Peanuts: I am hijacking this post to write a few words 😛 The blog will hit 1 million views any time today, in large part due to Boss & Me drama and Come & Eat, Shan Shan novel translation. A big thank you to all the readers for the support and hopefully we’ll reach another milestone next year with You Are My Sunshine drama and Silent Separation novel translation. Also, a big thank you to all the translators who’ve worked hard. Another big thank you to Chewywon for doing the celebration banners 🙂
Woohoo! Congrats to hui3r and Peanuts for the huge milestone! Kudos to all who have contributed to this awesome blog, and of course, thanks to all the readers! Let’s bring out the balloons, crack open the champagne, and throw a party! I even convinced Toupai to jump out of a cake for this occasion. LOL. Well, not quite, but a certain *someone* is making his appearance in this chapter to celebrate with all of us. *squee*
Chapter 17 – Yan Du Xian [Salted Pork Soup] (2)
Her unfinished sentence had been sent out already. Surprisingly, Qiang Qing Ci did not reply.
Gu Sheng was truly in shock from the idea. The word, “meet-up” was floating around in her brain… She had never met-up with any of her friends in the 2-D world before. Even though, this was nothing like the once popular fad of online dating and was just a bunch of friends who all loved ancient style music getting together, recording a song, and having dinner or something…
(⊙o⊙)… Having dinner? That was way too remote to think about…
Oh no. Just even thinking about the word, “meet-up” and then linking that idea with all those frequently heard names, especially Toupai, in the entertainment circle made her feel awful all over.
For half an hour, she wandered numbly around her room, still unable to settle down.
She decided to go into the bathroom, and there she faced the mirror, staring off into space. Her appearance… Was it really suitable to go see a bunch of superstars in the entertainment circle?
Out in the living room, an alert sound rang out from her mobile phone. She dashed out and picked it up.
It was Toupai’s voice message: “Out of our group of seven, there are four of us who are in the same city. How does tomorrow afternoon at 3 o’clock sound? From what Jue Mei said, classes resume for you the day after tomorrow?”
Gu Sheng felt like she was going to have a nervous breakdown.
What was that looming sense that she was feeling, like doomsday was coming? …
To go see her absolute favourite voice plus a bunch of respected elders who were all her favourites as well and… and … she was not given any time at all to prepare. At the very least, she needed to prepare herself both psychologically and outwardly, you know, DaRen? …
She struggled within herself for a long time, but in the end, said into her WeChat, “Alright… That time should be no problem for me.”
She could not act all pompous and snooty, right? They were already all accommodating the start of her school term.
After she sent her message, she suddenly was struck with confusion. How does Toupai know he and I are in the same city?
Weibo… Mm-hmm. Her Weibo profile did state her home city, whereas Toupai’s was kept private.
Alright. T T It was not unusual at all for DaRen to know.
She and Toupai conversed a little longer regarding the time and address as well as how they were going to work things out with the other three singers who were not in the city. Toupai also in passing reminded her to go to bed early tonight. After that, he did not send any more voice messages. Gu Sheng gazed at her phone, quietly stroking Toupai’s profile picture on the screen as she murmured to it, “Toupai DaRen… How in the world am I going to get through the next twenty-something hours? …”
Gu Sheng was struggling over everything, from clothing to hairstyle, from whether to wear pants or a dress, to debating whether to wear her hair up or down. In the end, she decided to just keep it simple and clean and wear a pair of trousers and her down jacket. With the cold weather, it was best to dress a little more practically; otherwise, it really would be like meeting up with online friends or going on a blind date, and that would truly be awkward. According to what Toupai had told her, of the people collaborating with her on the song, she would be meeting Dou Dou Dou Bing, Fei Shao, and Wwwwk tomorrow. And then there were the two others, Jue Mei and Feng Ya Song, who were coming strictly because they were bored and had nothing to do….
Amongst this group, only Wwwwk and Fei Shao had ever had photos of themselves released on the Internet. This was because, of these two, the former was a radio host while the latter… hmm… he was a voice actor who did not care whether his face was on the Internet. The other people had never been “seen” before, especially Toupai, who did not ever reveal any personal information, much less have his photograph show up on the Internet.
It would have been a lie if she said she was not excited, but she did not dare tell anyone about it.
People outside of the entertainment circle would not understand, and anyone in the circle would definitely hire an assassin to kill her or try to coerce her, by threat or by bribe, into secretly taking some photographs. As a result, Gu Sheng had no choice but to keep it all to herself from that afternoon until the middle of the night when she was still unable to fall asleep. When she arose the next day, her complexion was paler than usual, and it was apparent she had not slept well. She picked up a brush and began to run it through her hair. While she she was brushing, she suddenly remembered that she had to head back to school today!
In other words, that meant she needed to carry a week’s worth of clothing and food to the recording studio… and then after that, go back to school…
Totally destroying to her image…
However, there was no other option. By the time they were done recording, it would be evening already, and the address of the recording studio was not very far from her university. In fact, it was actually on the way. Recognizing that she did not have much of a choice, she faced reality and started to gather up her clothing and food. One at a time, she stuffed them into her backpack until it was bulging. As she threw it on her back and started heading out the door, her mother did not forget to call after her, “After your gathering with your classmates is done, head straight back to school. When you’re back in your dorm, give me a call.”
Gu Sheng guiltily answered with a quick “mm-hmm.”
She did not dare tell her mother she was going to meet-up a group of 2-D world friends whom she had never met before.
She did not want to spend several hours trying to explain to her mother the difference between online and 2-D world friends… mainly because there really was no actual difference.
After riding the metro, she transferred to a bus and rode for another two stops. When she arrived at the recording studio, it was nearly 2:30 p.m.
(⊙v⊙) Half an hour early.
Should she go up? Or wander around downstairs until three o’clock?… Gusts of cold air slipped in through edges of her scarf. So cold. Why was it so cold today? It wasn’t going to snow, was it?
She strolled around and whittled away another twenty minutes before she finally went inside and took an elevator to the fourth floor.
With a “ding,” the elevator opened.
Her view opened up into a sitting area. Two young women were at what appeared to be a bar-height reception desk. One was pouring a glass of water while the other was on the telephone and taking down notes. The girl who was pouring water noticed Gu Sheng and addressed her with a smile, “Three o’clock studio? You’re Mo Qingcheng’s friend?”
Gu Sheng was taken aback for a moment, but, remembering the pinyin name he gave her in WeChat, she inferred that that must be Toupai’s name. She nodded.
“Head inside to the back. It’s the room on the left. Several people have arrived already.” The girl pointed at the sterilized cooler next to the reception area sofa. “If you’re thirsty, there’s water there that you can help yourself to. The coffee station has instant coffee.” After this methodical and thorough introduction, the girl smiled and went back to drinking her glass of water.
A very professional and speedy string of explanations.
This was Gu Sheng’s first time in a recording studio, and she at first had been worried that it would be a posh and serious sort of place. She had not expected it to be so casual and normal. Following the girl’s instructions, she walked to the very end of the corridor. On the way, she passed three or four rooms. Some of the doors were open, and she could see the recording engineer staring at a video and syncing audio tracks. Others were closed. Probably in the middle of recording?
She came to a stop at the end of the corridor in front of the room on the left hand side.
She was nervous.
She gave a slight exhale and cleared her throat.
What should she say first? How about just, “Hello everyone. I’m Sheng Sheng Man”? … Seemed a little idiotic …
Her hand was on the doorknob. Right as she was about to open the door, it was pulled open from the inside, and a very tall man suddenly stood before her. Both of them were taken aback.
“Hello,” Gu Sheng blurted.
And then… the young man actually laughed out loud. “Sheng Sheng Man?”
“Mm-hmm.” Gu Sheng nodded.
“I’m Jue Mei Sha Yi.” The corners of the man’s lips were curved up in a smile. Because of his height, his presence was slightly stifling. “Ah, such a pleasure to meet you, Sheng Sheng.”
Initially, the first part of what he had said was very proper, but the latter sentence was enough to thoroughly embarrass her.
Gu Sheng suddenly felt very awkward and hot with embarrassment. Someone was mimicking the way Toupai called her “Sheng Sheng”…
While she was still standing there staring blankly at him, Jue Mei had already turned to the side and told the people inside, “Toupai’s golden master has arrived.”
Gu Sheng felt that if he said one more sentence, she was definitely going to turn around and run away…
As her line of sight opened up, a very light-complexioned, bespectacled young man who had been sitting inside with legs crossed on a couch, immediately leaped up and rushed over when he heard these words. “Golden Master, Golden Master, hello. I’m Feng Ya Song.”
“Alright, alright. You scared her…” Jue Mei Sha Yi used his body to obstruct him.
“Did I? Sheng Sheng? Did I scare you?” Feng Ya Song beamed at her.
Gu Sheng shook her head, forcing herself to remain calm. “Of course not… No, you didn’t…”
A hand suddenly came up from behind her and rested itself on her shoulder.
Gu Sheng was frozen in shock when she heard someone say, “Don’t pick on the little girl. Hi Golden Master, I’m Wwwwk. You know, when you and Toupai DaRen were sending lovey dovey messages to each other, the one who was eating hot pot right next to him.”
She swore, she honestly was about to cry.
“You people, out of the way, out of the way.” At last, a young woman, who appeared to be only a few years older than Gu Sheng, came up to them. She was dressed in a white sweater and seemed very sweet and gentle. She wrapped an arm around Gu Sheng and rescued her from the circle the three men had formed around her, all the while, not forgetting to scold them. “Toupai last minute could not make it. Fine. Now you guys are bullying Sheng Sheng… Hmph!” She pulled Sheng Sheng over to sit down on the couch with her. “I’m Dou Bing.”
“Toupai’s not coming?” Gu Sheng was a little dubious, but from a quick glance around the room, there really were only these four people here…
“Something came up last minute… Nothing he could do about it. He’s busier than all of us.” Dou Dou Dou Bing was feeling resigned as well. “He repeatedly told me to make sure I take good care of you so you wouldn’t be scared by these guys.”
Gu Sheng felt that it was a shame and was also a little disappointed.
After all, Toupai was the most mysterious persona. Seeing him was many people’s wish, right?
Fortunately, these were all people Gu Sheng had gotten to know over the last several months now, so even though they looked like they were all five to six years older than her, she was very soon able to chat comfortably with them. After a little while, a bleary-eyed Fei Shao arrived. Gu Sheng learned that this recording studio was actually owned by Fei Shao and his partners, and this particular room had been reserved for them from three o’clock onwards.
As a result, none of them were in a hurry. A bunch of snacks were opened and tossed onto the table outside of the recording area, making it seem like a little party.
While listening to their idle conversation, Gu Sheng let her gaze wander around this particular studio.
The outer room contained all the equipment as well as a couch for resting and a coffee table.
An entire wall of glass allowed her to see that the soundproof room on the other side was empty of any persons and contained some microphones that were currently unused and a table and chairs.
Very clean and very professional.
Jue Mei was chattering away when he suddenly remembered that Gu Sheng was still a student. Worried that she would be returning to campus at too late an hour, he quickly told everyone to get to work. In reality, he and Feng Ya Song had come only to join in on the fun. Without Qiang Qing Ci, there were really only four of them who needed to do anything. Each of them only had a few lines, so half an hour or so per person was about all that was needed.
When Gu Sheng finished recording her part, it was not even six o’clock yet.
Here, inside the soundproof room, she could hear all the sounds from the outside area. Recording inside a studio was indeed the most ideal. Not only did it produce the best product, there were also professional recording engineers and experienced people to provide coaching and guidance.
It was a pity… that Toupai was not here.
Sitting in the soundproof recording room, she heard the recording engineer tell her, “Ok, you’re good,” and she immediately breathed out in relief. As she was about to take off her headset, she heard Feng Ya Song suddenly pipe out, “Mo Qingcheng, you’re a forever yogurt lover, eh.”
Her heart gave a leap, and she automatically turned her head to the side and looked over towards the glass wall.
On the other side of the wall…
A young man dressed in jeans and a black, long-sleeved t-shirt was standing there. He appeared to have arrived not long ago. Right as she turned to look out the glass wall, he happened to also be looking at her. One hand held a large carton of yogurt while the other hand waved in greeting to her.
Those eyes. Dark and bright. So astonishingly beautiful.
Outer corners turned up. And a smile seen in them.
She stared disbelievingly at him.
It was him.
“Hi Sheng Sheng.” His voice was so real as it came through her headset. In a mesmerizingly low and warm voice, he told her, “I’m Qiang Qing Ci.”
 莫青成. These are the character’s for Toupai’s actual name, as opposed to 莫倾城, which is what Sheng Sheng had guessed his name was when he gave her his WeChat ID.
Coincidence that all these “elders” in the 2-D world all happened to be available on this particular day to do a recording, even with less than 24 hours notice? I think not! Ah, Toupai, is good! Wonder how long he had planned this with his pals…