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  • Chapter 1 The Top Knot

    Note: This novel is set in the year 2024, and the administrative regions and related policies are semi-fictional. The characters are unprototypical and do not support realistic evidence.

    The phone lay quietly in the bathtub.

    Soaked in a pool of fresh water and enveloped in the warm yellow light of the bathroom, it looked like quite peaceful when being deprived of its life.

    Fang Yuan stared at it in silence for a moment, then turned his head to look at Gu Yanshu.

    Gu Yanshu leaned against the door frame and looked at it icily in return.

    Fang Yuan turned around silently again and leaned over to drain the water in the bathtub: “Shu, you didn’t really lose consciousness last night, right?”

    Having said that, he fished out the phone and shook it twice, looking a little incredulous.

    Gu Yanshu didn’t say anything, but straightened up and walked to the living room.

    It was tacit approval.

    Fang Yuan tsked twice: “With the amount of alcohol you drink, I even don’t wanna laugh at you.”

    Last night was the seventh anniversary concert of Gu Yanshu’s debut, and it was more successful than expected. Everyone was in high spirits at the celebration banquet, so they coaxed him to have a drink.

    Just one cup of red wine, Fang Yuan thought then, it wouldn’t cause any problems. Refusing to drink would spoil people’s fun, so he didn’t stop Gu Yanshu from drinking it.

    The next morning, Fang Yuan couldn’t reach him, so he rushed over and found that Gu Yanshu had a bad hangover and his phone was underwater.

    When asked, he said he actually lost consciousness.

    No wonder Gu Yanshu hadn’t been drinking any alcohol for so many years. Otherwise, God knew what terrible problems he would cause when he couldn’t hold his liquor.

    Fang Yuan added the words “Gu Yanshu is prohibited from drinking” in bold capital letters in his agent’s manual and took the phone into the kitchen.

    Gu Yanshu took out a bottle of water from the bar and glanced at him: “Why you’re running to the kitchen?”

    From the kitchen came the sound of rummaging through the cupboards and the nagging of Fang Yuan: “Bury the soaked cell phone in the rice, and you may still be able to use it after a while. You young people should learn from this.”

    Nobody knew where this untrustworthy folk remedy came from.

    Gu Yanshu ignored him and took a piece of the painkiller with cold water as he found it out on his own.

    The last year, two music entertainment shows, three concerts, one physical album, interspersed with various commercial performances and announcements. His throat had been overloaded for a long time, and after every concert, even swallowing hurts him much.

    His larynx was moving up and down, and eyebrows were lightly furrowed.

    In the meantime, Fang Yuan came out of the kitchen and bumped into him.

    “Your throat is hurting again?”

    “It’s not serious.”

    “If it wasn’t serious you would eat the painkillers as candy?”

    Fang Yuan was getting anxious about it: “I’ve told you to slow down, but you don’t listen. You’re only in your early twenties, and with this face alone, you can still make money relying on the traffic for many year, so why are you in such a hurry to transform? Do you still want the voice?”

    “Twenty-five soon.”

    Gu Yanshu corrected.

    “Round up to thirty.”

    Finishing the words, he lay on the couch and closed his eyes.

    He didn’t intend to continue the discussion on this topic.

    He has lost a lot of weight lately. When laying on the couch, his collar reveals a large area of deeply indented collarbone and a lean sharp shoulder line, which, under the glaze of the floor lamp, reveals an almost transparent pallor and a sharp skeletal texture.

    He looked like a bottle of thin porcelain that would break at the first touch.

    This made Fang Yuan extremely worried.

    He really didn’t understand what Gu Yanshu was rushing to do.

    So he can only sigh: “Okay, you’ll have to go to the recording show tonight, so now you just get some sleep.”

    Then he sat down on the sofa with his laptop and started to deal with the backlog that had piled up over the past few days.

    Gu Yanshu finally found a quiet moment. He pressed his fingertips against his eyebrow, applying slight pressure, and a dull pain slowly overtook his nerve endings in a muddle after the paralysis.

    He has always been a poor drinker.

    When he was a trainee, he didn’t go home with his roommate on New Year’s Eve one year, so he bought a few cans of beer, ate take-out food, and had a humble New Year’s Eve dinner.

    With a young age, he didn’t think twice and took a couple of sips. The next morning, he was dizzy with a terrible headache, and couldn’t remember what had happened before.

    All he knew was that his roommate said he had been holding the roommate all night and almost made great troubles.

    After that, he never dared to drink again.

    But the past many years had taught him nothing. He completely had no idea about what really happened last night.

    He could only vaguely remember that he had a dream in which a very annoying person was showing off that he had taken the best — ……

    “Fuck! Shen Jue won the Golden Zeus Award for Best Actor?!”

    —- actor.

    ……

    What an amazing dream.

    Gu Yanshu got upset by Fang Yuan’s yelling. He put the back of his hand over his eyelids to block the light from the floor lamp: “Don’t yell.”

    The voice was cold, conveying an obvious idea of driving away the guest.

    But Fang Yuan still held the computer and came over: “Shu, don’t sleep, something happened to us. Our fans and Shen Jue’s fans are arguing again.”

    Gu Yanshu didn’t even raise his eyelids: “Still not used to it?”

    “……”

    Well, quite used to it actually.

    Fang Yuan paused and explained, “But this time it’s different.”

    Gu Yanshu didn’t respond.

    Fang Yuan added, “This time, it came to No. 1 of the Trending.”

    Gu Yanshu still didn’t answer.

    Fang Yuan added again: “This time, it’s because Shen Jue didn’t go to the award ceremony last night, so your CP fans have come back to life.”

    Still, no response from Gu Yanshu.

    Fang Yuan: “……”

    Forget it, Gu Yanshu was probably deaf.

    Fang Yuan turned around, selected a text, and clicked on “Intelligent Recitation”, pulling the volume bar to its fullest.

    A mechanical female voice with a distinctive metallic quality resonated in the room, reading aloud with a half-second pause after each character.

    The voice was subdued and self-mixing.

    It reverberated in the empty living room, strangely shocking.

    “The absence of the new movie emperor from the award ceremony is actually because of this.”

    “What is the purpose of Shen Jue’s late-night appearance at Gu Yinshu’s concert.”

    “The five-year breakup was a cover-up ……”

    Snap —

    Halfway through “Cover-up,” Gu Yanshu finally sat up, reached out and covered the computer, and half dropped his eyelids.

    “Say what you want to say.”

    Oh, he was not deaf.

    Fang Yuan took the opportunity to turn on the computer, closed the recitation, and turned the screen to Gu Yanshu: “You can see for yourself.”

    Gu Yanshu glimpsed the screen.

    The artificial intelligence just read aloud was a Weibo.

    (TL: Weibo was the counterpart of Twitter in China)

    The ID of the blogger was @CPGirlsCamp, a Gold VIP account.

    In addition to the headline party that was used as a gimmick, it was followed by astonishing texts.

    [Sisters! Come and take a look! Does the man photographed outside of Gu Yinshu’s concert fucking look like Shen Jue? Like it or not? The reason why Shen Jue decided not to go to the award ceremony is uncovered!]

    There were several pictures of the same man, taken from different angles.

    He wore a black cap with a brim so low that it fit almost seamlessly into the black mask, hiding his entire face.

    The pixels were blurred as if they were taken with an antique cell phone.

    It even could not be distinguished whether it’s human or ghost.

    How did they recognize it was Shen Jue?

    Gu Lianshu raised his eyelids a bit.

    Fang Yuan clicked to open the comment block.

    [That’s definitely Shen Jue! Look at the height difference between the man in figure 3 and the passerby, you can be sure that he is close to 1.9 meters tall. And then look at the view of the back in figure 7, you can see unclear shape of the top knot when you zoom in three times. These two features are not popular, so I can’t think of anyone else but Shen Jue.]

    [PS: What kind of a normal man would be so tightly wrapped at night? And which straight man in their right mind would come to a Gu Yanshu concert alone? If it wasn’t Shen Jue, I’d cut my fucking head off and give you guys as a ball to kick.]

    [Fuck! The explanation from upstairs is awesome! I’m coming! I’m really coming!!! Yesterday I was still sad that the two of them hadn’t been in the same frame in five years, but today this is the perfect solution to my displeasure!]

    [Hah, fuck off you upstairs stupid CP fans. I really want to pee you to wake you guys. As a seven years old fan of Shen Jue I even can’t recognize it was him, so you dead idiots got the God’s perspective?]

    [The same, can’t see it’s Shen Jue. You guys who are daydreaming, please play yourself in your own room, thanks, the YOUNG group has disbanded. Now the gorgeousness only belongs to our Movie Emperor Shen]

    [Yeah, yeah, so cool your movie emperor is. Our weak idol is out of his league]

    [Definitely out of his league. Shen Jue is now literally different from the beloved idol who lives off his fans]

    [LOL, so interesting. Go to find who held three sold-out concerts at the Bird’s Nest Stadium, whose physical album sales were record-breaking, and whose singles had been selling at #1 for years. Our idol got abilities and popularity. People who are jealous and saying our idol lives off fans can shut up now]

    [You’re really making dad laugh. Shen Jue has all the great resources, so why we are jealous of your idol? You really do treasure that little bit of popularity.]

    [After all, the only way to survive on traffic is to continue to rely on it, otherwise why would he run over to find some goodies as soon as he sees his former teammate get a movie emperor?]

    [Shen Jue’s Homophobia has already been such certain, so can someone with top traffic stop bundling marketing by creating gay stories? Bitch, real bitch]

    ……

    Crack.

    The laptop was violently closed again.

    Fang Yuan was so angry that white smoke was coming out of his nostrils: “If this group of people could use all this imagination and energy to create science and culture, our society would have progressed at least ten years!”

    Gu Yanshu looked unchanged and leaned back on the couch, “So why are you showing me this.”

    “Huh? Oh.”

    Fang Yuan paused, recovering from his anger, “Nothing, just wanted to tell you there was no fate between you and Shen Jue.”

    “……”

    Gu Yanshu quietly stared at him.

    Fang Yuan: “Don’t look at me with that stupid look in your eyes.”

    Gu Yanshu closed his eyes.

    Fang Yuan felt insulted.

    He droned on like a grumbling woman: “I’m doing this just for you. There are bound to be some unscrupulous person who will ask you about this in the next few days. I just want to let you know if you get involved with Shen Jue, nothing good will come of it, so we have to draw a clear line …… Hello, Mr. Zhang?”

    In the middle of his droning, the phone rang, and Fang Yuan had to stop for a moment to pick up the call.

    Gu Yanshu’s ears were briefly freed, but his head hurt even more. He got up and prepared himself to go back to the bedroom to catch up on sleep.

    However, he just got up when Fang Yuan stopped him.

    “Shu.”

    The tone of his voice was rarely heavy.

    Gu Yanshu turned back.

    Fang Yuan looked serious: “Did you do something last night that you were not supposed to do?”

    “?”

    “Mr. Zhang asked you to go to the office right away. It’s urgent.”

    “……”

    Arrived at the U.N. Media Building.

    Fang Yuan asked for the twenty-third time, “Shu, so after you drank too much are you sure you didn’t do anything with your phone in the bathroom last night that would be mosaicked? Why else would Mr. Zhang suddenly call you? You’re a top male celebrity now, in case there are nude photos ……”

    Gu Yanshu gave him a cold slanting glance.

    Fang Yuan closed his mouth tactfully and followed him to the front desk.

    The two young girls at the front desk were whispering with their cell phones.

    As soon as they saw Gu Yanshu, they immediately put down their phones and smiled sweetly: “Teacher Gu, Brother Fang, you are here to see Mr. Zhang, right?”.

    “Yes, Mr. Zhang asked us to come.” Fang Yuan was quite familiar with the young girls in the company, “Shall we go directly to his office?”

    “He’s still in a meeting, so why don’t you guys wait in the reception room for a while and I’ll take you there.”

    “o……”

    Before the word “okay” could be uttered, Fang Yuan saw Gu Yanshu was already walking towards the reception room with two long, straight legs, without turning back.

    Fang Yuan could only swallow his own words and change his words halfway.

    He smiled at the two young girls who had other intentions and said, “Never mind, we’re colleagues. We can just walk there.”

    At the end of the day, he remembered the two of them whispering just now and couldn’t help but gossip, “But what were you two talking about just now, with a look of painful loss of precious human wealth.”

    Hearing this, the two girls who were starry-eyed when they saw Gu Yanshu suddenly wilted.

    They drooped their eyes and were deadly pensive: “Nothing to talk about, except that Shen Jue’s love affair was exposed.”

    “?”

    It was such a short drive from home to the office, and then there happened the breaking news.

    “What’s going on?”

    The girl was aggrieved as if she had fallen out of love: “Let me tell you, Shen Jue didn’t go to receive the award last night, because he went to meet his girlfriend.”

    “??”

    Hearing this, Fang Yuan got no time to tease the girls anymore, and was busy pulling out his phone to open Weibo Trending.

    Yes, from the top was hung the eye-catching hashtag:

    ##Shen Jue’s Love Affair Seemed to Exposure

    Looking up again, he found Gu Yanshu’s figure had almost disappeared at the end of the corridor.

    He ran up and said, “Damn it, Shu, Shen Jue didn’t go to the award ceremony last night because he went on a sneaky date.”

    Gu Yanshu turned a corner with the indifferent tone: “Where did you hear this rumor again.”

    “It’s not a rumor, there’s evidence, take a look.” Fang Yuan handed over the phone.

    Gu Yanshu glanced at it with the side of his eyes.

    It was a photo taken secretly in front of the hotel.

    In this photo, Shen Jue’s red LaFerrarie stood out in the night, next to which a dazzling woman in red was standing. Although the face was extremely blurry, it was not difficult to see her tall figure and cool temperament.

    Gu yanshu remembered Shen Jue had said that his ideal type was the tall, thin, cold beauty.

    He withdrew his gaze and said flatly, “No intimacy, and no proof of time.”

    “But late in the middle of the night, a lone man and woman, together in front of the hotel is the fact, right?…… Wait, something wrong”, Fang Yuan realized something, “Shu, why are you putting in the good words for him?”

    Gu Yanshu ignored him and walked forward on his own.

    He was tall and long and walked very fast.

    Fang Yuan walked with his two short legs behind him and followed him a little reluctantly meanwhile nagging.

    “Shu, you still think Shen is a good person, do you? Have you forgotten how he used to turn his back on people? Don’t think too well of people. You have to believe me, the man with this top knot is always a bad guy…… eh, why did you stop?”

    Already at the door of the reception room, Gu Yanshu suddenly stopped. His back also tensed up for an instant in a visible state.

    Curiously Fang Yuan stood on tiptoe to look inside.

    The door to the reception room was pushed open only halfway with the narrow gap, and Gu Yanshu was half a head taller than Fang Yuan, so the entire field of vision was blocked.

    Fang Yuan couldn’t see anything: “Anything in the room?”

    A brief silence.

    Gu Yanshu spoke softly: “Nothing, just feel you are right.”

    “Eh? What’s right? Aw, you mean the man with a top knot is always a bad guy, right?”

    Hearing Gu Yanshu saying that, Fang Yuan only thought that Gu was pausing to think about what he had just said, so he didn’t care. Bypassing Gu, he pushed the door of the reception room straight open and went inside.

    While saying proudly: “Definitely, I’ve lived for more than thirty years, so I’ll have to be……”

    The last word was uttered through inertia.

    He stood on the spot after saying it.

    He had seen what’s inside the room.

    Actually there was nothing else but a young man leaning against the floor-to-ceiling window, talking on the phone in a low voice.

    The greenish-gray daylight characteristic of early winter in Beijing fell behind him, making out the outline of a tall, long figure with two long legs, who was holding the phone with one hand, and putting the other in his pocket.

    The room was brightly lit, and the light and shadows cut through the solidity and depth of his facial features. His neck was slightly tilted forward with his head hung low, and a lock of his hair fell carelessly from his forehead, slightly curled.

    The glass behind him clearly reflected the top knot which was tied casually on his head.

    Yes, the top knot.

    Fang Yuan even wanted to die at this moment.

    The man in front of the floor-to-ceiling window has also looked up towards this side.

    The dark, sunken eyes were inexplicable.

    A long while.

    He finally pursed his lips and smiled.

    “Like me?”

    Quixote

    Please enjoy the fantasy. I'll update the chapters like a machine~ Thank you!