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    Chapter 51 - Today's Display of Holiness Before Others

    "Use Learning Card"

    "Learn Skill - Opera Eye Techniques"

    "Acquired Opera Eye Techniques skill, 37% proficiency + 24% (additional boost from related skills in the Empress role)"

    Tang Fei's proficiency in eye techniques was only 24%, slightly better than her culinary skills.

    Before Tang Fei's eyes, fragmented training scenes emerged one by one from the hovering system interface, superimposing onto her vision.

    An image appeared of staring at a tiny black dot on a white sheet from ten meters away to practice focus, causing an instant surge of soreness that made her eyes feel as if they were about to burst. Tang Fei instinctively covered her eyes.

    Another scene materialized, depicting the use of a swinging copper coin on a string to exercise the rotation of the eyeballs. The fiery sensation stung her eyes, bringing tears to her eyes.

    Next, she had to follow the flight path of a fly in the room, honing her visual acuity. To the left, the swaying copper coin, and to the right, a fixed point on a white sheet, trained her ability to switch between swift movement and focused stillness.

    Lastly, she had to scan and memorize a line of ten neatly arranged characters in ten seconds, then increasing to twenty, eventually eighty. Each glance divided her concentration evenly among eighty segments, ensuring that her gaze lingered on each part of the skill-training scene from every angle.

    With expressions ranging from anger to joy, affection, pique, solemnity, maturity, pain, sorrow, hope, and regret, the exercise focused on refining the aesthetics of each gaze.

    Tang Fei's eyes throbbed as if pricked by needles, the muscles around her eyes, eyelids, and forehead pulsating with a dull ache.

    The Learning Card facilitated genuine learning, instantly imprinting all knowledge onto the body for a more immersive experience than simply acquiring a skill.

    True to its name, the Learning Card delivered a level of pain that was nothing short of impressive.

    Gao Mang had already activated his recording device and began narrating, "From the term 'acting with the eyes,' we can deduce the crucial role they play in performance. They are the finishing touch, the defining element in a character's expression. The eyes are the windows to the soul; a compelling gaze means half the performance is won."

    "During breaks on set, actors often engage in acting contests to relieve stress and motivate one another. Both Xiao Yuan and Tang Fei, without formal training, have climbed the ranks through sheer perseverance. Their desire to improve their craft is unwavering."

    A small crowd gathered around, intrigued. In the world of acting, talent spoke louder than any scheming. Without it, fame was fleeting; with it, one could soar for decades to come.

    When it came to a showdown of acting prowess, only talent mattered. Guan Liu, a trained Peking Opera graduate who had won a newcomer award after just two years on stage and a major film role, was more than qualified to judge this contest between Tang Fei and Xiao Yuan.

    "Let's look at the first challenge," Gao Mang directed the camera towards Guan Liu.

    "Time is limited, so we'll do two rounds. First, the smiling eye, and second, the teary eye. For the smile, let's go with a sweet, affectionate smile. Begin!"

    Gao Mang refocused the camera on Tang Fei and Xiao Yuan. Tang Fei was still covering her face.

    "Tang Fei, are you alright? Can you continue?" Xiao Yuan worried that Tang Fei might back out of the challenge.

    "I'm fine. Just some dust in my eye, I'll rub it away. You go first," Tang Fei said through chattering teeth. Her eyes felt like they'd been dipped in chili oil. She hugged the blanket to prevent herself from rolling on the ground in agony. Beads of sweat poured down her body, soaking her clothes, but the thick cotton coat hid her condition from view.

    Next time, she must find a private spot to use the Learning Card. This was unbearable!

    Xiao Yuan used the script to cover the lower half of her face. In the camera frame, her large, double-lidded eyes, accentuated by thick lashes, still conveyed a delightful charm even if they weren't as expressive as before. "Smiling eyes are quite fundamental. It's a sweet expression that most people can relate to. Everyone has their own fond memories. Teacher Guan Liu didn't make it too difficult for them," Gao Mang narrated, keeping the camera steady.

    Xiao Yuan's eyes gradually curved into crescents. If one ignored the wrinkles around them, she looked identical to how she did five years ago in a television drama. That scene where the female lead offered the male lead a towel and water while he practiced basketball was a sweet moment, a memorable scene in the drama that had been revisited in various countdowns. Xiao Yuan drew upon the emotions she felt during that shoot, determined to overwhelm Tang Fei.

    Gao Mang nodded at Xiao Yuan, who let out a breath of relief. She was stronger than Tang Fei!

    The onlookers chimed in with their opinions, and Gao Mang's smile widened as he listened.

    "Tang Fei seems to be maintaining her composure well."

    "It's just that luck hasn't been on her side. There will be opportunities for her to rise again with suitable roles in the future."

    "Those who have once been popular have their own unique talents."

    Gao Mang focused his camera on Tang Fei, who had already lowered her hand from covering her eyes but kept them closed.

    "Now it's Tang Fei's turn. I wonder if Xiao Yuan's outstanding performance puts pressure on her. Among young actresses, Xiao Yuan's acting skills rank around the middle tier. Winning the Best Leading Actress at the Spring and Summer Gala was a recognition of her acting abilities."

    Someone from the onlooking crowd couldn't help but chuckle. "The Spring and Summer Gala awards are just a joke organized by a coal tycoon, right? Why are people hyping it up as if it's the Feiyun Award?"

    "Well, they're comparing her to Tang Fei, who can't even get nominated for the Spring and Summer Gala," retorted this person, who turned out to be Xiao Yuan's assistant, proudly defending her.

    Gao Mang continued filming Tang Fei. "Tang Fei has her eyes closed, perhaps preparing herself emotionally. Such a simple eye scene should be effortless for her. There's something peculiar about Tang Fei. Xiao Yuan merely said 'act,' and she immediately immersed herself in the role without any hesitation."

    After relieving the stinging sensation from her strained eyes, Tang Fei slowly opened her eyes. Her dark, luminous pupils peeked through her lowered lids, seemingly radiating an ethereal glow. Her eyes, as clear as autumn water, shimmered with an extraordinary brightness.

    It was an indescribable feeling that instantly conveyed to anyone that these eyes held a captivating spirit.

    Gao Mang's commentary abruptly ceased as he gazed at Tang Fei's limpid, sparkling eyes in the camera. He knew that even if Xiao Yuan triumphed in acting, she would still lose in terms of appearance.

    After Tang Fei partially concealed her face, her eyes gradually curved into a perfect arc - not too much, not too little. It was a breathtaking beauty that could make one hold their breath in admiration.

    It seemed as though she had practiced countless times to know precisely how many muscles to engage and with what intensity to achieve such an exquisite eye shape.

    Guan Liu, who had remained silent throughout Gao Mang's commentary, finally spoke up.

    Tang Fei's eye acting was filled with substance!

    She was improving at an astonishing pace!

    Had she learned from him during their scenes together?

    Initially, he felt unfortunate to be dragged into this mundane conflict between female stars. Yet, he never expected to witness someone who could learn so much from just ten days of acting alongside him.

    Such talent was truly remarkable. He had trained in acting since childhood, dedicating a whole year solely to honing his gaze. Tang Fei's performance was a testament to her innate gift; it surpassed his level after half a year of practice!

    "Each curve of Tang Fei's smiling eyes is one of her most captivating angles. Achieving this requires a deep understanding and deconstruction of her facial features, followed by rigorous practice."

    In Tang Fei's eyes, emotions swirled as she reminisced about her past life, when she was a naive child, nestled in her parents' arms while watching television.

    On the screen, Louis Koo, as Yang Guo, reveals his face to Li Mochou, his portrayal a lively and mischievous yet handsome older brother figure that ignites in the young her a pure affection for beautiful things. Her own brother, aware of her delight, playfully obstructs his face with his hand, mimicking the character to amuse her, and the family dissolves into a heap of laughter, united in joy.

    That was the first time she had developed a fondness for a television celebrity, intertwined with sweet and nostalgic memories of her family life, and longing and blessings from a world away.

    In Tang Fei's eyes, her sweetness was laced with innocence and joy, perhaps even a hint of nostalgia. It was a simplicity layered with complexity - bittersweet to some, purely sweet to others, touching each person in their own way.

    This is the allure of performance, the resonance stirred by an actor's portrayal. In a thousand eyes, Hamlet takes a thousand forms, each one a genuine iteration of the tragic prince.

    The emotions shimmering in Tang Fei's eyes left Gao Mang speechless, causing Xiao Yuan's assistant, who had just claimed that Tang Fei hadn't won an award, to quietly slip to the edge of the crowd. The spectators around them erupted into applause.

    "I feel like falling in love."

    "It reminds me of my first love."

    "Why does it make me think of my parents?"

    "I know Xiao Yuan's performance was great, but Tang Fei touched my heart."

    Gao Mang had already halted the filming. To everyone's surprise, Tang Fei had unexpectedly outshone Xiao Yuan in the Eye Twinkle segment!

    Guan Liu took over Gao Mang's commentary: "Tang Fei's technique might still be a bit rough, but her emotions were overflowing. Authenticity surpasses both form and style. She performed splendidly."

    Xiao Yuan had initially intended to overwhelm Tang Fei, only to find herself utterly defeated. In terms of spirit, form, and emotion, she was no match for Tang Fei.

    Guan Liu didn't even bother commenting on Xiao Yuan's performance, as it failed to spark his interest. Now, Xiao Yuan realized how artificial her smile had been. She fell short in every aspect and lagged far behind Tang Fei.

    Guan Liu declared, "The first round, Eye Twinkle, Tang Fei is the winner."

    Having lost in her forte, there was no need to continue. Addressing Tang Fei, Xiao Yuan admitted, "I underestimated myself. I was living in the past, five years behind you. You've come so far. Tang Fei, you've won this mini-game. I won't disturb your shooting anymore."

    "Tang Fei, congratulations on your overflowing fortune! You've received a Bag of Adoration from a fellow actor."

    Tang Fei looked at Xiao Yuan in astonishment, realizing that Xiao Yuan had actually admired her inwardly! This was the first time she confirmed the source of a Bag of Fortune, never expecting it to come from her former rival, Xiao Yuan.

    "Tang Fei, congratulations on your overflowing fortune! You've received a Bag of Adoration from a fellow actor." +5

    Soon after, she received even more lucky bags, and the onlookers around her were now admiring her – this was a genuine recognition of her acting skills.

    An idea popped into Tang Fei's mind:

    Sanctimonious Show (1/1)

    Could this be a hidden daily mission from the system?

    With a disheartened look, Xiao Yuan left. Gao Mang followed, his eyes filled with disappointment as he said to her, "You're so useless, you can't even seize the opportunities given to you."

    Xiao Yuan walked on with her head down. "I know, I'll accept my fate."

    "Those are your own words – don't regret it later."

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