“I awoke to the sounds of screeching, hollering, and cries of pain. For a second, I thought the cruel Lord Mao, the so-called Devil, had come to punish us. But when I looked out the window, I saw barbarians. Thousands of them were on the horizon!”
Once, in the harsh, sandy Gobi Desert, there lived a ten-year-old girl named Caterina. She was very adventurous and reckless. She lived in a bamboo house with her mother, father, and five older sisters, who were doctors and who got perfect scores on their SAT’s. Caterina’s hobby was digging for gold. The Chinese currency was Bao-Bao, which is shells, so the gold didn’t have any use. Caterina’s mother Priscilla complained that she didn’t put enough effort towards her school work and would go to a community college, which is the worst college to go to. But Caterina knew she was just plain ungifted at schoolwork, and she would have to do something excellent, such as being first chair at All China Band and Orchestra, so that a good college would accept her.
I awoke to the sounds of screeching, hollering, and cries of pain. For a second, I thought the cruel Lord Mao, the so-called Devil, had come to punish us. But when I looked out the window, I saw barbarians. Thousands of them were on the horizon! I had to warn the village before it was too late! I hopped on my horse, Meadow, put my tabby cat, Mr. Furry-Paws, in a basket, and told my family to hide in the underground shelter.
Then, I hit the temple gong, hollering, “The barbarians are coming! Hide, run, or die!” I sped back to my house and hid just in time, as I heard barbarians storm into our house. I also heard the sound of lighting torches and the crackling of the fire. Normally, I would be comfortable with the reassuring fire, but now, all it did was make me feel like getting revenge on the cold-hearted barbarians.
I do not like this moment. Not. One. Single. Bit. First of all, Caterina is covering my mouth because she thinks I will start meowing and the barbarians will discover us. Honestly, I am not so absent-minded as to meow right now. Also, I can’t imagine how the barbarians would hear my meows with all this commotion going on anyway. We hide silently for about two hours. Then, when we don’t hear anything, we take a peek out. There is nothing but destroyed furniture and fire. We get out of the underground shelter, stretch ourselves, and gather bamboo to make a new house. By the time we finish the house, the sky is dark. Caterina’s father catches a fish, fries it for ten minutes over a fire, and we eat a quick dinner. We say our prayers and fall asleep.
I hate those cursed barbarians even more. All I dream of are barbarians riding on short, speedy horses. But all of a sudden, I hear a mysterious voice ringing in my head.
Five shall go out in the night,
And give those barbarians a mighty fright,
Torch their sheepskin yurts,
And make sure they get some hurts.
I can’t sleep for the rest of the night.
I don’t know what is up with Caterina. It seems like something is troubling her.
Out of the blue, I ask her, “What is troubling you?”
I have no idea how I just talked, but anyway, Caterina, a little surprised, replies, “It was last night. A mysterious voice in my head was telling me that five should ambush the Mongolians at night, with torches to set their yurts on fire. I guess you are coming with me, now that you can talk.”
“Then what are we waiting for? Let’s think; who else should come with us?’’ I wonder aloud.
“Definitely my best friends, Lux and Nandini. Also, I think we need a boy. How about the general’s son, Takumi? Yep, that’s it. Come on, let’s get started!” Caterina replies.
We ride on Meadow to Lux’s house. It is made of slate. I like it. Caterina tells Lux about the mysterious voice. Then, Lux gets her horse, Amber, and we ride to the Military Academy where Takumi probably is training. This time, before anyone else can open their mouths, I do the talking. I explain the mysterious voice to Takumi. Everyone in the room looks at me in awe. But Takumi seems to realize. He gets his sword; gets some sticks, flint, and steel for torches; gets on his charcoal-colored horse, Ming-Li, which means “swift ashes” and we go to our last stop: Nandini’s house.
Honestly, I am actually nervous. I know that if we succeed on our mission, we will be famous, but still, if we fail, we won’t be famous, and my parents will mourn me! We dismount our horses and explain the mysterious voice in Caterina’s head to Nandini. Nandini looks a bit concerned, but she gets her horse, Daylight, out of her family’s stall. She goes in her house to get something. It looks like a clock.
“Don’t forget a compass!” She says. Then, when looking at our confused faces she explained, “A compass is a tool used for finding the right direction. We should head in the direction pointing to the N because Mongolia is north of China.” Then, we speed to the direction of Mongolia, following Nandini because she has the compass.
As we are riding, I see a light a few acres away.
I yell, “Stop!” I tell everyone in our group that the Mongolian camps are getting near. We have to be very quiet so we don’t get caught. We carefully set the yurts on fire. Then, we slip away. Apparently, we aren’t so quiet because five Mongolians are chasing us, right on our tail! I grab my metal spikes and throw them on the ground. The Mongolian horses cry in pain and throw the Mongolians off their backs into the Yellow River. Just as we think we are done with the Mongolians, there is one Mongolian left: Genghis Khan himself!
Mr. Furry-Paws says, “Guys! Don’t let him chase us! Surround him!” Mr. Furry-Paws is speaking Chinese, so not only do we have an advantage — that Genghis Khan is stunned because he saw a strange thing with pointy ears and whiskers for the first time in his life — but Mr. Furry-Paws is speaking Chinese so Genghis Khan doesn’t have a clue of what he is saying. We all make a circle around Genghis Khan and point our swords at his neck. Before we can do anything, he disappears in a flash of green light. We are very stunned. How can somebody, even a general, disappear like that? I guess if a cat can talk, a general can disappear in green light!
“I think we should go back home,” I say. Everyone else nods in agreement. We speed like the wind back to our village.
In the morning, we go to the temple and hit the gong. When everybody comes, we explain what happened. Fortunately, they believe us. They even celebrate our success with a feast! There are gold and red dragons flying and even the Emperor of China comes!
“Caterina, I am so proud of you. The Beijing College is interested in you,” says Caterina’s mother. Even Mr. Furry-Paws gets a Nobel Prize for the wittiest cat! We are famous, and the writers are writing stories about us because someday, we will be in history! We have no clue where Genghis Khan is right now, but the Emperor has sent military troops to Mongolia to find him. Also, military troops are guarding the borders of China so that these catastrophes don’t happen again. So far, we are pretty safe from those runty barbarians!