Translator: Blanc Editors: Felz, Silowwa

Chapter 5
Five years later. It was another scorching summer; the rolling heat waves were almost tangible. All four of the classroom’s ceiling fans were turn on, the windows opened as wide as possible, sheets of papers fluttered feebly in the wind, and even the cicadas in trees seemed to be shouting, “So hot, so hot.” The burning weather, combined with the professor’s droning lecture, made the students nod off one by one. Jiang Zhen En secretly took out her phone to look at the time. “Oh, no!” she exclaimed in a low voice, “How long is this class? The manager asked us to come early to distribute gifts for the guests. If we’re late…this month’s bonus is gone!” She grabbed her head and moaned. Those sitting at the same table as her turned silent. Zhen En looked away embarrassed, and almost collapsed. Sitting beside her, Yi Xia Mo was listening attentively, her pen moving at lightning speed to take notes. Her eyes were focused on the notebook and it didn’t seem like she heard any of Zhen En’s complains. “Xia Mo!” Zhen En whispered fiercely in Xia Mo’s ears, “We’re going to be late!” Why was she the only one in a hurry? The two of them should be hopping in their seats together. “No.” Xia Mo’s eyes did not leave her notes, “the teacher will dismiss the class after this problem, two more minutes at the most.” “How do you know?” “Because the next question involves so many things that it will take at least two hours to finish. The teacher

will cover it next class.” Zhen En’s mouth dropped, “Again, how do you know?” “Because I review the materials in advance.” Xia Mo answered while continuing to write “Well, that’s it for today!” The teacher announced, “Goodbye, class.” “Goodbye!” The students of Sichuan College of Economics Class 3A all stood up and watched their teacher leave the room. After a brief silence, the classroom was filled with the slamming of textbooks, yawning of students, and lighthearted chatters. “You even review the material in advance?!” Zhen En asked in disbelief In today’s world, are there still students who review the materials in advance? They’re not high school students anymore, for goodness sake. They were college students now, taking a required economic class. All that was expected of them was to listen in class and study before the exam. Xia Mo smiled, “Is that so strange?” “It’s very strange!” Zhen replied, “This class isn’t even that important. You actually review before class and take notes in class; you’re a super geek!” “Tuition is expensive.” “Huh?” “The tuition fee is so expensive. We must learn as much as possible so it will be worth it.” “Oh. Uh…well, that makes sense. But you work every day until late at night. How could you have time to read ahead? “You were watching TV in the store while I was reading it.” Xia Mo laughed Zhen En widened her eyes. Now that she thought about it… Whenever there are no customers in the bakery, she would sit in front of the TV and secretly watched her shows. Xia Mo would take out a book to read. Zhen

En always assumed it was a novel Xia Mo liked to read in spare time. “We have twenty minutes.” Xia Mo packed her stuff and got up to leave. “What?” “Otherwise, we’ll be really late.” “Ah!!” Zhen En frantically threw the books in her backpack and hurriedly ran out. Unfortunately her skirt was caught on a loose nail on the table, causing her to trip and collide heavily into a female student entering the classroom. Bang! The girl Zhen En ran into fell to the ground. All around, the desks and chairs collapse one by one. Zhen En herself also fell down. “Ouch!” “It hurts!!!” Students gathered around, surprised. The classroom exploded with whispers. Jiang Zhen En actually dared to hit Yao Shu Er. There wasn’t a single person in the college that doesn’t know Yao Shu Er. While in middle school, Yao Shu Er had entered the entertainment industry to become a star. When she was accepted into this college, dozens of reporters showed up at the opening ceremony like never before. All of the students were very curious about this Yao Shu Er. Just the fact that she was an artist already accumulated lots of interests. Not to mention, two years ago, her song was on the Top Ten Chart. Many came to ask for her signatures. There were also many who would eye her evilly and muttered, “Star, what star? I look so much better than her.” On campus, Yao Shu Er was very low key. She walked with her head down, always sat in the last row of the classroom, would never speak up in class to

answer questions, never chat with the students, and would always evaporated from campus after class. The lovely Yao Shu Er on TV and the quiet Yao Shu Er in the classroom were like two different people. Over time, the students started to treat her as if she was invisible. One of the desks collapsed on Zhen En’s stomach, causing her face to turn green. Xia Mo rushed over, moving the desks and chairs out of the way, and helped her sat up. “Are you alright? How badly are you hurt?” “Ugh…okay…” Zhen En groaned, “It’s only an artificial wound. I’ll be fine after resting for a few minutes.” Xia Mo gently touched her stomach, “Does it hurt? Are there any internal wounds? Do you need to go to the hospital?” “It’s really nothing!” Zhen En exclaimed bravely, feeling a rush of warmth from the concern shown on Xia Mo’s face. Seeing Zhen’s complexion returning to normal, Xia Mo relaxed. Then she turned to look at the girl that was knocked down. There was a large bruise on Shu Er’s knees along with several gashes. Blood oozed from her skin, creating a large stain on her skirt. “Sorry!” Xia Mo quickly apologized She knew that Shu Er was a singer so a knee injury could cause a big problem. Shu Er shook her head and shyly smiled, “Don’t worry. It was my fault. I wasn’t careful.” She avoided Xia Mo’s extended hand and painfully stood up. Her legs faltered as the gash widen and more blood dripped down. “We need to take you to the infirmary.” Xia Mo said, seeing her wound Zhen En also saw Shu Er’s knee and was stunned. Her face paled and she profusely apologized. “I’m sorry! Sorry! I’ll pay for your medical expenses! I was too reckless! I’ll wash your skirt! I’m sorry…”

Yao Shu Er looked at her timidly, “It’s fine. We’re classmates. You don’t have to do that.” “But…” “Excuse me. I need to make a call.” Shu Er said. She took out her cell phone, dialed a number, and whispered something. Xia Mo went to a cabinet in the classroom and took out a first aid kid. She kneeled down in front of Shu Er and carefully examined her wound. “We have to treat this or your wound is going to get infected. Are you going to be on TV today? Iodine disinfects the best but the color will be really obvious. Alcohol is a weaker sterilizer but it’s colorless.” “It’s fine…” Xia Mo ignored her refusal, “Iodine or alcohol?” she asked in a no nonsense voice that made Shu Er transfixed. “Alcohol…” “OK.” Xia Mo dipped a cotton swap into the alcohol and gently applied it on the wound, careful not to exert any pressure. After a while, the blood gradually stopped. Xia Mo put band aids over the gashes and got up. She smiled at Shu Er, “You should be OK. But if it does get infected, you must go to the hospital.” Shu Er nodded gratefully, “Thank you.” At this point, a middle aged man walked into the classroom and strode over to Shu Er. He looked at the wound on her knee. “How did this happen?! I told you that you’re going to be on TV today but you don’t care! How many times have I said that as a star, you have to protect your body, that your body is your income?!” “I’m sorry…” Shu Er whispered timidly, “This will never happen again.” “Actually, it was my-” Zhen En wanted to explain “No, I wasn’t careful.” Shu Er interrupted her, then

looked at the middle aged man, “Jam, let’s go.” Shu Er, leaning on Jam’s shoulder, limped out of the classroom. A glittering object on the floor caught Zhen En’s eye. Leaning closer, she saw that it was a broken bracelet. She quickly picked it up, “Shu Er, is this yours?” she shouted But Shu Er has already left the classroom and drove off in Jam’s car. Zhen En looked around in a daze. “We have to leave quickly if we don’t want to be too late.” Xia Mo had finished fixing the chairs and desks. She picked up Zhen En’s bag and gave it to her. Ah, that’s right. Zhen En had forgotten about that again. Leaving her guilty conscience behind her, Zhen En ran out. Outside the school, the sun shone down, prickling their skin like thorns. The air was so hot and humid that Zhen En wished to retreat back to the air conditioned classroom. “Jie!” Such a pure voice. A tall boy riding a bicycle waved at them. A 16 years old boy, wearing his high school uniform, with long, slender legs and a handsome physique, stopped in front of them. His lovely smile along with big, round eyes lined by long dark eyelashes, were like a cool autumn breeze, blowing the hot weather away. “Xiao Cheng! You came to see us…” Zhen En suddenly blushed, her heart beating faster. “Hello, Zhen En Jie.” Yi Cheng nodded at her politely, then looked at Xia Mo worriedly, “Jie, I’ve waited at the bakery for a long time but you still haven’t come. Did something happen?” Zhen En scratched her head awkwardly. “A little accident happened in the classroom,” Xia Mo

answered, then asked, “Is the manager very angry?” “No.” Yi Cheng shook his head, smiling, “I was in the store and Manager Jie asked me to help distribute the gifts. After all the gifts were given out, I said that I will go to see why you didn’t come and Manager Jie even told me to not worry too much. “What? How could the manager be so kind? Whenever I’m just a minute late, her face would turn all dark and gloomy.” Zhen En said, “Xiao Cheng, she must have some evil thoughts about you to treat you so decently.” Xia Mo looked at her. Zhen En covered her mouth quickly, as if those words weren’t spoken by her. She almost forgot that Xia Mo doesn’t like people teasing Xiao Cheng. “There’s only the manager there so it must be very busy. We should hurry.” Xia Mo said “Right! That’s right!” Zhen En swiftly agreed “I’ll give you a ride.” Yi Cheng said, motioning his bicycle. The distance to the bus station is good and long so to walk would be too slow. “Great!” Zhen En jumped up excitedly, “I want to sit in the front!” If she sat in the front, then Yi Cheng’s arms would go around her. That would be too romantic! Yi Cheng looked at her, embarrassed. “Zhen En Jie…” Under his innocent gaze, Zhen En became frustrated. “Well…it’s…” Xia Mo laughed. Seeing Zhen En and Xiao Cheng together, it was like Zhen En is Xiao Cheng’s other sister. Sichuan’s summer school. The students seeking refuge under the cool shade of the trees were surprised to see a bicycle speeding past on the sidewalk. There were three people riding on it! The boy riding the bicycle was wearing a high school

uniform, his strong slender leg moving in a blur. There was a girl sitting in the front and another sitting in the back. The handsome boy looked so innocent. His hair was swept away by the wind, his eyelashes long and dark, his round eyes looked as innocent and gentle as a deer’s. The long haired girl sitting on the bicycle beam looked as if she was sitting in his lap, his arms wrapped around her protectively. The boy would pedal and talk to her at the same time, his soft voice carried by wind, his smile gentle. The girl in the back looked bored and was playing with her fingers. Why don’t I have a brother! At Cartoon bakery, Zhen En was cleaning the glass windows while muttering and complaining under her breath. To have a brother like Xiao Cheng is really a blessing! He cooked for Xia Mo, sometimes worked in place of her, painted beautifully, and studied so well that he was able to skip several grades. Now, at the age of only 16, he was preparing to enter college. Not to mention that he was a super cute boy. Today, thanks to Xiao Cheng, the manager was “gracious” and let them off with a light reprimand. Ah, beauty is really useful. At that moment, Yi Cheng was sitting in a quiet corner of the bakery, sketching with his pencil. From time to time, he would raise his head and his eyes would follow Xia Mo as she brings cakes to the guests. She send the guests out with a smile then came back to take the cakes out of the oven. It was obvious that he was sketching Xia Mo. Zhen En’s heart soured as she watched, pouting, with jealousy. Even if these two were siblings, even if they depend on each other to live, their relationship shouldn’t be so good. However, Zhen En sighed, now

that she thinks back, Xia Mo and Yi Cheng’s life were not so happy. Five years ago, a car accident caused their parents to die on the spot and Xiao Cheng to be seriously injured, leaving Xia Mo all alone to fend. She heard that Luo Xi went to study abroad and therefore, was able to escape the whole incident. At that time, Yi Cheng was injured so badly that, to take care of him, Xia Mo had to take nearly a semester off of school. Due to the expensive medical fees, basically all of the money from the family’s saving as well as the insurance was spent. Everyone had thought that the Young Master would immediately come to help. However, the Young Master only showed up once and, like a flash, disappeared. No one has seen him since. The Young Master had abandoned Yi Xia Mo. The news spread throughout the whole school. Then, Xia Mo and Xiao Cheng dropped out for some unknown reasons. Until two years later, after she got in Sichuan College, Zhen En was surprised to find that she and Xia Mo were in the same class. Before, when they were attending high school, Zhen En’s father was sent by the Young Master to be Xia Mo’s chauffeur, following her everyday like a servant. At school, due to the Young Master’s influence, Xia Mo was treated like a princess by everyone. Due to these reasons, Zhen En hated Xia Mo and never attempted to talk to her. However, at college, she found that Xia Mo was not at all like how she imagined. In order to pay for tuition, Xia Mo, like Zhen En, worked part time. To let Xiao Cheng study and recuperate in peace, Xia Mo forbade him to help out. More importantly, Xia Mo never acted like snobbish and was rather down to earth. Gradually, she and Xia Mo became good friends. As to the Young Master’s disappearance, Zhen En had heard all kinds of rumors; some were too bizarre to be true, while others were just terrifying. Every time she

tried to get the truth from Xia Mo, the latter would merely smile as softly as the windswept clouds. Over time, Zhen En accepted the situation as a forever unsolved mystery. Xia Mo was carrying the tray back when she saw Zhen staring at the TV as if in a trance. Xia Mo couldn’t help but smiled at her friend’s transfixed state. “Is there something interesting on TV?” “Look…” Zhen En pointed at the television Xia Mo followed her finger to see a broadcast variety show. The host was interviewing Yao Shu Er, who was looking fresh in her green chiffon dress. She smiled sweetly at the camera and showed off her latest dance. “It’s a live show. Her leg had just been injured; it should still hurt really badly. How could she still dance?” Zhen En asked, surprised “Being a star is very hard.” Xia Mo put the tray back in its place, “There’s no easy job in this world. Though it may look glamorous on the outside, who knows what kind of pain and suffering occurred beneath.” “But stars make tons of money.” “Really?” Xia Mo picked up the mop and started mopping the floor, “There were a lot of customers today so the floor gets dirty really fast. We should clean up now when there are not that many people.” “I’ve worked in a jewelry shop before. The price of this bracelet would at least be in the ten thousandth.” Zhen En gently twirled Shu Er’s bracelet between her fingers, “We worked to death in this bakery but our salary for the whole year could not even afford this bracelet. If only we can enter the entertainment industry, how great would that be?” “How can it be so easy?” Xia Mo chatted with Zhen En while carefully clean every inch of the floor. “Hey, didn’t five years ago you participated in a show…

oh, what’s it called…that’s right, “Superstar!” I remember that you guys took first place for several rounds. The whole school went wild because of it! Xia Mo, why don’t you go into showbiz? Someone might remember you.” “A star that appeared one year ago can be forgotten in a blink of an eye, let alone five years. Beside, that was when I was still a kid.” Xia Mo said quietly. Yes, she still remembers those days. The days that passed so happily that it was like a dream. Unfortunately, they soon vanished like smoke. “Oh, that’s true.” Zhen En sighed regretfully, “Oh, well. At least summer break is almost here. We won’t be working in the bakery then. We can find some other job. Have you thought about what might be suitable for us?” “A western restaurant? Amusement park? Tutoring? Sales clerk? ...The pays are almost the same.” All not enough. Xia Mo turned to look at Xiao Cheng just as he happened to glance up and look at her. His mouth stretched into a bright smile. Xiao Cheng will be taking the college entrance exam this year, tuition and art fees will be very high, not to mention living expenses. Xia Mo had thought that she must take advantage of this summer to earn enough money. “A few days ago, I saw an entertainment company looking for assistants; the salary was quite high. I already applied for the both of us.” Zhen En fervently prayed, “Let us be lucky, let us be lucky.” Luck… Xia Mo stood up, dazed. The store’s floor has become crystal clean; the tiles shined in the soft light of the evening sun. The air was filled with the enticing aroma of cake. Xia Mo wiped the sweat off her forehead with the back of her hand. Luck, if God can once again bring luck to her, she will fight her hardest to keep it.

___________ The next day. “It’s you?!” Zhen En exclaimed, surprised. “You guys…how come…?” Yao Shu Er sat in the corner of the recording studio looking dazedly from Xia Mo to Zhen En. Zhen En stared at Shu Er, stunned. No wonder the process of getting the assistant jobs was easy beyond imagination. She had only applied three days ago and yet had already received a phone call asking for an interview. The hiring manager didn’t even say much when she saw the two of them. She merely sent them over here, saying that they want the stars to interact with them and choose the one to their liking. Zhen En sighed, and here she was, thinking that luck has finally come their way and the money earned from this summer will be abundant. But, in reality, they were applying to be Yao Shu Er’s assistants. Zhen En’s heart dropped. She does not like this feeling. They were obviously classmates; how can the two of them follow her around just like servants? This was exactly like when her father was sent by the Young Master to be Xia Mo’s chauffeur. She had spent so many years trying to get rid of that uncomfortable feeling of inferiority. “What’s the matter? Do you know each other?” Jam asked Shu Er, apparently forgotten meeting them just yesterday. “They’re…my classmates…” Shu Er answered miserably Jam flipped through the pages of their information, “Oh, that’s right. They knew that you are from the same school. The company thought that it would make it more convenient for them to take care of you, though we didn’t expect you to be classmates. But what’s wrong with being classmates? Are their characters

bad?” “No!” Shu Er blushed, quickly shaking her head, “I just think…” “Aren’t there any other artist that needs assistants?” Zhen En disappointedly asked, “Shu Er and we are in the same class. It’s doesn’t look good if we have to follow and take care of her every day. Uncle, please arrange for us to be another artist’s assistants. We’ll be really diligent and careful. Uncle, please…” Xia Mo stayed silent. She saw that the wound on Shu Er’s knee was slightly swelling, with some kind of yellow pus emerging. Shu Er sat, cowering, in the corner of the studio, her face pale. Compared to the other female stars that were passing by, she seemed lacking nourishment, like a doll that has been forgotten for many years. “Truthfully, the assistants were meant for Wei An.” Jam said reluctantly, “But Shu Er got injured yesterday, making it hard for her to even walk. Therefore we decided that she also needs assistants.” “Wei An!” Zhen En’s eyes lit up; she knew Wei An. Wei An was not only the hottest singer right now but had also starred in several movies. Wei An looked gorgeous, sang beautifully, and was known as the most popular rising star. “Please let me be Wei An’s assistant!” Zhen En excitedly shouted. She grabbed Jam’s arm and shook it, “I love Wei An! I have bought every single album of hers!” “Wei An, listen. It looks like one of your fans has caught up with you here.” Sounds of footsteps were coming closer and closer to the studio. A tall girl entered the room with six to seven people surrounding her. She was wearing a black harness dress that barely covered her bottom, accentuating her long legs. She held a make-up

compact in hand, powdering her nose as she walked, her high heels creating a beat to the rhythm of her steps. Beside her, there were people holding drinks, carrying clothes, and hauling cosmetic cases. The girl closed the compact haughtily. Her eyes swept the room and landed on Shu Er. She suddenly stopped walking, her mouth stretched into a contemptuous smile. Leaving the people surrounding her, she walked toward Shu Er and Jam. “Who are they?” Wei An carelessly glanced at Xia Mo and Zhen En. “They were chosen by the company to be the new temporary assistants. Shu Er’s leg was injured, making it inconvenient for her…” Jam explained, looking natural and smiling broadly. “They’re not to be my assistants? I have said a long time ago that, since Betty was hospitalized, there was no one else to help, making it very hard for me. How come they became Shu Er’s assistants? Have y’all made a mistake?” “Yes, yes. But Shu Er’s leg got injured…” Wei An sneered and interrupted him, “If I remember correctly, my contract expires next year. If company feels that Yao Shu Er is more important than me, then…” “I did not mean that.” Jam anxiously said, sweating. He looked at the angry face of Wei An, then at Shu Er huddling in the corner, and said, “It’s fine. There are two people, one for each of you. Wei An, why don’t you choose first?” Wei An smiled. She glanced down at Shu Er, “Then I shall choose. Since you haven’t got that many jobs nowadays, it really doesn’t matter if you and your assistant do not get along.” Yao Shu Er bowed her head in silence. Zhen En suddenly felt embarrassed. Truthfully, she

really wanted to be Wei An’s assistant. For one, Zhen En loved Wei An’s music and two, she felt that being an assistant for her classmate will be really strange. However, Wei An doesn’t seemed like a very friendly person and Shu Er’s injury was obviously caused by Zhen En. She scratched her head, conflicted, and peeked at Xia Mo, hoping she can come up with a good solution. Xia Mo knelt down and gently pulled Shu Er’s dress up to her knee, careful not to let it touch the wound. “Did you take a bath yesterday?” she asked quietly “…Uh, yes,” Shu Er answered, surprised “The wound cannot get wet. If you must bathe, then you have to dry it immediately after and then apply disinfectant.” Xia Mo frowned slightly, “After you’re done recording, I’ll go with you to the hospital. If the wound does get infected then it will take a long time to recover.” “Thank you.” Tears gathered in Shu Er’s eyes. “What’s your name?” Wei An stared straight at Xia Mo. This girl, her eyes were as bright as the sun shining onto the sea, containing some deep emotions that are hiding beneath a faint white mist. Her hair was slightly curled and thick as seaweed, her skin like ivory, her face clever. In the entertainment circle, Wei An was already used to pretty faces, but, in front of this beauty, she was still taken back. “Yi Xia Mo.” “Yi Xia Mo?” The name was a little strange and felt weird in her mouth. Wei An continued observing her for a while, then said, “Yi Xia Mo, do you want to be my assistant or Yao Shu Er’s?” “What kind of jobs will you need your assistant to do?” “To help me pick out my clothes every day, do some simple make-up, and other miscellaneous tasks,” Wei An answered, “Why?”

“Zhen En used to work in bridal shop. She’s really suitable to be your assistant.” Xia Mo replied, smiling. “Yes! I even know how to do many different hairstyles!” Zhen En said happily At this time, Jam’s phone rang and he hurriedly picked up, “What…I know…OK,OK, I’ll be there right away… Let him select the girls first…wait for me to get there before you begin the interview…” After he hang up, Jam pointed to Zhen En, “You, be Wei An’s assistant first. The trial time is a week. Wei An, if she’s not good, tell the company, they will help you pick out a better assistant.” Jam looked over at Xia Mo, “As for you, help out Shu Er. She has a recording today until 8:00. After she’s done, go with her to the hospital; be sure to take extra care of her leg. Let’s arrange it this way for the time being. I have to go first. If you need something then call me, bye!” Jam hurried away. Zhen En happily winked at Xia Mo. Standing before Wei An, she tried to restrain her excitement and extended her hand. “My name is Jiang Zhen En. I really, really like your songs. I will do my best as your assistant. If I do something wrong, then please tell me. I will definitely correct it!” “Hmm.” Wei An, not seeming to see Zhen En’s extending hand, merely grunted, her sharp eyes still on Xia Mo. “You’ll be sorry.” She coldly said Xia Mo smiled faintly. She went to the water cooler and got Shu Er a cup of warm water. Wei An turned, fuming, her heels creating a “tap, tap, tap” as she left. Zhen En shot Xia Mo a victory sign but quickly followed Wei An, not wanting to get left behind. The recording studio suddenly became a lot quieter. “I’m sorry…” Yao Shu Er quietly apologized. Xia Mo placed the cup of water in Shu Er’s hand, smiled

and said, “Drink some water. Your voice will sound better when recording later.” “Wei An does not like me because…” Shu Er paused, her eyes red, “I’m sorry. I let her anger spread on to you.” Xia Mo shook her head, “No, you think too much. Look, the director is calling you. Let me help you, careful…” For the rest of the time, Xia Mo sat quietly in the corner, watching Shu Er dance and sing on stage, as if her knee injury was forgotten. An hour later, the show was done recording. After taking Shu Er to the doctor then sending her home, it was already 10 o’clock. Yi Cheng was sitting in the living room sofa, reading and waiting for her. Seeing that Xia Mo was back, he went into the kitchen and brought out a tray full of food. He stayed to watch her eat and wash the dishes before returning to his room. Xia Mo leaned back on the small sofa, staring at the ceiling in daze. After a while, she took a deep breath and began to take out her study materials, preparing to study for the final exam. ___________ Under Xia Mo’s care, Shu Er’s knee healed quickly. With just a little more than a week’s time, the old wound scab had fallen off, exposing the newly grown pink skin. Because she was Shu Er’s assistant, Xia Mo would meet her after class and go with her to the recording studio; as the two interacted more with each other, they gradually became closer. Zhen En was a little jealous. Since the two of them have become artists’ assistants and resigned from the bakery, their only opportunity to meet was in class. However, Xia Mo was always very focused, listening intently and taking notes, telling Zhen En not to bother her. Zhen En really felt pitiful. The only time the two of them had to chat was those few minutes between classes. However, those few

precious minutes were also stolen by Yao Shu Er. Sometimes, she would look like she had a cold, other times a sore throat, being all fragile and making Xia Mo fuss over her worriedly. How could someone be so delicate? Zhen En thought, displeased. Being an assistant was very different from what Zhen En had imagined. When they’re busy, she would always be running; running to get drinks, running to bring clothes, running to get the make-up bags, running to get the umbrella to block the sun rays, running to find the phone to order lunch boxes. She really wished she could grow eight arms and eight legs to be able to do the tasks faster. But when they’re not busy, there would be absolutely nothing to do. She just sat and watched Wei An sings or records shows for hours. Zhen En would be bored to death and she could not do anything else except wait for Wei An to signal for her. It was just so dull. In comparison, Zhen En would rather be running to death than to sit rotting in a corner. But today was really lucky indeed. Wei An and Yao Shu Er were to participate in a variety show together, giving Zhen En an opportunity to chat with Xia Mo. “There is only a week until the final exam. I really don’t know what to do. I just don’t have time to review the materials.” Zhen En said, frustrated “The topic for Economy and Trade is very simple. Tomorrow, at school, I’ll give you my sorted notes. If you don’t have enough time, then just read the highlighted parts. Those are the parts that are on almost every past exam. But for Statistics, you’re going to have to put in a bit more effort. The questions are difficult to interpret, not to mention that the answers can vary depending on the way of calculation, so just reviewing book materials is not enough.” Xia Mo saw that Wei An had already finished recording and was

talking with Jam, seemingly introducing the tall girl standing next to her. “Do you need to go? Wei An is already over there.” Zhen En looked, “Wei An is recommending her cousin again. Me going over is just going to bother them.” “Cousin?” “Yes, I heard that Jam is in charge of selecting the new artists for the company. There are already several girls selected, but none are especially outstanding. A lot of current stars are recommending their friends and family to Jam, as not to let the opportunities go to outsiders. I have met Wei An’s cousin several times. She seems very good, very unique. If she does get in the company, her chances of becoming famous are great.” Zhen En turned to look at Xia Mo, “Truthfully, I think you’re even more beautiful than she is. If someone would recommend you, then maybe you’ll become the hottest star yet.” Xia Mo laughed, “I can’t sing.” “What do you mean? You had even participated in “Superstar” before!” exclaimed Zhen En. After a while, she continued, “Did you know? Wei An is completely different without makeup, and Shu Er is not even that beautiful. But you, you don’t even have to put on any makeup in order to shine.” Suddenly her eyes popped wide open. Yao Shu Er had also finished recording and came out. As she passed, Wei An, whether intentionally or not, shifted her shoulder, bumping it into Shu Er, causing her to fall. Zhen En and Xia Mo looked at each other in surprise. Xia Mo bit her lip. The two of them shot up as Xia Mo ran over. Luckily, Shu Er was not injured. She sat on the ground in shock, staring blankly at Wei An, looking as if she was about to cry. Xia Mo hurriedly helped Shu Er up, handed her a towel to clean the dirt on her left arm, and worriedly

ask if she was hurt anywhere. Shu Er’s whole body trembled, as, drop by drop, her tears fell to the ground. Jam rubbed his face impatiently. Zhen En stood behind Wei An, stunned, unable to say a word. On the other hand, Wei An’s cousin knelt down to pick up Shu Er’s bag from the ground and, feeling sorry, handed it to Xia Mo. “I’m sorry. Just now…” The girl was slim, about 174cm tall, her hair thin and short. Even with no make-up on, her face was still fresh and bright, though a bit like a boy. “Yao Shu Er!” Wei An shouted, making everyone there jumped in surprise and glanced over. Zhen En, embarrassed, wanted to grab Wei An back but Wei An ignored her and step forward, her eyes wide and furious. She stared intently into the tearful eyes of Yao Shu Er. “I’m warning you! My patience is limited! Damn it! If you keep making me mad, then I would have to see, in this industry, are you going to disappear or am I going to be finished!” The people witnessing this turned to look at each other, trying to understand why Wei An was yelling crazily when she was the one that knocked Shu Er down. Yao Shu Er stood shaking with her eyes closed. Tears run down her pale cheek like a river. Xia Mo hugged Shu Er’s shoulder, feeling the weight of Shu Er’s entire body leaning against her. Shu Er’s skin was ice cold, shivering rapidly like a wounded bird. Xia Mo took a deep breath, slowly covering up the feelings in her eyes. She looked at Wei An, “Please do not be so loud. Shu Er had just fallen down.” “She fell down?! You mean to say I hit her?! I stand here so clearly, how could I have hit her?!” The more Wei An talked, the angrier she become, the louder her voice got, “I really don’t understand?! There is so

much space here for her to walk but why must she crowd over to my side?! Yao Shu Er, if you keep playing games, I’m going to make sure that there will be no more jobs for you!” “Jie, stop.” The cousin tried to calm Wei An down while smiling apologetically at Shu Er and Xia Mo. “Ok, Ok.” Jam’s patience had ran out as he sincerely wished Wei An would shut up. “I’m sorry…” Shu Er said, trembling. She huddled in Xia Mo’s arms as tears continued to silently fall down her cheeks, “Wei An…Wei An did not hit me…I wasn’t careful…I…I did not mean to crowd over to Wei An…it’s just…I was looking for Jam…to discuss some things…” “Ha!” Wei An sneered, “You have something to say to Jam? Can’t it be said on the phone? Can’t it be said another time? You just had to come over when I’m talking?! You really think I don’t know what your intentions are?!” “Alright. Shu Er, what do you want? Speak.” Jam’s head ached severely, longing to sew Wei An’s mouth shut. Luckily there were no reporters in the crowd. If not, tomorrow’s headlines would definitely spell out disaster. Wei An stared at Shu Er coldly, as if she was waiting to see what kind of rubbish the latter was going to say. “I heard that there’s a selection for new artists…I…I think Xia Mo would be suitable… It looked like Wei An was also recommending someone…so I thought since it’s the same topic…I wanted to talk to Jam too…” Shu Er’s face was pale, her words disconnected. Zhen En’s mouth dropped in surprised. Wei An was also stunned, her eyes narrowing to look at Shu Er. Xia Mo looked up, startled. Shu Er turned, meeting Xia Mo’s eyes with her own. She looked pitiful and apologetic, as if she was sorry for involving Xia Mo. Jam massaged his temple, his head aching, “You just need to take care of yourself. You don’t need to worry

about the company’s intention to select new artists.” “But, isn’t Wei An’s cousin…” Shu Er asked quietly “She…” Jam coughed dryly, and shot a glance at the girl mentioned, “She firstly has to participate in the company’s training. The decision will then be based on her performance. Nothing is for sure yet.” “Then can you give Xia Mo a chance?” Shu Er’s voice was timid, but insisting. “Well…” Jam began coughing “I believe that Xia Mo will be very good. As long as you give her the opportunity, she will definitely not let you down.” Shu Er softly pleaded “Yes! Xia Mo had participated in the show, “Superstar,” before and had continuously won first place. A lot of the media had come looking for Xia Mo then, but she was too concerned about her education, or else, now, she would be…” Zhen En could not help excitedly interrupting, not noticing that Xia Mo was signalling her to be quiet, too eager to aid. “On her own effort?!” Wei An glared at Zhen En, then turned to looked at Xia Mo with disdain. “You want to be a singer? Want to record an album? Want to enter the entertainment industry? What right do you have? Based on that face of yours? This circle has plenty of girls prettier than you are. How many of them failed to climb up, only to sit in a corner, crying. What right do you have to try to squeeze in? You even had the gall to get Yao Shu Er to recommend you? Ha! She can barely help herself. What strength does she have to recommend you?” Xia Mo calmly looked at her and said, “I am merely Shu Er’s assistant.” “Assistant? I’m afraid you’re just using Yao Shu Er as your springboard! I have seen many people like you in this circle.” “Yes, I am a springboard,” Shu Er’s lips were pale but she turned to look at Wei An determinedly, “That year,

you used me to jump up and now, you are a bright star. Since I’m willing to be a springboard, I’m not complaining so why are you? Xia Mo is my assistant, my classmate, and my friend. You can recommend your cousin. Why can’t I recommend Xia Mo?” “Willing? What have you done-” Wei An yelled furiously, loud enough that everyone in the studio could hear every word clearly. “All of you shut up!” Jam shouted angrily, his vein looking like it’s about to burst “You and you,” he pointed to Xia Mo and Wei An’s cousin, “3 o’clock tomorrow, go to the company to start training. Wei An, Shu Er, please know your own status!” Finished, Jam walked stiffly away. Shu Er and Wei An had rarely seen Jam so angry before, and could do nothing but to stare blankly after him. Xia Mo was also bewildered. Only Zhen En was shaking in joy, wishing she could jump up and cheered. How great is this?! Xia Mo was going to be a star! ___________ That night. In the open food stall on the street. “Pow!” Opening a can of beer, Zhen En excitedly forced it into Xia Mo’s hands, and loudly said, “Congratulations on entering the entertainment industry! Do well!” Xia Mo gently put the beer down. “I do not wish to enter it.” “Why?!” Zhen En exclaimed in surprise “The entertainment world is too complicated, I may not be able to adapt.” Xia Mo answered, “Even if I am able to adapt, that kind of life is not likely to be a happy one.” “…That’s true. Look at Wei An and Shu Er. I can’t understand why they are like oil and water. Reading past magazines, the entertainment world is really scary.” Zhen En scratched her head, “But, it does emit

such bright and dazzling lights. After all, why would so many people try to get in?” Xia Mo took a sip of beer. “And, don’t you need a lot of money? Your tuition fees, Xiao Chen’s tuition fees, not to mention his medical expenses…” Zhen En looked at her seriously, “Being a star is the fastest way to earn the most money.” Xia Mo’s hand tightened on the can of beer, her eyes gradually dimmed as her smile turned bittersweet. After a long silence. She took a deep breath and looked up, her eyes bright as stars. “Thank you, Zhen En.” “Huh?” “It’s a shame. Being in school for so long had actually made me timid. You’re right. I have to earn enough money.” Xia Mo raised her beer can and finished in one shot, her cheeks slowly turning red like a descending summer sun. “Let celebrate the opportunity to enter the entertainment world! I will do my best!” “Go, go!” The two girls shouted at the top of their lungs. “I will definitely be successful!” “You will win!” “To become popular in all of Asia!” “To become a superstar, a super superstar!” There were only a few side dishes on the round table, the two girls continued to laugh together as the other guests hurried away, the stall owner continuously throwing worried looks at them. With the stars twinkling in the night sky, Xia Mo drank a total of five cans of beer. She went home drunk, and spent all night vomiting. Yi Cheng also spent the whole night taking care of her, unable to sleep. The next morning at Sun Entertainment Company, there was no signs of drunkenness on Xia Mo. The

receptionist sent her to the conference room on the third floor of the East side. Seeing that there were too many people waiting for the elevator, Xia Mo took the stairs. The staircase was made of black marble, with mosaic flowers decorating each step. The dark wooden handrail was lined with gold, revealing a gorgeous extravagance. The conference room’s door was also black, with the company’s logo embedded in gold in the middle. Xia Mo knocked on the door. Hearing no response, she pushed the door opened and went in. Inside were three girls. One was very cute, with a face like a doll. Another was glamorous though looked a bit cold. The last one’s beauty was nothing extraordinary but was very voluptuous. They were talking and laughing with each other when Xia Mo walked in. Seeing Xia Mo, all three were a bit surprised but immediately, all of their eyes changed, looking very strange. They observed her coldly then went back to talking. Xia Mo felt awkward standing there. “Is this where the trainees are supposed to meet?” she asked No one answered. The three girls completely ignored her, as if she was merely air. There was a large oval table in the middle of the conference room. The three girls were sitting on the left side; Xia Mo sat on the right, facing them. She smiled at them. The doll faced girl looked surprised then hesitatingly smiled back, a bit embarrassed. The other two girls glared at her and she quickly looked away, her smile all but gone. At this time, the conference room’s door opened once again. Wei An’s cousin from yesterday walked in. She

was wearing a simple T-shirt and jeans, looking more like a handsome boy than ever. The three girls stared at her just as coldly. Xia Mo, however, gave a shy smile. “Hello, I’m Pan Nan.” She sat down beside Xia Mo and extended her right hand. “I’m Yi Xia Mo.” The two shook hands. “Ah, how great is this? The people who got in due to their hard work and talent sit on one side while the people who got in due to connections sit on the other.” The sound of sarcastic mockery rang across the room. Before anyone could respond, the door was pushed open for the third time. The five girls quickly stood up. A total of three people came in. Jam was on the right, a blonde-haired man on the left, and in the middle was a man about 30 years old, looking a bit feminine, wearing a rose shaped ruby ring on his finger, and was waving his hand in the air. “I am Cai Ni, the company’s publicity manager, in charge of the entire selection of new artists. This is Jam; he’s the company’s best agent. This is Alan; he will be responsible for your training. These coming days, you five will be training together. By the way, have all you become familiar with each other yet?” The five girls remained silent. Cai Ni looked at them in surprised, “As artists, you must have the ability to comprehend each new situation and adapt quickly! Alan!” “I will teach them.” The blonde male nodded Cai Ni calmly continued, “There are a total of five of you that are selected for this training. The company is very optimistic about all of you and value each of you equally. We will invite the best teachers to teach you singing, dancing, etiquette, etc. Everyone have to try

their hardest! At the end of the training, the company will select the best two to officially debut. The rest will have to wait for future opportunities.” The atmosphere in the room became strangely silent. The three girls on the left looked at each other then, at the same time, turned to look at Xia Mo and Pan Nan opposite of them. Only two will be able to release an album. The three of them got this far using their own ability. Why must they be put together with these two, who only managed to squeeze in due to connections? It was truly unfair. “Next, I have some good news to tell you!” The ruby ring emitted a brilliant light that was dancing in the air as Cai Ni waved his hand, pretending to be mysterious, “When the time comes for you to release your album, in order to increase its popularity, the company deliberately invited the hottest star to support you. That star will sing a duet song with one of you for the album.” “Who?” the voluptuous girl couldn’t help but ask “Can it be…” The doll faced girl trailed off, thinking it was impossible. “Is it Wei An? Yu Jing Yi? Yao Shu Er?…” The glamorous girl asked, leaning on the edge of her chair Pan Nan smiled. Xia Mo had been busy studying and working and, therefore, was not too familiar with all the stars. Their world was too far away from hers. Cai Ni, proudly shaking his finger, announced, “It’s Luo Xi!” “AH!” “AH!!!” “AH!!!!!!!” 3 different screams! Earth shattering! The conference room ceiling was nearly blown off! The three girls rapturously hugged each other. Luo Xi,

Luo Xi! God, it turned out to be Luo Xi. They didn’t dare to think of Luo Xi! Luo Xi was every girl’s ultimate fantasy. Every young girl can die happily screaming his name. Luo Xi was a myth, a legend. All the stars of the entertainment world combined could not compare to the light of just one of Luo Xi’s smile. Jam and Alan were no less surprised. Jam turned to Cai Ni, asking about the situation in a low voice. For the last two years, Luo Xi was the hottest star around, king of the entertainment world. Countless producers, directors, advertisers, variety shows, and reporters chased after him. It was rumored that even when he went to the bathroom, he still has to answer a dozen phone calls. The jobs that he turned down in a day are more than the jobs other stars received in a month. The company had thought of Luo Xi to help out with the promotions but his assistant had politely refused. So they had decided on Wei An. Cai Ni shrugged. He, himself, doesn’t really know either. Last night, he faxed the list of the trainees to Luo Xi as one last attempt. Who would have thought that, this morning, he would receive a call from Luo Xi’s assistant, saying that Luo Xi had promised to help? Jam and Alan stared at each other, wide-eyed. Amazing! Cai Ni waved his arms, waiting until the girls’ screams and excited cheers were suppressed. He said with satisfaction, “This is a great and rare opportunity. As long as your name appeared next to Luo Xi’s, you will definitely attract the fans’ attentions. Therefore, make sure to gather your energy and grab hold of this chance!” Pan Nan looked very calm. The other three girls were excited to the point of tears. At this moment, they didn’t even want to guess who’s going to be singing with Luo Xi. Just being able to see Luo Xi with their own eyes will be enough to make them

happy! Luo Xi… Xia Mo sat in the Sun Entertainment Company conference, trembling, her heart tightening. Five years time. So many memories had already been put away, gradually dispersing. Though Luo Xi’s face can be seen on posters everywhere, though he was so popular that every kid and adult knew him, though he would often appear on TV and magazines; Xia Mo had thought, had vowed, that she will never appear in front of him again, that his life and hers will no longer intersect.

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