“Excuse me, but could we switch seats?” Chang Shi Gui looked at Zhu Moli, who was sitting at the corner of the room, then walked over to Zhang Peipei. “I have something to discuss with Ning Xi.”
“Sure, sure.” Zhang Peipei hurriedly gave her seat up.
“Thanks.” Chang Shi Gui nodded his appreciation toward her. It was such a small act, but it contained the gracefulness befitting of someone from the nobility, even though the cutlery in his hands might have affected the image somewhat.
“You’re welcome.” Zhang Peipei replied softly, as she ran towards Chang Shi Gui’s original seat. She clutched her chest involuntarily, as she thought, how could there be a man as charming as him?
She peeked furtively at Ning Xi, her eyes full of respect. Ning Xi was truly a true queen; she could even hold her ground when being pursued by such a charming man!
Everyone else noticed Chang Shi Gui’s actions, and understood the situation. Before Zhu Moli entered the room, even though President Chang had occasionally shown some affection towards Ning Xi, he had never requested for a change of seats. The change in President Chang’s attitude after Zhu Moli appeared showed that he had been aware of the dispute between Ning Xi and Zhu Moli, and his request was due to his concern that Zhu Moli might harm Ning Xi physically.
Someone from an affluent background like Chang Shi Gui would normally carry the behaviour of an aristocrat. An action such as changing seats in the midst of a meal would be considered impolite, and was not something that someone of Chang Shi Gui’s stature would do.
Yet, he did so for Ning Xi.
The male lead Shao Chong noticed that the rest of his table mates did not show any surprise, so he learned from Zhou Haili, and acted as if he did not see or guess anything.
Even if there were so many reputable celebrities on the table, how could they be compared to the background of this President Chang?
Ning Xi did not expect Chang Shi Gui to move over. She tilted her head and asked quietly, “Are you so worried about me?”
“I’m not worried about you, but I don’t trust others.” Chang Shi Gui used the sharing chopsticks to pick up some of Ning Xi’s favourite dishes and placed them into her bowl. “Safety comes first; we have to be on our toes no matter how small the possibility is.”
Ning Xi smiled when she heard this, but did not ask any further. She continued to eat the food that Chang Shi Gui had taken for her.
Sun Yuhan drank a sip of her fruit vinegar quietly. The two beside her did not act in an ambiguous manner, but why did she feel that she had been fed a dash of lovey-dovey?
Zhu Moli saw that the crowd had started livening up again, so she took her glass without a word. A moment later, she gritted her teeth as she stood up and made her way to the main table.
The assistants immediately put down their chopsticks in alarm, and watched Zhu Moli’s actions warily.
“Director Qian, I was immature then, and caused the production crew trouble.” Zhu Moli walked to Qian Conghai, bowed to him then raised her glass saying, “This is my toast to you.”
Qian Conghai had been in the industry for close to twenty years. He had met all sorts of actors, and Zhu Moli was one of those who had many antics up her sleeves.
He could accept this toast, but there was nothing he could do to help her.
Every industry had its rules; she was the one who started the trouble, she had to face the consequences.
When she bullied Ning Xi in the past, one could say that her values were problematic as she was proud and bullied rookies. However, the fact that she had been caught by the paparazzi for fooling around with Jiang Hongkai on the day of Chen Zhenzhen’s death anniversary only showed how stupid she was.
Zhu Moli pursed her lips when she saw that Director Qian remained silent even though he accepted her toast. She turned and tried to give another investor a toast, but the investor did not even patronize her, and rejected her toast directly.
The investor saw Zhu Moli’s ashen face and said with a straight face, “Miss Zhu, you don’t look too good. How about you leave earlier to rest? I can arrange transport for you.”
“Pfft!” Someone in the room laughed. Zhu Moli only felt that this laughter was a slap in her face.
However, given her plight, she didn’t even turn back to find the culprit. Instead, she thanked the investor with a smile, then turned her gaze on Ning Xi.
Zhu Moli’s reaction caught all of their attention. A good show was going to begin!
“Ning Xi,” Zhu Moli was holding her glass so tightly that her knuckles were turning white. Her smile still remained humble and gentle. “I’m sorry. I brought you so much trouble in the past, I hope that you can forgive me.”
Zhu Moli put down her pride and put herself in such a humble position, one which was entirely different from how conceited she had been in the past. If Ning Xi had been more sensitive or even just a little kinder, she might have accepted the apology under such circumstances.
But why should she?
Why should she pretend that Zhu Moli’s acts in the past did not happen just because of a few words of apology?
Zhu Moli’s palms started clamming up; she stared at Ning Xi, waiting for a reaction. She had long heard about the rumour that the President of Chang Enterprises pursuing Ning Xi. She did not believe that Ning Xi would still not compromise when Chang Shi Gui was present.
“Which incident is Teacher Zhu referring to?” Ning Xi twirled the glass in her hands, as a trace of a smile appeared on her face. She looked at Zhu Moli and asked, “Was it the incident where you intentionally got people to spread rumours online that I was acting like a big shot during the production time, or the subsequent hiring of online troopers to say that I was President Chang’s sugar baby?”
Zhu Moli’s expression froze; Ning Xi had really been aware that she was behind these incidents.
“Teacher Zhu is a senior in the industry; how can a junior like me say anything about forgiveness?” Ning Xi placed her glass on the table, her expression stoic. “Teacher Zhu, please don’t bring this up again in future.”
Ning Xi might have been a rookie in the industry, but she was very popular at the moment. When she said about not being able to bring up the issue of forgiveness, she was telling Zhu Moli plainly that she could never pretend that these incidents had not taken place.
“What do I have to do for you to forgive me?” Zhu Moli had never felt this humbled in her entire life.
“What a funny thing to say. You harmed someone, and hoped to just write off the offence with just a toast?” Sun Yuhan chimed in coldly from the side. “Zhu Moli, I really don’t see why you deserve such an honour!”
A few people in the neighbouring tables couldn’t contain their laughter. Zhu Moli had a bad temper. Over the past few years, she had been relying on the backing of Zhu Hongkai, and under the excuse of “being true to herself”, had offended countless people. Now that she was down and out, these people couldn’t wait to embarrass her further in order to soothe their anger.
There was no lack of people in any industry who would act according to how the tides turned. These people might have previously called Zhu Moli “Sister” or “Teacher” when she was at her peak, but their attitudes immediately changed now that she was in dire straits.
“Teacher Zhu, I think you should go home earlier to rest.” The production assistant gestured an invitation, and said, “There are too many people here so the air can be stifling. That’s not good for your health.”
“You don’t have to see me out. I can walk out on my own.” Zhu Moli knew that these people were not going to show her any respect. She splashed the contents of her glass across the table, then glared angrily at the people in the room, before fixing her gaze at Ning Xi. “Someday, people might just return the same treatment that I’ve received tonight to you.”
She threw a mocking look at Chang Shi Gui. “Don’t trust the honey lips of a man. When you are down and out, they would run away faster than rabbits do.”
“You might have found yourself a useless man, but don’t assume that all men are like that.” Ning Xi rebuked her coldly. “As for my future, that’s not for you to be concerned about.”
“Hmph! I’ll see how long you can keep this up.” Zhu Moli turned around and glared at the production assistant, then knocked him out of the way and left the room.
“Look at how fast the attitude changes. Immediately when she sees that the situation is not beneficial to her, she just turns around and leaves. Whoever said that her acting skills were lacking?” Sun Yuhan was never on good terms with Zhu Moli, so she did not hesitate to outrightly criticize her.
The people around them started to agree, while Ning Xi lowered her head and continued to eat, without a word.
Zhu Moli’s appearance had caused the appetites of the entire crew to vanish. Director Qian was worried that the words of the production crew might affect the investors’ impression of them, so he closed the night quickly.
“I’ll send you back.” There was a slight chill when they walked out of the hotel. The bodyguard waiting at the entrance handed Chang Shi Gui a bag. Chang Shi Gui pulled a silk shawl out of the bag to cover Ning Xi’s shoulders, then turned back to Director Qian and the rest of the crew saying, “Thanks everyone. I’ll send Ning Xi home first.”
The production crew said their goodbyes to the couple, and after they left, the director’s assistant then said softly, “Is Ning Xi’s non-celebrity boyfriend Mr Chang?”
The others looked at one another, before someone finally spoke, “No, that’s not possible.”
If the two were truly in a relationship, why would Ning Xi be so foolish as to keep their relationship under wraps? After all, Chang Shi Gui’s reputation would only be beneficial to Ning Xi.
At least she could officially put her name beside his publicly, which might help her in her bid to marry into the Chang family.
“You should refrain from gossiping too much about these bigwigs.” Zhou Haili said plainly, “People outside of the industry can talk for all they want, but as insiders to the industry, we should try to avoid trouble as much as we can.”
The others immediately shut their mouths in fear.
Teacher Zhou was right. No matter the relationship between the two, if news had travelled from their mouths and the news was distorted, they would be the ones in trouble.
“Time for you to confess. Did you do that intentionally just now?” Ning Xi poked Chang Shi Gui’s chest.
“What did I do intentionally?” Chang Shi Gui grabbed the finger that was poking him. A deep laugh resonated. “It’s already so late, I’ll be worried if others send you home.”
“You are the one whom I should be most worried about.” Ning Xi looked at him from the side of her eyes, “Don’t you agree?”
Chang Shi Gui smiled as he pulled her into his embrace, then lightly ruffled her hair. “I really wanted everyone to know that you are my woman.”
Ning Xi looked up at him. “Do you really want that?”
Chang Shi Gui’s gaze on her was extremely gentle, to the extent that Ning Xi felt that she was drowning in the vast land of his gentleness.
“Yes.” Chang Shi Gui smiled, “But I don’t want others to say that you are trying to hug my legs .”
“That’s just nonsense. Why would I want to hug your legs?” Ning Xi giggled as her arms encircled his waist, “I clearly prefer hugging your waist.
A low laugh sounded from Chang Shi Gui again.
The next morning, online fans of The Legendary Chronicles of Tanhai had already given raving reviews of the movie. Many had even gone to Ning Xi’s Weibo account to comment that they had become her fan.
It wasn’t that they were superficial, but Ning Xi’s rendition of Fairy Qingyan truly fitted their imaginations of what a fairy was like, and reminded them of the feeling they had towards fairies when they were younger.
Very soon, the box office takings of The Legendary Chronicles of Tanhai had surpassed five hundred million; from the take-up rate of the seats in the cinemas, it was clear that the movie was only going to rake in even more money.
It was also unclear when it started, but almost everyone had started referring to Ning Xi as “Goddess Ning Xi”. and Ning Xi’s fans were also labelled “Goddess’ fans”.
 抱大腿 (bao da tui) - literally means hugging one’s leg. Implies that she’s with him for his wealth.