This was the first time Wen Che sat at the Ji family dinner table as Ji Zhinong after his rebirth. His seat was the one to the side most, whereas Ji Yunan sat between his mother and second brother, coincidentally the two people who pampered him the most. Towards the end of dinner, Ji Tianjun drank his soup while asking about his children’s activities one by one. But even after he’d gone around the entire table, he didn’t mention Ji Zhinong.
He noticed that he was probably more unnecessary than that plate of pickled fish1pickled fish: suan cai yu. Suan = bitter cai = noob yu = unnecessary, extra and was as annoying as the son of a servant sitting at his master’s table. He even had to tolerate Ji Yunan acting like a good child in front of his parents, disgusting him to the point of making him lose his appetite entirely. After randomly eating a few mouthfuls of food, he returned to his room upstairs.
At that moment he got a message. Opening it, he saw that, surprisingly, it was his manager Liu Ning, who had been playing dead for several days.
It was an audition notice.
Wen Che was extremely familiar with the movie that was casting.
It was a famous work of his in his early years: Treading on a Courtyard of Orchids. This wasn’t a remake, but the second part.
He felt confused. At its core, Treading on a Courtyard of Orchids was a tragic drama. The main lead Lu Yun died miserably at the end, making many audience members cry. Either this second part was going to make the main lead revive from death, or it was going to make random changes.
But no matter how it was changed, it was still the last hope he had dangling in front of his eyes. He had to grasp it.
He replied to Liu Ting that he wanted to audition.
30 seconds later, Liu Ting replied with a series of audio messages.
Wen Che unhappily looked at the ten-second audio. He hated it the most when his subordinates sent audio messages when making reports.
Liu Ting: “Sorry, I sent this message as a group text and sent it to the wrong person. You can’t audition.”
The tone of her voice was very impatient.
Ji Zhinong also replied with an audio message. “Why can’t I audition?”
Liu Ting: “Your acting is terrible. The director definitely won’t approve, and your contract with De Yu is about to expire. The company won’t waste any more resources on you.”
Liu Ting: “What’s wrong with being a second-generation rich kid? Don’t snatch everything from others.”
Ji Zhinong: “I’m reasonably trying out for a role, so how did it become snatching? Did you forget who gives you your salary?”
After he said it, he realized it wasn’t appropriate, as he was no longer Boss Wen of the old days but instead was just a small contracted actor.
Liu Ting, as expected, counterattacked. “De Yu2the company gives me my salary. De Yu told me to give up on you. Are you satisfied with this answer?”
Liu Ting: “Zhinong, considering that I’ve managed you for two years, I’ll give you a piece of advice. You’re absolutely talentless in acting. Every time you messed up a work with your acting, I had to pay supporters to give it good ratings. Is there any point in lying to yourself and others? Have mercy on me and the audience’s eyes. Out of the 2.5 million fans you have on Weibo, there’re probably only 25 actual, living ones. Isn’t this enough for you to realize that you’re a useless…I won’t finish the sentence. You keep it in mind. Don’t reply.”
Wen Che put down the phone and walked into the bathroom, staring at himself in the mirror.
Ji Zhinong’s original name was Zhang Nong. This name was clearly something his parents had just randomly come up with and sounded a bit unrefined. It actually had nothing to do with his personal appearance. In fact, the characteristic that could most clearly showcase his relations to the Ji family would be his handsome face.
He tilted his head slightly. Under the warm lighting, his cheekbones were clearly defined, his jawline smooth, and upon brushing back his hair from his forehead, his forehead would emit an aura of nobility, his eyes bright, his lower eyelids full, his nose sharp, and the ends of his mouth curved upwards naturally. When he smiled, two faint dimples appeared, his appearance reflecting the lush beauty (Nong Li) his name spoke of (Zhinong).
Wen Che suddenly thought of something and raised his hand to pinch his chin, which was overly well-positioned with his nose—there wasn’t any plastic.
And then he peeled his double eyelids apart to observe them closely—there wasn’t any sign of surgery.
Finally, he rubbed and squished his face all over but didn’t feel anything unnatural.
If one were to speak of any modified part of his face, that’d be his ears with their ear holes.
“This child…was born beautiful.” He couldn’t resist complimenting the Ji Zhinong in the mirror.
It could be said that he’d finally found a strong point to be happy about on the original owner’s body.
But why would such a beautiful face be paired with an idiotic airhead?! What was the designer thinking?! And it seemed like it had been several months since he’d last gotten a haircut. His hair had grown all the way to his eyelashes, as if intentionally wanting to hide his face.
His hairstyle during the wedding before was probably styled to look ugly as well.
Confirming that the original owner’s appearance didn’t have any defects and could even be considered superior, Wen Che finally had the confidence to decide that no matter what, he would go audition tomorrow.
If he didn’t find a chance to turn over a new leaf, he would never be able to raise his head in the Ji family, his position inferior to the fake Ji Yunan who was riding over his head and showing off—he couldn’t tolerate that.
Besides, the original owner’s reputation was bad enough, so it couldn’t get any worse. He had nothing to lose, so he could do anything without fear.
Sunday morning, clear skies.
Outside of classroom 108 of the theater academy’s first floor, there was a five-mile long line, which included practically all the handsome guys of the academy. Just randomly picking one would give you a good-looking seedling with delicate features. They were the students that would graduate that year, each having the same goal: getting the role of Lu Yun.
Ten minutes later, the class prince3basically the best-looking guy in the class of class two walked out the classroom, dispirited. Everyone was shocked, tacitly understanding that he must’ve failed.
“I heard this project started three years ago,” someone whispered. “But because they couldn’t find a suitable person for the role of male lead, it was forcibly delayed until this year.”
“The teacher previously said that the director wanted a copy of Wen Che’s version of Lu Yun and told us to mimic Lao Wen’s actions and speech patterns in the movie, but that strategy might not work either. The year before last, Senior He did exactly that and was approved by the director, but in the end he was rejected by the investors, who said he wasn’t similar.”
“Senior He was so traumatized at the time that he almost went to do plastic surgery with Wen Che’s photo! Hahahaha!”
“Every year this story gets retold once. He You’s fans are almost dying from anger. He’s probably going to live under Wen Che’s shadow for the rest of his life.”
“Is it just him who’s living under Wen Che’s shadow? Some may die but will forever live on in the acting department’s textbooks. When it was time for midterms, who here hasn’t been tested on a few scenes of Wen Che’s?”
That group of boys had fun discussing. As time passed, the line slowly shortened.
The old professor at the side watched his students walk in confidently one by one but come out dispirited with no exceptions. Even those few seedlings he was most confident in weren’t selected. He thought, will no one be selected this year as well?
A student who’d gotten an award for his dramas previously started crying from the shock. The professor patted his shoulder, bluntly saying that the standards of the production crew were too high; it wasn’t his problem.
Three hours passed quickly. It wasn’t yet noon when all the candidates were rejected.
Reaping nothing from the seedlings he’d expected to bear fruit, the professor sighed quietly. Just as he decided to go talk with the director crew, suddenly there was the sound of a girl shrieking outside.
As if he were running against time, Ji Yunan arrived at room 108, surrounded by his manager and bodyguards.
The bodyguards with him pushed the professor away, clearing the way for Ji Yunan.
Room 108 was a special classroom. The room was spacious, and where a chalkboard should’ve been instead stood a layer of glass stretching from the ceiling to the floor.
The glass was one way, reflecting the room that was being monitored, which was the classroom for the director crew’s auditions. The visible side was towards the monitor room, which was room 109.
Ji Yunan, wearing sunglasses, greeted a few directors in room 108. It was only as he pushed open the door to room 109 that he took off his sunglasses, squeezing a perfect smile onto his face, which he’d intentionally applied makeup on, and then knocking on the door with his knuckles.
After two knocks, he was allowed in. Only then did he dare to push open the door and enter.
Room 109 was commonly used to receive important guests, and the furnishings were especially elaborate.
A man sat facing right towards the glass. After Ji Yunan came in, there were five people standing in the entire room. And these five people didn’t dare to sit without the express permission of the person currently seated, the leather sofa becoming a decoration.
Ji Yunan wasn’t an exception.
“CEO Li, I came to discuss the role of Lu Yun.” He cautiously observed the other’s expression.
Li Shaoyao’s handsome face was dark. It was only upon hearing the words “Lu Yun” that he raised his eyes to glance at Ji Yunan once. Then he looked towards executive assistant Chen Qing, who’d opened the door for Ji Yunan just now. Chen Qing placed a pile of files next to the CEO’s hand, explaining, “Previously, during the role selection at the Media Academy of Z University, Mr. Ji Yunan was placed on the waitlist. So far, he is the overall best pick for all the categories.”
Li Shaoyao flipped open the files. Ji Yunan had obtained above nine points for each of the categories out of ten points, but nine points was just the passing grade in Li Shaoyao’s mind.
Ji Yunan had already prepared beforehand the scenes that might be tested. Having gone through the original Treading on a Courtyard of Orchids film more than ten times, he was confident that he could get the approval of the investors and not become the second He You.
He worked up the courage to say, “I can act…”
“I heard you recently disrupted the wedding between the Ji and Qin families?” Li Shaoyao suddenly interrupted him.
Ji Yunan was caught off guard. “…W-what?”
Li Shaoyao pushed aside the files by his hand. “A scheming person can’t play the role of Lu Yun.” He glanced at Chen Qing. “Send him off.”
Chen Qing felt shocked. The last one who made it to this stage, He You, at the very least, had lasted ten minutes before getting rejected.
How come Ji Yunan hadn’t lasted even two minutes?!
How much did he look down on him? At the very least Ji Yunan was a popular youngster!
He still extended his hand, asking Ji Yunan to leave.
Ji Yunan finally refocused, his eyes reddening in unwillingness. “You don’t understand the reasons behind it. You can’t just reject me like this.”
Li Shaoyao: “I have no interest in your story.”
Ji Yunan: “…”
Under Li Shaoyao’s oppressive gaze, he didn’t dare to raise his eyes, tears falling drop by drop, more fragile than any female celebrity.
The director who’d come in with him couldn’t resist opening his mouth in persuasion. “CEO Li, Yunan is truly the most suitable choice so far. The 22 year old students of the four major academies have all auditioned. If you aren’t satisfied, I’m afraid we won’t be able to find a suitable person this year once again. Besides…”
A dull sound interrupted the director’s earnest advice. Through the transparent glass, Li Shaoyao saw a boy jump into the classroom through the window.
Everyone was startled.
Ji Zhinong returned the potted plants by the window back into their original spots and then apologized to the teachers inside the classroom. “Desperate times call for desperate measures, desperate measures.”
After Li Shaoyao saw his face clearly, he said in interest, “Isn’t there another one here?”
This chapter marks the start of the actual story.
It’ll probably be split into three parts.
Look forward to their interaction in the next chapter! ^_^
- 1pickled fish: suan cai yu. Suan = bitter cai = noob yu = unnecessary, extra
- 2the company
- 3basically the best-looking guy in the class