Liu Zirong

Singapore

- INTJ/INFJ
- typical Libra
- Ravendor
- literature fanatic
- author of 1 book
&1 more in progress!
- tennis & track team
- painting, writing, reading!
- animes!!!
- singing & song writing & flute
- a perfectionist and a dreamer :)

Message to Readers

Oops I found a typo in this piece. This one is the updated version.

Willow Does not Mean Spring

November 24, 2020

FREE WRITING

2
Protagonist Profile
 
  • Name of the Protagonist?
Wyllow
  • What does this character look like?
a redheaded, pigtail-swinging little girl with loud laugh.
  • What makes this character unusual?
A traveler of different parallel universes, hence actions could be weird at times; sometimes she gives persuasive predictions about different consequences of a decision.
  • What is this character’s backstory? (How old are they? Where do they come from? What is their family like?) 
She appears as a little girl, but is virtually aged millions of years. As the 2nd Emissary of Universe(with no explicitly known origin), she travels through parallel universes, witnessing the consequences of different decisions to help the right people on Earth to make the right choices.
  • How would you describe this character’s life in three words? 
meaningful yet painful.
  • What inspires this character? When and where are they happiest? What is this character’s greatest hope?
Hayao Miyazaki‘s animes My Neighbour Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service. The character is the happiest when she take a visit to the 1st Emissary of Universe every one million years. Her hope is to do well in her job to help more good people, but subconsciously she desires a life of limited time but absolute freedom. (no repetitive, life-long duties)
  • What scares this character? What keeps them up at night, worrying?? 
Her greatest fear is that she would be bored of her job before the next Emissary of Universe is appointed by the Universe Master. She worries that she cannot help people reach their full potential.
  • In what type of situation is this character most courageous?
Not really applicable here. She is always a brave girl.
  • What is this character’s favorite food?
lollipops in the shape of planets. 
  • Who is this character’s closest confidant?
The 1st Emissary of Universe, who has the appearance of a 30-year-old man.
  • What is something that embarasses this character?
When people ask why she does not attend school.
  • What is this character’s favorite place? What makes this place special to them?
The planet where the 1st Emissary of Universe is staying on. The planet residents are the happiest in the whole Universe System. More importantly, it is the living place of her predecessor, who has endless wonderful stories to tell her. 
  • What does this character love more than anything else?
Her job, or more accurately, mission.
  • What is this character’s best-kept secret?
She does not want to eternally appearing as a little girl.
  • What gets in this character’s way? What keeps them from achieving their dreams? (This could be an internal barricade (lack of self confidence, for example), or an external one (an antagonist, a cyclone, war, etc.) 
The internal deepest desire for "freedom", the repetitive nature and the length of her job keep her from being untroubled while fulfilling her mission. She may be able to find answers to everyone's question, but she never has an answer to the only question of her own: does she really love her job? Or is she never given any chance to freely do what she truly loves to do until the 3rd Emissary is appointed, for which she never knows when?


0. Willow Does not Mean Spring

As the second Emissary of Universe who appears as a redheaded, pig-tail swinging little girl, Wyllow, with no surname of her own, has the mission to travel through different parallel universes to help the selected "right" humans make the right choices, and thus ultimately save the doomed Earth under human rule. This mission is an honour, but at the same time a seemingly endlessly repetitive journey, and Wyllow's doubt about the meaning of her immortal life and her deep desire for freedom begin to surge. Through the conversations with the 1st Emissary of Universe, Aitan, and through her interactions with different species across different parallel universes, Wyllow gradually discovers the most important question: as someone who deals with choices, does she really have a choice of her own life?


1. Wyllow

"Xenidestasha is the most amazing planet I've been to -- the Gontals make the best beer in the whole Universe System...I will NEVER EVER forget the taste..." Aitan's eyes lit up, hands unconsciously reaching out to the goblet.

"Xenidestasha...I haven't been there yet...Aitan, do you think you know everything about our Universe System?"

"Of course not. Just like I'll never know why I was appointed as the 1st Emissary of Universe, and why you were my apprentice, little Wyllow." 

“I‘m Not Your Apprentice."

Here it came, Aitan's iconic tipsy laugh.

But Wyllow had to figure that out before he got too drunk.

"Then do you think you know everything about yourself...at least your job as the Emissary...I mean, do you ever question about this?"

"What do you mean? Hmmm...it is my job, of course I know it. Anyway, I was, appointed by, the Universe Master. It's supposed to be my honour...why, why would I ever question this...?" Aitan held up the goblet and slowly took a sip.

"But do you really like your job?" 

"I think I've answered your question, kiddo."

"I'm not a kid!!!" Wyllow jumped down from the rock, rushed to Aitan's face and roughly shook him by the shoulder.

"Listen, won't you -- won't you ever feel bored of all these? -- Repetitively travelling through parallel universes that you can't be more familiar with, helping the right and good people make decisions but never leave a meaningful trace in their life..." 

"Enough, Wyllow."

Aitan put down his goblet, pushed away the two tiny hands and stood up, back facing Wyllow's stare. 

"You said you never left a meaningful trace, huh?"

"I'm not denying the meaning of the job itself." Wyllow's face went bright red.

"Then why do you want to be remembered by humans? Once you are eternal, you are doomed to oblivion. Just like no ordinary human pays special attention to the existence of space and time. And why would you want it not to be repetitive? It is your mission, and that's exactly the required sacrifice. You say you are not a kid, huh? To prove it, you need to start with removing "repetition" from your dictionary. Just take a look at the human adults, Wyllow. Everything is repetition. This is Life. No escape."

"But, but won't you ever consider a better choice?"

"We are supposed to help people with choices. We don't have another choice." Aitan chuckled softly. 

"If you were not appointed as the 1st Emissary of Universe, you would be able to live on any planet you like, do whatever you want..."

"But I was. We were." Aitan interrupted, and sighed, "And I'm free now, living on my favourite planet -- you will, too, one day, Wyllow. Trust me."

"It seems to be a long long time."

"It is nothing compared to the life of our Universe System, and to the outcome of our mission. Just wait, and wait happily." Aitan threw a wink to Wyllow, reaching out to his goblet again. 


2. Regonzat

Since the Universe System is extremely huge and complex, the TRAVEL GUIDE will be focusing on Planet Regonzat.
  • What is the geography of your world?
Mostly plains on the planet surface for all three versions. The climate is moderate for Regonzat in Universe 32, moderate(a bit colder than 32) in Universe 679, and warm in Universe 1008.
  • What is the history of your world?
Planet Regonzat is an icegiant planet -- a rare planet type in the whole Universe System. Originally it was covered by a thick layer of ice, but with the help of advanced future technologies, life starts to form on Regonzat. Version 32 and 679 are still undergoing exploitation. Version 1008 is now the living place for Regons -- a species who love wooden buildings and live simple and happy life. Regonzat 1008 is also where the 1st Emissary of Universe Aitan is staying on.
  • If your reality merges with “real” present-day reality, what is the relationship? (a portal, for example, or a story that takes place 300 years in the future)
Regonzat is not in the same universe as Earth(Universe 2020)and so will never be "discovered" by humans. But human scientists are doing research about icegiants.
  • How are the physical or biological laws of our reality being distorted or re-shaped?
The magnetic field is much stronger than that of Earth(30-70 times stronger, depending on different versions); affecting gravitoelectromagnetism. The Regons also experience a different gravitational acceleration. The trees on Regonzat can rapidly regrow with high-end technological fertiliser, constantly providing wood to Regons.
  • What layers of magic (or the super-natural) are at play in your world?
N.A. Everything is based on science and technology. Maybe the "travelling through parallel universes" and "Universe Master" parts?
  • Who has power and who doesn’t? Why or why not?
The Universe Master is the ultimate "dominator". Emissaries of Universe play a crucial role in human decisions. They can also interact with all other species across different planets in different Universes. Humans are relatively insignificant actors. 
  • What are some of the major conflicts facing your world? Are they environmental, personal, born out of power? 
Sometimes parallel universes can clash, resulting in spatiotemporal fissions. But this is pretty rare. I guess that there will not be much depictions of conflicts in the Universe System itself. Rather the major conflicts in the plots would be internal conflicts of Wyllow, and conflicts between Wyllow and Aitan. There are also conflicts which stem from human nature during the interactions between Wyllow and humans. 


3. The 10th Visit

"If you were to unexpectedly find yourself in this world for the first time, the first thing you would notice is…"

"Xenidestasha. Location: Universe 431." Aitan yawned lazily and rumpled up his hair, "A weird but interesting human creative writing question."

"Can you stop thinking about your beer for a while...Anyway, I found this creative writing tuition advertisement during mission outside a school on Earth yesterday...why Xenidestasha though? Because of your beer?"

"Nah. Xenidestasha is special. Like Earth, there is only one Xenidestasha across the whole Universe System. It does not have different versions in parallel universes since it is itself a consequence of a once-in-a-lifetime combination of interstellar clouds, the raw materials for planets. But I do not deny that the beer plays an important role, too."

Aitan lay down on the biggest rock in Sainoa, the only and hence famous rocky terrain on this planet. 

"For me, the answer would be here, Regonzat." Wyllow slightly raised her head, staring into the flaming lilac sky.

"Really? I'm pretty curious." Aitan turned over, still speaking in a languid tone. 

"Regonzat is just, so beautiful. You won't see such simple and happy life for literally EVERYONE on ANY OTHER planet. I love the wooden buildings, too. The colour of Nature. From afar you can already tell Regonzat is not an ordinary planet -- an Icegiant! Humans cannot even believe life would burgeon on icegiants!"

Aitan chuckled, signaling Wyllow to continue.

"Every time I travelled through Universe 32, 679 and 1008, I would recognise Regonzat at the first glance. It just feels like home, Aitan, especially here, in Universe 1008. You told me you chose it by chance, but I still believe it is a version of the best consequences."

"I knew you like this place, but I never noticed you have such deep feelings." Aitan popped up to a sitting position, starting to appreciate the lilac sky with Wyllow.

"When I retire, I will stay here, too." Wyllow murmured, a faint smile playing on her lips.

"With me, kiddo?" Aitan smirked with a monkey face.

"Who knows?"


4. Mission

“Humans..."

The words of the Universe Master was still lingering in Wyllow's ears -- "The Earth is doomed to an end, if humans continue their mindset and actions. Humans' own extinction will be the ultimate consequence. They have nowhere to escape, since the Earth is unique in Universe 2020. It is now your duty to save them by guiding them in their choices, based on your experience in different parallel universes. You should've been quite clear, about how to come to the best result."

"Why humans? Why do we need to save them?"

"Humans are a weak yet powerful species. They are special, like the Earth. It is not easy to dominate a planet in a short period of time. But human civilisation made it. Even though Earth is just one of the countless planets in our Universe System, it is also one of the few that has no replicas. I'd like to see its future, in the hand of a correctly guided, human intelligence."

"But...why me?" 

The words were only pronounced out in Wyllow's mind, in the end.

"Yes, Master."

*

"Humans..."

*

It was Wyllow's first time to Earth.

Not even half as beautiful as Regonzat, to Wyllow, Earth appeared to be in tatters beneath a prosperous facade. The atmosphere was filled with clichéd lies and empty talks -- it would've been better off with mere pipe dreams. The residents here led much more complicated life than the Regons, with "complicated" in a negative connotation.

Though wondering the worth of redeeming such a place, Wyllow could tell it WAS a "decent" planet.

It was just that, everything had changed.

The first selected "right" person she needed to find, was the prime minister of a "nation" whose name she could not remember.

According to the MISSION BOOKLET from the Universe Master, he was about to attend a conference on climate change. And he was going to make a wrong, wrong decision.

It's still 3 hours away.

Wyllow stopped on the top window of the minister's office. He seemed to be busy reviewing something. He was old and pale, but not short at all of the "unique vibrance" of politicians.

Someone knocked the door open. It was a young man in a sharp suit but who appeared, surprisingly, as pale as the old prime minister.

"I told you not to show up in my office at this time." The old man glanced at his watch, and spoke in an exceptionally solemn tone after deliberately clearing his throat.

"Father, I...I really don't want the position." The young man seemed even paler when he spoke.

"He does not even dare to look at his own father." Wyllow thought to herself.

”Why?" The old man went back to his work, not really "asking" a question in tone.

"Because...because I don't want a designed life. I hate routines and repetitions. I...I want freedom!" The young man was obviously a little bit out of control when speaking out the last word, but he quickly re-picked himself and stared down.

The prime minister put down his papers, and cleared his throat again, "You know, son, this is your mission."

The last word exploded in Wyllow's head and incessantly repercussed. 

"I..." The young man hung his head even lower, his face was in dark, poignant red.

"It's not important whether you like it or not. Go back now. I have a meeting to attend at 3 p.m."

The old man vaguely waved his hand, and turned his swivel chair, back facing his own son.

The young man left silently without raising his head.

Their conversation kept striking Wyllow's mind.

"My, mission..."


5. Finale(Modified on Mission)

"Humans are a weak yet powerful species. They are special, like the Earth. It is not easy to dominate a planet in a short period of time. But human civilisation made it. Even though Earth is just one of the countless planets in our Universe System, it is also one of the few that has no replicas in any parallel universe. I'd like to see its future, in the hand of a correctly guided human intelligence."

"Yes, Master."

*

It was the first time Wyllow had ever seen fireworks.

At first she mistook it as a star dance, like the once-in-a-millennium one she viewed on Regonzat with Aitan, her mentor and the 1st Emissary of Universe. She soon realised they were not as spectacular. Still, it was a lovely scene.

Light dots flashed across the tranquil night sky -- some tumbled like a scarlet waterfall, others burst into spattering dazzling sparks. 

She still remembered her first time to Earth.

Not even half as beautiful as Regonzat, Earth appeared to be in tatters beneath a prosperous facade. The atmosphere was filled with clichéd lies and empty talks -- humans were too complicated. 

But now everyone around her seemed peaceful and satisfied with light flowing in their eyes. Such a scene. She was impressed.

A little boy struggled his way through the crowed and rushed to her. Another troublemaker, Wyllow thought to herself and sighed, but to humans I am ultimately a redheaded, pigtail-swinging "little girl".

"The fireworks are so beautiful!" The boy raised his small hand and pointed to the shining sky.

She hated being reminded of her kiddish appearance that concealed a soul aged millions of years. But it was destined this way, after all, like her mission as the 2nd Emissary of Universe.

"Do you know what a star dance is like?" Wyllow forced out a perfect smile.

"A star...dance? What is that?" The boy's eyes widened with amazement and curiosity. At that moment, a blazing firework whirled up the sky and exploded into thousands of shimmering particles. The light fell into his pupils as a floating glint.

They are...beautiful. Wyllow was in a daze. And...limpid.

It was her first time with a human with such clear eyes. His eyes revealed the simplicity of his life. So different from the prime ministers and school headmasters. Wyllow was again, impressed.

A kid.

"It's a blessing for our Universe. You may see it one day."

The sound of the fireworks almost drowned the boy's excited, silvery chuckle. Ah, a blessing for Earth.

There is something worthy of my time here, in the end.

Today was such a different day.

It suddenly appeared not to be an endlessly repetitive journey anymore. As someone who's been dealing with choices all the time, she indeed has a choice of her own life at last.

Freedom is always there. In the outcome. In the way she sees, then lives.

I guess there's no more regret eventually, for the willows of the next spring.
This is my very first "formal" attempt at science fiction -- may be a bit long since it's a combination of a series of pieces. Hope it works!

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2 Comments
  • Liu Zirong

    re: OMG thank u sooooo much!


    about 2 months ago
  • Paisley Blue

    ooh, I like this a lot! You've created such a vibrant world, where there is space and time travel. Your descriptions are beautiful! I really like this!! :)


    about 2 months ago