Chapter 20: Man in the Jar
Note* Title is related to 瓮中捉鳖 from 章 瓮中人 which basically means “caught in a trap, and so easy to get. More info in link.
The song was finished , but the two of them didn’t separate.
Just like the name of the song, “By a head” (Por Una Cabeza), it didn’t fully express itself.
In the end, it was Gu Shi Chen who pushed Jiu Jie away, and gave him an apologetic smile. “Don’t misunderstand, I only wanted to borrow your shoulder.”
“I know,” Jiu Jie said. “Besides, this is dream, no matter how dirty you make our clothes, there is no need to wash them.”
Gu Shi Chen laughed, feigning annoyance, “Are you an idiot?”
Jiu Jie agreed, saying seriously, “Sometimes.”
Gu Shi Chen was amused by his appearance, uncontrollably shaking her head.
Jiu Jie looked at her happy face and felt his mood lift as well. He smilingly asked, “Actually, you look very nice when you smile, why do you hide it behind a wooden face?”
Gu Shi Chen heaved a sigh. “Laugh, who do I laugh for?”
Jiu Jie was stunned, and suddenly didn’t know how to reply.
Gu Shi Chen glared at him and mumbled, “Really an idiot!”
Jiu Jie laughed foolishly and said, “Miss Gu, since the situation is like this, we should also leave this place soon.”
Gu Shi Chen did not comment, and instead, asked a question as she squinted at him, “Is it very scary to be alone with me? Why are you so anxious to leave?”
Jiu Jie didn’t know how to reply to her question, inwardly thinking, “What disease did this great aunt contract? In what area did I offend her? Why did she suddenly flare up?”
Gu Shi Chen took in his dazed figure and her heart felt a bit angry. Her face shuttered as she said, “Why are you standing there foolishly? Still not moving? Do you want to be a permanent resident here?”
Jiu Jie was struck dumb with her temper. He carefully asked, “Then… are we leaving… or not?”
Gu Shi Chen got angrier the more she looked at his foolish appearance and scolded him, “You idiot! Of course we’re leaving!”
“Okay, okay, then we’ll leave.” Jiu Jie hurriedly replied. The polite demeanor was just like a slave currying favour from their master.
Following that, the lights in the room were snuffed out, plunging the room into total darkness.
When Gu Shi Chen slowly woke up, Jiu Jie had awoken not too long ago. The two of them shared a smile, a tacit understanding passing between them.
The outside was very dark and it was raining very heavily. The office was very dark, but the two of them could see each other clearly.
Gu Shi Chen stood up from the sofa and walked to the wall to turn on the light. The sudden brightness was a bit uncomfortable for both of them.
Gu Shi Chen glanced at her watch, and noticed it was already seven-thirty pm. “Jiu Jie, you were right.”
“What are you referring to?” Jiu Jie asked.
“I should have cancelled my seven o’clock appointment. Letting the patient wait for so long is impolite.”
Saying so, she walked to the office table and picked up the phone, letting Aunt Liu cancel the appointment and express her heartfelt regret to the patient.
After that, she walked to Jiu Jie’s side and said, “The dream was very real just now, it was almost impossible to differentiate it from reality.”
“Looks like you weren’t lying, you really can access dreamland.”
“Of course. I’ve said it a lot of times before, I’m a very honest person who has never lied.”
Gu Shi Chen gave a thumbs up, and exclaimed in admiration, “Looks like I have been underestimating you. You’re really amazing!”
“No, the amazing one is you,” Jiu Jie said sincerely. “I have never seen anyone wake up from three layers of dreamland and be so calm like you. Your willpower is really surprising. If I didn’t use any tricks, it would be impossible to access your mind.”
“Tricks? What do you mean?” Gu Shi Chen asked.
“When someone is attacking, their defenses are the weakest. I used this point. If you weren’t impatient to hypnotise me, I wouldn’t have won so easily.”
Gu Shi Chen eyed him with doubt for a while before she asked, “Who exactly are you?”
“Sorry, it’s a secret, I can’t say. Your father knows though, so you can go ask him.”
“You’re talking about Old Gu? He…”
“Miss Gu,” Jiu Jie interrupted with a smile. “According to our bet just now, you should call him ‘Dad’.”
Gu Shi Chen sneered. “That hasn’t been confirmed yet.”
“Why? Do you want to renege?”
“Of course not,” Gu Shi Chen shook her head. “I’m not a sore loser. If I lost, I’ll admit defeat.”
“Then, you still…”
“Jiu Jie, I want to ask you a question,” Gu Shi Chen interrupted.
“What question? Speak.”
“Just now, you made me dream within a dream, that is the third level of dreamland, right?”
“Not bad. Actually, according to my current strength, I can also go into the fourth level, but that takes up a lot of energy, and there’s no need to.”
Gu Shi Chen pointed at her surroundings. “A real situation also appeared in the dream, right??”
“That’s right.” Jiu Jie nodded.
“Since it’s like that, how do I know I’m not currently in a dream?”
“You can relax. I can responsibly tell you that you’ve returned to reality.”
“According to whom?”
“So you don’t mix reality and dreamland together, there are a few points of distinction and methods to use.”
“Oh? What methods?”
Jiu Jie held up his red book and said to Gu Shi Chen, “You can use this to differentiate. In reality, this book has words, but in dreamland, this book is empty.”
“Did you look through the book when you woke up?” Gu Shi Chen asked.
“Then, how do you know if the book has words?”
Jiu Jie involuntarily laughed. “Because there is no need. We only use the red book when there is a need to question reality. Just now, the three levels were all under my control, so I know clearly if we’re awake or still dreaming.”
Gu Shi Chen smiled slightly. “Being too confident can sometimes be a bad thing. I think it’s better to confirm it.”
Jiu Jie laughed bitterly and shook his head. “Since you said so, then fine. There’s no need too though.”
Saying so, he flipped open the red book and his face froze after that.
The red book was actually empty! It was really empty!
Like a bolt from the blue, Jiu Jie was struck dumb for a moment, feeling like his whole world was turned upside down.
There are only two possibilities of why the red book becomes blank; If someone loses their Watchmen abilities, or if someone was in a dream.
This sudden change made Jiu Jie’s brain crash momentarily.
“What is it? What did you see in the book?” Gu Shi Chen asked, while smiling.
Jiu Jie slowly lifted his head, his eyes filled with shock.
“Looking at your expression, the book should be blank, right?”
Jiu Jie’s mind whirled, and he stared quickly analyzing the situation before him, neglecting to answer.
Gu Shi Chen continued on uncaringly, “When the words in the red book vanish, what does that mean? That you’re still in a dream? Or that your Watchmen abilities have disappeared?”
The words she casually said seemed like a thunderclap to Jiu Jie’s ears.
Jiu Jie received a huge shock, his face full of surprise, as he asked, “You… You know about the red book…? You… You know about the Watchmen…?”
“Of course,” Gu Shi Chen smiled. “This is a secret to ordinary people, but to me, it’s not such a strange thing. I heard that the National Security Bureau’s seventh division has people who can access dreams. They are called Watchmen and you’re a member? You said so before though, your red book only has three pages. Looks like you’re just a junior Watchman. Even though your Li Bi Duo is very strong, but going past the dream borders was too slow for you.”
Jiu Jie was so surprised, his chin nearly dropped to the ground. The surprise after surprise made him feel like he was falling at a very quick rate.
He always assumed that he had managed to grab onto the initiative, layer by layer, step by step, but it was all arranged into a cat and mouse game. He had only just realized that he was the pitiful mouse. Also, he was not aware that his actions just now were like a jumping clown. He had always been dancing in the palm of his opponent’s hand.
This was really, extremely, too embarrassing!
Jiu Jie got more surprised as he thought about it. Unknowingly, cold sweat had started to drip down his temple.
He forcefully controlled his state of mind, and put in effort to lower his voice, and asked, “Who exactly are you?”
When the words left his mouth, his voice was rough, scaring him senseless.
Gu Shi Chen calmly smiled. “Who I am is not important. What’s important is, who are you?”
Those were the words that Jiu Jie said before. Hearing her throw back the exact same words was embarrassing and piercing.
“Who I am?” Jiu Jie unconsciously asked the same question as Gu Shi Chen.
“That’s right. Who are you? What are your desires? What are your worries? What inner conflicts do you have?”
“I don’t understand what you’re saying?” Jiu Jie knitted his eyebrows.
“That’s fine, I’ll be even more blunt.” Gu Shi Chen said sternly. “Your heart has trauma, right? You want to avenge your father, but you don’t have the strength, and even worse, you don’t know who to get revenge on.”
Gu Shi Chen’s words were hammered strongly and echoed into Jiu Jie’s stomach. When he heard these words, it was as if he was struck by lightning, his whole body starting to shake.
For all these years, his father’s death was always a mystery. It perplexed and tormented him sometimes, and made the he ate tasteless, and he was unable to sleep. It was a nightmare he will never be able to break free from.
Additionally, Jiu Jie’s past has never been mentioned to any outsiders. Other than Uncle Luo, no one else should know.
But today, everything was revealed by this acquaintance. Jiu Jie’s shock was incapable of increasing any further.
He was unable to control himself further and stood up, his eyes blood-red, and a fierce expression on his face.. He looked as if he would eat people alive as he shouted, “Who exactly are you! How do you even know about my father!?”
Gu Shi Chen’s face remained the same, and calmly spoke, “Jiu Jie, you need to calm down.”
“How can I be calm! Who are you!? What do you want!?”
Jiu Jie was seething in anger, his eyes practically spitting fire.
Gu Shi Chen smiled faintly and said, “Jiu Jie, I’m here to help you.”