Full Level Bigshot Only Takes the Career Path Chapter 81
Zhao Yao suddenly realized that Yao Bai had vaguely mentioned this matter over the phone just now. Collaborating with the broadcasting of dramas and promotional platforms was a common practice. In addition, as one of the specially invited actors, Pei Mingzhan frequently received cooperation invitations. “So, what’s your plan? After the New Year, you still have quite a lot of work back in S City. Taking this up would indeed be troublesome.”
“Mr. Zhao,” Pei Mingzhan said, feigning seriousness, “Aren’t you supposed to be a savvy capitalist? Don’t you want to make money? Do you even know how much others are willing to pay me for promotional publicity?”
Zhao Yao couldn’t help but be amused at his tone. “Aren’t you worried about being too swamped with work?” He retorted with a smile.
“I just asked him,” Pei Mingzhan began, “This live streaming event started yesterday, and it mainly involves the lead cast. Technically, I could indeed decline this cooperation.” He smiled, “If it were scheduled after the New Year, I probably wouldn’t take it. But since it’s a live broadcast event, the promotional part will only take about half an hour. It won’t be too time-consuming.”
Zhao Yao hesitated for a moment. “So, you mean the platform intends to start the live broadcast in the coming days?”
“Yes,” Pei Mingzhan confirmed. “At first, I had some reservations, but then I thought, I haven’t really done much promotion for ‘Li Meng’ during the New Year break. If I can boost its popularity a bit by doing a live stream, it’s not a bad idea. After all, it’s a way to support the family and make some money.”
Upon hearing this, Zhao Yao hesitated for a moment, knowing that Pei Mingzhan was joking. Nevertheless, he replied, “Even if you don’t work, I can still support you.”
Pei Mingzhan reached out and hugged him. “No, that won’t do. What if you end up spoiling me, making me all lazy and indulgent?”
Zhao Yao couldn’t help but think it was an unlikely scenario. Pei Mingzhan took his work seriously, much more so than he did.
Pei Mingzhan had initially been undecided about the live streaming event. But as they playfully discussed the idea, they decided to go for it. Brother Lao got in touch with the platform as soon as he heard about their plan. Because Pei Mingzhan and Zhao Yao were off to the countryside in H City for a brief vacation, and their schedules allowed for only a few free days, they decided to collaborate with the “Zhajiang Mian” platform for a mobile live stream. After some negotiations, it was scheduled for tomorrow evening.
This is a collaboration between the production team and the platform. To be honest, there was no need for Pei Mingzhan to boost popularity. Brother Lao originally wanted to decline, but he couldn’t withstand someone’s unwavering determination to earn money for their boyfriend. This seemingly absurd and nonsensical reason was pinned on Pei Mingzhan, and it was surprisingly difficult to refuse.
Brother Lao had been tidying up a considerable amount of chance encounters with fans in the streets for Pei Mingzhan during this period. At first, he was a little anxious, wondering if their trips would be secretly captured in a way that led to people’s imaginations running wild. But as time went on, the messages about these encounters on social media increased, and in the end, he began to feel strangely accustomed to the situation…
Because their focus was all on Pei Mingzhan’s chance encounters, they had grown used to Pei Mingzhan and Mr. Zhao’s behavior when going out, even openly referring to them as good friends.
With their attention firmly fixed on Pei Mingzhan’s chance encounters, they had grown accustomed to Pei Mingzhan and Mr. Zhao’s outings, openly referring to them as good friends.
A good friend, you say!?
Brother Lao couldn’t help but feel that with Pei Mingzhan’s continuous appearances, Pei fans were shocked at first, but as time went on, the idea of the two of them going out together became entirely normal. Some fans even expressed regret for not having encountered Pei Mingzhan and Zhao Yao together.
Isn’t this just abnormal? Brother Lao was both worried about their relationship being exposed and frustrated with the fans’ seemingly “normalized” behavior.
Pei Mingzhan didn’t have any other questions after hearing the agreed-upon time. “I’ll get in touch with you that evening.”
Right after Brother Lao had finished talking with the platform, he added, “Let me tell you, during the live broadcast, no funny business, especially when it comes to Mr. Zhao. Maintain a certain distance, and also…”
Preventing Mr. Zhao from appearing on camera was an impossible task. Given Pei Mingzhan’s habit of openly agreeing while secretly showing affection, he would undoubtedly find a way to get Mr. Zhao on screen. Instead of relying on any promises from Pei Mingzhan, it was better to have the team prepared in advance to manage the trending topics and defuse any gossip.
“Lele, book a later high-speed train for us. We’re heading over there together,” Brother Lao said as he picked up his tablet, getting ready for the business trip. The high-speed train journey from S City to H city wouldn’t take too long, but he needed someone to keep an eye on the timing. “We should be able to arrive before nine in the evening, and I’ll also book a hotel on the way.”
After hearing this, Lele quickly packed his things and booked the tickets on his phone, then left with Brother Lao.
After Pei Mingzhan finished the call with Brother Lao, he was walking along a country road with Zhao Yao.
The development in this rural area seemed to have progressed faster than the place they had previously visited for the variety show. The buildings were no longer old-style, and most households had two or three-story houses. The old houses of the Pei and Zheng families were situated in the old lane district, where old houses were predominant and traditional architectural features were preserved.
They soon arrived near the old houses, which were already surrounded by fences. There were few people coming and going. Pei Mingzhan remarked, “They plan to turn this area into a traditional architectural district. It’s already in the works, and all these old houses will be included.”
“That’s quite nice,” Zhao Yao walked along the road, recalling a faint memory. He pointed towards a somewhat weathered theater not far away, next to a prominent century-old banyan tree. “I think I remember this place. My grandmother used to love coming here to watch performances.”
“Yes, I remember she used to bring you here too,” Pei Mingzhan said, leading him down a small path. A dilapidated basketball court appeared before them, with a few children inside engaged in an enthusiastic game. “Do you still recall this place? You used to stand outside the chain-link fence and watch us play.”
This was where Pei Mingzhan first met Zhao Yao, with the old basketball court and the rusted chain-link fence. There were several stone benches nearby for people to rest. This place held a special place in Pei Mingzhan’s memory. Back then, Zhao Yao was just a little child, standing outside the fence, watching them play. He was such a tiny, adorable kid. Nothing like the local children around here.
Not far from the basketball court, there were several old houses scattered about, each with its own courtyard. Pei Mingzhan led the child to the front of the Zheng family’s residence. Inside, there was an elderly person responsible for caretaking, and after seeing strangers, they approached to take a look. Once they learned that the visitors were from the Zheng family and confirmed it via a phone call, they allowed the two to enter.
As Zhao Yao gazed upon the familiar courtyard, he noticed many decorations that matched the ones he had seen in photographs. Although he didn’t have a deep memory of this place, he couldn’t help but feel a sense of déjà vu. It was as if he had stepped into another lifetime. The elderly person leading him gave him an introduction of the place and guided him to his former residence. His room was not very spacious, but it was beautifully decorated, giving off a warm and cozy ambiance.
In his past life, he had never been in contact with the Zheng family, nor had he interacted much with Pei Mingzhan, so there was no reason for him to visit this old Zheng family residence. Zhao Yao had always considered his past life to be a complete mess. In the eyes of outsiders, he was a highly successful and decisive individual in his career, financially well-off and influential. Any financial news report would praise him as a winner in life.
But the reality wasn’t as rosy as it appeared to outsiders. His career success came at the cost of over a decade of relentless hard work, ultimately resulting in a life of suffering from chronic illness and an early death. The Zhao family members treated him like a pariah. And with his mother passing away when he was young and his relationship with the Zheng family growing distant, leaving him without any close relationships. He was only surrounded by individuals who sought to exploit him for personal gain. That’s why he never imagined that, in the small bedroom where he had spent only a short period of time during his childhood, he would see the intricate decorations of his elders and encounter a different aspect of his past that he had never truly thought about.
On the desk, there was a photo of him with his grandparents, as well as some old crayons.
Zhao Yao picked up the photo frame for a moment, feeling somewhat surprised. “To be honest, I don’t remember much. My impression of them is not very deep, but they loved me a lot.”
“Of course they did. You were an adorable child back then,” Pei Mingzhan said as he looked around the room’s decorations. He continued, “You were just a little kid, and they loved showing you off to everyone.”
Putting the photo frame back, Zhao Yao’s childhood memories were mostly shrouded in dark, stormy nights when his mother’s life was taken by illness. The Zhao family fell into chaos, and the old Zhao family residence became empty and desolate. There was no one returning home to cook for him, and there was no gentle guidance. Everything was gloomy and bleak.
But if he were to look a bit further back, he had once had grandparents who loved and cared for him, uncles and aunts who quietly looked out for him, and Pei Mingzhan, who was still a little brat at the time. But in his previous life, he had never looked back on these things. If he hadn’t stayed with the Zhao family in his childhood and had gone with his uncles and aunts back to the Zheng family, perhaps his past life wouldn’t have ended so tragically.
“This little kite is still here,” Pei Mingzhan took down the decorative kite from the wall and said, “I gave this to you a long time ago.”
Zhao Yao turned his head to see the small kite that Pei Mingzhan was holding. Its colors had faded quite a bit. “I don’t remember. Did you really give this to me?”
Pei Mingzhan handed him the kite to examine and then glanced at the weather outside. It was windy and clear. “We talked about flying kites last time. How about we go now?”
Today, the two of them were wearing the clothes they had bought at the mall last time. They seemed like they had stepped out of the same mold, and they drew a lot of attention as they walked down the street. Near these rural alleys, several elderly folks sat under their own pavilions, chatting away. When they saw the two young men passing by, they cast curious glances mixed with a hint of appraisal.
Most children from this area were familiar faces. Unlike other villages who focused on tourism, there were fewer people moving around in their vicinity. Recently, due to the urban planning in the old lane district, most areas were fenced off, further reducing the number of visitors. So, seeing such handsome young men, taking the smaller roads to wander into the village’s alleys, they thought these young men were probably the children from some local family, enjoying their vacation.
“Whose children are these? They look quite handsome.”
“They seem like brothers, don’t they? Didn’t Old Wang’s kids come back for Chinese New Year?”
“What are you talking about? Their vacation is over. It’s time to get back to work.”
“They’re good-looking, like TV stars.”
Zhao Yao was quite sensitive to people’s gazes, so when someone openly stared at him without hiding their curiosity, he could only nod politely in acknowledgment. Pei Mingzhan noticed his reaction and offered a brief explanation, “Not many outsiders visit here. It’s different in the new district, but when they come to the old lane area, it’s usually people they know. So, getting stared at is quite normal.”
“Oh, aren’t you Pei Mingzhan?”
An aunt who was riding her bicycle came to a halt and stared at Pei Mingzhan for a moment and said in surprise, “It’s Pei Mingzhan!”
The two of them, who were walking, were taken aback by this sudden recognition. Pei Mingzhan had taken off his mask because they were in the old lane district. He didn’t expect the Aunt to have such keen eyes to recognize him. So, he greeted her with a smile, “It’s me. Auntie, you recognized me?”
“I recognized you,” Auntie said, parking her bicycle and approaching. “I love watching your dramas. You’re really good. That Li… oh, Li Qiguang, I really like him…”
Li Qiguang, Zhao Yao had a vague impression of that name. It was a character from one of Pei Mingzhan’s previous Republic-era dramas, where he played an endearing young master from a wealthy family.
Having spent a lot of time browsing Pei Mingzhan’s fan discussions recently, Zhao Yao had come across many fans expressing their love for Pei Mingzhan and their appreciation for his works. In the early days of Pei Mingzhan’s career, he had taken on different roles, especially when he was just starting out. He was practically a drama enthusiast during that period, and it was because of the diverse roles he portrayed at that time that he had earned the title of a talented actor at such a young age.
Pei Mingzhan posed for a photo with the enthusiastic aunt, who then understood that they wanted to head to the fields. She said, “They’ve been working on the road recently, and it’s not easy to walk along this route. You should take the path behind the banyan tree. It’s much easier to walk there.”
In the countryside, the fields were quite vast. When the two arrived, there happened to be some elementary school students riding their bikes in the same direction. The old kite that had been sitting idle for several years was hard to fly, so they purchased a new one from the village store at the entrance. The shopkeeper kept a close eye on them for quite some time, seemingly surprised that kids of their age were still interested in flying kites like the students.
As soon as they arrived in the vast fields, Pei Mingzhan was still gauging the wind direction while Zhao Yao held the kite in one hand and used his phone to search for “kite flying” in the other. He was completely unfamiliar with this activity. After checking the wind direction, Pei Mingzhan walked over to take the kite from Zhao Yao’s hand and when he saw the webpage on his phone, he asked with curiosity, “What are you searching for?”
Zhao Yao lowered his head slightly and honestly replied, “I was searching for how to fly a kite.”
Pei Mingzhan laughed at his response. “Do you really have such little faith in your boyfriend’s skills?”
Zhao Yao raised his head, glanced at him, and then nodded.
After all, flying kites was something he had done as a child. It might not be within his abilities now.
Pei Mingzhan took the kite and started to prepare it, his actions skilled and confident.
“Do you know how to do it?” Zhao Yao put away his phone and stood beside Pei Mingzhan, watching him handle the kite. He had serious doubts about the ability of this low-quality kite to actually fly.
Pei Mingzhan expertly pulled the kite string into position and then handed the reel over to Zhao Yao.
Zhao Yao held the reel for a moment, looking somewhat confused. “I don’t know how to do this.”
Pei Mingzhan smiled. “I’ll fly the kite, you just hold it steady.”
Zhao Yao suddenly found himself entrusted with an important responsibility, so he nodded solemnly. The next moment, he watched as Pei Mingzhan ran out with the kite. The vast field was covered in dry, yellowing weeds, and the wind whistled loudly. Pei Mingzhan’s figure grew smaller and smaller in the distance, reminiscent of a somewhat taller teenage boy from his memories.
At that time, he had also stood in a similar position, holding a similar reel, and watched a certain tall teenage boy sprinting away.
It was as if the present had merged with his memories.
“Xiao Yao!” Pei Mingzhan called out from a distance.
Zhao Yao snapped back to reality, realizing that Pei Mingzhan was standing quite far away, still holding the kite. He shouted loudly, “It didn’t take off. Give it another try!”
As he looked at Pei Mingzhan, it seemed that this man was just like the boy from his childhood. As if nothing has changed. Despite having much more life experience than Pei Mingzhan, during this time of being in a relationship, it was Pei Mingzhan who had been guiding him step by step. It was quite strange. He felt that this person had always kept him close to his heart.
Pei Mingzhan returned with the kite and said, “It’s been a while since I last flew one. I’m a bit out of practice.”
Zhao Yao slowly turned the reel to wind in the kite string and said seriously, “Let’s give it another try.”
After trying five or six times, the small kite finally took flight. Zhao Yao held the reel, watching the kite soar into the sky. He felt a completely different strength in the way he held it. An indescribable sense of joy welled up in his heart. It was a simple, unremarkable thing, but he felt truly happy.
Pei Mingzhan ran back, standing behind Zhao Yao, and taught him how to control the kite, hands-on. “You’re doing well. Hold it like this, it makes it easier to control.”
Flying kites in the field was indeed a rare sight, and the nearby schoolchildren, drawn by the unusual sight of two adults flying kites, gathered around to watch. Some even stood directly beside the two adults, asking how they managed to get the kite off the ground. These kids all had small kites in their toy collections, but while they could run with them, the actual act of flying them was a rarity. They had assumed that the kites sold in the local shop were low-quality.
Pei Mingzhan was more than happy to answer the questions of the curious kids. He sat on a nearby rock, watching Zhao Yao fly the kite and explaining to the children how to do it.
Not far away, a photographer who happened to be capturing the rural scenes noticed the couple when they first attempted to fly the kite. He observed them through his lens as they tried multiple times without success and finally succeeded. With his camera, he captured a perfect picture.
Around eight or nine in the evening, Brother Lao arrived in H city with his assistant Lele. Following the address left by Pei Mingzhan, they quickly located a nearby B&B. During the check-in process, they noticed the two who had just returned from outside. The B&B still had some vacancies, as the spring break had recently passed, resulting in fewer visitors to the area.
Lele warmly greeted the two, saying, “Pei Ge, Zhao Zong.”
“You got here pretty quickly,” Pei Mingzhan said as he and Zhao Yao had just returned from having dinner outside.
Brother Lao glanced at their outfits. They were even wearing a couple outfits! He couldn’t help but wonder why Pei Mingzhan hadn’t worn a mask when they went out. Had they become this bold?
“As for the livestream equipment,” he continued, “the Zhajiang Mian platform said that the phones are fine, but the internet speed here isn’t great. Just to be safe, we should test the equipment tomorrow before the livestream.”
“You can take care of that. If there’s nothing else, Zhao Yao and I will head back to our room,” Pei Mingzhan said.
Brother Lao watched as the two of them walked away. His assistant, Lele said, “Pei Ge and Zhao Zong have such a great relationship. Their outfits match so perfectly. They both look really good in this color scheme.” He made a mental note to mention it to the studio when they got back, suggesting that they should consider this style for Pei Ge’s future events.
“Of course, how could it not look good?” Brother Lao thought to himself that no one knew about the pain he kept hidden inside. Pei Mingzhan was getting more and more audacious. Seeing that fans had mixed reactions to their travels, he decided to go all the way and dress up as a couple. He wondered if he was waiting for fans to get used to them wearing ‘brother outfits’ so that they could just go ahead and do a live broadcast from the Civil Affairs Bureau.
Brother Lao sighed as he dragged his suitcase into the room. “These days, celebrities go to great lengths for their relationships, even to the point of defying the heavens.”
Hearing this, Lele was suddenly startled. “Do we have an artist at our studio who’s in a relationship?”
Several names quickly flashed through his mind, but upon closer consideration, he realized that there hadn’t been any rumors involving the artists signed to the studio over the New Year period.
Brother Lao glanced at Lele with a wry smile. “Never mind, you wouldn’t understand.”
The online streaming platform for “Li Meng” released an official announcement on Weibo, teasing a live broadcast with Pei Mingzhan scheduled for tomorrow night. Fans of the drama, who had already been pleasantly surprised by the enigmatic character Feng Shiyue, had a great deal of admiration for Pei Mingzhan’s acting skills. When other main cast members from the platform started hosting live streams, fans began speculating if the one behind the role of Feng Shiyue, the esteemed Film Emperor Pei, would also host a live broadcast.
However, as the main and supporting cast members began to host their live streams one by one, Film Emperor Pei remained silent. Both his devoted fans and the “Li Meng” drama enthusiasts started to lose hope. Just when they thought there was no chance, Pei Mingzhan was about to host a live broadcast!
【Damn, the platform is amazing!!】
【Ah ah ah, is Feng Shiyue going to be here?】
【I just became a fan of Pei Mingzhan, and I was quite worried when I heard he might retire, but he’s been so active recently. Whoohoo!】
【Hahah, Zhajiang Mian platform, I suggest that in the future, anyone looking for Pei Mingzhan to livestream should directly contact Zhajiang Mian.】
【This is a win-win situation. Look, ‘Mi Ying’ is also backed by Mr. Zhao, and Pei Mingzhan is advertising for both his own platform and his friends.】
【Upstairs, don’t forget, Mr. Zhao is also a shareholder in Zhajiang Mian platform.】
When Gu Sui learned about this, he even called Pei Mingzhan, suggesting that they should consider taking more of such advertising programs for their own platform, to keep the benefits within the family. Of course, after hearing this, Pei Mingzhan promptly hung up the phone. Gu Sui was a master at seizing every opportunity to his advantage.
Zhajiang Mian’s recent popularity has been steadily rising. Ever since their spectacular debut last year, they had firmly established their presence in the domestic live streaming scene. During the Chinese New Year, they organized numerous events and collaborated with several other platforms for special holiday programs, further solidifying their reputation and popularity.
Recently, there were quite a few live streamers considering switching over to the Zhajiang Mian platform. However, Zhajiang Mian had been increasing their standards and becoming stricter in their content review process. They had also been cutting ties with many streamers who aimed to profit through vulgar or inappropriate means.
After verifying the live streaming details with the production team, Lele shared the information with Brother Lao, who instructed him to confirm with Pei Mingzhan. If everything was in order, the content for the upcoming live stream the following day would be finalized.
The inn had two floors, and their room was two doors down from Pei Mingzhan’s. Lele walked out into the corridor and headed towards the room at the far end.
By this time, it was getting late, and Lele was cautious not to make too much noise, so as not to disturb anyone.
When he reached the door of the room, there was no light escaping from under the door crack. Could it be that Brother Pei was already asleep?
He reached out and knocked on the door. Shortly after, he heard some movement, as if someone was approaching. Then came the sound of the doorknob turning.
“Pei Ge, this is for tomorrow’s live broadcast…”
In the middle of his words, he noticed that the person who opened the door was not Pei Mingzhan, but Mr. Zhao in pajamas.
The room was pitch dark, and Mr. Zhao was standing in front of the door in his pajamas. Lele suddenly became nervous. “Zhao… Zhao Zong”
He quickly glanced at the sign hanging outside the door, wondering if he had entered the wrong room.
“Are you looking for Pei Mingzhan? He’s in the shower,” Zhao Yao said as he noticed Lele holding a notebook. “Are you waiting for him?”
Lele quickly shook his head, “No, it’s alright. We can talk about it tomorrow. I’ll head back now.”
Zhao Yao nodded, “Okay, I’ll let him know later.”
Lele turned around and headed back, but as he reached the door of his own room, something suddenly clicked in his mind.
Wait a minute? He stopped his steps, turned to look back at the room at the far end. Why is Mr. Zhao in Pei Ge’s room at this hour?
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Lele: Huh?? Did I just discovered something?
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