I’m having a hard time finding a picture that says “Zhousheng Chen” to me. Most of the pics that I find are too sexy and smouldering, too bad-boy, too arrogant-looking, or too boyish. And of course, too handsome, but I can tell you searching for “average looking guy” pics does not bring up many that are usable.
Chang’er commented last update that Shi Yi’s persistence should pay off, and pay off it has. 🙂
Chapter 2.2 – This Life’s Previous Incarnation (2)
“I have always had this feeling…”
Shi Yi fell silent, carefully choosing her words.
Zhousheng Chen was very well-mannered and patient and did not press her, allowing her to look at his palm.
“In our previous life, we may have had the fate of knowing one another.”
She did not know how to explain it, so in the end, she could only give this vague statement. In today’s society, if she was a man and Zhousheng Chen was the woman, she reckoned, she would probably be considered a playboy.
However, with the gender reversal, this statement actually seemed very peculiar.
What should she say?
Should she tell him, they had known one another a very long time ago, or maybe, after many reincarnations, they were finally fortunate enough to encounter one another again?
Perhaps she was the only one who would believe such ridiculous words that would cause anyone else to feel as if they didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
She had been holding onto his hand for too long, so she had to let go.
As he pulled back his hand, he unexpectedly told her, “I believe what you said. Every relationship a person has is through karma and fate.” This statement really did not seem like something he would say. Shi Yi smiled awkwardly. She heard him ask, “You are leaving tomorrow?”
“I have lots of work to do. Can’t avoid it.”
“If it’s not an inconvenience, leave a phone number for me,” he said. “Sometimes, if it is inconvenient to go online, I can contact you this way.” Shi Yi thought she had misheard, and her brain momentarily went blank.
He smiled, “There’s a problem?”
“Not at all,” she blurted, but she was unable to find anything to write on and give to him.
“Recite it to me. I’ll be able to remember it.” He saw through the reason for her hesitation.
Shi Yi recited a string of numbers.
She was about to say it a second time, but Zhousheng Chen had already nodded his head and stated, “I’ve memorized it.”
The next day, she returned to Shanghai.
Her unexpected trip to Xi’an had used an entire week’s worth of time. Under pressure from Mei Lin, her manager, Shi Yi had no choice but to go into the studio everyday after lunch and record. Often, by the time her work for the day was complete, it would already be deep into the night.
When she was working, she was very serious. Usually, she would hold her A4 paper and in her mind, rehearse her lines, from the beginning to the end, twice. In that process, when she was able to find the ideal feel, she would immediately ask the recording engineer to start recording. Of course, she would occasionally recite some words wrong, but they only needed to re-record that specific line and the rest would be perfect.
“Teacher Shi, it’s good. I have no problems on my end. When the director comes, we’ll listen again to the overall effect.”
She walked out of the room to the water dispenser in the corridor and pulled out a cup. She only held it in her hand, though, not drinking as she looked out the window, preoccupied with her own thoughts.
One of the assistants of the recording studio stepped out from the elevator carrying several plastic bags of various sizes that contained drinks and late night snacks. He even was holding a white, plastic box of barbecued kebabs from a street side vendor, the ends of the bamboo skewers sticking out from the container and creating a tantalizing sight.
In a respectful manner, the assistant greeted her.
She nodded and smiled.
A single frown or smile, either one will melt the soul.
This sentence popped up in the assistant’s mind.
In the voice-acting world, the name “Shi Yi” was well-known, having reverberated like thunder for a long time already, but the number of people who had actually seen her in person was actually not many. She was one of the golden voice artists in the industry. She had one of the most beautiful voices and was very professional. Whenever the work involved her, it was always quite effortless. Unfortunately, her time was also the hardest to arrange. But this person – this particular voice – was one that many people were unable to resist.
Even if they needed to book her more than half a year in advance, people would still wait for her to do the dubbing.
These people who spent most of their time in a recording studio should have countless dealings and interactions with other artistes, and no matter how special her voice was, there could always be a similar alternative to be found. But, famous stars were made by being sought after. The harder she was to book, the bigger her name was.
In regards to her looks, there was a story that had circulated around the industry.
When she was still a newcomer, a famous producer happened upon her in the recording studio and very directly told her that she was his ideal female lead. After she tactfully declined him several times, the wealthy producer became outraged. Everyone present grew quiet out of fear. Shi Yi left wordlessly and never returned to that recording studio again.
Many years later, she became famous.
That same producer, after hearing a demo recording of her, was struck by how beautiful her voice was and tried every possible means to arrange to meet her in person.
It went without saying that the end result was, she refused to show her face to him again.
Nobody seemed to tire of, over and over again, bringing up this little tale with its twists and turns in the story, and it even indirectly became something that helped raise her price.
By approximately eleven o’clock at night, all of the work for the day was complete, earlier than expected. Before Shi Yi left, she went to turn her mobile phone off silent mode and discovered that an unfamiliar number had called her. Twice, in fact.
A scam call?
She tossed her phone into her purse. It fell onto her keys and there was a tinkling sound of metal.
It was Zhousheng Chen.
The moment this thought emerged in her mind, it seemed to spread uncontrollably. She took out her phone again and called that unfamiliar phone number back. The call was answered very quickly, but it was not his voice.
“Miss Shi?” An unfamiliar voice, but it was able to accurately state her name.
“Sorry. I think you may have the wrong number,” she said.
The phone quickly changed hands.
Another voice appeared: “It’s me, Zhousheng Chen.”
She very naturally answered him with an “mm.”
But also, because it was too natural a response, both of them seemed taken aback. It was fortunate they were not face to face and could avoid a lot awkwardness.
There was a brief moment of quiet. Suddenly, a beep from her phone informed her of an incoming call. Shi Yi took a glance and then quickly requested, “Could you wait for a few minutes? I need to answer a call from my mom.”
After getting his answer, she felt slightly relieved and answered her mother’s phone call.
Due to her “uniqueness,” since childhood, she had never been close with her parents. She was an odd child in the eyes of her family. At the age of six or seven, because of the strange things she would say, her mother even secretly took her to see a psychiatrist. Of course, this was something that only a handful of people knew about. Otherwise her relatives, regardless of whether they were close or distant, would talk about them behind their backs.
Because of her, her mother had spent much time in worry. Shi Yi knew this very clearly.
After she had grown up and entered adulthood, she began trying to give more emotive responses. Occasionally, she would pout and act like a mother’s child on the phone. Gradually, she grew accustomed to doing this and started to take the love and longing she had for her family of both lives and pour it onto her parents of this life. That was the reason why, for her mother, she would ask Zhousheng Chen to wait for her briefly.
Her mother did not have much to say, the general idea being that Shi Yi’s calls had been infrequent of late and she was somewhat worried.
Although she had not come outright and been clear about what she meant, Shi Yi knew her mother was concerned that she was starting to have her “hallucinations” again.
She reassured her for a while and finally managed to end the call.
Switching back to Zhousheng Chen’s call, she said, “I’m done now.”
“You just finished up work?”
“Yes,” she laughed, “so that’s why I didn’t see your calls.”
“If it is convenient, how about going out for a late-night snack together?”
This was the first time he was the one to invite her out.
Without any hesitation, Shi Yi agreed. “Sure.”
“Tell me the address of where you are.”
Shi Yi recited it to him.
“When I have arrived, I will let you know. Do not wait by the roadside.”
Shi Yi seated herself on the couch in the corridor. The people in the recording studio were already starting to pack-up, and besides two workrooms where the lights were still on, the remaining rooms were all dark. There were continuously people leaving and bidding goodbye to her, but she only held onto her phone and wondered why Zhousheng Chen had suddenly come to find her. Unfortunately, she did not have an answer.
Perhaps he was simply passing through.
Very shortly, Zhousheng Chen arrived at the underground car park. When Shi Yi stepped out of the elevator, she saw him standing alone outside the elevator doors, waiting for her.
He seemed like an entirely different person. His clothes were form-fitting – a pair of white trousers, a light-colored checkered dress shirt, and even a blue sport coat. A very unexpected outfit, completely overturning the previous image of him dressed in the white laboratory coat. Very good taste.
Poised and sophisticated but not in a very conspicuous way. The latter would cause him to appear somewhat rash and unreliable, but his dress was spot-on.
Her eyes were fixed disbelievingly on him as slowly, she walked over so that she was standing in front of him.
Those clear and luminous eyes were looking at her as well.
He smiled. “Surprised?”
“Very.” Her eyes traveled over him. “Your appearance today is very befitting of your name.”
“Befitting of my name?”
“Zhousheng Chen,” she stated his name. “The feeling it evokes in people should be this.”
That same name, in that time in history, should have been like this as well. Not about the skin-deep appearance but rather, the character and bearing.
He smiled, not speaking, but finding her words amusing.
“Why are you standing here to wait for me?”
“The car is parked rather far. I was afraid you would not be able to find it.”
“I come here often and am probably more familiar with this place than you.”
With a smile, he answered, “It is past midnight already, and there are only two security guards here. Are you not worried about encountering any unexpected incident?”
The habits of someone whose work was in the sciences.
He had only come this one-off time and he already knew that there were only two security guards in this car park?
Shi Yi’s lips curled up together in a smile. “Thank you.”
As they strolled over, a middle-aged gentleman was waiting beside the vehicle. Shi Yi had not noticed him until the middle-aged man approached them and suddenly addressed her smilingly, “Greetings to you, Miss Shi.”
“Hello.” Shi Yi looked over at Zhousheng Chen.
He was already opening the vehicle door for her.
She had not expected that this rare meet-up for a late night snack would give her the opportunity to see a different him, including this sort of bearing and poise that he carried, as well as the type of vehicle and chauffeur. Although she was curious, she did not have the boldness to ask him, and she only carefully observed the chauffeur after the car had exited the car park.
The man in the driver’s seat looked to be approximately fifty years old. The gloved hands gripping the steering wheel were very steady, and he was wearing a suit that was also made of high-quality fabric and had elegant details. He appeared to be someone who had been working for Zhousheng Chen for many years.
The car drove steadily along the whole way. The old chauffeur only asked them a single question, whether they wanted some water.
Zhousheng Chen declined.
So very quiet. Shi Yi peeked at him with her peripheral vision and thought to herself, something needed to be said at some point in time. “You look like you have just seen someone very important?”
Zhousheng Chen gave a nod. “A few elders.”
Shi Yi nodded.
Indeed, any subject, when given to him, could be answered with a single sentence and moreover, had no chance of being extended into further conversation.
She turned her head away to look out the window, unable to stop her grin.
Zhousheng Chen, you are such an odd person. Fortunately, I don’t mind.
She had been in this city for so long now, but she had never before been to this restaurant they had come to tonight.
More accurately, it was a private, traditional, courtyard-style house.
There was someone who had been standing in waiting for them, someone to lead the way and carry the tea, and even someone on the other side of the folding screen to replenish the incense stick and trim the candlewick while people came in and out to bring food and lay out lanterns.
Her curiosity was becoming more piqued. Glancing through the screen at the outline of the figures on the other side, she asked softly, “In these midnight hours, have we mistakenly wandered into a dreamland?”
“I simply surmised that someone who likes to read books like the Three ‘Yan’ and Two ‘Pai’ would likely also appreciate such a setting.”
She laughed, “I really do like it a lot. But the Three ‘Yan’ and Two ‘Pai’ are just collections of stories and are nothing worth showing off about. Some people like to read modern literature, some people like to read classical literature. It’s merely a difference in preferences.”
Zhousheng Chen’s eyes seemed to glimmer like sunlight gleaming off billowing waves. “Sometimes, I find that you and I have things in common.”
He answered frankly, “I like to collect embroidery of ‘Wu songs’.”
Shi Yi was a little speechless. She stared at him for a while and finally could not help bursting out in a laugh. Turning her head away from him to look at the silhouettes on the other side of the screen, she protested, “That’s not at all the same, okay? Your hobby is… very unique.”
 别院 “bie yuan.” This technically merely means “other home.” It is referring to someone’s standalone, private house (not an apartment!) but is not their main home. It could be referring to anything from a separate residence beside the owner’s main one reserved for guests or family to a vacation house in a completely different place, many miles away. However, this term usually refers to a more traditional style house. The “yuan” in the term often implies the old-style courtyard homes.
1 of 1 Prologue
6 of 56 Main story segments
0 of 3 Epilogues
I have deliberately not footnoted “Wu songs.” The next update, MBFB will provide a brief explanation, and I’ll give a more detailed footnote then. For now, I’ll leave you to speculate what this unique hobby of Zhousheng Chen might be.