Translated by Vivian of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
“Yan Qing can’t recall anything that has happened out of the ordinary, and he doesn’t remember offending anyone recently either. Could this whole rose scare thing just be a trivial prank?” mused Guan Jin as he and Lu YunYang walked out of the JingTian film studio.
“Let’s hope so,” replied Lu YunYang. At the door, a twelfth actress winked at him.
“Ah, there’s a lot of handsome men at JingTian, but why don’t they seem as popular as you?” Guan Jin said ambiguously as he narrowed his eyes at the tall and slender woman who had just walked past them.
Lu YunYang grinned. “For those actresses, no matter how handsome the actors are, they’re just not a reliable source of income.”
Guan Jin glanced at him and came to a realization. “So they think that you’re a higher-up in the company and want a long-term meal ticket.”
“It’s a shame that it’s too late. This meal ticket has already been sold forever, and it’s non-refundable.” Lu YunYang immediately put on a serious expression.
Guan Jin stopped and stared at him for three seconds. He suddenly asked, “Just how much money do you have?”
“…Enough to feed you lavishly and let you spend extravagantly over several lifetimes.”
Guan Jin’s expression became pensive.
Lu YunYang contemplated to himself, Can this bargaining chip be used in my favor? If I had known earlier, I would’ve handed over my bank account a long time ago!
When the two of them returned to the office, they were greeted by a pitch-black room as well as eerie music. Everyone was gathered together and staring attentively at Lin Bai’s computer screen, watching the climax of a movie.
Guan Jin frowned and asked, “What are you guys doing, aren’t you worried Wen JingHan is going to fire you?”
From the back of the group, Wen JingHan turned and smiled slightly.
“…Are you trying to lead everyone astray?”
“Just now, Lin Bai recalled a horror movie he had watched before, and in it, there was a scene that seemed to have someone use a bug in a vase to scare the main character. Thus, he found that obscure film and we’re looking at it together to see if it can help us think of anything new.”
The shouting in the movie finally died down, and everyone sighed in relief.
“It’s finally over… That film was just screaming from start to finish. It’s a wonder these actors haven’t lost their voices yet,” remarked Zheng Fei.
“Can this even be considered horror? There’s no logic, suspense, or reason whatsoever,” complained Chen QiaoYu.
“It looks like it doesn’t have much to do with our case, except for that scene with the vase.” Gu Xiang shook his head. “Maybe someone who watched it before took that idea, or it could just be a coincidence.”
Lu YunYang rubbed his chin. “Does Yan Qing or any of the other crew members have anything to do with this movie?”
Wen JingHan raised an eyebrow. “Good question. Little Bai already gathered all of the data, and it turns out that five years ago, there was a producer who had a lot of influence and was behind this script. He casted Yu ManTing, who was just starting to gain popularity, but later, the film ran into financial problems and they weren’t able to get her. In the end, the script was reworked and the actors were all relatively little-known. When the movie came out, the reviews weren’t that good.”
“Yu ManTing? Sending a flower with a bug in it suggests a female perpetrator, since it’s malicious and creates psychological fear but no physical violence. However, it appears that an actress as famous as Yan Qing wouldn’t have a motive for something like this, nor is it in accordance with their personality,” analyzed Lu YunYang.
“Let’s put aside the flower thing for now, since we don’t have any proof that it’s connected to the murder. Let’s just go back to the case and continue analyzing the scene and looking into the victim’s relations. With a crew this big, I feel like there’s got to be someone who can give us a clue,” said Wen JingHan.
“Xiao Duo, why are you pacing around so anxiously?” asked Yan Qing.
Xiao Duo immediately rushed up to him. “I was ordered by Brother Mo to ensure your safety!”
Yan Qing wasn’t sure whether he should laugh or cry. “This is a little too excessive, no? It was just a flower, yet you had to get the police involved. It was just a prank that a bored person pulled, and it’s not like I have any enemies.”
“YanYan, you’re too kind-hearted. You don’t hurt others, but a lot of people just feel like they’re being hurt by you for no reason. You’re being targeted right now, so there’s nothing wrong with being careful,” Xiao Duo said sternly.
“Brother Mo told you to say that, didn’t he?”
“Hmph, you found out.”
Although Yan Qing also felt a little apprehensive, he didn’t really think his life was in danger. After all, he hadn’t offended anyone all these years. Moreover, he had always been acute, and he hadn’t felt any malicious intentions around him lately.
Guo ZiZhen didn’t know what the source of it was, but lately, he had either been feeling dizzy and nauseous, or he was finding a fault with the set, or he suddenly wanted to change his lines and was extremely nitpicky. Despite Director Qin’s good temper, he had gotten angry and said, Don’t act all high and mighty at my set. Yan Qing and Yu ManTing are here, and how can you even compare to them?!
Initially, Director Qin had wanted to directly kick him off, but Assistant Director Du Ping had rushed over to smooth things over by saying, Director Qin, he’s just an amateur who doesn’t know what he’s talking about, so you shouldn’t mind him too much. Besides, he probably has some significant people supporting him, otherwise he wouldn’t be this fussy. There’s no need for you to offend some other people over something as trivial as this. Don’t worry, I’ll knock some sense into him.
Only then did Qin Tao suppress his anger. He didn’t say anything, but he seemed to have acquiesced in what Du Ping had said. Du Ping wiped the sweat off of his forehead as he thought, This job really isn’t easy, it’s practically as challenging as being a firefighter…
Du Ping motioned for Guo ZiZhen’s assistant to lead Qin Tao to the lounge before continuing to flatter Qin Tao with a sullen expression. After over half an hour, Du Ping finally returned to the set with an exhausted expression as he complained to someone nearby, He’s so pretentious.
After about fifteen minutes, Guo ZiZhen returned from his stroll, though his mood had improved quite a bit.
While they were waiting for the scene to be set up, Zhang Xin and the others were watching a video together, though Yan Qing was sitting by himself. He had already made it to the top of this industry a while ago. He wasn’t arrogant, but he disdained what went on underneath. This wasn’t like climbing a mountain; there was no view below, only mud. However, something that surprised him was during Guo ZiZhen’s altercation with the director, all the way until Guo ZiZhen had gone to the back lounge, Yu ManTing seemed to have been paying close attention to him. No matter when Yan Qing glanced over, Yu ManTing was looking at Guo ZiZhen almost impassively, though there was something strange about her gaze…
Yu ManTing had always been keen and arrogant, and couldn’t be more dismissive of people like Guo ZiZhen. Yan Qing shook his head, not wanting to think about such trivial gossip. He looked down to study his script more, but suddenly, Guo ZiZhen walked towards him and stopped next to him.
Yan Qing looked up to placate Xiao Duo, who was just about to storm over, and continued to look down at his script.
“Brother Yan, are you free after we wrap up today?” Guo ZiZhen asked politely. Of course, it was hard to tell just how genuine this politeness was.
Yan Qing looked up. “Is something the matter?”
“I have some scenes with you later, but I haven’t been able to get the feelings exactly right yet. If you don’t mind, I’d like to practice them with you one-on-one so you can give me some pointers.” Guo ZiZhen’s tone and expression became more and more genuine.
Yan Qing didn’t want to appear impolite, especially with so many people watching them silently, so he replied, “I already have plans for later today, but I can still rehearse with you for around half an hour.”
“That’s enough, thank you!” Guo ZiZhen seemed to be genuinely very happy.
Yan Qing watched him walk away, seemingly lost in thought.
“I wonder what he has up his sleeve,” mused Xiao Duo.
The day went by rather smoothly, and they finished filming in the evening. Yan Qing and Du Ping discussed the next day’s scenery with the props manager before he noticed that everyone else had already left. Yan Qing told Xiao Duo to wait at the car for him and went to the lounge, where he and Guo ZiZhen had agreed to meet.
There was no one in the lounge. However, Guo ZiZhen had already finished his scenes at two in the afternoon, and Yan Qing recalled him going to the lounge to take a nap quite early on. Yan Qing looked around the room carefully and saw that Guo ZiZhen’s jacket was still there. Maybe he had gone to the restroom? He sat down to wait for him.
After about ten minutes, Guo ZiZhen still hadn’t shown up, so Yan Qing stood up and walked outside. The cast and crew had already left, so the large room was especially quiet. That Guo ZiZhen hadn’t been messing with him, right… Just as Yan Qing was about to leave, music suddenly started playing, almost making him jump.
This was Guo ZiZhen’s phone’s ringtone; he had heard it before. He followed the source of the music and discovered that it was coming from a room near the back.
Why wasn’t anyone picking up? Could Guo ZiZhen have fainted or just left his phone there? Yan Qing kept following the sound to a room that they had filmed in a while ago.
He reached out to open the door.
Why was the door so heavy?
He had to use both hands to pull open the wooden door.
The ringtone from the phone stopped abruptly, and at the same time, Yan Qing’s breath hitched.
At the back of the door he had just opened, Guo ZiZhen’s head was facing his, his eyes were wide open, his pupils were unmoving, and there were streaks of blood coming out from them.
Yan Qing stepped backward subconsciously as he looked at the dead Guo ZiZhen, who had been fixed to the door panel. For a moment, he was blank. There was a sound stuck in his throat, struggling to get out.
A terrified scream reverberated around the empty room.
In the end, the scream hadn’t come from Yan Qing; rather, it was Xiao Duo, who had come to find him out of concern.
Guan Jin and Lu YunYang had just returned home, and Lu YunYang was washing vegetables in the kitchen when his phone suddenly rang.
Lu YunYang wiped his hands on a towel and went to the living room to pick up the call. “Brother, how come you have time to call me?”
“Find me someone to protect Yan Qing.”
“Use one of your people, the type that is reliable and doesn’t attract too much attention,” insisted Lu YunShen.
“What? Someone else died?!”
Lu YunYang realized that that was Guan Jin talking, since he was also on a call.
“Someone else died on Yan Qing’s set,” said Lu YunShen.
“The police also got the call. Just relax and leave it to me.”
After hanging up, Guan Jin frowned. “Wen JingHan never has good news when he calls me.”
“Would he need to call you if it was good news?” Lu YunYang handed Guan Jin’s coat to him and put on his own jacket.
“I’m considering switching professions.”
“How about selling lottery tickets? All I would hear would be excited people with good news.”
“So you would want to watch everyone else hit the jackpot every day?”
“…On second thought, I’d rather not.”