The other ex-Baiji veteran told Yan Biao, "For today's event, we won't get to go back before 10."
"That late?" Yan Biao looked at the time. It was only a bit after eight, and the awards ceremony had been under way for some time already and would probably conclude in a bit.
"There are other arrangements," the other person said.
Indeed. After the awards ceremony, there was a banquet dinner and wine reception for everyone to interact and foster better relationships.
After the entire thing ended, Fang Zhao was still brought over to get a brief on the follow-up plans for the Diting series products. When everything ended, it was already after 10 p.m.
There were no longer many people outside Fiery Bird's Yanzhou branch tower. There were still some reporters stationed there, but after the wine reception, most participants at the event had left through other exits.
Fang Zhao checked his surroundings and found that the SilverLight team had already left on the team transport, so he didn't have to wait. However, when he got to the car park, Fang Zhao met He Lisi once more.
He Lisi had just run into an old friend. He had gone for a chat with his friend and had not left yet.
Fang Zhao noticed that He Lisi was grinning much more than when they had met earlier in the day. Something good had probably happened. Today seemed like a very successful day, and he might possibly have made a breakthrough toward the role he was fighting for in "Founding Era." Otherwise, there was nothing much that could make the normally restrained He Lisi be all smiles.
Seeing Fang Zhao, He Lisi beckoned with his hands, asking Fang Zhao over to talk. Perhaps because he was in high spirits and he had drunk quite a bit of alcohol, having caught sight of a capable and nonthreatening junior from the same company, He Lisi put on the airs of an elder passing on his experiences.
"Little Fang, Uncle is going to tell you some stuff that's for your own good. When you are in these circles, at times when your popularity is exploding, you have to pay attention and be more cool headed and prudent. Also, you should have a team supporting you from the back. Don't throw everything over to them, and make sure you know what's going on. Otherwise, if you encounter some blockheads, you might suffer a heavy blow. Just take a look at that person from Leizhou."
He Lisi's "that person from Leizhou" referred to one of the top actors in Leizhou. Even if Fang Zhao had not seen him online, he had heard Ji Polun mention this person.
That day, Ji Polun had called to congratulate Fang Zhao on his concert and for managing to sell out his copyrights. Ji Polun had also grumbled about the highly intensive work he had been doing recently.
Although the pressure was great and it was tiring, Fang Zhao was able to see that Ji Polun was still very happy, as Ji Polun might possibly get a chance to land a role in the film project "Founding Era." Although it would only be a minor role, it was still an extremely rare chance to come by. This would aid Ji Polun's future development in many aspects.
Ji Polun did not mind this minor role and the little screen time. He understood clearly that given his status within the circles, snatching a role like this was already very rare. It was only because Silver Wing had previously churned out a few period dramas that had raised his global reputation. Otherwise, it would be difficult for him to even be an extra in this film project.
It was rumored that the extras and minor roles in "Founding Era" all had professional training or were outstanding students that had yet to graduate from film academies. There were so many film academies throughout the world, and the extras were selected from among the best. A few large investors made the decisions on these selections, so even if these were minor roles, they were also treasured greatly.
The recent two months had been a crucial period, and many second- and third-rate celebrities were continuously trying their best to appear as much as possible and make their presence felt. Top-tier film stars were engaged in fierce competitions that had many unpredictable changes.
Top-tier film stars were all rushing over for the major roles. The level of "Founding Era" was too high and they needed to exercise prudence. Because, for this project, given their status, a moment of carelessness might scorch them.
The person that He Lisi was talking about was a certain top-tier actor from Leizhou who had been about to sign the contract for the role but had not watched his mouth. This actor had gloated about it on a live broadcast and been flamed by Zaro.
Actually, it was also partly due to the team behind this actor being too brash and feeling that there was nothing wrong in showing off a little on a live broadcast. However, the originally trivial matter had blown up and caused a large stir in Leizhou's entertainment industry news.
Zaro had not been able to get any of the leading roles he had been looking at in "Founding Era" and hadn't been satisfied with the minor roles that his agent had managed to arrange. When he had gone online and seen someone gloating, he hadn't been pleased. Zaro had felt that it was beneath him to flame second- or third-rate celebrities—those were free to do as they pleased—but for first-rate ones, Zaro could not stand it.
Zaro was being sour. "It's just a role in a 10-plus episode series. I don't get why you have to be so proud."
These words were already considered mild coming from Zaro. Over at Leizhou, experienced people all knew that when encountering this sort of situation, all they had to do was treat it as a fart. After all, it would be forgotten really quickly. However, perhaps being complacent and letting their heads swell, the team from that film star's studio rebutted with a few lines of their own and stirred up a hornet's nest.
Others joined in the fray, perhaps fans of the other party or certain people who wanted to take advantage of the situation and criticize Zaro.
"Go ahead if you are so capable! Given your exaggerated acting skills, can you even get into 'Founding Era' just to join in the fun?"
"Look at the Woo family's Woo Tianhao, who has a similar background. He can act as a young Great General Woo Tong. Lazhou's Barbara can even act as a little princess. But what about you, Zaro?"
"Let's not talk about acting as Great General Renault. Let's talk about roles slightly better than extras. Which can you even take on? Not a single one!"
"Cough, nothing but a tyrannical piece of trash who basks in the glory of his family."
Zaro's thoughts were like this:
Anything else is fine, but don't ever call me the trash of the family!
How dare you compare me to Woo Tianhao and Barbara, those two idiots?
Thus, this meant war.
Zaro and the other party's fans started tearing into each other.
Over at Leizhou, cyber bystanders felt as if they were watching an interesting drama that had new episodes every day, and they were very excited. When they saw a side looking feeble, they would hurriedly rush over and lend their voices to that side. And when the other side's arguments were looking weak, they would lend their support.
Other companies were delighted when they saw this. After all, one less film star that threatened their company meant one more chance for themselves. Even if the cyber bystanders did not do anything, these companies would also add fire to the flames themselves.
According to entertainment reports from Leizhou, after the flame war escalated, that film star who had been on the verge of getting the role ultimately saw it fly out of his grasp.
According to Leizhou entertainment reports, after that film star received news about losing the role, he puked blood in anger and was rushed to the hospital. It was not known whether this was real or not or whether it had been exaggerated, but in any case, losing the role at the last moment, even if he had not puked blood, he would have at least suffered some internal injuries.
This trended in the Leizhou entertainment circles and the news every day was even better than a drama series. Over at Yanzhou, there were also quite a lot of people paying attention to this. Every day, they would go online to see how the story had developed and which side had won the latest round of flaming.
Thus, He Lisi had borrowed the incident at Leizhou to remind Fang Zhao to always take note of his conduct. Stirring up stuff was fine, but there was a need to be thorough and exercise prudence. There were many more people waiting for a chance to drag one down.
He Lisi said all this in good faith. Regardless how much other stuff was mixed in with these kind intentions, Fang Zhao acknowledged it.
Fang Zhao gave his thanks and He Lisi started to leave, but he turned around once more. "Oh, there is one more thing I nearly forgot to say. Be careful of those entertainment reporters. I have a feeling that some people snuck in, and there is probably someone lying in ambush at this car park. Even if you aren't in front of the masses, you still have to pay attention to your image."
"I sense it too," Fang Zhao replied.
"All right then. Don't get complacent thinking that your performance during military service was good. Some entertainment reporters are even more difficult to handle compared to special forces soldiers." He Lisi did not say much else. He returned to his own car and got his driver to set off. His schedule was still rather tight.
Cars were leaving the car park.
"Boss, shall we head back?" Zuo Yu asked.
Fang Zhao went into the car and changed to clothing that was less conspicuous before coming out. "You guys go back first. Return straight to your own homes. I still have matters to attend to, so you don't have to send me."
It was already 11 p.m. The city center was still very bright. Qi'an City was another world at night, not the least bit cold and lifeless.
But at night in this flourishing city, there were also some hidden dangers, especially for celebrities.
Many entertainment paparazzi would catch negative news of celebrities, and a lot of the time, it was at night.
Drinking and driving, personal affairs, or participating in certain illicit activities. What entertainment reporters loved most was catching celebrities when their image wasn't proper.
If it was any other celebrity's bodyguards, they would inevitably advise against it and express worry.
What if someone robbed him? Even in Qi'an City, there were cases of robbery and murder.
Furthermore, in recent times, Fang Zhao's exposure rate on the internet had been really high. With so much news about him, many people would recognize that face of his. Forget about being robbed, if he was recognized in a public location, it would be even more troublesome.
However, in this case, all Zuo Yu and Yan Biao needed to do was obediently reply with a "Got it, Boss."
After the car they were in had left Fiery Bird's Yanzhou branch's internal car park, Zuo Yu asked Yan Biao, "What do you reckon Boss is up to after changing his clothes? Could it be a secret tryst?"
"How would I know?" Yan Biao was also curious, but he also understood that this was Fang Zhao's own private business, so they would not pry.
Let it be. It's time to head home and sleep
A gloomy and mellow voice sang from the online radio channel playing on the car's stereo system. "Ahh~~~ salted fish, why are you so idle!"
"Did you hear that?" Yan Biao asked.
"The sound of our hearts being pricked."
Zuo Yu's face was stiff as he switched channels.
At the same moment, at the Fiery Bird Yanzhou branch, a figure speedily left the carpark.
An hour later.
A certain old residential block in Qi'an City.
Wang Tie opened the door with a heavy heart. Inside the apartment, there were already two people inside waiting.
"Master, aren't you too slow?"
"We have already been back for half an hour, and you only return now. Did you encounter something along the way?"
Among these two people, one of them was an apprentice that Wang Tie had newly accepted: Xiao Bo. He was someone Wang Tie had met while serving his prison term on a foreign planet, and Wang Tie had even saved his life once. Now that Xiao Bo had returned after his prison term, he was tagging along with Wang Tie.
The other one was Wang Tie's godson, Fu Rui. One of the reasons Wang Tie had acknowledged him as a godson was because his name sounded very auspicious. This child's ability and fortune weren't too bad, and Wang Tie lacked assistants, so he had taken his godson in.
There hadn't been that much stuff going on on planet Wai, so Wang Tie had returned. The two had followed Wang Tie for some time and taken advantage of the attention that "Founding Era" received to complete some jobs, and they had tasted sweet success.
Today, Wang Tie would not have headed over to Fiery Bird's Yanzhou branch but for these two. One was tracking He Lisi, while the other was very interested in e-sports and wanted to join in the fun and gain experience. Wang Tie also couldn't let these two new hands fend for themselves, so he had clenched his teeth and gone too.
At the car park, when they had seen He Lisi talking to Fang Zhao, Wang Tie had forbidden Xiao Bo from continuing to track He Lisi and had immediately given the signal to retreat!
The three had scattered. Although the two hadn't been sure of the reason, they had still followed Wang Tie's orders and hurried back.
"Master, you are just too worried and overly fearful. It's just that Fang Zhao. I don't see anything special from him. Don't be afraid. If you happen to run into him, I'll help you handle it!"
Having served a prison sentence on a foreign planet and having experienced actual battlefields, Xiao Bo could not understand this reaction from Wang Tie. In all other aspects, he still admired Wang Tie greatly, but he felt that Wang Tie's reactions where Fang Zhao was concerned were excessive.
Fu Rui also chimed in. "Yes, Godfather, we don't have to be afraid. Brother Bo can fight really well. That one time, he even took on five in the black streets!"
Wang Tie sank into the sofa and sighed. "You guys are still too young to understand. In this line of work, although money flows in quickly, there are also hazards too."
As an entertainment reporter with a wealth of experience and an elite in this industry, Wang Tie trusted his own judgment. Ever since he had left Fiery Bird's Yanzhou branch, he had been feeling uneasy, and his eyelids kept twitching. He had an ominous premonition.
Xiao Bo and Fui Rui continued talking, but Wang Tie wasn't in the mood to listen to their chatter. He shut his eyes to ponder over this matter.
Noticing Wang Tie doing so, Xiao Bo and Fu Rui no longer talked about this and instead discussed their recent earnings. This film project "Founding Era" had really stimulated too many celebrities. Some certain people who normally exercised restraint had also made moves and given them opportunities. Within the last week, they had already managed to strike thrice and had earned a considerable sum each time.
Xiao Bo looked at his own bank accord and felt glad in his heart. Turning to Wang Tie beside him, he said, "Master, you keep saying that there are hazards in this line of work, but I feel that it is really meaningful, and the money is good." Xiao Bo just loved seeing those celebrities in exasperated and helpless states.
At this moment, the doorbell rang.
Wang Tie's eyes shot open violently.
Generally, they didn't get any visitors at this sort of place.
The three of them who had been relaxing a moment ago all tensed up. Xiao Bo took out his dagger, got up, and prepared to open the door, but Wang Tie raised his hands to stop Xiao Bo.
"Fu Rui, go check it out," Wang Tie said.
Fu Rui walked to the door but did not open it right away. Instead, he turned on the surveillance system and looked at the situation outside being displayed on the screen. He turned around with a long face and told Wang Tie, "A hazard has arrived."