Chapter 296 - The Premiere of ‘Empress’

If a pair of hands were lightly caressing your body, even the deepest sleeper would be stirred awake as well.

Sheng Jiaoyang subconsciously knew who she was with. Thus, she was not in a panic when she woke up. Rather, she held onto those hands without even opening her eyes, and she muttered, “Are you going to let me sleep?”

“Go ahead.” Shen Zhining’s deep voice travelled into her ears.

Sheng Jiaoyang was still sleepy, and so she returned to her slumber.

She was nearly asleep when the pair of hands she was holding onto started being naughty again. She suddenly opened her eyes and stared straight at Shen Zhining.

“Not sleeping anymore?” Laughter could be heard in Shen Zhining’s voice.

“How can I sleep when you’re doing this?”

Shen Zhining cuddled in closer, till the tip of their noses were touching, “Since you can’t go back to sleep, how about we…”

“I’m getting out of bed.” Sheng Jiaoyang sat up immediately.

Shen Zhining’s eyes were glued onto her.

Feeling the sudden chill, Sheng Jiaoyang lowered her head. Her face quickly became flushed with embarrassment, and she hurriedly pulled up the thin sheets to cover herself.

“There’s no use in covering up now, I’ve already seen everything,” Shen Zhining teased.

Sheng Jiaoyang grimaced and looked around until she spotted a bathrobe stranded at the foot of the bed. She stretched her hand out and grabbed it, pulling it over her body. Then, she left the bed and headed towards the bathroom to wash up.

Meanwhile, many people were sitting in front of their small screens and waiting for the premiere of 'Empress'.

Loyal fans were definitely part of that group of people. Regardless if they were alone or not, the fans were waiting in front of their televisions or on video-sharing sites on their mobile devices whilst checking out Weibo.

The main casts of ‘Empress’ had shared new posts, inviting their fans to watch the premiere together.

Jiaojiao’s Weibo was also being updated, except that it was Xu Ping in charge of it. She had screenshotted a few cuts of Jiaojiao from the trailers of 'Empress', and uploaded it onto the official Weibo.

The Jiao fans had to endure an extremely tough wait just to see her act in another production. From her last production, 'Redeeming My IGD Boyfriend', to the current 'Empress', it had been an almost year-long wait. Thus, as long as Jiao fans could spare the time, they would all be eagerly awaiting the premiere of 'Empress'.

Since the promotional trailers were all extremely appealing, the fans of the main cast weren’t the only group eagerly awaiting the premiere; there were many drama fans looking forward to it as well.

It was also Movie Emperor Gu’s first drama for his small-screen comeback.

Finally, the premiere went live.

In a certain university’s dormitory, four people were huddled around a table, their eyes fixated on the computer screen in front of them. Half of that small screen was occupied by on-screen comments that appeared relentlessly.

“Turn off the bullet screen[1], it’s annoying.”

“Don’t you think that it’s fun? Some of their comments are the best.”

“If you want to see the bullet screen, watch it on your own mobile phone.”

It was indeed quite annoying to have half the screen occupied by the bullet screen.

Liu Lu turned off the bullet screen, and the screen became much cleaner in an instant.

At the same time, the first episode finally began.

In an ancient-looking room, the camera moved toward a man seated by the bed. The camera focused on his outstretched hand, which was in the process of lifting up a blanket, before gradually panning up to reveal the stunning sight of the man’s face.

“Gu Zhou’s ancient costume is so refined!”

“Oh my, I finally get to see Gu Zhou act in a historical drama! I’ve been waiting so long for this day.”

Liu Lu glanced at her two fangirling roommates. Then, she made eye contact with Zheng Yuan and shrugged.

Alright, though all four of them were watching the same drama, they were all watching for different reasons. Liu Lu and Zheng Yuan were purely watching for Jiaojiao, and that was why they were watching the show on time. The other two watched because of the male lead, Gu Zhou.

The camera once again moved from Gu Zhou’s face back to his hand, before panning in the opposite direction. A pair of beautiful collarbones appeared on the screen, and the camera slowly crept upwards to reveal a delicate face with light make-up. From the first act alone, with the appearance of such a good-looking couple, the visual quality was pretty good.

“Your Highness, you can’t go in—” A voice came from outside the room.

With a loud BAM, the door was pushed open.

A young woman donned in a gorgeous outfit came into the scene, and she walked in with a menacing aura.

“Ahhhhhh, our Jiaojiao has appeared!” Liu Lu clapped excitedly.

“Calm down, calm down!” two of her roommates said.

“Don’t you guys think our Jiaojiao looks super beautiful?” Liu Lu asked.

“Yeah, she looks quite pretty here. I never thought she would look so good in ancient costumes.”

“Is she trying to catch the adulterous pair?”

“Xu Jiaojiao is the second female lead, and Qu Wen is the female lead, so they shouldn’t be the adulterous pair.”

“That’s true.”

The two roommates put their attention back on the drama.

Liu Lu pouted her lips, and she could try to find some consolation from Zheng Yuan. “Yuanyuan, isn’t our Jiaojiao beautiful?”

“The stills came out long ago,” Zheng Yuan said rationally.

What she meant was, with the stills released long ago, everyone already knew how Jiaojiao’s costume was going to look like. Hence, there was not much impact when she appeared on the screen.

Liu Lu dejectedly picked up her mobile phone and swiped through the comments. Then, she spotted a few comments complimenting how beautiful Jiaojiao was, and she became happy again. Now she joined in with the netizens on the bullet screen.

“I feel that Qu Wen shouldn’t have been cast as the female lead. Considering she is in her thirties now, how could she not be embarrassed when she took the role of someone who had just entered the palace? Actresses her age are usually acting as grandmothers for historical dramas.”

“Don’t say that. Qu Wen’s still quite good at maintaining her looks. It’s probably only because Xu Jiaojiao looks too young that Qu Wen looks older in comparison.”

“Well, that’s true. If they got someone of a similar age to be the second female lead, there wouldn’t be much of a difference. But the concept for Xu Jiaojiao is pretty good, she acted out the charisma of Imperial Consort Wu well.”

“Of course, you guys should watch our Jiaojiao’s performance in 'Redeeming My IGD Boyfriend', the variety of her styled appearances there is absolutely a feast for the eyes,” Liu Lu added.

One of the two roommates chuckled, and the other replied, “I’ll watch it when I have the time.”

Both of them weren’t fans of Xu Jiaojiao, thus they were not very interested in her first drama.

The first episode was centered around catching the adulterous pair as the opening act. The episode concluded by introducing the group of concubines aligned with Imperial Consort Wu and their plot against the female lead Mu Jinyu, which involved making her violate the palace rules.

The second episode naturally continued after the first, with the female lead cleverly avoiding the plot and gaining the emperor’s attention. The emperor gained the impression that if he supported her, she could contend against Imperial Consort Wu. Thus, Mu Jinyu gained the jealousy of all of the concubines by quickly getting promoted to a Noble Lady.

Imperial Consort Wu, who initially did not pay any attention to Mu Jinyu, naturally viewed the newly favoured Mu Jinyu as a thorn to be removed. In the second episode’s ending, Imperial Consort Wu flogged Mu Jinyu’s servants and even gave Mu Jinyu a slap on the face.

The first two episodes of the 'Empress' premiere ended there.

“That slap wasn’t real, right?”

Hearing her roommates’ words, Liu Lu jumped in to explain, “Did you think our Jiaojiao is so foolish to do such things in this age where news travels fast? If she really did that, there would have been people spreading rumours about it.”

“They could have been asked to keep silent too. Everyone knows that both Qu Wen and Xu Jiaojiao are not on good terms. It wouldn’t be weird to see them fight if they were put together, and it’s possible for Xu Jiaojiao to use the opportunity. Earlier, Qu Wen had even implied that Xu Jiaojiao had used personal connections to get her position.”

“Regardless, I believe that our Jiaojiao would never abuse her power to take revenge on a personal grudge.”

“Anyway, you’re a huge fan of Xu Jiaojiao. No matter what she does, you would feel that it is right,” said another roommate.

Liu Lu propped up her chin and boasted arrogantly, “My Jiao is someone who could still get her scholarship while filming a drama.”

“If it wasn’t for the school that gave her the green light, how could she get the scholarship given that attendance of hers? Stop joking.”

“No matter how much support the school gave her, they can’t forge her test results. Our Jiaojiao’s academic scores are the top in the cohort!”

“Alright, it’s quite late now. Let’s all wash up and sleep early,” Zheng Yuan lightly pushed her glasses, cutting off Liu Lu and her roommates’ squabble.

On the internet, netizens who had finished viewing the first two episodes were starting to become active again.

Everyone had finished washing up and were now on their beds using their mobile phones. Just as Zheng Yuan laid down on her bed, a loud exclamation could be heard from Liu Lu.

“What is it?” Zheng Yuan and Liu Lu’s beds were right next to each other.

“Jiaojiao’s boyfriend had just reposted someone’s Weibo, go take a look,” Liu Lu said excitedly.

Zheng Yuan rubbed her eyes to put on her glasses and picked up her mobile phone. She went to check out Jiaojiao boyfriend’s Weibo, only to find that Boss Shen, who seldom posted anything on Weibo, had actually reposted someone’s Weibo, and captioned: Yes, we will.

The post which was reposted belonged to a fan who had multiple accounts, and that particular reposted thread wrote: I just arrived at the restaurant of a distant cousin of mine for work. Never did I think I would see them here! Oh my, I just got forced to watch their public display of affection, but it’s very enjoyable. I sincerely hope both of them would always be so lovey-dovey together. The uploader ended off by tagging both the Weibo handles of the couple captured in the picture.

The photo showed two people seated opposite each other. The girl with her hair in a bun was wearing a light pink woven turtleneck top. She opened her mouth to eat the food that was brought in front of her mouth by the person sitting opposite her, and there were already a lot of prawn shells piled up on the table. The angle of this photo was just right, as it captured the man’s doting expression as well.

The scene looked so harmonious, but it was obvious that it was taken without permission.

“Didn’t Jiaojiao go to Paris to attend the recordings of the finals for the third season of ‘National Supermodel’?” Liu Lu asked.

“The recordings should have ended by now,” Zheng Yuan said.

“Boss Shen’s ability to dote on his wife… tsk tsk, this is making me want to date as well.”

“Then go find someone too.”

With a face full of melancholy, Liu Lu cried out, “But I’m an insulator of the opposite sex, doomed to be lonely for my whole life!”

Zheng Yuan kept quiet and silently posted on her Weibo: [Looking for a boyfriend] There’s a single and available female here, whose interest is Er Jiao. Her looks are as posted on the photo here. If there is any interested single male with the same interests, please leave [@myjiaoistheprettiest] a personal message. She attached the photo of a cute plump dog.

Just as Zheng Yuan had posted her message, Liu Lu nearly vomited blood at the sight of it.

“Yuanyuan, do you think we can still be good friends?!”

“Yes.” Zheng Yuan replied calmly.

“You… ah! Jiaojiao left a comment on your post.” Liu Lu’s sharp eyes spotted Jiaojiao’s comment.

On the comment was just the words: Serious inquiries only.

1. The ‘bullet screen’ is a function which allows viewers to post on-screen comments in videos in real-time.

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xYuna's Thoughts

TL: J.Andie | Editor: Cookies | TLC: Grace