“Where did you get that ticket?”
Once she alighted from the plane, Ning Ning called Wen Yu as she walked out of the airport.
“You Ling.” He answered with a name that gave Ning Ning a mild surprise. “I asked her about meeting any strange person while filming <<The Person Within the Painting>>.”
Wen Yu continued after a pause, “Your mother—Ning Yu Ren—asked for a ticket from her repeatedly after the filming for <<The Person Within the Painting>> ended, a ticket for Life Theater.”
Ning Ning stopped in her tracks.
“She pestered her for a year and a change in total.” Wen Yu said, “In the end, You Ling could not take it anymore, she found someone to make a fake ticket according to what Ning Yu Ren had described.”
“It was seen through?” Ning Ning asked even though she already knew the answer.
“Correct, it was seen through. They had a huge argument because of this, according to You Ling…” Wen Yu carefully considered his next words, before euphemistically saying, “Your mother’s situation did not look good. As she was dragged away by security, she screamed at You Ling repeatedly, saying something like ‘You caused me to go in without a ticket’…”
Ning Ning clearly remembered an important point in the message mama had left behind—Never ever sneak in.
So Mama sneaked in before.
What impact did sneaking in have on her? Wen Yu spoke too euphemistically. What he meant by ‘her situation not looking good’ probably was about Ning Yu Ren looking like she was going crazy, otherwise, security would not have been called on her.
“This ticket is the fake ticket from that time, your mother threw it back at You Ling.” Wen Yu said, “She dug it out for me when I visited her, I took a photo for you to have a look. How is it? Do you know anything about this?”
“No.” Ning Ning said against her conscience.
“Is that right?” Wen Yu said blandly, sounding like he did not believe her. “Inform me if you remember anything.”
“Alright.” Ning Ning rushed over to Life Theater on a taxi immediately after hanging up.
She only had one thought in her mind at this time—she had to enter Life Theater before Wen Yu did. Before Wen Yu found more clues, she had to find a way to rescue people…to rescue Shi Zhong Tang.
“Maybe I can tell him everything?” Another thought popped out, but she suppressed it forcefully. She closed her eyes, saying, “Then he will definitely enter the theater.”
The taxi stopped at 35 Rouge Street. She alighted after paying the driver, the cold wind made her wrap her coat around herself tightly.
Clop, clop, clop. She walked slowly to the entrance of Life Theater on her high heels.
Life Theater looked the same on that day. The lanterns, the Doorman who sat on the stone steps of the entrance as well as the old poster on the wall combined to look like a never changing oil painting.
Ning Ning turned her head and looked at the poster on the wall. New night, new poster.
Title: <<Person by the Pillow>>
Starring: Yan Qing
A bridal chamber was on the poster, the word happiness1 was put up on the wall as well as on the pillow.
The bed was bare. There was no one in the poster, but if one were to look closely, there were a couple of shadows, they seemed to belong to a man and a woman.
Ning Ning turned back and took out her last ticket from her handbag, she presented it to Boss Qu.
Boss Qu slowly raised his head. He stared at her viciously then spoke word by word, “Go. Back. Home!”
“I have a ticket.” Ning Ning knew that he could not turn her away. “I want to go in and watch a movie.”
Boss Qu looked like he wanted to turn her down, but he could not do it. The theater bestowed powers upon him, it also restricted his actions. He could not reject a customer with a ticket in hand.
“…Pick another movie.” His attitude softened after a moment, he sounded as if he was trying to coax a child, “Come back tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.”
Ning Ning blinked, “Why?”
Boss Qu opened his mouth but hesitated, he turned his face and looked at the poster beside him. He said in a low voice, “This movie is too dangerous for you.”
Ning Ning looked at the poster with surprise. This was not the first time she transmigrated into a movie. She burned to death in the first movie, died fighting a criminal in the second movie, and although she did not die in the third movie, she went through a lot of scares. However, Boss Qu had never used ‘dangerous’ to describe those three movies.
<<Person by the Pillow>>.
Based on the name and the content of the poster, this was most likely a romance film or a family drama. Why would Boss Qu describe it as dangerous?
“Is there anything special about it?” Ning Ning asked.
Boss Qu shook his head, indicating that it was something he could not answer.
“… Is it related to you?” Ning Ning suddenly asked after being silent for a while.
Boss Qu was taken aback for a moment.
“Will I be able to find any clues from the movie?” Ning Ning looked into his eyes. “Clues about the theater, clues on how to rescue the two of you?”
After locking eyes for a moment, Ning Ning slowly said, “I understand…Let me in.”
Boss Qu stood up on the floor and used his huge body to block off the entrance of the theater. It seemed like he wanted to turn himself into a second door, not allowing her to enter.
Ning Ning handed the ticket to him without saying a word.
Boss Qu said while gnashing his teeth, “It has nothing to do with me, it…”
He tried to reveal more, but he could not. He clearly did not want to take the ticket, but his right hand reached over while trembling.
“One person per ticket, invalid upon admission.” He tore the ticket in his hand in an extremely slow manner. His body which did not even shudder when it was stabbed was quaking at this moment. Ning Ning could hear him scolding her under his breath, “Foolish, foolish thing, foolish daughter…” Suddenly, he turned his head and shouted loudly, “Shi Zhong Tang! Come here for a moment!”
“Sorry.” Ning Ning told him softly as she walked past him. She did not want to make things so difficult for him, but his reaction, the look in his eyes, and the things he said made her feel that this movie was extremely important. She did not know when she would ever have a chance to see such a ‘dangerous’ movie again if she missed it tonight.
Boss Qu did not say anything. He waited for her to enter the theater before saying in a low voice from behind her, “I should have ignored you, from the beginning I should have…”
Ning Ning froze for a moment before walking in without hesitation.
The swordsman in white with a jade mask was already waiting for her inside the door. He reached his hand out and placed a finger on her lips, shushing her the moment she walked in.
“Don’t say a word, follow me.” Shi Zhong Tang said softly.
He pulled Ning Ning along with their bodies lowered, quietly walking into the seats.
Ning Ning had a regular ticket. Her seat was very far back, far far away from the screen.
Shi Zhong Tang escorted her to her seat, then stood beside her and pointed to the front.
Ning Ning looked to where he was pointing at, she was mildly surprised.
Life Theater didn’t have sofa seats, they had wooden chairs with carved patterns instead, the back of the chairs were hollow, there was a plethora of patterns carved on it. She looked ahead and saw a person.
Ning Ning was so surprised that she almost jumped out of her seat, but Shi Zhong Tang placed his hand on her shoulder and pressed her down the moment she jumped so that she would not draw attention to herself.
Ning Ning collected herself and started to observe the other party. The person was sitting very close to the front, the Court Lady Mask who had always served her previously was serving the person eagerly. Ning Ning could not tell whether the other party was a man or a woman due to the far distance, the low lighting and the fact that the other party had their back to her. She could not even tell the person’s age.
Her shoulder suddenly felt a squeeze, Ning Ning looked up and looked at Shi Zhong Tang. She saw that he tilted his head and glanced at her, then he pointed to the leftmost chair in the front, one, two, three…he counted the chairs one by one.
It took a few seconds before Ning Ning understood what he meant.
She quickly followed his example and counted the seats from the left up to the customer, she arrived at the answer in her heart, “Twenty three—odd-numbered designated ticket!”
Odd-numbered designated ticket, one of the special tickets of Life Theater.
It allowed one to designate the person to transmigrate as. This person had to be someone besides the main character, the person had to have appeared in the movie.
Ning Ning looked at the other from a distance, there was relief and hesitation on her face.
She could not be the only customer in such a big movie theater, she had long guessed that this would happen one day, meeting another customer in the theater.
Since they were watching the same movie, then they most likely would transmigrate into the same movie. Ning Ning originally thought that it would help if there was another person transmigrating with her, but upon looking at the attitude of Boss Qu and Shi Zhong Tang…It seemed like they didn’t approve of her being friendly with the other customer.
Why is that?
The lights dimmed without waiting for her to think, the entire cinema fell into darkness.
The screen slowly lit up, it looked like someone who just opened his eyes, only the eye whites could be seen.
A sentence slowly appeared after a long while.
“This film has been adapted from a true story.”
Next, the voice of a woman rang out, it sounded like she was trained in singing, her voice was very elegant and full of feelings.
“Looking at you, person by the pillow.” She sang sweetly, it sounded like she was singing a lullaby to the person by the pillow.
“Looking at you, person by the pillow.” It was the same lyrics, but her voice was full of terror for some reason.
“Looking at you, person by the pillow!” A lament full of despair in a high-pitched voice sounded.
The voice poured forth like a tsunami, drowning the two people in the audience…
1994, University-Affiliated High School.
“Hey, why are you still sleeping?”
“Wake up, quickly wake up, the car is almost here.”
Ning Ning opened her eyes.
There was a white mosquito net, an electric fan was spinning on the ceiling. “One two one, one two one…” Could be heard from outside the window, it sounded like students attending physical education class.
She turned over and saw that a short-haired twenty-plus-year-old girl was standing by her bed. There was a bunk bed behind her, both the top and bottom levels were covered by white mosquito nets, the bed at the bottom had quite a number of textbooks on top of it. Upon closer inspection, they were for second grade of junior high school.
“Quickly get changed!” The girl dressed in black pulled Ning Ning out of bed rashly.
“I’m up, I’m up…” Ning Ning pretended to have just woken up, she rubbed her eyes as she got off the bed.
First question, who am I? A boarding student or a boarding staff member?
Ning Ning opened her wardrobe, it was full of clothes for adults. They had bland colours, were conservative and old-fashioned like they were for a nun from the middle ages.
She randomly picked out something white and wore it, then exclaimed, “Where did my purse go?”
She began to look for it on the bed, the table and the drawers. In the end, she found something she was looking for at the bottom drawer.
A teaching qualification certificate.
She opened it up and saw a photo of a long-haired girl. She looked as plain, as conservative and as old-fashioned like a nun from the middle ages as her clothes. From the certificate, Ning Ning determined that she was a language teacher.
“What are you doing?” The girl in black stomped her foot. “I’ll go ahead if you still won’t go.”
“I’m coming, I’m coming.” Ning Ning put the certificate back and closed the drawer before she walked towards the other girl.
The girl in black talked a lot along the way, while Ning Ning remained silent. There was not enough information, she did not know how she should portray herself. As of now, the more she said the more mistakes she would make, so it was better to remain silent.
Then, she would ideally live as Yun Lin for a while, interact more with her social circle, then she could begin to understand what she should be doing.
“Good morning, Teacher Yun Lin. Good morning, Teacher Li Ping Ping.” A few students greeted them along the way. Ning Ning had finally determined the identity of the girl in black beside her thanks to the students.
They walked out of the entrance of the school to the nearby bus stop. A bus was getting ready to drive off, Li Ping Ping shouted at it to stop, then the two of them boarded the bus.
Passengers boarded and alighted the bus as it drove along, yet Ning Ning and Li Ping Ping remained seated on the bus. It was not until the last stop that she saw Li Ping Ping stood up.
Final stop: Fushan Funeral Parlour.
The two of them alighted the bus. Li Ping Ping walked to a nearby gift shop and pointed at a daisy and asked, “How much for this?”
Shopkeeper, “Three dollars.”
Li Ping Ping, “That’s too expensive!”
Shopkeeper, “This is the price around here, you can go ask around.”
Li Ping Ping murmured softly before turning around and smiling at Ning Ning. “Pay me half of it, this flower would be a gift from the both of us, how’s that?”
Ning Ning was stunned for a moment.
“Then it’s decided.” Li Ping Ping said. She walked up and searched Ning Ning for her purse, then took out $2 before smiling while returning the purse. “I see that you don’t have coins. You’ll pay 2 dollars while I pay 1 dollar.”
Ning Ning looked at her while tilting her head as she turned around and paid for the flower. Based on this incident, she had pretty much figured out Li Ping Ping’s personality, the personality of the owner of her body, along with the relationship the two of them had.
One of them was forceful, the other did not fight back. One of them was overbearing, the other bore with it silently. With this line of thinking, Li Ping Ping might not have asked her along for accompaniment, but for her to pay for things.
The daisies had been wrapped up, Li Ping Ping held it as she smiled at Ning Ning. “Let’s go to Yan Qing’s funeral.”
Ning Ning was shocked upon hearing that.
…The main character for <<Person by the Pillow>>?
1This Chinese character is created by putting two happiness side by side. Typically the character “囍” is written in Chinese calligraphy, and frequently appears on traditional decorative items, associated with marriage. Double happiness symbol also often found all over the wedding ceremony, as well as on gift items given to the bride and groom. The color of the character is usually red, occasionally black.