Author: 公子于歌 / Gong Zi Yu Ge
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 28: Shen Yitiao
The wind outside was blowing the curtains and lamps in the palace. The palace attendants rushed out to close the windows and doors. Li Xu stood with his hands clasped in the hall and said, “The people close the crown prince sent a message to ask for this slave to enter the East Palace to serve.”
Zhou Jing acknowledged with a “Nn” but remained silent. He slowly walked over and stretched out his hands to lift Li Xu’s face up.
Zhou Jing, “Li Xu, it depends on you whether I can climb up in the future.” The beautiful face of Li Xu was outstanding. Don’t bother mentioned the pile of eunuchs, even among concubines he could vie for the top spot.
Zhou Jing’s hands were warm and soft. As he let him go, Li Xu anxiously grabbed his arm with both hands. Zhou Jing raised his head to look and saw Li Xu’s dazzling eyes. Zhou Jing slightly lowered his eyes causing Li Xu to let go.
While Li Xu’s posture was fearful, his eyes remained flickering as if he was holding onto words deep in his chest, hesitant to speak them out.
Zhou Jing turned around and said, “Go.”
Li Xu lowered his head without saying a word. He knelt and silently gave the prince a gift. He would always be the prince’s slave. He got up from the ground, bowed his waist, and retreated.
After Li Xu left, Zhou Jing turned his head and shouted, “Never forget whose slave you belong to!”
“Cut!” Director Guo yelled. He stood up from behind the monitor and said, “Qingquan, there’s something wrong with your mood.”
Bai Qingquan hurriedly walked over. Guo Rui pointed out, “Li Xu was a playmate by your side when you guys were young. He’s no longer just a simple slave to you. The feeling you should have when he enters the East Palace is both, eagerness for relying on him to take down the crown prince and apprehensiveness for fearing he’ll betray you. Along with that, there’s also feelings of shame and resentment. After all, you are his friend and you’re sending him to the Crown Prince knowing what’s to come. So, when you say your lines, it must not be just from the viewpoint of a noble prince but must also carry affection of a dear friend. You must combine the feeling of kindness and coercion to bring out the right emotion. Do you understand?”
As he listened to Guo Rui guidance, a makeup artist was retouching his makeup. Bai Qingquan looked at the monitor and nodded solemnly.
When he touched Shen Jintai’s face during the filming, he got distracted. His heavy makeup reminded him of those times when Shen Jintai had mercilessly bullied him. There was no affection in his eyes back then. Only hatred and resentment!
He knew he could act better in later scenes between Zhou Jing and Li Xu.
Guo Rui, “Come. All departments are ready. We’ll do this scene again.”
Shen Jintai walked to the entrance of the hall again and stood there. Li Meilan took the opportunity to fan him and patted him on the shoulder. “It’s a good shot. Keep at it.” She was a little surprised by Shen Jintai’s work attitude. He was calm, diligent, and serious.
The second time, Shen Jintai performed even better. As a veteran actress, Song Wei knew that Shen Jintai had found his sense of rhythm.
An actor’s sense of rhythm was very important. It was something that couldn’t be learned and depended on talent and instinct. This sense of rhythm wasn’t only when speaking lines, but also coordinating movements to match the lines being said. It was about when and how to say their lines. How long words should be spoken for. Pauses in between words and sentences that could range from a tenth of a second to tens of seconds. All this must be connected to their physical movements to form a smooth and tense performance.
From Zhou Jing saying “Go” to Li Xu kneeling and prostrating, Shen Jintai had mastered the rhythm between these scenes perfectly. If he moved too fast, the tension would disappear. If he moved too slowly, the tempo of the scene would be lost*.
*Clarity: in terms of this scene where Zhou Jing dismisses Li Xu who’s currently kneeling, the author is trying to point out the “rhythm” is Li Xu’s movement that Shen Jintai is acting out. If he moves too quickly, the built-up tension leading up to the scene will be lost, if he moves too slowly, it can drag out the scene. The point is these things can affect how the audience feels when watching these characters in the show. That’s my take anyways. I don’t know much about acting so if another expert can chime in that would be great.
Song Wei also went to the back of the monitor to watch a close-up of Shen Jintai. The tears seemed to be there, and the dampness was just right. Knowing how to act properly was a very difficult thing, especially for young actors.
Bai Qingquan’s acting skills were relatively good for the younger generation, but his performance was more based on external acting* and were not advanced enough.
*Acting from the outside; originates externally through skills, like vocal and physical training, imitating actual behavior.
Director Guo was an experience cinematographer who knew how to promote strengths and avoid weaknesses. Shen Jintai’s performance was delicate and calm, so he had more close-ups. Bai Qingquan was beautiful, but the finer details weren’t as good, so he mainly focused on the beauty aspect. During the performance, the scene looked very discordant. However, adjustments from the lens made the shot more textured and aesthetically pleasing.
Producer Zhang said to Gao Qiao, “You can rest assured that both of them can hold their scene.”
Gao Qiao said nothing. He sent the video to Yan Qiuchi. Shen Jintai had acted so well. Was this still the same Shen Jintai with his pompous acting?
Zheng Siqi was also watching from the side nervously. At night would be his bed scene with Shen Jintai. After watching Shen Jintai’s performance in the morning, he was even more shocked than the others.
After a whole day of filming, Shen Jintai earned another nickname: “Shen Yitiao*.”
*Clarity: basically referring to how good he is that most his shot are done with 1 take.
As soon as he entered the nanny’s car, Bai Qingquan’s face darkened. The assistant didn’t dare to breathe. Wei Ge got in and said, “Tired?”
Bai Qingquan didn’t answer. He was in a bad mood. He thought his acting skill was good among the younger generation. Who knew that he became so weak-minded when he acted against Shen Jintai today. With every breath, line, and expression from Shen Jintai, it made him feel emptier the more he looked at them.
How could this happen! How could this happen!
Shen Jintai had retired from the circle for two years, yet he was easily overtaken by him today!
Xiao Tang was so excited that he couldn’t help but share this with the “Gold Powder Family”.
The gold powder was looking forward to seeing their brother act and Xiao Tang had promised to talk about the shooting situation today.
Xiao Tang: [The crew didn’t allow us to take pictures, otherwise I really wanted to record a video to share with you all. I can only say that Brother Jin performed spectacularly. The director even gave him the nickname, Shen Yitiao!]
The gold powders screamed. They were deeply curious now.
Shen Jintai said that he had been studying acting for the past two years. Is it true?
But when Shen Jintai first acted in that idol drama, we worked really hard to control the critics. Even as iron fan, we felt that Shen Jintai acting skills were, um…
But he was their only brother! They had to boast without conscience.
But they also wanted their cooking to be a real actor. They would be able to blow him to the sky* and straighten up any fan’s waist that tears on him.
*Laud someone to the sky/praise something beyond its desserts.
After all, as an actor, everything was imaginary. Only acting skills are the real capital*.
*Clarity: it’s saying that the characters actors play is all made up. The real deal lies in the actor’s abilities to play those characters.
Of course, this kind of joy couldn’t just be shared exclusively. Recently, moonlight powders and fans of Yang Lizhi had been tearing up Shen Jintai, thinking he had grabbed too much heat from their idols. Now that they were privy to such information, gold powders could immediately go to major entertainment sectors and spread the news.
“I laughed a little bit. Touhua actually change his nickname for his fans. He’s not Shen Touhua anymore but Shen Yitiao!”
“One what? One miss*? Hahaha!”
*Referring to his new nickname and making fun of it.
“It’s a salted fish*, right?”
*(咸鱼) = Metaphor to refer to people who have no intention of doing anything.
“I believe that he had a change of heart. The press conference was indeed a beautiful comeback, but his acting skill is hard to watch. It should be true that he has never had one*!”
*Again referring to his new nickname.
“The East Palace drama is going to be big, and it won’t be because of Shen Touhua. His acting skills really doesn’t compliment it.”
“To be honest, this drama is really fascinating. With Bai Qingquan and Shen Jintai acting together, isn’t it quite interesting? With a large cast with different acting styles, throwing Shen Jintai into that mixture will be quite intriguing!”
“I heard that the third edition of the trailer will be released this weekend. As the second male lead, we can expect to see his face, right?”
“Oh, I don’t care about Shen Jintai, but I was excited when I thought that I could see Bai Yueguang act in costume again. I could lick* his face again!”
*To appreciate and praise someone’s good-looking appearance. Supposedly the “lick” came from fans kissing the screen because their idols look so good on TV.
“Bai Qingquan’s ancient costume is really the standard for little fairies. I’m stalking Station B, waiting for him!”
“It’s a pity that I don’t like Yang Lizhi who pairs with him. Couldn’t they find a little flower that matches better with him? Yang Lizhi plastic surgery face can’t hold up anymore.”
“The upstairs* said that plastic surgery isn’t enough. Your mother had plastic surgery. Why don’t you see an orthodontist to fix your mouth?”
*Referring to the comment above that he’s replying to.
“Hahaha, orthodontics can change the ugly to beautiful, so everyone should go to the orthodontist!”
“So, the upstair admits that Yang Lizhi is a great beauty, right? hahaha.”
Originally, Shen Jintai’s material turned into a big tearing force of plum1 and moonlight powders. One was a popular idol, the other a popular little flower. The fans of both sides were very chicken-blooded, creating hundreds of high-rise buildings2. Yet there was no clear winner. In the end, they rose to the stage of physical threats and the thread was deleted by the administrator ending the conflict.
1Yang Lizhi’s fans.
2High-rise buildings = referring to comment chains.
After three days of filming, the atmosphere of the crew had changed. Bai Qingquan was suppressed in all directions, which was something the entire cast noticed. Because Bai Qingquan took longer with his shots and had more NG* scenes, his mentality collapsed. His complexion deteriorated to the point where he couldn’t even hold a smile.
*Stands for “no good” or “not good”.
In the end, Director Guo asked him to rest and left the scene for filming tomorrow.
The problem was Shen Jintai, not because he NG so many times. Bai Qingquan’s assistant was particularly cautious today. He took out the lunch box from the bag, set it carefully, and then said to Bai Qingquan, “Brother Quan, you should eat.”
Bai Qingquan was staring intently at his phone. On it was playing the TV series of a mindless idol drama. It was the drama that Shen Jintai first starred in. The Shen Jintai in it looked like he was in a daze. He blinked greasily and his face seemed to be twitching. He had thick oily bangs that looked outdated now.
Bai Qingquan felt better after watching it. In the past two years, he had been using this drama for his own amusement.
“Your mental state is not good,” Wei Ge said while eating. “You were fine during the first half, but you couldn’t hold on in the second half.”
“I’m in a better mood now so don’t talk about it.” Bai Qingquan was disappointed.
“It was a bit unexpected to see Shen Jintai’s acting skill to suddenly be this good, but he won’t be able to grab your limelight. Your scenes and roles are still there. Unless you collapse yourself first, don’t let him in the limelight,” Wei Ge said as he grabbed another chicken drumstick. “Stay in good shape.”
“How could I let him.” Bai Qingquan wiped his mouth.
“Then cheer up. This drama is all about the acting. In any case, he performed well, which is a good thing for the drama as a whole. He won’t drag it down. The drama is well configured, and the script is solidly written. Heat is certain. Don’t keep thinking about your past grudges with him. Just treat him as an ordinary male number two. You are the prince, the future crowned prince, and the future Emperor. He’s just an eunuch. If you lose to him in terms of momentum, showing the prince is not as good as a slave, then it’ll really be the end.”
“All eunuch in history had been small and shrunken. Why don’t they let him act truthfully and make him look like an actually eunuch.”
“This drama isn’t following the route of a historical drama,” Wei Ge said. “How can anyone fall in love with a constricted eunuch. In order for this to work, he needs to be beautiful. Let’s stop talking about him. You should go to bed early tonight and adjust your state.”
“I’ll go to the set to watch his and Zhou Ying’s scene.” Bai Qingquan had unconsciously gotten used to his role and started using the names of the characters in the play. “I’m not going to see him. I want to see the little fresh meat.”
Wei Ge said, “Keep your eyes closed and don’t be exposed. Like Shen Jintai, you also like men.”
Bai Qingquan paused and said, “My fans have a CP with me and President Yan. The public’s reaction to it has been okay…” They even called him the Yan’s family son-in-law.
“That’s just joking around and selling rot*. Real rot is not the same. Believe it or not, if you come out and say you like men on your front foot, you’ll be kicking all your fans with your back foot.” Wei Ge saw that he was frustrated and said, “You’re only 22. What are you panicking about? Fight for two more years. When you’re firmly established, you can talk about it as you like.”
*To highlight the ambiguous relationship between two men to hype and cater to the audience.
Bai Qingquan thought to himself, ‘22 is the age when demand is strong.’
Have pity for him. He had to face many handsome men everyday but had to pretend to be innocent and happy. Wuwuwu.
He blamed it all on Shen Jintai. With this currently rivalry, he needed to be opposite of everything Shen Jintai was. Since Shen Jintai likes men, he naturally must not.
He was the little fairy of the Kaolin Flower*.
*(高岭之花) = Metaphor used for something that can only be seen from a distance and cannot be touched, something that can only be longed for but out of reach.
Gao Qiao went to the airport to pick up Yan Qiuchi. On his flight, Yan Qiuchi had the chance to watch the video Gao Qiao sent him.
“I didn’t expect Shen Jintai to act well,” Gao Qiao reported to his boss. “The director also gave him a nickname, Shen Yitiao.”
Perceiving Yan Qiuchi looking up, he explained, “All his shots have passed.”
Yan Qiuchi couldn’t tell anything from the video Gao Qiao sent. The scene was too noisy with the fans blowing nonstop and the surrounding equipment noises. It was also too dark to see clearly. The scene showed Shen Jintai standing under the headlights with Bai Qingquan. The sound wasn’t very clear, but the scene looked decent.
“What’s being shot tonight?” Yan Qiuchi asked.
“The evening is the highlight,” Gao Qiao said with excitement. “Shen Jintai’s and Zheng Siqi’s bed scene!”
Yan Qiuchi was silent. The bright light of the phone screen shone reflected on his face making his facial features looked even more profound.
He had a dream last night. He dreamt of Shen Jintai.
In the dream he held Shen Jintai, who was sweaty, and touched places he shouldn’t have touched with his hands. The embrace gave him a weird satisfaction. He had never had the satisfaction of holding something before. The dream was imaginary but felt real. It was like an itch that could not be scratched and a heart that could not be placed.
Was it a good idea to go watch the filming tonight?
Yan Qiuchi was a rational person. He had analyzed the dream he had last night very rationally. He felt that he usually restrained himself too much. He has a very serious skin hunger and thirst problem.
Skin hunger and thirst was strictly considered a psychological problem. As its name implied, it’s an extreme yearning for skin contact, especially for hugs. There are two extreme manifestations of people with this kind of problem. One kind is that they are especially fond of contact with other people’s bodies and the other kind is because they are extremely restrained and self-disciplined. Yan Qiuchi fell into the latter category.
Because he was afraid and ashamed of his problem being discovered by others, so he became even more restrained and resisted contact with other people.
He shouldn’t have carried Shen Jintai that night. Just from the embrace with the drunk Shen Jintai laying softly in his arms had aroused his desire that he had suppressed for many years.
It had nothing to do with affection or love, but simply physiological needs.
He unbuttoned his neckline and glanced at the bite mark on his neck which had almost faded. It was like the tattoo on Shen Jintai’s body.
“President Yan, are you going home or…”
“Go to the set,” Yan Qiuchi said.
The light from the streetlamp shone in through the car window. Yan Qiuchi was sitting in the dark with only a light shinning on his neck and chest. His sexy Adam’s apple bobbed up and down a few times. His chin was submerged in darkness, making his expression unclear.
The author has something to say：
That never sagging ass and red lips are going to come in handy! Director Guo, pay attention to it!