Fanatical

Fangirling Chinese Novels

Easily Set Aflame (轻易放火) — Chapter 5.2

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Goodbye, Teacher Yi. It’s time for Jia He to leave. Haha, think Teacher Yi will allow them to lose contact?

Chapter 5.2 — A Brief Return to Shanghai (2)

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.

At this time, the nurse came back with a tray in hand, and they both hurriedly moved out of the way for her. When the door was pushed open, Jia He’s position just happened to have a view of the window, and with a troubled, rattled heart, she stole a glimpse. He was still in that same posture, but his complexion looked a lot worse. When he saw the nurse walk in, he only stretched out an arm, his attention focused on listening to the phone conversation.

“What kind of meeting is it that it’s so important?” The question had already slipped from Jia He’s mouth when she realized it was inappropriate of her to ask.

“I don’t know either.” A-Qing whispered, “But from what I heard in the phone call between Teacher Yi and the lawyer, this particular company is in the middle of a handover. It might be that after the divorce, it’s going to be given to Tian Chu.” Her tone was sombre and the grievance in her eyes was plain to see.

Jia He was still okay when she had not heard that; the instant she did, things were just awkward.

She forced a smile. “That’s a private matter. Absolutely do not say anymore.”

She only learned when she made her phone call that Xiao Ou had actually been called back to site at the last minute. Therefore, she had no choice but to dial another call to Qiao Qiao. With an air of “I’m a big enough person that I’m not going to hold a grudge,” the person on the other end of the line told her to take in some sun downstairs and that she would be there really soon. So, Jia He could only go downstairs and roam around. As she watched a few camera-toting reporters smoking downstairs, she could vaguely make out that they had mentioned Yi Wenze’s and Tian Chu’s names…

The main entrance of the hospital was bustling with people. Afraid that Qiao Qiao would not be able to see her, she stood outside the main doors, on the ten-centimetre-high concrete rim of a flowerbed. Her hands in her pockets, she in boredom surveyed person after person or, sometimes, pairs of people, examining their expressions and then fashioning a backstory to go with those, treating this as a practice exercise for her line of work.

“Jia He.” Qiao Qiao called to her in Shanghainese and honked her horn.

For a moment, Jia He’s mind had not caught up, and she stared at Qiao Qiao for half a second before she was able to react, hurriedly running over and getting into the car.

“I was calling you for a long time,” Qiao Qiao grumbled. “What were you thinking about? You caused people to start staring at me.”

“I was thinking about my new screenplay,” Jia He arbitrarily said something to take care of her questioning. Taking out the already-cold coffee from its plastic bag, she took a sip.

Because the production company’s sign was on the front windshield of the car, the reporters at the main entrance all specifically aimed their gazes at it. With cameras in hand, they took a couple of glances, and only after confirming that these were merely two women whom they did not know did they set down their cameras and continue conversing in low tones.

Letting out a laugh, Qiao Qiao said, if she had known earlier, she would have brought Liao Jing along to fuel a dramatic story where feelings had developed between the lead actor and actress during filming, but the old flame, unwilling to accept this, was frequently coming to the hospital to visit. The investors for both dramas would definitely be delighted with that. While she was enthusiastically describing all this, a security guard had already come over and knocked on the car door, warning them that their vehicle was blocking the main entrance. With this, she finally started the car and drove away from the hospital.

The entire way, traffic was smooth and unimpeded.

“Help me buy a train ticket. I need to go back to Shanghai.” Jia He gazed out at the houses whipping backwards on either side, recalling again each sentence of senseless dialogue that she had had with Yi Wenze in the hospital earlier…

“Your idol is having his surgery tonight and then he still has twenty-four hours in the ICU. You honestly can bear to leave?” Qiao Qiao, speedily passing two vehicles, teased her.

“My phone’s not working. I need to go back and buy a new one. There’s a whole pile of stuff from the Beijing side that needs taking care of, too.” Seeing that her driving really was too aggressive, Jia He yanked down the seat belt and was finally able to buckle it in after much fiddling.

“It is good if you go back.” With a turn of the steering wheel, Qiao Qiao drove onto a small street. “Shooting’s pretty close to done anyway. When Yi Wenze is able to get out of bed in two months, he’ll just need to do a few pick-up shots. It’ll just be a waste of your time if you stay here.”

Qiao Qiao rattled off a few more sentences, telling Jia He to help her look for an apartment after getting back to Shanghai. Jia He absentmindedly listened to her, her eyes glued to this small road ahead of them, a feeling in her that it looked familiar. It was when she spotted the cha chaan teng’s sign that she realized, wasn’t this the place where she and Idol were photographed when they went to have breakfast together?

<>Please support this translation by reading it at its actual site of posting, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. This would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

As it was close to the Qingming Festival[1], train tickets were rather hard to book, and it was already the following day when Jia He had her ticket in hand. Her train was departing at six in the evening. When she had tossed her luggage into the car and was getting into the front passenger seat, A-Qing coincidentally was stepping out from another vehicle and heading for the hotel lobby.

“A-Qing.” Qiao Qiao stopped what she was doing and called to her. “How is Teacher Yi doing?”

Turning around, A-Qing searched for quite a while before she discovered that Qiao Qiao was inside the car. A radiant smile at once broke across her face. “He’s been transferred to an ordinary ward now. His physical state is really good. Right after he came out, he was already starting to have discussions on his new script.”

Qiao Qiao told her, “You can go ahead and go,” before saying softly to Jia He, “You’re not going to give him a call and ask how he’s doing?”

Firing a scowl at her, Jia He immediately picked up the mobile phone that she had borrowed from Qiao Qiao, dialed the number of the people on the Beijing side, and began quietly informing them of her schedule and setting a meeting time.

<>This translation’s actual site of posting is hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Please support it by reading it there. Thank you.

The car jaunted and jolted all the way to the Yiwu Railway Station.

Pulling her suitcase with her, Jia He strode into the station. However, she had already squeezed her way with the jam-packed flow of people into the waiting hall before she saw the notice that her train was delayed, so she could do nothing but find a place to first take a seat. Everywhere she could see, there were people, if not on the phone, then chatting quietly, and the sounds of all different sorts of dialects that she could not understand joined together. It was when she, for the third time, had looked in boredom at her train ticket and checked it against the train numbers on the display screen that she at last felt she should make a phone call and ask how he was doing. After all, she had visited him yesterday, and he had also helped her out quite a bit.

She had already pulled out the mobile phone before she remembered that she actually did not have Yi Wenze’s phone number. She had a moment’s hesitation, but in the end she did send a text message to Qiao Qiao.

A text came back very shortly, a string of numbers, plus a sentence of teasing from Qiao Qiao.

Those green digits joined together to form a row on her screen. As she pressed the dial button, she could not help taking a deep inhale.

A series of beeping sounds. The other party’s phone was busy.

Jia He blew out a long breath, unable to say whether she was disappointed or glad. When she hung up the phone, she noticed that the stream of people had suddenly started to move, and the message on the display screen had gone from saying “Waiting for train arrival” to “Checking tickets.” Hurriedly dragging her suitcase with her, she followed the flow of people and began stepping forward. The ticket-check entrance was very narrow and clearly should only have fit a single line of people through, but somehow three lines had forcefully made their way into that space. She had finally managed to make it to the ticket-check point when, just as she was pulling out her ticket, her phone unexpectedly rang.

“Hurry up, will you?” Behind her, someone impatiently tossed out this sentence to rush her.

Jia He swiftly handed her ticket over and then charged past the ticket-check point. The tide of people was heading completely in one direction, but she, towing her suitcase, moved against the flow. Hiding herself into a corner, she quickly pressed the phone up to her ear.

“Hello.” On the other end, it was Yi Wenze’s voice.

“Teacher Yi, it’s me.” Jia He covered up her other ear so she could hear more clearly.

He seemed to be chuckling. “You’ve arrived at the train station?”

“Mm-hmm. I was going through ticket check just now.”

“Still haven’t gotten on the train yet?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Just one moment, please.” There appeared to be someone speaking on Yi Wenze’s end. In a quiet voice, he stated a “My apologies” in Cantonese, then once more addressed her side. “You can talk while you walk.”

Abashed, Jia He answered, “All right.” Then, noticing that the stream of people was already beginning to die out, she at once grabbed her suitcase and chased after the main throng.

“Are there many people at the train station?”

“Very many. And the train was late, too. I waited for a long time.” Jia He had originally wanted to up the word count of what she said to him, lest he discern her nervousness, but she discovered that everything she said was useless drivel that had nothing to do with him… The wheels on the bottom of her suitcase were making sounds of clunk, clunk. There were less and less people in front of her. She had no choice but to lift her head and search for the location of her train car, only to discover that she was unlucky enough to be in the very last car and needed to walk the furthest distance.

The train attendants were standing to the side in small groups of twos or threes, and some were even so kind as to urge Jia He to quicken her steps.

Over on his end, Yi Wenze seemed to hear this, and he did not speak the entire time until Jia He had stepped into the train car and blown out a light breath. Then only did he ask, “You’re on the train now?”

“Mm-hmm.” Phone in hand, Jia He skirted around people. “Sorry, Teacher Yi. I’m just going to find my seat first.” Because she had gotten on later, the train was already slowly starting to move.

“Sure.”

She walked over to her seat. A grown boy in the adjacent seat, seeing her diminutive physique that obviously would be unable to lift her suitcase, at once rose and lent a helping hand. She said a thank you to him and then sat down by the window. “I’m good now.”

“How long is the train ride?”

“Two hours, I think. Around that.”

“I have a friend here who just came from Shanghai.” The voice on the other end of the line became a little fuzzy and cut in and out. Jia He pressed the phone hard against her ear before she could make out, with difficulty, what he was saying. “This afternoon—”

Silence. The call had completely cut off.

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

Dumbfounded, Jia He stared at her mobile phone. It was fully charged…

Noticing the look on her face, the grown boy next to her immediately laughed. “Little girl, once the high-speed train gets going, mobile reception becomes really bad.”

Jia He glanced at him. He was obviously a newly-graduated university student, but now, just because her build was petite, he was actually calling her “little girl.” “Because its speed is so fast?”

That person nodded, picking up the magazine in front of him and beginning to thumb through it. “It’ll be no problem. Once you get off the train, you can just call back. Your boyfriend will definitely understand.”

……

Jia He had no words she could say.

Seriously, the ills of high technology. The speed had not gone up by all that much, but the price had, and with it, even mobile phone reception went out the window and flew to outer space. Setting her phone on her leg, she began speculating what Yi Wenze had wanted to say, but in the end, she simply had no idea. When the train had been travelling for nearly half an hour, most of the people had dozed off and only some younger people were talking in quiet tones. She wanted to sleep but was unable to actually fall asleep, so she decided simply to buy a cup of Nescafé instant coffee and completely refresh her mind. And so, with a piping hot cup between her palms, she turned her head sideways and looked out at the nighttime scenes.

A text message all of a sudden came in on her phone. She offhandedly tapped it open. There was only a simple row of words: Probably reception isn’t very good. My calls haven’t been able to get through this whole time. I’ll call you when you’re off the train.

She read it over three times in a row before her mind was able to somewhat catch up and process.

The boy next to her was already asleep, and his magazine lay to one side, haphazardly spread open. Jia He picked it up and began browsing through page by page, all the while, as she read, sighing that truly this was a university new grad, for he had even brought a tabloid magazine. She was flipping and flipping through when her attention was drawn to a large photograph on one of the pages. It was a photograph of Tian Chu with that Taiwanese singer. As before, the headline was eye-grabbing and shocking: K Ge [Big Brother K] has for the first time broken his silence. Claims that his relationship with Tian Chu is only an ordinary working one.

She looked it over carefully, then turned to the next page. It was the standard gossip news format, chronologically listing out the history of the romance between Tian Chu and Yi Wenze. The Hong Kong paparazzi truly showed the spirit of delving into the heart of things, digging up each and every detail of these last two years and then, at the very end, even stating those things that Gu Yu had told her, that according to friends, the two had already signed an agreement of divorce half a year ago but still had not completed the formal process yet.

The few times she ran into Tian Chu and also Tian Chu’s high-profile appearance at the hospital perhaps truly were signals that the two were getting back together…

“Hey, little girl, you like Yi Wenze, too?” That grown boy had suddenly woken, and catching sight of her staring at that piece of news on Yi Wenze, he could not help remarking with a laugh, “Based on your age, you should like Super Boys[2] or guys like that. Your taste sure is unique. When he became famous, I was still only in primary school. Who would have thought that he’d be popular all the way to now? Too bad he doesn’t have the momentum that he used to and has to rely on scandals and gossip to fight for a spot in the public eye.”

Jia He wordlessly flicked him a look. “When he became famous, I was already graduating from middle school.”

A sheepish “ah” slipped from the boy’s lips, and disconcertedly he raked his fingers through his hair. “Sorry about that, big sister.”

Fine, she did admit that his one address of “big sister” gave her a huffy feeling that made her feel stifled in her chest, but she had brought it on herself…

<>This is a copy, taken from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Please read the story from there instead. Thank you.

So, all the way to Shanghai, her phone was in her hand like this, never once leaving it.

She was considering whether she should call him back but was also worried that Yi Wenze would already be asleep. Hence, she could only comfort herself, he definitely needed rest after having just undergone a surgery. She did not have any matter that was proper business either, so it would be best to just not ask for rejection.

Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station did not really have any people in it at night, feeling cold and forlorn. Most of the fast food restaurants in the main hall were already closed. Jia He was truly famished, so she simply chose a shop that had hot soups and ordered a meatball soup and a zongzi[3][sticky rice dumpling]. When she sat down to eat, she suddenly received an incoming call from Yi Wenze.

“My apologies. The doctor came in just earlier to do some check-ups.”

“No worries, no worries.” She was in the middle of chewing half a meatball, caught in this awkward moment where it was neither up nor down in her mouth, and her words came out muffled.

“You’re eating?”

“Mm-hmm. I didn’t realize until I got off the train that I was really hungry, so I just found a random place to eat.” Jia He speedily swallowed her meatball. “Teacher Yi, why don’t you hurry and get some rest? I actually didn’t really have anything; I just wanted to ask how you were doing.” And then who would have thought that, thanks to the high-speed rail, one question of “How are you doing?” ended up being dragged out from Yiwu to Shanghai before it was officially asked.

“It’s no problem. I still have friends here with me.”

Friends? Then all the more she should not disturb him…

Jia He very sensibly chose to fib. “Actually, it’s because my phone’s out of battery. We’ll chat another time. Wishing you a speedy recovery.”

“All right.”

All of a sudden, Jia He remembered that half a sentence. “Oh, right… What did you want to say to me earlier? You know, right before I lost reception?”

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

[1] 清明节 “Qingming Jie” literally means Festival of Pure Brightness and is also sometimes called Tomb-Sweeping Day. It occurs 15 days after spring equinox, which puts this festival on a day somewhere between April 4 – 6, usually. Qingming Festival is a traditional festival of China in which a day is taken to pay respect to ancestors and sweep their tombs.

[2] Super Boy was a talent show program, a singing contest, produced by Hunan TV, first airing in 2007, with subsequent seasons in 2010, 2013, and 2017. Contestants were generally young men, most just barely into adulthood.

[3]A zongzi is a sticky rice dumpling. Glutinous rice is stuffed with filling, then wrapped in leaves, generally bamboo or reed, and steamed or boiled.

Zongzi (Image credit: “My mom’s Taiwanese zongzi”, by Joy, original posted in https://www.flickr.com/photos/joyosity/, image used under CC BY-SA 2.0)

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.

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

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30 thoughts on “Easily Set Aflame (轻易放火) — Chapter 5.2

  1. Thank you for the translation! I am hooked on this novel. And I too wanna know what he wanted to say! Lol. I’ll have to patiently wait until Tuesday…

    • Glad you’re enjoying it. 🙂 Lol! It’s Jia He’s idol. He could be telling her about paint drying, and he would still be amazing to her.
      Thanks for reading!

  2. Thank you for the wonderful chapter. I thought her phone was spoiled already hence why she had to go back to Shanghai apart from her new project in Beijing?

    • She borrowed this phone from Qiao Qiao in the meantime, I think. Would this kind of company keep spare phones for interns and such? I don’t know anything about entertainment industry stuff, but I bet it’s that sort of thing.

      Thanks for the chapter! I always find it odd when people don’t want to be addressed as an elder in these stories; is that what’s happening with JH’s “huffy feeling”? I’m *all about* being addressed as an elder! Sometimes people still call me Sister (not in Chinese, of course, but similar rules apply) and I instantly correct them: “you may call me Aunt”. I eagerly await the honorary title of Grandmother!

      • I don’t know anything about how things in that industry function either. I can only confirm that yes, the phone was borrowed from Qiao Qiao. 😉

        When you’re a kid, you always want to be an elder to boss people around. Then when you reach adulthood, you want to be forever young and age 18. Being called “big sister” makes her “old.” 😉 Yup, that’s why she is feeling a little huffy.

    • Thanks for reading!
      This is what was written in this chapter: “Firing a scowl at her, Jia He immediately picked up the mobile phone that she had borrowed from Qiao Qiao, dialed the number…”

  3. Huh so like their own version of Junon Boy….not that I know what it’s actually about. Look at our MC trying to be casual while Idol goes out his way to make time with her.

    • No, from my little understanding, Junon Boy is a “beauty” contest; it is for fashion. Super Boy is a singing talent show. It was just that, though the age range was actually very broad, most contestants ended up being very young men, boys just into adulthood.

      I don’t think I’d do much better than Jia He…

  4. YWZ must be monitoring JH from somewhere, he knows her routines too well XD
    thank you

    • LOL. I’m sure Qiao Qiao is feeding him info. However, this has nothing to do with routine yet. Jia He is on a train… lol
      Thanks for reading!

  5. I too wishing Teacher Yi speedy recovery😄😄…please don’t make our Jia He worry😆😆…thanks Hoju…

  6. Thanks Hoju.
    😍😍

  7. Thank you, every time I return home, my mom made me some zongzi, we call it Bacang 😊

  8. Happy Chinese New Hoju🧧🐷🧧

  9. Thanks for the chapter. I’m feeling that Jia He is a bit lost in space at the moment. Is that because Yi Wenze is too subtle or because the idea of him liking her is just too fantastical to contemplate?

    • Lost in space is a pretty good description. 😉 To be fair to her, I personally think Yi Wenze has been pretty subtle, nothing that you can truly call “beyond friendship,” except maybe that photo of the footprints. That photo and post set Jia He’s heart a-flutter, and so she chose to go back to Shanghai. She did not want to read too much into it. But he is slowly approaching her, for we do know that Yi Wenze, though always the gentleman, tends to treat people with a slight sense of distance. This is unusual for him. But still, nothing glaringly obvious.
      And yes, your idol pursuing you would seem too fantastical to be true, wouldn’t it?

  10. ‘spoke in Cantonese’, does this mean Yi Wenze is from HK? What is the difference among the Mainland, HK and Taiwanese chinese? Please do educate this ignorant IBC. thanks!

    • Chapter 1.2: “… tried hard to listen carefully, but as it was Cantonese that she was speaking, Jia He could only approximately grasp what was being said. However, because Director Jiang and Yi Wenze were both from Hong Kong and she did not feel right interrupting…”

      Yes, Yi Wenze got his start in Hong Kong. It has been mentioned a few times that his Mandarin pronunciation has an accent. Chapter 1.1: “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.”

      Cantonese is the most common dialect of Hong Kong. It sounds completely different from Mandarin, which is the standardized dialect that everyone in Mainland China is required to learn. (Every region has their own local dialect.) However, because Hong Kong was a British colony for such a long time and also is still a Special Administrative Region, schooling was not done in Mandarin and still is not required. Hence, those from Hong Kong tend to have accents in their Mandarin, and some, especially older generations, do not even know it.

      Taiwan speaks Mandarin with its own accent, slang, terms, etc. but generally Taiwanese Mandarin is very understandable by those in Mainland China and vice versa.

  11. Mr Idol, get well soon. Go visit Jia He.

    What did you want to say to me?? Aigooo Mr. Idol, i am sooo curious…

    Hoju, thank you for updating!!! Jiayou!!!

  12. Hi Hoju,

    Thanks a lot for the translation, after a long time I read a Chinese(translated) novel. The story is so different and main lead and her producer friend conversations are so fun. I m eagerly waiting for next chapter. Pretty decent story not much of melodrama.

    Thank again.

    Thanks,
    Meena.

    • Welcome back to the world of c-novels again. 🙂 I’m glad you’re enjoying Jia He and Yi Wenze’s story. 🙂 No, there really isn’t melodrama. Gu Yu and Tian Chu get the closest to causing that, but they really don’t even cause ripples.

      Thanks for reading!

  13. I think Idol is very pleased to get Jia He’s call and is going to find topics to talk to her often.

    Thank you for the chapter, Hoju 🙂.

    • Idol has been waiting for this opportunity to get her number. 😉 Of course, he would have found other ways, I’m sure.

      Thanks for reading!

  14. Hahaha! She’s still so clueless. To be fair, he’s been pretty low key in his flirting. Just being unusually friendly with a coworker so far. But there’s progress! She has his phone number now. I bet he knows she lied about her phone battery, but he’s too polite to call her out. Plus, he probably thinks she’s cute. I’m really curious to find out how he fell for her.

    Thank you for the translation and the footnotes!

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