Qualifications to be the Owner
<<After Juliet’s Death>> play was ongoing. Backstage.
Chen Shuang He made a phone call a few more times, all of them rang for a long time. He turned around and told Shi Zhong Tang, “It’s not working, she’s not picking up.”
Shi Zhong Tang did not say anything, he looked a little reticent.
“Why not…” Chen Shuang He hesitated for a moment before he said, “you go to look for her?”
At this time, the sound of the gavel rang out from the stage, the dignified voice called out, “Plaintiff, the soul of Romeo! Take the stand!”
“Let’s go.” Chen Shuang He gave Shi Zhong Tang a pat on his back. Then, amidst the applause of the audience, he slowly walked to the stage.
He was wearing a white suit, his face too was painted in snow white color, only his chest was red. It represented his state as a spirit, the cause of death was a knife to his chest.
The applause gradually stopped. He stood at the plaintiff seat, looking at the dock from a distance.
Qu Yan stood at the dock. Behind him…stood a true spirit.
“Romeo,” the dignified voice asked, “do you still recognise the man in front of you?”
“…Murderer!” Chen Shuang He pointed at Qu Yan. “You are the murderer who killed me!”
“You are also the murderer!” Qu Yan slammed the table with both his hands and roared at him in rage, “The murderer who killed my daughter!”
The two of them started hurling abuses at each other, the hitting sound of the gavel rang out repeatedly. “Silence! Silence! Romeo, state the cause of your death!”
“The cause of my death is…” Chen Shuang He’s eyes shifted away from Qu Yan uncontrollably, shifting onto Boss Qu who was behind him, his voice paused. He abruptly remembered that he was (still) on stage, frantically continuing, “A stab to my heart, by him, using a knife…”
Boss Qu walked past Qu Yan, walking towards Chen Shuang He step by step.
Both his arms hung by his sides naturally, he was not holding a knife. But even without a knife, he was still a very dangerous person. As he walked closer, Chen Shuang He’s heart beat faster, he could not help but take a step back.
…No, he could not retreat. <<After Juliet’s Death>> was already his last chance, he definitely could not get off the stage under the watchful eyes of the audience.
Besides, didn’t Shi Zhong Tang say that although the doorman could mess up his life, he could not kill him…
“Did Shi Zhong Tang tell you that I wouldn’t dare kill you?” Boss Qu stood still in front of Chen Shuang He and laughed.
Chen Shuang He was flabbergasted.
“I just didn’t want to do it too early.” As Boss Qu finished, he swiftly reached out and grabbed Chen Shuang He’s neck, laughing coldly. “Now, I am done admiring your penniless and miserable look…I can send you on your way.”
Cries rang out from the audience below the stage. They could not see Boss Qu, so what they saw was Chen Shuang He—as if he had triggered some kind of sickness—his neck was all straightened up, both his hands were tearing at his neck.
“Enough.” A knife was suddenly lodged in Boss Qu’s neck. He coughed once, loosened his grip uncontrollably and took a step back. He glared at the newcomer. “Shi Zhong Tang…”
“Haven’t you had enough?” Shi Zhong Tang stood in front of Chen Shuang He and smiled at Boss Qu. “You have already had people take all the roles who made him whom he was, seized all of his connections, now you want his life as well? Isn’t that too much? For my sake, let him off.”
“For your sake?” Boss Qu let out a big cold laugh. His shoulders shook. He held up both fists, his fingers making cracking sounds.
Shi Zhong Tang also held up a boxing stance. “If you won’t back down, then you leave me with no choice.”
He was answered by a ruthless fist.
The two invisible men started fighting on stage.
Shi Zhong Tang could be considered a professionally trained fighter. For the sake of his roles, he had learned from famous teachers. No matter if it was swordsmanship or Chinese martial arts, he dabbled in all of them, he was even an amateur boxer. On the contrary, Boss Qu certainly did not have the same type of qualifications. He was from the underworld, his skills were gained from real fights. Although his moves were not pretty, he would win in viciousness.
The two were locked in a titanic struggle. They first knocked over the backdrop of the plaintiff’s seat, then they knocked over the backdrop of the dock. A number of people were shouting:
“What’s going on?”
“Is it special effects?”
“Did spirits really appear?”
“You want to die too?” Boss Qu’s fist landed on Shi Zhong Tang’s temple. He took this opportunity—while Shi Zhong Tang’s head was spinning—to press him down to the ground, he half squatted fiercely. “Stop me again, I’ll kill you along with him!”
After he finished speaking, he looked up towards Chen Shuang He. Just as he got up and walked towards him, Shi Zhong Tang grabbed his arm.
“Ning Ning went to Life Theater.” Even though Shi Zhong Tang was covered in injuries, he still had a nonchalant look. He laid on the floor, looking up at Boss Qu as he smiled. “Do you think she can convince the theater to get it to end this screening of <<Sneaking In>> early?”
Boss Qu was startled, he then laughed out loud.
“Everyone wants to get in my way, even her!” He broke free from Shi Zhong Tang’s grasp and slowly walked towards Chen Shuang He. His footsteps were heavy, it was as if he had a certain person’s corpse on his back, his eyes were red with hatred. “Unless you burn me till there were not even ashes left of me…otherwise, this hatred will last beyond death!”
Along with his words, someone shouted, “There’s a fire!”
At first, everyone thought that someone was messing around, but another person followed up. “Ah! Fire!” Another added, “Run quickly!” All the people on the audience seats got up in an instant. Like the sound of a rising tide, screams rang out from all directions. The sound of footsteps were chaotic as they surged towards the exit like a wave.
Qu Yan saw this from the stage, then he also frantically jumped off from the stage and ran for his life. Chen Shuang He on the other hand was not moving as he crouched in a corner of the stage. A shout rang out in the next second, he looked towards the direction of the sound and saw that Shi Zhong Tang had reined in Boss Qu by grabbing his neck from the back. He cursed and swore a few times before he shouted at Chen Shuang He, “What are you still crouching there for? You can’t be of help to me, quickly, start running for your life.”
Chen Shuang He took two looks at him before he finally gritted his teeth and jumped off the stage to run for his life.
Behind him, Shi Zhong Tang took a step back as he was struck with an elbow by Boss Qu. Boss Qu jumped off the stage as well and chased after Chen Shuang He.
At the same time, Life Theater.
“Yes.” Facing the question of the man, Ning Ning answered.
The man’s voice could not be heard for a very long time. Within the darkness, it was like there was a pair of eyes measuring her up carefully and fastidiously.
“Honestly speaking, your qualifications are nothing to shout about.” His voice rang out again after a very long while, “Not to mention the first owner, all the owners who followed after were amazing. Compared to them, you are too ordinary in all aspects… But seeing that you are the first person in a century to apply for the position, I will give you a chance.”
“…Thank you.” Ning Ning clenched her fists tightly with her sweaty palms.
The situation she currently faced was just like being in an interview which she was at a great disadvantage in.
Ning Ning was facing a situation of a professional mismatch. She was unfamiliar with the situation of the theater and the main business model, she had no relevant working experience either, along with other problems.
The only advantage she had was—there were no competitors, so she had immediately gotten to the final stage.
“First, answer my question.” The man asked, “Why do you want to be my owner?”
This question was similar to: Why do you want to work for our company?
Ning Ning could certainly go for the cliché like: I have admired your movie theater for a very long time, my only wish in life is to slog my guts out for the theater without pay, so on and so forth…
Would anyone believe her if she said that?
Most importantly, were these highfalutin jargons what the theater wanted to hear?
“…I have a lot of things I want from the theater. For example, I want to end this screening of <<Sneaking In>> early, I want my Mama to not be bedridden for some ten years.” Ning Ning babbled on, she looked in front of her carefully after every wish she had stated.
The man listened to everything she said patiently, then told her as he laughed, “I’m afraid I’ll have to disappoint you. Some things—even if you were to become the owner—cannot be changed.”
Ning Ning was taken aback, “Then what could the owner do?”
“The rights of the owner are…” The man suddenly stopped as he got to that part.
Ning Ning waited for a very long time but he would not continue, she could only ask him, “What are they?”
“…Nothing.” To her surprise, the man actually said, “You can go back now.”
Ning Ning did not know why he had a sudden change in attitude, but the interview was already halfway through, how could she leave just like that, she frantically asked, “Why? Didn’t you say you would give me a chance?”
“There’s no need.” The man rejected her, he laughed pointedly. “If you want to become my owner, you have to at least satisfy a prerequisite.”
Ning Ning was taken aback. “What prerequisite?”
The man said, “You have to at least be a living person.”
<<After Juliet’s Death>> play was suspended, outside the entrance.
The entrance was like a vomiting mouth, vomiting people out continuously. Every person who had been vomited out didn’t look good. Celebrities from all walks of life all looked worried, some of them ruined their makeup from crying, some of them were black from the smoke, but even so, those who were able to come out were the lucky ones, there were still a number of people who were stuck inside.
Boss Qu pushed away the fatso that was blocking his way, his eyes staring straight at Chen Shuang He who was not far ahead of him.
Chen Shuang He wanted to run, but a fat woman was clinging on to him.
“Help me.” The fat woman had attempted to stop every person in front of her but had failed to do so. She finally decided to just grab onto Chen Shuang He, crying as she told him, “My daughter is still in there, I beg of you, save her!”
Boss Qu let out a loud cold laugh, he walked towards Chen Shuang He. When he walked past a woman, he plucked her pseudo-antique hairpin off her hair, the tip of the hairpin was very blunt, but if it were to stab into someone’s eye, that person would still die.
Just as he was about to walk up to Chen Shuang He’s side, Ning Yu Ren’s screams rang out beside him, “Let go of me!”
Boss Qu was stunned for a moment. He looked back and saw Director Chen—with ashes and soot on his face—dragging and pulling Ning Yu Ren out from the door, but Ning Yu Ren did not appreciate it at all. She scratched his face with her fingernails, her hair that was tied in a bun had long been scattered out. She shouted at the door gut-wrenchingly, “My daughter is still in there!!”
Ah Xia: The one who lives at the end is the true male lead!
Movie Theater: The one who lives at the end is my true owner!
Ah Xia: Good theater!
Movie Theater: Good Ah Xia!