World Hopping: Avenge Our Love
First Published on Chaleuria
This was related to the two talents which Xie Qianchen had taken under his wing two years ago.
Xie Qianchen’s reputation was actually not rotten from the start. He was the supervisor of Cao Kun’s inner court, but to be very frank, the newbie celebrities these days were mostly not that naive any more. They had their own needs, like Cao Kun, and there was no problem of there being any jealousy. To them, being under the care of Xie Qianchen was actually a good thing.
Xie Qianchen was ruined and could not act for the camera anymore, but he still had a very discerning eye. The talents he’d taken in were pretty, empty things, but he was still able to find the most suitable path to set them on. This was why most of the requests of those who chose to go with Cao Kun were to be put under the management of Xie Qianchen.
Cao Kun had not minded in the beginning, but as the requests increased, he thought it interesting and simply assigned the role of supervisor of his lovers to Xie Qianchen. It got to the point where he also threw the ones he had his eye on, but were unwilling, to Xie Qianchen to be trained.
However, Xie Qianchen was a kind and generous man. He had to bend to Cao Kun, but he still resisted him in little ways. Of those Cao Kun had abandoned, if the person was really unwilling, then Xie Qianchen would not make things difficult, and even quietly hide the person away while he looked for an opportunity to let him go free.
More importantly, this hiding away was not truly a halting of all celebrity activity but him giving them a chance to train up to become better.
If you were an actor, you’d be sent to major film sets to appear in walk-on parts, to watch and learn. If you were a singer, you would be in the recording studio all day long, and have suitable teachers come instruct you. All of it was indeed done according to Cao Kun’s wants, to make these disobedient people have a tough time. However, this “tough time” was, to them, a rare chance to train.
Xie Qianchen was not working as an actor, but his net of connections was wide. Additionally, he had that quality which pulled people to him, and many of true talent in the industry had had some form of help from him too. He had friends everywhere who understood his suffering.
Cao Kun had many little lovers, so he didn’t care about just one or two. Xie Qianchen had been discreet about these things too, so no one had found out.
But the things that happened two years ago were the true start of his tragedy.
If it has been just one case, Xie Qianchen would not have despaired, but it had been two. They were his juniors from the same school too. One was a handsome young man who could live off his looks alone. The other had great charisma though he looked a little plain, and he was a genius actor who could act any part.
Xie Qianchen had rejected them at first, when his two juniors had sought him out. Later, however, when his two juniors had no other options and were nearly sent to the beds of sponsors by their manager, who was really acting like a pimp, Xia Qianchen had to make a move and he pulled them under his wing.
Then, the growth of his juniors made him feel again, suddenly, that perhaps they could fulfil the dream he could not. Xie Qianchen then took good care of them, giving them the best resources and carefully keeping them from Cao Kun’s lustful gaze. He had failed in the end.
One of them was still alive, at least. But the other…
His junior had experienced something very similar to what Xie Qianchen had, just that it was not Cao Kun, but a group of rich second-generation heirs. He had not been a person strong enough to bear something like that, and the final result went without saying.
It had started with a withdrawal from the industry. Xie Qianchen had made preparations to care for them for life.
But the worst happened.
Luo Tong had heard something from one of his sources, and he deliberately leaked this to the media to take Xie Qianchen down. He had also included a video from his special source. The video showed the two juniors of Xie Qianchen’s, looking willing and like they were used to crawling into the beds of investors.
Next, Luo Tong had viciously thrown dirt on Xie Qianchen, and made it so that it was Xie Qianchen who had sent his juniors to the heirs on purpose. He also hinted that the juniors had what they had because they sold their bodies.
Many were shocked. This was followed by all sorts of ridicule and insult. The entertainment circles were where it was easiest to hit a person when he was down, and there were many who went and stomped on Xie Qianchen and his two juniors when they were weak.
One was an Adonis of the nation and the other the youngest to win the Best Actor award, but just two weeks of tarnished reputations were enough to completely wreck their images, and to be subject of ridicule on the internet. This overwhelming pressure made one of his juniors break down mentally. The other junior comitted suicide.
“I’m sorry, Brother Qianchen. I can’t take it anymore.” The young man stood at the edge, pale-faced and tottering. They were on the top floor. He had wasted away till he was just a shade of his exuberant past self who’d held up the Best Actor award.
He had jumped from the 29th floor to his death, right in front of Xie Qianchen. And all Xie Qianchen could do was watch, unable to cry. The despair from back then, though just a memory fragment now, still sent a chill through Song Yucheng.
He narrowed his eyes, and his gaze and tone used on Luo Tong became fierce. “Luo Tong, you were the one who leaked that incident to the press back then, weren’t you?”
“You have no proof.” Old memories were brought to the fore of his mind at Song Yucheng’s words, and Luo Tong’s expression grew ugly. He had indeed used unscrupulous methods back then, but he had never imagined that the final result of his actions would prove so dire. Even then, what could he have done about it? A loss was a loss!
He took a step back and looked at Song Yucheng warily. “Don’t talk nonsense.”
“Then what are you guilty about?” Song Yucheng drew blood with his jab. “It’s time to settle some scores.”
“Settle scores?” Luo Tong had a sense of foreboding about the dead when he heard what Song Yucheng said, but that part about settling scores had him smirking.
Two years ago, in Xie Qianchen’s heyday, he’d had Cao Kun at his back and Luo Tong had not been able to touch him. After he’d thrown all that dirt on him, however, he had become a whining dog, so what could he do to him now?
“You’re used goods, Xie Qianchen. You only have yourself to blame for what happened two years ago. You bit off more than you could chew, and thought you could protect the two of them. In actual fact, you couldn’t even save one of them. As for this role now, it will be the same. Shen Yi won’t be able to get it.”
“That remains to be seen. Have you heard of this saying, Luo Tong? You will have your retribution in time. The thing that was stolen should be returned now.”
Luo Tong was hit by his words, and his legs went weak rather involuntarily. The look Song Yucheng gave him, laden with meaning, also stirred a nightmarish terror in him.
He suddenly had a strange thought, that maybe the most skilled manager of yesteryear was back again.
Shen Yi did not hear the details of what the manager had said to Xie Qianchen, but he could tell that there was something between them.
And when the screen test began, he understood then why this production crew was called the Hell Crew.
The great actor, Li Xuyang, was actually here in person to act out his role, and he was harsh in how he picked candidates. It wasn’t just looks he had certain requirements for, but even the voice.
The candidates before Shen Yi were soon eliminated. One of them was even rejected even before he began the screen test. Most were overwhelmed by the pressure of Li Xuyang’s acting, and they crumbled.
Li Xuyang’s method of acting was just too terrifying. It was so scary that they could not even get the chance to get into character, and could not even say a complete and coherent line of the script.
The only one who did better than the others was that popular new celebrity that Luo Tong had brought. He could tell that this newbie had been professionally trained too, and had some skill. He could not hold a candle to Li Xuyang, of course, but he was already much better than the others who could not even speak coherently.
If nothing else changed, then this popular newbie was likely to get the role. This was the opinion of almost everyone present.
Nobody thought anything of Shen Yi, who was last. He was a pretty, empty flower whose name they had not heard before, and him simply being able to come to this screen test was a boon to him.
Song Yucheng stood by the sidelines, and heard quite a bit of mockery. But this time, he sneered and shot back, “You’re trash yourself, so you see others as trash.”
“You’ll have to wait till Shen Yi gets the role of the crown prince before you can say that. He’s going to be overwhelmed by Li Xuyang for sure.” A brave soul shot back.
On the opposite side of the room, Shen Yi’s screen test began. As expected, Shen Yi was in terrible condition once Li Xuyang came on the scene.
Shen Yi had heard that being a skilled actor didn’t mean that the person would be able to carry the scene. The person could be so scary that you wouldn’t be able to say your lines clearly, and this was apparently one of those scenarios.
Li Xuyang looked like he really wanted to kill him. His aura was so great that it suffocated Shen Yi, and he could only try to react to what he did.
“Tsk. Is he going to cry out of fear? How embarrassing.”
“Isn’t that normal? How good can he be when he’s selling his ass for a livelihood?”
Mockery came from all sides, but Song Yucheng kept waiting.
“You’ve lost. Admit it. What is the point in acting all superior?” Luo Tong sneered at Song Yucheng. The moment he said that, however, was when a change in situation in the screen test occurred.
Contrary to expectations, Shen Yi’s talent went into full bloom when the pressure from Li Xuyang reached its peak. His portrayal of holding back shame and humiliation, his unwillingness to accept these feelings, and even the voice which trembled when delivering the lines was perfect. He had actually matched him, and not just matched but even melded his performance to his — there was even a hint of him trying to overpower Li Xuyang too.
This display stunned not just the director, but Li Xuyang himself.
“Good job! There are too few of you spirited ones among the newbies.” Li Xuyang was excited. He looked Shen Yi up and down, like he had just discovered a big treasure.
Back when the script had just been written, he and Director Yang had been pessimistic about candidates for the crown prince role.
It was because this character was just too complicated. The role was interspersed throughout the entire script, and was also essential in all the turning points in the plot. So, the person who played the role of crown prince had to have skill in acting or the entire scene would be ruined.
Shen Yi right now fulfilled their requirements, be it looks or spirit. As for his inexperience… it did not matter. Acting on set was the best place to hone skills in acting.
Director Yang moved over from his position at the side, and, seeing Li Xuyang’s happiness, added, “This is Qianchen’s new mentee.”
“Qianchen? He’s come out?” Li Xuyang was first surprised, and that was quickly followed by a beaming smile. “No wonder. We’ve been bamboozled.”
What? No wonder? Shen Yi was confused.
Li Xuyang soon explained it when he saw Shen Yi’s confusion.
“I wasn’t targeting you or anything. I’m just like this after I get into character. This is why a lot of managers don’t bring newbies over to work with me. They’re afraid that the newbies would never want to act again after they experience this pressure. But Qianchen is different; he knows how to train people. He bullied you terribly before you came here, right? And he made you feel that sense of shame, huh? That’s why you had that look in your eyes when you went up against me in that scene. Only Xie Qianchen can produce results like that.”
Director Yang patted Li Xuyang on the shoulder. “Just give up. Xie Qianchen is Xie Qianchen. How can you ever win against him? Just help him in taking care of this kid!”
The script writer Ning Lan laughed too. Shen Yi, however, was baffled. “Is he really that great?”
“Yes. He’s the best.” Li Xuyang patted his head. “Xie Qianchen was the most promising actor in the industry when he debuted ten years ago. He had no background in acting but he took the prize for Best Supporting Actor at the Hundred Flowers Awards. He became a manager in the end and also made waves. In his heyday, half of the industry had his touch. He is amazing. If it weren’t for that incident two years ago…”
Li Xuyang’s words stopped there. The abrupt end, though, teased and tickled.
Director Yang, too, sensed that they had gone off topic, and he shifted away so that they would not continue.
Xie Qianchen’s affairs were taboo to old people like them. Cao Kun’s influence was strong in the industry in China, and the heirs who’d committed the horrible crime two years ago were from various influential families too. All of them, together, were too much to fight.
And the details too, dragged Xie Qianchen’s name through the mud once they were exposed…
Plus, there were people other than Cao Kun who had the video which prompted Xie Qianchen’s withdrawal from the acting circles those years ago.
The director looked at Xie Qianchen, who was leaning against the wall and smoking a distance away, and thought, ‘The god of destiny makes fools of people.’ Li Xuyang turned to face Xie Qianchen and bowed respectfully.
They were people who had been helped by Xie Qianchen in the past, but none of them had the power to step forward and pull him out of the quicksand when that terrible thing had happened to him.
They would feel indebted to him all their lives.
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