World Hopping: Avenge Our Love
First Published on Chaleuria
Cao Kun was beside himself with anger.
He was holding a teacup when Song Yucheng walked in, and he threw it at his face. The teacup swished past Song Yucheng’s face and shattered on the floor. It would have drawn blood for sure with the strength behind that throw.
“You have guts to come see me. Have you decided on how you’re going to die?”
Cao Kun’s words made the tension in the room draw tighter, more suffocating. The two people standing to one side sneaked careful looks at Song Yucheng, their eyes full of pity.
They knew that Cao Kun was incensed, and that he was dead this time.
However, Song Yucheng showed no sign of fear or panic. Instead, he casually pulled a chair out and sat himself neatly opposite Cao Kun. It gave one the impression that he had not come to be scolded by Cao Kun, but to talk business with him.
“You’re getting bold now, Xie Qianchen.” Cao Kun was so angry he bared his teeth in a smile, scaring the others even more. Had Xie Qianchen gone mad?!
They were long-term employees of the company and familiar with Xie Qianchen. They had seen how Xie Qianchen had fallen from his pedestal, and they had witnessed Xie Qianchen getting on his knees to beg Cao Kun to let his two juniors go. They were shaken by his reaction now.
Even the high-flying Xie Qianchen of the past at the top of the rankings, had been respectful and servient to Cao Kun. Now, however, he had caused big trouble, and lost his former glory and value, but here he was, challenging Cao Kun. He was going berserk in the face of despair!
What they did not know was that Song Yucheng had come prepared.
“I’d like to make a deal with you, President Cao.” Song Yucheng’s voice was calm, but Cao Kun had no patience to let him finish, and he cut him off.
“Xie Qianchen, do you think me stupid?” Cao Kun pinched his jaw in his fingers, bringing them eye to eye. His eyes were full of murder.
The young man before him had been involved with him for ten years. He had destroyed him himself, ruined his future, and trained him to be his dog. And this dog had turned around to bite the hand that fed it. Not just that — the dog was now openly asking to negotiate a deal. Did he truly think that he was a fool?
Cao Kun put more force into his grip, but Song Yucheng maintained eye contact like he didn’t feel any pain. Though he was at a disadvantage, he did not back down and was even subtly overpowering Cao Kun.
Something was wrong. Cao Kun frowned. Song Yucheng curled the corner of his lips up in a smile, and the beauty of it enchanted Cao Kun instantly. It was like the young man he had fallen for years ago was right before him again.
No. He was even more beautiful than when he’d met him. He now had a depth to him added over the years, and he was ever more alluring for it. Cao Kun suddenly had a thought that he could punish Xie Qianchen some other way. He grew hot with that thought, and his grip on Song Yucheng’s jaw changed.
But what Song Yucheng said next made Cao Kun narrow his eyes.
“I can help you win the awards for Best Supporting Actor and Best Newcomer at the Hundred Flowers Awards ceremony at the end of the year. I can also get to the top of the manager rankings this year.”
“What?” Bullsh*t. Best Supporting Actor and Best Newcomer awards at the Hundred Flowers Awards ceremony? Xie Qianchen was training no one of note right now… unless he meant Shen Yi?
Ridicule deepened the lines in Cao Kun’s smile. Xie Qianchen’s brain must have rotted away in the two years he’d kept silent.
Did he think that he could not tell that Shen Yi was just pretending to be a pure, pretty flower? The most he was good for was entertainment. He’d thrown him to Xe Qianchen to teach him to play by the rules. What was this now? Xie Qianchen was now telling him that an empty flower can win awards too? What, was he going to buy an award in some rubbish film festival?
But Song Yucheng didn’t mind the sarcasm. His tone became more serious.
“You know my capabilities. It’s up to you to believe me, or not. Your company, Picture Domain, isn’t doing well in the film industry. It’s about to die. No newbies of yours have even made cameos in films for two whole years. Are you really not anxious about that, President Cao?
“You’ve said it yourself, that you’ve seen it all, so you should know whether my claim is plausible. You can throw me away, or kill me, but can you find yourself another Xie Qianchen to get you out of this mess? Your pride, or the future of Picture Domain — I think I know which one you will pick. Besides, the one who took revenge against you wasn’t me, but Xiao Lun.” Song Yucheng pointed at the row of trophies in Cao Kun’s office.
All the honours earned in that row were what Xie Qianchen had picked up in his active years.
Cao Kun released his hold on Song Yucheng’s chin. His earlier intensity dimmed.
“You are a smart man, Xie Qianchen.” Cao Kun was still angry, but he was more settled, and reasonable now. Song Yucheng’s words had hit him in a sore spot. He had not thrown Xie Qianchen away for precisely this reason. It was easy to sign on newbies these days but good and reliable managers were hard to come by. Xie Qianchen really was the only elite manager who could bring Picture Domain out of its funk.
His phone had been ringing, on and off, throughout their conversation. He unlocked the screen and glanced at it — most were from people asking him to go easy on Xie Qianchen.
Two Best Actor winners, three Best Actress winners, five influential celebrities, and even directors and screenwriters had come forward so far to show their support for Xie Qianchen. They made all sorts of promises, and were basically willing to do what they could for Xie Qianchen’s sake.
And Yuan Yue had also sent him a message, just one line. ‘I can cover public relations crises for the next half year.’
All of these polite messages had just one purpose, and that was to keep Xie Qianchen safe.
These people had to be smart to keep afloat in the business for so many years. They’d seen right away that it was Xie Qianchen behind the Weibo headlines when they went up. They knew that this would have offended Cao Kun greatly, so they all came to plead with Cao Kun to be kind to him, to let him off.
Such a big number of people in the industry had stepped forward, all for one little Xie Qianchen. This showed how important he was. Cao Kun’s stubbornness was cracking.
Just then, a person came through the door. It was his good friend, Yan Qi. Yan Qi did not start talking about Xie Qianchen right away, but he beat about the bush and kept making references to Xie Qianchen in what he said.
“You truly are my childhood friend, Yan Qi. If I didn’t know you very well, I’d think that there’s something between you and Xie Qianchen.”
“Kun, you know that I don’t mean that…” Yan Qi grew nervous.
“Yeah, yeah. Let me think about it.” Cao Kun cut him off with a wave.
Cao Kun took a sip of the cold coffee on the table and looked at Song Yucheng, who was standing and looking at him with a smile. He abruptly had a strange feeling of being warped through timespace. It had been the same back then, when Xie Qianchen had insisted on revenge for his juniors on Xiao Lun and the others. A large number of people of influence had come forward to ask for clemency for Xie Qianchen. Today, Xie Qianchen had used others to hit back at Xiao Lun, and thrown the blame to him. These people of influence had come forward to ask him to be merciful again — no, there were more this time.
But Cao Kun did not have the power to have things his way now.
Song Yucheng was right. After that incident, Xie Qianchen had retreated, wounded and silent, and Picture Domain had floundered in the film industry. It wasn’t because there were no promising newcomers, but because there were no managers who were able to guide and train talent like Xie Qianchen. Even if the new talent could be trained, he or she wouldn’t have Xie Qianchen’s connections, nor his ability and network. At his peak, Xie Qianchen had been an elite manager, able to help even an empty, pretty face win an award.
It was no coincidence that he had been number one.
Cao Kun gradually calmed. He gestured for his subordinates to exit the office, leaving just Yan Qi and Song Yucheng.
Cao Kun saw how his childhood friend stood protectively in front of Song Yucheng and it was like a slap to the face. His pride had been hurt a lot today though, so this little thing was still bearable.
“Speak your terms.” He had to admit that the bait Song Yucheng set down was what he wanted. He had not been too anxious about it before, but with Lu Mian’s return to China, he was now anxious to show him some good results.
What Song Yucheng said sent a chill down Cao Kun’s back.
“I want revenge for Wenyuan and Feiran. I will produce at least two award-winning actors for you in a year, but I have my conditions. I want all of the best resources of Picture Domain, including singing records and variety shows.”
Lu Wenyuan and Han Feiran were his juniors, and the people who had driven them to their ends were all “little princes” of the industry. Cao Kun did not even dare to utter the word ‘revenge’, so Song Yucheng was definitely daydreaming here.
“Aren’t you overthinking it?”
“Maybe I am. But you have no other choice, do you? Xiao Lun has been hanging about complacently for some time. Don’t you want to stomp him down? As for those guys… They killed one and ended another from Picture Domain and pinned the blame on you. The one who had his reputation tarnished was me, but the one who suffered was Picture Domain. The profits have shrunk over the years. Doesn’t this tell you something? This is the first time I’ve seen you being so calm about this, President Cao.”
“You win. I’ll give you all the resources you need. However, you know how I work. If I don’t see results after a year…”
“You will. I will have Shen Yi personally hand the Hundred Flowers Award to you this year.”
Their exchange shot back and forth, and neither gave quarter. Yan Qi had broken out in cold sweat when Song Yucheng forced Cao Kun to start negotiating. He was still visibly shaken after leaving the office with Song Yucheng.
Song Yucheng handed him a cigarette. Yan Qi took it and lit it with him. He look at Xie Qianchen’s face, shrouded in smoke, and felt a tightening in his chest.
“Qianchen. You call me ‘Brother’, so this brother has a word of advice for you. Take care of yourself.”
“I know. Thank you, Brother Yan.” Song Yucheng smiled. Yan Qi couldn’t help ruffling his hair, and he abruptly recalled the time he first met Xie Qianchen, years ago.
Xie Qianchen had stopped acting by then, but he was still a living, breathing man. He cried when he was tired, and fussed when he hurt. He had also had drinks with him several times, and seen his raw self behind the mask. The Xie Qianchen he was looking at now was different. The old him was completely dead — wrapped up in a shell, perfectly contained.
The cigarette was finished. Yan Qi patted his shoulder and bid him farewell. Song Yucheng, too, returned to his office after splitting from Yan Qi.
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