Quality Check: Isalee
First Published on Chaleuria
Note: As many of you may be aware, China has recently intensified its attempt to censor webnovel content. Many writers have been affected. Around the same time, Weibo (China’s main social platform) started purging accounts of writers and high-profile reviewers/rec sites without warning or explanation. While Weibo has always been known to manipulate traffic, purge posts and lock accounts without explanations, this recent wave of purges has been rather suspiciously timed. Unfortunately, Tongzi (author of DITA) was one of the affected authors, and she lost her Weibo account on 9 June. This has been a huge blow to her, and though she’s taking a break from social media to recover from the shock, we hope to help lift her spirits however we can. Hence, we’re inviting all DITA fans to show your support for her and her writing through fanmail.
If you’ve enjoyed DITA in any way, please take some time to type some words of encouragement or share your thoughts about the novel, and send them to [email protected]. We will be compiling them and sending them to Tongzi on your behalf. Thank you!
Xiao-Deng paid his fare, entered the hotel with a plastic bag in his hand, and ran into Xiao-Wang at the elevator lobby. “What have you got in there?” Xiao-Wang asked with a greedy look on his face, tugging at the bag. “Something yummy?” Xiao-Deng tried to keep the probing hand away, but to no avail. As the other man pulled at the bag yet again, a flat box clattered to the floor. Splashed in bold print across the top was the name, “Ma Ying Long.”1 Xiao-Deng blushed. Feeling a little embarrassed, Xiao-Wang picked up the box for him. “You okay?”
“It’s for my eyebags, alright?! I haven’t been sleeping well!” Xiao-Deng snapped with a roll of his eyes.
“There’s no need to be shy about it, y’know.” The doors opened. Xiao-Wang nudged the other man into the elevator with him and pressed the buttons for their floors. “Actually…” He huddled up to Xiao-Deng and lowered his voice, “I’ve got the same problem too!” In response, Xiao-Deng shooed him away in disgust.
When the elevator stopped on the thirty-seventh floor, Xiao-Deng walked down the corridor and stopped before Zhang Zhun’s door. Then, he began to wait while playing with his phone. More than half an hour passed before someone emerged from the elevator lobby. As the figure approached, Xiao-Deng glanced up and saw that it was Chen Hsin. Having spotted the young man as well, Chen Hsin faltered in his steps. A moment of hesitation later, the actor turned back the way he came.
“Oi!” the young assistant yelled, stopping Chen Hsin in his tracks. After some deliberation, Chen Hsin turned around again and strode up to Xiao-Deng. Without a word, the young man flung the bag at the actor, shoved his hands into his pockets, and stalked off. Chen Hsin took a quick glance at the bag’s contents. Failing to figure out what the box was meant for,2 he shrugged off the matter and let himself into the room with a swipe of his keycard.
Zhang Zhun returned to his room not much later. Chen Hsin sidled up to the man at once and clung to him shamelessly. “You alright?” he murmured with a sultry note in his voice. “Lemme take a look?”
Zhang Zhun pushed him aside. “Give me a break. I’m still hurting.” Noticing the plastic bag on the table, he asked instead, “What’s that?”
Although Chen Hsin tried to look displeased, he was unable to follow through with the pretense. “Something from Xiao-Deng,” he mumbled, sulking a little.
As soon as he opened the bag, a furious blush burst across Zhang Zhun’s face. “The sight of you really pisses me off right now!” he snapped as he began undressing himself, still in plain view of Chen Hsin. Off came his jacket and trousers, followed by his shirt and socks. His briefs were the last to go; he tugged them down his thighs, toed them onto the floor, and stepped out of the tiny piece of clothing. Chen Hsin gawked at the sight, hopelessly entranced by the idle, unwitting sexiness of the gorgeous man before him. Then, Zhang Zhun snatched up the bag and disappeared into the bathroom, stark naked.
Chen Hsin waited. All was silent behind the closed door; not even the sound of running water could be heard. After hovering outside for a while, he gave in to his curiosity and opened the door – only to be stunned once more by what he saw. There Zhang Zhun was, sitting on the toilet with one foot on the seat and the other on the floor, his hand reaching between his splayed legs as if… Staring goggle-eyed, Chen Hsin gulped loudly and his entire being combusted at once with desire.
Zhang Zhun glanced up at the intrusion. There was no sign of mortification on his face though he seemed just a little embarrassed. He tilted his chin at the sink, motioning towards the tube of ointment and opened box of suppositories lying on top. “Get your mind out of the gutter,” he mumbled, “I’m just applying some meds.”
“H-hah…?” Chen Hsin could not tear his eyes away from those spread thighs and the fingers moving in the shadows. “Y-yeah I know…”
Seeing that the other man had no intention of leaving, Zhang Zhun raised his voice, “Get out!”
“No, I…” A certain clinginess came into the younger man’s manner, and his gaze latched onto Zhang Zhun as if it were hooked into his flesh. “I’ll just watch, okay? Just lemme watch?”
“What the hell for?!” Zhang Zhun’s embarrassment intensified at Chen Hsin’s shamelessness. A delectable blush spread all over his skin, tinting even the tips of his ears and toes a tantalizing shade of red. “Are you nuts? What’s even going on in that head of yours?”
Certain that the older man would not be able to do anything about him, Chen Hsin made up his mind to stay. Still ogling Zhang Zhun, he leaned back against the doorframe, pressed his hand to his crotch, and started rubbing himself through his pants.
Zhang Zhun was flabbergasted. “What the f***…” Cursing in disbelief, he grabbed the box off the sink and threw it at Chen Hsin’s face. “Get the hell out of here!”
The box grazed Chen Hsin’s chin before clattering to the floor, spilling bullet-sized suppositories everywhere. Chen Hsin dawdled, turning away ever so slowly as he continued stealing sidelong glances at the man. “Why won’t you lemme take a peek?” he retorted in an injured voice. “It’s not as if we haven’t slept together already…”
“Are you leaving or not?” Zhang Zhun glared at Chen Hsin with the full force of an action actor’s imposing presence. The younger man was a little cowed – not because he was afraid of being hit, but that he might never be allowed to touch Zhang Zhun again. Wilting in dejection, he trudged out of the bathroom and shut the door behind him.
Zhang Zhun came out of the bath five minutes later. After taking some medication for his fever, he climbed into bed without putting on any clothing. Perhaps because his ass was still hurting, he lay on his front instead of his back. Chen Hsin watched from the couch where he sat fiddling with his phone. When he saw that Zhang Zhun was about to fall asleep like that, the younger man became hot and bothered once more. He stripped off all his clothes in a blink, dove under the covers with urgency, and hugged his lover from behind. Flesh melded to flesh as he pressed their naked bodies together. Thoroughly besotted, he inhaled the scent of Zhang Zhun’s hair and nibbled at his earlobe. The older man’s brow furrowed as he struggled a little against these advances. “Stop it…” he murmured, and Chen Hsin’s movements stilled at once. Nudging his knees against the back of Zhang Zhun’s, Chen Hsin closed his eyes and ignored the slight hardness throbbing in protest between his legs.
Filming resumed the next day. First on the schedule was a scene between Chen Hsin and Zhang Zhun, to be shot in a dance studio at Xujiahui.3The space was huge; although Zhou Zheng had managed to find more than a hundred extras, their numbers were still not enough to fill up the studio. In the end, the team decided to proceed with the filming, leaving the problem to be resolved through editing.
“Springirls” by Sunwoo Jung-a4 played in the background at a moderate volume as everyone got ready. Dozens of male dancers were practicing according to the choreographer’s instructions. Apart from lighting and sound, all the other crew members moved into their respective positions. Most of the female staff, however, had gathered around the practice area and showed no signs of moving anytime soon.
Since Chen Cheng-Sen was breaking down the scene for Zhang Zhun, Chen Hsin was left on his own. Idle and bored, he wandered over to see what the excitement was all about. All the dancers were heavily made-up; all were topless and flaunting their beautiful muscles while their low-hung jeans showed off glimpses of their asses. It was pretty evident that some of them were not even wearing any underwear. All around Chen Hsin, the girls blushed and squealed in tiny voices as the dancers’ lewd moves drove them wild. Even Chen Hsin was feeling the effects of the mood and the sight of such shameless, flexing bodies. Adrenaline roared through his system. As he studied those powerful shoulders and sweat-drenched abs through narrowed eyes, he overheard the conversation between two production managers behind him.
“What’s this again? Dog-thrusting?”
“Yeah. People nowadays can get hella crazy.”
“No sense of shame, I bet. Look how they’re driving those girls outta their minds.”
“Honestly though, we’d never make it work even if we tried.”
“Can’t be that bad, right?” The man lowered his voice all of a sudden. “It’s just f***ing, after all.”
Snickering, his companion dropped his voice as well. “With a body like yours, bruh, you’re gonna kill yourself before you get to your fifth f***.”
“By your standards, no one on this set is capable of pulling it off then?”
“Says who? Whatshisname – right, Zhang Zhun. With all that training he’s got since he was a kid, he must be damn good at twerking that ass.”
As soon as Chen Hsin heard that name, a rush of tingles shot up his entire body. He prickled all over with desire, from the soles of his feet to the top of his head, and Zhang Zhun became all that he could think about. Driven to distraction, Chen Hsin remained a smitten fool throughout the entire filming process. When he tightened his embrace around “Gao Zhun” before the camera, he was truly rock hard in his trousers. Then, just as directed by the script, he “pushed his lower body forward” and breathed out a provocative invitation, “Shall we go home?”i
- Ma Ying Long: Ma Ying Long Hemorrhoids Ointment is the most commonly used over-the-counter medication for external hemorrhoids in mainland China. It is available in two forms: creams and suppositories.
- However, some of the herbal ingredients are also said to be effective for reducing eyebags, and some rumors claim that many artistes keep tubes of the ointment as beauty staples. This is the basis of Xiao-Deng’s retort to Xiao-Wang.
- While Ma Ying Long is a household brand in mainland China, it is relatively unknown in Taiwan, hence it is reasonable for Chen Hsin not to know the contents of the box.
- Xujiahui (徐家汇): A historic area of commerce and culture, and one of the key shopping districts in Shanghai. Literally meaning “Xu Family Junction,” Xujiahui is named after the most notable Catholic convert in Chinese history, Xu Guangqi. In the 18th century, the French concession and the Roman Catholic Church held great influence in the area. At the time, Xujiahui was known as “Zikawei” or “Zi-ka-wei” in French, and “Ziccawei” or “Siccawei” in English.
- “Springirls” by Sunwoo Jun-a: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SO7L9Lwe8s4
- The scene being filmed in this chapter takes place in Chapter 36.2.