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HFA Chapter 17.2

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Chapter 17.2 – First Act of the Play

Shi Yuan returned backstage, the makeup artist had already arrived and was painting the scars on Wolfgang’s face. Xia Fang and Qin Luoluo were talking about something. When they looked back and saw him, their eyes were very complicated and they were very tangled on what to say. In the end, they gave him a thumbs up and said sincerely: “Awesome.”

When the makeup artist finished painting the scars, he looked at Shi Yuan and said, “You don’t need to make up, just go like this.”

So, Shi Yuan changed into a villager costume and prepared to take the stage.

Qin Luoluo knew that he was afraid of people, and comforted him: “It’s okay. I was very nervous the first time I went on stage. I couldn’t sit down. I kept thinking: ‘Will I make a mistake?’, ‘Will I forget my lines?’, ‘What if the audience makes fun of me?’”

“What happened later?” Shi Yuan asked.

“The more you play, the better. Practice makes perfect,” Qin Luoluo said. “Do you know why I wanted to act in the first place?”

“Why?”

Qin Luoluo replied: “I was not interested in stage plays at the time. I just thought I was very beautiful. I wanted more people to see me and praise me for my beauty. The happiest time for me is to stand in the spotlight, as if the whole world is looking at me.” She bent her eyes and smiled, pinching Shi Yuan’s face. “Such a good-looking face, wouldn’t it be a loss if you didn’t show it to a few people?”

Cheng Youwen interjected: “She is very soulless, vain, and smug. I came here with passion from the beginning. Do you understand passion? I wanted to write a script and let everyone know my story. “

Shi Yuan: “Oh…”

“Don’t worry.” Cheng Youwen turned his head and coughed a few times. “No matter what your role is or how many lines you have, as long as you stand up, you will be the protagonist. You see, I dare to go up and act with a useless leg.”

Wolfgang also briefly said to him: “Come on, you can do it.”

Shi Yuan knew they were comforting him, but he was still nervous. He subconsciously touched the wolf tooth pendant, his palms hot.

Why do humans like stage plays? He thought, why should he care about a fictional story that belongs to others? Would they really be touched by the joy and sorrow of others?

But Cheng Youwen and the others all had light in their eyes, the kind of light called passion.

*

There were more and more people in the audience, and a low voice of conversation came. Soon, the lights went out, and the spotlights on the stage suddenly lit up, accompanied by the sound of brisk music, illuminating the houses, trees, and well on the stage. In the center of the village, Leo was holding a dog’s tail grass with his legs crossed, and made his first appearance.

Everything went on in an orderly manner, and the actors took turns. The script written by Cheng Youwen is very high-level, coupled with Wolfgang’s superb acting skills, the people in the audience area tightened their nerves, felt disgusted with Leo’s arrogance and unreasonableness, and couldn’t help but wonder how he became the protagonist.

In the second half of the first act, it was time for Shi Yuan to appear.

He walked from backstage to the stage and into the bright light. When he took his first step on the stage, he only felt that the world was very quiet, so quiet that even the drop of a pin could be heard, the audience area was dark, with countless eyes staring at him, scrutinizing him, and looking forward to him.

…Too many humans!

They’re all looking at him!

Shi Yuan’s tail curled up.

“Thud, thud, thud.”

It was the sound of his accelerating heartbeat. He took a few more steps, his feet were light, and each step seemed to be a foot in the air.

His fear of people came on full force, and even though Shi Yuan had done a long time of psychological construction, his heart was still immediately frightened. The stage lights burned him hot, burning his heart and bones, and the silence was like a transparent tide, overwhelming him, almost suffocating. It was as if he was a monster hiding in the bushes, suddenly dragged into the sunlight, with nowhere to hide.

—Or so it seemed.

He didn’t belong here in the first place. He should walk with infected creatures, wearing the stars and the moon of the wasteland, stepping across every stream in the forest, or turning into the black mist at the bottom of the abyss, and continue to dream of long dreams.

He was afraid of people, had stage fright, and could not appreciate the charm of the stage play. He came to the city for Lu Tinghan, he stood on the stage out of a promise to Xie Qianming, everything was a misadventure.

But, but…

The troupe and the audience were waiting for him to say the first line. Lu Tinghan also said that he was looking forward to his performance.

He wanted to perform his part well.

Shi Yuan looked below the stage. It was so dark below the stage, yet he still found Lu Tinghan at once.

Lu Tinghan looked at him intently.

Cheng Youwen wanted everyone to know his story, and Qin Luoluo wanted the eyes of the world. Shi Yuan didn’t have such a great goal, he just wanted to fulfill his promise, and he wanted Lu Tinghan to only look at him.

If he was a little braver, maybe he would be able to understand human beings better and understand their love, hate, sorrow, and joy.

The lights were dazzling, and the people in the audience area looked like a flock of crows.

Shi Yuan took a deep breath and read out the lines: [Mr. Leo, what would you like to drink today? There are the best moonshine wines here, you are guaranteed to be satisfied…]

He was playing as Lin Mo.

He worked hard and saved money to prepare for a long trip. He quarreled with Leo and died under Leo’s knife.

The tip of the knife did not enter his chest, he fell to the ground softly and never got up again. The light shone on his face, soft like a veil.

There was a sound of cold gasps in the audience. Leo panicked when he saw that he had killed someone. He fled the village overnight and began to live incognito.

The preview for the first act of the play ended.

Applause erupted and the actors walked to the front of the stage. They held hands and bowed to the audience.

Shi Yuan also bowed with them and only then did he feel relieved.

Although not perfect, as a fearful, first-time actor on stage, he had done a good job and did not let anyone down.

Looking down the stage again, Lu Tinghan still looked at him with a smile in his eyes.

Backstage, everyone congratulated each other and they were very happy.

Cheng Youwen laughed for a while, boasting that he had written a good script. When he finished boasting about himself, he suddenly remembered something: “It’s strange, why do I seem to have just seen Lu Tinghan.”

Qin Luoluo: “That’s because you saw it right.”

Cheng Youwen: ?!

Cheng Youwen’s face suddenly became serious: “Everyone, listen to me, he is here to arrest me. My “Anti-Lu Tinghan Operation” for so many years has finally angered him, and I may be shot by him. If something happens to me, you must remember the safe in my room, the code is under the carpet, and it is full of unpublished scripts.”

Shi Yuan was so happy that he didn’t hear their conversation at all.

“Shoot you, what bullshit, he came to see the play, to watch Shi Yuan,” Xia Fang replied in a low voice. “This is a distinguished guest invited by Shi Yuan, quickly give me the 5 yuan.”

Cheng Youwen: ? ? ?

He was more shocked than when he thought he was going to be arrested.

Qin Luoluo sighed: “Your campaign against Lu Tinghan has completely failed. We have been penetrated internally and deeply by the enemy.”

“Internally, how?” Cheng Youwen was still shocked. “And how deep?”

Qin Luoluo said, “Family member.”

Xia Fang said, “Negative distance.”

Cheng Youwen: “…”

*

After packing up the backstage, Shi Yuan hurriedly bid farewell to everyone, got into Lu Tinghan’s car, and asked him, “How was my performance?”

“Very good.” Lu Tinghan touched his head. “The lines are good.”

Shi Yuan squinted his eyes comfortably, and soon let out a satisfied purr. He said that he was very nervous, and his tail was on the verge of knotting; he said that he didn’t expect so many people, all looking at him; he said that fortunately, he didn’t quit and run, which made him worthy of a salary of 6 yuan an hour.

After Lu Tinghan heard his excited chatter, he said again: “But what’s the deal with ‘Lu Tingting’?”

Only then did Shi Yuan remember this and said, “I gave you a fake name and told them your name was Lu Tingting, and they got the gender wrong.”

Lu Tinghan: “…” This fake name is outrageous.

“I am very happy today,” Shi Yuan continued. “You said before that you are fighting for ordinary days. Now I know that you can be very happy on an ordinary day—”

The voice stopped abruptly.

He paused.

The car was driving through the city square, and a woman dressed in gray stood in the middle of the square. Her face was mournful, her clothes were thin, and she held a huge sign in her hand, which read in red letters: [I implore the Alliance to dismiss General Lu, and never allow the Watchers to take power and rule!]

Next to her stood a man, also holding a sign: [Oppose the euthanasia bill! Son, Dad wants to see you one last time]

Five or six other people stood with them, silently protesting, with signs filled with words like [We can’t trust him] [Hundreds of people petition, pleading for dismissal] [Human lives are at stake, no compromise, oppose instability, end major threats].

Their figures were like rocks in the wind.

The car moved forward, leaving them and the square behind.

Shi Yuan wanted to look back, but Lu Tinghan held his shoulders: “It’s a common thing.”

Shi Yuan did not speak, and after a long time, said in a muffled voice: “…I don’t like what they do.”

“You can’t make everyone like you, there’s no such thing as perfection,” Lu Tinghan said. “It’s just an ordinary day, of course, there will be joys and sorrows, don’t worry about it.”

Shi Yuan still did not say anything.

He was unhappy all of a sudden, the joy of a successful performance disappeared and his tail drooped.

Lu Tinghan glanced at him sideways, and said, “Shi Yuan, do you know how to make today extraordinary?”

“…how?” Shi Yuan looked at him.

“Go eat a bowl of noodles,” Lu Tinghan said. “Green onions, eggs, and bean sprouts fried over an open flame and served with the freshest meat in the whole city. Soup drizzled on the noodles together and cooked for five minutes, guaranteed not to be forgotten for three days.”

Shi Yuan’s eyes lit up: “Is it the shop we ate at before?”

“That’s the one, let’s celebrate your first performance.”

“This time I want to try lamb noodles.”

“Okay.”

“No spicy.”

“Okay.”

Shi Yuan’s tail began to sway happily, but he soon remembered the protestors again and said, “Those people…”

“Don’t mention them,” Lu Tinghan said. “They are not talking about me.”

Shi Yuan: ?

His tail curled into a question mark.

Lu Tinghan said: “They are talking about Lu Tinghan, but tonight I am Lu Tingting.” He touched Shi Yuan’s head. “Lu Tingting just wants to eat noodles now.”

Shi Yuan was taken aback, bent his eyes, and smiled.

A bowl of beef noodles and a bowl of lamb noodles, a bowl of spicy and a bowl of light, fragrant, fresh, and delicious. So delicious that you can almost swallow your tongue and forget all your troubles. The two sat in a small room on the second floor, watching the street view and eating noodles, with bright yellow lights lit from door to door.

The night was deep on the way home by car, Lu Tinghan was about to say something when he suddenly felt a weight on his shoulder.

Shi Yuan leaned on his shoulder and fell asleep.

When he fell asleep, he always liked to curl up slightly, like a quiet little beast.

So, Lu Tinghan didn’t speak.

The greeting card was still at hand, with a commemorative ticket from 30 years ago. He looked at the characters “Lu Tingting”, which looked powerful and beautiful, and smiled lightly.

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2 thoughts on “HFA Chapter 17.2”

  1. This chapter is making me so emotional 😭😭 I’m always a hugeee sucker for acting/theater being a plot element in stories, and there are so many metaphors it seems to be setting up!! Shi Yuan gradually coming to understand humans while learning the magic of theater and empathy, the abyss being watched by more people than ever before (but still only wanting the reassurance of a single pair of eyes)…

    And Lu Tinghan– I mean Lu Tingting– getting to forget about his identity for a bit and have an ordinary day thanks to Shi Yuan 😭😭 I am FILLED with FEELINGS AHHHH

  2. Wahhh congrats to Shi Yuan! He’s such a brave abyss and I’m glad Lu Tingting was there too. Everyone knows it’s Lu Tinghan but Shi Yuan thinks he has them all fooled omg. Anyway, thank you for the translation!!

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