Translator: SJade, Editor: Dj22031
Advanced chapters available on Patreon. Also, a bonus chapter will be released, if you buy me a kofi.
The silent judge panel were finally making their presence known. The lights from the back left side first dramatically lit up, followed by the middle and the right, revealing the famous Huo Corporation logo. A set of doors behind the trainees slid apart. President Su’s youthful face appeared. He smiled. “Pardon, I am using the judges’ right. If there’s only one A, then I choose Yan Qing.”
President Lin followed behind.
The mentors group all looked at the judges panel in surprise.
No one expected this. Before filming, the producing team kept everything secret. They didn’t reveal the identities of the judges panel. If these two big sponsors were here, then the last one was…
Yan Qing didn’t know President Su or President Lin. But based on everyone’s reaction to them, she could guess their status.
She nervously clenched her fist. Her eyes waiting for the final person to enter the auditorium.
That gaze earlier, it felt familiar….
She had a foreboding feeling.
Moreover, the show’s official sponsor was Huo Corporation.
No……it couldn’t be.
The sound of a microphone statically turning on roared through the speakers.
Yan Qing’s heart skipped a beat.
As he walked into the light, a tall man’s silhouette suddenly emerged.
At the same time, Huo Yunshen’s phone screen lit up. Min Jing’s investigation report notification was in: “The culprit is a trainee named Song Xueran. We’ve uncovered evidence.”
Song Xueran appeared to have cleaned up all traces but after investigating the girls, there were only a few that had strong negative feelings for Yan Qing and saw her as a direct competitor to their own position. After tracing each person individually, Song Xueran’s malice was obvious.
Song Xueran wouldn’t act in person. But, it was also easy to see who would do her bidding. From there, it was easy to follow the security camera recording of her minion. Without even having to coerce her, the minion trembled and revealed everything.
Huo Yunshen replied to Min Jing: “Transmit the evidence to the mentors.”
The next moment, his face was completely revealed under the bright spotlight.
Song Xueran’s face paled.
The mentors all stood up in shock.
The trainees had mixed reactions, some knew who he was but others didn’t. Those that did gasped ,“Oh my god!”
Yan Qing felt like her body had turned into stone.
She watched as Huo Yunshen’s features became clearer and clearer as the distance between them closed up.
The bright spotlight accentuated his sharp features, making him appear even more cold and aloof.
It really was him……
He Mingjin was currently ambassador to some of Huo Corporation’s products. He tried his best to remain calm and keep a professional attitude, “President Huo, please go ahead with your comments.”
He was here to help out Song Xueran right?
At this moment, no one was entirely sure.
The atmosphere was tense. Everyone waited in silence.
Huo Yunshen’s deep voice naturally held a sense of command, “Comment? The person I want to comment on hasn’t sung her song yet.”
His gaze was locked on Yan Qing, softly calling out, “Mu Mian.”
Yan Qing unconsciously replied, “En.”
Song Xueran’s eyes widened.
Huo Yunshen’s voice noticeably softened, “Did you want to sing the true version of ‘Good Night’?”
Yan Qing didn’t know how she felt anymore, “En.”
“Okay,” He gestured with his hands, “Play the accompaniment.”
Yan Qing forgot about her pain. All her worries were momentarily tossed out of her mind. She suddenly felt like the “Huo Corporation” in front of the program’s name “Rise Up! Girls” was protecting her.
She didn’t deserve a F.
She had her singing ability.
Yan Qing prepared her voice. When the familiar accompaniment sounded, she let out her voice, singing a voice more moving than the recording of the song online.
I want to enter your dreams, I want to tell you Good Night.
After singing the opening verses, she easily reached the high notes of the chorus.
In comparison to Song Xueran, those with functioning ears could hear who performed better.
Many trainees in the audience were moved to tears. The mentor team was similarly struck, “Yan Qing, you are….Mu Mian?!”
Song Xueran trembled. She wanted to collapse.
Huo Yunshen’s eyes never left the singing star on stage. In a low voice, he asked, “Yan Qing, does your leg hurt?”
Yan Qing looked up in surprise.
He continued, “You’re hurt, am I right?”
Yan Qing felt her eyes redden suddenly. How could Huo Yunshen know everything?
A mentor asked, “What happened to your leg—”
Before the question was finished, a staff member stepped up to the mentor panel with a serious expression and a tablet computer. On the tablet was a short video. It was Miss Pigtails sobbing and exposing that she had only listened to Song Xueran’s instructions to hurt Yan Qing along with evidence of her harming Yan Qing.
Everyone in the room broke into loud murmurs.
Ou Yang couldn’t hold back any longer, “Yan Qing was hurt this morning! She didn’t mess up in her dance. Someone purposely wanted her to mess up! Also, besides the last step, she did perfect for someone who has no background in dance!”
Another mentor swiftly asked, “Yan Qing, can you please remove your shoe.”
Yan Qing bit her lip. She knelt down and untied her laces, slipping her shoe back to reveal the glaring red bandage on her foot. A clear line of blood trickled down through the bandage and to the curve of her foot.
Huo Yunshen’s clenched his jaw. He didn’t want to lose control. His hands formed tight fists, while he did his best to appear normal.
Word by word, he spoke, “Yan Qing’s ability does not need to be doubted. But before we judge one’s abilities, we judge one’s moral character. Someone that uses immoral methods against a fellow trainee has no right to be a part of this show. More importantly, they have no right to stand by Yan Qing’s side.”
His words represented Huo Corporation. Then he turned to Yan Qing, his voice hoarse.
“Yan Qing should be the one to sit on the S rank throne.”
The preliminary rankings ended on a surprising note.
Yan Qing felt like she was in an incubator. Feeling dizzy and breathing heavily, she passively allowed other trainees to lead her up to the highest seat.
Cameras surrounded her from different angles. She heard someone ask for her thoughts.
Yan Qing felt tired. She honestly responded, “…..My leg hurts.”
Then the cameras around her suddenly backed off. Yan Qing left early through the back door. On her way out, she heard President Su and President Lin moving forward with the filming agenda. They commented on the auditions overall, and mentioned the resources that they would provide as show sponsors.
But Huo Yunshen didn’t say a word.
Yan Qing felt even dizzier. She clutched onto the wall, finding her way to the exit door. Min Jing was waiting in the outside hallway. He was dressed in a staff member uniform. When he saw her, he put on a professional smile, “President Huo will be able to leave a little later. Miss Yan, please leave with me first. He will follow afterwards to send you to the hospital.”
Yan Qing knew she couldn’t reject him. There was nowhere for her to escape too, but even if she could hide, Huo Yunshen could easily find her.
Moreover, after such a dramatic scene, she really wanted to question him in person. Ask him if he really had no bottom line. If there was nothing that she could do to make him give up.
In the resting area, there was a soft sofa with blankets. Tea and fruits sat on the coffee table.
Yan Qing wasn’t in the mood. She put a hand to her burning forehead, and asked Min Jing. “What’s the situation with your President Huo? Does, he not remember his own status? Or is Huo Corporation in such a bad financial state that they need him to come out and earn appearance fees as income? What is he doing on this kind of idol competition? And why did he publicly…”
Protect her without hesitation.
Although, it may look like he was reasonably administering justice, his power and attitude were serious. Everyone could tell that this was not just a business matter to him, that he came out to support her.
Min Jing looked out the window and spoke calmly, “Miss Yan, you should have a fairly clear understanding of Shen Ge’s personality by now. He has a bad temper, he has no patience for others. He has mysophobia, and hated the entertainment business the most. He avoids cameras. But after he gained control of Huo Corporation, he was often on camera for interviews. Do you know why?”
He smiled. “It’s because he believed that Yun Qing was still alive. He thought perhaps she was somewhere, unable to find her way home. Maybe, she’ll see him on TV or online.”
Yan Qing looked down on her lap.
Min Jing continued, “With his personality, do you think he would really want to lower his own status, force President Su and President Lin to come to this show, sit in that stuffy back room for hours on end just to watch a group of random kids perform? It’s only because you are here. It’s only because he wants to protect you.”
Yan Qing moistened her lips, wanting to say something. But there was nothing to say. Her heart felt like it was filled with lemon juice, sour and bitter.
Yan Qing opened her mouth to talk, swallowed back several times, her eyelashes blocked her eyes, her heart seemed to fall into lemon juice, and she felt sour.
“He originally wanted to acquire Chengfeng Media, but he was worried of scaring you. He wanted to tell the program group to take care of you, but was afraid that would make the program overlook your skills.” Min Jing sighed. “He’s afraid of too much. So, he would rather come in person. With his attention, he had already noticed your injury. In this kind of situation, he would have usually put a stop to the filming. But, he held it in until the end. He wanted you to prove yourself with your own skills.”
Yan Qing felt her heart squeeze.
“As for publicly taking your side,” Min Jing turned to her. “Are you afraid that others will talk? But you can’t blame this on him. One, he saw you bleed in front of him. He wanted to help you get justice. Two, he loves you. It is only natural for him to support you.”
Yan Qing’s face quickly responded, “The one he loves isn’t me! It’s Yun Qing!”
Min Jing calmly spoke, “To him, there’s no difference.”
Yan Qing helplessly closed her eyes. Besides this awkward situation, besides fighting back at him with all her might, she remembered how moved she was in the moment.
She had fallen for someone’s scheme. She was in pain. None of the mentors listened to her. But, it was Huo Yunshen that came out from behind the scenes. He didn’t care about the cameras or the watchful eyes. He had long seen her injury and had found the evidence that proved Song Xueran did this to her.
Who didn’t like being protected?
Putting aside all her other thoughts about him, she also wanted to be taken care of like a little princess.
But, this was all meant for Yun Qing. Everything Huo Yunshen did, it technically had nothing to do with her.
She needed to remind herself of this at every moment. She couldn’t be moved by him.
Yan Qing didn’t know when Min Jing left the room. When a knock on the door woke her up, she was surprised to see He Mingjin.
He Mingjin sat on the sofa, immediately going to look at her leg.
She moved away from him, not letting him touch her, “I’m fine. It’s a small injury.”
He Mingjin lowered his voice, “I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were hurt. Giving you an F was because I wanted to give you a chance to create a big comeback as an underdog. I was going to help you. But I didn’t expect…”
His voice was a whisper, “…that you were President Huo’s person.”
Yan Qing burst out, “Don’t speak nonsense. How could I be his person?”
He Mingjin hesitated, “He treats you differently…”
“So, what?” Yan Qing was still angry. She ran a hand through her hair and straightened her back. “If he’s different to me, it can only be that kind of ambiguous relationship? President Huo only spoke the truth, right?”
He Mingjin didn’t speak.
He looked at Yan Qing. His feeling of confusion deepened.
Yan Qing’s words convinced him that there was more to the story. She was very different than the rest of the girls that entered the entertainment industry. But, she was also different than just an average campus beauty. Her every move, her every smile emitted a natural sense of luxury. This aura couldn’t be faked. He would have believed her if she introduced herself as an aristocratic family’s young miss.
President Huo’s attention to her was definitely not as simple as she said.
So, did President Huo and her know each other from running in the same circles?
That wasn’t impossible.
He Mingjin softened his voice as he changed the topic, “Okay. Let’s not talk about that. When did you come back into the country? I remember your body always gets sick during autumn. It’s because I worry every year that I always go over to see you in the autumn. How are you feeling now?”
Yan Qing wasn’t able to respond.
Bang! The door was suddenly pushed open from outside.
He Mingjin was surprised by the sound. Instinctively, he put distance between himself and Yan Qing to avoid suspicion. When he made out who the person behind the door was, he quickly got to his feet, “….President Huo.”
Huo Yunshen wore a white T-shirt, his jacket gripped tightly in his hands.
He Mingjin didn’t dare to speak up. He signalled to Yan Qing with his eyes before leaving. Huo Yunshen noticed his small movements. He clenched his jaw, making his facial features appear even sharper.
When Superstar He left, Yan Qing got up from the sofa. Her attitude became serious. Just as she was about to question Huo Yunshen, he took large strides forward, placed the jacket on top of her qipao, and steadily picked her up.
The resting room was the last one in the hallway. There was a small door that led out into the back of the building. Huo Yunshen didn’t speak a word to her. He used his foot to push open the door.
Min Jing was waiting outside. He pulled open the car door.
The car sped off, leaving the filming site and heading straight to the hospital.
On the road, the streets passed by in a blur. Yan Qing’s left leg was lifted up and placed on Huo Yunshen’s expensive black suit jacket.
The long rant she had prepared for Huo Yunshen was stuck at her throat.
It wasn’t that she didn’t want to speak. It was because Huo Yunshen was too focused. He was bent forward, both hands clasping her injured foot. His hands trembled as they caressed the area of her foot surrounding the red gauze bandage.
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