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The concert ended at 9pm, but by the time Tan Lao and Du Sheng finished sending off the guests, it was already 10 o'clock. Since it was late autumn, B City was bleak and chilly. Tan Lao didn't linger to celebrate further, and Du Sheng went to send them home.
During the car ride, Du Sheng continued to praise Qi Mu on his performance. He also inquired about why he refused Daniel's offer to pursue an education in Europe. As aforementioned, Conservatoire de Paris and The Royal Conservatory of Music were among the top world's conservatories. Those who lacked even a bit of strength couldn't touch their threshold.
Qi Mu had to make clear that he wanted to practice more in Huaxia, and that he had no intention of furthering his studies yet.
Du Sheng felt it was a pity but didn't say anything else. It was Tan Lao who, after staring at Qi Mu for a long time, suddenly asked, “Xiao Qi, are you. . . familiar with Min Chen?”
Qi Mu was stunned when he heard the question. He automatically shook his head, “Tan Lao, I had never met Mr. Min until you introduced him to me the other day. How could I be?”
Tan Lao hummed lightly and didn't speak another word on the matter. He said instead, “You're not too young, and if you don't want to continue your education, you must have your own reasons. This year's tour is over. Before the Spring Festival concert, you only need to come to rehearsals a few times a week. Xiao Qi, do you have plans?”
In fact, even before Tan Lao mentioned it, Qi Mu already knew that he would spend the next month or so idle. As a.s.sistant concertmaster, he only needed to replace Du Sheng in some songs, so his rehearsals were relatively few. Other than that, he had nothing to do.
After thinking on it, Qi Mu eyes curved with his smile and he nodded, “Thank you, Tan Lao, for your concern. I do have plans already.”
A month ago, Qi Mu knew that Tan Lao would probably have said something like: “What are your plans?” or “You must seize this time. You cannot relax.” But Qi Mu's recent growth was obvious, and Tan Lao had seen it with his own eyes. His previous hesitation and concern toward Qi Mu had vanished.
Tan Lao just nodded to indicate that he understood and questioned no further.
Qi Mu's home was the closest, so Du Sheng dropped him off first, then Tan Lao.
In the cold and windy night, the youth wearing a crimson coat watched the black car leave. The red of his coat was like a fire searing into the night, one that could not be ignored.
When Du Sheng's car disappeared down the road, Qi Mu raised his head slightly and turned to head upstairs. There was a hint of a helpless smile in his amber eyes. Qi Mu took the elevator and pressed the “26” b.u.t.ton. He then watched as the golden number at the top changed rapidly.
The evening's events were above and beyond what he antic.i.p.ated, but. . .
It was still mostly in line with his expectations.
Tan Lao had already planned for this indoor concert before Qi Mu joined B City Symphony Orchestra. Later, he deliberately left a place for him as one of the performers. This was Tan Lao's goodwill for him.
Before Zheng Wei Qiao left, he pulled Qi Mu aside and excitedly told him that he would write a ma.n.u.script immediately after he got back on Qi Mu's performance.
Zheng Wei Qiao still had quite the reputation in Huaxia's music circle. Qi Mu's mother was his teacher so his violin skill was not low and he also had some writing skills. Qi Mu knew that as long as this article was published, it would cause quite a hype.
Therefore, the effect that Tan Lao desired would be achieved.
Qi Mu had no idea that half the city away, a man with a kind face was staring at his computer screen while scratching his ears and cheeks. The screen was filled with dense square characters, and Zheng Wei Qiao was engrossed in typing.
About half an hour later, Zheng Wei Qiao suddenly breathed a sigh of relief and excitedly sent the ma.n.u.script to several newspapers and magazines that he was familiar with and waited to receive a reply.
But, Zheng Wei Qiao didn't expect that just as he stood to walk away, not even two steps from the computer, he heard one notification after the other. He turned quickly and looked——
【Music Hall - Xiao w.a.n.g: Zheng-ge, we don't need this ma.n.u.script. The boss decided to personally write one with the same topic.】
【Sound of Music - Lie : Xiao Zheng, unfortunately, we have also written a paper on the same topic. The boss hasn't written anything personally for months so we can't accept yours this time.】
【Cla.s.sical Music - Ah Chen: Zheng-ge, you are so unlucky. Lu Jie said she's planning to write a ma.n.u.script on your topic herself! We can't accept your ma.n.u.script, alas. . .】
. . .
There were another three or four messages just like these, all from the various cla.s.sical musical media that Zheng Wei Qiao was familiar with. These were all well-known media outlets in B City. Not only were there weekly magazines but also semi-monthly and monthly ones as well. Zheng Wei Qiao's articles were also popular with them. When the market was poor, they would even rush to publish them. Zheng Wei Qiao never thought that this time. . .
He would unexpectedly encounter ?!!!
Zheng Wei Qiao was stunned for a long while. Then he quickly sat back down in his chair and carefully read the draft he wrote from beginning to end three times. He then finally went to Xiao w.a.n.g, the editor of Music Hall and typed: 【Xiao w.a.n.g, were you mistaken? My topic is Qi Mu, the new a.s.sistant Concertmaster of B City's Symphony Orchestra, and not the actual concert organized by Tan Lao tonight. Zhang's article could be used as the main article and mine as a supplement.】
Zheng Wei Qiao then opened the chat of Lie Jie, the editor for Sound of Music. He hadn't even typed out his message yet when Xiao w.a.n.g replied: 【No, Zheng-ge. The chief editor meant that he would write an article on Qi Mu himself.】
Zheng Wei Qiao was shocked when he read the words. He then asked several others like Sound of Music and Cla.s.sical Music and got a unified response——
The bosses who hadn't personally written anything for several months had actually decided to write an article on Qi Mu themselves?!
This was tantamount to a small earthquake!
Zheng Wei Qiao's expression was that of joy. The first thing he thought of was to call Qi Mu and tell him this fantastic news. But as soon as he picked up his phone, he remembered that it was already past midnight so Qi Mu might have fallen asleep already. So he only sent a text.
The moment you have good news but can't share it with others really makes you feel bad!
The more Zheng Wei Qiao thought about it, the more he felt as if there was a fire blocking in his heart. He couldn't get over it. The more he held back, the more excited he got. Not even a few minutes later, he couldn't help but send another message to Qi Mu, informing him that 《Friend of Music》 also rejected his ma.n.u.script. Three minutes later, it was 《Audio》 with a similar rejection. Then five minutes later, it was. . .
So when Qi Mu woke up the next morning, he turned on his mobile phone to find Zheng Wei Qiao's 13 consecutive messages. After the first one at 1am, he kept sending one after another until 3 in the morning.
Qi Mu drank hot milk that he had warmed using the microwave while reading Zheng Wei Qiao's emotional messages. He was so excited he didn't even use the correct punctuation in them. His eyes lingered on Zheng Wei Qiao's last message for a long time.
His slender fingers seemed to move on their own and were tapping the gla.s.s table, producing a rhythmic beat. After a long time, he finally gave Zheng Wei Qiao a call, preparing a lot of words to comfort the other man.
His delicate eyebrows were slightly knitted, just as the call connected, he let out a low sigh and said: “Zheng-ge, you don't have to be upset. I know. . .” It's sad to be rejected.
“Qi Mu, you woke up?! I am so happy!” Qi Mu hadn't even finished talking, when Zheng Wei Qiao's unusually excited voice burst through the small phone speaker, “I'm so happy today. I'll pick you up later. Your sister-in-law is also excited, and she cooked several dishes especially for you. Come and eat.”
“. . .”
Why was he happy being rejected? Shouldn't he be sad and depressed?
Qi Mu's eyes turned hard, and he hastened to say, “Zheng-ge, don't force yourself to appear cheerful. Your ma.n.u.script was rejected 12 times in a row. I believe there will be magazines that will accept your ma.n.u.script. If there isn't, I can talk to Tan Lao, and see if there's any that he's familiar with. . .”
“Huh? Forcing myself? Xiao Qi, what are you talking about?”
“He's familiar with some outlets. . .” Qi Mu suddenly stopped and thought of something. He then frowned, a bit puzzled, and asked, “Isn't it. . . you sent me 13 messages last night telling me you got rejected, weren't you were sad about it?”
“. . .”
After an extended silence, a burst of laughter carried down the phone. Zheng Wei Qiao's rare laughter carried in his voice, “Xiao Qi, ah, I forgot to tell you! My topic for the ma.n.u.script was on your performance last night. And my ma.n.u.script was rejected. . . because all the magazines had a chief editor or another major writer that wanted to personally write about you!”
“. . .?!”
“Xiao Qi, ah, this is really great! Don't say anything more. Let's meet and talk, okay. I'll pick you up now! Haha!”
Listening to the beep and dial tone of his phone, Qi Mu was so shocked that he couldn't respond. He then walked over to the floor-to-ceiling windows and couldn't help but squint his eyes in confusion at the rising sun over the horizon.
The suns.h.i.+ne was so brilliant that it shone through the dense layer of clouds that covered the sky, falling to the earth that was deeply asleep. The golden light fell on the youth's hair, making it look as though inlaid with gold.
After a while, Qi Mu burst into laughter and murmured helplessly, “It turned out to be such a small matter. I thought Zheng-ge was worried that there would be no in the future.”
The view of the twenty-sixth floor was grand, and the young man's tall, handsome figure reflected on the gla.s.s in a blurred shadow. What Qi Mu didn't know was on that very same gla.s.s, there was another reflection of an even taller man's silent back.
This single, high-end apartment was separated from Qi Mu's by just a while. The lower floors had about 200 square meters whereas the upper ones had around 300. The whole room was styled in post-modern, dominated by black and white. Like its owner, it seemed silent.
Min Chen stood with his back to the window and lowered his head, seriously lifting a sugar cube to gently drop it into his coffee. When the white cube was gradually stained brown by the coffee, he picked up the cup and took a sip.
“. . .”
Two more cubes were added, only then was Min Chen satisfied with the taste.
Outside, the sun was bright, and the sky was blue. The crisp autumn breeze blew through the clouds above, looking like willow catkins scattering in all directions.
It really was. . . good weather.
——The two neighbors separated by a wall sighed ruefully.