Chapter 36 - Crimson Show Part 2
“The reason common people cannot find the true Path, is because their minds are full of fantasies.
As the mind is full of fantasies, the soul is disturbed; as the soul is disturbed, worldly temptations clung on; as worldly temptations clung on, greed emerges; as greed emerges, there comes the worries.
Worries and fantasies, agonizing the body and mind, tarnishing the soul, leading one to wander within cycles of life and death, and sink into an ocean of misery, losing sight of the true Path forever.“
The song went on and another round of explosions of light was seen in the crowd. The people who had achieved “enlightenment” at first were beginning to convulse violently. Unless they submitted completely, it only became more and more difficult to resist.
“Did we plan these lights in advance?” The producer wondered, thinking that the light orbs were fan-made.
And then, Shao Xian extended her arms and raised her head.
“What?” With widened eyes, the producer watched as Shao Xian’s voice continue to resonate throughout the stadium, despite not using her microphone anymore.
“Lip-syncing?” The producer was now bracing for disaster as the reputation of the festival would take a devastating hit if the first artist to perform was found out to be lip-syncing at an event celebrated for its authenticity.
The crowd held the same doubt, being able to hear her voice when her mouth was clearly away from the microphone. However, their doubts were soon wiped away, as they heard Shao Xian’s voice coming down from above the next moment. Unlike when she was using the speakers, it was as if she was singing right into the ears of each person standing in the crowd.
“Is that some kind of new technology?” Some in the crowd looked at the starry sky in confusion.
“Resonance with Heavens and the Earth? There’s something wrong with her.” Yun Yiyuan frowned as he scrutinized Shao Xian.
“We’ve been played…” Mr. Xie sat straight up, his ring glowing with a faint green light.
“I thought you could at least wait until the song’s over…” Li Yiming looked up from where he stood. He then closed his eyes and began dancing. What was odd about his dance was that it was completely off-sync with the music.
“And so it starts!” Sai Gao smiled as he watched Li Yiming approach the stage.
In the sky, the sea of stars continued to project down a soothing waterfall of light and the moon had subtly shifted its position. Only a few in the crowd had noticed the change, and even fewer knew that it was an ominous omen of what was about to come.
“The true Path can only be realized by the enlightened ones； those who have achieved enlightenment will always be in the state of purity and calmness.” Shao Xian concluded her song and bowed down to the crowd. Then, the flashing lights were extinguished, and the stadium sunk into darkness. Everything came back to Shao Xian the moment she ended her song — it was as if she had just woken up from a long dream.
‘It’s over?” Shao Xian glanced at the crowd. Unlike what she was expecting, only silence reigned. Then, she noticed the few people who stared at her with a severe countenance, as if she was some kind of aberrant monstrosity.
‘Did I… not sing well?’ Shao Xian’s heart started beating rapidly as she worried about her first performance being a total flunk. She bowed down again and quickly retreated to the backstage.
“Great work! The crowd would have gone crazy if this happened at another place and another time.” Li Yiming tapped on Shao Xian’s shoulder to comfort her.
“I…” Shao Xian suddenly dove into Li Yiming’s arms and began crying. She thought that she had a nice performance, and yet she somehow could not receive the acknowledgment of the crowd.
“I wouldn’t have been able to sing like that. You should be crying tears of joy,” A voice was heard behind her. Shao Xian turned around and saw Fang Shui’er in her performance outfit, beautiful as ever.
“Ms. Fang…” Shao Xian pursed her lips.
“Li Yiming’s right. It’s not that the crowd didn’t like your song. They’re still in awe at how good your performance was!”
“Really?” Shao Xian’s countenance brightened.
“Yes. I don’t want to go on stage now. I wouldn’t be able to meet the audience’s expectations after that opening act.” Fang Shui’er shrugged her shoulders.
“I’m serious. How about you go instead?” Fang Shui’er gave the microphone to Li Yiming. The orchestral music for the next song was playing, and the crowd had started whispering once again.
“Great! I’ve always wanted to be a star!” Li Yiming smiled, tapped on Shao Xian’s shoulder, and walked toward the stage.
“He…” Shao Xian first thought of it as a joke, but then realized that Li Yiming was serious.
Li Yiming walked onto the stage, dancing with an off-beat pace as he went. The thought that tens of thousands of people in the crowd were likely to die soon flashed past his mind as he looked below.
“Was the schedule changed again? I thought Fang Shui’er was second?”
“Who’s this guy? Is he a new singer?”
“I don’t know, maybe some kind of internet celebrity again?”
Once again, a buzzing noise came from the crowd. After witnessing Shao Xian’s stellar performance, it was only natural for the audience to have high expectations of Li Yiming.
“Who the heck is this guy? Are those in the backstage drunk?” The director, who was still in the middle of investigating the lights in the crowd and Shao Xian’s apparent lip-syncing, suddenly jumped up.
“This is the feeling of fame? Not as easy to deal with as I thought.” Li Yiming suddenly laughed. “Well, I wanted to sing for you, but since you seem to want to see a good performance, I’ll start off by dancing. If you can sit still until the end, I’ll really start singing.”
Li Yiming then put down the microphone and began dancing to the music. However, even the most amateur person the crowd could see that his dance was completely off-beat and only slightly better than jerking around randomly.
“How did he get up there…” Many in the crowd wondered.
“He’s doing it on purpose. Look at his movements! It’s pretty hard to be this off-beat!”
“Interesting! A routine breaker is welcome from time to time for a show like this.”
“I’m even more eager for what’s to come next.”
The whispering in the crowd gradually died down as many began to think of Li Yiming’s performance as a special surprise the organizers had set up. As he continued his choreography, Li Yiming was beginning to feel just like how he did back on the Island of Eternity. He could almost see the red lines and red orbs descending from the sky and he continued dancing to the rhythm of the dancing machine he saw in his head.
It was his special ability: Dance in Emptiness. Only now, the whole world was his stage.
A silhouette suddenly flew toward the stage, its limbs covered with fire.
‘Liu Meng…’ Li Yiming frowned without stopping his dance — he had not expected her to be the first to attack him.
After another spin, a shadow suddenly emerged from Li Yiming’s body. It transformed into a full-fleshed copy of himself as it met Liu Meng in midair.
“A clone?” Liu Meng’s palm glowed with a burning red as she slapped it toward the shadow. The latter parried her blow, and a low ringing noise ensued.
“Wow!” Many in the crowd were completely absorbed by what they thought was cutting-edge media technology. With the fighting scene being so dramatic, they had already forgotten about Shao Xian’s performance.
“Look! More of them!”
Cheers were heard from the crowd as more flashes of light shot toward Li Yiming. Li Yiming produced more shadows in quick succession to fend off the assault.
This was his second special ability: Fighting and dancing in unison.