Real (or) Fake

She had lost control.

Ning Ning was sitting on Chen Guan Chao’s waist. She knew that what she was doing was wrong. She wanted to stop, but she couldn’t stop, because Qu Ning’er’s illusion had appeared behind her. Qu Ning’er’s severely burnt hands reached out from behind her, grabbing her hands, helping her to viciously choke Chen Guan Chao.

“No!” Ning Ning shouted in her heart, “No! I cannot do this!”

“What does it matter?” Qu Ning’er placed her chin on Ning Ning’s shoulder. She was becoming more and more real. Ning Ning could even feel the pain from Qu Ning’er’s chin digging into her shoulder. “This is the movie world anyway. You can do whatever you like. It doesn’t matter even if you kill him, he’s not real anyway.”

“Don’t act like you’re doing this for me!” Ning Ning said furiously, “You just want to use me to kill Chen Guan Chao because he is the grandson of Chen Jun Yan!”

After a moment of silence, Qu Ning’er laughed coldly. “Yes, I want to kill him! If I were still alive, my grandson would be as old as him. If I were still alive…”

Her hatred flowed out along with these words, flowing into the hands of Ning Ning, choking Chen Guan Chao with more force. Ning Ning had a malevolent expression on for a while, then she suddenly turned her head with difficulty, struggling as she told Ning Yu Ren, “Stop me.”

Ning Yu Ren had already fallen to the floor from fright, she was speechless.

“I beg you…” Ning Ning shouted helplessly with a hint of a cry, “Quickly stop me!”

Ning Yu Ren leapt up from the ground upon getting shouted at. She reached out, felt a table lamp beside her and swung it with a yell. The table lamp hit Ning Ning’s head, she fell to the floor with a grunt. After a while, she got up from the ground holding the wound on her head, her face had an expression of having a new lease of life, she smiled and asked, “Are you guys alright……”

“Don’t come over!” Ning Yu Ren shrunk into a corner while hugging Chen Guan Chao. She was too scared that a phrase slipped from her mouth, “Monster!!”

Ning Ning was stunned, two streams of tears started flowing.

“I don’t care if the others are scared of me, why are you also scared of me…” She looked at Ning Yu Ren blankly. “I don’t care if others say that about me, why are you also saying that…”

“Because she, too, is fake.” The hallucination reappeared. Qu Ning’er climbed onto her shoulder like a parasite and whispered in her ear, “Everything in this world is fake. Mama is fake, Director Chen is fake, you are fake too. Only my hatred is real.”

The sound of footsteps came from behind Ning Ning, it broke off the voice of Qu Ning’er. Someone came down into the cellar and shouted into the room, “Wen Xiao Ning, someone is here for you.”

Finally, she didn’t have to listen to Qu Ning’er Ning Ning breathed a sigh of relief, she raised her hands to wipe the tears on her face. “Coming.”

She didn’t dare to look at Ning Yu Ren again. She was even afraid of hearing Ning Yu Ren speak. She ran out of the cellar hastily. She squinted her eyes as she was greeted by the sunshine outside, feeling that everything in front of her eyes were not real.

“Is this world…real?” She mumbled, then looked down at her palms, “Am I… really a monster?”

It didn’t matter if the world was real, she was still definitely a monster.

If Mama had not stopped her just now, wouldn’t she be a murderer by now?

No. Even if she did not succeed, it was still an attempted murder. Currently Chen Guan Chao had not woken up. Once he woke up, she reckoned that she would be fired from the cast. She might even be imprisoned.

“Ha, I’m dead meat.” Ning Ning laughed, she suddenly hugged herself with both arms, her fingers digging into her skin. She said maliciously with a distorted expression, “Come out! Come out! It’s all your damn fault! Get out of here, get lost!”

A cry of fear sounded out in front of her. Ning Ning looked up at the direction of the sound, only to see that it was the Socialite. A plastic basin was at her feet, the water in the basin had spilled on the floor, she was looking at Ning Ning with a face full of terror.

“What is it?” Ning Ning stared at her with bloodshot eyes, “Am I very scary?”

The Socialite turned tail and ran.

It was not just her, others also had similar reactions when they saw Ning Ning. They would either quickly run away, watch her from afar or point fingers at her. What do you see? Ning Ning looked at them fiercely. What do you think I am? A ghost? A monster?

The sunlight made her feel awful, their looks made her feel worse. At this time she really wanted to wrap herself in a cloak, to cover her face with a mask. That way, she wouldn’t be seen by them, she wouldn’t need to be subjected to being stared at this way. But she didn’t have any of those, she could only use her hands to cover her face. She lowered her head and walked to the entrance of the theater.

Ning Ning froze on the spot due to the surprise she got from seeing who was waiting for her outside. “…How did you get here?”

Under the sunlight, Wen Yu turned around at lightning speed.

He looked a little dirty. Both his hair and face were dusty, causing him to look a little dull, but his eyes lit up the moment he saw Ning Ning. He ran towards her with open arms and jumped into her bosom, giving her a hug.

Ning Ning stood her ground silently. She looked down after a very long time and asked him, “…Are you not afraid of me?”

Wen Yu shook his head then opened his school bag and took out an exercise book. He flipped it open to a page and wrote a sentence on it before raising it up for her to read.

Ning Ning took the exercise book to look. Written on it was, ‘You never came to look for me, so I came to look for you.’

She looked at him with a shock. He was looking up at her just like the day they said their farewells at the train station, with a warm and innocent smile full of trust.

“…You came at a bad time.” Ning Ning smiled at him. “I just attempted a murder, I’m about to be arrested soon.”

As soon as she finished, two men walked up from behind her. They grabbed her from each side. Wen Yu stayed on the spot blankly, then frantically chased after them.

Upon arriving at Chen Guan Chao’s room, they heard a heated argument coming from the inside. The Director’s angry voice resonated from behind the door, “She is a dangerous character! To tell you the truth, her hatred runs too deep!”

Ning Ning stopped in her tracks.

“I don’t know where that hatred comes from in spite of her young age, but I can tell, she has been using this hatred to act! I don’t know who she was acting as, but it was not the Phantom!” The Director continued shouting, “The Phantom might push someone into a coffin, but would the Phantom sit on the coffin and sing a song while she clapped? No! That was not the Phantom! That was the departed spirit of a little girl!”

Experience counts indeed, you are absolutely right.

Ning Ning knocked on the door and went in. The two of them looked at her direction as she walked in, the Director said coldly, “You heard everything? If you were just poor at acting, I would still be able to tolerate you. But you have actually hurt someone! That is something I cannot tolerate…”

“I can tolerate it!” Chen Guan Chao shouted, forgetting the pain from his neck which had not healed. He looked feverishly at Ning Ning. “My Phantom needs you!!”

“I really should let you take a look at some experienced actors, old movie stars, it would prevent you from treating this blade of grass as a treasure!1” The director pointed at Ning Ning with a face full of resentment. “Look at her. There is only hatred in her acting. There is no love! Not even a shred! This is an actress with a fatal flaw!”

“I once had it.” Ning Ning suddenly smiled, looking like she was playing it down, “I had once loved…”

The room went silent. After a while, little Wen Yu suddenly ran up to the Director from behind Ning Ning. He scribbled something on his exercise book and raised it up for the Director to see.

The Director read the words in the exercise book, then looked up at Ning Ning again and shook his head.

Wen Yu was not discouraged, he scribbled another sentence.

The Director took another look and shouted, “Who are you calling grandpa, call me uncle!2

Wen Yu immediately looked down and struck it out, with a serious look he corrected his mistake like a primary school student. Once he was done he let the Director look at the words again.

A hand reached out from behind Wen Yu. He looked back and saw Ning Ning. He did not know when she had gotten behind him. She flipped through the exercise book, on it was written:

‘She loves me a lot.

Grandpa Uncle, I beg you, give her another chance.’

‘She will not hurt anyone again. I guarantee it, because…’

The last part was not finished. Wen Yu took the exercise book back from her hands, he finished the last part with his puerile style of writing. The sentence was, ‘Because I will live with her. If she is going to hurt anyone, it will only be me, she will not hurt anyone else.’

“….You don’t have to make such sacrifice.” The director sternly said.

Wen Yu shook his head. He held the hand beside him, looked up and smiled at Ning Ning. His smile told her, “Don’t worry, don’t be sad. There is still one person by your side in this world.”

Ning Ning had never thought that this smile would actually give her another chance. One last chance. The Director had agreed to let her stay, on the condition that she could not perform too poorly for the rehearsal of the scene ‘Looking up at Heaven’ on the day after tomorrow. Back at the cellar, she sat on her coffin lid. <> and everything else that had happened after had exhausted all her energy. She looked at Wen Yu tiredly. “You don’t have to make this kind of sacrifice.”

Wen Yu who was covered in dirt looked a little tired too, he stayed close by her side, yawning a tiny little yawn.

“… Because I’m not afraid of him at all.” Ning Ning turned back, her eyes staring emptily in front of her and smiled, “Because I have just finally understood, he is but a person in the movie.”

Wen Yu looked at her puzzled.

“No matter how difficult he makes it for me, the movie will eventually end.” Ning Ning mumbled, “It’s the same for the others; no matter how much Mama hates me, the movie will eventually end; no matter how much Director Chen takes my side, the movie will eventually end; they are all fake, their feelings towards me are all fake… Everyone is fake, I would prefer it if they are all fake…”

She had rather believed that everything was fake, had rather believed that this was a movie, because if it was a movie, then no matter if it was Mama, Director Chen, Ning Qu’er or… Papa, they would all be nothing but actors.

“… I would prefer it if Papa was an actor.” Ning Ning lowered her head and covered her face with her hands, she said in a low voice, “Then he would not have done so many wrongdoings, he would not have been burned to death, would not have been forced to kill his daughter with his own hands. He could go home after the movie had ended, could hug his wife, hug his real child, but if everything was real…ha, real? It was all fake, everything is fake……he is fake, I am also fake…”

Ning Ning suddenly turned over and looked at Wen Yu coldly, “You are also fake.”

Wen Yu was not frightened of her. He looked at her with pity. After a while, he grabbed her hands and gently brought her ice cold fingers to both his cheeks. He used a warm expression and his body temperature that she could actually feel to tell her: I am real.

Ning Ning was stunned looking at him.

He reached out with both his tiny hands and placed them on each side of her cheeks to tell her in the same way: You are also real.

1A Chinese idiom with the meaning of treating something useless as if it was a treasure

2Uncle and grandpa are terms in which younger Chinese people typically use to respectfully address older men, the terms are tied to how old the person is perceived to be, that was why the Director wanted to be addressed as uncle instead of grandpa.

Hi guys! I know I have never replied any of your comments, but I read every single one… (not sure ‘bout our translator though, he’s too busy gaming to read comments I suppose..) But yeah, thanks a lot for all the comments and encouragements c: it makes me happy that I decided to (and succeeded in) enslaving forcing request for our dear translator to translate this back then and to share it with everyone. 

I would like to add that I do read comments and they have made doing this a lot more rewarding than I initially imagined. I am currently thinking about using another platform for comments/discussions for better interactivity, leave a comment to tell me if that’s something you guys would or would not like. Thank you for the support thus far.

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12 thoughts on “ITTMB 25”

  1. That little boy, fake or real, is her salvation. I hope she can finally break free from Ning Qu’er’s ghost. The good thing is she’s understood why kind of love to portray in the real world. But what if all those movie theater stories actually happened in the past? How horrific!

    Thank you for the update! I’m glad the comments motivate and encourage you! I’m sure we all appreciate the hard work and time you put into the translations. I have no opinion on using another platform. 🙂

  2. Ho, this is more than I bargained for. I’m really getting depressed, but I’m pretty attached now.

    The doorman warned her to stay away from the boy, but he seems to be just a boy?

    Thank you for translating!

  3. How much Ning Ning struggle and wish everything to be fake, made me start crying while Wen Yu trying to be there for her at her hardest time.

    I’m truly happy finding this novel and glad you picked up the translation. Keep up the good work ☺️

  4. Oh no. I realized why the doorman said she needs to stay away from Wen Yu. Because Wen Yu is the type of character that would break you because you can’t think of him as fake. Even if you exit the theater, he would be more powerful than Qiu, definitely cannot move on from him.

  5. Here’s to hoping the cycle of hatred and monstrosity ends by Wen Yun’s hands. Wonder if we’ll learn what happened to Papa that inspired such a wretched fate for him and subsequently everyone else.

  6. Her mental is really weak just one world has her this broken, but i really enjoy this because this is the way it should be not like all other world hopping stories where they shrug their past worlds off so easily as if it is nothing

  7. Because of Qu Ning, she is really experiencing what it’s like to be viewed as a monster – Ning Ning is slowly becoming the Phantom.

  8. I don’t know why am so mad at her?! I want to punch you. I just- I just feel like your head had few loose screws?

  9. Wow, she is actually breaking down man. I wasn’t really expecting internal conflict to play such a big part of the story when I started reading this, but I guess it’s interesting in it’s own way too

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