Translated by Vivian of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Zheng Fei and Gu Xiang rushed onto the stage before the others could and made sure everyone else stayed away.
Le Fan and Guan Jin walked over and leaned over to look, and they couldn’t help but suck in a breath.
In the wooden box, there was a man with his eyes closed, his face as pale and colorless as a piece of paper. Le Fan bent down and checked his pulse, then tugged the man’s arm lightly. He shook his head and murmured, “He’s been dead for at least two hours, and the body is already starting to stiffen.”
“What happened?” roared Qin Tao as he saw the chaos unfold in front of him.
Chen QiaoYu put her hands on her hips as she stood on the stage and glanced at him. “What are you shouting for? There’s been an unexplained death at your set, so I’d like everyone to keep quiet and cooperate with us in our investigation.”
Zhang Xin finally finished trembling, and he shouted hoarsely, “There’s a dead person in the box.”
“There’s supposed to be a body there in the first place, but it’s just an extra pretending to be dead!” Qin Tao was furious.
“Qin Tao,” calmed Yan Qing, “It’s not an actor, it’s real, there’s a dead person in there. It’s one of the members of our prop crew…”
Yu ManTing gasped, and the others were also panicked.
“How could this be…” Qin Tao slowly sat back down. After a while, he looked up and asked, “Who are you guys?”
“We’re the police.”
…What am I supposed to say, that you guys came so timely, or that it was such a coincidence that this person died? Dong ChangLong wiped away his sweat. There was never a peaceful day with these people around; he would have to ask a monk to clear up his bad luck later today.
After quickly contacting forensics from the bureau, Gu Xiang asked security to assist in sealing off the scene, ready to start the investigation immediately.
Guan Jin shifted his gaze away to look for Lu YunYang, and saw that he was standing near the stage, talking to Yan Qing. His expression was concerned, and he seemed to be comforting him.
“Oh, looks like today wasn’t a waste of a trip after all, there are so many amazing developments.” Le Fan had also seen them, and he couldn’t help but tease Guan Jin. After all, it was Guan Jin’s fault for dragging him here with ill intentions. “Maybe he’s even an ex-lover, he’s quite attractive.”
Guan Jin turned to look at him and said coolly, “Yeah, that’s very likely. Maybe they’re even friends with benefits.”
Le Fan looked at him suspiciously. Could I have guessed wrong? Is there really nothing between the two of them? Or is it just one-sided interest from Lu YunYang?
Guan Jin had already stopped paying attention to him and had gone straight to look for the director.
“Who’s the screenwriter of this movie? Does everyone know about the contents of the part you’re shooting today?” Chen QiaoYu was in the middle of questioning Qin Tao.
“The screenwriter is someone we collaborate with often, and he’s overseas on vacation right now. It was I who wanted a story like this, so after I hired him we talked about it for a long time, and he wrote the script based on what I was thinking. As for the content, initially, only the actors knew, but before we started shooting, the props, scene, and film crews had to be in place, so everyone knew.”
“Then who was initially supposed to play the role of body?” asked Guan Jin.
“They found an extra, and he’s appeared once so far. In the movie, he’s the stage manager of the troupe. I don’t even remember his name…” Qin Tao felt a headache coming on. “Officers, will this affect the filming of the movie?”
Chen QiaoYu’s gaze raked over him, and she smiled mirthlessly. “Director Qin, how dedicated of you that you’re still worrying about your movie even after a homicide has occurred.”
Qin Tao rubbed his temples. “Officer, I’m not heartless. I’m also very sorry that this happened, it was a person’s life that was lost. However, I’m a director, and I can’t really be of help. All I can do is produce a good movie, and since movies involve a lot of early investment, not to mention I have an entire family to feed, it’s impossible for me not to think about it.”
“For now, you won’t be able to continue shooting the movie. We can’t rule anyone here out, so while we’re investigating, it’s best you stop for a bit.”
The forensic scientists arrived quickly, and with them came Wen JingHan.
“How is it?”
“We’re investigating as fast as we can. There’s a total of twenty-two people here, including the actors and crew members. We’ve already eliminated six of them,” reported Gu Xiang.
“That’s nowhere near enough. Let’s wait for the autopsy report, and in the meanwhile, you guys can continue asking around.”
The lead actors, director, and assistant manager were brought to the audience seats, and they sat down. Guan Jin, Lu YunYang, and Chen QiaoYu were standing in front of them, and Wen JingHan was sitting in the back by himself.
“In order to save everyone’s time and avoid causing a commotion, we’re going to do this as fast as possible, and I hope everyone cooperates,” said Chen QiaoYu.
“What’s the overall plot of this movie?” asked Lu YunYang.
Qin Tao explained briefly: Li Chen, who is played by Yan Qing, is a playwright, and when he was young, his parents died in a construction accident, so he has always hated the person who caused the death of his parents. On one hand, he wants to get revenge, but on the other, he desperately tries to enforce moral and legal standards onto himself. Thus, in his dreams, he always uses different methods to kill everyone that was involved in the accident, yet he can’t remember anything that happened when he wakes up.
However, he subconsciously writes his dreams into a script, and becomes a famous thriller playwright. In the theater, he meets Wang MengNan, who is scheming and arrogant and has lived a happy life. They become fast friends after a quarrel, and since then, Li Chen’s life has had an added touch of a bright color. However, he keeps getting successive nightmares, and Li Chen begins to be able to recall them. Additionally, those people that caused the accident actually died in real life, in the same way he had imagined, and in the same way as the script he wrote. They died one after the other…
Li Chen is shocked, and he begins to search for the truth. He ends up entering a muddled state, and he often can’t remember what he was doing. As he is confused and helpless, Wang MengNan discovers his secret. It turns out that Li Chen had actually killed those people himself, but since he has a split personality, he can’t remember what had happened at all.
Li Chen becomes despaired, and despite Wang MengNan’s efforts, he chooses to commit suicide. As he is taking his last breath, Wang MengNan reveals the truth: those people had actually been killed by Wang MengNan, since she was also one of the victims of that accident, and her happy life had merely been a facade.
Once, she happened to find out that Li Chen killed people in his dreams, so she used hypnosis and drugs to find out the details of his dreams, and used the same method to kill those people. Then, she tricked Li Chen into thinking that it was him who had done it. In the end, Li Chen still leaves the world with the ghost of a smile, since no matter what had happened, he was free.
However, Wang MengNan began to dream frequently, and in her dreams, she secretly followed Li Chen and watched as he killed people again and again, and thought to herself how great it would be if she had the courage to kill people herself…
Guan Jin knitted his brow. “Then who actually committed the murders?”
“That is up to the audience to decide for themselves, since everyone has a different answer.”
“Decide for themselves? Hmph, it’s a shame that reality isn’t a movie. We have to catch the killer, not leave it up to someone to decide for themself!” Guan Jin hated these types of inconclusive movies; they only left the audience bewildered.
“How was this person supposed to die originally?” asked Chen QiaoYu.
“As expected.” At first glance, Guan Jin had felt that that person had lost too much blood. “Draining someone of their blood takes a very long time, and they need a secluded place to do it. The body was only moved to this box afterwards. When did you guys get here today?”
“Nine in the morning.” Yan Qing said, “The staff members came at eight to set up.”
“Has anyone touched the box before then?”
“The box is for the second scene we’re shooting today, and we spent a long time on the first scene, so the box has been behind the curtain of the stage the entire time. A staff member might have moved it before, but you’ll have to ask them for the specifics.”
“Before you started filming this scene, who came to make sure that the extra was in the box?”
The assistant manager raised his hand silently and swallowed nervously. “When I went to check, I called for him but he didn’t reply, so I opened the box to check. Through the gap, I saw that there was someone inside, so I thought he had already gone in. I praised him and told people to bring the box onstage…”
She wasn’t sure whether she could call him lucky or careless. Chen QiaoYu rolled her eyes. “The assistant makeup artist was waiting in the dressing room the entire afternoon. She said that she hadn’t done makeup on the walk-on, and she even thought that this scene wasn’t going to be filmed today. You lack cohesion, seeing as you didn’t even notice that you were missing an extra.”
The director and assistant manager both looked down. How embarrassing.
Lin Bai walked inside and said to Chen QiaoYu in an undertone, “I found the walk-in, he never even came. According to him, he received a phone call from a crew member last evening, who told him that this scene was to be postponed. He was told to wait for their notice, and he wasn’t suspicious at all. I looked into the phone number, and it came from a telephone booth at a street corner a few blocks away from here. There aren’t any surveillance cameras there, and in the evening, those streets are filled with people, so there are too many people in the footage of other locations. Moreover, it’s very blurry, so it’s hard to find who it was. I’ve asked people to look into it.”
“The person who died was named Zhao Qi. He was a temporary staff member, and he helped out with the prop crew. He didn’t come today, and the leader of the prop crew thought that it was strange, but he hadn’t had the time to contact him yet. Are you guys familiar with this person?”
Everyone shook their heads. He was a temporary staff member, whom only Yan Qing had seen, yet he hadn’t even known his name.
“As routine, please tell me where you were from last night to today, one by one.” Guan Jin took out a pen recorder.
Qin Tao looked at the assistant manager, Du Ping. “Yesterday, we wrapped up filming at seven p.m., and then I had a meal with the assistant manager. Then, we talked about the script until about ten, which is when I went home. I came here at eight in the morning today, and I haven’t left since. The others haven’t left after they arrived, either.”
The assistant manager nodded. “Afterwards, I went back to my hotel room. In the morning, I got up at around six, and I ate with some members of the crew before we came here to start preparations. There are security cameras in the hotel, so you guys can check.”
Qin Tao shrugged. “I live by myself, but there’s a monitor at the gate.”
Yun ManTing said softly, “I don’t have many scenes, so I left at five in the afternoon. Then, I ate with one of the crew members, Xiao Wu, and then the chauffeur drove me home. Xiao Wu and I organized the things that we were going to use today, so she went home at around eight. I also live by myself.”
Xiao Wu had straight hair, and she looked shrewd. She nodded vigorously. “When I got home, I went straight to sleep. I live with my parents, so they can corroborate that.”
Zhang Xin was still in shock and trembling a little. He said in a low voice, “I only had a scene this afternoon, so after I went home yesterday, I hung out with some friends. I went home at eleven and slept all the way until noon.”
The second female lead was a somewhat famous actress, Lin ShuYao. She tucked her hair behind one ear. “My assistant has been sick these past few days, so I’ve been coming by myself. When I left, the chauffeur picked me up. He left after he sent me home. I also live by myself.”
It was Yan Qing’s turn; he was looking down, seemingly lost in thought.
“Mr. Yan.” Guan Jin’s tone was icy. “What about you?”
Yan Qing looked up and subconsciously glanced at Lu YunYang. “After I left, Xiao Duo took me home before going herself. I was a little tired, so I went to sleep. No one can corroborate it.”
Xiao Duo opened her mouth as if she was going to say something, but she thought about it and swallowed it back.
“Is that right?” Guan Jin asked, looking at Xiao Duo.
Xiao Duo was chilled from his gaze. “Y-yes. I took Yan Qing home, then took a taxi. I rent a house by myself…”
“We’re going to verify what you guys have told us. That’s it for today, and I hope everyone can stay at home and in the city. Wait for us to notify you when we’re done with the investigation,” concluded Wen JingHan as he stood up.
As they walked out, there was a commotion onstage.
“Little Fan~ Ah, why does this body look so creepy, stay away from it. Hey, hey, don’t touch it!”
“Fuck off! I’m a forensic scientist, so how can I inspect the body without touching it! Is there anyone who can chase away this idiot who keeps getting in the way of our investigations?”
After “Idiot” Jin MaiLong received word that something had happened at the set, he had rushed over immediately. Unexpectedly, when he had gotten here, he had seen Le Fan in front of the body, and couldn’t bear seeing his lover being in “close contact” with the body, so he had tried to dissuade him, which only resulted in a scolding from Le Fan.
When the others saw Mr. Jin being reprimanded by a police officer to the point that he had practically shrunk into the corner, they were shocked.
“Mr. Jin!” When Zhang Xin saw Jin MaiLong, he hurriedly walked up to him. “Mr. Jin, you’re here. I was the first one to discover the body, it was so terrifying.”
“Right, it’s such a scary sight…” And my darling is messing around with it qaq.
“Just thinking about it gives me the shivers.”
“…Do you want me to pour you a glass of water?”
“No, you can go buy a coffee. Add double milk and sugar.” Jin MaiLong first thought of Le Fan’s favorite. “And you can get some for the other police officers.” It was essential that he strengthened his relationship with the other officers.
“…You’re asking me to buy them?” Zhang Xin’s expression was a little dark.
“Hm? Aren’t you the stage manager?”
When Le Fan heard this, he wasn’t sure whether to laugh or to cry. That idiot, you just can’t stay mad at him.
“Officer Wen, are we not going to be able to continue filming?” Only then did Jin MaiLong remember the problem at hand.
Wen JingHan nodded. “For now.”
“I heard this person was a temporary staff member. No matter how your investigation turns out, we should still take some responsibility. I’ll ask people to contact his family so I can give them some compensation. This won’t hinder your investigation, right?”
“We’ll let you know when we finish our investigation. Only then can you handle these matters internally.”
“Okay, well, you can tell Le Fan to let me know.”
Wen JingHan acquiesced in his persistence.
When the car arrived in front of the front door, Xiao Duo handed Yan Qing’s bag to him.
“YanYan, have a good rest. With Brother Mo and the others there, this definitely won’t have a negative impact on you. Right now, I haven’t heard anything from the media. I reckon President Min and Jin are keeping them quiet.”
Yan Qing nodded. “It’s okay, and since we won’t be able to continue filming for these next few days, you should get some rest as well. If anything comes up, Mo Wei will be in touch.”
As Xiao Duo watched Yan Qing’s receding back, she sighed lightly and told the chauffeur to drive away.
“You’re back, sir!” The maid at the door greeted Yan Qing.
“The young master said that he got caught up in something, so he can only come back tomorrow. If you want to eat something, just tell me and I’ll tell the chefs to make it.”
Yan Qing shook his head. “I don’t have much of an appetite. I’ll let you know later when I’m hungry.”
“Of course.” The clever maid quickly went away to busy herself.
Yan Qing returned to the bedroom on the second floor alone and flopped onto the bed, falling asleep soon afterwards.
After an unknown amount of time had passed, he faintly felt that there seemed to be something around his body. Yan Qing woke up abruptly to find that there was a pair of muscular arms wrapped around him, and he felt warm breaths on the back of his neck.
“Weren’t you going to be back tomorrow?” Yan Qing was surprised.