Qi Cong’s voice was low and husky but not muted. It is very gentle and evocative. His tone when speaking was usually so flat and habitually grave that few people would pay attention to it.
But when he lowered his voice and sang softly, the rustling sensation was immediately magnified multiple times, ferociously stimulating the eardrums.
The low and nebulous voice, like the gentle, floating sea breeze at night, spread throughout the arena through the sound equipment, and each sentence was touching people’s eardrums.
Everyone was stunned, and then they looked back or tilted their heads to the side, looking at the person standing on the center of the stage.
Qi Cong was wearing the most ordinary white tee with black pants. His hair was still long because he was too busy to cut it. Most of the stage lights were turned off, and only a white dome light fell on him, making him appear thin and aloof.
His posture was relaxed, without the usual stiffness of a newcomer, his gaze resting on a distant point. While singing, his eyes seemed to change with the emotion of the song.
He was like a seasoned singer.
Xiao Han and others who were offstage looked at Qi Cong with their mouths slightly open.
After being stunned for a moment, Shen Jia’s nervousness quickly dissipated, and he looked at Qi Cong excitedly then turned and ran towards the stage.
Zhao Zhenxun also looked surprised. This voice was . . . so special.
The song continued.
Qi Cong chose a love song highly rated in the country, had not many high notes, had a soothing rhythm, and was not demanding on the vocals but still tested the singer’s emotionality.
Songs like these could come out dry and tasteless if he was not careful. But Qi Cong didn’t do it; his sandy and sultry voice coupled with such a lyrical song—it was almost like a dancer who found the most suitable dance shoes that any jump executed had an attractive arc.
This summer hot wind seems to have become tender and sentimental with the singing.
. . .
At the end of the song, Qi Cong put down the microphone.
Shen Jia immediately gave a screaming whistle then clapped hard, urging Xiao Han and others around him to applaud quickly. He roared excitedly, “It sounded good! It was super beautiful! Brother Cong is the best!”
Xiao Han and others regained their senses and were busy applauding hard. Many staff members could not help but raise their hands when they saw the situation.
The clapping, sparse at first, slowly increased, connected, then resounded.
It seemed . . . he was not so bad at singing?
Qi Cong smiled, raised the microphone again, and thanked everyone, then turned and walked to Zhao Zhenxun to wait for the verdict.
Zhao Zhenxun looked at Qi Cong for a while and then shook his head. “You are not suitable to be an idol.”
Qi Cong’s clenched hand slowly relaxed. Shen Jia, who had just run into the stage, staggered with surprise. The person in charge standing next to Zhao Zhenxun looked at Zhao Zhenxun in surprise. “Old Zhao, you start playing—”
Zhao Zhenxun finished his sentence. “You’re fit to be a singer.”
Qi Cong looked up at Zhao Zhenxun.
The person in charge was no longer surprised when he heard that but looked Qi Cong up and down and nodded in agreement.
“Yes, this child’s temperament is too quiet and heavy. The ‘I’m the most handsome,’ ‘I’m the most beautiful,’ ‘I’m the most passionate,’ ‘I’m the most positive,’ ‘I’m the worthiest of your love’ energy, he has none of them. Gee, it will not be easy.”
Shen Jia leaned over to Qi Cong and asked nervously, “Well, then what should we do? Can that . . . uh, stamina be cultivated?”
Zhao Zhenxun didn’t say anything. It was the person in charge who took over by saying, “This is something in people’s bones. You can’t cultivate it. If you ask me, this child might as well become an actor. Actors need this quiet and calm energy. With his appearance and temperament, he is suitable to rely on his own strength to make a living, and a place that is too busy is not suitable for him.”
“I’ll think about it,” Zhao Zhenxun spoke. And when he saw that Qi Cong was still looking at him, his expression was a bit gentler in a rare moment, as he reassured, “Don’t worry. There’s a way out for you.”
. . .
Shen Jia’s performance in the evening was very successful. After the show was over, everyone drove to the hotel booked in advance, intending to catch the plane tomorrow morning to Yaocheng, their next workplace, after a good night’s sleep.
After returning to his room, Qi Cong first tidied up his luggage and then took a bath. After taking a bath, he habitually took out his mobile phone and checked WeChat.
Gu Xun still didn’t reply to his message.
It has been a whole day since last night.
He hesitated for a moment but still didn’t send any more messages. He put down his mobile phone and went to his suitcase and took out his laptop. Then he sat down on the small table by the window.
Cold Wind Like a Knife asked him to publish three chapters before signing a contract. He wrote one chapter the other day and still needed two more.
A document opened then thin, white fingers were placed on the keyboard, pausing for a moment before dancing from slow to fast.
. . .
The incessant ringing of the cell phone woke Qi Cong, who had fallen asleep on the table. He frowned and sat up, instinctively touching the computer touchpad first.
The screen lit up to reveal the document zoomed to full screen. On the document, the mouse cursor blinked regularly at the bottom of the document, its last automatic save time was 11:02 in the evening.
Qi Cong looked at the time.
It was 11:10. He has only slept for less than eight minutes. He picked up his cell phone and saw that it was a call from an unknown number, and the hidden anticipation in his heart slowly disappeared.
It was not Gu Xun.
He rubbed his face and connected the call.
“Hello, who is it?”
“You want to sign the contract?”
A familiar female voice that you won’t forget if you’ve heard it once came out of the phone and Qi Cong immediately frowned.
It was Wu Heng’s girlfriend, Lin Xiaozhi.
Lin Xiaozhi’s words were like a machine gun: “I heard from Wu Heng’s editor that Jiangwang.com’s editorial department received your contract application. Cold Wind Like a Knife wants to sign you in person. Ha! You said you didn’t want to rub Wu Heng’s popularity! You want to write Chivalrous Bones? Do you really want to kill Wu Heng? Do you know how many termination compensations calls he received from yesterday to today and how much pressure he is under! How could you be so lucky? Gu Xun helped you, Leng Feng signed you, and then there is Hui Nantian, and all those people praising you for your outline! Murmuring Water, can’t you. . . just leave Wu Heng alone? You leave him alone.”
Qi Cong squeezed the phone and turned on the voice changer that came with the phone before putting it back to his ear and asking, “Finished? I’ll hang up then. Please don’t call again.”
“Is your heart made of stone!” Lin Xiaozhi broke down, her voice sharp and piercing. “You can’t write Chivalrous Bones. You can’t write like Wu Heng . . .”
“If you call me again, I will immediately contact the lawyer and sue Wu Heng for plagiarism.”
Lin Xiaozhi’s voice abruptly silenced.
“I know that Wu Heng’s plagiarism is not easy to accuse, but it doesn’t matter. I don’t have to win a lawsuit. I just need to keep the lawsuit going and drag Wu Heng out of all his business related to Chivalrous Bones so that he can’t go on wasting his life on the things that he greedily stole.”
Lin Xiaozhi breathing became heavier, and she was clearly panicking, but she still pretended to be calm: “Then you will also be dragged in this, you won’t do this, you can’t win a lawsuit.”
“I will.” Qi Cong tone was cold and merciless, “If you continue to pester me, then even if suing Wu Heng will make me lose everything, I will sue. You are right. My life is really good. You can come and try it with me.”
Beep. Lin Xiaozhi hung up the call.
Qi Cong put down his cell phone and pulled Lin Xiaozhi’s number on the blacklist. Then he leaned back into his chair and looked up at the ceiling of the hotel room without moving for a while.
It was time to get a new number.
Suddenly his phone rang again.
Qi Cong raised his hand to cover his eyes without reason.
The ringing stopped and then rang again.
Qi Cong finally moved, sat up straight, and picked up the phone vigorously.
Gu Xun’s name flashed on the screen.
Qi Cong was stunned, and his frozen expression quickly melted away as he put the phone to his ear. It took him two seconds to realize that the phone had not been answered. He hurriedly took the phone down and answered the phone then put the phone back to his ear and unconsciously held his breath.
“It took you so long to answer. Did I disturb your sleep?” Gu Xun’s voice came over, low, warm, a little apologetic. “But what can I do? You will leave Nancheng tomorrow. I just landed in Nancheng half an hour ago. If I don’t disturb you, I may not see you before you leave Nancheng.”
Qi Cong realized something and opened his eyes slightly. “You, you can’t be . . .”
“Are you really woken up by me when your voice is so hoarse?” Gu Xun’s voice continued more softly. “I’m sorry. Can I just see you for five minutes? If you can . . . will you open the door for me?”
Qi Cong suddenly looked sideways at the door of the hotel room, but without an answer, he got up and took two steps to the door and pulled it open.
The corridor beyond the door was empty, the cold the bright the corridor lights illuminating it.
The lump of air in Qi Cong’s chest suddenly dissipated.
“I brought you a little present.”
One hand suddenly reached out from the right with a small bag, and a figure followed that turned out to be tall and leggy, broad-shouldered, and narrow-waisted man, who, though only wearing only a simple black T and black pants and a cap on his head that covered his eyebrow, was still very good-looking.
It was Gu Xun.
Qi Cong looked at Gu Xun’s smiling and gentle eyes, and it was only after two seconds did he return to his senses. His first glanced at both sides of the corridor and then stepped aside to ask, “How did you find it? Do you have a job in Nancheng?”
Gu Xun put down the bag in his hand; glanced over Qi Cong arms, legs, and collarbone, which were exposed, thanks to his loose pajamas; and raised his hand. Pressing the lower half of his face, he followed Qi Cong’s gesture to enter the house and said, “The next stop for the promotion of Heaven Asks is here. The date is tomorrow. I finished my work in Shencheng early and flew in a day early.”
Qi Cong didn’t notice Gu Xun’s line of sight. When he came in, he just closed the door and turned to look at Gu Xun, who had already walked to the bed. He suddenly felt that the hotel room was a little small. Or maybe it was because Gu Xun was too tall.
“Quilt is so neat. You didn’t sleep?” Gu Xun suddenly turned around.
Qi Cong hurriedly moved his eyes away from Gu Xun’s legs and fixed them on Gu Xun’s face. He nodded and shook his head. “Ready to go to bed.”
Gu Xun gave an “um,” sat down on the bed, patted, bounced on it, then commented, “Not bad. Quite soft.”
“. . .”
In such an atmosphere, this environment, and the irreconcilable relationship between the two, Qi Cong did not know how to answer Gu Xun’s words. He went to the TV cabinet opposite the bed, picked up a bottle of water from it, leaned on the TV cabinet, and handed the water to Gu Xun, trying to change the subject.
“Did you come alone? Where is your assistant?”
Gu Xun took the water, bowed his head, twisted the cap before saying, “The first sentence you say when I entered your room is to ask for my assistant?”
Gu Xun looked up and smiled at Qi Cong. “He went to book a room for me, right here in this hotel.”
Qi Cong nodded to show that he understood and looked down at the pattern of the carpet under his feet, instinctively avoiding the confrontation with Gu Xun.
The silence spread.
“I saw your Wechat.”
Qi Cong looked up at Gu Xun and tried to calm his tone as much as possible as he asked. “So what kind of thanks do you want . . . Do you want it? This thank-you gift will be to thank you for helping me out on the live broadcast yesterday?”
Gu Xun leaned over, rested his elbow on his knee, slightly looking up to gaze at Qi Cong, and replied, “I haven’t replied to your messages because I was thinking that and this, and when I finally figured it out, I found out something else.”
The distance from the bed to the TV cabinet was not wide. Qi Cong leaned against the TV cabinet. Gu Xun sat at the end of the bed and leaned over the end of the bed. The straight-line distance between the two people was almost 20 cm.
Qi Cong even felt that Gu Xun’s breath blew on his chest and abdomen when he spoke.
He straightened up a little and asked, “What have you found?”
“Found . . .” Gu Xun suddenly reached out and grasped the crown pendant hanging from Qi Cong neck, his eyes narrowed slightly, with a little dangerous emotion inside, but the corners of his mouth were raised shallowly, making a kind expression while his tone stayed gentle as his slender fingers rubbed the little crown. He seemed so casual, but in fact, he tried to crush the pendant while saying in a soft, low voice, “I found that someone had put this on you.”
Edited by: Faro