Chapter 9 - Divine Voice Materialized
On one of the popular streaming platforms, the number of viewers quickly surged in a channel that had just gone live.
“What is it?”
“The Masked Goddess is starting her stream?”
“It’s started? Am I late? It’s earlier than usual!”
“My queen! I love you!”
Shao Xian had gathered a sizeable following partly owing to the rarity of being a female streamer, but also due to her technical prowess at the game. Moreover, having her face covered only made people even more curious, as many wondered what she truly looked like.
The broadcast started after a slight delay, in the same room as usual. However, some of her viewers noticed something different this time around. She showed signs of hesitation, and instead of launching the game silently, Shao Xian began adjusting her microphone.
“Is our queen finally going to talk?” A string of messages came, one after another. The more loyal ones were the ones who had arrived early for the stream.
After finishing her adjustment, Shao Xian glanced at the camera again and tapped the microphone. She took a few deep breaths and finally took off her mask.
“I’m so glad I tuned in today!”
“Camera! Someone make a video out of this!”
The chat window was instantly flooded with messages, to the point that the broadcast was completely covered. Those with a slower internet connection could not even see Shao Xian clearly .
“Hello?” Shao Xian said to her microphone.
“We can hear you.”
“What a beautiful voice!”
“What a sexy voice!”
“I think I’m in love…”
Shao Xian’s revealing herself caused quite a stir amongst her fans.
“Today I’m going to sing a song for you,” Shao Xian said shyly. There was something strangely intimidating about singing to the internet that made her reluctant, despite her usually performing daring acts such as showing up in revealing outfits at parties.
“Our goddess is going to sing?”
“Crap! Go tell the others in the group chat!”
“Make sure to send us a link after you’re done recording this!”
A plethora of donations and gifts were sent to Shao Xian by her fans following her announcement.
“Finally! She’s decided to do something new!.”
“She’s not playing games today?”
“Wow, so rare to see such a beautiful face...”
“This is a clever marketing strategy.”
Those with a rational mind thought they “saw through” Shao Xian’s clever strategy at gaining popularity, but they were vastly outnumbered by the fanatical fans who were flooding her chat with praise.
“Alright, I’m starting.” Although Shao Xian did not see the influx of messages sent by her fans as she had the comment display turned off, she did notice the number of viewers on her channel skyrocketing.
As the music began playing, Shao Xian closed her eyes and focused. “The Great Path is invisible, but it gives birth to heaven and earth…”
As soon as Shao Xian started singing, the comments immediately stopped coming in. It was a song so captivating it instantly entranced all of her viewers, making them forget who they were and what they were doing. The nearly hypnotical effect lasted until Shao Xian finished her song and the screen turned black.
“What’s the name of that song?”
“Did anyone record that? Please send it to me, my good friend!”
“I didn’t come in time for the start, can someone send me a link?”
“I’ll pay for the recorded video!”
“I’m begging you, please give me the recording!”
“Did anyone record? Please, give me a link!”
The outpour of excitement that had started from Shao Xian’s channel ended up blowing up the entire internet within ten minutes. All of the news outlets, all of the forums had the same title on their front page: “Divine Voice Materialized.”
* * *
Inside a private minivan which zoomed on the highway, Fang Shui’er silently stared at her tablet.
“Shao Xian…” She sighed and looked out the window.
“Could you take the next exit and make a U-turn?” Fang Shui’er asked the driver through the intercom.
“Where are we going?” The driver asked.
* * *
Across the country, a young boy stopped and looked at the cell phone of a passerby with an intrigued expression.
“What is it, young boy?” The man asked.
“May I listen to what you’ve just played once more?”
“Oh, you want to listen to the ‘Divine Voice Materialized’? You have good taste. My two kids only listen to songs from their TV shows…” The man tapped on his screen and put his phone in front of the young boy.
It was a poor quality recording of Shao Xian’s performance, but it fully captured the attention of the young boy. After the song concluded, he bowed in the direction of the man and walked away with a stern expression.
“So it’s started?” The boy said with a tone unfitting of his age.
* * *
“Impressive.” The factory worker said as he heard the music on the car radio of his old construction truck. He had a relaxed expression and stared at the distance blankly.
The next moment, his eyes widened and he bit his tongue, making himself bleed.
“To live with few desires is not my purpose in life. I pursue only the way of the blade,” The man muttered as he glanced at the pile of paper on the passenger’s seat, on top of which was Liu Meng’s picture.
* * *
In the cabin of a private jet, two women sat face to face. On the table between them was a computer which was playing a recording of Shao Xian’s performance.
“There’s something wrong with this song.” The younger one said as light appeared in her silver irises beneath the dark lenses.
“You can tell?” The woman dressed in a traditional outfit smiled.
“I don’t know what it is, it’s strange…”
“Strange indeed. The lyrics come from the Scripture of Purity and Stillness, but the tune…” Stargaze’s smile cooled off as her eyes glimmered with a faint light.
“Seal of Heart and Spirit…”
* * *
In an otherwise loud and bustling internet cafe, the entire room was dead silent except for the same video played at every station. With glazed eyes, every guest sat silently as the slow-paced song resonated within the room.
Amongst those people, only one seemed to be unaffected, and he looked around with a frown.
“The Masked Challenger…” The young man dialed a number on his phone, but hesitated to make the call.
Right as he was about to press the call button, his phone rang.
“Hello?” The young man put his phone to his ear.
“Mr. Xie is asking me to tell you that he advises against your actions. He knows what you’re thinking right now. If you value your own life, you should stay away from that woman.” A cold voice was heard and the call was hung up.
“Mind your own business…” The young man threw his phone onto the desk in frustration. He picked up his box of cigarettes and took one out.
“I’ll show you, I’ll go there and see for myself.” The young man picked up his phone and went through with the call he was so reluctant to make.
“Go investigate that masked challenger girl for me. Quick!” The young man and hung up. He then stared at the flame which came out of his lighter.
* * *
“Have you told him?” Mr. Xie sat still in his living room.
“Yes, as you’ve instructed me.” A man who looked like his assistant answered reverently.
“Send someone to keep an eye on him. I doubt he’ll listen.” Mr. Xie sighed.
“Are you worried about that song?”
“That song has little to do with us. I’m worried about his biting more than he can chew.”
“I’ll take care of it.” His assistant nodded.
“More importantly, what do you make of this?” Mr. Xie pushed his computer screen in front of his assistant. It was a video of Li Yiming talking with Pan Junwei. Shortly into the footage, Li Yiming was seen rolling sideways to dodge the bullet shot at him.
“Have we been found out?” The assistant asked as he was the one responsible for ordering the gunman to fire the round
“No, I’m talking about him,” Old man Xie said as he pointed at Li Yiming.
“What’s wrong with him?”
“An ordinary armor-piercing round fired from more than one kilometer away, and yet he had to roll on the ground to dodge. You’d expect much more, wouldn’t you?”
“Are you saying…” The assistant’s eyes lit up.
“He’s a sage, so why…?” Mr. Xie said as he closed his eyes with a frown.