Young Writers Society

Home » Literary works » Short Story » Technology

12+

滴答

by Nek0y0uka1


滴答

I look down at the bronze piece I’m carving into, nodding in approval. It shows a dragon chasing after the Moon, the Pearl of the Sky. There are varying phases of the Moon, with the crescent, the full, and the new Moons shining slightly. I polish the finished masterpiece before gingerly setting it to the side and moving another piece over. I carve another dragon, but this one is chasing after the Sun.

After what feels like minutes, but is probably hours, I finish polishing the last bronze ring so that it gleams. I smile, knowing that something as ingenious as this is sure to surpass any canal locks or bridges others have created. My master Su Song is a very brilliant man. Before this he had also created a large compass, and was a renowned as an incredible engineer and astronomer.

I stop to admire the bronze rings that were meticulously melted and cast to create the perfect shape for Master’s design. He would take nothing but the absolute best. I had seen the odd, but handy, new invention called a ‘dúlúnchē’ used to transport the metals from the smiths’ shops. It seemed slightly inconvenient, but it worked, and I had been working on my project for many long, hard weeks to get the perfect designs, as well as actually carve into the bronze with heated iron. Master Song called it ‘press printing’.

“Húhuŏ! Come on, Master Song needs the hùntiānyí finished soon! You can’t keep getting distracted!”

I turn to my best friend as she ‘reprimands’ me. She has her hands on her hips, arms bruised from having to lift such heavy metals, and smells strongly of smoke and iron. Then again, so does the entire workshop. I am tasked with the precarious job of creating the hùntiānyí, or Armillary sphere,for the clock-tower Master was constructing. I had looked at Master’s designs, the intricate gears that interlocked with each other, the way it fit together with the existing water powered clock-tower, and many others. But what fascinated me the most was the Armillary sphere, a strange, beautiful invention. Master Song had said it was used to measure celestial spheres, such as the position and phase of the Moon, the Sun, and other stars and planets. It also showed time, as well as the day of the month.

When Master Song had shown me a model of what he envisioned, I was captivated by how the bronze rings twisted around each other like dragons. This is why Master has given me the privilege of building the most defining piece.

“Húhuŏ. You’re just sitting there again. Focus already, I have important stuff too!”

“Uh? Ah! Bàoqiàn, Shuĭlόng. Just thinking.”

I chuckle lightly, and see a soft smile play on her lips.

“Okay, but you better have made progress by the time I’m back!”

I watch her leave, her footsteps soon lost to the sound of crackling fire and hammers on metal. I sigh, wiping some sweat from my brow with my robe’s sleeves and going back to the hùntiānyí. I begin to fit together the complex gears in their appropriate points, fastening each carefully crafted gear made to be locked together exactly. These jobs took immense patience, a virtue I thankfully have lots of.

However, my hands start trembling from the stress and lack of sleep. Lately, I haven’t been sleeping, continuing to work on the hùntiānyí. I worry that I won’t make the deadline, for I’ve already been working on it for 2 whole months. I take a drink of water, and just sit there for a few minutes to avoid falling over. My head is swimming from the heat and malnourishment. I had often skipped meals to get work done in a timely manner.

After many long, sweaty, tedious hours, I find myself wrapping my left hand in cloth. I had accidentally cut myself, and while that was a normal occurrence, this one was deep, and far too much scarlet liquid had welled up from it. But, in the end, it was worth the blood, sweat, and tears, from the smoke (I’m no nuòfū!). I didn’t care, I was done. And I could eat. I quickly follow my nose to the mouthwatering scents that only spices from foreign places could release. Shuĭlόng, Master Song, and I celebrate the almost finished project with Qínglǎng, our kind and exceptional cook.

I then trudge back to my room I share with Fēng Mă. I smirk, thinking about how much the two of us have changed in the span of 3 ½ years. I am greeted by Xīng Hún, who mewls questioningly. I grin, handing him a piece of steamed duck I stole from the table. Tomorrow, Master Song wants to finish the clock-tower. We are all so excited, adrenaline pumping through our veins. When the divine creation of Su Song, my Master, is done, it would be forever remembered by all.

I hope... 


Note: You are not logged in, but you can still leave a comment or review. Before it shows up, a moderator will need to approve your comment (this is only a safeguard against spambots). Leave your email if you would like to be notified when your message is approved.







Is this a review?


  

Comments



Random avatar

Points: 437
Reviews: 4

Donate
Tue Mar 15, 2016 5:12 am
HannahBanana01 wrote a review...



Very good story! I like how so much information was included about the types of inventions in Imperial China and how the story seemed to flow. I also like how you used such intricate words in parts of your story and how you ended the story in a cliffhanger. I wonder if there could have been more conversation between characters and if you could include more about what clothing was like in Imperial China. I also wonder if you could mention more about location because you did not really explain where the characters were.




User avatar


Points: 476
Reviews: 4

Donate
Tue Mar 15, 2016 3:11 am
jacksonm2002 says...



Very interesting Chinese inventors story. Lots of historical content and I liked that you put the markings over letters (ex: Fēng Mă). I like that there was a cliffhanger,it makes me want to find out what happens next. One suggestion I want to make is that I feel that her working on the clock tower over a couple months was a little rushed so I wonder if you can put more of what happened then in it. Overall your story was well written and quite interesting!!!




User avatar


Points: 476
Reviews: 4

Donate
Tue Mar 15, 2016 3:10 am
jacksonm2002 wrote a review...



Very interesting Chinese inventors story. Lots of historical content and I liked that you put the markings over letters (ex: Fēng Mă). I like that there was a cliffhanger,it makes me want to find out what happens next. One suggestion I want to make is that I feel that her working on the clock tower over a couple months was a little rushed so I wonder if you can put more of what happened then in it. Overall your story was well written and quite interesting!!!




Random avatar

Points: 373
Reviews: 4

Donate
Mon Mar 14, 2016 8:15 pm
Annasutton wrote a review...



I like you story. I like that you put dialogue in your story and you had a good amount. I really liked master Song. Maybe put a little bit more dialogue so It looks more like a story. I liked that it was easy to under stand. Also I liked how you describe each character and It seem like they had their own personality.




User avatar
79 Reviews


Points: 250
Reviews: 79

Donate
Fri Mar 11, 2016 2:16 am
Sevro wrote a review...



Hey there Nek0y0uka1, Caterpickle here to review this short story.

If I told you I wasn't confused at all, I would be lying. I thought that the story had good potential, but I was constantly confused. I understood what was going on in the first paragraph, and I liked how you started it like that. The bronze pieces are intriguing, and you started out with the reader already wanting to know the backstory, which is the good kind of confusion.

Then, you started talking about canals and bridges int he second paragraph, and you lost me. It took me a while to figure out that you may have been trying to describe some sort of competition, or another country's version of some sort of Nobel Prize, or other award. However, it wasn't very clear. I didn't understand what bronze rings had to do with canals, bridges, and compasses.

In the third paragraph, it might do you some good to explain more about the "dúlúnchē". I still have no clue what it is. You said it is "used to transport the metals from the smiths' shop". What metals? Smith? Transport them to where? These are all questions that should really be answered if you want the reader to understand where you're going with this. Also, a visual description would help a lot. For example, you could say, "It's a metal cart that someone pushes across the floor," or "Its a pulley system with buckets on a chain." I'm not sure if those apply to this device, because I'm not sure what it looks like, but describing the visual characteristics of the dúlúnchē would benefit both you and the reader.

The dialog and the paragraph following it is not too bad. Your description of what the narrator is trying to build helped me to understand what the story was even about. I wish there was more about the girl, though. Some relationship statuses between them, flirting, conversations, flashbacks, something, anything would have been appreciated. Just my opinion.

Nearing the end, after he finished the thing, the abrupt introduction of the new characters is jarring. The cook, the...what was it, a cat? It was just all happening a little to fast for a smooth read. Maybe you could explain who everybody is a little more.

All in all, this story wasn't bad. It was a little too fast-paced for the plot of the story, but, with a little descriptions, and some character development, this could be a fairly interesting little story.

I hope this review helped you out a bit.

~Caterpickle




Nek0y0uka1 says...


Ok, thank you for your input. I never actually thought about that. Thanks!



User avatar


Points: 440
Reviews: 4

Donate
Fri Mar 11, 2016 1:44 am
christithething wrote a review...



Great story, I love the characters and how you describe them. The plot was very easy to understand and very nice and short. I wish we could have read a bit more about the main character's best friend, but that's OK, it was good anyway. I also wonder if we could have known more about the master, but he sounded really cool anyway. Well that's pretty much it, your really good keep on writing.




Random avatar

Points: 373
Reviews: 4

Donate
Thu Mar 10, 2016 9:23 pm
View Likes
Annasutton says...






User avatar


Points: 529
Reviews: 4

Donate
Tue Mar 01, 2016 7:56 pm
CraziestCatMan wrote a review...



Great job! Fun plot, the story was easy to follow, well-made characters, and the story was very descriptive and rich. There are only a few things I have to say:

It shows a dragon chasing after the Moon, the Pearl of the Sky. There are varying phases of the Moon, with the crescent, the full, and the new Moons shining slightly. ----- Are the multiple phases of the moon shown on the bronze that the main character is carving? Elaborate. This was a bit confusing.

I had looked at Master’s designs, the intricate gears that interlocked with each other, the way it fit together with the existing water powered clock-tower, and many others.--------- Had he looked at other designs, or is he describing one design? Again, this was a bit confusing.

Great story, can't wait to read more work! Keep practicing!



Random avatar
Owenr says...


Great story! Well described and had correct grammar for a present tense story. Hope you can make more stories and share them with the community.
I was wondering about the dragon and the pearl because that part was a bit confusing, but all in all great grammar and good historical facts.




Seeing is believing, but feeling is the truth.
— Thomas Fuller