This Hatred Will Last Beyond Death
Ning Ning abruptly took a breath and opened her eyes.
There was not a soul in sight in the cinema, the hot drink in her hand was still steaming. On the movie screen in front of her, the story was just beginning.
“Xiu Lan,” Chen Jun Yan said, “I have a plan. If it succeeded both of us would be saved.”
“What plan?” Li Xiu Lan asked.
“I have inquired around and confirmed that the Circus Leader has a daughter.” Chen Jun Yan added, “He is selecting people to go over to perform tricks for her. We’ll go together…,then you’ll need to assault her.”
Li Xiu Lan was startled and frantically shook her head. “I’m not doing it! The leader will kill me!”
“The circus is short of manpower, he will at most punish you. He will not kill you.” Chen Jun Yan reached out and touched her cheek, “Moreover, this is the only way for me to have an excuse to get close to Miss, gain her trust, and then use her to create chances for the two of us.”
Li Xiu Lan held his hand and intimately placed her face in it, “Then what if…… Circus Leader got angry and made me pick a wooden doll form the wooden box?”
“No matter what you would turn into…” Chen Jun Yan gazed at her gently, “I would still like you.”
Watching this scene, Ning Ning mumbled, “So that’s how it is.”
As it turned out, from the moment they met, everything had been according to Chen Jun Yan’s plan. He had convinced Li Xiu Lan to play out a farce with him, one of a hero saving a damsel in distress.
As the movie continued, Ning Ning saw herself appear on screen. Li Xiu Lan used her nine chain links to strangle her, then gave a signal to Chen Jun Yan who had long been prepared. He rushed over to push Li Xiu Lan off and saved Ning Ning.
From the audience’s point of view, the two of them had excellent chemistry and what they were doing was on justice’s side.
But as Boss Qu appeared in front of the camera, Ning Ning could not hold back her tears.
He was but a supporting character, an unforgivable villainous character, but why did she sincerely look forward to seeing him appear in the shot again.
“Looks good, my Ning Ning is the most beautiful girl in the world.”
“…No need to rush, mastering your razor skills will not happen in a day or two after practicing on just one or two people.” Boss Qu turned around and began walking out. “Wait here, Papa will bring back more practice sources!”
“I know what you did with the box.”
“Kindness never begets kindness, in the end you will be the one who gets hurt.”
“I hate this world, this world has never been good to me, I also won’t be kind to this world. But today is your birthday, it’s the only day the accursed Heaven ever showed me kindness. If…if this is your wish…”
“……Shut up! No laughing allowed, I’ll kill anyone that laughs!”
Ning Ning suddenly bent over, hugged herself and started shivering. Amidst sounds of mourning, she stumbled as she made her way out of the cinema. Outside, the doorman was leaning against the wall with his arms folded. He slowly raised his head along with the snow white mask and slowly watched her back view as she bolted off.
“It’s all fake!! It’s all fake!! You can’t trick me!!” Ning Ning rushed into the rain, crying as she was running, her tears were washed away by the rain.
The doorman suddenly rushed over, and dragged her back by her arms.
“It’s fake…, sobs, all fake……” Ning Ning was still crying, she was drenched from the downpour.
The doorman flagged a taxi, opened the door and pushed her in.
“Where to?” asked the driver.
Ning Ning choked for a while before she could state her address. As the car started making its way to her home, she lowered her head and glanced at the time. It was actually only 1:40 in the morning. As it turned out all that she had experienced were but the length of a movie’s runtime……
There was a new WeChat notification on her phone, it was from her manager. “The story overview and character design had been sent to your inbox. The audition is tomorrow, you have to study it carefully today, don’t waste this opportunity as it is hard to come by.”
Ning Ning dried her tears with one hand and opened the inbox on her phone with the other. She took a look at the story overview and character design. At this moment anything would do, as long as it could distract her. She read the name of the show with a trembling voice, “Ugly Girl.”
The story revolved around a modern day prince and a mermaid.
The male lead was young and rich, but he was grievously hurt from an accident which led him to become temporarily blind. The female lead who had goddess-like good looks saved him and took care of him. In an effort to probe for his sincerity, she joked about how ugly she was, but the male lead still professed his love for her. After the male lead accepted the last treatment, the female lead had to leave because something came up. In the end the male lead misidentified the supporting female character as the female lead.
“Supporting female character Qu Ling.” Ning Ning read the character design in a soft voice, “Ugly looks, frivolously narcissistic, full of herself, but had lived a smooth and comfortable life because of a nice and rich father. Didn’t correct male lead after being misidentified as the female lead, went along with the mistake and became his girlfriend. Her father’s company closed down afterwards and she was exposed, lived the remainder of her life being mocked by the people around her.”
A rotten character design that didn’t even have a hundred words, for no reason felt like a complete story in her mind.
How her parents looked forward to having her, how she was pampered as she was growing up, she attended schools her father told her to, no one had ever criticised her looks or personality, how much had her father have to do behind her back to achieve this? But her father died in a car accident, his company closed down, she lost everything overnight. Even the male lead who was the only one she could rely on had coldly called her out in front of everyone: ugly girl.
This was a character that would make people laugh, but Ning Ning could only think of crying.
Back at home, she stumbled through the entrance dripping wet, leaving pools of water that looked like tear stains behind. She mumbled to herself as she looked at the clock on the wall, “I need to sleep early, can’t have dark circles. I have to wake up early and try to figure out the character design, think about the lines and prepare for the audition in the afternoon, I cannot……cannot think about what happened in the cinema…That was a dream, yes, that was a dream! It was all fake, the cinema was fake, transmigration was fake, papa……”
Lightning flashed outside of the window, the sky turned snow white before fading back to black.
Ning Ning shivered again, she curled up and slowly knelt down, forehead stuck on the cold floorboard, hands hugging herself tightly. At first she could only moan softly, then the moans turned louder and mournful till finally she cried out, “Papa!!!”
Boom—It was storming cats and dogs. It was like God wanted to destroy the world with a flood.
Inside the empty cinema, the doorman with the snow white mask stood in front of the screen quietly.
On the screen, the story was playing out its last scene.
Heavy snow was falling, people were running around wildly. Li Xiu Lan raised a finger at the burning man who was walking towards them and said, “Shoot him!”
Gunshots rang in the air, Boss Qu fell to the ground. With Ning Ning in one arm and using the other to support himself, he got up from the snowy ground covered with fire. He scanned everyone on site before finally fixing his gaze at the camera, fixing his gaze at the only audience outside of the camera.
“I won’t die.” Boss Qu said.
“Even if I die, I won’t drink Meng Po’s soup.” The Doorman raised his head and looked up at him.
“I will remember what you look like.” Boss Qu said, “If I get reincarnated as a dog I will bite off your neck.”
“If I get reincarnated as a bird,” the Doorman continued, “I will peck your eyes out.”
“Life after life……” Boss Qu said.
“In an unbreakable cycle……” The Doorman said.
Flames were burning his body, but the fires of hatred burned even more fiercely in his eyes.
Those flames passed through time, passed through space, passed through the screen and was reflected on the mask of the Doorman, dyeing his snow-white mask a bloody red.
Within the screen, outside the screen, two voices rang out together, one full of hoarseness, one full of peace, one hot like fire, one cold as ice, finally with the same resentment, they matched up like it was etched in memory.
“This hatred will last beyond death!!!”
The screen faded to black.
After that the credits rolled as it was accompanied by a tragic end theme. Male lead Chen Jun Yan, Female Lead Li Xiu Lan, the names of the supporting roles were seemingly endless. Wang Ma, Little Freckle, Long Er, and…… Ning Ning along with Boss Qu.
When it reached the end, a few white words appeared on the screen.
As one story ended, another story began. When the night passed, another day dawned.
After the rain stopped, the city was shrouded in dark clouds. It was dark and grey, even morning looked like it was night.
A person lay on the cold floorboards, Ning Ning had slept on it for the whole night. She abruptly opened her eyes the moment her phone began to buzz.
“Hello.” She answered the phone, “Yes, I got it… I’m fine, I just overslept, I will immediately change and go over… Don’t worry, I will make it in time before the audition starts.”
After she hung up, Ning Ning slowly got up from the ground. She was feeling really cold, chills ran from her head all the way to her toes. She walked into the bathroom like a walking corpse with her arms dangling beside her. She stripped and turned on the hot water to wash herself. But the moment the hot water touched her, she felt as if she was being burned by fire and got out immediately while crying out.
“So hot…scalding…” Ning Ning hung her long hair, hugged herself and shivered. Then, as she was trembling she switched the hot water to cold water, and stood under it speechlessly.
After the 10 minutes shower, she turned the water off, wrapped herself with a bath towel, grabbed another towel draped on a chair and dried her hair as she walked out of the bathroom. She arrived in front of her wardrobe and pulled it open. There were a lot of clothes inside. Even though she knew she was auditioning for a part in a modern show, but for reasons unknown, she reached out and pulled out a very traditional red qipao.
The audition was scheduled at 2:30, she arrived at 1:30.
The cast was basically confirmed, all that was left to do was to go to the Director’s studio for a small scale audition. But for some reason it had to be done in such a prestigious way, maybe it was for publicity.
Ning Ning thought this while she walked. Behind her, someone uttered in a voice full of doubt, “Is that…… Ning Ning?”
“It looks like her.”
“…Is she on drugs? Why does she look like that?”
“She is said to be the prettiest vase1 of the new generation, I feel lied to.”
Not far from there, the male lead of the show, Chen Shuang He, looked towards her without any expression. His assistant beside him shook their head and evaluated, “Looks like the pressure of the audition got to her, she has already fallen apart.”
Looking at the back view of what looked like a walking corpse, Chen Shuang He had on a complicated expression. Pity, despise, disappointment, disdain, he asked himself, would it be worth his maximum effort to crush this kind of person?
“No.” He laughed coldly, “It will only take one minute to crush her!”
1Vase is a Chinese term used to describe a celebrity who doesn’t have much (acting) skills and is only there to look good for the audience.D