One could say that this was a good opportunity to get into character.
The weather was not very good on this day. Dark clouds hovered over the city and coupled with the heavily armed soldiers under the city walls, a feeling of bleakness pervaded the air.
Fu Zhu looked up at the sky somewhat vacantly. In the end, he had even lost his last reason to live and just like the dark clouds in the sky, his life was about to be scattered away to some unknown place. There was a flash of regret in heart. He diverted his gaze from looking up at the sky and focused on the tall man in the golden armor who stood in front of him.
His fists tightened slightly and he hesitated while looking down at his sleeves. Before venturing outside he had placed a dagger in his sleeve pocket. This dagger had been sharpened but had never seen blood. From the first day he vowed to kill Li Shimin, he had wanted to take it out countless times. But each time, he always retreated.
The feeling of letting an opportunity slip away was indescribably complex.
Wu Yuan viewed the scene in front of him. He was still a little nervous and he could not fully get into character. He forced himself to take a few calm steps forward according to the script and then turned back to ask Fu Zhu, who was standing alone, to keep up with the pace of the team
Then his eyes met Luo Ding’s gaze.
Before arriving at the film and television city, he had already worked with Luo Ding more than once on set. Thus, though he had been shocked by Luo Ding’s interpretation of Fu Zhu when he had first seen it, he had gradually become accustomed and had built some immunity to the emptiness in Luo Ding’s eyes.
But this time, Luo Ding’s interpretation of Fu Zhu was different from any other.
Luo Ding still had the ethereal immortal temperament and the strong breeze from the city wall caused his clothes to flutter and his hair to fly. The young man, who was dressed in only black and white, stood close by, facing the morning light, and looked at him with an attitude of near-determination.
Suddenly, all the built-up tension in Wu Yuan’s brain dissipated like the mist.
Wu Yuan slowly immersed himself in this mysterious state where all color in the world had faded away like the tide leaving only the black and white clad young man who stood nearby, his eyes filled with mixed emotions.
That pair of eyes were as dark as ever but for the first time there was some mist at the bottom of the cold pool.
It felt as though they had been facing each other for centuries. Li Shimin shuddered and finally roused from his stupor.
“… You …” He uttered hesitantly. Suddenly his expression softened significantly, and he stretched out a hand in Fu Zhu’s direction, “Ai Qing, come here.”
Fu Zhu didn’t move. He hung his arm at his side and shook his head subtly at Li Shimin.
Li Shimin persisted and stretched out his hand: “You come. Come and see Zhèn’s Da Tang’s ten thousand elite soldiers. Zhèn will lead them across the ocean to capture Gaoli and recover the land Zhèn lost in the Central Plains.”
Fu Zhu’s unfocused eyes slowly changed with each word.
He moved and gradually approached Li Shimin step by step.
The sight of the army that was initially obscured slowly came into view.
These were the mountains and rivers of Da Tang. The people of Da Tang. The soldiers of Da Tang!
This nation was prosperous, its people strong, and its weather favorable. Da Tang had finally extricated itself from its troubled days. This was his Da Tang, his country, his home.
Fu Zhu was a person without roots, drifting through the world like duckweed. Were there more people like him in this world?
He trembled all over. His steps seemingly cutting off the surrounding air and he appeared insubstantial as though he was about to soar. However, in the depths of Fu Zhu’s eyes, for the first time, there was a spark of fire.
Ignoring Li Shimin’s outstretched hand, Fu Zhu went straight to the city wall, and looked down at the army standing beneath the towering wall.
“Presumptuous!” The two generals beside Li Shimin considered Fu Zhu to be arrogant and so with narrowed eyes they moved their hands to the hilt of their swords.
Li Shimin’s gaze was tightly seared to Fu Zhu’s body so he noticed that the other party was slightly different from usual, but when he wanted to examine this change further, he was interrupted by the exclamation of the two people around him. He frowned deeply and waved his hand to shut them up.
Fu Zhu turned around at this time, and his eyes landed on Li Shimin: “Your Majesty, do you know, what this official is thinking?”
Li Shimin froze: “Oh?”
Fu Zhu’s hand which hid the dagger began to tremble slightly, yet at the end he put his arm behind his back resolutely and ripped away all his convictions with a deep sorrow only he could feel.
For the first time in his life, he raised the corners of his mouth and smiled at everyone, including Li Shimin.
“This Official only hopes that His Majesty will triumph, and my Da Tang can endure forever. That people in this world can live and eat as well as they do at this moment. It is already fortunate for me to meet you in this life. If your Majesty can agree to these two demands I will have no regrets in this life.”
Li Shimin laughed loudly: “Not only that! Zhèn also wants the people in this world to have books to read, so that the thieves and maggots would have no place and there will be no chaos in Da Tang from generation to generation.!”
Fu Zhu smiled lightly but look in his eyes deepened.
He turned over his hand and drew his arm into his cuff to find three white cloth pouches. He walked to Li Shimin lightly and knelt down in an almost devout manner.
“Your Majesty, please remember what you have said today.”
Li Shimin was stunned by Fu Zhu’s solemn appearance. He subconsciously reached out and tried to lift him up but stopped at the sight of the ripple of tears on the rims of Fu Zhu’s eyes.
The army and horses were raring to go. The emperor’s armor reflected the sliver of sunlight in the sky. Before he mounted his horse, Li Shimin stopped and looked up at the city wall with his arm partly braced on his mount.
Above the city wall, Fu Zhu, who had been left behind to command the city garrison, could not clearly see Li Shimin’s features.
The two looked at each other, one touch away. Li Shimin smiled confidently and determinedly.
Above the city wall, Fu Zhu looked over the parade, the smile at the corner of his lips fell slowly and his entire being drooped as though he had lost strength.
After a while, he sighed and said, “Close the gate.”
The drums started to sound and the order to close the city gates spread from near to far.
Fu Zhu’s clothes fluttered, his long hair flew as he stared blankly into the sky. His lean body stood firm and motionless. For a moment his eyes seemed to water but as his eyes closed it appeared like an illusion.
He had no regrets.
Zheng Kezhen called for a stop. The assistant producer who was holding onto the film slate while staring at the scene in a daze was abruptly awakened when he heard Zheng Kezhen’s voice and he hastened to work in a panic.
Once again Luo Ding had created a one shot.
Zheng Kezhen repeatedly rewound and forwarded the footage to review what had been filmed. He had to admit that Luo Ding was real a genius who was born to thrive in the entertainment industry.
This drama can already be regarded as the most successful one he had filmed since he started directing. Every time it was Luo Ding’s turn to shoot filming progressed extremely fast. On his own, Luo Ding immersed himself into his role and drove the other actors to get into character as well. It was normal on a shoot for actors to NG three or four times, but now this had become an abnormal thing.
Luo Ding had still not emerged from his character. He stood at the highest point of the city wall, next to the nearest camera. He had braced himself on the camera equipment and stared blankly at the crowd of actors who were vacating the ground area. It seemed like he was ready to jump at any second.
Th moment Duan Xiubo heard Zheng KeZhen’s voice, he got up, quickly climbed up the city wall, grabbed Luo Ding’s arm and pulled him backwards.
Luo Ding recovered and the aura of death his body was emitting disappeared.
“I’m fine.” Sensing that Duan Xiubo was about to pull him into his arms, Luo Ding could not help but push him away. Duan Xiubo froze for a moment, then quickly opened his arms, paused to think and then took off his coat to put on Luo Ding.
He opened his mouth to say that he was shocked by Luo Ding’s performance just now, but he couldn’t find the words. He could only dryly say: “That was a good performance.”
Luo Ding was taken aback but seeing Duan Xiubo’s sincere face he was a little pleased. No one would be unhappy when praised, “Thank you.” He responded.
His impression of Duan Xiubo had improved slightly.
On the other side, Zheng Kezhen was looking through the photo stills. The high-definition DSLR lens could record all the details and shortcomings of people, but in these pictures Luo Ding showed few flaws. His vacant stare as he stood on the city wall, the tears in his eyes as he watched the Emperor depart, kneeling in front of Li Shimin with a devout face, and standing face to face with Li Shimin. Each and every frame deserved to be covered in countless words of praise
Zheng Kezhen appeared more and more excited. He could not help but pat Luo Ding’s shoulders twice: “Okay! The expression and eyes are perfect! We would add a close-up eye lens later, and Ah Yuan will shoot two more scenes. Three days of work may be completed today! “
Though Luo Ding was praised he did not display any pride and only whispered: “I am in better condition today.”
“When are you ever in bad condition?” Zheng Kezhen picked up a few photos and pointed at the photographs which were to be sent for immediate processing. After doing all this, he turned his head again, sighed, and lowered his voice to Luo Ding. “Don’t question yourself, you are really good. I have been filming for decades and I have seen countless people. You, young man, are unprecedented,” he thought for a while, and repeated it with certainty, “Unprecedented.”
Of course, he was unprecedented. How many people could bring their decades of life experience into a young person’s skin? Luo Ding’s modesty was not disguised, he really didn’t think he could be so proud. He already had such a huge cheat device, if he was not better than others then he would be an absolute loser in every way.
Zheng Kezhen observed that Luo Ding simply smiled and did not respond. He suddenly understood that what he had said could be deemed offensive to some people and immediately changed the topic. Luo Ding’s personality was too calm and not as lively as most young people of his age, Zheng Kezhen would unconsciously move into the mode he uses to deal with friends of the same age. Sometimes, Luo Ding appeared even more thoughtful.
Luo Ding watched the film footage on the monitor and made some comments to Zheng Kezhen concerning certain close-up lens changes. The two people gathered together to discuss heatedly.
Duan Xiubo stared at Luo Ding, the red flame in his eyes was burning fiercely yet he did not want to divert the gaze that could only be described as explicit.
From their first meeting till present, each time they met, Luo Ding always impressed him in a special way. He had an impeccable singing voice and a powerful dance and aura. When Duan Xiubo had begun to think he knew all there was to know about Luo Ding, reality would constantly remind him that what he knew, and saw was not enough.
Duan Xiubo had always felt that he was a cold person. There were few things in life that could arouse his interest. For most people he only needed to meet them a few times to know them thoroughly from the inside-out.
However, for the first time in his life, someone could bring him such a fresh and flavorful feeling. It was like a thick piece of salmon drenched in mustard, sweet and cold, slipping down the throat into the stomach and the pungent spicy smell filling the nasal cavity. Though tortured and crying without tears all he could remember was the fleeting sweet taste.
After a moment of excitement, he calmed down his emotions and prepared to leave.
Duan Xiubo remembered that Luo Ding did not like close physical contact with people, so though he drew close he kept a little distance.
“Three days of work has been completed in one day, since you have no schedules in those two extra days, wouldn’t there be a lot of time for you to take a good rest?”
The two people who were chatting were interrupted by the assistant producer so they turned their heads and looked back at him.
Duan Xiubo looked at Luo Ding’s puzzled eyes again, smiled slightly, and stretched out a right hand.
“Xiao Luo, are you interested in working with me once?”
 How the Emperor refers to his ministers and Officials
 The Royal “We” used by the Emperor to refer to himself in place of (“I” or “my” or “mine”)
 Da Tang loosely translates into Grand Tang and refers to the Tang Dynasty
 The text says gaoli (高麗) which refers to the ancient Korean dynasty Goryeo. The last buddhist- shaped dynasty in Korea
T/N: This reads like two BL’s in one. The relationship between Li Shimin and Fu Zhu is rather bromantic ^_^
Also, Duan Xiubo managed to improve his appeal to Luo Ding. Congrats to him. Lol.
That salmon description however is pure Class!
Thanks for stopping by 🙂