Chapter 426: Some people are not habitually brave

Chapter 426: Some people are not habitually brave

“If only the world is pitch black, I am actually very beautiful.

Striving tirelessly amidst love, just being exploited at most.

Matters that you may deem irrelevant and uninteresting

Even so, how are they wrong? You can have your way.”

The stage was still basically pitch black.

There were only two spotlights.

And two guys they illuminated.

They wore white shirts that were buttoned up to the highest button at the collar, causing them to look a little stiff and rigid.

One was lowering his head and singing into the mircophone while the other was waiting. The two did not do much else beyond that. This caused them to seem rather stiff and rigid too.

Yet, this feeling corresponded very well with the mood of the song.

Even the half-masks on their faces fit in so well with this <Uglie>.

Those who habitually would not receive affirmation from others would also not be used to acting in an overt way. Even when they were pouring out their feelings or arguing about something, they would tone it down to the lowest level when doing so. Especially with how they were standing on stage right now…

Due to some special quality of his voice, Fu Cheng’s singing had a trait of ‘evoking empathy’. It was as if someone was standing before them and slowly speaking in a calm, warm manner, “See, differences can actually be overlooked. If only the world was completely pitch black…”

It was not that Xu Tingsheng had specially taken out this song for the sake of this performance. Around a year ago, when Rebirth had still been selling ringtones and they had been nicknamed the ‘ugly band’ due to a refusal to show their faces, Xu Tingsheng had been struck by inspiration and supplied Fu Cheng this song.

The two had stopped producing ringtones afterwards, and their myth of ugliness had also been dispelled after Apple had entered showbiz and they had performed at Xinyan Junior High. As a result, this song had naturally been set temporarily aside.

Coincidentally, it fit in so well with this time’s theme.

Fu Cheng finished singing the first verse. There were many who were familiar with his voice. As they listened, they immediately found that he was already becoming increasingly professional as he wielded his voice with ease. His voice’s unique flair had once been praised numerous times by those in the industry as being a godsent gift…

Everyone was enthralled by Fu Cheng. They dared not applaud for fear that his singing might be disrupted as some people even lightened their breathing as best they could.

That atmosphere of a heartfelt outpouring of one’s soul persisted…

Zhang Ninglang opened his mouth.

“If I were like you, always receiving outsiders’ praise…”

Just a single line.

The audience was jolted out of their reverie as a buzz resounded.

“This one isn’t from Rebirth?”

“The physique already isn’t right. The voice isn’t right too.”

“There’s such a gulf in quality. What’s he doing? Spoiling the performance…”

Xu Sheng’s bunch was already beginning to break into jeers…“Get off, Get off…”

Zhang Ninglang’s hands were trembling slightly as he clutched the microphone tightly.

His voice was trembling too.

He was not so talented in singing in the first place and lacked experience too. Coupled with nervousness from being up on stage...his first line just felt rather like ‘the scene of a car crash’...

He would surely have heard the ongoing din amongst the audience.

Still, he continued to sing.

“If I were like you, always receiving outsider’s praise

The inferiority that surrounds me, maybe it would fade

I don’t mind it, in truth. Really many chances to

Stand fearless like a rising giant

Give my inner demons free reign

But still I’m simply unworthy!”

As Fu Cheng put a comforting hand on Zhang Ninglang’s shoulder, that girl in the audience was smiling the most brilliantly, waving her arms as she hoped that he would see this. Ning Xia had previously said to him that he had no need to prove anything to anyone. She had no need for him to go out and compete with anyone, whoever it was. He had said: I can’t always only be decent. I want to give it go.

Zhang Ninglang had always been a very decent, great guy. Still, there were some things which he had always been lacking, which he was seeking to find.

Although sometimes, it was simply sufficient for two people to stand by each other with all else being unimportant, the truth was that as social creatures, love never came without obstacles for human beings.

His voice was growing increasingly firm, penetrating through the din and the gossiping crowds.

If the song was a monologue, Zhang Ninglang’s words were actually even more heartfelt than Fu Cheng’s. Fu Cheng was not an ordinary, average person. His voice was already unordinary, and if he were to remove his mask right now, all those girls in the audience would probably start screaming.

In reality, Zhang Ninglang was the person who was most used to being ordinary. It was to the extent that he had always been the one most easily overlooked. He was the kind who would seldom be mentioned by former classmates in their graduation photo many years later, that male student least likely to be remembered.

Then, his long-plaited junior, Ning Xia, had come to stand beside him.

And so his ordinariness had become a ‘sin’.

These lyrics were a heartfelt emotional outpouring that brought his soul bare.

“If I were like you, always receiving outsiders’ praise…”

This was referring to Ning Xia. Perhaps she might not be as pretty as the top beauties in their university. Still, due to the unique flair she possessed, more and more people were coming to admire and appreciate her.

Regarding this matter, afraid that this might negatively affect Zhang Ninglang, she had even thought of cutting off her long plait before…

Still, Zhang Ninglang had stopped her from doing so. When a boy loved a girl, it should never ever be by letting her lose her radiance and glow that she continued to stay by his side.

“The inferiority that surrounds me, maybe it would fade…”

The inferiority had not faded. There was more and more talk of how being too ordinary, he was unqualified and unworthy of her...there are always many people in this world who have nothing better to do. While jokes like ‘flower stuck on dung’ or ‘ugly toad lusting for goose’s flesh’ might appear humorous to some when they are being made, it can also be greatly damaging, in truth.

This had been exacerbated by the appearance of Xu Sheng. He was tall, rich and handsome. If not for the fact that he was a real scumbag, people might instead believe that he was a better fit for her…

“I don’t mind it, in truth. Really many chances to

Stand fearless like a rising giant

Give my inner demons free reign

But still I’m simply unworthy!”

His voice came on too strong at the end. To be exact, he had gone off-key…

Zhang Ninglang sang that last line with all his might. While it was clearly unrelated to anyone, never having hurt anyone, he had heard that phrase just too many times. He said, “I’m simply unworthy.”

While he was still not singing well, only singing more resolutely than before, the mood of those listening to the song had actually already changed from just these few lines. Everyone could tell that this rendition came straight from the heart.

This was especially so for those privy to some background information. They better understood why he was singing this song so very forcefully.

His classmates, friends, people who had once overlooked him, strangers, Little Xiang Ning...the applause was thunderous.

“Uglie...could you not turn on the lights

The love I want lingers on a pitch black stage

Uglie...in these romantic times

My existence, an unseemly surprise”

Fu Cheng took over from the high note, singing: The love I want lingers on a pitch black stage...

Zhang Ninglang then continued to sing…

“For some, a single tear stirs mesmerised tides

……

I can say nothing, beauty was never a crime

……

Fearless like the endless dust of the earth

When we’re ashes who knows who’s who

Who cares how worthy or not he is

Uglie…

Stomping on that vulnerable purity

……”

The second time round, while there were no singing techniques employed whatsoever, the most resolute will was conveyed.

Faced with gossip, faced with Xu Sheng’s overbearing, superior attitude…

He had once met this with silence, continually stepping aside.

Now, he was saying: Who cares how worthy or not he is.

Go on, do your worst...stomp on that vulnerable purity…

Since I am like the earth’s endless dust, does it really matter?

The final line arrived.

“That I don’t exist-would be the surprise!”

Amidst thunderous applause, Zhang Ninglang ripped off his half-mask after that last word. All was revealed as the audience simply saw an ordinary build, an ordinary face, an ordinary boy from university…

Having been unordinary in his singing earlier, he regained his normalcy now.

The audience, especially the female students, were actually more looking forward to whether the other mask would be removed as they did not really care for this.

Still, that mattered not at all. There was only one person Zhang Ninglang wished to speak to.

“Sorry, I didn’t sing very well,” He said.

His gaze was fixed solely on Ning Xia.

Still, everyone else began to fall silent, listening to him speak.

“Do you like it, though?” He asked.

Ning Xia smiled brilliantly, nodding emphatically.

Beneath the gazes at all, she cupped her hands at her mouth, yelling, “I like it! I really like you, Senior Zhang Ninglang…”

“Wa…”

“Oh…”

After a momentary silence, there came whistling, laughter, applause. Actually, if they were reminded of it, if they could set aside their prejudices and were emotionally moved, who would be unwilling to admire this unfolding blissfulness, give this couple their blessings?

“So many people say that I’m unworthy of you. Actually, I myself also doubted it before, marvelled at my luck. Just take it as luck then. What kind of fortune is this, to have you beside me, such a wonderful you…”

Zhang Ninglang was already no longer flustered.

“Who said that Lil’ Bro is too honest and so can’t speak romantically?” Li Xingming wondered aloud.

Li Linlin and Chick Bao directed meaningful looks at their respective boyfriends as if to imply, “You see this! Watch and learn…”

Little Xiang Ning was leaning against Xu Tingsheng’s arm.

“Some people are not habitually brave. For me, it isn’t often that I am brave, but virtually every single time I am, it is because of you. I still remember how so many people asked you for your number that day. I didn’t even have a handphone. You wrote down your number on a piece of paper and gave it to me…”

“I still remember how I woke up at 5am the next morning and went out to buy a handphone. Then, our entire dorm came together to think about what kind of message I should send. They discussed it quite a bit. Did you find what I eventually sent you very silly? Did you laugh? Actually, I thought about it afterwards and felt that I was acting just like a tour guide.”

“I still remember our first date. I was basically stammering as I taught you Level 4 English through the evening. I could tell that you were holding it in then. You were actually dying to laugh…”

“I still remember how the movie we saw was in the lecture theatre. Eating outside for once, we walked through Xishan’s night market several times…”

Xu Sheng and co had already left the hall. Whether in terms of music or the ‘sincerity’ that he spoke of, he had suffered a complete, utter defeat. Nine hundred and ninety-nine roses were unable to compete with that single sentence: I am not habitually brave. Every time I am, it is because of you.

Tonight, Lil’ Bro was virtually like a saint of romance, just for that one person.

“I will continue to be brave,” He said.

“Yes,” Ning Xia nodded emphatically.

Zhang Ninglang smiled and said, “Other people can have many tales in their youth, all colourful, topsy-turvy and spectacular...for me, there were once only exams and rising to a higher grade, the cycle continually repeating. Up till now, only a single important thing has happened to me, which was meeting you. Only then did colour start to fill my youthful world…”

“Thank you, junior.”

The ordinary Zhang Ninglang hence completed a conquest. Everyone, both ordinary and unordinary, similar ones with grey lives, different ones with lives of colour-they were all conquered without exception.

Since when has the question of being unworthy existed in this world? There is only ever the question of whether people are right for each other.

“It’s our first anniversary today. I have a gift for you.”


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