“Mr. Ji, wake up.”
Ji Sheng opened his eyes in confusion and looked at the agent in the rearview mirror.
“Oh, okay.” He rubbed his eyes, pushed the door and got out of the car, “Thank you.”
“Music First 2” was a closed variety show, the same as the first season. Ji Sheng checked into his dormitory with his luggage after a long wait and started his training schedule in the evening.
Pop songs, self-composed songs and solo songs were performed several times, and the members were sweating profusely.
Lu Haoren glanced at the time, clapped his hands and said, “Take a five-minute break.”
Ji Sheng got up, rubbed his sore buttocks, and retreated into the corner.
As soon as he huddled in the corner, Huang Sizhe followed and stood half a metre away from him.
Ji Sheng glanced at him and picked up the water bottle.
The two leaned against the same wall embarrassedly.
“How have you been recently?” Huang Sizhe was the first to break the silence, twisting his head to the side, “That bastard… he didn’t bully you, did he?”
Ji Sheng put the water bottle down and thought about the force of Xie Xuanming’s fingers squeezing his chin and the fingerprints that hadn’t faded for days.
After a suspicious pause, he said, “No.”
He should be glad that Huang Sizhe was not the type who could understand the nuances of the tone.
“After this show, Niepan will become popular.” Huang Sizhe lowered his head and kicked the ground twice, “There will be money, fame, and endorsements. You won’t have to… wrong yourself staying with that asshole.”
It sounded as tragic as redeeming a brothel girl.
Startled, Ji Sheng couldn’t help but defend Xie Xuanming: “Actually, Senior Xie is not that much of an asshole.”
“Don’t defend him.“ Huang Sizhe’s face darkened and he gritted his teeth fiercely, “I understand. When we are popular, we won’t need to look at anyone anymore.”
What do you understand…
Ji Sheng was ashamed; why this child saw everything in black and white and loved to think in extremes.
He wanted to say a few more words in Xie Xuanming’s defence, but Huang Sizhe’s expression was too unhappy. Ji Sheng could only swallow his words in the end and comfort against his will: “Actually, it’s not that bad. At least we won’t need to see him for the next few months of participating in the show, right?”
“…” Huang Sizhe’s expression eased, “so it is.”
Lu Haoren got up and called them back. Ji Sheng propped up from the wall and smiled at Huang Sizhe: “Let’s practise.”
The training camp was going on for more than two months. Since the mobile phones were taken away by the program group, the members of Niepan did not know about the situation on the Internet. They went back and forth between the dormitory and the practice room every day, and occasionally saw one or two buses appear at the door to send the eliminated bands away.
Lu Haoren had been anxious for a while, worried about whether Niepan would also be sent back home before the show started. Ji Sheng tried to comfort him to no avail, so he simply used Xie Xuanming’s name and said that this was the resource he gave, which made Lu Haoren feel at ease.
“You are lucky.” Lu Haoren said sincerely, breathing a sigh of relief and feeling a little guilty at the same time.
“…unfortunately.” Ji Sheng’s face was dark as he was unwilling to think about the hidden meaning in his words.
See no evil, see no evil.
As the days passed, it was finally time for the first recording session.
The audience was invited to the recording and on the way to the venue, the fans gathered on both sides of the road, shouting their support to their favourite musicians.
Niepan got out of the car, and the screams suddenly increased by two levels.
The members of Nirvana were not used to seeing such a scene. The keyboardist shrank behind the guitarist, grabbed his shoulder, and said in surprise: “These are all our fans?”
“Maybe?” The guitarist was also shocked.
“Where did we get so many fans, did the company buy fans?”
“…Does our company have spare money? Our company can’t even afford to provide meals!”
“It may be the fans accumulated by running commercial performances before.” Lu Haoren said uncertainly.
“Or maybe it’s the fan base from the trailers and promotional photos.” Ji Sheng added, “KUZI’s publicity is still good.”
“Just look at the photos and turn fans????” The keyboard smacked his lips, “That’s probably Xiao Hui and Sizhe’s fans. The two of them look like celebrities, especially Xiao Hui. Ordinary celebrities can’t match him, he is so good-looking.”
“Can you use your brain when talking, Zhou Wuyou.” Huang Sizhe scolded him with a dark face, “Do you want to be responsible for blackening Ji Hui when this is broadcast?”
“Okay, okay, my fault, my fault…”
As Niepan bickered, Ji Sheng turned his head to look over the railing, found the familiar station sister in the crowd and smiled at her.
The station sister smiled and waved at him, and pressed the shutter.
In the preview, the boy smiled softly like sunshine, and the station sister put away the camera with satisfaction.
When this picture was going to be posted, even more people would love him.
The contestants entered backstage and the audience also entered the venue. Two mentors sat down, leaving the middle position vacant.
Backstage, Ji Sheng glanced at the TV.
Only two mentors were mentioned in the information. Were there any mysterious guests?
“Niepan! Ready to play!”
Ji Sheng looked away and followed the other members to the waiting area.
When he stepped into the corridor, the host’s words came from the front.
“…welcome our mysterious mentor!” He shouted loudly, “Give him a round of applause!”
As Niepan stood at the opening of the upper stage, the keyboard curiously lifted a corner of the curtain, and Ji Sheng took a glance outside through the gap.
The lights turned on and the prying Niepan members, gathered at the opposite end of the stage, squinted at the figure that appeared in the glaring light.
Backstage, the contestants also took notice of the mysterious mentor and looked towards the screen.
“It’s a man.” Player A looked at the tall figure.
“It’s a handsome guy!” Player B glanced at the narrow waist, wide shoulders and long legs.
Ji Sheng grabbed the keyboardist with one hand, turning the drumsticks with the other. The more he looked, the more wrong he felt.
This hairstyle, this figure, this silhouette.
Why are they so similar…
Ji Sheng’s heart throbbed.
The lights also throbbed.
The rays of light spread on all sides, and the mysterious mentor slowly walked out of the glow, revealing a handsome cold face.
The astounding cheers from the backstage contestants reached the front of the stage and were drowned out by the screams of the audience. The movie emperor appearing on the variety show was exciting, whether you were a fan or not.
The shouts were deafening.
Ji Sheng, male, had been a drummer for 17 years.
His hand shook and the drumsticks flew out of his fingers for the first time, hit the floor and rolled away.
The Niepan members looked at each other, and then the keyboardist sighed out heartlessly: “Isn’t he a saint of love?”
“Love you uncle!” Huang Sizhe’s face turned black like the bottom of the pot: “How do you withdraw from the competition?”
Everyone went silent.
“We can’t afford to pay the penalty for breach of contract.” Ji Sheng coughed lightly, concealing his embarrassment, “Get ready to play.”
After a moment of silence, he said tentatively, “Does anyone know where my drumsticks went?”
At the recording site, the cheers gradually stopped, and the host announced the first group of the contestants.
The sharp-eyed audience that was focusing on the stage saw that in front of the curtain, a thin stick-like unexpected object lay peacefully, but before they could squint to see what it was, a white, slender hand suddenly reached out from under the curtain and disappeared with the stick in a flash.
Then the curtain opened, and Ji Sheng, as the drummer, calmly took the lead on the stage.
The wave of applause surged up again.
But not many people noticed the suspiciously red tips of the drummer’s ears and the slightly raised corners of the actor’s lips.
Niepan’s performance was excellent and could even be described as a blast. After the performance, the applause lasted for a long time.
The members got up and stood in a row, waiting for the comments of the mentors.
Zhang Sheng, a veteran mentor who often cooperated with KUZI, said, “I think it’s pretty good, what do you two think?”
“I also think it’s pretty good.” The other mentor nodded.
“Not bad.” Xie Xuanming said plainly.
Zhang Sheng glanced at the tablet and continued to ask.
“This band has quite an interesting style, especially the drummer, who has developed his own stage style, which is really impressive… But I’m a little curious, Emperor Xie, who do you think is a better drummer, compared to the drummer from the first season of “Music First”?”
The studio suddenly fell silent.
There were many drummers in the first season of “Music for the Top”, but to ask Xie Xuanming this question…
Everyone knew who Zhang Sheng was referring to.
Pulling out the dead to make a scene.
The audience who regularly followed the talent show was already cursing.
KUZI, as shameless as ever, you can’t stop being a bitch, right?
On stage, the faces of the Niepan members were quite unsightly, and even Huang Sizhe, who was usually unhappy with Xie Xuanming, frowned, thinking that this judge was really a bastard.
Zhang Sheng’s words caused a lot of anger, but Xie Xuanming only looked at him flatly, his eyes as cold as ever: “I’m not a drummer, I don’t know and can’t evaluate which is better or worse. You might as well just ask Ji Sheng.”
He mentioned Ji Sheng’s name, and the scene erupted.
Xie Xuanming ignored it and continued in a flat voice.
“If you are so curious, Teacher Zhang, he may come to you in a dream to tell you tonight.”
“Haha, not possible.” Under the gaze of those cold eyes, Zhang Sheng felt a little weak but still held his ground. “Taking into account his friendship with Emperor Xie, the one whose dream he should enter is you.”
His words were presumptuous and did not give Xie Xuanming a chance to reply decently.
Xie Xuanming didn’t plan to reply decently either.
He smiled blankly, as if sorrowful and disappointed: “I would like him to, but he won’t come.”
KUZI originally wanted to use Xie Xuanming and Ji Sheng’s rumours of the past to generate heat, but when Xie Xuanming said it so openly and magnanimously, it was the programme team who were at a loss for words.
The director gestured to Zhang Sheng, and Zhang Sheng rounded up the topic with a haha.
After being explicitly and implicitly mentioned on stage so many times, Ji Sheng stood there numb. In those few minutes he understood exactly what “whipping the corpse” meant and was so distracted in the interview afterwards that he muddled through everything the mentor said with a soulless “ahhh”.
After stepping down, Ji Sheng collapsed in the chair, thinking about what Xie Xuanming meant.
He didn’t see him talking like this before he was reborn. Anyway, coming to KUZI’s show to express his thoughts was like inviting the show to eat human flesh and blood.
He was still struggling when he was suddenly stopped by the staff.
“Come here for a while.”
Ji Sheng got up and followed the staff to the corridor. When he raised his eyes, he saw Xie Xuanming waiting in the corner.
Ji Sheng panicked, feeling the terror of a lamb that had left its flock and suddenly met a wolf that had been hungry for three days.
Although he didn’t know what he was panicking about, a lonely lamb would never escape the wolf’s mouth.
The staff members had the good sense to slip away, leaving Ji Sheng clutching his head.
“You performed well on the first stage.” Xie Xuanming was the first to speak.
“Thank you.” Ji Sheng said dryly.
“If you need anything in the show, you can find me.” Xie Xuanming said, “Just make the staff take you to the mentors’ lounge.”
Ji Sheng was suspiciously silent for a moment and asked with some confusion, “Is this an explicit hint on the unspoken rules?”
Xie Xuanming choked on his words, frowning as he looked over, his gaze moving down his cheek, finally settling on the slightly open thin lips…
The mention of the unspoken rules also gave him some ideas.
Ji Sheng noticed his gaze and took a half step back vigilantly.
Xie Xuanming retracted his gaze, deliberately turned his face away and said coldly: “Don’t get any fancy ideas. I have someone I like and I have no interest in you.”
Ji Sheng: ……
Ji Sheng: ……
Ji Sheng was even more scared.
After all, the one Xie Xuanming had no interest in and the one he liked…
In fact, was the same person.