Chapter 63: The Most Beautiful Stage
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
When Xiang Wan reached the entrance of her neighborhood, she noticed that she was hungry.
It was a shame to come back from making a meal for someone and yet she was going hungry.
She bought a steamed bun and lowered her head to take a bite. At the moment, she could care less about the gazes from the pedestrians. A layer of mist formed in her eyes.
It’s really tasty.
Yeah, it’s really tasty.
She exclaimed inside her heart.
What’s happiness? Happiness is, there’s food when you’re hungry and clothing when you’re cold…
As for those spiritual pursuits, she was currently unqualified to seek them.
To love requires ability, being loved also requires ability.
Xiang Wan, do your best to earn money.
After eating the bun, she reached her neighborhood.
Xiang Wan threw the paper bag used to contain the steamed bun into the trash bin and continued to walk with her head lowered.
A while later, she heard an anxious young voice of a child, “Mama, mama, mama…”
The child kept calling his mom, but there was no response from her.
Xiang Wan turned to search for the voice and saw the mother and child who lived on the fourth floor.
The little boy kept pulling his mother’s hand and calling for her, but the woman continued to walk quietly. The child’s shouts fell on deaf ears as the mother seemed lost in her thoughts.
That abnormality attracted attention.
Xiang Wan stopped and waited for the mother and son to walk over. When the woman noticed someone was standing ahead, she lifted her head and met Xiang Wan’s gaze.
Xiang Wan smiled. “Good morning.”
The woman smiled at her, her eyes looking rather beautiful when curved. However, there were some faint lines of wrinkles at the corner of her eye. Her skin also looked dry and yellowish due to lack of maintenance, and her eyes were red like a white rabbit’s.
“Morning,” she paused for a while.
She appeared to have cried earlier, and her voice sounded slightly muffled. She pulled her son to her and went past Xiang Wan in a haste, their back view quickly disappearing into the building.
Xiang Wan pursed her lips, puffed a sigh, then put on a smile and walked slowly to her apartment.
The relationships among neighbors were limited to greeting and nodding at each other.
Every family had their own problems. Who wasn’t struggling with life?
Xiang Wan made up her mind to adopt Fang Yuanyuan’s suggestion.
“A man who’s always in the midst of hesitation and longing to pit against himself would not go far. Don’t worry, just do it!”
Back to her apartment, she made herself a cup of instant coffee, stick a post-it note on the desk, and opened the MacBookPro.
Previously, as she was in doubt of the origin of the MacBookPro, she dared not use it.
Now that she had ascertained who had sent her this, she decided that she should just use it.
While she was setting up the new laptop, she also planned her plot outline using Fang Yuanyuan’s laptop.
The original plot outline of her second case was different from what she wanted to write now.
To get more ideas and details, she surfed the internet for more news with regards to the case at ‘The Palace’.
The rate at which news spread in the modern online world was astonishing.
A case which involved a death in a huge city would normally be not as widespread.
Nevertheless, due to Ye Lun’s involvement, the case harnessed a great deal of attention just like the 720 case.
[The Case Of The Fountain Goddess!]
This was the name the netizens came up with for the case.
There weren’t any useful information from the police with regards to the case. They only revealed the last name of the deceased as “Sun”. Sun and Ye Lun were friends and had a social gathering at “The Palace”. When the police went in to check on them, Sun was terrified and fell off from the balcony, landing on the hands of the goddess statue. She had passed away due to heavy injuries during dawn that day.
Next, Xiang Wan did a search on news about Ye Lun.
And, she found out something even more shocking.
A prominent headline with the title “The Grey List” stated that Ye Lun was in the original cast of actors where he would be casted as the third leading male character.
His role in “The Grey List” was a major villain. It would be the biggest challenge in his acting career so far. If he could do well, he would get remembered by the public and prolong his acting career in the industry.
Unforeseenly, getting involved in a case would mean his role in the drama might be replaced.
And when that happened, he would be considered finished.
His agency almost went crazy due to this incident.
“The Grey List” was the debut novel of the renowned mystery writer, Second Young Master Mu. It was also the book that shot him to fame and publicly ranked by the mystery fiction readers as the number two book.
Well, the book that ranked number one was Second Young Master Mu’s ongoing installment—”The White List”.
In fact, Xiang Wan didn’t understand why he used such a title for his book.
But she liked the title and thought the title was really cool!
“The Grey List”—Baidu explained this as between blacklisting and whitelisting. It was used to explain the backend programming or rules as well as SMTP status tags to create blacklists and whitelists dynamically…
Back then, she was rather crazed about Second Young Master Mu, so when she was thinking about the title of her first novel, she also wanted to use the word “list”.
In the end, she got chastised for submitting the name “The Pink List” to her editor.
She made changes again and again, but her title was still being rejected.
The editor then offered suggestions of titles like “The Sweet Wife Of The Tycoon”, “When Kidnapping His Wife Becomes Addictive”, and more. These were all the typical titles of romance fiction.
At that time, Xiang Wan relented and chose the second title, but the end result was depressing. Her book failed horribly. She soon realized that she might not be cut out for pure romance fiction and decided to follow the example of her idol, Second Young Master Mu.
“The Grey List” has been popular for three years and still ongoing.
Games, anime, and comics were so popular in the market that a drama would be produced for it.
A well-known company and a renowned director would be shooting the drama, but the cast list had not been confirmed for a long time which was puzzling to many.
Is it really Ye Lun? she thought.
Xiang Wan thought of the scene when she saw Ye Lun outside “The Palace” last night.
He had a pair of eyes that could talk as well as the flamboyance of his histrionic personality—he was actually quite a good fit for a villain role inside the “The Grey List”.
It was very lively in the internet.
Ye Lun’s fans were still trying to uphold a positive image for their idol. They kept saying that their idol was being wronged and had been invited to “The Palace” for a social gathering with friends. He was there for less than 30 minutes and did not take any drugs at all.
It was a pity that Ye Lun was not popular enough.
The more heated his fans were, the more intense they got attacked by public opinion.
Hence, after a wave of argument, the fans suffered a heavy defeat.
Finally, the fans got smarter, and they only replied with one argument.
“The police has not even released any news about the case. On what basis you are accusing our Lunzi1 ?”
Indeed, the police had not released any news on the case.
Even though Xiang Wan was there last night, she was not sure if Ye Lun had taken drugs as well.
She had Huang He’s number, but she thought it was not convenient to disturb him for she did not have the right to know what was going on with the case.
However, an author has no lack of creativity.
Wasn’t writing a novel all about talking through one’s hat and delivering the story with the tongue in cheek? Just make up the story then…
And so, she started to write about her second criminal case.
The case was still in the preparation stage where she would have to pave the way for it. Therefore, it was easy to write a chapter on that.
Around one o’clock in the afternoon, she had already uploaded a chapter of around 3,000 words.
She had not updated for days. When her readers saw her update, her reviews and comments page started to get lively.
“Hurry and update! It’s a chore to refresh everyday!”
“Dear Author, when will you be updating more?”
“Xiang Gongzi, persist in your own style and pace, don’t bother with the others.”
“It’s about a month, and there’s only about tens of thousands of words written…”
Xiang Wan saw a lot of familiar IDs and felt a feeling of warmth as if she had met up with her old friends again.
She was not a popular author, and the small group of readers who had followed her for a long time was her source of motivation.
At the very least, there were people who treated her book as their favorite.
Therefore, for this love they have for her, she told herself to return her fans a miracle.
She wanted to write a popular book to prove that they did not love the wrong author.
A notification from the mobile phone popped up.
“‘The White List’ has just been updated!”
Eh? Second Young Master updated!
Somehow, there was always some form of energy to offer encouragement and get her motivated.
Xiang Wan instantly got excited. She stretched herself, went to the restroom, then lied on the bed feeling relaxed.
Reading Second Young Master Mu’s book had become her most extravagant enjoyment.
However, Second Young Master Mu would seldom update.
Oh! Same as her, he also updated 3,000 words.
She could not resist the urge to reread another time…
Around seven o’clock in the evening, Fang Yuanyuan came back from work.
Not only had she brought back food to make dinner, she brought back Huang He as well.
These two were in the most beautiful stage of being in love—three months of the “honeymoon” stage where they would make time for each other no matter how busy they were.
Fang Yuanyuan had worked for a full day while Huang He was also busy with the case. But even then, he could squeeze out some time to send her home.
Who said that time was not being squeezed?
Xiang Wan laughed when she saw the two of them.
“Is our Miss Yuanyuan going to cook tonight?”
Fang Yuanyuan was bathed in the happiness of being in love, her face was filled with inexpressible femininity, and she even sounded soft-spoken.
“Who’s going to make dinner for him? If I fall in love and become like his mom, won’t I become his maid in future? We the new age women don’t like to fuss over husbands or enter the kitchen.”
Xiang Wan could not control her laughter. “Yo, so he’s now a husband and you’re thinking about the future already? When are you treating me wedding candies?”
Fang Yuanyuan blushed in an instant. “Nonsense, I’m just stating an analogy.”
“Ahem!” Huang He saw that Fang Yuanyuan was flushed red and immediately chimed in, “Erm… Yuanyuan, Teacher Xiang, I still have something on, I need to go now.”
“Detective Huang,” Xiang Wan called out to him.
She moistened her lips in an awkward smile and asked softly, “I would like to find out what happened last night. Is it against the rules?”
Huang He was startled then he gave a smile. “That depends on what you’re asking.”
Xiang Wan contemplated for a moment. “Did Ye Lun take drugs?”
Huang He chuckled. “Is Teacher Xiang a fan of him?”
“No, I’m not a fan of him,” said Xiang Wan, “I’m a fan of Second Young Master Mu. Ye Lun’s taking an important role in his story, so…”
“I understand,” Huang He suddenly cheered up and even extended his hand for a handshake with her. “I’m also a fan of Second Young Master Mu, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“Hah!” Xiang Wan could not stop laughing in amusement. “It’s my pleasure as well.”
Huang He’s expression eased up a lot. “Well, this actor, Ye Lun,” he hesitated and looked somber for a moment, “he did not take drugs.”
“What?” Then why did they take him away?
“Last night, we caught more than 20 people. The urine test showed that there are a dozen drug offenders, while a few of them just drank some wine and did not take drugs.”
“Ye Lun has since undergone education and has been released.”
“What about the woman?” Xiang Wan could not resist her urge to ask more questions.
Huang He knew that she was asking about the woman who landed on the goddess statue at the fountain.
He mulled over for a while and said apologetically, “Before the case is solved, I’m unable to reveal anymore details… Sorry about that, Teacher Xiang.”
He’s an honest man!
Xiang Wan nodded her head.
“I understand that. Detective Huang, sorry to have troubled you.”
“Then I’ll get going now.”
Huang He walked two steps, turned to wave at Fang Yuanyuan, and made a “call me” gesture.
“Eat more, call me if you need anything.”
“Okay, okay!” Fang Yuanyuan went up to him and pushed him out of the door. “You’ve said that too many times. Just get going or they’re going to rush you again.”
It was clear that she was all smiles when she said that. After Huang He left, she started to ramble to Xiang Wan about him.
“He did not sleep last night. I’ve already told him that he need not come fetch me after work, but he insisted. In the end, he need to rush back after meeting up for a while. Moreover, at this hour, he’s going to waste a lot of time on the road. He’s so stubborn like a mule, he just wouldn’t listen…”
Pffft! Xiang Wan held her arms and looked at her idly. “So you’re complaining?
“Of course!” snorted Fang Yuanyuan.
“You’re showing off your sweet love in front me, didn’t you notice?”
Fang Yuanyuan was stunned for a moment seeing how Xiang Wan was smiling at her teasingly and could not resist breaking into laughter.
“Alright, alright, I’m wrong, I shouldn’t have done that…”
“Good that you know you’re in the wrong. Singles like me need to be loved and protected, okay?” Xiang Wan snorted and turned around. “I’ll write my story, you make dinner!”
“Ah!” Fang Yuanyuan looked at the food she bought, feeling upset as she was caught in her own trap. “I’m in the wrong, I’ll never show off again.”
Huang He seemed to have left together with Fang Yuanyuan’s soul.
The next day, she came back by herself.
The third day was the same too.
Huang He was so busy that he could only make phone calls as he was unable to send her home.
After Fang Yuanyuan said that she would not show off her love in front of Xiang Wan, she would stare at her mobile phone from time to time.
A couple who was in their “honeymoon” stage tend to want to stay by each other’s side all the time.
Her heart was numb from missing him terribly.
Her boyfriend was too busy with work, and she needed to be a sensible girlfriend so as not to distract him.
There were various speculations by the public circulating in the internet. Without a doubt, it was very stressful for Huang He as he was the interim Captain.
“Xiang Wan, why didn’t you console me?”
Fang Yuanyuan sat on the side of the bed and sighed the umpteen time.
Xiang Wan did not even raise her head and replied while writing her story, “I need more consolation than you.”
“Don’t be like this.” Fang Yuanyuan went up to her. “Come on, talk to me, I feel so lonely and cold.”
“Tch, it’s only been two days and you’re lonely and cold? So I should have died of coldness as I’m always alone by myself.”
“That’s different. You love to stay at home.”
“Please, that’s because I have no choice, alright?” Xiang Wan rolled her eyes, her lips turned downwards, “Isn’t this what you, my Lord Editor, has always wanted to see? Well, I’ve continuously updated for three days.”
“You still have the cheek to say this?” Fang Yuanyuan gave her a glare. The next moment, she suddenly thought of something, “Oh yes, there’s a piece of good news.”
“Say it!” Xiang Wan continued typing on her laptop.
“Stop for a while. Be serious, turn to face me.”
Xiang Wan had no choice but turn around with her chair and face her.
“As you wish, Lord Editor, you can tell me now.”
Fang Yuanyuan sat on the edge of the bed and asked seriously, “Wen Quan’s organizing a training programme at the capital for selected authors. Do you want to go?”
Xiang Wan knew that every year, the website[Wen Quan] would organize a training for a limited number of authors to learn at the School of Liberal Arts. Basically, the selected authors were usually the ones whose books had done well enough or authors who had shown a lot of potential.
She wanted to go, but with her novel’s subpar performance, would she get a chance?
“I can help you fight for it.” Fang Yuanyuan winked.
Her cousin was still very reliable; she could offer her assistance in the critical moment.
“Although your novel ‘Murder The Dream Guy’ is not the key novel of our company, the statistics of your novel is increasing, fast. More importantly, your book is actually so well-known that it is the most widely spread book of the year. I think our Chief Editor will agree! Your chances are very high.”
“Really?” Xiang Wan raised an eyebrow and asked hesitatingly, “Did she know that we’re cousins?”
Achoo! Fang Yuanyuan rubbed her nose and sneezed. “Do you think I’ll disclose such an embarrassing thing?”
The two of them bantered and laughed cheerfully together. Xiang Wan was feeling good.
No matter which industry one was a part of, one should always strive to get better!
She might learn something from the training as her background was not from a literary arts school after all. Hence, she might be lacking in certain areas and all these need to be learnt.
The strong feelings of anticipation made her almost forget about Bai Muchuan.
She suddenly felt like laughing.
Maybe the feeling of falling in love with someone was just like that?
These were the feelings of the modern day men and women—nobody was indispensable.
Ever since that day, Xiang Wan never saw Bai Muchuan again, but met Cheng Zheng twice at the breakfast eatery.
In the two occasions, he was also donned in sports attire which was simple and comfortable. He would greet her politely and did not act as if they were very familiar with each other.
They would just exchange a few words casually and leave respectively.
Xiang Wan had also met her fourth floor neighbor once as well.
She was still the same as last time, looking very depressed and lost.
Xiang Wan did not know why she cared about her.
Maybe it was because the woman had called the police for her sake or perhaps she looked like someone with a story that the curiosity residing in Xiang Wan wanted to find out more.
That day, when Xiang Wan received a phone call from Bai Muchuan, she also received a piece of news sent by Fang Yuanyuan.
The list of authors selected to go for the training was out.
Three authors were being selected, and Xiang Wan was one of them.
Because of that, Bai Muchuan could sense very clearly Xiang Wan’s delightful mood through the phone.
She smiled pleasantly, as though she had never been troubled before.
“Detective Bai, what’s up?”
Few days had past, and her mood underwent an obvious change.
Of course, Bai Muchuan could feel it.
He paused for a while and said, “I’m leaving.”