VH: Chapter 43
Li Zhao actually knew the middle-aged man who lost his temper. In the past, the streets were plastered with his posters and countless women were crazy about him. The media even called him a peerless god.
However, beauty would eventually grow old. The once-popular Shen Kang gradually faded over the years. In recent years, he could only play the role of the father of the male or female lead in major idol drams. Whenever nostalgically edited videos came out, netizens would always sigh emotionally, ‘Shen Kang was so beautiful. Time turned a beautiful man into a middle-aged uncle.’
“Hello Teacher Shen.” Li Zhao saw the scolded dancers were about to cry and opened his mouth to greet this person.
Shen Kang hadn’t expected anyone to come to this small corner of the backstage. He turned to look at Li Zhao and squeezed out an unnatural smile.
Once Shen Kang turned around, Li Zhao found that his costume had a large milk tea stain on it, sticking to his body and looking a bit sloppy.
“Hello.” Shen Kang remembered his words just now and was afraid Li Zhao would misunderstand. He hastily explained, “These two little girls poured milk tea on me and the staff said that there is only one set of costumes. I can only cancel my show and was a bit anxious. I let you see something funny.”
Li Zhao was somewhat uncomfortable to have a senior speak so politely to him. He exchanged a few polite words with Shen Kang and the atmosphere eased.
As a child, he really liked watching Shen Kang’s Divine Sword Hero. He often argued with his friends in the welfare home about who was the true swordsman. Shen Kang’s current appearance was far from the romantic hero in Divine Sword Hero, even with his flattering smile.
Once the two dancers left, Li Zhao took the initiative to shake hands with Shen Kang. “As a child, I really liked your Divine Sword Hero. After the performance, please give me a signature.”
Shen Kang was somewhat flattered and bowed slightly. “It was many years ago and I didn’t expect a young person like you to have seen it as a child.”
“Classics are always classics. They won’t go out of date for a long time.”
“Teacher Li.” The staff of Green Pepper Video saw Li Zhao and politely greeted him. Then the staff glanced at Li Zhao and Shen Kang shaking hands. “Teacher Shen is also here.”
“Teacher Shen’s costume accidentally had some milk tea poured on it. I came over to see.”
“It is just a small thing.” The staff member spoke enthusiastically. “Teacher Shen, please come with me. There is a spare performance outfit here.”
This polite attitude was completely different from before.
“Then I’ll have to trouble you.” Li Zhao thanked the staff member and turned to bow at Shen Kang. “Teacher Shen, I will see you later. Don’t forget my signature.”
Shen Kang saw that Li Zhao was helping him and his eyes became slightly hot. “I won’t forget, I definitely won’t forget.”
“Teacher Shen, please go this way.” The staff member took Shen Kang to the dressing room and spoke to another staff member. “Can I trouble you to change Teacher Shen into the appropriate performance clothes? Teacher Shen’s program is relatively early so you need to hurry up.”
Soon, Shen Kang changed his clothes and the makeup artist even came over to redo his makeup. No one mentioned cancelling his program again. He had mixed feelings but when he thought about his sick wife at home, he had to squeeze out a bright smile and couldn’t blame anyone.
In the backstage lounge, Da Ke unscrewed the insulation cup and handed it to Li Zhao. “Zhao Zhao, don’t be nervous. Your program is scheduled for the prime time period and the traffic will definitely be at the top.”
“I’m not nervous.” Li Zhao held the cup and took a sip. “I’m just a bit pained in the heart.”
“Move on from it.” Zhang Xiaoyuan knew what Li Zhao was thinking and reached out to pat his shoulder. “This circle has ups and downs. Some people can keep the scenery going. As for others, they must learn to accept the fate of being forgotten by the audience.”
“Shen Kang had a good life before. Then he said in front of the media that a popular artist was lacking in acting skills. After that, he hasn’t received a script in the past two years and had to rely on going to country towns to make some money. It wasn’t an accident that he was splashed with milk tea tonight.”
“He was also unlucky. Soon after offending this popular artist, his wife became ill and he had to spend money every day like water. If it wasn’t for the treatment of his wife, he wouldn’t have to come out in such a lowly manner to make money.”
“It has been a few years. Even if the popular artist was angry, it should’ve been over by now. How can they chase him and not let go?” Li Zhao frowned. No wonder why Shen Kang called a newcomer by ‘teacher’. It turned out he was scared.
‘Who knows?” Zhang Xiaoyuan sighed. “This circle has a lot of pressure and there are many things. Some people have a temper.
If it wasn’t for gold being placed on his own artist’s face and Li Zhao’s actions tonight, then Green Pepper Video would’ve really cancelled Shen Kang’s program. In any case, it was a large-scale live broadcast and it was normal to temporarily cancel one or two programs, not to mention that Shen Kang was an old actor with little attention placed on him.
The party began and Li Zhao went to the guest viewing area. There was a signed artist of Green Pepper Video sitting to his left. Since he had become quite popular on the Internet, he was counted as a brother of Green Pepper. Sitting to his right was a second-tier female entertainer with a stiff jaw.
From time to time, the live camera would sweep over the guest area. Once the camera swept over them again, Li Zhao noticed the artist to his right suddenly leaning toward him and he subconsciously moved to the left.
The Li fans saw this scene online.
“An invincible straight man’s hammer.”
“I made an expression pack ‘Must Not Be Touched By Me’. Does anyone need it?”
Li Zhao still didn’t know that this action made the Li fans laugh. He was watching the stage seriously. Sometimes he laughed more happily than the ordinary audience at the performances and he had long forgotten anything like the baggage of an idol.
The performers on stage threw an amusing topic at him from the stage and Li Zhao happily followed along.
Liu Jiajiao sitting beside Li Zhao felt this person was strange. It was this type of online evening show yet he was more devoted than the ordinary audience. It was just like… a country bumpkin who hadn’t seen the world.
A small and popular traffic star couldn’t be restrained and dignified? Which fans could bear such a master?
The Li fans opened Green Pepper Video just to see their baby. Green Pepper Video’s camera was understanding and gave Zhao Zhao a shot from time to time. In every shot, their Zhao Zhao was focused on the stage and looked very happy.
“I suspect that the baby has forgotten he is a guest of acting.”
“The baby is happily watching.”
“Hahaha, Baby wake up. Your show is coming up!”
Near the beginning of Li Zhao’s program, the staff led Li Zhao backstage and the makeup artist touched up his makeup.
“Teacher Li, everything is in accordance with the rehearsal. Come on.” The staff member took Li Zhao to the elevator and high-fived him.
“Thank you.” Li Zhao bent over and gave a brilliant smile to the staff.
The staff member was dazzled by this smile. Once Li Zhao entered the stage, she covered her chest and told her colleagues, “I am a sister who is nearly 30 years old and even I was dazzled by his smile.”
“Calm down, you’re not a sister. You’re a strange aunt.” Her colleagues ruthlessly tore her apart.
Li Zhao on the stage sang an interlude from Overbearing Female President. This wasn’t difficult and Li Zhao’s singing was steady, leading to cheers at the scene. The host took to the stage. “Zhao Zhao, the audience is so enthusiastic. Can you give us another show?”
Suddenly, loud shouts filled the venue.
“Everyone knows that I have no other specialty.” Li Zhao looked down from the stage. “I just have a thick skin and can stay on the stage for a while. I will never leave.”
“That isn’t good. If you don’t leave, what if the director sees that you are too handsome and asks you to be the host of the show. Won’t I be unemployed?” The host took a panxiao from the tray of a helper and put it in Li Zhao’s hand. “After the show, hurry and leave.”
Li Zhao finished the chat with a laugh and performed a song before going backstage.
“Teacher Li has worked hard.” Several staff members came up to him to help take off his earpiece. “You did a great job.”
“Thank you, I wish you all a Happy New Year.”
“Thank you Teacher Li. I wish you all the best and good luck.”
After exchanging greetings with the staff, Li Zhao found Shen Kang who had removed his makeup and changed out of his clothes backstage. “Teacher Shen.”
“Teacher Li.” Shen Kang hadn’t expected Li Zhao to actually come to him and was somewhat surprised.
“I said that I had to get your signature. Have you forgotten?”
Shen Kang felt a bit sour in his heart. In the past two years, this was probably the actor who was the most enthusiastic toward him. He pulled out a still picture of himself when he was young from the bag he brought with him and carefully signed his name on it. “I didn’t forget.”
“Thank you.” Li Zhao took the signed photo with both hands and smiled happily. “As a child, my friends and I competed over who would be the Divine Sword Hero. Don’t I now have the certification of the master?”
Shen Kang’s eyes were hot as he nodded. His life had many ups and downs. At this point where he was so low, there were still people who remembered the roles he played in the entertainment industry.
After getting the signature, Li Zhao and Shen Kang took a photo before Li Zhao returned to his dressing room to change and take off the makeup.
“Wait until the party is over before leaving?” Zhang Xiaoyuan asked. “I thought you were very interested in the party.”
“No, there is someone waiting for me to go back.” Li Zhao hurried to the elevator. “Last night, I came back late, making him go to sleep in the middle of the night.”
“Zhao Zhao, your friend is very kind to you.” Da Ke was emotional. “Brotherhood must be like this.”
“That’s why we’re not brothers, we’re better than brothers.” Li Zhao walked into the elevator and found that the female artist who had just sat with him was also in it. Li Zhao had removed the stage makeup and had white and tender skin. Combined with his unique sunshine and vitality, the female artist took a second glance at him. This person was a bit strange but his face was really beautiful. His skin didn’t look like it belonged to an actor who often needed to wear makeup.
Da Ke and Zhang Xiaoyuan stood in the middle, separating Li Zhao from the female artist. Their Zhao Zhao was still a child and it would affect his commercial value if gossip about him and another actress casually spread. The elevator door opened and the two sides politely said goodbye before separating. It was a vivid demonstration of ‘we aren’t familiar with each other.’
Once Li Zhao’s program ended, Green Pepper Entertainment found that the traffic of their show had started to decline slightly. Even the comments had decreased significantly. The director of the show shook his head and spoke emotionally, “If a few popular artists could be arranged at different time periods then the traffic of this show would be stable tonight.”
Having said that, he laughed. As the new year approached, many young people were with their family, watching TV or visiting relatives. For celebrities, going to a TV station or a party was the best choice.
Li Zhao’s quota was set early. Then Overbearing Female President continued to become more popular and Li Zhao became a newcomer supported by Strawberry Entertainment. They thought that Li Zhao’s team would find an excuse to cancel their Internet live broadcast. They didn’t expect Li Zhao to come at the risk of being laughed at by others.
Strawberry Entertainment’s PR ability meant it wouldn’t be too difficult to help Li Zhao obtain a program on a Spring Festival evening program of TV stations. The fact that Li Zhao chose to come to Green Pepper Video was a surprise.
It was presumably because Overbearing Female President was broadcasting on Green Pepper Video. Those who remembered old friends were hard to come by.
After Li Zhao’s performance, Li Zhao harvested a lot of exaggerated praise from the Li fans online. As the Li fans were happily licking their screens, their baby updated his Weibo again!
Li Zhao V: Previously, I always played Divine Sword Hero with my friends as a child. Today, I am finally the Divine Sword Hero that the Master acknowledges. Thank you Teacher Shen for your signature. I will keep it safe and show it to my friends [Photo].
Li Zhao and Shen Kang’s photos evoked countless memories of childhood and people even started to argue about which female hero the Divine Sword Hero preferred.
“Zhao Zhao, do you want to help Shen Kang increase his exposure?” Zhang Xiaoyuan asked after seeing Li Zhao’s Weibo post.
“Didn’t you say that Teacher Shen’s wife is sick and he needs a lot of money?” Li Zhao sent a message to Yan Ting without looking up. “If the exposure means Teacher Shen can pick up some work then it’s good.”
He understood the feeling of helplessly wanting money. Last year, n order to save up the money for Sister Xia’s surgery costs, the members of the welfare home worked desperately to make money.
“You—” Zhang Xiaoyuan brushed his hand over Li Zhao’shair. “The Divine Sword Hero, you truly have the hero’s righteousness.”
“Hehe.” Li Zhao put his phone into his coat pocket. “There is a lot of food prepared at home. You should eat before going back.”
“No, no.” Zhang Xiaoyuan and Da Ke shook their heads together. They felt a bit of… rejection about eating at Yan Ting’s house.
It wasn’t that they had opinions on Zhao Zhao’s friend. It was just that they were uncomfortable staying in that house. The unspeakable sense of depression seemed to separate them from the house owner and into two worlds, making them subconsciously timid.
“Zhao Zhao.” Zhang Xiaoyuan stopped talking for a moment, hesitating before continuing, “Are you used to living in your friend’s house? If you aren’t used to it then come to my house for a few days.”
“Brother Xiaoyuan, how many times have you asked me?” Li Zhao replied. “I am staying very comfortably in Ting Ting’s house. The bed is soft and the food is delicious. Even the housekeeper uncle takes special care of me.”
“Habit is good.” Zhang Xiaoyuan thought that the uncomfortable feeling in his heart was probably because he was too poor.
“Brother Xiaoyuan, when I went back last night, the house was brilliantly lit and Ting Ting was waiting for me to come home.” Li Zhao smiled, his eyes curving into a crescent. “I have lived for 20 years and this was the first time someone so seriously waited for me to come back…”
Zhang Xiaoyuan’s lips flattened and he didn’t know what to say.
Yes, for a child who was abused by his adoptive parents and didn’t know that they weren’t his biological parents for 10 years, a child raised in a welfare home, having someone waiting for him to come home was a luxury.
The car entered the villa gates and Li Zhao once again enthusiastically invited the two people to enter the house. “You really aren’t going to eat before you leave? The chefs in Ting Ting’s house are particularly good at cooking.”
The two of them shook their heads again.
“Oh, okay.” Li Zhao shook his head regretfully. “I’ll see you later.”
“Mr Li.” The housekeeper heard the car and knew Li Zhao had returned. He went to Li Zhao’s side and pulled out two red envelopes. “I want to thank the two of you for taking care of Mr Li. I wish you a new year and this is our family’s heart.
Zhang Xiaoyuan and Da Ke shook their heads. How could they receive this red envelope?
“It is just for good luck and there isn’t much money.” The housekeeper smiled and persuaded them and the two people soon received the red envelope. It was only after leaving Yan Ting’s house that Zhang Xiaoyuan and Da Ke reacted in a confused manner. How did they accept the red envelope?
This wasn’t scientific. They weren’t such greedy people? Why was it that the other person casually spoke a few sentences and they were thick-skinned enough to take the red envelopes?
“Are you back?” Yan Ting was sitting on the sofa with a tablet in front of him. He turned off the tablet when he saw Li Zhao coming in.
“Are you watching the live broadcast of Green Pepper Video?” Li Zhao put on his slippers and moved quickly to Yan Ting’s side. “Did you see my performance?”
Li Zhao was very close and Yan Ting could feel this person’s heat on his body.
“I took a look.”
“How did I do?” Li Zhao sat down. “Wasn’t I particularly calm and handsome?”
“Well…” Yan Ting fell silent.
“It wasn’t good?” The smile on Li Zhao’s face started to collapse.
“Very good.” Yan Ting couldn’t stand to see Li Zhao’s depression. He got up and went to the dining table to sit down. “Take off your coat and eat.”
“Ting Ting, I didn’t expect you to learn how to tease.” Li Zhao took off his coat, walked to the table and dragged his chair closer to Yan Ting. “Actually, I was very nervous on stage. Then I thought about how there might be many fans watching and regained my courage. If I drop the ball, these fans will lose face.”
“In addition, I got the signature of the Divine Sword Hero.” Li Zhao continued. “As a child, I always prayed that I could fly away like the Divine Sword Hero. However, I was the younger one in the welfare home and most of the time I could only play Divine Sword Hero’s friend or the villain.”
Yan Ting ate a small bowl while listening to Li Zhao’s words. Once he went to bed, his mind was full of Li Zhao’s voice. In the middle of the night, Yan Ting woke up again.
His mother stood by his bed, looking at him sadly. Suddenly, she turned and walked out the door. From the corridor, a woman’s crying and then a man’s impatient whispering was heard.
Yan Ting went outside. He saw the man in a suit fall into a pool of blood, body constantly twitching.
Looking back, he saw the woman in red lying on the cold floor. She had jumped down from the top of the stairs.
A man who twitched and a woman in a red dress whose limbs were twisted.
The cold wind came through the cracks in the window, bringing a chill. Suddenly, there was a warm touch on the back of his hand.
“Ting Ting, what are you doing standing here barefoot?”
“Why didn’t you turn on the lights?”
There was a flash of light in the dark house.
“Put your coat on.”
A thick coat was placed on Yan Ting’s body. He turned back and saw a pair of bright, concerned eyes.
The author has something to say:
Baby Zhao Zhao holding Baby Ting Ting’s hand and speaking seriously: Children can’t run around. You will be taken away by bad people.