The next morning, as soon as Qi Cong woke up, he reached for his phone on the bedside table.
The WeChat icon was open, but Gu Xun still had not replied to his message. He stared at his phone for two seconds before he put it down. He sat up, lifting the blanket to get up.
This day, Shen Jia’s job was to go to Nancheng to attend a music festival held by a big music platform. To avoid the heavy traffic, Shen Jia’s team gathered at the entrance of the Shenjia District before seven o’clock, then the team got into two cars and drove to the airport.
When Shen Jia got into the car, he immediately took out his mobile phone and opened Weibo, concentrating on browsing it intently.
Qi Cong didn’t disturb Shen Jia and asked Xiao Han for some advice on what to pay attention to when they would attend this kind of music festival. He didn’t know how long it took, but Shen Jia suddenly sat up and shouted. It frightened the rest of the team, and they all turned their heads to look at him.
Shen Jia, on the other hand, looked at Qi Cong and said excitedly, “Brother Cong, you become hot again . . . Mm-hmm.”
Qi Cong knew what he was going to say when he saw Shen Jia’s expression, so he quickly reached out to cover his mouth and smiled calmly at Xiao Han, who looked at them curiously, and at YuanYuan and Jiang Meng, sitting in the backseat, who were startled awake.
Then he looked at Shen Jia and hinted, “Are you hungry? I made sandwiches, they are in the lunch box.”
“. . .” Shen Jia’s eyes tilted in the direction of Xiao Han and others, then he looked at Qi Cong and blinked twice.
Qi Cong let him go.
“. . . Brother Cong, do you have anything to eat? I’m hungry.” Shen Jia obediently changed his tune.
Satisfied, Qi Cong took out the box of sandwiches, took out the biggest piece inside, and gave it to Shen Jia, and then he asked the others if they wanted to eat.
Everyone held out their hands, and the sandwiches were quickly distributed. Everyone was eating and kissing the asses of the breakfast maker, Qi Cong, and Shen Jia’s strange shout was quickly forgotten by the others except by Zhao Zhenxun.
Zhao Zhenxun, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, looked back at Shen Jia and warned, “Don’t browse Weibo. The water army is lively dancing now.”
“But they can’t dance anymore.” Shen Jia was still excited, eating the sandwich and saying vaguely while stealing glances at the people chatting in the back of the car. He leaned over Zhao Zhenxun’s seat and pointed to his mobile phone.
“Some people have recognized the trumpet of Wu Heng’s girlfriend, Lin Xiaozhi, which used to be called Gouache. And yesterday, Gu Xun mentioned that Hui Nantian also posted on Weibo, giving the original . . .”
Speaking about this, he looked back and spoke even lower, “In the beginning, Brother Cong was the evidence proving that he and Wu Heng met on the forum. Now everyone is scolding Wu Heng.”
Qi Cong was surprised and followed close. “Nantian posted the evidence?”
“Yeah. Look at that, Brother Cong.”
Shen Jia handed his phone to Qi Cong who took it and looked at the still lit screen.
A Weibo sent in the early morning was lying in the middle of the screen:
“Hui Nantian v: I also didn’t think that the post I made on a whim after the reopening of the old site on Jiangtwan.com would lead to this series of things. I should be responsible for what I said, as well as the post I posted. Yesterday, I went through the chat records and finally found a little evidence that I didn’t tell a lie. See for yourselves.”
Attached below were three screenshots of a Penguin chat records. The two sides of the conversation in these pictures were of Hui Nantian himself and a person named as “Brother Knife” by Hui Nantian.
In the first chat record.
Hui Nantian: I saw a post from a newcomer asking for advice on the forum. As soon as I saw his writing style, I knew that the newcomer must be from a screenwriter major. His writing style is the same as yours. How about that? Do you want to pick up an apprentice? The newcomer started with a clever plot at the beginning of his story.
Brother Knife replied after a while: Which post?
Hui Nantian: <rolling eyes emoji> Too late. The newcomer’s post is gone. There was something wrong with the format of the newcomer’s post, and it was deleted by the administrator.
Brother Knife came back after a long time: Newcomer’s pseudonym?
Hui Nantian: Some kind of water? I forgot.
Brother Knife returned with a row of ellipses.
Hui Nantian: Check your behavior. I didn’t forget it on purpose. That newcomer might even post another post, and then I will find it out and poke you at that time.
The first chat was over. The second chat record was a few days later. Brother Dao took the initiative to write to Nantian.
Brother Knife: Have you found?
Hui Nantian: No.
Brother Knife: . . .
Hui Nantian: Why do I want to hit you so much?
Hui Nantian: I remember that the old author who always picks up the newcomers in the forum, named Water without a Trace, left his contact information for this newcomer. If you really care, I can ask someone to help you ask without a Trace if he had added this newcomer or not.
Brother Knife: Forget it. I’m busy. Don’t talk.
The second chat record was over.
The third chat record was a year after the first two. It was Hui Nantian who poked Brother Dao
Hui Nantian: Brother Dao, are you there? Do you remember the newcomer I mentioned to you before?
Brother Dao replied in seconds: I don’t remember.
This time it was Hui Nantian who sent a row of ellipsis, then he pasted the past chat records about this matter, and then said, “The beginning of the novel of Water without a Trace looks more and more like that of that newcomer’s. The name of the protagonist seems to be the same, but I don’t remember if the title of the novel is the same. Say . . . What is Water without a Trace doing?”
Brother Knife: Is there any evidence to prove that Water without a Trace copied the beginning of others?
Hui Nantian sent back a <sigh expression> meme: There is a fart ah. The old website is closed. Wait a moment. Water without a Trace wouldn’t wait for the old website to close specially just to publish this? I’m drunk. I’m drunk. I hope I remembered wrong.
Qi Cong was in a daze for a moment. Unexpectedly, it really left a trace although it was not a direct trace. He looked at the three chat records over and over again and finally fixed his eyes on the first sentence written by Hui Nantian. What did he mean by “As soon as I saw his writing style, I knew that the newcomer must be from screenwriter major”? Is his style really professional? He didn’t notice it before.
He casually clicked on the following comments. The polarization in the comment section was extremely serious. Half of them were scolding Water without a Trace and the other half shouted for Brother Dao, then a few people sighed in hindsight that it was no wonder that Brother Dao didn’t seem to like Water without Trace very much. Brother Dao was very kind to other writers in Jiangwang.com, only ignoring Wu Heng.
Qi Cong became more and more confused. Brother Dao seems to be a very powerful man?
Qi Cong returned to the present, and he looked at Zhao Zhenxun, who was calling him.
“When we get on the plane, Let’s sit together. I have something to tell you.”
Qi Cong returned cell phone to Shen Jia and nodded.
After getting on the plane, Qi Cong self-consciously sat next to Zhao Zhenxun, and Shen Jia was thrown away to sit with Xiao Han.
After sitting down, Zhao Zhenxun lowered his voice and said directly, “The impact of last night’s confrontation will need at least two days to spread before its final shape could be determined. I will tell you in advance that the second part of Chivalrous is very likely to be stopped. Wu Heng, as the party at fault for concealing information about this work will probably need to pay a large amount of breach-of-contract fees to East Film. In addition, the directors, screenwriters, and actors who spoke in support of Wu Heng have all deleted their comments, and most of them already hold a grudge against Wu Heng. Plus with the influence of Gu Xun, for a period of time in the future, it is very likely that there will be a wave of resistance to plagiarism in the film and television circle. Wu Heng’s carrier as a screenwriter won’t go on.”
Qi Cong was silent for a few seconds and calmly answered, “If you do something wrong, you have to pay the price.”
Zhen Zhenxun glanced at Qi Cong and asked, “I heard you unpublished the content of your novel?”
Qi Cong was stunned for a moment before he nodded. “That is right.”
“What do you want to do?”
There was nothing to hide, so Qi Cong replied, “I want to rewrite Chivalrous Bones.”
When the two looked at each other, Zhao Zhenxun was the first to look away. “Don’t worry. Whether you rewrite Chivalrous Bones or not is your private matter. I won’t interfere. But I would like to remind you that there are definitely more people who don’t want you to rewrite Chivalrous Bones than there are people who will support you to rewrite it.”
It’s a very frustrating and disempowering fact. The Chivalrous Bones series had been popular for two years and had also been adapted into a TV series, managing to make a number of new actors popular and accumulating a huge number of fans and passersby. In view of the fact that Qi Cong’s version of Chivalrous Bones would end with the death of Liu Fengyue, there would definitely be many people who not only would not support but would even resist Qi Cong’s rewriting.
The public would support the original creator’s right but would subtly not want anyone to ruin a classic. And even if the public can’t think of boycotting Qi Cong’s Chivalrous Bones because of the current rights protection trend, but Wu Heng . . . or Wu Heng’s girlfriend, Lin Xiaozhi, would definitely try to find a water army to bring rhythm to boycotting it later.
Qi Cong understood what Zhao Zhenxun meant, and he himself considered all these things last night. He replied, “I understand. But I still want to rewrite it. I don’t want others to mention Chivalrous Bones in the future and only think of the changed work of Wu Heng.”
Zhao Zhenxun didn’t seem surprised by Qi Cong’s decision. Hearing this, he immediately said, “Then there’s one more thing I want you to understand. Writing novels, selling copyrights, and turning to screenwriting is indeed a pretty good path, and now that you have the support of public opinion and a fan base, success can be much easier. But once you write Chivalrous Bones worse than Wu Heng, then what you have now will soon be lost again. And even if you write Chivalrous Bones better than Wu Heng, it will be a controversial and successful adaptation of a previous work that has already accumulated a fan base. It will likely face a situation that no one would dare to take it over. Of course, you can write another work, but the Internet environment is changing rapidly, and writing one work is very energy-intensive and time consuming. It takes a long time to gamble on an uncertain success that only those with capital and preparation can choose. That’s why I’d prefer that you focus your current life on preparing for your debut, Chivalrous Bones may not help you solve your current life difficulties, but your debut certainly will.”
After saying this, Zhao Zhenxun closed his eyes and leaned against the back of his seat to get some sleep.
Qi Cong moved after a long time and whispered back, “I understand that too.”
He never wanted to make money from Chivalrous Bones. He just wanted to finish his dream.
. . .
When he got off the plane, Qi Cong realized for the first time that Shen Jia’s is a star that is sought after by thousands of people.
Before, he was wondering why Zhao Zhenxun brought so many bodyguards for Shen Jia. When they were surrounded by excited fans, he understood that, without these bodyguards, they might not even be able to walk out of the airport hall.
“JiaJia! JiaJia, look here!”
“JiaJia, thank you for your hard work! Cheer up on the stage tonight!
“JiaJia, look over here!”
Fans shouted excitedly. Shen Jia, who was protected by bodyguards, waved to his fans from time to time with a very kind attitude. Qi Cong followed behind Shen Jia, helping him to hold the backpack.
Shen Jia, who was greeting his fans, suddenly turned around and pulled Qi Cong by arm to his side.
Qi Cong was puzzled, stood still, and looked at Shen Jia. “What’s the matter?”
Shen Jia grinned, suddenly raised his hand, and took off a crown pendant he was wearing around his neck and put it around Qi Cong’s neck then put an arm around Qi Cong shoulder and held a pair of scissors hands to a fan holding a camera.
Qi Cong was confused.
Fans screamed even more intensely after a pause.
Edited by: Faro