ITTMB 12

Republic Circus

Two days later.

 

Ning Ning walked out of the front door for the first time, taking in the scenery, broadening her horizons. She took a breath and inexplicably felt a little nervous. Should she take her next step with her left or right foot? Boss Qu who was in front of her turned around, reached out a hand towards her and said with a smile, “Come.”

Ning Ning ran over with a smile and placed her tiny hand in his bigger palm.

“It’s crowded, keep close.” Boss Qu said while holding her hand tightly, “Don’t get lost.”

 

It was almost the New Year The streets were filled with the aroma of New Year’s delicacies, stalls that sold New Year’s delicacies lined the streets. The wide selection of poultry and fish, condiments, dried food and snacks drew a huge crowd. Ning Ning stood in front of a roasted duck stall, she was rooted to the spot. “I’ll get you one on the way back,” Boss Qu remarked, “you won’t be able to eat it right now even if I were to buy it, it will only get cold.”

Boss Qu gave her permission to come out and play, but forbade her from taking off her mask in front of anyone.

“Alright, I’m not that hungry right now anyway.” Ning Ning averted her gaze from the oil-glazed roasted duck dejectedly and said, “Let’s go watch the performance, we’ll come back for it afterwards.”

 

The two of them continued to walk, a passerby took notice and started sniggering at Ning Ning’s mask. Ning Ning paid no attention to it, but Boss Qu tripped the passerby as they were walking past each other, then apathetically stepped on his hand and broke it. Just as the passerby was about to get angry, Boss Qu lowered his head and coldly uttered, “I initially wanted to step on your neck.”

The passerby was stunned. He had a glimpse of the gun on Boss Qu’s waist and immediately ran away with his tail tucked between his legs.

After the passerby left, Boss Qu brought Ning Ning to a stall that sold masks. He bought a snowy white mask and put it on himself. “Alright, now we are the same.” He said while laughing from behind the mask.

Ning Ning giggled. She reached out and took his mask off, then put it back on again. After she had played around for a while, a noise behind her caught her attention. She turned her head towards the noise to look, a group of people was approaching from a short distance away. A lion dance was leading the pack, in the middle was a clown that was juggling balls, they were accompanied by the sounds of percussion. Then a teenager on stilts appeared, he was shouting as he was walking about, “Circus Tour performance, last show! Last show! Don’t miss out!“

“Ah! It’s Long Er!” Ning Ning recognised the teenager on stilts, she smiled and waved at him from the crowd.

Long Er looked over, seemingly saw her, but he then waved at the crowd and made a weird hand sign like he did not see her.

After the troupe left, Ning Ning turned back as she smiled, but was taken aback and asked, “Papa, what’s wrong?”

Boss Qu stopped staring, smiled and told her, “It’s nothing, let’s go.”

Ning Ning immediately understood, the only reason he would show such an expression would be that he discovered that something was amiss. She turned and looked towards the direction where Long Er left and thought to herself, “Chen Jun Yan, what are you up to?”

 

She grinned. As they passed by the entrance of the circus, she stopped and refused to move. “I want to watch too.” She said while pointing at the seemingly non-stop crowd of people walking in and out of the circus entrance.

“….. You watch it everyday, aren’t you sick of it?” Boss Qu replied.

“This is different.” Said Ning Ning, “Watching alone is different from watching along with the crowd.”

Boss Qu assumed that she had been alone for too long and wanted to experience what it was like to be among the hustle and bustle He shook his head impatiently and said, “Papa will tell you what’s different, you will be standing still but would be moved 10 meters in an instant, look.”

Both of them looked over, an innocent passerby was accidentally swept into the crowd through the entrance out of sight, he could only shout out, “I was only out to get soy sauce!!”

 

Peak hour traffic………

This scary phrase flashed across the mind of Ning Ning.

Why do humans like to torture each other! Ning Ning boldly closed her eyes, let go of Boss Qu’s hand without warning and ran towards the crowd all alone. She was swept away in an instant, leaving a parting remark, “I don’t care, I want to watch it!”

“Ning’er!” Boss Qu shouted from behind as he hurriedly tried to catch up.

As people pushed and shoved among themselves, Ning Ning felt as if she had moved 10 meters in an instant and had arrived at the entrance. The doorman held up his hands to stop her, “2 copper coins per entry”

Ning Ning impatiently took out a silver yuan and handed it over. “Keep the change.”

 

The doorman stepped out of the way with a huge grin after accepting the payment. Upon entering, she saw two tents erected in front of her. The tent on the left was grey with patches while the tent on the right had a lot of pictures sewn on. There were pictures of a snake woman, a rat man, a two-headed man and more.

Ning Ning wanted to take a look at the tent on the right, but there were two doormen standing guard. She recognised one of them, because he was the one whom she had shaved clean, he should know her too. Would he stop her if she were to walk over?

As she was hesitating, a circus teen ran over while holding his stomach. He said something to the hairless doorman out of her earshot, and they left together, leaving the unfamiliar watchman all alone.

 

A few audience passed by Ning Ning, she decided to follow them. the doorman raised his hand and stopped them. “Ten copper coins per entry.”

“That’s so expensive!” The group of audience exclaimed, some of them were unwilling to fork out this much money. One of them asked, “What’s inside? Does a sword swallower or a fire spitter worth this much money?”

“Of course it’s worth it,” the watchman said, “a rat man, a singing dog, a white bone demon, they are all rare species that you cannot see anywhere else! Also, it’s the last day today, if you don’t have a look now, you won’t have another chance tomorrow!”

A few people started to discuss among themselves hesitantly. Ning Ning was worried that the hairless doorman would come back early, so she pushed her way through the group of people and went into the tent after paying for the entrance fee.

She peeled away the thick flap of the tent to unveil a whole other world.

 

A curved shaped stage greeted her, there were a few seats in front of it. Perhaps the tickets were too expensive, there weren’t many audience. Some of them refused to be seated, instead choosing to stand around the stage.

There was a dog on the stage, it was not an expensive breed nor was it cute. Ning Ning was curious as to how this could be entertaining. At that moment the dog looked up. It stared into her eyes with its humanlike eyes and began to sing, “Where did this feeling come from, it’s unrequited but it still runs deep, the living can die, the dead can live.”

Ning Ning was so shocked that she took a few steps back and bumped into someone’s chest.

 

“Miss,” Chen Jun Yan’s voice rang out behind her, “follow me.”

He pulled her to the most inconspicuous seat and sat down, they were hidden due to the customers that surrounded them.

“Look.” Chen Jun Yan was seated beside her, he looked up to the stage and said, “This is the real circus.”

 

The curtains were raised and the performers appeared on stage. First up was the rat man. Although he had the stature of a human, he had fur and a rat tail. He reached his arms out and allowed the audience to have a touch. Everyone who touched him were astonished. Next up was the big-headed child. Her head was as big as a jar, but her limbs were as skinny as matchsticks and as weak as cotton. She had to have two girls helped her move around as she couldn’t do so herself. After that there were the legless man, the multi-armed man, the snake woman, all of them were introduced by a song sang by the dog. It was a gathering of demons, it felt weird and interesting at the same time.

“Miss,” Chen Jun Yan asked, “do you believe that a singing dog exists in this world?”

On stage, the dog sang with a youthful voice, “Dog barking dismally, a chill wind blows, unmarked graves piling up, a female ghost worships the moon…”

Accompanied by his singing, the curtain drew back, and a familiar figure appeared on stage.

It was Li Xiu Lan.

 

She was wearing a flower-patterned robe today, looking her part of a performer. Her gaze fell upon Ning Ning and Chen Jun Yan among the audience, the look in her eyes changed. She smiled and tossed her flowing sleeves, they fluttered to the ground like waves. Beneath the sleeves, after the armpits, the arms had neither flesh nor blood, all that was left were bones.
Ning Ning turned pale and felt sick….

“It doesn’t exist.” Chen Jun Yan whispered, “He was human. After he was kidnapped, his skin was corroded with medicine, then they stuck the skin of a dog on him with ash and medicine. He was then raised together with the dogs. After he had dog’s milk and grew dog’s fur, he was no longer human, but the circus’ singing dog.”

He suddenly turned around, stared at Ning Ning and said, “Didn’t you ask me what I was afraid of? This is it. I’m afraid that one day, I will end up like her, suffering the same fate as Li Xiu Lan. Miss, your father is…..”

 

“Seal the door!” Boss Qu suddenly entered the tent accompanied by a group of guards. A few youths were tied up and tossed to the ground, including Long Er who acted as the informant on stilts, and Gou Dan who lured the doorman away with a fake stomach ache. One of them immediately shouted fearfully, “It wasn’t me! It wasn’t me! Chen Jun Yan made me do it!”

Boss Qu didn’t bother to look at the youth, he was scanning the anxious crowd and stopped at Ning Ning.

“Today the circus needs to handle internal affairs.” He barked his orders as he was walking towards Ning Ning, “Old Zhang, give the customers refunds!”

The customers were ushered out as the refunds were given out.

 

After everyone left, only Boss Qu, Ning Ning, Chen Jun Yan, a group of pale-faced youths and the performers on stage were left in the tent.

Boss Qu arrived in front of Ning Ning, he reached his hands out intending to pull her towards him. But as his hands touched her shoulders, Ning Ning reflexively pushed him away. She didn’t use much force, but Boss Qu took a couple of steps back, looking at her in consternation.

“I…” Ning Ning looked at him. Whether it was her as Qu Ning’er or Ning Ning, their feelings were the same at that moment. She had suffered a huge emotional trauma, and so she looked at Boss Qu with the same expression that everyone else looked at him with…, a look filled with fear.

Boss Qu looked at her dazedly, his eyes were filled with pain and immense disappointment along with traces of tears. But his subordinates were behind him, the people of the circus were behind him, he could not cry in front of them. So he closed his eyes, and as he reopened them those immense pain and disappointment had transformed into massive rage. He looked at Chen Jun Yan, gritted his teeth as he articulated word by word, “Chen Jun Yan, you did this! You’ll have to be punished, all of you will have to be punished!”


Author’s Note:

Small Theater

Boss Qu drew his gun and pointed it at the author then coldly questioned, “Why is my circus nameless?”

Author wailed, “I can’t think of one ! ! I wanted to name it Qu Family Circus, I thought it looked like Ru family at a glance…..”

“Bang!”

Also pasting yesterday’s best comment ~~=v= praise users Ma Que Que and rain

Ma Que Que: “Chen Jun Yan: What’s our slogan? Cause trouble! Cause trouble! Cause trouble!”

rain: It’s over, you turned my handsome male lead into a handsome hamster.

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6 thoughts on “ITTMB 12”

  1. Yay!Thank you so much for picking this up and continuing it! It’s been so long and it really is an interesting novel

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