Chapter 1: Hazelnut — Handsome to Friendless 1
The airport’s LED TV screens were playing a women’s shower gel advertisement. On the screen, a handsome man made several women walking by subconsciously slow down.
Xiang Yun Ze raised his eyes to glance at a TV screen. It was obviously a women’s shower gel advertisement, but they sought a male to be the spokesperson. He didn’t know what the producers were thinking. Only, taking into account the many shrieking girls that were pointing their fingers at the TV screens, the result appeared to be pretty good.
Xiang Yun Ze withdrew his gaze and followed the tide of people exiting the airport. He caught sight of a metallic-colored Land Rover parked across the street.
His lips curved slightly upward. Xiang Yun Ze dragged his violet suitcase towards the Land Rover.
Just as he reached the car, the car door opened a crack, as if sensing his approach. The curve of Xiang Yun Ze’s mouth deepened as he opened the trunk lid and threw his luggage in. Walking around, he entered the back seat of the car.
Sitting in the back seat was a young man. When he saw Xiang Yun Ze come in, he turned his head to look at him. The car started smoothly and slowly drove down the street. Xiang Yun Ze looked at the handsome man, who had not said a word, beside him.
Xiang Yun Ze had known since elementary school that this man had always been very handsome. Only, after a few years without seeing him, the previous reserved handsomeness had become similar to a sharp dagger.
The man took off the large sunglasses on his face and casually flicked back the black bangs covering his forehead. “Dr. Xiang, you’re finally willing to return to the United States?”
Xiang Yun Ze smiled vaguely at the man. “Because I suddenly realized that I hated being away from you even more than I hated the United States.”
The corners of the man’s mouth rose. With one hand supporting his head, he turned to look at the scenery outside the window. “Specifically returning to the United States to disgust me, the cost is too high.”
Xiang Yun Ze chuckled, his gaze carelessly sweeping over a large billboard across the street. The man featured on that billboard was the same man displayed on the airport TV screen just a moment ago. He was also the the man currently sitting beside him.
“Emperor Mo had personally come to welcome me at the airport, so anything spent was already returned in full.” Xiang Yun Ze deliberately and ambiguously leaned on Mo Zhen’s shoulder when he finished speaking. And then, in a softer voice, he said, “If we are photographed together, would tomorrow’s headline news be ‘Popular Emperor Mo Zhen’s Gay Love Interest Appears, Emperor Mo Personally Picking Him Up at the Airport as a Public Display of Affection’?”
Mo Zhen was successfully disgusted by him. “If you aren’t worried about your old man Xiang beating you to death, I wouldn’t mind coming out of the closet with you.”
The car suddenly shook. Mo Zhen and Xiang Yun Ze both looked towards the driver’s seat at the same time.
The driver, Tang Qiang, suddenly felt greatly pressured. He chuckled, somewhat guiltily saying, “There were some rocks on the road just now.”
Xiang Yun Ze raised an eyebrow. With an elusive smile, he said, “I remember that this is a Land Rover.”
Tang Qiang calmly nodded. “This means that those rocks were very big.”
Xiang Yun Ze snorted. Pulling his head away from Mo Zhen’s shoulder, he lazily looked at Mo Zhen. “Anyway, I would rather come out of the closet with Tang Qiang, not you.”
The car shook once more. Mo Zhen’s cold gaze swept towards the driver’s seat again. Tang Qiang sullenly looked through the rearview at Xiang Yun Ze. “Master Xiang, if you really must come out of the closet, consider Qiu Yi. Don’t drag in me, Tang Qiang, okay?”
Mo Zhen looked askance at Tang Qiang before carelessly saying, “Your name inevitably gets you unjustly ridiculed every day.” 2
Tang Qiang: “…”
Xiang Yun Ze couldn’t help but burst into loud laughter. “Tang Qiang, how did you endure him for so many years? Being his manager indeed is not easy.”
Deep inside, Tang Qiang also believed that this was correct and nodded in agreement. All the other stars under his management didn’t dare disobey his orders, but when it came to Mo Zhen, although there was still leash-holding in the relationship, Mo Zhen was the one who held the leash.
The year Mo Zhen made his debut, Tang Qiang was also a small newcomer who had just obtained his Entertainment Management Certificate. Although 16-year-old Mo Zhen’s face was still a bit immature, his gifted good looks was enough to make all those who caught sight of him stunned back then. Therefore, at that time when he walked through the halls of Kai Huang trying to find the restroom, the Chairman of Kai Huang had caught a glimpse of him and personally signed him on.
His exceptionally remarkable appearance was, in fact, a double-edged sword. It was both an advantage and a disadvantage——because he would be easily typecasted by the masses.
This was why the company had, at that time, characterized Mo Zhen simply as an ‘Idol.’ They had handed him over to 24K newcomer Tang Qiang to manage.
But Mo Zhen used his own strength to give everyone a resounding slap to the face.
Mo Zhen’s first film, 《Blood Knights》, was a low budget, small production film. The majority of the audience had no impressions about the plot after watching this film, but they remembered clearly that one brash and domineering foreign youth. Although Mo Zhen appeared for less than ten minutes of the film in total, it had become the highlight of the film.
Not mentioning his remarkable appearance, the foreign youth’s frivolous and unruly personality was an even sharper dagger. Each action, each scene was engraved in the audience’s heart.
That was just Mo Zhen’s first year.
When 《Blood Knights》 was launched, the box office results were dismal, but many people had taken note of Mo Zhen. The company also attached great importance to Mo Zhen after this——This man was absolutely not fit for the ‘Idol’ mold; he was made for a larger stage.
Mo Zhen’s manager also changed from Tang Qiang to Kai Huang’s trump-card manager, Luo Tian Cheng. After the fifth day, however, Mo Zhen was returned under Tang Qiang’s management. This matter was one of the ten unsolvable mysteries in Tang Qiang’s life——not only that, it was at the top of the list. He once asked Mo Zhen what happened on that fifth day, but Mo Zhen did not say one word. Tang Qiang tactfully didn’t ask again.
As a new manager who had just begun his career, Tang Qiang clearly didn’t have as many resources as Luo Tiang Cheng. Although he had already given the best resources to Mo Zhen, he still felt that he had been unworthy of Mo Zhen the entire time. Because he had followed Mo Zhen since the beginning, he had the clearest idea of this man’s startling, prodigious talent.
Fortunately, Mo Zhen had always been a hard-worker. Even if he only had to play a small supporting role, he would always be more brilliant than the leading actor.
Acting in a movie, singing a record, shooting a commercial, Mo Zhen’s strength received approval from more and more people. His reputation also grew. Even if Tang Qiang didn’t have good resources at hand, good resources would come to his door. Mo Zhen was also the youngest in history to win the 「Best Actor」 title——in four years, he had travelled from being a walk-on to the best actor.
The current 26-year-old Mo Zhen had been 「Best Actor」 twice, and his other awards were too numerous to mention individually. For a long time, the Superstar Emperor had been chased after by everyone. Tang Qiang had also went from being a small newcomer to being able to stand on equal footing with Kai Huang’s trump-card manager, Luo Tian Cheng.
Finished with recalling memories, Mo Zhen had been listening to Xiang Yun Ze talk in the car, only indifferently shooting a glance at Tang Qiang. The corners of his mouth quirked up in today’s first smile. “Dr. Xiang, you’re finally back to marry your little girlfriend?”
After he said this, the expression of despising-worldly-conventions on Xiang Yun Ze’s face was replaced with a serious one. “I actually want to, but before that, I first need to declare my love for her.”
Mo Zhen sneered and didn’t say another word. Contrarily, Tang Qiang saw Xiang Yun Ze’s rarely seen serious manner and couldn’t help but ask, “Master Xiang, do you really like her?”
Mo Zhen sighed and said with a teasing tone, “Ah, but Dr. Xiang hates to even part with her photograph for us to look at.”
Xiang Yun Ze looked at Mo Zhen, his expression just as serious as the one he had the year he took Mo Zhen to go to the neighboring high school to pick a fight when they were in elementary school. “Mo Zhen, I said this a long time ago. If you saw her, you would definitely fall in love with her.”
Mo Zhen turned his head to stare at Xiang Yun Ze for a long time before his lips curled down. “I like your sense of humor.”
Xiang Yun Ze hung his head as he silently laughed. Mo Zhen turned his head back to watch the scenery sweeping past outside the window. If he, Mo Zhen, had to cross that river, it was unlikely that he would fight with his own brother over a woman. Moreover… why did Xiang Yun Ze say that he would definitely fall in love with that woman? Mo Zhen had lived for 26 years, and there were indeed several woman capable of moving his heart. There were none, however, capable of making him fall in love.
Xiang Yun Ze picked up a bottle of soda from the car, twisting the bottle cap off and drinking a mouthful. “Emperor Mo, you driving such a glittering gold, nouveau riche3——is it truly not to come out of the closet with me?”
This line successfully made Mo Zhen’s eyes twitch twice. “This is a Zanzibar Metallic!”
Xiang Yun Ze twisted the cap of the soda bottle back on tightly. He blinked at Mo Zhen. “So you haven’t denied the bit about coming out of the closet with me.”
Mo Zhen turned his head towards the driver’s seat and said, “Tang Qiang, pull up at the intersection and allow Dr. Xiang to get lost.”
Xiang Yun Ze shook his head in disappointment. “Emperor Mo, as the Superstar Emperor, your lack of elegance easily makes people go from being an admirer to being a detractor. Do you know how powerful this conversion is? Take □□ for example…”4
“Tang Qiang, allow Dr. Xiang to get lost right now.”
Following this, the rest of the car ride was very quiet.
Tang Qiang stopped the car at a high-end restaurant. Mo Zhen had reserved a VIP room to welcome Xiang Yun Ze after his long flight. Although Xiang Yun Ze appeared sloppy, a bit unlike a doctor, he actually never touched a drop of alcohol. Although Mo Zhen occasionally drank, because he had to work later, he also didn’t drink anything.
An alcohol-free meal was purely a meal. It was also a quick meal. In less than an hour, Xiang Yun Ze’s welcoming reception meal was killed off. As Mo Zhen still needed to hurry to the set, he couldn’t send Xiang Yun Ze off properly; Xiang’s family chauffeur had long been waiting outside.
The two of them parted ways at the parking lot. Tang Qiang brought Mo Zhen to the set with lightning-speed.
Today was 《The Forbidden Zone by God 3》’s premiere ceremony. The cast and crew had originally intended to go eat together once the news conference had finished, but a torrential downpour began at 6PM and had yet to completely cease. Without any better options, everyone returned to their own homes. Mo Zhen was drenched completely, his mood terrible.
Tang Qiang cautiously and solemnly glanced at Mo Zhen. He wanted to recruit an assistant for Mo Zhen as soon as possible——even though it was only ten days into the month, Mo Zhen had already gone through three assistants.
Being drenched from head to toe made Mo Zhen not want to see Tang Qiang’s face. Although Tang Qiang felt that both sides of the relationship didn’t have any karma between them, the conclusion was nevertheless good, as Mo Zhen had decided to drive himself home.
Mo Zhen’s home was in a high-end villa district, which had single-bedroom villas. With the two nearby houses quite a distance away, the residents’ privacies were protected excellently.
The sound of the pouring rain filled Mo Zhen’s ears. He lifted his eyes to glance at that small Western-styled building, brows slightly furrowed.
Curled up against the doorway was a woman. As she was hugging her legs and burying her head into her knees, Mo Zhen was unable to clearly see her face.
Hello, everyone! This is still Chestnut!
Welcoming the start of a new novel! Seeking likes, seeking bookmarks （づ￣3￣）づ╭?～
Thanks 【北陆冥冥】(Bei Lu Ming Ming/Northshore Darkness), little friend, for providing me with friendship! Muah! Muah!
Chestnut’s Small Lecture Hall: The Forbidden Zone by God, namely the brain5 =。=
- “Handsome to Friendless” refers to someone being so incredibly handsome that no one wants to make friends with him, bringing him a lot of inconvenience ↩
- (唐强) “Táng Qiáng” sounds like “tǎng qiāng” (躺枪), which is internet slang for ‘to get unjustly ridiculed, attacked, implicated in something while just being present.’ Emperor Mo and that wordplay~♥ ↩
- Nouveau riche, in this case, refers to the Land Rover, because of how expensive it is and its common target consumer—the wealthy. ↩
- □□ → already censored by the author ↩
- The Forbidden Zone by God refers to the 90% area of the brain that lies dormant. ↩