It was just past 3 PM in the afternoon when he got back to his apartment. The blazing midday sun was blinding to the eyes.
Qi Jing closed his eyes. Not because of the glaring sunlight but because he barely even had the strength to keep them open. For most of the residents living in the area, it was still during working hours, so the neighbourhood was hushed. It was almost as if the surrounding sounds had evaporated from the heat and became beads of sweat that stuck to his skin.
Qi Jing lived on the seventh floor. Hed usually take the stairs, but this time, he made an exception and pressed for the lift.
When the lift doors opened with ading, his ringtone virtually rang at the same time. The two noises sounding simultaneously felt ten times more piercing than usual.
It was often said that those who suffered from sleep deprivation were extremely sensitive to sounds and that would appear to be true. Whats more, he was standing right in front of a confined space with a great echo effect.
Qi Jing looked at the phone number displayed on his screen and figured that if he didnt pick it up now, this phone would probably continue ringing for the next half an hour. It would cause such a din that he wouldnt be able to catch up on some sleep. If he turned off his phone, the caller would probably appear in person, knocking on his door, within the next hour. Should that happen, he can kiss any form of sleep goodbye.
Thus, his best and only option was to pick up the call.
“Senior! I knew you came back today! You never ever answer your phone when you go on business trips and I didnt want to bother you during work either. But now that youre back, I can continue badgering you!”
Qi Jing could already feel the symptoms of his sleep deprivation worsening.
“Please press 1 if you want to treat me to a meal. Please press 2 if you want me to treat you to a meal. Please press 3 if you want to complain about your boyfriend.”
“As much as I want to press 2 and 3, but before that... what should I press for services related to voice acting”
“That service is currently unavailable. Goodbye,” Qi Jing tried to end the call but just as he was about to remove the phone from his ear, a wretched and miserable cry came from the speaker.
“Senior! Dont you remember that time I drank with you—”
And there it was, her trump card.
He sighed in resignation, “Alright, I get it. Just let me sleep for a few hours and Ill check the messages when I get up.”
Online voice acting, the name of a community made up of online voice acting enthusiasts.
Everyone in the circle had their own story and every story has a beginning.
Qi Jing was no exception.
Qing Jing worked in the media industry and given the nature of his work, he was destined to dabble extensively in the 2D world. From public forums to personal blogs, from serious academic journals to all kinds of strange, ridiculous gossip posts. He would scroll through them whenever he had the time and he was pretty willing to try out new things.
During the advent of Weibo, a microblogging platform, he had already created a personal account and invited many of the friends around him to join. During the first two to three years, he would simply check out the news on current affairs or follow some celebrities in the industry. Sometimes, when he was in the mood, he would even jot down some interesting anecdotes about his life. Until one day, when his junior from his university days @ him on Weibo.
When he opened the app, it turned out to be a popular Weibo post with a considerable amount of reposts. The title of that post was, “Please @ the person with the sexiest voice that you know of to record an alarm ringtone~(≧▽≦)/~”
Sexy The moment his eyes scanned the title, the sides of his mouth couldnt help but twitch into a smile.
He had been working at a TV station for six years. Although his main job wasnt that of a radio host, he has come into contact with quite a few voice-related jobs. Basically, Qi Jing had an immunity towards his own voice and didnt have the ability to evaluate his voice. And no ones ever made such a comment about his voice before when he was in school. He never wouldve thought that little girl had such thoughts.
“I saw that post where you mentioned me. You arent thinking of cheating on your boyfriend with me, are you Your boyfriend is part of the armed police force, I dont want to die an incomplete corpse,” He called her and said half-jokingly which resulted in a scoff from the other end of the line.
“Please, I dont wanna straighten the bent.”
Qi Jing is actually a really composed and straightforward person. He came out of the closet very early and very calmly at that. And didnt hide it from his friends.
Something like that neednt be hidden from true friends; those he had to hide from were no friends of his.
It was that line that caused his junior to cry so hard her face was covered in tears and snot. She stayed up all night drinking with him and ended up getting so sick the next day, she cooped up in her room vomiting. She threw up so much she felt like her world had turned dark and almost blacked out. And till this day, she still blames him for destroying that image of a cultured lady that she worked so hard to create.
As such, whenever she needs something from him, that lass would whip out her classic opener, “Dont you remember that time I drank with you”.
“Senior! Dont you remember that time I drank with you—”
“Ill record it for you.”
The source of this content is no/vel//bi/n[./]net'
Qi Jing had always been a man of his word and just as he had promised, he recorded a wake-up call for his junior that night. He had only done it just for the hell of it, to join in the fun. What he didnt expect was for her to upload it onto the net, publishing it on Weibo.
March Bamboo Shoots: ≧▽≦ AaaaAaaah! My senior @Dont know, dont answer actually recorded a wake-up ringtone for me! Its so freaking sexy!! Everyone hurry over and have a listen!! @Ninth lady @Rolling ball of Meows @Plainclothes with vermillion embroidery @Bumpy, not Indented @I wont survive if I dont procrastinate!!
Plainclothes with vermillion embroidery: Mark! Im in class, Ill listen when I get back!
Rolling ball of Meows: ( ⊙o⊙) Wowowowow that voice... Its so sexy! (Pounding on the ground)
Plain vermillion embroidered clothes: Really As someone who currently has no access to a computer, I am filled with jealousy and envy!! ┭┮﹏┭┮
Ninth lady: ...Ive finished listening to it... All I have to say is, Freak, he really sounds like my lifes core!!
Bumpy, not Indented: ￢_￢
Ninth lady: You understand me Bumpy!! ┭┮﹏┭┮
Bumpy, not Indented: ￢_￢ Your lifes core has already retired from the circle for many years. Wake up.
Ninth lady: Stupid ass! Dont remind me!! ┭┮﹏┭┮
March Bamboo Shoots: Pfft, patting Little Ninth. Now now, dont cry, time to get up! ≧w≦
Ninth lady: Grab hold of Bamboo Shoots!! Aaaaaah, I want to hook up with your senior!! Hook me up with him, aaaaAaaah! Is he part of the community Does he voice act Doing covers is good too! Shit, he really sounds too similar to my lifes core!
Since he was mentioned in the post, he clicked into the comments out of curiosity and when he read till that point, he couldnt help but laugh. It would appear to be quite unwise to continue drinking his coffee in front of his computer.
He met this junior when they took the same Media and Communications class in university. At that time, he already knew how passionate she was about broadcasting and dubbing. She also seemed to frequently mix herself in with communities that shared her interests online. After graduation, several alumni from the same city would occasionally have small gatherings and he would often hear her talk about the goings-on in the online voice acting community. Hence why he had a brief understanding of the terms they used.
Although he had a general understanding of what they were talking about, this was the first time he had become the centre of a topic for discussion.
And so, he put his coffee aside and made a reply with a smile.
Dont know, dont ask: Haha, thanks for your comments, I feel quite embarrassed being called sexy.
March Bamboo Shoots: Senior!! ≧0≦
Ninth lady: !! Holy heck!! He replied!! Please hook up with me Senior!!
Bumpy, not Indented: ￢_￢
iCookie: I just got home. Seems like Ive missed a good show ⊙▽⊙... Ninth, who are you trying to hook up with
March Bamboo Shoots: Shes trying to hook up with my senior hehehe. Little cookie, hurry go have a listen! The link is on top!! Go listen!
iCookie: Im listening... I have to say the sexiness is just off the charts! I kinda understand Ninths feelings now, pfft...
Plainclothes with vermillion embroidery: Reading all your comments really makes me wanna claw at the wall. This mobile phone user cant take it ┭┮﹏┭┮
I wont survive if I dont procrastinate: Mobile phone user cant take it 1
Rolling ball of Meows: Ive been looping it over and over again. The more I listen, the more he sounds like a younger version of Lord Qiu (￣▽￣)~*
Ninth lady: I know right You think so too right, Meows!!
Rolling ball of Meows: Yep yep, but Bamboo Shoots seniors voice is clearer, Lord Qius voice sounds huskier.
Ninth lady: Its such a pity that my lifes core retired so soon... (Wailing)
I wont survive if I dont procrastinate: Ninth ladys life core Kuaima Qingqiu So thats the kind of voice you like.
Bumpy, not Indented: ￢_￢ She has too many life cores.
Ninth lady: Get lost, Bumpy! (Continues wailing)
Dont know, dont answer: Haha, you guys are so interesting. You make me feel like trying my hand at voice acting.
In less than two minutes after he sent out that reply, his phone that was placed on the table immediately started to ring. When he picked it up, as he thought it was from Ning Xiaoxiao, his junior and the owner of the ID March Bamboo Shoots.
“Senior, youre just kidding around, are you” that girl said all seriously, but was unable to hide the faint traces of excitement leaking out of her voice.
“Im not kidding. I found it quite interesting when I saw your friends chat.”
“Senior, go and refresh that page for a bit. That reply of yours almost made Little Ni— Basically the one called Ninth Lady on Weibo. She almost went crazy from excitement. She was aggressively poking me on QQ just now, saying that I absolutely have to drag you in.”
“I mean, I dont really mind,” Qi Jing chuckled.
Back when he was a student, he had chosen to do scriptwriting and studied the history of Western drama. Usually, he would watch movies and write film reviews so he did have a fair amount of interest in performing.
“Then... Im going to sell you, alright”
If one could illustrate the state of a persons voice, Ning Xiaoxiaos current appearance would definitely be a beast with eyes shining brightly, staring at her prey while constantly swallowing her saliva. Yet this beast still wanted to disguise itself as a little rabbit, the particularly innocent and harmless kind.
“Go ahead and sell me. Besides, my rate goes by the minute.”
Unfortunately for her, her opponent was someone who had never lost in a battle of verbal teasing.
“Senior...” Ning Xiaoxiao sounded like she was about to tear up; her voice sounded especially moving through the phone.
“Dont cry, dont cry, turn your sadness into cravings. Then, when you sell by weight, youll definitely be able to profit,” Qi Jing also happened to be an expert in the area of kicking someone when they are down.
“Senior...” being hit on a sore spot, the level of sorrow oozing from Ning Xiaoxiaos voice escalated, “Senior, have mercy...”
Just as Qi Jing was about to continue poking fun at her, he suddenly received a notification for a friend request on QQ. When he clicked open the application, the person requesting was thatNinth lady from Weibo.
“Little Ninth asked for your QQ so I gave it to her. Shes added you, hasnt she”
Youre so efficient,” Qi Jing said with a smile while shaking his head. This lass, her fingers sure do move faster than her mouth. She had completely mastered the art of doing before asking for permission.
And thus, Ninth lady became the first producer he met when he first joined the community. She was also the first to ask for his ID for voice acting.
“Dont ask for my return date,” after some contemplation, that was the answer he gave her.
In the following years after that, Ninth lady would often start small talk about two things with whoever she met.
The first, being the thing she regretted the least ever since she joined the community—her successful collaboration with the VA known as Dont ask when Im returning.
The second, being the thing she regretted the most ever since she joined the community—agreeing to him using the ID, Dont ask for my return date.
Should rookie producers be fortunate enough to meet this senior and listen to her ramblings, they would come to understand just how cruel the real meaning behind that name was. All their fragile glass hearts would be broken into a thousand pieces, or worse, ground to dust.
True to its name, Dont ask for my return date, the owner of that ID would go missing for at least six months out of an entire year.
Just by seeing that ID would break part of the producers hearts. The rest of it would be completely broken by his QQ signature:
‘1. Those rushing for me to send my recordings please see ID.
2. Those rushing me for retakes please see point 1.
“I really regret it,” those four words had gradually become Ninth ladys mantra whenever she chatted with Qi Jing.
With Qi Jings exceptional ability to adapt to the language used in the community, he had changed his explanation from the initial, straightforward “Busy with work” to “The 3D world is hard”.
Those were in fact, not excuses but the truth.
Compared to local TV stations, provincial TV stations provided wider coverage of news, so naturally, the workload would also go up proportionally. Every time they are met with non-local breaking news, the company would have to send someone on an urgent business trip down to the scene. Single men like Qi Jing who neither had a family nor kids were the most susceptible to being chosen.
In July, as the temperature rose, so did the amount of rainfall.
The continuous heavy rainfall in the province would result in traffic congestions which would further lead to accidents happening. For example, the location that he went to for this business trip had experienced a large-scale landslide. He, alongside several colleagues on the interview team, had to follow army vehicles on a 12-hour long bumpy ride in order to get to the locations. Not only did they get drenched in muddy water, the conditions of their accommodations were also pretty bad. After labouring for half a month, he could finally go home.
When he left for the business trip, he had left his house too hastily and ended up forgetting to draw the windows in his bedroom. The afternoon sun shone through the window, forming scorching hot bright spots of light on the solid wood flooring. Walking over those areas caused him to wince as his toes cramped up from the sting.
Qi Jing threw his briefcase on the computer chair and drew the curtains, hoping that the shade would provide a trace of coolness. But it couldnt be helped that the back of his shirt had already soaked through with sweat. The tacky feeling all over his body made him pretty uncomfortable, so he reached around for the air-con remote on his bedside table while undoing his shirt. Once he changed into a set of clean clothes, he wearily plopped himself onto bed, feeling a wave of drowsiness wash over him.
When he first entered the industry, the seniors once told him that there are times where, despite feeling extremely fatigued, you somehow wouldnt be able to fall asleep. And Qi Jing had been experiencing that a lot in recent years.
To quote a statement posted on his Weibo, the quality of his sleep was as bad as the level of food hygiene within the country.
On his way back, he would doze off from time to time, but right now, hes been lying in bed for ten minutes and there still wasnt any hint of his body going to sleep. So Qi Jing decided to get up and turn on his computer instead.
Due to his job requirements, he usually brought the company-assigned laptop with him whenever he went on business trips, and would only use his personal one when he was home.
Hes been away for over two weeks, there was probably a terribly large amount of messages waiting for him.
Just as expected, when he logged into QQ, the penguin at the bottom right corner of the screen was instantly attacked by a dozen different avatars. The notifications kept beeping for a while, to the point where he could even feel the computer freeze for ten seconds.
Virtually every single message came from the group of friends categorised under “producers”.
And essentially every single message contained some form of crying QQ emote.
Rouge Flower: Dont ask for my return date-sama!! Thats precisely what Im asking for!! Your return date!! Dont ask me not to ask!! TAT
M.E.E.: If you have the ability to go missing, you have the ability to send in your recordings! Dont hide behind your QQ invisible status, I know youre online! Will it kill you to just give me a reply! Will it! (Crying bitter tears)
Prospective prime minister: ...Your... grace... please... send... your... recordings... (Cries)
Fried cake: Im gonna be dead if you dont show up, Return date! ╥﹏╥
35 unread QQ emails, 128 unread messages, 999 unread messages from group chats...
Just the sight of this purged any thought of logging into his Weibo account anymore.
In contrast, his juniors ghastly appearance as a hounding demon from just now actually seemed a lot more pleasant.
Lilies: I had a lot of fun while reading but while translating... cry die me lollol
Anyways, I hope youll like this story^^