Novel Translation

The Greatest Showman – Chapter 99

Chapter 99 – Inhuman Torture

Matthew felt that all of this was truly absurd, even for Renly. It was as if a fantasy tale unfolded before him. But, this was Renly, wasn’t it? Amidst the casual atmosphere, there was a startling force.

“Sir, the nails are all hammered in,” Jose’s slightly trembling voice interrupted Matthew’s thoughts. He raised his head, tilted his chin slightly, and said, “Continue to hit different places with the hammer, pretending to still be nailing the nails.”

Jose’s hands were uncontrollably trembling. Dealing with a corpse was one thing, but imprisoning a living person in a coffin was another. And now, the situation was not yet over? He felt that his brain cells were a bit insufficient. “What… what does that mean?”

Matthew had to explain, “Pretend that other parts still need nails. Hit with the hammer seriously, but you don’t need to use real nails.” Although Matthew didn’t understand why Renly was doing this, he understood Renly’s personality. Once he made up his mind, no one could change it—no one at all. So, he decided to lend a hand to help Renly create a more realistic atmosphere of “live burial,” creating the illusion that they were really nailing the coffin shut.

After Jose understood the situation, he breathed a sigh of relief and picked up the hammer to resume pounding. However, not long into the pounding, he could hear muffled thudding from inside the coffin. This startled Jose, causing his legs to go weak—anytime you hear sounds coming from a coffin, it’s like a scene from a horror movie. But soon he realized that there was a living person inside, and it would be strange if there was no movement.

Even so, his inner fear did not diminish much. The commotion inside the coffin grew louder, with the dull struggles and anguish being isolated by the thick coffin wood. Only faint sounds could be heard, but it was precisely this subdued resistance that made one’s heart race as if one could truly feel the despair of being buried alive, with every corner of the soul tortured.

Jose could no longer bear to watch this. He felt like he was personally strangling a living being. Not only were his hands covered in blood, but he was also cruelly witnessing it with cold eyes. Unable to continue, he turned to Matthew, silently asking, “Can we stop? Do we really need to keep going? Are you sure he’ll be okay? I feel like things are getting out of control. Maybe we should stop here?”

The struggle inside the coffin intensified, and the muffled thudding echoed, hitting Jose’s chest like thunder. He could hardly endure it any longer. “Please?” he couldn’t help but finally speak, his weak voice hiding infinite fear and desperate pleading.

Unfortunately, Jose received no response. Matthew, still standing tall and resolute, remained motionless.

Jose could no longer stand firm and walked to the side, sitting down heavily. His entire body collapsed into the chair, his face pale, and his slightly curled hair completely soaked with sweat, as if he had just been pulled out of the water. His gaze stared blankly at the coffin in front of him, as the struggle inside seemed to be weakening. Did this mean…

Don’t jump to conclusions.

Matthew’s stomach churned violently, and the tense emotions made him almost want to vomit. However, he had to cut off the endless thoughts in his mind, telling himself that the only thing he needed to do was to trust Renly. After all, that was something he was best at, wasn’t it?

Back when they were still at Cambridge University, to ensure the safety of students, the campus prohibited the passage of any motor vehicles. One afternoon, Renly, on a whim, rode his motorcycle and, burst into the campus. That scene terrified everyone – not to mention others, even Matthew, sitting on the back of the motorcycle, was trembling with fear. The security guard then rode a bicycle, chasing after and scolding Renly. However, Renly had no intention of stopping at all, zigzagging all the way. More and more security guards followed, like a huge dark cloud, closely trailing behind the motorcycle. It was as if they were an inescapable tail, creating chaos throughout the campus.

Afterwards, Matthew originally thought that both he and Renly could not escape punishment and that the dean would surely be furious. However, unexpectedly, Renly told the dean that Matthew was sick, suffering from a heart condition, and needed to go to the school hospital for immediate rest. In a moment of desperation, he rode his motorcycle into the campus, knowing that this was not the best solution, but he had no choice in his urgency to save a life.

Matthew still remembers to this day the innocent expression on Renly’s face as he said, “Once again, I deeply apologize. I hope the dean will allow me to repent in the church and punish me by organizing books in the library for a month, as a warning to all students that even if they are trying to save someone’s life, they should not ride a motorised vehicle through the campus.” The dean stood opposite, so infuriated that smoke seemed to come out of his seven orifices, yet he couldn’t utter a single word.

Of course, there was also himself. In a state of shock, he had to use his best acting skills to demonstrate his “heartache.” He felt that the dean must have seen through him, but later, the school doctor confirmed that he did indeed have an irregular heartbeat and needed rest. So, even the dean could only swallow his anger.

In his mind, the image of the dean’s stunned expression at that moment appeared. Matthew couldn’t help himself; the corners of his mouth gently lifted.

The passage of time was a torment. Matthew watched everything unfold before his eyes, from intense struggles to gradually calming exhaustion, then the effort to gather strength for a final blow, followed by the ashen despair of the heart. All of it was hidden in that small coffin, as if it contained tons of gunpowder ready to explode at any moment, shattering everything into pieces.

Matthew had to close his own eyes, unable to bear watching any longer. It was truly too cruel. Several times, he almost couldn’t suppress the urge to step forward, open the coffin lid, and end all the suffering. It was like witnessing the death of a rabbit – rather than watching it struggle in agony, unable to take its last breath, it was better to swiftly cut through the chaos and end its torment.

But he knew he couldn’t.

The passage of time began to be their torture, both for him and for Jose. Even Martin’s family on the other end of the phone felt the same way. After five hours, they couldn’t bear it any longer and personally came to the store to witness this live torture. However, they couldn’t endure for more than thirty minutes, abruptly fleeing and refusing to be in this room any longer.

Rodrigo, unable to bear it anymore, lowered his eyes, “Matthew, let’s end it, let’s end this ridiculous experience.”

He arrived here three hours after the experience began, and had anxiously observed everything. He had initially thought he would be amazed, enjoy it, and contemplate, as this is like the real script of ‘Buried,’ and their reactions were what audiences were expected to give after a movie premiere. However, he couldn’t continue watching.

“I don’t care about this movie anymore, even with Renly’s original talent, he could definitely play this role well. We don’t need to go on like this. Let it end, end this inhuman torture quickly.” Rodrigo felt he was on the verge of collapse, and he couldn’t imagine Renly’s current state. Such inhumane confinement is even more cruel than murder.

“If Renly gets angry, say it’s my responsibility. I interrupted this experience. It’s just a low-budget independent film, and he really doesn’t need to push himself so hard.” Even as a director, Rodrigo’s patience has reached its limit, on the brink of breaking down.

Matthew didn’t answer immediately. The air almost solidified, and even his heartbeat was barely audible. He could hardly feel any movement inside the coffin, just imagining the potential possibilities, and his blood froze instantly. He couldn’t let his mind wander, not even a little bit.

Turning his head to a sweating, guilt-ridden Rodrigo, Matthew smiled, “He’s not doing it for your movie.”

Rodrigo couldn’t help but stare blankly. If it wasn’t for the movie “Buried,” then what was it for?

“Beep, beep, beep…”

The sudden alarm broke the oppressive panic in the room. Matthew took a quick step forward, only to find that standing for too long had stiffened his muscles, making him uncoordinated. His balance was unstable, and he almost fell, but he didn’t have time to care for himself. He just shouted at Jose, “Open the coffin! Open it now!” His sharp voice was like thunder, instantly bringing everyone back to their senses.

A group of people rushed forward, even those in the office outside flooded in. Matthew had to stop everyone, “There are too many people, too many! Four people are enough.” Four corners, four crowbars, that’s enough.

The crowd became chaotic again. Four people approached, each in one corner, pulling out the nails. Jose reached out to try and open the coffin lid, but when his fingers touched the wooden surface, he recoiled as if burned. He dared not.

Matthew’s thighs were completely numb. His steps looked awkward, but he still managed to take three steps forward. He tightly grasped the lid, paused for a moment, and then, before the panic and fear could engulf him, he lifted the lid in one breath.

Hollow, a complete emptiness. The deep and lively eyes of Renly, at this moment, were reduced to two empty voids, as if a black hole had absorbed all the light within them, devouring vitality, and swallowing hope.

A head full of sweat filled with stains, the pale cheeks devoid of any trace of color, swollen hands, fresh blood on the fingertips already dried and solidified. The black T-shirt soaked through, revealing a chest without any movement, as quiet as a graveyard at midnight.

Fear firmly gripped Matthew’s heart, his eyes wide with desperation. “Renly? Renly! Jesus Christ! Renly! Wake up, please, wake up!” The unending fear seemed like a free fall, unable to rely on any force, only struggling helplessly, but all in vain.

“Drink.” Suddenly, Renly took a deep breath and sat up as if a vampire resurrected him from the dead.

T/N – Another wow chapter. One more chapter and we will reach chapter 100. One hundred translated chapters, didn’t think I would reach that number but it will soon be here. Thank you all for your support, every comment and thank you for continuing reading this beautiful novel.

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