Author: 公子于歌 / Gong Zi Yu Ge
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 59: Who Attacks and Who Receives
Yang Lizhi didn’t expect her worries to become a reality in the end.
One month after Jintai Qiongying went offline, Jintai Meijing* replaced it as soon as the scene of the jade pendant that Zhou Jing repaired for Li Xu was . Having shared more screen time together, the bond shown became deeper and the momentum for the CP gradually grew.
*Clarity: Jintai (金台) represent Shen Jintai. Mei (美) represents beauty, what Bai Qingquan is known for. Jing (璟) the character Zhou Jing that Bai Qingquan plays, thus putting it all together makes Jintai Meijing.
The male protagonist who was originally paired with Yang Lizhi’s character was snatched away by Li Xu… That little eunuch. She had so many scenes as the heroine, but her sense of existence couldn’t keep up.
The East Palace had become Li Xu’s home court.
Since the drama was a simultaneous film and broadcast, the plot could be adjusted according to the audience’s opinions and feedback. The role of Li Xu shone so brightly that he became a classic character on everyone’s screen for the year. The screenwriter, Meng Xiaosheng, started to add more scenes with him. Although they didn’t overwhelm Yang Lizhi’s heroine role, Meng Xiaosheng had given Li Xu all the brilliant scenes.
Yang Lizhi didn’t know whether Meng Xiaosheng changed it because she wanted it or to cater to the audience. The differences in the later stages between The East Palace and the original work were growing wider, and the book fans began to protest. Unfortunately, they pale in number in comparison to the drama fans, so their voices were ignored. The most significant change that Meng Xiaosheng made was the relationship between Li Xu and Zhou Jing. Their ties became deeper and their feelings more complicated.
“Cut!” Guo Rui stood up. “Zhou Jing, your emotions aren’t in place. Do it again.”
Bai Qingquan wiped the tears from the corners of his eyes, eased his emotions, nodded solemnly, took another step back, and then suddenly made a pause gesture and walked to the director.
“Director, how on earth should I play this part?” Bai Qingquan said. “I’m not sure what kind of feelings I should have for Li Xu. Is it love, brotherhood, or master and slave? I feel confused myself that I can’t grasp this feeling.”
Shen Jintai: “The feelings between Zhou Ying and Li Xu are pure and direct. On the other hand, the feelings between Zhou Jing and Li Xu are unclear and murky. This current ambiguous emotion is what you should be feeling.”
Bai Qingquan glanced at Shen Jintai next to him, pursed his lips, and remained silent. They reshot the scene again, but it was still no good.
Guo Rui was a director who usually didn’t direct emotions. Such a director allowed actors a lot of creative space, which was particularly beneficial for someone like Shen Jintai. However, for someone like Bai Qingquan, it made it difficult for him to act. Guo Rui felt that his current actions were specious.
<The East Palace is Coming> was scheduled for 40 episodes. In the last few episodes, the heroine had become Empress Dowager*. With more than 30 episodes already filmed, there wasn’t many episodes left that starred him. His role had diminished as the ending got closer. Today’s scenes were one of the few highlights he had left, and it was between Zhou Jing and Li Xu.
*Queen regent. They held regency during the reign of an underage emperor. || This signifies that Zhou Jing (assuming he was emperor and she was his empress) had passed away and his heir was too young to inherit the crown.
The director was still not satisfied despite multiple reshoots, which frustrated Bai Qingquan. He went to RV to take a break. Shen Jintai tied the corner of his robe to his waist and followed Bai Qingquan in.
“What does Director Guo want?” Bai Qingquan said to Shen Jintai, “He keeps saying my mood isn’t right.”
Shen Jintai sat down on the opposite side, smiled, and said, “Let’s talk and have a look.”
Bai Qingquan took a sip of water and picked up the script. “What do you think went wrong with my performance just now?”
“I thought it was pretty good, but it may not have reached the feeling that the director wanted,” Shen Jintai said. “It’s okay. We’ll work out the kinks.”
Bai Qingquan and Shen Jintai have been filming together for almost a year now. They had developed a very serious attitude when it came to work. Bai Qingquan took the script and said, “You used to kill people and I would turn a blind eye. I even supported you from behind the scenes because our interests were aligned. However, you killed someone that I wanted to use, but I was unable to due to my identity, and it was also a member of the crown princess’ mother’s family, which violated my interests. In my opinion, you overstepped your boundaries. However, due to our relationship, when I gave you orders at the beginning, it should be amiable, right? Later, when you didn’t listen to my persuasion, I had to be more coercive and eventually had to bring up Zhou Ying, causing a dispute between us to break out. This should be emotional progress, right?”
Shen Jintai nodded. “When it comes to Zhou Ying, it’s certain that emotions will erupt. These feelings we both have have been ignored for all these years. You should regard me as your most important person, but you still retain the concept of master and slave in your bones. This is the biggest difference between you and Zhou Ying. You couldn’t understand and would never understand the relationship between Prince Ying and me. Because of this, you feel jealous, but it’s not the jealousy between lovers.”
“He should be a bit confused like a straight man?” Bai Qingquan said with a frown. “He should be a person who doesn’t understand love. He just thinks that the relationship you had was like a tryst. There shouldn’t have been deep feelings that you’re unable to let go of. The two of us have trusted each other since we were young and supported each other up until now. He must have felt betrayed and aggrieved. I think after the dispute, he should have a little sense of love without knowing what it was. Showing this kind of emotion would be beautiful, but the director doesn’t seem to accept my acting.”
“What if we use a prop or something in order to express this emotional ambiguity?” Shen Jintai thought for a bit, then suddenly an idea popped in his head. He took out the jade pendant from his waist. “We can use this. You can still act emotionally…”
“Put it around your waist,” Bai Qingquan said hurriedly. “I’ll catch sight of it, try to bear it but be unable to, and then burst out.”
When actors felt right about a scene, they tended to become excited. The tone between them surged with enthusiasm as they prepared to enact the scene in the RV. This allowed the two of them to learn many things. Director Guo came and knocked on the door and said, “Why don’t the three of us sit down and talk?”
“We had just discussed the scene,” Bai Qingquan said excitedly. “Let’s do it again and see if it’s okay.”
When Shen Jintai got out of the car with him, Bai Qingquan couldn’t help but drag Shen Jintai by the shoulder. The joy of work made his affection for Shen Jintai soar. This was the joy he felt when he filmed with Shen Jintai.
As they were halfway to the set, Bai Qingquan suddenly found that the kind of posture was a bit girly. It was like he was holding onto his boyfriend’s arm.
Shit! He almost exposed the truth of his suffering.
He immediately let go of Shen Jintai as his face turned red. He nervously glanced around. Fortunately, no one noticed him. Shen Jintai shook his arms and said, “Why let go? It’s warmer this way.”
Bai Qingquan thought Shen Jintai might be flirting with him. For a moment, his expression looked a little… gong-ish. He couldn’t believe that he felt a person who played such a good role as a little eunuch could exude such gong aura. He must have been holding himself back for too long!
Shen Jintai felt a little lost. Just now, Bai Qingquan held his arms and had such an elated look. This made him enjoy the feeling of attacking. There was nothing more exciting than Bai Qingquan’s uncontrollable dependence on him.
The weather was extremely cold, nearing the end of December. Bai Qingquan took off his down jacket and said to Shen Jintai, “Let’s try to clear it this time.”
Shen Jintai tied up the jade pendant and nodded at him.
“Come on, get ready to start.”
With the previous few experiences, coupled with the adjustments made by the two of them, the filming this time was better than the previous few times. At the end of the shot, Bai Qingquan looked up at Shen Jintai. He felt he could see his feelings reflected in his eyes.
For a single moment, he felt that Zhou Jing had love for Li Xu, although it wasn’t the same as Zhou Ying’s pure, equal love.
Director Guo stood up. “This one has passed.”
The scene wasn’t easy. Everyone applauded as Shen Jintai let go of Bai Qingquan. He saw that Bai Qingquan was still crying. Bai Qingquan smiled and said, “I originally wanted to stop my tears, but after thinking about it, Zhou Jing was originally a man who only shed tears in front of Li Xu.”
“Your performance is very good. I was deeply moved.” Shen Jintai said.
Bai Qingquan: “I think there is no winner in our drama except for the heroine.”
Shen Jintai chuckled. “It’s true.” He pulled Bai Qingquan up, and the two discussed the scene they had acted in just now.
“The two of them have a good sense of CP,” The assistant director said.
Guo Rui said, “It’s only right to have a sense of CP. The two of them were originally ambiguous.”
“As soon as this scene is broadcast, Jintai Meijing’s popularity will only rise.”
The assistant director also felt that Li Xu had become the invisible heroine of this drama.
This part of their shot was broadcast in January.
Although the old emperor was still in power, he had been confined to the palace on the grounds of recuperating from his illness. This world was already the world of Zhou Jing, and it just needed time to be justified.
At this time, Li Xu moved into the house of the crown princess’ mother.
“I told you to stop. This is an order, not a discussion!” Zhou Jing was slightly annoyed. He then eased his tone. “The Tian family has done a lot for me. If you move against them, you’ll break one of my arms. A’Xu, now that the overall situation has settled, we don’t need to kill more people.”
Li Xu: “The Tian family is only powerful now that there are almost no families that can contend with them. The crown princess had just given birth to her first son. Instead of waiting for your future foreign relatives to gain more power, it’s better to trim it as soon as possible and kill Tian Wenhao.”
Zhou Jing: “You don’t need to prevaricate me with these high-sounding reasons. The reason you want to kill Tian Wenhao, isn’t it because he participated in the framing of Elder Prince Brother?”
Hearing this, the white-haired Li Xu frowned slightly. “If Your Highness thinks so, this slave has nothing to say.”
“Don’t touch Tian Wenhao or anyone in the Tian family,” Zhou Jing warned. “Otherwise…”
Li Xu: “Otherwise, will your highness kill me?”
“I know you’re not afraid of death,” Zhou Jing said. “You also know that I will not kill you, so you are unscrupulous.”
Li Xu: “Why? Is it just because before he died, he begged you to take care of me?”
Zhou Jing paused then said, “A’Xu, your eyes always redden when you kill people. But no matter how many people you kill, he won’t come back.” He pursed his lips tightly and glanced back. From Li Xu’s white hair, he saw the jade pendant hanging around his waist. He stared at the pendant for a long time before turning his head away. “I’m going to be emperor. Being an emperor is different from being a prince. I cannot let you kill people.”
“It’s not that Your Royal Highness can’t let me kill people, it’s that you can’t let me kill people who are still useful to you,” Li Xu said lightly. “You don’t need to kill anymore. My life will eventually meet its end.”
Zhou Jing: “Is that what you think? Do you think you are just a knife in my hand?”
“No. I’m my own knife. A knife only I can wield,” Li Xu said. “A knife that no longer have feelings and just wants to kill.”
“Kill Tian Wenhao?! Who else do you want to kill? Me?!” Zhou Jing walked up to him. “I, too, was involved. Will you kill me for him?”
Li Xu didn’t speak. Zhou Jing suddenly became angry, stretched out his hand and pinched his chin, forcing him to raise his head. “Look at me and answer!”
Li Xu said, “You said you weren’t…”
Zhou Jing: “What if I was?”
Li Xu’s expression, which had always been cold, suddenly became rich in color. His breathing became a little quicker, and he said, “Why?”
Zhou Jing: “Why? You actually asked me why? I always wanted him to die. Didn’t you know? Or have you forgotten why I sent you to him in the first place?”
Li Xu: “But you promised me that you would only pull him off the seat of crown prince. As long as you become the crown prince, you will spare his life. He is different from you. He doesn’t have the country in his heart.”
Zhou Jing: “Just because he said so, you believed it?”
“I believe it,” Li Xu said categorically.
The sentence “I believe” set Zhou Jing’s eyes ablaze. “You believe everything he says!”
“Because he has never lied to me. The only time he did was to convince me to live well.” Li Xu, who was usually calm, suddenly lost control. His breath was anxious as his eyes were red.
“I believe what you said once,” Zhou Jing said. “I believe in you so much. There are so many people in this palace, my father, my wife, and my children. I only believe in you. Now, I don’t even have the last person I can trust, and you have long stopped trusting me.”
Zhou Jing sat down helplessly. “I did not kill Elder Prince Brother. I even tried to save him for you, despite the fact that it should be obvious I would be the last person to save him. I simply said that I was involved, and you instantly believed.” There was an almost imperceptible choking in his voice.
Li Xu remained silent. He walked over and hugged him. Zhou Jing leaned his head into his arms and said, “I have everything, yet why am I not happy? It was better to be locked in that dark room with you when we were young. We sat on the ground and thought about what tomorrow would be like. I said I wanted to be the emperor, and you said you wanted to be the chief eunuch. We thought about the future, and the two of us laughed. Laughing… In that dark room where our eyes couldn’t see, but our hearts were so bright.”
He raised his head and looked at Li Xu. “It’s not that I won’t let you kill Tian Wenhao. He is the father of the crown princess and perhaps the grandfather of the future emperor. If you kill him, have you ever thought about what you will do in the future? I’m not in good health. I don’t know how many years I can last. What should you do? You are bent on dying, but I don’t want you to die. We have paid so much to fight for this country. I want you to be a master and live well. A’Xu, can you understand?”
“I, a former BaiJin CP fan, after watching tonight’s episode, have something to say in my heart.”
“Is the era of Jintai Meijing coming? I feel that the male lead was suddenly whitewashed tonight!”
“Hahahaha, I laughing to death. Turns out this TV series is where the male and female protagonists need to rely on the villain to whitewash!”
“This Jintai Qiongying girl isn’t convinced. Is my prince dead or not? The crew will come out and give me an explanation! If the prince doesn’t come out, the fans will have to climb the wall!”
“Touhua is holding the heroine’s script, right? Bai Qingquan’s script is similar to that of the obsessed second male lead who knows that the heroine loves other men and still silently guards his feelings*!”
*Clarity: He’s saying Zhou Jing’s character is like the second male lead in those romance dramas that love the heroine but know she loves someone else, so he guards his feelings.
“I actually like their ambiguous scenes that are like friends and enemies, but when I think that the two of them are rivals in reality, it makes me feel fascinated and weird.”
“Are they still rivals? I haven’t heard any news about unpleasant things between the two of them despite filming together for this long.”
“Some time ago, it was rumored that the two of them were fighting in the dressing room to grab the same makeup artist.”
“Can you believe this kind of material? They all have their own makeup artist. Besides, they’re not newcomers. Even if they really are at odds, they won’t show it to the public.”
“I still think that Touhua and Zheng Siqi have a stronger sense of CP. Bai Qingquan… how to put it. He’s so beautiful. If they are hugging each other, I can’t tell who’s attacking and who’s receiving!”
“Bai Qingquan is a straight man inside and outside the drama. Touhua receives both inside and outside the drama!”
“Is Touhua receiving?”
“He chased Prince Yan outside the drama. What do you think?”
Someone immediately posted a photo of Yan Qiuchi.
“…It seems that there is no doubt that Touhua is receiving.”
Shen Jintai was very depressed after seeing these remarks. “Laozi is attacking! Attacking!”
When will everyone realize this? He didn’t want to be classified as a sister* to Bai Qingquan. How would he be able to attack him!
*Clarity: He doesn’t want to be classified as a shou (sister) by Bai Qingquan or else he won’t be able to attack him. Every shou needs a gong, not another shou.
Since Bai Qingquan put extra effort into this scene because he thought it was a very important scene for Zhou Jing, he paid careful attention to the internet surrounding it. When he saw the comments, he couldn’t help but feel depressed.
He wanted to say, “I’m not a straight man. I’m a fairy*!”
*Clarity: He’s actually using the word fairy [xian nu] (仙女) in this case. Fairy is also a reference to a gay person who is more on the feminine side (it’s usually used derogatorily, like calling someone a sissy), but in this case it matches Bai Qingquan’s given personality. In previous chapters, when he’s referred to as a fairy/fairy-like it’s using [shen xian] (神仙). This term isn’t so much referring to a fairy in the literal sense, but more so that they are so beautiful that it transcends humankind and can only be comparable to a god/immortal/fairy/celestial being ect. I used fairy as it matches Bai Qingquan’s girlish personality.
The author has something to say:
Yan Qiuchi sitting on a cold beach: the real attack is here.
Oh God, this drama is torturing me! It’s breaking my heart! SO MUCH FUCKING DOG BLOOD… … … but I live for it.
Bai Qingquan is so fucking cute. I stan.
Fuck it. I’m all on board this BaiJin ship. It’s going down like the Titanic, but I won’t abandon this ship!!! Sorry Yan Qiuchi… You can stay stuck in the crematorium for all I care!
On another note: I find it hilarious that Shen Jintai is still insistent on thinking he’s a gong lol. Have he looked at his rewards?! Those are fucking things a perfect shou needs!