The wind chilled people’s hearts.
With pins and needles all over my spine, I let out a stiff laugh, “Haha, I was just trying to enliven the atmosphere a bit. It’s nice to meet you, Auntie.”
The woman who looked like she was younger than thirty clenched her teeth as she greeted me back, “…It’s nice to meet you too.”
Gu Yiliang slightly trembled as if he was trying to stifle his laugh. He patted me on the back and motioned me to go first.
I happened to be planning on fleeing the scene as quickly as possible due to my awkwardness-phobia. What he suggested was exactly what I wished for, so I immediately walked away.
Before I was able to step through the hotel entrance located only a few meters away, the breeze delivered their conversation into my ears.
I heard Gu Yiliang ask, “What did you come for?”
His stepmother asked in reply, “Am I not allowed to come and see you?”
After a pause, she continued, “What else would I come for?”
“I just sent three hundred to you yesterday. Will you give me a break?”
“I need two more zeros than that.”
“I don’t have that much.”
“Isn’t that what you get for shooting just one drama?”
“I don’t have that much.”
“Then I guess we’ll see you in headlines tomorrow?”
Gu Yiliang didn’t say anything else.
I turned around and walked back.
Seeing that I had returned, his stepmother proudly raised the folder she was holding and flashed Gu Yiliang a confident smile, “I’ve got the materials prepared already. How about letting your friend take a look at them first?”
Gu Yiliang’s hand moved a little.
I said, “Fine. Let me see.”
Slightly surprised, she paused for a second and then handed me the folder.
Gu Yiliang stared at me almost gloomily.
I casually opened the folder, neither too fast nor too slow.
“Oh. Fake educational background. Wasn’t this one cleared a long time ago? He already spoke about it on a radio show two years ago in September. He had not been professionally-trained before. After his debut, the company arranged for him to study at the Beijing Film Academy while working. All of these are archived in the company’s records. There are no problems with it.”
I read on, “Drinking with directors in exchange for resources… Isn’t this Misty Love by Director Guo? They don’t read the original author’s interview, do they? The author said that she wrote this character especially for him as soon as the book came out. Wow, this photo is so blurry. March 18th of last year… He was recording for a show in Hunan Province that day. How could he be drinking in a clubhouse in Beijing at the same time?”
Flipping to another page, I continued, “Drugs? This is a little serious… Where’s the test report? Where’s the related evidence? All you have is a picture of him losing weight? Wasn’t this photo taken while he was shooting Dark Night? He lost twenty pounds in a few days as requested by the director. The company was going to announce in the press how serious and devoted he was to his job, but they were afraid that the fans’ complaints would affect the production team so they didn’t release those articles in the end. You might be able to find the records in the advertisement section still——”
As if she found it hard to believe, his stepmother interrupted me, “Are you his agent?”
I pulled down my mask and smiled to her, “I’m his adversary.”
If there is one truth out of every ten lies, people will believe the truth to be a lie.
If there is one lie out of every ten truths, people will believe the lie to be the truth.
But blackmail is different. Even if it is but a bunch of fake information, as long as there is one firm, iron-casted truth mixed with it, people will somewhat believe in the rest as well.
I flipped through the folder in my hand and refuted them one by one until I saw that one “truth” that served as the key stand.
The only document attached to it was an injury report from four years ago in black and white, with a bright red stamp in the corner.
I turned to Gu Yiliang and asked, “Were you drunk?”
“No,” he said.
“Did you run away afterward?”
“No, I was the one who called the ambulance.”
“What about the cost for the follow-up treatments?”
“I’ve been paying them all along.”
“How’s the person recovering?”
“He was just discharged from the hospital right before New Year’s.”
I paused for a moment, then slowly asked him one word at a time, “Were you the driver when the accident happened?”
For a while, he was silent. Then he replied with a powerful word, “No.”
His stepmother screamed, “…What do you mean by ‘No’?!”
Looking at her in the eyes, I closed the folder and returned it to his stepmother, “You can go and publicize these however you like. It’ll be my loss if you manage to do it.”
She looked at me in surprise and then directed a death glare at Gu Yiliang. The way she was eyeing Gu Yiliang upset me dearly so I dragged him to the spot behind me. I didn’t plan on cutting her some slack initially, but I decided to drop it the more I thought about it. This was their business after all. Thus, I flashed a smile and said, “Goodbye, Auntie.”
I pulled Gu Yiliang’s arm to drag him away. She then grabbed hold of Gu Yiliang’s wrist, crying out in panic. “Thirty million. Thirty million, that’s all! You asked me if we would give you a rest, right? This will be the last thirty million. I’ll call the media otherwise…”
Gu Yiliang allowed me to pull him and shook off her grip.
What do they think Gu Yiliang is? An ATM machine? Where are these vampires from?
Even listening to it pissed me off so badly that I rushed to speak before Gu Yiliang, “Thirty million? You actually have the face to say that?! You still have no clue about the situation, do you? What you have can’t pose any threats to Gu Yiliang. The media? Why don’t you go ahead and see which media outlet will pay attention to you after tonight?”
Gu Yiliang turned to the side and threw me a glance. Staring at those Albinus muscles on her cheeks which she obviously just got surgery on recently, I smiled, “Alright, let’s say you’re capable enough to publicize all this. I’ll offer thirty million as his friend to hire people to do public relations for him. I promise that I’ll wash him so clean and make him whiter than the powder on your face, and hotter than the gloss on your lips. He will still have movies to film and money to earn. He’ll strive for the golden prize and eventually become the emperor of the screen. However, if you fall out with him, it’s going to be hard to say whether you’ll have enough money to continue maintaining that fake face of yours. Don’t you agree?”
I pointed to the folder in her hand and pulled the corner of my mouth up. “And that car accident. Do you really think it’s been that long for us to know what actually happened? Concealing, harboring, there’s plenty of ways to get you involved. Judging from your expression, you want to say that Gu Yiliang will be pulled into it as well, don’t you? Sorry. As his friend, I can bail him out. As for you and the real offender——”
Her throat bobbed a few times as she fixed her eyes on me with an extremely unpleasant look. Gu Yiliang stepped up to block her sight and said coldly, “If you go back now, I’ll send three hundred thousands each month to Gu Shang’s account. But if you continue stirring up trouble here, you won’t get a cent.”
She tried to grab Gu Yiliang as she cried in surprise, “Three hundred per month?! Before——”
Her sonorous voice stopped abruptly as the security guards that Little Chen brought clamped her mouth and hauled her away.
As we watched her struggling figure being hauled away out of sight, Gu Yiliang and I cast a perplexed glance at Little Chen.
Little Chen heaved out a sigh of relief, “The sasaeng fans are seriously too scary nowadays. They really never know when to stop.”