Return of the Goddess

Chapter 76

Relationship chart here! Will update as and when there are new characters! :)

The promotions for The Unrivalled 2 proved to be very successful. The major cinemas had scheduled numerous showtimes on the day of its premiere. Yet, the occupancy rate of each slot was still very high, and some fans had even complained that they could only purchase showtimes at night, despite having gone to the theatres in the afternoon.

Ning Xi’s role in the movie was a Chinese cop. This cop was not only intelligent, she was also an important partner to the lead character’s team. While the role might have been created in order to please the Chinese fans, the character setting was extremely appealing. Furthermore, with Ning Xi pulling her weight in the show, exuding an aura of an elder sister, many young female fans were attracted to her, and their innocent hearts were pounding rapidly from the scenes.

At the end of the movie, this charming Chinese female cop even showed off her shooting and driving skills, after which she returned to her own country under the female lead's reluctant gaze. This meant that if a sequel was to be made, Ning Xi’s character could still return.

To be given an important role in an international production, and an extremely attractive role at that, was equivalent to skyrocketing Ning Xi’s domestic value.

This was especially so when The Unrivalled 2 raked in RMB900 million at the Chinese box office. Numerous local investors couldn’t help but be jealous at its performance. The Unrivalled 2 was a 3D movie, so the price of each ticket was higher than that of normal movies. Hence, to be able achieve such high box office takings within the span of a week was definitely something that would move anyone.

While the reporters couldn’t get a chance to interview the foreign actors who were overseas, Ning Xi was still in the country. Hence, they could still find topics to report on, and brag about their ability to interview someone from the movie.

The movie’s plot was actually quite ordinary, but the director was very good at managing the tempo of the show; the fighting and car-chasing scenes were extremely thrilling. The post-production further improved the effects of the movie, hence the movie’s good performance at the box office was well within expectations. What everyone didn’t expect was that the movie gave Ning Xi, the Chinese actress, such an important role. The Chinese female cop was not only intelligent; she was also a good fighter, and most importantly, she wasn’t overshadowed by the leads. This was extremely rare for an overseas production of this scale.

In recent years, many foreign productions would include a Chinese or Asian character in order to attract the Chinese market. However, these characters were either simply pretty faces, or the actors had nothing to do with China. To the Chinese, it was tiring to watch actors who were supposedly Chinese in the movie, but their looks and personalities were nothing like them.

Finally, a reliable movie had been produced; the Chinese fans would naturally support the movie at the theatres. Moreover, Ning Xi’s performance in the movie was impeccable, so she gained many fans from then on.

The Chinese had thousands of years of knowledge and culture. While Ning Xi’s character didn’t keep harping on these, every move she made and every word she spoke, made the audience feel that this female cop’s country must be very mysterious and powerful; otherwise, they wouldn’t have been able to nurture such a talented person.

To many people, Ning Xi’s performance made the country proud. There were even some fans who felt that Ning Xi’s character had a lot of depth; she must have done a lot of homework prior to shooting, or this character wouldn’t have had such charisma, mesmerizing both male and female fans.

The Unrivalled 2 was still screening, and many reporters and film critics had already praised Ning Xi for her performance. If people could rise to the heavens from compliments, Ning Xi would probably have ascended beyond the galaxy.

In fact, not only did the local critics view Ning Xi positively, many foreign fans also noticed Ning Xi’s character, and praised her performance. There were even numerous foreign fans who registered Weibo accounts so that they could send her their compliments.

During this period, the most busy person wasn’t Ning Xi, but her manager, Zhang Qingyun. In the past few days, Zhang Qingyun had received countless calls. Many producers were trying to get Ning Xi on their shows, and were even willing to negotiate a good remuneration for her.

There was even a programme that offered Ning Xi RMB40,000 per minute, to appear as a special guest on their show. However, this show was infamous for raising all sorts of scandalous topics relating to their guests. Hence, no matter how attractive the offer was, Zhang Qingyun rationally rejected it.

He knew that Ning Xi could now be considered the hottest female celebrity. However, it was precisely because of this that they had to be cautious. If they rashly took on endorsements and activities for the sake for the sake of money, overly hyping up Ning Xi’s popularity, that could eventually backfire on Ning Xi.

Since they were on the rise, they also had to put on some airs. Otherwise, over time, people wouldn’t give her the respect she deserved. Of course, more importantly, Ning Xi wasn’t in need of money now.

Zhang Qingyun had helped Ning Xi negotiate an endorsement contract with an internationally-renowned fragrance company for promotions within the Asian region. There were also ongoing negotiations with two other popular international brands. However, Zhang Qingyun was not anxious, as the other party was likely to be more eager to close the deal than he was.

One could never underestimate the power behind the size of an endorsement deal. In this industry, it was difficult to improve one’s stature, but easy to fall from grace.

Take for instance, there could be two endorsement contracts, each worth two million dollars. One was for promoting toilets or cleaning tools, while the other was for a luxury brand. In the eyes of others, could the status of these two deals be equal?

Endorsements were another signifier of a celebrity’s position in the industry. Hence, many celebrities would do all they could to obtain fashion endorsements.

And because Ning Xi’s popularity had shot through the roof, reporters were feeling helpless as they couldn’t obtain reporting on Ning Xi. A few brave reporters were so anxious that they decided to camp outside Chang Enterprises instead.

Since they couldn’t interview Ning Xi, they’ll settle with interviewing her boyfriend.

“Boss, it’s extremely windy today.” The intern reporter shrunk his neck into his shirt, and pulled his jacket tighter. However, his actions appeared suspicious, and the guards by the entrance would stare at him once in a while.

“This is nothing.” The middle-aged reporter stood calmly at the shelter, looking somewhat distracted. “Two years ago, in order to secure evidence that a celebrity was having an affair, I followed him for two entire weeks. I even had to hide beside the trash in thirty-degree weather. That experience was really …”

The intern looked shocked. He couldn’t imagine how standing beside the trash in such hot weather would feel.

“He’s out!” When the initially distracted middle-aged reporter saw a few men in suits walking out, he strode over, pulling out the recorder and camera as he moved towards them.

Chang Shi Gui was in the midst of a conversation with some of his staff when he suddenly saw a middle-aged man rushing towards him. The group was surprised, and the guards at the entrance also rushed forward.

“Mr. Chang, I’m a reporter from Bamboo Station. Do you have a few minutes? I would like to interview you. Just a few minutes will do.” The middle-aged man’s smile carried with it a sense of flattery, and when he saw the guards approaching, he even stepped back with a polite smile.

Chang Shi Gui passed the document in his hand to someone behind him, then turned and calmly faced the reporter, as he nodded, “Hi.”

The reporter could tell from Chang Shi Gui’s behaviour that he had accepted the interview. He quickly tipped the voice recorder towards Chang Shi Gui. “Mr. Chang, have you watched Ning Xi’s movie The Unrivalled 2? Fans around the world are raving about the female cop that she played in the movie. What do you think about this?”

“I’m glad that everyone likes Xixi’s role, and I’m proud of her.” A warm smile flashed across Chang Shi Gui’s face. “I’ve already gone to the theatres with her to watch the movie. It was truly an exhilarating film.”

“Will Mr. Chang consider investing in this industry in future?” The reporter continued his questioning.

“I already have some investments in the media industry. I hope that the domestic media industry will develop further.” Chang Shi Gui nodded cordially at the reporter, then raised his wrist and added, “I’m sorry, I’m in a hurry now. If there’s a chance in future, I’ll accept your interview.”

“Mr. Chang, may I also ask, if Ning Xi and you get married in future, will you still allow her to act?” The reporter hastily threw in another question upon seeing that Chang Shi Gui was about to leave.

Chang Shi Gui opened the door to his car, then turned and faced the reporter again. “As long as she likes it, I’ll support her decision.”

The intern saw that Chang Shi Gui had left after only a few questions, and felt somewhat disappointed. “Sigh, we didn’t get much again this time.”

“Whoever said we didn’t get anything?” The middle-aged reporter kept his tools, then grinned in satisfaction, “This time, not only do we have something to report, it’s also a massive headliner.”

A few hours later, an article was published online, and read by countless people.

“Ning Xi’s happy occasion [1] is approaching. Mr. Chang expresses his support for her to continue expanding her career in the entertainment industry after marriage.”

“Chang Shi Gui accompanies Ning Xi to the theatres, their sweetness is the envy of all.”

“Behind every successful woman, is a man who is supportive of her.”

“Details about Ning Xi, the entertainment industry’s success story.”

When the intern saw the amount of headlines that his boss managed to craft from an interview that was barely three minutes long, he felt depressed. Could this be the difference between a successful entertainment reporter and himself?

When Ning Xi saw these reports, she didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. When she opened the video of the interview, she was further tickled. The reporter’s last question was obviously a trap, all that talk about “post-marriage” was simply trying to bring up the topic of marriage.

However, undeniably, she was moved by Chang Shi Gui’s response.

The fans started asking in Weibo about her marriage; it seemed as though many people believed the reports.

She wanted to post a clarification, but her private phone suddenly rang. When she saw the caller display, the smile on her face vanished without a trace.

“Chen Yijun’s mother has filed for divorce from Chen Guanrong.”

Ning Xi’s hand on the mouse froze, as a small smile appeared slowly on her face. “It’s a good thing that she’s leaving the asshole.”

Back then, Chen Guanrong’s family owned a small company prior to his marriage. Later, he relied on Mrs. Chen’s family to further his career, slowly climbing up the ladder to achieve his current status. However, counting back on the illegitimate son’s age, he was probably having an affair when he got married. Now that Mrs Chen’s parents had passed away, he brazenly brought his mistress and illegitimate son out in the open. Did he think that Mrs. Chen was now reliant on him, so she wouldn’t be able to do anything?

However, the existing family assets were co-owned by the couple. If Mrs. Chen found a formidable lawyer, the outcome of this divorce lawsuit would be unpredictable.

Ning Xi was almost certain that Chen Guanrong was unwilling to get a divorce. He had only dared to act brazenly because he didn’t think that Mrs. Chen would leave him. Yet, Mrs. Chen’s decision left him in disbelief.

“Then, the Chen family ……”

Ning Xi’s gaze locked onto her computer screen. She had subconsciously clicked on Chang Shi Gui’s Weibo account, where the last post was made nine days ago.

Chang Shi Gui: I will. Even if everyone doesn’t love her anymore, she still has me.

She stared at the post in a daze, and as she opened the comments under the post, she became momentarily distracted.

“Miss Ning? Miss Ning?”

The shouts from the phone brought Ning Xi back to her senses. Her eyelashes fluttered, and her voice floated across the receiver, “Leave them be. I’ll just sit by and watch the show.”

After hanging up, her eyes once again trained onto the nine-day old message from Chang Shi Gui’s Weibo.

Chang Shi Gui had never mentioned this to her, and she didn’t know that he had posted such a message.

He was probably … a gift from the heavens in consolation of her hardship, allowing her to find the road to happiness.

When Chang Shi Gui returned home, he smelled a whiff of fragrance from the kitchen. He looked in that direction, and saw Ning Xi bustling around.

“You’re back?” Ning Xi popped her head out from the kitchen and smiled at Chang Shi Gui, “Go and wash up, and we’ll have dinner.”

Chang Shi Gui paused for a moment, then changed into his slippers and walked towards the kitchen.

[1] 好事 - happy occasion, or good thing, an allusion to marriage.

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