Chapter 1 - There Is No Better, Only Worse

When her new mother stood by the door of the house, Sheng Jiaoyang felt her heart crumble.

Once the grey door was pushed open, the inside of the house was so simple and crude that she could never have imagined it. In a corner of the room, there stood a bed that was less than 1.5 meters long, with a dull wardrobe beside the bed head. In the opposite corner, there was a wooden table with two plastic stools. Further inside, there was a narrow hallway which led to the kitchen and a toilet.

In fact, from the beginning, she had accepted that she’d now changed into another person and had pushed aside her pride to ask about the rough circumstances of this new identity.

As a single parent family, all expenses at home relied on Xu Qing’s meagre wages.

Xu Qing was her new mother, while her name was now Xu Jiaojiao.

While she’d been aware that this family was poor, when she saw it for the first time, she realised that this family was more unfortunate than she’d thought. In fact, they were so impoverished that she found it hard to accept!

She was in a trance for a long time until she heard the sound of a door closing, leaving only herself in the room. It wasn’t until then that Sheng Jiaoyang returned to her senses.

While her mind had been wandering, her new mother had already done a series of things like cooking, laundry, and mopping the floors. She had also arranged two bowls of untouched dishes and a pair of chopsticks on the table. And, at this moment, Xu Qing was already on her way to work.

“Jiaojiao, Mother has to go to work, so sleep after you finish your meal,” she vaguely remembered as the words Xu Qing had said before she left.

Sheng Jiaoyang propped her chin on her hand, and lowering her eyes, she looked down at the two measly bowls of food and sighed.

The day when she finally dies, it’ll absolutely be because of starvation!

With a bitter expression on her face, Sheng Jiaoyang put down her chopsticks and made her way to the bed. Grabbing the backpack that she’d brought back with her from the hospital, she flipped it upside-down to empty its contents. Landing on the bed with a thud was a cell phone, a wallet, keys, and a handful of miscellaneous items.

Picking up the phone, wallet, and keys, she turned around and left the room.

She first had to find a post office to recharge her phone credit. After she had discovered that she’d become another person, she had attempted to contact the relative she trusted the most; her Grandfather. Unfortunately, after the car accident that evening, her Grandfather had taken her original body abroad to receive medical treatment. If she wanted to contact her Grandfather, she first had to go through his Personal Assistant, Uncle Zeng. Fortunately, she often used to call Uncle Zeng, so she clearly remembered his number. Yet, once she called Uncle Zeng, not only did he refuse to pass the phone to her Grandfather, he also hung up on her! After that, her cell phone appeared to be out of credit and was no longer able to make calls. Therefore, before she did anything else, she needed to have a working phone.

Walking down streets filled with nothing but junk for sale, Sheng Jiaoyang felt like she was living in a nightmare. A few days ago she was still enthusiastically driving her sports car to catch her younger sister having an affair, but now she’d become a poor girl living in low-rent housing. She even had to personally go to a post office to recharge her phone credit!

The affairs of the world were unpredictable!

These last few years she’d especially avoided stimulating circumstances and had been living like an ordinary person. Unfortunately, even though she’d been living so peacefully for so long, she never would’ve guessed that after slamming on the brakes that she would unexpectedly have a heart attack without any warning signs.

What was most unexpected though, was that she’d woken up in another person’s body!

Without noticing when, Sheng Jiaoyang had already arrived in front of the building that the post office was located in. When she’d gone home with Xu Qing, she’d noticed that there was a post office near the bus station where prepaid calls could be made from. Luckily, the place where they lived was only about a five minutes walk up the street from the bus station.

Since it was hot in the afternoon, there weren’t any people walking around on the footpaths, and there was only one female clerk inside the post office who was clearly eating her lunch.

“Hello! How do you recharge phone credit?” Sheng Jiaoyang asked as she walked over.

The clerk looked up and replied, “How much do you want to charge it with? Currently, if you fill it with one hundred dollars, you receive a free gift.”

Sheng Jiaoyang opened her purse and silently withdrew…ten dollars.

“…” The clerk’s eyes glanced back and forth between the phone held in Sheng Jiaoyang’s left hand, and the banknote gripped in her right hand.

Sheng Jiaoyang bowed her head as she looked at her phone. Truthfully, she’d also felt that it was bizarre. They were immensely poor, yet Xu Jiaojiao could use a cell phone model that was worth several hundred dollars.

Moments later, Sheng Jiaoyang left the post office under the clerk’s strange gaze, holding a now charged cell phone.

The sunshine outside may have been dazzling, but inside, her heart was terribly gloomy.

She’d only noticed a moment ago that the remaining money in her small purse could easily be counted by hand. The largest banknote being the ten dollars that she’d used to charge her cell phone, while the rest were just a few one dollar notes.

Now, these few dollars were all she had left.

What could a few dollars buy?

A wealthy miss, who’d never before lacked money, was now absently wandering the streets, wholly overwhelmed and embarrassed by the change in her identity.

Previously, whenever she went out, someone would follow her everywhere and attend to her every need.

Previously, she’d used the best tools to paint and had learnt from a famous master.

Previously, her outfits would be of the highest thread count, her car scented with an expensive perfume, the best wines to drink, and with a wave of her hand, the most exquisite food would appear before her.

Previously, she could do whatever she liked without a care in the world…

And now, she was left holding a few dollars while standing at a traffic intersection, realising that without her original identity she couldn’t do anything.

Suddenly, the sharp ringing of a cell phone echoed in her vicinity.

Sheng Jiaoyang froze, and glancing at her cell phone, she noted that the screen was displaying an unsaved number. Hesitating, she struggled with indecision before finally answering the phone.

“Hello?”

“Jiaojiao, your university admission notice arrived at the school yesterday, but I haven’t been able to get through to your cell phone for the last two days! In the future, you must remember to make sure that your cell phone is working, or else you’ll miss important information. Anyway, come to school, I’ve been in the office for the past few days.”

“…Oh, okay.”

After hanging up the phone, Sheng Jiaoyang suddenly realised a severe problem; she had absolutely no idea which school Xu Jiaojiao had graduated from!

At that moment, she could only return to the place she now lived to see if she could find any useful information.

After turning the small bedroom upside-down, Sheng Jiaoyang became bewildered when she realised that she couldn’t find anything concerning school. Not to mention diaries, there wasn’t even a hint of textbooks or homework.

This room was indeed too small, but for it to be devoid of books even though it was a place where a student lived was beyond comprehension!

After searching for such a long time, to the point where she was covered in sweat, Sheng Jiaoyang still couldn’t find the information she wanted. Frustrated, she considered re-creating the car accident to see if she could return to her original body. This was only a momentary thought though, as she was too afraid to gamble with such high stakes.

Opening the wardrobe, Sheng Jiaoyang silently ridiculed the taste of her body’s former owner. Flicking through the choices, she pulled out a white t-shirt with a random pattern on it, and opted for a pair of knee length jeans instead of loose-fitting casual pants.

Next, by using a pair of scissors, the t-shirt and jeans gradually changed shape.

The high neck of the t-shirt was cut to become a deep scoop-neck, while the bottom hem of the shirt was shortened with horizontal cuts placed half a finger length apart to form fringing. With the knee length jeans, she cut them into a pair of denim shorts.

As for underwear, she had asked Xu Qing to buy her a few new sets when she was still in the hospital. Even though it was the clothing of her body’s previous owner, she absolutely refused to wear such personal clothing like someone else’s panties.

When she entered the bathroom, it was only to discover that it was so simple and plain that there wasn’t even a water heater!

Sheng Jiaoyang was nearly frantic by now as this environment was considerably challenging her ability to bear with everything. Every time she thought that she’d seen the worst of it, something would appear that was even worse.

On the ash coloured wall there hung a half meter tall mirror, and currently, it was reflecting Sheng Jiaoyang’s depressed appearance. Yet, under her thick bangs, her face was actually quite pretty with long eyelashes framing big eyes, a straight nose, and delicate pink lips. The shape of her small face was similar to Xu Qing’s, but unlike her sharply pointed chin, Sheng Jiaoyang’s chin and cheeks still carried a trace of baby fat.

Sheng Jiaoyang narrowed her eyes as she examined her current appearance in the mirror. Raising her hand to lift the somewhat disliked bangs, she decided that although her appearance wasn’t bad, this hairstyle ruined half of her current body’s appeal. Also, while her eyes were beautiful and expressive, due to her body's original owner suffering from myopia, she now had to squint to see things.

In total, the only things that pleased her about her new body were that it was healthy and tall. To her, these were two essential qualities that she’d always wanted because, if she’d had Xu Jiaojiao’s height, she wouldn’t have needed to hate the heavens. Her own body was only 1.6 metres tall, and she’d always been surrounded by tall foreign girls, as well as groups of schoolgirls who’d despised her height.

Recalling the tricks and sarcasm that she’d suffered caused Sheng Jiaoyang to still feel unhappy; so much so that just remembering it all would ignite her anger. Of course, letting that anger pile up in her heart was harmful to the body, so since she’d been unable to alter her height, she’d focused her attention on other areas like academics, forming connections, and more. As well as refining her taste in things like music, literature, fashion, and food. Studying hard, she’d watched on as the gazes of those who’d once mocked her became glares of envy and jealousy.

“Like this, it seems that even in the most unfortunate of circumstances that not everything is bad.”

Sheng Jiaoyang mumbled to herself as she bowed her head to stare at her perfectly straight long legs, revealing the hint of a pleased smile.

Her gaze glanced briefly at the clothing within her hand, and her expression stiffened. She felt an excruciating headache starting to flare.

Hot water…

Previous Chapter Next Chapter