The next day, the sky was a beautiful shade of blue, free of clouds.
What a pleasant description, reminiscent of the way primary school students would write in their compositions when jotting down their fun spring and autumn vacations. However, it wasnt something anyone would be happy to see when used to describe a day in July which was in the middle of a hot summer.
According to the weather forecast, the highest temperature today was predicted to be 38°C.
Qi Jing began to seriously consider if he should go directly to the office of the director of the News Channel and hand in a letter of resignation. It was not that he was afraid of becoming tanned from the sun but he really didnt want to lose a layer of skin under the burning hot sun. As a reporter whos often out and about, subjected to harsh winds and glaring sun, hes really had enough of being put through the suffering of feeling like saltwater being poured on an open wound every summer.
Of course, this was not the first time the thought of resigning had run through his mind, but it would simply go away every time without him doing anything.
Qi Jing didnt head for the directors office, instead, it was the director who came out of his office for a smoke and ended up bumping into the former.
The director habitually started some small talk with Qi Jing. “Xiao Qi, I heard that youre the first one to arrive today”
Qi Jing left home early just so he could make it to the office before the sun rose.
“Dont worry, Director. I travel out of town so often, theres no way I would be able to receive the award for perfect attendance,“ Qi Jing joked.
Theres an old unspoken rule in the News Channel—the director has to treat the winner of the prize winner to a meal at the end of the year out of his own pocket.
The director chuckled and patted Qi Jing on the back of his shoulder while saying, “Its good for young people to be out and about more.”
And its precisely because of that that I was formally crowned the God of Playing Dead in the online voice acting circle. Qi Jing muttered internally.
“Oh right. By the way, Director, if theres nothing on today, Id like to head down to the provincial library later during the day to gather some materials to finish up with my drafts so that I can submit it before I leave town tomorrow.”
“No problem,” the director said.
He knew that Qi Jing was often loaned out to the other channels so he was quite accommodating regarding such matters. However, the person that happened to the around the corner and overheard their conversation was much less accommodating.
After sending off the director, just as Qi Jing took one step into the office to chat with his colleagues, that person came in right behind him.
“Well well, Qi Jing, arent you the idlest person in the News Channel Still thinking about slacking and going to the library while everyone else is hard at work.”
Its probably because hes heard loads of audio dramas, Qi Jings ability to recognise people by their voice had improved significantly.
Without even turning around, he already knew who it was that said those words. However, out of common courtesy, he still turned around to greet that person with a smile.
The surname of the person trying to find fault with him was Sun and was “affectionately” nicknamed, son of a bitch. Though of course, the person himself had no idea about this nickname, it was something everyone called him behind his back.
The only talent S.O.B had worth mentioning was bragging. And he was really quite something at it. If not, he never wouldve been able to get a spot in the TV station and retain his position for four years. Whenever S.O.B got drunk, he would claim to be the descendent of the Monkey King. Qi Jing strongly believed that if Sun Wukong was here, he would personally do some housecleaning and kill S.O.B.
And the level of jealousy that man contained in his body... perhaps even Consort Hua from Empresses in the Palace would have to concede defeat to him.
Many a time, Qi Jing would feel like the man would spit out the line, “Bitches are just pretentious,” in a fit of rage. To avoid being “punished”, Qi Jing said to Mr. S.O.B with a polite smile, “Im only going to the library because the director of the Science & Education Channel asked for me help to source for materials for their program.”
“Program What program Arent you supposed to be working on news, why are you involving yourself in the Science & Education Channel” Mr. S.O.B snapped. The type of people he hated the most in his entire life was versatile people like Qi Jing.
“Its a program on animal culture and Im in charge of the avian-related topics, “Qi Jing replied calmly.
Mr. S.O.B started laughing with a weird expression on his face before remarking like he suddenly understood what was up, “A bird-related show As expected, a person would only work on programs that are the same as themselves. —I for one, would never work on something like that.”
The entire office fell dead silent.
The colleague beside Qi Jing lowered his head awkwardly and drank his tea.
The central air conditioner seemed to be a little too strong as the temperature in the office fell so low, everyone wanted to run and hide away for three minutes.
Qi Jing nodded with a smile on his face. He then patted the file in his hand and responded, “Mr. Sun is right, people with no cock wouldnt be able to understandbirds.”
That colleague spat his tea out.
A meaningful laugh came from behind the screen in the office. It took Mr. S.O.B three whole seconds to fully process Qi Jings words before his face flushed red in anger, all the way down to his neck.
“You! This is a personal attack!” he yelled. Then, he realised he was all alone in this with no one on his side, so he turned to the colleague that spat out his tea and questioned, “You heard it too right!”
“Aiya! All the tea was spilled onto the floor, I better go get a rag to clean it up,” the colleague cried, playing dead.
Mr. S.O.B was a little stunned before turning to yell at the others in the office, “You guys all heard it too, didnt you!”
The partitions between the desks in the New Channels office were pretty tall, with Mr. Suns height, it was virtually impossible for him to see the people behind the partitions. All he could hear were peoples snickers and among them, someone shouted back a response, “Yeah we heard it, someone was mocking Qi Jing, insinuating that hes a birdman—.”
Mr. S.O.B was completely defeated.
Mr. S.O.B has had enough of them.
Mr. S.O.B stomped his way out exasperatedly.
Ah but, he most certainly did not forget to send Qi Jing a look that read, “Ill punish you sooner or later” before he left.
After Sun left, the people in the office all raised their hands from behind the partition to give Qi Jing a thumbs up. Some even peeked out their heads and mouthed the words “That was a good roast, Qi Jing”. The colleague hurriedly rushed back with a rag at the sight of this and followed suit by giving Qi Jing a five-star rating.
“But Qi Jing, arent you scared of S.O.B getting his revenge on you the next chance he gets” the colleague asked. He mustve been a loyal viewer of Empresses in the Palace.
“Its alright, Ill be going on a business trip tomorrow and I wont be back for a week,” Qi Jing expressed that he was not worried at all. He then removed his reporter tag and got ready to make his way to the library.
“Another business trip Didnt you just come back from one”
“Theres no other choice, quite a few of the members on the interview team have become fathers. They need to spend time with their children during this summer vacation. Besides, the location this time is Z City, its not too far and the accommodation isnt too bad either,” Qi Jing answered. He supposed that this rate at which he goes on business trips would continue all the way till September.
“Youre also someone whos turning thirty soon, wont this issue go away once you settle down and have a kid” the colleague stated very simply.
Qi Jing only smiled in as a response and didnt say anything more to explain. His sexual orientation still couldnt be made known at his workplace. Only a small handful of buddies he had a really solid friendship with knew about it. After all, reporters do appear on television in news broadcasts quite frequently so there was still a fair bit of public influence.
Moreover, there were people like Mr. S.O.B at the station.
“I think the single life is pretty good too,” Qi Jing said, beating around the bush.
Qi Jing slung a messenger back over his shoulder and wave his hand, saying, “Well then, Ill take my leave first. Ill be back in the afternoon.”
The provincial library was located in the city centre which wasnt too far from the TV station, just two train stops away.
Since today was a working day and it was still during working hours, in addition to the summer heat which diminished any desire one had to go out, the library was basically empty, making it even quieter than it already was usually.
Due to the nature of his work, Qi Jing could be considered a familiar face at the library and had rather good relations with several of the librarians there. As soon as he stepped into the hall of the library, one of the librarian aunties pushed up her black rim glasses and greeted him with a beam, “Hello reporter comrade, are you here to gather materials again”
He returned the smile and said, “Yep, but the information Im looking for today is a little different from usual.”
The librarian asked curiously, “Oh What kind of books are you looking for”
“Those writing about animal totems, particularly the ones related to birds. The ones that give a basic introduction to the topic and Social Sciences would be best. Those about ancient literature are fine as well. When I checked online, there arent many books on animal cultures.”
“There really isnt much, but it doesnt hurt to try finding. Come with me.” The auntie had a pretty good impression of Qi Jing so she was happy to help him.
The fourth floor of the north building of the library was where the books on natural science and social sciences were located. There was more or less no one there at this time of the day.
This building had a fairly long history and hadnt been refurbished so windows were still the old-fashioned squared wooden windows. The light in the reading room wasnt very clear, especially the area in the deeper corners of the room which is used to house rows of books related to biology. As it was still daytime, the fluorescent lights werent turned on and there were only patches of sunlight shining down on the walkway.
Faint white dust particles would be seen floating around in the air in places where the light hits.
On the ceiling, fans with some age to them hung above the black wooden tables. The fan blades turned slowly, making a dull buzzing sound as it did, stirring up the little dust particles.
Qi Jing was actually rather fond of the atmosphere which resembled that of an old teahouse. In contrast, he felt that overly modern interiors ruined the rich cultural feeling of a library. A place like this was suitable for a person to come by themself and indulge in some quiet reading.
—If this was a scene in a movie, it was definitely a place fitting to shoot the first meeting.
The thought suddenly popped out in his head.
What a strange thought.
He smiled wryly at himself and focussed all his concentration on his work.
“Books related to birds huh... Let me see...” the auntie murmured while flipping through the list of the books in the reading room.
Then, she led Qi Jing to a row of shelves and said, “There is a book about the symbolism of birds in social customs. As to which shelf it is on, well have to search a bit for it, after all, there arent many who read books on animals.”
Just as she said those words, they suddenly saw that there was a man standing along that row of bookshelves with his head lowered as he looked through the books.
The aisle between bookshelves was narrow and when the man saw the librarian leading Qi Jing in, he slightly backed away deeper down the aisle to clear the way for them.
The auntie slowly searched through the books according to the book number on the spine of the books. She eventually found the book she was looking for at the top of the shelf. Due to her petite stature, at most, she would be able to touch the bottom of the book if she stretched, but it wasnt enough to take the book down.
Just as Qi Jing was about to step forward to help, the man that was standing by the side silently reached out his hand, took the book off the shelf and handed it to the librarian.
“Yep, this is it. Thank you,” the auntie thanked the man with a bright smile on her face and passed the book to Qi Jing while saying, “Here you go reporter comrade, will this book work”
“Yes, thank you for you help,” Qi Jing said with a smile.
The source of this content is n/0v//elbin[.//]net'
That man, who had already lowered his head and got back to his reading suddenly lifted his head to glance at Qi Jing when he heard the words “thank you”, as if those words triggered something in him.
Sensing his gaze, Qi Jing instinctively looked up at him.
At the end of the aisle was a window that was directly facing the sun. The sun was the brightest at this time of the day causing Qi Jing to frown slightly at the blinding sunlight. Due to that, he had to reduce the time he laid his eyes on the other partys face. As the man stood against the sunlight, the contours on his face were washed out by the layer of pure white light coming from behind him, completely blurring out his facial features and expression.
—But Qi Jing knew the other party was staring at him fixedly.
Recalling that the book was taken down by that man, Qi Jing smiled at him and thanked him politely, “Thank you to you as well.”
That man heard him but didnt say anything. The former only nodded slightly before looking away.
“Come with me, there are a few more books on the other shelves,” the librarian stated cheerily as she led Qi Jing to the other shelves.
“Sorry for bothering you,” Qi Jing added before leaving with the librarian.
That man still didnt say anything.
The book in his hand remained on the same page for a long time. Under the burning heat of the sun, the paperback exuded with a faint scent of ink. It was not until Qi Jing and the librarian disappeared into the sea of shelves did the reading room returned to its former silence. And the mans finger that was placed on the book finally moved to close the book soundlessly.
On his way back to the TV station, Qi Jing received a message from Ning Xiaoxiao expressing midday greetings.
As a fan of the Great God, his junior had been eagerly asking him about the progress of the audio drama ever since she knew of the CASTS in the《Trap》production crew. Regarding Bronze Sparrow Terraces absence the night they were supposed to meet, he only briefly told her about it. He didnt go into detail about what happened, he didnt even tell her about them getting a stand-in for Bronze Sparrow Terrace to run-through the script.
As for the something that would only breed resentment like his dry recordings being thrown into the trash due to various reasons, there were even fewer reasons for him to even mention it.
In the three years that hes been in the community, hes witnessed all the bloody battle of words and he was not about to let the crew become a part of that, building on those posts.
Ning Xiaoxiao: Since Bronze Sparrow Terrace-sama didnt manage to make it at the last moment that day, did the crew manage to set up another meeting with him
Qi Jing: Hmm, the producer said shell arrange another timing with him.
Ning Xiaoxiao: Will you guys be arranging it during these few days I couldnt listen that daycause I had to keep Mr. policeman company, but if you guys arrange it during these few days, please let me listen as part of the audience! (Look at the sincerity in my eyes = = )
Qi Jing: Im afraid itd be impossible to do it during these few days as Ill be going out of town again tomorrow. Ill be going to Z City to gather some materials, itll probably take about a week or two.
Ning Xiaoxiao: Ah ah
Qi Jing: It cant be helped, its for work.
Ning Xiaoxiao halted their conversation in text right there and called him directly instead.
“Senior, if you leave now, wont you be playing dead for another ten days to half a month Although playing dead is really not something you can control...”
“Yeah, its really beyond my control,” Qi Jing replied impassively.
Not only in terms of time, the differences in opinions amongst the STAFF was also beyond his control.
Ning Xiaoxiao hesitated for a moment before saying in a low voice, as if she dared not say it out loud, “Ive heard from other crews that Bronze Sparrow Terrace-sama seems to have a lot of activities normally—meetings, interviews, concerts, etc. If youre not free when he looks for you during this time, will the crew blame you for delaying their progress”
Replaying the words Ms sound designer said in the group chat, Qi Jing could basically say it with certainty, “Yes.”
“Will they say its because you often like to play dead”
Junior... youre definitely lurking in the group chat with a side account.
“Will they say that youre not cooperating with the Great God”
Junior... if you dont have a side account, what a waste of your talents that youre not working for the National Intelligence Agency.
“To be honest, I dont know how the Great God is like in person, but his fans are pretty terrifying. Its best you tell the crew not to leak any information out.” Ning Xiaoxiao picked out the crucial point immediately, hitting the nail on the head.
After contemplating for three seconds, Qi Jing decided it was best not to tell her that the sound designer of the crew was a die-hard fan of Bronze Sparrow Terrace.
“Dont worry, if it really comes to the point where the Great God gets mad at me, Ill act cute,” he said calmly, paying no heed to the giggles coming from the girls on the street.
Ning Xiaoxiao burst out laughing into the phone, “Pfft, Senior! Please dont say something like that in such a serious tone with your overly sexy voice!”
“Actually, Im quite good at acting cute. If you dont believe me, just listen. Meow~” Qi Jing replied.
He knew exactly where his juniors weakness was.
The few passer-by ladies could no longer contain their laughter as they all burst into fits of laughter, gradually heading towards the point of losing all control. Qi Jing felt that those girls would surely have taken a video of him doing that and uploaded it onto Weibo, garnering N number of reposts.
“Puhahaha! Dammit, I hate that I couldnt record that with my phone! Please give me a recording! Please record a ringtone for me!”
Ha, hes caught her in his trap.
“Youll have to promise me one thing first,” Qi Jing said while smiling faintly.
“Just say it! I promise!”
Qi Jing took a deep breath before stating word by word into the microphone, “You are forbidden from rushing me for my recordings while Im away on my business trip.”
Ning Xiaoxiaos side of the line fell utterly silent.
“Wheres the regret option...”
“That service isnt available yet.”
“I feel so drained. I feel like I wont believe in people acting cute anymore...”
Hearing those words, Qi Jing nodded to himself in satisfaction. It would appear that even though he was not good at acting cute, he still had a certain success rate.