Chapter 21 — Retaliation
“Brother Zhang,” Ning Xi returned to the hotel that had been arranged by the crew for actors and dialled Zhang Qingyun’s phone. “Did you find the person behind this?”
“This kind of behaviour is not about a big company, but more of a personal grudge against you,” Zhang Qingyun had sorted out all the people Ning Xi had met recently. “I have a few suspects for you to screen.”
After listening to his list, Ning Xi’s mouth curved. “I can guess who it is.”
“What will you do?” Listening to Ning Xi’s tone, it didn’t seem like she was intending to let this matter go.
“If I don’t return the favour, it would be impolite,” Ning Xi smiled. “And politeness is one of my many advantages.”
“I’ve never seen someone shameless boast about herself like this.” Even Zhang Qingyun didn’t want to let things go lightly. Otherwise, insiders would think that Jiuji artists could be easily bullied. “But I agree with what you said. We are all, after all, kind and honest people.”
“That’s right, Brother Zhang, thank you for helping me remove the topics from Weibo,” Ning Xi grinned. “Did the withdrawal cost a lot of money?”
The phone went silent for a moment.
“Ning Xi, the company didn’t look for anyone to withdraw the topic.”
Her smile froze. “Then who was it?”
“We don’t know yet,” He replied. He had thought she knew about it, but listening to her, it seemed that even she was unaware. To stop her from worrying, he jokingly said, “Maybe it was one of your tycoon fans.”
“Which local tycoon will be so selfless in his pursuit of chasing stars?” She smiled. Hanging up the phone, she thought for a long time but couldn’t think of who would help her. She could only put it down for the time being.
“Other companies didn’t stand up, but you rushed out to deal with Ning Xi. Do you regret it, now?” Zhu Moli’s agent noticed that things were bad when Ning Xi’s name was removed from the hot topics’ list. Later, he had called and asked the person in the marketing department of Weibo with whom he had a good relationship with.
No matter which sector, everyone followed professional ethics. They had to work after receiving money. The same was true for the marketing people. If you accept the money and go back on your word, that was like smashing a rock on your own foot. But this time, it was so scary that the marketing people who had worked with them for so long had actually returned their money.
Hanging up the phone, he knew they had run into a wall. This newcomer, Ning Xi, seemed pure and harmless on the surface. But he was afraid that there was someone behind her protecting her, whose identity was very special. Otherwise, these marketing people wouldn’t make such a big deal of a small thing.
“Before, when I was targeting Ning Xi, the company agreed and so did you. Now when things go wrong, why do you push it on my head?” Being criticised by her agent, Zhu Moli’s face sank. “Besides we still don’t know whether or not the person behind her has a great identity.”
If she really had great support and background, how could Ning Xi not even get the role of a protagonist? Her most famous role was a supporting role in ‘Beautiful Red Clouds’, that too produced by Jiuji.
In ‘Yunyue of Han Dynasty’, she played Emperor Wu’s daughter. In ‘My Heart Longs for You’, it was even more miserable. She had only a few shots in total.
In the entertainment circle, there were artists with big names but didn’t have a professional team to create a script for them. So they would launch a publicity campaign to create a hype around them. A movie can’t become popular if they have an unknown and talentless person like Ning Xi in it. It would be too awkward.
“Whether or not she has someone backing her, she at least has some good connections. She is different from you, stay away from her from now on.” Her agent sighed. “You should have changed this personality of yours long ago.”
Zhu Moli snorted and didn’t answer.
Seeing her uncooperative look, the agent became a little impatient. To be responsible for such an artist who easily caused trouble and was never able to make a comeback, he should probably start thinking about other options.
The news that Ning Xi was a part of the crew of ‘Tán Hǎixiān jì’ spread online, but because Ning Xi and Zhang Qingyun didn’t respond, a few days later, everyone forgot about that matter.
In this digital age, news came out too quickly. Most people tended to forget information as it got replaced by new ones.
The shooting of ‘Tán Hǎixiān jì’ was nearing its end. That day was a shoot with Ning Xi and Zhu Moli. The martial arts instructor ordered the two people to practice a fight sequence for shooting effect.
“The director places great importance on this fight,” the instructor explained to them again. “If you can’t do it, then the crew will give you a substitute.”
Ning Xi and Zhu Moli nodded, not looking at each other.
“Then start rehearsing. I want to see if it’s going smoothly.” The martial arts instructor took a few steps back, giving them room.
“Sister Yuhan, I think they seem quite normal.” The assistant whispered in Sun Yuhan’s ear. “I can’t see where things might go wrong.”
Sun Yuhan flipped a page in her script but looked at the two people rehearsing. Her intuition told her that Ning Xi was not one to take bullying lying down.
“What! Ning Xi, what do you mean?” Zhu Moli looked at Ning Xi with a grievous expression. “Are you doing this on purpose?”
“Sister Zhu, I’m sorry! I really…” Ning Xi picked up the prop sword on the floor and her face seemed upset and frightened in front of the other actress. “Are you okay?”
“You get out of here!” Zhu Moli raised her hand to slap her but Ning Xi ducked very cleverly. But to the others’ eyes, it seemed like Zhu Moli really slapped Ning Xi.
“You can’t even practice properly! Don’t you use your brain when you do something?” Zhu Moli’s anger rose. Seeing the other escape her slap, her heart was more aggrieved. When she aggressively went towards Ning Xi, the martial arts instructor separated the two.
The instructor felt that he was stuck in an embarrassing situation. He was between two actresses who had a dispute. He stopped them from doing anything inappropriate between once he stopped them, he realised he was an old man who couldn’t say anything.
“Do you men like to protect such women pretending to be innocent? Today if she doesn’t clearly give me an account, we are not finished!” Seeing the instructor block her, she felt that the man was helping Ning Xi. “Teacher Lu, you shouldn’t take care of this matter. Don’t intervene.”
“Sister Zhu, what do you mean by that?!” Ning Xi’s face was angry as if she were unable to repress her indignation.
Teacher Lu nearly spurted out blood. He had a wife and children at home. Such things couldn’t be said so casually! During rehearsals, hitting the other accidentally was a normal thing. The matter just now was indeed an accident. Ning Xi also immediately apologised. Zhu Moli even slapped her and fought with her. And for stopping them, the artist brought about unclear relations between him and Ning Xi.
“What’s going on? What are you arguing about?” The shooting set was a large area and the argument attracted a lot of attention. As the director, Qian Cong Hai couldn’t ignore it.
Teacher Lu was a behind-the-camera staff member. In the eyes of ordinary people, he wasn’t famous. But in the entertainment field, he was one of the best martial arts instructors. Now that he was insulted by Zhu Moli, even if Teacher Lu didn’t mind, he as a director couldn’t behave as if nothing happened.
“Teacher Lu, I’m sorry. These artists are young and ignorant, causing you trouble.” Seeing that the situation was wrong, the assistant director immediately apologised to Teacher Lu. “I’m really sorry.”
“It’s normal for youngsters to be impulsive, they are also working in this circle, so they can be forgiven. Just, they can’t casually fling dirty water on others. My wife and I have been together for a decade and now, she has been made to wear a green hat with one sentence.” Teacher Lu chuckled, seemingly very generous. But the assistant director knew very clearly that this was Teacher Lu giving face to Director Qian and in fact, Zhu Moli’s words had angered him greatly.
Zhu Moli’s agent also rushed over and continued to apologise to Teacher Lu. It was a relief that he wasn’t pursuing this matter. If it was pursued, it couldn’t be solved with just a ‘her temperament has always been like this’.
Who would like an artist whose nature was to fling dirty water on other people? Teacher Lu was very well-known in the circles. His and his wife’s feelings were very good. That Zhu Moli suggested that he likes Ning Xi and that Ning was a female to watch out for, was very disgusting.
If this matter wasn’t handled well, not only would it affect Zhu Moli, all the artists in the company would also be negatively affected. Looking at Zhu Moli’s reluctant and angered look, her agent couldn’t wait to cover her face with a piece of cloth and make her behave properly.
Qian Cong Hai didn’t quite understand what happened and, hearing the unpleasant things Teacher Lu was talking about, he told the staff, “Get the surveillance cameras here. Let’s see what happened.”
Soon, someone came and handed him the videotape. In the beginning, Ning Xi and Zhu Moli were rehearsing martial arts. Later, the sword in Zhu Moli’s hands was not steady. When Ning Xi struck out, her hands rebounded on Zhu Moli’s face.
When Qian Cong Hai saw Ning Xi pick up the sword and apologise to Zhu Moli, and Zhu Moli strike Ning Xi with a slap, his face wasn’t very good. When he watched the complete video, his face sank.
After watching this video, everyone felt that Zhu Moli had bullied Ning Xi and looked at her angrily. But looking at Ning Xi, they felt that she was a bit unlucky. First, she had black material exposed on the internet. This time, she had been bullied by her fellow actor.
“Let the makeup artists touch up Ning Xi’s face,” Qian Cong Hai knew that Ning Xi had been wronged. So he just glanced at Zhu Moli and didn’t say anything. He turned to Teacher Lu and gave him leave. Everything was as if this farce had never happened.
Only Zhu Moli’s agent secretly wept in his heart. This time, things were really over.