“No way.” Hearing Xie Xuanming’s request to join the next performance, Ji Sheng refused without thinking, “It’s too dangerous.”
“Isn’t it the best way to fish? And you can’t hide for the rest of your life.” Xie Xuanming copied his reasoning as is.
“It’s not…” Ji Sheng choked for a moment, then reacted and immediately said, “It’s the case for me, but not for you. There is no need to involve another person.”
“Do you think if you get involved, I will watch from the sidelines?” Xie Xuanming asked peacefully.
Ji Sheng got stuck again. He subconsciously avoided Xie Xuanming’s gaze but continued to work hard to find an argument: “But you are a mentor. It is unreasonable for a mentor to join the performance, and it will scare the snake…”
“The third stage was originally a collaborative competition with a mentor, it is not impossible to move it to the second stage.” Xie Xuanming said, “It just so happens that almost all bands are eliminated.”
The elimination system of “Music First 2” was very harsh, with half the bands gone after the initial stage and another half after the first public performance, now counting only seven bands left in the entire show, the same number of teams that made it the third public performance of the first season of “Music First”.
“But…” Ji Sheng still didn’t want to give up. He racked his brains to come up with one last reason, “The members of Niepan… may not accept you as a co-mentor.”
“Is that so?” Xie Xuanming said noncommittally, “Then let’s vote and decide.”
“I agree.” After listening to the plan to advance the rules of the third stage to the second stage, the keyboardist took the lead in raising his hand, “For stage three performance, Teacher Xie is with us.”
“I have no problem either.” The guitarist also took a stand.
“Why??” Ji Sheng was shocked by their approval.
“Among the four mentors, except for Teacher Xie, none of them are professional singers.” The keyboard analysed, “We are now short of a lead singer. Regardless of other considerations, from the stage effect aspect, we really should choose Teacher Xie.”
“I can sing too…” Ji Sheng was in his death throes, “Moreover, there are three assistant teachers, and the program team will invite singers.”
“Xiao Hui, stop making trouble.” The keyboard smiled, “If you sing, what is the mentor going to do? Backup dancing? And the three assistant teachers will be in high demand, right? Now Teacher Xie is willing to choose us, so why not just make a surefire choice?”
Ji Sheng was stunned, he hadn’t thought about it on that level at all.
Behind him, Xie Xuanming hooked up the corners of his mouth slightly.
The keyboard and guitar couldn’t be persuaded anymore, so Ji Sheng turned his head and looked at Huang Sizhe helplessly.
To his surprise, even Huang Sizhe agreed.
“I also agree.” Although his expression was very unhappy, Huang Sizhe quickly gave a reason, “The collapse, and the incident at the drinking party before that, were actually all directed at Ji Hui… With Xie… Teacher Xie, the other party will have some scruples and will not make a move in public.”
This kid was not stupid.
Xie Xuanming raised his eyes slightly, saw Huang Sizhe get a few steps closer to Ji Sheng, sticking to him and asking if he had a good rest, why his complexion was so bad… and looked down again.
Still too annoying.
Xie Xuanming took a step forward, quietly grabbed Ji Sheng’s shoulder and pulled him back.
Ji Sheng was listening to Huang Sizhe’s chatter, when he staggered back a few steps, his shoulder hitting Xie Xuanming’s chest. He felt his ears get hot as Xie Xunaming’s breath blew on his auricle.
Xie Xuanming lowered his head and asked close to his ear, “Keyboard, bass and guitar have all agreed. What about the drummer?”
Ji Sheng: ……
The drummer’s body was softened by the breath blowing on his ear, and he kind of wanted to squat down and pretend to be a mushroom.
Hot breath was touching his ear and the three members in front of him looked at him intently. Ji Sheng got goosebumps, his Adam’s apple rolled and he nodded helplessly: “Drummer… doesn’t mind.”
The program team didn’t have much of a problem with moving forward the mentor collaboration of the third stange to the second stage, and even approved of it very much.
After all, once the stage collapse incident had happened, the reputation and popularity of “Music First 2” had hit rock bottom, and the promotion team needed a new hotspot to divert the audience’s attention. The mentors who were famous and could bring their own traffic were undoubtedly a good choice.
Fans of the mentors were not happy to hear that their idols were going to perform in the “dangerous building” with the “good-for-nothings” and ran to the official blog to defend their rights.
The fans put pressure on the show, forcing them to double-check the safety of the stage equipment, which in turn served Xie Xuanming and Ji Sheng’s purpose to a certain extent.
All in all, the early mentor collaboration was a win-win choice for the program party, Ji Sheng and Xie Xuanming.
Unlike the other mentors who started to merge with their chosen bands for the mentor collaboration only a week before the competition, Xie Xuanming had been rehearsing with Niepan since the beginning, eating and living with them, and when Ji Sheng counted the business affairs he’d put off and the money he was missing out on as a result… his heart was dripping blood…
Although it was not his money.
The members of Niepan were not used to rehearsing with Emperor Xie at first and all acted somewhat restrained. The rehearsal scene was as solemn as a funeral, and no one spoke except for the sound of musical instruments. But they quickly discovered that Xie Xuanming only paid attention to Ji Hui, and his eyes stuck to Ji Hui all day long, as if others didn’t exist… They were quickly relieved, and talking with Xie Xuanming became natural. If they were bold, they would occasionally chat with him. The atmosphere of the rehearsal could be called harmonious.
It was another day of rehearsal. Xie Xuanming and Niepan had quite a good run-in. After four or five times, they were very smooth and, except for the details, there was nothing to be picky about.
With Lu Haoren out and Xie Xuanming in, no one was willing to take on the leadership of organising rehearsals, so Ji Sheng had no choice but carry the banner.
After the fifth rehearsal, smoothing up the details, Ji Sheng saw that the members were sweating a little and said, “Let’s take a break. It’s just as well that the water is also delivered.”
Due to successive accidents, Xie Xuanming was extremely distrustful of the program crew and couldn’t even trust the water dispenser in the practice room. Niepan’s daily drinking water was brought in from outside in boxes of mineral water, and those bottles that had been opened would be thrown away at once.
Today’s water had been placed at the door, and as soon as Ji Sheng announced the break, several members walked towards the box.
“Do you want water?” Ji Sheng turned his head to ask Xie Xuanming, who was sitting against the wall.
“I’d rather have cotton candy.” Xie Xuanming said lazily, pushing back his slightly wet bangs.
“…why do you want cotton candy all of a sudden?” Ji Sheng was helpless, “Where am I going to get you cotton candy at this point?”
“Doesn’t the program have a cotton candy machine?” Leaning against the wall, Xie Xuanming looked up at him, “The cotton candy that we agreed on last time has not been reimbursed to me yet.”
Ji Sheng: “…”
Ji Sheng compromised: “I will make it for you after the rehearsal today.”
Xie Xuanming was satisfied: “Bring me a bottle of water, thank you.”
Ji Sheng walked to the box of water, muttering as he walked.
Since Xie Xuanming found out his true identity, he tended to let loose more and more.
The willfulness and selfishness he showed were like those of an ignorant sophomore high school student.
The 17-year-old Xie Xuanming also occasionally showed such emotions…
It was not annoying.
Ji Sheng would like to think so.
As Ji Sheng was musing about these things, walking to the water box, the three members of Niepan were squatting around the box.
“Haven’t you opened it yet?” Ji Sheng was a little surprised.
“No.” Huang Sizhe’s face was not looking good, “It has been sealed with many layers, and look here…”
He pointed his finger at the corner of the box. The bottom of the brown carton was strangely soaked, and the exposed liquid was spreading on the floor, colored in fishy red.
Ji Sheng’s face changed; he squatted down, touched the wet stain and smelled the liquid.
It was the pungent smell of blood.
The eyes of the remaining three men also changed, and Huang Sizhe got up and grabbed the box forcefully.
“Don’t!” Ji Sheng didn’t have time to stop him. The cardboard box was torn and its contents scattered.
There was no neatly packed mineral water in the box; it was full of blood-soaked photos.
The photos were cut to pieces, and the fishy red pieces slid out from the opening and slowly spread all over the floor.
The Niepan members took a closer look and recognized that the person in the photos was Ji Hui.
Xie Xuanming also realized that something was wrong, stood up and came there quickly.
When he saw the bloodied photos, his face sank.
“Fuck!” Huang Sizhe was the first to curse, “This fucking…”
“Don’t use dirty words, it’s still filming…” The guitarist’s expression was unsightly but he didn’t forget to remind.
“It’s okay, this part will be cut out.” Ji Sheng quickly regained his composure. He looked at the fragments carefully and shook his head gently, “It’s not been that long since our debut, where did they find so many photos…”
“It’s not just Ji Hui’s.” Xie Xuanming said coldly behind him. He saw Ji Sheng’s eyebrows in those fragmented photos, and became even more alarmed.
“Call the police, and then personally go to notify the program team to check the surveillance.”
Ji Sheng immediately got up and headed out, but was pulled back hard by Xie Xuanming.
“Ji Hui is not going.” Xie Xuanming’s voice was frighteningly cold, “Someone else goes.”
That box of photos was really scary. It was obviously malicious towards Ji Hui. The Niepan members also understood that it was not safe for Ji Hui to go out at this time. Huang Sizhe got up without saying a word and went out to find the program team.
The police came over quickly and took away the box for evidence. Before the results came out, Ji Sheng and Xie Xuanming checked the surveillance.
The surveillance captured the moment when the water box was swapped. Unfortunately the person who swapped the box was wearing a hat and a mask, and walked in the blind area of the monitoring all the way, only revealing a vague figure when swapping the water box.
With the video paused, Xie Xuanming asked Ji Sheng: “Do you have any impression of this person?”
Ji Sheng frowned, looked at the dark figure and said uncertainly: “A little bit… but it’s too blurry, so I’m not sure…and…”
Would she actually do it herself?
What a surprise.
Until he exited the surveillance room two hours later, Ji Sheng was still unsure of the identity of the dark figure.
He absent-mindedly compared the figure with the image in his memory, missed a step and nearly rolled down the stairs.
Xie Xuanming quickly grabbed him: “Watch the road.”
“Ah…” Ji Sheng retracted his foot, staggered and stood firm, “Thank you.”
He and Xie Xuanming walked down together, but as soon as Ji Sheng made a few steps, he heard Xie Xuanming say, “Have you received something like this before?”
“From the way you reacted, it’s not like it’s the first time you’ve seen such a disgusting thing.”
“Indeed I have.” Ji Sheng admitted, “This kind of thing is quite common. Extreme black fans… would do this kind of thing.”
“You never mentioned it to me.” Xie Xuanming said, in a cold tone.
Ji Sheng was taken aback and explained: “At that time, you were filming… and we…”
At that time, they were alienated and their relationship was not such as to share things like that.
“Not even afterwards.” Xie Xuanming turned to look at him. “Later, also not.”
Ji Sheng noticed that he was in a bad mood, and said quietly after a while: “I’m sorry.”
Xie Xuanming did not accept his apology and continued to ask: “If I didn’t ask, you would never tell.”
Ji Sheng didn’t know what to say, so he could only repeat: “I’m sorry.”
“You have never chosen me on your own.” Xie Xuanming continued, his tone sinking a little bit, “Not before, not after. Even with the mentor collaboration, you were forced to accept it because of the voting results.”
A hint of irregularity finally appeared in Xie Xuanming’s calm tone.
“Ji Sheng, I have always been curious, what am I in your heart?”