Chapter 232: A whole hand of detrimental cards
Shi Zhongjun’s words did not actually contain anything of real importance as he primarily just welcomed and thanked everyone for coming as the host of this gathering. This was, to a great extent, a signal for congregation which drew everyone, including those bigwigs originally hiding inside their private rooms, out, gathering them together to talk with one another.
As for whether they would be simply chatting, resolving their misunderstandings, discussing their cooperation or something else, that was something that would happen under the table.
Of course, if there was something more major or something that could not be openly heard, including those ‘naughty’ affairs, they would naturally return to their private room to talk, to…
Unless someone got drunk.
Tianyi’s VP had told Xu Tingsheng just earlier that once, some major figure had virtually acted out a live action X-rated film in front of everyone.The other party had been this top-tier female artiste who had just opened a studio by herself.
Most of those present remained in the hall. After Shi Zhongjun had finished speaking, a new Tianyi artiste went onto the stage to sing.
Shi Zhongjun had mentioned this person to Xu Tingsheng before. Intending to give Rebirth’s <You Are My Flower> to her, he had asked for Xu Tingsheng’s opinion on this. Seeing how this song wasn’t actually suited for Apple, Xu Tingsheng had consented very straightforwardly.
Xu Tingsheng did not remain in the hall, also not waiting for Shi Zhongjun’s toast. Instead, he returned directly to the room arranged for him.
Soon, Huang Yaming and Tan Yao came over, asking Xu Tingsheng how things were right now.
“Play all you want while getting to know some more people. Then, help me to pay attention to things later on, including their reactions in a while. If there’s a chance, try to get close to some people from Tianle. If you find anything, send me a message or find a chance to come upstairs and tell me about it,” Xu Tingsheng said.
“Also,” Xu Tingsheng reminded as the two turned to leave, “Remember not to stretch things too far when you’re hitting on the girls.”
“Relax, we’re very scrupulous. We’re just intending to take out two hundred million to invest in a couple of movies over the next half year,” Huang Yaming easily answered.
Xu Tingsheng could only smile wryly at this. Currently, the frenzied money-incinerating tide had only just begun in the film industry. Even for Feng Xiaogang’s major new year blockbuster, the investment sum was still around twenty to thirty million at most. The scrupulousness of these two was two hundred million at the onset?
“Go, go! Stretch it however you want, just don’t get me involved.”
Xu Tingsheng waved a hand, gesturing for them to hurry up and get lost.
After Huang Yaming and Tan Yao had left, Xu Tingsheng opened a secret compartment beneath the table of the private room. This secret compartment wasn’t actually that much of a secret. Usually, it was mostly used to store some performance-enhancing drugs and the like.
Currently, it was a letter that Xu Tingsheng retrieved from the secret compartment. Opening it, he found a whole bunch of photographs inside, every one of them recording the scandals and misdeeds of the artistes under Tianle’s charge.
The photographs were arranged in ascending order based on how famous and influential that particular artiste was.
This was the hand that Tianyi had prepared Xu Tingsheng, a whole hand of detrimental cards.
Such a dark side had actually always existed beneath the gloss of the entertainment industry. There were some people whose lives were inextricably tied to this darkness.
For example, for those artistes who had been living a decadent life for many long years, gambling, looking for hookers, being in an affair or even having taken drugs, why had things been so smooth for them for such a long period of time as they maintained a good public image, before it was then exposed all of a sudden one day?
The reason was simple. He or she had offended someone, thus having been taught a lesson due to their disobedience. Meanwhile, with their backer lacking the ability to secure their safety, all those things that had been accumulated since long ago would thus be exposed, leaving their reputation in tatters.
These photographs he held were all bombs, some of them even bordering on atomic. Meanwhile, the phone which Xu Tingsheng held was none other than their detonator.
Just as Xu Tingsheng was about to make the first call, there was a knock on the door.
“Come in,” Xu Tingsheng said.
Then, he was rather surprised to find that it was Shi Zhongjun and that Tianyi VP who had been chatting with him earlier who entered. Shi Zhongjun actually having come personally to find him despite just how busy he was, Xu Tingsheng knew that there was definitely something that he wanted to say as he waited patiently for it.
The two chatted with Xu Tingsheng for a while, wanting to confirm Jin Datang’s response.
Xu Tingsheng frankly told them how talks had fallen through.
“You know, can Brother Xu…” Shi Zhongjun finally got to the point as he pointed at the phone Xu Tingsheng was holding, “If Brother Xu has already made up your mind, this old bro will definitely support you. It’s just-can you delay this for a bit for me to first complete my responsibilities required as the event’s host?”
Shi Zhongjun’s words were perfectly reasonable. As Xu Tingsheng was no rash, self-absorbed arrogant youth, he naturally acceded to his request.
Xu Tingsheng had thought that he would be incomparably bored after this, only able to sit there and slowly wilt. In truth, however, following Shi Zhongjun’s departure, the private room that he was in soon became popular beyond compare as knocks unceasingly resounded on the door.
Most of those present were astute people. Therefore, it had already long since been noticed that an unfamiliar young face had appeared at today’s event. Also, he had a private room of his own at an event such as this, with even Shi Zhongjun having personally gone to visit him for a bit…
There was just too much that this entailed.
In terms of power and wealth, Xu Tingsheng had actually still yet to attain such heights, much less reach a point where Shi Zhongjun definitely had to go all out against Jin Datang for him. Yet, it was Xu Tingsheng’s potential as well as Hucheng’s great worth that had caught Shi Zhongjun’s eye, thereby leaving him feeling resolved to win him over despite the costs.
Everyone else remained unaware of this. Their judgment of Xu Tingsheng virtually came completely from what they had seen of him, how highly Shi Zhongjun seemed to view him.
This was something that was easily apparent from Huang Yaming and Tan Yao. Returning to the hall downstairs from Xu Tingsheng’s private room, their popularity had somehow surged greatly.
Female artistes who thought rather highly of their charm began sneaking out of the hall before secretly going upstairs to knock on the door of Xu Tingsheng’s private room.
After having dealt with a few of them with great difficulty, also experiencing another side of a female artiste whom he had once rather admired, Xu Tingsheng finally had a ‘do not disturb’ sign put up.
Now, he received a call from Apple.
Luckily, the room’s soundproofing was done very well.
“What’re you doing?” Apple asked.
“Discussing business. What about you?” Xu Tingsheng asked.
Apple hesitated for a while, “I met a few friends while eating dinner. I may be going out with them for a while later. I’ll be back as soon as I can. Is that okay?”
Xu Tingsheng did not think much about it, “Going out to have fun is a good thing. Be careful then. Also, you definitely can’t come back too late! Call me if it’s late. I can go fetch you later.”
“Okay,” Apple said, “Don’t be angry.”
“Of course I won’t,” Xu Tingsheng laughed, “I’m happier if you can go out more and have fun.”
Apple did not say much more, hurriedly hanging up after a quick ‘goodbye’ without even waiting for Xu Tingsheng to respond. Then, she felt ill at ease as if there were butterflies in her stomach.
She knew that Xu Tingsheng would definitely be very angry if he were to know the truth of the matter. He was always facing as well as bearing everything for her. How would he let her face adversity alone?
Earlier, Apple had met colleagues from Tianle at the hotel restaurant, that hateful leopard print man who had formerly been her agent included.
The leopard print man had given Apple a performance schedule on which the names of several strange bars could be seen. She had even been arranged to perform together with some exotic female dancer from Eastern Europe.
Apple adamantly refused.
“Get the compensation fee ready then. It’s not merely the compensation for your contract with Tianle. This also goes for all your performances. All of them were contracted by the company. You’ve got to bear responsibility for the company’s losses,” The leopard print man threatened.
Apple was taken aback, tears filling her eyes, “I’m already no longer singing. Why do you still have to do this?”
“Why? Because you were a fool and signed the contract! Now that Boss Jin is angry, things naturally won’t be going well for you.”
As the leopard print man was speaking, some female artistes who were actually also likely to share the same fate as Apple were instead jeering at her, mocking her. This was that pitiable aspect of human nature. So long as bad luck had yet to descend on them, they could deceive themselves whilst bullying others, always relishing the misfortune of others, even partaking in it.
“Where’s Boss Jin? I want to talk to him,” Apple grit her teeth.
“Boss Jin’s currently at a cocktail party. Right, we’ll be going over in a while to attend the latter half. Since you haven’t experienced one before, we’ll take you over for a look, also see if Boss Jin is free. Hey, who knows, he might even be in the mood to talk with you about your problem!”
The leopard print man wagged his finger arrogantly.
Apple shook her head, “I’m not going to attend no cocktail party.”
That promiscuous third-rate female artiste who believed herself to be extremely experienced and clever smiled as she interjected, “I know you’re good at pretending! Relax, this isn’t a cocktail party for our company alone. The higher echelons of all the major companies of the industry will be there, see? At that sort of place, just you? No one will ask you to do anything. Even if you want to, they might not even want to accept it! It’ll already be your blessing if Boss Jin doesn’t ignore you.”
One of them who had been on rather good terms with Apple before stepped forward, “Let’s go together, Apple. You’ve got a contract; you can’t always be avoiding it, not communicating with Boss Jin. You can make use of this chance to take a look at the heights of the industry as well. At that time, who knows? You might have changed your mind.”
She might not have any malicious intent, just that the way she saw things was different.
The leopard print man sashayed over, exclaiming proudly, “Right! Such an event and those people there-you may not be able to talk with them your entire lifetime, you know? Stop spouting useless words and go back up to change. Meet us downstairs in an hour.”
Apple had no intention of getting to know any major figure. Still, having seen that performance schedule, also being aware that it would indeed be impossible for her to continue avoiding Jin Datang forever, with her contract with Tianle being a standing issue…
After making up her mind, Apple did consider telling Xu Tingsheng about it. Still, she hesitated. She thought that Xu Tingsheng might be in the midst of an important business meeting right then. Also, Xu Tingsheng had always been wholly unrelated to the entertainment industry…
The letter that Huang Yaming had sent to her had only contained an application form for studying overseas. Therefore, Apple was actually still unaware of Xu Tingsheng’s relationship with Tianyi even now.
In order for Apple not to feel pressured in making her decision, in order that it not be forced, Xu Tingsheng had actually kept mum throughout however Song Ni and Fu Cheng had rebuked him back then. He just feared that Apple might find out, thus becoming unable to make a choice true to her heart that she would not regret.
An ignorant Apple just did not want to make things difficult for Xu Tingsheng, not wanting to be a burden to him. Therefore, she decided to face it on her own, even if it was just giving it a go. If it was possible, she hoped that she would not still be a burden, causing trouble for him again now.
Therefore, she lied.
She forgot that Xu Tingsheng had said not long ago, ‘Just think about it, and when you’re done, I’ll help you to actualise it’, and ‘I hope that you can trust me more’. Yet further back, he’d even once told her ‘Xu Tingsheng is a Superman. However far and high you fly, I will still be able to cover you’.
Apple did not change to clothes suited for the occasion. She just wore a simple T-shirt, jeans and sports shoes, not even applying makeup. She was dressed just as simply as this as she went to the hotel lobby downstairs.
She was clearly expressing her stance with this.
Seeing this, the leopard print man sashayed over, pinching Apple’s arm and snorting as he scolded, “Totally hopeless! If you can’t grab the chance, who’s there to blame but yourself?”
The female artistes who were all dressed ostentatiously with as much exposed skin as possible began jeering, mocking:
“Acting all holier-than-thou.”
“Hasn’t she always been like this?”
“That’s why she’s so tragic now. Hah!”
Apple tolerated them, not uttering a sound.