Chapter 70: They must be very ugly
The next morning, Mr Xu sent Xu Tingsheng to the station on his bicycle.
Before they left, Xu Tingsheng’s sister, Xu Qiuyi, told him about the presents that she wanted for next time. She had not been satisfied by that pair of shoes he had bought her. After disdaining it for a few days, she had said that the presents he gave her thereon would all have to be chosen by herself.
Xu Tingsheng agreed with pleasure. There were just those few people whom he wanted to spoil in this life. He liked the insensible way his sister was now.
On the way from the village to the station, Xu Tingsheng asked of his father two things:
First was to consider buying a car.
Secondly, it was still best if he discussed his business matters with him. After all, on the battlefield, father and son stood on the same united front.
Mr Xu agreed to consider these.
Fu Cheng waited at the station, his eyes burning with anticipation. Still, when the bus left the station, Fang Yunyao who had already gotten on a bus the previous night as she hurried back to Libei had still yet to appear.
Finally, as the two buses travelling in opposite directions drove past each other on the road, it was separated by two windows that Fu Cheng and Fang Yunyao waved to each other.
Fu Cheng was smiling like a fool.
As for Fang Yunyao, the way women pretended to be calm and composed when their inner hearts were actually all flustered…was actually very adorable, very beautiful.
Song Ni and Apple sat together, exchanging secret words.
Huang Yaming was not in high spirits.
Xu Tingsheng was thinking about what he would do from now on.
He was confident in Mr Xu, confident in the current state of the economy. However, that seven million yuan’s worth of investment funds in Mr Xu’s hands was still like a heavy sword hanging overhead as it resulted in heavy pressure on him.
What he was afraid of was precisely that off chance that something went wrong.
Xu Tingsheng hoped that he would be able to gain the power to guard Mr Xu’s back within a short period of time. Simply put, he hoped that if something went wrong with the Xu Family’s business one day, he would, at that time, possess the ability to help resolve it.
More directly put, Xu Tingsheng required money, lots of money.
Doing ringtones through Fu Cheng was one way he was trying to achieve this. However, it was clearly insufficient. Also, Xu Tingsheng didn’t intend to make copying songs his lifetime’s work. After all, he himself had no plans to develop in this area.
Over the upcoming days, he would have to seek out another direction.
At 0900 hours on 15th October in the year 2003, the spaceship Shenzhou V was launched. It sent the astronaut Yang Liwei into space and returned successfully at 0623 hours the next day.
Even Shenzhou V had entered the heavens.
Xu Tingsheng finally officially got into the rhythm of university life once more.
Every morning, he would get up and go for a jog. Afterwards, he would attend the lessons for which he was scheduled and sleep when it was so required. He was no different at all from all the other, ordinary people around him.
The only exception was every Tuesday afternoon. On this day every week, Xu Tingsheng would skip the two periods of archeography and ride the bus across half the city to the little hill behind Xinyan Senior High’s school field, awaiting Xiang Ning’s appearance.
Generally speaking, as long as it did not rain, he would see that lively and adorable girl on that field every week.
Even so, he no longer appeared before her, much less speak a single word to her.
With regard to Little Xiang Ning, there was one incident over this period of time that was rather strange. Once, when she was playing volleyball with her classmates, having used too much strength, the ball had flown over the wall of the school, only to…fly back on its own afterward.
Perhaps this was the sole thing which allowed her to vaguely feel that Liar Uncle was still there.
The bullet shell that he had given her was still in her pencil case. Once, a male tablemate who had seen it had tried to ask her for it. She had refused. The boy had then taken out a completely new hardcover exercise book and tried to ask for an exchange between the two items. After thinking for a while, she had still refused in the end.
Xu Tingsheng had the other bullet shell tucked away beneath his pillow.
Over this period of time, Xu Tingsheng participated in the selection for his faculty’s football team. The many contenders took turns playing on the field for 20 minutes each. While Xu Tingsheng managed one goal and one assist, for some baffling reason, he failed to make it into the team.
Only when he had seen the people in charge of the selection and realised them to be some second and third year seniors who had been at that night’s dinner did he understand what this was all about.
Since you won’t let me play, I’ll just play myself then. Xu Tingsheng contacted the group of seniors whom he had played football with before the semester had begun and began playing some random football with them once every few days.
One day, one of them said to him, “Choose a number. Coach has already come to see you a few times; Welcome to Yanzhou University’s football team.”
So these people were actually their school team? How unconventional was that.
The main jersey numbers of the school team had basically all been allocated. Xu Tingsheng chose number 24, because Xiang Ning’s birthday was the 24th of May.
Therefore, a joke began spreading amongst Yanzhou University’s footballing circles, “Unwanted by the faculty team but wanted by the school team.”
“Someone from Class 2 of Chinese 03. He’s called Xu Tingsheng.”
Thereon, other than regular training for the school team, Xu Tingsheng began getting many more chances to get on the pitch. Many people wanted to see for themselves exactly how great the skills of this legendary dude whom the faculty team had dismissed but the school team wanted truly were.
In the area of ringtones, Xu Tingsheng gave Fu Cheng another three songs in addition to the previous <Fairy Tale> and <We Are All Good Kids>. He also obtained twenty thousand yuan from Mr Xu before becoming someone who just sat back and dished money out. He did not participate in the collaboration with the ringtone company and the song recordings.
Apple came over once for the song recording, staying over for two days. This was because one of the three songs Xu Tingsheng had provided Fu Cheng with required both a male and female singer. It was eventually recorded with Fu Cheng and Apple collaborating together.
With this, Apple came to know another secret of the man she loved. She felt great joy at this. Still, the relationship between the two of them was much more distant than it had been before.
Xu Tingsheng was searching for an appropriate distance to ensure that he and Apple would not again approach that critical tipping point that would be, to him, essentially a point of no return.
The songs were uploaded one by one. Under the ringtone company’s promotion efforts, they grew increasingly popular by the day.
Accompanied by the increasing number of downloads of the song, money began entering Fu Cheng’s account, ranging from some tens of thousands to even greater than a hundred thousand yuan. Amongst them, <Fairy Tale> and that duet sung by him and Apple were the most two profitable songs.
In order to coordinate with the ringtone company’s promotion needs, Fu Cheng registered a small webpage named ‘Rebirth’ on some music company’s website. Still, no photographs were present on it, not even a public notice.
Fu Cheng and Apple were rather doubtful regarding this, but they did not question Xu Tingsheng about it.
After a long time, even Fu Cheng who was in charge of the daily maintenance of that small webpage became used to Xu Tingsheng’s style. Just keeping it silent and reaping in the cash was fine.
Someone commented on the small webpage: Since you are unwilling to reveal anything, why are you uploading songs then?
Fu Cheng replied: To earn money.
The other party replied: But if you become popular, you should be able to earn more from public performances, right?
Fu Cheng replied: The hell it’s got to do with you.
The other party replied: Haha, I get it now. You must be really ugly.
Fu Cheng replied, “Yeah.”
Therefore, a rumour began circulating on the internet. The band Rebirth that had released five good songs in quick succession and possessed immense potential for making it big was actually concealing its members’ identities and refusing to show their faces because: They were very ugly.
Afterwards, many ‘Fans of Rebirth’ began popping up from somewhere or other as they flocked to the small webpage in huge droves to leave behind their comments:
Whatever you look like, I’ll still love you all, support you all.
Same as the above. Like.
Talent has nothing to do with looks. Get lost, looks faction!
Male lead singer, even if you look like Wu Dalang, I’d still be willing to marry you. This is my QQ number: XXXXXXX
Seeing this, Fu Cheng had to reply: I won’t add your QQ. Be afraid of swindlers; don’t be swindled and slept with and say that I did it.
The one below shrieked: The lead singer is so kind! He cares so much about his fans.
Be more confident! Come out and attain glory for us ugly people.
So the one above was an ugly freak.
It fell into chaos.
The number of comments skyrocketed by the day. From a few thousand to tens of thousands, to…more than a hundred thousand…
Some media entities and song recording companies began attempting to contact Rebirth.
However, the contract Xu Tingsheng had asked Fu Cheng to sign with the ringtone company contained extremely rigorous as well as harsh terms of secrecy. Therefore, no one could find any contact method for Rebirth other than the small music webpage.
The greatest uproar was actually in Yanzhou University, where everyone knew that Rebirth existed right alongside them. They had once appeared in this year’s welcoming party, masked as they performed the currently crazy popular <Fairy Tale> in public for the first time and confessed to some unknown female lead.
Some female senior also expressed: After having finished singing that day, they even carried their guitars as they ran by me, you know? …If I had known back then, I would have directly tackled them down.
Who were Rebirth?
Who was the female lead of that confession?
Was that girl who had sung with Rebirth the female lead of back then?
The endless guesses even began seeping into Xu Tingsheng’s and Fu Cheng’s own dormitory rooms.
“They’re guessing even in the dorms. How’re you holding up?” Xu Tingsheng asked Fu Cheng.
“I just guess along with them,” Fu Cheng said, “ Still, I feel that it’d be best if we rented a house outside. Otherwise, it’d be pretty troublesome, and I might accidentally be discovered someday.”