Return of the Goddess

Chapter 98

Ning Xi assumed that the reporters were there because of the incident the day before. Chang Shi Gui and his two bodyguards stood in front of Ning Xi, protecting her.

“Xixi, what do you have to say with regard to General Lin’s commendation of your role in ‘Three Lives of Rouge’ this morning?”

“General Lin said that the female lead you portrayed had an unwavering soul, and a woman’s innately lofty and unyielding spirit. Are you touched by her words?”

Ning Xi was confused; she didn't know what the reporters were talking about.

Ever since “Three Lives of Rouge” was broadcasted, the ratings were on the rise. The three female leads she acted as were well-received by the female fans. There was even media speculation that the high ratings and popularity of the drama was an expression of modern women’s desire for independence, as well as the awakening of women towards the issue of gender equality.

However, Ning Xi had been busy with the filming of “A Father’s Great Love”, and was also focused on her mother’s suicide. Thus, she didn’t pay much attention to the broadcast of “Three Lives of Rouge”. She only knew that the show was quite sought after. Initially, she had used her wages for the film as an investment, so she was now earning quite a bit of profits from it.

As for the main investor Chang Shi Gui, he earned a handsome sum too, but apart from that, Ning Xi didn’t have the energy to care about other things.

Now that the reporters suddenly mentioned a general, and the women’s lofty and unyielding spirit, Ning Xi was befuddled. However, much as she was confused, she couldn’t show it on her face. She smiled at the reporters, “I’m sorry, I have to rush to the set for make-up now. Would all of you like to rest for a moment, and I’ll come back to answer your questions after I finish filming the first scene?”

The reporters saw the two muscular bodyguards beside her, as well as Chang Shi Gui protecting her, so they could only nod helplessly. At least she didn’t directly reject their interview. They could wait, so long as they could get something out of this.

Chang Shi Gui initially planned to leave, but seeing this situation, he instructed one bodyguard to buy drinks for the reporters, while he accompanied Ning Xi into the set.

“Teacher Ning, Mr. Chang, good morning.”

“Good morning.”

Ning Xi noticed that the crew was looking at her with brightened eyes, so her suspicions deepened. She walked into the make-up room. The make-up artist was doing Guo Ji’s make-up, but when they saw Ning Xi, one of them dropped what she was doing and walked over to greet her.

There were a few make-up artists in the team. Some were in-charge of the extras, some of the supporting cast, while the others did the leads. When the make-up artist taking care of the leads’ make-up saw Ning Xi waiting at a corner, she quickly finished up Guo Ji’s make-up, then went over to Ning Xi.

Guo Ji was a little upset about being neglected, but when he considered Ning Xi’s current popularity and her fiancé, no matter how upset he was, he could only hold it in.

When Ning Xi’s make-up was underway, Zhang Qingyun rushed in with hasty footsteps. Seeing Ning Xi seated leisurely on the chair applying her make-up, he took a deep breath and asked, “Xixi, when did you reach?”

“I’ve been here for some time now.” Ning Xi noticed the strange expression on Zhang Qingyun’s face. “Just now, there were many reporters outside who wanted to interview me, but I was busy getting ready, so I got them to wait for a while first.”

Zhang Qingyun handed his phone over to Ning Xi as he continued smiling, “I tried to call you but it didn’t get through. Is your phone out of battery?”

It was only now that Ning Xi recalled that even though she had been granted an exception to meet with the Ning siblings today, the police had requested that she went in without any electronic devices. Hence, she had turned off her phone and handed it over to the police, and she forgot to turn it on after that.

She took the phone from Zhang Qingyun and after she read the news on the screen, she was dumbfounded.

During a women’s rights forum this morning, General Lin had used her character in “Three Lives of Rouge” as an example, and excessively praised the characters.

General Lin was a woman, only of the very few female generals in the country. Even though most commoners wouldn’t be familiar with the different titles and levels of leaders, the term “General” showed that this person was rather high-ranking.

Back then, she had agreed to act as the lead actress for “Three Lives of Rouge” even though they lacked funding because the ideas that the drama centered around were in line with her values. However, she had never expected such a massive uproar arising from it.

It was no wonder why the reporters weren’t harping on yesterday’s matter, but instead were curious about “Three Lives of Rouge.”

Under normal circumstances, leaders of General Lin's standing would seldom discuss current film productions. To be praised by her personally was an immense honour for “Three Lives of Rouge”, while the same couldn’t be said for the media, who was adept at making mountains out of molehills.

After reading a few articles about this matter, Ning Xi knew how she could deal with the interviews later on.

Seeing that Ning Xi’s manager had rushed over, Chang Shi Gui could finally put down his worries. His presence here would make the others on the set uneasy, and might cause the others to misunderstand Ning Xi, hence he would usually refrain from staying there for long.

After bidding farewell to Ning Xi and Zhang Qingyun, Chang Shi Gui left a bodyguard behind, then took his car and left the set.

The bodyguard who was driving looked at him through the rearview mirror, “Boss, are we going to the office now?”

“Yes.” Chang Shi Gui nodded, then took out his phone to call Tao Huixue.

“Mom,” Chang Shi Gui’s voice was dull, “Why did Grandaunt suddenly praise Xixi?”

Tao Huixue was playing mahjong with a few other rich tai tais. After she picked up her son’s call, she threw out a tile, then replied slowly, “Isn’t that a good thing?”

“Five bamboos.” A tai tai threw out the tile, then looked cautiously at Tao Huixue.

Tao Huixue cut off her call and looked at the tile, then smiled. Forget it, she was in a good mood today, so she wouldn’t make a fuss.

“I won!”

“Oh, Mrs Chang’s luck is good today.”

“Her luck is good, and she has a beautiful and obedient daughter-in-law coming soon, how envious.”

“I agree. Young Master Chang lives up to expectations, unlike that immature brat of mine, all he knows is to act recklessly.

When Tao Huixue heard the flattery of the others, she laughed, “Our descendants have their own fortunes. We just need to enjoy life, and let them do what they want.” The few ladies present had probably gossiped about her Chang family in the past. Yet, they still had to flatter her in her presence. They even had to act carefully in a mahjong game. With a family background like hers, she didn’t need to find a daughter-in-law that her son didn’t like.

When the few tai tais observed that Tao Huixue seemed to sincerely like her future daughter-in-law, they all knew that they would have to treat that Miss Ning politely if they met her in future.

The first scene in the morning was an argument between Ning Xi and Guo Ji. In the drama, the siblings didn’t share the same views, and after their father was hospitalised, the tension between them finally exploded, so they had a huge quarrel.

The director’s expectation for the scene was clear. Between siblings, there were emotions, anger, arguments, but definitely not hatred. They had to calibrate this well.

Ning Xi got into her role very quickly, but Guo Ji’s expressions weren’t on point, and he NG-ed consecutively for five to six times. This made this Best Actor award winner look bad. If this happened on other days, it would have been fine. However, there were quite a number of reporters waiting to interview Ning Xi on set. To NG in front of so many reporters, if this spread, wouldn’t there be rumours that a Best Actor winner like him can’t even compare to a young actress who only won the Best Supporting Actress award?

However, what he didn’t know was, in the eyes of the Director and veteran Zhang Yimin, his acting skills might be proficient, but he wasn’t as gifted as Ning Xi.

“Teacher Guo, are you ready?” The director initially thought that this scene wasn’t too difficult, and even if Guo Ji and Ning Xi’s acting skills weren’t as adept as Teacher Zhang, but in the entertainment industry, they were considered skilled actors. He didn’t expect filming to be so arduous.

“I’m sorry, let’s do this again.” Even though Guo Ji liked to act like a bigshot privately, in front of the media, he was still mindful of his reputation.

Ning Xi pursed her lips and smiled, appearing as though she was fine even though she had done this a few times with Guo Ji.

“What’s wrong with me? Don’t tell me you’re right?!” Ning Xi pointed at Guo Ji, “From young, everyone at home would say how proud they were of you, how amazing you were. Even our mother would leave the best things for you. Now that you tell me that it’s not easy for you, do you think I had it easy all these years then?”

“What do you mean by this? Are you saying that Mom treated you badly?”

Under the cameras, Ning Xi and Guo Ji’s faces were flushed from the argument. Ning Xi’s fury and grievance, Guo Ji’s anger and persuasion, should have resulted in an a clear clash of views. However, perhaps Ning Xi’s acting was too compelling, plus Guo Ji didn’t fall into character, hence observers would naturally feel biased towards Ning Xi.

The director watched the monitors for a long time, then finally sighed. “Alright, this is a pass.” Guo Ji might have sufficient acting skills, but it was hard to say that he was gifted.

Once filming ended, Ning Xi was surrounded by the reporters once she walked out of the filming area. Beside her, Guo Ji had two mics in his hand, but when he saw the overflowing number of Ning Xi’s mics, to the point that she almost couldn’t hold all of them, he looked somewhat awkward.

In the past, he would always be the focus of the reporters’ attention, while others were simply part of the backdrop. Now that the tides have turned, how could he not feel awkward?

As expected, the reporters’ questions revolved mostly around “Three Lives of Rouge”.

“Xixi, it was rumoured “Three Lives of Rouge” didn’t have sufficient capital to start filming. In order to allow the filming to begin, you even invested your earnings for the filming to help Director Kong.” One reporter asked, “What made you so keen on acting as the female lead for this show?”

“Truthfully, I liked the script when I first saw it. There are many shows with heroic themes in the country - there are historical ones, scripted ones, or even some a mix of both. However, there’s a common point among these heroes - all of them were men.” Ning Xi chuckled as she continued, “Women would usually become accessories beside the heroes. They would be fragile or pretty, and would become decorative pieces.”

“I think... I think the term “hero” shouldn’t be a masculine term. If women were heroes, they would have to specially add the word ‘female’ before it.” Ning Xi paused for a moment, “I feel that this is unfair to women in history who sacrificed for the people.”

The reporters were astounded. They didn’t expect Ning Xi to dare to say this. Local celebrities would almost never raise the issue of human rights. It was even rarer to see someone who would outrightly discuss this like Ning Xi did.

“Then, what do you think women should be?” A male reporter asked excitedly.

Ning Xi smiled at him, “I feel that all women are goddesses, so our female comrades should protect themselves well. Of course, the same can be said for male comrades.”

The reporters suddenly felt that an actress like Ning Xi would easily gain the favour of females. Fortunately, she was a woman, or she would probably have countless “wife fans”.

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