Chapter 10: Date
Translated by Vivian of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
The incandescent light in the meeting room was a little harsh, and it illuminated the wall to be as white as snow, as well as cast shadows onto the marble surface of the table.
Cesar was sitting on a sofa next to the meeting table, lightly drumming his fingers on the back of his other hand.
Across from him was a young police officer that was looking through a stack of papers. His expression was solemn and tense with bright and lively eyes, and he sat upright. He was the officer that had led the team to the ship and took control of the situation.
It was currently a bit past seven o’clock in the morning, but he hadn’t slept for an entire night. That night, besides placating the frightened public, they had also taken care of the bodies and investigated the matter, so they hadn’t rested for even a minute.
As a police officer in the special operations department, every one of them were elite, which was why they had been able to reach a conclusion in such a short amount of time.
Gong YaoYing said in a heavy tone, “You’re right, and the clues and evidence Ceri provided have been very useful. Zheng ZhiRui has been very problematic indeed.”
He was holding the evidence they had collected.
As Gong YaoYing thought about everything he had uncovered, his eyes seemed to ignite in angry flames. The existence of scum like Zheng ZhiRui was practically an insult against them! He said, “Over the past three years, Zheng ZhiRui has used the resources and convenience from the entertainment industry to frequently trick innocent girls into boarding his cruise ship. When the ship got to the open sea, he and his subordinates would abuse and murder these girls, and when they were done, they would crush their bodies and toss their remains into the ocean. Afterwards, he even keeps some photos as trophies for his enjoyment. Including Ceci, there have been a total of eight victims. Because they were so cautious, they were never discovered, and occasionally, people who suspected something couldn’t do anything about it because of the lack of evidence.”
Cesar nodded and his expression remained the same.
Gong YaoYing continued, “The Ceci that appeared this time and the other two girls were all his victims. As to why the three of them appeared, it might be related to the magnetic field. So far, we still don’t know enough to be sure about it.”
There was nothing much left to say, as they had dealt with similar things a lot of times already, and there was a set of ways to resolve things as well as excuses to tell the public.
But this time, besides Zheng ZhiRui and his victims, there was another living person who had become involved.
Gong YaoYing paused for a moment and then smiled at Cesar. “As for Ceri, evidence of his murders have been conclusive… but he has lurked in the ship and obtained a lot of evidence which has been very helpful for us to bring the remaining criminals to justice. That can be considered as atoning for his crimes by gathering evidence. On top of that, he is related to one of the victims, and he pleaded guilty. Although letting him off as not guilty is a little difficult, there should be no problem with giving him a more lenient punishment.”
After Gong YaoYing said this, he looked at Cesar nervously, as he didn’t know whether Cesar was pleased with his reply or not. Actually, this was the first time Cesar had cared about something as trivial as this, and it was the first time he had requested something from them… The instructions his superiors had given him were to do his best to cooperate with Cesar and to maintain a good relationship with the Foundation.
Fortunately, Cesar hadn’t made an unreasonable request.
When Cesar heard this, he nodded slightly.
Gong YaoYing sighed in relief.
Cesar was about to leave after he finished hearing this.
In reality, if he hadn’t still been waiting for the results, then he probably would’ve left long ago, as he wasn’t interested in listening to Gong YaoYing report the situation to him. At this time, he remembered that he had been too busy to see Finch’s WeChat profile, and he wondered how he had been these years…
Cesar took out his phone and opened WeChat. He saw Finch’s familiar profile picture and had mixed feelings as he tapped on it…
The first line of words that greeted him was ‘I feel as if I’ve missed out on a hundred million.’
Cesar was speechless.
Ha, so this is what you think about after seeing me. After two years of not seeing me, this is the only thing you want to say?
For some reason, that wasn’t too surprising!
I’m sorry you had to suffer such a loss… Cesar immediately clicked the like button. Well, well.
After Gong YaoYing finished reporting the results and conclusion from last night’s investigations, he remembered about the frequent accidents that had happened lately, and his heart felt heavy. He asked worriedly, “Mr. Yu, the information that the Foundation previously provided said that they have detected that the frequency of the collision between planes is increasing, so was it just a coincidence that you were there last night? Could it be that the Foundation already has the means to forecast…”
But when he looked up, he saw that Cesar was looking at his phone with a gloomy expression, and his eyes glinted with a cold and scary light!
Gong YaoYing was so frightened he nearly stood up!
He was delegated to deal with the Foundation, so his understanding of Cesar was a little deeper than the average person. As the Foundation’s representative that was stationed in Asia, even though Cesar wasn’t much older than him, Cesar was one of the Foundation’s Big Five. Although he had always been low-profile, he was a very powerful person.
As to just how powerful, the more Gong YaoYing knew, the more unfathomable it was!
The impression Cesar had left on Gong YaoYing was that he was always calm and decisive, the type of person that would be calm in any situation, and everyone had gotten used to his coldness. Not long ago, there had been a plane collision in a small town in Myanmar. At the time, the terrible situation had continued for three entire days! There were no survivors in the town, and all of the people that were dispatched to go there never came back out and were presumably dead. Everyone had been at a loss and had no choice but to seal off the entire area. In the end, it was Cesar who had gone in alone, averted the crisis, and came out alive.
According to their evaluation, it had been an A-grade projection field.
But even so, Cesar’s mood hadn’t changed at all. When he went in and then came out later, it was as if he had done a negligible task. Sometimes, Gong YaoYing suspected that Cesar didn’t care what this world would become, nor did he care about whether he was dead or alive.
Despite everything he did and the fact that the Foundation he was part of had always done their best to prevent everything from happening as well as risk their lives to maintain balance in the world…
Gong YaoYing felt that Cesar Yu didn’t care.
He was only doing what he should do.
But right now, Gong YaoYing saw that Cesar’s expression was grave and dark, as if he was suppressing something! This was the first time he had seen Cesar with that expression! It was clearly only a D-grade matter this time…
Gong YaoYing thought, Could it be that the situation is already dangerous to this extent? Or has he received some terrible news?
He clenched his hands and said slowly to Cesar, “Mr. Yu, if you have anything to say, then it is best for you to just say it.”
Cesar looked up and saw that the young policeman’s expression seemed to say that he was ready to face death unflinchingly, as if he wanted to sacrifice himself in order to maintain the world’s balance. Cesar thought that this was a bit odd, and he wasn’t in a very good mood so he was too lazy to answer. He merely let out a light, “Mn.”
He looked back down and refreshed Finch’s WeChat profile, and discovered that the post had disappeared.
Finch deleted it!
Cesar snorted coldly and thought, Why would you delete it? You deleted it so fast, were you scared that your guilty conscience isn’t obvious enough? He tightened his fingers around his phone.
Gong YaoYing was silent. Uh oh, is the world finally going to be destroyed?!
But as a police officer, even if the world was going to be destroyed, he would still be fighting on the frontlines and fight to the last moment. Protecting people’s lives and safety was his mission! A fire ignited in his heart, and he was filled with solemness and a sense of responsibility!
Cesar relaxed his fingers expressionlessly and lifted his gaze up to look at Gong YaoYing, who seemed to have been struck with a mixture of arrogance and naivety that was beyond cure. Cesar was perplexed.
He stood up immediately and pushed open the door to leave.
Just as he walked out the door, his phone dinged, and a notification showed that he had received a message from Finch.
[Finch: Savior, don’t think that I won’t repay you. Do you want to eat dinner together? It’s on me! Do you have time tonight? [cute]]
Cesar didn’t reply and instead put his phone back into his pocket.
I’ve already seen through your insincere nature! Did you think I would actually reply to your message? I’ll have you know that the current me is too good for you, ha!
Finch looked at Cesar’s like with wide eyes, and his expression froze at once. Then, he came back to his senses and deleted the post!
He clutched his chest and regretted that he hadn’t deleted it earlier. How will Cesar interpret it? Did he understand it or not, and if he didn’t, then why would he like it? If he did understand it, then it made even less sense for him to like it… The more Finch thought about it, the more terrified he became!
Finch was conflicted for a while and frowned at his phone. He finally gritted his teeth and sent a message to indicate that he wanted to invite Cesar to dinner in return for saving him.
Yet it fell on deaf ears.
Finch couldn’t help but get lost in thought as he looked at his phone. What did this mean? Did Cesar see the message or not? Did he not see it, or did he see it and just didn’t want to reply?
Ah, you shouldn’t guess at what he’s thinking. Even if you guess around, you won’t be able to understand him, Finch told himself.
Finch felt that he had always been a content and perspective person, and he knew that he couldn’t force things like fate. Although missing out on a hundred million indeed made him sad… it wasn’t to the point that he would neglect his life because of it.
Finch quickly cast this matter to the back of his mind and rushed energetically to the set. He was a little-known actor, and strictly speaking, sometimes he couldn’t even be considered as such. He didn’t pick which roles to take, as he didn’t have any to pick from.
Although he wasn’t too well off, he still had dreams!
Recently, he had been playing a small role in a divine anti-Japanese drama 1, and because he looked quite good, he acted as a soldier in the troop under the protagonist. When the director was in a good mood, he would even give him some more screen time. However, today was his last scene, because he would die 2 gloriously as a cannon fodder!
Finch arrived relatively early, and there was still some time before they started to film, so he chatted with a fellow cast member. The two of them had met each other through this drama, though they weren’t that close.
His name was Jian FeiYu, which sounded quite extraordinary, but he looked ordinary, he was short, and his eyes were kind of small. Thus, he had been casted as a Japanese general. He took out a mantou and took a large bite, saying, “After we finish filming today, we’ll be able to get the money. I’ve already eaten mantous for a week now. Making some money nowadays is really hard…”
Finch was able to relate, “Exactly, it’s not easy to make money…”
Jian FeiYu looked around and said, “Hey, why hasn’t Brother Feng come yet, isn’t he usually the most dedicated? If he doesn’t come soon he’s going to be late.”
They weren’t superstars, so they had always been waiting for other people, and it was never the other way around.
Finch also felt a bit surprised. He had met Wang Feng in Film City 3. Wang Feng had played small roles for many years, so much so that he could be considered to have accumulated an impressive network of connections, and he had even opened a bistro in Film City. Although he had muddled through for several years without getting famous, he could still frequently play supporting roles. He could be considered as one of those people who often appeared in dramas but no one ever remembered his name. He was a very dedicated, albeit bland, person, and he usually looked after young actors like Finch and Jian FeiYu. As a person, he was very nice, generous, and popular.
Finch said, “You can keep eating, I’ll give him a call.”
He dialed Wang Feng’s number, but no one picked up. He saw that the lead actor was already in place, which meant they were about to start soon. Wang Feng finally arrived in a rush, and hurried to go and change into his costume.
Finch put his phone away and smiled at Jian FeiYu. “Something probably came up so he got delayed, but he’s here now. Come on, let’s get ready to start.”
Jian FeiYu gulped down the last bit of his mantou but nearly choked. He patted his clothes, picked up his ‘bayonet,’ and walked onto the set.
Finch walked over to where Wang Feng was. Wang Feng had already finished changing into his costume, and he appeared virtuous and heroic. His skin was tanned, which made him seem very masculine, and he looked very mature and level. For this drama, he was playing the role of the protagonist’s deputy, so when they started later, Finch would be following him.
Wang Feng smiled when he saw Finch. “Was it you who called me just now? Sorry, I didn’t pick up because I was in such a rush. Something happened along the way here, which is why I got delayed for a bit.”
Finch smiled and said, “It’s okay. Have you eaten breakfast yet?”
“I have,” replied Wang Feng.
The director began to roar directions through his loudspeaker, so Finch, Wang Feng, and Jian FeiYu quickly got in place. Today, they were filming an ambush.
When the direction shouted ‘action,’ Finch and everyone else dashed forward and began to fight!
The bayonets and guns were all made out of plastic, and even the rocks that tumbled down the hillsides were made out of foam. At a close range, they had a very comedic effect, but they were professional actors! If they were paid enough money, then they definitely wouldn’t break character and start laughing!
Jian FeiYu was the first to be ‘killed in action’, and he exaggerated a fall and laid, unmoving, on the grass.
Finch followed Wang Feng and battled hard until the end. Then, in order to protect the protagonist, he was shot. At the end, he even managed to get a close-up shot, and he was very content as he slowly fell to the ground. Next, the protagonist would become overpowered as he annihilated the Japanese even though he was outnumbered! Anyways, it didn’t have anything to do with Finch anymore.
From where Finch was lying on the ground, he could see Jian FeiYu in the distance, and saw that the guy was covered in blood, sleeping quite serenely in the pile of corpses…
Finch, who was also a ‘corpse’, also laid there doing nothing.
Finch was just beginning to feel a little bored when he suddenly felt his phone vibrate in the pocket of his trousers. He froze and felt surprised; could it be that Cesar had finally replied to his message?!
He wondered if Cesar had accepted or declined his offer.
He wanted to see it so badly!
Finch was very nervous, but he didn’t dare to move. He waited, with great difficulty, for the cameras to turn away from his direction, and quietly reached a hand into his pocket. He drew a deep breath, took out his phone, and saw…
[Dear customer: Because of your good credit score, you have obtained the personal credit loan consumption quota from bank XX. It is added to your account very quickly, the operation is autonomous, and it is unsecured. The lowest annual interest rate is 6%. For more information, call 199XXXXXXXX. To unsubscribe, reply with TD.]
Finch put his phone back into his pocket expressionlessly.
The dust from the cannons in front of him flew everywhere, and a lot of the swirling dust landed on Finch’s face and body, making him feel the unbearable lightness of being.
He should probably just continue being a ‘corpse.’
After lying there for more than an hour, they finally wrapped up filming. When Finch got up, his arms and legs felt stiff, and he saw that Jian FeiYu still hadn’t gotten up. He had actually fallen asleep and was emitting steady snores.
Finch kicked his stomach lightly.
Well, well, well, he came back to life.
When they finished, it was already nighttime, and everyone was lining up to receive bentos. When he heard that there was food, Jian FeiYu was the most excited, and he rushed over to line up, full of energy. Finch glanced at his silent phone and thought, Ah, I was even prepared to spend money on inviting Cesar to dinner, but I can’t even get him to agree. He resigned himself to the fate of eating bentos 4…
At this time, he kind of envied Jian FeiYu’s mindset. Not only was he near the front of the line, he was also winking at and flirting with a female extra. She was also someone who only played small roles, but she was beautiful and good-looking, so she had acted as a nurse.
Jian FeiYu was clearly interested in her, so he said diligently, “XiaoXian, you’ve worked hard all day, so why don’t you go to the side and rest? I’ll help get a bento for you.”
Bai XiaoXian indeed was a bit tired, so she hesitantly replied, “Thanks.”
Jian FeiYu lit up at once and couldn’t wait to rush to the front and grab some bentos!
Finch turned away silently…
At this time, Wang Feng walked over and glanced at a few people, smiling. “Don’t line up, the bentos are the same everyday, so aren’t you guys sick of eating them? Some of you are done filming today, so to celebrate, let’s eat at my place.”
Everyone knew that Wang Feng had opened a bistro, and usually, his wife, Cui YuXi, would take care of it. Although they were all home-cooked dishes, they were still way better than these bentons! Of course they agreed immediately!
Wang Feng chuckled and called out three people. “FeiYu, Little Finch, oh right, and XiaoXian, come, let’s go.”
They followed Wang Feng away from the set. Wang Feng’s restaurant was at the other end of Film City, so walking there would be a little too far. Thus, they hailed a taxi, and everyone went straight to Wang Feng’s restaurant.
The bistro was a house with three floors, and although it was quite simple, it was extremely clean and tidy. A young teenager opened the door for them, and he was quite handsome. Finch could tell at once that he was Wang Feng Junior.
Bai XiaoXian smiled and exclaimed, “Taotao’s 5 also here.”
Everyone had known Wang Feng for a while now, so they knew that his wife, Cui YuXi, had a thirteen-year-old son, Wang Tao. Because there was no one to take care of most of the time, he lived with his grandma.
Wang Feng smiled. “Mn, it’s summer break, so this kid is staying here for a few days. YuXi talks about him all the time nowadays.”
Jian FeiYu said, “Oh right, where’s sister-in-law?”
Wang Feng said, “She’s sick today and isn’t feeling too well, so I reckon she’s resting upstairs. You guys can take a break. Today, I’ll let you have a taste of my craft.”
As he said this, Wang Feng rolled up his sleeves and went into the kitchen.
Wang Tao greeted everyone obediently and then carried a small stool to the side to do his summer homework.
Jian FeiYu had been hovering around Bai XiaoXian for the whole time, as he had liked her for a long time now. Even though Bai XiaoXian clearly didn’t requite his feelings, he never lost heart! Although he wasn’t very educated, nor did he have much qualifications or money, and his appearance was just so-so, Jian FeiYu believed that his true love would move Bai XiaoXian one day!
Finch was silent.
He glanced out the window and saw that the sky had darkened completely. Cesar still hadn’t responded at all, and Finch’s phone had been especially quiet today. He sighed sadly. If he could trick himself in the morning that Cesar just hadn’t seen his message or he was just too busy to reply, an entire day had already passed, so it’s not like Cesar’s phone was broken…
It could only mean that Cesar didn’t want to reply to him.
Sure enough, he had still overthought it, and had thought that just adding each other on WeChat would mean that they could have a future. The result was that his pipe dream had been crushed in less than a day!!! Finch glanced at the text the bank had sent him. Usually, he would just delete it, but this time, he angrily typed ‘TD’!
I’ll let you have a taste of disappointment!
Finch had just pressed send when his phone suddenly dinged.
The notification read, [You’ve received a message from Cesar.]
Finch was speechless.
He nervously clicked on the notification and saw a curt word, [Okay.]
The author has something to say:
Cesar in the morning: I’ll have him know that the current me is too good for him!
Cesar in the night: Okay…
- Divine anti-Japanese dramas are a genre of Chinese dramas. The “divine” part of the name is used sarcastically because they kind of suck. They’re usually set in the World War II era and are about war. However, they’re pretty exaggerative and outlandish, and they mainly get memed or made fun of. Oh, and they’re also propaganda used to instill Chinese patriotism in their viewers.
- Here, the author uses a slang that translates literally to ‘receiving a bento’, and it basically refers to when the character an actor is playing dies, so it also means that the actor is getting laid off. This colloquialism came to be because some show in the late 20th century gave out bentos to people whose characters were going to die soon.
- In this novel, Film City is the name of the small city that they are in. It is not an actual place in China. In Film City, besides the various buildings and sets used to film things in, there are also normal restaurants and houses that people go to and live in.
- Here, Finch is basically saying that he’ll have to eat a cheap bento tonight instead of getting to go out on a fancy dinner with Cesar. As mentioned above, the double meaning of receiving/eating bentos can also mean that he’s accepted the fact that he’ll always have to play small roles that get killed off.
- Taotao is a nickname for Wang Tao, who is Wang Feng’s son.