direct analysis of his inner world, which stirred up a motley of anger, fear and reluctance within him.
1. 蒲扇 Palm-leaf fan:
2. Laundry fork:
3. Qzone is a social networking website based in China which was created by Tencent in 2005. It allows users to write blogs, keep diaries, send photos, listen to music, and watch videos.↩
4. Little shou (shou as in uke)↩
5. Xiao shou here = little skinny (shou and skinny have the same pronunciation lmfao)↩
6. A rocket is something you can send a streamer during their broadcast, each rocket is 500 yuan (74.30 USD)
T/N: Translating SD truly tests the limits of my descriptive capabilities (which is, sad to say, not very refined). There’s a reason why I avoided writing any kind of descriptive essay during my youthful years ლಠ益ಠ)ლ
Haohao!!!!! Y u set an alarm!!!!!!!!!!!