Once the call ended, the phone didn’t ring again. Xu Luoyang texted Ye Shan Shan quickly, “Want to get something delicious together next time?” Ye Shan Shan replied immediately, “More delicious food? Sure, sure, sure!”
Pulling his gaze away from the screen, Xu Luoyang turned to Qi Chang’an next to him and putting on a pretend serious expression, even coughed lightly twice. “I won’t be taking you with me this time, it’s just going to be Shan Shan and I. Uh, we both need to give each other the freedom to secretly enjoy good food.”
“Mhm, if you don’t want to take me, then don’t take me.” And with that, Qi Chang’an went straight in for a kiss.
Caught off guard, Xu Luoyang’s eyes widened, “Why did you suddenly kiss me?”
There was a playful glint in Qi Chang’an’s eyes, “Didn’t you just say we both need to give each other freedom? Then please grant me the freedom to kiss you too.”
Xu Luoyang licked his lips— it, seemed to make sense?
Two minutes later, another message from Ye Shan Shan came through, “Luoyang, Luoyang, live update, Wen Zhiling just smashed his coffee cup!”
Seeing the ‘Wen Zhiling 1Wen Zhiling’s name Zhiling is written as 智凌 which roughly translates to ‘high wit’, but Ye Shan Shan made it – 智零, which roughly translates to ‘zero wit’‘, Xu Luoyang couldn’t stop laughing, asking him, “How do you know he smashed his cup?”
“I accidentally hacked into their surveillance and saw him smashing the cup live. Keeping a low profile while doing great deeds! Zheng Ge said we should be laid back, peace, peace!”
After chatting a bit more, Xu Luoyang turned his phone off happily, took a slice of snow pear from Qi Chang’an and bit his fingertip deliberately.
With a light stroke of his fingertip across Xu Luoyang’s lips, Qi Chang’an whispered, “Don’t disturb.”
“I won’t disturb, I won’t disturb.” Xu Luoyang hummed, then leaning in, asked expectantly, “So, Chang’an, what are we having for lunch?”
“Pork trotter soup.”
“Huh?” Xu Luoyang looked down at his leg, “So this is…. you are what you eat?” Then he realized something, “Chang’an, did you get this idea after hearing Jiang Liu say that I should take more pork trotter soup to recover quickly?”
Qi Chang’an didn’t respond, but he didn’t deny it either. Xu Luoyang laughed even more happily, “My Chang’an Ge-ge is so cute!”
After chatting for a few more minutes, Xu Luoyang’s phone rang again. He ruffled his hair, “What’s up with today, I’m so busy…..” However when he saw the name displayed on the screen, he was surprised, “Director Chu?”
Sharing a glance with Qi Chang’an, Xu Luoyang felt a bit awkward— after all, he met Du Ruan Lan through Director Chu’s introduction.
However when he answered the call, his tone was very normal, not revealing any other emotions as he greeted with a smile, “Director Chu, this is Luoyang.”
Chu Wei was as straightforward as ever, “I just found out about this today. I have to apologize.”
Xu Luoyang sat up subconsciously, speaking a bit faster, “Director Chu, you shouldn’t say that. Your recommendation to another director is an acknowledgment of my acting skills. I’m very happy and grateful.” He chose his next words carefully, “As for the subsequent developments, it wasn’t something you could control.”
Chu Wei was silent for a few seconds before saying, his tone laced with a sigh, “Du Ruan Lan does great work. We hadn’t seen each other in a long time, so we had a chat. He mentioned that the male lead he had decided on had run off and he was very troubled, so I recommended you. He also told me that he would meet with you first, then make a decision.”
“Thank you very much.”
“I don’t deserve your thanks. I originally thought it would be you. I didn’t expect Du Ruan Lan to have this idea in mind.” He continued, “I misunderstood this time and you got busy for nothing. I’ll treat you and Chang’an to dinner next time.”
Xu Luoyang looked at Qi Chang’an and seeing him nod, agreed, “Let’s do it then, but it will be Chang’an and I treating you. Once we set the date, you have to come!”
They really had pork trotter soup for lunch and Xu Luoyang took the initiative to drink two bowls. Just then, his name was mentioned on TV and they both looked over to see a reporter interviewing Song Yao, asking him about his thoughts on Xu Luoyang, Qi Chang’an and Jiang Liu’s successive withdrawal from ‘Top Secret Action’.
In front of the cameras, Song Yao maintained a very friendly smile, pondering for a moment before saying carefully, “I don’t have any particular thoughts on their actions. However, personally, I would continue with the recording. The show has been recorded until the third episode, and the first two episodes have already been broadcast. I’ve enjoyed working with the production team and I’m very willing to continue doing so.”
The reporters surrounding him, quick to discern the hidden meaning in Song Yao’s words, were excited. One of them asked bluntly, “We understand that there were rumors online saying that Xu Luoyang might have staged his own injury incident. As a guest on the show, what is your take on this claim?”
“I don’t pay much attention to online comments, but from what I’ve seen, the production team is very good at handling safety issues.”
After he answered, the voice of his manager Huang Yunli could be heard nearby, “Everyone, Song Yao needs to go for his next engagement. Please give way.”
Xu Luoyang watched the whole thing while biting his chopsticks and marveling, “the art of language is really profound!” Then turning his head subconsciously, he saw that the expression on Qi Chang’an’s face was tense, his eyes almost frosty.
Leaning over to give him a kiss, his eyes curved in a smile, “Don’t be angry, don’t be angry. It’s normal that he would side with the production team. If he spoke up for me, then I’d really be scared, right? What’s more in this situation, the production team will definitely try to win him over.”
His gaze gradually softening, Qi Chang’an served him another bowl of soup meticulously.
And finishing it obediently, Xu Luoyang suddenly asked, “Chang’an, do you know why, this time, I’d rather pay a huge penalty for breach of contract and put in all effort to fight it out with the production team?”
“Why?” Qi Chang’an had actually never given this question much thought because he operated on the principle that if Xu Luoyang wanted to light a fire, he would provide the match and even stoke the wind.
“When I first debuted not long ago and was filming my second drama, I met a senior. He often guided me in acting and was a good person. That senior really loved acting; he entered the industry at seventeen and acted for nearly twenty years. He was a complete drama addict, but for various reasons, he never made it big.”
Xu Luoyang rested his chin on his hand, his voice lowering gradually, “There was a time when a similar situation happened. He participated in an indoor variety show, was hit in the face by a prop in the studio and was immediately sent to the hospital. However there was no apology, no compensation, and no public explanation of the situation from the show. All his scenes were cut out and the other artists participating in the recording were spoken to to directly act as if nothing had happened.”
“What happened after?”
“Because his face was injured, it left a long scar. After that, no drama crew ever asked him to act again. He left the entertainment circle gradually and it is said that he now runs a small hot pot restaurant.”
Lowering his eyes, Xu Luoyang tapped the edge of his bowl with his chopsticks, “So there are really too many injustices in this circle. Whoever holds the right to speak can cover the sky with one hand. You can distort right and wrong, obliterate the truth, and even push a person to a desperate situation. Perhaps my idea is a bit naive, maybe even idealistic.”
He smiled shyly as he continued, “But I was thinking, if I could defend the truth successfully this time, wouldn’t there be more artists who, when facing similar situations, would also have the courage to not compromise and be able to see hope? It’s hard, but I still want to try.”
When he said this, his eyes shone bright as if imbued with stardust.
Qi Chang’an’s eyes were warm as he shook his head, “This idea isn’t naive or idealistic.” Reaching out, he held Xu Luoyang’s hand, “I’m with you, we can definitely do it.”
The clip of Song Yao’s interview quickly went viral online, with the big V entertainment accounts in the hands of the production team joining hands with water armies to whitewash themselves at a rapid pace.
“—I’m a pure passerby, not a fan of anyone, but after watching the interview, I just felt wow, the entertainment industry is really complex! Doesn’t Song Yao’s statement that he enjoyed working with the production team imply that Xu Luoyang and the programme team had a very difficult time working together? There is news that because of the first episode, Xu Luoyang’s popularity rose rapidly by selling cuteness, so he asked the production team for a rise in pay, but because the amount was too high, the production team didn’t dare agree. This is him clearly holding a grudge. This is seriously society, seriously society!”
“—I found it very strange when the video came out. Why did Xu just happen to be lying under the pipe when the iron sheet fell down, just escaping narrowly? I don’t believe there’s nothing fishy going on here!”
“—He couldn’t negotiate with the production team, so he thought of ways to smear them, then used this as a threat, wanting them to compromise. The production team must be feeling that they have no choice but to suffer in silence, right? There are too many schemes in this city!”
The more rumors were said, the more people would take them as facts, hence before long, a portion of passersby gradually began to believe these narratives. After all, the plot of ‘Artists staging injury incidents because of a disagreement over salary with the production team, using it as leverage for negotiations’ fit the public’s imagination of the entertainment industry even better. Even Qi Chang’an and Jiang Liu, who spoke up in succession, were affected by this.
As everyone was letting their imaginations run wild and starting to theorize, a video was released, complete with a comprehensive analysis.
“—I found something strange. At the beginning of the recording, Xu Luoyang and Song Yao went their separate ways, but the important point here is, this suggestion was made by Song Yao, not Xu Luoyang. And this was recorded clearly by the follow up camera.
Next, as shown in the diagram below, I extracted information from the video and drew a layout of the factory, including the positions of Xu Luoyang, Song Yao, and the location of the iron sheet.
So question is, based on the position and direction of Song Yao recorded in the video, he could clearly see that the iron sheet was unstable and about to fall, but he didn’t warn him. I won’t say what this implies, I believe everyone can understand. If there are any errors in the analysis, please feel free to correct them.”
As soon as this lengthy analysis post appeared, it was reposted quickly, with many people realizing that if Xu Luoyang had arranged this accident beforehand, then the suggestion to ‘split up’ wouldn’t have been proposed by Song Yao first.
This reversal came too quickly, moreover the focus was pointed at Song Yao. For a moment, Song Yao’s fans rolled up their sleeves to fight back fiercely.
After writing this analysis, Xu Luoyang, who had been following the comments closely spun the pen in his hand skillfully then nudged Qi Chang’an, “Chang’an, I’ve found tha I have quite the talent for drawing. Look how well I drew these diagrams!”
Qi Chang’an glanced at the stick figures, then complimented seriously, “En, Nao Nao is very talented.”
“I think so too!” Xu Luoyang was pleased, then added after a thought, “I’ve decided, I’m going to write another article about the comprehensive analysis of Song Yao’s microexpressions during the interview!”
“Nao Nao also understands the psychology of microexpressions?”
“Yes, I’ve studied it before. When acting, I often have to use microexpressions to portray the character, so I studied it specifically. I’m awesome, right?”
“Then Mr. Qi, don’t you think you should give me some sort of recognition?”
Laughing, Qi Chang’an leaned over and kissed the corners of his lips, “Are you satisfied with this recognition?”
“Almost! Wait until I finish writing, then you’ll have another chance to show your appreciation!”
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