Don’t Be a Kept Man
Chapter 77: Filming Ends
Tea splattered out from the tea cup as Chen Yi placed down the lid.
He leaned forward and locked eyes with Fu Xiu Nian as he said,
“Jinxian Mountain has collapsed, taking the lives of quite a few workers.
Father has decided to send Jin Si Tong to investigate the incident but he is a tricky one.
Since this could possibly incriminate me, I do not feel as safe as I would if I were to hand this case to anyone but you.
Xian-Sheng1, I ask for your help in running this errand for me.”
And then added,
“I respect Xian-Sheng and your teachings, treating you as my senior teacher.
If one day my dreams can be realized, there would be no lack of rewards for Xian-Sheng’s hard efforts.”
Fu Xiu Nian, ever still wearing that unchanging smile, continued to say the same words that he had been saying since the very beginning,
“As an unwavering minister willing to aid a great and wise future Emperor for the citizens of this earth, this is naturally something Li Shuang should do.”
Yet he did not specify who he was willing to become a minister for nor who the great and wise Emperor he believed in his heart was.
Chen Yi naturally would believe that Fu Xiu Nian meant himself and closed his eyes for a brief second in satisfaction before slowly sitting back down.
The director said,
“Cut! This scene is good.
Not bad, Chen Yi.
Continue and keep at it.”
Fu Xiu Nian immediately rushed over at the sound of the director yelling “Cut!” and pushed Chen Yi away.
Then grabbing his hand that had been pressing on the teacup lid, he said,
“The water in this cup has been boiled.
Does your hand not feel burned when you press on it?”
The moment he said that out loud, everyone nearby started chuckling.
When the maid was filmed to be pouring the tea, they had used boiled water to make sure it was realistic.
Chen Yi opened his hand to check and his palm was a little red,
Not that hot.”
Fu Xiu Nian passed a bottle of ice cold water to him, smiling so hard his eyes were curved up into half moons,
“You know who isn’t afraid of hot boiling water?”
Dead pigs of course.
Chen Yi emotionlessly snorted out a sound and then didn’t say anything else.
In the eyes of outsiders, Fu Xiu Nian’s celebrity status was not as high as Chen Yi’s, as his popularity and public recognition was less than him.
Yet the two of them had a good relationship, so good that they would be seen eating together, resting together, and even when Fu Xiu Nian was practicing his fighting scenes, Chen Yi would be right nearby, teaching him on the side.
Li Shuang in the drama was slated to be also excellent at martial arts and strategy.
Under Meng Yu’s orders, he went to Jinxian to kill Jin Si Tong and as the governing official of that area, Yan Dao Ning was also swept into this event.
Because the story wanted to show off Li Shuang’s fighting skills, there were a few shots that needed to be taken of Fu Xiu Nian fighting with his face in full view.
Most of the other fighting scenes could use a stunt double, but for these couple of headshots, it would be unprofessional if he didn’t step into the frame of the camera at all.
He had NG twice already, so the director decided to shoot other scenes with the other actors first and let him practice on the side.
Seeing this, Chen Yi came straight over to teach him, one part at a time.
“Hoh, watch me.
The sword points up, your palms forward, and then twisting inward……”
A slight hand movement from Chen Yi, with a twist of his hand, his sword was dancing.
Smooth, flowing and beautiful.
Fu Xiu Nian followed him and the result was his sword flying off to the moon.
Chen Yi slowly sighed,
“Pig brained huh.”
Fu Xiu Nian glowered at him discreetly,
“What do swords have in common with brains?”
Chen Yi: “Oh.
Then that’s pig’s feet.”
Fu Xiu Nian: “……”
In reality, normal people practicing for the first time would obviously not be too successful.
It took a few more tries and a serious attitude from Fu Xiu Nian, but he did indeed get more comfortable and could actually present something up to par.
And so finally his scene was passed in the afternoon.
During this time, Chen Yi had been memorizing his lines while seated in a corner.
Seeing this situation, Cen Qing immediately gave a look to the actress beside him, and she took the hint, grabbing her script and walking over to Chen Yi with a smile.
“Yi-Ge, do you have time right now? Can I practice my lines with you?”
Lin Xi was an actress with a pair of big wide eyes that could be seen as glimmering and she was well known for her reputation as a “flower vase”2.
She was acting in the role of Yan Dao Ning’s wife, which according to the rumors, was because of Cen Qing’s recommendation.
Dressed in her costume of a historical period dress, her smile was so sweet no man would have the heart to reject her.
Chen Yi disinterestedly said,
“I don’t know how.”
Lin Xi’s smile did not change and she continued the conversation.
To outsiders, this scene seemed to portray the both of them falling into a good and friendly atmosphere, chatting as if they were into each other.
“How could that be? Yi-Ge, you are too humble.
Director Kong had even complimented your acting today.
My scene is coming up next and I am still a bit nervous.
Come on, help me with my lines.”
Her voice tilted up into a cute nasally tone, begging sweetly and hooking the hearts of men who could hear her.
Chen Yi thought about it for a second and said,
“If I remember correctly……”
Lin Xi waited a bit anxiously to hear the end of his sentence.
“The only scene I have with you is when I stab a sword into you to kill you.”
In the drama, the Emperor had brought his officials and his sons for an outdoor hunting trip.
Meng Yu had purposefully set up an ambush for Yan Dao Ning, wanting to eliminate him out of the equation.
But he was saved in the end by Lin Xi’s character and she died beneath Meng Yu’s sword as a result.
Chen Yi was about to stand up after he said those words to her,
“If you want to practice your lines with me, sure.
I’ll go borrow a sword from the costume department.”
The smile on Lin Xi’s face immediately faded.
She thought that this man really did not understand the situation or even perhaps, emotions, but she did not change her attitude outwardly.
Still in a gentle voice, she said,
If Yi-Ge doesn’t have the time, I can practice by myself.
I won’t take up any more of your time.”
And then left, downtrodden.
Cen Qing couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed at this sight; however, the moment he lifted his eyes, he saw Fu Xiu Nian standing at the end of the hallway.
Given his position, he must have seen what just happened.
At first Cen Qing was shocked and then his next reaction was to avoid the eyes on set to walk up to Fu Xiu Nian.
The two of them stood on the corner of the hallway and started to speak in hushed tones to each other.
The sun was at its brightest then with the crickets chirping nonstop, increasing the agitation in people’s hearts.
With a face hardened to be as frozen as ice, Fu Xiu Nian said,
“Did I not warn you earlier to not touch Chen Yi? Are you taking my words to be like evaporating air?”
Cen Qing raised his hands up, palms outwards, as he smiled and said,
“I’m just testing him.
There is no other meaning behind it.
What are you getting so worked up for? Look, I’ll never do it again in the future.
We have known each other since we were young, playing together as children.
You’re not cutting off ties with me just because of this, are you? …… Or are you saying that you’re afraid he wouldn’t be able to hold it in, tossing you, a small small newbie, away?”
He purposefully emphasized “small, small newbie” these three words and who knew if he meant it mockingly or implied something else.
Fu Xiu Nian narrowed his eyes, his aura imposing,
“I know better than you what kind of person he is.
I don’t need you to worry about it.”
Cen Qing said,
“Aren’t you getting too into pretending to be an innocent sheep hmm? You’re just interested in him because he’s good to you.
When this drama airs, when his popularity and fame rise up, can you guess if he will go public with you? Can you guess if he’s not going to get tired of you and find a new fling?”
Fu Xiu Nian: “He won’t, so you can mind your own business.”
Since youth, Cen Qing loved watching the drama that he helped to create and even now, his rotten and despicable behaviour had not changed, just like how dogs cannot change their DNA of eating poo.
When the crew arrived back at the hotel that night, Chen Yi could sense that Fu Xiu Nian was not feeling well; something seemed to be wrong.
And so he dragged Fu Xiu Nian up to the top floor to the observation deck to watch the night scenery.
The two of them randomly found a spot to sit, which thankfully, as it was now between summer and fall, meant that the temperature of the bricks beneath their bodies were not too cold.
With his hands supporting him from behind as he leaned back slightly, Chen Yi lazily said,
“Say it now.
Why aren’t you happy?”
Fu Xiu Nian’s body seemed to be covered in darkness and he turned to look at Chen Yi.
After a second, he said,
“I was yelled at by the director today for my acting.”
Chen Yi raised his eyebrow,
Well not only that……
Perhaps Fu Xiu Nian’s heart still held in many things, but he was used to holding it within himself, not telling a single soul out in the world.
In front of Chen Yi he would always be wearing that smiling face, not wanting to let this man see anything negative, not letting him see any of the bad that he was going through.
But today, he was having a hard time keeping this façade up.
Fu Xiu Nian recalled then the scene earlier today where Chen Yi and that female actress were laughing and chatting and his brain snapped.
His mind blew up with anger in that second, searing his head with pain.
After checking that no one else was around, he flipped to sit on top of Chen Yi’s legs, facing him with a face twisted up from scowling as he said,
“……I saw you chatting with that woman today.”
Fu Xiu Nian continued with his hands tightening up, expressing a bit of his possessiveness before moodily saying,
“I don’t like it.”
He was normally a gentle warm man, rarely this open and bold.
Chen Yi felt a sudden intrigue and purposefully said,
“Not a big deal.
Just a few words.”
Fu Xiu Nian glared at him,
“You can’t see that she’s trying to seduce you?”
Chen Yi: “I can, but as long as I don’t fall for it, isn’t that fine?”
Fu Xiu Nian’s head started throbbing even harder now and his chest heaved up and down for a while.
He wanted to grab Chen Yi by the collar and interrogate him, but in the end, he couldn’t do it.
He could only say angrily with a heavy voice of warning,
“You do this again and I will — “
Chen Yi laughed out loud and questioned him,
“And you will what?”
Fu Xiu Nian silently gritted his teeth,
“And I will be very angry.”
Looking at Chen Yi, he really couldn’t muster up any anger after all.
Hearing him, Chen Yi laughed out loud and he only stopped after a long while.
He straightened up and wrapped his arms around Fu Xiu Nian’s waist as he said,
“How did your family raise you? Raised you up to be like such an idiot?”
Fu Xiu Nian said,
“My parents passed away when I was in my teens.
I only have a little brother.”
Chen Yi paused in surprise.
To be honest, he had always thought that since Fu Xiu Nian wore that innocent and naive look, that look that made him seem like he didn’t understand a single thing about how the world worked, his family situation should be a very bright and blessed environment, surrounded by happiness.
Who knew that his situation was almost like his own? He couldn’t keep himself from asking,
“Then you brought your little brother up by yourself?”
Fu Xiu Nian thought about it and generalized his upbringing,
My family had a bit of a business, and it was taken care of by my uncle.
Since I have come of age, he has handed it back to me and when I decided to head into the entertainment industry, I passed it to my brother.”
Chen Yi had never heard him say anything about his family and he asked out of curiosity,
“What kind of business is your family involved in? It can even be passed down through so many hands?”
Fu Xiu Nian said,
“It can’t really be considered a business.
It’s just helping others build houses…… moving bricks on a construction site.”
Chen Yi immediately understood it to be the legendary “contractor” position, of those who would be contracted for work but also “collects” other workers beneath their position to act as the “general manager” of the current contracted project.
He thought to himself that this was not really any kind of good work and especially to be handing it back and forth like this.
With one hand wrapped around Fu Xiu Nian’s waist, he said,
“How old is your brother? Does he know about us?”
Fu Xiu Nian looked at him and couldn’t help but pout,
“Younger than me by two years.
No he doesn’t.
Whenever you let us go public, I will let my family know then.”
The last sentence there had a bit of some hidden meaning, but it wasn’t easily understood.
Chen Yi narrowed his eyes at him,
“What a pack of lies.
If we’re already public, do you even need to tell them?”
At that point, nearly the whole entertainment industry would know.
Fu Xiu Nian really wanted to hit him out of anger at his words, but his hand was held by Chen Yi and the latter easily used a bit of strength to pull him back into his embrace.
Holding on to Fu Xiu Nian tightly to stop his struggles, he suddenly said right beside his ear,
“After we’re done filming this drama, we’ll go public.”
The moment his words were heard, all movement stopped.
Fu Xiu Nian looked at him, with a face shocked to the heavens.
Chen Yi grabbed a lollipop from who knows where and once he tore the wrapper off, he stuck it right into Fu Xiu Nian’s mouth,
“I don’t like hiding and being secretive, running here and there to avoid detection.
Besides, whether we say it now or later, there’s no difference either way.”
Since those words were said, Fu Xiu Nian had been shocked and still hadn’t recovered his senses.
The sour sweet taste of grape flavoured candy was slowly flowing into his mouth and his mouth wiggled.
With his cheeks puffed up, like a hamster nibbling on food, Fu Xiu Nian immediately shook his head after his brain processed what was going on,
“No no no, your career is just starting to take flight, you can’t be exposed for this.”
Chen Yi said,
“Like I said, I don’t like hiding and needing to be secretive all the time.”
He reached out to pull the lollipop out of Fu Xiu Nian’s mouth and asked with a low voice, eyes reflecting the millions of stars in the night sky,
“I’m not afraid.
Fu Xiu Nian flicked the tip of his tongue to taste the last remnants of that sweet taste and said with a bewildered look,
“Are you not afraid of ruining your career?”
Chen Yi said,
“As long as one has the ability, they won’t starve to death anywhere.
I have a lot of strength, so if it really can’t be done, I’ll go to your family’s construction projects and help you move some bricks.”
Fu Xiu Nian had been feeling very jumbled inside, but when he heard the last sentence, he couldn’t help but laugh.
He hesitatingly reached out his hands, grabbing onto Chen Yi’s slim cold face and as if to confirm, asked again,
“You really want to go public with me?”
Chen Yi nodded his head, uncaring and free of societal expectations, just like his personality.
Fu Xiu Nian took in his expression and there were no other emotions besides happiness bubbling within him.
He couldn’t hold it in anymore and lurched forward to lightly drop kisses on Chen Yi’s face.
He whispered as if making a promise,
“As long as you are always good to me, I will guarantee, you will get thousands and thousands, millions and millions more than what you have now in the future.”
Chen Yi: “…… Why? Good people will have good things happen to them?”
Fu Xiu Nian said seriously,
“Being good to me will have good things.
Being bad to me will have terrible things.”
Chen Yi: “……”
Said it as if it were true.
When others would join in on dinners to make connections after filming, he would only run between two places, the studio and the hotel.
And even when he got back to the hotel, he would be focused on studying the script.
Because of his work ethic, since the filming started for << Minister >>, Director Kong had complimented him specifically for being the most improved out of everyone.
And so days passed like this, and it was very quickly reaching the last few scenes of this drama.
And today was to be the final scene for Chen Yi.
This scene was set to be in front of the palace doors.
The Ninth Prince Meng Yu was starting an uprising and the crown prince and Yan Dao Ning would be trying to protect the palace.
The two sides fought and fought for a day and a night.
And just as the crown prince was about to be defeated, Li Shuang, in this pivotal moment of determining the victor, suddenly whipped out his sword, stabbing it right into the back of Meng Yu and successfully propelling the crown prince onto the throne.
There was no problem for the first couple of scenes, but Fu Xiu Nian somehow started to lose the right mindset.
Director Kong thought that his killing blow to Chen Yi was too weak, missing some speed and power, missing a murderous vibe.
After a few retakes of this particular scene, he still was not very satisfied.
Fu Xiu Nian tried to find the right feeling on his own, and during those practices alone, he would do very well.
Yet when he was to do it to Chen Yi, his hands would shake, and it got to the point where if he didn’t forget his lines, it would be considered good.
Director Kong had quite the patience to lead him the right way,
“Xiao-Fu, there’s no problem in any other place.
Just when you stab that sword, can you do it faster? Don’t be so wishy-washy and weak as it doesn’t look good at all on camera.
We’ll try again in a bit.”
Fu Xiu Nian gave him an acknowledgement, but he didn’t look like he had a grasp on it.
Seeing him like this, Chen Yi went over and asked,
“What are you afraid of? It’s not like you are killing me for real.
If you really can’t, then just pretend that I gave you a green hat3 to wear.
Perhaps your feelings would come out then.”
This last part was said very softly where only the two of them could hear it.
Fu Xiu Nian glared at him and said,
“Why don’t you say I will give you a green hat to wear huh?”
Chen Yi said,
“It’s you killing me right now, not me killing you.”
They hadn’t rested for too long before the director yelled out “action!” again, and the actors quickly slipped into their characters.
Wearing his silver armour, Chen Yi stood right next to piles and piles of corpses, drenched in blood.
His murderous aura was strong and his sword was as cold as ice, blood still dripping down its silver blade.
Wang Yan acting as the crown prince was heavily injured, and most of his troops had sacrificed themselves for him already, leaving him to be the only one still struggling in pain and suffering.
“Crown prince, don’t blame your little brother.
Make sure to reincarnate into a better life next time, and make sure it’s not back into the imperial family again.”
And the moment he finished, his eyes took on a tint of viciousness.
Yet just as he lifted his blade to kill the crown prince, a sword swung faster right into his heart from behind–
In that second blood sprayed out, the action of Chen Yi lifting his sword was stopped in midair.
His face frozen with shock.
He stumbled for a few steps, and then he couldn’t hold on anymore and fell to the ground.
Chen Yi’s face was drenched with blood, and even his eyes were covered in a haze of red.
He tried desperately widening his eyes, wanting to clearly see who killed him.
And what he was greeted with was that warm tender face, mouth hooked slightly up, a face with an all too familiar smile.
Seeing this, Chen Yi’s pupils dilated and blood rose up to his mouth.
He coughed it up as he thunderously yelled,
“Li, Shuang…… It was…… it was you!”
The smile on Fu Xiu Nian’s face went even wider,
“Your highness, please don’t blame me.
I suddenly thought that you aren’t really suited to be the Emperor.”
Chen Yi didn’t know where the last of his strength had come from, but he struggled and fought to stand up, swaying.
Seeing all his soldiers follow Li Shuang’s order like it was law, he suddenly understood.
Letting out a cry that was like laughing and crying at the same time, his voice turned vicious as he yelled,
“LI SHUANG! LI SHUANG! YOU WERE THE DOG OF THE CROWN PRINCE!”
Fu Xiu Nian lowered his eyes to wipe his blade on his sleeve,
“I just follow the orders of my leader that’s all.
The crown prince’s heart is generous, facing towards the people, looking out for the citizens of this earth.
And so he is who Li Shuang has chosen as the rightful emperor.”
The moment Chen Yi yelled his words, he was like a balloon deflated of air.
Hearing these words from Fu Xiu Nian now, his face became even more grey and set in defeat.
His body swayed and then collapsed onto the ground with a thud.
Director: “Cut! Passed.”
Click here to bypass all the footnotes!
*1 Xian-Sheng: This is like a respectable reference call to someone, it can also mean Mister or Teacher.
It usually is in reference to someone older, someone wiser, more knowledgeable, someone you would feel very respectful towards.
I think one of the most famous people we call Xian-Sheng even today is Sun Yat-sen, as Sun Xian-Sheng – he’s as known to me as it is to his actual name, or perhaps even more.
But there’s also other meanings to this, which in other references be like Mister or teacher as I said or as a reference to a wife calling her husband.
*2 flower vase: It means to be pretty eye candy but have no skills whatsoever and can’t act.
*3 Green hat: As referenced back in volume 1, a green hat is like another phrase for cheating/having an affair.
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