The interview was at 9 in the morning. Ji Zhinong got up even before the sun rose. He’d always had a good sense of time and even managed to squeeze out two hours, planning to go visit his old school and see its changes in the last six years.
He’d never imagined that in six years, the entire layout of a top tier city like City S would turn on its head and change beyond recognition. This left him unable to determine the way even if he had his GPS on.
If someone checked the security camera footage from 7 to 11 in the morning, that person would notice a blue Porsche pitifully circling back and forth around the intersection.
He hadn’t even gotten halfway through his business before getting lost along the way. He’d even ran two red lights by accident in the process and had been chased by a police officer for half a street before realizing that he’d broken the law. The traffic police had thought it was a second-generation rich kid learning how to street race and scolded him. Ji Zhinong couldn’t explain his hardships, and after taking the fine, pitifully asked the traffic police officer for help on how to get to University S.
The traffic police officer looked at him strangely, and in a display of kindness, said, “University S is in the East City. Why are you circling around in West City?”
Ji Zhinong: “…”
And under his enthusiastic suggestion, he found a driver. The driver, familiar with the roads, brought him to the gates of University S and even provided a free car parking service. The entire process only took 30 minutes. Ji Zhinong, holding back his tears, gave him a five-star rating and then, while rushing to the academy, went around asking six or seven students before finding the location of his old school’s new academy.
But he was already half an hour late. Even though the teachers and directors were still in classroom 108, the student leader standing by the door blocked his entry. He couldn’t very well make things difficult for his junior, so he could only take a detour. Luckily the classroom was on the first floor, and luckily the window wasn’t locked.
Like his daredevil 18 year old self, he somersaulted through the window to jump into the classroom.
And such was the reason for the current scene of shocked stares.
“Sorry I’m late.” He smiled awkwardly, not panicking and shamelessly jumping straight to the point. “I came to audition.”
“The interviews already ended half an hour ago.” A middle-aged man holding a portable wine bottle said. “If you’re not even capable of being on time, you don’t even have the right to compete.”
Ji Zhinong saw his face clearly and knew this person was someone he was very familiar with.
Wei Qing, the director of the original Treading on a Courtyard of Orchids.
This very familiar person was friends with Wen Che but wasn’t close to Ji Zhinong in the slightest, which was why he was so unmoved.
But just as Ji Zhinong was about to pester him, Wei Qing suddenly lowered his head and glanced at his phone before raising his head and changing his attitude. He flipped open the script by his hand and threw it to Ji Zhinong. “Try this part.”
Ji Zhinong took a look. It was the scene of the protagonist offering three cups of wine1When a master accepts a disciple, the disciple must offer the master three cups of wine as a show of respect to his master. The lines were hard to pronounce and memorize, including many sentences in Classical Chinese.
Wei Qing: “I’ll give you five minutes to memorize the lines. For every word you get wrong, I’ll deduct five points.”
Ji Zhinong shut the script. “Let’s start now.”
Another teacher present asked, “You guessed the topic and prepared beforehand?”
“I have a photographic memory.”
Wen Che did indeed have a photographic memory, but he didn’t know how much of that talent was retained in Ji Zhinong’s body. Even if there wasn’t much, he could still memorize this huge section of lines because he’d put a lot of work into studying this scene back then. He might not be able to recite it backwards, but it was true that he could remember the later parts after seeing the beginning.
Wei Qing hmphed coldly, personally pouring three cups of “water”. The trash can next to the desk contained many used paper cups, the traces of the rejected students beforehand.
Ji Zhinong shut his eyes, slowly getting into the state he’d been in while acting as Lu Yun back then. When he signaled to start with his hand, the presence belonging to he himself seemed to disappear. The average person wouldn’t be able to see this change, but the few seniors present experienced a slight shock.
Only to see him raise the first cup of “wine”, the lines flowing out seamlessly, the light and heavy pitches between each word and sentence shifting several times with his emotions. Every word was just right. When he drank the first cup of water, he could already make everyone present believe it was Lu Yun himself.
Ji Zhinong faced the layer of glass that extended to the floor, imagining his master, and offered the second cup of “wine”. He didn’t know that there was really someone standing behind the glass, currently taking in his every word and action to the point of even observing the tremble of his eyelashes.
Li Shaoyao quietly gazed at this scene. Ji Zhinong was in the act, he was outside. The two, separated by a layer of glass, were in the same room on a spiritual level.
At the third cup of wine, Ji Zhinong raised his head and drank it all, completely calm.
It was only when the director yelled “stop” that he frowned, a flush appearing on his nose—the third cup wasn’t water but real wine, strong liquor even.
“Amazing. You drank it all?” Wei Qing was extremely shocked. “The previous students would just yell ‘stop’ after tasting the difference. You, on the other hand, are serious minded.”
This wine was his secret hurdle. What was in the cup wasn’t normal fruit wine but a burning and nose irritating spirit2strong alcohol. Even if others could resist collapsing into laughter, they wouldn’t be able to control the coughing and tears, and from there, completely mess up. So many candidates had “died” at this hurdle. For there to suddenly be a survivor today was honestly surprising.
But Wei Qing quickly overcame the surprise. Perhaps this person liked this type of spirit like him. It wasn’t as if he hadn’t heard of Ji Zhinong’s reputation. In his early years, he’d mingled in quite a few bars, having a lot of fun privately. He reckoned his alcohol tolerance wasn’t bad.
According to what that person wanted, even if his background wasn’t clean, it had to be whitewashed.
“Your previous experiences were just as brilliant as your performance just now. We are more inclined to choose an actor with no blemishes on his disposition and resume, so I’m very sorry, but…”
His verdict was once again interrupted by the message from his phone.
Ji Zhinong saw him once again forcibly take back the words of rejection right at the tip of his tongue, shifting to saying, “You can go room 109 for the second interview.”
Just after he said it, the door of room 109 opened from the inside. Only then Ji Zhinong did realize that this was a connected classroom.
Before Chen Qing escorted him in, he sent Ji Yunan and co. away first.
The rims of Ji Yunan’s eyes were red. Through the sunglasses, he glared at Ji Zhinong.
Wen Che wondered, how come you’re everywhere?
He was escorted into room 109.
The other three people in the room also left tactfully. After the door closed, there was only him and a stranger left in the space.
Ji Zhinong’s focus was not on who this person was but that the glass that extended to the floor was actually a surveillance wall! Then wasn’t his blind acting towards the glass basically acting towards this person?!
Li Shaoyao turned and, seeing his expression of panic, was baffled. “Do I look very scary?”
It was only now that Ji Zhinong raised his head slightly, taking the other in.
He was really startled.
Wasn’t this that kid from the Li family?!
The tiny little young master who he’d specially taken care of during some banquet eight years ago due to someone’s request?!
After not meeting for a few years, it was like he’d changed into another person!
How did the child who had been mocked as both short and fat, just like an AA battery, become such a tall, slender, good-looking, and elegant handsome guy?!
“Is there something on my face?” Li Shaoyao asked quietly.
Ji Zhinong refocused, shaking his head like a rattle.
What was up with him being a little afraid of Li Shaoyao?!
Wen Che’s actual age, in any case, was older than his by five years! Before he’d even followed behind him calling “Big brother Wen”!!!
How come now, it seemed more like he had to call him “Big brother”?
The drop in seniority!
How could someone who’s been a big brother before stand being another person’s brother 🙂
The alcohol started taking effect. His brain was saying he didn’t want to, but his mouth took it out of context, saying he wanted to.
Ji Zhinong blurted out, “Big brother…”
Li Shaoyao raised his handsome, sharp eyebrows. “What did you call me?”
“!!!” Ji Zhinong covered his mouth. “…I misspoke!”
“Just now you read the script lines very smoothly, but now you’re misspeaking?” Li Shaoyao bent his index finger to raise Ji Zhinong’s chin, narrowing his eyes dangerously. “You did it on purpose, didn’t you?”
Ji Zhinong: Me?!!!!
I wouldn’t be able to wash away this accusation even if I jumped into the Yellow River3Chinese idiom that means being unable to explain oneself and prove one’s innocence!!
- 1When a master accepts a disciple, the disciple must offer the master three cups of wine as a show of respect
- 2strong alcohol
- 3Chinese idiom that means being unable to explain oneself and prove one’s innocence