Fanatical

Fangirling Chinese Novels

Easily Set Aflame (轻易放火) — Chapter 1.1

34 Comments

Merry Christmas, our readers! Sending you and your family the warmest wishes and blessings. Tidings of joy for this season. ❤

We meet the famous Yi Wenze! Honestly, if I were to meet my idol, I don’t think I’d do as well as Jia He did. LOL.

Chapter 1.1 — Filming-Kickoff Press Conference (1)

This story was translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com only. All forms of reproduction, redistribution, or reposting are not authorized. If you are not reading this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the copy is unauthorized and has been taken without consent of the translator.

Jia He stared glumly at the time on her mobile phone, her heart beating faster and faster. The press conference for filming kickoff had long since begun, but she was still here stuck on the road with her destination as good as light years away. But what could she do about it, since, after all, it was Valentine’s Day? Couples sat in every taxi in Shanghai. It had taken her an entire hour to simply hail a taxi, and now adding traffic congestion on top of that, by the time she arrived at the site, the people remaining would likely only be the workers.

The driver seemed to sense the atmosphere she was emitting, and kept smiling and consoling her that they would soon be there.

“Don’t worry. Men should wait, especially on such a day as today.”

Jia He looked out the window in dismay. “How awesome it would be if things really would wait for me.” Press conferences never needed the screenwriter. It was not as if she was an actress or director; who would wait for her?

“You’ve even brought your luggage. How could he not wait for you?”

In the rearview mirror, Jia He saw the driver’s keen, sparkling eyes. At first she wanted to explain, but she really was not in the mood to speak. Once the press conference finished, she would be going with the cast and crew to Hengdian, so of course she had brought her luggage. However, every person, even if you tried switching in a hundred different people, seeing a woman towing along her suitcase to a Hilton Hotel on Valentine’s Day would think the same thing…

The traffic light changed from red to green, from green to red. It basically was changing for the air to see, for not a single car could move.

So, by the time the taxi finally crawled its way like this to the hotel, it was nearly six o’clock.

Jia He dragged her suitcase behind her and strode towards the downstairs level of the hotel. When she saw a few groups of young girls there in the chilly wind, all of them lovely and adorable-looking, waiting for their idol, she could not help wondering which group was Yi Wenze’s fans. Thinking about the fact that she would be seeing him in person very soon, she actually grew a little bashful herself, and it was only when she caught sight of the hotel doorman’s assessing gaze on her that she recovered herself.

These last two years working as a screenwriter were like a waste. She, someone who had always had a way of being able to put on a calm and collected appearance, had completely failed in her pretense this time.

“I’ll say, you really are something.” When the elevator doors slid open, Qiao Qiao almost threw her mobile phone at her. “It’s half over already, and now you finally show up.” As she spoke, she grabbed Jia He’s luggage from her and then strode swiftly into the press conference venue.

A backdrop board that stood as high as a wall. More than ten rows of seats. A hall illuminated with splendid lights.

At this time, the conference had already moved into the part for individual interviews. The cast’s several main leads were in various places around the venue, being interviewed with cameras and long lenses surrounding them. The lead actress was a new, rising idol in Mainland China, and she had snagged the prettiest background, the media backdrop board. Her smile was still stiff and inexperienced as she struck a perfect pose. Back when the cast and roles had been confirmed, Jia He had not even known her name and had had to specifically search up her information and profile on the Internet. All this time, she had been unable to imagine how this actress would be able to play the part of a noblewoman of the Tang dynasty[1]. Now it did appear, at least from the standpoint of that figure[2] of hers, that… she did fit the role.

Qiao Qiao all of a sudden gave her a tug and pointed towards the right of the stage.

In that spot was, naturally, Yi Wenze.

<>It would be sincerely appreciated if you would support this translation by reading it on hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, its actual site of posting, instead. Thank you.

The backdrop behind him was a picture of a brilliantly-lit Daming Palace[3] in the night.

Despite being surrounded by a dozen or so reporters, due to his height advantage, she still had a clear view of his side profile through the crisscrossing lenses of cameras and video cameras. His short, black hair and his gaze that was extremely incisive were so real that they left Jia He in a daze.

At this moment, a young journalist was presenting a question to him, but possibly because she was anxious, or perhaps for other reasons, her words came out falteringly and her face was actually slightly tinged with red. He, though, merely listened patiently with a smile until the journalist had finished asking her question, and then immediately, his demeanour very polite, he provided his answer. At this distance from him, Jia He could faintly make out his voice with its Mandarin pronunciation that was not very standard, so familiar to her, yet at the same time, so unfamiliar as well.

“When interviews are finished, I’ll have the director introduce the two of you.” Qiao Qiao threw a sideways glance at her. “If I, just a little ol’ producer, make the introductions, he might not end up remembering you. The director is the hot shot.”

Jia He tried with all her might to maintain her poise. But as her mind drifted away, she suddenly realized that she should have worn high heels today. She was already half a head shorter than Qiao Qiao to begin with, and now with Qiao Qiao standing in heels next to her, she ended up looking like the assistant to a supermodel.

“Stay cool, stay cool.” Qiao Qiao handed her a cup of water. “We need to just look past him, like he’s not there. If you show any adoring, worshiping look in your eyes, you’ve lost. I swear, every day, he’ll definitely be making you change the script or add scenes—”

“Isn’t it like that every time anyway?” Taking a sip of water, Jia He said dolefully, “Whether it’s the male lead or the female lead, a supporting actor or supporting actress, the first thing anyone says the instant the script is in hand is, ‘There’s something wrong with this script.’ It’s like, for the entire scene, everyone else has to be just a block of wood and they’re the only one constantly with lines to say, and then that’s a good script.”

“Eh? Why are you telling this stuff to me? Go say it to the director.” Qiao Qiao snatched her cup away from her and took a drink from it as well. “I’m between the devil and the deep blue sea. Don’t make things difficult for me.” Qiao Qiao batted the lashes of her big eyes, looking with innocence at Jia He.

Grinding her teeth, Jia He shot a glare back at her.

Qiao Qiao nearly sprayed the water from her mouth. “Fine, then. If you’re so good, don’t budge on anything when Yi Wenze tells you to make changes.”

Right as Jia He was about to fire back a retort, Director Jiang had already sent away a reporter, and spotting the two of them, he waved.

Qiao Qiao hastily gave her a nudge, saying in a quiet voice, “I’m going to go check in on the lead actress. That woman is a drama queen; she likes to be ‘valued.’ ” Once she finished saying this, she did not wait for Jia He’s response and, plastering a wide smile on her face, squeezed her way into the mass of people from the media.

Jia He watched as Director Jiang made his way over to Yi Wenze’s side. Yi Wenze was in the midst of continually getting his photograph taken with various reporters. Seeing the director approaching him, he at last politely sent the media along on their way and then began conversing in low tones with the director.

Simply gazing upon the side profile of Yi Wenze’s face left Jia He unable even to move her feet.

Until the director looked up once more and called to her. At the same time, Yi Wenze also turned his head to cast a glance at her.

<>This is a copy taken from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Please support the translation by reading it there. Thank you.

Like a special effect specified in the script, a slow motion shot did a close up of his smile and the expression in his eyes, and his gaze landed only on Jia He, forcing embarrassment and disquiet to rise in her. But this lasted for only a moment. She very quickly put on a seemly smile and walked up beside Director Jiang.

Director Jiang gave a pat to Jia He’s shoulder. “This is our screenwriter, Jia He.”

“Hello.” Yi Wenze gave a nod, a smile filling his deep, black eyes. Unlike the polite, distant manner he had held towards the media, there was presently an added touch of warmth and geniality to him. Extending a hand, he grasped Jia He’s lightly in greeting.

“Hello.” Because Jia He had just stepped indoors, her palm was still icy-cold, and when his warm hand took hers, her heart began beating even more furiously.

“How are the revisions to the script coming along?” After the two had released one another’s hands, Director Jiang immediately began to “extort” her to pay her “debt.”

“Almost done. I’ll give you a copy tonight.” Jia He hastily pulled herself together and jumped straight into her battle-ready work mode. “But there are a few scenes that still have some issues—”

“Okay.” Director Jiang interrupted her with a smile. “We’ll talk about it more when we get to Hengdian.”

Jia He nodded with embarrassment, discovering that she had been so nervous she had forgotten that this was currently a press conference and there were still reporters waiting nearby to ask questions. However, with this sudden halt in the conversation, she actually did not know what she should say and could only stand gloomily beside the two others and pretend she was watching the lead actress’s interview. Yi Wenze and the director began chatting casually in Cantonese. She could roughly understand bits and pieces of what they were saying, the general gist being things about the script.

While she was trying to figure out how she could subtly escape from there unnoticed, a reporter had already jumped first at this opportunity and come over to interview the director.

Yi Wenze looked at her. “Let’s go get a drink.”

Jia He had no excuse to run away and could only anxiously follow him over to the long table and take the orange juice that he handed to her.

He, too, took a glass of orange juice. His fingers, which were clasping the wall of the glass, were long and slender, and his joints were extremely well cared for. His palms, though, were like all other actors, with small injuries and roughness that had accumulated over the years.

“Is there a problem?” he unexpectedly asked.

It was not until Jia He lifted her head and met his puzzled look that she realized she had actually been staring fixedly at his hands. She hurriedly smiled. “Oh, no, nothing really. I was just sighing over how hard it is for all you actors.”

Understanding what she was referring to, Yi Wenze gave a chuckle. “It’s actually not a big deal. However, actresses do get a bit of the short end of the stick. No matter how well taken care of the backs of their hands are, its unavoidable that their palms will become rough, especially when acting in period dramas.”

Jia He laughed. “Yeah. If your hands are brutalized every day by swords, reins, and wires, even the best hand cream is useless.”

Modest and courteous in the way he treated everyone, and low-key—this was the evaluation of him given by many of the people who had previously worked with him.

And now, based on what she could see, it truly was what the actual person was like.

Jia He chatted like this with him, a sentence or two here and there, as she held her orange juice with feigned composure. After taking half a sip, she dared not continue. This feeling was just like being in your first job interview after graduating from university, where on the surface you are calm and collected, but inside you have long fallen into a state of turmoil, afraid that any look from your eyes or any subtle action may leave a bad impression on people.

Moreover, the person in front of her was her idol of more than ten years.

Back when Yi Wenze made his debut in the entertainment industry, she had only just graduated from middle school.

The Yi Wenze of her girlhood was an idol to young people. In that era when not many movies were being produced in Mainland China, he had received some unexpected opportunities and since became popular for many years in the Mainland, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Nowadays, though, the number of onscreen works he put out was a lot less. However, despite having half-withdrawn himself into the background to work behind the screen, he was still doing extremely well.

All of a sudden, Qiao Qiao’s voice resonated, the general idea of her message being a reminder to everyone that they should hurry and make use of this opportunity to conduct their interviews, for the cast and production team would be leaving soon.

As a result of these words, many reporters who had been watching them from a distance now moved in closer and kindly interrupted the two of them, wanting to separately ask some more questions. Jia He very astutely made way for them. Stepping out of that function hall, she got some light snacks from the long refreshment table. After hastily appeasing her stomach, she sat in a discreet corner to wait for Qiao Qiao’s assistant to bring her to the vehicle.

Some time later, her mobile phone suddenly vibrated.

When she answered the call, Qiao Qiao’s voice surprisingly came at her. “Help me find Yi Wenze. His assistant is by my side and is so ridiculously dense. She doesn’t even know where he is.” The blowing wind muffled her voice. She seemed to be outdoors and in an extremely surly mood. “That wife of his whom he just divorced is in the middle of being interviewed right at this moment. Let’s hurry up and get him into the van before the media gets wind of this news. My boss hates it the most when people use gossip to gain hype. This is such a darn bother!”

Listening to this, Jia He fell into a fluster, and it was only after she hung up the phone that she realized she, the screenwriter, was being ordered around like an assistant by Qiao Qiao.

However, she, too, knew that at this time, they had better find Yi Wenze. It was not only Qiao Qiao’s boss who hated hype created by gossip; Yi Wenze had always avoided this type of news as well. Even she, the hardcore fan of his that she was, had only learned in this last half a month, when she read the news story of the breakup, that he and that woman had been married for two years.

She had come here several times previously and was therefore relatively familiar with the surroundings. Setting down her glass, she inconspicuously slipped in amongst the actors and reporters, surveying each nook and corner, but no trace of him was found.

After circling through the venue approximately two or three times, Jia He at last remembered that this place had a stairwell that very few people passed through.

When she pushed open the door of the stairwell, there was only the white glow of the lights inside. It was very quiet.

Yi Wenze was standing at the spot where the staircase turned a corner. As he completely shut off his mobile phone, the white light in his palm blinked and then disappeared. With a cigarette pinched between two of his fingers, he was silent for a while, and only after the cigarette was lit did he glance at Jia He, who was at the foot of the stairs.

Jia He felt an inexplicable sense of guilty discomfiture from the look he gave her. “Qiao Qiao told me to take you downstairs.”

He nodded. “All right. Thank you.”

Yi Wenze, who for the entire press conference had been smiling politely, was presently not showing even hints of a smile. He simply smoked quietly and did not look at Jia He again.

<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com only

[1] The Tang dynasty was the ruling imperial dynasty in China from 618 to 907 CE.

[2] By approximately the eighth century, the preference for beauty in the Tang dynasty tended towards women who had more full, voluptuous, buxom figures.

[3] 大明宫 Daming Palace (Daming Gong) was the imperial palace of the Tang dynasty and was located in the city of Chang’an, which is present-day Xi’an. Ruins still remain of some of the imperial complex, and its site is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site.

This story was translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com only. All forms of reproduction, redistribution, or reposting are not authorized. If you are not reading this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the copy is unauthorized and has been taken without consent of the translator.

 

Completed:
1 of 1 Prologue
1 of 58 Chapter segments
0 of 4 Epilogues

≪ Previous Chapter | Index | Next Chapter ≫

Advertisements

34 thoughts on “Easily Set Aflame (轻易放火) — Chapter 1.1

  1. Merry Christmas Hoju. This is indeed a great Christmas gift. So happy to be able to read the 1st part of this novel.
    I certainly know the feeling of being able to meet your idol face to face. I was pretty privilege in in face be able to meet my idol once only once but twice. After liking him for almost 12 years since his debut, I had my 1st face to face meeting with him when he visited my home country. And then 2 years later, I flew to his country to watched him in a musical only to meet his mother whom was seated just 2 seats away and she got us connected meeting again. 😍 unfortunately, that was the last time I met him and after that, our path never seems to be able to cross again. Hopefully one day, i will get to meet him again face to face 😍
    Here… wishing you and Peanut a Merry Christmas. Thank you for all the lovely read. Have a blessed 2019

    • You are so lucky to have met your idol and not once but twice. Hoping for you you get to meet him again. Haha, I think the idol effect doesn’t completely wear off, ever.
      Happy New Year!

      • Hahaha. I have moved on from him already 🤣 now moving to older men 🤣🤣🤣 but I am sure if he make a comeback one day, I would go crazy over him again… never know

  2. what a pleasant christmas gift hoju. thank you 😍
    happy christmas to you and peanuts

  3. Merry Christmas Hoju 🎄🎇🎄🎉

  4. Merry Christmas Hoju and Peanuts 😀.
    Thanks for this Christmas gift.

  5. Merry Christmas Hoju. Thanks so much for the update. Need all the fluff I can get and this story Male seems me smile. Happy holidays!!!

  6. *makes me smile. Apologies for the auto correct grrrrr

  7. Merry Christmas 🎄 thanks for this chapter

  8. Thanks Hoju.. Merry Christmas and happy holidays..

  9. Wow…. I’m loving this new project, it’s getting me hooked up again.

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New year in advance.

  10. Merry Christmas and thanks very much for the translation. I’ve read many of your wonderful novel selections and they’ve always made me smile, laugh or think a little differently. So I am finally going to be more vocal in my appreciation while following this new translation.

    I’m liking the slightly flawed male protagonist; hopefully he can kick the smoking habit … it’s really not very good for your long term health 😋

    • I’m glad the stories have touched you somewhere. They have a similar effect on me. Thank you for coming out and saying hi! I love readers who comment along the way. It makes translation less lonely.

      Smoking is still very much a thing in China. However, I must say as the years progress, I seem to be noticing it less with each visit there. As for Yi Wenze, perhaps there may be motivations for him…

  11. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays Hoju and Peanuts!

  12. Yay hoju.. Thank you.. Didnt expect this chapter to be released. Happy holidays…

    • But, but, but… I said I was going to give a Christmas present. You didn’t read what I wrote. 😦 Lol. Hope you enjoyed your Christmas present.

  13. Merry Christmas to you and peanuts too. I was refreshing just in case and surely you had a gift for us. Thank you~~~

  14. Yay earlier than promised.. Thank you for the gift.. Merry Christmas everyone

  15. Merry Christmas Hoju and Peanuts 🎅💖 Thank you for the chapter.

    So is it right at the moment divorced news broke out then they married status just have been known? So before that, he is single in public? Im so slow 😂

  16. Compliments of the season, Hoju, Peanut and others at Fanatical.
    This is indeed a pleasant surprise and one of the best Christmas gift. Thank you!
    Hoju, now you know who are your die hard fans. 🙂

    • Thank you. 🙂 Our best wishes to you for this season as well.

      Oh yes, I love it when people love my gifts. 🙂
      Haha, thank you to our readers. 🙂 But yes, I have figured out who reads what I write and realized there would be a Christmas posting. 😉

  17. She is so composed! I’m impressed that she managed to stay professional. No second-hand embarrassment for me this time. lol. I hope she won’t be a rebound from his first wife. I already just want the both of them to be happy forever. I’m trusting you to lead me to a happy ending!

Leave a Reply to meichuen Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s