On the other hand, inside the car Qi Cong knew that he probably saw incorrectly and still couldn’t help but look towards the rearview mirror.
They were really similar–that shoulder outline and height.
“Thirty-two!” Shen Jia suddenly jumped over excitedly, leaning over Qi Cong and excitedly gesturing with his fingers. “I counted, the number should be thirty-two! I only counted the ones who brought signs and held up cameras. There might also be some people who followed us with their cell phones, but I wasn’t sure If they were fans or passersby who were attracted by the commotion so I didn’t count them. Anyway the number might be higher than what I counted!”
Qi Cong returned to his senses, unable to keep up with what Shen Jia was thinking. He asked, “What?”
“I said the total number of fans who picked you up this time is 32! When I first started out, not many people knew me, not to mention any fans picking me at the airport. By the way, your fans also made a lot of cheering videos for you, have you seen them?”
Qi Cong shook his head. “No.”
“I’ve collected them all, I’ll show them to you!” Shen Jia took out his cell phone and quickly opened Le Play. Selecting one of the most liked videos from his favorites, he clicked play and gave his phone to Qi Cong.
The intro of “A New Life” played in the car, with a large amount of pop-up comments spreading out in front of Qi Cong’s eyes without warning.
“Go for it!” “I misunderstood you before, sorry, please cheer up in the future!” “Thank you for not being beaten down, I’m happy to really know you like this.” “Congratulations to the newcomer!”, “Qi Cong, nice to meet you. Please give us some advice in the future.” , “This video isn’t good at all I only watched it more than 300 times and cried more than 100 times.”
The text was dense and overlapping, covering the screen tightly so Qi Cong could only vaguely see some pop-up in gaps and some white hand-drawn animation lines.
“The title of this video is ‘Qi Cong, I am sorry that I once called you a coward.’ The video clip was made by a big account that once called you a hateful person who should be hated.” Shen Jia pointed at his cell phone and said, “Brother Cong, look.”
Qi Cong looked at Shen Jia, who was constantly urging, rubbed his fingers against the temperature that belonged to Shen Jia on the phone case and bowed his head to carefully look at the video.
The comment section became slightly less covered in words, revealing the video picture, and a person appeared on the screen using a black-and-white filter.
A line of lyrics from Qi Cong’s song sounded, “but it feels like ink, it’s difficult to polish them as you carry them through time and space.” The person in the picture wandered ignorantly in the bustling world and suddenly bumped into another short man wearing a crown necklace. Then they walked forward with each other.
The pop-up screen was once again buzzing with activity.
“Jia Jia is coming out!”
“Hahaha, Jia Jia’s miniature is so cute!”
Qi Cong couldn’t help but look at Shen Jia next to him. Shen Jia looked a little embarrassed as he urged him, “Look quickly! Look, this mini is really well drawn.”
Qi Cong then withdrew his eyes again.
The video wasn’t long, only the length of the song “A New Life”. The content of the video was actually very similar to that of the “A New Life” MV, except that all the characters changed from birds to black and white mini characters. The metaphorical fog used in the MV turned into the image of a group of evil demons.
What distinguishes this video from the MV was that the bad things Qi Cong experienced in the past three years, which were blurred in the MV of “A New Life,” were shown clearly in this video.
The short man in the video was picked up by the devil after being sick and his true self was erased. He was then taken away from his parents, separated from his friends and was bullied in various ways. Unknowingly, the second chorus ended and the man in the video died and came back to life, finally leaving the devil and returning to his family and friends. After recovering from the illness, the ignorant man with amnesia was immersed in wind and rain again without any warning.
He tried to take a new step forward and set off, but was knocked to the ground again and again by the accusations of the Jiang family, smears and various media’s explosive gossip, the biased attacks of public opinion and the huge network boycott. Again and again, as the man stood up, he was knocked down again. This made his road to a new life very difficult, and he gradually became bruised and battered, his figure getting lighter and lighter, almost dissipating before he could reach the starting point of his new life.
Finally, the last chorus came. The person in a crown necklace and people representing his parents, as well as an unmarked person suddenly appeared as they together supported and protected the bruised and battered man as they ran together towards the glowing new life line.
At the end of the video, the small man wore the crown necklace given by his friend and armor given by his parents as he rushed past the glowing starting point.
A dazzling white light filled the screen, making color completely reappear in a once black and white video. The low, emotional singing fell back, and the small man in the armor slowly turned into Qi Cong, sitting in the interview room and introduced himself seriously towards the camera. “Hello, I am Qi Cong.”
At the end of the video, there was a lot of crying and Shen Jia who was watching the video with Qi Cong also sniffled. He reached out for his phone and said, “There are more. You should check them out Brother Cong.”
Another video began to play. The title of the video was “You have a nice smile”. The atmosphere of this video was relatively warm. The video began with Qi Cong sitting in the interview room making the host smile with his words.
The pop-up screen was full of licking the screen comments and rainbow farts. Qi Cong glanced at the video and then concentrated on Shen Jia.
Shen Jia leaned over, looking intently at the phone screen, his eyes a little red. Yet his tone was excited as he explained, “Brother Cong, your interview video and live from that day were watched countless times by your fans. They even made a smile compilation from it and each play count is super high. It looks like they really like the way you smile. Look Brother Cong, your fans really like you!”
Qi Cong moved his eyes back to the phone screen. He watched as his own smiling face flashed on the screen. The pop-up comments were filled with confessions and rainbow farts and he finally understood Shen Jia’s purpose for making him watch it.
His best friend was a bit dumb and not very good at talking, so he will always use somewhat silly, but cute ways to comfort him.
He was such a good friend.
After another video ended, Shen Jia hurriedly clicked the next one. Qi Cong saw that Shen Jia’s trumpet account was full of videos about him and he tightened his grip on the mobile phone.
For such a good friend, he should make arrangements that never let the other party be hurt by him again.
Shen Jia prepared well for today’s euphemistic comfort and encouragement.
After playing a large number of fan-made videos, Shen Jia also pulled out a large collection of music critics’ reviews of “A New Life” for Qi Cong to see. Then he very thoughtfully pointed out the key points in these reviews to Qi Cong while flipping through them, and finally concluded – most of the industry professionals are highly supportive of Qi Cong’s song.
After this, Shen Jia opened each music playing platform one by one, and opened the popularity chart and new songs charts, as well as the comments of the fans under “A New Life” on each platform to show Qi Cong. Shen Jia excitedly said that “A New Life” was now super popular and from the day it was released, it soared to the top, turning over each platform chart!
After that, he opened a bunch of screenshots of Weibo and Le Play’s popular and hot searches to show to Qi Cong. The screenshots showed that during the time when Qi Cong was avoiding the outside world because of his personal matters, the popularity of “A New Life” was gradually rising and spreading, together with the vlog and livestream.
Finally, Shen Jia opened the weekly popularity list from Weibo and showed Qi Cong that his MV was ranked third.
“Last night, your debut song ‘A New Life’ was broadcast on the Beicheng TV station, and the ratings were very high. After the show was over, your fans and passers-by made this edited version of the video a hit. “
Qi Cong looked at the video and found that its cover was actually the moment when he came on stage and paused in a daze because he saw so many fans.
Shen Jia clicked on the video and the first thing that popped up was the image of Qi Cong standing next to the host and bowing slightly towards the audience.
A few pop-ups floated across the screen.
–His first reaction was to stop because he couldn’t believe so many people were there for him, right? Oooooh, details kill me.
-His first reaction after coming back to his senses was actually to bow and say thank you. Ahhhhh, he is so nice.
– After brainstorming a lot of things my head hurts. Sisters, spoil him for me! Spoil him! He suffered too much.
Shen Jia said, “Under normal circumstances, an artist’s fans will become very active when they first become popular. Brother Cong, your fans are also very active, and unlike the fans of other pop artists, your fan group shows a strong solidarity from the very beginning of their appearance. Brother Cong do you know what your fans call themselves?”
Qi Cong adjusted the emotions created by these videos and asked, “I don’t know, what are they called?”
“They’re called Firth. It’s the fir tree with wood character.” Shen Jia said, while taking out his phone to start a search. He showed the searched encyclopedia information to Qi Cong. “It’s this. A tree which can also be called fir. It can also be used as a construction material.”
Qi Cong froze.
His eyes fell on the sentence “Fir– a tree, also known as the evergreen tree” in the encyclopedia, remembering the faint smell of fir that always seemed to coexist with Gu Xun. His heart seemed to be stung by something and became a little sour.
Was this a coincidence?
Shen Jia continued to explain, “Your fans choose this name because it resonates with your name and also because they want to be the cornerstone that can build a nest for you.
“You see, if one fan is a fir branch, then if many of your fans who like you get together, they can build a big nest for you, right? They hope that you can grow safely in the nest they build for you for the rest of your life, and finally fly high with your own wings. Cong, your efforts can be seen, and life is already getting better.”
Shen Jia rarely spoke like this, so Qi Cong looked at him from the side.
Shen Jia also looked at Qi Cong and then very seriously said, “Brother Cong, I don’t know what happened between you and Gu Xun, nor is it clear for me what kind of impact the memories of the past three years had on you. All this, let alone I don’t understand why you chose to separate from him. Many things you do I might not understand, but I just want to tell you that no matter what you are thinking, no matter what you do, no matter what you choose, I will support you, I will always be there. You’re the one who told me, ‘just go for it, all difficulties can always be solved.’”
Difficulties can always be solved.
Qi Cong couldn’t help but put down the phone and hug Shen Jia. “Thank you, Jia Jia.”
Shen Jia immediately hugged back, his tone a bit silly and serious, but also with a bit of caution, “You’re welcome. Brother Cong, cheer up, okay?”
Qi Cong closed his eyes, swallowed all the choked sour emotions and nodded. “Alright.”
It didn’t take long for their group to arrive at the hotel booked in advance for them. Shen Jia changed back into the chattering and excited appearance from before, took out his cell phone and together with Qi Cong and Zhen Zhenxun went to check in with the TV station staff who came to pick them up. Then he opened a picture taken by fans that showed up for them at the airport and handed it to Qi Cong to see.
“Brother Cong look! Your fans are so fast, they actually posted the photo they took before. They took such a good picture of you, just look at this. Eh? Are we wearing a couple’s outfit?” Shen Jia paused and then looked at his and Qi Cong’s clothes.
Qi Cong also saw the content of the picture and looked at the clothes they wore. They found after the fact, probably because of sharing a stylist, the clothes he and Shen Jia wore today were actually from the same series, both of which were co-branded clothes of a well-known brand. The difference being that Shen Jia was wearing a thin sweater and he was wearing a casual style shirt.
“Gu Xun, remember to say a few more words at dinner later. I don’t want to deal with that group of people alone.”
A certain familiar name made Qi Cong startled as he instinctively turned his head towards where the voice came from.
At the hotel entrance, a familiar tall and slender figure with his head slightly lowered was coming from the door. Beside him a similarly tall man was speaking with a lazy expression. They were talking as if they knew each other well.
Probably sensing Qi Cong’s gaze, the man who had his head down suddenly looked up.
Their eyes met.
It was Gu Xun.
Qi Cong froze.
Gu Xun’s footsteps paused, but in the next second, Gu Xun retracted his gaze and turned his face toward the person next to him and whispered something. Then they walked straight past Qi Cong and Shen Jia standing in the center of the lobby, and disappeared in the corridor leading to the elevator room.
Shen Jia only discovered the other party’s presence when Gu Xun passed them, but before he could react, Gu Xun had already disappeared into the lobby. He looked cautiously toward Qi Cong as he said, “Brother Cong–”
“I’m fine.” Qi Cong returned to his senses and smiled at Shen Jia. Reaching out, he pat Shen Jia on the back. “Brother Zhao is coming over, let’s go to our rooms first.”
Shen Jia wanted to say something, but finally decided against it.
More than ten minutes later, Qi Cong took his luggage and entered the room arranged for him by the TV station. After the door closed, all the calmness he pretended to have on his face disappeared as he showed a dazzled expression.
How could Gu Xun be here? Did he have a job here?
He couldn’t help but close his eyes and repeatedly recall the scene of Gu Xun passing right past him as he leaned over the door to his room.
It wasn’t an illusion. The smell of fir cologne that has always existed since their reunion was gone.
They had been so close that he even smelled the tobacco coming from Gu Xun’s companion, so he couldn’t be mistaken.
The fir cologne smell on Gu Xun’s body was really gone.
A few minutes later, Qi Cong straightened up, lifted the luggage at his feet and stepped into the room, burying all the excess emotions deep in his heart.
At two o’clock in the afternoon, Qi Cong and Shen Jia left the hotel in the company of a group of staff members and took the program team’s car to the location of the variety show recording – a vacation home right outside the city.
Edited by: Antiope1