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The opening ceremony, with its fast-rhythm music and energetic dancing moves, ignited the passion of the crowd. Euphoric cries of excitement were heard as the spectators cheered in anticipation for the start of the festival.
However, the on-scene producer frowned, despite the more-than-expected success of the opening show. He now questioned the decision of the director to put Shao Xian first. Although Shao Xian’s song was undoubtedly one of the more anticipated ones of the show, it was one which caused relaxation rather than excitement, so it would run in the opposite direction of what he had planned.
In the backstage, Shao Xian waited nervously. The loud cheering and screaming she heard frightened her, despite Sai Gao’s best attempt to calm her down.
Li Yiming was on the side, examining the crowd to prepare himself for the fight to come. His glance remained for a while on the knit-bag the moment he spotted it. ‘Even you’re here?’
As the opening ceremony finally concluded, the music switched to a classic tune of Chinese zither. Shao Xian took one last deep breath and walked towards the stage under the guidance of the staff members.
“Divine Voice Materialized? The unknown goddess is first?”
“That’s different from what was written on the pamphlet! It says that she’s the seventeenth performer!”
“Wow! She’s pretty!”
“Where did she get a dress like that? Honey, I want one too…”
Murmurs were heard as many discussed the reason for moving Shao Xian’s performance to the first one. Although efforts were made to keep the voice low, it still inevitably created a buzzing sound which was almost as loud as the accompanying music. Visibly nervous, Shao Xian pressed on her earphones to hear the music more clearly.
“This is her first time after all…” The producer sighed as he watched it from the control center and opted to raise the volume of the instrumental music.
“She has guts showing up this unprepared? She’d be bad even for lip-syncing! A shame all of us have to perform real singing as part of the contract…” A lesser-known singer complained in a sour tone.
“You can complain here, but keep your mouth shut when you head out of this room. One of the vice-directors got fired due to a problem related to her restroom. Even Fang Shui’er seemed afraid of her. Don’t stir up unnecessary troubles for the company!” The singer’s manager scolded her as he stared at the screen.
“She’s first?” Mr. Xie frowned and glanced at his assistant, who caught onto his signal and left.
“Thank you. It’s the first time I’ve been to a concert like this…” The young employee who was brought in by Mr. Kong was overjoyed. She had never thought that she would get to sit in the middle of the first row of all places. It was inconceivable that the best ticket for such a big event would be used for promotional purposes.
“Don’t mention it, just enjoy the music. Unfortunately, I don’t think most people are here for that,” Mr. Kong chuckled, took out a cigarette and lit it up.
“Um, smoking is forbidden here,” The employee was instantly reminded of her duties.
“Don’t worry. No one’s going to mind.” The man said as he lit up his smoke.
“But…” The employee looked around. She noticed that all of the other VIP guests maintained their distance to Mr. Kong, which was something she could only attribute to their not wanting to condescend and interact with him.
“It’s started.” Mr. Kong took a long whiff and looked at Shao Xian.
“The Great Path is invisible, but it gives birth to heaven and earth…” Shao Xian finally sang the first line. Her voice was slightly shaky, and the buzzing noise from the cloud was still clearly audible despite their whispering out of politeness.
“The Great Path is impassive, but it moves the moon and stars…” As her singing continued, Shao Xian’s voice slowly stabilized. The noise from the crowd also slowly dissipated as the song went on, as if they strangely all just forgot about what they had wanted to say.
“The Great Path is anonymous, but it nurtures all…” The third verse was sung, and the stadium fell into a dead silence.
The lyrics of the soul was only a gateway to the Seal of Spirit and Heart, a spell aimed at repressing the subconscious desires of the listener. Although many had already heard the song before, its effects were not as potent when listened through a playback device. However, when listened to live, there was no stopping the mesmerizing effects of the song.
As Shao Xian continued singing, the crowd gradually emptied itself of emotions. Excitement, euphoria, and anticipation were replaced by peace of mind and tranquility. Shao Xian was still singing under the flashing lights, but she seemed more like a Taoist master than an artist, and the sports stadium resembled a giant temple in which she could spread her wisdom.
A muscular man who sat in the crowd suddenly punched his own chest hard enough to spit out some blood.
“Li Yiming…” The man said as he stared at Shao Xian venomously.
“We’ve overestimated ourselves… As expected from someone who can arouse Heaven’s Laws attention in such a way..” A middle-aged woman said as a blue light shot up from her feet into her chest.
“Those who’ve come to profit from the situation have got it wrong. This is not a conflict one can get involved in without paying a price.”
“They’ve made up their minds, and they're paying the price for it.” Li Huaibei scanned across the crowd and then turned to continue admiring Shao Xian’s performance.
“It’s not him,” Stargaze held Tian Yan’s hand to help relieve some pressure, and the latter was able to have a good look at Li Yiming for the first time.
“Are you sure?” Stargaze frowned.
“His fate is red. Blood red… But that’s not Li Yiming…” Tian Yan said as she stared at the side of the stage.
“You’re saying he left?” Li Huaibei looked at Li Yiming, who also seemed to be entranced by the music.
“It’s the same person, but his fate has been replaced,” Tian Yan concluded.
“Then we’re right…” Stargaze exchanged a glance with Li Huaibei and closed her eyes.
Li Huaibei turned his attention toward Mr. Kong, who was still smoking his cigarette, unaffected by the performance.
“Eliminating one’s desires, one’s mind will becalm; clearing one’s mind, one’s soul will become pure; naturally the desires from the six senses will stop emerging,” Shao Xian reached the climax of her performance. Just as it was the case when she broadcasted the song online for the first time, the single thought which preoccupied her mind was to finish her performance, no matter what.
Light orbs appeared in the crowd as the guardians tried to fend themselves from the hypnotizing effects of the song. The ordinary people who sat around them looked on and envied the “light show”, unaware that the recipients of their admiration were all secretly cursing at the magnified effect the song had on their own convictions and beliefs. The song slowly ate away at their strength, forcing them to divert more and more of their attention just to resist its hypnotic effects.Previous Chapter Next Chapter