The filming schedule was tight and arduous and after post-production it was hard to say if there would even be enough footage for a five-minute fight scene but for nearly a week, Luo Ding had been filming each day from morning till night.
This week, he had no more than five hours of sleep each day. Often he could only nap for a short while before being awakened, so in order to save time, he simply followed the crew to find a place near the film and television city.
When Huo Xie announced the official completion of the martial arts component of his work, Luo Ding could only see the darkness disappear before his eyes and an indescribable kind of joy poured into his heart, like he had escaped from hell.
After arriving at the hotel, Luo Ding took a comfortable hot bath and promptly fell asleep before he could even finish drying his hair. Even the open curtains and the fierce sunlight could not eliminate his drowsiness.
After a deep sleep he woke up dizzy. He touched his cell phone that lay on the bedside table and saw that it was almost noon on the next day.
His stomach gurgled from hunger.
He was the only one in the hotel suite but his clean clothes were neatly folded up and placed on the bedside table. At a glance, he knew this was Wu Fangyuan’s work. In terms of helping with his life details, Wu Fangyuan was a fairly qualified assistant.
Luo Ding fumbled for his pants and put it on while still under the quilt. As he was wearing his jeans, he felt a prickling sensation on the inside of his thigh. When he looked down, he noticed that on the side of his leg that had been in touch with the wire harness scabs covering the part of his skin which had been rubbed raw had peeled off.
He had been so tired over the past few days that he had not felt any pain. Yesterday, he had failed to take good care of his injury while showering and now the wound was pale and very tender to the touch. How miserable.
These tight-fitting pants could no longer be worn as they could cause the wound to become inflamed. Thus, he had no choice but to take out a bathrobe from the closet in the hotel suite, wrap it around his body and then drag his feet to go cook some noodles.
The doorbell of the suite rang as the kettle whistled.
Luo Ding crumpled the empty noodles package in his hand while asking, “Fang Yuan?”
Outside the door came a familiar but unexpected male voice: “It’s me.”
Luo Ding frowned slightly and raised his eyebrows: “Duan ge?” He opened the door and looked at his visitor with some surprise.
Duan Xiubo did not expect to see such a different side of Luo Ding. After all, the latter always paid a lot of attention to his personal image when he was out and about. His neatly pressed pants and clean white shirt were always carefully matched.
Despite not having time to even eat during the busy days of filming, his appearance was always faultless. But now, probably due to waking up late, this young man’s hair had developed a decadent and messy feel and a few rebellious strands of hair at the top of this head were standing up tenaciously. Additionally, the hair was thick and soft as he had clearly had no time to blow-dry it. It was really adorably fluffy.
Possibly because Luo Ding did not get enough sleep or because he was struggling to adapt to the changes in his schedule his expression was a little dazed and his eyes were not as sharp as usual. A long while after Duan Xiubo had stepped politely into the room, Luo Ding slowly opened his big round eyes and asked in a puzzled manner:
“Duan ge, why are you here?”
Duan Xiubo could smell the aroma of beef noodles and pickled vegetables in the air. He wrinkled his brow slightly and raised the several plastic bags in his hand: “I called Wu Fangyuan, and he said you were resting in the hotel alone. I happened to pass by and decided to bring you something to eat and some stuff to use. “
In the plastic bag were the vegetable stir-fry takeaway from the restaurant, some braised pork ribs, fried kale, and a piece of chopped chili fish tail. Without hesitation, Luo Ding abandoned the instant noodles and said: “Thank you.”
“Also,” Duan Xiubo continued after putting the food on the table. He opened another bag with a pharmacy logo printed on it and pulled out two tubes of ointment. “You’ve been working hard on mid-air scenes for the past two days but you haven’t done this before so your skin would definitely be injured. Here’s some medicine.”
There were two tubes of ointment that could be applied directly to the wound, which Luo Ding recognized immediately. This was also caused by his negligence. In fact, he should have prepared some medicine before joining the crew. In his last life, he had also suffered a similar experience. Injuries while doing wire work were unavoidable.
When the new skin becomes old skin and when calluses develop that is when it’s time for a daughter in law to become a mother in law. 
Luo Ding smiled slightly. Duan Xiubo was indeed worthy of being known as a man of long experience. He could only sigh at Duan Xiubo’s many socialization methods. For example, in a situation like this, should Luo Ding have discovered that a small, inconspicuous person, who was in a different position in the crew, was hurt, he may have been able to say a few comforting words but he would never have been so thoughtful as to personally deliver food and medicine with such care and patience.
However, any normal person who is remembered in this way would be touched and Luo Ding was no exception. He smiled and his eyes softened for two seconds till he felt a prickling pain at the base of his thigh. He accepted the bag: “This has helped me a lot. Duan ge, please sit down first. I’ll go apply some of the medicine. “
Duan Xiubo followed him from the entrance to the bed, and then his eyes widened.
Luo Ding actually sat on the bed with his back to him, opened his bathrobe, spread his legs and lowered his head to apply the ointment.
Despite facing his back, Duan Xiubo could almost imagine the scene that was covered by the thin fabric. Luo Ding’s slender white leg was propped up on the bed and partly covered by his clothing. His tight muscles and his pale skin, which appeared even paler than usual because of the absence of sunlight in the room, dazzled Duan Xiubo’s eyes.
Duan Xiubo hurriedly controlled his expression, changed the focus of his gaze and pretended to be indifferent, yet his gaze kept finding its way back to Luo Ding inadvertently.
Luo Ding did not consider keeping his guard up against Duan Xiubo, mainly because he had not noticed Duan Xiubo’s thoughts about him. Although the two had many opportunities to interact, Duan Xiubo did not say much to him in front of others. Luo Ding was also aware that the other was not a talkative person so both on purpose and unintentionally Luo Ding had overlooked communicating with him.
As a result, because there were so many people in the crew, on the surface the relationship between Duan Xiubo and Luo Ding appeared ordinary. On the surface, Luo Ding will smile when he met him and although Duan Xiubo will sometimes be more considerate towards him their level of interaction was a relatively normal senior to junior relationship.
In fact, compared with the men, Luo Ding actually spent more time talking with the women in the crew. At his age, he was often the younger brother to almost all the women in the crew. He was good-looking, sweet, polite, and considerate. These were all features that women favored. For example, from the first time they became acquainted till present, the lead actress Yuan Bing, whether she was scheduled to join the crew that day or not will call him three times a day at meal times to urge him to eat. This change in their relationship only took a few days.
After applying the ointment, Luo Ding turned around while lowering his head to straighten his loosened bathrobe. At the same time, he looked up at Duan Xiubo with a smile: “Thank you, Duan ge, It feels much better after applying the medicine. I will remember to prepare it next time.”
Duan Xiubo’s attention was called back to the present with these words and after panning his eyes, his gaze focused on the area of Luo Ding’s chest which was still visible from the open neckline of the bathrobe. During this period of time, Luo Ding’s martial arts practice could also be considered a kind of fitness exercise and as a result of the special martial arts moves the muscle lines on Luo Ding’s body had been developed. Because he was lean, the thin muscle lines made him look more mature and attractive.
Additionally, because Luo Ding was truly grateful his smile at the moment was very sincere which made Duan Xiubo take a deep breath and an unnoticeable step backwards.
“Cough–” Duan Xiubo felt that he was unwell. He took the glass of water on the table and drank it, before his dry throat felt a little more comfortable. “Well, I have something else to do with the crew, so I won’t stay long. Wu Fangyuan said that you still have work to do this evening, but make sure you get some rest since you are injured. Director Huo has said that your last few scenes will be filmed the day after tomorrow. A specific time has not yet been set so your mobile phone should be kept by your side over the next few days.”
Luo Ding took note of his instructions one by one. But when he looked up, he saw Duan Xiubo’s back hurriedly departing. Luo Ding froze, subconsciously, chased after him, opened the door and said goodbye in his direction, only to get a silent farewell from Duan Xiubo as he walked away with his back to Luo Ding.
Luo Ding scratched his head. This man was so busy that he didn’t even have time to say goodbye. How pitiful. But even with such a tight schedule, he still remembered to care about him. As a senior, Duan Xuibo was really qualified. Luo Ding pondered for a while. He then went back to find his glass of water that he had half drunk, but only found an empty cup instead.
For the second time, does Duan Xiubo really not mind sharing tableware with outsiders at all? On this point Duan Xiubo was completely different from Luo Ding. Although he did not have an OCD, his addiction to cleanliness did not allow him to use a cup that had been touched by another person’s lips. Apparently, while it was true that Duan Xiubo was amiable there was no truth to the rumor that he was particular about certain things.
Pan Yiming’s album had exceeded one million sales in ten days. While this result may not be regarded as great for some European and American stars, in the mainland where piracy was rampant, most people did not believe in the concept of “genuine albums”. Thus, the sales figure was enough to shock the entertainment circle.
Of course, this figure did not reflect only sales in the Mainland. In fact, Tian Media Entertainment had invested far more into Pan Yiming’s new album than expected. In addition to China, several neighboring countries had also simultaneously begun engaging in publicity for the album. To Luo Ding’s surprise, the album had received a particularly good response in Japan. Presumably, the aesthetics of the young Japanese people was more inclined to the extreme beauty in deformity thus the dark artistic concept of the title song was undoubtedly in line with their preferences.
The MV of the title song had even appeared on news reports on Japan’s mainstream integrated TV channel. Accompanied by several broadcasts of the audio on their biggest radio program, this song from the East was completely popular in the island nation.
Almost a third of the million album sales came from Japan, and this sales frenzy seemed to have no intention of subsiding at all with the rate of purchase gradually increasing every day.
The knock-on effect of this sales frenzy was the popularity of the singer Pan Yiming and the MV star Luo Ding.
Pan Yiming’s looks were very malleable and with slight changes in makeup she could appear either fresh or domineering. This was actually not in line with the preferences of the island people who loved sweet styles, but is there a clear-cut line for such a thing? Sometimes when the G-spot is touched people will change their mind faster than they will turn the page of a book.
However, the most popular person in Japan was not even Pan Yiming, the protagonist.
The effect caused by Luo Ding was astounding. In fact, his style should have been even more incompatible with the culture of Japan than Pan Yiming, because affected by the anime industry, Japanese male stars tended to have slender eyebrows, colorful hair, bangs and soft, feminine haircuts. These exquisite and beautiful 2D animation styles had been transferred to real people and was full of feminine flavor. Although Luo Ding was handsome, from his temperament to his words and deeds, it was absolutely difficult to find even a little bit of feminine beauty.
But what did that matter? Was it not enough for him to just look good? For viewers who only looked at faces, appearance was king.
Almost overnight Luo Ding’s fanbase was established in a thunderous manner. The support activities of the fans were on a large-scale and their management was mature and formal so it was impossible to tell that they were a fanbase for a small star from the mainland who had not yet made a name for himself in china.
However, his popularity in Japan had undoubtedly brought a positive effect for Luo Ding at home.
The Chinese people’s idea of conquering the island country had never stopped. No, it should be that the pride of being a big country celebrated from all four sides had never been put down. Thus an existence from China that was accepted and sought after by foreign cultures was enough for many news media to report with honor.
Luo Ding’s workload quickly began to increase after this. Unlike some of the previous invitations, any entity that invited him on a show now could be regarded as a relatively rare, big TV station with the ability to positively affect his publicity.
There was a big difference in the temperature from morning to evening. Luo Ding exited the TV station and under the light of the stars, the cold wind that blew across his face gave him a shock. Behind him, Wu Fangyuan hurried to catch up. He took off his coat and placed it on Luo Ding’s shoulders.
“Hungry? I didn’t expect that the recording would go on for this long. The duration of the show’s broadcast is usually for one hour but the recording lasted from 6’oclock to 11’o clock. I should’ve brought along something for you to eat.”
Luo Ding interrupted Wu Fangyuan’s litany of self-blame. He was already used to doing these things for himself: “It doesn’t matter, there are restaurants open 24 hours a day. Let’s just grab something to eat.”
Wu Fangyuan saw Luo Ding with his hands in his pocket. He was looking straight ahead with a smile on his face, but Wu Fangyuan could not tell what he was thinking. So, after being comforted with those two sentences, he immediately got up and ran towards the parking lot: “You wait here, I’ll go drive the car over.”
Pan Yiming’s MV made a huge profit. Originally Luo Ding had agreed to star in the MV out of friendship, however because he took the time to follow up in several subsequent publicity events the senior executives of Tian Media Entertainment still insisted on giving him a reward. This amount of money was not much in Luo Ding’s eyes but it was a figure the original owner may not have been able to save for a few years based on his small appearances.
Since then Gu Yaxing had become even more attentive to Luo Ding and had directly assigned the company’s nanny car with the highest specification to Luo Ding as his special vehicle. This level of treatment was not even enjoyed by Hu Xiao.
Although, since then Wu Fangyuan was compelled to work as a part-time driver, he did complain at all. Watching Luo Ding walk step by step to success, he was happy for him from the bottom of his heart.
After Wu Fangyuan left, Luo Ding took out his cell phone and used the wifi in the building to kill time. His current channels of publicity were still not good enough. He was only just beginning to receive invitations to this kind of TV talk show and he still largely depended on online media. After getting his Weibo password from Wu Fangyuan, most of the posts on his account were by Luo Ding himself.
The increase in the number of fans who followed his page was ridiculously high. Some of the users in his followers list had their names written in Japanese katakana. While reading through the enthusiastic confessions of fans in his Weibo messages, some of the imaginative words made Luo Ding, a rough man, blush.
Of course, there were also some critical voices, accusing him of hype or lacking real substance and even suggesting that his popularity was based on hidden rules. However, Luo Ding was long accustomed to not taking these malicious attacks to heart. As a celebrity, one’s psychological quality absolutely needed to be very, very strong, in order to bear the incessant slander and carry on.
Nevertheless, a message full of exclamation marks on Weibo caught his attention.
A registered user named “Grabbing Meat from a Dog’s Mouth” matched each word with an exclamation point in a way that made people want to read the text “I! Specially! Shot! This! Photo! While! Under! The! Supervision! Of! The! Director! Here! You! Can! Have! It! !!!! Please! Keep! It! Lowkey! “
The fans who had received this photo were not low-key at all and reposts had exceeded 50,000. Luo Ding clicked on the small picture, and was surprised to find that this was actually a photo of himself from the set of “Wolong”.
In the photo, he was wearing his costume which was slightly open and leaning on the Imperial Concubine’s chaise lounge. He was talking to Yuan Bing with his head lowered and his eyes and eyebrows were full of enchantment. Because of the good timing of the picture his hand was held in mid-air as he touched Yuan Bing’s hair with his fingertips. He carefully studied the picture for a while and finally had to admit that the original owner’s face really looked good. Even such a malicious character was full of charm.
Sure enough, most of the comments were screaming responses.
At a glance, Luo Ding recognized several old ID’s that always used his photos as reaction pics or profile pictures. Among them, was the “Fu Zhu Support Association” who’s comment had gathered nearly three digits of likes. Their response read: “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh … the screen is too small to lick !!! Male god I want to give you a baby !!!”
“What exactly is this? Director Zheng can you move quickly to show us the stills? Learn from the efficiency of Director Huo!!”
“32 likes for OP’s post. Please be productive like Director Huo or the Bamboo Baskets would go naked to the city government to protest.”
“Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha,, what the hell kind of name is Bamboo Baskets? You are so annoying!! “
Luo Ding blinked. A celebrity’s fan base normally has a unified name. Is his fan base called Bamboo Baskets? That’s not so good……
In the end, he was not the only one who was not crazy about the name Bamboo Baskets. Other than responses expressing gratitude for the photo and the visual-crazy fans, most responses were arguing about the name “Bamboo Basket”.
Luo Ding pursed his lips and held back a laugh. He felt that his fans were really interesting so he kept sliding his fingers to browse through the replies. While he was fully absorbed, he heard someone calling his name in the vicinity.
He instantly restrained his laughter and when he looked up, his expression was impeccably mild and flawless.
There was a silver business car parked in front of him. The window of the passenger seat was rolled down and Su Shengbai, who was sitting in the front seat, called his name.
Su Shengbai saw that Luo Ding had looked up and immediately smiled. He quickly opened the door and got out of the car. He was wearing a slightly formal light-colored suit which made his face even more delicate. His figure was thin, his posture was straight, and the slight jump when he walked made him appear like a lively and naïve teenager.
Luo Ding’s eyes dimmed. He pretended to be surprised, stepped down the stairs and approached him.
Su Shengbai did not draw closer, but pulled open the door to the back seat. The driver moved quickly and had already pulled out a wheelchair from the trunk and pushed it towards the opening of the door.
Luo Ding’s footsteps paused and a subtle premonition was birthed in his heart. He had feeling that the person he was going to meet next was not a happy existence.
A thin hand stretched out and rested steadily on the driver’s brawny arm. The blue veins on the back of the hand that lay on the driver’s arm was exposed, giving it a sharp and ferocious air like an eagle’s claw.
Luo Ding frowned slightly. When the man got out of the car his breath hitched for a moment.
Xu Zhen looked a lot more haggard than when he last saw him. The change was really massive. Although Xu Zhen was almost fifty, he had never looked old because of his career and his emphasis on self-maintenance. In fact, he had appeared more charming that most younger men. But a man of that age could not afford to look old. Once he showed signs of fatigue, his slack skin and dark yellow complexion will completely expose his age.
Luo Ding almost did not recognize him at first glance. Xu Zhen’s neat black hair from his memories had turned grey and he was extremely thin. A pair of saggy eye bags hung thickly and sullenly on his face. His eyes were red and bloodshot and his gaze was slack. He looked like the family member of a deceased person who had just returned from the funeral. His entire body was filled with a kind of lifeless silence.
Perhaps Su Shengbai was worried that the driver would not be able to support Xu Zhen alone so he stood by the side, looked at over with concern and subconsciously stretched out his arm to try to hold Xu Zhen’s hand which was clutching the door. However, Xu Zhen’s expression became extremely ugly when Su Shengbai’s hand touched his skin and he quickly retracted his arm.
A hurt look flashed in Su Shengbai’s eyes, he pursed his mouth and stood beside Xu Zhen. His face was pitiful as though wronged by the Heavens.
Xu Zhen got out of the car and settled in the wheelchair. He raised his head and looked around at his surroundings. His eyes quickly fell on Luo Ding, who was not far away.
He frowned, his voice thick and sedate: “Who are you? What is the matter? Why are you standing there?”
Luo Ding was in a state of confusion and only met Xu Zhen’s gaze after restraining himself to the limit in order to not show his hatred. He had been deliberately avoiding thinking about this man until he had regained enough power to retaliate. Xu Zhen had been operating in the entertainment circle for decades, pinching a young, unpopular celebrity to death would be a matter of just opening his mouth.
The evidence of the vehicle collision before Cao Dingkun’s death was so obvious that even though the entire vehicle had eventually fallen off the cliff, the police would have likely raised the possibility of an intentional murder. However, although the news of Cao Dingkun’s death was so sensational, it only circulated on Weibo for a short period of time and the discourse did not even shift a little towards the aspect of murder. After the candle post on weibo, his death was forgotten. Could Su Shengbai have done this alone? Without Xu Zhen’s interference how could this be possible?!!
Luo Ding had no choice but to admit his bad luck. Cao Dingkun had no family and no relatives. As two best friends in the entertainment circle he and Xu Zhen had formed an alliance and other friends, of course, will not rush in without knowing any inside information. His whole life had been so beautiful yet he had come to such an end. He had died in obscurity and had even been deprived of the public’s right to know the truth!
He had always known that Xu Zhen had great career ambitions. An ambition so big that he was willing to give up everything he could in order to reach the peak. However, Luo Ding had never expected that his love, dedication and effort for decades were not even worth the film that would possibly allow Xu Zhen to break through the bottleneck of his career.
Compared to the past, Xu Zhen’s voice was slightly more hoarse. Staring at the old face of the other party, Luo Ding took a deep breath and slowly loosened his clenched fist.
So, what if I can’t fight him now? Currently I have regained my youth, if there is no accident, this road of life has just begun and there will be a long time to wait for me to retrieve the things that I carelessly lost. The man in front of him was old, so old that he could not even conceal it. The relationship between the two of them could simply be summarized by a word. Grudge.
Luo Ding smiled and looked relaxed. He nodded to Xu Zhen with the same respect as an ordinary actor who had seen his predecessor: “Are you director Xu Zhen? My name is Luo Ding, I am a friend of Su Shengbai. It is nice to meet you.”
Xu Zhen was not a fool. Though he now abhorred Su Shengbai, he did not want to let anyone see the contradiction between them.
Luo Ding stood with the light behind him reflecting his deep and distinct facial features. His smile was not overly enthusiastic or overly restrained. His mild temperament made Xu Zhen subconsciously soften his expression.
“Hello.” He nodded.
Luo Ding lowered his gaze and stepped aside, his eyes moved away from Xu Zhen and landed on Su Shengbai. He found that Su Shengbai was staring at him thoughtfully.
Tilting his head at the other party, he showed a slightly puzzled expression.
Su Shengbai smiled suddenly. He lowered his head and said to Xu Zhen: ” Xu ge, he is the actor I told you about before. Currently he is in the drama “Tang Zhuan” directed by Zheng Kezhen. He previously worked with Pan Yiming on her recent album that has topped album sales charts and is popular in Japan. His path to the international market is now partly open and shows great potential. “While he said these words, he was actually jealous. Luo Ding was a small actor who was much less famous than him yet relying on these resources he had expanded his path vigorously.
Seeing Luo Ding appear to keep pace with him always made him maliciously think that the other must have stepped in some dog-shit luck. Of course, he will never display such negative emotions for anyone to see.
For Su Shengbai, Luo Ding’s popularity was not a bad thing. That fool was still in love with him. In the entertainment industry, there were many personal connections and many paths. The other party could resist so many temptations just to keep him in his heart for so many years. It appeared that he held the position of a white moonlight in Luo Ding’s heart.
As long as Su Shengbai could manage the situation well, Luo Ding would definitely be willing to find suitable resources for him after the latter becomes popular. After staying with him for so many years, Su Shengbai knew Luo Ding well. No matter how this young man changed, he was still a stubborn and withdrawn person in his bones. As long as Su Shengbai was in his heart, he will occupy a place in his life.
Xu Zhen’s eyes changed from a mild to a slightly surprised look. He smiled a little and blinked at Luo Ding, showing a pleasant and inviting expression.
Xu Zhen had been in such a bad mood during this period time. For him to gift Luo Ding with such an obvious smile it appears his first impression of the latter was good …
 I understand this to mean that is when you can be called experienced.
 Adorably dense Luo Ding. You are a special snow flake to Duan Xuibo. Lmao.
T/N notes : Duan Xiubo is really suffering lol .
Also, Introducing my new danmei potential novel pick up: Investment Life. Please check out the first chapter here and let me know your thoughts.