Chapter 39 I have the ability to make her put up a brave front

After evening revision class, Qiu Keke came over to ask what she was going to do with the photo.

Ning Meng spun an excellent lie, convincing Qiu Keke not to put too much thought into it.

Since she had confirmed that the soul of the girl in the picture had been absorbed by the paper doll, the same must have happened to the girl from the canteen, it was just that she didn’t know which paper doll had sucked her soul away.

Originally, she intended to go to the auditorium to take a look but after mulling it over, she decided not to do so.

Firstly, it was because she didn’t have the guts to do so. Secondly, she didn’t have any ways of protecting herself. Even if she went over there, it would be of no use. Rather, it would’ve been better to stay here and reflect over the matter.

However, once Ning Meng had gotten a hold of the truth, she was actually unable to hold herself back and had started to inquire Qiu Keke of news regarding those people in the auditorium.

The fact that Qiu Keke had many sources of information proved to be real as she was able to give her an answer on the afternoon of the next day.

“I have a friend who went to the auditorium today and seemed to have heard a quarrel going on inside so he didn’t go in. However, he knew what they were quarreling about and who the people quarreling were.”

Quarrel? Ning Meng furrowed her brows, “What were they quarreling about?”

Qiu Keke thought for a moment before saying, “He seemed to have said that there were two adults in the shadow play troupe scolding the young youth, the one who looked to have stayed up the entire night. They were even commanding him to do this and that.”

The shadow play troupe had started to do frightening things that she didn’t think they would actually have an internal dispute.

She continued to speak, “Afterwards, the old grandpa came out and brought the youth away. Though the others were throwing curses at them, they didn’t block their way.”

This was the news that Qiu Keke had received.

However, Ning Meng sank into a whirlpool of thoughts.

There was no doubt that the shadow play troupe was involved in this shady matter. Was this the doing of one person, two people or were the entire members of the troup involved? This was another question to be answered.

What was their purpose in sucking people’s souls away? Was it all for the sake of bringing their paper dolls to life?

This was one question she couldn’t figure out for her life. After all, shadow play wasn’t some lucrative job, they were also harming secret virtues in their line of work.

Qiu Keke saw her look contemplatively and leaned over to ask, “Why are you asking this for? Are you really interested in them?”

Ning Meng explained, “I think there’s something weird about them…”

Qiu Keke responded, “Weird? Now that you mention this, I remembered that my friend mentioned something else. It looks like that youth particularly hates the other members of the group. Even when he was being scolded and beaten, he would always retort saying they would receive karmic retribution.”

She shrugged her shoulders and spread out her hands, “Who would still claim karmic retribution at this day and age. If that were the case, would we still feel so unbothered by the fact that so many malicious people are still walking around unfettered?”

“That’s true…” Ning Meng responded to her words before falling into a deep contemplation again.

The system popped out of the blue and said, “There is retribution though. Once a person’s grudge has reached a certain extent, it would affect the target of his resentment. In the lightest of cases, they would only have bad luck whereas in the most serious of cases, their little lives could be lost.”

Ning Meng wasn’t in the mood to debate about retribution with the system.

The shadow play troupe harbored too many secrets yet they were still only a fog to her. Shi Qi had become so weak on that day that she felt it better not to make any contact with them.

After thinking up to here, she turned her head to look at his direction.

Shi Qi was currently reading a book. His lips were pursed as his finger looked elegant sweeping across the book. His slightly messy hair covered his ears slightly, making him appear so elegant as though he was a son of a noble in the Medieval ages.

Ning Meng suddenly lamented, “Great Grandson is really good-looking.”

The system chimed back at her, “You’re right.”

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  *:・゚✧*:・゚✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

At 6pm in the evening, Chen Yan had arrived at the classroom.

She explained to everyone, “Later on, when we head to the auditorium, please don’t crowd up. The first 10 classes will be watching them first and it would take about an hour, which isn’t too long. You’ll soon be able to finish watching them. Remember to write a reflection piece tonight.”

Compared to doing self-revision tonight, a lot more people were naturally more willing to watch the shadow play.

Upon hearing their teacher announce that they could now go over, the students of the classroom stood in twos and threes, the girls held each other’s hands while the guys had their arms around each other’s shoulders.

While the sky was still bright, several third year students had already started preparing to enter the auditorium.

To be honest, Ning Meng was a bit reluctant to go over.

However, she still obediently sat beside Shi Qi.

The auditorium was too scary, she felt it safer to sit beside him. Once the talisman on them was fixed, those paper dolls definitely wouldn’t dare approach them.

Shi Qi also remained silent and unhurriedly went around the academic building.

Because his legs were long, every step he took cost Ning Meng two steps. As such, he needed to decrease his pace for her to catch up but she clearly didn’t notice this for she was too nervous to think about anything else.

Ning Meng was still gossiping with the system in her head, “Would I be captured by the paper dolls in the auditorium? They all want to scare me.”

The system thought for a moment before striking her with a blow, “Perhaps it’s because you look displeasing to the eye. I mean, you don’t see them going around scaring other people.”

Ning Meng bit back, “Rubbish system.”

She ignored the system and tugged the hem of Shi Qi’s school uniform, secretly telling him, “Shi Qi ah, if the paper dolls come alive, make sure to stop them in place!”

Seeing her look so nervous, Shi Qi felt the urge to laugh. However, upon seeing her fair and slender hand grab the corner of his clothes out of the corner of his eyes, he paused and responded, “Alright. Don’t run around then.”

How could Ning Meng dare to run about. She nodded and said, “I won’t, I won’t. I’ll sit next to you tonight.”

A crowd of people entered the auditorium and found their own seats.

The school had already organized the seating plan so each class naturally had their own location. Third year Class 1 naturally sat in the front just behind the leading attendees.

However, since there weren’t any leading attendees in today’s performance, they all sat in the first row.

Ning Meng was only 2 meters away from the stage and was able to see everything clearly. At the current moment, there was nothing on stage, and the curtains were also drawn shut.

However, for some inexplicable reason, she felt nervous, as though something was about to happen any moment now.

Once all the people had arrived, the lights turned dark, leaving behind only a weak light to shine on the stage.

The drawn curtains were pulled and a big screen was revealed. There was nothing on top of it and it wasn’t completely transparent either.

Once the time had arrived, a group of figures appeared behind the curtains.

Ning Meng sat up straight and stealthily grabbed a hold of Shi Qi’s arms, afraid that the paper dolls would suddenly jump off and drag her away.

Shi Qi turned his head and lowered his eyes looking at her, “Don’t be nervous.”

Ning Meng looked back at him, replying, “I’m not nervous.”

Shi Qi, “…..”

He could feel his school uniform sleeves being wrinkled. Moreover, her taut face, red pursed lips and pale face exposed her underlying thoughts.

Shi Qi no longer spoke and turned to watch the stage.

Whereas Ning Meng still didn’t dare loosen her hold.

She might have said that she was fine but her little life was at stake and she wanted to protect both her image as well as her safety.

Once the clock struck 7, the entire auditorium fell into silence.

The setting of the stage in the auditorium was decorated according to the performance and the size of it was extremely massive just for a shadow play. As such, the curtains were only half drawn and two deity figures stood at the corner of the curtain.

The old man was assisted by the youth to come onto the stage and had halted behind the curtains.

Ning Meng had always felt something fishy about the two, especially towards the grandpa who had talked to her last time. He evidently had a deeper meaning to his words.

All this time, she couldn’t figure out why the grandfather didn’t allow her to go over. What did he think was going to happen when she went over? Or did he notice something special about her constitution?

The system had already told her before that since this body’s constitution was yin, it was easier to possess and the chances of any symptoms of rejections would rarely occur. Moreover, it was also more fitting for her soul.

Then, why did the grandpa forbid her from coming when that was only to their benefit.

As the crowd began to murmur in impatience, the sounds of the drum gradually rang forth, eliciting a sense of excitement in their hearts.

The old man behind the curtains sat at the back and suddenly heaved a long sigh towards the crowd beneath him.

The weak youth worriedly called out, “Grandpa…”

The old man shook his head and held the figures inside the theater box and the shadow was immediately shown. Applause immediately followed from the surroundings.

Qiu Keke couldn’t help but complain, “We’ve already been sitting here for almost an hour. If he doesn’t start any moment now, I’m going to fall asleep.”

She was sitting on Ning Meng’s left and had even brought along candy with her, one for her and one for Ning Meng and she ate them very happily. At times, Ning Meng felt curious. Wasn’t she afraid of developing cavities from eating so much candy?

She whispered and asked, “Keke, have you ever visited the shadow troupe members in the auditorium?

Qiu Keke careless replied, “Nope. I don’t have any interest in them. But I did come over one time and thought of entering but was treated horribly by someone so I didn’t proceed inside. It’s that guy on stage. His temper is really bad.”

Along with her words, the sound of drums became stronger, beating at the hearts of everyone in the room.

All of a sudden, a high pitched singing voice rang out from behind the curtains, piercing amongst the sounds of the trumpets, and transmitting into everyone’s ears inside the auditorium.

The sound was odd and was difficult to comprehend.

Ning Meng pricked her ears up and listened for a while but confirmed that she couldn’t  really understand it so she tilted her head to ask Shi Qi, “Do you understand it?”

Shi Qi didn’t reply nor did he shake his head.

At the very least, Ning Meng could discern that this sound came from that old man’s mouth, however, it didn’t sound the least bit weak and along with the drumming sounds, it made everyone’s heart thump.

The figures on the theatre box moved around and the person behind it controlled them very swiftly, moving at the same pace of the high pitched singing, forming a screenplay.

Gradually, Ning Meng became entranced.

The figures on the screen became bigger, filling her view as though the only thing remaining in this entire world was the figures in the theater and the old man started to sing in a high pitch voice as well.

Her face revealed a small smile.

It was at this moment that Ning Meng felt a ripple sweet past in front of her for an instant and something had been stuffed into her mouth.

It was sweet and hard.

She suddenly blinked, feeling her heart about to jump.out of her chest. Turning her head to Shi Qi, she found him staring right back at her, “You’ve been sucked in.”

Under the dim lighting, his pair of eyes reflected a dark green shade.

His voice was low yet clear, mixed with the sound of waves crashing as well as bustling noises, it sounded particularly attractive.

Ning Meng’s ears only heard silence as she looked at him for a long time, her slackened eyes slowly recovering its original state as she finally snapped out of her senses, “What was I doing just now?”

The sounds of the opera were too loud. Moreover, they were also sitting in the first row, so it was hard to hear any words being exchanged.

Shi Qi frowned slightly, looking at the beautiful lights and array of figures on stage. He then lowered his gaze and turned his head over.

Then, he neared her ears and gently said, “You were hallucinating.”

Ning Meng’s eyes grew wide as she held onto his uniform. A piece of candy was still in her mouth, its sweetness spreading out.

In that instant, the singing and drumming sound from her surroundings seemed to have suddenly vanished, as though a thread had been cut. She soon felt her vision blur, followed by Shi Qi’s voice ringing.

It gradually sounded louder and louder until it eventually enveloped her.

****

I know she’s trying to put up a brave front.

But I don’t want to expose her.

Or rather, I have the ability to make her put up a brave front.

——”Shi Qi’s secretly hidden little diary”


The author has something to say:

17: Open your mouth, eat this candy

Don’t ask where the candy 17 is feeding came from _(:з」∠)_

His way of thinking would soon change and the word grandma would hold no meaning.

DMLA – TOC for Advanced Chapters

Little Potato

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