The next morning, An Zihao received an invite to lunch from the boss of Hongchuan Film Company.
An Zihao had never come in contact with Hongchuan before, but they were quite noteworthy in Beijing. So, he arrived on time to build his network.
However, An Zihao had no idea that this was all a part of Annie and her cousin's plan. An Zihao simply thought they wanted to collaborate.
Annie's cousin went by the surname of Xie. He claimed to be the boss of Hongchuan because he owned some of the shares, but in reality, his father was the one that called the shots.
However, his father did not like Annie. So, he never helped her.
"Director An, you've been very popular in the industry lately..." Xie Tong stood up from the table in a welcoming manner and stuck out his right arm, "I'm really thankful for your appearance today."
An Zihao immediately knew the man's status as soon as he stepped into the hotel, so he gave up on his idea to collaborate. He originally expected to see the 'real boss' of Hongchuan, but he was instead greeted by someone of no significance.
"Thank you for your kindness," An Zihao also stretched out his arm for a handshake.
"The matter I want to discuss is this: I know you have a stunt double who has recently secured a role in 'The Savage Wars'. However, that role originally belonged to one of my artists. So, I would like to ask if Director An could give us back the role," Xie Tong pretended to be serious. "The role is very important to us. You can set whatever condition you want in exchange for it."
An Zihao did not respond...
"Oh, by the way, I'm aware you have another action star signed to you called Annie. If you are willing to give us the role, I can help you secure a good opportunity for Annie."
An Zihao smiled as he questioned Xie Tong, "You sound like you've come prepared. Is Mr. Xie suggesting I sacrifice my artist?"
"How is this a sacrifice? Chen Xingyan can have plenty more opportunities. Plus, I promise that I'd give Annie a role that isn't worse than 'The Savage Wars'. They are both your people, so it's no issue."
"But, shouldn't you be compensating Chen Xingyan?" An Zihao pointed out.
"The film is of a relatively high caliber. Someone like Chen Xingyan does not qualify," Xie Tong replied. "Director An, no matter how I look at it, this is still of benefit to you. Do you still need to consider?"
"By sacrificing Chen Xingyan, you can please the three of us. All you have to do is compensate Chen Xingyan later and everyone wins."
An Zihao's gaze was originally focused on the table, but as soon as Xie Tong finished speaking, he became extremely calm, "I won't make any changes to Chen Xingyan's role, so I don't think this deal will go ahead."
"Even if I can give Annie a better role?"
"I don't need it," An Zihao replied.
The man looked at An Zihao with a strict expression. After exchanging glances for a good while, Xie Tong leaned back on his chair and glared at An Zihao, "I'm sure you know deep down that the role in 'The Savage Wars' isn't actually that important for Chen Xingyan. So, why aren't you willing to give a better opportunity to Annie?"
"Mr. Xie, this is my business."
"Aren't you afraid that Annie will find out about this?" Xie Tong asked with a deeper meaning. "I really feel bad for Annie. You're not as logical as they say you are. Anyone with brains would not reject such a great offer."
"I have my own arrangements for Annie. If Mr. Xie doesn't have anything else to discuss, then I won't be staying much longer. I have other things to deal with in the afternoon." After speaking, An Zihao buttoned his suit jacket and stood up to leave.
Not long after, Annie approached Xie Tong from a neighbouring booth with a dark expression.
"It seems you really should change managers," Xie Tong said. "An Zihao has no intention to help you grow. At least, for now, his efforts are completely focused on Chen Xingyan."
Annie understood what she saw and heard.
But, why did An Zihao sign her on with no intention to help her?
Annie couldn't quite understand the reason.
Afterwards, Xie Tong fetched a business card from his pocket and handed it to Annie, "When you've made up your mind, give this number a call."
After speaking, Xie Tong left the hotel, leaving Annie all alone in a daze.
A while later, Annie returned to the apartment to find An Zihao installing Chen Xingyan's video game console. She had always thought that An Zihao was too high and mighty to do something so insignificant for others. But, her assumption was obviously incorrect...
"Mr. An...I received a phone call from Hongchuan Film Company. They said they have a character for me to audition for..."
"We won't be going," An Zihao said without lifting his head.
"But, why?" Annie questioned. "Why can't I attend the auditions?"
"Hongchuan isn't very trustworthy and its chairman has only just taken over, so the directors are currently a mess. If you go with with them now, you may fall into their trap."
"Mr. An, are you stopping me from advancing?"
Hearing this question, An Zihao finally stopped what he was doing and looked up at the serious Annie, "Trust is a huge factor when it comes to collaboration. Do I have a reason for stopping you from advancing?"
Annie did not respond...
However, inside she was thinking, without a reason, he definitely wouldn't stop her...
...but with Chen Xingyan around...he definitely had a reason.
"If there's nothing else, then get some rest, stop thinking nonsense."
Annie clenched her fists, turned around and headed upstairs to her room. She then pulled out the business card that Xie Tong had given to her.
She wasn't bound to An Zihao.
Plus, the way that An Zihao treated her, showed that he never thought of her as someone that wanted to move forward; he simply kept telling her to wait. He even rejected Xie Tong's offer for the sake of protecting Chen Xingyan's role.
Unable to comprehend what An Zihao was thinking, Annie decided to call Little Five to complain. At this time, Little Five warned, "Annie, I think Mr. An appears to care for you on the surface, but in reality, he has ulterior motives. I feel like he brought you back simply to provoke Chen Xingyan."
Hearing this, Annie froze...
She had been awoken by Little Five's words!
Chen Xingyan had never been obedient towards An Zihao, so he hired her to annoy Chen Xingyan. This had to be the reason why An Zihao did not care about her future prospects!
The truth was cruel...
With this painful thought, Annie impulsively phoned another agency...
"Don't assume that I'd back out so easily. Since you've played me for a fool, I'm going to get you back for it!"