DISCLAIMER: We don’t own any of the stories published. We don’t know any Chinese language and this is our first time MTL-ing a novel, expect inaccuracies in the translations.
❌ NO SPOILERS. WE ARE MTL-ING THIS AT THE SAME TIME WE’RE READING IT ❌
Translated by: Jie Jie
Unedited. There will be grammatical errors and typos. Feel free to point them out~
Chapter 32 – Cold An Xiao Mo
An Xumo’s eardrums were almost burst by the sound of his own heartbeat. He stood there flabbergasted, with Zhou Jinchen standing only a little distance in front of him. An Xumo’s nose was sore from the bump. He couldn’t smell the faint perfume on the other man’s body. But with the distance between them, An Xumo could even feel the warmth coming from the man’s body.
He didn’t even have to reach out his hand to touch the real-life brother standing in front of him.
When An Xumo was startled, Zhou Jinchen had already seen the expression on his face. Seeing that the man’s eyes were slightly red, his eyelashes were wet, and there were still obvious tears on his face, the man’s heart sank. He quickly raised his eyes and glanced around the room.
Ma Lao was here and the room was full of faces that he had seen before in the crew. Zhou Jinchen calmly withdrew his gaze, putting up his hand over An Xumo’s back to bring him forward gently, making room for Lin Rui who was still standing outside behind him.
“Come in first.”
Zhou Jinchen motioned to Lin Rui, who looked at him with some confusion and followed from behind, before seeing An Xumo standing in front of Zhou Jinchen.
Although An Xumo raised his hand in time and covered his eyes with the back of his hand, Lin Rui had also seen his expression. As Lin Rui was about to ask, he heard Zhou Jinchen say, “Ma Lao is waiting for the script.”
Lin Rui had to withdraw his gaze and took the script over to Ma Lao first.
It was only when Lin Rui walked away that Zhou Jinchen turned sideways to block the view behind him. An Xumo stood between the door and his brother, wiping his eyes, he heard the man ask him in a deep voice, “What’s wrong?”
An Xumo put his hand down, straightened his back like a student being questioned by a teacher, and whispered, “Bumped, hit the nose.”
There was a nasal sound in his voice, and his expression looks like he made a mistake. He didn’t dare to raise his eyes to see Zhou Jinchen.
Zhou Jinchen frowned and asked, “You cried earlier?”
It was only then that An Xumo realized what the other was asking. He hurriedly nodded, “It was a request made during the audition.
That said, it wasn’t that someone was deliberately trying to embarrass him. Only then did Zhou Jinchen put his right hand back. At this moment, the black shirt not far away came over and greeted him with a smile, “Jinchen came over, what, do you know each other?”
“Brother Yang.” Zhou Jinchen nodded his head and said, “We were on the variety show together before.”
The recording of 《Sunny Weekend》 has now become a ready-made excuse, perfect for responding to inquiries.
“Eh, oh, yes, Green City’s 《Sunny Weekend》, right. How did I forget about that?” Yang slapped his forehead and said, “You’re asking about Xiao An, right? It’s nothing really. It’s just at the audition, Ma Lao asked him to try crying for a bit. The audition for their group is over.”
Generally, the audition will not directly announce the results on the spot, but since Ma Lao had made a separate request to An Xumo alone, I’m afraid that the result has no longer any suspense. Zhou Jinchen nodded calmly and said, “It’s good that everything is fine. Thank you, Brother Yang.”
“It’s fine, it’s fine.” Brother Yang waved his hand and said to An Xumo, “Just go back and wait for the notice. We’ll contact you.”
They had auditions for other roles afterward.
An Xumo replied, “Okay.”
He carefully lifted his hand and waved at the man beside him, “Goodbye, Brother Jinchen.”
Zhou Jinchen looked at him and nodded his head, “Go ahead.”
An Xumo pushed the door open and walked out, helping to softly close the door again outside the room.
He stood in front of the door and leaned back against the panel, raising his hand to pat his chest and let out a long breath.
The elder brother finally answered his greeting, and the tone sounded calm that he didn’t leave a bad impression on the other man today……This was just so surprising.
An Xumo stretched out his hand and rubbed the tip of his nose. Even though it was still a little sore, his lips couldn’t help but curl up. So happy, ah!
An Xumo walked down the stairs, even his pace was lighter. He just thought of the most refined possibility during the audition process, and as a result, he could still greet his brother now. Is there anything happier than this?
When Tang Tang, who was waiting downstairs, noticed the other party’s ease when she saw An Xumo from a distance, she was delighted but froze after welcoming the person’s slightly red eyes.
Tang Tang carefully asked, “Xiao Mo….How was it, did the audition go well?”
An Xumo nodded and smiled, “It should be fine.”
Tang Tang let out a sigh of relief, “What did the crew say?”
An Xumo thought, “Ma Lao said that my acting lessons were the same as if I had never taken them.”
Tang Tong was first shocked by Ma Lao’s appearance and then struck hard by the latter half of the sentence. She said incredulously, “Wha, what?!”
An Xumo didn’t expect Tang Tang’s reaction to be so intense. He hurriedly comforted her, “It’s fine, don’t panic. The crew said I’ll be notified in a few days.”
He was a bit excited about what just happened. He didn’t think his words would scare Tang Tang. An Xumo apologized to Tang Tang in distress, “I didn’t think I would scare you. I’m sorry.”
Tang Tang still didn’t react a bit, she was stunned. “Ah, did Ma Lao really said that?”
An Xumo said, “That’s what he said, but Ma Lao also said that my image is more suitable for the role.”
It was only then that Tang Tang really came back a little bit. She looked at An Xumo expectantly, “Really?”
“En,” An Xumo nodded. “And I think the chances are quite high, really.”
He briefly told Tang Tang about the process, and by the time the narrative reached the end of Ma Lao’s words, Tang Tang was so happy that she couldn’t suppress it.
“Oh my god…..” Tang Tang couldn’t help but reach out and rub her face. She looked excitedly at An Xumo and before the latter had an ominous feeling, she shouted a name, “Big Mo!”
An Xumo, “……”
“If Ma Lao says so, there must be no problem, ah!” Tang Tang excitedly said, “Big Mo on the big screen!”
An Xumo laughed, “Okay, okay, I know. Let’s go back first, shall we?”
“Go, go, go.” Tang Tang’s lively expression flew up, “I’ll give you extra lessons when we get back!”
An Xumo thought he hadn’t heard clearly, “What are you going to do when you go back?”
“Extra lessons,” Tang Tang said naturally. “Acting class. Didn’t Ma Lao say your performance wasn’t good? We’re going back to train harder.”
Contrary to the hesitant “okay” that day, An Xumo’s life had been described as “not okay” ever since he returned from the audition.
In order to stay in shape and maintain his professionalism, An Xumo’s ballet classes continued, but at a much reduced pace. After all, his current ability is sufficient for the ballet show in the movie.
The commercial activities that followed were not a problem either. After 《Dance to the Top Show》 and 《Sunny Weekend》, An Xumo can be described as “popular overnight.” Although he is still in his infancy, his fans are getting into the pit as quickly as they climb the wall.
Although these two tasks have made people very busy, they were still within the reach of An Xumo, who could spend sixteen hours a day in the training room since his days as a trainee. What really made An Xumo fearful was the fact that there were only three acting classes a day.
No matter how intense the other tasks were, they would be physically exhausting. However, acting was the only one that was tiring An Xumo’s heart.
“Your expression is too stiff, Xiao An.”
The acting teacher couldn’t help but sigh. He had already said this sentence three times today, but it didn’t seem to be of much use how many times he said it. He looked at An Xumo who had stopped in front of him and was a little embarrassed. In the end, he slowed down his tone and repeated the main point again, “This smile should be relaxed, let go of the facial muscles, and just let what’s in your mind appear on your face.”
An Xumo tried again with the teacher’s encouragement. However, seeing the helpless expression on his teacher’s face in the end, An Xumo could also guess the result of his attempt.
He stood there somewhat at a loss for words, and once again deeply tried to feel frustrated.
Although An Xumo has not been liked by many people around him since he was a child, there is no doubt about his own talent. Whether it was his academic record of being successfully admitted to a top university or the admirable dancing ability after every practice, the truth is that An Xumo had never really failed on the path of learning.
The acting classes, however, had made up for this not-so-pleasant first time for him.
When he finally finished a class, An Xumo, who bowed his head to pack his things, lowered his eyes, feeling that his chest and shoulders were being pressed so hard that he even felt tired from breathing. He stood up and was about to bow to the teacher and leave, but he was called out.
“Xiao An, let’s say, you don’t have to come over for tomorrow’s class.”
An Xumo was stunned, “……?”
The acting teacher saw his nervousness and smiled, “Don’t be afraid. I’ll give you another task.”
“Our current class adds up to about five hours a day. When you go back, work a little harder. Find a movie to watch three times and see the main actor’s performance.”
This step of analyzing other people’s performance had already been done before, and An Xumo didn’t hold out much hope. He just nodded his head and answered the teacher’s request, “Okay.”
The acting teacher continued, “I’ve drawn the scope of the movie for you. I’ll send it to you on WeChat later, just pick one from the entire list. Of course, if you have a movie you like better, you can send it to me and ask me. I’ll help you see if it fits.”
“Actually, analyzing other people’s performance is just a way to learn. The most important thing is how you, yourself, can comprehend this matter.” The acting teacher sighed lightly, “But I see that these days, the pressure of your classes in this rehearsal room is a bit too much. So, why don’t you go back, relax and adjust your mind.”
An Xumo was startled, “Teacher, I……”
“It’s fine, you don’t need to be too nervous.” The acting teacher said, “Learning to act isn’t at this moment. Relax and change your mindset. It may have better results. Go ahead.”
What the teacher said was actually An Xumo’s true state these days. He was able to continue evening dance training after coming back from the endless interviews without a hitch, but he was resistant and tired of the seemingly least physically demanding acting classes.
Fortunately, his acting teacher has a very good temper, and he has a lot of experience in colleges and universities, so he didn’t put more pressure on An Xumo, but instead advised him to make some adjustments himself.
Taking advantage of the assignment assigned by his teacher, An Xumo spent a rare afternoon in the apartment. He was still living in the dormitory building that the company had bought, and it was still downstairs from the top floor of Zhou Jinchen’s villa. Only Tang Tang had gotten him a single room, and while the conditions were still not great, it was already many times better than the original eight-person bunk.
In the teacher’s list, An Xumo immediately saw 《The Scarecrow》 starring Zhou Jinchen. He had watched Zhou Jinchen’s movies many times before, but he used to watch them as photos when he saw them, coupled with the busy days after his debut. This film can be regarded as a new film for An Xumo.
Because there was no time to rest for a long time, An Xumo’s video membership expired long ago. It took him a while to turn on the film, put his computer on the table, and laid out his notes carefully.
《The Scarecrow》 is a literary film, the production scenes are not very grand, but the deep meaning inside is worth thinking about.
The main character in the film is a boy from a good but a broken family, Lin Mai. Born in the city, Lin Mai was sent to live with his grandfather in the countryside because his parents were divorced and he had no one to take care of him. He saw a scarecrow in the farmland that could not be moved. He remembered his parents divorced and vowed to be a person who controls his own destiny. After returning to the city, the divorced and separated parents continued to fight endlessly because of property issues and various frictions. Lin Mai studied hard in a depressing atmosphere, eventually succeeding in getting into a prestigious university and starting a life of his own.
The war between his parents that lasted for more than a decade was only stopped after the death of one of his parents. However, her mother was still adamant after her husband’s death. The scene of her scolding at the funeral was deeply imprinted in Lin Mai’s heart. He was completely cold about family affection. He worked hard to earn a high salary and successfully started his own family. A family of three that is incomparably complete in the eyes of outsiders. However, soon after the birth of his daughter, friction between Lin Mai and his wife began to grow. In the end, he even raised his hand to his wife in the clear and frightened eyes of his daughter.
—— Exactly as his father had done more than 20 years ago.
At the end of the film, Lin Mai, who just gone through divorce proceedings and had just left the family home, received the news of his grandfather’s death. He went back to the countryside for the funeral, only to find a brand new immobile scarecrow on the farmland.
The character played by Zhou Jinchen in the film was none other than Lin Mai. Except for the first ten-year-old boy stage, the rest of the film was performed by him. Although the age span from 17 to 35 is not large, it’s still a very difficult challenge for an actor to accurately portray the difference between each stage. This is precisely why Zhou Jinchen eventually took home the Wutong Award for Best Actor in a leading role, thanks to his outstanding performance and vivid, three-dimensional characterization.
An Xumo knew that the film was very good for a long time ago. He had already watched the interview of Zhou Jinchen when he took the film. He didn’t miss the award ceremony when Zhou Jinchen won the Best Actor award for 《The Scarecrow》. However, the film was not a good choice for An Xumo now.
The film’s discussion about the issue of lack of affection and the damage done to the original family had a certain degree of impact on An Xumo. He’s not only the exception to this rule—when 《The Scarecrow》 was first released in the cinemas, it sparked a collective discussion in the whole society about “unchangeable fate” and “finally becoming the most annoying appearance” the topics were stark pain points. If it hadn’t caused such a wide resonance, 《The Scarecrow》 might not have ended up with such an impressive box office.
On top of that, Zhou Jinchen’s performance in the film makes An Xumo recognize the gap between the two of them—the difference in their acting skills is the same as the difference in their identities now.
An Xumo is not someone who gets discouraged easily, otherwise, he wouldn’t have stuck around as a trainee for almost a year with no chance of appearing on camera. However, on the acting side, he had been losing his way from the beginning. Even with the teacher’s patience and guidance, he never made any progress that can give people confidence.
He didn’t understand why those characters are angry or crying because they were scolded by their parents or why they were so happy to get good grades. Perhaps, An Xumo could understand the events of the first half, but he could never understand the emotions of the second half.
No matter how hard he tried, the character he played out was cold, emotionless, and without warmth. What came out, in the end, was not at all like a participant in the situation, but more like a bystander on the sidelines.
In contrast, Zhou Jinchen, who has always been cold to people, has a completely different performance in front of the camera.
An Xumo was still originally arranging his notes in earnest and wanted to take notes, but then he put down his pen and curled up on the couch, hugging his knees and watching the screen.
Lin Mai, who was extremely angry because his father tried to attack his mother, earnestly studied hard, wanting to enter a university to find his own bright future. At the funeral of his father, he watched in shock as his mother scolded and laughed. Working overtime in a muddleheaded manner with high pay, happiness embraces the couple and their faces. Lin Mai furiously waved to his wife……
They are all vivid, but perfectly integrated three-dimensional images.
When An Xumo watched Zhou Jinchen’s movie before, he only thought of it as a way to see his older brother and didn’t even pay much attention to the plot. It wasn’t until the acting teacher gave An Xumo this assignment that he paid attention to see his brother’s performance.
When An Xumo looked at it this way, he realized that the person in the movie wasn’t Zhou Jinchen himself, but rather, a protagonist who had been deeply hurt and finally couldn’t help but hurt others. Although he had the same exact face as Zhou Jinchen, even An Xumo could see that he was a living character, he was Lin Mai.
In the field of acting, An Xumo was is too far behind Zhou Jinchen.
He had earnestly fought for the role, but when he was actually filming, An Xumo’s stiff acting skills would be directly witnessed by everyone, including…..
Including Zhou Jinchen who he wanted to get close to in his heart.
An Xumo still ended up recording the main points of the two sides, including the way he acted when his emotions fluctuated violently, the acting skills embodied in various details, and the expression of different emotions, but still felt empty in his chest after remembering them.
It’s the same in the stomach, cold and unheated, obviously eating the same food as usual, but didn’t convert half a bit of heat out. All that was left was the raging hunger that engulfed An Xumo again and again.
When the class resumed the next day after suspension, the acting teacher smilingly asked An Xumo how he was feeling. An Xumo lowered his eyes and said the points he had written down in his notes yesterday.
The teacher gave An Xumo time to adjust. He thought that An Xumo’s analysis meant that he was making progress, but when the class continued, the acting teacher rubbed his forehead again.
It was still the same and no progress. An Xumo was even more nervous than before.
He left the rehearsal room in a state of confusion, with no time to recover from the feeling. An Xumo hastily had dinner and changed his clothes. He went back to his extra ballet training that night.
This evening’s session was strength training, to maintain good muscle strength and physical appearance. An Xumo was still doing all his tasks with quantity and quality. However, when he got off the treadmill and the teacher was calling him out to do stretching after running, he didn’t get any answer.
When the teacher turned his head, he saw the boy whose back soaked suddenly shook, and fell straight down on the treadmill.
The author has something to say:
Guess how An Xumo’s golden finger will work this time?
Or guess who he’ll see when he wakes up (…..