Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Nan HuaiLin stayed up all night, from the afternoon of the previous day until 10:00 a.m. the next day, reading through the script of My Father.
After reading it, his only thought was that the role was too challenging.
The protagonists of My Father were an adopted father and son, the father was Chen Bu, thirty-nine years old, and the adopted son was Chen Chi, twenty years old. The two lived in a small, dilapidated town on the border of Yunnan and Burma. The seemingly peaceful life was in fact turbulent, filled with murder, drugs, sex, and fraud. But these were the breeding ground for lust, Chen Bu and Chen Chi’s repressed and strong love of betrayal of virtue. But the main theme throughout was their fierce love, twisted and pure, in the midst of their hurt for each other.
Both roles were so complex that Nan HuaiLin was unsure of his acting skills for the first time in his life, especially when his co-star was Qi Gu.
Since he was a student at Beijing Film Academy, Qi Gu had always been Nan HuaiLin’s idol, his acting skills were at its peak, he could handle any role perfectly, and he had won more domestic and international film awards than he could count on two hands.
It was his honor to be able to act with such an excellent actor, but also a lot of pressure. This time, he had to give it his all, for himself and for Fei Cheng.
Putting down the script, Nan HuaiLin picked up his cell phone and called He DuanYang.
After two months of filming Swimming Beyond My Life, he and He DuanYang have become good friends and often meet to work out, eat and watch movies together.
“What’s up?” Nan HuaiLin asked.
“I’m at home.” He DuanYang said.
“You don’t have a role?” Nan HuaiLin asked again.
“No,” He DuanYang said, “I guess I have to be salty again for a while.”
“Then you can be my partner,” Nan HuaiLin said, “I’ve taken a film, the role is very difficult, I have to rehearse a few more times before shooting.”
“Sure,” He DuanYang was very happy, “Anyway, I’m just idling away.”
“Then tomorrow morning at nine o’clock,” Nan HuaiLin said, “I’ll see you in the company rehearsal room.”
“Okay, I’ll see you tomorrow.”
The next day, the two of them met in the rehearsal room on time.
Nan HuaiLin handed a copy of another script to He DuanYang, who looked down and was shocked, “Damn! Wu Xinghai? Is this really true?”
Nan HuaiLin had expected this reaction and said with a smile, “Really.”
He DuanYang grabbed his hand, “My Lord—”
“I won’t forget about you,” Nan HuaiLin interjected with a smile, “I know, don’t waste time, I’ll tell you the plot first, then we’ll start.”
From that day on, Nan HuaiLin and He DuanYang went to the rehearsal room every day to work on his scenes, refining bit by bit the psychology, expressions, actions and tone of their characters, and then writing down detailed annotations on the script.
About a week later, Nan HuaiLin was called to the office by Shan Mingen, saying that director Wu Xinghai had asked the two main actors to go to Lincang, Yunnan Province, half a month in advance to experience life.
“Will it be just me and Mr. Qi Gu, or will the whole cast go there?” Nan HuaiLin asked.
“The crew arrived there half a month ago,” Shan Mingen said, “and I guess the preparations are almost done before you and Qi Gu get there.”
Then he will be able to act with Qi Gu, right?
It’s so exciting just thinking about it!
Just after he came out of the office, Nan HuaiLin received a call from Ruan Xin, asking him to go to Fei Zheng’s office, saying he needed to talk to him.
Nan HuaiLin rushed over there. When he got to the door, he adjusted his breathing, knocked on the door, got an answer and pushed the door in.
Fei Zheng said, “Sit on the couch.”
“Okay.” Nan HuaiLin walked over and sat down, restrained from head to toe.
Fei Zheng got up from behind his desk, walked across to Nan HuaiLin and sat down, put a velvet locket in his hand on the desk and pushed it to him, “Fei Cheng asked me to pass it to you.”
Nan HuaiLin guessed it as soon as Fei Zheng said he had something to give him.
Fei Zheng said, “Open it and take a look.”
Nan HuaiLin picked up the box and opened it. Inside lay a ring, very simple in shape, but made of a special material, not gold, not silver, not stone, it was impossible to tell what it was.
Fei Zheng saw through his doubts and said in a light voice, “This ring is made of dragon bone.”
Nan HuaiLin was suddenly shocked, “Wh-what?
Fei Zheng looked at him and asked abruptly, “Do you know how long a dragon’s life span is?”
Nan HuaiLin shook his head, “I didn’t ask him.”
Fei Zheng said, “If they die naturally, it’s about eighteen hundred years.”
Nan HuaiLin was silent.
The question he had been deliberately avoiding was revealed by Fei Zheng unexpectedly. After knowing that Fei Cheng was a dragon, Nan HuaiLin had thought that dragons must live much longer than humans, but he hadn’t expected it to be so long.
Even if he could live a hundred years, his lifespan would be only one-eighteenth of Fei Cheng’s, which was insignificant.
Moreover, he was aging much faster than Fei Cheng. In another fifty years, he would become a crane-haired old man, but Fei Cheng, he would look about the same as he did now, young, upright and handsome.
The thought of this made his heart sting.
Fei Zheng went on to say, “Humans aspire to live forever, but for dragons, longevity isn’t such a happy thing. Has Fei Cheng told you about the underwater city?”
Nan HuaiLin said, “He mentioned that it’s the dragon race’s habitat.”
Fei Zheng said, “Undersea City is a city that the dragons spent more than 300 years building under the Atlantic Ocean, and it has another name, called Dragon Market, the market of return.”
Nan HuaiLin knew what the Returning Market was, and probably guessed what the Dragon Market meant, and looked at Fei Zheng in surprise.
“Dragons who are tired of living forever have two choices.” Fei Zheng said, “First, pull out their dragon’s tendons, sleep long in the sea of the Dragon Market, and die quietly. The second, break their forty-ninth dragon bone, and they can age and die at a normal rate, just like humans.”
Fei Zheng looked at the box in Nan HuaiLin’s hand, “This ring… it was made from Fei Cheng’s forty-ninth dragon bone.”
Nan HuaiLin was shocked by Fei Zheng’s words, and his heart burned inside. He looked down at the ring in his hand, and tears suddenly flowed down his face.
Fei Zheng continued, “It was his choice and I couldn’t dissuade him, but it doesn’t mean I agree with him. If you dare to disappoint my brother…”
“I will never disappoint him.” Nan HuaiLin didn’t let him go on, “Never.”
Fei Zheng looked at him steadily, and after a long silence, he said, “You can go now.”
Nan HuaiLin wiped away his tears and got up to leave.
As he was entering the elevator, his cell phone rang.
He hurriedly took it out and saw that it was a text message from Fei Cheng.
[Mr. Bunny:] This is a timed text message from your world’s most handsome husband~ Baby, my brother gave you the ring, right? This is my third gift to you. Wear this ring and you will always be my wife in this life, mandatory, no regrets!
The tears that had just stopped welled up again.
Nan HuaiLin, while crying and laughing, took the ring out of the box and put it on the ring finger of his left hand. It wasn’t too big, nor too small, it was just right.