Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Count Lut was obviously afraid of his aunt. He couldn’t hold his head up in front of Lady Edith. Duan FeiZhou suspected that if he were to stick a needle in him, he’d fly all over the theater like a leaky balloon.
“Your mother and I haven’t seen each other for a long time, either.” Lady Edith pinched Count Lut’s face as if he were a child. “We must get together as a family someday. Oh, why don’t you invite Mr. Chester and Mr. Yeats to a party? Your mother has always been fond of poetry, and she would be delighted to meet a poet like Mr. Yeats.”
Count Lut, of course, didn’t want to make his rival a guest, but in front of his aunt, he could only bow his head and say, “Yes…”
“All right, boys, let’s not block the door. No one else even has a way out.” Lady. Edith clapped her hands. “Let’s go upstairs. By the way, Mr. Chester, our box is upstairs, Number 7, so please do come over for a chat during the intermission.”
After she said that, she took her son’s arm, then gracefully and proudly ascended the stairs. Count Lut glared at Yeats with hatred, and followed his aunt and cousin in a depressed manner.
John made a face at his back, then smiled smugly. “Well, let’s see if that man still dares to strut in front of Mr. Yeats!”
Yeats laughed and patted the young man on the shoulder. “Let’s go, too.”
They found their seats. After he sat down, Duan FeiZhou deliberately tilted his head to look for the box on the second floor to see where Lord Perlilla and the others were sitting. A soft, boneless hand rested on Duan FeiZhou’s forearm.
“I didn’t expect you to be so well-traveled, Mr. Chester,” Madeleine said softly.
Duan FeiZhou immediately retracted his hand as if he had been electrocuted. When he touched Madeleine, he felt uncomfortable all over. He responded perfunctorily, “Uh, it’s okay.”
“The theater is really lively tonight.” Madeleine looked thoughtfully at the stage. “Do you know that famous Shakespeare quote? ‘The world is but a stage, and all men and women are actors on it’. I think, tonight I’m afraid not only that stage, the whole theater will become a huge stage!”
After saying that, she let out a silver bell-like laugh.
Duan FeiZhou felt it was creepy.
It was strange. Madeleine was only a 16 or 17-year-old girl, so why would she give him an invisible sense of oppression? It’s not like her!
Duan FeiZhou asked, “If this theater is the stage, then who are the actors?”
Madeleine cocked her head, and smiled without answering.
The lights in the theater suddenly dimmed, which left only the stage bright. The buzzing of the audience’s conversation soon died down, and silence enveloped the room. The announcer walked to the center of the stage, and loudly introduced the number of scenes. The curtain slowly opened; the background was a barren wilderness. The lights began to flicker and flicker, as they mimicked the way lightning would cut through the night sky.
Three women clad in black robes with hunched backs took the stage in turn.
The first woman asked hoarsely, “When will we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain?”
The second woman replied in a shrill voice, “When the hurlyburly’s done, when the battle’s lost and won.” 1
The third woman laughed, “That will be ere the set of sun.“
The first woman asked, “Where the place?“
The second woman replied, “Upon the heath.“
The third woman laughed again, “There to meet with Macbeth.“
This was the first scene of Macbeth, where Macbeth met the three witches. The three witches make a prophecy to Macbeth that he will first become Sir Glamis, then rise to become Sir Cawdor, and finally become king. Macbeth then becomes greedy and murders the king with the encouragement of his wife, making himself king, and thus embarked on his horrible end. Macbeth had since become synonymous with tragic ambition, while Lady Macbeth had become one of the most famous poisonous women in literature throughout the ages.
The role of Lady Macbeth was considered a test of an actress’ acting skills. The actress had to perform her thirst for power, her serpentine heart, and at the same time show her tragic temperament.
Duan FeiZhou had only read Macbeth before. It was the first time he had seen the play at the theater. To face the actors on stage was very different from watching a movie on a screen. The overwhelming sense of acting that came over him simply made his hair stand on end. He couldn’t help but get caught up in the world the actors were weaving.
Duan FeiZhou didn’t know much about theater, but he felt that Miss Maud Gonne perfectly mastered the role of Lady Macbeth, at once gorgeous, sinister, greedy and pathetic. As expected of Yeats’ dream goddess, her acting skills were truly remarkable.
There was a short break between the first and second acts of Macbeth, then a longer intermission at the end of the second act. The actors had to get off the stage to rest, and prepare for the next two acts, while the audience could also take that time to move around, and solve their internal emergencies.
“I’m going to pay a visit to Lord Perlilla,” Yeats said as he rose. “Would you like to join me?”
Etiquette dictated that Duan FeiZhou should go with him, but the thought of the mother and son’s enthusiasm was a bit overwhelming to him. Duan FeiZhou made an excuse. “Uh…I need to go to the lavatory.”
“That’s fine.” Yeats nodded towards the siblings, and walked to the back of the theater.
Duan FeiZhou breathed a sigh of relief, and smiled apologetically at the siblings. “Excuse me.”
Then he crossed the seats and walked to the bathroom. He didn’t want to go back into the theater until Yeats returned, because if he did, he would have to face the creepy Miss Madeleine alone. Duan FeiZhou had never felt such a strange atmosphere in anyone before. He simply went into a corridor leading backstage, and found a ventilated place, as he intended to feel the fresh air at the opening.
Someone coldly tapped him on the shoulder.
Duan FeiZhou jumped up as if he had a spring in his feet. He turned around and subconsciously clenched his fist, ready to fight back this person who dared to “sneak up” on him. However, the next thing he knew, he was pushed hard, and his back slammed into the wall. A hand was propped up on the side of his head, giving him a wallop.
Duan FeiZhou raised his eyes, and what met his eyes was Z’s handsome, peerless face. He was stunned, “Why are you here?!”
“I was going to ask you that question.” Z said unhappily. “Instead of resting at home, you came to see the show with that Mr. Yeats. What does this mean?”
Duan FeiZhou inwardly cried out at the injustice. He’d had no intention of coming to the theater, but Yeats was too kind to refuse, so he had to attend.
“This…It’s a long story…” Duan FeiZhou sheepishly lowered his head, and stared at his toes, as he pretended that Macbeth was playing above.
Z cupped his chin, and forced his head up.
“Look at me,” the Nightman, the white-haired police officer, ordered.
Duan FeiZhou had to obey his order. He was so close to Z that other’s breath could brush against his face, and his entire field of vision was occupied by that handsome face…Fortunately, his back was against the wall, otherwise he might not even be able to stand.
“What about you?” he said, stiffly changing the subject. “What are you doing here?”
“A lot of radical Irish nationalists came to see the play today, apparently because of the actress. The Abnormal Case Investigation Unit section is no exception.”
“I thought you fellows didn’t listen to Scotland Yard’s orders.”
“Today’s situation is special. After all, security in London is more important.” Z paused, and sulked slightly. “Don’t change the subject! Why did you come here? Don’t tell me you simply like Macbeth!”
“Shh!” Duan FeiZhou hurriedly put up a finger. “Don’t mention the name of the play in the theater! You must call it ‘This Scottish Play’!”
Z was baffled, “Why? What’s wrong with Macbeth?”
“Shhh!!!” Duan FeiZhou shushed even louder. “Mentioning the name of the play will bring disaster!”
“But aren’t those actors still yelling ‘Macbeth’ and ‘Macbeth’ on stage?”
“It’s okay to say the names of the characters, but not the name of the play!”
Z’s eyebrows tightened. “What’s this nonsense…”
“Anyway, you just can’t say it! Even I know this rule, and you should follow it as well.” Before he could finish his sentence, Duan FeiZhou’s lips were blocked.
Z kissed him fiercely.
Duan FeiZhou’s eyes rounded, and his brain went blank.
The kiss seemed to last only a few seconds. It seemed to last for centuries.
It was only when the air in his lungs was nearly empty that Z released him.
Duan FeiZhou covered his mouth, astonished. “You…you…you…”
Z rubbed his lips with his thumb. “I’ve wanted to try this for a long time.”
“It feels good.”
Then Z gave him a second kiss.
Duan FeiZhou tried to break away from him at first, but after a few futile attempts, he gave up struggling. Z separated from him slightly and gave him a moment to breathe.
Then came a third kiss, a fourth…
Slapdash kisses fell in a thin stream on his lips. After the first two deep kisses, Duan FeiZhou’s mind was already hooked, and those shallow kisses weren’t satisfying to him at all. When Z separated from him again, he couldn’t resist launching an active attack. He stood on his feet and tried to capture Z’s lips.
However Z pushed him away.
“It’s almost time for the curtain call. Go back and watch the show with your Mr. Poet.”
Duan FeiZhou almost fainted with anger. His face was scarlet and he glared furiously at the white-haired Nightmen, “You…!”
Z smiled smugly, like a seasoned hunter who had found his prey falling into a trap he had prepared long ago.
Duan FeiZhou puffed up his cheeks. “Are you jealous?”
“Can’t I be?” Z asked in return.
Duan FeiZhou sighed. “Yes. Of course you can. You’re the most qualified person in the world to be jealous.”
Z rubbed his hair. His well-groomed hair, so carefully arranged by Al, was suddenly messed up.
The announcer’s voice rang out through the wall. The third act of Macbeth was about to begin.
“I’m going back.” Duan FeiZhou said.
At that moment, the lights in the corridor suddenly went out. There was darkness all around. The audience shouted in panic from the other side of the theater.
“What’s going on? Why did the power suddenly go out?”
“Damn it, I came to see the play! Ticket refund!”
“Who’s stepping on my foot! Ouch, I told you not to step on my feet!”
Z grabbed Duan FeiZhou’s arm. “Don’t panic, maybe it’s just a power failure.”
Someone shouted from the direction of the stage. “Audience, please don’t get upset! The staff is repairing the circuit! Please don’t move around to avoid bumping into or stepping on others!”
“… Are those radicals really going to cause trouble?” Z muttered to himself skeptically.
Duan FeiZhou thought it was highly unlikely. If such an event did occur and celebrities like Yeats and Miss Maud Gonne were involved, it would be recorded in history. However, Duan FeiZhou had no recollection of it.
On the other hand, the history of this world line was inherently different from the history he knew. Maybe the blackout really was a deliberate conspiracy?
The darkness couldn’t stop Z. He was used to being blind, so the presence or absence of lighting didn’t affect him at all. He pulled Duan FeiZhou toward the end of the corridor. Since Duan FeiZhou couldn’t see anything, he could only stumble after him, as he bumped into Z’s back and stepped on his foot several times.
Suddenly, the overhead lights in the corridor came on. People in the theater breathed a sigh of relief. The announcer hurriedly said that the interrupted play was back on. However there was now one more person in the corridor. He, or she, had somehow blocked the way between Duan FeiZhou, Z and the corridor exit. They were draped in a blood-stained shroud and wore a zombie-like mask.
The costume reminded Duan FeiZhou of Edgar Allan Poe’s short novel, The Masque of the Red Death. The man’s dress was exactly the same as the red death demon in the novel.
Z stood in front of Duan FeiZhou, as his mechanical prosthetic limbs popped out sharp blades.
“What is this man?!” He asked in a stern voice.
The Red Death Demon didn’t say a word.
Duan FeiZhou came up to Z’s ear. “It’s…It’s the Red Death Demon.”
“… What the hell?” Z’s expression twisted.
“The Red Death Demon! Edgar Allan Poe! Haven’t you ever read it?”
Duan FeiZhou now began to wonder if Z had brought up the three words of Macbeth and courted his own death, and that’s how he had invited the Red Death Demon? Was the Macbeth curse actually true?!
“I’ll stop him, you go!” Z ordered lowly.
“I can’t leave you! I’ll fight with you!”
Before the words left his mouth, Z flew towards the Red Death Demon. The blade turned into a silver light and stabbed at the zombie-like mask of the Red Death Demon. The red demon dodged to the side, and deftly avoided Z’s blade.
Duan FeiZhou gently fondled his brass ring – he had been storing energy in it as Mr. Thales had instructed, and now was the time to use it! He extracted the energy from the ring, turned it into a shockwave, and attacked the Red Death Demon.
Just as it dodged Z’s blade, the Red Death Demon encountered the shockwave, and could only avoid it with a short stance. Z had already predicted the red death demon’s action. When the opponent dodged, his other hand also popped out a blade and stabbed out at the same time.
With a snap, the blade knocked off the Red Death’s mask. The mask flew up high, hit the ceiling, then landed with a thud and rolled a few times. At the same time, the shroud also floated to the ground. Under the mask and the shroud, there was no face or body. No one was there.
“It’s not a person!” Duan FeiZhou exclaimed.
“I know!” Z said angrily.
The shroud and mask on the ground suddenly floated up and once again formed the Red Death Demon. It was almost like a ghost.
“Get out of here!” Z yelled. “Xenophon and the others are outside the theater! You go and call them for backup!”
Duan FeiZhou gritted his teeth, then forced himself to turn around and run towards the end of the corridor. “Then you take care!”
At the end stood a beautiful set of double wooden doors that led to nowhere. The exit of the theater was blocked by the Red Death, so he could only run in that direction. The door was locked. Duan FeiZhou pounced on it, but no matter how much he pushed, pulled, or turned the handle, it wouldn’t budge. He pressed the door with one hand, extracted energy from the brass ring, and transferred it to the hand that was pressed against the door.
There was a loud sound, and the door opened with a bang.
Behind the door was a spiral staircase that led to the second floor. On the walls were many posters of plays that had been performed in the theater. There was no other way to go, so Duan FeiZhou had to go upstairs.
On the way, the characters in the posters stared at him silently. They were obviously a group of flat figures, but their eyes seemed to turn towards Duan FeiZhou. On the next floor, Duan FeiZhou found that these was the second floor boxes of the theater.
Great! Lord Perlilla’s box was also on the second floor. Yeats had gone to look for them during the intermission, but he was still there. Duan FeiZhou rushed to box 7, where the Lord and his mother were watching the show with their little binoculars up, while Yeats was sitting next to them.
“Mr. Yeats!” Duan FeiZhou called out his name in a low voice.
The poet turned his head “Oh, there you are! I’m so sorry, I stayed in the box a little longer because Lord warmly retained me. I’ll be right back.” He stood up, noticed Duan FeiZhou’s face was not right, and asked with surprise, “What’s wrong?”
Lord Perlilla mother and son also put down the binoculars, and looked at him with puzzled looks on their faces.
“Something’s wrong. I was just in the hallway, and there was a…monster.” Duan FeiZhou tried to describe the red death demon he had seen in as brief a language as possible.
Lord Perlilla turned pale with fear, while his mother, Lady Edith, was much calmer. She was worthy of a person who has seen a lot of things. Yeats squeezed a faint furrow between his eyebrows. “That sounds like a rune spirit, a product of a séance.”
“That thing attacked me and Z – I mean, the Nightman. Are there other occult practitioners here than us?”
The poet thought seriously for a moment. “It’s very possible. The other side probably wanted to get rid of the Nightman, so they took advantage of him when he was alone, but didn’t expect you to be present…”
He had ‘why did you stay with the Nightman’ written on his face. A line.
The stage was just about to play a dialogue between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.
The actor who played Macbeth said in pain, “O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife! Thou know’st that Banquo, and his Fleance, lives.“
And Lady Macbeth, played by Miss Maud Gonne, said in a malicious and secretive tone, “But in them nature’s copy’s not eterne.“
Macbeth added, “There’s comfort yet; they are assailable; Then be thou jocund: ere the bat hath flown, His cloister’d flight, ere to black Hecate’s summons. The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums hath rung night’s yawning peal, there shall be done a deed of dreadful note. 2“
Suddenly, there was a creaking sound from directly above the stage. Everyone in the theater heard it.
The actor who played Macbeth looked up.
The chandelier above him fell with a loud bang, hitting him unevenly.
Blood splattered all over the stage.
- Original translation of what author had: And wait for the smoke of the beacons to quiet the four frontiers, the defeated army to play a triumphant song back. But I changed it to the actual version in The Tragedy of MacBeth, found here: http://shakespeare.mit.edu/macbeth/full.html
- That gives me some comfort, they can hurt; so be happy. Before the bat completes its flight in the dark, before the winged beetle answers Hecate’s call and rings the sleepy evening bell with a humming sound, something terrible is going to happen…
Thanks for the chapter <3
It seems that the spirit or soul that was inside the doll is in Madeleine. Thanks for the chapter!
How many times did Z say MacBeth? 😉😬
Hope Z’s OK and doing better than that actor!
Thanks for translating and editing.
@solis, no. The old lady who died actually used the witch craft inside the doll to transfer body to be young & live forever. Otherwise why would she suddenly passed away. And madeleine would not be at the theater on her own.
The author is good at mixing sweetness (the kiss) with horror/danger.
Gruesome ending! What is ‘Madeleine’ up to??
Love those sudden kisses! And then Z ends it when DFZ is getting into it, 🤣
Thank you for the chapter!