Fu Cuo looked down at his watch every so often as he sorted the wine in the cellar. Zhong Dao successfully passed the audition, and today, the first episode of the competition will air. The 80 contestants selected from the audition will be assessed by four on-site judges, who will potentially become their instructors.
Yao Ke walked in, saw Fu Cuo distracted by his watch, and knocked on the wine rack. “Why do you keep looking at your watch?”
Fu Cuo put down his hand and nonchalantly picked up the record list, “Nothing. It’s new and I’m just admiring how good it looks.”
Yao Ke didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Following the tall and handsome figure in the white shirt, she thought, ‘He looks so good. How come he’s still single? It’s unbelievable!’
She coughed, “Isn’t Zhong Dao’s competition being aired today? Only 40 out of 80 get to qualify, right?”
Fu Cuo vaguely nodded.
Yao Ke tried to hold back her smile, secretly saying in her heart, ‘Brother Fu Cuo, just admit that you care~’ She put the key on the counter, “I have an appointment tonight, so I won’t stay. You can watch it for me in the bar.”
Fu Cuo nodded at her, “Have fun.”
Shortly after she left, his phone rang. Fu Cuo answered with a simple ‘Hello,’ and AK shouted from the other side, “Fu Cuo, he’s in! He’s in!!”
Fu Cuo gave an “Um” sound. He was confident in Zhong Dao’s singing. He didn’t worry about this. Instead, he worried about whether the teenager would get a bad reaction because of his personality and how his looks were quite similar to Sui Qingchi. After all, Sui Qingchi wasn’t exactly someone with a good reputation in the circle.
Now that the results came out, he grabbed some snacks, leaned back, and leaned on the empty rack in the cellar, wondering if he had thought too much and was too anxious.
Maybe it’s because of his previous Band Frenzy, but he’s already kept a psychological shadow.
The Golden Voice was recorded once a week and broadcasted every other week, so it took a week for him to see Zhong Dao on TV. The preliminary round was to be broadcasted in four episodes, with 80 people going down to 40. But Zhong Dao was lucky enough to be included in the first one. When the young man appeared on stage, the lights focused and the music sounded.
Fu Cuo recalled the scene when West Wind participated in the Band Frenzy. At that time, Sui Qingchi was there as a judge. The lights were in his eyes, but he knew that Sui Qingchi was looking at him. Maybe he would wonder why he came there with West Wind. At that time, he could only guess what Sui Qingchi was thinking, but he couldn’t help but have expectations. Until the elimination from 16 to 8, he finally woke up to what Sui Qingchi was thinking. It turned out that he guessed entirely wrong. He didn’t understand this person’s thoughts at all.
The three syllables of “Sui Qingchi” suddenly came from the TV, and Fu Cuo’s thoughts were pulled back. Zhong Dao’s singing has ended. It was no surprise that he won a unanimous vote. The four judges were two music producers and two singers, one of whom was Tang Du, who is known as the God of Singing. He’s the superstar who shares half the spotlight with Sui Qingchi as China’s main male singers. The other was An Jie, a female singer from the same company as Sui Qingchi. It was her who mentioned him.
“I think he looks a bit like Sui Qingchi.” An Jie said with a smile. She looked at Tang Du beside her, and Tang Du nodded.
The host asked Zhong Dao if anyone’s ever told him that he looked like Sui Qingchi. Zhong Dao answered with a rough nod. He obviously wanted to say more, but he was cut off by the host. That, or it just got edited out. Either way, the next thing was for the host to ask the opinions of the judges. An Jie said that she liked him a lot, and Tang Du also gave a high evaluation. When he saw this, Fu Cuo turned off the TV.
Zhong Dao got a full vote and a high evaluation. AK seemed to be happier than Zhong Dao himself. He called him to chat, and Fu Cuo couldn’t get his joy at all. He wants to say, ‘This is only the first phase. It’s too early. What are you happy about? How can you get rid of the scar so easily and forget the pain of getting eliminated?’ But AK on the other end of the phone sounded so happy that he couldn’t just pour cold water on him.
In fact, it’s actually really good. If only he could learn a little about how to forget that easily.
The Golden Voice’s production team made a gimmick of his ‘Young Sui Qingchi’ look on the official website and promotional trailers, which attracted many of Sui Qingchi’s fans to watch.
Sui Qingchi went abroad to attend a music award and came back. As soon as he got off the plane, he heard the enthusiastic shouts of his fans waiting for him. Sui Qingchi was wearing a dark blue jacket with a thick collar and sunglasses. He was followed by three bodyguards and Wang Xiaoou who had her hands full with large and small bags. No matter where Sui Qingchi goes, there will be a large number of fans waiting for him. Who knows where they found out his various itineraries from.
Fortunately, Sui Qingchi was in a good mood today. When the fans gathered around to follow him, he slowed down and chatted with the ones close to him. A girl asked, “Did you see The Golden Voice? They have a mini Sui Qingchi!”
The fans nearby also echoed, saying that the show rubbed off his fame or something. In the back, Wang Xiaoou listened with black lines all over her face in the back and thought, ‘The Golden Voice invited Tang Du. Would they still need to use Sui Qingchi’s fame?’
Sui Qingchi raised his eyebrows, “It’s good that someone is willing to learn from me.”
Sui Qingchi has never seen The Golden Voice. People said that they used him to hype it up, but frankly, he doesn’t care. After getting into the car, Wang Xiaoou turned back, held up her phone and said to him in surprise, “Boss, this boy really looks like you!”
Sui Qingchi took off his jacket and glanced at it casually. He suddenly realized that the young man in the video was the one he had seen at Fu Cuo’s house. His action of taking off his jacket was momentarily paused, and his expression changed from sunny to dark.
Wang Xiaoou looked frightened and didn’t know what she’d done wrong.
Usually Sui Qingchi would either sleep or listen to music when he gets in the car, but today he wasn’t normal. He watched the video repeatedly in the car. In order to see the young man clearly, he also spent 15 yuan to become a member, letting him watch the video with better quality. He had to admit that this Zhong Dao kid sang quite well. Before, he only thought about the song and forgot to ask Fu Cuo about the boy.
Why’d he have to take in a student who looked like him, making him feel like a cat was scratching at his heart? What does he want to do?
There was a dead silence in the car. Wang Xiaoou only felt a stabbing, freezing feeling on her back. After a long time, she heard Sui Qingchi saying to himself, “What does it mean?”
A little angry.
In the middle of the night, Fu Cuo was awakened by yet another harassing phone call. The other party hung up and dialed, hung up and dialed. They were unyielding. He really couldn’t stand it anymore. When he answered the phone, he heard Sui Qingchi’s voice,
“You’re playing substitution now?”
Fu Cuo frowned, glanced at the call, and thought, ‘Didn’t I block him already?’
When he saw that it was his number, he wanted to hang up. But then he thought that Sui Qingchi will definitely repeatedly call again, so he decided to put his phone at the head of his bed and let Sui Qingchi talk on his own. He laid down and went to sleep. This sleep was particularly stable.
“Fu Cuo?” Sui Qingchi said after he found that there was no response. He was agitated at the very least. “Fine, if you have the guts, you better not hang up!”
The sleeping Samoyed was awakened by its master’s loud noises from upstairs. It shook its ears, got up from its bed and went upstairs. Sui Qingchi angrily walked into his home-studio. With a ‘bang,’ he opened his guitar case, took out the electric guitar, hung it up, and skillfully plugged in the power supply. He connected it to the speaker, put the phone on the desk, and swiped down on the strings, harshly playing the chords one by one. The sound of the electric guitar in the middle of the night was like the roar of a lion on the east bank of a riverAn idiom referring to a shrewish wife or a henpecked husband. The big dog laid on the ground with a whimper, and paws clinging to its ears.
Fu Cuo was awakened by the resentful guitar solo. He sat up from the quilt and helplessly held his head with both hands.
Sui Qingchi continued his solo for a whole three minutes until finally he saw that the call got cut off. He released the strings under his fingers, and a weak sob came out.
The room suddenly fell silent. He stood for a while, drooped his hand, bypassed the power supply and speaker cables on the ground, walked over, and turned off his phone.
After venting, he collapsed. He broke down in this expensive studio of his.
This studio even comes with a small recording set up. When it was originally designed, he designed it as the heart of the whole villa. It had everything you’d need to produce music. It could make music arrangements, and even do post-production and recording. Even if the world ends, as long as the place is powered on, it’ll still be a paradise for music. He can make do without a bedroom or a garden, but he can’t make do without this place.
But now that such a luxurious music fortress was built, he didn’t even use it much.
He couldn’t write songs.
He’s not the one who could write songs.
Zhong Dao wasn’t too happy about being called ‘mini Sui Qingchi’, but he could only stay silent. On that day, AK invited him to celebrate his first victory. Zhong Dao was recognized in the restaurant. As soon as he came in, a boy pointed to him and said, “Hey, hey, aren’t you a participant in The Golden Voice? The one that looks like Sui Qingchi?”
As soon as he said this, all the people on the table looked his way. Fu Cuo turned to look and saw Zhong Dao rolling his eyes. As he sat down, he said “You’re mistaken” in a tired tone.
AK went to get beer. Fu Cuo said, “Why don’t we eat it in another place?”
“Ah?” AK wondered, “Why?”
Zhong Dao answered for him, “No need, I’ll eat here.”
Fu Cuo gave him a look and said nothing more. He only thought in his heart, ‘His temper is the same as Sui Qingchi’s. The similarities are uncanny.’
When the people at the other tables were about to leave, they couldn’t help taking double takes in their direction. Fu Cuo heard them walking out of the door while talking loudly. No one thought of the name ‘Zhong Dao’. Just Sui Qingchi here, Sui Qingchi there.
As the slightly drunken AK heard it, with a suddenly enlightened expression on his face, he grabbed Zhong Dao’s shoulder, “What’s wrong with looking like Sui Qingchi? It’s a compliment, isn’t it?”
“Are you sure about that?” Zhong Dao sourly replied.
AK hiccupped, stared at Zhong Dao’s face and said sincerely, “You really do look like him though?”
Zhong Dao waved his arm and glared at him fiercely.
AK seemed to have drunk too much and said he was going out to get some air. Fu Cuo didn’t care much about him and watched him squat under a tree outside to sober up.
“You haven’t told me about your relationship with Sui Qingchi yet.” Zhong Dao said coldly from across the table.
Fu Cuo’s hand paused but soon continued as if nothing had happened. “It’s complicated, I can’t explain it in just a few words. Let’s wait until you finish the competition. You shouldn’t focus on this right now.”
“I can ask him.” Zhong Dao said while pointing menacingly at AK who was teasing the dog outside the door.
“Then why don’t you just ask?”
“Because Sui Qingchi wasn’t looking for him, he was looking for you.”
Fu Cuo didn’t speak and bowed his head to eat.
“The ‘main vocalist that sings well’ is him, right?”
Fu Cuo finally put down his chopsticks, “I already said I would tell you after the competition, and I really will. There’s no need for you to know right now. And I don’t want to bring it up either.”
“No, there’s definitely a need to,” Zhong Dao said sternly. “Otherwise, I wouldn’t know if I’m being treated as a substitute by you guys.” Then he got up, picked up his backpack and left.
Fu Cuo looked at his back and couldn’t say a word.
‘Substitute? Using? What is he on about?’ Fu Cuo carelessly thought that this was some tantrum of yet another chuunibyou. After all, he’s only 18 and should’ve forgotten about it in a day or two. But unexpectedly, Zhong Dao was eliminated in the top 40 to 20 of the competition. He didn’t sing the song they chose and practiced together. Fu Cuo didn’t know why he changed the song and even the singing style so abruptly. The live performance was a complete mess.
AK came to the bar and told him the news. He called Zhong Dao in front of him. When Zhong Dao didn’t answer, he sent a voice message, bloodily scolding him,
“Zhong Dao, you bastard! Your grandfatherTo say that he’s in a higher, more respectable position Fu Cuo and I helped you so much, can’t you put in more goddamn effort? A sentence like ‘You look like Sui Qingchi’ can drive you to death, did you turn 3 this year?! Fuck your– &% $# $”
Fu Cuo couldn’t listen anymore. He felt like it was him that was getting scolded when it was clearly not. When AK reached the peak of his scolding, he directly took the phone and said to Zhong Dao, “What do you want to know? Come over and I’ll tell you.”
Fu Cuo packed up his things, ready to go back at 2:00 AM that morning. But then he turned to see the man outside the door and breathed out, “You really know how to pick a time…”
The band already went back. Fu Cuo made a cocktail for Zhong Dao, slid it on the bar and asked him, “Why do you care so much about this?”
Zhong Dao took a big sip of the drink and put down his glass, “I don’t want to be used.”
“No one is using you.” Fu Cuo explained, “The meaning of using someone is to control what they do to gain something. AK and I won’t get anything from you.”
“Then why are you helping me?”
“Because we’re nice, no?” Fu Cuo sighed, a bit wronged. “If you were bad at singing, or had the money to attend an advanced music school with professional teachers to teach you, who’d want to help you? You just happen to look like my old main vocalist. It’s only a coincidence.”
Zhong Dao finally lowered his head, “I didn’t expect to be eliminated. I just… Wanted to avoid using the singing style you taught me because it sounded like Sui Qingchi’s.”
“It’s called Speech Level Singing, not Sui Qingchi Level Singing.”
Zhong Dao nodded weakly, “So, that main vocalist of yours was really Sui Qingchi?”
“Yeah,” Fu Cuo said, “As time passed, our ideals differed and we parted ways. I’m not making this up, to me he’s someone who’s betrayed our band, that’s why I didn’t want to bring it up.”
Zhong Dao pursed his lips, “Why did he come to you last time?”
“To ask me for a song.”
“Are you going to write him one?” Zhong Dao asked while thinking of that song without a name, he couldn’t help but feel a little envious.
“What are you saying?” Fu Cuo started, “Do I look like someone who would easily forgive betrayal?”
Holding the thin ankle of the wine glass, Zhong Dao stayed silent for a while and finally said, “I’m sorry, I… I can’t stand people ignoring me and only treating me as someone’s shadow. I know it’s a dumb inferiority complex.”
Fu Cuo saw that he lowered his head and stared at his reflection on the glass. It was difficult to overcome or even admit something like that, but Zhong Dao did. For a person who seemed as strong as Zhong Dao, he’d already trampled on his self-esteem. Fu Cuo didn’t want to say more.
He sighed, “Are you completely eliminated? Do you still have a chance?”
Zhong Dao shook his head, “There is a resurrection round, but the chances of making it through is approximately zero.”
Fu Cuo said nothing and solemnly patted him on the shoulder.
Afterwards, Fu Cuo thought that there seemed to be nothing wrong with this. It was better to stop here than to stop near the end. Although he regretted that Zhong Dao didn’t make it, maybe the kid just wasn’t meant for that life. None of them was.
Unexpectedly, the next morning the front door was slammed with loud banging noises. As soon as he opened it, AK eagerly grabbed his hand, “Fu Cuo, you have to help him!”
“With what?” He frowned sleepily in the sun.
“The resurrection round! We have to stake everything on the resurrection round!.Fu Cuo, write him an original song!”
Fu Cuo woke up. He looked at AK and pulled back his hand, “Dream on.”
AK followed him inside, without taking off his shoes he asked him, “Don’t you want to see him succeed? That boy is really talented!”
Fu Cuo felt like he had a headache. He sat down on the sofa, looked up and asked, “Why do you insist on helping him succeed? Neither of us have that ability, okay?”
AK sat down on the sofa, dejected and unwilling. Fu Cuo noticed that his lips were dry because he ran, and got up to pour him some water. When the hot water was poured into the paper cup, he heard AK behind him say, “…I helped him because of West Wind.”
Fu Cuo flinched, taken aback. The water almost burned his fingers.
“Fu Cuo, I know that West Wind is now a thing of the past. Without Tan Si and Sui Qingchi, it’s impossible for us to go back to the way things were. But every time I get drunk, I still miss it…” AK explained. This time, the tone is no longer excited. It was quiet, light, and full of sincere nostalgia, “I’ve always thought it was a pity that West Wind didn’t make it. If there were no accidents, maybe we could’ve gone on forever. It’s the biggest regret of my life, so…” He looked up at Fu Cuo’s back, “That’s why I wanted to see our previous dreams achieved by him. Zhong Dao, that guy, he’s like us. Came from the bottom and can’t rely on anyone but himself. But he’s young. I don’t want to see him make the same mistakes we’ve made. Just think that I’m empathizing with him. I don’t need you to understand. I just ask for you to help me again. …Help me fulfill my dream.”
The words ‘fulfilling a dream’ felt hot and harsh.
“…I don’t write songs anymore.”
“You just don’t write songs for others. I know you haven’t stopped writing,” AK hesitated, “In fact, I’ve always wanted him to sing the songs you wrote.”
Fu Cuo turned around and said, “The songs I wrote were for West Wind. They’re like offerings, not suitable to be sung by any living being.”
The negotiation reached an impasse. At that moment, Fu Cuo also felt that he was a little much, but this was his bottom line that he couldn’t break.
AK was silent for a long time, and suddenly whispered, “Was it really for West Wind or Sui Qingchi?”
Fu Cuo stared at him. With a suffocating feeling, his chest felt like it was burning up. He didn’t know whether it was because of anger or something else.
“West wind is gone and will never come back,” AK started, “If you just want to keep those songs in your hard drive, why even write them? Fu Cuo, look into your heart and ask yourself.”
Fu Cuo was befuddled and didn’t want to talk any more. He put the glass of water on the table and said coldly, “Go back.”
Soon after AK left, he couldn’t stay in the house alone any longer. He put on a coat and went out of the door. Walking aimlessly in this dream-chasing city, he saw a wandering artist playing guitar and singing when passing through the underpass. Next to him was a dog. People came and went, but no one stopped to listen. After all, singing is too simple and cheap. Guitar is one of the most common instruments to play. Music can no longer easily move people. Fu Cuo looked at the trembling ears of the Chinese pastoral dog and thought it might be good enough to impress a dog.
In such a flashy era, only a real artist could give music vitality by singing and move people to tears.
He stood there listening to the whole song, squatted down, put all the change in his pocket on the ground, and patted the dog’s head. The singer looked up and said, “Thank you.”
He didn’t know when he got into the tunnel. In front of it was the bus station. He saw the bus coming from a distance, but he didn’t get on and chose to walk.
In that same tunnel, Sui Qingchi once walked with his guitar on his back. It was late at night that day. Sui Qingchi was wearing a simple T-shirt and jeans, humming songs, holding a paddle in his hand, and rowing all the way through the tunnel wall rhythmically. When a car passed by, the wind became loud and shrill. Ordinary singers wouldn’t be able to be heard in that condition, but Sui Qingchi was different. Even at the bottom of a valley, an abyss, or even hell, the songs he sang could live steadily in the clouds. The melodies he sang spans from A2 to D5, they’d complete a divine glide and then return back to him.
He was deeply impressed by Sui Qingchi’s talent and said decisively, “I’ll only write songs for you in the future.”
“What if I were to die?” Sui Qingchi tilted his head and asked.
He was helpless, “Sui Qingchi, how could you say that?”
“Then, what if my throat was damaged and I can’t sing your songs anymore. What would you do?”
He stopped and said, “Then I won’t write anymore.”
At that time, he never thought Sui Qingchi would leave West Wind one day. Such a pledge is now meaningless.
Sui Qingchi came over smiling. With one hand behind his neck, the two people’s foreheads came together naturally.
“You still have to write and show it to the world. No matter whether I live or die, whether I can sing or not, what I bring you can only be happiness and perfection. Not an ounce of pain or regret.”
Even now, his heart still skipped a beat when he thought of this sentence. Although Sui Qingchi is now a completely different person and an absolute asshole, he still can’t forget the Sui Qingchi of that time.
How would I even forget?