TL: I also took over this movel ヾ(´∀｀)ﾉ
Chapter 20 – Is it moral bankruptcy or human distortion?
The group counted their budget and there was only 1,000 left. Fortunately, they had bought a lot yesterday, enough for several days. Sheng Qiao looked in the fridge and asked the director: “Does the guest want to eat something in particular?”
“No, but you have to make him feel at home.”
Sheng Qiao thought about it for a while and suggested: “How about cooking hot pot? We have all the vegetables already, we just need to buy hot pot base.”
“Then we can start preparing the dishes in the afternoon. There is still some leftover sauce from last night so we can have noodles at noon and get the hot pot in the evening.”
The group nodded again.
Sheng Qiao asked the production team for a paper and pen and sat in front of the coffee table.
“In any case, we should brainstorm on what to do to earn money in the next twenty days.”
Lu Yihan: “I’m still young, child labor is against the law.”
The group laughed and Sheng Qiao said: “According to the current schedule of the show, we can estimate that a guest will come every two days. We already don’t have enough for all of us, if we want to entertain guests too, we need to find a way to make money.”
She wrote down their six names and added: “If anyone has any talent or idea, please tell us.”
Zhong Shen was embarrassed: “With my beauty, besides selling myself, I have no idea how I could make money.”
Audience in the live broadcast room: [Hahahahahaha]
Sheng Qiao ignored him and Le Xiao suddenly said: “You can have Huo Xi go to town and play the piano and sing.”
What she said was actually doable. Among the six of them, Huo Xi was the only singer and his popularity was so high it would be easy to male tens of thousands in a day.
But unexpectedly, Sheng Qiao blurted out: “No!”
The other did not know why she had reacted so strongly and they were all looking at her curiously.
But it was so cold outside, she could not let her idol sing in the cold, could she? They should not even think about it!
Sheng Qiao coughed a little: “Singing needs audio equipment and instruments. That is too much of an investment.”
When the rest of the group thought about it, they gave up the idea.
A few of them were from good backgrounds and never had any worries about food and clothes since they were young. After entering the entertainment industry, it was even more unlikely for them to have a part time job. The lack of money right now felt very complicated.
The audience was also participating in the discussion with enthusiasm. But even after discussing for so long, apart from their celebrity halo, they did not find a way for them to earn money either. After all, getting a job seemed ridiculous no matter how people looked at it.
In the end, Sheng Qiao said: “Well, let’s at least go out for a stroll and see if there is any work to do around.”
Le Xiao grimaced: “Work, for real?”
Zhong Shen once more tried to humiliate her: “Then maybe you can dance for the production team and see if they will pay you.”
Le Xiao blushed and Sheng Qiao took the pillow in Lu Yihan’s arms to slam it on Zhong Shen.
“If you keep on bullying Xiaoxiao, you won’t have any food for lunch.”
Zhong Shen suddenly changed from an arrogant lion to a wronged little cat and Le Xiao had a triumphant look on her face. And in the end, they all packed up and went out.
The audience felt really stunned in the barrage.
[Sheng Qiao really took them to work.]
[What’s wrong with part time jobs? Working life is the most glorious.]
[Actually, they really could use their popularity to make money. I think it’s a good idea to have Huo Xi sing in town.]
[What an idiot, he isn’t your idol, is he? Why don’t you go to the town square and act in a play?]
[Have you noticed how Sheng Qiao seems to be the person in charge without even being aware of it?]
[She treats things in a more thoughtful and comprehensive manner while the others just stretch out their hands for dinner.]
[Didn’t her father commit suicide because of debts and isn’t her mother disabled? Sure enough, children from poor families are in charge early.]
[The others don’t know the value of money but she does.]
[Are you done with the misery scene? Can we watch the show yet?]
[Only this one knows how to sell misery.]
The audience was quarrelling again.
On her end, Sheng Qiao led the group out. The weather today was not bad, although it was cold, it was sunny and the sky was blue.
The neighborhood was remote and the business district was empty. They walked around but did not find any place recruiting.
On the way, they passed through several large construction sites and the excavators and gantry cranes were making a lot of noise and dust.
Sheng Qiao had studied architecture at the University of London as Qiao Qiao. If the accident had not happened, she would have gone to a construction site arranged by Father Qiao for her internship after the Chinese New Year. Smelling the scent of concrete in the air, she sighed.
Le Xiao noticed she was glancing at the sites frequently with a solemn look and suddenly shouted in horror: “Qiao Qiao, don’t tell me you want us to move bricks on the construction site?!’
Sheng Qiao was taken aback for a moment and came back to her senses: “This is not a bad suggestion.”
They all glared at Le Xiao.
[Hahahaha, Le Xiao. That’s what we call digging your own grave.]
[It’s funny to imagine them moving bricks with dirt on their faces.]
[I bet Sheng Qiao was not even thinking about it, what kind of imagination has Le Xiao! I laughed so hard.]
[Was Sheng Qiao joking or not?]
Sheng Qiao smiled and shook her head: “I’m not serious.”
Everyone was relieved.
When they walked back, they passed the farmers’s market when Sheng Qiao had bought the vegetables. This market could be considered the busiest place in town and many vendors were selling snacks near the entrance. Lu Yihan was at the age where he was always hungry and could only head towards the barbecue stall.
“Sister Xiao Qiao, I want to eat it, can I have some?”
The child was so eager, how could she refuse him? Sheng Qiao mentioned to Le Xiao to pay.
Le Xiao no longer had the sisterly affection she had for Lu Yihan when she had first met him and was reluctant. “This is so greasy, this is not healthy!’
Zhong Shen: “I want to eat too! I want a roasted brain flower!”
Le Xiao: “There are so many parasites in it! It’s disgusting just to think about it. Zhong Shen, you should eat less.”
Zhong Shen was shocked: “How did you become so cheap in just a day? Was it a moral bankruptcy or a human distortion?”
Le Xiao kicked him in anger.
In the end, Le Xiao paid for their food. They all gathered around the stall and picked what they liked. Sheng Qiao ordered a steaming oden1 and when she looked behind her, she saw Huo Xi standing with his hands in his pockets. She asked: “Huo Xi, what do you want?”
Huo Xi glanced at her, it was the first time she took the initiative to talk to him since the start of the show.
“Nothing, you eat.”
Everyone only had a budget of 10 yuans and they were still choosing. Sheng Qiao looked around, took another 10 yuans from Le Xiao and ran to the other side to buy a roasted sweet potato. She ran back to Huo Xi and handed it to him: “Here, this is for you.”
She knew Huo Xi liked them, he liked soft food.
The roasted sweet potato was wrapped in yellow paper and steam came out of it. It was slightly broken in the middle, revealing the ripe golden yellow.
Huo Xi stretched his hand to take it and Sheng Qiao’s heart beat faster. She always wanted to take care of her idol but she was afraid the broadcast would show how partial she was. She said “Eat while it’s hot.” and turned around and ran towards Feng Wei.
“Wei Wei, do you want to eat something? I recommend roasted sweet potatoes.”
Feng Wei said: “No, it is too hot.”
Huo Xi opened the sweet potato and the steam attracted Le Xiao. She asked: “Huo Xi, can you give me half?”
Huo Xi was about to hand it to her when Sheng Qiao put the remaining five yuans in Le Xiao’s hand.
“It was only five yuans, let’s go buy another one. I want to eat some too, we can share it.”
Le Xiao went to buy it happily.
Huo Xi silently retracted his hand and lowered his head to bite into the sweet potato. It was hot, soft and sweet. He looked up at the back of the girl and smiled when he looked down again.
The six participants ate while walking. They all had money at home but right now, eating just for a few dollars gave them a huge sense of happiness. It looked like the environment could really change someone.
They could not find a place to work nearby and took more than three hours to walk all around the town as there was only one bus and it was not cost effective. Sheng Qiao did not say anything anymore and they went back after buying the hot pot base. It was almost lunch time when they got back to the house and she made the noodles for everyone.
After lunch, everyone went to rest and Sheng Qiao sat in front of the coffee table with a small notebook.
The audience was very curious about what she was writing and the cameraman could guess it and moved to film closer.
It turned out to be a list of part time job ideas. Everything she could think of was written down in the notebook and crossed or checked each idea after considering them.
[Sheng Qiao must have worked a lot to feed her family.]
[This part time job list is so realistic. I studied in France and I did half of those!]
[Me too! The international students are crying.]
[Did Sheng Qiao go to school?]
[Are you kidding? She only graduated from junior high.]
[Can’t they really use their fame? They could sell autographed photos.]
[I am willing to pay 10,000 yuan for Huo Xi’s.]
[The fan is really rich.]
[Sheng Qiao’s words… Shoujinti, it’s well written.]
[I’m currently practicing Shoujinti! It’s so difficult, when will I be able to write like her?]
[Not taking her character into account, her writing is really good.]
Sheng Qiao’s writing was of course on par. She remembered all the times Mother Qiao had invited the calligraphy master and all the times she had lowered her head to copy and write until she cried. Her mother had said “If you don’t have talent for drawing, I won’t force you to draw, but if you don’t have talent for writing, you have to write better”. Otherwise if she had written “chinese painter” with poor penmanship next to her mother’s name, it would have been a disgrace to her family.
Sheng Qiao had not been short on money when she had been studying abroad but she had experienced the work-study life with her roommate. But this neighborhood was just too deserted and there were no new businesses yet. The cleverest housewife could not cook without rice3.
Looking at her big money plan she had just listed, she sighed helplessly.
She was still racking her brain when the others got up one after another. Le Xiao came down first and glanced at Sheng Qiao’s notebook.
“Qiao Qiao, stop thinking about it and come watch a horror movie.”
Le Xiao turned on the TV and started browsing through the horror movie category to find something to watch.
Sheng Qiao had been afraid of ghosts since she was a child. While she was younger, they went for a vacation in the countryside, she had listened to the half made up ghost stories told with trembling voices by the elders and it had left a deep scar in her heart. Every time she would encounter a funeral procession, she would have a nightmare; she could not even think about watching a horror movie.
And now that she had become Sheng Qiao and had no way to explain it, she was even more afraid of those.
She stopped Le Xiao in a hurry: “The guest will arrive at night, we should discuss on how to receive them first.”
Le Xiao: “Let’s chat as we watch.”
With that, she selected a movie and clicked play.
The subtitles had just appeared and the scary background music sounded in the room and Sheng Qiao’s face already started to pale in fright. She did not dare to look in the direction of the TV and pretended to be calm and lowered her head.
Huo Xi came down and took a look at the living room. After reaching the lobby, he walked to Le Xiao, picked up the remote and paused.
Le Xiao, who had just started to get into it, stared at him.
Huo Xi: “It’s too noisy.”
Le Xiao: “???”
Huo Xi: You scared my fans
Huo Xi: You scared my future wife
- Japanese dish made with boiled eggs, processed fish cakes, daikon radish, tofu etc in a kelp-based broth
- 瘦金体 literally Thin Gold Style
- 巧妇难为无米之炊: You won’t get anywhere without equipment