The frequency with which Duan Xiubo’s name appeared in the fans’ questions was unusually high.
Yes, at present, Duan Xiubo was indeed a superstar in China. In terms of popularity, reputation and fanbase he was 100 times better than the present Luo Ding. But why was his presence so significant at Luo Ding’s airport pick-up … why?
When he got into the van, Luo Ding asked about this.
Gu Yaxing held his forehead as if suffering a headache, and replied sharply, “There’s no internet here, and it is hard to say. I’ll show you something when we return to the company.”
“What are you looking for?”
In the office, Gu Yaxing turned on the computer, opened the search bar, entered a name that Luo Ding had never heard of, and clicked on it. It appeared to be a niche video website.
Typing on the keyboard, Gu Yaxing entered two words into the input field -“Duan-Luo”.
He clicked on the search button.
The information that popped up showed that there were more than three thousand relevant search results.
Luo Ding froze when he saw the cover image of the foremost video. Was this not his photo?
Gu Yaxing casually picked a video named “[Duan Luo] ancient style,” clicked on it and handed the mouse to Luo Ding: “Watch it yourself, when you can’t stand it anymore, press pause.”
Gu Yaxing’s behavior today was really weird. Luo Ding found that after more than a month of separation, he was even more unable to communicate with him.
After a short buffer, melodious music sounded from the speakers.
Then his eyes widened slowly.
“When I was a kid, I climbed over the wall and stole the light from someone’s house …” Accompanied by the sound of music, the video showed an ancient bridge. The bluestone slabs on the deck of the bridge and the ancient homes on both sides of the emerald green shore contrasted with each other. The pink and tender peach blossoms, the weeping willows, the gurgling river, and the faint mist were so beautiful.
The camera slowly rotated and crossed the riverbank, passing over thousands of blue tile eaves, and then turned into a never-ending bamboo grove.
Without any abruptness, the focus of the camera switched again. Deep in the grove, a young man in white clothes stood alone with his hands behind his back and his back towards the camera. He suddenly seemed to notice a line of sight behind him, and slowly turned around.
This! … Was this not the shot of him from “Tang Biography“?!!
However, with the gentle and melodious music and the deliberately softened scenes, this shot seems to have lost much of the original film’s solemnity, because the white clothes appeared tender, and also gave off a weaker feeling.
The music was still playing slowly, and the scene was still in a bamboo grove. A tall and handsome young man was intently reading a book while facing the camera. The next second after reading he raised his head and looked in the direction of the camera.
This young man was Duan Xiubo!
Luo Ding recognized the scene almost instantly. A bamboo grove, Duan Xiubo, and studying. This clip was from “an unexpected love between a Human and a Ghost”, which was filmed by Duan Xiubo five years ago!
This, this … How did this happen?
On screen, Duan Xiubo followed the original plot of the film and after reading he packed up and prepared to head for Beijing for the imperial exam. The scene switched again, and the breeze caused the hem of Luo Ding’s robes to flutter as he stood on the top of the city gate and stared into the distance expressionlessly. His eyes were filled with three-parts well wishes, three-parts hopelessness, and the remainder was full of sadness.
This shot was obviously correct in “Tang Biography”, but the context was wrong here!
The video progressed all the way to Duan Xiubo’s bridal chamber and Luo Ding lay down on a bed and seemingly stole glances at Duan Xiubo. At this point, Luo Ding couldn’t stand it anymore and pressed pause in annoyance. He was speechless for a long time.
Gu Yaxing took a sip of tea and was glad that he didn’t need to explain further, “This is why.”
Because of this? What? How could that be?
Was the editor in the CP fan circle a professional? How could there be no trace of cut scenes? Luo Ding opened the rest of the videos and found that they were likely not from the same person. Some of the videos were more professional, and others were completely amateur. The editing styles were also greatly different.
Luo Ding stopped talking.
Gu Yaxing slowly comforted him: “Don’t be angry. In such a situation, there is no need to be angry. I didn’t expect the CP circle to develop so fast after the stills from “Wolong” came out. Your private relationship with Duan Xiubo is still very normal, so don’t change it because of these rumors. “
But their relationship had actually changed! Luo Ding glanced at Gu Yaxing with pity. Gu Yaxing thought he was angry, but he wasn’t. He was only a little afraid.
Will the appearance of these rumors make the outside world doubt his relationship with Duan Xiubo? Did anyone really think they were together?
This question continued to haunt him until Gu Yaxing took him to try on his red carpet outfit.
The black suit looked good. As he tried it on, he took a casual look inside and found that there was no label. He examined the lining and was stunned. “Vanke?”
The Vanke brand was mostly for women’s clothing. However, it’s men’s clothing line was high-end, and produced only a few ready-made garments. Their tailoring was very custom, and they were a relatively niche brand among luxury brands.
But no matter how niche, luxury was luxury. A small number of items of men’s clothing were more likely to sell for higher prices than women’s clothing. The cost of this suit was about the same as Luo Ding’s one-year rent. How could Gu Yaxing, this stingy ghost, be willing to buy it? Even if it was for rent, Luo Ding’s current popularity was obviously not enough to allow Vanke to lower their price.
Gu Yaxing clearly did not know about the value of the clothing, so he very casually unfolded the jacket and shook it. After hearing Luo Ding’s question, he suddenly remembered: “This was sent by Triumph Media this morning. Mi Rui called me in the afternoon and told me that the suit was sponsored. When you wear it be careful not to damage it, otherwise you will have to pay for it from your savings.”
While talking, he straightened out the wrinkles on the jacket. He looked left and right but couldn’t find the tag: “Mi Rui didn’t make the name of the brand clear when he sent it. What brand is this …”
Luo Ding laughed furtively and turned over the small letters hidden within the inconspicuous folds of the lining to show him. Gu Yaxing was a little scared.
“Fuck! Fuck!” From carrying with one hand to holding with both hands, he carefully spread the clothes out flat on the sofa. He stared at the pants that Luo Ding was already wearing with an expression on his face which said, “My God, what if the clothes get damaged tonight!”.
“No matter!” He clenched his fists, gritted his teeth fiercely and pointed at Luo Ding: “Don’t ruin these clothes! You know, right!”
It was always good for an artist to wear a decent outfit.
Luo Ding buttoned up and made a turn to look at himself in the mirror.
The brand’s pedigree was clearly visible. Luo Ding had not worn ordinary suits for many years. After coming into this body, he was forced to relive the years from his youth. Now this suit suddenly made him feel like he was back to his old life under the spotlight.
Gu Yaxing looked at him from the back and paid him a lot of compliments, however Luo Ding frowned slowly. He still felt that something was wrong.
After staring for a long while, he fixed his eyes on his wrist.
He took his watch off and set it aside. This was really much better.
An expensive suit paired with a watch that cost less than one-tenth of the price of the suit. The incompatibility between the value of the two styles will not escape the eyes of onlookers. This was why celebrities needed to make money all their lives. Perhaps to the outside world, a single salary from a movie was more than the lifetime income of many people. However, from brand-name clothes to watches and jewelry, these were all expenditures. The more popular a star the bigger the expenses.
There were red carpet shows every quarter. In a busy period, there could be events several times a month. This was a circle of people who would be laughed and pointed at if they should repeat outfits so they could only do their best to keep up appearances and maintain their dignity.
The vicious circle was that, after experiencing such an extravagant life, few people could get used to returning to simplicity. Continued success was not guaranteed, so while they were still young, they needed to find a way to prepare for retirement. At the very least they could not wait until their faces were wrinkled before going out to seek money.
Luo Ding smiled and looked at himself in the mirror. His thoughts turned more and more till his head was buzzing like it had been invaded by a thousand flies.
This went on until his mind was pulled back by the sound of Gu Yaxing’s phone ringing.
Gu Yaxing got on the phone. It seemed that someone was had sent something to him. As he talked, he walked out.
After a moment, he returned expressionlessly with a plain black paper bag.
“What is it?”
“It’s from Duan Xiubo’s assistant.” Gu Yaxing said as he opened the bag and took out a pure black wooden box. He opened the lid and found a wide but thin watch.
Luo Ding was puzzled, and his own cell phone rang. A quick glance showed that the caller was Duan Xiubo.
It’s almost midnight abroad so it was very quiet on the phone. Duan Xiubo was obviously preparing to rest. A slight sound of bath water running in the bathroom could be heard in the background.
“Do the clothes fit?” Duan Xiubo’s voice was as magnetic as ever and as smooth as warm chocolate. “If there is something out of place you can modify it as soon as possible. Did the watch arrive?”
Several answers turned around in his mouth, yet Luo Ding didn’t speak them out loud and said in the end: “Everything is suitable, thank you.”
“All the best at the awards and come back soon. I miss you very much.”
Luo Ding subconsciously looked at Gu Yaxing. Gu Yaxing could not hear Duan Xiubo’s words, but when he had heard that Duan Xiubo was on the other side of the phone, his bright eyes had never left Luo Ding’s hand.
Luo Ding pulled away, walked a few steps into the distance and isolated himself from all the eavesdropping that was making him uneasy, and then answered, “I will return right after the ceremony.”
“Don’t you want me?”
Luo Ding didn’t mean to be so ambiguous about this issue, but at this time he had not made a decision. Yet it was also not his style to evade the subject so thought about the question seriously and found that he had thought of the other person several times while trying on the clothes just now, so he answered truthfully: “Well, I think I do, a little bit.”
Yes, a little bit.
Unexpectedly, when he turned his head to look at himself in the mirror, he was shocked. He did not know when he started to smile.
The noise from outside poured into the small crowded space. The car started and stopped, and from the front the driver complained: “I don’t know where all these people are coming from.”
Reporters, fans, and the staff members carrying filming equipment were shooting wildly at everything visible around them.
Gu Yaxing was not worried that Luo Ding will fail to perform. In fact, the other party’s last appearance at the “Fashion” anniversary banquet had been published in the newspapers and fans of the Luo Ding and Duan Xiubo CP had just discovered it. Thus, Gu Yaxing had realized that Luo Ding every time Luo Ding appeared at big occasions, he was always unexpectedly calm and at ease.
This person was born to succeed in the entertainment circle. As everyone was aware, the most difficult thing in the entertainment circle was to be calm in the face of pressure. Too many people performed well behind the scenes yet when they appeared in public and were stared at, they rushed and made many mistakes. Crowds easily rendered people susceptible to inferiority and fear. This weakness could only be gradually overcome by continuous training. A celebrity’s aura in front of the camera was not the same as their aura in daily life. This was why ordinary people did not look as dazzling as stars even when they were in pictures together.
Gu Yaxing felt that he was very lucky. He had been unknown for 800 years, and now he was holding a golden phoenix in his arms. This phoenix was also easy to raise, not picky about food and clothes and had a mild temper.
At the end of the red carpet entry was the signature wall of the online media music awards ceremony. Two hosts, a man and a woman were checking their inscription cards to admit guests and chatting with each other.
“This year’s show is really amazing. It should be said that the lineup of guest at each annual show is truly unprecedented. The previous years surpassed the years before, last year also surpassed the prior year, and this year undoubtedly will again surpass the year before.”
“Mellen, X-, Chen Dingshan, Zhang Wenwei …” At the end, Luo Ding’s name suddenly caught their eyes and both sides paused and looked at each other.
After Luo Ding’s name had jumped to first place during online voting, the organizers of the online media music awards could not help but lament about how the affairs of the world were impermanent.
Luo Ding was present when this awards show was founded. Yet no one remembered his appearance last year, the year before or even the year before that. Of course, at that time, he did not show up in his own name, but was invited by virtue of his duo with Su Shengbai. However, that was likely not the ultimate reason why people did not remember him. In fact, it was more because the group had failed to win any awards at that time.
When entering the venue, very few media persons even photographed them. In fact, most acts were also just passing by. Young people who had just debuted were often timid and shy. They came and went in silence.
Yet, things had changed so quickly. In just a few years, the two humble teenagers had gone their separate ways. One was devoted to filming, and the other, after a longer silence, had suddenly reappeared in public in such an eye-catching manner.
The host who had been in charge of the moderating red carpet interviews from the time the awards show was founded, recalled for a moment that he had seen Luo Ding a few years ago. The young handsome face in his vague memory was unclear, and the only thing that he could remember was that Luo Ding’s hand shook as he signed his name.
Huang Yao laughed: “At that time, the two of them still called us Huang jie and Ji ge, now that we are going to meet again, things would have probably changed”
Ji Xing sulked: “Are you not reconciled?
“How can I not be reconciled? Maybe my luck will turn around and I will also be popular one day.” Huang Yao said, and glanced at the end of the red carpet with a pointed look, “You see, before, when Luo Ding was still unknown, Su Shengbai avoided him like one would avoid snakes and scorpions. The last time I hosted another award how, I asked a question about Luo Ding backstage. Su Shengbai immediately changed the topic and talked about something else. Now that Luo Ding is popular, and is attending this show, Su Shengbai has also taken the initiative to attend. How can he be so shameless?”
“He’s not doing bad either. He’s producing a film.” Ji Xing rebutted.
“Didn’t you say you keep up with gossip.” Huang Yao curled her lips. “The person who supported him at the start has passed away. Have you seen any news about his new project lately? All day long he is with Director Xu, busy with that audition. He must have no other recourse, so he is forced to hug Director’s Xu’s thighs vigorously.”
“So, you are going to hype up Luo Ding?” Ji Xing thought about it, too. “A former duo reunited again after a few years. Indeed, this was still a very powerful headline.”
Seeing that everything was ready, the first car stopped slowly at the end of the red carpet. The two stopped talking and began to coordinate with those backstage to adjust their mics.
Luo Ding’s appearance was not first. He was sandwiched between Pan Yiming and Zhang Wenwei, which was also an affirmation of his status by the organizers. Before Luo Ding’s EP was released, Zhang Wenwei was the domestic album best-selling king. Pan Yiming, who achieved a great success with her new album had also re-claimed the title of best-selling chart Queen. Thankfully Luo Ding’s album was only an EP and not a full album, as such he was not eligible for the bestseller King title, otherwise it was clear how embarrassing the atmosphere would be when the three gathered together.
Wu Fangyuan got out of the car and pulled the car door open. The moment his footsteps crossed the red carpet, Luo Ding’s aura changed, and his smile became impeccable.
The surrounding camera flashes stretched like a film, and the sounds of the shutters were endless. The first fan to confirm Luo Ding’s appearance screamed, followed by a second, a third, till it almost turned into a cheer in the end.
Currently, Luo Ding was the guest with the most enthusiastic crowd response and the other guests walking ahead could not help but look back.
Luo Ding waved toward his fan base, slowing down to ensure that he could be captured by each shot. Suddenly, he heard the sound of his name coming from the front. He retracted his gaze which had been fixed on the camera lens.
Pan Yiming came over while holding the train of her skirt, smiled and said, “Okay, you are the king of heaven now, you are even entering after me.”
Luo Ding smiled and allowed her to make fun of him. Pan Yiming naturally walked side by side with him, then reached out to intertwine her arm with Luo Ding’s. The frequency of the sound of the camera shutters became even faster.
Strangely enough, the fan area that had been cheering was now quieter. However, Luo Ding remained unaware. As he slowly approached the crowd, he found that many people had covered their faces in grief.
Suddenly someone shouted–
Although it was hidden under the sound of the shutters, the girl’s sharp voice was very noticeable.
Pan Yiming burst out laughing, covered her mouth, and loosened her arm from Luo Ding, who had an astonished look in his eyes. She waved at Luo Ding’s fan base with a small gesture of surrender
Everyone saw that the fans had immediately changed their allegiance.
Pan Yiming’s smiling expression almost cracked, she tried to maintain her elegance and dignity. In a whisper to Luo Ding, she vaguely said: “I don’t want to be poisoned by your fans in the middle of the night, you are now Duan Xiubo’s. Haha, Just kidding.”
Luo Ding was frightened to death by the first half of her sentence, and after walking quietly for a while, he then asked quietly: “… Pan jie …”
“How did I know?” Pan Yiming frowned and delicately flipped her curly hair. “Who doesn’t know about your wonderful CP fan circle?”
Luo Ding was still struggling with the public’s willingness to accept these things. He was not willing to admit that he was old and could not keep up with the thinking of young people. However, the world was really changing. Luo Ding coughed and felt guilty when he spotted the media reporters who were laughing after hearing the fans’ shout and the other guests who looked at him with ambiguous and funny eyes.
When he heard Su Shengbai’s voice, Luo Ding did not respond for a moment.
When the other party called out for the second time, Luo Ding then realized that someone was calling. Looking back, Su Shengbai, who was dressed in a snow-white suit, approached him gracefully.
The complex look in Su Shengbai’s eyes was concealed under his smile, as if he couldn’t tell that the situation was odd. It was embarrassing to attend a music awards show that had nothing to do with him. Fortunately, there were female singers under Global who had not yet found a male red carpet partner, and this gave him an opportunity. The sound of Luo Ding fans cheering, and screaming was so clear even through the car door and for the first time, he clearly realized the fact that while he was not paying attention Luo Ding had truly become popular.
This popularity had come so fast. So fast. In just a few months, a little transparent person that did not even have a chance to appear in front of the camera had reached a height that was sufficient enough to allow him to stir up news.
Luo Ding’s new song was so hot. Although he didn’t buy the EP, he had already heard it. It was really outstanding. Both the composition and the lyrics were more than a hundred times better than the work they had done together.
This was good luck. Su Shengbai said to himself.
Luo Ding’s good fortune had arrived, and no matter how unwilling Su Shengbai he was, he also had to admit that from Luo Ding’s current pace, this popularity was by no means a flash in the pan.
Why did he also not have so many opportunities to step on such shit luck?
First-class composers, a first-class lyricist, first-class post-production crew, first-class film and television resources, and even Duan Xiubo had lowered his price to film an MV with him. It had only been a short period since Luo Ding had stepped on the red carpet and Pan Yiming had even taken the initiative to take his arm.
Fortunately, Luo Ding liked him. As long as he managed this relationship well, the other party’s resources were his own.
Su Shengbai convinced himself in this way to feel better.
Luo Ding looked down at him: “Why are you here?”
Su Shengbai smiled bitterly. Was he willing to come? This was a last resort.
Luo Ding’s fan base was too strong in brainwashing, and all day long they were they were discussing the hidden issues of their previous duo and his departure as a solo. Luo Ding did not know anything about this after being abroad for more than a month, but Su Shengbai had actually experienced the feeling of wanting to cry but having no tears.
When Luo Ding’s fans were a little riled up, they will visit Su Shegbai’s official blog to yell at him. Occupying the moral high ground, Su Shengbai should have always been able to excuse himself, however, the bad thing was that his fans were too rational and never actively countered aggressive words. Rather they gathered together on various SNS forums to discuss things. Their topics became more and more popular as soon as they were discussed and once they reached the top of trending lists, they were seen by countless passers-by.
Onlookers also watched the gossip as if afraid that the world would not be chaotic enough. In addition, people in professional circles who saw him as an eyesore were also interfering with him.
On the forum he had created more than ten supporting posts and he had now begun to reach out to his and Xu Zhen’s past contacts. Xu Zhen had been dealing with his own private affairs these days and was increasingly dissatisfied with him. Both of them spoke less and less, both in public and in private.
Su Shengbai was really worried that the other party would kick him away. Before the movie was released, he could not break relations with Xu Zhen. He had to find a solution to this matter. That is to say, as the person who tied the bell, he must untie it. 
Before the year ends, Luo Ding will definitely leave to film abroad. If he should miss this awards show, Su Shengbai did not know when again he would have the chance to meet the other party.
So, he came shamelessly.
“I accompanied some of the new people in the company.” Su Shengbai pointed to the young girl who was walking in front of him while taking pictures. There were not many shots being taken of her so her continued presence on the red carpet made some people unhappy.
The group walked slowly to the signature wall. After signing, each stood and took a picture.
Obviously, Huang Yao and Ji Xing had rehearsed. They didn’t let the group go immediately. Instead, they stopped them consciously and asked them to speak.
Luo Ding and Su Shengbai were arranged to stand side by side.
Huang Yao looked at Luo Ding, and felt dizzy for a while. The youth who had not impressed her a few years ago had now become very outstanding. From the perspective of his aura, Huang Yao would not have dared to speak with him on her own volition
“I remember that the two of you were in a group before, after meeting again after so many years apart. What are your thoughts?”
Huang Yao’s microphone had wanted to reach Luo Ding, but after a pause, she gave it to Su Shengbai first.
Su Shengbai smiled kindly: “I know I’m happy. When I came here with Ah Ding, I was just a newcomer. Now, times have changed, and I feel a lot of emotions. Right, Ah Ding.”
Luo Ding glanced at the two hosts and smiled slightly: ” Huang Yao jie and Ji Xing ge took care of me in the past, I’m happy to see you again.”
Huang Yao and Ji Xing were stunned. They did not expect that Luo Ding could still call them jie and ge so naturally, and their hearts softened.
Who did not like being respected? Looking at the newcomers who used to be timid before, most gradually rose above them. In addition to having to respect these former newcomers because of their status, they could not help having disapproving thoughts.
If one wants to put on airs, one can only pretend to be majestic in front of old friends.
Compared with Su Shengbai’s intention to guide the topic towards a discussion of the harmony between the duo, Luo Ding’s answer was undoubtedly more pleasing to the interviewers.
Huang Yao felt a little guilty, and as such she couldn’t vomit out the questions she had wanted to ask about the problems in their relationship, so Ji Xing hesitated, and turned to a softer questioning mode: “After seeing each other, are you still as familiar as before?”
Su Shengbai smiled softly: “Of course, Ah Ding will always be my good brother.”
Luo Ding turned his head and looked at him silently. Watching the reactions of the two hosts he found that there was something wrong.
Without rushing to answer, he smiled and said, “Yes.”
“Recently …” Huang Yao’s questions became more and more difficult, and her eyes which turned to meet Luo Ding’s were full of apology. “… There are some rumors on the Internet about when your group went solo. Well … many of the comments about Su Shengbai are not so good, what do you two think about this? “
Su Shengbai frowned: “I just laugh at many things when I see them. So long after my debut I have suffered more than one or two attacks. I believe time will prove my innocence. Let alone the fact that in private Ah Ding and I have a good relationship and will not be affected by these remarks. Let the rumors stop with the wise.”
Ji Xing handed the microphone to Luo Ding from a distance as if he didn’t have the courage to draw closer.
Luo Ding did not hide the complicated look in his eyes as he glanced at Su Shengbai.
It turned out that this was the case.
He was suddenly unable to figure out how to deal with this. As long as they didn’t want to break off relations completely, most people would show that they get along harmoniously while on stage, right? However, doing this will undoubtedly slap the face of the fans who were fighting on his behalf. Was this Su Shengbai asking him to sacrifice himself?
There was no hint in advance. Su shengbai’s prompt answer also did not give him enough time to think before talking. The question fell to the ground and it was difficult to pick up the reins of the interview. Su Shengbai had accurately assessed that because the original owner liked him, he would not reveal the truth in person.
Su Shengbai clenched his fists and waited for Luo Ding to speak.
Luo Ding liked him so much and will certainly take the initiative to make excuses for him. Although he knew very little about this young man today, he still believed in him. Luo Ding was not perceptive, but he was a little bit clever. Even if it was only to shape his external image, he will not speak out about the issues between the two of them.
However, Su Shengbai’s plans had considered everything exhaustively, but they ignored an uncontrollable factor.
That factor was outside influence.
The moment Luo Ding opened his mouth, Gu Yaxing frowned, without concealing his anger. He came onto the stage and rejected Ji Xing’s microphone which had been aimed at Luo Ding. Then he smiled in apology to Pan Yiming and approached the microphone and said: The grudges and contradictions are in the past. Xiao bai … has his own development path, Luo Ding has also overcome the difficult times. I hope everyone will be well, after all, we have worked together for so long. Right, Xiao bai? “
Su Shengbai clenched his fists in vain, struggling to maintain the smile that was about to stiffen on his face.
“… Yes.” He trembled into the microphone, “I hope everyone will be fine.”
Luo Ding was pulled down the stage by Gu Yaxing. Before he disappeared, he looked back at Su Shengbai.
Su Shengbai gritted his teeth, with resentment in his heart.
Gu Yaxing! Gu Yaxing again! It was him every time! He was definitely a part of the group of people who disparaged him on the Internet!!
Why was this person so cheap!
 As a refresher, Tang Biography is the name of the first drama Luo Ding acted in after rebirth.
 Shameless Cheap skate
 解铃还需系铃人 (jiě líng hái xū jì líng rén) Meaning it is better for the doer to undo what he has done
A mild face slap. Fave is also inching towards accepting his feelings. Joy! I was only able to do a cursory proof read. Please let me know if you find any typos. Thanks!