Ch1 – Scandal

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Xu Jingzhe fumbled around in the car for a baseball cap he had bought earlier.
After looking around for a bit, he found it underneath the passenger seat.
He also happened to find a gossip magazine that Zhang Man had given him earlier that day.

The front page had a sensational headline printed in red and black—Shocking! Several Top Celebrities Caught At A Sex Party! The headline was accompanied by a photo of him as he exited the hotel. 

“…” Xu Jingzhe put the baseball cap on his head.
After thinking about it, he put on a mask and sunglasses as well.
Then, he took a few glances in the rearview mirror before finally getting out of the car.

Zhang Man had delivered the news in a timely manner.
Even though time was short and the situation was critical, she managed to remain calm from beginning to end.

 

 

“We’ve already contacted public relations.
Don’t say anything on social media.
We know we’re innocent, so we don’t need to say too much.”

Xu Jingzhe: “I know.” 

Zhang Man: “The magazine’s just trying to attract people’s attention.”

 

Xu Jingzhe was silent for a moment.
Then, he said, “The internet’s already become super developed.
I must be pretty popular for a magazine to be able to sell out.”

Zhang Man seemed to let out a laugh.
“I can’t believe you still have the energy to say this.”

Xu Jingzhe didn’t say anything more.
He bought a watermelon at the fruit shop by the corner.
As he was scanning the QR code to pay, Zhang Man sent him another message.

 

“What exactly were you doing there?” she asked.
“Can’t you tell me?”

Xu Jingzhe replied with four words, “It’s a private matter.”

Zhang Man stopped asking.

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Xu Jingzhe picked up the watermelon and turned into an alley. 

After his teacher, Ren Qing, retired, she moved into the old city district.
Xu Jingzhe would come to see her twice a year.
The old lady still insisted on acting in stage plays every month despite her age.
She was always running around for her performances.
Xu Jingzhe needed to make an appointment to even catch a glimpse of her.

The old house had a courtyard and a pond.
Xu Jingzhe squatted down by the pond to help his teacher switch out the fish.
Ren Qing cut up the watermelon and carried it out.

“Don’t come to see me if you’re busy.” Ren Qing wrapped a cloak wrapped around her shoulders.
She quietly asked, “Did something happen recently?”

Xu Jingzhe stood up.
His hair had gotten a bit longer because of his next project.
It was going to be a period costume drama.
The two strands of hair by his temples nearly reached his shoulders.
He casually tucked them behind his ear. 

“It’s just a couple of rumors,” Xu Jingzhe said.
“You don’t need to take it seriously.”

We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection.
If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.

Ren Qing nodded.
“I didn’t believe them.
I know what kind of person you are.”

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When he picked up the call, his tone wasn’t too happy.
The person on the other side immediately picked up on it.
“Don’t get into a fight.
Now is not the time.” 

Xu Jingzhe smashed his fist down on his horn.

Zhang Man waited for the harsh beep to pass.
Then, she calmly said, “You haven’t shown any evidence about what you were doing there.
The media obviously isn’t going to just let it go.
We need to come up with an excuse for you.”

 

“Anything will do,” Xu Jingzhe said irritably.
“Fuck, they have their camera lenses right up against my windshield!”

Zhang Man: “Just let them photograph you.
Your face is so handsome.
It’s literally worth millions.
I actually think it’s a shame for you to keep this beautiful face to yourself.
Let them get their fill!” 

Xu Jingzhe: “…”

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Zhang Man seemed to have suddenly figured out the answer.
She became a lot more energetic for some reason.
“You haven’t had any injections or surgeries, yet you’re able to maintain such good condition.
Even in high-definition, your face doesn’t have a single bad angle, and you don’t even need photoshop! What other celebrity around your age is able to produce such high-quality photos?!”

Xu Jingzhe placed a hand against his forehead.
He was a little tired.
“Alright.
Let’s talk about the actual issue at hand.
Quit complimenting me.”

Once Zhang Man saw that her compliments had worked, she stopped.
She didn’t waste any time speaking nonsense.
“We’ve come up with a plan.
You were on a date with someone at that hotel.
You are in a secret relationship, and you’re about to get engaged.” 

Xu Jingzhe interrupted her, “Wait, am I dating someone, or am I engaged?”

Zhang Man: “You’ve been dating for three or four years.
You’re about to get engaged.”

“…” Xu Jingzhe was a little unhappy.
“You sure are amazing.
When did you arrange a three or four year relationship for me? I didn’t even know about it.”

Zhang Man: “Isn’t that why I’m discussing it with you now? You haven’t done anything besides work for these past couple of years.
Our public relations team hasn’t had anything to do.
They’re finally coming into use now.
A secret relationship of three years, you get to wash yourself clean and show off your lovey-dovey relationship.
It’s a perfect plan.” 

There was no response from Xu Jingzhe.
She wasn’t sure whether he would cooperate or not.
Zhang Man has been working with him for almost ten years.
She witnessed Xu Jingzhe earn the title of Drama Emperor for three years in a row.
He just won an incredibly prestigious TV award for Best Male Actor earlier this year.
Besides having a pretty face and a good body, he was also humble and low-key in private.
During filming, Xu Jingzhe would usually bring just a single assistant at most.
He did everything himself, and he was hardworking and patient.
His professional image was so perfect it almost felt fake.
The most important point was that he didn’t cause trouble for his management team.
He never ran his mouth or caused scandals.

To be honest, Zhang Man felt a lot of pressure working with Xu Jingzhe.
She felt that, if she made even the slightest misstep, she may leave a smear upon his perfect life.

Xu Jingzhe was too dedicated to his work.
He was so dedicated that, if he were to lose his temper, you would feel that he was right in losing his temper.
You would feel that it must’ve been you who did something wrong.

For example, Xu Jingzhe was losing his temper right this very moment.
He was actually rather polite to the paparazzi.
He would never swear at them to their faces.
At the very most, he would just give them a cold glare, but the paparazzi still badmouthed him for being rude.
However, he was really, truly attractive.
As long as he appeared within the public eye, he was sure to be flawless.
His face would not be swollen.
There wouldn’t be any dark circles under his eyes.
Even his lips would be clean and perfect.
It was absolutely impossible for him to have acne or sallow skin.
Anyway, it was exactly as Zhang Man said.
Even if the camera was right against his face, it wouldn’t be able to capture a single pore or wrinkle.
There wasn’t a single part of him that wasn’t perfect. 

There was a paparazzi on the side of his car.
He actually had the camera lens pressed against the window of his car.
Xu Jingzhe expressionlessly glanced at the camera.
Then, he tore off the magazine cover and plastered it on the car window.

He was talking on the phone as he was turning the steering wheel.
“Who’s willing to cooperate with us?”

Zhang Man knew this meant he was relenting, so she took a deep sigh of relief.
She quickly said, “There are several female celebrities, and there are also male celebrities.
Same-sex marriage has been legalized for several years now.
There’s a high level of acceptance for this sort of thing.
That hotel wasn’t just any hotel.
A five star hotel like that receives tons of guests every day.
How were they supposed to know there was going to be sex scandal? There was sex, gambling, and drugs involved.
Of course it’s going to be a big deal.
Everyone’s teams are all in a hurry right now.
Your conditions are good, so you can take your pick.”

Xu Jingzhe thought about it for a while.
Then, he said, “Pick a guy.
If it’s a female celebrity, the break up might end up affecting her career.
It’s better to go with a guy.” 

Zhang Man was helpless.
“Even at a time like this, you’re still acting like a gentleman.”

Xu Jingzhe drove the car a little further.
He could still see the paparazzi in the rearview mirror.
He couldn’t help but complain, “So annoying!”

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Zhang Man coaxed him, “Don’t get annoyed.
I’ll help you pick a suitable candidate.”

Xu Jingzhe hung up the phone.
His WeChat received another notification.
It had only been twenty four hours since this incident occurred, yet his notifications were even more lively than New Year’s Day.
A lot of people were rushing up to show their loyalty.
They said they believed in him, asked if he was okay, asked if he needed help.
As for who was trying to get information from him and who was being sincere, Xu Jingzhe was actually very clear. 

He replied to a few people and scrolled down.
Then, he saw Dr.
Chen’s message.
“How is your sleep these days? How is your reaction in the mornings?”

Xu Jingzhe stared at this message for a long time.
He suddenly felt very tired.
He threw his phone aside.
He didn’t really want to touch it again.

Zhang Man’s abilities did not need to be questioned.
She said that she would help Xu Jingzhe find a suitable candidate, so she was definitely going to find someone that Xu Jingzhe would be satisfied with.
However, she hadn’t expected someone to send themselves up to her before she had even started her search.

Liang Yu had also gone to that hotel that day.
Furthermore, his photo seemed to have been leaked because his team wasn’t able to negotiate an acceptable price for it. 

When Zhang Man heard the news, she felt as if a slice of pie had just fallen into her lap.
Zhang Man felt like she was dreaming.
She asked the person next to her, “What kind of lucky day was it? Both the Movie Emperor and the Drama Emperor booked a room there.”

People in the industry knew that film and television drama were two different realms.
In terms of celebrity status, the big screen definitely comes out on top.
It had little to do with popularity or marketing and everything to do with one’s acting ability.

Liang Yu was the one who stood at the very top of this realm.
To this very day, he had yet to come back down.

He hadn’t debuted very early, but he did have a famous director helping him out.
Plus, he was also very good at picking out good roles.
In his very first role, he won three of the most prestigious awards in the country.
Zhang Man had seen his performances.
From a professional point of view, he was simply born to act.
He was destined for this lot in life. 

She’d never said this in front of Xu Jingzhe.
It wasn’t because her boss was a petty person.
However, Zhang Man knew that Xu Jingzhe had always wanted to appear on the big screen.

These past couple of years had been smooth sailing for him within the television industry.
All he needed was an opportunity.
Meanwhile, Liang Yu managed to win several international awards in a single jump.

Furthermore, he didn’t just act in movies meant for film festivals and award shows.
He was capable of pulling in big numbers at the box office for his commercial films as well.
Of course she was annoyed.

Xu Jingzhe never complained to her about films that were being made, about the allocation of resources, or about so-and-so’s awful acting.
He was the type of person that spent his time working away like an ox.
He didn’t have time to gossip behind other people’s backs. 

However, Liang Yu was definitely under a lot more pressure from the sex scandal than Xu Jingzhe was.
He was about to film a movie that was aimed for the Oscars.
He had already signed the contract, and they were just about to announce him as a member of the cast.
It would’ve raised his international celebrity status by another level.
He also had another movie planned for the end of the year.
It was a cooperation with a well-known commercial director.
He had taken on a value-adjustment mechanism and invested his own money into it.
He even had some high-end endorsements lined up for next year.
With all of these added together, he would definitely be screwed if even one of them went south.

So, when his management team took the initiative to contact her, Zhang Man was actually very calm.
The two big bosses didn’t show their faces.
Instead, the people who worked beneath them battled it out first.

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Yang Jierui and Liang Yu were also long-time partners.
He and Zhang Man were of about the same status within the industry.
They each had their own resources.
Both of them were people who could get their jobs done well and, at the same time, keep their bosses happy.

Yang Jierui had a very good attitude.
He suggested cooperation right away.
This way, both sides would be able to get through this difficult situation. 

Zhang Man smiled brightly.
“If Mr.
Liang Yu is willing to cooperate, we will naturally welcome him”

Yang Jierui: “Mr.
Xu has a good reputation.
We’d feel assured cooperating with someone like him.”

 

The two of them politely smiled at each other for a bit before finally getting to the point.

Zhang Man nevertheless needed to ask clearly, “Mr.
Liang only happened to be there, right? He really didn’t participate?” 

Yang Jierui looked as if he had been insulted.
He righteously declared, “He obviously didn’t participate! Mr.
Liang isn’t that kind of person!”

Zhang Man wasn’t so easy to deceive.
She had looked into Liang Yu quite a bit.
This person had a big reputation and a big temper as well.
It wasn’t that he liked to put on airs because of his status.
Rather, he just didn’t like being disciplined.
He was headstrong and rash.
He had gotten used to being unruly and self-willed.
They were actors after all.
They all had a little bit of pretense to them.
Even someone as perfect as Xu Jingzhe was like this.
Zhang Man had once marketed him under a “rough and ready” persona.
Of course, there was some truth to it.

However, Liang Yu seemed to be completely separated from all of that.
He came out of the closet very early on.
He didn’t market himself under some false persona.
Because of the sheer speed of his career, no one was able to catch up to him.
Even those few criticisms about his private life didn’t seem to faze him.
His management team didn’t find him particularly hard to deal with.
Liang Yu didn’t cause any big issues.
He had a couple of relationship scandals, and they were with relatively well-known colleagues as well.
Zhang Man didn’t know whether he paid them off or not, but their breakups were never ugly or public.
He was also very generous with his friends.
He was always brutally honest towards the media, yet the media seemed to eat it up.

Zhang Man recalled this one fashion magazine that put him on their annual cover photo.
Several big brands were rushing to provide the latest haute couture for him.
The designer in charge of the photoshoot’s direction that day commented that Nüwa must’ve put in a lot of overtime when she was creating Liang Yu’s face. 

What was even more amazing was that no one found this compliment to be exaggerated.
Everyone accepted it as a matter of course.

Yang Jierui didn’t believe that Zhang Man would reject them.
In any case, this cooperation could be regarded as a “strong alliance” and a “good match”.
If they really wanted to split hairs about it, it was Xu Jingzhe who was winning out.
After all, Liang Yu’s movie resources were exactly what the other party needed right now.

Zhang Man didn’t dare make a decision herself.
She still needed to ask Xu Jingzhe for his opinion.
“Mr.
Xu is rather pure.
It’s hard for me to say whether he’d agree.”

Yang Jerry kept his composure.
He laughed and said, “Zhang jie, let’s stop beating around the bush.
He’s a man in his thirties.
Who’s actually going to believe that he’s pure? Do you believe it? Anyway, I don’t believe it.
” 

Zhang Man: “…”

Translator’s Note:

I picked this novel because MC and I share a birthday!

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