Author: 长洱 / Chang’er
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
The weather was excellent today. Lin Chen was able to find this DVD box due to the bright sunshine from outside.
There was fine dust floating in the air as a beam of dazzling light hit the DVD. Half of the writing on the cover was completely invisible due to the reflection of the plastic cover, while the other half had the words: Oscar Wilde.
<Best Animated Collection of Oscar Wilde>.
Lin Chen looked through the DVD a few more times and found that this DVD wasn’t a Blu-ray disc, unlike the other DVDs in Song Shengsheng’s collection. It was probably something cheap bought at a street stall. Unsurprisingly, he saw the story of <The Nightingale and The Rose> in the catalog.
“What the hell?”
Wang Chao’s slight exclamation sounded in his ears.
Lin Chen turned his head and saw the teenager craning his neck, peeping at the DVD in his hand.
“This—what’s going on? Why does Song Shengsheng have the complete works of Wilde?” Wang Chao gave a slightly embarrassed cough as he asked.
“I don’t know.”
Lin Chen replied honestly. There were, of course, numerous explanations for such a phenomenon. For example, why did Song Shengsheng have an animated collection of Wilde’s work at home, and this collection seemed to be Song Shengsheng’s favorite DVD. And, why was it that, when Li Jingtian was singing on stage, someone correctly matched the bouquet they gave to <The Nightingale and the Rose>? What was the relationship between the two?
“Song Shengsheng has already been released from prison… He’s not the one that sent the flowers, right?” Wang Chao said casually. “Maybe this DVD belongs to Li Jingtian? Is it possible that this is the key evidence we’re looking for?!”
Wang Chao’s eyes lit up.
Lin Chen was noncommittal. He walked to the DVD player and pressed the on button. Then he realized that this room had been vacant for nine years, so, naturally, no one had paid the electric bill.
Wang Chao quickly took out his phone and paid the electric bill for the house. After a while, the power light turned on and Lin Chen put the DVD into the DVD player and retreated to the sofa.
The TV screen began playing the disc slowly. The pictures that appeared gave the teenager a guess. It was really a cartoon, and the picture quality was slightly yellowed and old looking.
The first story was <The Happy Prince>, which was a typical Oscar Wilde fairy tale. The dialogue was extremely beautiful, but when it came to the animation plot, it wasn’t as interesting. Wang Chao watched it for a while and began to squirm his butt from side to side in discomfort. Naturally, for a teenager who liked One Piece, this kind of thing wouldn’t really resonate with him.
However, to Lin Chen’s surprise, Xing Conglian sat beside him quietly and was watching solemnly.
“A’Chen… Isn’t time tight? Do you need me to fast forward?” Wang Chao couldn’t help but make a suggestion.
“It’s boring, isn’t it?” Lin Chen asked.
“It’s boring. Why does Song Shengsheng like this kind of stuff? Are these really his things? Were all rock and roll kids that weird back then?”
Lin Chen glanced at Wang Chao. How old are you to be saying this kind of thing?
“What?” Wang Chao looked at him inexplicably.
“This is indeed Song Shengsheng’s stuff.” Lin Chen felt helpless, so he could only answer the teenager’s question.
“How do you know?”
“This should be your specialty.”
He handed the DVD box over. The teenager looked at it, turning it upside down several times, and finally smacked his head. “This is a VCD!”
“Oh, that should be a disc that Song Shengsheng watched when he was a kid, right?”
Lin Chen nodded.
Although this DVD was obviously from a street stall, as there was no clear barcode on it, they could infer its recording medium based on the time it was released.
The popularity of VCDs peaked roughly around 1995–2000, and based on how old this DVD looked, it probably indicated that it was from that era. Li Jingtian was still in Xinni in the 1990s, so naturally it was impossible for him to buy a Chinese-made VCD.
“But, I still don’t understand.” Wang Chao rubbed against Lin Chen as he handed the DVD box back. “Song Shengsheng likes this kind of boring cartoon, but what does it have to do with Li Jingtian and <The Nightingale and the Rose>?”
“Wang Chao,” Lin Chen said slowly.
“This should be your specialty,” Lin Chen reminded him. “Search for the keywords: Song Shengsheng, Nightingale, and Rose.”
“That makes sense!” As he said it, he picked up his laptop and went to the dining table, bringing up a cloud of dust.
Not long after, a piece of audio echoed in the room.
Lin Chen muted the TV and let the cartoon continue to play. He walked to the dining table and looked down. It was an interview clip of Song Shengsheng. The video was short. After a lapse of nine years, Lin Chen saw an image of Song Shengsheng again.
The unruly young man still looked so uninhibited. He had a badass hairstyle of that era, wore a black motorcycle leather jacket, and had non-mainstream accessories all over his body. He even revealed a tongue ring when he spoke.
The reporter asked him about the source of inspiration for his new album.
The picture flickered as Song Shengsheng crossed his legs, saying it was from Oscar Wilde’s fairy tales. His tone was casual, but the look in his eyes was serious. Then the reporter asked him which of Oscar Wilde’s fairy tales he liked most. Song Shengsheng replied, “What I like is, of course, for the fans to listen to the album. If I tell you now, won’t that be boring?”
In short, Song Shengsheng was like that. He was never lovable, but he was very good at talking. The reporters who interviewed him loved and hated him. The picture froze on the reporter’s stiff face.
Then the interview ended.
Wang Chao turned around and asked, “A’Chen, what do you think Song Shengsheng likes the most?”
Lin Chen patted Wang Chao’s head and said, “Since you can find this video from the keywords, isn’t the answer obvious?”
“You’re so stupid,” Xing Conglian added sarcastically.
Wang Chao depressingly closed the video from full-screen and returned to the webpage. Only then did Lin Chen discover that this clip was shared by a fan. The website where this video was recorded was Song Shengsheng’s personal website, which fans would still visit every day—”Be With You.”
The title of the post was “The Nightingale and The Rose”, which was how Wang Chao was able to find it. The content was roughly composed of fans trying to guess what Song Shengsheng’s favorite Wilde’s fairy tale was. The original poster posted the inner page of the album’s lyrics. The title song was a song that had nothing to do with The Nightingale and The Rose. The content was full of words like “fuck off” and “fuck”, which were completely inconsistent with Mr. Wilde’s aesthetics, but the poster said the lyrics of the title song were composed of white, yellow, and red, which coincided with the three rose colors in the original fairy tale, so Song Shengsheng’s favorite fairy tale should be this one.
The discussion below was very lively. Some people said that the poster was just being whimsical, while others agreed with their thoughts.
Those who agreed thought that Song Shengsheng’s title song was about idiots who were desperate for love, which matched the metaphor represented by the poor nightingale in the fairy tale.
“A’Chen, what do you think?” The curious Comrade Xiao Wang Chao asked.
“It should be right,” Lin Chen replied.
“Hey, then, if this is Song Shengsheng’s favorite fairy tale, Li Jingtian… Why did Li Jingtian bring a nightingale and roses to the scene of his throat-slitting case? Is Li Jingtian not afraid we would find out about Song Shengsheng based on this?” Wang Chao started rambling. As if he thought of something, he hurriedly said, “Is this a bit off topic for me to ask this now?”
“How could it be?” Lin Chen patted the teenager’s shoulder reassuringly and said, “At least your question is meaningful to me. Although these cases are covered in fog, as long as the crime is committed by someone, then there must be a personal mark in it. Whether it’s the murderer or the victim, each of them has genes, family, growth, and experience, which lead them to make corresponding choices when encountering problems. Corresponding choices will affect their growth experience. Therefore, everything a person does may seem erratic, but in fact, there must be traces in their growth experience, which allows us to see a clear path in the fog.”
“Oh!” Wang Chao shouted seemingly incomprehensibly. “Then, what is the path to this case? Is it the fairy tale?”
Lin Chen looked back at the animation that was still being broadcast slowly on the TV.
The animation just reached the end of the Happy Prince. The swallow died at the feet of the prince, and there were snowflakes floating in the sky. This was truly an ending fit for Wilde.
Lin Chen said to Wang Chao, “In fact, fairy tales are very interesting things. In psychological analysis, psychologists who study the effects of fairy tales believe that these stories that touch us tell us the desires, dreams, and human behaviors we identify with and the people we want to be…”
“Then what kind of person is Song Shengsheng, and what kind of person is Li Jingtian? From a story, can the different psychological states of these two people be inferred?”
“You see, this is the interesting thing about fairy tales. It’s precisely because the narrative of fairy tales uses symbolic techniques that its nature is closer to dreams and to the human subconscious. If myths reflect the collective experience of humans, then fairy tales reflect personal issues. That is to say, fairy tales are more personal.” Lin Chen looked at Wang Chao’s lost gaze. He leaned on the table and spoke as he faced the snow-white sky outside the window. “During this time, I have read some analysis on Wilde’s fairy tales. Although many critics will analyze the social reality reflected in Wilde’s fairy tales repeatedly, in fact, Wilde’s aesthetic philosophy is that art doesn’t express anything except itself. He believes that reality is the enemy of art, and what he pursues is true, pure beauty. Then, what do you think is the difference between Song Shengsheng’s and Li Jingtian’s views?
“I think… Although Song Shengsheng looks very arrogant and cool, he seems to be a very pure and innocent person. He should appreciate Wilde more, and you said earlier that the VCD is what Song Shengsheng has been watching. He just likes this kind of thing.”
“Can’t you pretend to not understand, just a little?” Lin Chen asked with a smile. “How can I go on?”
“But I don’t understand Li Jingtian…” Wang Chao muttered.
You can read The Happy Prince by clicking on the link. It’s a short story. I won’t give you the analysis just yet until the end of this arc to avoid any spoilers.
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