Chapter 71: Make Her Speechless (2)
On the other end, Ye Fan and the rest of the filming crew had already reached their destination. Everyone rushed out of the bus as if it was on fire, it had been a while since their last rest stop and all of them had been itching for a chance to escape. They stretched their arms as if they were trying to touch the sky, deeply inhaling the fresh air throughout. Although the travel in the bus had been bad by any means, they were all enthusiastic about getting some space and relaxing. The cast finally turned to the area in which they would be staying and unanimously let out a sigh of relief. In terms of accommodation, the crew didn’t make things worrisome for them. They rented a house in advance so the guests only needed to move in. The house was pleasant and clearly spacious. It was painted a soothing cream accompanied by a lush, verdant lawn that was teeming with wildflowers and old trees that seemed like pillars supporting the weight of the sky.
Everyone was directed to their respective rooms where they were given a brief moment to settle in. After the guests put away their luggage, the director herded everyone like wayward sheep into the communal living room.
”Throughout the duration of this trip, it is necessary that everyone’s phones, wallet or any other communicable devices that they may have, be turned over into our possession. Additionally, the funds for this program will be provided by us.”
Before agreeing to sign the contract and attend the show, the rules of the programs had already been passed down through a chain of communication- the director informed the network, the network executives informed their agents and then finally, the actors received the information. This was a reiteration of old news, the actors were not the least bit surprised.
However the entire premise of a reality show was drama. It was a trade secret that reality shows were scripted and manipulated masterfully to jam in as much entertainment and drama as possible. The fact that the guests were timely informed of these conditions was a fact known to everyone on set but not the audience.
The camera moved over the scene like a strict school teacher during exams, nothing would get away from its keen vision. The lens of the camera glinted softly as it zoomed in, recording any trace of emotion, its shrewd gaze capturing any minute expression that they made. Their every action was being recorded on camera, this was a fact that they had to be conscious of at all times. If they slipped up once, everything would start unraveling. Featuring in a reality show was more of a marathon effort than a sprint, they had to stay in character the entire time the cameras were rolling. When they panned over to Tang Jin, she painted a surprised expression upon her face. Since she had entered the entertainment industry from an early age, she had a lot of experience schooling her expressions to appear natural. On the surface, it seemed that Tang Jin had not heard about the rule at all.
A crew member came forward and circled their group, taking away everyone’s phones and wallets to safeguard under the team’s protection. The director then made another announcement, their first task was here .”This is the money you’ll be given for these few days.”
The director waved a fat wad of cash in the air so it was visible to everyone. Then he dropped the bomb.”You have to choose one person out of five of you to take care of the money.”
“The results will be based upon an anonymous vote which will be conducted later. Those results will be final.” Ye Fan, like everyone else, received a piece of paper. The scraps were passed around by various members of the crew. Staring at the creamy white paper for a brief moment, she didn’t mull over her choice for too long. Mind made up, her elegant handwriting filled the majority of the page. The balck letters read- Li Qiong. Ye Fan had chosen to write down the name of the most experienced actor present in the group, predicting that she would be mature and could keep track of the money adequately and manage their expenses since she had the most life-experience and wisdom.
On the other hand, Gu Yachen had established herself in Tang Jin’s camp and was only interested in being her ally. It was crystal clear that she would vote for Tang Jin to help her curry favor with the more popular actress. Ding Ruoyi decided that she would appease the fans since Tang Jin clearly had the most popularity among all of them and also quickly scribbled down Tang Jin’s name. Tang Jin, narcissistic as ever, thought she was the best person to manage the money and wrote down her own name, full of confidence. Meanwhile, Li Qiong also wrote down her own name but, for very different reasons than those harbored by Tang Jin.
Li Qiong didn’t possess these gray hairs for no reason. She had lived through her fair share of experiences, and now, her actions always erred on the side of caution. She believed prevention was better than cure. It would be better if she managed the money. Li Qiong was worried that these young ladies would be too young and not sensible enough with their safety. They had come to such a beautiful place, while there would inevitably be some hiccups, she wanted the trip to remain a good memory and be smooth sailing as much as possible.
After scrawling their preferences down on the slip of paper, everyone slid their sheet into the slot that was present on top of the ballot box. After convening separately for a few minutes, the team compiled the votes and whispered to themselves. Finally, after leaving them to simmer in anticipation for a few minutes before he announced the results. “It seems that most of you shared the same thoughts, based on the majority vote, Ye Fan is the individual elected to handle the money.” Gu Yachen frowned, the gears in her mind quickly turning- there was simply no way that was possible. She had sneaked a peek at the other slips as they were being submitted…by the logic the crew had provided Tang Jin should have won the election. The image was clearly branded in her mind- three out of the five slips read Tang Jin’s name and the other two had read Li Qiong. Where on earth did Ye Fan’s name pop up? She hadn’t received even a single vote!
It was clear that the announcement was a direct result of the crew’s machinations. Naturally, they must have had their reasons. There was no way any of the cast members could raise the question, although they were itching with curiosity as to the exact reason why the crew chose to manipulate the event in this manner.
Ye Fan raised a brow sceptically. There was no way that she would believe that everyone here would trust her so much after spending only an afternoon in her company. She wasn’t that naive. She had a lifetime of experience navigating the treacherous waters of the music industry, where one simple wave could topple your entire career, leaving someone adrift in the deep waters, their ship smashed to pieces- powerless.
“Alright, everyone can take a break in the afternoon. Tomorrow is when the filming will officially begin.”
Although the cameras were still rolling, no one bothered pretending to be buddy buddy with each other. Instead, tired as they all were, all the cast members were minding their own business with nary a peep. They split into the different directions that their rooms were situated without even a backward glance at the rest of the contestants.
Ye Fan returned to her room and instead of putting all her eggs in one basket, she split the money up. She took one wad of cash and slipped it into her personal bag, while the rest of the money was hidden at the bottom of her drawer and locked up. She wouldn’t let go of the keys, Ye Fan would carry them everywhere she would go, as if they were an extension of herself. There was absolutely no way Ye Fan could trust this crew.
Ye Fan took a nap in her room for half an hour before waking up. She was just about to go downstairs to grab some water, but as soon as she opened the door, she noticed that the door of the room opposite to her’s was ajar. She peeked at the inside of the room from where she was standing. Nobody was in the room, but she could hear some sort of noise from the toilet. Ye Fan frowned. She knocked on the door before entering hesitantly. Ding Ruoyi was lying at the edge of the toilet. Her face was flushed an angry scarlet and lay in what seemed to be an extremely uncomfortable position. Her legs were splayed out while her head lolled over the bowl of the toilet lethargically. However, as the show had yet to begin its shooting this afternoon, there were no cameras in the room, and so no staff had found her yet.