Chapter 1 – Cat Dad's Priorities
That was the common terms of power users, who had obtained their power from a VRMMO game. Every day, a hundred superheroes flew in the sky and battled against invading monsters from an alternate dimension - Heavenly Dao Universe.
Half of the world was ruined by the invaders. Sects and guilds were the norms as they vied for natural resources from meteorites.
Meanwhile, the other half of the world was peaceful as regular humans continued their daily life as if nothing had happened.
Ignorance is a bliss, many philosopher said.
And today, as well, everything was peaceful.
"Call the ambulance!"
A drunk truck driver jumped out of the vehicle and staggered. His head was bleeding, and he was also in a bad shape after he drove through a red light and ran a middle-aged man over.
The front and the back wheel of the truck crushed a bike and its driver. His bike was broken in half because of a certain 6-wheeled truck.
The middle-aged biker's spinal cord was broken, and he couldn't feel anything below his stomach. The injured man coughed while he held a dying senior cat in his arms.
Miao Xiaomao, the crippled middle-aged biker, ignored the commotion on the street. He only gazed at the dying cat and shed tears of regret.
'I'm so sorry, Mu-Nyang. I'm such a failure owner. I can't bring you to a vet like this.'
The cat's soft voice soothed Xiaomao. However, it also cried as it was aware of its owner's injury and its demise.
A large hole in its neck, caused by a stray pitbull, had been bleeding.
'Goodbye, Mu-Nyang. I hope you can go to Heaven, unlike me…'
Miao Xiaomao closed his eyes and accepted his fate. The senior cat crawled to Xiaomao's face and licked him one last time.
The cat owner and the senior cat passed away together.
A loud alarm suddenly woke up Miao Xiaomao from his tranquil rest. He sat up and slapped the clock in reflex.
"Motherhumper! Can't you just let me die in peace?!"
Miao Xiaomao yelled and punted the alarm clock to the ceiling. He then scratched his head and rubbed his eyes.
Wait a minute
How could he still move?
Wasn't his spine crushed?
How could he still feel his legs?
Miao Xiaomao frowned. He slowly opened his eyes, and his vision slowly adjusted to the sunlight, beaming from the window.
Realizing something, Miao Xiaomao widened his eyes and looked around.
'This room! Oh, is this Heaven or a dream?'
This was his parent's house. He used to live here when he was young.
After his parents had gone missing after a plane crash, Miao Xiaomao inherited this house. However, he sold it to invest in a virtual reality game to make a living as a crypto farmer.
Of course, his life wasn't perfect, but he got by.
Looking at the room, he sobbed, regretting that he had sold this house.
He missed it. He also missed his missing parents.
'Heaven? Is this Heaven, right? I'm seeing the things I regret the most.'
He walked toward a closet and opened it. The mirror, which was attached to the interior closet door, reflected the youthful face of Miao Xiaomao.
The teenager in the reflection had light smooth skin, a sharp facial outline, and a crew-cut hairstyle. The 16-year-old Chinese teen in the mirror looked like any photo generic guy on the street, except for his pupils.
What kind of Asian dude had a pair of golden pupils?
As soon as Miao Xiaomao saw the face of himself, he gasped.
Is this the real life or is this just fantasy?
Xiaomao almost sang the iconic song.
Then, he looked around to search for a calendar or any newspaper. Unfortunately, he didn't have those in his room.
He didn't even have a computer in his room!
Miao Xiaomao dashed out of the room and ran down the stairs, heading to the living room right away.
Then, he found a tall muscular stern-looking Asian man in a suit, sitting at a kitchen table while reading something on his phone. His facial outline, thick eyebrows, and intimidating glare resembled the Golgo 13's protagonist.
A blond-haired woman in the kitchen was busy putting a newly cooked sunny-side egg from a pan to a plate. As usual, she tied her hair into a ponytail and she put on her glasses whenever she was home. She also wore her favorite Adidas tracksuit as if she was one of the Gopniks. Without looking at her face, Xiaomao knew that his mother was a beauty.
Tears of joy and nostalgia leaked from Xiaomao's eyes. He missed these two.
"Hmm?" The dad glanced at Xiaomao without moving his head. He still faced his phone as he talked. "What?"
Because of the joyous mood, the next words coming out of Miao Xiaomao's mouth was a meme.
"WHAT YEAR IS IT?!"
The father, aka Miao Damao, rolled his eyes, "Are you role-playing a time traveler or are you reenacting an old meme?"
Miao Xiaomao laughed as he wiped the tears off his face.
Was this the legendary time-traveling regression?
If this was a dream, he wished that he would never wake up from it. If this was Heaven, he swore to worship every god in existence.
"Dear God, Jesus, Buddha, Allah, Jade Emperor, Shiv, Odin, Exodia's Torso, Left Arm, Right Arm, Left Leg, Right Leg, and whatever god you are, THANK YOU! I shall worship you from now on."
Miao Xiaomao clenched his fists and bit his lower lip, holding back the excitement.
Xiaomao's father shook his head, "Sorry to break it to you, but you ain't serving any god anytime soon."
"Oh! So, is this Earth?"
"Welcome to Earth, dipshit. Was the dream last night fun?"
Miao Damao stopped looking at his silly child and focused on the messaging app on his phone.
"Not really. It was a nightmare. Hehe."
Xiaomao inwardly laughed as he managed to confirm the general information. He now believed that everything was not a dream, and he was still alive.
In novels, protagonists quickly adapted to the regression experience. But for Miao Xiaomao, his blood pressure surged and his heart was having a party with his kidneys and liver.
At this rate, he might have a heart attack at any moment.
Yet, countless thoughts increased his blood pressure to the point that his face was as red as tomatoes.
What was the 1st prize lottery number that he could remember?
What was the stock market trend?
What was the Bitcoin price?
Miao Xiaomao sat at the kitchen table as if it was a natural thing to do. He took several deep breaths to calm down.
Once Miao Xiaomao was calm, he thought of the darkest year of his life, which happened to him during the first day of high school. Everything happened because of a certain schoolgirl and her friends.
The dad glanced at Xiaomao and twitched his nose, "Go wash your face. If better, take a morning bath and get ready to go to school. Are you going to be late on your first day with that sweaty smell on you?"
"First day to school? So, seriously, dad. What year is it?" Xiaomao groaned.
The dad sighed and played along, "2023. What year did you come from, my time-traveling son?"
"Pfft. I bet you don't remember the winning lottery ticket numbers."
"No, but I do remember the Bitcoin price. If you have money, put it on short and wait for a year or two."
"Right," The dad scoffed and shook his head. "Was that something from your wet dream?"
"Perhaps. But seriously, sell Bitcoin if you have, now! It's gonna crash!"
"I don't invest in crypto. Buy it with your pocket money if you want to invest. Actually, for beginners, you should buy stablecoins and stake them. It's better than putting all your saving money in the bank for 0.1% annual interest."
"… Are you sure you don't invest in crypto? How the hell do you know all that?"
Xiaomao slightly smiled. He was relieved that his father was still the same.
He might look scary on the surface, but he was easy to talk to and he was knowledgeable in various fields. He sometimes listened to Xiaomao's nonsense and played along with it.
Xiaomao remembered how he distanced himself from his father after he suffered from a dramatic setback at school. After that, the distance between them got further away until his father left the world.
But not this time, Xiaomao swore that he would never repeat the same mistake.
While Xiaomao had fun looking at his father's face, his mother brought him his breakfast.
"Xiaomao, it's 7.30. You'll be late for school."
Xiaomao had no time to enjoy himself. He glanced at his father's phone to look at the date and year.
The dad also noticed Xiaomao's eyes. He purposely switched the screen to show the date, time, and year.
It was the first day of June 2023. The first year of high school started today.
Xiaomao swallowed his breakfast as if he was in an eating competition and ran up the stairs to put on his school uniform. His body moved as if he had done it a hundred times in the past.
As Xiaomao was about to leave the house, his mother shouted at him.
"Did you properly SSS?"
SSS was an abbreviation of Shit Shower and Shave. His mother always told him and his father to do it every morning.
"Nope!" Xiaomao broke a sweat.
"Don't Amber-Turd in class! Also, buy cologne or something and spray it on your armpits!"
"Too expensive, I won't!"
Xiaomao laughed and sprint out of the house.
His current house was located in a Beijing, and the school was 500 meters away. He could either take a bus or walk there.
Unlike regular schools in China, which required students to come to school and 7AM and leave at 9PM, this private school allowed students to return home as early as 6 PM.
The school life of Chinese students was absurd here. However, for Xiaomao, this was the norm.
Xiaomao was grateful that his parents were wealthy enough to afford this school's atrocious intuition fees. At least, he would have enough free time at night for his upcoming projects.
Xiaomao reminisced his past and took a deep breath. The racing heart rate decelerated as the emotion party had ended. He had a stomach ache because of the excitement and stress, though.
As he had forgotten to take a dump this morning, he had a gas issue. He loudly farted like an old man.
Many pedestrians glanced and frowned at him while they covered their noses in disgust.
Xiaomao laughed, "Sorry. It's okay. My fart is clean and healthy. You won't catch Covid, I swear!"
He hurried and rushed to his destination, but it was in the opposite direction of the school.
Xiaomao headed to a Buddhist temple, where he had picked up a certain stray kitten.
Deep in the temple's cemetery zone, Xiaomao looked behind a luxurious tomb, where offerings, fruits, and flowers of the deceased were always plenty as if many people kept coming back here to pay respect to this person.
Behind the tombstone was a pregnant black cat. She had been resting on the dirty ground, panting in exhaustion.
"I see. So Mu-Nyang hasn't been born yet."
Xiaomao tried to pick up the mother cat, but it hissed at him.
"Relax. I'll bring you to my house, okay?"
It scratched Xiaomao's hands and arms. The cat struggled to break free, but he managed to catch her and carried it back to his home.
As soon as Xiaomao returned home, he opened the door and dropped the cat inside the house, "Ma! I've found a mama cat on the street, and her babies are coming out soon! I'm keeping the cat and the kitties, okay?"
"YOU WHAT?!" The surprised voice of Xiaomao's mother echoed in the kitchen.
"The mama cat is also sick. Please feed it and send it to a vet if you can, pretty please?"
"We're not keeping pets, you dipshit!"
"But she will die if we don't do something!"
Xiaomao remembered the fateful event when he returned home from the worst day in school. He ran into a family of newborn cats in the cemetery. After that day, he kept coming back to the tombstone to feed the mama cat and her kittens.
However, a week later, the mama cat and most of its babies had been bitten by stray dogs. Only one kitten survived.
He named the kitty Mu-Nyang, the same way how it meowed. Xiaomao ended up adopting the kitten and lived together for two decades before they were ran over by a truck.
'Don't worry, Mu-Nyang. Your mama and your siblings won't die this time.'
Xiaomao reminisced of Mu-Nyang's sweet voice. He could even hear the unique voice whenever he thought of the bicolor cat.