Chapter 368 - Die-hard Fan

The sequel to 'Empress' was a modern drama, and the general direction of the plot had already been finalized after many meetings with the author, Shui Yiyi. The finer details and the exact content of the drama would be drafted by Shui Yiyi herself.

After finalizing the details, Gu Zhou bought the rights to adapt the sequel into a drama.

On the same day, Gu Zhou went to Weibo to publicly announce that the sequel to 'Empress' would be in the works. He mentioned that the production of the sequel would start soon, and that the female lead of the sequel would be Xu Jiaojiao.

Shui Yiyi also retweeted Gu Zhou's Weibo post, and announced to her fans that she was writing the sequel to the novel, 'Empress', and that the novel would be posted online when the drama starts airing.

Gu Zhou's fans didn’t have much of a reaction after they found out. In any case, their Prince Charming Gu was the investor and male lead of the sequel. Besides, his co-star, Xu Jiaojiao already had a boyfriend, so his fangirls were at ease.

However, the fans of Shui Yiyi’s novel were shocked when they saw the announcement. After all, only half a year had passed since they protested about the huge changes in the dramatized version of ‘Empress’ regarding the story and ending of the second female lead. At that time, although Shui Yiyi didn’t explicitly make a fuss about it on Weibo, traces of her anger could be detected in her post regarding the situation. Her comments about Jiaojiao’s role as the second female lead also wasn’t very amicable, and there was even a small dose of sarcasm in her words.

Shui Yiyi actually agreed to write this sequel? The female lead is the person she once detested, Xu Jiaojiao!

Many fans of the novel expressed their confusion, and some of them even asked about it in the comments section.

Shui Yiyi took the time to reply to a few comments, and she even provided an explanation for those who claimed that she disliked Xu Jiaojiao. Then, she saw more and more netizens joining in the fun, and some even started asking her whether she was putting up with it for the sake of money.

At the moment, Shui Yiyi had no choice but to write another post on Weibo: All these nonsensical claims that have no evidence backing them up can be viewed as slanderous posts. Indeed, initially there were some misunderstandings between me and the production crew when they altered the plot and ending of the second female lead for the drama adaptation of ‘Empress’. But, after the drama aired, I also watched it, and I fell in love with the valiant and formidable Imperial Consort Wu. After meeting Xu Jiaojiao in person, I’m now her die-hard fan. Thus, I’m writing this sequel willingly, and there are no other reasons.

Three images were attached with the post.

The first image was a classic scene from ‘Empress’. In it, a valiant Jiaojiao was riding on a horse, and her cloak fluttered majestically in the wind. It was precisely this scene that led many netizens to rank Xu Jiaojiao on par with several famous beauties from the last century.

The second image was a picture of a formidable-looking Jiaojiao, donning a professional business attire and sitting behind her desk. Her red lipstick accentuated her plump and beautiful lips. Those who had watched ‘Double-Faced Lovers’ would know at a glance that this picture was a still from that drama.

The third image was a selfie. This selfie was edited with BeautyCam, so the two girls had a pair of pink and white rabbit ears atop their heads. They stood close to each other intimately, and a happy smile was on both their faces. One of the girls was Jiaojiao, and the other was naturally Shui Yiyi.

The fans of the novel were extremely excited when they finally got to see a selfie of their author.

[As expected, Yiyi is such a delicate girl~]

[Wowwww, Yiyi has also joined our Jiao fan club! Welcome, welcome!]

[Who’s the die-hard fan?]

[They are both beautiful, but our Jiao is more classy.]

[Hey, commenter above, everyone knows that our goddess is classy. Just keep these comments in your heart, there’s no need to mention it out loud.]

[I made a big discovery! Xu Jiaojiao always exudes a stronger aura than the person she is with, no matter who it is.]

[Hahaha, how awesome! A sequel is coming! Actually, I was already looking forward to a sequel when ‘Empress’ ended. I didn’t want to see Wu Qinghe die just like that.]

[This is greatttt! Quickly write the sequel. I've been looking forward to a different take on the story for a long time.]

Shui Yiyi’s Weibo became more active than ever before. It was even more lively than the time of the protest.

However, the announcement also put some people in a bad mood.

When Qu Wen, the female lead of 'Empress', saw Gu Zhou's latest Weibo post, she felt as if countless ants were crawling on her body. She felt that everything was out of place, and her rage threatened to flare up uncontrollably.

Her manager also saw the announcement, so she was swearing up a storm, "What the hell? Why is Xu Jiaojiao the female lead for the sequel? And what’s wrong with Shui Yiyi? I thought she disliked Xu Jiaojiao? Why are they so close now? She must be an opportunist. She saw that Xu Jiaojiao is doing well now, so she went to lick her boots. They are so shameless!"

"Enough!" Qu Wen shouted. The more she listened to her manager’s ramblings, the more annoyed she became. Although her manager was standing on her side, her senseless words didn’t cheer her up at all.

"Wenwen?"

"It's no use complaining about it now. Now that the announcement is out, I bet that many people are waiting to laugh at my reaction to the announcement. Your top priority right now is to accept new work for me. You must find and accept the role of a female lead in a big drama production. If Gu Zhou asks me to play a supporting role, you must firmly reject it for me. Just say that my schedule is already packed. Then, other people will think that the reason I didn’t participate in the sequel is because of my packed schedule," Qu Wen coldly instructed her manager on what to do next.

Her manager nodded and said happily, "As expected of my Wenwen, only you can take the whole picture into consideration so quickly. I will go and contact a few directors right away."

In fact, many people on the Internet were already cracking jokes about this. After all, they had never seen sequels where a second female lead was promoted to the female lead. Under other circumstances, if the second female lead of a series suddenly became the main female lead in its sequel, the actress behind the role was bound to be trash talked to death by a large number of netizens. People would think that the second female lead must have a powerful backer who had the ability to make the screenwriter write a sequel with her as the female lead.

But the circumstances surrounding the sequel to 'Empress' were different. When the drama ended, a vast number of fans who initially hated Imperial Consort Wu had grown to love her character. Thus, they were really hoping for the production team to release a special edition, which showed that Imperial Consort Wu hadn’t died. Instead, she transmigrated to the modern era and met the male lead there…

The contents of the special edition that the fans were looking forward to seemed somewhat familiar, right?

That was right. Previously, a Jiao Fan had made a short film documenting Imperial Consort Wu’s journey to the modern era, and posted it online. The reason the fan did that was because there were many fans who were hoping to see such an ending. As a result, the film topped the search rankings as soon as it was released.

Shui Yiyi also watched that fan-made short film. At the time, her friend had strongly recommended it to her, so she went ahead and watched it. After watching it, she had to admit that the netizens were very extraordinary. They could actually piece together so many different scenes that had nothing in common, just to form an all-new plot that was surprisingly solid.

That fan-made film inspired Shui Yiyi, so she began to write a sequel immediately. Originally, she was worried that she wouldn’t be able to write a good story for the sequel. After all, she was better at writing stories in an ancient setting. But this time, it wasn’t difficult to write the plot for the sequel, as she was particularly invested in the story.

After meeting Jiaojiao, Shui Yiyi noticed that Jiaojiao's personality was similar to Wu Qinghe. Thus, it was no wonder that Jiaojiao could perform her role so perfectly, and she was able to make people hate and love her at the same time. Jiaojiao possessed a unique charisma, so many people calmly accepted her as the female lead in the sequel. This time, Shui Yiyi wrote a completely new story based on the drama’s depiction of Wu Qinghe.

Of course, the story still revolved around the male and female lead.

While Shui Yiyi was doing her best to write the sequel, Sheng Jiaoyang was busy with her audition.

The audition had now reached the final round, and there were only five finalists remaining.

The final round was about to start, and it was time to choose the best candidate for the role of the male lead.

The contestants partook in several rounds of auditions while receiving training. Thus, even if they didn’t have a background in acting, for them to reach the final segment shows just how much their acting skills must have improved.

Sheng Jiaoyang was absent in the first few rounds of the audition, but she definitely couldn’t miss the final segment.

After all, she was the main investor for the movie, and the final casting decision was in her hands.

To her surprise, the fan she’d met at her fan meeting, Song Junyi, had made it to the finals.

Actually, putting aside the fact that he was her fan, Song Junyi’s disposition and appearance were quite similar to the image of the male lead that Sheng Jiaoyang had in her mind.

The other four candidates were naturally also good-looking. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have made it to the finals.

In the final round, Sheng Jiaoyang personally took part in the tests. She would act alongside the five candidates, and the director would film all of their acting scenes. Afterwards, the judging panel would decide which candidate was most suitable for the male lead role.

Although all five candidates acted out the same scene with the same lines, each candidate’s acting gave off a different feeling.

Everyone was different, and their subtle facial expressions would be magnified on the camera. Thus, these differences in expressions would generate different feelings in the audience.

Sheng Jiaoyang was very professional when she acted alongside the five candidates. Since she was absent in the previous rounds, she didn’t interact with the contestants, so she did not have a bias or preference for any of the candidates. This also applied to Song Junyi; Sheng Jiaoyang treated him without any bias. She didn’t lower her standards just because he was her fan. On the contrary, she imposed stricter standards on him.

Song Junyi naturally knew this, so even though several other contestants were saying in private that Jiaojiao would be more lenient on him and give him more brownie points, he wasn’t complacent and did not relax his nerves. Instead, he was stricter on himself during training.

In fact, this final round was to test the candidates’ understanding of the script. The better they understood the plot and the characters, the closer they could relate to the male lead and act his character out satisfactorily.

The semifinals of the audition had been exclusively broadcasted online. Many people were curious about the audition, which was held in the form of a competition. It was also something that netizens liked to watch, and coupled with the novel content of the audition, the program had received a lot of views.

At first, many people only went to watch it because it was promoted on Jiaojiao’s Weibo, but after watching it, the netizens were intrigued by the content of the competition.

A large title caught the eye of every viewer as soon as they clicked onto the video.Everyone, let’s witness the birth of this movie’s male lead together.

The most attractive part about this kind of competition program was watching the rookie contestants mature step by step and finally achieve success, as it was both an inspiring and exciting process.

Although the final round wasn’t a live broadcast, many people were already looking forward to the outcome.

The five contestants also had their own share of fans supporting them. Although only one person will make it as the male lead, they still managed to get to the finals and gained a fan base as a foundation to enter the entertainment industry. Thus, it was a worthwhile trip for them.

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xYuna's Thoughts

TL: Yuna | Editor: Cookies | TLC: Grace