Two years ago
With the snow just starting to thaw in early spring, Loptr finally got a break from their hectic schedule and the management was merciful enough to give the members a week off. Sheng Kongzhi and Ji Sheng stepped on the melting snow and returned to Qingchu.
“Good guy, it’s so messy.” Ji Sheng entered Li Tan’s office and was stunned by the boxes all over the floor.
But no matter how surprised he was, nothing couldn’t stop his desire to rest. Ji Sheng skipped over the debris on the ground a few times and jumped to the edge of the sofa to nestle there.
“The company is about to move, I’m busy packing up, bear with me.” Li Tan closed the door, “Kongzhi, sit down too.”
Sheng Kongzhi bypassed the obstacles and sat down on another sofa.
“Tsk tsk, it’s been a long time since I was here, and Qingchu is going to move out.” Ji Sheng said with emotion, “Move where?”
“Didn’t I tell you earlier? Strange.” Leaning against his desk, Li Tan said in amusement. The chairs in the office were removed, and the only sofas in the office were occupied by Sheng Kongzhi and Ji Sheng. He could only lean on the table as he reported the address casually.
“What’s the heck?!” Ji Sheng’s eyes lit up, “You’re rich, Brother Tan.”
“You earn a lot.” Li Tan smiled, “Add to that a couple of big brother investments and it’s barely enough to move downtown.”
Ji Sheng and Sheng Kongzhi had double contracts, one with the limited band’s managing company and one with Qingchu. Most of their share from the limited tour was given by the managing company to Qingchu, who then sent it to them on a settlement day.
Before the settlement day, Ji Sheng hadn’t seen a buck. Naturally, he didn’t have any concept of earning more or less. At this moment, he was surprised to hear that he and Sheng Kongzhi had actually earned a building for Qingchu in just a few months.
Ji Sheng was excited for a while, then suddenly remembered the purpose of his return this time: “By the way, Brother Tan, when will we start the tour? Hemei recently relaxed the restrictions and allowed the members to take on the independent work.”
Hemei Entertainment, KUZI’s partner, was the managing company of Loptr.
“Not right now.“ Li Tan didn’t want to commit to anything, “Let’s talk about it when you disband. To start a tour now is to send money to Hemei Entertainment.”
When it came to this topic, Li Tan’s expression became gloomy: “Hemei, this damn thing that eats everything it sees. The agreement it signed with Jinlai allows parallel management and a 50/50 split of the tour proceeds, but with us it’s too much to ask, it’ll be more likely 90/10, or 80/20 if we get a good deal.”
Ji Sheng went silent.
After several months since his debut, he became more and more aware that the brilliance of the entertainment industry was only on the surface, with the cruelty of the invisible dark tides of capital surging underneath and shattered ice and debris colliding, revealed in all its glory.
Ji Sheng didn’t want to approach this dirty dark waters, but the reality was that he was inevitably getting involved step by step.
The atmosphere in the office became a lot less joyous.
All three of them here had crawled out of that cramped rented apartment on the ground floor, and who didn’t know that since then Qingchu had been obsessed with touring and releasing the album… Now the dream was within reach, but they had to stop because of contractual interests.
Standing so near and staring at the beauty separated by a glass wall, who could feel happy?
Li Tan picked up a cigarette case on his desk, took out a cigarette and lit it. Before taking two puffs, he was reminded by Sheng Kongzhi:
“Brother Tan, this is indoors.”
Li Tan waved his hand to show that he knew, took another puff irritably and stubbed the cigarette in the ashtray.
“A year and a half.” He was slightly flushed, saying fiercely, “Your contract with Hemei is one and a half years, and there is less than one year left. After it ends, we will use the money we have earned to tour. Xiao Ji will play drums and Kongzhi the bass. Get back the two boys Su Jing and Xie Xuanming. I will also go up and offer my help. We’ll go from Harbin to Hainan and we’ll tour for half a year.”
Sheng Kongzhi and Ji Sheng glanced at each other and saw the same light in each other’s eyes. They nodded and said, “Okay.”
Sheng Kongzhi and Ji Sheng came out of Li Tan’s office and head-on bumped into Li Tan’s younger brother Li Mi.
Li Mi was the trigger for the dissolution of Qingchu back then. Li Tan took all his family savings to free him from the hands of loan sharks, pressured him to finish college, and after graduation, begged people everywhere to find a job for his hapless brother.
Unfortunately, Li Mi was a natural waste. He complained bitterly that he was tired all day long. His hard-won job was fishing for three days and basking in the sun for two days and yet he was fired after a while. Li Tan couldn’t help it, he could only take him to Qingchu, give him an unimportant position, and let him hang out and play.
Surprisingly, although his brother was lazy and a waste, he had a bit of talent in interpersonal communication. After staying in Qingchu for half a year, he actually unexpectedly attracted some investment.
When Li Mo saw the two of them coming out, his eyes lit up and he greeted them enthusiastically: “Oh, two big stars, it’s been a long time since I saw you, how come you have time to visit the family that raised you?”
“We are on holiday.” Sheng Kongzhi said.
“Oh, then you have to take a good rest. I saw your itinerary. Tsk, that’s like making an ass out of a man.” Li Mi said, “By the way, those harassing phone calls of yours, we’re already dealing with it.”
Sheng Kongzhi had been harassed by a rabid fan recently. Not to mention that the person called in the early hours of the morning, she recently tried to follow him in the car, nearly hitting Loptr’s nanny car. After Hemei Entertainment learned about it, it was assigned to Qinchu to deal with this stinky matter.
“Tsk tsk. Hemei are real bastards.” Li Mi shook his head, “When making money, they don’t need us, but when there is work, they think of us.”
“Thank you for your hard work.” Sheng Kongzhi smiled politely.
Ji Sheng was frowning standing there when he saw Li Mi smile and say “it’s not hard”. Then Li Mi turned his head and put his hand on his shoulder, asking eagerly, “By the way, Brother Ji, your birthday is almost here, what are you going to do?”
Ji Sheng’s birthday was in the middle of the year and there was still some time before it was “almost here”, but Hemei had been merciful enough not to take over his birthday party and given him and Qingchu freedom on that day.
Ji Sheng fidgeted slightly under Li Mi’s touch. He didn’t have much affection for this good gambler, but Li Mi was Li Tan’s younger brother, so he had to give him a bit of face.
Besides, what to do about the birthday was indeed a problem.
Ji Sheng’s birthday was still more than two months away, but with the recent burst of popularity, both fans and black fans were staring at Ji Sheng’s birthday party with wide open eyes and no surprise or accdent would be missed.
Under the pressure of public opinion, the true meaning of birthdays was no longer to celebrate, but to be able to spend them smoothly.
For all intents and purposes, the birthday party had to be a good one.
In this way, the two-month planning time even seemed a bit too short.
“I plan to do a small show to get in touch with fans.“ Ji Sheng had this idea a long time ago, “I have been running variety shows for a few months since my debut. Many fans have commented on my Weibo that they want to see me on the stage. There have not been many performances in recent days. It would be nice to rent a venue for the birthday party.”
“Okay, does Brother Ji have a venue in mind?”
“The venue doesn’t matter… just have a place to play drums.”
“Sure.” Li Mi nodded, “Then I will choose the venue and send you the plan, and you will decide.”
“What about the guests?” Li Mi asked again, “I see that other birthday parties invite a guest or two, do you have someone in mind, Brother Ji?”
“I am a guest. “Sheng Kongzhi inserted.
“Brother Sheng has no plans?” Li Mi looked over and said in surprise. The itinerary given to Loptr by Hemei was so dense that Li Mi has no doubt that Sheng Kongzhi would not be able to spare even one night.
“I will push it off,” Sheng Kongzhi smiled, “What’s more important than Xiao Sheng’s birthday?” ”
A vague sense of depression in Ji Sheng’s heart disappeared at the sight of this smile. He lightly slapped Sheng Kongzhi and said with a chuckle, “You’re a dick.”
Li Mi knew how to read between the lines, so he said tactfully: “My brother is waiting for me, so I will withdraw first. Brother Ji, you can contact me on WeChat if you have anything else.”
After saying that, he pushed the door to Li Tan’s office.
Sheng Kongzhi and Ji Sheng walked out slowly.
Sheng Kongzhi hadn’t walked side by side with Ji Sheng for a long time. After their debut, they always seemed to be in a hurry and even a slight contact became an extravagant intimacy.
At this moment, the two of them were walking quietly close to each other. Sheng Kongzhi was a little distracted. He tentatively stretched out his hand to hook Ji Sheng’s fingers but heard him suddenly say, “Do you think Xiao Xie will accept the invitation?”
Sheng Kongzhi paused and shoved his hand in his pocket: “Birthday party?”
“It might be a problem.” Sheng Kongzhi said, “He is always busy, filming or something.”
“That’s also…” Ji Sheng said.
He hadn’t seen Xie Xuanming for a long time. When Xie Xuanming joined the filming crew, he seemed to disappear from the face of the earth. He was rarely seen and there was little news.
But Ji Sheng still wanted to invite him to his birthday party.
“And he signed up with a company, right? Will Xiao Xie’s company allow him to participate in other company activities for nothing? And… there seems to be a contradiction between your fans and Xiao Xie’s fans. Would they want to see Xiao Xie on your birthday?”
After mentioning everything, Sheng Kongzhi finally asked, “Do you still want to invite Xiao Xie?”
Ji Sheng was silent; he slowly walked forward and said after a while: “I’ll think about it later.”
In the evening, Ji Sheng sat on the drum chair in the underground practice room, practising the basics of snare drum almost obsessively.
He kept beating incessantly and the drumbeat hit the soundproof walls intensely, making one lose one’s breath.
After a long time, Ji Sheng felt a little hot. He stopped beating, pulled off his shirt and threw it on the ground.
The little assistant who was recording gasped, his face flushed and his eyes wandering around.
Ji Sheng added the finishing touches fiercely, took a sip from the water bottle on the ground and said angrily: “You’re a man, what are you blushing for?”
“I’m a man who also thinks you’re sexy!” The little assistant justified himself.
Ji Sheng didn’t bother to talk to him, swallowed a mouthful of water, and lowered his head: “Are you finished recording?”
There were business regulations and requirements designated by Hemei Entertainment for Loptr members: how many Weibo posts to make, the amount of selfies and videos…
Even if you were on vacation.
Ji Sheng hated this kind of mandatory tasks, but the assistant had to do his work and fans did want to see their idols, so his annoyance was inconsequential.
That’s why the little assistant was resident in his practice room.
At this moment, the assistant had enough material, showed him an OK gesture, smiled and said, “Brother Ji is so handsome, this one is going to increase your popularity again.”
“All right, all right.” Ji Sheng waved his hand, “Stop flattering, take a break, it’s late.”
The little assistant smiled, packed up his things and asked, “Brother Ji, won’t you go with me?”
“I’ll wait a while, you can go first.”
The little assistant was gone.
Ji Sheng took two more sips of water, threw the empty bottle into the trash can and lay down on the floor.
He looked at the ceiling, his naked skin covered in goosebumps from the cold cement floor.
Ji Sheng lay motionless on the floor, holding a towel in his hand to cover his face, his chest rising and falling smoothly with his breathing.
He lay down for a while, then suddenly jumped up, grabbed the mobile phone on the desk as if he had decided something, and made a call.
The call was not picked up for a long time; Ji Sheng waited impatiently and finally got through when it was about to switch off automatically.
“Hello.” Ji Sheng breathed a sigh of relief for some reason, then lay down again, looking at the ceiling lamp, “Good evening.”
“Good evening.” Xie Xuanming said.
“Is the filming going well?”
“It’s going well.”
“Oh, that’s great.”
After a dry greeting, there was an awkward silence.
Ji Sheng rubbed his face and took a deep breath.
“On my birthday in two months, there will be a small party, playing drums and singing and stuff…” he rambled in one breath, his mind inexplicably lost.
“Are you coming?” After speaking, Ji Sheng waited slightly nervously.
There was silence for two seconds: “Do you want me to come?”
“Of course I do.” Ji Sheng did not hesitate.
“Where and when?”
Ji Sheng was stunned for a second, and the corners of his lips raised uncontrollably, revealing his first real smile of today. He turned over, squatted and said briskly: “It’s not settled yet, I’ll let you know when the time comes.”
5 thoughts on “Reborn as a Substitute Chapter 56”
That Li Mi guy sounds bad news
Their whole family does, but I feel Li Tan is worse 🙁
He may not realize it then, but I feel like ji sheng already had placed xiao xie in his heart, just not occupying too much, but just there. It’s obvious that he holds him dear, as a little brother and a close friend, but not impossible to be something more. I’m saying there’s a potential! 🥳😆 that sheng kongzhi can fuck himself
I completely agree with you! I actually think JS had him in his heart since their first group, Qingchu, broke up. But it took him ages to realise it 🙂
Thank you ❤️