VH: Chapter 57

In the afternoon at the vegetable market, few people came to buy vegetables and the guests looked at the remaining 120 kg of sweet potatoes.

“Do we have to sell it on the street?” Zhang Kui suggested.

“It is feasible. There aren’t many people at the vegetable market right now.” Xiang Zhen agreed with Zhang Kui’s proposal and the other guests were also eager to try.

Li Zhao finished eating the last mouthful of steamed bread. “However, if we set up a stall outside then we will be caught by the city’s management. The news in the entertainment section tomorrow will be that we occupied the road to do business and was fined by the city’s management. Other artists are in the news for being too handsome, too beautiful or good at acting. Wouldn’t it be shameful if we are arrested by the city’s management?”

“It is really shameful.” The guests of the show couldn’t imagine it at all.

“There are these sweet potatoes left. What are we going to do?”

The moment he spoke, someone came over and asked, “Are you selling sweet potatoes?”

“Yes, we’re selling sweet potatoes.” Zhang Kui’s spirit came alive. “How much do you want to buy?”

“These potatoes are a bit small.”

“You can come over and pick.”

”If you make it cheaper then I’ll take all of them.”

Zhang Kui wanted to nod but Li Zhao stopped him from behind. “Boss, you want to buy sweet potatoes?”

“Yes.” The person who came was in his 30s or 40s, with a slightly bulging stomach and a purse hanging from his waist. He looked like a businessman.

“I am telling you the truth. In the entire market, our sweet potatoes are the cheapest.” Li Zhao bent over to pick up a sweet potato and broke it casually. “All of them have their roots and they’re soft and sweet. Boss, you look generous. How much jiao can you spare?”

“In order to move these sweet potatoes out of the village, we got off at dawn and had to pay for the gas on the way here. Look at the real price.”

“The man replied, “Yesterday morning, I already bought some. It is already afternoon. I’ll give you 9 jiao for 500 grams.”

Hearing the words 9 jiao, the guests stood together and desperately hid the sign with the price on it behind them.

“Big Brother, you’re a nice guy.” Li Zhao smiled, his eyes curving. “I still have 120 kg here. You are so upright that I can’t let you suffer. I will get rid of the remaining 20 kg and you just have to pay for 100.”

If it was like this, they could make four more yuan. (TL: There was actually a whole line on calculations but I’ve been converting their unit of measurement, catty to kilograms, so it wouldn’t make sense if I translated the line exactly)

It was four yuan, not four jiao. It was a huge sum of money.

“That isn’t okay. The entire street knows that I, Old Li, never takes advantage of people. “The middle-aged man took out 200 yuan from his bag and put it in Li Zhao’s hand. “Here’s the money. If you help me move the sweet potatoes to the car, you can keep the change!”

“How can I be so shameless?”

“It is just a few more. What is the problem?” The middle-aged man patted his bag. “Go, carry it for me.”

“Okay.” For the extra 20 yuan, the six guests generously carried 120 kg of sweet potatoes. They were followed by the middle-aged man as they loaded on the sweet potatoes on his van.

“Are you celebrities?” The middle-aged man noticed there were cameras behind them and looked at them with pity. “I heard that before celebrities are famous, their lives are very hard. Refuel and wait to be popular. Then you can live better.”’

The guests nodded. “Thank you for your kind words.”

The program group,  “…”

They were a serious TV variety program. Why was it that in this passerby’s eyes, they were like a black-hearted program abusing artists? Their style was criticized once again.

After collecting the money for selling sweet potatoes, the six people stood at the entrance of the slightly deserted vegetable market and saw someone buying cheap vegetables left by others. There was even an elderly lady picking up vegetables on the ground.

For all beings, happiness and sadness always proceeded at the same time.

An old lady with a hunchback and carrying a dirty snakeskin bag struggled to pick up a plastic bottle on the ground. Some guests couldn’t bear the sight. They bought meat for the old lady and told her to take it home.”

The female worker selling seasonings cheerfully watched the scene. After the old lady left with the meat, she asked, “Young man, do you want to buy hot pot ingredients?”

“Thank you, we won’t buy it.” Li Zhao shook her head.

“You youngsters are too kindhearted. Don’t look at this old lady who is so pitiful now. She was terrible when she was younger.” The older sister had an expression of disdain, sympathy and some complicated gloating. She forced her daughter-in-law to commit suicide by jumping into the river. Once her daughter-in-law was found, the remains had already swelled up.”

Li Zhao noted that this elder sister used ‘remains’ instead of ‘dead body.’

“If you did evil when you were young then you will receive retribution when you are old.” The big sister snorted. “Only you uninformed strangers will sympathize with such people.”

Hearing these words, the guests felt a bit more complicated.

“Cut off this section.” The director’s group was quiet for a moment and the director sighed. Human nature often couldn’t stand up to scrutiny. These too sensitive things couldn’t be broadcasted.

Once they returned, the program group had arranged for a van to take them back. The van was a bit old and filled with the strange smell of rust and sweat. If anyone who was carsick got in then they would probably vomit on the spot.

Li Zhao sat in the last row and looked at the scenery passing by outside the window. He couldn’t help thinking that perhaps his biological parents didn’t accidentally lose him but… they didn’t want him.

There were mother-in-laws who forced their daughter-in-laws to die. Naturally, there would be parents who didn’t love their children.

“Xiao Li, what’s wrong?” Xiang Zhen saw that Li Zhao wasn’t very energetic. “Are you tired?”

Li Zhao shook his head and raised his spirits. “I’m trying to remember the road. If the program group doesn’t let us go then we can escape on foot.”

The cameraman couldn’t help laughing.

“It doesn’t matter if you can’t remember. We have a map on our phones.” Xiang Zhen pulled out his phone. “I’ll show you my daughter.”

Xiang Zhen had a 10 year old daughter who was like a little angel. Thus, he loved to show off his child and was a veritable baby maniac.

Li Zhao looked at it curiously. The little girl in the photo was very cute. In particular, her eyes were clean and clear with child-like innocence.

“Brother Xiang, your little princess looks better than you.” Li Zhao praised. “Did the little girl inherit all the advantages of you and your wife?”

“That isn’t all.” At the show of interest, Xiang Zhen talked about how his daughter could play the violin, got first place in the class for her exams and even remembered when his daughter had peeled an orange for him.

Li Zhao listened very carefully, his eyes full of the bright light of the stars.

“Brother Xiang brags about his child with us 100 times a day. Now he has you and finally has a new target to show off to.” Zhang Kui laughed. “It is also because you are interested in listening.”

“Brother Xiang’s family is very fun.” Li Zhao smiled. This perfect family looked very happy.

It was getting dark by the time Li Zhao and the other guests finally returned to the village. The program group didn’t have them go to the villagers’ homes to ask for food. Instead, a meal was prepared for them.

The sweet potato porridge was sweet and silky. Li Zhao ate three bowls in one breath and if it wasn’t for the camera and his fairy image, he would’ve wanted to eat a few more bowls.

“Thank you for selling sweet potatoes for the villagers. The money will be handed over to the village chief. Also, thanks to Feifei Milk and Baiyun Automobiles for their great support of this program. The sponsors are very satisfied with the performance this time and are willing to donate one million yuan to the local government for construction of rural roads.”

“Thank you, sponsor father. I wish you a prosperous business and a monthly increase in sales.” Li Zhao picked up the cup and drank while looking at the camera.”

“The sponsor father is the kindest sponsor in the world.” Zhang Kui was next to Li Zhao and grabbed the camera with Li Zhao.

After eating, everyone started to walk back. It was unknown which dog heard them passing by and barked at them. Zhang Kui was slightly scared and subconsciously shrank back to Li Zhao’s side. “Xiao Li, did you hear where the dog barked from.

“Yes, I did.” Li Zhao pointed to a corner. “Isn’t it there?”

“Ah!”

Zhang Kui screamed and his entire body jumped on Li Zhao. He had witnessed Old Liu being bitten by a dog and had a psychological shadow toward this creature since then.

“Brother Zhang, you’re very heavy.” Li Zhao ruthlessly dropped Zhang Kui. “The dog is tied up and can’t bite you.”

“What if the rope breaks?” Zhang Kui bowed his head and grabbed Li Zhao’s arm. “Brother Li, handsome Li, my personal safety is in your hands.”

Li Zhao squinted at him and Zhang Kui smiled at Li Zhao.

His dignity was small, the bite of a dog was big.

“Bark bark bark!” The dog barked even more.

“be quiet and sit obediently!” Li Zhao saw that Zhang Kui was really afraid and turned to scold the dog a few times. The originally strong dog whimpered and lowered its tail as it shrank back in the corner. It watched them vigilantly but didn’t dare come forward.

After leaving this dangerous area, Zhang Kui released Li Zhao’s arm. “Zhao Zhao, how did you make the dog afraid of you?”

Due to the dog, Zhang Kui’s term of address for Li Zhao became closer.

“The falsehood is that it found we didn’t break into its owner’s gate and let us pass.”

“What is the truth?”

“I found that if I’m louder than it, the dog will feel ashamed and retreat, pretending it isn’t as knowledgeable to maintain its face.”

“I don’t believe it.” Zhang Kui felt this reason was even more false. “You are bluffing me.”

“Well, the real truth is…” Li Zhao stopped and pointed at the fork in the road. “Brother Zhang, your place is this way.”

“No, if I call you brother then send me back. I remember that my neighbour is also raising a dog.” Zhang Kui gave Li Zhao a pleased smile. “You tell me more about how to make a dog fear you.”

“Alas.” Li Zhao sighed. “The others are sending the beauties home. Why is it only me who has to send a big man back?”

“Hey, I don’t mind if you think of me as a beauty.”

“My eyes and brain reject it.”

“Come on, let’s get back to talking about the dog.”

“When I was a child, another kid deliberately had a dog scare me…”

“How old were you then?” Zhang Kui was shocked and looked at Li Zhao with disbelief. How in the world could there be such a nasty child?

“I don’t remember. Eight or nine years old?” Li Zhao carefully recalled for a moment. “Still, it doesn’t matter. At that time, I saw I couldn’t run away from the dog and faced its barking.”

“Who won then?”

“Of course, I won with great perseverance.” Li Zhao laughed. “Brother Zhang, what do you think of this story?”

“What?”

“An eight year old child isn’t afraid of dogs. Are you afraid?”

“I know you were lying to fool me. Aren’t we brothers?” Zhang Kui jumped up in place, very angry and determined. “I don’t care. You have to send me back anyway.”

Li Zhao smiled. “Let’s go, let’s go.”

The next morning, the guests were brought somewhere else by the program team to work for another day. Li Zhao was well-loved because he did a good job in farming. Once he finished recording and was ready to go home, they all invited him to visit their homes in succession.

The six guests lived in different cities. Li Zhao, Xiang Zhen and Zhang Kui lived in Beijing so the program set the same flight for them.

“Zhao Zhao, the story you told last night about that child having the dog bite you is really false?” Zhang Kui was still a bit bitter about this and emotionally hoped it was fake.

“Of course…” Li Zhao laughed. “It is fake.

It was because at that time, he not only barked at the dog but also fought it with a stick. The dog threatens based on its master’s power. Li Zhao understood the meaning of this idiom early on. (Use one’s position to bully others)

Still, he was smart since he was a kid. He was clever enough to beat a dog and fight a goose, he was really great. They got off the plane and their respective assistants came to pick them up. Zhang Kui and Xiang Zhen waved goodbye to Li Zhao. “Zhao Zhao, see you next time.”

“See you next time.” Li Zhao pulled on his face mask and pushed the luggage cart around. He didn’t see Da Ke but he saw Qin Xiao.

“Mr Qin.” Li Zhao pulled down the brim of his cap. “Are you here to pick someone up?”

“I didn’t come to pick someone else up. I came to pick you up.” Qin Xiao smiled. “Mr Ting knows that you are coming back today and came with me to pick you up.

“Thank you,” Li Zhao’s pace accelerated. “I troubled Mr Qin.”

“No need to politely say thank you.” Qin Xiao took Li Zhao to the parking lot. The car door was open and Yan Ting was sitting in the back seat.

“Ting Ting.” Li Zhao got on the car. “Didn’t I tell you that you don’t have to pick me up?”

“It’s fine. I was just passing by with my colleague.” Yan Ting handed the prepared yogurt to Li Zhao. “Go back and have a good rest.”

Li Zhao drank the yogurt and leaned on Yan Ting’s shoulders. “It is good to go home.”

Yan Ting reached out to silently help him. The driving Qin Xiao looked in the rearview mirror and saw Yan Ting carefully guarding Li Zhao’s movements.

***

The show Seclusion Mountain Forest hadn’t received high ratings compared to other variety shows. It was because the show didn’t like random hype so the guests’ unhappy expression packs had more presence than the show itself.

At 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, the official Weibo of the Seclusion Mountain Forest show issued a trailer in accordance with the old rules.

Seclusion Mountain Forest: In the beautiful and peaceful Qingxi Village, in what ways will the guests experience rural life? Everyone, please watch Seclusion Mountain Forest on the national channel at nine in the evening @Xiang Zhen @Zhang Kui @Zhang San @Li Shi @Qian Duoxi @Li Zhao

The official Weibo had less than 20,000 fans and half of them were zombie fans given by the Weibo platform. Usually, if they made a post, there were many netizens commenting. However, today was different. It finally had a small sense of existence.

“Li Zhao? Is that the Li Zhao I know?”

“23333, no, the country shows are completely different from Li Zhao. What is this magical match?”

“My mother really likes watching Seclusion Mountain Forest. When she was young, she was Xiang Zhen’s fangirl. I remember that there was no Li Zhao among the program’s guests?”

“Upstairs, I accompanied my mother to watch TV. The guest Da Liu was bitten by a dog during the recording of this program and had to withdraw.”

“This show is very interesting. There is no script and the content is very real. The guests don’t put on an image. Actors like Li Zhao who perform in idol drams will only hinder the other guests. Even if the crew wanted to find a small artist to improve popularity, it shouldn’t be this young man.”

“The upstairs is really funny. Can this person be called a small artist?”

The quarrelling of the netizens brought unprecedented attention to the show, causing the staff managing the Weibo to shed tears of excitement. As an official deserted Weibo, he finally realized the feeling of fans arguing in the comments area. This was really moving.

At nine in the evening, the show officially started. The Li fans and Li sunspots all sat in front of the television or opened the national channel’s webcast platform. The moment the show started, there were dark streets and sleepy staff members. The time was carefully shown at the bottom of the screen. It was 3:30 in the morning.

The barrage area became lively.

“At three in the morning, the program’s crew is as inhuman as ever.”

Once the show’s car drove into a luxury neighbourhood and mosaiced the community name, the netizens were excited again.

“The people who can live in this neighbourhood are either rich or powerful. I heard that the prices for the villas inside are really expensive.”

“I heard that this villa area doesn’t allow people to casually enter. The program group drove the car into the villa area. Which guest is so rich?”

Even at four in the morning, the area still had uniformed guards patrolling and the surroundings were terribly quiet.

“I think the breathing of the staff has become softer.”

“Hahahaha. Will this dog show have a guilty conscience?”

Then the saw the door of the main house of the luxury villa open. The person who came out was still in pyjamas and had messy hair. It was Li Zhao and the entire barrage area was full of exclamation marks!

“!! Is Li Zhao’s family so rich?”

“!!!!!”

“Li Zhao obviously has no experience with recording a variety show. He didn’t know the show would do a late night surprise raid.”

“Ahhhh, the show understands the curiosity of the audience. They even did a close up of the villa. Poor me, I want to offer to hold someone’s thigh.”

Once they discovered that Li Zhao denied ownership of the villa in front of the camera and said that a friend lent it to him, the mood of the netizens was very complicated.

“A good and honest guest. This was a great opportunity for speculation yet he didn’t use it.” No matter what circle, a rich and handsome person was always pleasing.

“I just want to have a friend who is willing to give a villa for me to live in. Unfortunately, my friends think the same.”

The barrage area was filled tightly with comments and almost covered the entire screen. Many netizens could only adjust the transparency of the writing to continue watching. The show was normal at the beginning until Li Zhao took the 15 yuan and squeezed into a dilapidated pig truck. Then the barrage area blew up.

“Unconscionable program. In order to save money, what did they force the guests to do?”

“How stinky is a pig truck? The average person certainly can’t imagine it.”

“Seeing Li Zhao laughing with the uncle, I want to take back my previous taunt that Li Zhao is a spoiled pretty boy. This isn’t a pretty boy, this is a mudslide.”

“F*k this mother sow’s prenatal care, did Li Zhao forget that he is a guest on the show and not a veterinarian?”

“It seems that the program gave up on saving this latter part. There is only a string of ellipses.”

“I just want to now. For the show’s car following the pig truck, was the air particularly sweet?”

“In the first few episodes, they tortured the guests. Now there is finally a guest who can torture them. Hahahaha.”

The show interspersed this with the scenes of several guests. Everyone looked at the guests going around to the villagers to ask for food and laughed with amusement. Suddenly, the image changed and a black screen appeared. “However…”

The moment the scream lit up, there was the sound of a piglet screaming. The camera gradually moved upward and found the piglet’s four hooves making long marks in the mud. However, the pig-dragging man was a cold killer who pulled it forward. The camera zoomed in on this ‘cold killer.’

Li Zhao?!

The camera rewound to when the uncle invited Li Zhao to eat bacon. Li Zhao happily agreed and then dragged the piglet to the uncle’s house.

The caption: For bacon, I am willing to walk across mountains and water to lock you up in a pigsty.

“Hahahahaha.”

The barrage area went crazy. The show’s crew was crazy as well. It was because they saw the increase in the click-through rate on their webcast platform as well as a rise in the TV ratings, even surpassing a popular variety show in the same time slot.

The entire crew of Seclusion Mountain Forest, “…”

Who bought the ratings and bought it for the wrong show?


The author has something to say:

Baby Ting Ting carried his small gold coins and came to Baby Zhao Zhao’s charity sales stall.

Then he only saw the empty stall.

He ignored the heavy pocket full of gold coins and took a yogurt out of his backpack to give to baby Zhao Zhao. “I’m just here to pick you up and go home.”

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