Chapter 35 Filling the Vacancy! Fang Qiu Stepping onto Stage!
"We always have to learn."
"At any cost."
"What we learned."
"Can add confidence more or less."
"The books we recited."
"Are always useful whenever you're tested."
"At least you know which part you don't understand."
Li Qingshi also walked through the door on the other side as he was singing.
"His singing is just so-so! A far cry from the youngest's!"
Said Sun Hao scathingly. He never liked those who wanted to seek the limelight, especially when their dormitory's common enemy was doing it.
"Exactly. And we don't understand a thing at all. What the heck is he singing?"
Echoed Zhou Xiaotian, who also criticized Li Qingshi as someone absolutely without merit.
Fang Qiu just smiled without comment.
He knew his roommates were just taking up the cudgels for him.
To be fair, although he disliked Li Qingshi on account of his despicable disposition, his Cantonese pronunciation was really up to standard.
And his singing was quite good.
4 minutes later, the opening dance and singing drew to an end in a cheerful atmosphere accompanied by a round of applause.
"First pay unforgettable tuition."
"No impoliteness first next year."
"Tomorrow is always a new term."
As the song faded away, Jiang Miaoyu, Li Qingshi, and a group of dancers gave a deep bow at the audience, then swiftly left the stage.
Watching Jiang Miaoyu step down from the stage, Fang Qiu beamed.
"The show is quite brilliant."
"It is much better than the one she performed with me for the first time. I can imagine how hard she worked over the past two days."
As Jiang Miaoyu backed away, she stared in a direction as if having detected something.
Her eyes bored into Fang Qiu's.
Fang Qiu gave her a thumbs-up, his eyes unusually calm.
Jiang Miaoyu nodded joyfully and left the stage with the others.
After the first performance was over, the second one— martial arts performance in groups— majestically came on stage as the host introduced them.
The punch art they performed was truly imposing and vigorous.
Fang Qiu noticed that Chen Cong had been scowling at the martial arts performance.
He smiled despite himself.
After all, a show was just a show; you should not judge it by professional standards.
The third was a chorus performed by three music teachers. The song they chose was Good Faith of Great Medicine, the anthem of the University of Jiangjing Chinese Medicine.
In spite of its fantastic bel canto, many did not find it appealing, but they still applauded sincerely and enthusiastically for the sake of the three teachers and the anthem of their university!
The fourth show...
Very soon, half of the shows were done.
But what baffled Fang Qiu was that his pretty senior Liu Feifei had not turned up during the whole time.
Before he could think it through, Liu Feifei suddenly showed up among those of Class Three and dragged him heading for the outside.
"Fang Qiu, quick, follow me!"
At this, Zhu Benzheng, Sun Hao, and Zhou Xiaotian, who was sitting by Fang Qiu, all stared at them blankly.
"What's going on?"
"Senior, what's the matter?"
Fang Qiu's face was also written with confusion. He had no idea what was this about.
"Something has gone seriously wrong! We need you to fill the vacancy!"
While speaking, Liu Feifei tugged Fang Qiu through the side door and went out of the stadium without looking back.
When they came to the outside, Fang Qiu asked, "Senior."
"What on earth has happened?"
At those words, Liu Feifei sighed deeply and answered feebly, "My junior, the one who should be on stage tonight, is having her period now. Painful menstruation! She is in so much pain that she almost wants to die. She can't curb the condition no matter what. I had been trying to figure out something to help her, but failed."
"Her performance should be in place after the next two shows. But it's confirmed that she can't make it. With this unexpected incident, the teachers and students in charge of arranging the shows are now as anxious as ants on a hot pan."
"The problem is the show list has already been reviewed by school officials. If we suddenly scratch off one of the show, it certainly won't work, because all the remaining events will be disrupted. The only thing we can try is to find a substitute for her. However, since the time is quite limited, we don't know where to find a suitable one. But just now, Jiang Miaoyu recommended a person. She said this one should be able to fill in the gap and save the ceremony."
As she spoke, her eyes were fixed upon Fang Qiu.
What she intended to say was self-evident.
"It can't be me, can it?"
Fang Qiu was taken aback.
"This is not a game!"
"It's the Start-of-Term Ceremony that the whole university officials and freshmen are keeping an eye on."
"I'll have ten minutes tops to prepare. In such a rush, what if I make a mistake or so?"
"I know this is tricky, but we have no alternative."
Liu Feifei heaved a sigh and said, "I'll just ask you one question. Can you sing the song Bringing in the Wine?"
Fang Qiu nodded honestly and replied, "I can, but there are several versions of Bringing in the Wine. The one I know is probably not the one your junior is supposed to sing tonight!"
"Don't say ‘but'!"
Liu Feifei urged on in a concerned tone, "Anyway, the lyrics are the same. The best problem is that we got no one who is qualified to be on stage in such a short spell, except for you. You're our only hope!"
"At the Mid-autumn gala of our school that night, you also came on stage without notice. But the song you performed is still lingering in our minds now. Thus, you absolutely have the capability to fill the stage-vacancy!"
"The girl who could not make it is a fellow-townsman of mine. If the Start-of-Term Ceremony goes wrong, she will definitely be scolded by officials. And the teacher who recommended her show is also someone I know well. If she blows the ceremony, that teacher will be punished as well. Fang Qiu, you aren't going to fold your hands and see them fall into trouble, are you?"
Fang Qiu still looked quite hesitant.
The implication of this was too huge.
If he stepped onto the stage, he was not allowed to make even the slightest mistake.
Liu Feifei detected Fang Qiu's hesitation. She said at once, "Fang Qiu, I'm not trying to get you in trouble. I'm doing this because I know you are capable of it and Jiang Miaoyu has recommended you. Otherwise, I would never throw you to wolves."
"Plus, you should have been on the stage in the first place. But your show has been stolen by someone else, and you have to stay among the audience and watch others perform. Don't you want to get on stage and prove yourself?"
"What matters most is that you can prove yourself in front of Jiang Miaoyu, and let Li Qingshi learn that you're truly more excellent than him!"
She had long since found out that there was definitely something going on between Fang Qiu and Jiang Miaoyu.
Because at first Li Qingshi and Fang Qiu were two men living in two spheres that could never touch, but now there seemed to be an irreconcilable conflict between them, so there could be only one possible explanation—Jiang Miaoyu.
"Prove myself in front of Jiang Miaoyu?"
"Let Li Qingshi learn that I'm truly more excellent than him?"
"That's not necessary, but I should win credit for myself!"
Fang Qiu made up his mind immediately. He told Liu Feifei, "Okay! I'll go on the stage!"
"Great! Thank you, Fang Qiu!"
Said Liu Feifei sincerely. Then, she speedily brought Fang Qiu backstage.
Now, there was only one performance to go before the show of Bringing in the Wine—a cheer dance.
The dance would last three minutes.
Backstage, Jiang Miaoyu's heart hammered as she saw Liu Feifei really bring Fang Qiu in.
She only mentioned a possible solution, but who knew it was going to come true.
She could not help but feel a twinge of remorse.
"If the show goes smoothly, everything will be fine; but if something goes wrong, won't I be the one who lands Fang Qiu in trouble?"
"Now, I can only cross my fingers and hope that Fang Qiu is super talented and will not slip up due to stage fright."
But Li Qingshi was standing next to Jiang Miaoyu, looking at Fang Qiu with a sneer.
He did not believe Fang Qiu was able to fill the vacancy.
Even if Fang Qiu was, it was impossible for him to do a great show in such a rush.
In the best case, his performance would be barely satisfactory.
When the teacher in charge of performances arrangement saw the substitute had arrived and learned that he knew how to sing the song Bringing in the Wine, she instantly sighed in relief.
She was also at the Mid-autumn gala of the School of Chinese Medicine. Of course, she heard Fang Qiu sing, so she thought quite highly of Fang Qiu's singing skills.
Thus, Fang Qiu's performance would not be too lousy.
She was sure of it.
Now, the only worry she had was that the show he had so little time to prepare could not have the expected effect.
However, having him as the substitute was at least better than having none!
She actually wanted to hear Fang Qiu sing a few lings without music first. However, time did not allow it. The staff taking care of the stage was already hurrying him up.
She hastened to clip the wireless microphone to Fang Qiu's shirt. Then, Fang Qiu held a guitar with a high-end pickup and entered the waiting passage.
This was the only guitar equipped with a pickup in the university, which was rather expensive.
"The show Bringing in the Wine, get ready!"
On the passage, a teacher holding the show list yelled at Fang Qiu.
Fang Qiu nodded and took a deep breath.
"Fang Qiu, go get him!"
Liu Feifei shouted her cheers to Fang Qiu.
Jiang Miaoyu also stared at Fang Qiu with a concerned face.
Everyone backstage was here to see Fang Qiu perform, including the girl who was struggling with painful menstruation, and Li Qingshi, who was ready to see Fang Qiu make a fool of himself.
"How fantastic will his show turn out to be?"
They were all looking forward to it, but also incredibly nervous.
Fang Qiu nodded hard, exhaled a long breath that he had reserved in his chest.
"Speaking of Li Bai, I believe you all are very familiar with him!"
The two hosts already began to say their lines during the break.
The teacher holding the show list already gestured Fang Qiu to get ready for the stage.
"Since heaven gave the talent, let it be employed!! This remark has stimulated who knows how many frustrated men and women in history. Now, please enjoy the song Bringing in the Wine!"
Fang Qiu closed his eyes.
Then, he abruptly opened them!
His temperament suddenly altered!
He strode forward with his chin up, heading to the center of the stadium.
Also, he was like a mighty tiger breaking out of the cage.
As if he was going to inspect his territory and demonstrate his strength!
As his fingers brushed the strings, a fierce melody of guitar instantly spread across the entire stadium.
It woke up everyone's spirit!
Already with half of the shows done, many people's curiosity and expectations had turned into indolence and exhaustion.
The shows at the Start-of-Term Ceremony were always magnificent and classy, in compliance with the mainstream, but not the cup of tea of most youngsters. Therefore, after getting over the excitement at the beginning, everyone began to lose their interest.
Among all the shows, only the first song Start-of-Term Gift won their hearts. The others were just mediocre.
Now, there was another song called Bringing in the Wine. They all thought it would not be a nice song at all.
However, the melody arrived before the player!
The vehement guitar brought everyone a shudder.
This song seemed to be more beautiful than they had imagined.
On the waiting passage, the girl who was pressing her belly because of the painful menstruation went frozen as she heard the prelude. She let out a screech, "It's wrong!"
"Wrong? How come?"
The teacher in charge of the show arrangement jumped in shock, and then, asked in haste.
All the people on the passage were gawking at that girl.
The expression of the girl turned hard. She said in a voice that sounded about to break into tears, "This is not the song I should be singing. The melody is wrong. I was going to perform Song Zuying's version, but the version this student is doing is something I never heard of."
When she said the last few words, she almost really broke into tears.
At those remarks, the face of the teacher in charge of the show arrangement suddenly paled, and she nearly tumbled.
"We've thought of everything, but it went wrong on this issue!"
Meanwhile, Li Qingshi nearly failed to fight back his laughter.
"This is getting really interesting."
"He is playing the wrong song."
"Fang Qiu, I'll wait and see how you embarrass yourself this time."
Expressions of Liu Feifei and Jiang Miaoyu went rather glum.
Finally, it was Jiang Miaoyu who tried to console the nerves of everyone and said, "It'll be fine. Though the song is a different one, essentially it's still the same song. And others don't know which version is supposed to be performed. Just leave a mistake uncorrected and make the best of it. Now that Fang Qiu already got on stage, we shall continue to believe in him!"
After hearing those words, everyone's faces looked less tense, but their hearts were stilling hanging in their throats.
Li Qingshi was even more fuming. He had not expected Fang Qiu could have Jiang Miaoyu to back him up like this.
"Seems that after today I have to be merciless with Fang Qiu even if he is down. I need to let Fang Qiu be so thoroughly ashamed to show his face and have no foothold in the University of Jiangjing Chinese Medicine."
The song Fang Qiu was playing was indeed not the version of Song Zuying, or Huang Qishan, or even Han Lei.
Instead, it was the version of a nobody called Cheng Yonghai.
Back then, when Fang Qiu first watched the video of someone sitting by a table while casually playing the guitar and singing the song, the white-haired old man next to him softly patting his chair in correspondence with the melody, which made the old and young contrast and complemented each other and rendered the song very natural, he began to be fond of this song.
Later, he did a little research and found that the singer was a physicist of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who was also a doctoral supervisor. It really took him by surprise.
Admiration sprouted involuntarily in his heart.
This song was also the one he frequently performed when he was stilling learning how to play the guitar.
The whole melody was like printed in his head and could be retrieved at any time, so he had no need for a music score.
"Today, let me, Fang Qiu, bring you a stirring song!"
"I'm not doing this for showing off. I just want to prove myself!"
"Everybody, be ready to get high!"
Playing the guitar, Fang Qiu marched towards the center of the stadium.