Chapter 17 - I Am a Singer
Shao Xian continued to follow the sudden jumps and drops in keys as best as she could, but she was already nearing her limit. Her movements stiffened and she frowned as she tried her best to make sense of the lyrics that were continuously dropping from above.
“She can’t keep up…” Fang Shui’er sighed and walked toward the stage. “You’ve done well. You can leave the rest to me.” She took the microphone from Shao Xian.
Fang Shui’er could no longer afford to lay low. There was always the possibility of other missions to come, and they had wasted far too much time on this one already.
As soon as Shao Xian passed on the microphone, she lost the strength that kept her going and almost fell off the stage. She put her hands on her knees to support herself and panted violently. Li Yiming rushed forward to her aid, being both worried and grateful. Shao Xian raised her head toward the stage and seemed to regret not being able to continue.
“That was an amazing performance…” Li Yiming could resonate with Shao Xian’s not wanting her performance to be over, since he had felt the exact same way.
Fang Shui’er slid her fingers on the microphone. She brushed her hair, and a gust of wind conveniently blew it backward as she recalled what it is like to be on the stage.
“It’s Fang Shui’er!”
“It’s Mrs. Fang!”
Fang Shui’er’s appearance on the stage caused a massive uproar of support and anticipation from the crowd.
Li Yiming and Shao Xian were amazed at how people could be so absorbed into a musical performance when their lives were in danger.
‘Unless…’ Li Yiming looked at Chen Quan, who was cheering fervently. He understood that this domain, just like the one in Tianshan, was about the amplification of one specific aspect of life.
Just as Fang Shui’er brought the microphone to her mouth, the giant holographic characters vanished. Fang Shui’er was suddenly inundated in a waterfall of colorful illumination. The different colors which crossed and overlapped on her robe were as beautiful as the stars in the nightly sky.
The change of the stage was unexpected to Fang Shui’er, but she still turned toward the man who sat on the sofa below the stage and smiled sweetly. The music resumed, this time being a piece played with the low sound of the cello and the resounding sound of the harp. Red, near-transparent holographic arrows started falling once again.
“What is that?” Li Yiming was confused at the change that occurred.
“It’s Russian…” Shao Xian rested against Li Yiming’s chest shyly.
“A musical? It’s from that dolphin guy…” Ximen Song said with a frown. He was one of the few people with enough expertise to recognize the song, and surely did not miss the opportunity to flaunt his skills.
“The dolphin?” Li Yiming looked at Shao Xian.
“It’s the nickname of a famous singer in Russia. This was the song that rose him to fame. He’s famous for possessing the highest human pitch…” Shao Xian whispered into Li Yiming’s ears.
“I see.” Li Yiming nodded hesitantly. Shao Xian’s explanation rung a bell, as he also had to study his fair share of music while he was creating choreographies as a university student.
“Wooh…. Aaahhhh!” As soon as Fang Shui’er opened her mouth, an airy, piercing voice reached Li Yiming’s heart. The first note was already higher than what Li Yiming thought was humanly possible.
“I’ll die happy with a performance like this…” Someone in the crowd remarked, chilling Li Yiming’s blood.
‘Seriously… We really will die if she doesn’t bring out her best…’ Li Yiming suddenly grew worried as he looked at the progress bar, which was still filling up slowly, and thought about all of the unexpected changes they have had to overcome thus far.
“The song has changed. It’s ‘The Lonely Shepherd’ now.” Shao Xian said as the accompanying music turned into a fast-paced merry piano solo.
“Is this a hard one?” Li Yiming looked at the lyrics, which have changed along with the music.
“Well, the song itself isn’t too hard, but there are a lot of sudden shifts that span over an octave. Also, I wonder how different the song will be this time…” Ximen Song answered Li Yiming’s question. He had seen enough to know that the song would not be sung in its vanilla form. With the exception of Li Yiming, who was the only one with a clear head, everyone was waiting in anticipation at Fang Shui’er’s challenging this piece.
“Heeey…. Oh…..” Fang Shui’er continued to pace around the stage, not looking nervous or burdened in the slightest.
“Two octaves at one-sixteenth notes… This piece is amazing!” Ximen Song yelled out loudly, afraid that anyone would miss out on his “expert input”.
“Wow… Mrs. Fang is amazing. She’s been able to shift her pitch this rapidly without any kind of hesitation.” Shao Xian looked at her in admiration.
“Would you be able to do the same?” Li Yiming suddenly asked. He thought that Shao Xian was also an amazing singer in her own right. Given the resources, Li Yiming could definitely see her rise to fame. After all, Fang Shui’er had an insurmountable edge over her competitors due to the fact that she was a guardian.
“You’re joking…” Shao Xian’s cheeks flushed and she leaned more closely against Li Yiming. Although she had recovered her strength, somehow she did not want to leave Li Yiming's embrace just yet.
Fang Shui’er continued through the songs one by one, using languages from different corners of the world, and progressing through different musical styles: rock, pop, blues… It was a once-in-a-lifetime concert for the crowd below. Ximen Song could only speechlessly admire the performance in awe. He could not even follow up with the rapid shift in the song played, and the rest of the crowd even less.
Li Yiming grew even more concerned as the progress bar continued to fill up. The Mr. Kong looked-alike scrutinized Fang Shui’er calmly, and even let out a derisive smile.
A giant firework blew up onstage. Snowflake confetti flew through the air as the crowd cheered loudly one last time. The silver pillar had finally filled up with red, and even Fang Shui’er, who had just put down the microphone, was both satisfied at delivering such a performance, but also regretted that it was over so quickly.
‘It’s over, just like this?’ Li Yiming stared at the man on the sofa — he had a hard time believing that it was over.
The crowd continued to cheer like a group of overexcited teenagers at their first concert, having been completely mesmerized by Fang Shui’er near-impossible performance. The latter smiled back at her audience. Her golden microphone soon dissolved into an orb of light and vanished, pulling Fang Shui’er back to reality.
Just as Fang Shui’er slowly recovered, a metal chain suddenly emerged out of the ground and wrapped around her before she could dodge it.
“Watch out!” Li Yiming yelled. Another chain appeared right in front of him. Li Yiming pulled Shao Xian back, but the metal chain soon overtook them. He raised his right fist to punch it, but his arm passed through the object as if it was made of thin air, and Li Yiming almost fell to the ground from missing his blow.
However, as the chain went past Li Yiming, it wrapped around Shao Xian and pulled her toward the sky. Li Yiming raised his head, only to see that every woman in the crowd was a victim to the sudden ambush.
‘Only women ?’ Li Yiming looked at the people who ran on the stage in a panic and realized they were all men.
“An entertaining performance… Not bad.” The Mr. Kong look-alike smiled. He stood up and walked slowly toward the sky. The air rippled under his feet with every step, like water in a little pond.
“The opening act has concluded. But the party has only begun. The princess has been kidnapped by a demon. What shall you do, O prince charming? Hahahaha, don’t make me wait too long in the castle.” Mr. Kong let out another echoing laugh and his body slowly vanished into thin air.