Exclusive Rights to An Online Voice Actor - novelonlinefull.com
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“This thing—is it true?”
For ‘Four’ to ask this, it showed that she also didn’t want to try believing it.
—No one would ever believe it.
Shen Yan lowered his gaze, saying nothing, then finally rubbed his face with a tired expression. He couldn’t tell whether it was his hands that were colder, or his face.
“No matter if it’s true, it’s already in the past.” That’s right, it’s in the past. Time can change a person, perhaps even two.
He also didn’t want to dwell on something other people wouldn’t believe. Dwelling on it wouldn’t benefit anyone. People like ‘Four’ and the rest of the bunch were, after all, outsiders, with little s.p.a.ce to get involved—only between the involved could this matter get thoroughly unfolded and discussed. And as for that day, the only obstacle keeping them from doing that was the opportunity to talk face-to-face.
“Let’s leave it at this, just forget what he told you.” Shen Yan’s voice sounded a bit hoa.r.s.e, as if he didn’t rest for seventy two whole hours.
“…Fine.” When the woman heard him say so, she knew that he had his own sorrows. That’s why she sighed and said with a bitter smile, “Six, how to say that… Sometimes you’re too considerate, caring too much about the bigger picture, putting up with everything. When Two was questioning you, you didn’t mention Five—it was to avoid driving a wedge between them, right?”
“Two’s love for voice acting is genuine, he’s not a scheming guy. And his relationship with Five is good. It would cause no good if he knew about this.” It would only create more problems, so what’s the use?
‘Four’ fell silent for a while. “To be honest…”
She seemed to waver if she should try to help that guy in restoring his impression for a moment, stuck uncomfortably for quite a while before she finally spoke. “To be honest, Five is actually really thoughtful with his friends. For example Two, I don’t know if you heard about it, but he worked as a professional voice actor for a while before. He got unlucky and was employed by a studio that treasured money more than talent, pushing him to voice act unreasonable stuff to ingratiate themselves with the clients, so he got mad and quit, refusing to have anything to do anymore with the professional circle… Frankly, with his skills, it’d be too much of a waste. This time, Five half coaxed, half coerced him to enter the professional compet.i.tion, and it was for someone to scout his talent once again.”
Shen Yan didn’t make a sound.
‘Four’s’ smile was a bit weak as she said slowly, “I don’t know anything about what happened, but I hope that one day, the two of you will be able to sit together and make everything clear. If anyone did wrong, then admit to it; if there’s a need, then beat each other up a good time. But don’t remain standing in place, refusing to move on for the rest of your lives.”
“I know.” This time, he replied in a low voice. He replied twice, once for her, and once for himself, “I know that…”
After turning the computer off, Shen Yan left the study without turning the light on. The only source of light seeped in faintly from the street lamps outside, as if covering the black walnut furniture with a thin layer of frost. Only one who felt this light on their skin would be able to tell if it’s warm or cold, black and white stark against each other.
He stood there in place for a long while, gaze moving around the apartment he once lived in with his grandpa. The number of residents in this apartment shrunk from two to one, then, after a long time, finally changed again into two—he didn’t want to, nor would he let this number to once again go back to “one”.
“Huu…” He released his breath, shaking his head slightly, and finally walked back to the bedroom door, gently turning the door handle.
“Clack.” The moment the door opened, He suddenly saw something flash brightly in the dark—it was somewhere around the pillow. At the same time, he could hear rustling of the duvet being pulled over, before all of it disappeared in the silence.
Shen Yan was surprised at first, then understood it after a moment.
He quietly walked over to the bedside, then suddenly pounced over, trapping the down duvet beneath him, along with the person hiding underneath. His attack seemed to have given quite a scare to that man—he sprung up beneath the thick duvet like a caught fish being pulled out of water in a fishnet, his struggling a spitting image of one thrashing about its tail in panic.
“So you’re not sleeping like a good boy, even playing with your phone while hiding under the duvet?” Shen Yan said in a low voice.
He didn’t know at what point his hands found the other man’s hands, not letting him hide the “incriminating evidence” under the pillow. When Shen Yan spoke, his breath pa.s.sed lightly by this man’s cheek, blowing strands of the hair on his temples aside, the whole image feeling a bit… like a punishment.
—He got caught in the crime.
Qi Jing momentarily blushed with shame.
It wasn’t actually any alarming “crime”, but being told off by Shen Yan like this, he couldn’t stop the scalding warmth from creeping up his cheeks. He struggled a bit, but didn’t manage to struggle free. And the man on top of him almost seemed to hug him still, his elbows at both of Qi Jing’s sides limiting the s.p.a.ce, not even leaving him enough to turn over, not to mention breaking free.
He had no other choice but to consider employing the soft measures. “I… couldn’t sleep…”
It was actually because he slept for too long during the day, so he was still full of energy at that point. During the time when Shen Yan was still in the study, he had been staring at the ceiling for half an hour and yet still didn’t feel sleepy, so he only searched for the phone to browse Weibo when he was extremely bored. He didn’t expect that he would get caught red-handed.
“It’s so dark here, and the phone screen is so bright, do you want to ruin your eyesight?” Shen Yan not only didn’t soften, he also furrowed his brows, voice getting even heavier with reproach, “If you’re not feeling guilty of anything, then why would you be so sneaky hiding it from me?”
…I feel guilty, of course I do. Qi Jing coughed slightly. Shen Yan was always resolute in his approach towards Qi Jing’s health.
“Fine, fine, I was wrong. So, do release me, please?”
Shen Yan did not release him.
Qi Jing had no other choice.
His hands weren’t free anymore, his whole body wrapped still in the duvet like in a coc.o.o.n, and the man above was pressing on him with half of his body, leaving him unable to budge. The only thing he could do was to employ his last movek2014;he suddenly lunged his body forward, head raised to search for the source of that man’s voice, only to seal it viciously.
“Ngh—” Shen Yan was about to open his mouth to say something, but Qi Jing’s tongue already invaded it halfways, bringing with it some of the moistness, so spa.r.s.e in the wintertime. It gently pushed what he was about to say back up, not letting him continue talking down at him.
He closed his eyes subconsciously, breathing growing urgent. His grip loosened in this moment of inattention. Qi Jing took this opportunity to free his hands, peeling a hem of the duvet from himself, then peeling a hem of the outermost layers of Shen Yan’s clothes along the way. He caressed and undressed him in the dark, pulling him into a snuggly entanglement of limbs under the duvet, kissing him wantonly for a long-lasting moment.
It lasted until both of them were short of their breaths, when Qi Jing finally broke the kiss, nuzzling his nose against Shen Yan’s.
As his breathing slowed down, he suddenly felt playful. With a smile, he flipped over, pushing Shen Yan beneath himself, getting the man who had just pushed him down to lay below him. Qi Jing buried his face behind his ear, rubbing against it, only content when their bodies were snuggled close against each other. He lazily hooked his finger around the b.u.t.ton hanging on Shen Yan’s clavicle, playing with it in a good mood.
To his surprise, Shen Yan actually let him have his way, choosing to not pursue the case of him playing with his phone, only quietly circling his arms around Qi Jing. He turned his head to kiss his hair, the kiss tender beyond any words.
Suddenly, Shen Yan called him.
“What are you…” calling me this for. He froze for a moment, face scalded with blush. He wiggled around beneath the duvet to hug this man even closer, bed sheets rustling.
“If,” Whenever Shen Yan started with ‘if’, it was always because he felt at loss and uncertain about something that happened in his life—this was what Qi Jing’s experience told him. But what he said next, Qi Jing couldn’t quite link with their current life, “If one day, I was left with nothing… Even if this apartment, even if this place we live in was gone, could I still remain by your side?”
Qi Jing was taken aback.
“What are you even talking about with someone who has neither an apartment or car?” When he came back to himself, he asked half-jokingly.
But Shen Yan didn’t laugh, tightening the hold of his arms instead, as if he wouldn’t let go before getting an answer.
Qi Jing reined in his smile, fingers combing through Shen Yan’s hair lovingly as he replied with utmost sincerity, “Silly… Wasn’t it you who said that the home is where your loved ones are?”
Shen Yan’s head on his shoulder moved slightly. He only made a soft noise in reply, not saying anything more.
Meanwhile, Qi Jing continued talking, “If we can’t stay in this apartment, then we will rent another one. Either way, next year we will also need to rent one when we go to Beijing.”
“If we want to think further, then we can also slowly save up to buy one as well.” It’s always good to have a goal in life.
“To make it short, I will provide for you, don’t worry.” Qi Jing used his most ‘top’ voice for this on purpose, then heard Shen Yan laughing softly. He reached a hand to hold his, no longer saying anything.
—It was warm. Or at least it was warmer than on their way back home.
So warm that he could keep holding it for the whole night, until the sun rose.
Ever since he officially returned to working in the TV station, Qi Jing’s days, busy with his work arrangements, also returned. To free up two days of leave for the sake of accompanying Shen Yan to Beijing, he had to clench his teeth and cram a week’s worth of a.s.signments into five days, choke-filled with everything—from interviews to gathering resources outside. This, coupled with Shen Yan’s house being far away from the company, meant that he would go out in the wee hours in the morning and return home after 9pm.
“Qi Jing, do you really have to push yourself so hard…” His colleague was outright appalled when he saw him sitting before the computer and writing a draft during the lunch break.
“If I don’t, I won’t be able to take a leave this weekend.” Qi Jing took a sip of coffee with a wry smile, “End of the year will also be a h.e.l.l of a busy time.”
“You’re right, we’re about to have Christmas and New Year.” Once the holidays arrived, every single worker of the TV station was like a magnet tossed into a pile of iron dust, instantly attracting all the work, whether it was holiday specials or holiday parties… They were all too busy to find any free time.
Fortunately, he would somehow find some time to have three meals a day on time with the boxed meals Shen Yan prepared for him beforehands, but he didn’t have any choice for the resting time.
After going home and having a shower, the remaining time would only be enough to get hugged gently into the bed by Shen Yan. He didn’t even have a chance to use the things in the drawer—with a kiss from Shen Yan on his eyes, he was already deep asleep.
And so it was four days later when Ning Xiaoxiao finally pa.s.sed him the news that Ninth Lady wanted to contact him urgently after giving him a series of desperate calls.
The arrangements for his work that day were a bit unusual—an interview with a large-scale exhibition in the afternoon and an obligatory attendance dinner party arranged by the company, leaving him a little bit of time in the morning. After sending Shen Yann off to his work and preparing breakfast for Little Return Date and Big Goose, he finally got a chance to open his QQ.
And Ninth Lady, the one he was always only be able to talk to in the mornings his time—
Sure enough, her QQ account was online.
Qi Jing quickly sent her his greetings.
Don’t ask for my Return Date: Ninth, it’s been ages since we talked online, how are you doing? ^＿^
Ninth Lady: Aaaaaah! Return Date!
Ninth Lady: (holds face) Speaking of which, why are you online at this time… Usually when I’m online, you’re off to that mess of a work and sleep schedule of yours…
Don’t ask for my Return Date: Ah, luckily today most of my job will be in the afternoon and evening, that’s why I had some free time to come over to talk with a time-difference gang member like you. What’s up, do the students have holidays over there in the US now?
Ninth Lady: We have over a week off, but I followed my cla.s.smates to go skiing in the national park after we were done with the finals, and we went camping too… After a few continuous days, I’m dog-tired. Even after logging onto the forum I had no energy left to browse it…
Don’t ask for my Return Date: …Me too…
Ninth Lady: ……
Don’t ask for my Return Date: ……
Ninth Lady: Pft.
Don’t ask for my Return Date: Pft.
Ninth Lady: Same as always, aren’t you~ ╮(￣▽￣”)╭
Don’t ask for my Return Date: You too~ ^＿^
As the one who formally introduced “Don’t ask for my return date VA” to the online voice acting circle, Ninth Lady could count as one of his closest and most trusted staff members within it. He didn’t have to be secretive when talking to her, he could let himself be at ease, with no burden weighing him down.
Usually, the voice actors and staff members basically had a cooperative relationship, so there were a lot of things that couldn’t be said—no one could say if the other person wouldn’t stab them in the back when they didn’t look.
Unless their relationship went up from “cooperation partners” to “friends”.
And even at the “friends” stage, it wasn’t guaranteed they would tell each other everything.
But Qi Jing had no such misgivings about Ninth Lady, he could basically be almost one hundred percent frank with her, aside from some especially private matters—and as for those, she knew well enough to not ask about, so Qi Jing felt very much at ease around her. For a producer to be able to develop long-term within the circle, aside from contacts and skills, the most important was to understand how to treasure other staff members and voice actors. Only this way, one would have friends to help them when some accident happened.
To quote Ninth Lady’s own words, they would get “tormented to h.e.l.l and back by the antis if some of our chat logs got leaked”.
Such as the comments roasting Bronze Sparrow Terrace—if anyone posted any of those online, the angry fans would finish up the author of the comment.
But Qi Jing knew that she wouldn’t do that.
She knew that Qi Jing wouldn’t do that as well.
Don’t ask for my return date: March Bamboo Shoots told me that you had some urgent news for me?
Ninth Lady: I do… A few days ago, I finally managed to get back to the dormitory, soak comfortably in a warm bath, and then I opened my computer… The shock was so great that even my face mask cracked.
Don’t ask for my return date: I think I can guess why you got so shocked…
Ninth Lady: ……
Ninth Lady: ……
Ninth Lady: …THIS LADY’S MAIN LIFE CORE RETURNED!! This lady’s main life core Sleek horses run fast suddenly returned!! Can you comprehend my feelings when I saw my life core return after four years of retirement?!! (╯－＿－)╯╧╧
Don’t ask for my return date: …I can… But you calm down first… (((￣＿＿￣o)～
It really was because of Sleek Horses Run Fast—Qi Jing chuckled helplessly. It seemed like even someone as burnt out with the circle and almost completely retired veteran staff member as Ninth Lady couldn’t resist the impact of her life core VA coming back…
Before, when Sleek Horses Run Fast called him “dumba.s.s”, he only appeared for a mere flash, with no actual follow-up. But this time, with his tip-for-tac with Bronze Sparrow Terrace, he really… came back.
Don’t ask for my return date: So since the Big Sleek Horses returned, you came looking for Little Return Date to fangirl about him together?
Ninth Lady: Of course not… Who are you taking me for =A=… My excitement about my main life core returning is true, but I came rushing for you with a serious matter.
Don’t ask for my return date: ??
Ninth Lady: The producer for ⟪Trap⟫, Rouge Flower, had retired from the circle yesterday—did you know about that?
The previously merry atmosphere broke in an instant. Qi Jing’s expression changed into a distressed one as he straightened his back slowly, face coloured with shock.
“Why…” A single word escaped his lips before something stuck in his throat, instantly breaking his thoughts into a disarray.
He felt that his typing speed was no longer enough to keep up with his want for explanation, so he put the earphones on, starting a voice call.
“Just what happened, why did she retire?” No matter if it was for the voice actor or a staff member, retiring from the circle was a very big decision for them all. Qi Jing furrowed slightly, an unpleasant premonition forming in his mind.
“Eh,” Ninth Lady sighed faintly. After all, as a seasoned producer experienced with years of the online voice acting circle drama, she was rather composed when talking about this sort of matter, “When I got back from my outing four days ago, I found a message she left me on QQ. It was a pretty long and messy one, the gist of it being how much she wants to apologise to you, that it was her who looked for you to play in this drama and yet it turned into a huge mess like this. Because it was me who gave her your contact info, she also pa.s.sed her apologies to me.”
“I was so puzzled. I tried asking her what happened but she didn’t reply to me, and two days ago she suddenly @ed everyone in the production crew, Bronze Sparrow Terrace included, saying that… Because of the various accidents that occurred during the ⟪Order to End the Heavens⟫ compet.i.tion, as well as your quitting, she spent too much time looking for the new voice actor for the second episode. And because she couldn’t reach an agreement about the new voice actor choice with the other staff members, coupled with the great increase in her IRL studies workload, she wishes she could manage it, but she has no strength to do so.”
“So, she decided that she’s no longer able to continue being in charge of ⟪Trap⟫ production and concluded that from that day on, she gave up her duty as the producer, pa.s.sing the right to the latter two episodes.”
When Qi Jing heard that, his heart staggered. “Who did she pa.s.s it to?”
“To the main force behind looking for the new VA… Bronze Sparrow Terrace’s close confidante, as well as the sound designer for ⟪Trap⟫.” Ninth Lady’s tone was especially gloomy.
“It’s finished…” Qi Jing’s first thought was only this, “This audio drama is completely finished—”
“Seems like it… It’ll certainly be popular, after all they still have the advantage of Bronze Sparrow Terrace’s great G.o.d t.i.tle. But the original plot will probably get obliterated.” Ninth Lady said.
“Let me guess—if that sound designer lady is responsible for finding a replacement VA for me, then the new guy she found is around 0.5 shou, an androgynous voice of a graceful beauty?”
“Eh, how did you know?” Ninth Lady’s reaction confirmed his conjecture. He facepalmed in silence.
Since the beginning, A Lifetime’s Lock wasn’t choosing people in accordance to the original plot, but rather according to “whose voice type would suit the CP with Bronze Sparrow Terrace the best.
As expected, from what Ninth Lady managed to gather, the newly chosen person was exactly this type of sweet beauty voice, as well as a moderately famous pinky voice actor in the circle. He was also one of the Bronze Sparrow Terrace fans and had a very good rapport with Da and Xiao Qiaos, as well as with Lifetime’s Lock.
“So the producer… No, the previous producer saying that she couldn’t reach an agreement about the choice of the candidate was pointing to…”
“That’s right, Rouge Flower didn’t want to use this person, but the sound designer hardly insisted on using him, so the disagreement within the production crew was too great. Now that I think of it, it might be that Rouge Flower’s retirement could also be forced onto her.”
Qi Jing listened to all of it with his brows furrowed, not knowing what to say aside from sighing.
He didn’t actually feel all that aggrieved when he left the production, it was only a sacrifice of two versions of dry recording and a dozen or so hours of recording and retaking some parts. But for Rouge Flower, Puppet Show, and Knives cutting in from four corners, who did it out of love and poured their lifeblood into creating it, the scale of this impact was completely different.
“Is it because I was too impulsive at that time?” To be honest, he was the fuse for this situation.
“Don’t think like this,” Ninth Lady said bleakly, “In our circle neither creating audio dramas nor voice acting for them are paid for, so there’s no reason for you to still continue recording if other people inconvenience and bully you. No one owes anyone anything, if the cooperation doesn’t work out, then it simply disbands. When this lady first started working on audio dramas, people like Bronze Sparrow Terrace weren’t even there yet. If he wants to court a disaster, then let him court it.”
Qi Jing wanted to laugh at it, but couldn’t really muster himself to.
With all said and done, he really felt sorry for it—
“The producer left the production and the sound designer took her place. She will certainly act as both, so how about the original script-writer and director?”
“The script-writer girl is so unlucky… She already finished writing the script for the second episode, but now, with the transfer of the rights, she can neither withdraw the script or leave it in their hands… So the sound designer girl made a smart move, quickly saying that since she already handed the script for the second episode, there’s no take-backs, and that she also already began to edit the background sound effects according to it, so it can’t be withdrawn. The script-writer girl is such a meek sweetheart, she couldn’t argue with her, so she just agreed. She asked them to find someone else for the third episode, as she was busy with her IRL matters and couldn’t continue… Of course, it’s obviously an excuse.”
The script for the second episode sure enough was already finished a long time ago, and it was quite probable that the one for the third episode could already be done as well, only waiting for the final approval.
This Puppet Show was a very honest girl, so she probably felt terrible getting caught in a crossfire…
“Then how about the director?”
“The director girl was even more straightforward—she straight up shared the producer’s weibo post with a quote saying ‘I’m sorry, I also couldn’t reach an agreement about the new choice for the main role with other staff members, especially with the new producer, so as the director, I can’t possibly continue working on this audio drama. Please don’t notify me about the changes in the staff, see you never again in Jianghu.”
Qi Jing couldn’t help a bitter laugh when he heard that.
Wouldn’t that clearly show that they parted their ways because of the break in their relationship? …It definitely matched Knives cutting in from four corners’ style.
But with only one episode out, to already have one of the leads, producer, script-writer, and even the director publicly announcing their quitting… ⟪Trap⟫ really could count as one of the “wonders” in online voice acting circle’s history.
“So, Return Date. Do you have any ideas?” At that time, Ninth Lady suddenly asked him.
Lucilla: I’m terribly sorry for another delay, lately I didn’t have time or the attention span to translate, hence the continuous hiatuses… I’m working on getting back into shape though. Thank you all for your patience!