A few days later, Zhuo Yue officially joined the cast for filming, and there was no further contact with Fang Mingyan.

       The hierarchy among actors was very clear, and directors usually accommodated the schedules of big names. Under similar circumstances, the scenes featuring the main characters were usually shot first. Zhuo Yue had few scenes, but he had scenes with both the male and female leads. Jiang Yan was cold and indifferent in private and didn’t pay much attention to anyone except chatting and laughing with the director. Probably because they were in the same company, Lu Chenyang took good care of him and sometimes let Zhuo Yue share his resting room.

       There was a night scene in a bar that night. Hua Zhan accompanied the male protagonist, Lin Xiu, to the bar to find the goddess Dong Xue, but found that the other party was dancing with the rich and handsome Li Haofeng. The diva Jiang Yan was out of shape today, and a dozen shots of a drunken and passionate scene were not good enough, so Zhuo Yue could only sit aside and wait. As the clock passes two, he grows weary from waiting, wraps himself in a blanket, and curls up on the sofa, falling asleep.

       “Hey, make way.” A sharp female voice rang.

       Zhuo Yue woke up in a daze, opened his eyes and looked at the group of people standing around him. It took him a moment to realise that they were the agent, makeup artist and assistants of the second male lead, Zhong Cheng. Lin Hui, who was dozing nearby, woke up when he heard the noise and asked, “What are you doing?”

       The female agent raised her eyebrows and said, “Zhong Cheng wants to use this sofa, please make way.”

       Lin Hui frowned, “Isn’t he still filming? Besides, there are so many sofas around; why can’t he sleep on any one of them?”

       “He doesn’t like the warm air from the air conditioner blowing directly on him. This position is just right.” Zhong Cheng’s young female assistant said.

       “Yue ge has been using this sofa. So there should be a first-come, first-served order, right?” Lin Hui couldn’t help but feel a little annoyed.

       “First come, first served?” The female manager sneered, The female agent snorted, “Please get it straight, Zhong Cheng is the second male lead. When it comes to taking turns, this sofa isn’t in line for you guys.”

       “Ah1A Chinese prefix used with a shortened form of peoples’ given names to express familiarity, roughly equivalent to Mister or Miss. Hui.” Zhuo Yue stopped him, stood up, rolled up the quilt and said, “Let’s change places.” After that, he walked to another sofa and sat down. Seeing him like this, Lin Hui had no choice but to hold back his anger and move his costume over.

       He then heard some sarcastic comments from the other side of the room.

       “Quite sensible.”

       “The former No.1 in TV dramas now has to wait for others to do his acting, how miserable, haha…”

       “It’s really a turn of events. Zhong Cheng even acted as a male supporting actor for him in a TV series before. At that time, he was very popular. Fenglan’s Sheng Haofeng doted on him like nothing, and he didn’t give a damn about anyone. Now look, Huasheng assigned a young boy like him as his assistant.”

       “I don’t know which bosses this outdated actor somehow managed to curry favour with and got a small supporting role. What’s the use of just looking good? Among the male actors in this crew, who doesn’t look good? With his weak appearance, Zhong Cheng could easily crush him into pieces in no time.”

       The voice was neither loud nor quiet, just enough for the two of them to hear clearly. Lin Hui gritted his teeth in anger. Zhuo Yue patted his shoulder with a calm expression and said softly, “It’s a shame for you to follow me.”

       “Ge, what are you talking about…don’t take those words to heart.”

       While the two were talking, Zhong Cheng came over to rest between filming. The manager came up to him and said something. He looked over here, curled his lips and smiled contemptuously, then lay down and rested his long legs comfortably on the armrest of the sofa.

       There’s a grudge between Zhong Cheng and Zhuo Yue. Back when the widely popular ‘Conquest of Mountains and Rivers’ was initially casting its male lead, it was supposed to be him. However, Zhuo Yue took over the role, and he had to swallow his dissatisfaction and play the second male lead. At that time, he often mocked and ridiculed Zhuo Yue. Now that they met again, Zhuo Yue was no longer as famous as before, while Zhong Cheng was thriving. Naturally, he didn’t show much favour towards Zhuo Yue.

       After Jiang Yan finally passed the bar, the fight scene between the three men officially began. In the alley behind the bar door, Lu Chenyang and Zhuo Yue were surrounded by bodyguards summoned by Zhong Cheng, who played the role of a rich and handsome man.

       In the movie, the fight scenes were just for show, but Zhuo Yue had some real skills, clearing two sequences effortlessly. In the final scene, Zhong Cheng kicked Lu Chenyang, and Zhuo Yue rushed in to take the blow for him. Coordinating the interactions between the three proved challenging. The timing was off, expressions weren’t right, and movements were too stiff—five or six takes went by without success. As the night grew late, everyone became fatigued, and tensions rose. On this try, Zhong Cheng adjusted his position a bit forward and kicked Zhuo Yue squarely in the chest, unexpectedly using full force. Zhuo Yue stumbled backwards, crashing into a pile of props behind him, creating a loud crash.

       Everyone was shocked and gathered around him. Lin Hui ran over in a panic, “Yue ge! How are you?”

       During the filming of the action scenes, he wore very little clothing for the convenience of movement. This collision was real. Zhuo Yue felt severe pain in his chest and back, and his eyesight went dark. He managed to speak, “…it’s okay, help me up.”

       “Oh, are you okay? It’s my fault that I didn’t control my strength well.” Zhong Cheng pretended to be concerned.

       “Can’t you control, or did you just not control at all?” Lin Hui’s eyes were on the verge of bursting into flames.

       Zhong Cheng’s face turned gloomy, and he sneered, “It’s normal to accidentally get a few skin injuries while playing. Besides, I’ve already apologized. Zhuo Yue, take care of your dog and don’t let it bark at people.”

       Lu Chenyang, who came over to help Zhu Yue, frowned and said, “His assistant is a dog? Then what are those people following behind you?”

       Zhong Cheng looked embarrassed, didn’t dare to say anything, and walked away angrily.

       The doctor from the production team rushed over, checked the injuries on his body, and said, “The back is swollen, and we need to take an X-ray to determine if there is anything wrong with the bones.”

       Upon seeing this, Xie Anqing hurriedly asked someone to prepare a car to take Zhuo Yue to the hospital. It was almost four o’clock when the examination was completed. Fortunately, the bones were fine, but the bruise on the back looked a bit scary.

       Zhuo Yue rushed back to the set overnight and asked Lin Hui to apply some wound medicine to him. Seeing that the sky was already getting brighter, he simply didn’t sleep. He sat by the window for a while, drank a few sips of soy milk, and then went to put on makeup for the morning show. There was a scene between him and Lu Chenyang in the morning.

       After spending so much time together, Xie Anqing had a good impression of the introverted and quiet Zhuo Yue. Seeing him come here on time despite being injured, he couldn’t help but feel a little distressed. He also couldn’t stand the arrogant and domineering Zhong Cheng; choosing him as the second male lead was just to give face to Luo Yuan, the boss of Chongyuan Real Estate. With someone like Luo Yuan as his backing, Zhong Cheng usually looked down on everyone else, except for a few protagonists. Yesterday, it was clear that it was intentional, but no one could accuse him of doing it intentionally without any evidence. They could only watch as Zhuo Yue took the fall silently. Xie Anqing couldn’t help but sigh and say, “There are some people that we have to be on guard against.”

       Seeing Xie Anqing reminding him, Zhuo Yue felt grateful and said softly, “I understand.”

       Most of the scene was dialogue, so Lu Chenyang proposed changing the script and letting Zhuo Yue sit down and act. The director agreed, and the two worked together smoothly, with almost no NG.

       He saw that night was approaching and that he had to shoot that action scene again. Zhuo Yue was feeling depressed. Zhong Cheng came over and said, “Yo, is everything okay? I thought I might have kicked you a bit too hard there. Heard you’ve been tight on cash lately. Do you need me to cover the medical expenses?”

       Zhuo Yue raised his eyes to look at him, his gaze was cold. He was sitting so quietly, which gave him a bit of a cold and compelling aura. Zhong Cheng was already feeling bad, but he felt cold all over when he looked at him, so he dropped a couple of sarcastic remarks and left.

       While the lighting and scenery were being adjusted, several people came over, and the one in the middle was Fang Mingyan. He was wearing a long dark coat, his hands casually in his pockets.

       When Xie Anqing saw him coming, he stood up and greeted him warmly, “What a rare guest, Chairman Fang is actually free to come and visit us today.”

       With a smile on his face, Fang Mingyan said, “I heard there is a night filming tonight, so I stopped by to give you some midnight snacks.” Chen Li and his assistant who were following behind, immediately distributed the packaged abalone porridge to everyone.

       Xie Anqing glanced at Zhuo Yue, who was silent on the side, smiled and said, “Chairman Fang is considerate.”

       Zhuo Yue held the script in his hand, looked up, saw the person coming, and was slightly startled. Their eyes met, and those deep black eyes seemed to suck his gaze in, and his heart beat faster unconsciously. He stood up and said awkwardly, “Chairman Fang.”

       “En. How are the injuries on your body?” The man obviously already knew the news about his injuries.

       Since that snowy night, Zhuo Yue had not had any contact with him for almost a month. Standing in front of him at this moment felt a little unnatural, and said softly, “It’s just a little scr4p3. It’ll heal after a while.”

       “You will soon have a scene that requires you to be topless. If you are injured, you should avoid it.” Fang Mingyan took a separate lunch box from the secretary and gave it to him. Zhuo Yue took it and opened it. Inside was white porridge with side dishes.

       He pursed his lips and said, “Thank you, Chairman Fang.”

       At this moment, a horrified scream was heard, and everyone looked over there.

       The wooden shelf that was originally used as a background was abandoned and placed next to the wall. Now it fell down for some reason, and Zhong Cheng was pinned underneath it. Everyone hurriedly moved the shelves away. Fortunately, the wooden frame was neither strong nor heavy, so it didn’t cause any serious injuries. The only wounds on his back and arms were the wooden thorns that pricked the skin and caused blood. The doctor wiped the wound with disinfectant. Zhong Cheng yelled that it hurt and he couldn’t bear it.

       Xie Anqing walked over, wearing a somewhat uneasy smile as he said to Fang Mingyan, “Chairman Fang, Zhong Cheng still has scenes tonight.”

       The man chuckled nonchalantly, “It’s best to have some filming, but I’m afraid there won’t be any.”

       Director Xie sighed helplessly. It was evident that Fang Mingyan was taking action to teach Zhong Cheng a lesson. With incidents like this happening one after another in the crew, it was bound to attract public attention, and it required careful management. Compared to the real estate tycoon Luo Yuan, Fang Mingyan, who had a finger in both black and white world, was even more formidable. Being caught in the middle of this situation was indeed awkward for him.

       Zhuo Yue was still in a daze, and Lu Chenyang, who was beside him, bumped him with his elbow and said with a smile, “The porridge has gone cold. It’s rare for the boss to deliver it personally. Eat it quickly. After finishing, we can go check on Zhong Cheng,”

       He looked up at Fang Mingyan, lowered his head and took a sip.

       It was warm, and he felt all the way down your throat to your heart.

       After sitting for a short while, Boss Fang was ready to leave. Zhuo Yue and Lu Chenyang escorted him to the car. Whenever their eyes met, Zhuo Yue always managed to look away after a moment. Fang Mingyan smiled slightly and left without saying much.

       Zhong Cheng yelled that he didn’t want to film any more scenes, saying that he would need to be nursed for at least a week. The cost of renting a venue was very high, and a week off was a lot of money. Xie Anqing was offended by his pretentiousness, so he temporarily changed the script, deleted his action scenes with a stroke of a pen, and replaced them all with bodyguards. The next day, after shooting the remaining scenes, they let him leave the crew.

       In the next few days, the crew moved to the swimming pool. The wound on Zhuo Yue’s body had not healed much yet. The makeup artist wanted to cover the bruise with thick foundation. Lu Chenyang frowned and objected, “It is already bad enough to have the injuries soaked in the water. These chemicals are even more harmful to the wound. Once inflammation develops and the wound begins to fester, something serious will happen.”

       Xie Anqing thought for a while and agreed, “Then we’ll fix it in post-production.”

       This scene showed the male protagonist coming to the swimming pool to find Hua Zhan, and Hua Zhan comes out of the water. Zhuo Yue’s fitness efforts have begun to show results, with more defined lines on his body. The moment he straightened up from the swimming pool, his slowly opening eyes under his wet long eyelashes were as bright as obsidian. The water droplets dripping from the tips of the hair streaked across the wet chest, which had a fatal attraction that people couldn’t take their eyes away from. It was as if he was a male mermaid leaping from the sea, with every feature carrying an enchanting allure, leading humanity step by step into an irretrievable abyss of the deep sea.

       At that moment, the audience was extremely quiet, and Lu Chenyang was also stunned. The award-winning actor forgot the next words for a moment.

       Zhuo Yue looked at him awkwardly and said softly, “Chenyang?”

       Lu Chenyang recovered and smiled, “Sorry, I forgot the words. Sorry, sorry.”

       The first few moments went smoothly, and then it was the kiss between the two of them.

       Lu Chenyang had rehearsed the kiss with him before, but now, when their gaze met, they felt a different emotion from the last time; Zhuo Yue’s eyes were filled with a quiet clamour, as if countless hesitant words had turned into lingering emotions, lingering in those dark eyes, making him fall into that gaze unknowingly. In the blink of an eye, the kiss that should have been anticipated came suddenly. The perfectly balanced intensity and delicate restraint infused this brief kiss with even more profound emotions. In an instant, Lu Chenyang’s heartbeat unexpectedly quickened beyond his control.

       When he heard the director shouting to stop, Zhuo Yue put on the bath towel handed by Lin Hui and asked, “Is it passed?”

       “Excellent!” Xie Anqing praised with a smile after watching the replay, “Zhuo Yue performed well, and Chenyang’s surprise was very natural.”

       Lu Chenyang looked at the people beside him, lowered his eyes and smiled softly.

       In that moment just now, his attention was effortlessly diverted, his movements were restrained, and the rhythm was controlled. This captivating merman seemed to possess a truly enchanting power, causing him to lose control for the first time in his performance. The bewilderment in that moment was not an act; he genuinely became entranced by Zhuo Yue.

       “Mint flavoured,” he said.

       Zhuo Yue didn’t hear clearly and saw him tapping his lips, blushing, and said a little embarrassedly, “Ah Hui only has this flavor of chewing gum…”

       Lu Chenyang smiled and reached out to help him put the slipped bath towel on his shoulders. His eyes were gentle, “Go take a hot shower. You must be chilly being all wet.”

       Zhuo Yue nodded. After that, he had no further roles and left the crew the next day.

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