Chapter 18: It Was At This Moment She Had Completely Turned Into Another Person
The staff member went in to notify Lin Qitang. After a while, she came out and invited Xi Mo in, “Ms. Ruan, you can enter now.”
The door was open, waiting for her to enter. However, Xi Mo still knocked on the door lightly, only entering after she heard Lin Qitang say “enter.”
She rarely knocked on the door before, no matter where she went. It wasn’t because she didn’t know courtesy. Ever since young, strict etiquette has been inculcated in her. However, she usually didn’t have to knock.
It was usually someone else opening the door for her, or someone inviting her inside respectfully or considerately.
Lin Qitang would definitely come out and welcome her in if she was still Xi Mo. He had spent a lot of effort to get her to act as the female lead. It was fortunate that Lin Qitang valued Xi Mo a lot or she as “Ruan Yesheng” wouldn’t even have the chance to be here.
She was less popular than the newbies in the industry and couldn’t compare to what she was in the past. As an old newbie, Xi Mo had to quickly adapt to her current lowly position. In any case, she had acted in many types of roles before. Life was like a show, it all depended on acting skills.
Lin Qitang was sitting behind the workbench. She stood two metres away from him and nodded with a smile. “Hello Director Lin, I am Ruan Yesheng, here for the audition.”
Lin Qitang was flipping through her resume.
There was no photo in the resume and no other information about her. He had been dissatisfied about it. But when he looked up and saw the woman before him, he couldn’t help but stare at her.
Ruan Yesheng’s appearance was top rate and could capture someone’s eyes instantly. More importantly, her face was easy to remember. There were countless handsome men and beautiful women in the entertainment circle, but some of them just couldn’t get famous. People were not able to tell their faces apart because they weren’t memorable
The woman before him had a good standing posture and natural disposition.
Just by standing there alone, she was a scenery to be admired.
With the addition of Xi Mo’s disposition exuding from her, Lin Qitang’s sight couldn’t help being seized by her.
Lin Qitang was a relatively young director. He was only in his thirties and could be considered a new one. There were basically three types of directors: artistic, commercial, and mixed. The artistic type of directors were very strict and have their own personal style. Between box office ratings and the pursuit of their artistic style, most of them would choose the latter and rarely have secret dealings. Commercial type directors are obviously more inclined towards money and will partake in various secret dealings in the entertainment circle. If the producer wishes to squeeze someone in to promote them, they would cooperate. If there is a market for terrible but overrated series that can attract attention, they will not hesitate to film many series with the genre to induce people’s cringe.
Lin Qitang belonged to the third type, which was the mixed type, favouring both artistic and commercial.
On one hand, he wished to choose the actors that were suitable for the roles. For example, he had been personally supervising the selection of an actor for an important role such as Ding E. He had gone through many actors, some of which were pretty famous, but still wasn’t able to find the right one that methis standards. On the other hand, Xi Mo actually recommended Ruan Yesheng to him and didn’t forget to emphasize her good points. One has to know that Xi Mo had previously been a movie actor. She will definitely stand out more now that she was willing to accept a role in a television series. To add on, Xi Mo had a huge fan base and great influence. He could fully predict the direction the series would go.
Also, she was willing to act in his show due to his shameless pestering. No matter what, he still had to give Xi Mo some liberty.
He had thought that he would just use Ruan Yesheng if she wasn’t too bad and could meet the acceptable standards.
Yet, the real person’s appearance and disposition had greatly exceeded his expectations.
Xi Mo was very perceptive and could see that Lin Qitang’s mood was slightly better. However, she didn’t speak out. At times like this, she only had to wait for Lin Qitang to speak.
Lin Qitang put down the resume. After calming down, his expression also became more indifferent. He asked, “Hmm, Ms Ruan, the resume says that you have appeared in commercials and music videos. You even acted in movies a few years back? Based on the dates, you are not a newcomer. Why didn’t you write down the movie name?”
Xi Mo smiled and said, “That was a long time ago. I now wish to start from the beginning again as a newcomer. Thank you Director Lin for giving me the chance to audition.
Act all you want!
Weren’t you full of smiles and unwilling to let go when you asked me to act as the female lead!?
Lin Qitang said calmly, “Okay. We will stop here for now. You can start acting according to the first scene in the audition script.”
Xi Mo bowed her head.
Her beautiful eyes lowered and her legs moved two steps forward, dignified and without any hesitation. With one of her hands placed over the other, she bowed her body and said, “Nuo.”
Her voice was very quiet.
It was at this moment she had completely turned into another person.
The palace etiquette during the Han dynasty was very strict. How one speaks, acts, and sits was regulated by rules. The clothing was also designed carefully based on the etiquette and culture of the dynasty. Xi Mo was clearly wearing casual modern clothing, but a wavy Ju dress seemed to be seen on her after she bowed. The ancient people’s upright and elegance seemed to permeate out from all over her body.
She also took note of the details. When a woman bows, she needed to press her left hand with her right hand.
Lin Qitang straightened his body unconsciously as he looked at her.
Her response of ‘nuo’ was not only the first line in the audition script but also a reply to his command for her to start.
She was now very respectful. She was Ding E, who appeared as the most perfect and loyal servant. She didn’t look up when she bowed down to reply. In front of Deng Sui, she always served her with a lowly attitude. The young Deng Sui, who was naive and unaffected, would often pull Ding E along to play, hoping to make the young yet mature her laugh, but it was hard to succeed.
The first scene tested was an ordinary scene. At this time, Deng Sui had yet to enter the palace. Deng Sui commanded Ding E to do something, and her reply was calm, dull, and modest as usual.
In her silent modesty, however, hid her confidence and coldness
There was nothing she couldn’t achieve.
And Deng Sui trusted her as well.
It was very hard to see Xi Mo’s eyes when she was in the bowing posture. However, Lin Qitang could clearly see a hint of arrogance that leaked out when she bowed. This was something he couldn’t see in the previous actors who auditioned. Those actors didn’t interpret the script well enough and only portrayed Ding E’s respectful attitude.
Lin Qitang drank some water and said, “Okay, next scene.”
The line was still the same. It was still the same single word ‘Nuo’.
But the scene had changed.
This time, it was Deng Sui’s father, Deng Xun, asking Ding E to do something. She was to kill an assassin before him and Deng Sui. This assassin was caught attempting to assassinate Deng Sui.
This assassin was Ding E’s biological brother.
Deng Sui’s grandfather, Deng Yu, was once a general that galloped on the battlefield and served Liu Xiu, emperor Guangwu of Han. The honor of the Deng family also came from him. Back then, he helped Liu Xiu establish a new dynasty and had made a lot of enemies. When it was time for Deng Xun to head the family, there were many hidden dangers. Deng Xun was a cautious person with perceptive eyes. When the assassin came, he saw that the assassin seemed to have some sort of relation with Ding E. In reality, the assassin only took an extra glance at Ding E during the confusion, but it had led Deng Xun to grow suspicious.
To eliminate his suspicions, Deng Xun ordered Ding E to kill the assassin.
Xi Mo stood on the same spot, in the same posture, with one of her hands over the other. The ancient people’s robes were wide. When they salute, their sleeves would cover their face. Under this cover, Xi Mo took a glance towards Lin Qitang’s direction. He was currently the Deng Sui in her imagination. She immediately replied with a lowered voice, “Nuo.”
It was a single word without any emotion.
She didn’t hesitate as she chose to obey Deng Xun’s command, despite facing her biological brother. However, her voice this time seemed to be unnoticeably longer and weaker.
As Lin Qitang sat there, he felt his soul being sucked in by Xi Mo’s hidden glance.
A good actor is very good at attracting other people’s eyes when they are in character. Excellent actors would even bring their opposing actor into character, making them forget about the set location and letting them immerse themselves in their role.
Compared to the Deng Sui in later days who was resolute, quick, and decisive, the Deng Sui now was still very kind, naive, and simple, like every other young girl. The young her didn’t wish to see killing and blood and was even more unwilling to see Ding E killing for her. Although Ding E was long stained with blood under the commands of Deng Xun.
After receiving Xi Mo’s faint glance, it was as if Deng Sui’s soul had taken over Lin Qitang’s body. He felt like he was Deng Sui being watched by Ding E. Deng Sui also had her reaction to this in the script. She felt Ding E’s sight and understood that Ding E wasn’t willing to kill before her and wished for her to step away.
As Deng Sui was hurt at this time, Lin Qitang held his chest with one hand. He forcefully turned himself into a delicate young woman and said according to the script, “Father, Sui-er will return to her room first.”
Xi Mo: “…”
Who allowed you to act with me!?
Xi Mo was done with her salutation. She stood waiting on one side with her eyes lowered and hands still overlapping.
She lifted her eyes only after Deng Sui left and took a glance towards the back of the imaginary Deng Sui. Then, she hooked her fingers, as if holding a sharp sword, and walked towards a direction with an emotionless face, seemingly without hesitation.
The assassin was right in that direction, and she was still acting as Ding E. Lin Qitang noticed that he had forgotten himself. He let out a light cough and drank another mouth of water before saying, “Very good, next scene.”
The third scene was still the same line, ‘Nuo’.
After Liu Zhao died, Deng Sui had become an empress dowager who held great power. Ding E and her started growing apart, but both of them didn’t show it on the surface nor pointed it out.
Deng Sui commanded Ding E to assassinate a stubborn old official from the court and disguise it as an accident. That official was very unhappy with Deng Sui attending court and had formed a group ready to rebel. Deng Sui could only strike first to stabilise her position.
By now, Ding E has already killed a countless number of people for her.
Xi Mo took two steps forward and said with a bow, “Nuo.”
Now, her eyes were raised. She looked faintly at the empty space before her through her non-existent sleeves, as if looking straight at Deng Sui.
Before her was Deng Sui.
She had lowered her eyes before Deng Sui for so many years. As time went by, she could now look at Deng Sui like this. An excellent actor’s acting skills can usually be seen in their eyes. The way the eyes move and the emotions that are shown are all a part of the act.
As if possessed, Lin Qitang looked directly at her and said, “With this command, zhen is asking you to kill someone again. Are you tired of it?”
Xi Mo, “…”
Lin Qitang, you’re seriously ill!
Why don’t you act as the female lead yourself!?
Why did you look for me back then!
Deng Sui was attending court and her authority was much greater than everyone else’s. She was like a female emperor, hence she started addressing herself as ‘zhen’ in the later part of the script. She was also the first woman to call herself ‘zhen’ in history. As her personal servant, Ding E was awarded the idle job of imperial aide, following her everywhere.
Xi Mo was expressionless. She continued bowing and acting with the crazy director, “I will do whatever the empress dowager asks me to do.”
Lin Qitang suddenly came back to his senses. He waved his hand at Xi Mo and said, looking a little awkward, “You don’t have to act out the latter scene with the long lines. Oh right, Ms. Ruan, what’s your relationship with Xi Mo? I heard her mentioning you, and I’m pretty curious.”
Xi Mo replied, “We were classmates.”
Lin Qitang had an, ‘I see,’ expression as he said, “You graduated from there too? Your resume is too simple so I’m still not clear about you. Ms. Ruan, which company are you working for now?”
“I’m not in any company, but I signed for a personal manager.” Xi Mo felt irritated thinking about Yan Tinghuan, who was outside.
Ruan Yesheng was blind to sign with that.
Amongst the directors, Lin Qitang was considered as a person who liked promoting newcomers. In actual fact, he did promote quite a number of young actors to popularity. This time around, he wished to borrow Xi Mo’s influence to bring out another batch of new actors. He had originally intended to leave the role of Ding E to a newcomer in the circle who wasn’t so famous but had the matching disposition and acting skills for the role.
Lin Qitang looked at Xi Mo and gave her a smile, saying, “Is Ms. Ruan interested in signing a contract with my studio?”
Xi Mo looked at him and also gave a smile.
After ten minutes, Xi Mo came out from the room, accompanied by the staff member. Yan Tinghuan stood up from the sofa and asked, “How was it?”
She was so free and easy, looking nothing like a manager.
Xi Mo didn’t reply, but the staff member replied instead. “Congratulations. She got the role. Director Lin is going to make the work arrangements. The two of you can prepare first, a work schedule will be sent soon.”
“Thank you. Thank you.” Yan Tinghuan shook hands with the staff member with a smile and said, “Then we will leave first and wait for further information from Director Lin.”
After saying so, she hugged Xi Mo intimately and said, “I knew you could do it. Our Ruan Ruan is the best.”
Xi Mo cringed hearing her words. The staff member behind called out to Yan Tinghuan and said, “Sorry Ms. Yan, I would like to ask for your help with a personal matter.”
“What is it?” Yan Tinghuan looked back with a smile.
“May I know if the memorizing crash course is still accepting students?” The staff member said, looking embarrassed, “Is it true that I can try out for one month free of charge?”
Yan Tinghuan, “?”
Xi Mo had already removed Yan Tinghuan’s hand elegantly away from her body and walked forward quickly. Yan Tinghuan was initially stunned before she replied to the staff member with a deep smile, “Oh that. I heard that the course is already full. I’ll let you know if there’s a next time?”
After muddling an excuse, Yan Tinghuan quickly caught up to Xi Mo. Not allowing any rejection, she held Xi Mo’s arm and asked, “Ruan Ruan, shall we have a meal to celebrate you getting the role?”
Xi Mo, “…”
All you do is hug. How disgusting!
Xi Mo held Yan Tinghuan’s arm with a smile and said, “Okay, where do you want to go?”
“I just sent a message to Tangtang and she is so happy. She said that after she is done with work, we must go to a high class place to have a high class meal.” Yan Tinghuan winked her eyes.
“Where?” Xi Mo pretended that she was very excited.
Haha, how high class can the high class meal mentioned by Feng Tangtang be? At most it is fried squid.
Yan Tinghuan said, “Let’s go have some seafood.”
Xi Mo, “…”
Do you guys want to die!?
Nuo – way of giving consent, another way to say yes
zhen – zhen means ‘I’, used by the emperor to address himself.
Fried squid – Fried squid also means being fired in chinese.