World Hopping: Avenge Our Love
First Published on Chaleuria
It was true. What made him think that he would be forgiven?
It was like someone had dumped a bucket of ice-cold water on his head. Shen Yi froze, and could not react for quite a while. His pale face grew paler, losing all colour, and he looked so ghastly he could pass for a ghost.
“I’m sorry.” Shen Yi stuttered. It wasn’t insincerity, but due to how lost he felt — how was he to get Xie Qianchen’s forgiveness?
He’d thought that Xie Qianchen hated him because of Cao Kun. Now that he’d said his piece, however, Shen Yi understood that this had nothing to do with anyone else. The fault, from beginning to end, had lain with him.
But… but he had had no choice! He didn’t want to sell himself to Cao Kun — was fighting back so wrong? He had no choice. He couldn’t fight back. He had no way to go.
Shen Yi stared at Song Yucheng, and there was a lot he wanted to say, but all these sounded like excuses to him now. He was pale. He was a hypocrite. He felt sick.
Whatever the reason, it could not erase the fact that he had nearly killed Xie Qianchen.
Shen Yi took a step back. His fragile body grew more unsteady.
Song Yucheng had no sympathy. “Everyone must pay for their mistakes. What could have happened didn’t happen, but that does not free you of sin. Besides, if something had actually happened, you wouldn’t need to be responsible either because the person who would have held you responsible would be dead.”
Shen Yi was silent. He stood there woodenly, unable to respond.
But Song Yucheng did not stop. He straightened the freshly-printed script and put it in Shen Yi’s hands.
“This is the script for the short film. Take it back with you and have a read. Shooting starts tomorrow. You don’t have to dwell over what I said just now. You are a talent that I am managing now, and I am a professional manager who knows how to keep personal and business matters separate.
“There is no need for you to worry that I will make your life difficult, and no need to worry that I will be a stumbling block in your career. I will do what I should do, and give you all that should be yours. I only have you and Qi Luo after all.
“There’s nothing else to discuss. Please leave.”
“Okay.” Shen Yi did not waste any words this time, and just left. His face, however, was all scrunched up in pain, and he felt like his mind was on the brink of collapse.
Shen Yi’s assistant was waiting outside the room and he was shocked by his appearance. Shen Yi ignored him. He shut his eyes and slept as soon as he got in the car, and alighted in silence when they got to the dormitory.
He came back to himself a little when he was back in his familiar room. His eyes reddened.
He felt terrible. He felt like his heart was going to tear in half when he found out the real reason why Xie Qianchen hated him; it hurt so much he could not breathe.
He looked at the script in his hand, and the name signed under the scriptwriter’s column cut like a knife, straight to his heart.
No wonder Xie Qianchen told him to act in this short film. Shen Yi would not have believed it if he hadn’t seen it with his own eyes. The scriptwriter was Wen Ran.
Everyone knew who Wen Ran was in their circles.
He was the Best Screenplay winner for three years running. He didn’t have many projects but every original script he worked on was able to pull in big money. Wen Ran was best at writing dark plots, depicting fall from grace. His magnificent prose and sharp dialogue were so compelling that you could be immersed in the story just by reading the script.
Even the most demanding of critics said that Wen Ran’s flaw was that he was too perfect. His scripts were so perfect that directors and actors were unable to bring out the full charm of the written scene, no matter how skilled they were.
This was why a normal short film had so many people fighting to get their hands on it — it had Wen Ran’s name on it. And Xie Qianchen had handed an opportunity like this to him so casually.
Normally, Shen Yi would have been over the moon, but all he felt now was pain. He looked at the script, and his eyes slowly filled with sadness. He was not suffering from jealousy this time, but true regret.
Xie Qianchen said that he was a professional manager. He had not been lying. This, however, was not actually a good thing for Shen Yi, because it was grievous news to him.
This meant that Xie Qianchen would always have a hold over him, and that he would never be able to make up for his mistake. Xie Qianchen would keep hating him, just like how he hated him now.
The relationship between manager and talent should be one of balance, working together for each other’s benefit. He and Xie Qianchen, however, could only ever be close enemies. Even if his rank in the industry went up, he would still be someone whom Xie Qianchen didn’t like but had to work with.
But what could he do? Shen Yi scanned through the script like a machine, forcing himself to commit the lines to memory.
He could not turn back the clock. Missed opportunities were missed opportunities. Shen Yi understood that his relationship with Xie Qianchen was already in tatters. Based on what he knew of Xie Qianchen’s personality, he would never be forgiven by him, and would never enjoy his favour like Qi Luo could. No matter how close, how intimate they became in the future, it would only be a work relationship.
He wouldn’t even be able to have this cold and distant relationship with him if he failed this, if he couldn’t become the person Xie Qianchen needed.
But now, he could not see Xie Qianchen as an ordinary passer-by anymore. Shen Yi liked him. He liked him, though he hated him.
The only way he saw out of this was to become the brightest star there was, and earn accolades for Xie Qianchen. This was going to be how Xie Qianchen’s gaze upon him would turn warm.
Shen Yi decided that he would be happy to be a tool, if it was for Xie Qianchen. He owed it to him, and this was a debt he would pay for all his life.
Shen Yi’s roiling heart calmed all of a sudden. He seemed to have become a whole new person in a second. He read the script carefully, losing himself in it and mulling over how he would best portray his role in it.
Song Yucheng did not sit idle after handing the script to Shen Yi. He called Director Yang.
“You won’t be calling just to chat. Tell me, then! What is it?” Director Yang let out a breath of relief when he heard Xie Qianchen’s voice. He was smart though, and didn’t talk about the aftermath of the trending terms incident. The fact that Xie Qianchen could make this call meant that the issue was settled.
Song Yucheng understood him too, and he laughed as he told him the reason for the call. “There’s a short film I’d like to ask you to shoot. Do you have time for it?”
“A short film?” Director Yang paused.
“Just to be clear — this is a public welfare project, not for profit. The script is from Wen Ran though.”
“Say that again. Whose script is this?” Director Yang sounded like he had bumped into something.
“Wen Ran.” Song Yucheng said the name calmly.
“You’re a god, Xie Qianchen! I’ll do it.” Director Yang was over the moon. Wen Ran was famous for being mysterious. He always worked solo, and it was difficult to even get to interact with him once. An opportunity to work with him was even rarer. This was why Director Yang had been so quick to agree.
He also quickly roped his good friend, award-winning actor Li Xuyang, into the project. He went through details of the project with Song Yucheng, and the first thing he did after hanging up with Song Yucheng was to call Li Xuyang. The first thing he said was, “Xuyang! We’ve got a chance to work on a script by Wen Ran!”
On Song Yucheng’s end, he contacted a few more people after confirming Director Yang’s participation. He handed in his proposal for the project once he confirmed the participants.
Cao Kun was having a meal with his buddies when he received the proposal. He nearly spat his beer out when he read it.
“This Xie Qianchen must be f*cking insane!”
“What happened?” Yan Qi was there too, and he stretched his neck out to peek at Cao Kun’s phone. He didn’t read all the details, but the names of the participants stunned him.
What the hell? This was a public welfare short film, not some blockbuster arts film for the international market! What’s with all these big names?!
Cao Kun suddenly slapped his thigh and started laughing loudly. “Good one, Xie Qianchen! Haha! You’re an interesting guy!”
He then sent a message to all the managers in the company: Picture Domain would give full support to Xie Qianchen and provide him with anything he required.
Cao Kun thought then, that he had made the right decision in letting Xie Qianchen stay. It takes a thousand days to train a soldier for use of him one day, after all. Cao Kun had a feeling that this could usher in a new spring for Picture Domain if Xie Qianchen played his cards right. As for that damn Xiao Lun who’d been ahead of him for so long… well, he was going to have to kneel and call him ‘Daddy’!
But Yan Qi looked at his smug childhood friend, and worry sprang in his heart for some reason. Yan Qi felt that Xie Qianchen’s temper and personality had changed quite a bit compared to how he’d been in the past. Even his methods had become more savage, more ruthless. He was worried that Cao Kun would end up getting bitten. After all, Cao Kun was one of the causes of the tragedy, according to Xie Qianchen’s assessment of targets for revenge.
Him working with Xie Qianchen now was like playing with fire.
Cao Kun seemed to see the concerns his friends had, and he said with a smile, “Xie Qianchen wouldn’t dare. Once bitten, twice shy, y’know? What he really cares about is his friends in the industry. Xie Qianchen’s clean, but he can’t guarantee that every person he’s trained and helped is clean too.”
Mockery flashed in Cao Kun’s eyes as he spoke. The look in his eyes and his philandering ways highlighted his indifference and heartlessness.
Yan Qi abruptly understood something, and there was a coolness in his heart. His heart chilled at Cao Kun’s unscrupulousness, and with fear for the danger that Xie Qianchen was in.
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