Return of the Goddess

Chapter 102

News of Jiang Hongkai’s arrest spread quickly. In fact, the speed at which the matter escalated was strange. It was as though the media had come together and did their best to dig up Jiang Hongkai’s past. Spending time in pubs, beating people up, insulting others, chasing women, and all sorts of trashy behaviours. He married three wives. The first was a descendant of the Qu family, but he had an affair, and got together with his second wife. When his second wife was pregnant, he started having affairs outside. In the end, his second wife died of depression after giving birth to their child.

Chen Zhenzhen was his final wife. Of course, she didn’t meet a good end, and committed suicide.

To reporters, things to be dug up, or things that could be dug up, were a feast for discussions. They didn’t have any qualms about gathering all sorts of dark history about Jiang Hongkai. Be it good or bad, right or wrong, they dug up all sorts of dirt about Jiang Hongkai, not even considering if these pieces of information were true.

Jiang Hongkai’s reputation nosedived, and the Jiang Corporation’s stocks also dove to its lowest point. The Qu and Tao families also made use of the opportunity to make things difficult for the Jiang family, hence the Jiang family’s foundations were deeply shaken.

Ning Xi read the reports about the Jiang family, then chucked the newspapers aside in boredom. She didn’t even dare to shake her head, with a few kilogrammes on her head. Filming for “A Father’s Greatest Love” was concluding, and this time, she was guest starring in Director Chen’s movie as a prophecy immortal in a cameo that was less than three minutes long.

Because the audience’s impression of her role as Fairy Qingyan was too deep, when Director Chen was choosing the actress for the role, the ones who auditioned seemed lacking, and in the end, he had to contact her and ask her for help.

Ning Xi didn’t reject Director Chen. Her cooperation with Director Chen in the past had been a pleasant experience, hence she had no reason to reject when he asked her. Moreover, she was familiar with a few of the leads, so she could still be at ease when she wasn’t filming.

“Teacher Ning,” An actress wearing a ruqun [1] ran up to Ning Xi and placed a bowl of freshly washed strawberries before her. “These are freshly plucked strawberries from a strawberry farm. Please try them.”

“Thanks.” Ning Xi ate one in front of her, then said, “It tastes pretty good.”

“You’re welcome.” The actress blushed as she showed Ning Xi her widest smile, then turned and ran away, not forgetting to look back once in a while.

After she was far away, Zhang Qingyun told Ning Xi, “That’s a rookie from our company. She’s the third female lead in this movie.”

A movie was about ninety minutes long, so a third female lead’s screen time was very limited. If the director wasn’t satisfied with the third female lead, when the movie premiered, her screen time might not even be as much as the guest stars.

Ning Xi took up the transparent bowl, then took a strawberry and passed it to Zhang Qingyun, “Try one?”

Zhang Qingyun brought it to his mouth, chewed and then swallowed it.

“How does it taste?” Ning Xi chuckled.

Zhang Qingyun replied nonchalantly, “Sour.”

However, he wasn’t referring to the strawberry, but other people.

Ning Xi smiled, then ignored him as she continued to hug the bowl and eat, “It’s fine if you’re not eating. Strawberries this season are very expensive.”

“Is the future Mrs. Chang still short of money?”

“There’s a need to be thrifty even when rich. My heart will ache if my own money is carelessly squandered.” Ning Xi said cheerily as she continued to eat her strawberries. She looked at the strawberries in the bowl; every one of them were pretty, it was clear that they had been intricately chosen. No matter what the other party’s intentions were, at this point, she didn’t have to make the other party feel awkward.

“You’re already so stingy, and you still don’t allow us to hug the big thighs?!” Zhang Qingyun snatched a bunch of strawberries and said leisurely, “After you’re done eating, remember to ask the make-up artist to touch up your lipstick.”

When the actress who gave Ning Xi the strawberries hid at a corner and saw that Ning Xi didn’t look down on her gift, even sharing it with her manager, her heart leapt. She didn’t expect Sister Ning to be so approachable, and didn’t even put on any airs.

“Tsk! Some people these days only concern themselves with flattering others instead of focusing on their acting. They should consider what the other person’s identity is, and how their own identities compare.”

The blatant insult caused her ears to turn crimson. She felt somewhat aggrieved, yet at the same time, she felt an inexplicable sense of unfairness. When she looked at Ning Xi once more, the exhilaration she felt had substantially reduced.

During the subsequent filming, the actors who had never worked with Ning Xi could finally witness how serious Ning Xi was when acting. Even though she was guest starring, she didn’t lower her expectations of herself, and her earnest attitude caused many of their faces to flush.

In order to accommodate Ning Xi’s time, the production crew had arranged for all of her scenes to be shot together. Trying to ensure that she wouldn’t be exhausted, the production crew even arranged a body double for her scenes using the wires.

However, there was a difference between Ning Xi and the body double’s height, hence Ning Xi eventually decided to perform the scenes herself. They filmed for a few hours consecutively, and it was only after three in the afternoon that they managed to complete the scenes.

“Teacher Ning, I’m really grateful to you this time.” When Ning Xi was removing her make-up, Director Chen walked in. “You’ve had quite a number of successful productions recently. Do you have any other work plans in future?’

Ning Xi smiled, “It’s almost the New Year. After ‘A Father’s Selfless Love’ has wrapped up, I’ll have a good New Year season, and will only consider other work after that.”

Last year, because she had to film, she didn’t rest for many days in total. This year, she didn’t have to work so hard.

“It’s a good idea to rest for a while,” Director Chen laughed and nodded, “I’m still waiting for your big day.”

“When that day comes, I’ll look forward to a large red packet from Director Chen,” Ning Xi teased, “Director Chen, please don’t be absent alright?”

“I’ll surely be there,” Director Chen pretended to be a hoodlum, “But the red packet doesn’t have to be there.”

“You can be absent, but the red packet needs to be present.” Ning Xi winked, her expression teasing.

When others overheard their conversation, they came to a realization. Ning Xi and Chang Shi Gui’s wedding seemed to be happening soon. She was definitely going to marry into this rich family.

After the guest role, Ning Xi flew back to the set of “A Father’s Selfless Love”. They finally wrapped up filming after a few days, and in the end, the director and investors organized a wrap up banquet.

Ning Xi had met the investors of this movie at the Qu family cocktail party, and they had a deep impression of Ning Xi. Hence, even with their investor identity, at the dinner table, they treated her extremely cordially. As a result, the atmosphere at the wrap-up party was extremely gentle; no one went to force others to get drunk.

Halfway through the dinner, two investors left, and everyone else in the room immediately relaxed. They started joking around with one another, and the room became very lively.

Perhaps Guo Ji had been emboldened by the alcoholic drinks, or his brain might have short-circuited, but he took a large cup of wine and brought it to Ning Xi, “Teacher Ning, we’ve worked together on set for so long, you have to give me face this time and finish up this drink.”

Ning Xi chuckled, “I’m sorry, Teacher Guo. I can’t really drink.”

“How can you say this? Everyone in our industry should be able to at least take a couple of drinks.” Guo Ji slammed the glass in front of Ning Xi, “Are you unwilling to drink because you despise me?”

This was how the Chinese persuaded others to drink. No matter whether you were able to drink or not, if I offered you a toast, you must take it, otherwise it would seem that you despise me, and would not give me face.

“Teacher Guo, Ning Xi really can’t drink much. How about this, I’ll drink on her behalf, alright?” Zhang Qingyun observed that Guo Ji appeared drunk, and was worried that he would cause a scene and ruin the mood, so he stood out and gave Guo Ji a way out.

Unfortunately, even if he was helping Guo Ji, Guo Ji wasn’t willing to take up his offer. After Zhang Qingyun stood out, Guo Ji refused to relent, and insisted on drinking with Ning Xi. He didn’t think carefully - if the two investors didn’t dare to ask Ning Xi to drink with them, wasn’t he creating trouble by running over haphazardly?

The rest of the crew also felt that the matter was strange, while the other actors pretended not to have witnessed the incident, but the director and producer couldn't just ignore it. Faced with this scenario, they both felt awkward too. Based on their roles in the movie, Zhang Yimin was the male lead, Ning Xi was the female lead, while Guo Ji was the second male lead whose screen time was slightly lesser than Zhang Yimin. Even though his performance was overpowered by Zhang Yimin and Ning Xi’s acting, they couldn’t deny his position in this movie regardless.

The movie hadn’t premiered, and if news about a conflict between the second male lead and the female lead were to spread, that would certainly be bad news for the movie.

Just as the director was about to persuade Guo Ji, Ning Xi spoke.

“Since Teacher Guo insists that I drink, then as a junior, it’s not good for me to reject it again.” Ning Xi took up the glass on the table, then tilted her head back and downed the drink. Then, in Guo Ji’s face, she flipped the glass upside down and said, “I’ll drink first in courtesy.”

Guo Ji also leaned his head back as he downed the alcohol in his hand, then took a bottle and wanted to refill Ning Xi’s glass, “What’s the fun in drinking only one? No matter what, you should have three, for good fortune.”

“Teacher Guo.” The producer stopped him from pouring the wine. “Teacher Ning is female, so it’s better for her to drink less.”

Guo Ji’s expression changed, as though he wanted to lash out, but after he saw the gaze from the producer, he could only meekly hold the bottle and return to his seat.

Ning Xi rubbed her belly, not saying anything more. Just now, she had drank too hastily, so her stomach was so warm that it was uncomfortable. She had to eat quite a few mouthfuls of food before she could suppress the feeling.

After the wrap-up banquet ended, everyone left the hotel together. It had started to snow outside, and Guo Ji’s grogginess was jolted by the cold wind and his mind immediately cleared up quite a bit. As he recalled getting Ning Xi to drink back then, cold sweat formed on his back, despite the chilly winter.

“Oh, look! Mr. Chang is here to pick Teacher Ning up again.”

“What a caring good man! He specially came to pick his girlfriend up because of the snow! Why is such a good man attached?”

Hearing the whispers, Guo Ji looked up and saw a man dressed in a navy suit. He wore a grey coat outside, and was holding a black umbrella and standing quietly beside a car.

Even if this man didn’t say anything, he was still the person who attracted the most attention there.

[1] Ruqun - traditional Chinese attire comprising of a short jacket worn under a long skirt.

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