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Chapter 1: Camping nights
There were no stars in the sky; only the full moon in its splendor. An B, the dog, No. 8, the rabbit, Kara, the monkey and Super IV, the panda can at last go camping together. They are brothers and sisters that come from the Sweet Potatoes World.
Within the Sweet Potatoes World, all parents put two sweet potato pieces into a flower in order to give birth. Although they cannot foresee what kind of animal their babies turn out to be, nevertheless all children will remain the treasures of their parents.
An B and No. 8 were both baby twins. They both loved eating red carrots and chewing bones. The colour of their complexion changed with their mood: when they were happy, their skin was rosy pink; when they were unhappy, their skin became transparent so that their friends would not be able to see them. When they played cool, they became all black.
Super IV exclaimed:
‘It’s so boring! Anything fun to play?’
‘It is so dark now and nothing to play. Let’s go to sleep.’
Super IV remained restless at the thought of having to go back to sleep.
‘It’s so rare that Mum lets us go camping so we shouldn’t sleep yet. How ‘bout we share a story?’
No. 8 approved of the suggestion.
‘Ok! But it can’t be too scary or I won’t be able to ever sleep.’
‘I’ll start first.’
An B spoke up, as he began his story:
‘Do you know that I snuck out one night and went to go find the Smarty Bean?’
No.8, Kara and Super IV’s eyes all widened as they stared at An b with disbelief. For the legendary Smarty Bean has existed for hundreds of years; legends tell that just by merely smelling the plant makes you more knowledgeable by a thousand fold! Nevertheless, no person has ever seen it before.
An B continued:
‘Do you remember the day when I carelessly dropped Mum’s vase which was a dowry gift from Grandma? I was so scared that I dared not to come out to have dinner. I told her I was not feeling well and wanted to sleep. Thinking I failed my examination and was too scared to tell her, Mum just left me alone.’
‘What happened then?’
‘I was looking at the remains of the vase and thinking how to glue them back together. Suddenly, some yellow neon smoke rose from the mess.’ ‘I was frightened and thought it was a ghost. Gradually, the smoke become a map with rough edges. I touched the map and suddenly became 3-D! In the middle of the map, there was a building marked as “The Smarty Bean”. I l checked again and realized it’s the 5-star library in our school!’
The 5-star library was the only library in the village and the only star-shaped library in the world. There were two points standing on the ground marking the entrance and the exit of the library. The middle 2 points comprised of the main body of the building. The place pointing towards the Sky was the Galaxy Observatory Floor. The Smarty Bean was hidden in the pig-head-shaped book shelf next to the entrance of the library. Students never borrowed books from this shelf; a myth warns that only ‘pig-headed’ students would borrow books from there.
An B was hungry and decided to steal a sandwich from the kitchen. Once he finished eating, he started making his way to school. It was only a 5 minute walk to the school and when he arrived, An B snuck into the library. Following the map, he stopped in front of the pig-head book shelf. He counted from the bottom to the third level of the shelf and took out the third book, as per the instructions on the map. If the map is correct, the Smarty Bean should be inside the book. An B opened the book and read from left to right and right to left, but nothing appeared.
‘I guess I’m the pig-headed one’, An B thought to himself.
‘I probably shouldn’t be that stupid next time.’
When he went to put the book back to the book shelf, he noticed there was some sort of sand on the cover of the book. As he went to put the book away, all of a sudden, the book exploded like an array of fireworks. Each page transformed into lotus leaves – right in the center of the book, a purple pig emerged from the middle of the lotus. The pig walked toward An B; kind and gentle disposition set An B at ease.
The Fairy Pig spoke to An B with a smile:
‘My little friend, there is no such thing as a Smarty Bean in this world. There’s no food that can make you smart without hard work. However, every child is unique. They must think of their own ways to make themselves smarter.’
The Fairy Piggy stretched out her pork chop hand. She blew the top of her palm, revealing a tiny pink lotus flower. She blew again, and the flower landed on An B’s left shoulder momentarily before disappearing.
Accomplishing her task, the Fairy Piggy waved farewell to An B and flew away into the starry night.
An B pulled up his sleeve in front No. 8, Kara and Super IV, revealing a sign of a bone laced with lotus flowers on both sides.
Super IV pointed at the odd mark and asked:
‘Did it hurt?’
An B sighed.
‘No, but I wish it was a whole skeleton rather than just a bone. It’d look so much cooler.’
‘Got any special tricks you can do with it?,’ Kara asked excitedly.
An b pondered for a while.
‘No, but I think I could eat a lot more than before.’
The camp roared with laughter.