Who is the mysterious man that Gu Sheng sees in the store? Any guesses? (It’s not a trick question. 🙂 ) No recipes in this update, but… Ooooh! Do we have a confession from Toupai in this chapter? ❤
Chapter 3 — Clear Noodles in Beef Curry Soup (1)
It was the last day of the New Year holiday.
Mom and Dad had gone to Grandma’s house. It was ten o’clock by the time Gu Sheng arrived at the grocery store to help her cousin with closing and told him she had other activities that night. Her cousin was a guy who was completely unfamiliar with the things of the 2-D world, except for playing Sword 3, and really could not comprehend this lifestyle in which everyday, she would lock herself in her room and babble away alone, or the instant she stepped through the door, she would go hang out with a bunch of weird software and tune away at its sounds continuously.
Gu Sheng could not be bothered to explain and got ready to add up the total sales for the day.
She had just opened up the cash register when she heard a “ding dong” sound signaling an unexpected customer. It was a young man dressed in a black down jacket and jeans. Without saying anything, he walked in and stepped around the boxes that Cousin had just moved there to block additional customers from coming in. He was wearing black gloves, and now he removed, stuffed them in his pocket, and grabbed a bottle of mineral water from the cooler.
Gu Sheng’s dog that she had brought from home enthusiastically ran over and looked over this stranger.
She stared blankly at Cousin. Normally, at least seven or eight boxes were used to block the door, but just now, Cousin had been so preoccupied with talking to her that he had only moved two. It was not unreasonable, therefore, that this person would think they were still open for business. Cousin looked on helplessly as well and addressed the man, who was half a head taller than him. “We’re closed now. Would you be able to hurry and bring your things over to checkout?” When he finished speaking, he reached over and with a bang, closed the cash register in front of Gu Sheng again.
The young man was very cooperative and hurriedly walked over to place the items in his hands on the counter: a bottle of water, a package of crackers, and a bottle of yogurt. The yogurt was the type that had large chunks of fruit.
“13.60 yuan.” Cousin speedily quoted the total price, took the bill of money, and returned the change.
Gu Sheng went to the side of the counter, picked up her dog, and glanced over curiously at this man who liked to drink yogurt with fruit chunks. A very clean-looking man. His eyes were surprisingly beautiful – outer corners turned up slightly, very large, and monolid.
Gu Sheng unconsciously recalled what was written in the physiognomy books she read. Boys with this type of eyes were usually very focused, and once they committed to something, they would not easily give it up. This was especially true in work and relationships, where they were particularly stubborn and persistent…
When she looked at him, he was putting the change back into his wallet. He suddenly seemed to think of something, and his brows creased together slightly, causing the outside of his eyes to turn upwards a bit more…
Realizing that she was examining him a little too closely, she quickly lowered her head and petted her dog.
The door let out another “ding dong” and slid open. The customer had left.
Each day, many people came and went through the grocery store, and because it was across the street from the district hospital, business was especially good. When she was watching the store, in just one day, she would see so many of this type of man that it was too numerous to count. But, this man alone caused Gu Sheng, an absolute voice lover, to suddenly imagine curiously what it would be like if he were to open his mouth and speak.
Of course, it was only a thought.
When she returned home, she discovered that Geng Xiaoxing was online in QQ.
Gu Sheng rapidly typed off a string of words and sent them over: Y(^_^)Y Middle of the night and you’re not sleeping. Which handsome guy are you waiting for?
Geng Xiaoxing: ^O^ Nope,nope. I’m listening to Jue Mei DaRen PIA script.
Gu Sheng: Eh? Why is it I get this feeling that, when you type the words, Jue Mei, they are surrounded by a pink lace border?
Geng Xiaoxing: …… I’m DaRen’s diehard fan…… that’s all……
Gu Sheng: Oh. Which room?
Geng Xiaoxing speedily rattled off a string of numbers and gave her the password.
Gu Sheng told her to inform the people of her coming for her. However, when she entered the room, she took a quick sweep through and could not find Geng Xiaoxing’s name. Finding this strange, she sent a Q message to Geng Xiaoxing: Where are you? Didn’t see you.
Geng Xiaoxing: Shh… I’m listening in secret. I’m on QQ voice chat with Jue Mei, and he has secretly turned on the audio mixing and editing program on his computer for me to listen in on their voice acting group’s training session for new people…..
Such professional terminology and shady actions, and Geng Xiaoxing actually understood it all.
Gu Sheng had a feeling she must have missed a lot of exciting things.
There were not too many people in the room. Gu Sheng listened for a while and realized it was Wanmei’s own internal activity, along the lines of teaching new actors how to PIA script live. Jue Mei Sha Yi seemed to be in an especially good mood and was personally teaching the newbies how to find the emotion of a scene.
Some of those newbies seemed to have particularly bad cases of facial paralysis — no matter how they delivered the lines, there was still no feeling in them.
The name list did not include Qiang Qing Ci.
She recalled the string of words left behind on the screen when Qiang Qing Ci had said goodbye last time. It had seemed a tad peculiar. Her dog ran up to her and started whimpering and rubbing against her feet. Gu Sheng gleefully picked him up and asked in a low voice, “Chocolate, your tummy seems like it’s not feeling very well tonight. Did your grandmother secretly give you some strawberries to eat, huh?”
While she murmured to him, Chocolate kept rubbing back and forth against her naughtily.
In her headset, she could hear the conversations that were taking place during their break time.
“When Feng Ya Song first joined the entertainment circle, his trademark was his facial paralysis.” Jue Mei Sha Yi heaved a long sigh. “Why don’t you describe to the new people your history of how you used to get slapped around?”
Feng Ya Song let out a laugh. “I didn’t have any sense of feeling for the script. I’m guessing all of you haven’t really dated any girls?” While he spoke, there was a slight echo. Being the intelligent person that he was,
he straightaway laughed, “Hey, whose audio mixing isn’t turned off?”
Gu Sheng instantly was delighted by this.
She quickly banged off a row of words to Geng Xiaoxing: The secret’s slipped out? Your affair’s been exposed…
Geng Xiaoxing: …………………………………………………………
“I’m using a different computer today.” Jue Mei gave a light cough. “Can’t turn it off.”
“Oh…” Feng Ya Song answered with a slight chortle. “And here I was wondering who was letting their own girl listen in in secret.’
Go back to talking about conveying the feeling,” Jue Mei chuckled.
“I’ll say, it’s really quite simple.” Feng Ya Song joked nonchalantly, “If you want to be able to convey feeling, go pester a few girls or boys. You’ll get ‘the feeling’ right away, especially in romance scenes.”
Everyone was being delightedly entertained as they listened.
Jue Mei, however, gave a lengthy sigh. “But according to what you’ve said, what’s Qiang Qing Ci, who’s never had a girlfriend before, to do? He’s a professional voice actor doing commercial projects. Specializes in the romantic, charming young noblemen, the deeply tender and loving type.”
Gu Sheng was stroking her dog’s fur right then, and her hand immediately paused. She thought she must have heard wrong.
She had been moved by Qiang Qing Ci’s roles countless times, especially in the hit period drama that had aired on the “Watermelon Channel.” That drama, she had “watched” completely with her eyes closed, just so she would only listen to the voices and not be distracted by the unattractive male lead.
With a “bah,” Feng Ya Song replied, “Forget about our Toupai. He has an innate sense of drama. We can’t compare.”
When they said this, the dozen or so newbies immediately grew excited.
One must know, more than half of the people present there had joined this voice acting group because of Qiang Qing Ci’s reputation.
The name, Wanmei, had been loved and famous for six or seven years because of Qiang Qing Ci.
In fact, when Wanmei’s artistes occasionally went to do dubbing for commercial projects, the instant they revealed that they were from Wanmei Voice Acting Group, there would be a recording engineer who would laugh. “The one Qiang Qing Ci belongs to? Has that boy not retired from the online entertainment circle yet?”
Most of the well-known talents were freelancers. After all, who would want to be tied down by a non-commercial organization?
Gu Sheng was not certain for his reason behind it. However, her own biased speculation was that Toupai DaRen must have high moral integrity and, no matter how popular or famous he became, he did not forget his roots…
But now that Jue Mei Sha Yi had mentioned him, everyone started asking whether they could have a chance to hear Qiang Qing Ci DaRen give a live demonstration. Even if they needed to arrange for a very late time, they would definitely all still promptly show up. Jue Mei did not reply immediately and seemed to be considering.
In that brief moment of quiet, Gu Sheng did not dare even to breathe deeply as she also waited for the answer.
After all, the chance to hear him perform live for a non-commercial project had basically long since been non-existent…
“Sheng Sheng Man?” Qiang Qing Ci’s voice was suddenly in her headset.
She gave a start, and her heart started beating wildly.
He was actually here.
And he was using Jue Mei Sha Yi’s microphone again…
In a casual voice, Qiang Qing Ci asked her, “May I ‘hold’ you up onto the mike?”
Very polite, very unexpected, and sounded very suggestively intimate.
She actually thought to use this adjective? Like she was a fresh newbie to the entertainment circle.
Wasn’t it very normal for an administrator to “hold” a person onto the mike and “hold” them to come off the mike? But, if all of a sudden, it was your favorite voice that asked you this… Gu Sheng’s ears were actually starting to burn up. She took a moment to scorn herself, and then putting on a relaxed and natural front, she typed off, “Sure.”
She was “on mike” without a hitch.
It was quiet for a little while. Neither of them spoke.
“In fact, romance scenes are very simple.” Qiang Qing Ci was somewhat more formal now, and his voice was already so ridiculously beautiful to listen to.
Gu Sheng did not know what sort of scene he wanted to act out with her.
She could only carefully watch the bulletin board. When she had observed other voice acting groups PIA script, the lines had all been posted on the bulletin board and people only needed to read what was written… But she just did not know, why did he choose her?
Then again, besides the newbies, there were only two other men here, so he really only could act it out with her.
Gu Sheng explained it in this way to herself.
But she still nervously drew in a deep breath… To ask a cover singer to voice out script was like trying to drive a duck up onto a perch to sit…
“Sheng Sheng Man?” Qiang Qing Ci suddenly addressed her.
“Hm?” Gu Sheng focused her gaze on the bulletin board. No lines there yet.
“I love you.”
Dialogue that suddenly came out of nowhere.
Simple, straightforward, yet filled with a deep sense of tenderness and affection.
She was instantly stupefied. Fully and completely.
“Do you…” His voice resonated slightly, a gentle warmth that seemed to cast a spell. “… love me?”
“I…” She bit down on her lip, forcing herself to calm down. There was no script. How should she answer? Love? Not love? Love or not?
She struggled with herself for a few seconds before finally confessing, “Love…… I love… your voice.”
“Thank you,” Qiang Qing Ci answered her lightly. “I’ll ‘hold’ you off the mike now.”
He gave a laugh, returning to his usual aloof tone. “That’s the feeling you should have. Practice more. Contemplate on it some more.”
 Orig. 外婆 ‘wai po.’ Mother’s mother.
 Orig. 表哥 ‘biao ge.’ An older, male cousin. Gu Sheng addresses this cousin only as “Biao Ge” throughout the novel, and he is never given a name by the author. I will just use “Cousin.”
二次元 ‘er ci yuan.’ The virtual world that exists in a “flat” or 2-D medium. This includes manga/anime and the characters within as well as the online world, its artistes, gaming, etc. and all the communication that takes place in it.
 Orig. 剑三, which is short for新剑侠情缘叁Online ‘New Jian Xia Qing Yuan 3 Online.’ A popular online video game with an ancient setting. A drama of the same Chinese name and based on the game was filmed several years ago and called The Legend of Swordman or Sword Heroes Fate (featuring Nicholas Tse and Charlene Choi.)
 Tencent QQ, otherwise known as QQ, is an instant messaging service in China with features such as text messaging, file transfers, voice and video chats. Group chats on QQ are much smaller and personal, in general, than YY. I draw parallels to what you would use an MSN account to do.
 Orig. 西瓜台. This is either referring to Shanghai TV station or CCTV. I have found conflicting information. Several of China’s television channels have been given nicknames after a fruit or vegetable because their logo resembles said food. For example, Hunan TV station, the station on which Bu Bu Jing Xin was aired is called the “Mango Channel.”
 The word used for “hold” is 抱. It’s the same word used for “hug/embrace” as well as “carry,” like how you would hold a baby. In YY, to “hold” someone up onto the mike means that an administrator allows someone, who originally did not have speaking rights in a room, to speak. It’s a simple right-click on their name and a check to add them to the list that allows their microphone to register in the room. Then, to “hold” or “carry” someone off the mike is to remove their speaking rights again.
After chatting via comments with Mel, I realized that this whole concept of an online entertainment circle may be a little bit foreign. To clarify, the CVs mentioned in this story are internet/online voice actors. That means their work mainly encompasses voice acting for projects that are released through an online medium (i.e. released for the 2-D world), such as radio dramas, online gaming, online videos, etc. That is completely different from (what I have translated as) commercial voice acting, which can include things like dubbing the voices for television dramas or television commercials. Toupai started out and made his big break in online voice acting and as a result, has a huge fan base in the 2-D world. However, he has generally moved out of 2-D world voice acting and is mainly doing commercial work. That is why his participation in Wanmei’s anniversary celebration, which is an online event, is such a big deal because it has been several years since he did any work in the 2-D world.