Translator: SJade, Editor: Dj22031
Advanced chapters available on Patreon. Also, a bonus chapter will be released, if you buy me a kofi.
Yan Qing did not sleep soundly that night. In her dream, Huo Yunshen was causing a ruckus. Before she could leave the practice room, he grabbed her ponytail and pulled her back into his arms as the lights faded to black.
She cried, but he smiled sinisterly. “We’re both adults. Just one kiss? What a shallow reward!”
Yan Qing thought to herself that she didn’t even know why she initiated that one kiss!
Luckily her alarm rang early. Yan Qing reached out a hand trying to slap it to turn it off. She muttered, “Don’t bite my neck!”
Ou Yang reached down and covered her mouth. She looked around to make sure she wasn’t overheard, then excitedly whispered, “Are you dreaming? What kind of dream? Describe it to me.”
Yan Qing woke up immediately. Realizing that she was still peacefully in the dorms, she released a deep breath. Turning to Ou Yang she said, “Don’t ask.”
She got out of bed. The sky outside the window was still dark. The majority of the other girls were already a step ahead of them. They had gotten ready, and were racing to grab a spot in the dressing room. If she went there now, she might have to wait in line for thirty minutes.
Although, it wouldn’t delay filming, it meant she wouldn’t have time to go over her dance a few more times in the practice room.
Yan Qing thought over her options, and then made her decision on the spot. She took a dress out from her suitcase and then returned back under her bed covers.
A cameraman there to film scenes of the girls waking up immediately saw that she was different than the others. He immediately turned his camera to her, wanting to see what she was up to.
The little hill underneath the bedcovers slivered around. After a few minutes of rolling around, the cover was pushed aside. Yan Qing emerged calmly with a bed of messy hair and in a new dress.
The camera man and the others still in the room: 0.0
In her qipao, her curves were more obvious, stretching the material of the dress to accentuate her figure.
Easy going Yan Qing waved hello to the cameras. She put on makeup. When she was done, she placed her feet on the ground. Just as she tied her shoes and prepared to run out, a sharp stabbing pain shot through her leg.
She let out a gasp. Her hand reached down, landing on something and hurting too.
“How’d you fall?” Ou Yang panicked. She ran forward to help her up. Others also came over to check on her.
One of them squatted down, “Ah! It’s a hair clip what is it doing here?”
The cameraman zoomed in with his lens, capturing the seven or eight metal hair clips the size of a fingernail lying at the ground near Yan Qing’s bed. They were of questionable quality, with sharp edges.
The shoe Yan Qing had shaken off had one in it too, already bloodied.
She didn’t put on socks. She had placed her barefoot into the shoe, causing her foot to be directly pierced by the hair clip. there was an obvious wound on the bottom of her feet.
Ou Yang frowned, “Who threw these hair clips here?”
Everyone quickly denied. Someone spoke up, “Let’s not focus on that right now. It must have been an accident. Since Yanyan stepped on them, let’s help treat her wound first.”
This was a diplomatic explanation. It was also a way to protect the program. No one wanted to see the first episode turn into an imperial harem battle.
Ou Yang knew this too. She turned to Yan Qing, “I’ll go get the medical team!”
Yan Qing grabbed her, shaking her head.
She heard from An Lan the day before that the medical team was actually coming after the program officially begins broadcasting. If she wanted to get medical help, she would need to go to the nearest hospital. With traffic, it would take about two hours round trip. Not only was it troublesome, but it would cause her to miss out.
The program had to be mindful of their investors. There were too many moving parts, there was no way that they would delay filming for just one trainee.
If she missed out today, it would be the same as quitting the program in advance.
Yan Qing put on a smile. She determinedly got back onto her feet. She dabbed the marks of blood off with a tissue. She then clasped her hands together, “Which little fairy has a first aid kit? I’ll like to ask for a favour.”
The atmosphere relaxed. First aid kits and any potentially helpful sprays were presented to Yan Qing.
Yan Qing resisted the pain. In three swift moves, she dealt with the wound and used bandage wrap to cover it up. She then slid her shoes back on, “Alright, just a little injury. It’s nothing.”
Everyone saw that her expression was normal. They thought that it was really nothing. The cameraman spoke up, “Do you need me to tell the directors about your injury?”
Yan Qing refused it.
Although, the cameraman asked, he didn’t really want to. The program was finally back running. They didn’t want anything to happen, even if it was a small matter. Besides, what would informing them do? Give her a higher score for her ranking? That would just result in dissatisfaction from other trainees.
It wasn’t worth it.
Yan Qing pretended like nothing happened. She moved her leg around and smiled into the camera. “I’m going to finish up makeup.”
After everyone had slowly shuffled out, Song Xueran appeared from a corner behind the dorm’s doors with a smirk.
To become the main star of Rise Up! Girls and secure the position as center, she spent so much effort on getting that dumb musical academy star out, but then in came this Yan Qing.
There wasn’t any brand name piece of clothing in her wardrobe. She didn’t have any prior fame. What kind of remarkable background could she have? Before, the girls were talking about her stacks of luxury makeup brands. But, she might have just bought them to help her create a public persona for herself.
Pigtails Girl was Song Xueran’s loyal follower. She whispered, “Xueran Jie, don’t worry. Yan Qing is obviously just a flower vase. She just started dancing, she didn’t even practice singing. She’s just given up already. She can’t do better than you.”
Song Xueran scoffed, “Of course she can’t.”
Pigtails Girl fawned over her, “Her foot is hurt. Even if she wants to act all cute and dance, she won’t be able too. Xueran Jie, you’ve got the looks and the skills. But don’t also forget that you’re Huo President’s rumoured girlfriend. That kind of thing is always half fake and half true. No one can prove or disprove it anyways, so the directors will still treat you well just in case.”
Song Xueran finally relaxed. She debuted three years ago but never was really popular. The older she got, the more she worried about being thrown aside by her company. Even for this show didn’t seem like they were interested on promoting her heavily.
To make sure she had a memorable first audition, she carefully practiced her performance. She made sure the song she chose wouldn’t be a popular choice for other trainees to use by selecting a song by internet singer-songwriter Mu Mian.
She needed to win. She was willing to eradicate any threat to her being chosen as the center.
The makeup room was packed. Yan Qing took one look and turned around, hobbling away with her makeup box.
She faced the mirror and applied her own makeup. She looked down at her left foot, “You’ll have to work hard today.”
For program effects, An Lan told her to keep her Mu Mian identity a secret until her audition.
Although Mu Mian was no A-list celebrity, but she had notable online popularity. She had a group of loyal fans. Moreover, in the past day, she suddenly gained a fervent rich fan. He probably really didn’t know how else to use his money, so, he had been sending her private messages on Weibo with screenshots of receipts proving he had been purchasing her songs, and receipts showing he donated to her. He even messaged saying, “Tell me your bank account number.”
Yan Qing thought her head was going to explode. Looking up into the mirror, she touched up her face in satisfaction.
President Huo truly had both money and taste. These makeup products really were top notch. They hid away her pale complexion caused by her pain.
At 9AM, filming officially began. 99 trainees would enter as groups or individually. Before reaching the filming stage, they would first pass through the preparation zone, where they would first rank themselves as ABCD or F based on their perceived overall abilities.
Curious, Yan Qing asked Ou Yang, “Why isn’t there E ranking?”
Ou Yang replied, “F isn’t just the letter. It means fail, as in not reaching the lowest of standards.”
Yan Qing thought then, she didn’t want F. She needed to fight and show off her abilities…,so, she chose D.
Within a room surrounded by cameras, she smiled brightly and carefully taped her ranking label onto her jacket.
When staff members indicated it was time for her to move forward, Yan Qing straightened her back. Every step she took felt like stepping on glass. She gritted her teeth and continued forward.
[My god! Shen Ge, look! Look at her!]
In the large performance hall, the trainees all sat in wait. While they were excited and jittery, their voices were soft. They didn’t dare rush the program’s directors, because this performance hall had been redesigned overnight. It was on another level than before, now, there was the aura of money everywhere. More importantly, up above the 99 trainees, was a new production backroom floor.
The backroom could be divided into three sections– the left, right, and middle section. The glass of the rooms were darkened. They couldn’t confirm who was inside the rooms. But in front of the rooms was a placard “Judge Panel.”
With the commanding officers watching over from above, none of the soldiers/trainees dared to draw attention to speak too loudly.
But even as the trainees conducted themselves cautiously, Yan Qing’s appearance still evoked murmurs.
“So pretty —-”
“Wearing a qipao? That’s the killing point for men!”
“She’s a living princess, I can’t look at her.”
“She ranked herself as D???”
The comments below in the performance hall were mustered cautiously. But up above in the backroom, the three person WeChat group named “Help Shen Ge Chase His Wife” was being spammed.
The previous comment to Shen Ge was from President Su. His fingers flew across his screen. He continued typing. [Shen Ge! You’re here to chase your wife right. So you aren’t interested in this girl, right? Then can I —]
President Lin: [Shut your mouth.]
President Su: [Why? Are you interested in her as well?]
Suddenly, both speakers felt a suffocating pressure upon them.
President Su turned his head and saw a man’s large silhouette. The hairs at the back of his neck stood up.
Huo Yunshen said out loud, “Do you want to die?”
President Su: ? ? ?
Huo Yunshen: “She’s my wife.”
President Su: !!!
Huo Yunshen gripped his chair. He looked down through the one-way glass at Yan Qing.
Her long hair was tied up. Her pale skin almost looked translucent. Her pink qipao stopped just below her thigh, accentuating but also covering her figure.
His eyebrows furrowed.
Yan Qing had just entered. She stood at the center of the stage, greeting and bowing to the other trainees. She spotted an open seat in the middle of the sea of seats, and prepared to go over. After just two steps forward, she suddenly felt a burning gaze on her. It felt like the gaze could touch her. From her hair to her cheeks, all the way down her body….
The gaze swept over her.
Sharp, heavy, and burning fiercely.
Yan Qing felt her lips dry up. Instinctively, she looked up towards the center balcony above.
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