World Hopping: Avenge Our Love
First Published on Chaleuria
Director Yang’s new post was like a deliberate slap to the faces of those who said that Shen Yi had no acting skills. He had very generously displayed all of the concept shots and teaser trailers, a stark contrast from the usual vague, mysterious promotions.
Browsing through photo after photo of the actors and actresses’ concept shots sparked the imagination and made the netizens want to know more; they looked forward to watching the film. The netizens were struck dumb with surprise when they got to Shen Yi’s photo.
They didn’t know what to say. The usual first impressions when looking at photos was whether the person was good-looking, or not. Their first impression of Shen Yi’s concept photo, however, was that he looked pitiful.
Under the folds and layers of the ornate imperial robes was a body so frail it was on the verge of breaking. The ashen face above, and the twig-thin wrists extending from them made the netizens worry for him. They worried that this frail frame could not support such a heavy ensemble of clothing. What really pulled at their heart-strings, however, was not his body but his gaze.
It was just one photo, but the emotion expressed in Shen Yi’s gaze was far greater than what could be observed in the concept shots of the other actors and actresses.
His eyes spoke of a desire for redemption, an aversion to his current circumstance, and a yearning in the heart to destroy it all. Every emotion was clearly expressed in his eyes.
“Is this real? Wasn’t Shen Yi just a pretty face?” A netizen was dumbfounded when he saw the concept shot. Even the people who had responded to Song Yucheng’s childish post and insulted Shen Yi were at a loss.
You could tell if an actor had acting chops from concept shots. From what they knew of Shen Yi, a newbie actor like him who’d only acted in modern-day contexts rarely could pull off the proper feel of ancient settings, especially when he had no acting skills.
But now, this concept shot was slapping them silly.
Couldn’t pull it off? No presence? No way! Shen Yi had a sort of magic about him. He turned his disadvantage into an advantage. The modern ideal of a small, delicate face, compared to the more manly look of his co-actors, made him look thin and weak, like he could break at any moment under the layers and layers of heavy imperialism upon his frame. It invoked a tenderness towards him.
“It must be because of the magic of some post-editing tool! How the heck is this Shen Yi? Did they dig up a twin or something?!” commented somebody.
This comment soon got a bunch of upvotes. Someone else also gave an example of one of Director Yang’s previous works, where a pretty face had been made to look like acting skills came with it, and it was found that this wasn’t true when the film was released.
Comments like these soon died out after they watched the trailers.
The netizens had never in a thousand years expected that moving, talking Shen Yi would be able to move their hearts even more than the photo had.
The clip of Li Xuyang squeezing his chin and forcing him to down alcohol, in particular, made hearts ache for poor Shen Yi, who had to endure this desperate humiliation.
Shen Yi’s true acting skills lay in the scene where he was forced to abdicate, when he spoke a line before he killed himself.
“I am the emperor of Dayong and I am the regent’s bird in a gilded cage. I refuse to let things end this way. This land belongs to the line of Qi, and if it shall be destroyed, it shall only be by the hand of Qi.”
Blood flowed in the emperor’s last act of dignity. Death, and the nation’s death were in his hands, and so long as he held these lands he would never change his name! This was something he would never compromise on, and his last dignity.
He would rather be a tyrant and kill his own father and brothers, stepping on their bones to become emperor. He would take on all the shame as the monarch who destroyed the nation. This was why he had been willing to become a pawn of the regent, sending his own dynasty to ruin, step by step. He could not fight this, so the destruction must happen by his hand and no other.
It was sad, so morbidly sad that the heart twinged with pity.
There was no other word than that to describe the feeling Shen Yi gave them. Shen Yi’s voice was not a perfect male bass; it held the clear ring of tender youth. And it was this youthfulness that was especially moving when given the context of his tortured mind. The despair too, woven in his lines, became not contrived but a matter of fact.
Those who watched this clip could tell the level of acting skill Shen Yi possessed. There were also the shared scenes of his acting with the award-winning actors and actresses. Every scene illustrated a truth — Shen Yi was definitely not just a pretty face.
It was a clean slap to their faces. Shen Yi was up on the hot search terms list again, not three hours after Director Yang posted the teaser trailers online. # Face-slapping Acting Skills #
Click on that topic, and you can’t help but gasp, “Oof! What a slap to the face! Who the heck said that Shen Yi can’t act?!”
“For real. Even if I won’t admit it after watching the trailer and seeing that concept shot, I still have to say that Shen Yi’s acting is definitely passable. He could keep up with Li Xuyang and that other award-winning actress! There’s no sense of him being out of place at all in the clip, and it even feels like he’s more refined, like he’s next level. Isn’t he just 18? Man, he’s a genius.”
“This script is written so well. The supporting actor playing the prince actually turned out to be the soul of the whole film. A regular actor won’t be able to meet the requirements for this role. Now I’m suspecting that those posts about Shen Yi must be some deliberate move to discredit him. Why were his old clips made into a gif to mock him when he has acting skills like this?”
“It’s to be expected, isn’t it? He acted in a web drama. The co-actors and actresses were there just to flash their faces so what did he have to work with? Air! It must’ve taken great effort to even play his role properly under those circumstances. Those brainless insult-slingers didn’t do their homework either. Shen Yi’s character in the web drama was a bit of an addled fool. Sweet and naive was how he was supposed to act!”
The tides were turning. All the mud they’d thrown on Shen Yi’s name was frowned upon by the masses now, and many netizens acknowledged Shen Yi’s acting skills.
Most importantly, the ranking on the hot search terms list was not won through money, but through real web traffic.
Director Yang laughed when he saw the result. Oh Luo Tong, Luo Tong, you sure were unlucky that your opponent was Xie Qianchen.
There wouldn’t be such a huge reversal now if it had not been for Luo Tong’s smear campaign against Shen Yi, and it wouldn’t have blown up like this. No matter his skill, Shen Yi was still a newbie after all. Li Xuyang and the other celebrities were influential too, but just being linked to them was definitely not enough to get on the trending search terms list.
This was great! Luo Tong had spent a lot of money, only to have Shen Yi’s name be boosted into the hot search terms list, and the crew had benefited from it too. They’d saved themselves the cost of promoting the project!
Song Yucheng had been right. Luo Tong really was a gem. The man had put their actor up on the trending terms list at no cost to them.
Director Yang couldn’t help the mischievous thought that popped into his head, and he sent money to Song Yucheng in the form of a digital red packet in the group chat. It was money as thanks for saving the production crew money.
Song Yucheng, the savage, actually sent that digital red packet to Luo Tong’s page as a tip. Written in the message field for the digital transfer was: Thanks from Director Yang for free placement on the trending search terms list.
“Ouch, this Xie Qianchen is brutal! I felt that hit, and I’m not even Luo Tong!”
“WTF! Hahaha a spot on the trending terms for free! I’m gonna cry from laughing. They’re elite managers but this is like some sort of spit-battle in a kindergarten. How he’s even pulling out cheap street tricks! Geeze, just how shameless can this Xie Qianchen be?!”
“I think Xie Qianchen’s pretty brutal and good at tormenting others, but daaaaamn he’s cute!”
The netizens were tickled pink by Song Yucheng’s harassment tactics. Luo Tong, however, was so angry he could burst into flames. Yuan Yue had struck him a hard blow earlier, and he didn’t even have a way to wash the dirt off his hands. He could only bear with this mocking he was receiving from Song Yucheng.
“Don’t you public relations guys have any way to deal with this?” Luo Tong was losing his mind; his head was foggy with anger. He had no clue as to what to do to get himself out of this crisis, and could only put his hope with the public relations manager.
However, the public relations manager was in a worse state than Luo Tong. Luo Tong was the elite manager of Double Universe, and he managed the most talents, with the largest fan bases. This move by Song Yucheng was like pulling the carpet out from under them. The celebrities Luo Tong managed were hit too, after he took a hit.
After all, an enemy and opponent would not give up an opportunity to attack when you’re down or in trouble. The entire public relations department was being run into the ground today. They weren’t even done with dealing with the public relations crisis of their celebrities, so who was going to spare any time for Luo Tong?
Meanwhile on Song Yucheng’s end, he seized the opportunity to get Shen Yi some solid fans, and displayed some professionalism at last. He wrote a long post on Weibo about Shen Yi, detailing the training he had gone through after signing on with Picture Domain.
Just hearing about it made you click your tongue. The netizens looked at Shen Yi’s training schedule again. He woke up every day at 7:00, started his lessons at 7:30, had no practically no lunch break, and also had extra lessons after dinner. There are 24 hours in a day, and Shen Yi spent 14 of those hours in training. How could such diligence produce no result?
Xie Qianchen’s summary at the end of the post made hearts ache.
Xie Qianchen: Success is not achieved overnight. Shen Yi did well, and I am proud of him. Here is a picture of Shen Yi sleeping in the car to accompany this post.
Shen Yi’s youthful face was wan with exhaustion. The thinness of his jaw and neckline made hearts worry.
“I suddenly feel that I was wrong to scold him. I’d always thought that celebrities had an easy job but I now feel that what Shen Yi went through was worse than the high school graduation exams.”
“How is it easy? We only see them on screen for two hours but they take months and months to film the whole thing. Plus, they’re wearing such thick clothing in summer to film everything scene by scene. Just thinking about it is exhausting.”
“It’s not easy in any field. No wonder those bigwigs like Shen Yi. I would like a diligent boy like him too. Give our hardworking little brother Shen Yi some love!”
The number of Shen Yi’s casual fans rose to a new high very quickly. The number was far from what a superstar would have, but he was seen as a representative of the ethos of young actors now after all this hoo-ha. This in itself was a good thing hard-won.
Xie Qianchen’s office.
Shen Yi knocked and entered, and the first thing he said was thanks.
“There’s no need for that.” Song Yucheng shook his head. “I am your manager. Helping you get out of a public relations crisis like this is one of my duties. Go read a book if you have nothing else to do. Your acting skills are still lacking.”
“I know, but I still want to thank you.” Shen Yi seemed to be in much better spirits after the entire experience. He wasn’t gloomy anymore, at least.
Before he left the office, he unthinkingly blurted, “Xie Qianchen, don’t ever forgive me, okay? Even if I win the award trophy and hand it to you.”
Shen Yi had spoken rather nervously but Song Yucheng knew what he meant by those words.
If he never forgave him, he would still be thinking about him. Shen Yi was an interesting one. He was actually not afraid of being hated, but afraid of being forgotten.
Song Yucheng’s eyes met Shen Yi’s. He saw attachment and expectation in his gaze, and he curled one side of his mouth in a smirk. “I’ll see how you perform.”
“Mm, I won’t disappoint you.” He had not shut him down, and this made Shen Yi’s eyes light with hope. He bowed respectfully to Song Yucheng and left.
He suddenly felt like his future wouldn’t be so bleak after all.
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