Author: 公子于歌 / Gong Zi Yu Ge
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 44: In the Arms of a Beautiful Man
“Why don’t I ask the crew for a sick day?” Li Meilan said. She rushed over when she heard Shen Jintai was ill.
“It’s okay. I can ride it out,” Shen Jintai said. “I originally asked for two days off and delayed the shooting progress. I’m afraid if I ask for leave again, regardless of whether they’ll let me, I won’t be able to keep up.”
The TV series was a simultaneous film and broadcast. Any delay, even for a few days, could hamper many things.
“Are you sure you can hold on?” Li Meilan asked with concern.
“It’s okay, I’ll take some medicine. After the shooting ends in the morning, I won’t have many scenes in the afternoon. I’ll go to the hospital if I have time.”
He took some antipyretics and went to the set.
The weather was cloudy and chilly. He looked at the forecast while on the road. It had been raining these past few days.
Bai Qingquan was in the dressing room and asked his assistant. “Is Shen Jintai back?”
Assistant: “Not yet. He had asked the crew for two days off.”
“I heard that he asked for leave to shoot an advertisement,” Yang Lizhi said. “I don’t know what brand it is.”
“I heard it’s an underwear brand called Aishang.” A makeup artist chimed in.
Yang Lizhi smiled when she heard this. “It’s not easy. He used to endorse top luxury brands. His current situation isn’t too bad if he can still accept small businesses.” She was annoyed with Shen Jintai for becoming so popular, but it was not to the extent of jealousy as he hadn’t risen to that high of a popularity level yet.
She had also stood on stage the day before. There were hordes of people at the scene, indicating that the heroine role she took paid a lot of dividends. Her increase in fans was not as large as Shen Jintai’s but that was only because she was already exceedingly popular and had limited room to expand.
Bai Qingquan was also in a similar situation. He was already a top traffic star. <The East Palace is Coming> becoming popular was just icing on the cake for him.
For Shen Jintai, it was charcoal in the snow*. He needed it to warm himself back up.
*(雪中送炭) Metaphor for giving people material or spiritual help in times of difficulty or crisis.
Bai Qingquan thought about Yang Lizhi’s words for a while and felt that they made sense. Shen Jintai had become popular again. It was inevitable that his nemesis made him lose a bit but if he thought about it carefully, Shen Jintai had fallen from the peak. He used to be able to endorse top luxury brands, but now could only endorse underwear. He had never heard of Aishang, so he figured it wasn’t a famous brand.
Shen Jintai managed to arrive at the set on time. When he was applying makeup, he asked the makeup artist, “Paint my makeup a little thicker today.”
“Are you too tired? I don’t think you look well today,” The makeup artist said.
Shen Jintai raised his head slightly, asked the makeup artist to give him a nose shadow, and said, “I have a fever.”
“Did you go to the hospital?”
“I’ll go after filming this scene.”
“My relatives and friends are all chasing <The East Palace>,” the makeup artist said softly. “Did you know the ratings for the second week hit a new high? It broke over 1.5!”
These words stimulated Shen Jintai. Often times, there was only one chance to become popular in a lifetime. He had to seize it!
The scene for <The East Palace is Coming> had reached the sadistic part. As Li Meilan said, it was particularly mentally consuming. Shen Jintai read the script and adjusted his emotions. He felt his whole being was bereft.
The Empress’ funeral had passed. The crown prince remained imprisoned in the East Palace where even Li Xu couldn’t reach him. On the other hand, the energetic He Lanbi relied on her protagonist halo and was able to infiltrate the network. After getting in touch with the right contacts, she entrusted them to contact Zhou Jing on her behalf, who refused to see her.
She then entrusted someone to contact Li Xu. Their situations were both pitiful, so he would certainly sympathize with her. She was the righteous daughter of the Xiao clan and was originally betrothed to the crown prince. Now that the Xiao clan had fallen, she was forced to enter the palace as a slave. She had never touched spring water yet now she had to wash clothes every day.
They felt sorry for each other and developed a bond. It was just that the friends of today may be enemies of tomorrow. The plotline where the heroine and her best friend turn against each other was a must for palace fighting dramas. <The East Palace is Coming> was unusual in that the best friend was a man.
“This is for you.” He Lanbi took a piece of jade from her arms. It was a warm-textured white jade pendant with a pair of mandarin ducks carved into it. Li Xu instantly recognized it. It belonged to the crown prince.
Li Xu took it in his hand and hurriedly asked, “How did you get this?”
He Lanbi: “Two days ago, I asked my sisters from the Garment Bureau to switch places with me. Taking the opportunity to deliver clothes to the East Palace, I went and met with elder prince brother.”
“How is he doing? Is he alright?” Li Xu asked anxiously.
He Lanbi shook her head and said, “He’s very ill that he has become so thin, but the doctors refuse to treat him.”
Li Xu’s eyes turned red, holding the jade pendant as he sat beside He Lanbi.
He Lanbi said, “Elder prince brother asked me to give this to you as a keepsake. Don’t go to the East Palace anymore. He said you must live well before you have a chance to save him in the future.”
Li Xu knew that He Lanbi spoke the truth. It was something Zhou Jing would say. He prayed that Zhou Ying would be okay by himself, wouldn’t be implicated, and be able to live a good life.
“We both have to live well,” He Lanbi said with tears in her eyes. “Those who harmed us and those who harmed elder prince brother are all still alive well.”
Yes. They were all living well, with a promising future.
Li Xu clenched the jade pendant in his hand and said, “I am just a little eunuch. With him, I am a man. Without him, I am nothing.”
“Eunuchs have highs and lows. The second prince has a ruthless heart and looks promising. If you follow him, you may become a Bingbi eunuch1 and eventually the palm print eunuch2. Look at father-in-law Gao3 who sits above 10,000 people,” He Lanbi said. “I will also be the favorite concubine and Empress in the future. Let’s join forces to repair the Xiao clan and avenge elder prince brother.”
1(秉笔太监) Eunuch in charge of internal affairs such as court etiquette, correction of internal officials. It is the second highest position in the eunuch system, only to the palm print eunuch. It’s considered a very high position. (Ming dynasty)
2(掌印太監) Full title is the “eunuch of the secretary of ceremony and the eunuch of the palm seal” is the highest seat in the eunuch system. Main responsibility is the final decision maker on various national policies and in charge of the government treasury. (Ming dynasty)
3(高公公) Refers to Gao Gong. He was an advisor to Emperor Wu of Liang. He was a very powerful advisor. He’s usually depicted as an eunuch (for some reason). (Ming dynasty)
She was only 28 years old, with a beautiful face and a thin figure, but her eyes were firm. These words were like a crazy dream, but they gave Li Xu great hope. His eyes lit up from his gloomy expression. “Can we do it?”
“We have to try.” He Lanbi said. “A’Xu, you have to help me.”
Li Xu stared at her. He Lanbi matched his gaze and said, “The second prince always refuses to see me, but I believe that he has feelings for me. Find a way for me to meet him. As long as I can become a member of his palace, we will support him together and ascend to the throne as the 95th Sovereign.”
Li Xu hid the pendant in his arms, got up, and said, “Alright, I will help you.”
Shen Jintai let out a sigh of relief as the makeup artist ran over to reapply his makeup. His face looked sunken, but it was also in line with Li Xu’s current state. He felt that his eyelids were getting hotter. Whenever he lowered them, it felt as if it could burn tears out.
Since the start of filming, Yang Lizhi and Shen Jintai had very few duel scenes. Now that He Lanbi and Li Xu had become friends, they would have more scenes together. The next part would be focused on the interactions of the male lead, female lead, and second male lead.
Shen Jintai’s state also matched the scene shot today very well with his sick and haggard look.
Yang Lizhi hadn’t had any scenes with Shen Jintai before today. After filming today, she also became convinced of his acting skills.
Shen Jintai rushed over to a different set after his scenes were done. He would go to site B to shoot the scene of Ziwei Palace. The male and female lead’s scenes were filmed separately today. They had no scenes together. The only common factor was him. When he arrived at the second studio, they were filming the dream scene.
Zhou Jing had been entangled in nightmares all year long. This time he dreamt about Empress Xiao, who had committed suicide. Empress Xiao predicted that he would reach the peak of the tower in the second half of his life, but he would have no one by his side who was sincere or trustworthy.
This was also Teacher Song’s final part. The crew had already prepared flowers and were holding them in their arms.
As soon as the director finished shouting, the crew all applauded. Director Guo stood up with a smile and said, “Congratulations, Teacher Song, you are done!”
Song Wei smiled, took the flowers handed over by the staff, and bowed to everyone very humbly.
The next step was the photo session. The crew rushed over to take a photo with Song Wei. Song Wei, Bai Qingquan and others shouted at the crowd, “Xiao Li Xu, hurry over!”
When Shen Jintai heard this, he ran over smiling. Teacher Song took his arm and leaned her head on his shoulder. Shen Jintai said “Yes” with a bright smile.
Song Wei saw his strangeness in an instant and asked, “Are you sick?”
“A little fever.”
“Have you seen a doctor?”
“I’ll go after filming the morning scenes.”
“Your body is important. Don’t push it,” Song Wei said. “My role was too short. I haven’t played enough scenes with you as my opponent. We must cooperate again if there’s a chance in the future.”
Shen Jintai smiled and nodded. He looked dispirited and sad.
Song Wei: “As long as you act well, you will have a very bright path in the future. You can’t go wrong if you believe in Teacher Song’s vision. I will continue to watch this series at home. If you don’t perform well, I will definitely criticize you. Hahaha.”
Shen Jintai could only continue to smile and nod.
Song Wei hugged him, patted him on the back, and said, “Shen Jintai, it was nice meeting you.”
With so many young actors, only Shen Jintai had received such preferential treatment from her. Bai Qingquan stood among the crowd, envious. He admired Song Wei a lot. She was a veteran actor with strong acting skills and a refined aura. Oddly enough, though he was envious, he wasn’t deeply jealous. He felt that Song Wei had heavily valued Shen Jintai.
At only 20 years old, Shen Jintai’s acting skills were already like this. It wasn’t an exaggeration to say his future would be limitless.
Shen Jintai was momentarily stunned. “Xiao Ai?”
“Hello. Xiao Ai had asked for leave. I will be serving you temporarily.”
He hadn’t contacted the system for a long time and had forgotten about this.
Shen Jintai: “You are… Xiao Mei, right?”
The other party gave an “Nn” answering his question. Hearing the voice, Shen Jintai thought it sounded extremely cold. Xiao Ai and Xiao Mei were like two completely different style of painting.
He had become accustomed to Xiao Ai Taobao’s* customer service-like way of speaking. It made him feel a little uncomfortable when he encountered this kind of coldness. After all, it was more enjoyable to talk to that flatterer, Xiao Ai, who was much more relaxed and naturally shameless. Apart from Xiao Ai, who could give him weird ass shit as a reward, such as may cherries, and keep a straight face? It eventually became a natural thing that made him no longer feel ashamed.
*Chinese online shopping platform. I’m assuming it’s like eBay in the US. According to one of the comments, Chinese online support behaves in a “silly and bold but cute little brother/sister next door” way. They address customers as “dear/darling” and are openly shameless as they try to play the emotional card of “close friend” or “poor little slave in a big evil cooperation” to cease customers complaints/demands.
“Hello, Xiao Mei. What’s the matter?” Shen Jintai asked indifferently.
Xiao Mei: “It has been detected here that Bai Yueguang’s favorability for you has been increased again, accumulating ten points. The latest sexy reward, flushing, has been sent out. Please pay attention and check it out.”
Shen Jintai: “……”
Shen Jintai glanced at Bai Qingquan in the distance. Bai Qingquan was looking down at the script, and there was no special reaction.
Shen Jintai: “Flushing reward. I don’t remember hearing about this.”
“Wait a minute, let me check it for you,” Xiao Mei’s voice was still cold. After a while, he said, “Because last time you accumulated 39 points all at once, a series of rewards were given simultaneously. It was too sudden for you to choose between two options. This time there are two options for your sexy reward, the flushing reward or the sensitivity reward. If you are particularly dissatisfied, you may choose again.”
Shen Jintai: “…Sensitivity reward?”
Xiao Mei read the description with a monotonous and mechanical voice. “The sensitivity reward, as the name suggests, rewards you with a certain degree of physical sensitivity, including, but not limited to, the waist, earlobe, back, indescribable areas of the upper body, and indescribable areas of the lower body.”
What does it mean by indescribable? What was the latter half of what he was saying? Why is the lower body included?
“Since this is a world of harmony and an era of harmony, we cannot describe things below the neck. This, of course, includes the lower body,” Xiao Mei said coldly.
Oh god! He really couldn’t have this kind of conversation with a voice like this!
Shen Jintai felt like he was dying inside! He already had a fever, and now his face was getting hotter. He felt uncomfortable all over. He hurriedly said, “Flushing. I’ll take the flushing.” He was too embarrassed to ask what flushing entailed.
Xiao Ai, come back soon!
Xiao Mei: “Okay, the flushing reward has been given out.”
Xiao Mei was very direct. After issuing the reward, it disappeared with a beep.
Shen Jintai felt that he was going to faint. What kind of rewards are these?
He wasn’t going to become some kind of ridiculous enticing masterpiece, would he?!
“Are you okay?” Shen Jintai turned his head and saw Bai Qingquan looking at him suspiciously.
Shen Jintai recovered and said, “I’m okay.”
Bai Qingquan: “You don’t look too well.”
Shen Jintai simply smiled. He just received another reward. This meant that Bai Qingquan’s affection for him had increased. He didn’t know why Bai Qingquan’s favorability toward him improved, but nevertheless, it was still a good thing. Forget mentioning his strategy for survival; Bai Qingquan himself was such a heavenly dish in the gay circle.
His little 0 beauty really had no traces of any shortcomings. In the future, when the two of them were together as husband and wife, with their starlight mixed, they would be invincible. Just thinking about this made him excited. He felt that he and Bai Qingquan had a one-plus-one effect that was greater than two.
There was an abnormal flush on Shen Jintai’s face, and his eyes looked a bit dull. Bai Qingquan touched his forehead.
“You have a fever.” Bai Qingquan said.
Shen Jintai was stunned. He only felt a slight cold touch on his forehead. Bai Qingquan put his hand down and said, “Are you able to do this?”
“After filming this scene, I’ll go to the hospital and have a checkup.” Shen Jintai said.
Bai Qingquan, who was dressed in a green and white robe that was wafting with a light fragrance, said, “Then let’s fight as one.”
Maybe it was due to the fever that it was hard to concentrate, and his consciousness was a bit scattered, but Shen Jintai couldn’t help but feel that the fairy Bai Qingquan in front of him was resplendently fluttering.
The current scene they were filming was when Prince Zhou Jing discovered the double mandarin duck jade pendant hidden by Li Xu.
He walked to the couch and saw Li Xu lying face down, rubbing the jade pendant. He stretched out his hand and snatched it with one hand.
Li Xu got up from the couch and hurriedly stretched out his hand to grab it back. He wrapped his fingers around the red string attached to the jade pendant and pulled it twice. Their shadows were cast by the candlelight. Zhou Jing lost his footing. As he was about to hit the ground, Li Xu jumped up, hugged him by the neck, and tried to reach out to retrieve the jade pendant from his hand.
Although the two of them had deep feelings since childhood, there was a clear line between master and slave. Li Xu rarely ever transgressed. Zhou Jing was caught by surprise, seeing that he was suddenly jumped on by him. As Li Xu hugged his neck, heat started to spread from his ears.
Zhou Jing: “Get off!”
Li Xu: “Give it to me!”
Zhou Jing was furious, but he couldn’t push Li Xu off. He reluctantly relented and stuffed the jade pedant into Li Xu’s hand. “I wasn’t going to smash it.”
Li Xu immediately got off Zhou Jing after getting back the pendant.
“How bold you are!” Zhou Jing’s face was flushed with anger.
Li Xu hid the jade pendant in his sleeve and turned back to look at Zhou Jing. His face was abnormally red and his ears were scarlet. Bai Qingquan froze for a moment as he stared at Shen Jintai blankly. Shen Jintai’s lips moved, but his expression was off. Bai Qingquan hurriedly stepped forward as Shen Jintai slumped into his arms.
Shen Jintai was wearing a loose inner shirt. His long black hair was draped down his body. After his fall, his clothes loosen, exposing his fair shoulders. Bai Qingquan hugged him around the waist and felt it was very firm and slender. A very good waist that could endure and be attacked.
The author has something to say:
The long-lost addition!!!!
Yan Qiuchi: Author, you can do it.
Author: It will be your play from now on. Don’t worry.
I spent way too much time figuring out what all those eunuch’s positions were…
At this point, I feel as if these rewards aren’t so much to make him look sexier and prettier but to make him into the ideal shape for Yan Qiuchi. For a system that’s supposed to be “correcting” a rotten novel, these rewards seem counter-productive…