Fanatical

Fangirling Chinese Novels

Easily Set Aflame (轻易放火) — Chapter 5.1

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Happy Lunar New Year! May the Year of the Pig be a wonderful year for all of you.

I think it’s pretty obvious what Tian Chu’s intentions are—“needles hidden within silk floss.” Humph. Now, what do you think Yi Wenze is preoccupied with?

Chapter 5.1 — A Brief Return to Shanghai (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 re-posting 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.

Two nurses were coming down the stairs, and one stole several extra peeks at them. She probably had connected them in her mind to Yi Wenze, currently an inpatient here. In quiet tones, she conversed with the person beside her as she brushed past Jia He.

“Actually, there’s no need to deliberately explain these things.” Waiting until there was no one around them, Jia He turned a smiling gaze on Tian Chu. “It could be that Teacher Yi didn’t tell me about it because he felt that there isn’t any need to pay attention to this type of thing. It was just a simple, ordinary breakfast.”

Screenwriting truly was such a good profession. She could easily find words like these and effortlessly pick some to use. No longer was she like how she had been back then, only knowing to stupidly listen to other people as they spoke down haughtily to her and then, after listening for half an hour, feel like she had internal injuries so serious she could just die…

Wearing a flawless smile, Tian Chu patted her shoulder. “You don’t need to take it so seriously. Once you’ve encountered more of this type of thing, you’ll get used to it. I used to be like this, too, where I had no clue even that someone had photographed me, and then when an issue did arise, I’d be thrown into a huge confusion and in a terribly wretched state.” Tian Chu’s words were spoken like needles hidden within silk floss[1], each needle stabbing into just the right places but leaving behind no trace.

Jia He smiled. “Nevertheless, thank you.”

Tian Chu said a few more words of exhortation, her manner so close and kindly it was as if they were old friends. Before she left, she also remembered that endorsement opportunity and specifically told Jia He that, if the chance arose, she would certainly give priority to friends. Jia He also put on a cheery countenance and repeatedly expressed her thanks, but in her heart, she was secretly raking Xiao Yu, who was still in faraway Beijing, over the coals.

<>Please support this translation by reading it at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the actual site of posting, instead. Thank you.

Likely out of worry about being besieged by the media, Tian Chu soon left.

Jia He had no watch and her mobile phone was mere scrap now, so she could only estimate the time based on her degree of hunger and then judge whether she should first have lunch and then go see her idol or see her idol first and then have lunch. So, in this state, she once more made her way to the third floor, thinking to see where Xiao Ou might be. By now, the nurses had chased away the reporters until not even one remained. Outside the hospital room, there was only A-Qing talking on the phone, and it could be indistinctly heard that she seemed to be trying to re-juggle work schedules.

“Screenwriter.” A-Qing happened to catch sight of her, and covering her phone with a hand, she gave this greeting. “It’s perfect. There’s no one right now. Hurry, come on over.”

She beckoned to her with a wave and opened the door, all in one smooth movement.

It would not be appropriate if Jia He said anything else to object, so she hurriedly walked into the hospital room.

The room was very clean. There were only two beds, with many bouquets set on the unoccupied one, blossoms of brilliant colours, a beautiful sight to behold.

Yi Wenze sat on the bed by the window, all of him enveloped in the warm, spring sunshine, and lifting his head, he gave a wordless glance at Jia He. A simple white, button-up shirt garbed him, its sleeves rolled up to his elbows. To guard against all the cameras of the media, a plain, thin, white blanket covered his legs.

Beside him was the hospital monitoring equipment, while before him lay, surprisingly, an open laptop computer.

Observing that he was wearing a Bluetooth headset over his ear, she could guess that he was in the middle of a phone call, and so she mouthed her silent greeting: “Teacher Yi.”

He gave her a slight smile. “Have a seat. Just wait for me to finish up this call.”

Jia He compliantly sat down, setting her backpack onto her thighs, and waited quietly for him as he had his phone conversation, not daring to make the slightest sound.

The other end seemed to be a phone conference, speaking wholly about some sort of report. From the looks of things, these were Yi Wenze’s company’s matters.

Being an artiste is an arduous occupation, and those who have earned money from it naturally will use that money to make more money. The best case would be that they can amass enough wealth that their account is overflowing and they no longer need to be out working in the blowing wind, the beating sun, or the pouring rain. As a hardcore fan of more than ten years, she did very much pay attention to her idol’s career and businesses. Though he was not at the level of the artistes one generation older who had several listed companies in their hands, he had made quite a bit of wealth.

As Jia He sighed secretly in admiration over her idol’s professionalism and dedication to his work, she ended up, without even being aware of it, staring at him for quite a while, and it was not until Yi Wenze cast a quick look at her when he was picking up his drinking glass that she hurriedly moved her gaze elsewhere. After taking a small sip of water to moisten his throat, Yi Wenze set down his glass and continued with the telephone conference. Most of the time, he listened attentively, and only occasionally would he say a few words.

<>This translation’s actual site of posting is at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. It would be greatly appreciated if you read it from there instead. Thank you.

“What are you thinking?” At some time, he had already hung up the phone, though he was still staring at his computer screen and typing.

“Nothing really,” Jia He hastily answered.

“Have you eaten yet?”

Jia He hesitated for a moment but nevertheless gave an honest answer of no.

He slid his eyes over to the bottom right corner of his screen. “It’s one-thirty already. You still haven’t eaten?”

Jia He wanted to say that she had not had a chance at all to eat. But, when the words came to her lips, she swallowed them back down and merely found a random excuse. “I forgot to eat.”

“Forgot?” His hands pausing for a moment, Yi Wenze calmly repeated the one word.

“I woke up too late,” Jia He sheepishly added. “And then I heard Qiao Qiao say you were injured, so I didn’t have time to eat and just ran over here.” And then I saw a bunch of reporters, and then Tian Chu goaded me a bit, and then…This was plainly just a simple question. How come once it had to do with her idol, it would become really complicated?!

Yi Wenze did not press further. Calling A-Qing in, he instructed her to buy a boxed meal and bring it back. Then, right as A-Qing was about to step out the door, he casually added, “See if there’s a restaurant nearby that serves fresh-ground coffee, and bring back a cup of con panna. If there’s no con panna, then buy a mocha.”

A-Qing was taken aback. “Teacher, didn’t you stop drinking coffee a long time ago?”

Yi Wenze answered nonchalantly, “It’s for Jia He.”

With an “Oh, okay,” A-Qing shut the door and jogged off.

Yet again, silence that left you feeling restless whether you were standing or sitting.

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

Jia He began thinking in anguish, how did she even seem like she was visiting someone in the hospital? She hadn’t even said any polite words of comfort and instead, for some reason, ended up being taken care of and given a meal… Fixing her eyes on the hospital monitoring equipment, she all of a sudden remembered the matter of that photograph.

Earlier, she had spoken with such boldness to Tian Chu because, towards the cheating Tian Chu who had had the extramarital affair, she more or less held some animosity. However, Tian Chu’s words were not unjustified. If that photograph, at this time, in this place, were to be distributed around, she could not even fathom what the outcome might be.

“There is one thing,” she began, deciding it would still be better if she asked and was clear on this, “that I want to know if it will have any effect on you.”

“The matter of that photograph?” Yi Wenze clicked his mouse. His email was successfully sent out.

Answering with an “mm-hmm,” Jia He was indecisive over whether she should tell him what Tian Chu had said to her. Yi Wenze had already closed his laptop, arbitrarily setting it on the table to his right. “Tian Chu told you?”

Jia He nodded, feeling a sort of urge in her to venerate her idol as a prophet.

“You don’t need to really take to heart what Tian Chu said. This matter is not serious.”

“That night, Ti—… Teacher Tian Chu said I look familiar. Was it because of this photo?”

Since they were already talking about things to this extent, she might as well clear up everything.

“Probably.”

“Then why didn’t you tell me?” The words slipped from Jia He’s mouth. Suddenly feeling that this question was very inappropriate, though, she immediately supplemented with another sentence. “What I mean is, in the case that this photo really does bring about trouble, if I know about it, I can at least think up an appropriate statement in advance…”

Her word choice was really crossing the line now. What was this so-called “appropriate statement”? That made it seem like there really was something going on between them. Forget it, she should just straight out apologize. It was her carelessness that had allowed someone to get such a clear photo of her face.

“My apologies.” Yi Wenze’s voice was very warm and gentle. “It’s just a small matter, so I didn’t purposely tell you about it.”

Jia He looked at him in surprise. She had even been beat to it when it came to saying words of apology…

The door was suddenly pushed open.

A young nurse strode in, checked the data on the monitoring equipment, and then asked a few questions in a low tone, her voice so tender you could practically squeeze droplets of water from it. Wickedly, Jia He began reasoning that the nurse responsible for this room must have gotten the job by drawing straws… When the nurse was done all her busy work and Jia He finally had an opening that she was hoping to use to continue the earlier topic, several knocks resounded on the door.

Seriously, so bustling with excitement.

“Screenwriter,” Xiao Ou reported, poking her head in, “Qiao Qiao said she’s not going to wait for you to eat and told you to solve the issue of lunch yourself.”

Filled with bitterness, Jia He answered, “Okay.”

“Need me to buy something and bring it up for you?” Xiao Ou offered.

“… No thanks.”

“It’s almost two o’clock already. No matter what, you should at least eat a little, right?” Xiao Ou dutifully tried to convince her.

“Xiao Ou.” Yi Wenze interrupted this drawn-out, see-saw battle between the two. “A-Qing has already gone down to buy food. Could I trouble you to go take a look? She’s not very familiar with the streets around here.”

“Oh, yeah, sure.” At last understanding, Xiao Ou gave a little sheepish shrug of her shoulders and astutely chose to leave.

Yi Wenze had already picked up his drinking glass before he realized he had already drunk most of his water. Jia He, her motions natural, took his glass from him. “I’ll fill some water for you.” She walked up in front of the water dispenser, then stopped again. “Do you want it a little hotter or just tending more to the warm side?”

Behind her, there was a brief moment of quiet. “A little hotter.”

Jia He pressed the button to dispense the water. This dispenser was not that user-friendly, and the stream of water that flowed out was very small. However, as a result of the room’s stillness, even this sound of water filling a glass was so clear it was eerie. Holding her arm rigidly in place, Jia He silently urged, Hurry up, hurry up. But that water dispenser just had to let her down even more, so slow that practically even her hair was ready to stand on end in anger.

“Where’s your mobile phone?” He suddenly asked this question.

Qiao Qiao had been looking for her but had sent someone to deliver a message. It was evident something had happened to her mobile phone.

“I accidentally dropped it in water yesterday. It’s a write-off.” Jia He pressed the button to stop the water, turned around, and handed the glass back to Yi Wenze, explaining sheepishly, “Good thing I’m heading back to Shanghai straightaway; otherwise, I really would be worried this would cause delays in my work. The one pity is my progress in Angry Birds—”

“You’re heading back to Shanghai?” Taking the glass from her, Yi Wenze held it in his hand and took a drink.

“Yup.” As she smiled and looked at him, her gaze happened to lock with his, and an unexplainable nervousness hit her for an instant. “My next drama is in Beijing. I need to do some prep work first, and there are always several meetings in the early stage, so it’ll be more convenient if I stay in Shanghai. You know it; Director Jiang tends to take good of his screenwriters and for any sort of communication, you just usually need to go through him, but others don’t give such good treatment.”

Just thinking about needing to work on location during production with other companies would cause her head to swell. She wished with all her might that she could just stay at home the whole day, and that way she would not need to come into contact with those actors and actresses.

Yi Wenze laughed. “You’re still not used to it?”

Jia He gave an embarrassed smile. “It’s my personality issue. If I really do become better acquainted with people and they ask me to add a few extra lines or something for them, I wouldn’t know how to refuse.” The world has a type of person called Mr. Nice Guy or Ms. Nice Girl, and that absolutely was referring to her. Once she thought about how, whenever she was on location for production, it was like she owed people money and was hiding all the time from her creditors, she would get wicked internal injuries.

Other people could unperturbedly eat, drink, and be merry, unperturbedly sidestep and dance around with their words, so why was she unable to learn how to do it?

Seeming to ponder on something, Yi Wenze looked at her. “If that’s the case, next time if we do get an opportunity to work together again, I should have a few more meals with you to try to win Screenwriter’s favour?” Though he spoke as if he was serious, a smile had already spread into his eyes and was mixed with hints of jesting.

“Umm… I actually just said that for fun. If I really did have such power, what would you need story editors and directors for?” Putting on a relaxed front, Jia He cleared her throat.

Yi Wenze was still smiling at her, merely smiling and no longer speaking.

<>It would be sincerely appreciated if you would read this translation at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the actual site of posting. Thank you very much.

A-Qing truly was unfamiliar with the streets around the hospital. It took her a long time to buy just one meal, and by the time the coffee was in Jia He’s hands, it was already a little cold.

Ever since A-Qing stepped into the room, Yi Wenze did not say anything more and only nonchalantly opened his computer. His fingers slowly tapped a few times on the keyboard, and he began unhurriedly looking through web pages. There was a sense that his mind was occupied with other things.

Taking in the sight of his slightly furrowed brows, Jia He finally somewhat clued in that she must be disturbing her idol from doing his actual work. Mindful of this, she hastily scooped a couple more mouthfuls of food, and then, without even drinking her coffee and simply holding it in her hand, she quickly bade goodbye and stepped out the door.

The anxiousness she had felt when she came here had long since dissipated, but she could not rid her mind of the preoccupied expression that Yi Wenze had worn just earlier.

Only when a ding resonated from the elevator did she suddenly remember she had no way of contacting Xiao Ou. And so, she could only return to the third floor, thinking to borrow A-Qing’s mobile phone. She had only just arrived at the door of the hospital room when she saw a doctor, as well as the young nurse from earlier on, walking out, saying in low tones, “See, not everyone can be a big celebrity. If it were the average person, he would have been flat on the bed in pain a long time ago and unable to get up.”

Jia He listened to this in alarm. When A-Qing came out of the room, she asked her, “What’s wrong?”

A-Qing gave a “Huh?” and said, “Screenwriter, why’d you come back?”

Jia He motioned to her to lower her voice. “I came back to borrow your mobile to use. What happened just now? Is there some sort of problem?”

A-Qing immediately brought her voice down. “This morning they did quite a few pre-op checks and tests, and then they had originally arranged for surgery this afternoon, but Teacher Yi insisted on scheduling it for the evening.” With an expression of heartache, she looked at Jia He and sighed, “Just now, he said there was still another half a phone conference that he needed to continue having, and then he asked the doctor for some painkillers. It was only then that I found out that his shirt is actually completely soaked with sweat.”

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

[1] 绵里藏针. This idiom, “needles hidden within silk floss,” is describing something that appears kind and gentle on the outside, but hidden within is ruthlessness and an intent to hurt, and what is more, the hurt is done without a trace.

This story was translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com only. All forms of reproduction, redistribution, or re-posting 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.


Additional Comments:

From the comments last update, I sense mixed thoughts on Tian Chu, even confusion. Some get a bad niggling from her, some think that there’s nothing wrong with what she said. Both are correct. On the surface, Tian Chu’s words are harmless and even seem kind—the silk floss. But the bad niggling some are getting is the “needles,” even before the text explicitly told you they were there.

Observing two things from the last update:

First, after visiting Yi Wenze, she came out and said one—and only one—sentence to the media: “A-Ze’s injury is not serious. Thank you, everyone, for your concern.” This is practically like a statement on behalf of Yi Wenze, spoken like someone who has the authority to represent him. But aside from his agent, Mai Jie, or someone from the company, only family would usually have the right to do that. Usually, unless commissioned by the involved person, not even a close friend would give such a statement. She is his ex-wife; the whole world knows this. So why would she think she can still represent him to say that? It’s been said in the text that Tian Chu is talented, that’s no question, but she also knows how to use hype and gossip to rise up. Seem like a deliberate blurring of the lines to keep the media guessing, to keep her and her relationship with Yi Wenze in the headlines a little longer?

Second, at first glance, Tian Chu’s words to Jia He seem kindly, but I personally feel that if you are trying to be kind to someone, you would also consider that person’s feelings. Showing the photo to Jia He, telling her it’s an inappropriate time for it to appear (implying it would bring bad speculations about Yi Wenze) shows she is worried about Yi Wenze, yes, but it also naturally should plant a feeling of guilt in Jia He, even if Jia He is a mere fan. That’s logical. What would a natural outcome of that be? Perhaps it would successfully cause Jia He to keep her distance from Yi Wenze? Perhaps it’s a reminder that Jia He is incapable of handling the gossip that comes with being in close contact with a celebrity? Or perhaps it shows how well she understands Yi Wenze while Jia He doesn’t? We don’t know for sure if those were her intent, but we do know that Tian Chu never directly addresses any of Jia He’s feeling. I’m thinking, if it were me and I truly had kind intentions, even if I didn’t know Jia He well, even if I didn’t try to analyze what Jia He’s reaction would be, it’s natural to say, “Don’t panic; it’s not your fault.” But in this update, what, instead, does Tian Chu say? “You don’t need to take it so seriously. Once you’ve encountered more of this type of thing, you’ll get used to it. I used to be like this, too, where I had no clue even that someone had photographed me, and then when an issue did arise, I’d be thrown into a huge confusion and in a terribly wretched state.” Subtext: “You’ve caused an issue. You can’t help. You’re just going to cause more confusion and be in a wretched state.” And maybe further subtext: “If you don’t want to get used to it, get far away, NOW.”

Haha, that last bit had some creative liberties in my interpretation, but you know what I’m trying to say. On the surface, Tian Chu is kind, but she is pointing out Jia He’s inadequacies and not truly offering any advice, help, or genuine sympathy.

Needles in silk floss.

 

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

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25 thoughts on “Easily Set Aflame (轻易放火) — Chapter 5.1

  1. Happy Lunar New Year Hoju. Thank you for another lovely read 😍 totally agree with your statement on Tian Chu. Now when is he going to make his feelings clear and known to her?

    • Thank you. Blessings for your New Year.
      I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that Jia He is slow to warm up and needs some processing time. Look back on his “progression.” He is taking it slow, but he is gradually moving things forward.

  2. What scary woman, a pragmatic oppurtunist. Even the description says quite loudly and pointedly how she doesnt have any kind intentions with her words, weaponzing her past history with her ex-husband to put our screenwriter in place. *shudders* No matter how many times I came across that kind of people in CNs, its still frightening skill.

    • These types of people don’t exist in just CN. There are many in real life who use subtle words to manipulate, some more, some less. Real life or not, these people are unpleasant. And yes, I find Tian Chu unpleasant.

  3. Happy Chinese New Year for you Hoju and Peanuts too🎉🎉🎆🎆…and thank you for wonderful chapter. I have a feeling that Yi Wenze very attentive to Jia He, He so nice to her..

  4. Happy Chinese New Year Hoju!!

  5. Thanks Hoju
    Happy Chinese New Year.. 💝💝

  6. Oh, dear. I’ve committed the classic blunder of starting to read one of your translations before it’s complete. This blunder is “classic” because I so often commit it. What to do, what to do…? How could I resist a sweetly flavored novel by Mo Bao Fei Bao?

    I’m so glad this site and your translations exist! It’s comforting to know the copyright permissions are all in order, and I applaud the considerable extra effort you put into this aspect. Plus, the extra effort you put into footnoting and all the periphery of cultural exchange level things, allowing me to orient myself in the story. You work very hard on these things, and it’s much appreciated!

    • Hahaha… I’ll just say, I’m happy you committed your blunder. I love all readers, but having someone read along makes the translating process even more fun. 🙂

      Thank you for your kind words. They are so very encouraging. ❤

  7. Happy Lunar Day. Woahhh, teacher Yi what’s wrong with u? Get well soon don’t make our Jia He sad :'(((

    • Happy Lunar New Year! He has a broken leg. 😦 Having broken a few bones myself, I flinch for him.
      Teacher Yi is strong. He’ll be better soon!

  8. Happy Lunar New Year! May the year of the Golden Pig also brings you a great year!!!

  9. Oh man… That is just low. I am pretty sure I will not survive the adulthood if I was born and raised in China.

    • It’s not something limited to China. It happens everywhere, all around the world, every social circle. The Chinese have merely created a saying for it. But yup, it’s still low, regardless.

  10. Finally caught up with the reading. I love it, the story and plot of a star stuck fan meeting up with her idol.

  11. Happy Chinese New Year, Hoju. Thanks for the chapter 🙂. I really liked how Jia He handled the talk with the ex. Wishing the familiarity ex mentioned was not because of this photo and something else 😀. Idol in pain and more worry for Jia He on hearing this. Hope he gets better soon.

    • Happy Lunar New Year!
      Jia He only loses her ability to function around her idol. I scoffed at it when I first read the novel, but I have since personally experienced how I show the same sort of reaction in front of my idol. *facepalm*

      Teacher Yi is strong. 🙂

  12. Happy Chinese New Year and thanks for the chapter, and additional comments. It helps to understand the subtlety of Tian Chu’s intent. But I must say I’m a little disappointed in Jia He’s general hospital room visit … she was a bit passive … no flowers, fruits or gifts. Did she even ask him how he was doing?

    • Happy Lunar New Year!

      She was in her own thoughts when Yi Wenze finished his phone conversation. He interrupted her thoughts with his “What are you thinking?” And then he led the conversation’s direction, asking her if she was hungry, etc., etc. As for visiting with gifts, the poor girl was dragged from the hotel to the hospital by Qiao Qiao with no time to even eat. She probably spent the whole ride processing and then figuring out what opening words to use, all of which got foiled when he was on the phone and she didn’t even get to initiate the conversation. LOL. This fits her home-body, work-alone-in-front-of-her-computer character set-up very well. Before I started in the working world, I behaved similarly to Jia He every time I had to go meet people, always working myself up to a conversation. Even to this day, though I can carry out idle chitchat just fine, I’m amazed by my hubs, who can bust into conversation with just any random person without working himself up to it. Plus, Jia He is seriously overtaken by the idol effect that Yi Wenze has on her.

  13. The best part about being busy and then coming back is that there are multiple chapters waiting for me to read! Thank you for putting my feelings about Tian Chu into words for me. I actually re-read that section of dialogue several times, but I couldn’t tell exactly what made me so uncomfortable. Poor Jia He.

    I’m feeling a little bad for Yi Wenze too. His ex is potentially causing trouble, and his crush is so overcome by idol worship. I’m looking forward to Jia He learning to see her idol as human. Although, given what we know of him so far, he’s pretty close to perfect.

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