This is what I picture Gu Sheng to look like. (Well, besides the fact that she has long hair, and she’d probably be holding a bowl of noodles instead of just a drink.) Casual, down-to-earth, thoughtful. Thanks for the pic, peanuts. 🙂
Alright everyone, ready for more Toupai and… recipes?
Chapter 1 – Snow Peas Stuffed with Shrimp Paste
When the three names, “Qiang Qing Ci,” “Jue Mei Sha Yi,” and “Feng Ya Song” ended up actually being used in all the promotional work, Geng Xiaoxing’s dauntless perseverance and determination in getting Wanmei’s top three names, especially “Qiang Qing Ci,” had Gu Sheng in complete reverence.
Then, Gu Sheng heard the real reason and finally understand that the girl was just a lucky devil.
Wanmei’s anniversary celebration and Geng Xiaoxing’s website’s anniversary celebration coincidentally happened to fall on the same day. Wanmei’s anniversary celebration was a huge event. All of their CVs would make an appearance, regardless of whether they were an old or new artiste with the group, and would participate in the program. Supposedly, Qiang Qing Ci had heard there would be a few cover singers of ancient style songs present, so he suggested doing a storyline song and including a video and radio drama to go with it. When Gu Sheng heard this news, her heart stopped beating for several seconds. If Qiang Qing Ci could deliver the spoken lines, she could not even imagine how much better the storyline song would be.
As an amateur cover singer, this was a great temptation.
However, while she was still letting her imagination roam, Geng Xiaoxing very inconsiderately added, the person speaking the monologue for the storyline song was not him but rather, Wanmei’s boss and leader, Jue Mei Sha Yi [Perfectly Beautiful Killing Intent]. Only then did Gu Sheng calm down slightly.
But, Jue Mei Sha Yi also had an extremely captivating voice!
If one was to disregard personal preferences and taste, he and Qiang Qing Ci could evenly divide and share the CV world. Unfortunately, Jue Mei was too easily approachable, making Qiang Qing Ci’s low profile approach actually the greatest part of his appeal.
Since she had several small things to take care of at home lately, Gu Sheng was not living on campus at the moment. As a result, she was late by a full half an hour for the first planning meeting at eight o’clock that evening. Fortunately, her part did not require her to worry at all. They had someone for directing, planning, writing lyrics, marketing… Basically anything that might required, they had it fulfilled. In these early stages, she was there purely for the sake of it.
When she entered the room, she could hear one of the three big names, Feng Ya Song [Elegant Ode], speaking. His voice had a natural laughter in it. “As for me, my time is the most free. Jue Mei and Qiang Qing Ci are the hard ones to gauge.”
“Me?” Jue Mei answered. “I’m don’t have much time for ‘PIA-ing script’. Should be no problem if I just record my lines myself.”
“Don’t you have the lines in the storyline song?”
“Lines?” Jue Mei seemed puzzled. “Who’s singing?”
“This…” Geng Xiaoxing’s voice was surprisingly soft and girly. “We have several candidates, but a decision hasn’t been made yet.”
Gu Sheng was tidying her desk while she listened to Geng Xiaoxing speak.
She was mildly suspicious about Geng Xiaoxing’s tone of voice. What was going on with that kid? Where was her usual domineering and aggressive quality?
She had not turned on her microphone and merely listened in as everyone discussed.
The whole time, she did not hear Qiang Qing Ci’s voice amongst them. Well, DaRen should be really busy. He probably left for a moment.
“Someone just arrived?”
All of a sudden, a voice spoke in a low, unhurried tone. It was a little unclear and muffled, as if eating something. But it was precisely that indistinct quality that made it overwhelmingly delightful and melted the soul.
Luckily, today’s meeting was for work and therefore, besides the dozen or so people present, there were no fans.
Otherwise… probably… the text screen would have been “scrubbed” so much and been scrolling down insanely with enough love declarations to topple mountains and overturn seas.
One must know that for the last three years, Qiang Qing Ci had not participated in Wanmei’s anniversary celebration. So much time had passed. For this year’s celebration, there was no doubt that the online numbers would surpass 40,000, and it was certain and new record would be set.
Feng Ya Song very quickly jumped in with a comment. “Oh! It turns out our Toupai is actually here. An hour and forty-seven minutes has passed. Why are you suddenly speaking up now?”
Qiang Qing Ci gave a little “mm” and said, “I’ve been here the whole time. But I’m not talking to you right now. Get off your mike.”
Feng Ya Song was very obedient and instantly went silent.
Even this DaRen was quiet now; naturally, no one else dared to open their mouths.
“Sheng Sheng Man?” Qiang Qing Ci seemed as if he was thinking about something as he spoke her name.
Gu Sheng was dazed for a few seconds before quickly pressing F2. “I’m here.”
“Sheng Sheng? He’s talking to you.” Geng Xiaoxing nervously reminded.
“I’m here,” she said again, puzzled
“Sheng Sheng? Not here?”
“Here……” She was completely perplexed.
“I’m guessing she went to go eat something. That chowhound……” Geng Xiaoxing laughed awkwardly.
Gu Sheng was honestly so embarrassed she could just die. After a quick inspection, she realized she had only concerned herself with pressing F2 and had forgotten to turn on her microphone. She hurriedly flipped it on, cleared her throat, and said, “Sorry… I forgot to turn on my mike. I’m here.”
“The pork stomach and chicken soup dish I taught you to make, have you tried it yet?” Qiang Qing Ci asked. No thought at all that mentioning this might be out of place of any sort.
“Uh… not yet…” Gu Sheng was feeling as if this was rather unimaginably weird, but she still answered honestly, “Haven’t had the chance yet.”
Qiang Qing Ci gave an indifferent “oh.”
And then, there was an awkward silence.
Gu Sheng contemplated briefly and thought that Qiang Qing Ci must be a little displeased. After all, he had been so sincere in teaching her the cooking method last time, but she had ignored him. It was rather rude.
She carefully deliberated for three seconds before holding down the F2 button again. “Thank you Qiang Qing Ci DaRen for your coaching…” She paused briefly and then added, “I will definitely follow your instructions another day and try making it.”
Gu Sheng’s tone was proper and serious.
But there was still that uncomfortable silence. It was to the point that she nearly thought that she had lost her internet connection.
“Ahem, ahem… He’s not here right now……” Jue Mei Sha Yi very kindly spoke up. With a hint of puzzlement as well as a suggestive overtone, he asked, “But I find it strange. You two knew each other before? I’ve never heard him mention it…”
Everyone knew that Jue Mei Sha Yi and Qiang Qing Ci were friends in real life.
So if Jue Mei Sha Yi would say that, then that made that awkward, pause-riddled conversation very out of the ordinary.
As for what specifically was out of the ordinary about it, everyone, of course, had their own version of a story that was rapidly unfolding in their minds. For example, how a certain cover singer, so unknown you could not get any more unknown than her, was “hugging the thigh” of a certain leading artist of Wanmei, who had been hiding off the radar for so long … and even…
“Let’s continue… continue…” Geng Xiaoxing finally could not take it anymore and jumped in to help out her friend. “Jue Mei DaRen, we were talking about the spoken lines in the storyline song…”
“Ah, the spoken lines. Right. Lines.” Using a very intense, manly tone, Jue Mei lowered his voice and asked, “Do you think I would be able to do it? Hm? Geng Xiaoxing.”
“A–… able. Very able.”
Gu Sheng could hear the change of tone in Geng Xiaoxing’s voice.
As her roommate and confidante of four years already, where the head of one of their beds was snug up against the head of the other person’s bed, and also the one who would continue this sleeping arrangement with her for the next three years of graduate studies, Gu Sheng very sensitively sniffed out that this girl’s heart had been moved because of a voice.
She never would have thought that this person, who had never really paid much attention to the online voice acting world, would actually become a downright voice lover.
And moreover, she was the type of voice lover that, once she became obsessed, was beyond redemption and was heading straight for falling hard in the heart.
After listening for a while, Gu Sheng went to the kitchen and got the instant noodles her mom had just made for a late night snack. Glancing again at her computer, she noticed Qiang Qing Ci had private messaged her: I forgot to mention that day, pork stomach and chicken soup is also called Phoenix Reincarnated.
Gu Sheng hastily set down her chopsticks and typed speedily on her keyboard: Thanks, thanks.
After she sent it, she quickly followed up and sent a ^_^
Qiang Qing Ci: No problem. I saw your name and it made me think of a nice dish I ate yesterday.
Gu Sheng stared at her own instant noodles. She had a feeling she was going to be facing a situation where her midnight snack would be tasteless.
She swiftly replied: What was it? ^_^
Qiang Qing Ci: Snow peas stuffed with shrimp paste.
Gu Sheng: Sounds so good…
Qiang Qing Ci: I tried making it once. Not difficult.
Gu Sheng: Really?
Her heart was bleeding. It’s past eleven o’clock at night. Toupai DaRen, what are you trying to do?…..
There was a long moment of silence.
The chat room was still buzzing with activity as everyone was starting into the gossip that came after proper business was done. Those who had participated in the discussion had, in a flash, all transformed back into fans and were starting to surround Jue Mei Sha Yi and Feng Ya Song, asking question after question. For instance, they asked questions about Wanmei’s next event, or Jue Mei Sha Yi’s birthday party, or Feng Ya Song’s latest drama which had just released…
Gu Sheng had just picked up her chopsticks when she saw the few paragraphs of text Qiang Qing Ci sent over:
The main thing is the shrimp paste, which is a little bit troublesome to make. Take several hundred grams of fresh shrimp and mince, both horizontally and lengthwise, until it becomes a paste. Add boiled water that has been soaked with scallions and ginger, cooking wine, salt, MSG, and white pepper. Mix together. Stir in egg whites. Lastly, add a touch of sesame oil. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
Slice open the snow peas. Fill with the shrimp paste. Steam until fully cooked.
Finally, pour some Thai sweet chili sauce over them. The texture of the shrimp paste is really nice. It has the fresh sweetness of the snow peas. The taste is really quite good.
So serious with his explanation…
The channel was still bustling with excitement. After Gu Sheng stared at her bowl for a few seconds, she quickly typed off a “Thank you, DaRen,” and also added several smiley faces behind it before grabbing her bowl and running to the kitchen. “Mom! Did you guys have any leftovers from dinner, like meat or shrimp? Or anything will do. If there really is nothing, you can give me an egg to add into my food…”
 Short for “character voice.” This term originated from Japan to describe professional dubbers and is equivalent to the western world’s “VA,” which is short for voice actor.
剧情歌 “ju qing ge.” A “storyline song” is one that contains spoken lines, monologue or dialogue, embedded within the song itself. As the name implies, the lyrics of such songs usually have a rich storyline.
 Orig. pia戏. From what I understand from my research, the main gist of this is, CVs get together (often virtually, through some sort o f online medium), and together, they read through a script with the proper emotion, as opposed to reading their lines alone and sending it in. Traditionally, a director is present to provide feedback. However, sometimes, this rehearsal of voices ends up being used directly in the final product (usually a radio drama or something along those lines). The name “pia戏” is meant to mean 拍戏, which means to perform/make a drama/movie/script. “PIA” is actually an onomatopoeia (sound word) for the first character 拍, which when written alone, means to tap/clap/beat/slap/etc, and is used in place of that character. Hence, when you see “PIA script,” you can think of it as “perform script.”
 Orig. 大人. Literally meaning “big person.” A respectful form of address to a person of authority. In this case, the big names in the online entertainment circle are addressed as “DaRen.”
 Orig. 刷屏‘shua ping.’ Literally ‘scrub/brush screen.’ Slang used online. When a screen is being “scrubbed,” it is scrolling down quickly because so many comments are coming in that the screen is continuously moving to keep up.
 Orig. 头牌 ‘Toupai.’ Nickname for Qiang Qing Ci. This word means “leading actor/singer/performer” or “star” or “headliner performer” i.e. the biggest name and biggest crowd-drawer.
 Orig. 抱大腿. In the entertainment circle, to ‘hug someone’s thigh’ is to use another person’s popularity to help you rise up and increase your own fame.