Couple of Mirrors – Chapter 20: A Sensational Press Conference

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The next morning, Han Jinwei walks into the Transport Department, and is shocked to see the man he put in charge of guarding the secret room lying unconscious on the floor.

He slaps the guard awake. ‘Hey, wake up! What happened here?’

The guard sits up, clutching his sore head. ‘Someone broke in last night…’

Han Jinwei is immediately on high alert. Oh no! Quickly, he opens the door to the secret room and bursts in…

…to see Xu Youyi still there, calmly perusing the materials he gave her yesterday.

‘Secretary Han, you’re here?’ she turns to look at him. ‘I’ve finished studying the materials you gave me,’ she adds, handing the stack of papers back to him. ‘When are we having this press conference, then?’

‘You’ve come round to the idea very quickly,’ says Han Jinwei.

‘This book, Rain After a Long Drought, is about my life, from my childhood until the present,’ Xu Youyi recites. ‘The small town where I grew up, my parents, and my the grandfather who loved me so much…’

‘You’re a very intelligent woman, Miss Xu,’ says Han Jinwei.

‘Haha, you must be joking, Secretary Wei,’ Xu Youyi replies, in a tone of resignation. ‘If I really were clever, I wouldn’t be locked up here right now.’

‘Those who let themselves be guided by the course of events are the true heroes,’ says Han Jinwei. ‘There’s no need to worry, Miss Xu. I’ll arrange for the press conference to take place as soon as possible!’

In high good humour, Han Jinwei leaves the secret room. Outside, the guard is searching his own pockets, looking for his missing wallet. ‘My wallet must have been stolen by the intruder who broke in last night!’ he grumbles.

Han Jinwei gives him a pat on the shoulder. ‘You’re lucky that person was only a thief.’

We cut to Jinhua Hotel, where the press conference plus book launch for Xu Youyi’s supposed new book is taking place. There’s a stir among the assembled reporters as Xu Youyi takes the stage. ‘Miss Xu is here!’ someone exclaims.

Yan Wei, of course, is also in the crowd.

Han Jinwei addresses the crowd. ‘Thanks to all our friends from the press for coming to the launch of Miss Xu Youyi’s new book! You’re welcome to ask any questions you have about the book.’

Han Jinwei steps off the stage and heads towards a corner of the room as the questions begin. ‘Miss Xu Youyi,’ asks one reporter. ‘I understand your new book is all about your personal experiences, is that right?’

‘Yes,’ says Xu Youyi. ‘This book, Rain After a Long Drought, is all about how I went from being an unknown girl from a small town to a published author.’

As she speaks, Yan Wei sneaks closer to Han Jinwei.

‘Then does the book contain details of the romance between you and Mr Zhou Heng?’ comes another question.

‘Yes,’ Xu Youyi replies. ‘The book talks about how Zhou Heng and I met, fell in love, became engaged, and…’

She glances towards Yan Wei…

…who gives her a nod.

‘…and how he cheated on me with Zhang Wan!’ Xu Youyi yells.

Pandemonium among the reporters. There are shouts of ‘What?!’, ‘Did I hear that right?’, and ‘This doesn’t match up with what we were told!’

What is she saying? Han Jinwei wonders, alarmed. ‘Miss Xu…’ he begins, and then stops. Yan Wei is holding something against his back. ‘Don’t move, don’t say anything, and don’t look back,’ she tells him.

‘If you do,’ she adds. ‘I’ll shoot you dead.’

‘Yes… yes…’ Han Jinwei stutters.

On stage, Xu Youyi continues to hold forth. ‘Of course, none of that is in the book. That’s because this whole book is a fake! It wasn’t written by me at all! The only reason I’m holding this book launch today is because I was coerced!’ She flings the book away.

It lands with a ‘smack’ in front of the reporters, who are thrown into even more confusion. ‘Such a twist, what’s going on?’ one demands. ‘We’ve already taken their money, shouldn’t we be reporting what they told us to, instead of the truth?’ another wonders.

Xu Youyi smacks a palm down on the table. ‘I want to take this opportunity to announce that I will be getting a divorce from Zhou Heng!’

All hell breaks loose among the reporters. There are exclamations of ‘This is even more exciting than a movie script!’, ‘We can always return their money — this is big news!’ and ‘Whatever — let’s get a good photograph first!’

‘Miss Xu!’ one reporter pipes up. ‘You said just now that you were coerced into holding this press conference. Was it by Zhou Heng?’ ‘Miss Xu, can you please explain to us exactly what happened between Zhou Heng and Zhang Wan?’ asks another reporter.

‘Go and ask Secretary Han!’ Xu Youyi points to him.

All of the reporters turn their attention to Han Jinwei, calling out, ‘Secretary Han! Secretary Han!’ In the confusion, Xu Youyi and Yan Wei slip out unnoticed, hand in hand. ‘Let’s go!’ says Yan Wei.

‘Let’s go home!’ she adds, once they make it outside.

As they race hand-in-hand through the streets, Xu Youyi asks, ‘Won’t Secretary Han send someone after us?’

‘Not for the time being,’ Yan Wei replies.

‘How can you be so sure?’ asks Xu Youyi.

‘Because…’ Yan Wei leans over and whispers in her ear.

Xu Youyi bursts into laughter. ‘Really?’

Back at the hotel, Han Jinwei is still standing stock-still in the corner, as puzzled reporters swarm around him. ‘Secretary Han, please say something!’ ‘Secretary Han, why aren’t you moving or speaking?’ ‘Secretary Han, you look pale, are you feeling well?’ ‘Secretary Han, why is there a stick stuck to your back?’

That last question gets through to Han Jinwei. ‘A stick?’ He reaches behind himself, and discovers that the ‘gun’ he thought Yan Wei had held to his back was, in fact, a short stick all along.

‘I have other matters to take care of,’ he tells the reporters. ‘This interview is at an end.’

As the reporters disperse, Han Jinwei stares down at the stick. ‘Xu Youyi…’ he mutters darkly.

It’s night-time. Xu Youyi sits in the living room at Yan Wei’s studio, half-drowsing as she leans on the arm of the sofa. ‘Yan Wei, can you bring me some blankets?’ she asks. ‘I’m afraid I’m going to have to stay with you a little while longer…’

Yan Wei clears her throat. ‘Er… about that… upstairs… you… hm… bedroom…’

Xu Youyi looks up, suddenly alert. ‘Mm? What are you trying to say?’

‘Er, nothing,’ says Yan Wei, heading towards the stairs. ‘I’ll get you those blankets.’

‘Wait!’ says Xu Youyi, and Yan Wei stops in her tracks. Xu Youyi starts making her way upstairs. ‘Were you trying to ask me to share the bedroom with you?’

Yan Wei can only stare. ‘Er…’


Please view the original manhua here.

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