Returning to 1997
After this, it was a week of dormancy.
Within this week, Lian Lian did not look for Ning Ning, Ning Ning also did not take the initiative to contact her.
What needed to be said had already been said, what needed to be conveyed had already been conveyed, what was next was to wait—
To wait for the most suitable movie.
But as the days went by, Ning Ning’s way of thinking began to change.
“Wen Xiao Ning waited her whole life for the movie she wanted the most and yet she did not get it.” She thought, “Why would I be able to get what I want?”
Within this week, Ning Ning visited Life Theater every late night to take a look at the new posters on the wall.
The poster changed every night. Movies were screened every night, from <<Lady of the Night>> to <<Backup Boyfriend>>, from <<Midnight Tales>> to <<Hot-Blooded Boxing>>. No one entered the theater, but the movies would still screen exactly on time for the empty cinema, showing the happiness, anger, sadness and joy of a person’s life.
Another week had passed, Ning Ning received a call from Lian Lian.
“There’s no time anymore.” Lian Lian told her in exasperation, “You can’t afford to wait anymore, look for a movie that happens in around the same time period and go in.”
“What happened?” Ning Ning asked.
“Did you not see the entertainment news today? Yan Qing unintentionally divulged your secret.“ Lian Lian let out a cold laugh. “She said you were her ideal female supporting character when she was getting interviewed, she even mentioned the incident with the audition video.”
Ning Ning’s heart thumped.
“It might not have been intentional, but <<The Great Empire>> has been a hit show recently, you are also rising in popularity along with it. There are quite a number of reporters trying to dig up information on you.” Lian Lian said, “I will try my best to suppress this, but as a precaution, you should not wait anymore.”
“I understand.” Ning Ning looked at the poster in front of her, “I will set out tonight.”
Title: <<Dreams of the Future>>
Starring: <<Xu Rong>>
This was a fairytale-like poster.
On the poster was red-coloured ground, there were many trees. What grew on the trees were not flowers nor fruits, but were pretty clothes, expensive shoes, cute hats, there were also bags of snacks and popsicles as well. It was very colourful, lustrous and dazzling, it looked like the world of a fairytale.
A pair of mother and daughter were standing beneath the trees. The mother smiled as she picked a pink hat from the tree and put it on the head of her young daughter, her daughter smiled as she looked at her mother.
This image was heartwarming and beautiful, it was virtually the dream of a child.
Ning Ning stared at the poster for a while before she muttered softly, “Nanny Xu…”
Xu Rong was Ning Ning’s nanny when she was a child.
There was a period of time when Mama was very busy with work, she did not even have time for her own meals, not to mention cooking for Ning Ning, so she hired Nanny Xu to take care of her.
But that was only up till she was four. After that, Nanny Xu’s child needed someone to take care of her, so she quitted and went home to take care of her child.
This was also in the period Ning Ning wanted to transmigrate to, the period where she was three going on to four, which was also 1997.
“I want to designate the time, 1997.” Ning Ning handed the ticket to Boss Qu. “…Are you going to stop me this time?”
Boss Qu tried to stop her every time, only this time, he took the ticket without saying a word and tore it clean in half before stepping out of the way from the entrance.
“…This time is the only exception.” He looked at her with a complicated expression.
Behind the entrance, another man was waiting for her.
“You’re here.” Shi Zhong Tang was sitting with one leg crossed over the other in the audience seats. Upon seeing Ning Ning’s arrival, he acted like a spoiled child and complained to her, “You picked this film out of all the others?”
That tone, it was like a boy who liked to watch <<Saw>>, but was forced to watch <<Tiny Times>>1 with his girlfriend.
Ning Ning sat down as she put up with his complaint, she sighed, “Watch a children’s film with me sometime.”
Shi Zhong Tang burst into laughter from beside her. “Children’s film?”
Ning Ning turned her head and looked at him, asking doubtfully, “What is it?”
“You definitely did not look at the poster carefully.” The smile on Shi Zhong Tang’s face faded, he looked at her seriously. “You have to look at it seriously, that’s how you will know that not only is this not a children’s film…it is also quite a dangerous movie for you.”
Ning Ning was taken aback, although Shi Zhong Tang usually liked to joke around, he would never joke about anything this serious. Since that was what he said, this was definitely not a children’s movie…but why? What were the dangers hidden in the fairytale-like poster?
At this instance, Ning Ning wanted to go out for a moment. It need not be too long, a minute or two would suffice. She wanted to take a look at the poster again, to see if she had missed out on any details. The problem was that according to the rules of Life Theater, once the customer stepped in, they could not leave before they finished the movie. Furthermore, even if she could leave, how would she come back? She had no more tickets on hand.
“What makes you say that? Tell me?” Ning Ning asked the person in front of her in a wilful manner, “What’s dangerous about this?”
Shi Zhong Tang seemed to want to say something to her, but just as he opened his mouth, his body froze, like a person in a video that was suddenly paused.
“…I can’t say.” After a while, he touched the lip part of his mask with his mouth as he said depressingly, “How troublesome, this theater doesn’t allow spoilers.”
The lights dimmed just as he finished speaking.
The screen turned white for a while, then a sentence appeared.
“This film has been adapted from a true story.”
Next, the voice of a woman rang out. She sang quietly like she was singing a lullaby, “I pluck a red dress for you, I pluck a yellow hat for you, I pluck a pair of white boots for you, I pluck a good future for you… Wishing you bliss, my daughter…”
“There’s no time.” Shi Zhong Tang placed his hand over Ning Ning’s hand. “Remember, be careful of the people around you.”
A sense of weightlessness came over her along with Shi Zhong Tang’s words. It felt like being in an elevator that was falling down from a few hundred meters up, in the end she landed on the ground with a crash.
Ning Ning opened her eyes abruptly, then looked at her surroundings.
She was surrounded by giants.
No, not giants. Ning Ning looked down at her palms. Her fingers were so delicate and small, she was at most three or four years old, the adults who stood in front of her were all giants.
She had transmigrated as a child.
“Ah-choo!” Ning Ning had a tiny sneeze, a strand of translucent liquid flowed out of her nose. Alright, not only was she a child, she was a sick child.
Ning Ning could not help but shiver.
It was over, how was she supposed to deal with Pei Xuan with this body? He might make her fall on her butt with a flick of his finger…
“Doesn’t she only have the flu? Why did she start shivering?” A man parted the crowd and walked over. The moment he bent down and looked at Ning Ning he said in a resigned manner, “Now that it has come to this, how can she film the next scene? Substitute! Substitute!”
“Director Liu, isn’t that bad?” A person who looked like an assistant said awkwardly, “This child is…”
“I know! She’s Ning Yu Ren’s daughter!” Director Liu said with rage, “She’s not the only one who wants to form a mother-daughter duo, I want to do it too! The problem is that this child is too sick! We can’t stop filming just because of her! We’re done here. Take the child down to rest, I will talk to Ning Yu Ren.”
This was a director who was resolute and driven. As he finished what he had to say, he immediately left the crew.
A group of people looked at each other, they could only temporarily take a break. The assistant brought Ning Ning to the side so she could sit down. They even poured a cup of warm water for her and told her to slowly drink it.
Ning Ning held the cup. The weather was not cold, but both her hands were still trembling.
It was unlucky enough for her to transmigrate as a child, what was even more unlucky for her—was that this child was herself.
Her every word and movement might very well change the fate of her own future. These changes could make her future better, but it could also make it worse. The best choice would be for her to maintain her current situation, but if she chose to do nothing…wouldn’t it continue to spell the end of Lian Lian and Mu Gua? Wouldn’t Pei Xuan continue to get away scot-free?
“No matter what, I have to confirm my current situation.” Ning Ning gulped the cup of water down, then got up from the chair. She walked around the crew with her tiny legs.
No one would be wary of a three- to four-year-old child, no one stopped her from going anywhere.
A male actor sat on a chair, he was holding a script with his right hand, trying to memorise his lines during the break. Ning Ning could not make out what he was mumbling. She thought about it, then walked over and climbed up his knees before sitting on his lap to take a look at the script.
The actor got a shock. Just as he was about to push her off, she turned around and looked at him, exclaiming with her childish voice, “Meow.”
The actor smiled in response. He pulled her in closer as if she was a cat that was not afraid of humans, he even asked her, “Uncle doesn’t have fish for you, will fruits do?”
Ning Ning nodded.
The actor then got his assistant to bring an orange for her. Ning Ning ate the orange as she sat on his lap listening to him memorising his lines.
As he read more of the lines, Ning Ning slowly figured out which movie he was acting in.
The title of the movie was—<<Dreams of the Future>>.
The story revolved around a male author and a mysterious woman.
The male author picked up a diary on the seventh of March, but the content of the diary was that of the eighth of March. He did not bother with it at first, but on the next day, the things that were written in the diary came true.
The male author went through great lengths before he finally found the owner of the diary; it was the mysterious woman. She claimed that she could predict the future through dreams…
The investor-cum-male-lead for this movie was Fei Yan, a singer who was quite famous at that time; he had intended to break into the acting circle with this film. And the person who would be acting as the mysterious woman was none other than the actress who won the movie empress award from the previous year, Ning Yu Ren.
“That’s strange.” Ning Ning furrowed her brows and thought, “Since they are shooting <<Dreams of the Future>>, what am I doing here?”
As the daughter of a popular actress, she had benefits regular people usually wouldn’t have. She did act in some movies and television shows in her childhood—she could be considered as a slightly popular child star—but among these movies and shows, <<Dreams of the Future>> was not one of them…
“You finished the orange?” The male actor asked from behind, “Do you want another one?”
Ning Ning had wanted to shake her head, but someone suddenly caught her eye.
She originally thought that she was seeing things, thus she frantically rubbed her eyes. After she had a good look at who it was, she immediately pointed at the person and shouted, “I don’t want oranges, I want that.”
After that, she climbed off the male actor’s legs and ran after the person with her two tiny legs.
The person seemed to be an extra. She was holding a bun in her hand. The bun had long turned cold, it should be leftovers from breakfast. She immediately sat on the ground and read the script as she chewed on her bun.
Suddenly, a shadow loomed over her face.
She looked up and saw that a little girl was standing in front of her.
She recognised the child. It was the daughter of the movie empress, Ning Ning, who was supposed to act as the mysterious woman during her childhood years. Thus, she flattered Ning Ning with a smile. “Little girl, do you have business with Big Sister?”
Ning Ning stared at the face in front of her.
The person who was not supposed to appear here had also appeared.
“…Big Sister Mu Er?” Ning Ning shouted to probe her.
The other party was stunned for a moment before she said with a smile, “You got the wrong person. Big sister is not Mu Er, I am Yu Sheng.”
“Yu Sheng?” Ning Ning stared at this face that looked exactly like Mu Er’s when she was a teenager. She thought about it for a while before she finally remembered the girl who had been confined in the attic by Pei Xuan.
After the real Lian Lian died, Pei Xuan found two girls one after another to act as her. Mu Er was the second one. She did not even know the name of the first one, she only knew that she was once an actress.
An extra was also an actress!
It was already a miracle that there were three people who looked exactly like each other, Ning Ning did not believe that there would be a fourth. The person in front of her was probably the first girl Pei Xuan had found.
But since she was still an extra, then Pei Xuan probably had not found her yet.
“What do I do?” Ning Ning thought to herself, “Should I say anything to her, or should I do anything?”
1Tiny Times is an actual movie. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiny_Times