Novel Translation

The Greatest Showman – Chapter 28

Chapter 28 – Unreal Reality

Rami stood behind the monitor, looking at the quiet and peaceful back of Renly, the sun seemed to slow down the pace, light and soft on the shoulders, gently patting away the faint sorrow and loss between his eyebrows, quietly, so quietly staying in place, the hourglass of time dropped the rustling sound to linger in the ears, so that even the sound of the wind has become soft, lest break the moment of tranquility.

An uncontrollable sadness surged in him, and Rami’s eyes were already filled with tears before he could prevent it. He lowered his head in embarrassment and wiped away the hot tears, but the stream of tears couldn’t be stopped at all. The vague loneliness in Renly’s eyes was as vast and turbulent as the sky that was shattering, hitting the softness in Rami’s heart so hard that he was almost breathless.

It was not just Rami, Darin also stood in the middle of the crowd, with his eyes fixed on the figure of Renly.

The current Renly looks like he was just fished out of the swamp, his body stinks, the blood and mud on his cheeks almost made it impossible to distinguish the lines of his features, one can only vaguely see those pair of deep eyes, with a dull light swirling underneath them. Bewildered, confused, sad, blank, it was so quiet, like a quietness during the night, yet it was also like a black hole absorbed the warmth of the sunlight into nothing. Without a sound, a huge wave of energy erupted, violently, cruelly and directly hitting Darin’s soul.

Darin didn’t like Renly without reason, he told himself, it wasn’t because he gave Renly a bump on the first day of shooting and ended up getting slapped in the face instead. He just didn’t like Renly’s strong confidence and calm composure. Shouldn’t a rookie who is new to the industry have his tail between his legs?

But Darin could not deny that in this moment, in this wonderful moment, the energy bursting out of Renly’s body is the best interpretation of the idea and true meaning of “The Pacific”, his hands stained with blood trying to survive, not knowing if that was lucky, or just a torture? What is left of the tattered souls that have been baptized by war – faith, hope, perseverance, kindness, or nothing at all? All of it, so cruel, so magnificent, so real, yet so delicate.

Darin could continue to deny it, and he could deceive others, but not himself. The other people who looked around the crew, all of them held their breath, focused, serious and devoted to look at the Renly in front of them, even though the scene had already been shot, no one made any noise, lest the sound of their own breathing would spoil the moment of peace, the delicate emotions dancing on top of the fragile heart, blooming a large bright red poppy, poignant and mournful.

Renly brought the illusion beyond the camera, evolving it into reality and truly making everyone feel and contemplate. This powerful force crossed the boundary between illusion and reality, breaking the interdimensional space-time and triggering a storm of ideas.

Carl Franklin pursed his dry lips, even though David in his presence praised Renly, even though Tom and Steven handpicked Renly to play Eugene, he still refused to believe in the ability of a newcomer – rookie is a rookie, even if the said rookie has talent. The depth and density of the acting experience a rookie has remains limited, but today, he knew that he was wrong.

Taking a deep breath, Carl looked around at the rest of the crew, understanding that his actions would cruelly break the moment’s peace, but he had to do it anyway because it was his duty as director, “Cut!” Carl raised his voice and shouted.

Almost at the same time, everyone looked in the other direction, or up, or down, or to the outward, and as if a gust of sand blew, and everyone’s eyes were covered with dust, they all raised the palms of their hands to rub away the grit in their eyelids.

Carl coughed gently, hiding the twinkle of sadness inside himself, “Very well, this scene was fine, the next one!”

But Rami took a step forward and boldly grabbed Carl’s arm, “Director, can we take a ten-minute break?” Carl looked at Rami with uncertainty only to notice that Rami’s eyes were fixed in the direction of Renly, “I think we all need to take a break.”

At this point, Renly has released the mass actor that was in his arms, and that actor left, but Renly was still sitting on his knees, frozen in place, dazed and confused, as if time had completely stopped around him.

“Yes, ten minutes, I mean, we take a ten-minute break.” Carl nodded his head in agreement, his slightly sore nose nearly spiraling out of control as he turned away in a panic and took off.

Rami walked up to him quickly, but did not know what to do, lightening his footsteps, he then crouched behind Renly. Looking at the slightly stiff back, as well as a piece of silent side face, he cannot help but feel a pang of sadness, unfortunately today James was not on the set, his parts here were temporarily concluded, and he was following the second film crew to another area to shoot, otherwise he certainly would have known how to comfort Renly.

“…… Renly.” After hesitating, Rami began to speak, but as he called out his name, the weight of the conversation overwhelmed him.

Hearing the sound, Renly raised his head abruptly, and that stillness seemed to be broken in an instant, with debris all over the floor touching his eyes, “Oh …… hey, Big Eyes.” Renly seemed to quickly come back to his senses, his face once again showed a warm smile, “How was it, just now the shooting went well, right?”

“Smooth, everything went well.” Regarding Renly’s being normal, Rami, on the contrary, was a little uncomfortable with it, and after some thought, weighed his words to inquire, “Are you …… okay?”

“Oh.” A smile gently rose from the corners of his mouth, “Good, I’m good.” Renly nodded and replied, but Rami did not stop there, he eyed Renly, with those huge eyes that almost made Renly have nowhere to escape, which made him a little helpless. He also knows that his reaction just now was a bit abnormal, he did not even hear the “cut” sound, “I was just thinking about some things.”

Renly waited for a moment, gently lowered his eyelids, a trace of gloom flashed under his eyes, “What is the war really all about? And what does faith really mean? At the end of life, on the other side of death, is there really nothing? And …… among the countless lies, how on earth should we find the truth, or at least the truth that is our own.”

Those words, which gradually came down, choked Rami’s throat, and he didn’t know how he should answer.

Immediately afterwards, Renly raised his eyes again and saw Rami’s troubled look, and could not help but smile, as he patted Rami’s shoulder, “these questions do not have answers, or rather, it is a question that will take us time to find the answer, and some people may not find it in their lifetime. That’s what I was thinking about just now, so I froze a little. What I’m more curious about is, did Eugene find the answers?”

In real life, Eugene died in 2001, so Renly would never be able to get an answer from Eugene.

Renly stood up and then extended his right hand towards Rami, which caused Rami to freeze and cast an inquisitive glance up towards Renly before seeing him flash a big smile, “We have to get ready for the next scene, I’m ready, what about you?”

It seemed as if Renly’s moment of sadness and loneliness had never really existed. Rami searched carefully for the hint of a sadness on Renly’s face, but he failed, as Renly looked the same as usual, just as he had for the past few weeks.

Rami reached out and grabbed Renly’s right hand to stand up, and then the two left the cabin and went back to the set for another round of filming. In the next rounds of shooting, Renly’s performance continued to be very good, without showing any problems; on the contrary, the other actors were the one who were a little bit out of sorts, resulting in a slower than expected shooting progress, it was expected that the work would end at 5:30, but in the end the shooting took until nearly seven o’clock, and only then did the whole day’s work end.

Renly was fine, he was indeed fine, he did not lie.

He did not get too absorbed into the scene so that he could not pull himself out. The role of Eugene was indeed full of challenges and difficulties, but still it did not hit his boundaries. It’s just that, during his performance, he had to understand Eugene’s state of mind, about war, about life, about faith, about loneliness, about being alive, in order to better interpret it. These problems not only bothered Eugene, but also Renly.

The experience of living two lives has allowed Renly to experience a lot and gain a lot. Beneath the skin of this young twenty-year-old, resides a soul with over forty years of experience in the vicissitudes of life, everything he sees in his vision is beginning to look differently, the power of time allowed him to learn to reflect and learn how to composure himself.

Of course, as Renly said to Rami, not everyone can find answers to these questions, as time will tell. Renly has been lucky enough to live a second life, to have a second chance to re-examine himself, to chase his dreams and to enjoy life again.

Raising his head, Renly looked at the vast sky of the southern hemisphere, the sky was full of stars making the whole image a breathtakingly beautiful scenery. Renly temporarily put all the thoughts in his mind to the side and simply enjoyed the tranquility. The clear and bright strings of the guitar rang in his ears, gently plucking the heartstrings of the night, as if the whole world was listening to that beautiful melody.

Although acting has always been Renly’s dream and his perseverance, it is undeniable that music has forever been his best companion, accompanying him through the days and nights of fear and anxiety since his rebirth. The deepest secrets of his heart can only be revealed by the music notes leaping above the music score.

“Rami, can I borrow your guitar for a moment?” Renly got back to his feet and looked at Rami, who was holding the guitar and playing it casually.

Without saying a word, Rami directly handed the guitar to Renly, and then he inquired curiously, “I didn’t know that you can actually play the guitar?”


T/N – The first chapter of Renly’s journey is soon going to be completed. So, with that said, what do you think of the novel so far? Also, if you see some mistakes point them out down in the comments and I will correct them when I have the time. Thanks!

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