The Initial Goodwill
Boss Qu was enraged.
He didn’t care if this would affect the operations of the circus, he stubbornly wanted all the reserves to graduate prematurely and became the stars of the other tent.
“It’s all your fault!” Boss Qu viciously declared while grabbing onto the hair of Chen Jun Yan in the torture chamber. “Be it you or Long Er, none of you are getting away! Everyone is picking a wooden doll from the box today!”
Chen Jun Yan’s face was full of bruises, he slowly opened his eyes, squinting, and asked him with a smile, “Is Miss terrified of you now?”
Boss Qu’s face twitched, then he laughed.
“You’re good, very good.” He loosened his grip, Chen Jun Yan grunted as he fell to the ground. Boss Qu looked down on him and laughed, “You’re atrocious, you’re even worse than me. If not for what happened today, I would have kept you, nurtured you, because you definitely could survive very well in this abhorrent world.”
After he was done saying his piece he picked up the wooden box that was on the table, he was stupefied for an unknown reason. After he got his senses back, he put down the wooden box and told Chen Jun Yan without looking at him, “You have to give thanks to Miss, this is an opportunity she begged me to give you. You can pick your wooden doll, or let me choose, I will use the most cruel method to transform all of you.”
The door opened and a single ray of moonlight shined on the face of Chen Jun Yan. It slowly shrunk and disappeared from his face as the door to the room was sealed shut.
Outside of the door, Boss Qu looked at the night sky and waved off his servants. He held a lantern as he walked home alone, the snow made a crunching sound as he stepped on them, he braced the wind and snow before he entered his home. He smiled as he delivered the words he painstakingly came up with on the way back, “Ning’er, didn’t you think my facial hair is an eyesore? Come, let Papa have a taste of your shaving skills ”
He cherished his facial hair a lot, but it was nothing compared to his daughter.
Ning Ning looked at him with a complicated expression, she didn’t know how to answer him, because….. she had once again failed to sustain her role as Qu Ning’er. No, the situation was even worse, she had been completely torn apart from Qu Ning’er.
Qu Ning’er’s indifference was conflicting with Ning Ning’s conscience. Ning Ning’s conscience was condemning Qu Ning’er’s indifference. In the end, indifference couldn’t beat conscience, which was why it had become another tragic play. The person standing in the room now was Ning Ning, the young actress who could no longer portray Qu Ning’er.
Looking at Boss Qu being dazed for a short while, Ning Ning grabbed the razor and walked towards him.
Wang Ma silently lit a candle by the side. The light from the flickering flame shone in his eyes, dyeing his eyes a warm golden colour. When the razor shaved the final strands of facial hair, it revealed a face that looked like it belonged to someone between a young adult and a middle aged man. It was cold and gentle, cruel and determined, it was even a little handsome. Stern yet beautiful, like a razor in a snowy night.
He suddenly spoke, “I know what you did.”
Ning Ning’s hand that was holding the razor trembled.
Blood was flowing from the small cut, but Boss Qu was unbothered by it. He slowly faced towards Ning Ning, smiling gently yet begrudgingly, “I know that you rigged what’s in the box.”
At the same time, in the torture chamber, Chen Jun Yan laid flat on the ground, thinking about Miss Qu. He thought of what Miss said just before she left.
She came by a little earlier than Boss Qu. She got rid of all the guards with her usual arrogance, cut the rope that was tying his hands and feet with a sharp pair of scissors then pointed outside the door and said, “Go.”
In a daze, it felt like he was back to that afternoon, to the game among friends.
“Where would I go?” Chen Jun Yan suddenly smiled.
“Go home of course.” Miss said rightfully.
“I don’t know where my house is at the moment, I was kidnapped when I was 10.” Chen Jun Yan laid on the floor unmovingly, staring at the ceiling above him without blinking, “I will leave when the opportunity arises. I would have left last time if I wanted to leave, but I did not. Because I hate Boss Qu, I hate this circus, and I hate you. If all of you don’t receive retribution, there would be no point in me leaving this place!”
Though he had words full of righteousness, his heart was saying, ‘Help me, I can’t die yet!’
He couldn’t ask for help directly, because everyone admired a person who have no regards for life and death. But he couldn’t go overboard, if he was too stubborn he wouldn’t get what he wanted.
If life was a movie or a play, then the act right now was the most important in Chen Jun Yan’s life. Life or death depended on whether he could touch Miss’s heart.
“….Moreover, does freedom truly lie outside the door?” Since they couldn’t see each other well in the dark, the thing that could touch her was his voice. Chen Jun Yan allowed his voice to sound weak.
Miss fell silent, then her voice rang out from the darkness: “I know you are acting in front of me.”
Chen Jun Yan choked on his words. All of a sudden he felt cold sweat, he even shivered a little, his entire body was enveloped by a fear that was infinitely close to the fear of death.
“But I will save you,” Miss laughed bitterly, she said with an attitude that was somewhat like her but yet not, “I will save all of you.”
After a brief moment, Chen Jun Yan laughed so hard he trembled. “I don’t believe you, Miss.”
The flashback ended, Chen Jun Yan then asked himself, did he really not believe her? If that was the case, what was he waiting for? What was he disappointed for? What was he hating on?
“…… You said you would definitely come to my rescue me, but you didn’t turn up.” Chen Jun Yan mumbled, “It’s a good thing I didn’t believe you. In this hell, there are no good people, no friends, no trust, there’s nothing…”
Boss Qu walked out leaving the wooden box on the table. Chen Jun Yan laughed sarcastically. “You thought by leaving this behind and letting me choose my own wooden puppet counts as a compensation to me? Miss….. You are so cute yet detestable …”
As he was finishing his previous sentence, the door to the torture chamber was busted through with a bang.
Moonlight shined on his face again, Chen Jun Yan smiled a vengeful smile.
“Quickly inform Miss Li Xiu Lan”
“Oh my, he’s badly injured, quickly get a physician!”
A group of people in police uniforms rushed in, their shadows flashed across the face of Chen Jun Yan. He began to laugh uncontrollably.
“All of you are finally here!” He said while laughing. The people around him gave him weird looks, he teared up laughing so much. “Miss, you really thought I brought you to the circus to see the truth?”
The simple and naive Miss, the proud and stubborn Miss, the cute but detestable Miss…. He had never believed her. How could he place his hopes on her? Li Xiu Lan, the third daughter of the military Li family was whom he placed his hopes on. When Miss ran off from Boss Qu(’s side) and thus prompted Boss Qu to mobilise everyone to look for her, he sneaked out of the circus and sent a letter along with a token fromLi Xiu Lan to the police station. Verifying Li Xiu Lan’s identity took some time, good thing it was still done in time. The final winner was him, he was the one with the last laugh.
“You can’t escape just by walking out the front door.” After he finished laughing, Chen Jun Yan mumbled, “Only by destroying the circus, only by destroying all of you, I will be able to obtain freedom….”
For this he used everyone, even himself.
After they had confirmed Chen Jun Yan’s safety, a policeman was assigned to look after him. As the rest were about to leave, Chen Jun Yan asked, “Where are you going? What happened to the people of the circus? Have you caught Boss Qu and his daughter?”
The policeman answered politely, “We are going over now.”
“….. go, don’t let the guilty escape.” Chen Jun Yan said, “Right, leave the door open, I want some light.”
The policemen left without closing the door, the winds of winter blew in, the policeman that stayed behind folded his arms in an attempt to keep himself warm. Chen Jun Yan’s lips turned pale because of the cold, but he was unwilling to close the door. He greedily breathed in the air of freedom, gazing at the moonlight outside the door.
Not long later, a physician carrying a case of medicine arrived and said with surprise, “It’s so cold inside, why was the door left open?”
He closed the door then lit a candle he took out from the medicine case, the flame swayed and occasionally crackled. The physician applied the medicine on Chen Jun Yan and bandaged him then finally said, “You went cold and hungry for many years, your constitution is already very weak, plus you are too stressed out, if you don’t take care of your body while you are still young, you will have a hard time when you are old. Right, this place is no longer inhabitable.”
Before Chen Jun Yan could say anything, the police that was watching over him said, “Miss Li Xiu Lan has requested that after we find you, we are to quickly escort you over to meet her.”
Chen Jun Yan nodded, the police supported him as he got up. As they were about to walk through the door, he suddenly said, “Wait.”
He stopped in his tracks, looked at the wooden box on the table with a complicated expression. The wooden box that once gave him countless nightmares was now left behind on the table like a worthless junk. After a while, the policeman beside him got impatient and asked, “Can we go now?”
“…… Let’s go.” Chen Jun Yan replied. He thought to himself, ‘I’ll keep it as a souvenir.’ He reached over and grabbed the wooden box from the table. He was stunned the moment he picked it up, ‘Why……is it so light?’
He wrenched himself free of the policeman’s hand and quickly opened the box.
The armless wooden doll, the legless wooden doll, the singing dog wooden doll, the mouse man wooden doll, the big headed child wooden doll…… all of the wooden dolls were gone.
The moonlight shone on the content of the box. Inside was a stack of paper. Chen Jun Yan picked up a piece of paper, there was a squiggly word which looked like it was written by a child that just began to learn to write on it: human.
Chen Jun Yan’s fingers slowly began to tremble. He felt as if he was looking at Miss when he looked at the word. Her figure accompanied by the afternoon sun appeared in front of his eyes.
That day, she bothered him again, asking him to play the childish friend game with her.
“I don’t know how to write, but it’s alright.” That was an extremely lazy and warm afternoon, she sat under the translucent screen, her hair seemed gold as they were bathing in the sunlight, it made her looked like the blonde doll she held in her arms. She laughed, and with a voice that’s as lazy and fluffy as the afternoon sun said, “I am beautiful and rich anyway, I’ll just look for a husband who can write. Oh, by the way, can you write?”
She always thought too little. He, on the other hand, always thought too much. He dissected her words twice over before answering cautiously, “I can.”
“That won’t do.” Miss’s expression immediately changed, “We are friends, I have to know what you know, teach me!”
Writing materials were then brought out. He deliberated long and hard over the choice of word to be taught to her, before he finally began to write.
“What word is this?” Miss asked as she huddled beside him
“Human.” He replied.
Human. The most precious being on heaven and earth. Humans should not live like weeds, they also should not live wearing beast skins over them.
He wanted to be a human…..and hoped that she was one.
Chen Jun Yan dropped the wooden box. All the pieces of paper with human written on them fluttered and surrounded him like children. Chen Jun Yan took two deep breaths then rushed out of the door.