Chapter 194 - No Friends

"Should I be glad that you still remember me?"

His voice was tainted with grievances and made Sheng Jiaoyang feel goosebumps all over.

"When you left the country that day, I did call back, but your phone was already off,” Sheng Jiaoyang explained.

"And after that?"

"After that…I was busy after that, wasn't I? Busy with the advertisement shoot in the day, and knocked out immediately when I returned to the hotel at night."

"Excuses."

You already know that, so why do you have to say it out loud?! Sheng Jiaoyang’s lips twitched.

"I heard from Grandpa that Grandfather Shen is fine now, right?" She quickly diverted the topic.

"Yeah."

"Then, when are you coming back?" Sheng Jiaoyang asked casually.

There was silence on the line before his voice, full of joy, asked, "Do you miss me?"

Sheng Jiaoyang parted her lips. Initially, she’d planned on telling him that it was a passing question, but she swallowed her words just as she was about to say them and admitted, "Yeah, I miss you. I called you as soon as I got back.”

Anyway, saying "miss you" won't cost me anything. It's better to make the Demon King happy, lest he settles the score with me once he comes back.

"Good girl!" he praised in a low and deep voice.

Sheng Jiaoyang's lips twitched again. What does he take me for? A child?

"There are still some things that are unsettled on my side. Wait for me," he said. "If you can't wait, you can come over."

Come over? Am I a fool? Sheng Jiaoyang muttered under her breath. I’d be a fool to send myself to a wolf.

She cleared her throat before rejecting him. "Lunar New Year is approaching, and I have many things to do as well. Please help me send my blessings to Grandfather Shen. I wish him great health and longevity, and to be free from all ailments."

"Alright."

After hanging up the call, Sheng Jiaoyang threw her phone aside.

The last few days had really been exhausting. Though Gu Zhou had a gentle disposition, the fact that he was a Virgo made him crazier than her in his pursuit for perfection. There were many instances where things had to meet his standards before they could pass. Originally, she felt that her acting skills were pretty solid, but this time around, she was hammered many times when acting opposite Gu Zhou. Gu Zhou was indeed deserving of his title, Movie Emperor. Not only was he natural in front of the camera, he was photogenic, and his expressions were on point. In comparison, she suddenly seemed like a greenhorn.

Luckily, Gu Zhou was very patient. He explained things to her and brought her into character, slowly helping her to improve her acting skills.

Now, she was looking forward to the movie directed by Cen Jin. Once it started filming, she would be able to act opposite Gu Zhou again. That's right, Gu Zhou had invested in the movie and he was also the leading actor. While he was teaching her how to act, she found out that the leading actress in this movie posed a challenge to one's acting skills and she liked to do challenging things.

The next day, Sheng Jiaoyang shut herself in her painting room. As the saying goes, ‘A peach for a pear’. Gu Zhou had done her such huge favour, and she felt guilty for not returning it. Since Gu Zhou liked her works, she would repay him with a painting. Not long after, she went to participate in a variety show.

Currently, ‘Redeeming my IGD Boyfriend’ was a hit on television. Hence, the production team of the television station's weekend variety show, ‘Extreme Joy’, had specially invited the cast of the drama series to be guests on the show. As the leading actress of the drama series, on top of her being a headlines grabber, she was already on the production team's list to be invited.

Now, they were taping for the special episode which would be broadcast during Lunar New Year, the theme being - ‘Let's Celebrate Lunar New Year’.

"You’re here so early." Upon entering the green room arranged by the production team, Sheng Jiaoyang saw Zhang Yue swiping away on his phone.

Zhang Yue lifted his head and looked at her with a smile. "I flew here yesterday."

Sheng Jiaoyang walked over and saw the script on the dressing table. She picked it up and flipped through it. "So, this is our script for today?"

"Yeah, I heard that many people were invited today. I took a look at it already, and two of us will be making a fair number of appearances. At the very least, we won't be reduced to extras."

"Being an extra is great too."

"Please don't. I didn't fly all the way from Hengdian to be an extra."

Sheng Jiaoyang shot him a glance before she continued to flip through the script. "Hey, we even have to dance."

"It's the dance we did in the drama when we were clearing a stage in the game. You didn't forget, right? It’s fine if you did, I have the video here."

"I wouldn't forget it, even if you did.” Sheng Jiaoyang was pretty confident when it came to her memory.

The program would flow according to the script, and nothing should go wrong if they memorised it. Moreover, this wasn't their first time here, so they were familiar with the environment and felt at home.

They changed into the outfits they’d worn while dancing together in the game, and took the weapons and props provided by the production team. When it was their turn to make an entrance, they twirled down from the top of the studio on wires, dancing to music from the drama. The stage background was replaced with a resplendent image from the game, and a rain of petals fluttered down alongside them.

The audience screamed.

Recently, the feeds of various social media apps had been flooded with topics related to ‘Redeeming my IGD Boyfriend’. All kinds of screenshots and short clips could be seen anywhere. The short clip where they danced in the game was particularly popular with its picturesque cinematography being well received.

The audience did not expect the shot to be reproduced live at the program's recording, and couldn’t contain their excitement.

The two hosts standing at the side of the stage felt emotional as they watched.

"How lucky, being able to become a hit from a single drama series," Huanhuan sighed.

Lele knew who Huanhuan was referring to and couldn't help but reply, "Yeah, and she's still so young. She has plenty of opportunities in the future. If this continues, I predict that she’ll be popular for at least the next ten years."

"In ten years, she’ll only be twenty-seven or twenty-eight. Many chances lie before her. That's why you should do everything as early as possible. Look at those who gained fame at a young age, they don’t need to be afraid even if they experience a slump in their career as they have many years ahead of them. As long as they work hard, they can become famous again with a little luck. But for those who are unable to grasp acting during their youth, they can only act in motherly roles even if they get famous."

"Alright, they’re done, let's go up," Huanhuan said.

The two hosts clapped as they walked on stage.

"The dance was absolutely stunning!" Huanhuan exclaimed with a smile.

"Jiaojiao, I realised that you give off the feeling of a cold beauty after you put on the mask. Does it come with a special function? The moment you wear it, you automatically emanate the aura of a cold and noble beauty," Lele continued.

"Try wearing it.” Sheng Jiaoyang took off her dark silver mask and handed it to Lele.

Lele held the mask over his face and exclaimed coldly to the camera, "Unbridled! I won’t let you guys return today!"

"Wow, it really comes with a special function!" Huanhuan played along and made an exaggerated expression.

The audience laughed.

After the introduction of the duo, the next pair soon appeared on stage to perform.

There were a total of four pairs, with each pair made up of a male and female guest. Sheng Jiaoyang knew the female guest from the last couple. It was Han Yaying, and she was here to promote her new work.

After all the performances, the production team divided the guests from the four pairs into two groups to compete with each other. In the end, the losing team would have to serve the winning team as they ate New Year's dinner. Sheng Jiaoyang and Han Yaying were placed in separate teams.

Eventually, the team which Sheng Jiaoyang belonged to lost the competition.

"You, Jiaojiao, pour me a cup of wine."

"Ah, my shoulders are aching. Jiaojiao, massage my shoulders."

"This prawn sure is hard to peel. Jiaojiao, peel the prawns for me."

"Jiaojiao…"

Just when the others were hesitant to call the losing team to wait on them, Han Yaying had no scruples in ordering Sheng Jiaoyang around. As it was the rules of the game, coupled with the fact that Han Yaying was her senior, Sheng Jiaoyang could only heed her orders and do as she wished.

"Jiaojiao, come over and taste test this dish for me," Zhang Yue, who was on the winning team, ordered.

Han Yaying glanced at Zhang Yue and ridiculed, "Yo~ Someone's heartbroken."

Lele swiftly mediated. "That's about it for the punishment. Everyone, take a seat and enjoy the food. It's only meaningful if New Year's dinner is eaten together."

Han Yaying, who wanted to continue ordering Sheng Jiaoyang around, had no choice but to stop. Rolling her eyes, she picked up a dumpling with her chopsticks and rolled it around in the mustard. She then said to Sheng Jiaoyang with a face full of smiles, "Jiaojiao, it was tough for you just now. Here, have a dumpling. I wish you a Happy New Year with your family, and also happiness and bliss."

The audience had no idea that the dipping sauce was actually mustard. Seeing that their dream goddess was so affable and without airs, they even cheered successively.

In fact, before placing the dumpling in her mouth, Sheng Jiaoyang didn’t know that there was mustard on it. After placing the dumpling in her mouth, a pungent and spicy smell shot up her nose. Only then did she know that Han Yaying had set her up. She couldn't spit out the dumpling which contained the ‘blessings’ of her senior, so could only chew it in silence before swallowing it.

"Ahem!" After swallowing the dumpling, Sheng Jiaoyang couldn’t suppress it and let out a cough. A cup was handed to her. When she saw that there was water in it, she only looked at the owner of the hand that handed her the cup before downing its contents.

"What's wrong?" Han Yaying asked innocently.

Then, she seemed to think of something. She picked up her chopsticks, dipped them into the sauce, and placed them in her mouth before putting on a pretence as though she was choking. "Oh gosh, who added mustard into my dipping sauce? Jiaojiao, I'm really sorry."

Other than saying that it was okay, Jiaojiao couldn't say anything else. She only gave Han Yaying a meaningful look with a faint smile plastered on her face, hiding all her emotions.

After the taping, the two hosts treated all the guests to karaoke.

Usually, those who didn't have to rush off for their next recording would accept such an invitation. In the entertainment industry, everyone rarely saw each other. Other than making friends on set, the rest of the time, making friends would largely be dependent on social gatherings.

Upon reaching the karaoke room, everyone started with a cup of beer.

"Here, it's fate that brought us together. Let's have a toast first!" Lele lifted his cup and spoke passionately.

"Cheers!"

"There are so many of us today, so let's play the killer game," Huanhuan suggested after drinking her beer.

"Sounds good! The loser will have to sing a song."

Singing again… Sheng Jiaoyang looked around helplessly. She was worried that she wouldn’t have any more friends after she sang.

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xYuna's Thoughts

TL: Cosy | Editor: Purpledragon | TLC: Grace