Back on the set, almost everyone Xu Luoyang crossed paths with congratulated him on winning the Best Actor Silver Award, and Xu Luoyang would smile, say thank you, then ask Lu Di to bring out one of the small gifts he had prepared in advance, giving one to each person.
In the following weeks, Xu Luoyang’s life didn’t change much after winning the award. He continued to spend his days on set, occasionally arguing with Director Meng, who had a habit of making strange changes to the script, then after their arguments, he would go back to memorizing his lines and practicing his scenes.
Then before going to sleep, he would video call Qi Chang’an as was his habit, however because he was too tired, he would often fall asleep on the pillow mid-conversation.
On the day Xu Luoyang wrapped up his filming, Qi Chang’an came to pick him up. Meng Huazhang, bundled up in a thick blue down jacket, was sitting behind the monitors, watching Xu Luoyang on the screen while chatting with Qi Chang’an.
“You’ve been with your big brother this whole time?”
“En, we spent Christmas together.” Qi Chang’an said with a slight smile in his voice. “And on Christmas Eve, my big brother even helped me hang up stockings, and when I woke up the next morning, I found that they were actually filled with all sorts of gifts.”
“He got up in the middle of the night and filled them?” Then seeing Qi Chang’an nodding somewhat helplessly, Meng Huazhang laughed as he asked, “Did Luoyang get any?”
“He did, and it was a big one, with even more gifts than mine had.”
Just at this moment, Xu Luoyang who was on camera was all set. He was dressed in a university uniform, with a black blazer, a checkered sweater, and a white shirt, his tie crooked slightly, a black backpack slung over his left shoulder, and an old-style bicycle parked next to him.
He hopped onto the bicycle, gripped the somewhat rusty handlebars, then looked in Meng Huazhang’s direction and getting up, Meng Huazhang gestured, and the script supervisor immediately clapped the slate, “Scene 1651, take 1, from ‘Turn Back Time’!”
Riding the bicycle, You Su coasted down from the arch bridge then made an abrupt stop in front of the library, the tires making a ‘squeak’ sound as they met the ground. He looked to be in his twenties, but there was a heaviness in his eyes that defied his age. As he approached the library, his steps became more and more frenzied.
Qi Chang’an remembered the contents of the script well. This was the first time that the character played by Xu Luoyang, You Su, traveled back in time to his college days.
After failing to prevent his mother’s death, he embarked on a journey to study extensively and conduct experiments in a bid to stop his mentor from proposing a flawed theory, because although he had failed once, he still had hope in his heart.
“This is the difficult part of the role You Su.” Meng Huazhang said to Qi Chang’an as he looked at Xu Luoyang getting his makeup touched up. “At each different time point, You Su’s psychological state is different, and his physical aging varies, hence Luoyang has to be absolutely precise in portraying the character’s emotional state at each moment.”
Watching Xu Luoyang getting down from the bicycle and walk towards the entrance of the library once more, Qi Chang’an said with certainty, “He’s done a very good job.”
“Yes, he has, and very well at that.” Meng Huazhang smiled, causing the wrinkles at the corners of his eyes to become even more visible. “He’s actually better than I expected, and I’m happy to see how quickly he’s improving as an actor. He’s very talented and also works very hard. People like him are very scary, because you never know where their limits and potential endpoints might be.”
Then seeing Qi Chang’an nodding with his eyes fixed on Xu Luoyang, Meng Huazhang changed the subject and asked, “Are you still planning to make movies?”
Retracting his gaze, Qi Chang’an answered seriously, “Yes, but I’ll limit it to one a year at most, because even though my big brother has always respected my choices, I still want to help him. He’s been working very hard all these years.”
Meng Huazhang nodded, “En, then when I have a suitable script, I’ll get in touch with you.” Then he said again while emphasizing, “Make sure to prioritize working with me!”
“Alright, I definitely will.”
The scene was shot five times back and forth to ensure it achieved the desired effect before Meng Huazhang shouted ‘cut’, then raised his voice to say, “Congratulations, it’s a wrap!” The rest of the crew also shouted their congratulations.
Xu Luoyang quickly wrapped himself in the down jacket that Lu Di had given to him, jumping in place a few times as he shivered from the cold, then he bowed deeply and said, “Thank you everyone, you’ve worked hard!”
Back at their place with Qi Chang’an, Xu Luoyang collapsed directly onto the sofa, staring into space for a while before he said, “Even though I’ve been counting down the days to the end of filming, now that it’s actually over, I feel a little —“ He paused, struggling to find the right word, then instinctively looked at Qi Chang’an.
“Yes, it’s lost.” He sat cross-legged on the sofa, his left hand holding his chin up as he said slowly, “You Su is the most complex and layered character I’ve played to date, and also the most emotionally resonant.”
He looked up at Qi Chang’an and continued, “After filming wraps up, do you ever feel like the soul of the character that was living in you is fading and then disappearing slowly?”
“Yes, there has been that kind of feeling before.”Qi Chang’an nodded seriously, “Even now, I can still remember most of the lines from the roles I’ve played.” With that, his tone switched as he said, “The road is so dark, do you want to walk with me? I am the light.” It was a line from ‘Blizzard’.
But hearing Qi Chang’an saying this line instantly triggered a memory, causing Xu Luoyang’s ears to turn red. He remembered the first time he met Qi Chang’an, with him standing on the sofa in their rental house in Qinli Town, reciting that very line along with the movie while waving a towel.
Seeing the embarrassed expression on Xu Luoyang’s face, Qi Chang’an added with a smile, “You said you’d walk with me. The road is too dark, so you can use a flashlight.”
Remembering the scene of their first meeting, the smile in his eyes deepened.
Xu Luoyang leaned forward, and kneeling on the sofa, he wrapped his arms around Qi Chang’an’s waist. “I promise, I won’t ever lose you!”
After finishing the film, Xu Luoyang flew back to C Country the next day with Qi Chang’an to attend the premiere of ‘Divergent Road’ in B City on January 15th.
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