This reporter was not the only one who was dumbfounded. There was a gradual uproar at the venue.
Qi Cong looked at Gu Xun’s back in front of him, and then suddenly regained his senses. The hands on his knees were clenched into fists, as he looked at Wu Heng on the stage. The distance was so far that he could not see Wu Heng’s expression clearly. He could only see that Wu Heng raised his hand and fixed his glasses twice.
The host, who was stunned, tried to ease the situation, but after saying a couple of sentences, it didn’t work. Everyone was still talking in a low voice. In the end, the host compromised, gave up, and signaled to Wu Heng to answer Gu Xun’s question according to the rules.
The venue became quiet, as everyone looked at Wu Heng in that strange atmosphere.
“I . . .”
In the silence of the hall, Wu Heng finally opened his mouth. After saying a word, he fixed his glasses and looked at Gu Xun. His attitude was very gentle, even a bit warm.
“I don’t know where Mr. Gu Xun’s friend heard this rumor?”
He didn’t answer directly.
There was a slight commotion again in the previously quiet meeting place. All of the people present had been in the entertainment circle for many years. When Wu Heng was faced with such a question that challenged his dignity and reputation as an author, Wu Heng did not deny it but asked about the source of the rumor. Either this person was too stupid, or the question was not easy to answer.
Everyone knew what it meant when it was not easy to answer.
The atmosphere became subtle.
Qi Cong looked at Gu Xun again.
Gu Xun’s posture had not changed, as he said slowly, “The principle of a Q&A is that there should be questions and answers. You have to answer my question first, so I can return the courtesy and answer your question. So, is the rumor true?”
The question went around again, and there was a hole in the front. Everyone looked at Wu Heng again.
Wu Heng did not speak.
The atmosphere gradually stagnated.
“Why don’t you answer? Is what Gu Xun said true?” The reporter who had choked on the water before was excited, setting up the camera while turning to his colleague. “What are you waiting for? Film it! The headlines are coming!”
His colleague regained his senses and also followed with the camera and whispered, “Don’t you think the tone of Gu Xun’s voice is not the same as usual? It’s a bit like Fu Jing’s last time—”
“Shh! Be quiet. It will affect the audio.”
The two reporters calmed down as Qi Cong glanced at them.
Was Gu Xun’s tone different from his usual tone? What was his usual tone? Would it be—
“Wu Heng, is the question I asked difficult to answer?”
Gu Xun opened his mouth again, and Qi Cong pulled himself together and looked at the stage again.
“It’s not hard to answer,” Wu Heng finally spoke. He held the microphone in both hands, looking sincere and honest. “I’m just thinking about how to put it. My mouth today is kinda silly.”
Qi Cong bit his mouth gently. The ‘Water without a Trace’ in his memory was really stupid. It took him a long time to give a response when they were discussing problems, and his writing speed was also very slow.
“This rumor is half true, half false.”
Qi Cong’s heart throbbed as he stared at Wu Heng.
Wu Heng looked seriously at Gu Xun and said, “Chivalrous is not a work that I wrote according to the beginning of a novice author. It is my pure, original work. But the title of Chivalrous and the names of its main characters are actually from one of my online friends. When I published Chivalrous, I had lost contact with this friend of mine for half a year. I was worried about him, so when I published my new book, I used the title of the book and the names of the main characters of the unpublished work that he was preparing, thinking that by doing so, I might be able to get him to contact me again.”
“Ah? Is that it?” The previously excited media reporters sounded disappointed.
Qi Cong’s heart sank a little, and he no longer looked at Wu Heng.
The atmosphere at the venue warmed up a little because of Wu Heng’s answer, and the host took the opportunity to continue, but Gu Xun interrupted him.
“Is that so?” Gu Xun’s tone was still indifferent, as if he really was just asking a question for a friend, talking without much involvement.
Gu Xun’s tone was still indifferent. It seemed that he was really just asking that question for his friend. “Then I will answer your question too. The rumor my friend heard was from Jiangwan’s old site. Two days ago, Jiangwan’s old site reopened, and someone found a novel that was the same as one of your Chivalrous books whether it was the title, the leading character, or the opening plot. The time this novel was published was also more than eight months prior to yours, and the author’s pen name is . . . ‘Murmuring Water’ .”
Wu Heng’s expression changed.
Qi Cong raised his head abruptly.
Gu Xun continued, “After that, this author posted a post on the old site’s forum, saying that he was a newcomer and was asking for advice from experienced authors on an internal forum of Jiangwan.com. He said that he vaguely remembered that, before the newcomer’s post was deleted, only you replied to that post and left your contact information.”
After a few seconds of dead silence, the venue exploded like a frying pan.
“Shit, shit, shit!” The people from the media, sitting not far away, were so excited that their voices changed as they desperately tugged at their colleagues next to them. “It is really big news! Hurry up! Search the old website of Jiangwang.com! Hurry up!”
“I’m done with my questions. Thank you.” Gu Xun put down the microphone and sat down.
There was chaos all around. Wu Heng stammered something, and the host wanted to end the show. The media people held their cameras and pressed the shutter. A lot of people were talking to each other down the stage. Many raised their hands to fight for the right to ask the remaining two questions.
Qi Cong didn’t hear any of this. He just stared in Gu Xun’s directions. His heart didn’t feel the joy of being helped out but was a little sour. It had been a lie obviously. Why did he do this now?
His mobile phone suddenly vibrated twice. Qi Cong took out his mobile phone and saw it was Zhao Zhenxun calling. He hurriedly picked up.
“Take Shen Jia out! The schedule has changed. We have to go.”
Qi Cong agreed, hung up the phone, and went to the front row to talk to Shen Jia about the situation. Shen Jia, who was somewhat confused by the commotion around him, immediately got up and walked out with Qi Cong.
Before leaving the conference hall, Qi Cong looked back inside.
Wu Heng had stepped off the stage, and the host was trying to get the exchange meeting back on track. There were three empty positions in the middle of the first row, and Gu Xun was nowhere to be found.
He withdrew his line of sight and went out with Shen Jia to meet Zhao Zhenxun, who was waiting outside the venue. Then the three of them walked towards the elevator together. The media all rushed to Wu Heng, so they walked out very easily.
Shen Jia asked in a low voice, “Why do we need to leave all of a sudden?”
Zhao Zhenxun frowned. “There was a change in Legend of Youth, and the producer wants to see you.”
Shen Jia was surprised. “What has changed? Am I going to be cut off?”
“Nonsense! It’s about the contract and the shooting date.”
When the three of them entered the elevator, Qi Cong consciously stood on the side by the elevator buttons, reached out and pressed the eighth floor button. The elevator door started closing, and just when the door almost completely closed, with a gap of only a few centimeters, a hand suddenly stopped it.
The knuckles of the hand were clear, the skin coldly white without any imperfections. A pomegranate-flower-shaped gemstone ring lay quietly on the middle finger of the hand. The blood-red gem on the ring emitted a dull light under the cold light of the elevator.
The elevator door reopened, and Gu Xun’s figure appeared in front of it. He glanced at Shen Jia and Zhao Zhenxun and then his eyes fell on Qi Cong. “I’m going up too.”
Qi Cong clenched his fingers tightly, bowed his head, and stepped back to make way for the others to enter.
When Shen Jia saw Gu Xun, he frowned and looked at Qi Cong anxiously. He hesitated for a moment but did not open his mouth abruptly, just reached out to hold Zhao Zhenxun, who was about to greet Gu Xun.
Gu Xun walked in with his assistant and stood where Qi Cong had stood before. He pressed the door first before pressing the button for the seventh floor, then said to his assistant, “Sometimes it’s good to have amnesia.”
Gu Xun’s assistant was a tall, handsome guy. When he heard this, he looked sideways at Gu Xun and wondered, “Why?”
“If you lose your memory, you won’t feel bad when you are bullied or betrayed. Because you don’t remember anything, you can sit down the stage happily and watch a lively scene that seems to have nothing to do with you.”
Qi Cong’s heart throbbed, as he looked up at Gu Xun before him.
Gu Xun looked sideways. His eyes seemed to be looking at his assistant, but he was paying more attention to the back. His voice was slow and soft, as if he was whispering to his lover, “Say, for something as fragile as the brain, if you use some dramatic method, will the lost memory come back? . . . Forget it. Better not, so as not to be treated like a madman again.”
When the elevator door opened, Gu Xun moved his eyes away and stepped out.
Qi Cong regained his senses, and his hand tightened and untightened. When Gu Xun’s figure was about to disappear from his view, he asked, “Gu Xun, why did you lie to me?”
The elevator door started closing. There was no response outside, and Qi Cong lowered his head.
A hand pressed hard against the elevator door followed by a leg. The elevator door reopened, and Gu Xun’s figure appeared in front of it. He held the elevator door with one hand, his eyes fixed on Qi Cong, his expression almost ferocious.
“What did you just say?”
Edited by: Faro