“Sorry, I don’t quite understand what you mean.” Ji Li frowned.
“Have you ever heard of immersive theater?”
Immersive theater was a broad scene set for unsuspecting viewers where all of the NPCs were actors. They would guide the ‘audience protagonist’ with words through a scene, allowing them to produce a natural state of speech and actions while experiencing an immersive feeling.
Ji Li nodded and quickly understood her meaning. “Ms. Amanda, do you mean that we are going to film like this later?”
“You are Lu Yao. We believe that the feelings you will generate under these ‘unknown’ conditions will be the most authentic.” Cameron snapped his fingers.
“Of course, I will tell you some vague premise plots.”
The director started to prepare for this scene half a month ago.
Cameron’s idea was very bold. There was really no director who could surpass him in the pursuit of this style of authenticity and delicacy.
“The camera equipment is all ready, but I will also give you a guarantee. If this way of acting doesn’t get the results I want, we can also start over and film according to the rules.”
He dared to try a new filming method, but there was a backup plan if it was unsuccessful.
“Understood. I will be well prepared.” The entire crew wasn’t afraid of delaying time, so why should Ji Li be worried as the lead actor?
Actors should challenge a variety of acting modes.
Cameron nodded in satisfaction and handed him a thin piece of paper. “This is the premise. Take it and digest it well. We will be ready to film in half an hour.”
Half an hour passed in a flash.
Ji Li was dressed in a brown suit and stood at the door of an art exhibition, quietly waiting for Cameron’s signal to start.
The main team of cameramen who were ready to move and follow him were very experienced masters. In addition, there were invisible cameras installed in the room and the NPCs were experienced actors.
Everything was ready and the last ‘action’ finally rang out.
Ji Li finished gathering his emotions and opened his eyes. In just a second, he had changed back to Lu Yao.
Ji Li stood at the entrance of a painting exhibition. He put away the small retractable crutch in his hand and tucked it into his wide cuff. He looked down at his right foot, took a shallow breath, and opened the door.
In an instant, the heat of the room rushed toward him along with the sound of discussion.
The art exhibition lasted for three days and was said to have all of its works from anonymous painters. However, they were highly regarded paintings in the industry, so the guests who came to visit were all upper-class people.
After Lu Yao heard about this art exhibition, he entrusted someone to get him an invitation to enter. Over the past few years, one of his favorite things to do was visiting art exhibitions.
He would go whether it was well-known or unknown.
Lu Yao always had unrealistic expectations. He wanted to find the slightest trace of that person in all the flashiness.
Unfortunately, it was always a dream.
The name Wen Qiong never broke into his world again.
Lu Yao once wondered if everyone was lying to him. In fact, Wen Qiong had actually died in a car accident a long time ago. However, the hospital’s surveillance clearly told him—
Wen Qiong wasn’t dead. He had indeed taken all the valuables and left in a cool way.
Ji Li’s eyes turned red when he thought of this, but he quickly suppressed his emotions.
“Hello, Sir. Do you need an explanation and guide for this art exhibition?” A young man in a black uniform walked over and quickly sized up the newcomer.
Generally speaking, those who could come here were rich people. How could this gentleman’s suit be a bit out of place?
Lu Yao ignored his gaze and handed over the admission invitation. “Could I trouble you to show me around?”
The young man led the way. He noticed Ji Li’s extremely slow pace and cooperated to slow down.
Visiting art exhibitions and admiring paintings was indeed a pleasant experience.
In the past, Lu Yao hadn’t understood it. He used to say, ‘It is just for the rich to put on a show.’ Then Wen Qiong would block his mouth and kiss him.
“Sir, the paintings here can be traded and sold. If you have a fancy to any of them, you can tell me at any time.”
It was just that the price tag was quite high. Few people would buy it unless they were a fan of the painter.
Ji Li smiled and didn’t speak. He wasn’t interested at all unless it was that person’s painting.
The two of them chatted with each other, and Ji Li’s heart was gradually filled with a familiar sense of disappointment.
He had bought Wen Qiong’s previous paintings and was familiar with the curvature of the brushstrokes on each painting. They were beautiful, but didn’t have the emotions he expected.
The area of the exhibition was huge. The two of them had just walked down a long corridor when they heard a child screaming in the corner.
Ji Li instinctively looked over. The child was covered by his mother and being scolded in a low voice. He presumably hadn’t reached the age of understanding her.
Ji Li glanced at them and then felt like he had been shocked.
There was no hesitation at all as he abandoned the still explaining staff member. He rushed to the small corner that no one cared about.
Real-time footage came to the monitors.
Cameron noticed Ji Li’s limping right foot and sighed involuntarily. “Did you see that? He has already integrated the role of Lu Yao into his bones.”
He still showed the details perfectly in his instinctive run.
Amanda nodded slightly, her gaze fixed on the monitor.
Next was the most important part of this scene.
Ji Li stared at the painting on the corner wall without blinking, his body trembling uncontrollably.
The young man in the painting was standing under the aurora, but his eyes were directly on the person ‘outside the painting.’ The smile on his face was better than thousands of stars.
Under the huge frame, there was the name of the painting: To My Love.
“You said you came here to find inspiration. Have you found it now?”
“I dreamed that you painted me a picture and said I was your muse.”
“Are you trying to trick a painting from me?”
“How can you lie? I’m not bad-looking. If you want to paint me, I’ll waive the cost of the painting.”
Ji Li saw this and the past conversations suddenly appeared in his mind. His heart ached so much that he was completely breathless.
His originally empty heart seemed to rapidly grow flesh and blood. It was stirred to pieces by these words in an instant.
The young guide asked, “Sir, do you like this painting very much?”
“Do you know who the painter of this painting is? Where is he?” Ji Li’s eyes trembled slightly, and he eagerly grabbed the guide’s clothes to ask the question.
“Sir, please don’t get agitated. These paintings are anonymous.”
The guide glanced at the painting. “However, I heard… the painter who drew this work has left last month.”
It was said to be hereditary cancer. That was how the painter’s mother left as well.
Ji Li didn’t know Qin Yue’s script at all. Now he heard this, and he couldn’t react for a moment.
He was stunned for a long time before letting out a disbelieving cry, “What did you say?”
The guide was actually an actor invited by the crew. He observed Ji Li’s expression and continued to say the lines that had been prepared earlier.
“The painter was a friend of our boss. I heard that the other person suffered a blow to the head in a car accident four or five years ago, affecting the vision of both of his eyes…”
The painter could only see a very faint light with his eyes, but he still created this painting even in his situation.
It was said that one could only create by drawing with the heart. Perhaps this scene was unforgettable for the painter. How else could he have such unusual perseverance to complete it?
“Our boss is an appraisal expert in the circle. After he took this painting to a professional evaluation meeting, the painting had a high demand. However, the painter refused to sell it.”
Speaking of which, it wasn’t that the painter refused to sell it. It was that he had a designated seller, and the selling price was ridiculously low.
The person in charge was notified by the boss that this painting should be displayed at every exhibition.
However, there were no benefits at all, so the person in charge of the exhibition moved the painting to the corner.
Ji Li was shocked by these words, and his mind went blank. By the time his mind returned, his eyes were already wet.
He reached out to wipe the moisture from his eyes and forced himself to calm down. However, the question that emerged from his mouth trembled. “How much is this painting? Can I buy it?”
“I’m sorry, Sir. This painting can only be sold to a person called…” The guide’s words came to an abrupt end.
He suddenly remembered the name written on the invitation letter of the young man—Lu Yao.
This was the name of the only buyer designated by the artist when he was alive.
“Mr. Lu? Are you sure you want to buy this painting?”
Ji Li didn’t answer and never took his eyes off the painting.
It turned out that the person he firmly believed in had never left him. Until the last second of his life, Wen Qiong loved him.
Wen Qiong’s self-esteem was so high. He definitely wouldn’t allow his lover to see his imperfections.
Lu Yao knew the so-called ‘Wen Qiong ran away with his valuables’ was just a clumsy means used by the other person to make him give up on this relationship.
Fortunately, he was smart and was never fooled.
Ji made a smile, but it was more heart-wrenching and tearful. “How much does this painting cost?”
The guide looked at him with a complicated expression and quoted an unprecedented low number. “Eight dollars.”
The moment Ji Li heard this number, the sourness that had been suppressed with great difficulty returned. He crouched on the ground and let his tears rush out wildly.
This person, who had always been good at hiding his pain with a smile, ended up crying like a child.
It was just like many years ago when he was drunk and lost himself. He cried helplessly on the streets of Iceland. Only this time, no one ‘picked him up’ to take him home.
Eight dollars for a painting?
The cup of Long Island Iced Tea that he bought for Wen Qiong was also eight dollars.
TL: Advance chapters are available over on my Patreon. You can go check out the details on my Patreon page.