There exists a powerful, smart, and efficient team, who was able to produce far better results than anyone else when it came to dousing a flame war. Just mere days after Tang Feng’s first messy scandal had surfaced, most major web portals no longer reported any news of Tang Feng outside of his work.
According to Lu Tian Chen, Tang Feng’s current rate of public exposure was already sufficient. Although celebrities needed exposure, less attention was sometimes better. A celebrity with no work to their name constantly making the news would eventually become annoying to the public, and vice versa when it comes to reverse psychology.
For now, he needed a period of silence.
Not only did the team dispatched by Lu Tian Chen start to control publicity levels, but Su Qi Chen, who had recently been trying to tarnish Tang Feng’s reputation like a crazy man, had also quieted down. As Charles had said, a few special pictures had been more than useful. Su Qi Chen would not cause any more trouble for Tang Feng anytime soon. Of course it was also possible that Su Qi Chen was able to think through it clearly after calming down.
It was not a wise choice to irritate two big shots just for an insignificant star.Tang Feng believed that a man like Su Qi Chen would soon come to realize this, although he and Su Qi Chen will never become friends.
He hated fake gentlemen. Even if they were to meet again, Tang Feng would not show any pretence of friendliness towards him. He would prefer a true villain like Charles, or a businessman of clear principles like Lu Tian Chen than a fake gentlemen like Su Qi Chen. At least he didn’t have to constantly worry about the other person stabbing him in the back.
The exam for the True Star Training Class could not be completed in a single day. Taking into account the shooting of the program and audience ratings, the entire exam was split into three parts. Extending the front lines promoted viewer ratings.
The first part to be tested tomorrow, includes the most important social activities; dancing and horse riding.
There was not a person who wasn’t working hard before the exam, almost all the people participating intended to bring out their best. For the dance exam, the students were free to choose the type of dance that they excelled in. Most of the young students chose something like street dancing or reggae, or some other type of energetic dance.
On the dance stage, a few young performers were dancing to the beat, showing off difficult moves. Tang Feng the “senior citizen” stood with the others at the side, clapping their hands and cheering. Dancing that was full of power was really very beautiful, they are able to vividly reflect the vigor and vitality of youth. Young people had their own style of dance, and there was no need to show off their “class” by purposely dancing to “old people’s music.”
After all, once a person passes the age of thirty five, it becomes rather difficult for them to dance with the same level of energy.
Tang Feng was very tempted to try the same, but the result was that he was made fun of by everyone. Where he should have expressed power, he did not seem to be dancing anymore, instead appeared more like he was brandishing a fist in martial arts.
There was a secret that Tang Feng kept guarded. The orphanage had occasionally held some activities, for example, should a philanthropist come to visit, they would have to come out to sing a song or perform a dance or something. One time when they were of short a girl for the dance, he had been forced into the appearance of a girl to dance ballet.
He had trained for a whole three months in classical ballet!
“Tang Feng, it’s your turn!”
After a few youngsters had danced, it was quickly Tang Feng’s turn. The previous dancers had all chosen dynamic and upbeat songs with difficult moves. Tang Feng could freely admit to the fact that he was not able to do the same, but older people had things that only older people excelled in. While the youth were street dancing, he had regularly practiced the Argentine tango with Tang Tian Tian.
The Argentine tango was at times poignant and romantic, its core, passionate and lively.
Por una Cabeza
The passionate and lively music entered spectacularly, the notes of the violin instantly lifting at the hearts of the audience. In the distant lands of Argentina, the accent of the cello, aroused in others, a flowing reverie.
Among the pairs on the dance floor, two people readied for the accented fall of a note, to take a powerful step out and draw open a luxurious, carefree, elegant, and intricate tango film.
His performance, as an actor, and his life, was a dream that one finds themselves unable to wake from.
With music notes that tugged at one’s heartstrings, it was a dance of lingering emotions where two bodies were close enough to be one. Yet from the start to the end, they were separated by the slightest space in between them. One step away at a time, it was an entanglement of refusal and invitation, each one pulling in and unwilling to let go until the last note is played. Following the violin’s last graceful cry, do the curtains fall here?
Yet still in the crook of his arm, she gently surged up, on the cello’s last strike, on the violin’s coda. After the last touch of their fingertips, they departed from one another.
This was a sudden and passionate affair of love at first sight, and during the process of love, both lingered at the other, both filled with struggling contradictions. Until the end, both were reluctant to let go, yet still they resolutely turn their backs on each other and depart. Leaving the audience to ponder, even after the two depart, will they still reminisce of that indelible affair?
A perfect performance, was not only technique.
If it is said that young stars bring to the audience charismatic dances that makes one’s heart beat faster, a dance full of vigor, life, and passion, then under Tang Feng’s guidance, what he and Tang Tian Tian displayed was wine red sediment under extravagant midnight lights. More helpless, more soul shaking, and also more resonant.
Other than love at first sight, one still has to consider if it could last until the end after today, right?
Tang Feng and Tang Tian Tian’s Argentine tango won applause from everyone. The morning’s tests were considered a success. Including the workers, everyone from the training class went out to eat at noon. They still had the riding exam to complete.
The riding exam was very simple. The horse is required to first start walking, then run, stop, turn a bend, and also to do some other beginner tasks. Although the contents of the exam seemed easy enough, actually doing them was not the same. Especially when you wanted the horse to walk, the horse will lie down, or if you want him to stop, he will bend down to eat grass.
This horse riding exam was really prime content for comedy.
Having received “private lessons” from both Lu Tian Chen and Charles, Tang Feng successfully passed the exam, also winning the admiring sighs of many. It was obvious that no one was skilled in the beginning, so how did Tang Feng come to learn so quickly, while also dancing so well? It was truly too unfair to be in the same training class as Tang Feng, way too unfair!
Even from the beginning, Tang Feng did not participate in the training class as a competition, and so he did not consider that others may not have the same ability to be able to attend private horse riding lessons outside of class. Now hearing everyone’s thoughts, Tang Feng could only inwardly muffle his smile.
He really did not do it on purpose.
The day’s exams were considered to have concluded perfectly. It was called an “exam”, but there were no judges and no scoring.
After the exams were over, everyone involved in the show wanted to go out to eat and go for karaoke afterwards. Luckily, Tang Feng was able to escape by saying that he was feeling a bit tired. This was not an excuse, as he really did feel pain in his hip. Dancing was one reason and horse riding was another. Being pushed down by Charles the other day was the real reason.
Clearly his body was still young, so why did he still tire so easily?
Alone, Tang Feng returned to his room to retrieved his medicine from the cupboard. He had to intensify his Wing Chun practice. He didn’t need a horrifically muscular body, but he had to at least become a man who could, with one punch, cause a nosebleed. This was also in consideration for his own personal safety.
Maybe someday he could also make a present of it for Su Qi Cheng.
Removing his jacket, Tang Feng turned on the TV to watch the news while applying the lotion to aching areas. Not even a few minutes later, his cell phone started ringing. Ring after ring, it seemed like it would not stop.
“I don’t have time today, so even if you stand outside my door, I won’t open it.” Tang Feng said as soon as he picked up the phone.
The other person immediately went silent, and just as Tang Feng was about to hang up, Lu Tian Chen’s voice came through the speaker. “I’ve never met anyone who talks to their boss this way.”
“This isn’t your number. I thought you were…” Tang Feng was surprised, he had thought that it was Charles calling him again. Today, he wanted be alone.
“No one. Is there a problem, President Lu?”
“You performed well today.”
“Oh, thanks.” He had only called him to say this?
“There are exams tomorrow too, rest well.”
“Yeah, I will.”
“Goodbye, and goodnight.”
Eh, that was it?
“Goodnight to you too.” Lu Tian Chen called him just to say goodnight? As Tang Feng was still thinking about this, the other party had already hung up.
“Truly a strange guy.” Tang Feng chuckled. Something flashed by outside his window, as if there was light. The man put down his medicine and walked over barefoot to his window and pulled open a small gap in the curtains.
Below the apartment, a man wearing a black suit leaning against his car door was smoking a cigarette. After a while, he stepped on the stub and pulled open the car door to enter the car. Tang Feng hid behind the curtains and looked at the black car as it left.
Was it because he had said “Even if you stand outside my door, I won’t open it” that Lu Tian Chen, who had already driven here, had left?
Seeing that there was not a soul in sight left below, Tang Feng drew back the curtains and left the window. Outside, the darkness of the night was boundless.
Two days later, the training class pushed ahead of Dream Lover to record the last of the exams. This was also the last exam of True Star Training Class, the last performance.
The exam question put forward by Larry was that each student had to shoot a long shot music video. The students could chose a song they liked to perform. There were no words, only movement, appearance, and expression.
Many of the students felt somewhat nervous for this performance, although Larry was their performance instructor, he had not appeared at all since his first demonstration. This continued to the day of the performance. The only message, was that the recorded video would be sent to Larry to watch.
Before the shooting started, each student could have a simple discussion with the cameraperson and the director. This could also be considered a simple pre-competition interview.
“The song I chose is Elton John’s I Want Love.” Tang Feng sat in the director’s chair, his face not at all showing a nervous expression, but instead, wearing a smile throughout that made others feel amicable and comfortable.
“Why did you chose this song, is it meaningful to you in some way?” Outside the camera’s view, the music video’s director casually chatted with Tang Feng. Compared to the other students, there was something clearly different about Tang Feng. This could be felt even before he started talking with Tang Feng.
The man was relaxed, easy-going, and cute, but once the camera pointed towards Tang Feng, he became serious and professional at once.
Tang Feng smiled, his hands cupping his chin, and showed a somewhat bashful expression like a small child. Keeping silent for a minute, he started to speak “What if I said these were my inner feelings? Hehe, not to say that I’m lacking in love, but that everyone, man or woman, has each experienced bumps and breakdowns on their own emotional road, to the extent that only a few are able to make it to the end.
“Do you want to express the meaning of the song in this way, or would you say that there is some sort of significance in the song?”
His line of sight moving to the camera, Tang Feng sat up straight, his gaze tender and concentrated, his speech low and unhurried, he said, “A person like me has staggered along my emotional road continuously, without stopping. Maybe falling over or getting injured, but this cannot stop me from going forward.”
Becoming taciturn for a few seconds, the man lowered his gaze, and gently said, “Other than romantic love, there is still familial love, and love between friends, all forms of love.
In a dark grey T-shirt and black trousers, Tang Feng stood facing the camera alone in a completely empty room. The sky was murky outside the window, the branches were dense yet still let in an inky grey.
In such a vast, luxurious, yet empty room, he seemed so lonely and insignificant. The view on camera was already that of an oil painting revealing the song’s prelude, paint stroke by paint stroke of pain and sorrow.
A voice started singing:
I want love, but it’s impossible
The camera slowly zoomed in from far away, until it came right up in front of the man. The man with his head bowed down suddenly raised his head, and in a intonation similar to dialogue, he faced the camera and started to sing out the lyrics.
A man like me, so irresponsible
A man like me is dead in places
Other men feel liberated
His lightly moving lips seemed rather pale and cracked dry. Under his strong brows, a pair of shining eyes hid away countless secrets and experiences that no one would ever know. With every nuance in movement, it seemed as if you were also being pulled into his world.
The branches were growing darker, the overcast sky was without sunshine, and in the extravagant yet hollow mansion, there was a man singing of wanting love.
The performance was not overly forceful, and did not have any deliberately constructed expressions of emotion. His facial expressions were very subtle, which was then magnified inside the camera shot to be music notes that pieced one’s heart.
I can’t love, shot full of holes
Don’t feel nothing, I just feel cold
Don’t feel nothing, just old scars
Toughening up around my heart
Again and again, singing about wanting love, each minute expression seemed to tell of how he had tried to forget and erase his previous pain.
The Tang Feng under the spotlight, the Tang Feng under the camera.
They were two people.
Their charismas were different.
Yet both make others desire to come closer.
At the scene of the shoot, the people watching Tang Feng’s performance did not notice a certain man standing in a corner. Lu Tian Chen stood far away, quietly listening to the song. Suddenly, many different thoughts appeared in his mind.
Such as love at first sight, such as one’s heart palpitating with eagerness.
Such as when Tang Feng’s business transaction with Charles had ended and the first day he had come to live in his house, such as a man showing a sad and painful expression in his imagination, yet showing a carefree smile like clear skies in front of him.
Such as a certain morning when he’d gone to Tang Feng’s apartment only to see Charles open the door. Or such as the night before when he had been smoking a cigarette below Tang Feng’s apartment, without understanding why he had driven there. He’d watched the light come on from the actor’s window, and after struggling with himself, he’d finally made a phone call.
In the end, he didn’t go upstairs, he didn’t go inside, and he’d left without a single word.
But what was the reason?
But I want love, just a different kind
I want love, won’t break me down
When he got to this line, Tang Feng leaned against the the metal window, slightly bowing his head. His downturned gaze appeared vague, but careful broken.
He never wanted a heart-breaking love again.
Lu Tian Chen wasn’t the only one who especially come to visit Tang Feng.
In another inconspicuous corner, Charles suddenly smiled.
Love, who didn’t want love?
Those who didn’t want love simply have not seen its beauty. They didn’t know the pain that filled one’s heart after losing it. They were simply idiots and fools.
Charles, he was neither an idiot nor a fool.
How could Tang Feng choose such a song? How could he appear so natural while leaving such a long-lasting effect on his audience? Charles was finding it difficult for him to resist the temptation within the lyrics.
Won’t brick me up, won’t fence me in
I want a love, that don’t mean a thing
That’s the love I want, I want love
“Tang Feng, this is against the rules.” Charles smiled bitterly. It was a rare smile for him, and a rare serious mood that he was in. And ever rarer that he didn’t go find Tang Feng even though he was at the filming location.
Charles’ heart throbbed painfully as he listened to the song. It was against the rules; a complete foul.
How could he be this outstanding? How was he able to perform so perfectly?
It was so good that it made him feel like the sad and shattered expressions were not deliberately acted out, but that he really had experienced countless times of hurt, falling down each time, yet in the end still walking forward each time, a man longing for true love.
The man in the camera, his eyes started to reveal amusement, like the rainbow that appears when ice thaws at the first budding of spring. When you finally lift your head you realize that the dark clouds have already dispersed.
When the song gradually grew softer and the music faded away, for the last scene, the Tang Feng in the camera screen returned to his initial position, looking outside the window, his back towards the camera.
The sunlight from outside the window spilled in, creating a gentle halo of light from his body. What he saw with his eyes was no longer the light grey sky, no longer the inky branches.
Between a small gap in the dark clouds, there was a gentle brightness.
In the cracks between the black branches, there was new life constantly struggling to reveal their shoots.
The music ended, and so the performance ended as well, yet Tang Feng did not hear the director yell “cut” for a long time. His surroundings were also extremely quiet, could it be that he did not perform well?
As his first time honestly facing the camera after his rebirth, it would be false to say that he did not feel a single bit of nervousness. He stared blankly for a bit, somewhat not understanding why everyone had fallen silent.
Clap clap clap! The sound of someone clapping came from a corner. After that, it was like a stone dropped into water causing ripples, one after the other, people started to applaud, until all Tang Feng could hear was warm applause and cheers.
Grinning, he looked in the direction of the claps, but there was no one there. He had no way of telling who had given him their applause and approval first.
T/N: If anyone wants to see the video that Tang Feng’s MV is based off of, here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufbexgPyeJQ
The author is a huge fan of Robert Downey Jr.
Next: Chapter 127: The End of True Star Training Class (2)
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Proofreaders: Daphne, dinoj