Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
A cell phone rang. Kate made a quiet gesture and picked up the phone.
“Hello… Yes… I’ve read the interview script sent by the TV station, and there are some questions in it that need to be revised, let the host change them to other questions… Only one emotional question can be asked, namely, what is his ideal type…”
Shen Jize heard this, suddenly made a gesture to Kate, and Kate hurriedly covered the mouthpiece.
Shen Jize slightly raised his eyebrows, said, “One of the questions is to ask me if I have ever encountered anything to be afraid of. This question also needs to be scrapped, can’t be asked. If you tell the real answer and say I’ve never been scared, it doesn’t seem very grounded.”
Kate froze, but relayed his words truthfully.
“Well then, get some rest, you have a trip tomorrow.” Kate put on her small satchel, stepping on her high heels to go out.
Gao Kai and Xiao Chu followed, Shen Jize pointed to the cardboard box on the table and said, “Get this out, take it away.”
“Yes, yes, and bring it to the police as evidence.” Gao Kai hastily picked up the carton.
Kate went out and then turned around and said, “If someone comes knocking at the door at night, you have to look carefully before you open the door.”
Shen Jize smiled indifferently, his face was handsome enough to make their hearts beat faster, “It’s okay, I will pay attention to it. If they really come, I…”
Ultimately, he swallowed his words about his three military training sessions and his participation in the Boy Scouts.
“Anyway, be careful. Call me if you need anything.” Kate closed the door after admonishing him.
The room quieted down, leaving Shen Jize alone, and he immediately sprang into action. He fished out a baseball bat, leaned against the door with both hands, and struck it against the door. He repeatedly adjusted the angle until he was satisfied before placing the bat next to the door. He went to check a few more windows, locked the door of the empty room, locked the window of the landing balcony, and finally went to the kitchen to fetch a fruit knife and put it under the sofa cushions.
He turned on the projection TV, changed the channel, and with the laughter of the entertainment, took out his phone and started searching: “How to fight back after encountering a trespasser at your home” and “How many years of imprisonment could one get for killing a trespasser in self-defense”.
Shen Jize wrote down the useful information, and then lay back on the sofa to rest his eyes. After a while, he started browsing Twitter again with nothing to do. He scribbled casually for a while, and he was just about to exit, when he inadvertently clicked into a new hot search, which had a video.
The video wasn’t well lit, it was at night, and a group of people were standing by the woods, surrounding a young man in light blue clothes and were in the middle talking about something.
Shen Jize wasn’t very interested in this, and was ready to turn off the phone.
But at that moment, the young man in the picture turned around and happened to be facing the phone camera, revealing his whole face which was still relatively clear. The face had a pair of large moist eyes, pointed chin, fair skin, and the corners of his mouth tilted slightly down, looking both aggrieved and angry.
Shen Jize, who was about to scroll past, paused, staring at the young man in a daze, waiting for the video to finish playing and then pressed replay.
After a long time, he finally laughed lightly to himself, shaking his head, turned off the phone and went to shower. After taking two steps and then stopping, he turned back and picked up his phone, found the video again, and pressed pause when it came to the face of the young man.
He touched the phone screen with his finger and narrowed his eyes slightly for a moment before walking to the bathroom.
After a brief shower, he came out in his bathrobe with two cell phones sitting on the coffee table, both buzzing with vibrations. He looked at the phone numbers and wiped his wet hair with a towel while picking up one of them to connect.
“Hello, director Wang… Can I have time at noon the day after tomorrow?… I don’t have a very good appetite and would like to eat something light… The chicken soup with pine mushroom from Fangzhai is not bad… Okay, see you soon.”
He hung up the phone and picked up the other one, answering the call.
“You… I told you to screw off… I ate something randomly… It was too bland, so I want to eat hot pot, fish head hot pot…” Shen Jize answered this call with a significantly more relaxed tone, lazily walking to the couch and sitting down, legs wide open, all the sights out in the open outside the bathrobe. “Yong’er, I can’t come out to eat. I’m not Shen Jize now, I’m An. There may be 10,000 paparazzi ready to ambush my house. Otherwise tomorrow we will see reports that the returning popular movie star went to eat stinky tofu and fish head hot pot at midnight and drank two bowls of sour bean juice… You don’t understand, that doesn’t match my persona.”
Xiao Yong said something else on his end, and Shen Jize frequently refused, “No, no, I can’t come out today.” He looked on with a smile, his eyes fell on another phone, its screen had not yet blacked out. Looking at the microblogging interface, who knows what came to his mind, as he slowly smiled, revealing a face of deep thought. He stood up, went to the window to look out for a while, and said, “Forget it, let’s just go. Wait for me at the old store in Rat’s Alley.”
Half an hour later, Shen Jize was sitting at a table, with sunglasses, a mask and a baseball cap beside him. Although he was just sitting idly, he looked distinctly casual and dashing. He glanced at Xiao Yong, who had been staring at him, and asked, “What? Does my beautiful face fascinate you as well?”
Xiao Yong looked back and cleared his throat, “No, Ze’er, it’s human nature to love beauty. But you came here in this outfit, didn’t the paparazzi notice?”
After all, anyone who wore sunglasses and a baseball cap at night would attract the attention of the paparazzi, right?
“I took the back door.” Shen Jize tapped his fingers on the arm of his chair. He now had to guard not only against the paparazzi but also against the suspected ‘perverted fan’, so he had to be extra careful when he came out.
The good news was that neither the paparazzi nor the perverted fan were encountered, only a dog walker was staring at him. He suspected that he was recognized by the old man, and was about to say ‘I’m not, you have the wrong person’, but the old man was vigilantly holding the dog leash, “Young man, we have cameras everywhere in this area, the net of heaven is wide open. Even if you want to do something bad, you can’t escape, even if your disguise is good.”
“Yes.” Shen Jize sat up straight and pulled his shirt cuffs up, looking like he was about to do something big.
“Where’s the fish wort?” 3
“Come on, maybe they cut it up.”
“It’s local, I had them when I was there on business trips, and I have to add the fish wort.”
Xiao Chu pushed open the compartment door and called out loudly to the outside, “Waiter!”
A distant voice rang out, “Yes, sir?”
Xiao Chu yelled, “Chopped fish wort and cilantro! And a bottle of beer and soy milk!”
The fish head hot pot was boiling, and the indescribable scent spread out in the whole private room.
The waitress, who had just come to the store and hadn’t worked for a few days, came in with cilantro and fish wort, and put the beer and soy milk on the table with a green face. She didn’t bother to take a closer look at the customer’s appearance, throwing the bottle opener onto the table as if it was a □□ 4, quickly put down the bowl and exited the room, closing the compartment door and breathing heavily.
Xiao Chu first opened the soy milk and placed it in front of Shen Jize, then opened the beer and took a sip himself.
The air conditioner kept spewing out cold air, but it couldn’t keep the heat inside the room down, and both of them were sweating profusely. Shen Jize, in particular, had not spoken since the fish head hot pot was served, but his mouth wasn’t idle either, and his chopsticks were constantly dipped into it.
Only when the first wave of food grabbing was over, did the two men simmer down and started chatting while eating.
“I have long reserved the movie tickets, sending them to family relatives, old and young colleagues, friends, partners…” Xiao Yong picked up a wet paper towel and wiped his mouth.
Shen Jize put down his chopsticks and took a sip of soy milk, “Ai, I don’t think you’ll understand it either.”
“Insulting me, are you?” Xiao Yong glared, “Although I’m not into the arts, I run a decoration company. That’s also related to the arts, so how could I not even understand a movie?”
Shen Jize snorted, “Not to mention you, even I can’t understand it.”
Xiao Yong didn’t get the meaning of this statement and asked, “If you can’t understand it, how did you shoot it?”
Shen Jize pulled the corner of his mouth, “Just got the general meaning.”
Xiao Yong, “…”
“So the director didn’t give you a speech about the movie or analyze the plot or something?” Xiao Yong asked.
Shen Jize turned sideways while thinking, “Do you remember when Mr. Xu used to give me lectures?”
Xiao Yong suddenly realized, “I understand.”
Anyway, even if he didn’t understand, he just needed to nod his head and ponder, and then give an enlightened look. Shen Jize was the best at this.
“I just need to understand what happened to my character and which emotion to use to reflect it. I don’t need to understand what his movie is really about.” Shen Jize picked up a tissue and wiped the corner of his mouth with a graceful gesture.
Xiao Yong looked at the hot pot and sighed, “I’m going to record your words and sell them to the paparazzi. I bet I can make a lot of money.”
Shen Jize also didn’t answer the question, but took out his phone, and then handed it to Xiao Yong, “This is from the last time you drank, when you stripped yourself naked. I still have the naked photos and can always put them on Twitter.”
Xiao Yong shouted and reached over the hot pot to grab it, but Shen Jize was quick to retrieve the phone and put it in his pants pocket. The two talked about their childhood for a while. Xiao Yong drank two bottles of beer, and Shen Jize also finished two bottles of soy milk.
Shen Jize put down his chopsticks and said, “Yong’er, I want to ask you to do me a favor.”
“What kind of favor?” Xiao Yong saw that he looked serious and didn’t look like he was joking, so he also put down his chopsticks.
Shen Jize asked, “Do you remember the phone call I asked you to make once?”
Xiao Yong nodded, “Yes, the number was never answered, and finally became out of service.”
Shen Jize’s hands clasped on the table top, while he was silent for a moment and then took out his phone, swiped on it for a while, handed it to Xiao Yong and said, “Think you can help me find this person? It’s not convenient if I go out by myself, and I don’t want to entrust it to others in the company. You can ask someone else to investigate or whatever, I will reimburse the cost.”
Xiao Yong took the phone to have a look, “Who’s this?”
Shen Jize lifted his eyes and stared at him.
Xiao Yong suddenly reacted, “Is this your wild brother?” He frowned at the whole video, “How old were you guys when you were apart? Children grow up and change. Are you sure this is your little kid? I have a cousin who looked like a doll when he was a child, but now he looks… tsk, tsk, full of flesh and bald head, I simply can’t look at him.”
Shen Jize leaned back in his chair and turned his head to look out the window, the distant neon glinting in his eyes. He murmured, “I don’t know if it’s him, but the way I imagine him, he should look like this when he grows up, with the same eyebrows and eyes…”
These words resounded in his heart. This was what the vivid boy in his memory should look like; like this older boy in the video.
Xiao Yong also didn’t ask more questions, put down the phone, grabbed the half a glass of beer on the table and drank it, “Okay, brother, I will help you check him out.”
The two of them got up and left as Xiao Yong went to the counter to settle the bill and Shen Jize walked out of the restaurant in advance and stood in the alley waiting.
The summer night breeze blew by, and the sound of children’s frolics came, taking away some of the heat from his heart. At the entrance of the alley, a boy was running down the alley with a ball in his arms, and a younger boy was chasing after him, calling out in a milky voice for his brother to wait, sounding very anxious.
The boy in front of him stopped walking and urged him to move faster, and the younger one came straight up. The boy threw away the ball and hugged him, saying, “Run slower, be careful of falling.”
The two boys picked up the ball and walked out hand in hand, laughing as they went, and Shen Jize, with his hands in his trouser pockets, kept staring at their backs.
Xiao Yong walked out of the restaurant, wiped the sweat from his forehead with a napkin, followed his line of sight to the entrance of the alley, and asked curiously, “What are you looking at?”
Shen Jize withdrew his eyes and said indifferently, “Nothing, let’s go.”
Lu Rong got up early in the morning and went out to look for a job, as he had planned. He would find a chance to get close to Shen Jize once he had stabilized his life, and then went back to the place where he lived as a child to look for Wang Tu.
He couldn’t stay in a hotel for long, so he planned to find a random job to settle down first. After all, he went to an ordinary university, so he could easily find a job in the county, but it wasn’t so easy in the capital. So he could only work small jobs first to solve his urgent needs, and then slowly find the right one.
He ran into a high school group that told him that many snack street employees didn’t stay for a long time, and they were often recruiting people. Sure enough, when he arrived at the snack street, he was soon recruited by a small cafe as a waiter and could live in the attic of the store.
Moving his luggage to the cafe’s loft, Lu Rong started his waiter job and, after three busy days, finally had a break and was ready to go out to find what he wanted. He had already joined An’s fan group in a confused way and learned Shen Jize’s company address from it. After observing secretly for a few days, he knew that fans were going to deliver a gift in front of the company today, so he was ready to go along.
But when it came to choosing a gift, he encountered a problem.
He couldn’t afford expensive gifts, and didn’t know what was appropriate, so when he saw that the group was already at the company’s entrance, he simply used the plastic strips from the store to bundle the boxes and made a round stool deer.
He carefully packed the stool deer into an empty cardboard box, then tied it up, put it in his backpack and headed out the door.
Shen Jize’s assistant, Gao Kai, hurriedly walked out of the door of Starlight Film & Culture Co.
Across the street stood a group of young girls, sitting or standing, staring at the company’s door, basically all of them were An’s fans.
When the Mercedes Benz specially assigned to An stopped at the front door, the girls all stirred up and shouted An’s name. Only when they saw that Gao Kai was the only one who got into the car, did the silence return.
Gao Kai had to go to the bank, temporarily using An’s car, and after the vehicle slowly drove out, he looked at the group of fans on the street, and inadvertently found that there was actually a boy.
The boy looked young, holding a simple small cardboard box. He was very beautiful and standing in the crowd, he was extremely eye-catching.
Gao Kai shook his head to withdraw his eyes, and thought with a smile on his face that An had the face to even attract men, women and children. His worldview was indeed upside down ah.
Lu Rong stood in a pile of little girls holding dolls, waiting nervously and somewhat shyly for Shen Jize to appear. Whenever a car pulled up in front of the office, the girls would stir, while he kept his head down and only peeked out.
But those people who came and went in the car weren’t Shen Jize.
When a car appeared, the girls started screaming, “That’s An’s car! Look at the license plate, that’s An!”
Lu Rong’s heart jumped wildly, his breathing stopped, and he had to pinch his palm to keep himself calm. He hadn’t slept well last night and had been psychologically building himself up. As long as he saw Shen Jize, no matter what, he would rush up and shout “Brother!” wildly.
Or else the next time he wanted to find him, it would be difficult.
He stared at the gate, both his legs shivering with excitement, only to have a stranger come out, get into the car and leave in a hurry.
The young girls around him were sighing and Lu Rong was lost, fondling the cardboard box with the stool deer. But after waiting for a while longer, a staff member came out from the gate and walked straight to them.
“Are you here to visit An?” The staff member asked.
The little girls chattered, “Yes, we’re here to see An.”
“An is flying out of town today, so you should go home and not wait here.”
The girls disappointedly asked, “Can I transfer my gift to An?”
The staff was very quick, “Yes, leave it to me.”
The staff took all the gifts, hugged a large number of them, and finally asked, “Any more? If not, I’ll take these away.”
Lu Rong looked at the small box in his hand, but finally went forward and placed it carefully on the top.
“Then go on, go home, don’t stand here anymore.” The staff member walked back while struggling to turn his head and instructed.
“Okay, okay, we’ll go now. Please tell An that we all love him.”
The staff member nodded, “Yes, yes.”
“These gifts have to be handed over to An.” The girls emphasized.
Lu Rong stared at the top of the small, shaky cardboard box, secretly clenched his fist and hissed in his heart, ‘Come on, stool deer, make sure your brother recognizes you’.
When he parted from the group of girls, he was walking to the bus stop when a plane roared overhead. He squinted his eyes and looked up, thinking ruefully: Will my brother be on this plane?
At this time, in one of the rooms of the Starlight Pictures building, Shen Jize, who was said to have flown overseas, was sitting on the sofa, talking to the police officer in front of him.
The police officer looked at the log book, “That means you have received similar items five times. Two times it was a gift pretending to be delivered to the office, and the last three times it was left directly on your doorstep.”
“That’s right, these fake gifts have seriously disrupted my life, and someone has been following me when I go out. I hope the police can catch that person soon.” Shen Jize said courteously, “Of course, I will also strengthen my own protection, and have already made the corresponding countermeasures.”
“For example, I am recruiting a personal bodyguard.”
- Stinky tofu (Chinese: 臭豆腐; pinyin: chòu dòufu) is a Chinese form of fermented tofu that has a strong odor. It is usually sold at night markets or roadside stands as a snack, or in lunch bars as a side dish, rather than in restaurants.
- Houttuynia cordata, also known as fish mint, fish leaf, rainbow plant, chameleon plant, heart leaf, fish wort, or Chinese lizard tail, is one of two species in the genus Houttuynia. It is a flowering plant native to Southeast Asia. It grows in moist, shady locations. It was named after Martinus Houttuyn.
- It was like this in the raws.