Surprise Resignation of Female Substitute Secretary

Chapter 16

Qin Xuexi stumbled out of the office, a bowl of greens on her head, her entire body trembling as she headed towards the bathroom.

She could hear the faint mocking laughter, her fingernails digging into her palms, almost piercing through the skin.

Tian Yingying held up her phone, recording Qin Xuexi's embarrassing state. Watching her disappear around the corner, she curled her lips mockingly.

She clipped the video into screenshots and sent them to the revelry group chat, immediately sparking heated discussion.

Those who used to stand with Qin Xuexi had now turned against her.

With Su Tao gone and Qin Xuexi humiliated, Tian Yingying glanced confidently at the pitch-black doorway. The two obstacles in her path to the top had finally been cleared.

Having not slept or eaten for three days and nights, Xie Jin had just exerted all his strength in that one toss, nearly falling off his chair.

Jin Chuiwen and Wu Xie Yu immediately rushed in to support him. Wu Xie Yu, being over ten years Xie Jin's senior, kindly admonished, "Boss Xie, if you keep this up, you'll die."

Xie Jin's parched lips parted. His eyes were dim and unfocused, no longer lucid. Yet he kept murmuring softly.

Jin Chuiwen leaned in close to hear him repeating over and over: "If I die, would you ache for me? Regret me?"

Jin Chuiwen's heart churned like stormy seas. So the boss really did want to die!

As a pillar of the scumbag community, Jin Chuiwen truly could not comprehend this. When you lose a woman, just find another. He could even understand drowning sorrows in drink, but to be so desperately heartbroken over a woman?

Although he did not understand his boss, Jin Chuiwen suddenly knew how to dissuade him from thoughts of suicide.

"Boss, you must find Su Tao and ask her directly - why did she leave you? Don't you want to know if she would ache and regret you dying for her?"

Xie Jin's vacant gaze gradually came into focus.

Jin Chuiwen's heart leaped. Exchanging affirming looks with Wu Xie Yu, Jin Chuiwen continued, "Don't you want to ask her face to face, if you die for her, would she ache? Would she regret?"

Wu Xie Yu had already brought over the still-warm takeout. Opening it, the aromatic scent of crab congee wafted out.

But Xie Jin only stared at it, making no move to pick up the spoon.

Thinking he still had no appetite, Jin Chuiwen was about to speak when Xie Jin slowly said, "She doesn't like seafood. Get something else."


Summers in Jiang City were hotter than in Bei City.

Su Tao had been here a year, but was still not accustomed to it.

Jing Yang Entertainment's office building was near the scenic Nan Lake Park in Jiang City. Su Tao's third floor office had nothing but a desk, two chairs, and a whole wall of shelves, sparse and simple.

She had moved in just two days ago, yet many had already sent odd little decorations for her office.

Other than a potted plant Xie Jin had sent, she politely declined the rest.

Emptier spaces made her feel less stifled.

A knock sounded on her door before her assistant Le Xuan came in holding a schedule for that night's company banquet. "Boss, this is tonight's banquet agenda. Not much procedure - after Chairman Zhang's speech, your promotion as company partner will be announced, then the main banquet starts."

Su Tao scanned the schedule briefly and nodded. "When's the shareholders meeting?"

Le Xuan: "In ten minutes."

Another knock interrupted them as Zhang Qiguang appeared in the doorway, rapping lightly on the frame. Beaming at Su Tao, he said, "My star agent, ready?"

Su Tao gave a faint smile. "Chairman Zhang is too kind to take time out of his vacation and come back specially for me. I'm afraid I've disrupted your break." Her words subtly mocked him for vacationing instead of working properly.

Zhang Qiguang knew better than to retort. Scratching his nose awkwardly, he didn't dare to argue. "I'll have to rely on Agent Su to take care of things."

Uninterested in petty squabbles, Su Tao picked up her flash drive and followed him out. "Let's go, the meeting is starting."

Four people already sat in the conference room. Two were Jing Yang's early investors, professional investment company reps unrelated to entertainment. Their stakes were each 5%.

The other two were partner agents at the company.

One was the famous idol group manager Liang Ke, now a major shareholder.

The other was a returned overseas female graduate, media and communications ace student Liu Wantao.

They each held 10% stakes.

Su Tao would receive 10% from Zhang Qiguang's shares, becoming an equal partner with Liu Wantao and Liang Ke as one of the company's three managing agents.

This was already decided beforehand, so the shareholders meeting was just a formality. But something told Su Tao things wouldn't be so simple under Liu Wantao's arrogant, almost disdainful gaze.

Sure enough, Liu Wantao crossed her arms and leaned back casually, looking at Su Tao contemptuously. "We all got here by ability. Chairman Zhang makes many mistakes, but we've accepted most. Still, I hope this time it's not too preposterous a mistake."

With that one statement, she labeled Su Tao's partnership as Zhang Qiguang's mistake - very confrontational.

Liu Wantao considered herself highly educated and experienced, looking down on Su Tao.

Su Tao got in through alumni connections. The artists she managed were taken from Liu Wantao.

Top male artist Gu YiYan, for example.

Yes, Gu YiYan's meteoric rise was Su Tao's doing, but he had star potential to begin with. Under her own management he could have been just as, if not more, successful.

Liu Wantao believed Su Tao merely got lucky with Zhang Qiguang's favoritism, giving her a good prospect like Gu YiYan so she could succeed. What qualifications did Su Tao have to stand equally with her?

Hearing this, Su Tao did not retort. Head lowered, she took her flash drive to the projector.

On screen appeared the data analysis Su Tao had prepared:

Contacts of relevant personnel for all platforms.

Analyses of all contracted and prospective film, TV and variety show resources.

Categorization and summary of all noteworthy artists.

Current situation analyses of all domestic entertainment companies.

Comparisons between artists similar to their own.

Two to five year plans for their artists.

Su Tao clicked through the slides wordlessly. Each page was densely packed, meticulous and impressive. The shareholders gaped in awe before Liang Ke started clapping.

No further explanation was needed. Anyone capable of producing such detailed analysis had the industry at their fingertips.

Liang Ke had been in this for eight years, reaching the point where he could grasp the idol industry blindfolded, aware of any movements.

That was seniority and ability.

"I'm responsible for five artists, including Gu YiYan whom I cultivated, two new singer-trainees from Manager Liang, and two actors from Manager Liu. I will do my utmost to generate revenue for the company."

Su Tao's final words struck at what mattered most to the shareholders - profit. More partners didn't mean dividing the money further, right?

This time, true applause sounded in the conference room.

"Su Tao, welcome aboard," said Liang Ke with an approving smile, extending a hand adorned with feminine pink nails.

Su Tao shook his lily-white fingers, smiling faintly at Liu Wantao.

Liu Wantao took a deep breath. Face still unyielding, she stood and curtly shook Su Tao's hand.


Zhang Qiguang followed Su Tao back to her office and sat down, marveling, "Su Taotao, you were so awesome just now, even I was overshadowed as the boss. And you say you've only been in this a year? How'd you get all that data?"

Su Tao carefully brewed two sachets of pour-over coffee, looking entirely unruffled. "If you have the heart for it, you'll naturally obtain it."

"Tsk, speaking more sagely by the day." Finding no decorum, Zhang Qiguang cast his gaze around the austere office and frowned. "Your office is pretty stodgy too. Feels like some veteran cadre's."

The coffee Su Tao prepared sat before Zhang Qiguang. He sniffed its aroma appreciatively, but pushed it away with a regretful shake of his head. "Too bitter. And I have gastritis lately, so no coffee."

Su Tao sipped her coffee, puzzled. "Since when did you have stomach problems?"

"You're really unconcerned for your old pal. I've had this stomach issue for months now. Can't drink on your behalf anymore. Find an assistant who can hold liquor."

Su Tao set her cup down. "I don't need that. I never drink when handling business."

Zhang Qiguang: "..."

Speaking like a true fuddy-duddy already.

"Fine, you win. I've got a date to catch. See you at tonight's banquet."

"What meeting?" Su Tao asked curiously. She hadn't heard of any other meetings.

"A date." Zhang Qiguang quirked a brow and turned back to remind her, "Dress nice tonight."

Su Tao ignored him, resuming work.

Less than a minute later, another knock sounded.

This time, a tall, sharp-featured youth wearing a cap and shades entered. Removing his mask revealed handsome, princely features.

It was Gu YiYan. Most free artists were returning today for the company banquet tonight.

Gu YiYan grinned brightly. "Boss, busy?"

Taken aback, Su Tao checked her schedule - he was supposed to have a photoshoot today.

"Don't look, I finished early," said Gu YiYan, already seated opposite her. A year's partnership meant he could read her every action. "I specially rushed back to attend your promotion banquet. Touched?"

Su Tao smiled knowingly and handed him a small mirror. Gu YiYan bared a mouthful of pearly whites. "You really get me, unlike Manager Wang."

Manager Wang Qi was Gu YiYan's executive manager, a seasoned 35-year-old. Not highly proactive but very steady, she executed Su Tao's plans competently. Su Tao was quite satisfied with her.

"If you have any needs, tell Manager Wang yourself. How will she understand if you don't communicate?"

"I didn't tell you anything either, yet you knew just what I wanted with the mirror."

Removing his hat, Gu YiYan ruffled his hair, confirming he still looked good before setting the mirror down. Gazing intensely at Su Tao, he said, "Can you still manage me personally?"

Su Tao held up the unfinished share transfer agreement, shaking it slightly. Faintly smiling, she said, "I'm out of your league now."

Gu YiYan pouted - he was just joking around, knowing she couldn't manage him directly anymore now that he had made it.

Seeing the coffee, Gu YiYan raised his brows. "That's not for me, is it?"

"Brewed it for Chairman Zhang, but he has gastritis and didn't drink it."

Su Tao didn't indulge further small talk, returning to work mode.

Unbothered, Gu YiYan picked up the still-warm coffee and sipped. "Mm, delicious. Boss, you..."

Before he finished speaking, Su Tao tossed an unopened box of pour-over coffee at him, stopping his mouth.

Gu YiYan chuckled. He loved how Su Tao just understood him without excessive words.

"Oh, what are you wearing tonight? Picked a dress yet?" Left idle in her office, Gu YiYan wandered around boredly before sizing Su Tao up curiously.

Su Tao, who was immersed in her work, ignored him. However, Gu YiYan roughly guessed, "Don't tell me you're going to wear that black outfit you have on?"

Su Tao wore a black chiffon shirt today, black cropped pants, and a pair of black high heels. She was dressed like she was attending a funeral.

"Sis, how old are you? Can't you wear less black and white? If you could dress more pink, you could pass as a high schooler with that face."

Hearing the word "pink", Su Tao's typing fingers paused for a moment before resuming her work.

"My sis, you're the star tonight!"

Su Tao still ignored him.

Gu YiYan knew it was useless to say this to her, so he went straight out of the office and called his assistant. Soon he came back full of confidence.

"I've prepared a dress for you. You have to wear it to the cocktail party later."

Only then did Su Tao lift her head from the computer, "What clothes?"

"Don't worry about it, just listen to me when the time comes."

"Let me make this clear first, I definitely won't wear pink."

Su Tao had never told anyone about this before, and no one had intervened in what she wore. So Gu YiYan was naturally a little surprised.

Gu YiYan: "Why? You would definitely look good in pink."

Su Tao squinted at him, "So, is the dress you ordered pink?"

Gu YiYan sat back opposite her, curiously asking, "No, I was just curious why you reject pink?"

"Personal preference." Su Tao's words were tantamount to 'end of discussion'.

Gu YiYan pouted, but didn't pursue the issue.

After fiddling with his phone for a while, he saw the airport photos of Tong Mengxuan and his agent Sun Xiaojie together. They made it onto the hot search rankings, albeit near the bottom.

"Sis, Tong Mengxuan and Sun Xiaojie made it onto the hot search rankings because of their outfits again. Although there's not much heat yet, they really are troublesome."

Tong Mengxuan was one of the two male actors Liu Wantao had just handed over to Su Tao. He had the face of a leading man and very spirited acting skills. Su Tao had high hopes for him.

He had just finished filming a drama and was now on the rise. But his agent was still Sun Xiaojie, who came over from Liu Wantao's side, and the two were always photographed in matching outfits like a couple.

Tong Mengxuan would likely still go down the idol drama leading man route in the next few years. This kind of hot search was detrimental to his image and easily led to scandals.

Su Tao immediately called the publicity department and asked them to quickly take down the not-yet-viral hot search.

Then she called Sun Xiaojie.

Soon, Sun Xiaojie's voice came from the phone, "Hello Taozi."

Su Tao used to have the same position as her, both were executive agents. Su Tao had just been promoted to Sun Xiaojie's superior, and she hadn't gotten used to the change in address yet.

Su Tao didn't mind the form of address: "Xiaojie, what's the deal with you and Mengxuan's clothes?"

Sun Xiaojie paused for a few seconds, laughed mockingly, "What's the deal? Got photographed again? It's just the same style, is it not allowed for staff and artists to wear the same clothes?"

Sun Xiaojie's blunt attitude made Su Tao raise her eyebrows slightly. Her tone was calm and unhurried, but powerful: "Essentially there's no problem, but the premise is that you already have dating rumors. Why not avoid suspicion? Are you waiting for fans to get agitated and ask for a change of agent?"

There was a brief silence on the phone before the tone softened a lot: "Then I'll borrow a coat to wear later."

"I hope this is the last time."

Su Tao hung up the phone and found that Gu YiYan was looking at her thoughtfully.

"Sis, I just remembered a strange phenomenon." Gu YiYan said mysteriously, "You managed me for a year, yet I was never photographed even once. I want to interview you, how did you do it?"

Su Tao retracted her gaze, her tone flat, "Pay attention to facial coverage, blend in with passersby, buy photos from fansite masters."

Gu YiYan nodded. He still admired this side of Su Tao. She had somehow gone a whole year without anyone knowing what her agent looked like. But what he was more curious about was why.

"Sis, why are you so strict about preventing your photos from leaking?" Gu YiYan's eyes shone with gossip, "Are you hiding from someone?"

Su Tao's breath hitched, her long eyelashes fluttered, her voice suddenly a little hoarse. She cleared her throat and said, "Don't make wild guesses."

Because his guess was too accurate.

But she didn't need to hide anymore.

She finally had the strength and ability to face everything openly.


Around 5pm, the bored Gu YiYan who had complained about arriving too early finally had something to do.

The dress he ordered for Su Tao had arrived. It was a silver fish tail dress, studded with glittering crystals that shone brightly under the lights.

Zhang Qiguang had also specially arranged a makeup artist for Su Tao. Su Tao had no choice but to go to the dressing room in the company prepared for the artists and get her makeup and dress done.

The dress was very well-fitted, showcasing her figure. Fortunately she had always kept herself in good shape, with attractive curves.

She usually dressed very casually for work. Everyone was amazed when she changed into the dress, her figure was no worse than a female celebrity's.

Su Tao's long hair had long been trimmed into a medium pixie cut, revealing her charming neck.

When selecting jewelry, her attitude was casual. Anything was fine as long as it wasn't a diamond bracelet.

"Our Boss Zhang has really spent a fortune, to think he invited you." Su Tao smiled at the makeup artist Jiajia, feeling it was a case of overkill.

Jiajia was very famous in the industry, she was the exclusive makeup artist for many top actresses.

As she did Su Tao's makeup, Jiajia chuckled, "Doing makeup for our ace agent, not just anyone has the privilege. But Taozi, your skin is so good, I don't even need to apply a thick base."

"Please don't give me heavy makeup."

Su Tao felt agents should hide behind their artists. If not for how it would benefit her future work to have a shareholder status at the company and make it easier to negotiate for resources, she wouldn't have agreed to Zhang Qiguang's high profile promotion of her at the company cocktail party.

"Don't worry, you don't need heavy makeup."

"Boss, " Le Xuan came in holding a list of attendees for the cocktail party. He looked around the room in confusion and said, "Uh? Where's my boss?"

Su Tao was sitting right there with her eyes closed as her lipstick was being applied. How could he not see her?

Jiajia laughed, "Isn't your boss right here with me?"

Only then did Le Xuan notice. He had thought she was some female artist. Turns out it was Su Tao!

"B-Boss?" Le Xuan circled around Su Tao a couple times, successfully making her dizzy. "My god, Boss you should debut, with you pushing yourself, you'd definitely make it big!"

Su Tao gave Le Xuan a sideways glance. Her lipstick was finally done so she could speak, "Let's talk business."

"Oh, the attendee list. The representatives and bosses of various film and TV entertainment companies in Jiangcheng will definitely attend. There's also Hongyun, Chenpei, Kangbo, Yunkai from Beicheng, Xingjue, Ruiqi, Xuanlang, Feichang from Yicheng..."

Le Xuan was still reading out the names of the various companies attending the cocktail party, but Su Tao had already spaced out at the "Ruiqi" part.

She slowly collected her thoughts again, shaking her head at how her emotions could still fluctuate because of people and events from the past.


The cocktail party held by Jingyang Entertainment was actually more of a small industry gathering.

Most companies came to connect and exchange resources, cooperating for mutual benefit.

Many artists under Jingyang were also there to liven up the atmosphere, and reporters flocked, giving the cocktail party quite a bit of hype.

The mingling people were toasting and exchanging pleasantries. Suddenly they were shocked into silence by a tall, jade-like figure standing at the door.

It wasn't just because of his handsome looks and noble temperament, but also because many recognized him as Xie Jin, the CEO of Tianjin Group which had acquired over a dozen entertainment companies in a year through Ruiqi Video's rapid development.

From his bespoke suit to his watch, cufflinks to shoe tips, everything exuded luxury.

And he possessed naturally gifted good looks, fair skin, crimson lips. Although slender, his long eyelashes below ink black eyes shone with the light of a hunter seeking prey.

Handsome in an aggressive manner.

Many bosses of small entertainment companies had come themselves. Seeing Xie Jin, they all avoided his gaze, afraid their companies would become his next acquisition target.

Ruiqi had grown too swiftly in a year, constantly expanding their capital through Ruiqi Video's rapid development.

Their little companies didn't even have the qualifications to be a snag in Ruiqi's teeth.

Amidst the fear, everyone was also puzzled.

For an entertainment company's cocktail party, Ruiqi's Wu Xieyu didn't come, yet Tianjin's big boss was attending.

"You guys don't know about this, but I heard that he comes to all such industry gatherings." An insider revealed.

"Why? No matter how much Tianjin values Ruiqi, the big boss of such a huge conglomerate wouldn't personally attend every industry gathering right?"

"I don't know about that."

Xie Jin's frequent attendance at gatherings became everyone's favorite private topic of discussion.

Yet the topic of their discussion stood apart from everyone, isolating himself, secretly observing the people present.

He knew Su Tao had always wanted to work in the entertainment industry, but he hadn't managed to find any news about her.

He could only participate in these gatherings as much as possible, searching for traces of her.

Every time he came full of hope and left disappointed.

He was already used to it and had learned to keep a calm mindset.

But when he saw a woman with long hair down to her shoulders, wearing a pink skirt, he still couldn't help holding his breath, his heart seemingly missing a beat.

He walked up to her step by step, his long fingers trembling slightly as he tapped her shoulder.

The woman turned around to reveal an unfamiliar face, like a bucket of cold water poured over him.

Xie Jin slowly let out a breath, then laughed bitterly to himself, scolding his foolishness.

How could his little peach possibly still wear pink clothes.