Translator: La Phong
Book 1 – Chapter 2: Death Tickets
Usually, the actors were forced to follow the contents of what the script desired within their minds.
However, this would also mean that characters would die, along with their actual counterparts, the actors themselves.
So the curse gave them some hope to live, in form of ‘Death Tickets’. Once anyone is chosen as an actor for the horror film, one would need to play roles in such horror movies and follow the guidelines and rules according to script. However, if one accumulated 10000 of these ‘Death Tickets’, one could redeem their freedom and return to the real world.
Every actors were paid in advance to each horror movie they played in. The amount received would be determined by the role and influence of the character. These tickets also gave opportunities for flexibility in the script; the actors could use a certain number of these ‘Death Tickets’ to behave in contrast to the plot, thereby reducing the number of the death tickets in one’s possession, but possibly stay alive. For example, a character can come out alive after refusing to step into a room where the original script dictates that he would be killed by a demon, but the amount of death tickets he receives would be deducted for acting against screenplay.
Of course, this does not necessarily mean the actors get a wide range of ability to do whatever they want. Some of the most basic behavior can’t be changed. Whether the actors knows the plot or not, they have to act as if they do not know. Even if you know there will be a demon on the scene, you cannot say that to anyone else. This is the most basic rule. Also, the characters can’t call other such entities by their real names, neither can they discuss with others about the progressive scenarios in the movie. The parts written in red letters which vividly appear in mind are meant to be followed no matter what cost! Or else, death would follow!
According to Ye Jiang’s judgement, the person playing the driver would definitely try to escape the bus at the last moment. As new actors, one would only have a number of symbol tickets, and would only get the death tickets after the end of the movie. By the end of the movie, the amount of tickets remaining after escaping various scenarios, would be the payment of the actors. Someone who has been an actor for a lot of years would have accumulated loads of death tickets giving him/her an edge over other characters to escape scenarios.
Ye Jiang was already aware that he only had two hundred tickets at disposal that might help him redeem death. This low level of payment only provided further evidence of how minor of a character he was in the movie, a ‘scapegoat’, meant to die soon. Just thinking of this, twisted the pit of his stomach.
Of course, before the bus stopped running, people could not change the scripts, they could only act based on the script.
For the next ten minutes or so, all lines belonged to Luo Hao Sheng and Xue Yan, the protagonists. Having no speech, Ye Jiang could only sit in silence, observing outside the window as he tried to think of a way to survive.
Ye Jiang had only entered this world for around fifteen minutes, but he had already stabilized his mind and thoughts, unlike Nian Zhou, who was panting and overwhelmed.If it was not for the rules stating strict restrictions not to violate the script, Zhou would have definitely asked the two main characters what was happening.
However, Ye Jiang was completely different. He was completely calm.
In the current situation, if I am anxious, I would only be inviting death. I have to remain steady and try to take advantage of the rules to help myself from difficult situations. If I don’t do that, I will surely die.
Furthermore, there is a rule stating that if a character can think of measures to survive, the next scenario will correlatively change, in such manner that in fact meant that minor and support characters can also turn into main characters. Then the payment would be raised. Hence, the horror film did not have a single absolute protagonist, for example if one had the ability, they could also transform themselves into the main character.
Ye Jiang committed himself to finding a way to escape the first scenario. The vehicle had not stopped yet, so there was nothing he could do right now. But, ten minutes later, he had to take advantage of the opportunity to try to communicate with the people in the bus, persuade some of the others to leave the bus and run away with him. Right now though, he couldn’t even speak a sentence. The scenario was defined thus he couldn’t take any measure.
Sure, even after he succeeds in fleeing there is no guarantee that he would be safe. He was not so naive to think he would remain safe in the world of a horror film. So, after running away, they would surely still encounter a terrible horror story. Hence, the first thing he had to do was to try collecting some information.
Firstly, was there any existing legends, or ancient mystical things happening in these mountains? The first person he should try to enlist to the fleeing crew was the tour guide in the bus. If he could obtain info regarding such a situation, maybe there would be chances of survival.
But then he suddenly thought, the tour guide was also an actress! It would be bad if she knew nothing.
Based on the earlier rules, the actors are not bound to acting in horror films leading to a massacre like the Japanese horror film ‘The Grudge’. In other words, there are ways to remain alive in the movie, but they all are hidden. These methods will appear along with the progress of the new scenario. So, every other actor like Ye Jiang, must thoroughly understand the script to find the methods to stay alive.
Ye Jiang clenched his hands. I don’t want to die in the desolate place! If there are methods to live, I must risk my all to know of them.
He looked around the bus quickly to discover that most people were acting normal, showing no big reaction, while others turned pale, without a trace of blood in their faces. This is how experienced and newbie actors could be known. He took a moment to look at all the passengers in the vehicle, he counted 43 people including the driver. Only 11 people were middle-aged or elderly.
He was constantly calculating time …
When there were only thirty seconds left, the protagonists’ dialogues became more cheerful. Hao Sheng replied, “Right, you’re right! I think so too. Xue Yan, time has flown so fast, it’s nearly graduation. I still remember the first time I went to college and I met you…”
As soon as these words were out, the bus suddenly stopped!
The inertia caused Ye Jiang to lean forward, fortunately he could stabilize himself. In the script, his character Xia Yun, was incapable of telling the bus would stop, so he was unable to take any action. This small change signified he could start taking unusual actions, he could more or less violate the script. There still existed a question however, was his death tickets reduced?!
The fact is if his dialogue doesn’t deviate from the plot, his tickets would not get deducted, for example, instead of saying “with all my strength” he could say“go all out”. However, if the change somehow affects the original scenario, the tickets would naturally be subtracted.
“Why did the bus stop?”
“Uncle, why did you stop the bus?”
The driver stood up. He was a bald middle-aged man. He scratched his head and said: “Sorry everyone, I will go out to check.”
Ye Jiang could only admire the driver’s calmness. He had thought the driver would recklessly abandon the bus and bolt away. This made him sure the actor playing the driver was an experienced one. It would be suicide if he fled, because such behavior completely violated logic, thus it would not be allowed to occur.
According to the rules in the script, these acts were not written in red letters, but once such an incomprehensive action occurs, the script will be NG! (ED: No Good). In a while, time will spiral back to ten minutes earlier and the movie would restart again.
NG, is a special set of circumstance. Ye Jiang had gone through the rules to understand them thoroughly for the past ten minutes. Firstly, unlike the real world, wrong dialogue or acting would not result in a NG.In fact, in this horror film, the acting skills of actors are not demanding, because originally, not all people present here were actors, some couldn’t even manage a poker face.
NG would only be taken into account for behaviors that affect the ‘key’ of the changing scenario!
This ‘key’, doesn’t have too much of an explanation and is a relatively vague term.
Ye Jiang only had some basic ideas about the key. First of all, when an actor starts filming and is not able to integrate into the character, In fact, If anyone screams “I do not want to act” or something is violating the key. Use of real names of the characters and simply discussing the content of the script also affects the ‘key’, so it would result in a NG.
Everything will return to its original state, to the time when Ye Jiang’s body was sawed off then put back together! The videos till then would be deleted as if they never existed, then they had to start the movie again.
NG only happens when the ‘key’ is affected. Just one actor is enough to make NG, but all the other co-actors have to go back to the previous scene, then film it again.
NG can, however, only happen three times at max. The fourth one will result in all the actors dying.(ED: Fuck! Team game difficult than DOTA)
This is deemed completely fair, after all, there won’t be many opportunities to waste.
Therefore, trying to change the script must be done very, very carefully!
Ye Jiang knew, it was not yet the best time to flee. The actors must speak and do well to match the behavior logic of the character, otherwise, NG would occur. Once NG, it would mean the previous film was useless. Ye Jiang would definitely not behave in such a stupid manner!
Currently, in the passenger bus, all the actors were considerably calm.
Thoughts of all the actors were very clear, everyone knew that once they were worried, the number of tickets would be decreased. Death tickets were the mean to breaking the curse of the horror film, no one wanted it to easily be deducted. Of course, most of them were experienced actors and were not new to this thought.
Soon, the driver came back, announcing that the bus had stopped working…