Not a One Man Battle
The door closed behind Ning Ning.
She stood by the door, looking at the bed in front of her along with the old man on the bed. His eyes were firmly shut as he laid on a big pillow, a blanket covered him up to his waist, his fingers were interlocked with each other and were placed on his stomach. His sleeping posture was grand, like you could immediately move him into a coffin and bury him.
Ning Ning took a deep breath, she treated this as an audition.
The person on the bed was the interviewer.
The topic for the audition was <<Family Affection>>.
She, along with everyone in the Lian family, were all actors.
What she could foresee was that most of the people among the rest of the family did not pass the audition, but a few of them had used their sight, intelligence or maybe luck to pass this audition.
Ning Ning was the last person and also the person with the worst circumstances.
The others could beat their chest and stomp their feet, they could cry and wail, they could lament to Heaven and hit their head on the floor, they could even cry until they fainted in the toilet, but she could not. As a person who had never met the Old Master, as a person who was meeting him for the first time at his funeral, Ning Ning could not go overboard on her performance, that would be too fake. Maybe outsiders would go against their conscience and say that she was filial, but the interviewer would definitely grade her poorly.
What kind of a lukewarm method should she employ to interpret this topic?
Ning Ning walked step by step to the bedside. She looked down and sized up the old man on the bed, suddenly saying, “You look different from how I imagined you.”
She looked at her surroundings before she pulled a chair over and sat on it. She didn’t sit on the chair in the proper way, but in reverse instead.
The back of the chair was facing the old man, she was straddling the chair. Her arms were crossed on the back of the chair, it was not ladylike or elegant at all, it looked like no one taught her manners, she looked like a wild child who did things without any restraints.
“I thought every rich man would be fat,” Ning Ning told the old man on the bed, “why are you skinnier than me?”
The old man used to be fat and happy, but the doctor ordered him to go on a vegetarian diet, then he starved till he slimmed down. Old Master Lian answered in his mind, then pricked his ears up to continue to listen to what she had to say.
Yet, her voice disappeared for a full minute. Just when Old Master Lian thought she had quietly left, the sound of papers rustling rang out.
“The notes I have prepared earlier are going to go to waste.” He heard Ning Ning say slowly, “First suitable topic to talk to grandfather about: jiangshi films. I have to highly recommend <<Old Master Jiangshi>>. Because, grandfather first of all loves jiangshi films, second of all loves old master films, the two genres combined would certainly please him. On the other hand, I have to heavily criticise <<Jiangshi Harem>>, because grandfather hates adult films…”
Who was it! Old Master Lian felt a surge of anger within him, who was the spy that was leaking information about this old man…?
“I don’t need these anymore.” Ning Ning said as she scrunched up the papers into a ball. Of course it was impossible for her to have notes, Pei Xuan had never told her about any of these, but the future was the era of the internet—a lot of secrets were not secrets anymore, including the fact that Old Master Lian was an experienced jiangshi fanatic…
Although it was hard listening to her reading off her notes, Old Master Lian felt even worse when she stopped reading. Because he was already dead, he could not even accommodate her even if he wanted to.
“…Honestly, I’m relieved.” Ning Ning’s voice rang out beside his ear, “I have never met you before, how would I even have any topics to talk to you about, you’re a stranger to me.”
Old Master Lian felt a wave of sadness upon hearing this.
She was not the only stranger in this house, there were even more familiar strangers.
“…This family is completely different from what I have imagined, you are completely different from what I have imagined.” Ning Ning’s voice rang out again, it had a trace of confusion. “I thought all rich people live in bliss, but you are not blissful at all, why do they hate you so much?”
“I forgot that you cannot answer me.”
As she walked to the doorway, she suddenly looked back and said, “Don’t be too sad.”
The sound of the door closing rang out, Old Master Lian opened his eyes while still lying on the bed. He looked at the ceiling above him and did not say a word for a very long time.
It was when Teacher Li walked in that he slowly turned his head and looked at her. Old Master Lian asked him with a confused expression, “Why do they hate me so much?”
“I don’t know why they hate you this much.” Teacher Li raised his hand and pointed at his own nose. “All I wanted to tell you is that this spot is getting oily.”
Old Master Lian, “!!!”
Half an hour later in the hall downstairs.
The hall which was filled with people standing around to the point where there was nowhere to sit previously was now a little empty, because there were a number of people who had left, angrily slamming the door after they had found out that they had only one hundred thousand dollars of inheritance. They did not even bother to go upstairs and take one last look at Old Master Lian.
There were even a few people who argued with Lawyer Huang in hope that they could get a bigger portion of the inheritance.
At this moment, Teacher Li came down the stairs.
She told everyone a piece of news—one they did not know whether to feel happy or sad about.
“Congratulations, everyone.” Teacher Li wiped the sweat on his forehead. “After our best efforts to resuscitate him, Old Master Lian has come back to us.”
The crowd, “…”
Eldest son, “Father!!!”
The eldest son immediately rushed upstairs. The rest of the people—not wanting to lose—rushed upstairs one by one as well.
Old Master Lian whom no one cared about just now had become a celebrity again. He only had two arms, his eldest son took one for himself, countless people grabbed the other arm, they fought for it while they shouted, “Get lost, this is my father!” “He is also my father!” “Unfilial children, you only have eyes for your father and not me your mother?”
This was truly a farce.
Old Master Lian’s face turned pale. He seemed to be furious from how ugly everyone had looked, he started to have coughing fits. A bunch of hands wanted to help him gently hammer his back now, he coldly said, “Enough!”
A disappointed look washed across everyone’s faces, Old Master Lian slowly said, “I did not die, I heard everything you all just said, cough, cough, cough…”
Although he did not die, from the looks of how he was coughing now, it seemed like he was about to die of anger stemming from the group of people in front of him.
“Lawyer Huang!” Old Master Lian shouted with what sounded like his last breath, “Quickly, come in quickly, I, I want to write up a new will!”
Lawyer Huang walked in frantically, then nodded to allow Teacher Li to stay before he told the rest of the people, “Can you all leave for a moment?”
“Who are you to tell me to leave!” The eldest son hugged Old Master Lian’s arm firmly as if it was not an ordinary arm but an arm made out of gold.
“Leave.” Old Master Lian ordered.
“Dad…” The eldest got up unwillingly and left.
Lawyer Huang locked the door after the crowd had left. He looked back and saw that Old Master Lian who had looked like his life was in danger was sitting up fiercely on the bed, patting his face with his hands depressingly. “This old face, this old face, why does it get oily so easily?”
The corners of Lawyer Huang’s mouth twitched, “Mr Lian…”
“I’m afraid we would have to redo this one more time.” Old Master Lian slowly turned his head around, he had a serious expression on his face, “My sons, daughters, grandsons and granddaughters are all very clever, if one of them were to discover any flaws, they would definitely try to beat me at my own game…”
At the same time in the wine cellar downstairs.
“I saw that grandfather’s nose was oily.” A young man swirled the bottle of wine he was holding, then poured the crimson liquid into a glass in front of him, “Thus I beat him at his own game, I hugged him and wailed.”
“No wonder you are my son.” The eldest son Lian Cheng Xin looked at the young man in front of him with gratification. He reached out and grabbed the wine glass that was filled with wine, but did not drink it, he told the young man sincerely and earnestly instead, “But now is not the time to celebrate victory. We have the advantage, now we have to maintain it, because we are definitely not the only ones who have seen through it…”
On the other hand, in Old Master Lian’s room.
“I don’t quite understand what you meant.” Lawyer Huang asked, “What do you mean by redoing this one more time?”
“It means that I have to die one more time.” Old Master Lian laughed coldly. “This time I will die from being angered by them, you will announce my new will after.”
“I’m afraid they would not believe again..” Lawyer Huang said frankly.
“Then make them believe it!” Old Master Lian frothed at his mouth and glared with rage. “There is nothing in this world that cannot be solved with money. I’m responsible for paying, you’re responsible for thinking of solutions, who cares if you have to borrow a corpse for me?!”
Then he turned his head and said to Teacher Li, “You have to make the corpse look like me.”
Teacher Li said in exasperation, “I’m a makeup artist, not a face changer.”
At the same time, in the garden downstairs.
The third daughter Lian Yuan Yuan avoided the rest of the people and sneakily made a phone call.
“I don’t know what stupid tricks the old man is up to, but I know one thing—there is nothing in this world that cannot be solved with money.” She said ferociously, “I’m responsible for paying, you are responsible for forming a brain trust. I will inform you of any situations, then you will let the brain trust think of solutions for me.”
The person on the other end of the phone call laid out his price.
“Why is it so expensive!” Lian Yuan Yuan said angrily.
“Because your little brother just called and requested the same thing from me…” The other party answered.
“Turn him down! I will pay you twice what he’s paying!!” Lian Yuan Yuan said.
Similar incidents happened in the different corners of the house. The “actors” who had passed the first round of auditions were diligently preparing for the second round of auditions. On the other hand, the only “interviewer” was also diligently preparing to make things difficult for them.
Compared to them, Ning Ning seemed to be slightly out of place.
She sat quietly at the sofa and looked out of the window, seemingly drifting off.
“…You don’t look nervous at all.” Pei Xuan’s voice rang out from beside her.
She turned her head and saw him smiling as he stood beside her, holding a cup of coffee with each hand. He offered her one of the cups.
“What’s there for me to be nervous about?” Ning Ning seemed to be smiling but not smiling at the same time.
Everything that was happening was happening in the order of what was recorded in the biography.
She knew that Old Master Lian was writing up a second will, she knew that Lian Cheng Xin and his son were drinking wine in the cellar, she knew that Lian Yuan Yuan and her little brother were making phone calls to form a brain trust, she knew everything that was about to happen.
But Pei Xuan seemed to have misunderstood what she meant.
“You don’t care because none of these concerns you?” He took a sip of the coffee before he suddenly bent down and whispered into Ning Ning’s ear, “Do you want to become the real Lian Lian?”
Ning Ning’s eyebrows twitched. “What do you mean?”
“You have seen the person in the attic, she will never wake up again.” Pei Xuan’s voice was filled with temptation. “She cannot do anything even if you were to take anything from her.”
Ning Ning stared at him.
…She knew a lot of things, but there was one thing she did not know.
Whether Mu Er, the girl she transmigrated as, agreed to this. The Lian Lian in the future—was she the vegetable in the attic, or was she Mu Er who was currently standing here now?