Chapter 173: Deep Sorrow
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Xia Ling rubbed the back of her hand vaguely across her eyes to wipe away the tears and remembered that she was still onstage.
She thought that she probably looked disheveled and ugly since there was not a single clap from the audience. She sniffled and struggled to stand up, mocking at herself in her mind. Xia Ling, look at you. How did you make yourself end up in this state without Pei Ziheng holding you dearly in his hands?
She stood up with difficulty and then heard the sounds of some people crying.
That’s weird, didn’t she already stop crying? Subconsciously, she raised her hand to touch her face. It was a little swollen and slightly smarting from all the tears, but she had indeed stopped crying… She lifted her head and saw many in the audience crying. They were crying hard and uncontrollably, like how she was crying just a while ago.
Xia Ling felt slightly dazed and at a loss.
The female emcee walked forward, her eyes red and swollen like she had been crying as well. “Xiao Ling, you really… ” She paused as her voice broke a little. “… You sang really well. So many of us were touched to tears. Even I could not control my tears. This is the most touching performance I have ever heard live since I started as an emcee. Can you tell us how you managed to emote this song so well?”
Xia Ling was still in a daze, but her many years of experience allowed her to respond subconsciously. “Singing comes from the heart.”
The female emcee was clearly happy with this answer, as she unloaded a torrent of compliments. She asked many other questions like: when had she started liking Xia Ling? What influence Xia Ling had on her music style? What plans did she have for the future? And so on.
Xia Ling answered these half-heartedly, distracted by the churning memories still in her mind. She could not remember what the female emcee had asked after getting through all the questions. After a long while, the female emcee let her off, and she walked offstage with rapturous applause from the audience behind her.
Xia Ling walked unsteadily backstage, and almost fell when she was walking down the stairs. Someone caught her before she fell.
“Xiao Ling, be careful.” It was Wei Shaoyin’s voice, though it sounded rather far away. “Why are you still crying?”
Xia Ling wanted to say that she was not crying anymore, and the tears had already stopped, but she felt something being stuffed into her hands. She lowered her head and saw that it was the silk handkerchief from Wei Shaoyin’s shirt pocket that he usually wore as a decorative item.
“Wipe your tears. You look horrible. The people from Imperial Entertainment are going to see you as a laughingstock,” he said.
She mechanically wiped her eyes with the handkerchief, and it was only then that she realized her tears had started falling again. Her hand began to shake uncontrollably again, and she stopped for a moment, before covering her face completely with the handkerchief and allowing her tears to flow freely.
“There, there.” Wei Shaoyin did not know what to do. “Why are you crying like a baby? How old are you already?”
She leaned into Wei Shaoyin and started to cry out loud.
“Xiao Ling, you… ” He started to get nervous and was at a loss for words. “Don’t be like this. People are going to think I bullied you or something… No, no, wait… this is so gross. I like being clean… let go of me!”
She ignored his complaints and cried even harder. Ah Wei did not know what she had been through and did not know the days of imprisonment that she lived through with Pei Ziheng. Those were days when she dared not even cry freely, such that she had forgotten what it felt like to cry.
Ah Wei would never know how deep her sorrow and pain was.
Wei Shaoyin kept quiet, and stiffly wrapped his hands around her shoulder, patting her lightly on the back like he was trying to coax a kid to stop crying. After a long while, Xia Ling felt exhausted from all the crying, and her cries died down to sniffles and random sobs.
“Miss, are you done crying?” Wei Shaoyin heaved a sigh of relief and did not even bother asking why she was crying so hard. “Can you still walk?”
Xia Ling nodded her head.
He said, “Okay, let’s go, follow me back to the makeup room. How could you not be embarrassed crying like that on the corridor?”
It was only then that she realized that the people walking by were looking at her with queer expressions as if they were dying to see some juicy gossip. She wiped her face with the silk handkerchief still in her hands and followed Wei Shaoyin in the direction of the makeup rooms. “Oh right, why did you come to look for me?” Her voice was hoarse, and it hurt for her to talk. “Shouldn’t you be in the makeup room resting?”
“You were almost in hysterics singing ‘The Caged Butterfly,’ and I was a little worried for you, so I came over to have a look at how you were doing.” Wei Shaoyin shrugged off his jacket with an expression of disdain as he walked ahead. “You just destroyed my jacket. It’s the newest of this season’s collection too.”
She remembered his hypochondriac tendencies, and seeing the patches of tears and snot that she had left down the front from her crying, she could only laugh.
Wei Shaoyin glared at her angrily, but the anxiety in his eyes became gentler.
They returned to the makeup room.
When they pushed open the door, everyone turned to look at Xia Ling with all sorts of expressions. Some were shocked, some were stunned, some were envious, some were curious, some were disdainful… only Luo Luo innocently pounced onto her, exclaiming, “Xiao Ling, that was so awesome! You were Xia Ling reincarnated!”
“Don’t spout nonsense!” She chided Luo Luo in a low voice, her tone unpleasant. The truth that Luo Luo had unwittingly said made her jittery, and she could not help but look around warily. No one seemed to have noticed a thing, and everyone’s expression remained as they were — those that were envious were still envious, and those that were jealous were still jealous. It was only then that she relaxed a little.
She glanced around and caught sight of someone, which made her feel nervous again.
He was leaning on the edge of the makeup counter, quietly sipping from a glass of water. His gaze was on her, and he had a pensive look on his face. He was still steady and quiet as he usually was, dressed in a black suit like a low-key wealthy gentleman. Only she knew how astute he was, and knew how scary his instincts were.
Xia Ling was unsure if Feng Kun had realized anything, but if Feng Kun were to call her “Xia Ling” right now, she would not have been too surprised. He was too familiar with her and was even more familiar than Pei Ziheng about her singing style and every detail or turn in her voice. They had worked together for ten years and were a legendary partnership. He would be able to tell which song was sung by her with his eyes closed.
Xia Ling did not know how much she had revealed of herself in her rendition of “The Caged Butterfly” earlier. There was a screen in the makeup room showing the live broadcast, and seeing the look Feng Kun was giving her, he had likely watched the entire performance. She could not help but feel uneasy and tried to think back on it. It should have been vastly dissimilar to the rendition she had sung when she had supposedly killed herself — after all, her experiences and mindset had changed a lot since then. This time the emotions were probably not as raw as last time?
Xia Ling thought to herself but felt increasingly unconfident.
But, reincarnation was too out of the world.
Her looks and voice had changed completely. She hoped that he did not think of this crazy possibility and that he did not recognize her.
Even though she was dying to walk up to him and tell him that she was doing well.
Xia Ling looked at Feng Kun longingly for a moment but caught herself, knowing that she should not be revealing her emotions, and sheepishly looked away. Luo Luo was still chattering beside her ear like a chirpy little bird. She lowered her head to look at this child. “Luo Luo, I’m tired.”
Luo Luo gave a start, before saying, “Ah, right, you were so into your performance just now. You should rest, I shouldn’t be disturbing you anymore. I’ll come to look for you again after you’ve had a good rest.” With that, she bounced off back to Imperial Entertainment’s resting area.
Wei Shaoyin also bade her goodbye and hurriedly went off to change out of the clothes that she had cried all over.
Xia Ling walked over to an empty seat and sat down, dazed. She looked at her reflection in the mirror, seeing that her makeup was a mess and she looked ugly, nowhere comparable to her looks in her past life. However, why was Pei Ziheng still harassing her? Why was he so bent on collecting so many substitutes for Xia Ling? Did Pei Ziheng know… that she would be heartbroken to see him like that?