Reborn as a Substitute Chapter 88

The filming of “The Drummer” went very smoothly. Xie Xuanming’s scenes were basically shot in one take. Zheng Meiyun was also able to complete his scenes in three takes or less because of Xie Xuanming’s “strict scrutiny”. Even Ji Sheng, who was acting for the first time, benefited from the script and Xie Xuanming’s additional guidance. He rarely encountered difficulties during the filming of his scenes and his performance in the finished film was also quite outstanding.

With the starring actors being so smooth, the filming schedule naturally moved on efficiently and the filming was wrapped up in just two months.

The last scene was the car accident. Ji Sheng lay dying in a junk car prepared by the prop crew, letting out inaudible moans of pain.

The camera closed in, first focusing on his bloodstained cheek and then slowly turning to the side.

The camera gradually moved down, and finally aimed at Ji Sheng’s right hand that stretched out of the car door, limp and helpless on the asphalt road. It lingered for a moment on the ugly scar on his wrist and turned to his fingers.

The drummer’s hand had distinct joints and slender fingers, but with thick cocoons on the palm, silently witnessing the talent incapacitated by the scar.

Under the camera lens, the index finger and thumb slowly moved together to make a tight grip.

The palm loosened and closed, and an invisible drumstick was brought down.


An invisible drum made the last sound.

The life of the drummer came to an end.

Ji Sheng remained still for a long time, until his back felt numb from the props, and finally heard the director shout “cut”.

He struggled to get up with relief, and the crew rushed out to help him out of the wreckage of the car.

“Thank you for your hard work.” Ji Sheng bowed to the people around him. He didn’t have time to soothe his aching waist and neck; he looked around to find Xie Xuanming, hurriedly broke away from the crowd and headed to that side.

Xie Xuanming stood in the corner of the shed with his arms crossed and his face shielded with a cap as he silently watched Ji Sheng quickly come up to him.

Ji Sheng took a few steps towards him, lowered his head and peeped into Xie Xuanming’s red eyes under the brim of his cap, sighed and opened his arms to hug.

“Didn’t I tell you not to come…” Ji Sheng said.

You’ll feel bad if you watch.

Xie Xuanming silently let him hold him. Seeing the merged figures of the two, the people around them consciously took a detour to leave them some space.

After a long hug, Xie Xuanming bowed slightly and put his chin on Ji Sheng’s shoulder.

Even though he knew it was acting, the sight of Ji Sheng collapsing helplessly in a pool of blood ripped Xie Xuanming’s heart open again, reminding him of the countless midnight dreams of Ji Sheng lying on the road covered in blood, calling his name as if begging for help…

Awakened from a nightmare, Xie Xuanming would sit up in a cold sweat, clutching his head, suffering from Ji Sheng’s death and yet despairing that Ji Sheng had not actually thought of him before he died.

The thought of this would dismay him, and he would rant and rave in a fit of helplessness before welcoming a sleepless night.

Fortunately, Ji Sheng’s soul resurrected in a different body and finally returned to him.

Xie Xuanming’s hanging hands moved slightly, rising to hug Ji Sheng.

“You didn’t come to watch the funeral scene.” He said sullenly.

The finale of “The Drummer” was actually Ji Renshi’s funeral. Xie Yuan sat on a bench and watched the people coming and going in front of him in silence. After everyone was gone, he slowly got up and went up to Ji Renshi’s black and white photo, gently putting down the drumsticks that he had been holding for a long time.

The moment the front ends of the drumsticks touched the tombstone, a tear slipped down his cheek.

Originally, there was no crying scene in the script, because Xie Yuan was already separated from Ji Renshi by the glamour of the entertainment industry, and the former best friend and young love was eventually only eligible to attend the funeral. Xie Yuan stood in front of Ji Renshi’s black-and-white photo, sad and silent.

But when that tear slipped, the director did not stop, and no one at the scene raised any objections.

Xie Xuanming stood in front of the black-and-white photo, neatly dressed, with a calm expression, but endless sadness swept over everyone behind the camera.

This tear seemed to be the only crack in his calm expression. It slipped down, the teenage years reflecting in that pain.

Xie Xuanming did not allow Ji Sheng to watch this scene, but Ji Sheng went anyway.

At this moment, hugging Xie Xuanming, Ji Sheng remembered again the sorrow that seized his heart when that tear fell, and after a moment of silence, he carefully changed the subject: “At the funeral, did you send me a wreath?” 

“…no.” Xie Xuanming replied sullenly.

“Su Jing gave me two, and now he asks me to pay him back more than a thousand, isn’t it outrageous…”

“But I had a fight with Sheng Kongzhi.” Xie Xuanming mercilessly shot down Ji Sheng’s idea to liven up the atmosphere.

Ji Sheng halted and said helplessly: “I saw the news.” 

To be precise, when he was lying in bed unable to move, he heard the radio babble about many “crimes” of Xie Xuanming. One of the widely criticised issues was him beating up Sheng Kongzhi at the funeral.

But since it was beating up…

“Sounds like you won?” Ji Sheng asked, nudging him.

“En.” Xie Xuanming let go of him, “With the reporters around, he didn’t dare to do anything.”

He added: “But he can’t beat me without the reporters either.” 

Xie Xuanming would occasionally show this kind of childish stubbornness or ostentation in front of Ji Sheng.

Ji Sheng liked it very much.

He laughed out loud, raised his hand and rubbed Xie Xuanming’s cheek like he always did: “Our Xiao Xie is amazing.” 

Under Ji Sheng’s comfort, Xie Xuanming’s expression gradually relaxed. He looked at Ji Sheng and let him knead his face without moving until the director couldn’t hold back a few coughs. Then he grabbed Ji Sheng’s hand and took off: “Let’s go celebrate the end of the shooting with the crew.”

After the filming of “The Drummer”, it was going to take a while for the post-production review. During this period, Ji Sheng took Xie Xuanming and Niepan to a few more commercial shows.

The netizens were now so used to seeing Xie Xuanming on the guest list that they would only say a few words calmly, adding “He loves him so much” to end the discussion. ”Ji Hui” and Xie Xuanming even had a batch of cp fans. Although they were besieged by the individual fans of the two sides and Xie Xuanming/Ji Sheng’s cp fans, they still thrived due to the unrelenting sugar rush provided by one of the protagonists.

Xie Xuanming’s fans on the surface resisted the cp hype, but in their hearts, they also knew that Xie Xuanming’s main source of income was not from his fans, so he naturally was not bound by fans’ opinion. They had no choice but to go along with him, and there were even smart fans who started grabbing the tickets to Ji Hui’s meet and greets or performances because they could definitely see Xie Xuanming there…

After the approval of “The Drummer” was obtained, several video sites that were eyeing it immediately made offers to buy the exclusive rights. Xie Xuanming chose one of them to sell.

The platform Xie Xuanming chose was called Passion Fruit TV; it had been in opposition to KUZI for years and was very good at publicity. It had even made a conscientious clarification about Ji Sheng back then when his reputation had been bad.

Xie Xuanming did not take the opportunity to raise the price, and offered a very friendly price. He just made three provisions in the contract: video on-demand was not allowed in advance, unwarranted editing was not allowed and false publicity was not allowed.

With the broadcast of “The Drummer” just around the corner, more restless than the netizens, Qingchu finally stepped in again and contacted Xie Xuanming, struggling to get him to at least cut out the part that “discredited” Sheng Kongzhi for the old times’ sake.

“We are willing to exchange the resources of three endorsements and a male lead in a TV series.” Li Tan said through the clenched teeth.

With their major shareholder in trouble and Qingchu losing its backer, these resources were the best they could come up with in order to protect Sheng Kongzhi, their last cash cow.

“Xuansheng is not short of resources.” Xie Xuanming was extremely calm in response to Qingchu’s heavy bleeding, “What you are offering is not enough to make me feel moved. We refuse to exchange.”

After that, he was about to hang up.

“Xiao Xie!” Li Tan shouted urgently, “Resources and everything are negotiable, as long as Kongzhi’s part can be cut out…”

“I want the trademark of Qingchu.” Xie Xuanming showed his fangs.

“What… what?” 

“This name was originally created by Ji Sheng. You ungratefully occupied the magpie’s nest for so many years. I now ask for it to be returned. There is no problem, right?” 

“Xie Xuanming, don’t go too far!” Li Tan was furious. Although Qingchu was having a hard time now, a skinny camel was bigger than a horse, and now Xie Xuanming opened his mouth to ask for the trademark, which was simply bullying.

“It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to give it.” Xie Xuanming sneered and threw out a heavy bomb, “Have your company’s books been equalised? How do you intend to fill the hole of several hundred million yuan?”


“We will meet soon.” Xie Xuanming didn’t want to listen to Li Tan’s nonsense any longer, “I’m not interested in your shitty company, but ‘Qingchu’ is a name I’ll take with a smile.”

Ignoring Li Tan’s roar, Xie Xuanming hung up.

“The Drummer” was scheduled to start broadcasting in July, with new episodes every Friday and Saturday, four episodes a week for three weeks.

With more than a month to go until July, the official blog took the lead in releasing the trailer.

In the intro, Ji Renshi was playing drums in a closed garage, dust flying as the drumsticks rose and fell.

The perspective switched to Xie Yuan walking in the alley with a plastic bag in his hand, the exposed hemp rope swaying gently with his paces.

The viewpoint changed again; Xie Yuan lay on the ground as Ji Renshi knocked down the last punk with his drumsticks, stood up straight and whistled.

‘Who are you?’

‘I’m a drummer, you did a good job with your voice earlier, any wish to play in a band?’

The sound of drums became stronger, and the young band members leaped out of the bar through the window, laughing wildly and shrugging off the angry roar of the boss; Ji Renshi slapped the cream on Xie Yuan’s face and raised his eyebrows, saying “happy birthday”; then at the music festival, amidst thousands of cheers, Xie Yuan closed his eyes, turned his back to the audience and fell into the hands of the crowd.

The drums stopped abruptly.

‘I want to go to the entertainment industry.’

In the confrontation between the young man and the capital during the talent show, Ji Renshi’s eyes were red as he looked down from the top of the debut podium. The two argued on the side of the road, the shots of the snooping camera coming from the high-rise building on the opposite side…

‘You can’t go on stage again! If you don’t act, what can you do?’

The agent asked irritably; Ji Renshi walked out and slammed the door in silence.

The drums became more and more rapid, finally reaching the climax. Two cars collided heavily.

The sound of the drums ended.

In silence, Ji Renshi’s bloody hand struggled to reach out.

He tapped the ground sluggishly.

Bang bang

‘I am a drummer.’

Young Ji Renshi said with a smile.

The screen turned dark; the progress bar was at its end.

The Drummer

Two large words appeared on the screen.

Stay tuned.

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5 thoughts on “Reborn as a Substitute Chapter 88

  1. Reading this chapter made it even more obvious why Ji Sheng didn’t wish to star in the drama, besides any worries about his ability. Even if we ignore how this looks to the outsiders– like Xie Xuanming using an untrained rookie who resembles his white moonlight to clear the latter’s reputation and play out his own fantasies– how weird it must be for Ji Sheng… He had to relive an entire (traumatic) period of his life that he hasn’t processed yet in front of the cameras and millions of viewers. He had to relive his own death ffs! And he can’t even show his feelings because he’s supposed to be acting, not actually reliving the past. How messed up is that?

    1. You’re completely right. Xie Xuanming quite selfishly forces Ji Sheng into it. It’s good Ji Sheng takes everything so calmly. He probably understands Xiao Xie needs a closure, so he goes along.

  2. “Ji Renshi knocked down the last punk with his drumsticks” I’m sorry…how?? Wha?? 🤣🤣🤣 I can imagine a comedy scene where the protag “plays” on a gangster’s head like it was a drum, or an age-restricted, bloody fighting scene where he “stabs” the sticks into very vulnerable human body parts, but just “knocking them down”?? I am confusion

    1. I like how the author added in the trailer scene tho. It’s pretty neat whenever stage performance, catwalks, photograph sessions and other shows are described in novels (as long as they’re not flowery)~

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