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Strangers in a Strange Land -- Gen 1.0
Published Mar 27, 2012


Written By

spladoum

Storyteller
22923Views4.9Rating

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I began this legacy a while ago, when my original (and now defunct) legacy first went blooey. Since the legacy founder is a distant relative of the Steel clan who was born overseas, I had the idea of starting a legacy with a sim who ostensibly can't speak the "language" of the land that he now lives in. Because he is a foreigner, that also precludes him getting a high-paying job, or building a super-nice house, or making a lot of friends, or many other things that we take for granted. The rules for my legacy are fairly complicated to accommodate this, but so far I'm finding it to be a fun way to play.

Although I don't play legacies for points, I do play by the standard rules, so this will be a classic legacy in the spirit of the original rules. Traits and sims will be accepted as is; no cheats, no aspiration rewards, no do-overs.

Enjoy :)

I began this legacy a while ago, when my original (and now defunct) legacy first went blooey. Since the legacy founder is a distant relative of the Steel clan who was born overseas, I had the idea of starting a legacy with a sim who ostensibly can't speak the "language" of the land that he now lives in. Because he is a foreigner, that also precludes him getting a high-paying job, or building a super-nice house, or making a lot of friends, or many other things that we take for granted. The rules for my legacy are fairly complicated to accommodate this, but so far I'm finding it to be a fun way to play.

Although I don't play legacies for points, I do play by the standard rules, so this will be a classic legacy in the spirit of the original rules. Traits and sims will be accepted as is; no cheats, no aspiration rewards, no do-overs.

Enjoy :)
It is always a sad thing when an influential family loses its respect and becomes an object of ridicule, and everyone, perhaps, in all of Shang Simla knew the sad tale of the decline of the Hua clan. Since ancient times, the Huas had been the primary adherents of a school of martial arts that had boasted three thousand training students in its prime. That number was sadly diminished in the modern age, but Zhang Hua was the only son of the school's previous master and he had proudly continued the tradition, raising his two boys to follow The Path of the Wind. His wife Lin and his daughter Xie had lived quietly at home, at least until the day that Lin had taken an unshakeable notion to earn a college degree. She left home and went to the United States, and she earned her degree in advanced mathemathics ... while becoming the mistress of a doctor.

After she left, Zhang never knew another moment of peace. His students piously lowered their heads to meditate and laughed at him when they thought he wasn't looking. His neighbors rolled their eyes at him as he passed. His peers regarded him with sickening pity.

And one by one the children went rotten.
In the end two of the brats ran away with their mother to America. His youngest child Wang was the only one who stayed, and even Wang was different afterwards. More than once Zhang awoke in the night to hear his son trying to sneak out through a window, on a mission to see a girl, doubtless.

A noble family corrupted beyond repair by one woman's selfishness. At least that was always the way Zhang had seen it. And since he was all that remained of the family, who was to say he was wrong?

***
The boy knew little to nothing of these unhappy matters. He had lived with Grandfather Zhang all of his life. He had gone to training daily and had learned what he could of The Path of the Wind, but it was really quite hard for him. He was a dreamy-eyed child who loved music and painting, and he would have no opportunity to learn either if he became a martial artist.

But he had no choice in the decision. Two potential heirs had been lost in ten years, and Grandfather was determined to raise up his last remaining relative to become a master. If that meant lugging a sleepy-eyed seventeen-year-old boy from country to country while he participated in international matches, so be it.
While they sat in an airport terminal, waiting for a long-delayed flight home to begin boarding, Grandfather asked his grandson to watch the bags while he went to the bathroom.

He never returned.

The boy waited anxiously as the passengers began to file through the loading zone, decided not to board the plane, looking through every bathroom in the terminal, even enlisted airport security to help him search. It was all for nothing. He waited at the empty gate all alone as the final flights of the evening took off without him.
He spent a terrible night in the lobby, waking up at every noise, before rising with the sun and wandering away on his own. Thanks to the rigorous training he had undergone for years, he was well-equipped to walk long distances without even really being aware of it.

He walked. He had no idea where he was, nor what town he was in, nor even what part of the world they had flown to. He passed sign after sign that he could not read and walked past full, lush fields. If nothing else was apparent, at least he could tell that the people in this part of the world were farmers. That was good. He had helped the other disciples at the dojo grow the food used for their communal meals. He wouldn't starve. It was a small comfort in the midst of so much confusion and sorrow.
He finally came to a halt at the edge of a vast field. The presence of a mailbox and municipal trash bin told him that this was an empty lot, without even a hint of development to mar its grassy surface.

Could he just … stay here for the night?

He lowered his small duffle bag to the ground and removed his sleeping bag, and slept somehow.

***
The following day he searched the borders of the environs until he found sturdy fencing. Foreigner though he was, he still understood that he was not to cross there. He noted that there was a house next to him, actively inhabited. He found strange rocks, which he slipped into his pocket. He found more seeds and planted them. He walked back the way he came until a truck stopped for him and the driver gestured to the flatbed, somehow aware that they would not understand each other's language. He got in, not without misgivings.

But the truck took him to the center of town, where he got out and looked at these strange buildings. There was one with several bright items arranged neatly in front of its picture window—fruit, he guessed.

Music wafted from open doors and windows. A young woman wheeled a cart full of dusty books through a door and began to stack them in rows.

So this was the town center, perhaps.
He lingered by the café and smelled the unfamiliar aroma of coffee. He listened to the measured tinkle of a fountain near the day spa. He walked over to the bookstore and looked through a book, understood nothing, set it down. His stomach clenched, painfully. He needed to eat, but what? Nothing looked familiar.

He finally made his way over to the Water Hole, drawn by the smell of grilled shrimp. These he recognized. He ate the three shrimp from the smoky skewer and went inside, where there was the promise of more.
Although he could not understand what the other guests were saying, he became uncomfortably aware that they were certainly discussing him, and probably not very nicely. His face felt hot with shame.

The bartender came over to him with a menu, which of course he couldn't read. After several moments of pointing (from her) and negation (from him), she finally put her hand on a bottle that made him smile. She poured out a glass of Coke and offered it to him.

"Thank you," he said in a hesitant voice.

She nodded. "I'm Cherry."

"Chelly," he repeated.
"No no, CHERRY."

"Chelly."

"You ain't from 'round here, are ya?" When he neither shook his head nor nodded, she pursed her lips. "Can you understand me?" No response. "… didn't think so."

He pushed the glass back. It was empty. "Thank you, Chelly."

She smiled and nodded. "What's your name?"

No response. She sighed, pointed to herself. "Cherry."

He pointed to himself and said something that sounded like "Kenshomgchenyip." It would take Cherry Kanto a few days to realize that her nervous new customer's name was "Kim Chong Shin Yi." But after she learned his name, she didn't forget.

***
For days and weeks Kim Chong carefully weeded and watered his small garden in the morning and sat by the road for an hour or two before heading back into town.

The same truck that had given him a ride on that first day continued to stop for him, and he always left some money on the seat, which the driver always returned to him immediately.
He wandered through the park day after day, until one day he saw a woman in a formal cheongsam exiting the market. He rushed up to her, apologizing for the intrusion, begging for some news of his grandfather Zhang. She explained that she was only a local reporter, but referred him to the City Hall building some distance away.

To his surprise, Kim Chong found an employee in the building who spoke his language.
The clerk listened to his story in silence before informing him that an elderly Chinese man had been found in the 'employees only' section of the regional airport two months earlier. "From what we could gather, he wandered back there by mistake and collapsed."

"My grandfather has been dead for two months?" Kim Chong said, despondently. "I have been waiting all this time for news of him. How do I get home without him?"

"This IS your home," the clerk said, matter-of-factly.

***
That evening when Kim Chong returned to the empty field, he looked over the land with tears in his eyes. He had been waiting for his grandfather to find him and take him home. But no one was going to find him here now. He would just have to make the best of it.

Somehow.

***
Even though his beginning was unlucky, Kim Chong did not have the mindset to become despondent. He could sulk as much as he pleased, but if he did not eat he would die. He tended his meager garden and carefully weeded the ground around the young plants.

He sold his scanty harvest to Cherry Kanto to use in her drinks, and she slipped him a few simoleons in return.
She also taught him her drawling English in between fetching beers and pouring whiskey. "Say after me. 'May I have another?'"

"'May I had 'nothin'?'"

"No! Gawd, that doesn't even make sense now …"

She shook her head in mock disgust and repeated the sentence and he repeated it back incorrectly as usual. She laughed at his blunders, glad to see him laughing too. Heaven knew he had enough to cry about, poor little orphan.
If she wasn't already engaged, she'd have taken him in ... he might be an innocent, but she sure as hell wasn't, and she'd thought about feeling his arms around her waist more than once. More than twice, even.
She suppressed that dirty thought with a sigh, and instead kept trying to teach him enough rudimentary English to keep him from having to pass his days in complete silence.

***
Kim Chong made contact with the local government clerk more than once. She had no better news to give him, and rather bluntly suggested that he go through his grandfather's belongings and make use of what he could, as he could not expect to squat on the land forever without having to pay property tax.

Kim Chong loyally protested that it would be wrong, but the woman just laughed at him. "Kid, he's dead. You're the one stuck here, you might as well look and see if he has anything you can use."
After a few more days of indecision, Kim Chong finally gave in and went through the bag. He found clothes, as he expected, and much to his surprise, stones that looked an awful lot like the ones in his pocket. He wondered if they might be worth something. A few more days went by, the money in his pocket dwindled, and the next time that the truck driver picked him up, he asked her if she knew anything about the rocks.

"Oh yeah," Ginny McDermott shouted back and nodded, "I seen those rocks every now and then. They're good for some money if you sell 'em."

"Sell? How sell? Who buy?"

"Give 'em to me, I'll do it for you."

This was a lot of trust to put in a stranger, but he passed the rocks into Ginny's hands regardless.
A day later Ginny invited him to her house and handed him a bank envelope stiff with cash. It might have been §1500, more money than he'd ever seen at one time. He thanked her in his mangled English, and she smiled. "Y'know, if you still got yer passport you should travel overseas. Lotta rich people here, they buy that kinda stuff."

"Go where?"

"I dunno, you wanna go back to China?"
No, he didn't want to go back to China. He already couldn't live up to the expectations of the Path of the Wind, and his grandfather's death automatically granted him the inheritance of the school. He was shrewd enough to see that this new existence, as narrow as it was, might be his only chance to avoid an irrevocable destiny as a martial artist. Perhaps the teachings would be lost forever … but that was not his burden to carry any longer. He had his own life to live.

So he plied the paper daily looking for information on flights to other countries. He learned to recognize the words "sale," "hot buy," and "super deal." Ginny looked over the deals with him in the evening, nixing them all immediately. He trusted her implicitly and did not question her decisions.
At last she pointed at an ad and said, "There's your ticket."

"What say?"

"'Wanted: canopic jars. Will buy, or pay trip expenses if needed. Contact Mr. Ingersoll.' There ya go. Contact Mr. Ingersoll, there's his number."

"But … cannot …"

"Whaddya mean? You got a phone, dontcha?"

"Not work."

"Oh, right … you need one of our phones. Alright, hold on."

She acted as his go-between, nodding, shrugging, speaking far too quickly for him to follow. When she hung up the call she was frowning, but only a little.
"Good news and bad news. Bad news is he doesn't want you to do it because he don't know you, says there's nothing stoppin' you from just taking the money and havin' a good time that he's gotta pay for." Kim Chong's face fell at this, but she went on. "Good news is I volunteered to do it, and he was fine with that."

"So, what?"

"So you're gonna go to Egypt in my name, get him his damn jars, and give 'em to me."

"When?"

"Tomorrow, if you want. I got the money, I just ain't goin' to Egypt, that's all."
Traveling was no issue for Kim Chong. Ginny agreed to keep his plants watered while he was away, and at 2 a.m. a cab pulled up by the mail bin, waiting to take him to the airport.

Despite everything, he was shivering with excitement … or perhaps just hunger. He'd learned the hard way not to over-indulge in bar snacks, and as he had no way to cook otherwise, usually had to content himself with fruit. it wasn't the ideal diet for a fairly active young man, and he went many a day with an aching stomach. It occurred to him, far too late, that he didn't have the first idea how to get by in Egypt.


~ to be continued

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15 Comment(s) so far


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#6taj39759VIPMar 28, 2012

can't wait for more

#7martoeleMar 28, 2012

\:rah\: So you decided to write this legacy here....! Good decission... many more people will read the legacy here than in the forum... \:cool\: I will be happy to follow Kim's story... and the continuation of your legacy. Congratulations on the feature! \:cool\:
 

#8snowsnow2133Mar 28, 2012

im so glad you decided to write another story! \:Dthis is amazing, the idea is fantastic! \:rah\:

#9mysteryjack1Mar 28, 2012

Wonderful, April! I love Kim Chong! And Chelly, er, Cherry's great too! Can't wait for more! \:wub\: \:rah\:

#10altea127Mar 30, 2012

\:rah\: \:rah\:

#11xhaiiMar 30, 2012

quite an adventure \:rah\: interesting story \:D

#12fabrizioammolloMar 31, 2012

This is a very good idea! The story is adorable! \:\)!

#13Bo0GeRBELLApr 1, 2012

Amazing first chapter!  Who needs TV?

#14taxa08Apr 1, 2012

\;\)
 

#15staceface2009pMay 14, 2013

Oh, how interesting. I'm starting from the beginning of this series and I'm enjoying it already! Great job, April!

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