Happy New Year, everyone! Next chapter won’t come until 2015. 😉 Wishing all of you blessings in the year to come!
Regarding last chapter, to quote Sheng Sheng: “That… was it?” You didn’t really think Toupai DaRen would let things slide with just that one little kiss, did you? 😀 For those of you whose heart could not stand it last week, well, start mentally prepping yourself right now before you even start reading. LOL
Chapter 40 – Salt and Pepper Mushrooms (3)
After Mo Qingcheng finished saying this, he straightened and gestured to Gu Sheng to hurry to the restroom to remove her make-up and change. After all, it was still very cool in early spring. That remarkable feeling from just a moment ago was still lingering around the two of them, so much so that Gu Sheng dared not really look at him. However, as the two of them walked back up towards the top floor ands they could see in the distance their companions laughing and horsing around, she suddenly halted her steps.
“Mo Qingcheng…” Unexpectedly, she darted in front of him and turned around to face him.
He gave her a puzzled look.
She stared at him with 70% apprehensiveness… and 100% embarrassment.
He grew even more perplexed, a smile adorning the corner of his eyes and brows.
The most captivating thing about Gu Sheng was that all her emotions would, without any restraint, be completely displayed on her face and in her eyes. She was twenty-two years old now. How did she manage to be so open and authentic, yet get through life safe and sound without getting tricked or taken advantage of these last twenty-two years?
He could not hold back a faint smile.
Seeming to have worked up her determination, she stretched her hand out and gently wiped his lips.
He understood now, so he stood very quietly, looking down at her and letting her destroy all the evidence.
Once, twice … Anyway, it took several swipes before his lips were completely clean.
The lipstick… was applied very thickly indeed…
“Is it clean now?” he asked in a low tone, his voice filled with mirth.
“Mm.” Acting as if nothing had happened, she turned around and started walking again. With difficulty … she kept moving forward. Even though she had wiped it clean herself, she still felt guiltily uneasy, fearing that there might still be something left on his lips…
“Sheng Sheng, you still haven’t removed your make-up?” The make-up artist was standing in the hallway making casual conversation with someone when she saw her walking towards them. Immediately, she pulled out her make-up remover and facial cleansing milk and handed it to Gu Sheng. “How come so much of your lipstick is gone? Did you ingest it?”
“Huh? It’s gone?” Gu Sheng used the back of her hand to wipe at her mouth, pretending to act nonchalant.
Mu Mu took a glance at her and then very professionally and sincerely advised, “That type of stuff isn’t good for you to consume. Next time, try not to ingest so much.”
Okay, people, could we stop discussing the topic about ingesting or not ingesting? T.T……
Everyone then took the topic from how the lipstick on Gu Sheng’s lips managed to get eaten away, to ingesting lipstick was very bad for you, to some lipsticks were made from natural botanical materials and seemed safe to ingest… and finally to… in the future, they should develop a line of lipsticks called “Lovers’ Lipstick” that was specifically designed to be ingested…
She was there in the restroom, rapidly removing her make-up with the aid of the make-up artist and listening through the wall while the topic expanded to this extent. Silently, she endured this, holding it all in until she was nearly going to die of internal injuries…
Mo Qingcheng seemed to be in a good mood.
Apart from when they had been out on the terrace taking photographs and he had been scowling, he was actually saying more than he normally did. However, that, too, was still limited to when he was talking with Mo Bai and Mu Mu… To everyone else, he was definitely someone who innately kept away from the female gender, someone who could only be observed from a distance with no chance of anyone getting close enough to start a conversation.
In regards to this… Why was it the Toupai she knew was forever affable and warm and always took the initiative? …
Under Mo Bai’s persistent wheedling and pestering, in the end, their couple’s dinner date completely turned into McDonald’s + karaoke night, and on top of that, it was with a crowd. After taking photos together, joking and complaining together, changing in and out of costumes together, and chatting away together over a tray of French fries in McDonald’s, this group of people, which only a few hours ago had been strangers to one another, had successfully gotten to know each other.
However, after listening to people sing in the private karaoke room for only one hour but hearing the three words, “Qiang Qing Ci” spoken more than a dozen times, she finally realized there was something very wrong.
She was Sheng Sheng Man. Beside her was Qiang Qing Ci.
She was an ancient-style singer. Toupai was a voice actor who could sing better than most singers.
Even though, right from the beginning, they had already colluded with Mu Mu and Mo Bai to keep their 2-D world identities a secret, wouldn’t they be exposed once the microphone was put in front of them? … Glancing at the person beside her, she took a sip of her milk tea. The tapioca pearls shot up the straw and slid into her mouth…
“I want to sing ‘Drunken Dream in Divine Rain’!” There were two young girls huddled together at the counter where they could request songs, and there were another two standing behind them giving instructions.
“Can you sing those high notes?”
“Doesn’t matter. I just want to sing it to commemorate that this was the first song my Toupai DaRen sang.” The girl choosing songs immediately flaunted her status as a senior Qiang Qing Ci fan…
Gu Sheng successfully managed to… swallow her two tapioca pearls whole.
Mo Qingcheng was calm as always.
“Want to hear me sing?” The voice beside her suddenly put forward this wonderful, yet dangerous suggestion.
Yes… of course she wanted to…
In the glow of the continuously flashing strobe lights, she looked at him somewhat uneasily. Thinking over it for a few seconds, she brought her lips up against his ear and said quietly, “Qiang Qing Ci Dada, aren’t you afraid of being found out?”
He smiled and also lowered his voice to reply, “Sheng Sheng Man Dada, as a voice actor, to be able to change and use a variety of voices is a basic skill.”
…… Alright. Touche. He got her.
Since the name, Qiang Qing Ci had first made its appearance in voice acting, aside from his voice’s ability to strike straight into the heart of the listener, the aspect that generated the most praise was his talent to create a wide variety of different voices. As long as it was not too much of an out-of-the-ordinary type of role, he would completely be able to handle it.
How could she forget? He was Qiang Qing Ci, ah.
After the girls had all settled on their songs, he walked over and started to choose.
As he stood there at the counter where songs were requested, his head lowered, looking over the list of songs, more than half the crowd’s eyes lit up. Who didn’t like a handsome guy? And when a handsome guy dared to go up to request a song to sing, that meant his singing was definitely not bad! But the key point was, to this entire room of girls, of which half were were voice lovers, this was a huge enticement.
When they spied the song names he had selected, their blood immediately seemed to start burning.
It was Chinese style! This handsome guy was a kindred spirit! You could find people who could sing pop music all over the world, you know? But someone who could sing ancient-style songs well was a rare gem, k? Did you think just anybody could sing ancient-style songs? Tell the guy next to you to give it a try and you’d know!
“Um… can I feebly ask you, DaRen, do you know how to sing ‘Drunken Dream in Divine Rain’?……”
The senior Qiang Qing Ci fan suddenly came up with this idea and very eagerly presented this song request.
He smiled and shook his head.
This KTV was not really up to date with the times and had very few ancient-style songs that had been released online. Most of the ancient-style songs were actually Chinese style songs that had been released by pop singers. Finally, he chose the most recently released one in the list, “Hong Chen Ke Zhan” [Red Dust Inn or Worldly Inn]. He had just finished deciding on his selection and then the girls who had been picking songs before him immediately declared generously, “Please skip over ours and give first priority to the handsome guy…”
The result was, the song he had just requested was brought up the queue to be the next song.
Gu Sheng nibbled on the straw of her milk tea and listened as the introduction gradually started playing. She was lightly holding her breath… When he had sang to the crowd on YY, he had used his natural voice, so now, even she could not help wondering what it would be like when he used another voice to sing…
Until the microphone was turned on.
Until his first note appeared. Until, still biting on her straw, her breath was completely taken away.
[2:08] “Under the eaves, the twigs slant across the lattice window
We sit on the ground sipping tea
I use Gongbi painting to etch you in my heart
I put pen to paper, but not for literary pursuits…”
The imposing boldness and emperor’s aura of “Drunken Dream in Divine Rain” and “Overturn the World” had been put away. His voice had completely changed. Regardless of whether one was considering vocal quality or emotional interpretation, he had completely integrated himself into the song.
The majestic feeling was gone. It was a completely clean, simple voice.
Far from the tumult of the world of men …
So beautiful. She thought of the saying “turn the world upside down in fervor.”
He was singing, she was listening. The rest of the people were merely sideline spectators.
Every person who heard him was captivated, but nobody could tell he was Qiang Qing Ci.
In fact, even when he had finished singing, all those voice lovers present did not forget to follow up and ask if he wanted to be a CV or a cover singer. They were as excited as if they had just dug up the most valuable treasure on the earth. Mo Bai, who was watching this from the side, nearly gave himself an internal injury from laughing so hard and hurriedly stuffed him back to Gu Sheng. Mo Qingcheng took a look at his watch. “The air in here feels stuffy. Want to go out for a walk?”
The fun was at its peak in this place, so if two people left, it should be fine, right?
She quietly set her milk tea on the table and answered softly, “Okay. I’m just going to go to the restroom. Wait for me at the main entrance.”
When she finished saying this, she picked up her bag and ran out of the room first.
She had to say, the décor of the KTV was very European in style. The restrooms were facing a wall of mirrors, and walking along, there were different doors that lead into different hallways. Through various doors, voices could be heard as they sang, and no sooner had the sound of one subsided, another would arise. She quickly washed her face and hands, fixed her hair, and walked back outside, where she glanced at herself in the mirror.
She blinked her eyes a few times.
Mm-hmm. Looking pretty good…
She was just about to turn around when in the mirror, she saw Mo Qingcheng standing in the hallway leading towards the exit, his hands in his pockets, watching her with a smile on his lips… It was apparent he had discovered the girly thought she had had as she looked in the mirror.
How long had he been watching?
Really, she hadn’t been looking in the mirror that long, right?
The two of them took the elevator downstairs. Out of habit, he popped a throat lozenge into his mouth. It seemed that many CVs and singers had this same habit. Actually… she wanted to say, it was not that good to always take them, right? You could become dependent on them…
Even though they were in the downtown, the KTV was actually in a quiet location amongst the busyness, situated on the top floor of a business high-rise building, and as a result, there were not many people when they exited the building.
Not many people and not many cars, but still very brightly lit.
When she stepped outside, she happened to be in a particularly windy spot. Very chilly.
While she was looking around trying to determine where the nearest bus station was, two young women pushed open the glass doors of the building. He quickly pulled her out of the way to avoid that transparent glass door. His warm hands were enclosed around her wrists while her back was against the outer glass wall of the building.
Behind her, the lights shone brilliantly, tracing out the outline of her face while illuminating his.
Because it was cold or something like that, she felt that she was much warmer here, leaning like this against the wall with him in front shielding her.
But this position they were in…
She cast a quick look at the security guard who was inside the glass doors on the other side of her … Feeling a little awkward and timid, she turned back and asked a random, irrelevant question. “Do you know… is there any bus route around here that will take me back to my school? …” Or… the metro would do, too…
She was still searching around with her eyes for a bus stop when, without any warning, he lowered his head. “Yes, I do.”
The tip of his nose brushed against the tip of hers. And then, very naturally, he found her lips. The tip of his tongue slipped in, then tentatively gave her some time to grow accustomed to what was happening. One second, two seconds.
How in the world could she get accustomed to this?
His breath felt scorching. Her head was spinning. This time, it really was… for real.
There she was, pressed by him like this against the glass wall with no choice but to tilt her head upward.
The taste of the lozenge. The crisp scent of mint. Did… he do it on purpose…?
Scattered fragments of thoughts were trying with all their might to come together, but his enticing would break them apart so that they could not form a complete sentence. What technique? Her tongue was being tantalized and lightly sucked and even brought into his mouth where he gently held it.
Such an intimate form of interaction, but it had unexpectedly happened here.
Everything intermingled with the sound of cars driving by and the smell of the trees beside the road…
“Where, where? …” From far away, someone was crying with such excitement it sounded as if she was watching an idol drama.
Gu Sheng clearly heard that voice speaking, and she abruptly pushed against his chest.
Her push did separate them, but using that momentum, he pulled her head in to rest against his shoulder and embraced her in that position… Those bright eyes were clearly tilted up in a smile. “What did you just ask me?”
Her heart was still floating around in her chest, rocking and swaying.
She buried her face into his shoulder like an ostrich, hiding her mouth and nose from view and barely peeking her eyes out to watch the two passersby gradually walk away into the distance. She mumbled quietly, “Didn’t you say that you know? …”
Her first kiss, ah… And it was out in an open, public place and even had spectators…
“I know?” He pondered briefly, reaching into his pocket and pulling out another throat lozenge. Tossing it into his mouth, he said in a voice made unclear by the candy, “Oh right, we were talking about busses… There are no direct bus routes around here. You can only take the metro.”
Then why did you say you knew?
Don’t tell me, you weren’t really thinking and just said whatever came to mind? …
After a little while, he patted her lightly on her back, indicating that it was okay for them to leave now.
Gu Sheng immediately recovered her ability to think and process properly again. She slipped herself out of his arms, wanting only to hurry up and leave this place. Who cared whether it was by bus or metro or plane? … If he suddenly felt like he wanted to have another go at it and at the same time, the people upstairs happened to get bored and want to leave early, she absolutely would not ever dare face his two friends again…
 Credit to http://www.chinasmack.com/2013/more/chinese-pop-songs/red-dust-inn-by-jay-chou-zhou-jielun.html. Check out the site for a full translation of the song.
颠倒红尘. Literally, to turn the “red dust” upside down. 红尘 or “red dust” means the human/mundane/mortal world. 颠倒 means “to turn upside down” literally, but it can mean to bring confusion and chaos to something. At times, it is used to describe when someone is losing their mind. In this case, Gu Sheng is thinking, Toupai’s singing is so beautiful that it can cause people to lose their minds (go crazy with love for it). Apologies for the terribly unpoetic translation in the main text of the translation.