translator: baumkuchen editor: serefina
After the filming ended at 2am at night, the task-takers gathered in an empty room, the atmosphere oppressive.
They still had scenes to film tomorrow morning, so Chi Xiaochi got straight to the point, saying, “Her script isn’t the same as ours.”
Anyone with eyes could tell that, but Chi Xiaochi provided more details.
The script in “Guan Qiaoqiao”’s hands didn’t have all those messy R18 scenes with as many spread legs as a centipede orgy and a relationship chart that was just as tangled. Through the clear storylines of seven years ago and seven years after, it told the story of school bullying.
Pigtail guy was the male lead, who was both dissolute and a slag. In those years, he had had a good impression of “Guan Qiaoqiao” due to her good looks, but because he looked down on his lackey “Song Chunyang”, had bullied “Guan Qiaoqiao”, one, because it was fun, and two, to force her to see just what kind of person her little boyfriend was. After “Guan Qiaoqiao” died, because he was too young to be sentenced, he spent one year in juvenile detention before being sent overseas by his family, only returning ten years later.
He was still dissolute, still licentious, but had never denied his past wrongdoings.
Ponytail lady played the female lead, who , in those years, had indeed been a big sis type, and had indeed orchestrated the bullying of “Guan Qiaoqiao”. However, after many years, she had already become an ordinary housewife whose main troubles were her autistic son being bullied by his classmates and felt guilty towards the “Guan Qiaoqiao” of many years ago.
As for the supporting characters, none of them were mere tools who blindly followed the crowd either.
Naturally, “Guan Qiaoqiao” and “Song Chunyang” didn’t need to be mentioned. Both were people who were desperate to be saved, yet unwilling to reach out their hands, only curling up in a lonely corner, waiting for someone to notice them, for someone to rescue them.
The character Tall lady acted as was the female lead’s best friend. Because she had been the first to find Guan Qiaoqiao’s body, she had suffered from depression for many years and later still depended on pills to maintain her physical and mental health. The her of ten years later was a rather excellent illustrator, who specialised in making comics about current society.
Freckles’ character was the type who clung to the past, and was still secretly in love with the female lead, his feelings still just as strong even after many years. But the one he loved was that girl who was unruly and headstrong to the point of selfishness of the past, not this slightly bloated housewife who never stopped talking about her son. He was the audience’s main guide to the storyline of seven years ago, constantly leading everyone into recalling old memories, but in doing so, making everyone fall to their inner demons one after another.
Even the character dissonance of the “righteousness freak” Yuan Benshan played had an explanation.
In high school, he had been like “Song Chunyang”, one of the male and female leads’ followers.
That year, when Guan Qiaoqiao died, he was watching. He could have stopped it, but he chose to shut his mouth for fear of facing the male lead’s revenge.
No one knew about this, but for these past ten years, he had been trapped in a deep psychological shadow, slowly finding excuses for himself.
It was all the male lead’s fault, it was all the female lead’s fault, he had just accidentally passed by, and just accidentally ended up seeing it, nothing more, so why did he have to suffer such torment?
Eventually, from that gentle and weak person he’d been ten or so years ago, he became extremely irascible and loved shifting all blame to others.
This horror film that leaned on the side of literary had a style that was cold and desolate, treacherous and melancholic. Many of the illogical elements in the original script had been explained accordingly.
There was neither a pure evil nor a pure good. There were no pretentious growing pains of youth nor were there any cliché mid-life crises, everything was very mundane and adhered closely to logic, with an air of inevitability.
Chi Xiaochi really liked this script, and it was because of that that he had been able to talk with “Guan Qiaoqiao” about it for over an hour. It hadn’t just been for the sake of obtaining more information.
Elder Sun had once made such a comment on Chi Xiaochi, saying that he was naturally sensitive to art, and should have been an acting maniac, yet he had a strangely balanced rationality, knowing when to advance or retreat behind the norms of appropriate behaviour. Thus, there was a balance of yin and yang, and he became a rare talented beauty.
But Elder Sun then added, “If only he could be a little more harmonious as a person.”
At that time, when Chi Xiaochi heard those words, he had been eating grapes. As he peeled grapes for Elder Sun, he laughed cheekily, “You didn’t need to say that last bit.”
He had had an excessive literary air since he was young, with the death of a mere character on paper enough to make him sad for a good half a day, unable to be coaxed out of it. His tongue was both smooth and sweet. Putting it bluntly, he had been like Song Chunyang, clingy as a kitten.
But ever since what had happened to Lou-ge, there was no one to coax him any longer, so he naturally learnt a lot.
How to deal with death, how to become world-wise, how to get on others’ good sides.
He knew how to behave as a person all too well.
It was just that after he debuted, he didn’t want to become that type of person. It was both tiring and uninteresting. He simply lived freely, becoming that Chi Xiaochi with an innumerable number of haters.
Now, he was still acting as another person, so he naturally needed to do his best.
Other people didn’t care in the least about how good this script was, what they cared most about was their own lives.
Pigtail guy started, “What about the specific script, where is it?”
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
Chi Xiaochi, “Nowhere.”
Uluajli ues, “Qtja’r atja reqqbrfv ab wfjc? Ktfs kjca er ab jv-ily bc atf rqba? Xb jibcu klat atlr utbra’r cbcfzlrafca rmglqa?”
Jtl Wljbmtl jrxfv j nfgs mbcragemalnf defralbc, “Yatfgklrf?”
Tbe jma sbegr, jcv rtf jmar tfgr?
Qtfc atf akb rmglqar mbwf lcab mbcoilma, kf vbc’a ub jibcu klat tfgr, yea ub jibcu klat sbegr?
She was the butcher, as the fish on her chopping block, why did they need to be in such a hurry to jump up into the path of her knife?
Pigtail guy’s anger also sputtered out. He knew that the question he’d asked was stupid, but his mind was still stuck on a certain idea. He exchanged a few looks with Ponytail lady.
Ponytail lady spoke up, “For scenes without her, we can write out a script on our own in advance. But what about those with her? What are we supposed to do?”
Chi Xiaochi, “Act when the opportunity arises.”
This response was equivalent to when other people ask “where did you lose it” after you lose your phone.
If I knew where I lost it, would it still be lost?
Similarly, how am I supposed to know when the opportunity arises?
Pigtail guy narrowed his eyes at Chi Xiaochi, “You might be able to carry on her play, but we might not.”
At this moment, Chi Xiaochi fully played up his “blindness”. He smiled sweetly, then said a line of bland nonsense, “Thank you for your praise.”
He could see this person was shooting looks back and forth with his companions, he clearly had another plan in his mind.
Chi Xiaochi didn’t continue, however.
There was no need for him to enthusiastically think up a solution to the problem the other had raised, especially in this circumstance where the other harboured his own designs and was unwilling to share his information.
Currently, the situation with this ghost was stable, and he could reliably go along with her play, but others weren’t the same. Unable to walk on the wide open road, they had no choice but to squeeze onto the single-log bridge.
Gan Yu and Gan Tang weren’t acting, so they didn’t need to be concerned about this. As for Yuan Benshan, if he died, Chi Xiaochi might not be able to keep himself from setting off fireworks in celebration.
Everyone here had nothing but the casual ties of temporary teammates binding them together. If they were willing to work together, then they’d work together. If not, if they managed to offend the ghost, all they’d be losing was their own life.
Soon, the task-takers split into different camps.
Freckles, Pigtail guy, Ponytail lady and Tall lady were teammates, but also had a split in opinions at the moment. Freckles moved over to Chi Xiaochi’s side, trying to dig out even more details. Ponytail lady and Pigtail guys were muttering softly about something to each other. Tall lady wavered between them. One moment, she’d move over to listen to the two’s conversation, and in the next, she’d run over to listen to what Chi Xiaochi was saying.
Chi Xiaochi made no secret of trying to find out their plan from Freckles.
Freckles was also very frank. “They’re planning on offing her.”
Chi Xiaochi, “……” Big guts.
Under everyone’s disbelieving stares, Freckles outlined their findings in a thick Dongbei accent.
Out of these kinds of ghosts who possessed people, there were death-snatchers and life-snatchers.
Death-snatchers, as the name suggested, were those who killed their victims before possessing their bodies. What they puppeted was a corpse. The disadvantages of this method were that the body would stink, it would rot, its shelf life wasn’t very long, and it would be affected by liver mortis. Its advantages were that it was quick and easy, and they could hop to another body after killing another, so it could be replaced regularly.
Life-snatchers were like this ghost. They directly infected one’s spirit, and stole their body. The disadvantage was that the process of doing so was complex, and the advantage was that they would be able to use the body for a long time.
The difference between the two was that the latter was pursuing a higher goal than the former, this ghost could be considered to be a refined female ghost.
Ever since they’d seen Guan Qiaoqiao bleed, and that the blood seeping out of the wound was a normal colour, Pigtail guy had had an idea.
Hearing this, Yuan Benshan’s spirits rose slightly, but it was hard for him to conceal his doubt. “You guys can kill her?”
Even though Freckles was a carefree person, he still knew that some information couldn’t be shared.
He replied vaguely, “Of course we have a plan.”
They had an ace up their sleeves: a tool they’d stumbled across by chance in a task world.
Anyhow, it was useful, but it wasn’t for others to know about.
Sure enough, upon hearing Freckles words, Yuan Benshan started having some malicious ideas.
He wanted to live, so he wanted to firmly grab onto any chips that could protect his own life.
But unfortunately, he no longer had Guan Qiaoqiao, only a little boyfriend who worshipped him like a god and who was still of great use to him. He couldn’t break character in front of him, so he didn’t speak.
But Gan Yu frowned slightly. “The task requirements have been clearly spelled out. As long as you don’t go out of character, you’ll be fine. Why do you need to do all this?”
Freckles was rather frank. “I study film, so I can be considered to be half an actor, I have a bit of experience. But what do they have? One’s in IT, another’s a swimming teacher, and the last teaches English. They’ve never even dipped their toes in something like this before, so they’re probably not very confident.”
Chi Xiaochi picked up the conversation, saying, “They’re probably not worried about just that.”
At that moment, Yuan Benshan quickly understood what Chi Xiaochi meant.
In the script, everyone had wronged “Guan Qiaoqiao” in some way, be it big or small. As filming progressed, they would eventually have to act out scenes of “Guan Qiaoqiao”’s revenge.
Because in Guan Qiaoqiao’s original script, there really was a ghost.
“Song Chunyang” had deliberately wanted to frighten them, but as things progressed, it was found that many supernatural events weren’t due to him.
“Guan Qiaoqiao”’s vengeful spirit had been lurking here for a long time, unable to leave. Tormented with pain, she’d gradually become twisted, wanting revenge with all her heart, but found that the people who had wronged her in the past were already truly regretful, and had become different people.
After many years of planning out her revenge of “an eye for an eye”, she was stripped of her moral foundation overnight, becoming weak.
This kind of desolate despair ran throughout the script, adding a lot of tragedy to this character, but at the same time, posed a big problem for the task-takers.
According to the script, in despair, “Guan Qiaoqiao” would take them away one by one. As for where she would take them to, and if they would die, the script didn’t say. In their conversation, “Guan Qiaoqiao” had also been unwilling to divulge any information, even letting out a few troubled and pained expressions, as if she was distressed over the outcome of those people.
In sequence, the first to be taken away would be Ponytail lady, the second would be Tall lady, and the third would be Freckles. The ones temporarily in the safety zone were Yuan Benshan, Pigtail guy and Song Chunyang.
Freckles saw it differently from them, thinking that it would be fine as long as they fulfilled the requirements of the task.
But Ponytail and the rest thought differently.
If they went along with “Guan Qiaoqiao”’s act, and let her “take them away”, would they still be able to come back?
The reason as to why Pigtail guy was so eager was because he knew all too well that, according to the script, no matter which version of it, he was the main culprit. No matter how you looked at it, he would be the one to die at the very end of the movie.
This kind of anxiety stemming from the unknown, would definitely be unable to be assuaged by a line of “it’s just acting”.
Even if the task plainly told them that the death flag was “going out of character” and didn’t bring up anything else, that couldn’t stop their doubts from growing.
As task-takers, they were all strangers to one another. Even if someone wanted to persuade another against it, would they be able to?
In Chi Xiaochi’s words, I can’t even cry over my ancestors’ graves, so how could I possibly care about their unmarked burial mounds?
Yuan Benshan had originally also been intrigued, wanting to see what this “method” of killing ghosts Freckles spoke of was, but after thinking about it, he gave up.
He had already personally killed Guan Qiaoqiao once, and might even be the target of this “Guan Qiaoqiao” 2, how could he have the courage to continue to move closer?
Currently, his only hope was Song Chunyang, so of course he needed to firmly grasp the man in his palms.
Hence, when they left the meeting room, he grabbed Chi Xiaochi’s hand.
He said, “Chunyang, move back to stay with me.”
Chi Xiaochi wasn’t actually opposed to this.
He’d originally planned on casting a wide net to catch a big fish, so of course he needed to feed it some bait first.
But there was a trick to feeding bait.
So, he first let out an “okay”. Then he shook his head.
Yuan Benshan was rather worried. “What?”
Chi Xiaochi let out an affectation that was both soft and warm, and perfectly molded, “I’m afraid that that…… that ‘Qiaoqiao’, might come find me tonight to talk about acting. I really want to be together with you, but I’m afraid of dragging you down……”
Wanting to be together, was his attachment to him; being afraid of dragging him down, was him being considerate. He’d taken full advantage of both sides.
At the moment, what Yuan Benshan was most afraid of was coming into contact with Guan Qiaoqiao, but having to sleep alone was also something he was utterly unwilling to do.
After weighing the advantages and disadvantages, he felt that just two people staying together couldn’t be considered safe either. Just as he was planning on suggesting that all four of them stay together, he saw the eyes of the person before him fill with tears, looking like they were just about to overflow, truly making one feel heartache.
He asked, “What’s wrong?”
Chi Xiaochi let out a line of nonsense, “Qiaoqiao…… is just gone, just like that? My heart hurts. When I was acting today, I kept thinking of her. Old Yuan, is she really not coming back?”
As he spoke, a big tear rolled down his face.
He had the ability to control even a single teardrop perfectly. Crying uncontrollably, with snot and tears running rampant, could convey emotions, but beautiful visuals were effective at improving one’s impression of you, influencing the goodwill they felt.
Sure enough, the real-time goodwill value was slowly rising, but the regret value had only broken single digits.
Yuan Benshan sent him back to his room.
He was truly tired. He lay down on the bed, fully clothed, tears still in his eyes, and just like that, fell asleep.
Yuan Benshan got up, preparing to move his bedding over to stay together with him. But when he came back, he found that the originally open door had already been locked from the inside.
Yuan Benshan, “……”
He knocked on the door a few times, before seeing Gan Tang, who had still been in the meeting room just a few minutes ago, walk out from inside in hotpants and a singlet. She propped a hand against the door and asked, her tone incredibly gentle, “What’s the matter? Did anything happen?”
Yuan Benshan said, “Chunyang said I could move over……”
“Sorry,” Gan Tang said bluntly, “I don’t like living with people I don’t know.”
Yuan Benshan, “……”
Without waiting for Yuan Benshan to respond, she stepped back into the room, closed the door, and locked it.
Yuan Benshan was left standing at the door, filled with an indescribable anger and annoyance for a time, but he didn’t dare to shout loudly at the door, deathly afraid of alerting the “Guan Qiaoqiao” who was resting on the same floor. He could only suppress this anger and bring his bedding back to his room, planning on settling the account with the siblings surnamed Gan the next day.
Only after seeing him leave did Gan Yu, standing by the side of the bed, lower his gaze, dip his hand towel in warm water and makeup remover, and remove the sleeping person’s makeup bit by bit.
Chi Xiaochi slept lightly, so even though Gan Yu’s touch was incredibly light, the feeling of the fluffy towel brushing his cheek stirred him from sleep.
Yuan Benshan wasn’t in the room, and the door had been locked. In his sleepy state, he deduced what had happened. In a rough voice, he asked, “Why didn’t you tell him to come in?”
“……Your time and your person, were bought by me.”
Gan Yu raised his hand, and carefully stroked Chi Xiaochi’s upper lip. His posture was too serious, but was conversely filled with an ambiguity that made one’s bones go soft.
He said softly, “I hope that Nurse Song can provide us a pure one-to-two service, I don’t want to have any extraneous factors whatsoever diluting it.”
The author has something to say:
Celebrating one hundred chapters!!
Liu-laoshi’s possessiveness went up another notch w
I really want to write sweetness [twiddles fingers]
baum: we finally hit 100 chapters!!
sere: omg 100 chapters… i still remember when i edited the second chapter…. damn