157 The Cobra Effec
Even though they might not gel, Tian Mo Media was still Celebrity Luo's current agency. Therefore, while Tian Mo Media did not produce this latest film by Luo Mingxin, they had to show themselves at the premier, to stress that the lead belonged to their agency.
Ye Shuang's original plan had been to ask Mo Xiao Xia to be her date. It would help to deter any rumors from forming, and it have prevented people from Tian Mo Media doing anything stupid. However, she was one step too late. When she made the call, Mo Xiao Xia had already been captured by her uncle to be his date. Without another option, Ye Shuang had to find other suitable partner.
"Humph! The young man thinks he can beat me‽" Tian Mo Media's boss was over fifty already, but he kept his physical condition in tip-top shape. He looked like he was just forty and had the spirit of a man in his thirties.
Boss Mo had harbored a stomach of fire since he found out that his niece had been used to create a smokescreen that morning. He could not really tell his niece that he was trying to ruin someone's name and tell her not to get involved. After all, he knew Mo Xiao Xia respected him, and he did not want to ruin that. Boss Mo did not mind outsiders saying he was cruel and heartless, but before his kind niece, that face had to be preserved.
Therefore, the moment Mo Xiao Xia returned, Boss Mo ordered his own son to bring the girl to prepare the dress that she would need tomorrow. He used this opportunity to detain her phone and purse, to prevent others from ruining his plan. As he expected, when Ye Shuang realized she needed a date for the party, the first candidate that came into his mind was the useful and obedient Mo Xiao Xia. His call was intercepted by Boss Mo and after a few rounds of crossing swords, no one managed to win anything. However, at least Boss Mo managed to protect his niece, so technically speaking, he won half a round.
He gloated for less than a minute before Elder Mo came down from the second floor with his staff. The elderly man chuckled and said, "You're so happy just from winning half a round‽"
"Father!" Boss Mo immediately rushed forward to help his father get down the stairs. As he did so, he hissed darkly, "You have no idea how horrible this ruffian is. He is trying to make use of our Xiao Xia."
"That is because of you." Elder Mo glanced at Boss Mo. He walked to the sofa, and as he sat down, he signaled for the maid to brew a pot of tea. "Your mother and I were both Chinese Opera singers. We were poor and thus had no good reputation. It was not until new recognition and appreciation for the art came that we were called senior artists. After we had you, we wanted you to be an actual artist, but you insisted on joining acting school."
Elder Mo accepted the tea from the maid and blew on it before continuing. "I've already told you the status of a celebrity won't be high—it's just an illusion created by the public—but you refused to believe me. After you learned your lesson, you went to open an agency. With money in your pockets, the man started to float. Now you've forgotten how others bullied you when you were trying to make it in the industry and started to do the same things others did to you. If that Luo Mingxin wants to leave, let him. It's a fair trade, but you had to create a nemesis, and now people have strike back, so who can you blame but yourself‽"
"That was then, and this is now." Boss Mo smiled. "A business is a business. If he can help me earn money, then of course I'll take good care of him, but if he wants to block my gold mine, I won't take a step back and forgive him."
"You also know this is a business, so why don't you know how to admit defeat‽" Boss Mo harrumphed. "If you fought honestly with the man, so be it, but you insist on playing dirty. In that case, why can't the opponent do the same‽ The child is actually very kind to you already. If he was really a despicable man, he would have done more than asking Xiao Xia out to play media wars with you."
"He dares‽" Boss Mo's eyes widened with anger and groused, "I told second brother not to send Xiao Xia to be an actor; what is so good about the entertainment industry‽ They're either taken advantage by their boss or the media. She is too young to understand the dark undercurrent that is behind the glory of being a star."
Elder Mo chuckled as he tossed a look at Boss Mo. After he calmed down, Boss Mo thought about it, and he too started to laugh. Elder Mo had said the very same thing to him when he asked to join acting school. Youths were the same, no matter which generation they came from. They acted rashly, often without taking into account the advice of the older generation.
After consoling Elder Mo, Boss Mo sighed. "Actually it's not my intention to push people to the edge, but Father, you understand, until now, Tian Mo and Miao Yi have each had their own piece of territory, and neither of us tried to come for the other. Now, however, they're moving into Xiang Jiang, and they're still growing. If this is allowed to continue, it's only a matter of time until Tian Mo is swallowed.
"Initially, I signed Luo Mingxin because I knew he has both local and international appeal. The plan was to push him into the western market, but the man refused to take any film offers… because he looks down on commercial flicks!" The more Boss Mo explained, the angrier he became. The fire that had died down exploded again. "I can understand that actors have their own demands, but at the end of the day, they're the company's asset. Or else, why did I sign him? He might survive with his ideals, but does he expect the rest of the company to eat air‽"
Boss Mo's initial plan was to squeeze Luo Mingxin dry within their contract period, but after Luo Mingxin made his intention to end the contract clear and showed his interest to join Miao Yi, it was truly over between Tian Mo Media and Luo Mingxin.
Miao Yi was in their growth stage. They had found a sponsor, so they did not mind ticket sales; they'd rather lose money as long as they could get their name out there. They accepted Luo Mingxin and would not mind him focusing on just artistic films. At worst, his name would continue to fall, but if this was expertly managed, it could become another feature of Miao Yi Media.
Even though Tian Mo Media had a few stars under its name, the one at the top was none other than Luo Mingxin, so if they could not count on him, whom could they count on‽
That was the source of contention between the star and the agency; the former placed importance on his name and filmography while the latter focused on the opportunities the former could bring to them.
"The cake is so big; no one will be able to swallow everything." Elder Mo shook his head. "If you'd started with honesty, then perhaps Luo Mingxin might have given you face, but you insist on holding your company secrets to yourself and don't want to reveal them to the people at the company.
"You kept pushing him away, so of course, he keeps running. The higher one stands, the greater the fall. A company that manages human resources should focus on harmony…
"Never mind, looking at that expression on your face, I know you won't be listening to me. In any case, since your mother and I have our retirement funds, at worst, after you announce your bankruptcy, we'll take care of you."
"Father!" Boss Mo ended his words with a semi-high pitch. Obviously, he was unsatisfied that his father had so little faith in him. Their conversation could not be called unhappy, but at least it showed the difference of opinion between them.
For someone like Boss Mo, who was more than fifty, even though he had lost the impulsiveness of youth, his views on life had already been formed, so he would have a hard time accepting other influences.
The second night, to prevent Ye Shuang from having a chance to get close to his precious niece, he stuck to her all day. However, to his surprise, he only managed to look after one and was unable to prevent another opening. When he saw the female partner that attended the party holding Ye Shuang's arm, he almost coughed up blood.
"This place sure is exciting." Ye Shuang's partner looked around, and her smile softened the wrinkles on her face. The kind woman sighed with emotion. "I've not been to a young people gathering for such a long time already. I'm surprised that I'm still allowed in such a place in my old age."
"Madam Mo is being too humble." Ye Shuang smiled handsomely, and his voice was as mellifluous as a deep baritone. "Your eldest son is a well-known name in the entertainment business. If you just ask him, I'm sure many events bigger than this will be open to you. How about a glass of red wine‽ If it's less than 200ml, it'll be beneficial for blood flow. Actually, your habit of drinking milk before sleeping is not that good. In the future, I'd suggest red wine or warm water."
"Sure, red wine it'll be." Madam Mo smiled brightly and patted Ye Shuang's hands like he was her actual grandson. No! She did not even show such degree of pampering to her own grandchildren!
Boss Mo swallowed the blood that rushed to his throat and smiled a smile that looked uglier than crying. He walked over and forced a smile. "Mother…"
Then he added with a whisper, "Why are you here‽"
And with that shameless ruffian!
Madam Mo had not enjoyed social events since she was young. Other than playing Go and singing with her old friends, she rarely showed herself in public. At least Elder Mo still socialized with his own students and could be invited to appear at art-related events, but Madam Mo had already retired to seclusion. Other than her own family and old friends, anyone trying to meet her would find it harder than reaching into the sky.
This time, Madam Mo appeared with a new cheongsam, and her dyed black hair was combed into a tasted chignon. She had a light make-up on her face, and she looked twenty years younger than her actual age. When she heard her eldest son's question, she answered with a big smile, "It was Xiao Ye who suggested that I come to these sorts of events more often so that the soul can be younger. Look, your mother doesn't look too shabby, right? Xiao Ye personally combed the chignon for me; he's such a good kid."
Such a suck-up! After kidnapping the young one, he aimed for the old one. Why don't the gods punish this creep‽
Boss Mo wanted to roar, but he forced out a smile with difficulty. "Yes… Mother, you do look beautiful."