Watching Ning Xi, who was lying on the muddy waters made Chang Shi Gui recall the look of her running under the rain when he saw her again after being separated for a few years.a
Chang Shi Gui had thought over countless of times, under what kind of scenario would he ever meet Ning Xi again. Perhaps, she might have been married, or she might have yet to find the one she adores. And if that time were to come, with a face of light clouds and breeze, he would say to her, “Hello, I am Chang Shi Gui. Perhaps, do you still remember the love letter I had written to you back then?”
Eventually, when the moment he actually met her came to be, he saw that she ran to and fro just for the sake of one scene. Without wanting to say a word, he had only wanted to open a pair of umbrella for her, shielding her from the wind and rain.
Although she had changed drastically, when compared to herself from seven years ago, she was indeed less innocent and naive, and had lost her adorable roundness. However, he was still able to recognize her with a single glance, as if there was a voice in his heart that was telling him, that is Ning Xi, that is the one you has once loved, the young lady that you have never stopped worrying about all these years.
Even he himself did not realise the concern he had for Ning Xi all these years. Wasas it because of those ignorant feelings that he had for her when he was still a junior, or was it because she lost both of her parents that year that he was unable to feel at ease for her?
Even till this moment, as he watched Ning Xi lie on the ground with her face filled with muddy water and eyes that were much like cold stars, his heart felt as if something was viciously hacking at it, even forgetting to breathe.
At this moment, he did the one thing that he was unable to do for her in the past.
To hold an umbrella for Ning Xi.
The production team members of “Three Lives of Rogue” were foolishly stunned. Why had a man suddenly scuttled in front of them right as the shooting ended. Kong Yu Heng turned his head to see a blanked Xiao Yang, “Xiao Yang, is this person Ning Xi’s friend?”
“Ah…….Ah!” Xiao Yang abruptly nodded a few times, finally being able to react and with two other staffs, rushed over with dry towels and overcoats.
“Mr Chang.” Xiao Yang greeted with a bow and directed a smile towards Chang Shi Gui. Thereafter, stooping over to support Ning Xi.
Chang Shi Gui extended his hand, with the thoughts of supporting Ning Xi, but when he saw that her whole body was drenched and her clothes were already sticking to her body, he could only withdraw his hand.
“Mr Chang, thank you.” Ning Xi took the dry towel to wipe her face and drank the mineral water that the staffs handed over to rinse her mouth. After spitting out the mud in her mouth, “You came…..to climb the mountain?” The weather today doesn’t seem to be quite suitable for such an activity.
“No, not to climb the mountain.” He shook his head. From the pockets of his suit, he took out a handkerchief and pointed to the back of his own ears, “There’s still some there.”
“Thank you.” Ning Xi glanced at the white cotton handkerchief in his hand, smiled and raised the towel, wiping the back of her ears.
Chang Shi Gui did not mind that she did not receive his handkerchief as he put it back into his pocket. He lifted his head and saw the gloomy sky: “In such a heavy downpour today, you still had to shoot?”
“Sure,” Ning Xi did not wear the overcoat that Xiao Yang had passed over, “It is not easy to bring up the sprinkler to such a place. If the weather isn’t suitable, to be able to film such a scene, it will have to burn quite a sum of money. The weather today was just right.”
Chang Shi Gui looked over his head and saw the prop staffs that were braving the rain to move the equipments, “Are the production funds not enough?”
“If we spend them thriftly, it will be enough.” Ning Xi sneezed, and Xiao Yang panickedly ran to brew a cup of balangen granule for her to drink.
Sniffing the familiar smell of balangen, Ning Xi was dumbfounded and glanced at Xiao Yang. This child sure loves balangen. Every time he comes out for the shoot, he would never miss out this thing.
“Ning Xi, get ready, we are going to film the next scene.” Kong Yu Heng walked over in a black raincoat. She hesitantly looked at Chang Shi Gui, where have I seen this person before.
“Mr Chang, this is the director for this movie, Director Kong.” Ning Xi clenched her teeth and finished the cup of balangen before introducing Kong Yu Heng to Chang Shi Gui, “Director Kong is a very excellent director.”
Chang Shi Gui nodded to Kong Yu Heng after hearing that: “Hello.”
“Director Kong, this is the chairman of Chang Corporation, Mr Chang.” Upon finishing her sentence, Ning Xi saw that Kong Yu Heng had turned stiff entirely. She felt as if it was somewhat unbelievable as he looked at Ning Xi before respectfully saying to Chang Shi Gui: “Mr Chang, nice to meet you.”
This legendary figure that was said to only live in the rumors, why would he appear at her movie? She glanced at Ning Xi and then back at Chang Shi Gui, Ning Xi actually had relations with Chang Shi Gui?
The rumors said that presently, Chang Shi Gui was Jiuji Entertainment’s second biggest shareholder. With Ning Xi’s acting abilities and appearance, together with the protection and support of Mr Chang, wouldn’t the resources in the circle be all for her to pick?
Once she thought of her production team that only excelled in being poverty-stricken, and yet was able to pulled in Ning Xi, Kong Yu Heng felt a indescribable sense of pride.
The make-up artist came over to help Ning Xi touch up her make-up. Ning Xi lifted her neck to reveal a sinister scar. Chang Shi Gui felt his heart jumped when he saw that. Looking at it carefully, he then realised that it was not real, but drawn on by the make-up artist.
“Mr Chang,” Ning Xi pointed at the tent that was setted up to store monitors, “You can have a seat in there for a brief while. I will come over after my shoots.”
Chang Shi Gui stared at Ning Xi before glancing at the rain which was getting heavier and heavier, the corner of his lips dropped. He conscientiously walked by the side and out of the shooting area. Secretary Xu Zhou noticed him coming over and brought out a clean stool, “Boss, I’ve asked the staffs from the production team and they said that there isn’t much scenes today. Miss Ning can knock off after a few more rain scenes.”
Splattering sound was heard as the rain landed on the tent, flowing down from the canopy and dripping onto the water puddles, forming water flowers. Gazing at the bumpy and rough ground, Chang Shi Gui inhaled deeply before nodding slightly.
Xu Zhou carefully glanced at his boss before looking at Ning Xi who was standing in the rain, waiting for the shoot to start. He felt that he somewhat understood something.
“Each team please get ready, in one, two and three, action!”
The woman that was working hard to climb the mountain, had long had her fingernails broken with fresh blood and mud mixing together, dyeing her palms red. She turned her head back to look at the enemies who were chasing, her face unexpectedly revealing a smile. A sudden clap of thunder rang out., she lifted her head to look at the sky, dark clouds rolled in the sky and strong winds whistled like the cry of the people in distress, being powerful enough to swallow the sky.
The ground was trembling and pieces of rocks started roll down. She stood by the mountain stream, not bothered by the small rocks that landed on her body. When she saw the murderers being buried under the boulders one by one, she pushed aside the strands of hair sticking on her cheeks, showing her dirtied yet beautiful face.
Xu Zhou felt his entire body went numb. He did not know what is called “acting”, he had only thought that Ning Xi’s aura was too frightening. It was as if, the place she was looking at had foes that made her itched to drain their blood and flesh.
However, in actual fact, there was nothing there. Only an empty mountain slope.
From today onwards, he would no longer think that being an actor is easy. It requires great ability to cry, laugh and act angry at an empty space. Could this be the so-called influence and acting?!
“Good, very good. Prop team get ready, and also the dragon robes.”
Prop members of stones and blood bags, and even a few that were wearing the dragon robes for soldier’s uniform. All these people have to play the role of the enemies who were stuck under the rocks. On the other side, Ning Xi was standing at a corner alone holding an umbrella without any movements, as if she was trying to elevate the emotions.
At the moment when the director shouted to start, Ning Xi’s eyes immediately changed. She took down the only silver hairpin on her hair, carefully approaching the corpses that were smashed by the huge boulders.
Right at this time, one of the bodies lying on the ground moved. He seemed to be struggling to stand up. Ning Xi suddenly rushed forward and used the silver hairpin to viciously stab into his neck.
“Ning Xi, the stabbing of the neck need to be retaken one more time,” Kong Yu Heng stretched out her head from behind the monitor and loudly said, “Your movements from earlier were too slow. The opposing side is a aggressor, an enemy, the person that murdered your father and brothers. Behind you still lies the villagers, your sister-in-law and nephew that needs your protection. At this moment, you can’t have the slightest hesitation, do you understand?”
Ning Xi apologized to the dragon robe that was pinned onto the ground by her knees. Thereafter, she gestured three fingers towards Kong Yu Heng, rose up and retreated.
Xu Zhou watched as the rain became increasingly heavier and his boss’s face that was also turning darker. He let out a hollow laugh as he slowly said: “Shooting…..is indeed not easy.”
But what made him disappointed was, his boss’s attention that was completely not on him. He had not even turn his back to give a simple reply of, “En”, Bearing no other reactions whatsoever.
“Shluk!” The silver hairpin pierced into the enemy’s neck. Without any expressions, she pulled out the hairpin and picked up the stone on the ground, ruthlessly smashing into the person’s head. Only after confirming that he was no longer breathing, did she wobbly stood up.
The rain rushed down her face, washing the silver hairpin in her hand, and little by little, it became white and clean.
“Okay, this scene is over!” Kong Yu Heng said, “Good work, it’s been tough on everyone. Let’s pack up and go home for a rest.” She turned around and walked to Chang Shi Gui with a smile and said, “Mr Chang, our production team has been filming since yesterday afternoon until now, so right now everyone is preparing to go back home and rest.”
Chang Shi Gui nodded: “To rest is a must. I heard…..the production’s funds seems to be lacking?”
Kong Yu Heng bitterly laughed: “The subject matter of this show did not appeal to the investors at all. That’s why my scriptwriter and I raised the funds ourselves to film.”
Chang Shi Gui briefly glanced at the shooting area, Ning Xi had already went to change, as such there was no one present: “I believe in Ning Xi’s insight. The films that she like would never be wrong. If Director Kong is willing, can you write a budget list and pass it to my secretary? I am willing to invest in this film.”
“Thank you Mr Chang, thank you Mr Chang!” Kong Yu Heng was pleased beyond her expectations. Originally she was worried that the funds for publicity were not enough, now with Mr Chang’s investment, she do not have to worry about capital anymore!
Chang Shi Gui said in a low voice: “Director Kong does not have to thank me. A certain Chang only wish that the standards of the production team’s shooting could be better.”
Upon hearing this sentence, Kong Yu Heng knew the reason why this Chairman Chang was willing to invest without even reading the script. Appreciating her film was just a pretense. He did not want Ning Xi to film in such poor conditions.
“Mr Chang, Director Kong.” Ning Xi changed into a set of dry and fresh clothing and walked out. Her dripping wet hair draped around her back and because she did not sleep for a night, the Ning Xi without makeup appeared to be somewhat pallid. But she still looked gorgeous.
“The rain today sure is heavy.” She said while smiling as she took the umbrella that Xiao Yang gave her and in the passing, she shifted towards the side, exactly blocking the cold wind that was blowing in from the mountain stream for Kong Yu Heng.
Kong Yu Heng watched Ning Xi who smiled hazily, somewhat understanding why would such a man like Chang Shi Gui be willing to brave the rain to chase her until here. If he was younger by ten years, in order to woo her, he would definitely do anything for her.
“Yeah, and in such arduous mountain conditions. When you get back later, take a hot bath to get rid of the cold.” Kong Yu Heng raised her hand to look at her watch, “It’s almost noon, I’ll go check out the other side. Both of you can slowly talk.”
Seeing Kong Yu Heng’s energetic back, Ning Xi chuckled out: “Director Kong has a slightly impatient personality, I hope Mr Chang don’t take offense.”
“Not at all,” Chang Shi Gui saw that her complexion wasn’t looking good, “I heard from the director that you’ve been shooting here since yesterday afternoon?”
“Many production teams would normally film here. Since our production team does not have sufficient funds and does not have connections that are comparable to them, once we saw the weather forecasted today to be a raining day, we started filming yesterday to prepare some of the scenes.” Ning Xi smiled as she used her hand to stifled her yawn, “You…..are here specially to find me?”
“I passed by here on the way so I came over to have a look.” Chang Shi Gui did not specifically mention that he was here to see Ning Xi. He glanced at the bottom of the mountain and said, “It is already noon, I’ll treat you to lunch.”
“Sure, thank you.” Ning Xi did not refuse. The both of them held their umbrellas as they walked down the mountain. As the rain was too heavy, the rainwater converged into a stream, flowing down the stone steps. The tip of Ning Xi’s shoes were soaked.
Chang Shi Gui who was walking in front, deliberately matched with the Ning Xi’s pace. Walking not too fast, he looked back and saw Ning Xi’s shoes: “Are actors always facing this?”
“It’s not actually everyday. Sometimes, to obtain the desired background, we have to borrow the effects of the weather. Other times when we have to raise the pace, we would have to film consecutively,” Ning Xi yawned again, rubbing the corner of her eyes and wiped away the tears, “But it is really not easy.”
Having heard what was said, Chang Shi Gui went silent for a moment: “Just now, I’ve discussed the content of this film with Director Kong and I think it is not bad.”
In that short amount of time when she went to changed, they had already talked about matters related to the film?
Ning Xi blinked, awaiting for Chang Shi Gui to continue.
“I decided to invest in this film,” Chang Shi Gui turned to look at her, “In this case, during the promotion of this film, there will be enough funds for it.”
“Thank you.” Ning Xi stopped in her tracks and looked at the foot of the mountain, her gaze distant.
“No need for thanks. As a businessman, I merely invested in a film that I believe would have returns.” Chang Shi Gui returned his head, no longer looking at Ning Xi.
Ning Xi stared at his tall and straight back and lifted the corner of her lips, smiling.
After the two of them went down the mountain, Chang Shi Gui opened the car door for her: “Please.”
“Thank you.” Once Ning Xi gotten into the car, she noticed someone taking pictures from not too faraway. She creased her eyebrows but did not say anything. Right at this moment, a man with an extremely large build suddenly walked behind the person secretly taking pictures. Without knowing what the two of them had talked about, the other party gave his camera to that man.
“Don’t worry, the pictures would not be circulated out.” Chang Shi Gui saw her paying attention to that scene, comforting her with a smile, “What do you want to eat for lunch?”
“Since it is Mr Chang’s treat, I will follow his wishes.” Ning Xi smiled, “I believe the places that Mr Chang has arranged would not disappoint.”
Chang Shi Gui laughed and without asking anymore, he quickly had his secretary and driver get into the car.
Ning Xi recognized that the driver was the one who took the camera from the man just now. She glanced at Chang Shi Gui, could it be this man is a driver and a bodyguard?
After the car started to move, Chang Shi Gui no longer spoke. She wearily leaned on the back of the chair but did not fall asleep. The car did not move for long before arriving at the dining location. Perhaps it was because she did not sleep for the whole night, the food that was prepared simply tasted delicious yet nutritious and despite being extremely drowsy, Ning Xi still had a big appetite.
On the way back after lunch, it could be due to Chang Shi Gui emitting an aura that lacked aggression, or she was too full and sleepy after the meal, Ning Xi’s alertness dropped. Unknowingly, she fell asleep while leaning on the car window.
Looking at Ning Xi who can sleep even by leaning on the window, Chang Shi Gui told the driver: “Drive slower.”
The car continued to move. Though the speed had decreased, Ning Xi’s head still swayed with the car’s movement. Chang Shi Gui hesitantly reached out his hand, at the moment when his fingertips touched Ning Xi’s hair, he felt an electric shock run down his arm as he retrieved his hand.
Just like this, he quietly watched her with deep affection yet did not touched her a single bit.
Without knowing how long has passed, the car stopped. Xu Zhou who was sitting at the front passenger seat, shifted his head and whispered: “Boss, we’ve arrived at Miss Ning’s residence.”
“I know.” Chang Shi Gui moved his sight away from Ning Xi and allowed himself to stabilize his emotions before turning his head to look at her again.
Ning Xi felt that she was dreaming. The mother in her dream was helping her to arrange her bag; her dad was in the kitchen preparing her favourite simmer-fried pork ribs. The pork ribs in the pot were boiling, letting out a sizzling sound.
As for her, the one spoilt like a princess by her parents, was currently sitting on the sofa nibbling on an apple. However, the apple was too big, no matter how she had bitten, she couldn’t finish it. “Mom, the apple that you bought today was way too big. I can’t finish it.”
“If you can’t finish it, share it with someone.” Her mother replied.
But when she raised her head, she did not see her mother. The dad that was in the kitchen also vanished.
“Ning Xi, Ning Xi……”
She opened her eyes and was greeted with Chang Shi Gui’s concerned look. He stood outside the car door, hands holding onto an umbrella, currently bending over to look at her.
“We’ve arrived?” She straightened her body, absentmindedly glanced outside of the window. She turned her head to smile at Chang Shi Gui, “Thank you for sending me home.”
“You’re welcome.” As he held the umbrella over her head, she did not have a single drop of water on her hand when she exited the car.
“Have a good rest.” He stuffed the umbrella into her hands, the umbrella still carrying the warmth of his hands. Ning Xi tightly grabbed the umbrella and directed a smile to him. She did not thank him again, only waving her hands at him before entering a neighbourhood door.
Chang Shi Gui looked at her back until it was out of sight, then he sat back into his car.
“Boss?” Xu Zhou called out, “Young master Jiang just called to invite you to a farm to fish this afternoon.”
“Not going. Head directly to the office.” Chang Shi Gui fished out his handkerchief to wipe off the water on his face, his tone was cold as he said.
“Understood, I shall reply Young master Jiang at once.”
Jiang Cheng hung up, shrugging and stretching his hands.
“Haa!” A few companions simultaneously let out a disappointed voice. Jiang Cheng glanced at Bai Lu who was sitting by his side without saying anything, and consolingly said: “Brother Chang might be too busy with his work and had no time to come out. Let’s invite him next time.”
Bai Lu held up the wine and drank. She replied without turning her head: “Who cares whether he is coming or not!”
Seeing her in such a state, Jiang Cheng pursed his lips, not saying a single word.