Chapter 1 – The Tortoise And The Hare

In May 2119, humans started to turn into dolls.

Humans were walking on the streets, having a meal in the restaurant, and in the midst of changing their clothes in the mall’s fitting room, when the change overcame them and these pitiful people were frozen in their last state of movement.
They all transformed into a static human doll before even having the time to put off the smiles on their faces. 

Without any warning, and with no reason whatsoever.

Everyone was filled with confusion, fear, madness, and desperation.

The masses erected bright red banners and marched with them to demonstrate, suspecting that this was a terror attack by a mysterious organization, while others took to the internet to announce that it was an invasion of extraterrestrial beings.
Some even took their whole family to the countryside to seek refuge… They did whatever they could but people around them continually turned into dolls.

Gradually people grew accustomed to it.

Those who were supposed to go to school continued to go to school; those who were supposed to go to work just went to work.
Life went on as it was supposed to.

However, the daily news telecast had a new segment.

Once the press release concluded, the broadcaster would use a standard broadcasting tone to inform the audience, “If you notice someone around you has turned into a doll, please contact the Emergency Hotline at 123.
The relevant departments will promptly deal with the situation for you…”

The so-called dealing with the situation was in reality packaging the dolls and having them transported to scientific institutions.

It would be a blessing if the scientists were able to discover anything through their research, but if they could not find anything, they would wait for the families to come and claim the doll.
The final decision of whether to bury or leave it at home as a decoration was left completely in the hands of their family members.

Bai Youwei watched the news for a while.
Seeing that it was almost time, she picked up the remote control and turned off the TV.
Then she pressed the button on her wheelchair and headed to the dining room.

Both of her legs are disabled plus her parents divorced when she was young.
Perhaps it was a feeling of guilt towards their daughter, but both husband and wife had never been sparing in spending money on Bai Youwei.
They let her live in the most luxurious villa, hired the most expensive caregiver, but they never had any spare time to spend with their daughter.

However, Bai Youwei was fine with this.

She had long gotten used to being alone.

The clock in the dining room was ticking, its hands indicated that it was currently 12:10.
At exactly 12 pm every day, Bai Youwei would have her lunch, the timing could only get earlier but never later.
However the table was completely empty, and there wasn’t any dish on the dining table.

It was extremely quiet.
The ticking sound of the clock made this magnificent villa seem a little more peaceful.

After waiting for a while, Bai Youwei smelt a burnt odor coming from the kitchen.

She adjusted her direction and moved her wheelchair to the kitchen.
The caregiver was standing with her back facing her, body frozen stiff beside the gas stove.
Her hands were still in a vegetable-frying position but she showed no signs of movement.

The housekeeper had transformed into a doll, and it had happened just a while ago.

It was still the same face but the material was completely different—her actual flesh and blood had turned into rubbery plastic skin, glass-like eyes, synthetic fiber hair…

The original housekeeper of this villa had left to seek refuge in her hometown, and this housekeeper standing in front of her now had just arrived two days ago.
Bai Youwei had not even managed to remember her name properly yet and this happened.

She stared blankly for a while and then pushed her wheelchair forward to turn off the stove.
Then, as recommended by the news, she dialed the Emergency Hotline 123.

The line was busy. 

After thinking about it, Bai Youwei decided to call her mother.
The housekeeper had been hired by her mother, so she would probably be able to contact the housekeeper’s family. 

When the call connected, she could hear the sound of voices, laughter, and music all jumbled together…all of which further emphasized her loneliness.

So irritating.

She gave a succinct description of the incident and immediately hung up the phone.

The interior of the house was very quiet as was the outside.
The blistering sun scorched the earth; the pond in the garden glistened shimmeringly as it reflected rays of light; a blossom of hibiscus with purplish flower petals and leaves drooped under the hot sun.
Everything seemed relaxed and ordinary, but deep down Bai Youwei knew, the world was no longer the same.

At 2 o’clock in the afternoon, the sound of a car engine from outside the villa could be heard.

Bai Youwei looked through the window and saw a tall man pressing the doorbell.

After a moment’s hesitation, she went to the kitchen to fetch a folding fruit knife and maneuvered her wheelchair out.

Even with a metal grill door between them, she could still see the man’s towering figure, his cold clean-cut features as well as those deep dark unreadable eyes under a pair of thick eyebrows.

He looked vaguely familiar but she failed to recall where they had met before.

“Are you Weiwei?” His voice slightly paused and continued awkwardly as it was their first meeting, “I’m Shen Mo.
Your mother sent me here to pick you up after she heard about the incident.”

Bai Youwei was startled.

Shen Mo… So he’s Uncle Shen’s son, no wonder he looks familiar.
He does somewhat resemble Uncle Shen.

Forgot to mention, Uncle Shen was actually her mother’s best friend and also a business partner.
But honestly, Bai Youwei thought the term “back-up partner” suited him better.

Bai Youwei silently kept the fruit knife back in her pocket and opened the grill door.

Shen Mo sized up the girl in front of him.

A pale complexion, long fluffy hair, and a pale blue shirtdress that covered her from neck to toe.
Like her name1, one look at her and anyone would immediately associate her with terms such as fair, delicate and feeble. 

She looked well-behaved.
She did not seem hard to get along with like what Aunt Wang said.

“Pack your things, I’m sending you to Yangzhou,” Shen Mo concisely said.

Bai Youwei shook her head.
“I’m not going.”

Shen Mo was a little surprised.
He raised his eyebrow and said, “It’s not safe in the city now.
Those who can leave have already evacuated.
You will be left unattended here and sooner or later you will die.”

Bai Youwei lowered her head and looked at the exquisite patterns on her dress.
“I’m not going.
With my current state, going anywhere doesn’t make a big difference.”

Shen Mo did not expect her to be so stubborn.

He was bad at persuading people, let alone coaxing a child.
Thus, he started walking towards the house.
“Which room are you staying in?”

Bai Youwei stared at him suspiciously, her eyes glimmering.
“What are you trying to do?”

Shen Mo ignored her.
After entering her house, he walked around and accurately found her bedroom.
Then, he started to pack her clothes and the everyday items she used.

The girl followed him in, looking a little aggrieved.

After he finished packing the clothes, Shen Mo stood up.
He looked around and asked, “Where’s your medicine?”

As Bai Youwei lived in a wheelchair all year round, medicines were a necessity to her.

She remained silent.

He simply stopped questioning her.

Soon, the room became a mess.

Watching him rummage through her cabinets, Bai Youwei clenched her hands tightly, her voice was low.
“Do you… Do you think that saving a lonely and helpless girl is cool and heroic? …But do you know you are actually harming me?”

Shen Mo stopped his actions, his expression was as calm as a millpond.<

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