I woke up to find I have a child - Chapter 24
One night full of turmoil later, Shen Sangluo once again found herself making the walk of shame back home.
She moved slowly and thought she had been cautious enough to avoid the other party’s notice, but, unfortunately for her, Jiang Lingyan had woken earlier than she did.
She didn’t make a single sound as she kept her eyes closed and listened to the rustling sounds of Shen Sangluo putting on her clothes. Then the noises stopped as Shen Sangluo hurriedly tiptoed out of the room with a pair of braid sandals in her hands.
Jiang Lingyan waited for a little bit before casually grabbing the shirt she had worn yesterday and loosely pulled it on. Then she got out of the bed and stood next to the French windows to look at the empty garden below her.
About a minute later, Shen Sangluo appeared in the garden. Like a thief running away from the scene of the crime, Shen Sangluo quickly scurried over to her car. She panickedly searched for her keys and almost burst out tears of joy when she finally found it in her bag. Then she opened the car door and sat in the driver’s seat.
She did not drive off immediately and instead relaxed her stiff body first. Her car was equivalent to her safe space, a haven she could call her own. To her, even the air inside was fresher than the air outside. She took a deep breath and inserted the car key, but before she started the engine she raised her eyes. She jumped in fright when she was Jiang Lingyan, half-naked and standing by the window, staring intensely down at her.
Jiang Lingyan crossed her right leg over the left, her right foot hooking around her left ankle as she crossed her arms and leaned against the window frame. She did not button her shirt so it was wide open and her soft chest was faintly discernible behind the translucent glass. Her cufflinks had disappeared during the night so the shirt’s sleeves now covered all the way to her palms. This state of dress and her current posture made her look cute and helpless, yet also unwittingly charming and seductive at the same time.
Seeing that Shen Sangluo was looking at her, Jiang Lingyan raised a hand to wave goodbye. She seemed to be in a good mood and feeling rather happy as there was currently a blinding smile on her face.
Shen Sangluo: “…..” I don’t want to live anymore.
After returning home, Shen Sangluo immediately collapsed onto her bed and then beat her pillow with her fists a few times. Then she sat up with a slumped face. She took out her mobile phone and found that Han Feixu had sent her a dozen messages from 10:30 to 12:30 last night.
【Han Feixu 】
Are you home yet?
Still haven’t gone home yet?
Hey, answer me! It’s eleven o’clock, you won’t be able to go to work if you don’t come back now.
Why aren’t you answering any calls?
I’ve made five calls already. Did you not hear them or did you lose your phone?
Shen Sangluo! If you don’t pick up, I’m calling the police!
Jiang Lingyan answered the phone just now. Shen Sangluo, I was wrong, I am sorry for troubling you.
This…I only have one more question I want to ask you…have you two finished over there?
**End of Conversation**
Shen Sangluo looked at her phone screen in silence. After a while, with a slight flick of her wrist, her phone flew in a perfect arc and landed in the trash can.
When Liang Zhu is upset, she smokes. When Han Feixu is upset, she makes a lot of noise and causes a ruckus. Shen Sangluo is the most elegant of the three, for when she’s upset, she practices her calligraphy.
Shen Sangluo stood in front of her writing desk, breathing in a deep breath as she supported her waist and contemplated her current mood. With a few big swipes of her brush, she wrote down seven characters with ease—-
“A general achieves fame on the rotting bones of ten thousand.”
Once Shen Sangluo had calmed down, she picked up her phone from the trash can and then took a picture of her calligraphy before sending it to Han Feixu.
Han Feixu smiled like a chubby little baby when she saw the photo.
Han Feixu asked the housekeeper, Auntie Li, to boil a pot of thick pork bone soup and then another pot of chicken soup. She was going to send these two pots to Section Chief Shen in hopes that her friend could recover her exhausted body quickly and fix up those bones that were one push away from falling apart.
After delivering the soup, Han Feixu packed up and prepared to set out for the variety show. In the morning, she had sent Yiyi to kindergarten, gave her daughter a kiss on the cheek, and watched as her assistant walked Yiyi into the kindergarten before leaving.
By the time she arrived, almost everyone else was already there and the show was starting their opening ceremony. About an incense’s worth of time later, Jiang Lingyan finally gave the order and the filming of the show officially began.
The first segment of the show will begin at a hotel. Although the actors themselves did not live in this hotel last night, it was necessary to create an illusion that they did. Each actor had two cameramen following them who would film and record every word and action the actor made.
After the opening ceremony, the actors were tasked with finding their room and then having the cameramen get shots of them ‘waking up’.
Since they were acting out a scene of them just ‘getting up’, Han Feixu decided to have the first shot be in the bathroom.
“Are you ready, Teacher Han?”
Han Feixu raised her voice, “Ready.”
Once the shooting began outside, Han Feixu turned on the faucet, washed her hands and then opened the door and walked out. Seeing the camera in front of her, she smiled naturally and said, “You’re here early, I just got up myself.”
Zhong Yuanyuan stood behind the cameraman and immediately gave two thumbs up when she saw Han Feixu behave so naturally. She even mouthed out the words, “Very good! Keep it up!”
Han Feixu: “…..”
If no one pays special attention to her, of course she can act naturally. However, Zhong Yuanyuan being so supportive will actually cause her to act more unnatural = =
She walked over to her bed, which was already messed up by Zhong Yuanyuan in advance, and opened a suitcase. The lid flipped open and revealed a suitcase full of snacks, causing Han Feixu to freeze.
Of course, the cameraman would not miss this kind of opportunity and quickly pushed his camera closer. However, Han Feixu quickly closed the suitcase and smiled stiffly, “Sorry, this is the wrong suitcase. This is not my suitcase but my assistant’s suitcase.”
Zhong Yuanyuan: “….”
Nonsense, it was Han Feixu who told her to bring more snacks as she was afraid that there would not be enough food to eat in between filming.
Ye Mingxin had told her that in the beginning of filming, the crew and staff would be very busy and there would be basically no time to eat. She had only advised Han Feixu with this one sentence, but she never told her to bring a whole suitcase full of snacks.
Han Feixu squatted on the ground and kept silent for a few moments before she raised her head solemnly, “Can you cut out that shot just now?”
Seeing that the cameraman was silent, she opened the suitcase and took out a bag of potato chips, “If you cut out that shot, I will give you this bag.”
Faced with the potato chip bribe in front of him, the cameraman also kept silent for a few moments before solemnly replying, “Teacher Han, I am in charge of filming, not editing.”
Han Feixu looked at him blankly and then put the potato chips back into the suitcase.
They walked out of the room and bumped into another actress, Lu Ersi.
At the party, Lu Ersi was the quietest one. She barely spoke and only listened quietly to the others. When someone mentioned her or spoke to her, she would only smile shyly and her smile made one’s heart itch.
However, today, under the effects of the camera, Lu Ersi called out enthusiastically, “Feixu-jie! So you’re also in this show!’
She ran all the way over and then looked up at Han Feixu with stars in her eyes, “Feixu-jie, when did you arrive? I only got off the plane around midnight last night and only got about five hours of sleep! I really wish I could go back to sleep again.”
????? Weren’t you happily playing with everyone yesterday?
Han Feixu finally understood what Liang Zhu meant by everyone in the entertainment circle already having a preliminary understanding of the unspoken rules. After being startled for a moment, Han Feixu also pretended to be surprised, “I also arrived last night. I knew I heard someone walking in the middle of the night, so it was you.”
Lu Ersi laughed and then stretched out her hand, moving to hook their arms together, “Let’s go down together, I heard that they already finished preparing everything downstairs.”
Han Feixu saw her movements and raised her arm as she brushed a piece of hair out of her eyes, “It just so happens that I am hungry too, let’s go.”
The smile on Lu Ersi’s face froze and then she began smiling even more brilliantly than before, “I heard that Chi Qiu-jie is also here but I didn’t get to see her yesterday. I’ll go and say hello to her later.”
As they talked, they made their way downstairs. On their way down, they also ran into Zhang Tonghui and Nie Kaiyuan on the second floor. Then they all arrived at the lobby on the first floor together. The director and the filming team were waiting for them. Jiang Lingyan stood in the middle but she was not holding a bullhorn like a director usually does.
Instead it was the deputy director who was holding the bullhorn and he was the one responsible for telling them what the rules would be.
In the later stages of the filming, the information and introduction for each actor will be edited in. Most of the shots wouldn’t even be used in the final product and the rest of the episode would be occupied by the video of the opening ceremony.
They skipped the greetings and the deputy director immediately started explaining the rules of the game.
“The players will have to go through multiple rounds for the coveted positions of the protagonist roles. Note that the player with the lowest score after each round will be eliminated, however, since this is the first round of the show, the pressure will be low and there is no need to be nervous. Eliminations will begin after the second round. We will take the average of the scores from the first and second rounds, and the person with the lowest average score will be eliminated. Alright, I won’t say much else, now it’s time to explain the rules of the first round. Please write down the rules carefully.”
“In this first competition, the eight players will be paired into four male-female groups. We will draw lots to determine the groups and the missions they must complete. The deadline for your missions is 4 o’clock tomorrow afternoon.”
“Reminder! All missions for this first round will only have one hard and fast rule. That is, you cannot be recognized by anyone! The cameraman will be shooting in a hidden place so rest assured that our cameramen and other staff will not cause you trouble.”
Although Han Feixu had read the program’s planning sheet in advance, there were dozens of locations and competition formats written on them. A lot of them were also tentative choices, meaning they can be changed at a later period. So even she did not know what they would have to do in the first round.
Zhang Hao muttered beside her, “We can’t be recognized….does that mean we will have to put on makeup and disguise ourselves?”
Thinking about it this way, Zhang Hao slammed a fist into his palm with a distressed expression, “Nie Kaiyuan, you are done for! You will be the first to be eliminated!”
Nie Kaiyuan flung out a kick towards him but Zhang Hao nimbly avoided him and the atmosphere in the room became a lot less tense due to their antics.
Chi Qiu also poked fun at Han Feixu, “I think you’re the one in most danger. The others are all fine, but I think you have the most obvious characteristics. With such long hair, people will recognize you from just your hair even if they don’t recognize your face.”
Han Feixu was not one to back down, “I can still put up my hair, but you will be the one most easily recognized. At a height of 1.75 meters, it will be hard for you to hide your height and most people would notice you first before us short people.”
Han Feixu suggested an idea, “How about you pretend to be a hunchback?”
Chi Qiu smiled and cursed good naturally, “Shoo! You might not want the burden of maintaining your image anymore, but I still do!”
Once they finished joking around, the deputy director took out a lottery box. The first draw will be for deciding the groups. The ladies drew first and the men waited to be assigned.
The first person to go up was Han Yiren. After she finished, she smiled and then walked forward boldly. Han Feixu peeked over her shoulder to see who her partner was—-Qi Qing.
Qi Qing is the most scholarly-looking one out of all of them, and was the ‘good student’ type of character. Everyone let out a collective cry, “Oooooh~~~~”
Zhang Hao blew a wolf whistle, “Gifted scholar, beautiful lady*, nya~~~~” (*T/N: this is an idiom for saying ‘a pair of ideal lovers’ or a ‘match made in heaven’)
Han Yiren walked down with a smile and accepted everyone’s teasing good naturedly. Next up was Chi Qiu. She put her hand into the box and rummaged around for a long time before she drew out a piece of paper with Zhang Tonghui’s name printed on it.
Zhang Tonghui is the least famous of the eight, but he has a good character. Chi Qiu was quite satisfied with the result and stepped down.
There were now only two pairs left. The next one up was Han Feixu. Before she drew, Lu Ersi yelled to her nervously, “Feixu-jie, don’t draw Nie Kaiyuan!”
As soon as she finished speaking, Han Feixu took out a piece of paper and opened it as the camera zoomed in on the paper for a close-up.
The name printed on it was….Nie Kaiyuan.
Just great, the two most difficult to disguise were put together.
After drawing for groups, the next lottery was for their missions. Han Feixu saw that the staff were coming over with another box and asked in confusion as she looked around, “Didn’t you say we were having breakfast? Why don’t I see any?”
Deputy Director: “Don’t worry, you can eat after we finish the drawing.”
The person to draw this time was the male partners in the groups. Nie Kaiyuan picked up one at random and then looked at it with Han Feixu beside him. The two leaned their heads tougher to see what was written on the piece of paper.
Han Feixu read it out loud, “At the Rong Qing Li food market, sell roast duck as stall number 3?!”
Han Feixu’s eyes widened and she raised her head to ask the deputy director: “We don’t even know how to make roast duck, how can we sell them?!”
“That kind of highly-skilled work will be done by the stall owner themself. All you have to do is sell things and fabricate a believable identity for yourself to ensure you won’t be recognized.”
In addition to selling roast duck, there was another sentence written behind it: Make 5000 yuan.
A roast duck at a food market is very cheap. Half a duck is 25 yuan, a full duck is 50 yuan. That means they will have to sell at least one hundred roast ducks….
Before Han Feixu could complain, the sounds of wailing erupted around her.
Lu Ersi: “Selling rice on the streets? Does this industry still even exist??!!”
Qi Qing: “I don’t mind selling things, but that depends on what is being sold! A secret recipe for joint pain medicine passed down from my ancestors?!!! If we try to sell this, we’ll be taken into the police station for fraud, won’t we??!!!!”
Chi Qiu: “At least you have things to sell! We have to pretend to be beggars! A beggar with perfectly functioning hands and feet will be regarded as scammers and liars! No, we are lying in the first place!”
After hearing the exclamations of the other players, Han Feixu turned around, grasped Nie Kaiyuan’s hand, and shook it twice, “Thank you, thank you for your luck!”
Nie Kaiyuan was not humble at all, “You’re welcome. When we go out, we’ll conquer this world with this luck of mine!”
The other players: “….”
The so-called ‘breakfast’ has to be bought by the money they earned. Even if they couldn’t accept this, they could only resign themselves to their fate. The eight people went off into four separate cars and rushed towards their missions locations. There was a cameraman in each car, and although Han Feixu knew that she had to maintain her image in front of the camera, she couldn’t take it anymore.
She lowered her head, placed her forehead in her hands and her shoulders began to tremble. Nie Kaiyuan shifted his gaze from the window, and he asked, “What’s the matter?”
Han Feixu didn’t answer so he patted her shoulder. Han Feixu couldn’t stand it anymore, and raised her head while clutching a hand against her chest, “Aiya, I’m about to choke on my laughter, ahahahahahaha, beggars, pfftttt, hahahaaha…..”
Nie Kaiyuan “….” He didn’t talk much with Han Feixu last time, but now he realized that she had a rather low laughing point*. (*T/N: Describing how easily a person laughs at things)
And the reaction time is a little bit slow = =
When they arrived at the food market, they entered through the backdoor. The inside was already set up with the cameras hidden in camouflaged places. Even one of the roast ducks hanging on the window sill was stuffed with a camera for shooting at a downward angle.
Han Feixu and Nie Kaiyuan greeted the roast duck stall owner first and then sat down to discuss how they should disguise what identities they should have.
Nie Kaiyuan: “How about brother and sister?”
Han Feixu shook her head. They looked too different to be siblings.
Nie Kaiyuan: “A married couple?”
Han Feixu shook her head again. A married couple usually have a tacit understanding of each other and often act as each other’s counterparts. They couldn’t act out that level of familiarity and the customers would be able to tell at a glance.
Nie Kaiyuan: “Then I don’t know what else to do.”
Han Feixu: “You can only think of these two identities? That’s too few.”
Nie Kaiyuan: “Since you think so much, you come up with one.”
Han Feixu: “I can only think of these two identities as well.”
Nie Kaiyuan: “….” Then what you said just now was meaningless!
In the end, they decided to use separate identities. Han Feixu is the niece of the lady boss (the lady boss being the owner’s wife). While Nie Kaiyuan is the newly hired part-time employee.
With two separate identities, they had more to work with. They only needed to make up their own identities and stories without cooperating with each other. This was one of the advantages of selling roast duck. People selling rice on the street, or fake medicine and being beggars together must cooperate together and have identities related to one another, but they did not.
After confirming their identities, they began to put on their disguises. Nie Kaiyuan changed into a set of work clothes that the owner had in the store. The clothes were a bit small and were very tight on him as he put on a greasy apron on top. However, his expression remained the same as he picked up the oil drum from the back kitchen and rubbed the oil all over him. Afterwards, he felt that it was still not enough so he walked out the back door and picked up some coal piled in the back to paint on his face. Now he looked like a coal-burning worker.
The most difficult thing to hide was his figure. His face was easy for as long as he looks dirty and messy, his tough and scary look is often easily overlooked. Han Feixu, on the other hand, was more troublesome.
She put on a big sundress that she borrowed from the owner’s wife. Then she put up her hair, looked at herself in the mirror, and frowned.
She looked too clean, and her hair was too shiny and silky, not at all like something a working-class girl had.
So Han Feixu learned from Nie Kaiyuan and made herself as dirty as possible. There was a small pond in the back kitchen and she splashed some of that water into her hair. The damp hair looked more listless and she tied up her hair into a messy and loose braid behind her.
When she woke up this morning, she had come out wearing makeup. She had brought her makeup tools with her and after washing off her current makeup, she faced the camera with her plain face. Then looking at the various colors in her brush palette, she picked a purplish red blush and without even using a brush, she directly dabbed it onto her face with a finger and wiped it all over her face.
Nie Kaiyuan had finished disguising himself as a ‘handsome beggar’ and came back in. When he saw Han Feixu’s face, he stepped back in fright, “Huo!!! Did you get burned by boiling water or something?!!”
Han Feixu smiled and flashed her big white teeth, “How do I look?”
Nie Kaiyuan still had some lingering fears in his heart, “Very terrifying.”
Han Feixu: “….”
Han Feixu still believed she was very beautiful. She looked into the mirror. Even if she became a working girl, she is still the most beautiful flower among all the working girls~~~
At the front window, Han Feixu and Nie Kaiyuan put on plastic gloves, and waited for their guests to come. Nie Kaiyuan didn’t know how to sell things, but Han Feixu was a bit better than him as she knew how to yell and hawk one’s wares.
Therefore, after some discussion, they agreed that Nie Kaiyuan would cut the ducks, weigh the vegetables and other dishes while Han Feixu would be responsible for collecting money and calling customers over.
It was only ten o’clock in the morning, so there wasn’t anybody in the market. Even if there were, most came to buy fruits and vegetables. It wasn’t easy for a customer to walk by their window and when one finally did, Han Feixu hurriedly shouted,
“Beauty! Tak’ a look at r’ roast duck, fresh outta th’ oven, ya!”
Nie Kaiyuan: ???? Did we agree on you yelling in a Shandong dialect earlier?!!!
So obviously it’s very hard to translate an accent/dialect not latin based into English so I kinda mixed-matched some american slang with some scottish/swedish accent. Anyhow, Shandong is a province in northern China and I am quite familiar with it as that’s where my mother’s side of the family is from. Birthplace of Confucius, Chinese Buddhism, and Daoism, Shandong has quite a rich cultural history. Also known for having a great wine industry! Their dialect is somewhat weird as it is not a ‘formal’ dialect and it still is Mandarin but there are words/phrases that are unique to them and it’s hard to understand if you’re not listening closely. It’s like a heavy scottish accent, you can roughly understand it if they speak slowly, but you’re lost if they speak normally.
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