The event was happening on the first floor, so not even three seconds passed before the lift arrived.
Within those three seconds, it was as if Qi Jing’s entire worldview got F5-ed—was this guy really “Crossing the bridge noodles”?
Crossing the bridge noodles managed to win the “Lu Wei” role during the finals of ⟪Order to End the Heavens⟫ competition. Although it was only a small NPC role, he still had to go through the fierce competition in semi-finals and finals to get it. During that, his voice acting skills were more than enough to slap the faces of those who accused him of hyping a ship for fame and borrowing great god Bronze Sparrow Terrace’s position for his own advantage.
It wasn’t weird at all that they would meet him at the introduction event.
But the weird thing was, based on Qi Jing’s impression of him, he was supposed to be like a soft clear water, a...
Qi Jing quietly shaked the term “youth” out of his mind, then thought a bit before doing the same with that “like a soft clear water”
No matter how he looked at it, the man before him had nothing to do with those two descriptions... More like a cold and serious type of elite gentleman?
“Ding—” The sound of the lift arriving at the floor made Qi Jing startle back into his senses before he walked out.
After leaving the lift, the first thing that man did was to take a card out of his pocket in a very businessman-like manner, giving it to Qi Jing. “Here’s my business card.”
If he didn’t know his identity already, Qi Jing could even mistake it for being at the interview, with the man opposite him as some kind of young and famous entrepreneur. Mostly because whenever he did interviews of this kind, all of the interviewees would introduce themselves in such an official and conventional manner.
But with a single glance at the content of the business card, Qi Jing understood why.
【Tan Zixian, Lawyer】
...So that’s how it is...
“So you’re actually a lawyer.” It was both a surprise and to be expected.
Qi Jing first thought of this person’s precise judgement of truths and falsehoods on Weibo, then connected it with this formal attire, and by adding to all of it this title, everything suddenly made perfect sense.
“But, why would you need to dress so formally to just attend an introduction event?” Qi Jing of course knew that the lawyers needed to dress like this in their workplace, but Crossing the bridge noodles wasn’t attending his job, yet he still wore a full suit. He thought to himself that maybe this introduction event was supposed to be high-end, that they missed some official announcement about the dress-code, that maybe Shen Yan was supposed to come wearing a suit?
The other man’s reply was unfazed, “I didn’t, I just dressed casually.”
Qi Jing scanned his impeccable suit all over again, the corner of his lips twitching.
“How is this casual...”
“I didn’t wear my tie.” Tan Zixian pointed at his collar. Indeed, he didn’t wear a tie, and upon closer look, the last button of his shirt was also left undone.
Qi Jing suddenly realised that there was a huge gap in their understanding of ‘casual wear’...
“You really do think like a lawyer.” A gap was a gap, but fortunately it wasn’t one in their social outlooks. It brought Qi Jing a lot of joy to know that they were compatible in their understanding of rights and wrongs.
“Mhm. If you ever need something, you can let me know,” Tan Zixian suddenly gave him a smile, “Especially if it’s a lawsuit for the charge of defamation.”
Qi Jing was surprised at first, then, realising that he was taking a jab at Jade Butterfly and those haters from the voice acting circle, he got amused into laughter. “If you ever need some media exposure for a legal case, you can also find me.” Since it wasn’t a work trip and he didn’t bring a business card, Qi Jing just flashed his press ID card with a smile. He was most interested in news and legal journalism, so he was even more pleased after knowing this man’s occupation.
“So you’re actually a reporter,” Tan Zixian laughed as he took a look at his ID card, “I remember that you had a lot of posts in regards to current news on Weibo, and your writing is very thorough, so I thought that maybe you were from media industry—no wonder.”
At that time, his gaze shifted from Qi Jing to the person at his side, scrutinising him thoughtfully for a moment, “If you came, then... this should probably be ‘Kitty’s Papa’.”
Shen Yan bowed slightly and greeted him, “Hello.”
Simple from his appearance to his voice, but also completely upright&#k2014;after noting that, Tan Zixian asked suddenly, “So did you guys meet &#k2018;that guy’ already?”
Qi Jing got thrown off his balance, the sudden change in subject making it hard to react for him, “Who?”
Tan Zixian said, “Who could ‘that guy’ possibly be?”
Qi Jing suddenly understood who was he pointing at, getting caught by surprise, “&#k2026;Eh? That guy also came?”
Tan Zixian nodded.
Qi Jing couldn’t quite process it—could it be that Sleek horses run fast also took part in the competition? Impossible... He certainly didn’t take part in it, if he did, then how would he miss it when listening to all of the recordings from the auditions? In that case, was he also here to join the fun as a “fan” like himself?
No matter what, this news really caught him completely off-guard. And if he wasn’t prepared for it, then Shen Yan even more so.
Once he thought of how there was some really bad blood between them, Qi Jing felt his heart squeeze, and so he promptly turned his head to warn him.
“Shen Yan, Five...” will also be here.
He didn’t even finish his words before he stopped. And he did so because he realised that Shen Yan wasn’t listening, or even wasn’t looking at him—his eyes were turned to a different direction, his expression unsettled. A kind of heavy and deep emotion was weighing on his gaze, like the weighty clouds on the brink of spilling the torrential rain. It wasn’t sure if the rain would fall, it didn’t have to, but that stifling restlessness of waiting for it was still there.
Qi Jing was taken aback, not knowing if he should turn his head back or not.
Even without looking, he knew what Shen Yan was seeing. Still, he finally couldn’t help it and followed his gaze, turning his head.
And there, there was a man slowly walking toward them.
The newcomer was clad in a dark grey suit with white striped pattern and a black shirt below, looking very official with a grey tie to it, the entirety having a kind of British style to it. Maybe because he had to match it with the suit, his hair was also combed back, making him look both valiant and elite in spirit. He was also incredibly tall as well, looking quite a bit like the models from magazine covers.
And as for his face...
Qi Jing didn’t know if Jade Butterfly had ever seen how the man she once used to pursue looked in real life before, but if she had, then she would probably never give up on making a ruckus and not letting go?
That face, it actually really matched his own voice—
For the second time that day, Qi Jing felt self-conscious of being a ‘little nobody with an average lookl. And that was all because of those two for the contrast...
Just as he thought so to himself, that person had already arrived before them.
With a quick glance, Qi Jing noticed a work badge hanging on his chest, its content making him skip a breath.
Indeed, that was a work tag issued by the ⟪Order to End the Heavens⟫ company. Under the company name and logo, a row of letters was printed in a standard, deep grey font.
【Qiu Tianyang, Operation Department Director】
It was as if all of the previously scattered dots linked into a line, stroke after stroke, painting out the answer to a riddle Qi Jing wanted to solve for the longest time.
He understood it now.
Before, he had an inkling that Sleek horses run fast maybe had some connection with the organisers. At first, he thought that maybe he also had ‘someone inside’ there like Jade Butterfly, but he didn’t expect that this guy wouldn’t even have to seek out connections—he was his own ‘insider’ there.
The tasks of a commercial game company’s operation department included being in charge of the marketing, product advertisement and research, as well as organising online customer service and planning the offline events. Most of the game developers would choose to outsource the voice actors. They wouldn’t opt to use the in-house voice acting personnel, instead choosing to hire an outside studio, or a professional voice acting company for a cooperation—and both contacting the third party and discussing the work process was all handled by the operation department.
And among those, it also included holding the ⟪Order to End the Heavens⟫ voice acting competition—
But in reality, the operations would go through the hands of managers from different sectors, such as this competition that was most probably handled by the event planning manager.
‘Director’ was none other than the boss of all those sector managers from the operation department. He was most likely in charge of ‘the people’, with the right to have the final say in everything.
—It was him, it was him!
Qi Jing’s heart shook.
He still remembered how when Yuan Zhengming first appeared to take Northwest Road’s place under his identity as the voice director, he said that he had ‘the full support of the Operation Department Director’. And it was actually this guy... who made it possible by himself.
Nevertheless, no matter how skillful he was at handling the online matters, no matter how successful he was at everything in real life, right now, that face that was supposed to look bold and spirited was scrunched in a slightly uneasy expression. He couldn’t really look straight at Shen Yan in front of him, leaving not a speck of that grandiose self-confidence and elegance of the department director.
He stopped about a metre from them. Even this distance was carefully deliberated by him, analysed based on the other man’s current frame of mind.
“Long time no see.” Qiu Tianyang greeted him softly, his voice coming out a bit unsmooth.
Shen Yan didn’t say anything, only looking at him indifferently.
Qi Jing didn’t know that Shen Yan could make this kind of face—Shen Yan always gave him a warm feeling, like a calm sea that could always smooth out the gravelly sand that bruised the bottom of his heart, but it wasn’t so now. Now... he felt like he was standing at the edge of the billows.
Although the waves weren’t hitting him, he still couldn’t help but break in a sweat at the sight. If he were to measure the awkwardness levels on a 100-points scale, then right now, its current level would be at 120 points.
Shen Yan’s gaze didn’t budge, while Qiu Tianyang’s eyes dodged to the side, not daring to look straight at him.
Qi Jing held his breath when watching them for a while, then quickly took a glance at Tan Zixian at his side who still didn’t take any action. Tan Zixian only shook his head, signalling him to not do anything.
At that time, Qiu Tianyang finally found the second thing to say.
“...Thank you for being willing to come.” His voice was deep in the first place, but right now, it went even lower. But there was none of his confidence and ease in it anymore, only a trace of hoarseness. Only the moment when his gaze fell on Qi Jing, there was a bit of relief in his tone. “Return Date also came, that’s great.”
Who knows if he said this for Qi Jing to hear, or for himself.
Shen Yan was frowning all that time—it was almost imperceptible, but indeed an actual frown, but after he heard this sentence, it eased slightly. But his expression was still bland, so much so that one couldn’t really distinguish the flavour behind it, leaving them unable to tell what he was thinking at that time.
And out of a sudden, he reached his hand out toward the person in front of him.
—A motion of invitation for a handshake.
Qiu Tianyang got caught by surprise, and so did Qi Jing.
Qiu Tianyang even let out a surprised noise, seemingly shocked by the other man taking an initiative to shake hands. He momentarily snapped his head up, just in time to meet Shen Yan’s eyes, then quickly turned his gaze away, embarrassed. At the same time, he reached his right hand out, hesitating for a moment before shaking them together.
Watching this from the side, Qi Jing’s heart was rushing, all tense during the entire process.
...Okay, that’s down to 80 points.
Although it was still awkward, at least it wasn’t as bad as before.
The handshake itself was short, a simple shake, and it was already over.
“Then,” As if he saw a ray of hope, Qiu Tianying’s voice dialled up by a bit, his tone now brighter by a notch and he smiled cautiously, “I will take you to...”
But without waiting for him to finish, Shen Yan suddenly cut him short, “No need to.”
—Ah, and now it’s back to 100. Qi Jing noted with alarm.
Qiu Tianying seemed shaken by him being like this, unable to say anything for a moment. He could only stay awkwardly where he stood, looking at Shen Yan for a long while before all of a sudden, he said with a bitter smile, “Right now, I actually wanted to say, ‘I will take you to sign the documents’. It didn’t want to... take you to see anyone.”
These words caused a tremor to run through Shen Yan—he pursed his lips without a word.
Qiu Tianyang gave a smile, crooked with frustration, “I came here alone today, there’s no one else here—don’t worry.”
90, 80, 70...
The awkwardness-metre’s readings slowly shrunk as the silence in the hall grew longer, the atmosphere was also no longer as cold.
“...No need to,” Shen Yan stood silently in place for a moment, only speaking after a long while—but he still declined. Although his voice was small, it left no space for bargaining, “I will find it myself.”
After that, he slightly turned his body to pass by Qiu Tianyang, brushing past him and walking toward the other end of the corridor.
Qi Jing heard Qiu Tianyang heaving a low sigh at that point. It was hard to tell whether it was one of relief, or disappointment.
Qi Jing was still in the process of going through the load of information from what had just occurred before him and didn’t realise that Qiu Tianyang walked over to him, waiting for him to come back to his senses—to his surprise, his sleeve already got caught by the other man. He almost leaped from the fright—right now, the man before him was looking at him with abandoned puppy eyes, even complaining in a tiny voice, “Return Date, he just won’t acknowledge me... What should I do...”
Qi Jing had to do his best to not laugh at this sight.
This was Five. This was the Five he knew.
When this thought came to his mind, it lessened the pressure by a half—no ‘Director’ titles were fit for now anymore, it was him behaving like Five that let Qi Jing feel that he could handle it.
But they weren’t online right now, there was no screen or kaomojis, yet the scene of the grand, immaculately dressed Department Director recreating the QAQ face at him was especially amusing.
Qiu Tianyang was about to continue his teary-eyed complaints, but at some point, Shen Yan suddenly turned back, and frowning, silently held Qi Jing’s hand in a secure grip, pulling him away from Qiu Tianyang’s side.
Qi Jing replied to him, but at the same time he could only turn his head and smile helplessly at Qiu Tianyang before getting completely taken away, mouthing at him “I’m sorry, can’t help you now”, then followed Shen Yan.
“Sigh.” Staring at his last driftwood of hope to keep him afloat disappearing at the end of the corridor, Qiu Tianyang sighed once again, then chuckled bitterly.
“Do I just... always let things turn out the wrong way?”
“Oh, so you actually knew that?” Hearing this, the man who was standing behind all that time, only observing silently, smiled, not showing any merciful empathy and adding to the damage instead.
“You’re being too much.” He lowered his gaze, complaining about this backstabbing. But at the same time, he reached his hand back slightly, as the reflection on the window showed him the silhouette of the person behind approaching him. As expected, his fingers soon touched other man’s hand.
—Ultimately, he still had a second hope to grab onto, enough to keep him from drowning right away.
“If I’m too much, then it counts as you getting a retribution for your wrongdoings.” He really was too much—Qiu Tianyang held his hand in his own, yet Tan Zixian still mimicked a knife stabbing into his palm like a thorn.
“Retribution for the wrongdoings, haha. Yes, you are,” Qiu Tianyang chuckled quietly, looking at his sorry state that he couldn’t quite conceal reflecting in the glass. He turned his body slightly, resting his head on the other man’s shoulder, “Then let me just... continue receiving my retribution.”
Hm... If we judged solely by the faces, then: Five>Noodles>2Yan>Kitty’s Papa. If the overall vibe got added into the mix, then to each their own... But only the first two sirs can be called “eye-catching”. (I really like writing my mains as simply normal... OTZ)
Of course, if they got judged by their moral standing, then this would look completely different...
Lucilla: The imagery of Qiu Tianyang acting like an IRL discord kitten in a suit and with those hot-man looks is kinda sending me...