Chapter 297 - Imperial Consort and His Highness

'Empress' was now a relatively hot conversational topic. Firstly, the drama was Gu Zhou’s first production upon returning to the small-screens. Secondly, the female lead was the A-list actress Qu Wen. Their appearances in the drama made it worth watching.

Another point that could not be ignored was the fact that the second female lead was led by Xu Jiaojiao, whose popularity was at an all-time high.

Just a while ago, many members of the Internet Water Army suddenly appeared, and they brought up the casting of the second season of the ‘Redeeming series’ again. They talked about how the female lead was originally meant to be Jiaojiao, but the decision was eventually made to change the lead to another sweet-looking female celebrity. Subsequently, they compared both Xu Jiaojiao and the female celebrity in various aspects. Eventually, the results showed that the female celebrity was a better fit for the role of the female lead.

They were obviously stepping on Xu Jiaojiao just to compliment that female celebrity.

Speaking of which there was another related issue that had to be discussed. When Jiaojiao was filming for ‘Double-Faced Lovers’, she did not pay any attention to those internet comments due to her busy schedule. However, Xu Ping nearly had a row with someone else in the company over this incident.

The second season of the Redeeming series was produced by Entertainment International. The celebrity who stopped Jiaojiao from taking the female lead role was the same person whom the company was heavily promoting. The group of Internet Water Army that suddenly appeared was actually paid by that female celebrity’s manager, with the objective to step on Xu Jiaojiao and use her current popularity to promote her own talent.

If they were from different companies, the act would be understandable, as they were doing it for their own benefit, despite it being dishonourable. However, they were all part of the same company, and doing such things could be detrimental to the company’s image.

Not only did the manager not admit to her own mistakes, she even thought that using Jiaojiao’s reputation to promote the new drama was something that Jiaojiao ought to endure. She even claimed that it was all for the company. Her words angered Xu Ping, and if Xu Ping was a tad more rash, a fight would have broken out.

After Sheng Jiaoyang learnt about it, she just lightly replied by saying, “With the interests of the company in mind, I’ve decided to fire her after the drama had premiered.”

Just as the other party was celebrating, Sheng Jiaoyang dealt them a huge blow and gave them a taste of their own medicine.

The second season of the Redeeming series was called ‘Redeeming My Workaholic Girlfriend’. Despite receiving hype from July to August due to various publicity efforts, its viewership was low even though it was broadcasted at a prime time slot on a certain satellite TV channel. No matter how great the Internet Water Army had raved about the drama, the viewership had proven its worth.

Comparatively, 'Empress' had just started airing its first two episodes, but it was already the most talked about drama on the Internet.

Everyone was discussing if the emperor liked Imperial Consort Wu, and even quite a number of people had labelled them as a couple.

It had provoked Qu Wen’s fans, as well as the original novel’s fans. These people claimed that only the emperor and Mu Jinyu were the official couple.

Qu Wen’s fans even went onto Jiaojiao’s Weibo to start a fight.

Some scolded Jiaojiao for disrespecting her seniors and not having manners. They believed that even if the slap was scripted, she should have made a public apology.

Others even added that Jiaojiao had only filmed one idol drama until now. Hence, on what grounds did she dare to stand on equal footing with Qu Wen? Was it because she had a wealthy boyfriend?

There were still others who mocked Jiaojiao by claiming that she relied on various promotions and publicity stunts to gain her current popularity.

Anyway, they used any points they could to criticise her.

The onlookers had already prepared their snacks. They were eagerly awaiting for the moment when both fanbases snapped at each other, only to find that Jiao fans were not retaliating.

What exactly were the Jiao fans doing?

They had climbed the ‘Great Firewall’ in search of Jiaojiao’s traces.

One of the members from Er Jiao’s fan club was a fresh graduate interning as a reporter. As she interned at the current news department, any huge issues or news were relevant to her. But, in order to complete her mission of submitting an article, and to set herself aside from the others, the intern reporter Xiao Mei did not get her sources from the streets. Instead, she often climbed the ‘Great Firewall’ to snoop for big news from some foreign reports about overseas celebrities. Recently, she had her eyes on Country L’s Crown Prince, Prince Wight.

As a young, handsome, and single heir to the throne, Prince Wight’s identity had political significance. Hence, any news that was related to him could be placed under the current news section. However, Prince Wight had a romantic and mysterious aura that made him seem like a fantasy, and this was enough for news about him to be placed under the tabloids section too. Thus, any news of him placed under the current news section was very eye-catching.

Prince Wight was currently celebrating his birthday. Information about the guests of his birthday party would certainly be news-worthy, and digging up the backgrounds of the attendees would help to increase the article’s content and word count.

As Xiao Mei began checking out various photos of the guests who attended Prince Wight’s birthday celebration, she spotted a familiar silhouette. Initially, she thought she was mistaken, but after verifying that person’s identity, she excitedly shared it into a group chat.

Thus, Jiao fans started to climb the ‘Great Firewall’.

That was the actual situation, but for those who were not in the know, it seemed like Jiao fans had not retaliated against Qu Wen’s fans but instead chose to remain silent. It was very abnormal and puzzling.

But soon, everyone’s doubts were cleared.

That was because almost all the Jiao fans were sharing the post by Reporter Xiao Mei.

And Reporter Xiao Mei’s latest post had everyone stunned.

Reporter Xiao Mei: Today is Country L’s Prince Wight’s birthday. Amongst the guests who attended his birthday party, there was a duke along with his wife and son, a banker, a jewellery brand owner with his wife and daughter…as well as our Imperial Consort and her family members (^_^). The second photo shows Prince Wight and Jiaojiao talking to each other. From that photo, we can see that Prince Wight is very friendly.

The lady talking to Prince Wight in the second photo was indeed Xu Jiaojiao.

Everyone thought it was inconceivable, and some even thought that the photo must have been photoshopped.

But how could such things be faked? If it was false, Xu Jiaojiao would surely be heavily ridiculed.

Additionally, the Jiao fans’ reactions had confirmed the accuracy of that piece of news.

[Our Jiao is awesome!]

[Our Imperial Consort is so awesome. Just when all of you thought that she had died, haha, she devised a crafty escape plan.]

[Who cares about the harem, our Imperial Consort’s dream is a sea of stars.]

[I heard someone scolding our Er Jiao by claiming that she had hooked up with the wealthy to get to where she is now. Do the same if you have the capabilities. Otherwise, don’t spew such bullshit.]

[Boss Shen’s ability is to dote on his wife. Yesterday, he fed her crayfish, and today, he brought Jiaojiao to attend Prince Wight’s birthday party. He is clearly announcing their relationship to the world!]

The above excerpt were comments from Jiao fans.

The news coincided with the popular broadcast of 'Empress'. Due to the extended trailer that was released earlier, everyone knew the fate of the Imperial Consort— she would die, pierced by thousands of arrows. Combined with this piece of news, the topic had become very hotly discussed in an extremely short span of time. The top five searches on various search engines were all related to Jiaojiao.

Interestingly, some people even imagined that Jiaojiao’s character, the Imperial Consort, would find her true love after slipping out of the predicament, and that they would become an inseparable couple afterwards.

Many teased that the ‘Imperial Consort’ was beyond belief as she could even get acquainted with a prince from a foreign country.

Sheng Jiaoyang, who was accompanying Shen Zhining and conversing with everyone else at Prince Wight’s party, was still unaware that the public had found out about her attendance.

Naturally, with Prince Wight’s special status, many famous people were attending his birthday celebration. Of course, as Prince Wight was still young, many friends of his age had attended as well.

The reason Shen Zhining received an invitation was not solely based on the fact that he had strong assets supporting him. It was also because he was classmates with Prince Wight, and they were quite close as well.

Shen Zhining had never brought along any female partner before, but seeing that he brought someone along with him this time, Prince Wight was extremely curious about her. He heard from Jarrett that Shen Zhining had gotten himself a girlfriend, and this was quite a new and refreshing piece of news to Prince Wight.

That was how a photo of Prince Wight and Sheng Jiaoyang talking to each other was taken.

Sheng Jiaoyang spotted some acquaintances at Prince Wight’s birthday celebration. She even saw Daisy.

Daisy stood alone in a corner, wearing the dress she bought at the store previously.

Sheng Jiaoyang now understood why she bought such an expensive dress even when her family was bankrupt. It was because she wanted to attend Prince Wight’s birthday celebration, and not be looked down upon by others.

Sheng Jiaoyang was neutral towards Diary. Although Daisy nearly gave her a slap when they first met, and subsequently, Daisy tried to separate her from Shen Zhining by using money, they still became one-time drinking buddies that got drunk together and got taken advantage of unintentionally. Though Daisy wanted to make a name for herself at Jarrett’s private party, she could see that Daisy was not entirely a bad person, even though the latter was indeed a proud and willful person. However, even when it came down to the extent of their willfulness, Daisy was incomparable to Felicia.

“Zhining,” Sheng Jiaoyang whispered to Shen Zhining, “Is Daisy trying to work something out with Prince Wight by coming here? But Prince Wight only has a special status. Is he that wealthy that he is able to help Daisy with her family’s debt? If he can’t help to repay it, why would Daisy come here?”

Shen Zhining glanced towards where Daisy was and said, “It’s because of Prince Wight’s special status that the guests who attended today’s party are all wealthy and respectable people. With such a huge group of people, did you think her target would still be Wight?”

Sheng Jiaoyang was taken aback in surprise by the sudden realization.

“But I heard her family’s debt isn’t small. No one here would be foolish enough to help her. After all, their debt amounts to tens of millions. We probably can’t take out such a large sum even if we wanted to.”

Even if they had the money, they would not have so much liquid funds sitting in their bank accounts. Most of their funds would be invested to grow their wealth.

“It’ll be great if she could repay even just a little of her debt.”

“You mean she’s here to…” Sheng Jiaoyang shut her mouth and swallowed the words that were about to come out.

Shen Zhining could guess what she was about to say, but did not confirm or deny her guess.

Yet, his attitude was already a silent affirmation.

Sheng Jiaoyang cast a complicated look at Daisy, who was now holding onto a champagne glass and approaching the crowd. She could not understand what Daisy had gone through to make such a decision, and she had no rights to sympathise or persuade her.

Everyone must take responsibility for their own choices. Whichever route was chosen, one must see it till the very end.

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Yuna's Thoughts

TL: J.Andie | Editor: Cookies | TLC: Grace