Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
The bus stopped at a certain platform and Lu Rong got off the bus with a big bag, ready to find a hotel nearby. He didn’t dare to enter the luxury hotels, so he searched for a long time before he found a small hotel in an alley. Although it was a small hotel, the facade still looked much grander than the hotels in Longquan town.
“The deposit is three hundred, and the nightly accommodation fee for a normal standard room is one hundred and nine.” The receptionist, who was chewing on melon seeds, quoted the price without raising her eyes.
Lu Rong knew that the capital city was expensive. In this kind of hotel in his university city, a night would only cost 70 to 80, but here the price was actually twice as much, so he hesitated for a moment.
“This is a good area, you can’t find a cheaper hotel than us nearby.” The receptionist lifted her eyes to glance at Lu Rong, and after seeing his face, she paused, her expression easing a little.
Lu Rong knew that Grandpa Cai’s retirement salary wasn’t high, and that he had saved up for his own schooling over the years. He hadn’t started working yet, so two hundred dollars a night was more than he could afford.
“Sister, can it be cheaper?” Lu Rong asked in a low voice.
The receptionist took a look at his outfit and the big bag beside him and asked, “Here to study?”
The boy looked small and was probably still a student.
“No.” Lu Rong shook his head then nodded, “I graduated, but I’m looking for a job, and I’m looking for someone to work with.”
“Who are you looking for?” The receptionist was in the mood for conversation.
Lu Rong dutifully replied, “I’m looking for my brother.”
“Is your brother working in the capital? Or is he studying too?”
Lu Rong thought for a moment, “Part-time job.”
Shen Jize was an actor, so it was a part-time job… right?
Maybe because Lu Rong looked really good, or because the receptionist thought of someone else, she spoke more softly and offered him a discounted rate of 120 per night for regular guests of the hotel.
Lu Rong unzipped the woven bag beside him and took out a handful of red dates from it, “Sister, this is the date from our town, it’s especially sweet.”
Before the trip, Grandpa Cai had asked him to bring this bag, which included bacon and sausages in addition to the dates, so he could give some to Li Song, or a new colleague or a friend for a taste.
The receptionist thought about it and said, “This is the low season, the rooms aren’t full, so if you come at 12 pm, the price will be discounted.”
“Thank you, sister.” Lu Rong’s eyes narrowed with a smile.
“But I’m switching shifts with someone after 12pm, so you have to come before 12pm.”
“Okay.” Lu Rong took his luggage, said goodbye to the receptionist, and went to a noodle shop next to the hotel to have a bowl of noodles. Seeing that it was only dusk, he found a small park nearby and sat on a bench at the edge of the woods to wait.
Next to it was a small square, where a group of old men and women danced and played Tai Chi. He watched with interest for a while, and then watched a group of children skateboarding. By the time everyone dispersed, it was already past 10:00 pm. The noisy park became unusually quiet, only the crickets could be heard in the grass, and the sound of cars driving by in the distance.
But there were more mosquitoes too.
Lu Rong kept slapping his exposed hands and feet, and even then, he got several bites. But he brought long-sleeved pants, so he simply took them from the bag to put on. The summer night here had a hint of cool wind, and it didn’t feel hot. He played with his phone for a while, and habitually looked at Shen Jize’s Weibo, and after seeing no new developments, he then clicked on the album to look at his few saved photos.
It was only when the phone’s battery was almost out of charge did he put it back into his coat pocket and tilted his head to look at the moon in the sky. He found this place according to the address on the money order from Shen Jize, and was going to stay at the hotel first, rent an apartment tomorrow, then look for a suitable job.
Later, he would work and look for Shen Jize and Wang Tu at the same time.
“…What are you doing? What are you doing?!” On the pathway deep in the park, a female voice full of fear suddenly rang out, and then raised a few degrees to a scream, “Someone! He grabbed my bag, someone grabbed my bag!”
Lu Rong stood up abruptly and ran in that direction, only to turn a corner and see a young woman in a dress sitting on the ground, pointing her finger at the woods directly in front of her. In the woods, a back darted into the darkness, holding a red leather bag.
Lu Rong couldn’t think much about it, as he followed and rushed into the woods. The man was fit, ran fast, and knew the park’s terrain well, nimbly avoiding obstacles. Lu Rong stumbled, almost tripping over a bush in the dark. The distance between the two was getting farther and farther.
Seeing that the man was about to run out of the woods, Lu Rong looked around and saw no one else, so he stopped running. Clothes fell to the ground, and a white deer body appeared, his ankles were traced with red stripes as he galloped out.
In the night, the white deer’s body lines were slender and smooth, his fur shiny, like silk. Compared to the previous small white deer, his body was a size larger, and on the top of his head the small cut silver horns also changed a lot, growing two more short branches.
Lu Rong only ran forward a few seconds, then saw the back in front of him; the man had run to the edge of the park under the fence, and was trying to climb up. The white deer leapt up, and just as he climbed to the top of the fence, lowered his head and picked with his silver horn, and the red bag picked up and hung on top of his silver horn. Then with a twist in the air, he turned around, running in the direction from which he came.
The bag snatcher was about to jump off the fence when he felt the wind blowing over his head and a chill on his scalp. Then there was a lightness in his hand, and the bag that he was holding was abruptly gone. He was stunned for a moment, and hurriedly looked back to see a white animal running towards the woods, and the bag he had grabbed was hanging on top of its head.
In the night, he couldn’t see very carefully, but it seemed to have horns.
It seemed to be a deer?
How could there be a deer in this small park and snatch the bag he was holding? He rubbed his eyes incredulously and froze there for a moment, not knowing what to do. At that moment, the deer-like animal let out a few barks and hurriedly disappeared into the depths of the woods.
It turned out to be someone else’s dog and the horns should be some type of jewelry. Since there was a dog, there would be someone, so he dared not delay any longer, jumped off the fence quickly and ran off into the distance.
“Woof woof woof.” Lu Rong ran and imitated a dog’s barking perfectly.
When he rushed back to the woods, he hurriedly changed back and put on his clothes from the ground. He just walked out of the woods and came to the street light, when two security guards, a fat and a thin one, hurriedly ran over, followed by the young woman in a dress, and a few people watching.
“Hey, you there! Stand still and don’t move!” The fat security guard shone his flashlight straight at Lu Rong.
Lu Rong raised his left hand to block his eyes, his right hand still carrying the red bag.
The young woman rushed forward excitedly, grabbed the bag, opened it and looked through its contents, saying over and over, “This is my bag! This is my bag!”
“You, come with us to the security station.” The security guard’s flashlight was still shining straight at Lu Rong.
Lu Rong realized they thought he was the purse snatcher and explained, “I’m not the purse snatcher, another person snatched the bag and I helped her get it back.”
Although there was a street light, the security guard still shined his light at him. Under the strong light, his thin body and fair skin, but also with a childish face was too beautiful. The guards looked him up and down, full of suspicion, while the onlookers pulled out their cell phones and started filming with great interest.
“Ma’am, is he the one who helped you?”
The young woman thought back and hesitated, “I’m not sure, because it was dark and I was so panicked that my mind went blank…”
Lu Rong explained again, “I really wasn’t the bag snatcher. The guy grabbed her bag and tried to climb over the fence.”
“Well, let’s go to the security room, there’s surveillance there we can pull up.” The fat security guard lowered the torch and said.
Lu Rong rubbed his eyes, which were dizzy from the light, and when he heard the word surveillance, his heart thumped. He had just turned into a deer, what if they could see that scene in the surveillance?
His heart surged with panic, so he stood still.
The fat guard sneered, “What? Don’t dare to see it? I’m telling you, I’ve seen a lot of people like you, no tricks can escape my eyes.”
Lu Rong was reluctant to look at the surveillance and could only plead his case repeatedly, “I’m not the one who snatched the bag, I helped her get it back. He climbed up the front fence and jumped after I grabbed the bag.”
The young woman hesitated, “There seemed to be someone who helped chase him into the woods, and the person who grabbed my bag was much stronger and taller than he was.”
The thin security guard heard this and looked at the fat security guard, meaning it might not really be the boy who did it.
“By the way, that man was wearing a white T-shirt, not like him.” The young woman pointed to Lu Rong’s light blue long-sleeved jacket, “Yes, his clothes are different.”
“I really didn’t grab the bag.” Lu Rong explained again. He looked small, his voice was soft, and at this point there was no aggression, he even sounded a bit pathetic.
The thin security guard poked the fat security guard beside him, “Forget it, let’s go back.”
The fat security guard turned his head and looked at the bench not far away, where Lu Long’s woven bag and backpack were placed.
“From the countryside? Just arrived? Still haven’t found a place to stay?” He asked Lu Rong, with a knowing look on his face.
“It’s really not him, the color of their clothes are different—” the young woman spoke up again.
“Miss, don’t sympathize with people indiscriminately, some bad guys don’t look like bad guys at all, but they can do anything. Besides, it’s so dark that it’s not easy to distinguish between light blue and white in the light.” The fat security guard interrupted her and pushed Lu Rong a little roughly, “Go, go, go! Let’s go to the security room and watch the surveillance.”
Lu Rong was pushed forward and stumbled two steps, then came back and stood still, saying, “I’m not going, this sister said it wasn’t me.”
When the fat security guard saw a group of people watching and taking pictures with their cell phones, he said coldly, “Since you did what was righteous, why don’t you want to see the surveillance? What are you afraid of? You’re from the countryside and you couldn’t find a job so you engage in evil things, are these still not enough?”
Lu Rong abruptly looked up at him. His eyes were large and round, his eyelids wide and deep, his pupils a light brown in the light, looking both angry and pure.
The fat security guard said, “It’s okay not to look at the surveillance, then we have to call the police and let the police look at it.”
Lu Rong’s heart was anxious, so he used his best pampering technique, turning his head to look at the young woman, “Sister～～”
The young woman didn’t believe Lu Rong was the one who snatched her bag, and when she heard ‘sister’, she became even softer, but when she saw that he insisted on not looking at the surveillance, she seemed to have some scruples, so she asked the security guard, “May I ask you where the surveillance was taken?”
The security guard said, “He said the bag snatcher went over the fence. The park is very dark, but outside the fence has an alley with street lights, so if someone jumps over, the alley will be visible.”
The young woman asked Lu Rong softly, “Do you think this is okay? It didn’t get you, but only the alley outside the fence.”
Lu Rong felt that there was nothing wrong with this, so he nodded gently.
The group walked down the path toward the security room, and the watchers followed. As they passed the benches, Lu Rong took his bulging woven bag and put on his backpack.
The fat guard added, “How dare you try to sleep in the park? You’re not allowed to stay here.”
“Did you see me sleeping in the park? Am I sleepwalking right now?” Lu Rong said.
When they got to the security room and pulled up the surveillance, Lu Rong was still nervous at the moment of playback. But the camera could really only see the street outside the fence, and after locking in time, he soon found the image of the man when he jumped off the fence.
The image was fixed, they could clearly see his face, and the thin security guards suddenly said, “This is Li Xiao Er! He often hangs around in this small park! Hurry up and call the police, hurry up and call the police!”
The fat security guard looked embarrassed, but still said, “I can’t be blamed for the misunderstanding. These past months there have been several incidents of rural people robbing people.”
“What’s wrong with rural people? There’s nothing that makes rural people inferior to city people, not to mention that three generations back, who’s not a rural person?” The young woman retorted in a hard tone.
Lu Rong, after ascertaining that the surveillance couldn’t see him, was no longer a wimp or pitiful, and jumped at the fat security guard like a jumping rooster. “I told you it wasn’t me! You had to say I was a bag snatcher. Your security guard’s work was taken by me, so you’re taking advantage of the opportunity to retaliate, right?” He turned to the young woman and squinted, “Sister, my eyes were blinded by this person with a flashlight and now I can’t open them.”
The young woman couldn’t resist the naive look of his red lips and white teeth, and she hurriedly had to look at his eyes, “Let me see, if they are bad, we will go to the hospital.”
“Is he paying for the examination?” Lu Rong rolled his eyes at the fat security guard.
Those big eyes rolled with vigor, so there was no problem. The fat security guard was anxious. “You’re a good-looking kid, how come you’re still blackmailing people?”
“You shine your own eyes and tell me it doesn’t hurt. Why say I blackmailed people? Let’s go to the hospital and get it checked out.” Lu Rong was there for a while, until the fat security guard apologized repeatedly, and the stifling breath in his chest was dispersed, and only then did he carry his woven bag out of the security booth.
The young woman caught up with him and thanked him again and again, and took out her wallet to give him a reward, but he decisively refused, and only said goodbye and took his luggage to the hotel.
The receptionist only charged sixty yuan as agreed earlier, and Lu Rong left her another handful of sweet dates and went into the room. He put down his bag and sat on the edge of the bed in a daze. It was only when the large mosquito bit on his hands and feet and he began to itch that he went into the bathroom, took a shower and went to bed.
That night, a small video was put on Weibo, and somehow began to gradually explode. Finally, under the forwarding of several large V, it soon went on the hot search.
In the video, a teenager showed the righteousness of people, but because he was from the countryside, he was given a hard time by the security guards, which caused a lot of people’s anger.
【What’s wrong with city people? Was he not also a security guard?】
【Now there are still people who think that city people are a step above country people, it’s fucking ridiculous.】
【I’m so angry. It’s so hard to be brave.】
【But the boy didn’t suffer. Look at the security guard he chewed out in the end, hahahahahaha】
But gradually, some people began to publish some other remarks, and the comments also gradually deviated.
【I think that this little brother looks good.】
【I think so too! Although the video is blurred, I can see the general appearance, and it’s tasty and handsome.】
【The moment he stepped into the security room and the lights came on, it was the clearest time! I even took a screenshot!】
And at that moment, Shen Jize was sitting on the sofa of his apartment in a bathrobe, with his arms around his chest. The house he bought was still under renovation and he was temporarily living in this company rented room in an upscale neighborhood.
Opposite him were his two assistants and agent Kate, several of whom were stone-faced as they looked at a cardboard box on the table. An’s fame has been rising since the new movie aired and the reviews were raving and was a box office hit.
At first, many people were dismissive of An, thinking that it must be hype, after all, the acting skills of today’s early twenties actors were considered abysmal. But after seeing the whole movie, those who were spitting shut their mouths and stopped saying things like the awards he won were a sham. The critics started posting long reviews, with words like “born for the big screen”, “aura of talent”, and “genius abounding”.
Shen Jize used his acting skills to conquer the discerning audience and his handsome appearance to conquer a group of facecon fans. But while his career has been a huge success, some unpleasant things have started to happen.
His deliveries were now piled up into a mountain of gifts mailed to the company by fans, and when the two assistants had nothing better to do, they went and unpacked the little mountain of packages.
One of the courier cartons only had a glass bottle in it, and Xiao Chu muttered about who would send an empty bottle. Gao Kai took a look, his face changed instantly, even the bottle with the box together was thrown into the trash, he then desperately started washing his hands, as if they were contaminated with germs.
Seeing Xiao Chu looking at him with confusion, he asked, holding back his nausea, “Can’t you see there’s something else on the bottom of it?”
“What?” The youngest was even more confused.
Gao Kai said indignantly, “A man’s penis. It’s from a fucking pervert.”
It wasn’t a big deal, Gao Kai didn’t even tell Shen Jize, movie stars meeting a perverted fan wasn’t an uncommon thing. But when Shen Jize came home today, he saw a cardboard box placed at the door and thought it was put here by his assistant, so he took it into the house and opened it.
After opening the box, his face suddenly changed, and a few seconds later, he closed the lid with a bang. Then he took out his phone and started contacting his agent and assistant.
Kate, the agent, was in her early thirties, dressed in a form-fitting sheath dress, her impeccably made-up face oozing shrewdness.
“Have you checked the surveillance footage?” She asked Xiao Chu.
Xiao Chu said, “Yes, it was a person wearing a cleaning lady’s uniform who sent it, wearing a mask and hat, so their face was covered. The owner said it wasn’t their company’s worker.”
Shen Jize remained in the same position, as if listening to their conversation, but also looking like he was resting. He had a serious expression, the line of his perfect jawline was tight.
Gao Kai looked inside the box again.
On the bottom of the cardboard box lay a tiny version of a person. It was An’s role in the film, blood stains were painted on it with red paint, and a knife was sticking out of its chest.
Kate sighed and was about to say something when she heard Shen Jize’s voice ring out quietly.
“These days, no matter if I go out or stay home, there are always people sneaking around following me. I didn’t take it to heart, but now it seems that it’s necessary to pay attention to personal safety issues.”
Gao Kai stood up and exclaimed, “Someone is actually following you?! How come I didn’t notice?!”
Shen Jize raised his eyelids and gave him a half-open look, “I’ve been in military training three times, and also participated in the Boy Scouts, so with my innate sensitivity plus the acquired training, it’s no wonder I noticed and you didn’t.”
Gao Kai made an educated look and sat down.
Kate pondered for a while and then said, “These kinds of problems involving personal safety have to be prevented, we can’t be careless. Let’s call the police and hire a bodyguard to protect An 24 hours a day until the police catch him.”
“Bodyguard ah… To hire a bodyguard for this kind of thing… Wouldn’t it be a bit of a fuss and not particularly appropriate?” Shen Jize’s face looked slightly relieved, but the words were tinged with hesitation.
“Yes, would it be a bit of a fuss?” Gao Kai followed and echoed.
When Kate saw that they both said this, she hesitated, “Or, I’ll just—”
“I’ll interview the bodyguard myself. After all, I live a strict life, and I don’t like strangers approaching me, so I’m not sure about the general public.” Shen Jize, however, sat up straight again and quickly interrupted her.
Kate instantly understood and said, “Then it’s settled. An’s personal safety is most important, this bodyguard will be hired immediately. You can go to the big security companies and find out who the best bodyguards are.”
“Understood.” Xiao Chu said.