Xie Xuanming spoke lightly, and the airness of his words drifted away in seconds. But his eyes were deep and thick shadows in them made it impossible to see his emotions clearly.
Ji Sheng was caught in these pools of ink, his breath becoming a little short. His Adam’s apple slid down as he tried hard to say something but as soon as his lips opened, Xie Xuanming withdrew.
The fragrance of fresh grass was gone, and the hospital smell of disinfectant invaded in the gap.
Xie Xuanming pulled back: “Your mother went to the bathroom just now. Shall we go, or do you want to stay for a little longer?”
Ji Sheng looked past him, and the hospital bed was indeed empty.
Ji Sheng retracted his gaze and said, “I’m not staying, let’s go back.”
On the way back, news came from the police that no fingerprints had been found on the box or the photos; presumably the perpetrator had worn gloves.
“What about blood? Can you find anything?” Xie Xuanming asked.
“It’s chicken blood. This amount is about four or five chickens. It’s not easy to check…” The quiet in the car allowed Ji Sheng to hear the conversation clearly.
Hearing that there was no result, Ji Sheng frowned, lowered his head, found his mobile phone and absent-mindedly swiped Weibo.
He looked at it casually, but who knew that he would see his own name hanging on the hot search list at a glance.
#Ji Hui Gold Master#
#Xie Xuanming Ji Hui#
The two entries were at the bottom of the hot search one second, and then they rushed to the top like a rocket, especially the one with Xie Xuanming’s name, landing directly in the second position, and according to the reading growth index, it was going to soar to the first place very soon.
Ji Sheng’s eyebrows twitched; he hurriedly clicked on his and Xie Xuanming’s hot search.
The original marketing account wrote that Ji Hui and Ji Sheng had similar faces, then repeated the rumours of Ji Sheng and Xie Xuanming in the past, and then pointed out that Xie Xuanming and Ji Hui were now participating in the same show, which could be regarded as a special fate…
Seeing this perplexing content, Ji Sheng wondered how such a typical marketing account post could reach the top three of a hot search.
However, when he clicked on the hot search below, he immediately understood.
The hot search #Ji Hui Gold Master# contained a few photos. In the first photo, the dimly lit environment was instantly recognisable as a nightclub. On the sofa, a man with a big belly was hugging a slender young man who slightly tilted his head, revealing a face that was no different from Ji Hui’s.
Ji Sheng rummaged in Ji Hiu’s memory for a while but could not find this part.
Did it happen in the missing piece of memory?
Ji Sheng recalled with some confusion.
The few remaining photos allowed Ji Sheng to refute this guess.
In the last few photos, the clarity of the pictures had increased significantly.
Ji Hui standing at the door of the nightclub; Ji Hui’s chin pinched by the hand in the car, Ji Hui taken into the nightclub by the agent…
After a series of photos, Ji Sheng suddenly realized that this was the day he met Xie Xuanming for the first time after he was reborn.
He hurriedly flipped back to look at the first photo, and finally connected the man with his arms around him in the photo with someone who was beaten by Xie Xuanming and spread out on the floor of the bathroom like a dead pig.
But Ji Sheng quickly found out that something was wrong.
Although the big-bellied man in the private room had intended to harass him, he did not succeed.
Ji Sheng searched his memory, but still didn’t remember having any physical contact with him. The man had tried a couple of times but was clearly avoided silently.
Ji Sheng tried his best to recall and confirmed that he had never hugged the man. Looking at the photo again, he felt something was a little unnatural.
He squinted and stared for a while, and finally found a slight distortion of ”Ji Hui”s neck.
It was photoshopped.
Ji Sheng knew that.
But it was useless for him to be the only one who knew. With the “reality” of the next few photos, no one would doubt the authenticity of the first one.
When you clicked on Weibo, the comment area was turned into a sea of melon eaters.
Although Ji Hui had accumulated some fans, it was not enough to compare with the huge number of melon-eating general public. Even if some fans found the picture strange and wanted to clarify, their explanations were drowned in endless verbal abuse and comments.
As Ji Sheng was watching, Xie Xuanming finished talking with the police and also received a call from the company to inform him about the hot search.
Xie Xuanming could be regarded as an innocent victim of this disaster; it was clear that the “gold master” of Ji Hui in the photos was not him. However, the marketing account put up the normal group photo of the two of them on the show, dragging Xie Xuanming’s name into the hot search, and its popularity even beat the ”real stuff”.
Although the marketing account was clearly trying to rub off the heat, the content of their suggestions was also strangely skewed, and Ji Sheng broke out in a cold sweat.
He almost ruined Xie Xuanming’s career in his previous life. If he did it again and led him to a ditch…
At this time, Ji Sheng felt really superstitious and suspected that he was the catastrophe of Xie Xuanming’s life and their two horoscopes were incompatible.
Xie Xuanming lowered his eyes, listening to the phone, and then hung up after asking the public relations department to clarify.
He opened Weibo, clicked on the “gold master” hot search, saw the first picture and his eyes narrowed slightly.
“Was it you at this point?” Xie Xuanming raised the screen to show Ji Sheng.
Ji Sheng looked at the hand of the man in the photo resting on “his” shoulder and noticed Xie Xuanming’s sudden coldness. He was silent for a second and immediately explained:
“It was me but the picture is photoshopped. This man didn’t… uh, paw me.”
“Oh.” Ji Sheng’s slightly guilty explanation convinced Xie Xuanming. He lowered his head and replied, “Then I’ll tell them to clarify.”
“En.” Ji Sheng’s Adam’s apple moved slightly; he didn’t quite understand why the clarification for “Ji Hui” needed to be operated by Xie Xuanming… But his intuition told him that when Xie Xuanming was in a bad mood, it was better to swallow some questions and not say anything.
Xie Xuanming’s people moved quickly, and within half an hour, the PR scripts of both parties came out.
The clarification effect on Xie Xuanming’s side was good. He had many fans, and fierce ones, and it was not difficult to control the comments. Basically, as soon as the statement was issued, it took Xie Xuanming out of the gossip.
On the other hand, Ji Sheng’s situation was not optimistic.
He didn’t have many fans and his popularity was not that big. In addition, “Ji Hui” and “Ji Sheng” were really similar in appearance. Those in the fan circle who had old grudges with Ji Sheng also hated Ji Hui and were happy to step on him. Even though the official clarification about a photoshopped picture was issued and a lawyer’s letter sent, but in today’s entertainment industry where “a lawyer’s letter was an invitation letter” this clarification seemed unconvincing.
The fermentation of public opinion was more serious than expected. When the officials of “Music First 2” saw the situation, the director’s eyes rolled up and he almost fainted.
A new day, a new disaster.
The news of the mentor cooperation stage was announced a long time ago. When Xie Xuanming’s fans saw that the disreputable artist from the upper hot search whose face looked exactly the same as the object of the scandal eight hundred years ago was about to cooperate with their idol… unsurprisingly, they exploded.
Fans rushed to the program’s official blog to demand Ji Sheng to withdraw from the competition, taking over the entire comment section with a huge amount of noise. The comments from passers-by were also bad, also demanding that the show’s team draw a clear line with the scandalous artist.
Under pressure from public opinion, the program team could only bite the bullet and find Xie Xuanming to ask if Ji Sheng could avoid going on stage for the second public performance…
Unsurprisingly, they were simply rejected.
“Why not go on stage?” Xie Xuanming’s voice was cold.
The contact person swallowed and explained nicely: “Now, Teacher Xie, there are some not-so-good rumours about you and Ji Hui. If you go on stage with Ji Hui in the middle of this storm, the audience, including your fans… may have a strong opinion.”
“It is rumoured that I am with Ji Hui, and it is my fans who have opinions.” Xie Xuanming didn’t raise his eyes and said coldly, “Why don’t you just ask me to quit recording, once and for all?”
“This…” The contact person was speechless for a while.
Of course, it was impossible for the program party to ask Xie Xuanming to withdraw from the competition. In the immediate future, Xie Xuanming’s fame and popularity were the most indispensable things for this long-running program.
“How can we let you…” The contact person was about to redeem the situation with a smile, but was interrupted before finishing speaking.
“Don’t worry, I won’t retire, and Ji Hui won’t retire either. For the second public performance, leave everything as it is.” Xie Xuanming said coldly.
“But— Ji Hui’s black material is really too bad. Teacher Xie, think about it. The audience is not happy to see artists who rely on golden masters to get resources, right?”
“It has been clarified, I suggest you read it.” Xie Xuanming paused and said strangely, “And I haven’t heard of him having other gold masters.”
Xie Xuanming didn’t bother to continue listening and hung up.
Ji Sheng cast an inquiring look: “The show’s crew?”
“Yes, talking a bunch of nonsense.” Xie Xuanming put away his mobile phone unconcernedly. Seeing Ji Sheng was still watching him intently, he stretched out his hand, nudged his forehead and turned away after a light push, “Don’t think too much, prepare for the performance, and act normally.”
“Oh…” Ji Sheng rubbed his slightly sore forehead and stopped talking.
On the day of the performance, the program team was still entangled in the question of how to prevent Ji Hui from taking the stage.
Ten minutes before going on stage, Xie Xuanming didn’t change his expression, scared back the fourteenth staff member who tried to persuade him and tugged Ji Sheng who was still standing still: “Get ready to go on stage.”
“Okay.” Ji Sheng reacted and followed him to the waiting area.
The waiting area was small, more like a narrow aisle, and the other members of Niepan dragged Huang Sizhe back, leaving only Xie Xuanming and Ji Sheng standing face to face in front.
Ji Sheng listened to the host’s announcement when Xie Xuanming suddenly spoke.
“When was the last time we performed together?”
Ji Sheng turned his head and looked up at him: “I don’t know, it’s been a long time.”
“I don’t remember either.” Xie Xuanming didn’t look at Ji Sheng. He looked out through the curtain, his gaze relaxed as he muttered to himself, “I actually don’t remember. It seems that it has been a long time indeed.”
Ji Sheng was taken aback; only then did he taste the meaning of his melancholic words.
Xie Xuanming tried his best to keep him on stage, but how much selfishness was hidden beneath Xie Xuanming’s careless exterior?
Even when he sat down in front of the drum set, Ji Sheng still couldn’t figure it out.
He picked up the drumsticks and tapped the drums absent-mindedly.
He had always been immersed when on the stage, but today was a rare occasion when he sat on the drum chair unable to overcome his sourness.
It was not good to be air-headed on the stage after all.
Ji Sheng tried to calm his messy mood, raised his eyes and waited for the signal to start.
The bass took the first note and the show began.
The lights shone from high above, illuminating the performers on stage, but intentionally or unintentionally missed a corner, covering the drum kit area in darkness.
Ji Sheng was still waiting for the lights to turn on at the beginning, but even when the drums were about to start, the lighting engineer still had no intention of giving him the light.
The program team was determined not to let “Ji Hui” appear on camera.
Ji Sheng shook his head helplessly.
Fortunately, he remembered all the drum scores and knew the tune well. Ji Sheng no longer hesitated, raised his hands and tapped blindly to the beat.
Ji Sheng planned to play the whole song in the dark.
He was concentrating on drumming when suddenly the edge of the drum lit up a little, and then a little more after two seconds.
The drum surface was illuminated by white light; Ji Sheng was stunned, taking advantage of the empty moment to raise his eyes.
Xie Xuanming was walking towards Ji Sheng carrying a beam of light.
He took place beside Ji Sheng, ignoring the sudden pause in the audience’s cheers, and sang the next line lightly:
Je te donnerai ma lumière, je ferai face à tout avec toi
I will share my light with you, I will face everything side by side with you.