Translated by Vivian of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Guan Jin was suddenly awakened from his sleep by someone pounding on the door.
It was the middle of the night; why did it sound like they were coming to collect debt? Guan Jin went to the door and flung it open in irritation.
A group of people wearing white lab coats were standing outside.
“Are you Guan Jin? We’re the Special Incidents Emergency Team, and we suspect that you’re currently illegally occupying someone else’s body, so we need to bring you with us for examinations!” One of them held up a stamped piece of paper impassively.
Examinations?! Guan Jin was angry; did they think he was an alien?
“Little Jin? Little Jin?”
Guan Jin opened his eyes abruptly and saw Lu YunYang’s worried face in the dim lighting.
“Did you have a nightmare? You’re sweating.” Lu YunYang dabbed his head with a towel.
Guan Jin blinked; it had been a dream?
“What did I say?”
“Uh, something about fucking off. What was your dream about?”
“That you were shamelessly asking for a good-night kiss.” Guan Jin rolled over so his back was facing him.
“Is that so?” Lu YunYang’s eyes lit up, and he leaned closer.
“Go away, dammit!”
“People only dream about what they think about during the day, so I must live up to your wishes. Give me a kiss!”
That person had been really abnormal recently. Could someone tell him whether someone else had also transmigrated into Lu YunYang’s body…
“Guan Jin, these are the records of our interviews of those people after Zhang Xin’s incident.” Ding Ding handed the files to him. “Why do you have dark circles under your eyes? Did you not sleep well last night?”
Guan Jin humphed and angrily took a sip of his coffee.
“Tsk tsk, you look unsatisfied…” Ding Ding flounced away.
Guan Jin shook his head to clear those thoughts and began reading the testimonies.
Yu ManTing: After the movie got put on indefinite hold, I either stayed at home or visited my parents. Last night, I was home… This morning, my assistant called me. She had seen that everyone in the crew was getting into accidents, so she was worried about me… Yan Qing? I’m not sure. How would I know whether there’s resentment between him and Zhang Xin? I’ve worked together with him a few times in the past, and he’s very talented. I admire colleagues like him, and to be honest, I don’t want to see him getting mixed up in this kind of thing… How should I say it? It’s kind of like grieving for my own kind… Hm, that might be a little exaggerated.
Qin Tao: I’m not superstitious, but after this series of incidents, I’m really not sure whether I can finish the movie… I was home yesterday, since I wasn’t in the mood to go out. My wife and child can corroborate that. Oh, but their testimony is probably meaningless, right… Although Zhang Xin is a little ignorant, newcomers mature soon enough. Someone didn’t knock him in the head because of that, did they? He should be out of danger now, right? …Yan Qing? He’s an actor I admire very much, and he’s also very moral. It’s hard to believe that Zhang Xin could have provoked him to do something like this. However, I also don’t know if they had any other resentments between them. I keep feeling that it must have something to do with someone working on the movie, or else why is it always my actors getting into accidents? I don’t believe in curses or anything, since the scariest thing in this world is definitely the human mind.
Du Ping: I was planning to burn some incense at a temple tomorrow, but now I’m too scared to go out and do that. Last night? I went out to watch a movie, and I still have the ticket, though I don’t know if anyone would remember seeing me there. When I read the newspaper this morning and found out about Zhang Xin’s incident, I was shocked… At the end of the day, Yan Qing is a bigshot, so he couldn’t hold this big of a grudge against a newcomer, right? News in this industry passes as quickly as it comes, so who even believes it? All that about Yan Qing isn’t true, right? Yan Qing is a good actor, and it would really be a pity if this scandal affects his future… I reckon this movie is going to be abandoned. Ah, I’ve been a director for so long, yet this is the first time…
Lin ShuYao: I was drinking with some friends at a bar… Yan Qing did it? Did Zhang Xin steal his wife or burn his house down or something? He probably doesn’t even care enough to view Zhang Xin on the same level as himself. Officers, you probably wouldn’t understand, but the industry is just like this: everyone works hard to climb up, so they don’t have time to look back at the people behind them unless they catch up. It’s even easier if they sleep their way to the top. Some people just sell themselves to others, but no matter what they use to climb up, people without talent will just get replaced. Even though there are a lot of gray areas in this industry, in the end, it only comes down to skill. I admire the person on top of the pyramid, so what does it matter how they got up there?
Guan Jin rubbed his chin. It seemed that no one believed that Yan Qing had something to do with the case, but the others seemed to avoid bringing up his scandal; only Lin ShuYao dared to bring it up.
However, there seemed to be something there… Guan Jin looked for the rest of their files; he really wasn’t a computer, and it was still more reliable to read the original text instead of recalling it all from memory.
This person seemed to be different from the others, but these small signs weren’t convincing enough, right? He was still missing something: the motive…
Zheng Fei ran into the room. “I got something!”
Guan Jin turned around. “What?”
“I found a commonality between all of the victims!” Zheng Fei was very excited.
Guan Jin waited for his next words.
“They all got in through the back door!”
“Hey, Fei, can’t you say it more professionally?” Chen QiaoYu squeezed past him and sat down in front of Guan Jin. “The first victim, Zhao Qi, was rumored to have been pretty lazy, but he was intimate with the head of the film and television company, so he was put into the prop crew. However, he couldn’t even help much, and he was too irresponsible. I heard that he actually wanted to be an actor, so he was there to make some connections and also learn from the best. I don’t need to talk about Guo ZiZhen, he was indeed involved with that real estate developer. Recently, Zhang Xin has been arrogant, and I heard that he also had someone supporting him, though I’m not sure who.”
Guan Jin frowned. “So you’re saying that these victims used unscrupulous ways to get their job, and this is the killer’s motive?”
“I think that it’s very likely. Moreover, rumors about Yan Qing are flying around everywhere, and if they’re true, then I think the killer is perhaps framing him on purpose.”
“If the killer and whoever is framing Yan Qing are the same person, if he had evidence that Yan Qing’s success didn’t come from his own effort, why did he release the information instead of just killing him?” asked Gu Xiang.
“It’s just like that quote,” remarked Guan Jin.
“‘I won’t you just die like this, I’ll let you live and see yourself get ruined. I’ll make you wish you were dead!’ And then they’ll have a twisted smile or something.” Guan Jin shrugged.
“…How realistic. Say, have you been watching too many drama shows lately?”
“So you’re saying that this killer is going to unleash an ultimate move in the end, because to them, Yan Qing is the final boss?” Lin Bai was proud of his brilliant analogy.
“…I don’t understand.”
“Where’s Wen JingHan?”
“Guan Jin, you’re supposed to keep the pattern going!” reproached Ding Ding. “He said that his man is back, so he went home.”
“…He just said that so bluntly?”
“He always says things like that, everyone’s already used to it.” The others went back to their own seats in indifference.
…Were they too easy to trick, or was Wen JingHan just too straightforward? It looked like the closer something was to the truth, the less likely people would believe it.
Jokes aside, what Lin Bai had said was his guess precisely, so it looked like he would have to pay Yan Qing a visit no matter what.
“How did you know I was here?” Yan Qing was a little wary of his uninvited guest.
Guan Jin waved and walked into the same room as last time.
“There’s a ton of paparazzi at your house, but this is a quiet place they don’t know about.” He sat down impolitely. “The tea from last time was pretty good, I want to try it again.”
Yan Qing’s eye twitched; if Guan Jin hadn’t helped him out before and wasn’t the lover of Lu YunShen’s brother, then he would’ve definitely kicked him out.
Yan Qing poured the tea silently. Guan Jin tsked and said, “Hey, stop being so mopey, I came to ask about important stuff.”
“Officer, my career is about to get ruined, so what else is there to talk about?” Yan Qing was a little irritated.
“You’re still alive and well, able to light incense and drink tea here, but some people can only wait until Qingming Festival for others to light incense for them.” Guan Jin laughed mirthlessly.
“…” Yan Qing opened his mouth, but he closed it again.
“Someone has been imitating the murders and pranks from the two horror movies we asked you about before, remember?”
Yan Qing nodded.
“These are the detailed files for those movies. Look at them carefully and think back, is there anything related to you?”
“For the first movie, I was cast as the third male lead, but my agent helped me find a better movie, so I let the position go. As for the second one, I don’t really remember… Wait, did this movie invite Yu ManTing? I remember now, at the time, I had just won the award for Best New Actor, and they also invited me, but my schedule was too full so I had to reject them.”
“Were you already together with Lu YunShen at the time?” pressed Guan Jin.
Yan Qing nodded, a little embarrassed.
“I know that the investor of the second movie is one of the investment companies owned by the Lu family. Did he withdraw the funds because of you?”
“No, he wouldn’t be that immoral. It was because they hadn’t put in enough research before they invested, and later, they discovered that the movie wasn’t gaining enough traction, so they withdrew. This was just one company under the Lu family, and at the time, Lu YunShen didn’t have control over that much.”
“Then how were you selected for the first movie?”
Yan Qing looked up abruptly. “Lu YunShen has given me a lot of protection and opportunities, but I’ve always used my skills to land roles, he promised me he wouldn’t interfere!”
Guan Jin nodded, though he thought inwardly, You’re too naive, how can anyone from the Lu family be so law-abiding? Just because you told him not to interfere doesn’t mean he won’t. That Lu YunShen only wants the best for you, and he doesn’t care about right or wrong.
“So he helped you get the opportunity to audition for the first movie?”
“You could say so.”
“Then think, who else was auditioning for that role?”
Yan Qing was taken aback. “What do you mean?” After a while, his expression slowly turned into shock. “You don’t think that a person that I beat in that audition has hated me all this time, so he’s secretly been collecting information about me to ruin me?”
Guan Jin gave him a thumbs-up. “Smart, no wonder Lu YunShen likes you. But you’re still thinking too straightforwardly. I’m inclined to believe that that person saw you as a rival for that position, and you were easily selected. However, you turned it down after receiving a better offer, so he was a little resentful. Later he somehow heard that you had received support, so he felt that it was unfair. Later, he got the opportunity to act as the second male lead in the second movie, but because the investors had withdrawn and the script was reworked, he once again missed the opportunity. Coincidentally, he understood that the investors were connected to you, and you had initially been invited but you rejected them. Pushed over the edge, he naturally thought that you were causing all of his unluckiness.”
Yan Qing looked at him, dumbfounded. “How could that happen?”
“This person probably encountered a lot of obstacles during his acting career, but you immediately became extremely popular. He was already mentally unstable, and in addition to some hitches, he regarded you as his nemesis. Thus, he used various methods to track and ask about you to collect evidence of you and Lu YunShen, wanting to make it public. However, recently, things took another turn for the worse, and he encountered yet another setback. Thus, years of pent-up rage was unleashed, and he began killing others to vent his anger. At the same time, he used the prank to take revenge against you and framed you for the murders. Even though it didn’t work, it still muddied the waters, and afterwards, he released the information about the relationship between you and Lu YunShen, completely dragging you down from heaven to hell to see you become even more miserable than himself.”
Guan Jin took a sip of his tea and looked up at Yan Qing. “Hey, you’re not going to faint, are you? How come you’re so fragile?”
“I… That person killed people because of me and…” Yan Qing was a mess, and it felt like there was a hammer pounding at his skull.
“Who do you think you are? You’re a victim, not a murderer.” Guan Jin couldn’t help but roll his eyes.
Yan Qing closed his eyes. “Then who is that person?”
“That’s what I came to ask you about.”
“You don’t know?”
“Nonsense, if I had known then how would I have time to come here and talk with you?”
Yan Qing furrowed his brows. “I can’t remember who else had auditioned with me…”
“Which is why I brought the pictures of everyone who was working on Guilt. The killer is definitely among them, so can you see if you’ve seen any of them before?”
Yan Qing looked at them for a while, and he suddenly stopped on a photo. “This person… is part of the crew? I don’t recall him at all. C-could it be——”
“Some of these photos were from when they were younger.”
“Wait, I do remember, I’ve definitely had scenes with this person before! But I can’t remember where. I can’t recognize him at all now, and I’ve been working with the crew of Guilt for so long, yet I don’t remember seeing this person. Could the killer really be…”
“Okay, leave the rest to me.” Guan Jin took the pictures back and watched as Yan Qing looked down, conflicted.
Guan Jin sighed and cleared his throat. “What are you so conflicted about? I know that you didn’t want to be with him at first, but later, it’s not like you haven’t used him before. You’re a smart person, and you couldn’t resist it. Don’t tell me you feel like it isn’t worth it now?”
Yan Qing fiddled with his teacup and said quietly, “Actually, everything that that person said is the truth. I did get to the top using dishonorable methods. However, I keep thinking, if Lu YunShen hadn’t insisted on getting together with me at the time, could I be innocently acting right now and be an honest person? Ha, I despise myself just thinking about it, aren’t I the epitome of a hypocrite?”
“You’re quite self-aware.” Guan Jin smiled; he actually quite liked Yan Qing’s honest personality.
“So you never really wanted to be with Lu YunShen, even though you know that he’s always treated you like treasure and not a pet.”
“I don’t know how to convince myself to forget about our terrible start and forget the benefits I gained from him.”
Guan Jin sighed; that damned Lu YunYang, his family was so troublesome. It wasn’t like he had any experience in giving advice….
He frowned as he looked out the window, but suddenly, he thought of a bold idea…
“It’s just some trivial stuff from the past, let bygones be bygones, right? Come here.” Guan Jin motioned for him to come clower.
Yan Qing silently sat back.
“Come on, I’m going to tell you a story that I guarantee will help you figure everything out.” Guan Jin smirked invitingly.
Yan Qing laughed. “Officer Guan, that look doesn’t suit you.”
“Okay, I was wrong. I’ll listen to your story.” Yan Qing’s mood had improved by quite a bit, and he leaned closer.
“Ah, you’re back. Young Master Lu has been waiting for you,” said the maid as she took Yan Qing’s jacket.
“Oh…” Yan Qing walked inside in a daze.
“Yan Qing, I came to see if you needed anything!” When Xiao Duo saw him, she said worriedly, “Are you alright?”
“I’m fine…” He continued to walk slowly.
“You don’t look so well, are you feeling uncomfortable anywhere?” Lu YunShen appeared and massaged Yan Qing’s shoulders.
Yan Qing shook his head. “No. It’s just that my worldview has been washed away, so I need to process it for a bit.” Then, he drifted up the stairs.
…Worldview washed away? Lu YunShen and Xiao Duo looked at each other in bewilderment.