Love Rival Is Getting Prettier Everyday - Chap 27
Chapter 27: Double Performance
The filming of the scene with Shen Jintai took an entire day. Once work finished at night, everyone was exhausted. There was no night filming as everyone had just started and hadn’t yet adjusted.
Although Bai Qingquan was very tired, he still went out to greet his fans.
“Brother, we have been waiting for you all day.”
Many of them hadn’t eaten any food or drunk any water for fear they would have missed their brother coming out.
Bai Qingquan smiled and said, “Everyone has worked hard.”
“Brother, filming has been very hard!”
“This is a gift we brought you!”
“Brother, can you sign for me?”
The group of little girls were chirping and cheering with glee. Shen Jintai was in his car as it drove by. He looked through the window, seeing Bai Qingquan in the middle of the night, being gentle and patient with his fans as he was taking pictures with them.
“Tell us where you live. We’ll take you back,” Mrs. Yan said.
Yan Yaoxuan asked, “Do you want to eat?”
“I mean, we’ll take you back after dinner,” Mrs. Yan said. “I’ve made an appointment with Director Guo and the others. The private room has already been booked, so I cannot decline.”
Shen Jintai knew that she was paving the way for him. He had been in the entertainment industry alone for a long time. This was the first time he had felt happiness due to the protection of others. He was very moved.
Shen Jintai: “Thank you, auntie.”
Mrs. Yan looked at him with a smile and said, “When you were filming for the first time, I was abroad, and I couldn’t come back to see you. Today is the first time I’ve visited the set and seen you act. You did a great job.”
“I haven’t said a line. How could you tell if it’s good or not?” Shen Jintai smiled wryly.
Mrs. Yan: “When you were filming, it was like you were an entirely different person. I almost couldn’t recognize you.”
“The cinematographer in the crew is very talented. I heard he’s won awards in the past. His shots were gorgeous. Director Guo also seems to be a cinematographer,” Yan Yaoxuan said as he turned around.
Shen Jintai: “How do you know?”
“I’ve looked into it.” Yan Yaoxuan’s tone was slightly excited. His eyes were mixed with admiration, and when he looked at Shen Jintai, he would warily dodge them. He thought that Shen Jintai was dazzling when he was himself onstage, but he didn’t expect he would be even more charming when he played other roles in films and television dramas.
Mrs. Yan invited the entire crew to dinner but only asked the directors, screenwriters, producers, and cinematographers to sit in their private rooms. Yang Lizhi and Bai Qingquan, despite being the leads of the series, were arranged to go with the other actors of the crew.
Yang Lizhi politely declined, saying that she was too tired and wanted to rest.
“Do you want to rest?” Wei Ge asked Bai Qingquan.
Bai Qingquan pulled on his fingernails, “Was I arranged to sit at the main table?”
Wei Ge said, “No.”
Bai Qingquan: “Do you think Mrs. Yan dislikes me? Although she was smiling the whole time, I always felt the way she looked at me wasn’t right.”
“You’re her son’s cash cow. How could she not like you?” Wei Ge said. “Look in the mirror for yourself. You have a good appearance and personality, who would dislike you?”
Bai Qingquan: “Shen Jintai. He hates me to the core. Seeing as how he has such a good relationship with Mrs. Yan, who knows how many bad things he said about me behind my back to her.”
As soon as Bai Qingquan finished his sentence, there was a knock on the door. It was Shen Jintai. He was wearing a loose T-shirt and had on a baseball cap. He came in with a smile and said, “Qingquan, why haven’t you gone to dinner yet? Let’s go.”
Bai Qingquan said with a smile, “I’m a little tired, so I’ll have to pass.”
“No matter how tired you are, you still have to eat,” Shen Jintai joyfully said. “Let’s go. Let’s go. By the way, we should talk about tomorrow’s rivalry scene.”
Does this mean Shen Jintai’s letting him sit at the main table?
Bai Qingquan stood up. “Okay1 then.”
His way of saying “okay1” sounded a bit childish, but it was still cute.
1The word he’s saying is [ba] (吧). There’s no direct translation and it’s a matter of context. Given the context of the previous two sentences, I tried my best to match the equivalent English way of how Bai Qingquan responded to Shen Jintai.
Despite removing his makeup, Bai Qingquan’s plain face was still soft and glowing, similar to a child’s. When the two entered the elevator with Wei Ge, he asked Shen Jintai, “What brand of lipstick do you use? The color on your lips is stunning.” It was a mix between a tomato and maple leaf color. The degree of freshness was just right. It was too bright and clean for it to be a natural color, especially for a man’s lips.
Bai Qingquan: “Did you apply it when we were filming today?”
Shen Jintai: “I didn’t put anything on.”
Bai Qingquan turned his head and stared at Shen Jintai. When he leaned closer, Shen Jintai smiled and wiped his lips with his hand. He was finally able to experience the joy of becoming beautiful for the first time.
“Look,” Shen Jintai said softly as he stretched out his hand to show Bai Qingquan.
Bai Qingquan was floored. “This is your original lip color.”
Shen Jintai had always liked to put on heavy makeup before. He thought that he may have gotten confused with his memory. He recalled that during the talent show back then, Shen Jintai’s lips, with no makeup on, were very dark.
“My complexion has been improving recently,” Shen Jintai said.
Bai Qingquan pursed his lower lip. “I’ve been so busy recently that I didn’t have time to care for my lips. They’ve been very dry. I thought you had a good lip balm or lip oil that you could share with me.”
Shen Jintai smiled softly. Wei Ge, standing nearby, looked dazed. This scene didn’t look like two rivals but more like two good friends exchanging beauty tips. The atmosphere was strangely harmonious. He suddenly felt that these two could become true good friends and that there wasn’t anything wrong with them. As soon as he finished this thought, he saw Bai Qingquan turn his head to look at him and rolled his eyes secretly.
Well, that was wishful thinking.
The dinner was very enjoyable, though Mrs. Yan and Yan Yaoxuan were despondent.
Seeing the interaction between Shen Jintai and Bai Qingquan in person made Mrs. Yan distressed. Shen Jintai seemed to really like Bai Qingquan. She remembered Shen Jintai telling her at her birthday party that he no longer liked Yan Qiuchi but had moved on to Bai Qingquan. She thought it was just a diversion, but she didn’t expect Shen Jintai to legitimately like him.
Seeing Shen Jintai sitting next to Bai Qingquan being mild, calm, and placid, she couldn’t help but think he looked like a real gentleman. Is this still the hot-tempered Shen Jintai of the past?!
Yan Yaoxuan was even more outraged. His heart was so tired. Before the tiger left, another wolf had come. He had been working out for the past two years to buff himself up so that he could become manlier than his brother. Yet he never thought that Bai Qingquan, a beautiful 0-type man, could one day become the object of his jealousy.
Mrs. Yan: “This Bai Qingquan seems to have a good temperament.”
“He’s like a little fairy,” Shen Jintai said. “So pure and angelic.”
“There’s nothing clean about the entertainment industry. Who could still be pure and still be in Vanity Fair*,” Yan Yaoxuan said.
*I’m not sure what the implication here is. Vanity Fair is a legit fashion magazine. Unless he’s implying that Bai Qingquan did impure things (hidden rules) to get into Vanity Fair, or the author is associating Vanity Fair with something like a vulgar magazine.
Mrs. Yan glared at him.
Yan Yaoxuan hurriedly said to Shen Jintai, “I’m not talking about you, I…”
Her son was truly immature and naïve since he was a child. It was surprising that he and his brother were born of the same parents.
Shen Jintai said with a smile, “I know.”
They reached the hotel and went to Shen Jintai’s room. He opened the door and invited them in. “Come in.”
When Mrs. Yan and Yan Yaoxuan entered the hotel room, Mrs. Yan looked around and said, “It’s not bad. It’s better than I thought.”
“Mom, don’t pretend,” Yan Yaoxuan said to Shen Jintai. “This was a death order given by my mother to big brother. She wanted him to give you the best room.”
“So that’s why,” Shen Jintai said. “I was wondering how the crew could arrange such a good room for me. I thought everyone’s room was like this.”
Mrs. Yan smiled and said, “What’s so good about this? Although it’s five stars, it’s far from the ones in the cities. The general conditions of hotels here just aren’t that good. You have to live here for a while. How could I let my family be wronged by a drama produced by our own investment?”
It took more than two hours by car to return to the main city. It was getting late as the mother-son duo headed back home. Mrs. Yan was rarely so tired. After such a long day, she quickly washed up and went straight to bed. Yan Yaoxuan went up to the third floor. When he passed Shen Jintai’s room, he paused and hesitated at the door. After a few moments, he opened the door and went in.
The room was properly maintained by the servants, so it was neat and tidy but empty, as if no one had lived in it. He sat by the bed for a while, then walked to the closet and opened it. The wardrobe was empty; all the clothes were gone. He knew what he wanted to see when he opened the closet; his older brother’s coat with Shen Jintai’s thong*.
*Clarity: As I’ve explained in one of my comments, the author made modifications to this novel. An MTL version that was done on an older version had a scene where Yan Yaoxuan caught sight of the coat and thong while peeking in on Shen Jintai. This scene was cut out from the most updated version, which I’m currently translating. I’m not sure why the author removed that scene because now we have a plot hole here where it was never explained how Yan Yaoxuan knows about the coat and thong. More information can be found in my Kinky thoughts.
A thought came into Yan Yaoxuan’s mind. He imagined a contrary Shen Jintai, who was gleaming in front of the camera with jade-like brilliance, but under the solemn green robe, he was possibly wearing a sexy thong. Thinking of him in an ancient costume while having a thong on and almost gave Yan Yaoxuan a nosebleed.
Fortunately, his brother didn’t take notice of Shen Jintai. He still had a chance!
Shen Jintai took a bath and felt relaxed when he came out. It was hot outside, so he came out only with a bath towel wrapped around his waist as he drank some water. He thought about the scene he was going to shoot tomorrow. It would be regarded as his first major scene.
Shen Jintai felt that the biggest reason why became popular was because it did not take the ordinary stereotypical route like other palace dramas. In an ordinary palace drama, the first confrontation is usually with a cannon fodder, like a favored concubine. took a different direction and instead had the beginning conflict focus directly on two princes fighting for power. The younger prince had sent his confidant, the little eunuch, to seduce his older brother.
The pacing was also fast. In just the first episode alone, the heroine had already entered the palace, allowing the male and female leads to already meet, while also establishing the tumultuous feelings of the little eunuch and the crowned prince who witnessed this meeting. By the end of the episode, a few cannon fodder concubines had already died.
By the second episode, the heroine and the protagonist, as well as the eunuch and the crowned prince, had already rolled into the bed sheets. It’s important to highlight how rapidly the plot had developed by this point and how heavy the tone became. The future crown princess and the second prince had already had a coupling while on the side, the little eunuch became the crowned prince’s personal eunuch.
There were dozens of chapters written in the original novel that were all crammed into the second episode.
As an actor, he felt that his greatest luck was that the censorship standards for film and television dramas in this world were particularly lax. The script had written the hookup scene between Li Xu and Zhou Ying in great detail. He wasn’t referring to the pa pa pa1, but rather the process of the eunuch seducing the prince. It made the plot very fulfilling and created high tension2.
2Clarity: He’s saying that thanks to leisure censorship laws in this world, this drama can show more mature things, which allows the show to be better developed. It’s not necessarily the sex scenes, but more so the scenes leading up to them where he’s seducing the prince, that add tension and drama that can make the audience feel more fulfilled when watching.
After the sex was over, Empress Xiao immediately showed up and flogged him.
In the first few episodes, while the male and female protagonists were still growing up, most of the drama and conflict revolved around his character. He must act well and take the lead.
A ding dong interrupted his thoughts as Xiao Ai came alone. “Warning! Warning!”
Shen Jintai frowned. “What’s wrong?”
Xiao Ai: “The system has detected that your thoughts just now are very dangerous! You have to know that if you perform too well and cover up Bai Yueguang’s limelight, his favorability for you will substantially decrease.”
“There’s a saying called putting it to death and live after*. Have you heard of it?” Shen Jintai analyzed. “He and I were rivals before we met. If I perform better and the drama develops well, he will look at me more. I want to be the person that he thinks of. If I want to pursue him, I first want to become a charming man. In terms of beauty, I’m definitely not comparable to him. But like me, he is also a person who pursues art and aspires to be a good actor. If I become a good actor, I’m sure his outlook on me will change!”
*(叫置之死地而后生) Originally refers to the army arranged in battle cannot retreat, only killed, and the soldiers will forge ahead. It means, once you make up your mind, you have to fight for your life and eventually you can achieve success.
Xiao Ai: “…What you say seems to make sense.”
Shen Jintai: “I’ll definitely become the man this little 0 beauty admires most!”
Xiao Ai: “…You can do it*…”
*[jiayou] (加油) There’s no direct translation for this term. It’s an ubiquitous Chinese expression of encouragement and support.
Shen Jintai was very diligent in his upkeep. He applied an ex-boyfriend face mask* before heading to bed.
*SK-II brand of face masks. Apparently, it’s very expensive. It’s like $95 USD for 6 masks.
Shen Jintai was fully prepared for his scene today, and Bai Qingquan was even more prepared. This was the first rivalry scene between him and Shen Jintai. He was determined not to lose.
As popular artists, Bai Qingquan and Yang Lizhi had their own dressing room. Bai Qingquan looked so stunning today that he could kill everyone online. He’s been wearing his makeup all day long. When shooting was about to start, Guo Rui looked at him and said, “Your makeup is too heavy. We can’t shoot this scene with you looking like this. You have such a good foundation. You don’t need such thick makeup.”
Bai Qingquan smiled wryly and said, “Yes. I’ll go back and change it.”
As he turned to leave, he heard Guo Rui say to Shen Jintai, “Your makeup is too light. Go back and fix it.”
Bai Qingquan turned back and saw Shen Jintai reply, “My makeup was the same as yesterday.”
“Yesterday, we shot that scene at night, so we used candles and natural light. It makes the ambiance more gorgeous. When shooting during the day, your makeup needs to be thicker.” Guo Rui was an expert cinematographer, so he knew these things well. “Bai Qingquan wants to fade in. The more plain he is, the better he looks. You, on the other hand, need to be the opposite. You need to eat makeup and cake on as much as possible.”
Shen Jintai and Bai Qingquan both went back to fix their makeup. It took a long time to remove Bai Qingquan’s makeup. The staff outside had to rush him.
Today was going to be an unfavorable battle*. As soon as Bai Qingquan saw Shen Jintai in his heavy makeup, he felt nervous. When he saw Shen Jintai yesterday, who appeared on camera, it was like seeing a different person. He looked very solemn and serious.
*(出师不利) Idiom which means that the battle isn’t smooth. It describes the defeat at the beginning of the matter. It comes from the book “Stubborn Lord” as part of a series of Wang Shuo collections.
When they met, Shen Jintai slightly nodded to him. Bai Qingquan had become accustomed to this. It was no secret that Shen Jintai was never enthusiastic about him. Now Shen Jintai was even more somber. Bai Qingquan returned his greeting with a cold face as he nodded back. He returned to reading his script in his hand, familiarizing himself with his lines. Thinking to himself, Shen Jintai used to be quite temperamental. Lately, though, he seems to be getting more and more… aggressive.
Li Meilan and Xiao Tang were also there. If they could get the crew’s permission, they wanted to take pictures of Shen Jintai during such a crucial moment. Shen Jintai was standing at the entrance of the hall. The ground was covered by his shadow cast by the lights. He turned sideways and glanced at Li Meilan, who gave him a thumbs up. Turning his gaze away, he realized that most of the actors in the crew were here, including the extras who didn’t need to appear for the time being.
It seems they all have gossip in their hearts and have gathered to see Shen Jintai’s and Bai Qingquan’s rivalry with their own eyes. Yang Lizhi was also there. She had no scene today, but she came to squat early. She was also curious about Shen Jintai’s performance. It’s one thing to perform well when it’s just reading the script aloud. It’s an entirely different thing to shoot well in real time. Whether Shen Jintai’s acting skills have improved, she wanted to bear witness.
Yang Lizhi was sitting in a small chair while wearing oversized sunglasses. An assistant brought her juice while another assistant held a small electric fan near her. Around her were several supporting actors from the crew. She looked like she was an ice queen.
Even Song Wei, who had been waiting in the lounge, came out to watch the excitement.
Producer Zhang felt that they had made a mistake in their decision. He should have made the media visit today instead of the weekend. The first performance between Shen Jintai and Bai Qingquan was extremely newsworthy.
“If you take pictures, don’t let them leak and have rumors spread.” Producer Zhang patted Assistant Qiao.
Gao Qiao was currently holding his phone while in record mode. “I’m showing it to President Yan. He wanted to look so he can be assured.”
Producer Zhang: “Isn’t he coming back tonight?”
Gao Qiao confirmed with an “Nn” and said, “President Yan wants to keep an eye on the whole process.” He felt that Yan Qiuchi was worried about Shen Jintai’s wooden acting skill and that it would drag down the whole production. Even he, himself, was deeply concerned.
Gao Qiao wasn’t involved during the script reading. His impression of Shen Jintai was that of a mediocre star only fit to play in mindless idol dramas. The second male lead had a critical role in this series. If Shen Jintai were to ruin it, it’d devastate the chances of their company going public.
“Alright. Get ready. It’s time to start shooting.” A staff member held up the scoreboard: “Three, two, one, action!”
Shen Jintai lowered his head slightly as he walked through the gorgeous palace with quick and light steps. The rocker camera that was in front of him moved with his pace.
Shen Jintai: “Your royal highness.”
Bai Qingquan was dressed in a green and white robe with flowers and bamboo leaf patterns. From the back, he looked like a man with beauty and grace. He was watering the flowers when he heard Shen Jintai call to him. He glanced back. The palace maid next to him immediately stepped forward to pick up the watering can in his hand, and another palace maid brought him a handkerchief. Bai Qingquan hurriedly took the handkerchief, wiped his hand, and said: “You’ve returned.”
Bai Qingquan was immensely nervous. He wasn’t even this nervous the first time he filmed.
He was acting against his rival, Shen Jintai! He would have to muster up all the acting skills he had acquired since birth!
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Start the show.