World Hopping: Avenge Our Love
First Published on Chaleuria
On the other side of the room, the assistant director announced the results of the screen test, and the people who had mocked Xie Qianchen slunk away.
They had no other choice — their faces had been slapped too hard. Who would have thought that a pretty face like Shen Yi would have that sort of ability behind it? They themselves were piss-scared just meeting the gaze of Li Xuyang, even before they started reading any lines.
There was simply too great a gap between them. The one who had his pride most hurt, however, was Luo Tong. He had come proudly, calling himself Li Xuyang’s junior, but had his pride trampled.
He had also been trampled underfoot back when Xie Qianchen had been active as a manager. Xie Qianchen had fallen from grace, but the talent he had brought out was still able to crush his own. He felt like he’d been made a laughingstock.
Luo Tong felt piercing gazes upon him, and he glared at Song Yucheng with rage-filled eyes, so angry that he would kill him if he had a knife in his hand right then.
“Don’t be full of yourself. Shen Yi is also someone that Cao Kun has his eye on. How far do you think he can go in this industry?”
Song Yucheng laughed. “He can get however far he can get. You know how capable Old Yang is too; there will be no problems with his movie scheduled for the Lunar New Year. So, tell me, how long more will it take for Shen Yi to be hot stuff?
“Hey, you in the back! Do you want to consider changing management? Luo Tong’s trash that can only rig up shady plans. He’s got no ability to bring you to the top.” Song Yucheng’s voice was a little hoarse due to Xie Qianchen’s smoking habit, but this made him appear even more attractive. The newbie behind Lu Tong knew that his intentions were not pure, but he still found the offer tempting.
Luo Tong was incensed by this ridicule and wanted to slap him in the face, but he turned and left angrily in the end.
Song Yucheng made no move to stop him. He watched him go silently and lit a second cigarette.
He had an additional task in this world — to avenge Xie Qianchen’s two juniors. Song Yucheng had been setting things up from the beginning, and he’d decided that all the people who had been the cause of Xie Qianchen’s pain were to pay the price for it.
And the first thing Shen Yi saw coming out of the screen test was Xie Qianchen leaning in the doorway, smoking.
The weathered red wall looked better than any printed touched-up photograph with Xie Qianchen leaning against it. The way he smoked, especially, was oh so seductive.
Shen Yi recalled the exchange between Li Xuyang and Director Yang, and asked, “Did you know that Li Xuyang would act out the role that way?”
“What do you think?” Song Yucheng exhaled the last bit of smoke, his expression as cold and distant as ever. “Don’t ask about things you shouldn’t,” he said, before he brought Shen Yi back to the company.
Too many things had happened today, and Shen Yi was shaken.
He was silent for the whole trip back, but he could not help sneaking glances at Xie Qianchen. He could already confirm that Xie Qianchen disliked him, since he was warm and nice to everyone but him. What else could it be?
But why? Shen Yi had quite forgotten that he had sent stalker fans after Xie Qianchen in the beginning, and had put the blame on Cao Kun instead. His thoughts went to another question. Was Xie Qianchen acting in this way because he liked Cao Kun, but Cao Kun was treating him favourably instead? Why would Xie Qianchen like that scum, Cao Kun? Wait, weren’t there rumours floating about when he joined the industry, that Xie Qianchen couldn’t act because of something Cao Kun did?
Was this Stockholm syndrome?
Shen Yi found it incomprehensible the more he thought about it. There were too many mysteries surrounding Xie Qianchen, and he sank deeper the closer he got.
System: Woah! What’s the fake fragile flower thinking?
Song Yucheng: Probably wondering what part of Cao Kun I fell in love with.
System: So did Xie Qianchen fall in love with him?
Song Yucheng: How could he? He was probably looking for an opportunity to get his revenge. It was too bad that he got killed by Cao Kun’s machinations before he could accomplish his goal. He definitely died with an unresolved grudge!
System: OMG! So tragic? [Flowing_Tears.jpg]
The System’s annoying whimpers pealed in Song Yucheng’s head, and he felt like killing it. Reason won over in the end and he blocked it out.
Cao Kun was having some trouble on his end too. He had a banquet to attend that evening, but the arrival of a person had thrown that plan out the window.
The person was Lu Mian.
Lu Mian was in Cao Kun’s office, spacing out at the trophies. One of the trophies was for “Best Manager” and the name on it was Xie Qianchen’s. The trophy diagonally above it was a Hundred Flowers Award for “Best Supporting Actor”, and the name on it was, coincidentally, also Xie Qianchen.
“These are the honours my subordinated have achieved.” Cao Kun saw his interest and made to show off a little. He traced Lu Mian’s line of sight, and seeing that his gaze rested on Xie Qianchen’s trophy, he hastened to add, “This Xie Qianchen is just a dog I keep around. He’s nothing interesting. If you’re interested, Cousin, I’ll get you one that’s clean and knows how to have fun.”
“What do you mean by that?” Lu Mian asked, calm and collected.
“Mm… How can I put it…” Cao Kun couldn’t find the right words to describe Xie Qianchen. “It’s not that he’s bad. He’s beautiful but he has a boring personality. I’d have dropped him by now if it weren’t for his past. He’s taken a salary from me for two years for doing practically nothing.”
He was scared into silence when he saw the look Lu Mian gave him after he said that. He knew that he had misspoke then, and he did not dare say more.
Cao Kun was at a loss for words. To him, Lu Mian was representative of hypocrisy. He had power, he had clout, and he had presence in his circles, but he had not had anyone by his side though he was already in his twenties. It seemed he wanted only to find love and get married, and this looked very fake to Cao Kun.
But everybody thought Lu Mian was a genuine good guy; reliable, and capable. Lu Mian had not even been back for half a day and the phone was ringing off the hook with requests to meet with him. Unbelievable. Lu Mian spent most of his time overseas and rarely came back to China. All of these so-called childhood friends were people he had become acquainted with on his summer and winter holiday trips back to China as a child.
Cao Kun grew increasingly uncomfortable as he thought about it but he did not dare show it on his face. The Cao family looked like it was in charge of business here on the surface, but it was actually Lu Mian overseeing Cao Kun according to his father’s wishes. This was why Cao Kun could not afford to offend Lu Mian, no matter what. He wasn’t likely to spend that much time in China anyway, so he could just bear with it and let it pass.
But Lu Mian kept looking at those two trophies thoughtfully. He had looked at the information on “Song Yucheng” before he’d come here, and he knew that his real name was Xie Qianchen.
After his investigations, however, Lu Mian grew hesitant again. He felt that Xie Qianchen was too weak. The young man he’d dreamed of was more cunning, clever, and also strong of character — he also liked to pamper beautiful people. This person he was looking for was different from the reports, on matter how he looked at it.
Then… was this really a coincidence?
Lu Mian wrinkled his brow but he decided that he wanted to meet this Xie Qianchen.
Lu Mian had decided, and he was mulling over how he would meet with this “Song Yucheng” when Song Yucheng received an unexpected message from Cao Kun. He had just brought Shen Yi back to the company.
Cao Kun: Go to the Lucky Cauldron at 6.30 to settle some accounts for Young Master Yan. Bring some boxes of condoms Young Master Yan likes. He’s not used to the ones provided by the Lucky Cauldron.
This message was a little too well-timed. Song Yucheng raised his eyebrows in silence.
He was familiar — too familiar — with the Lucky Cauldron. It was a known, upscale club in B City, the sort where money boys hung out.
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