Xu Zhen was familiar with Luo Ding’s name. During this period of time, any news related to this name on the Internet was very hot. While recuperating at the hospital he had occasionally gone online and had paid attention to current affairs and entertainment news. As such, Luo Ding’s name had left an impression on him.
However, he had really only become curious about Luo Ding after learning that Huo Xie had temporarily replaced an injured actor in the “Wolong” crew with Luo Ding.
As leading film directors in China, Huo Xie and Xu Zhen had taken completely different paths. Xu Zhen pursued films which had depth and intent. His goal was to receive as many awards as possible to gild himself. Thus, a drama, regardless of its theme, had to analyze human nature before Xu Zhen will consider it profound and classic.
On the other hand, Huo Xie was good at building movie hype, good at capturing business trends, and good at understanding the psychology of his audience. Thus, though his films were all about popularity and revenue, Huo Xie had still received many awards. Under the premise of his films being popular box office hits, Huo Xie had never delayed his progress towards the top of the pyramid of directors.
To be able to do both these things successfully, Huo Xie relied on a serious and responsible attitude towards his films. While his bottom line may be slightly lower than Xu Zhen’s, if he had no talent, he would have been unable to cast popular actors in his films no matter how much money he had behind him. So, for Luo Ding to catch his eye and then secure a role that took up such a large portion of “Wolong”, Luo Ding must also have his own strengths.
The progress of his film had been halted at an awkward time, so whenever Xu Zhen encountered unfamiliar high-quality actors, he always verified their background information in his spare time.
In this way he had discovered that in addition to “Wolong” Luo Ding was also participating in a drama helmed by the famously temperamental director Zheng Kezhen, who had been carefully preparing for this large TV production over the past several years. Thus, Xu Zhen had become more and more certain of his own guess.
He had also basically seen all the photos of Luo Ding that could be found on the Internet. Even his photos from the album collaboration with Pan Yiming were not exempted. However, on seeing the real person he failed to recognize him for a moment because it was late at night and Luo Ding’s disposition in person did not match his photos.
Luo Ding stood about three steps away from Xu Zhen’s wheelchair and allowed the other party to examine him. The expression on his face did not change and he maintained a gentle smile from the beginning to the end.
Xu Zhen felt an inexplicable sense of closeness to Luo Ding. This was perhaps due to the latter’s temperament, or perhaps it was because the smile on his face matched the look in his eyes. In short, his impression of Luo Ding was very good.
“I’ve heard of you. You are in the middle filming now, right? It’s not easy for a newcomer to secure such a good opportunity. You are very good.”
Luo Ding calmly lowered his eyes and he did not appear to be flattered by the compliment: “Director Xu, you praise me.”
Xu Zhen nodded inwardly and thought to himself, “He’s sufficiently calm.” He asked, “Which company are you signed to?”
It was a small entertainment company who’s name Xu Zhen had never heard of.
Xu Zhen nodded to Luo Ding: “Well, I still have an interview to record tonight, so I can’t prolong this conversation anymore. If there is a role that suits you in the future, I hope we would have the opportunity to cooperate.”
“Of course.” Luo Ding took a few steps to the side to make way for him but while doing so his eyes resembled a bottomless pool of water, so quiet that one couldn’t even find a ripple. Xu Zhen was slowly pushed towards the TV station building by the driver. Meanwhile, Su Shengbai who was a few steps behind him gave Luo Ding a clear smile before waving goodbye and making a move to leave.
Luo Ding asked him in a low voice, “Why did he do that to you earlier?”
Thinking that Luo Ding was concerned about him, Su Shengbai’s heart jumped proudly in his chest and a longsuffering smile appeared on his face: “He’s not in a good mood, I’m used to it anyway.”
Su shengbai took one step and looked back three times, his face was full of vague helplessness and reluctance. Seeing that Luo Ding was standing at the same spot poker-faced and was watching him leave, Su Shengbai walked to a distance where Luo Ding could not see him before he relaxed. He lowered his head slightly and in a concealed corner he flashed a smug smile.
Everything was under control.
Su Shengbai quickly walked back to Xu Zhen’s side.
Xu Zhen did not look at him. He had lowered his head and was fiddling with a mobile phone in his hand. He pressed the keypad from time to time and when the screensaver turned on, there was an image of Cao Dingkun on the screen laughing at the camera.
Su Shengbai glanced expressionlessly at the phone in Xu Zhen’s hand and rolled his eyes yet he did not dare speak. This morning, the hospital had given Xu Zhen the results of his final diagnosis and his “male equipment” was, from now on, completely for decoration.
Xu Zhen went crazy in the hospital. He threw everything he saw onto the ground like a madman. He was irate for an entire afternoon before regaining his current composure. Earlier when Su Shengbai had seen the friendly countenance Xu Zhen had shown to Luo Ding, his heart had felt a little empty.
Su Shengbai had always though that Xu Zhen’s behavior was like the calm before the storm. It gave him a sense of impending crisis like the rising wind foreboding a coming tempest.
The sound of an engine halted behind him. Luo Ding turned his head and met Wu Fangyuan’s gaze as the latter was rolling down the van window.
“What’s wrong?” Wu Fangyuan stretched his neck and glanced in the direction of the departing group. He could not tell what exactly had happened, so he turned to look at Luo Ding in a puzzled manner.
Luo Ding shook his head and did not explain further. Distractedly, he held his cell phone in his hand and twirled it around a few times, quietly waiting for the fish to take the bait. Sure enough, not long after getting on the van, the phone rang. After the ring tone had sounded three times Luo Ding picked up and Su Shengbai’s soft voice echoed: “I’m sorry, I just left like that.”
First, he shows an indifferent attitude and leaves, then he would use other ways to let the other party understand that he still cares about him. He keeps his fishing rope loose so that his prey thinks that it is free. While his prey is hovering around the fish pond, nibbling at the bait, hooks have been hidden under the sweet bait that will pierce into its flesh unawares. By the time it feels any pain and tries to break free its illness would have already reached a critical stage.
Su Shengbai was very good at using this move. But unfortunately for him, Luo Ding had not even placed the bait in his mouth to begin with.
Luo Ding responded: “It doesn’t matter, your work is important. Director Xu doesn’t seem to have a good temper, does he bully you?” The second half of the sentence was questioning and appeared concerned, as if should Su Shengbai complain to him, Luo Ding will tear Xu Zhen apart.
Su Shengbai, on the other side of the phone line said anxiously: “Don’t think this way, Xu ge is very good to me, but he has been in a bad mood recently, so … so …” He concealed the conclusion of his sentence like someone who wanted to speak but could not bring himself to do so.
Luo Ding sneered, “Then you are fine.”
Luo Ding hung up the phone abruptly and felt refreshed for a while. When his anger subsided he casually sent a short message to Su Shengbai. Then he threw his cell phone onto the backseat and wholeheartedly concentrated on giving Wu Fangyuan directions to the restaurant he wanted to dine at.
Su Shengbai was a bit surprised when he hung up the phone. If things had gone as he had expected it to, Luo Ding should have told him not to worry and to protect himself. Instead, he had received a response that was completely different from what he had imagined.
He was a little nervous now. Just as he had begun to think he had everything under control, something unexpected happened. However, not long after, he received a text message from Luo Ding-“I’ll wait for you to figure it out.”
These words made him feel relieved and regain his composure. Luo Ding’s reaction to this incident had exceeded his expectations. It meant that in the years when he was not with Luo Ding, the latter had indeed undergone some changes Su Shengbai was unaware of. Now, Luo Ting’s temper was obviously a lot firmer than before. Previously, Luo Ding would never have had the courage to corner him in the toilet and make the promise he made, like he did at the “Fashion Magazine” banquet.
It seems he had taken things for granted. It now appeared that the methods he had used to control Luo Ding in the past were insufficient to use on this current man.
It was not enough to superficially act like he wanted to refuse yet welcoming Luo Ding’s attention. If you want a person to sink deeper and deeper into a quagmire, you must first convince that person that the swamp will not kill him. Su Shengbai suddenly felt that he had not sufficiently given Luo Ding a sense of security. In that case, at the right time, he would need to show Luo Ding some “genuine feelings” to make him believe that Luo Ding was in his heart …
Holding his phone, Su Shengbai walked into the dressing lounge with his head full of thoughts. Suddenly a bone-china tea cup flew past his face and immediately snapped him out of his daze.
He quickly dodged as the teacup swiped past his ear and hit the wall with a thud. It fell to the ground and broke into pieces.
“… Xu ge, What’s wrong with you?” This scene quickly brought him back to reality. There was still a difficult hurdle that needed to be crossed right in front of him. Compared with this, the small issue with Luo Ding was a trivial matter.
“Where have you been?” Xu Zhen’s expression was gloomy. His limp facial skin and shocking pair of big bags under his eyes made him look a lot more ferocious. There were no outsiders in the dressing lounge so Xu Zhen’s gaze was not hidden. The madness in his eyes was not a secret. He was like a hyena staring at its prey.
As soon as Su Shengbai saw his eyes, he understood what that look meant and he suddenly felt shaken. When the doctor gave Xu Zhen the final diagnosis this morning, Xu Zhen’s performance was relatively calm, and it had made Su Shengbai think that Xu Zhen could reasonably accept his reality rationally, Thus, Su Shengbai had paid no further attention and had stepped out to make a phone call. As soon as he came back, Xu Zhen went mad and almost bit him to death. He believed that Su Shengbai must have sold the news that he was impotent to reporters so he lost his reason and started smashing things.
What else could it be? Was Xu Zhen’s dispirited behavior all because of Cao Dingkun? You must be kidding. At the time Cao Dingkun’s death was confirmed, Xu Zhen did not age so rapidly. He started to decline only after the doctor had given a pessimistic diagnosis on the condition of his body. No matter his age, for a man, to be impotent was the most unbearable blow.
Xu Zhen stared at him and suddenly whispered, “Come here.”
Su Shengbai leaned over carefully like an obedient pet, and slowly crouched down. A pair of round almond eyes stared at the other with concern: ” Xu ge, I really didn’t do anything. I only called Luo Ding to make sure he had gotten into his car safely… “
Xu Zhen suddenly waved his hand and gave Su Shengbai a heavy blow to the head. Though he was now a weak man the strength of Xu Zhen’s hand was undiminished. Su Shengbai only felt that there was a loud “bang” in his head, and his entire being was flung to the side from the force of the blow. Su Shengbai struggled to pick himself up from the floor while holding back the humming vibrations in his head.
Cradling his head in his hands he stared at Xu Zhen in disbelief.
After venting, Xu Zhen’s eyes calmed down as if he had returned to normal: “In the future, make your calls in front of me.”
Su Shengbai stared with astonishment but before he could speak, the driver who had been guarding the door quickly came over and pushed Xu Zhen towards the exit of the dressing room.
Su Shengbai sat on the ground and waited until the dizziness in his head had passed before he was able to slowly stand up while holding on to the wall.
Since he had been left alone here the dressing room was empty and quiet. Su Shengbai stared at his reflection and a young man with a bloodless face, eyes dull and slack, stared back. He then clenched his fists tightly and gave a smile that looked worse than crying.
Bear it. Endure this period. What was waiting for him in future will be an unprecedentedly vast sky.
It was nearly dawn and after eating Wu Fangyuan sent a yawning Luo Ding to the dormitory arranged by Yaxing Entertainment for his artistes. The tall dormitory building was quiet and looked frightening in the night.
While whispering, Wu Fangyuan told Luo Ding about his work schedule that had been recently arranged. Luo Ding’s days will be full of busy schedules over the next five days starting from ten o’clock tomorrow morning. It would include album promotions with Pan Yiming, TV interviews, and Gu Yaxing’s decision for Luo Ding to record an album, etc.
Luo Ding was not truly popular now but even so he was so busy he practically needed to divide his body. Listening to Wu Fangyuan drone on, Luo Ding vaguely recalled how busy he was in his last life. He could only conclude that he had never really had the chance to take a good rest.
Luo Ding’s room was on the third floor and as there was no elevator in the building the duo walked side by side in the stairway, without slowing down. After coming through the door of his apartment, Luo Ding turned on the lights. The small room had maintained its appearance from before they left, but probably because they had not returned for a few days, it smelled slightly musty and a layer of dust had gathered on the desktop.
As soon as he entered the room, there was a knock on the door.
Both men were stunned. Luo Ding signaled Wu Fangyuan to go have a look., Wu Fangyuan took a glance through the peep hole. Surprisingly, he turned his head and mouthed the words: “Hu Xiao”
Hu Xiao? Luo Ding waved Wu Fangyuan aside and opened the door himself.
Standing outside the door was Hu Xiao. He was wearing a very formal black suit, but his dark green bow tie was crooked, his face was flushed and he was slumped against the wall, his body covered with alcohol.
Luo Ding frowned. He scanned the area a few times but did not see Hu Xiao’s agent. “Hu ge, have you come to the wrong door?” Luo Ding could only try to persuade him, hoping he would return to his room to rest.
Hu Xiao drunkenly burped. He squinted at Luo Ding and suddenly burped again: “No, I am right! You are Luo Ding, I recognize you.”
“…” Luo Ding stood still and watched the man till he finished speaking. Hu Xiao drunkenly pushed off the wall and staggered into the room. Luo Ding could only step aside and let the other party enter the apartment. But he did not expect that Hu Xiao was like a magnet and followed Luo Ding wherever the latter turned his body. Luo Ding had no choice but to tell Wu Fangyuan: “Call Yang Kangding.”
“Yang Kangding!” Hu Xiao laughed as though he had heard a funny joke. He raised his eyes and his drunken gaze fell on Luo Ding. His smile contained unspeakable sarcasm. “Weren’t you happily calling him Yang ge before? How long has it been? Now you can call his full name. Ha ha ha ha ha … When you are popular, you can have confidence … “
Of course, Luo Ding will not argue with a drunkard. Wu Fangyuan called Yang Kangding over and after saying a few words he quickly hung up the phone and flashed a helpless smile at Luo Ding. “No one could find him at the reception following his press conference. Yang ge was still looking for him everywhere and did not know that he actually returned to the dormitory.”
Luo Ding sighed, there were only four words in his mind — what an unprovoked calamity.
With no other options, Luo Ding had to work together with Wu Fangyuan to move Hu Xiao to the bed. This person did not seem to be good at holding his alcohol so if Luo Ding was hurt in the process it would be such a dumb loss. Hu Xiao was constantly struggling, he seemed to be really drunk, his mouth was mumbling something incomprehensible and his face was full of anger.
Hu Xiao was laying on the edge of the bed and had retched a few times. He had grabbed the quilt and kept repeating: “It was all pending for me … he told me to wait for the news …”
Luo Ding, who had been unwilling to listen to his mumbles, frowned. What was he talking about?
“Now the role has been taken away by you … You have become popular even before the TV broadcast … It feels good right? Right? You can’t even spare time for my press conference, right?” Stop …
Luo Ding understood that Hu Xiao’s resentment was directed at him. He thought about it and remembered that the other had indeed been on the waitlist after the “Tang Zhuan” audition. Hu Xiao had assumed that Luo Ding had become popular only after getting the role of Fu Zhu? Therefore, he was unreconciled and felt like Luo Ding had robbed him?
What was all this? There are hundreds of people present at any audition so how could Hu Xiao be so sure that the role was in his pocket? Was this overconfidence or inferiority?
However, the resentment in Hu Xiao’s speech was obviously no longer just an ordinary degree of dissatisfaction. After drinking he was confessing the truth and Luo Ding even had the feeling that Hu Xiao felt that he was also guilty of stealing his chance at popularity.
Before Luo Ding became popular, Hu Xiao was indeed a worthy elder brother at Yaxing Entertainment, but because the company was so small, this elder brother title could not be compared to that of other larger entertainment companies.
Hu Xiao had nothing more than his participation in several popular TV shows. However, with regular exposure from mainstream media, perhaps his album sales could have entered the top ten of the best-sellers list and he could have surpassed the dividing line to become a second-tier star.
Hu Xiao wanted to be popular, but it should be said that for all the celebrities who have entered the entertainment circle almost all also wanted to be popular. Thus, every opportunity appeared precious to these people who had all lowered their heads. Therefore, to see someone who was in a worse position than themselves come from behind to surpass them, envy was inevitable.
Luo Ding sighed, but in his heart, he did not feel flustered at all. He simply thought that this was just another worrisome matter. After Yang Kangding arrived he didn’t say anything more. He just waved his hands in greeting and quickly proceeded to remove this large piece of trash.
Yang Kangding was very angry. He knew that Hu Xiao had a bad temper and was impulsive, but he had never expected that he would lower himself to this level! He even dared to secretly run away from a press conference where he was the main star. He did not answer his phone, nor did he respond to text messages. If it had not been for Wu Fangyuan’s call, Yang Kangding was prepared to urgently notify the police.
Looking at the man who was still muttering helplessly, Yang Kangding sighed. Those reporters were really insidious. Did they really need to involve Luo Ding at the press conference? What was the question again? “The celebrity Luo Ding, who is in the same company as you, has become popular in Japan because of his role in the MV for Pan Yiming’s album. His popularity there is not inferior to that of local first-tier stars. Are you willing to compete with him in popularity in the overseas market?” This was naked provocation!
Luo Ding’s popularity had exceeded all their expectations. Yang Kangding was very clear that Hu Xiao was a small-minded person. Thus, Yang Kangding did not have to think too hard to recognize how much resentment Hu Xiao felt now that Luo Ding had gradually surpassed him in popularity.
But Hu Xiao’s actions today still disappointed him. He had been in the entertainment industry for so long yet his control over his emotions was still so bad. While in front of the camera he did not hide his anger and after the press conference he picked a fight with the female reporter who had asked the question at the press conference. While Yang Kangding was pulling the reporter aside to offer a few words in apology Hu Xiao ran away without a trace.
How can a person with such a character succeed in the entertainment industry …?
He now really regretted his shortsightedness. If he hadn’t suppressed Luo Ding in the past, why would he be so distressed today?
Luo Ding watched Yang Kangding leave with Hu Xiao on his back. After closing the door, he could still smell the disgusting stench of alcohol.
“Let’s go.” He picked up the keys which lay on the table and raised his chin in a signal to Wu Fangyuan. “Everything you need to bring is already prepared. I’ll stay at a hotel today. Recently weren’t you looking for a new place? I can’t live here anymore.”
Lately his mailbox outside the dormitory was always full of letters from some other small artists who were living in the same building. Even those who’s shadow he had never seen before he became popular were acting as though he knew them intimately. There were even cards and pictures with their phone numbers being slipped under his door.
The dormitory building was definitely not safe. If this was the case now, similar situations will definitely happen with increasing frequency in the future. Further, there would be an unavoidable storm if he was caught here by a reporter.
Gu Yaxing did not have any opinion on Luo Ding’s decision to move out of the dormitory. The dormitory building was his own property that he had previously bought. Housing costs in the city were not low thus many of his artists had moved in to save on rent and this arrangement was also convenient for management purposes.
In fact, with Luo Ding’s current popularity he should have been given a place to stay outside the dormitory like Hu Xiao. But because Gu Yaxing had been busy recently he had not considered such details.
Tian Media Entertainment had paid a certain amount of compensation to Luo Ding for his album promotion. This money was naturally more than enough for Luo Ding to rent a home. Gu Yaxing was also happy to try to win Luo Ding over by expressing his goodwill, so he generously approved a large sum of money directly to Wu Fangyuan. In his own words, he had said: “You have worked so hard so rent a better place to reward yourself”.
Wu Fangyuan only accepted the card and whispered a thank you after Luo Ding nodded. This was the advantage of a small company. Any artist with a little popularity could even coax the boss and his life will undoubtedly be much more comfortable.
Gu Yaxing had already taken advantage of Luo Ding’s current popularity to sign several promising artists. Indeed, Yaxing Entertainment was now like a dry tree which had sprouted leaves once more in the spring.
Of course, he will not become complacent. He had not contributed much to help Luo Ding secure his current work. It was all obtained through Luo Ding’s own ability. But he was holding on to the idea of giving a plum in return for a peach so while the iron was still hot, and Luo Ding was working in the TV and movie circles, he was using as many resources as he could to start work on producing Luo ding’s concept album.
Don’t underestimate singers. Although the status rankings in the domestic performing arts circle was Movie circle > TV circle > Music circle, the popularity that album promotions could bring to an artist far outstripped the first two. Popular songs will naturally boost a celebrity’s renown and thus brings endless hidden benefits.
What’s more, currently Luo Ding’s popularity overseas was far greater than that of many domestic celebrities. How rare this situation is, was difficult to describe in words. Just look at the number of domestic artists who try to enter the international arena but return home in failure every year. The three words, “overseas”, “international”, “Hollywood”, embodied the lifelong pursuit and dreams of most domestic artists.
However, achieving this first step was unimaginably difficult. How many first-tier domestic stars have lost at this barrier. But Luo Ding, who had just stepped on the road to entertainment stardom had already broken through this bottleneck!
Once an entertainer goes abroad, he is like a child who has just learned to walk, yet no matter whether he runs fast or slow, at least he has already qualified to run on the track.
Music knows no borders. This sentence was not for fun. Compared to movies and TV shows, music with its resonant rhythms and melodies was the body of work that was acceptable to most people and could bridge cultural differences.
Gu Yaxing’s ambitions, which had been dormant for many years, had been awakened by Luo Ding. If he could personally create a world-famous superstar, his company, Yaxing Entertainment will certainly rise in value alongside Luo Ding. This inseparable relationship based on benefits made him subconsciously consider Luo Ding’s interests as more important than his own.
Gu Yaxing secretly glanced at the young man in the rear-view mirror who was attempting to catch some sleep. After quieting down, this person’s features were like a painting. Why did he ignore this piece of gold for so long? Even he himself could not remember what kind of person Luo Ding was in the past. He seemed to have always been very quiet, right? Always calm. So, it appeared he was not much different from the calm man now.
He was going to meet a few entertainment heavyweights in a while. So heavy that Gu Yaxing was a little surprised when he received the news that they were willing to join Luo Ding’s album production. He did not dare imagine how many jaws will drop as a result of this album’s production lineup.
The Japanese market had opened up. Koreans have always loved the stinky feet of the Japanese. Relying on this Japanese influence it may not be so difficult to enter the South Korean market. Let alone other Southeast Asian countries, together with China, if he could win over the two countries with the most international influence in Asia, Luo Ding’s road to international stardom will inevitably be given a green light in the future.
However, it was more important to complete the current album first.
After a half-hour nap, Luo Ding quickly regained his spirit and his smiling expression was so natural that one couldn’t see that he had only slept for less than six hours over the past two days.
The Shanhai Building, a landmark building in the city, was 120 stories high. From the ground one could hardly see the top of the building.
The headquarters of Triumph Media, Sky Media Entertainment, and Global Media, the top three entertainment companies in the industry were all located here. Therefore, it had the most professional recording studios in the industry and the best dance studios. … The best of everything was located here, expanding this building beyond its original intended use as office space.
More importantly, Cao Dingkun, in his last life, belonged here as well. As a deserving big brother of Global Media, this building was the one building in China where he had spent the most time.
And now he was back here in a different identity.
Luo Ding smiled. His eyes were quiet and calm. At the same time, he stepped firmly on the stairs.
 Refers to the main money maker
 Idiom. Meaning to return a favor.
It seems Luo Ding does not need to even lift a finger. These two scum men will tear each other apart.
Thanks for stopping by. If you haven’t already, check out my new potential pick up here. I am translating the first three chapters which are currently missing on NU while I wait to determine, over the next month, if the novel has been dropped by the current translator. If its been dropped it may very well be my next novel 🙂