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Imaginative Worlds: reading creative fiction; The Boy in the Painting 5


Read the passage.

The Boy in the Painting

  1. Inside the forgotten temple, Xiang Zhao stomped his muddy boots on the intricately tiled mosaic floor. “How is it that no one from town knows this place?” he asked, turning to his younger sister who was staring intently at something on the wall.
  2. Of course, Xiang didn't expect Hulan to actually answer—she had never uttered a word in her entire life. Xiang followed Hulan’s gaze to see what held her attention. It was a painting on the far wall of a boy about 13 or 14—
  3. “Wait a minute,” said Xiang, staring in disbelief.
  4. Xiang shook his head and did a double take. Then he strode over to the painting and touched a stern-looking variation of his own face. Flecks of paint chipped off and drifted to the floor. Just then, a powerful noise grumbled from within the wall. Seconds later Xiang and Hulan sprung back as a portion of the wall slid open.
  5. Through the opening, Xiang could see a lush, green forest—quite different from the one they had just hiked through to get to the temple. Intrigued, Xiang grabbed his sister’s hand and courageously stepped through the opening into the extraordinary hidden world.
  1. A warm gentle breeze greeted them, and Hulan began to shiver. “It’s not cold, Hulan. Why are you shiver—?” Xiang started.
  2. But a friendly voice from the tree canopy interrupted him. “Welcome home, Prince Xiang and Princess Hulan!”
  3. Xiang turned to see a young guard spryly jump from a branch and quickly approach them. The medieval-clad youth bowed deeply and said, “Everyone in Yǐncáng De Tǔdi has anxiously been awaiting your return”.
  4. Xiang was stunned. “Uh, my name is Xiang, but I’m not a prince. I’m afraid you’ve got the wrong guy.”
  5. The guard only smiled and said, “Follow me.”
  6. Hulan clutched Xiang’s hand and nodded. Not knowing what else to do, Xiang trailed the guard through the forest, hoping that whatever was next would provide some answers.
  7. When they reached a clearing, Xiang gasped as an enormous medieval fortress and a beautiful, glistening lake came into view. As the trio got closer, chimes rang out in jubilant song. A man and woman dressed in clothes that Xiang had only seen in history books ran out, smiling widely as if they already knew Xiang and Hulan.
  8. “Hello, Father,” Hulan said as she rushed into the man’s arms. “I’ve missed you.”
  9. Xiang stared in disbelief. What was going on? Who were these people? What was this place? And perhaps most perplexing of all—Hulan . . . she was . . . talking?
How does Xiang feel at the end of the story?
Choose 1 answer: