Before coming, Bai Lu had pictured Ning Xi as a gaudy woman; beautiful, but with questionable moral conduct.
However, after meeting the actual person, she realised that she had judged a person’s character based on her own prejudice. Ning Xi was indeed gorgeous but she was not ostentatious. Contrary to her expectations, she was actually a beautiful and charismatic woman.
Despite knowing in her head that she should hate this woman, deep down in her heart she could not bring herself to dislike her.
“Watch out!” Ning Xi, who was sitting opposite of her, suddenly stood up and used her hand to block something coming from above Bai Lu’s head. She turned her head to look and what dropped onto the floor was a bamboo pole, possibly a prop that was prepared by the production team for Ning Xi to use.
“Are you okay?” Bai Lu saw Ning Xi used quite some strength just now and she felt somewhat apologetic.
“I’m fine,” Ning Xi waved her hand, not letting Bai Lu see her arm, “There are all sorts of props on the production set and everyone has filmed many scenes consecutively today. The prop master wasn’t able to pack everything in time. I hope you weren’t too scared just now?”
Bai Lu shook her head as her gaze once again swept over Ning Xi’s arm. Unfortunately, as Ning Xi’s sleeves were too tight for her to see underneath, she was unable to determine whether Ning Xi was injured.
Noticing Bai Lu’s actions, Ning Xi could not help but let out a laugh. This great beauty was pretty softhearted.
“I have once seen Miss Bai,” Ning Xi held up the stool and shifted it to face outwards. This way, even if any object come over, it would not land on Bai Lu. “That night, Miss Bai Lu was driving a red sports car. When stepping out from the car, you were stunning and because I stole a few more glances at you, my manager criticised me.”
Getting so sincerely complimented for her looks by Ning Xi, Bai Lu could not help but feel guilty. She should not have brought so many people with her, and now she didn’t even know what Ning Xi thought of her currently.
“Just because I looked at you a few more times under the streetlamp, my manager even suspected my sexuality. Even when nothing was going on, he would worry about me getting too close to a great beauty like you,” Ning Xi said with a helpless look. As she was sitting too close to the outside, the canopy that was meant to shield them from the sun was unable to cover her back, making her appear to be shining faintly.
Perhaps it was because the other’s smile was too glorious, or perhaps it was due to the other having inadvertently protected her, that made Bai Lu soften her heart. She smiled, “You are such a stunner yourself, yet you still compliment others?”
“What is there to look at my own face,” Ning Xi spoke until here and again, irresistibly took a few more looks at Bai Lu. Once she saw that Bai Lu had noticed her actions, she shifted her gaze away in embarrassment, “Right?”
Her heart that was filled with complicated emotions unexpectedly transformed into joy as Bai Lu gently chuckled out, “You are right.”
“Cheng-zi, there is something off about this sequence,” A young man moved beside Jiang Cheng, “Didn’t Sister Lu come here to find trouble with that actress? How…did she end up chatting so happily with her instead?”
As Jiang Cheng had just been embarrassed by Ning Xi, his heart still bore resentment against her. When he heard the question, he immediately burst out angrily: “Didn’t you guys follow Bai Lu over earlier? If none of you know, how would I know!”
Hearing Jiang Cheng’s furious voice, Du Kang wiped at the sweat on his face. Could it be that both beauties were attracted by each other’s charms?
Wasn’t it said that two beauties couldn’t be compatible? Why was it that when it came to Sister Bai Lu, the situation seemed to be different?
Ning Xi didn’t probe any further as to the reason behind Bai Lu’s visit and Bai Lu had intentionally avoided this awkward question. The two had a harmonious atmosphere around them and if it wasn’t because Ning Xi still had to film, Bai Lu would most probably have continued to chat with Ning Xi.
“I heard that you still have one more scene?” Bai Lu saw that the sun was getting warmer and understood that if she continued to delay her, Ning Xi would have to endure the humid weather during noon to film, “It just so happens that I am curious as to how the filming process works, you can go and handle your business. I’ll just sit here and watch.”
“Sure,” Ning Xi stood up and said with a radiant smile, “That’s perfect, the next scene is be the most important scene for today. You can see my serious acting.”
Influenced by Ning Xi’s smile, Bai Lu’s face also subconsciously revealed a warm smile.
After waiting for Ning Xi to leave, Jiang Cheng, Du Kang and the others walked over.
“Sister Bai Lu, aren’t you here to settle scores with the hussy that seduced Brother Chang?”
“What hussy,” Bai Lu stared at the person who dared utter those words, “I am just here to take a look, who said I was here to settle scores?”
As expected, a woman’s heart was just too complex. They could never understand it.
Bai Lu looked at Ning Xi who was currently touching up her makeup, slowly lowering her eyes to say, “These kind of words should not be said again, Ning Xi……”
When she mentioned Chang Shi Gui, she paid special attention to Ning Xi’s expression. Her gaze did not have any movement, let alone arrogance. This was not the reaction of a woman who heard the name of her beloved and all the more, not the reaction of a materialistic woman who heard the name of her financial backer.
“Bai Lu,” Jiang Cheng noticed Bai Lu was having hidden thoughts that could not be easily said, “If it is inconvenient for you to take action, I can help you to teach her a lesson.” Even if he could not hit women, he still had other methods to take care of her.
“Cheng-zi, don’t be reckless,” Bai Lu cut him off, “I want to stay here to watch Ning Xi film, why don’t you return first.”
“What’s wrong?” Jiang Cheng looked at Bai Lu in disbelief, “Have you been brainwashed by this actress?”
“What actress not actress,” Bai Lu creased her eyebrows, “Cheng-zi, your words lack poise.”
“I don’t have poise?!” Jiang Cheng took a single foot to trample the plastic stool at the side that Ning Xi had used, “I reckon both you and Chang Shi Gui have gone mad!”
Finishing, he furiously turned away and walked off.
Bai Lu looked silently at the small stool in the corner without any words. Some people felt that the atmosphere was a little awkward and found excuses to leave. Only Du Kang remained standing in place.
“Sister Lu, Brother Cheng’s temper has always been this way. Please don’t mind it too much.” Du Kang was afraid that Bai Lu would be unable to let this go, and hence racked his brains to find suitable words to ease the situation.
“It’s okay, he has always looked down on female artists, “Bai Lu said and paused. Thinking that it was not good to reveal the Jiang family’s secrets to Du Kang, she asked, “Why haven’t you left?”
Du Kang simply grinned, “I am also here to take a peek. I feel that this actress is pretty good.”
Bai Lu smiled, not refuting his words.
Jiang Cheng had made quite a ruckus with the stool and everyone on the production team had already noticed the altercation. It was just that based on the director’s attitude, everyone knew that these people were not to be provoked and thus they turned a blind eye.
On the contrary, Xiao Yang, who was holding the umbrella for Ning Xi, snorted indignantly.
“What are you minding him for?” Ning Xi held her script as she chuckled, “Don’t make a fuss over a fool.”
Xiao Yang broke into laughter. What Sister Xixi said was right, that …..was indeed a fool.
“Ning Xi, the next scene is a fighting one, are you able to keep up?” Kong Yuheng finished briefing Ning Xi on the scene, “Do you want to use a body-double instead? You would just have to make up with a few close-up shots.”
“This scene has many close-up shots. If a body-double is used, not only will the effect be unsightly, the audience will be able to tell as well.” Ning Xi smiled at Kong Yuheng, “It’s fine, let’s get ready to shoot.”
As the first story was set in the period that the Chao dynasty took over people’s arduous livelihoods, the lead female role that Ning Xi had to portray required some action scenes. These scenes would give a glimpse into the challenging lives that the masses had to lead and their helplessness and resolution.
Ning Xi had experience in filming action scenes. But those were for meant for comedic effect to raise the likeability of a show. It had been very unlike this film, where action scenes were used to conceal one’s inner feelings.
Kong Yuheng was a meticulous director. The show that she filmed were not only logical, but also profound. However, in the eyes of the audience, they did not care whether there was any depth in the plot. What they minded was whether the fighting scenes and conflict were exciting or not.
‘Three Lives of Rogue’ made up for the things Kong Yuheng’s previous works lacked without suffering the loss of her past strong points.
As Ning Xi continues acting, she increasingly came to believe that once the show aired, it would definitely be a hit.
“The first team, dragon robes, ready and go!”
“Cut! Ning Xi, your eyes have to be fiercer when overturning the enemy. The strength of your hands must be conspicuous.”
Ning Xi stopped in her actions, taking in a few breaths before resuming the shoot.
In the end, although her large feet used to be the objects of insult, she became the leader in opposing the enemy. The saddest thing was that, the enemy wanted to kill her, the imperial court avoided her, and even the conservative commoners slandered her behind her back. Only then did Lao Xiu(? Is this a name) say that she had ruined Confucius’s teachings, while married women criticized her for not having proper etiquette. But even then, there were many more that were thankful to her, and prayed for her wellbeing.
The will of the people, their support and their home country’s righteousness allowed her to trample over all the slander and become a well-known leader that led the charge against the enemy.
Once the enemy invaded their territory, being a man or woman no longer mattered. Only those that wished to drive away the enemy were wanted.
Ning Xi immersed herself into her character. With crimson eyes, she raised the massive broadsword without any delay in her movements.
Behind her back were the many people that she had to protect. She could not retreat.
“Ning Xi has immersed herself into her character,” Kong Yuheng sat behind the monitor as she spoke to Lin Yan who was standing beside her, “Look at her eyes.”
Lin Yan and Kong Yuheng were equally excited. Ning Xi was going to bring life to her characters and for a scriptwriter, there was no better honour.
“Camera 2 move forward, you need to pay attention to the close-up of Ning Xi’s expression.”
When Chang Shi Gui’s hurried footsteps arrived at the production team, Bai Lu was not surprised. She turned towards Du Kang: “Inform him that I am here. Have him come over.”
Chang Shi Gui was wearing a white shirt, his tie slightly crooked beneath his collar. His jacket was left forgotten in the car as he was in a rush. He looked about and found that the production team was normal, not one of his imagined horrible outcomes playing out before his eyes.
“Chang, Brother Chang,” upon seeing Chang Shi Gui, Du Kang couldn’t help but feel indignant. He shrank his neck as he looked cautiously at Chang Shi Gui, “Sister Lu is by the side. She invited you over to sit with her.”
“Thank you.” Chang Shi Gui glanced briefly at him before taking big steps towards the canopy that Bai Lu was under.
“Sure enough, you really came.” Watching him walk over, Bai Lu let out a laugh and pointed at a small stool, “Have a seat.”
Chang Shi Gui sat on the stool, his gaze sweeping across the set silently.
“Rest assured, the others have already left,” Bai Lu took note of his expression while also gazing at the set, “The matter that you’re worried about did not happen.”
Chang Shi Gui dully glanced at her: “Bai Lu, I hope in the future there would not be a repeat of today.”
Bai Lu knew that when Chang Shi Gui used this type of tone to speak, it meant that he was angry. She laughed bitterly, “If I didn’t come, how would I know you cared so much about her?”
Chang Shi Gui shifted his eyes away, no longer looking at her.
“I have been secretly in love with you for six whole years,” Bai Lu spoke with trembling hands, her emotions unstable. “At that time, they told me that your heart already has someone else and I didn’t believe it. But now, I understand that it was true.”
She stood up from her seat and smiled mockingly, “She’s so pretty, it’s no wonder you would remember her for so many years.”
Chang Shi Gui adjusted his necktie with his clearly defined hands. He undid his cufflinks, “Bai Lu, some matters have nothing to do with appearance.”
“You’re right,” Bai Lu nodded with a smile, watching Ning Xi’s beautiful profile under the scorching sun, “Affection and appearance have no relation, and naturally nothing to do with wealth as well.”
After saying her piece, Bai Lu no longer responded to Chang Shi Gui. With large strides, she walked out from under the canopy and towards Ning Xi who had just finished shooting.
“Ning Xi,” Bai Lu took out a name card and placed it before Ning Xi, “My name is Bai Lu. If you don’t mind, you can call me Sister Lu in the future.”
Ning Xi had Xiao Yang bring over her name card and handed it to Bai Lu, “Sister Lu.”
Bai Lu put Ning Xi’s namecard in her purse and smiled at Ning Xi: “When you are free, let’s go out together.”
“Good,” Ning Xi gleamed, her eyes forming into crescents as she tucked her hair behind her ears, “This time I have gained another big thigh to grab on to.”
Not knowing why but upon seeing such a bright smile, Bai Lu felt her heart soften, “What are you hugging the thigh for, just directly head for the waist.”
“Really?” Ning Xi tilted her head to look at Bai Lu.
“Really.” Bai Lu nodded.
Suddenly, she felt warmth around her waist. A pair of soft and fair arms circled around her waist. The other’s actions were very light, just like a kitten tickling her.
Bai Lu felt her cheeks burning up.
Zhang Qingyun hadn’t expected that after receiving the news and frantically rushing over, he would witness this scene. His legs turned weak and almost gave way.
But before he could kneel down, he saw Mr Chang who was standing not far away with a face turning as dark as black ink with anger.
He turned his head and looked at Ning Xi, before switching back to Chang Shi Gui and silently stood straight. Perhaps from today onwards, this Mr. Chang really had to believe in his Ning Xi.
Ning Xi took back her hands and smiled with a face full of satisfaction, “Did I just obtain a backer?”
Bai Lu thought the woman in front of her was a succubus. As a woman, she seemed to be unable to tolerate her any longer. However, despite how she felt, her mouth opened uncontrollably, “Yes, if there’s anyone in the circle who is displeasing to your eyes, I will back you up.”
At this point in time, Bai Lu had long thrown away her original purpose to the back of her mind.
“Hai,” Bai Lu understood that she shouldn’t let herself fall anymore, so she dryly coughed, “I should go back, I will find you to play next time.”
“En en,” Ning Xi nodded and sent Bai Lu to her car before waving goodbye, “Sister Bai Lu, be careful on the way back.”
Bai Lu directed a smile at her gesture and waved back. With slight pressure on the accelerator, the car drove off as fast as an arrow leaving its bow.
Only after Ning Xi could not be seen anymore as the car drove far away did Bai Lu release her breath. She had a gut feeling that if they had stayed any longer, the situation would have become something that Bai Lu herself did not even want to imagine..
The thought that she, the Bai family’s young mistress, becoming an actress’s hardcore fan was ridiculous. If this circulated out she would become a laughingstock!
When Ning Xi returned to the production team, the smile on her face had not dissipated one bit. At this time, feeling as if someone was staring at her, she turned her head and was shocked by who she saw.
“Mr Chang, Brother Zhang, why are both of you here?”
Zhang Qingyun: Hehe, thank the heavens, he finally had a speck of presence.
“I’ve already been here for quite awhile but seeing that you were chatting so happily with Bai family’s young mistress I didn’t come over to disturb you,” Zhang Qingyun put on a fake smile as he continued, “Has your shoot been going smoothly?”
“Brother Zhang, please do not overthink. I’ve only just met Miss Bai.”
“That’s right, just met and you’ve already grabbed on to her waist. Give you some more time to get to know her and you would be flying up into the sky.” Zhang Qingyun scoffed, “I have accepted a romance movie on your behalf. You will be the female lead. The shoot begins just as the current one ends.”
Initially, he was a little hesitant. However, by the looks of this situation, he had to help Ning Xi discover her feminine side.
“My apologies for interrupting.” Chang Shi Gui’s voice succeeded in making Zhang Qingyun quiet down. He looked at Ning Xi and then back at Chang Shi Gui, before deciding to tactfully leave.
“Sorry, I didn’t know they would come here to find you,” The corner of Chang Shi Gui’s mouth sank, “For causing you trouble, I apologize.”
“It’s nothing. Sister Lu was very courteous and did not make things difficult for me,” Ning Xi walked towards the canopy as she looked at Chang Shi Gui who was following behind her, “I just did not expect that these young noble masters and mistresses would notice me.”
“It was that post I made on Weibo that incited the trouble,” Chang Shi Gui frowned, “There will not be such an occurrence in the future, please be at ease.”
“Mr Chang, you do not have to apologize to me. That Weibo post was only meant to help me. If it wasn’t for you that stood up to help me say a word, those people who tried to …. wouldn’t retract their actions so quickly. Speaking of which, I should be the one thanking you instead.”
“The matter arose because of me. It is only right for me to clarify the matter,” Chang Shi Gui lifted his hands to pull at his necktie, apparently feeling that it was somewhat tight, “You, you don’t have to be courteous.”
“It’s just that, you mentioned on Weibo that we are old friends,” Ning Xi said. “Mr Chang, have we met before in the past?”
Chang Shi Gui turned his head, locking eyes with Ning Xi.
At present, her face revealed a perfect smile and yet Chang Shi Gui could see clearly that her eyes did not carry a single trace of happiness.