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Reality and Dreams

In this world, there was no shortage of nosy, investigative people. It could not be helped. In such an era, people went insane out of boredom, so they simply had to do something before they truly descended to the point of no return.

Li Lina was the chief editor of a literary magazine that was sold in flea markets. The content of this literary magazine was mostly made up of supernatural stories.

In this ever-changing technological era, the sales of this magazine had taken a hit. Many talented supernatural novel writers had moved onto the internet to stay afloat. Which famous writer would stay onboard a sinking ship?

Li Lina was still unable to let go of this failing magazine. It was most probably because she had inherited it as a family business from her father. Even though the sales were getting worse, she had enough to put food on her table.

As authors barely helped out, Li Lina had decided to write some stories herself. In any case, it was her own magazine. If she wanted to edit it in a way that was universally shocking to the whole of society, she was free to do so…

Now that the internet was pretty developed, the knowledge of the world was just a fingertip away. She could always take the raw material and mash them up into something.

The internet was not her only source of inspiration. Sometimes, Li Lina would encounter truly vivid dreams about “ghosts.” These dreams always gave her a lot of inspiration.

Ironically, in her dreams, she was a well-known, influential reporter. She was also in charge of the “Walking into Science” section on the national television. She worked her butt off to refute theories regarding various sorts of supernatural events – and forcefully used science to rationalize and justify everything.

In reality, she was the chief editor of a dying magazine. The most she did was to recklessly cook up some stuff or create something out of nothing. Everything she wrote was somehow related to supernatural phenomena. For example, what caused the sound of children playing with marbles in the middle of the night?

Was it actually a ghost causing mischief?

Another example was, why did old people drop dead like flies during Ghost Festivals[1]? Indeed, it was because the ghosts that attracted human souls to leave their respective bodies have arrived!

All in all, Li Lina herself felt that the stuff she had recklessly cooked up was all nonsense. However, to her surprise, her “nonsense” helped prolong the life of her magazine. She was playing along with the redshirt stigma—- —- Well, that was another of her more fascinating works.

Many readers have praised this magazine – “Walking into Supernaturals.” They felt that the stories contained just as much logic as they were nonsensical. She covered her plotholes well. That realism creeped people out!

When a supernatural story creeps people out, that was considered a sign of success.

Although Li Lina did dream about “ghosts,” her dreams were never nightmares. In her dreams, she had been strong, and powerful. There was no reason for her to fear anything. She was strong in the mental sense, not physically. She felt that nothing could affect her judgment. She was always cold and calculative. Even when faced with a ghost, she could communicate with it sensibly, and establish a rapport…

In that case, since the ghosts would not hurt her, there was no need for her to worry about anything. As long as she observed everything from the sidelines and “refuted theories,” she would be fine.

In the real world, Li Lina was someone who wrote these supernatural stories that “refuted theories.” Ironically, she did not believe anything she wrote. After all, those were simply her wild dreams.

Sometimes, Li Lina would be left wondering. Why did her dreams always take place in the ghostly world?

She could only justify it with the proverb “one dreams at night what one thinks in the day[2].” As she always thought of new ghost stories, it would be understandable for her to dream about them at night…

Li Lina’s stories were not based purely on her dreams. She felt that the stories based on her dreams were like main courses, which was the mainstay of her magazine. However, appetizers were also needed. Thus, she naturally went online to look for materials.

Just recently, a horror film called “Chronicles of the Peculiar Black Cat” was trending on the internet. She took the opportunity to watch it during the day.

Of course, she must watch horror films during the day. In the real world, Li Lina was still rather timid. Sometimes, she really wished that she could become the ‘her’ in her dreams. The ‘her’ who was not afraid of anything…

In the midst of watching, the Dj vu struck her like a tidal wave. When she saw “herself” appearing in the film, she was stunned, even though she only had a few lines.

Wasn’t this the ‘her’ in her dreams?

Although the both of them looked similar, their temperaments were really different…

It was like a pair of twins separated at birth and raising them individually. One had been born with a silver spoon in their mouth, and the other grew up in poverty. Then, in their twenties, when they meet again, it would be apparent that the twins were now completely different from each other.

Therefore, even if Li Lina were to appear on the streets, nobody would recognize her. Currently, the most wanted people on the internet were actually the actors who played the roles of the fatty Liu Kang and the ghost Chu Renmei. Apart from those two, the other actors felt like background characters.

The more Li Lina watched the film, the more she recalled the contents of her “dreams.” Then, she began to panic…

For the first time, she had doubts. Were her dreams really dreams?

She began to recall how she felt when she was dreaming. In her dreams, she could not act on her own. It seemed like she had just transmigrated completely into the ‘Li Lina’ in her “dream.” She was only hitching her ride. Sometimes, when she woke up, she would completely forget everything, unless she encountered something that shook her. For example, she meeting a ghost for real.

Wasn’t that how dreams worked. Nobody would be aware that they were in a dream during the heat of the moment. Those who do would be able to spontaneously control their own actions.

Those who realized that they were dreaming were really lucky, for dreams could be really fun, once you knew how things worked. You could fool around in any way you wanted. You could create and destroy things as you wished. You could bone any beautiful lady you meet. Then, you would wake up only to embarrassingly realize that you need to change your underwear…

Now, Li Lina felt that she could already recklessly cook up a new main course based on her findings. Why have her dreams turned into a feature-length movie?

Or, was this movie was actually from another parallel universe?

As Li Lina was lost in thought, another hot news came up on the internet. Some guy had dug deep and pointed out that the detective in the group of backpackers seemed to be teacher Ou Yang!

Was teacher Ou Yang the screenwriter? He even cameoed in his own film!

Ou Yang happened to be sitting at home, contemplating on writing about a murder case in Feng Men village. In the blink of an eye, he had become an actor!


Translation note :

[1] The Ghost Festival, also known as the Hungry Ghost Festival, Zhongyuan Jie (), Gui Jie () or Yulan Festival is a traditional Buddhist and Taoist festival held in certain Asian countries.

[2] “One dreams at night what one thinks in the day” (,) means what you ponder ceaselessly during the day comes back to haunt you throughout the night (in your dreams).