Ch 4: Ethereal Aristocratic Youth Who Walks on a Path of Ice and Snow
TL/N: In which our ethereal prince makes a move *cough cough*
[Partner, you have any more work coming up?]
Hearing that ghost-like voice, Shao Si flipped himself over in the backseat with difficulty, dazedly answering in his mind: [No…I think.]
The system lowered its tone: [Then that means we can start getting down to actual business?]
Facing this question, Shao Si became serious: [I’ve already thought it through…]
The system held its breath in anticipation: [Mhm?]
Shao Si answered while half asleep: [In a bit, I’m gonna get home, take a shower, and then get a good night’s sleep.]
[…] The system didn’t speak for a long time, choked up: [Are you serious?]
[…You’re questioning me.]
[I’m not questioning, it pains my heart.]
[It’s not like I took my small fists to pound your chest*. Don’t be noisy, I really need to sleep.]
*popular internet saying that originated from a post with a screenshot of a conversation between a married couple, where the wife was upset and demanding in a (failed) cutesy way for her husband to make her feel better. Because of how hilarious this phrase was, it got very popular.
After finishing his sentence, Shao Si fell into a deep sleep, his breathing becoming shallow.
The system sighed: [What more can I friggin’ say, you bothersome little monster.*]
*小妖精 (xiao yao jing): can also be translated as a fairy, goblin, imp, evil spirit, etc. I just picked what seemed to fit the best in this context!
The ride home took fairly long. When Li Guangzong woke up, looked at his watch, and did a quick calculation, he estimated that there was still another 20 minutes left in the trip.
Once he got all his emails sent out, he took off his glasses and started contemplating about Shao Si’s career development.
Despite him constantly using ‘losing fame’ as a joke, he was actually quite afraid of Shao Si turning into a nobody. Losing popularity was too easy. In this day and age where society was flooded with entertainment available at your fingertips, how long could news, even the hottest news, stay in the public eye? How many people could a celebrity be remembered by? After the feeling of novelty wears off, what material is left to create conversation?
Celebrities needed topicality and to be relevant, and it didn’t matter where the interest came from. It could mean having dating rumours and gossip, or even purposefully hiring internet water armies* to smear yourself, then after a period of time clearing up your name.
*internet water army: popularized in the 2010s, groups of Internet ghostwriters paid to post online comments with particular content.
In this circle, too many people go to the extremes to get what they want.
But his Shao Si daddy looked down on all the methods used in the industry.
When Li Guangzong thought back to all the plans Shao Si shot down a few days ago, he got a headache.
He didn’t manage Shao Si right from the start of his career, and also had a bad impression of him at first.
His aura was too cold, which caused people to panic on contact and warded others off.
Because Shao Si had very outstanding looks, the company wanted to package him nicely right from the start, selected him as a main candidate for training and development, and arranged for him to be managed by one of the industry’s top managers who had made many xiaoxianruo* ultra popular.
*xiaoxianruo: direct translation is little fresh meat = youthful male actor/celebrity
As it had nothing to do with him, Guangzong really didn’t pay too much attention, and continued to diligently manage his group of newbies, not knowing if and when one of them would ever turn popular.
Shao Si and his manager had a falling out later on, and broke out into a fight at the company. At the time, Guangzong just returned to the company with one of his artists, and witnessed Shao Si pinning Qi Ming, the ace manager, against the floor and punching him. Qi Ming was beaten to the point that his glasses were all shattered and he was left curled up on the floor. The entire company was in an uproar.
That day, Shao Si was dressed in all black, sporting an aloof hip hop look. Perhaps he had just finished dance practice, as his snapback was crooked and looked like it was on the verge of falling off.
If security hadn’t arrived in time, Shao Si might’ve taken a decorative vase from nearby and smashed it on Qi Ming’s head.
It wasn’t clear what the company did, but they managed to keep the incident under control. Li Guangzong, at the time, didn’t have any thoughts other than feeling: this person was indeed scary.
Yet unexpectedly, the company reached out to him the next day, asking whether or not he was willing to take over managing Shao Si.
…Honestly, he wasn’t really willing to.
Everyone in the company said that Shao Si had a horrible temper, was arrogant, and didn’t follow the rules.
He also thought Shao Si was this type of person too, but after being forced to manage him, he discovered that it wasn’t the case at all.
Afterward they grew closer, and one time while joking, he teased Shao Si for having a low EQ, which made Shao Si scoff.
Lee Guangzong: “ don’t deny it, your EQ’s actually pretty low, otherwise why would the entire company see you as a tyrant standing on a fridge.”
Shao Si frowned: “Come again? What tyrant?”
Li Guangzong: “I’ll translate, it means cold tyrant.”
So this was how “ standing on top of a fridge” was used?
Shao Si rubbed his nose: “Why’d my image end up like this?”
Li Guangzong: “What else could it be, the dispute between you and Qi Ming, I still can’t figure out, why’d you have to beat him up? He’s gone around talking crap about you for, like, the last four or five years and he’s still not tired of it……Oh right, I heard that the company tried to interrogate you about it later on but you never gave an explanation.”
“That incident…” Shao Si looked up, his face turning an unpleasant colour, “There wasn’t really a reason why I did it, I just couldn’t stand him.“
Li Guangzong wasn’t surprised at all because it was the answer he expected, but just as he was about to tell Shao Si to ‘Be more mindful in the future, don’t just do dumb things’, Shao Si continued speaking: “There were 7 artists under his management, every single one of them was able to achieve massive popularity within a short period of time, you know why?”
Li Guangzong’s heart thumped and skipped a beat as an awful thought popped up in his head, but he didn’t dare voice what came to mind.
“The first time he met me, he just threw me a document —— you know what the document was? A public persona chart. Whatever characteristics and image he wanted you to have, he marked it all down clearly.” Shao Si curled his lip, “I still have that piece of crap memorized, whatever ethereal* aristocratic youth who walks on a path of ice and snow. He even told people that they couldn’t be ooc*, you understand what ooc is, right? Back then, I was so angry all I could do was laugh in disbelief, that idiot sure was knowledgeable.”
*I used ethereal for the idiom the author used 不食人间烟火 (Bu shi ren jian yan huo). The direct translation is along the lines of ‘not consuming mortal smoke and fire’. It’s an idiom used to describe someone as being above/detached from the realities of life. Depending on the context, it can be positive (comparing one to being like “heavenly” or being “pure”, or “out of the world/extraordinary”) or negatively (detached from reality can also be a sign of obliviousness to sufferings)
*ooc = out of character
Li Guangzong: “……”
“Making me act stupid was something bearable, but his tactics of getting his managed artists drunk then setting them up with benefactors was what I couldn’t stand. Just breaking his nose was a light punishment, nowhere near enough—— Why are you looking at me like that?…… I never said I was the one that got sent to someone’s bed.”
Yes, he was actually a passionate, hot-blooded youth who righteously stood up for others.
Li Guangzong was still lost in thought, when the driver braked and parked on the side of the road, turning around to get his attention: “Zong ge*, we’re here.”
*Ge= brother, used to show respect.
This time, Li Guangzong didn’t need to call him, Shao Si reacted on his own and threw off the blanket, probably because he heard the two words ‘we’re here’ in his sleep. He drowsily opened the car door, not forgetting to put on a mask and sunglasses before he got out of the car.
Li Guangzong watched as he jumped out, then directly turned right. Hastily, he tried to call him back: “What are you doing? Where are you going?!”
Shao Si sauntered along, squinted his eyes and didn’t even turn around to say, “going home to sleep.”
Sleep, my ass!
Li Guangzong also jumped out, took two or three long strides and tried to pull Shao Si back into the car. While fighting off Li Guangzong, Shao Si all of a sudden stopped moving, dumbfounded, as if he just lost some hope of living. He pointed at the high-rise in front of him, “No……why’d you bring me to a hotel? Shouldn’t I be frickin’ blissfully standing in front of my neighbourhood complex?”
“I told you yesterday, the company set up some celebratory banquet. A while back, that garbage drama that the company bought up an IP* for and invested in got an extremely good response.” Li Guangzong dragged him inside while instructing, “Qi Ming’s gonna be there too, don’t act impulsively and stay rational. No matter how much he tries to rile you up just ignore him, you hear me?”
*IP: Intellectual Property, a complete story or a concept (usually an online novel or game), which can be developed into a film, drama, or other commercial products.
Shao Si took off one side of his mask, following him, his expression not looking good: “Let me live……”
“We just have to show our faces and have some food as a sign of courtesy, and then leave, okay?” Li Guangzong brought Shao Si to the front reception, stated the boss’s name, and the server guided them to the 3rd floor. “Don’t pull a long face, it puts you in a bad light. People that don’t know you would think that you’re still the aristocratic youth who walks on a path of ice and snow from back then……”
“Don’t keep bringing up my dark past,” Shao Si’s mouth twisted into a grimace, “20 minutes, I’ll stay for 20 minutes, not one second beyond that.”
At the banquet, Qi Ming of course started throwing out snarky comments as soon as he saw Shao Si, determined to keep the topic of how Shao Si was taking part in Director Wang’s unprofitable film going, while finding roundabout ways to brag about how the xiaoxianruo he recently started managing earned an upward of ten million for one of his films. The xiaoxianruo was also cooperative, every so often faking a silly and naive tone while saying, ‘No No, I just debuted not too long ago, it’s just that I have a bit of luck, how can I compare with Shixiong.*’
*Shixiong: is usually used to refer to someone who is a few years older (but not necessarily) and walked the same path an individual is pursuing (so maybe they went to the same school, started in an industry/company earlier than you). The closest english equivalent is “senior”.
Shao Si picked some random food to eat. After finishing, he sat with his legs crossed and focused on playing with his phone. Qi Ming and xiaoxianruo’s dialogue went in one ear and out the other, so Shao Si only half-heartedly replied, ‘Oh, not bad, keep up the good work.”
Qi Ming smugly took a sip out of his wine glass, like a rooster that won a cockfight. Not staying quiet for long, he gave that “ten million salary” xiaoxianruo sitting next to him a pat, his intentions glaringly obvious: “Go on, go say hello to your shixiong.”
The xiaoxianruo’s name was Yang Ze. His looks came off as sunny and healthy, and he was extremely handsome. When he smiled he shined as bright as the stud earring on his right ear. He stood up and lifted his wine glass: “Shao shixiong, I’ve heard so much about you and been looking forward to meeting you! I’ll drink first* and feel free to do as you please.”
*Here, Yang Ze was politely offering to drink with Shao SI and emptied his glass first to show respect
Shao Si really went and did what he pleased, as in, he didn’t drink.
Li Guangzong discreetly squeezed him to move, to no avail, so he could only be resigned to his fate, stand up, and drink on Shao Si’s behalf*. “Sorry about that, Xiao Si hasn’t been feeling well these past two days, the doctor said to avoid drinking and smoking.”
*the direct translation of 挡酒 is “block alcohol”. Li Guangzong is drinking for Shao Si as a courtesy. Reading between the lines, it’s sorta a hint for Yang Ze to stop bothering them lol.
But Yang Ze didn’t stop there and very enthusiastically filled Shao Si’s bowl with food. The two were actually quite far apart, so he had to stretch his arm over, and not knowing if it was intentional or not, knocked over the glass in front of Shao Si, spilling juice all over Shao Si.
Li Guangzong gasped in shock and hurriedly grabbed a napkin to wipe his clothes.
Yang Ze froze in place, at a loss: “I’m sorry…really sorry, I didn’t do that on purpose, I just wanted to offer you some food. “
Shao Si took the napkin with his free hand, while busily using his other hand to send off the text he spent half the day editing. Once sent, he concentrated on wiping his clothes, but the more he wiped the messier it ended up. He stood up directly, saying: “It’s fine, I’m just gonna go to the washroom.”
10 minutes later, he stood in the bathroom with his phone in hand, as one word burst out of his mouth: “……Fuck.”
Not because of the clothes, but because of the text.
The text message he spent most of the day writing and editing, that he was going to send to the makeup artist so he could inquire about Yang Yinyin.
Even though it was just a message to say hello, and wasn’t particularly frivolous……but it got sent to the wrong person!
Shao Si stared at the sentence ‘Are you free to have a meal?’ on his screen, having very mixed feelings.
What reaction would Gu Yanzhou have after seeing the message?
…… Really didn’t mean to invite him out.
Shao Si ran his fingers through his hair, realizing that if he chose to follow-up now with a ‘Sorry, wrong person’, it would make him appear pretty scheming and also pretentious.
TL Lumi’s note:
Gu Yanzhou: looks like you were subconsciously attracted to me!
Shao Si: Silence! Or else I’ll take my little fists to pound – no, I’ll break you.
disclaimer: Lumi doesn’t support domestic violence! XD
PREVIOUS CHAPTER|TABLE OF CONTENTS|NEXT CHAPTER