editors: apricot & juurensha
Wu Jin sat obediently in the van and couldn’t help but ask again, “Brother Chen, shouldn’t I go down and line up…?”
His agent, Brother Chen, waved his big hand, “What’s the hurry? I’ve already notified the upper management!”
After he spoke, he glanced affectionately at the money-making tree that he had worked so hard to seize. After three months of training, Wu Jin was the highest-scoring trainee in their company.
“Little Witch,” Brother Chen casually called the make-up artist over, then asked seriously, “Who picked your lip gloss this morning? Your face already looks so good, you can’t use such an oily color.”
Wu Jin confessed, “I just ate a wrap.”
Brother Chen immediately criticized him, “This program is going to be your debut, and your image was determined two weeks ago. Didn’t we agree that you would be an elegant and noble prince? Do noble princes eat handheld wraps?!”
Wu Jin mentally agreed. After thinking about it and realizing he wouldn’t be able to eat any more wraps in the future, he had eaten three handheld wraps before getting into the car.
The Bluebird Entertainment Company that Wu Jin belonged to specialized in the currently popular idol market. They mass-produced idol groups with beautiful youths like packaging dumplings and sent them out for their debut; if they were popular, they would put massive marketing behind them, and if they flopped, they would bring them back in to reinvent their images and break up and reorganize the group. The company was like a continuous fast-food assembly line.
There was a PR (marketing) team of 200 people in the company who were responsible for market analysis, personnel management, and trainee image creation. Amidst all this, Wu Jin was undoubtedly prized by Bluebird.
This was for no other reason than because his face was good.
After determining his debut route, Bluebird Entertainment had been very efficient in locking down a spot in a now-popular talent show. They had set things up with the organizers of the show, purchased a large number of professional fans, and even hired a water army ahead of time so that they could pounce on any good opportunity that presented itself––
“Wait, why did you guys come over?” Outside the van, Brother Chen was taken aback, “Do we really need to settle payment now?”
“120 dollars a day for raising signs, 20 extra for shrill screams.” The young woman in front of him smiled broadly, “Our team is very professional, and they are all prepaid. Boss, do you want to buy a golden package? We can promise to raise your little brother to the skies for 6,000 dollars by providing crowd control while he’s up there singing and dancing. It’ll be great!”
Brother Chen thought for a moment, then simply handed over the money. “Deal.”
“Where’s your little brother? What does he look like?” That young woman continued, “Even if we are professional fans, we still need to see a photo beforehand so that we can help from under the stage, right?”
Brother Chen made a phone call and told Wu Jin to come out and join the queue.
That young woman was still chattering away and selling her services, “Boss, if you add another 6,000, we can set up a support station for you tonight. 100M of bandwidth; it won’t go down even if another 20 million fans try to access the site. Add another 3,000 to the 6,000 and we’ll cover the water army tonight too––”
Her voice came to an abrupt stop.
The door to the van in front of her was slowly pushed open. A youth of about eighteen stood there under S City’s warm sunshine, looking at her with one hand tucked in his pocket. Just his brow could make others fall for him with a glance, and his face that was teetering on the cusp of adulthood had a slight softness to it that made one’s heart throb. His short, choppy hair couldn’t hide his delicate, clear features, and his half-closed eyes were slightly misty like he had just woken up from a nap.
It was obviously a most outstanding and beautiful oriental face, but his pupils were ringed with a warm amber halo.
“Hello, my name is Wu Jin.” He opened his mouth, and his youthful voice was clear and bright with no raspiness at all. It was extremely soothing to the ears.
“Ah–” The young woman made a sound and looked like she’d fallen into a slight trance.
Brother Chen had already prepared the cash and wanted to pay, “6,000, right? You’ve seen him now. I hope we have a happy collaboration.”
The young woman suddenly reduced the price, “No, it’s 5,980. I said that shrill screams was an additional 20, but there’s no need to pay for my share. I’ll do it for this little brother for free.”
She sent Wu Jin a heart-shaped hand gesture after she spoke, then happily collected the money and left.
Brother Chen finally realized, “Little sister, didn’t you say it was free? Then what about the 120 for waving signs––Forget it.”
He heaved an emotional sigh, “Our Little Witch is just that beautiful. You can use your sheer appearance just to beat others! Just now, I even thought she would ask for your contact information.”
Wu Jin’s reply was quick, “She has Brother Chen’s contact information.”
“Ah? Oh, that’s right.” Brother Chen patted his forehead and realized it too. “Okay, Little Witch, go and queue up. Don’t be nervous. We’re also bringing capital to this show…”
Wu Jin made a sound of agreement, then waved his hand, put on his sunglasses, and went to find the organizers in order to get a number for the queue.
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
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“You’re exaggerating too much, right? Sister, exactly how much money did Bluebird Entertainment give you…”
“It’s true! Ahhh!! He heard me, he’s looking this way!!”
“The one wearing sunglasses? No way, we’re so far away…”
Wu Jin had originally wanted to greet them but could only drop the idea now.
He was born with very good senses, and he also had very good physical coordination. He had been discovered by Brother Chen at his school’s hip-hop club and dragged into the entertainment industry.
In fact, Wu Jin was more nervous than expected about taking part in his first idol talent show.
He reviewed his act for the audition in his mind once again and then trotted to the waiting area after obtaining his number.
In the corridor, there were people warming up their voices, doing stretches, or even fixing up their make-up.
Nobody noticed the high appearance value weapon who was approaching the innocent crowd.
Wu Jin found a seat near the corner and sat up straight, silently chanting to himself, “Even if I can’t take the c-position, I can still be the lead dancer, and if I can’t become the lead dancer, I can still be the vice dance leader, and if that doesn’t work, I can at least be a vase.”
The red-haired youth next to him was startled and began to chuckle.
Wu Jin’s eyes opened wide, and he turned around.
“Why are you sitting so––primly? Are you a grade schooler?”
Seeing that Wu Jin was empty handed, he kindly pointed to a place, “You need to go there and fill out a registration form first.”
Wu Jin immediately took off his sunglasses to thank him, and when he looked up again, the little redhead had a blank expression on his face, “You, you, you––”
He sucked in a long breath, “You’re really good looking!”
The corners of Wu Jin’s eyes curved, “Thank you, you too.”
Probably because he was the last one to take a number, the room marked ‘Registration Office’ at the end of the corridor was empty.
Wu Jin picked up the forms and a pen, then sat in a chair to fill it in earnestly.
The stack of forms ranged from performance copyright to endorsement fees, and there were over a dozen of them in total.
Wu Jin’s wrist was numb from constantly signing his name. He suddenly felt that something was off, and quickly turned back to the previous page.
This contract was unlike any of the others; there was a light metallic sheen to the paper, and it was a far cry from any stationery Wu Jin knew of.
The first page of the contract was different from the familiar ‘XX Talent Show Season X’. Instead, it was ‘Azure Competition Zone Crossen Reality Show White Moonlight Entertainment Trainee Class C Contract’.
Wu Jin couldn’t even form a normal sentence out of this group of words––he understood every word separately, but it was exceedingly complicated when he put them together.
And it seemed to be a trainee contract for a certain entertainment company.
Wu Jin pulled this contract out from the stack as soon as he noticed it and was about to go out and ask a staff member about it. In the next moment––he suddenly bowed his head and raised his eyebrows in surprise.
Wu Jin’s five senses had always been very good. He could identify the source of a sound amongst a crowd from over ten meters away, and he was also able to quickly pick out details that were often overlooked by the average person.
At this point, the constant, regular movements of the mechanical watch on his wrist came to an abrupt halt.
The hands on his watch had stopped at one minute ago.
Then, something even more bizarre happened. The lights in the room of the Registration Office flickered, then went dark a few seconds later.
Wu Jin’s first reaction was to look towards the cell phone he’d placed on the desk––
The electronic clock was still ticking, but the signal symbol that had originally showed full bars was now blank.
There was currently no service in the area.
Wu Jin thought for a moment and suddenly came to a realization.
They were pranking the contestants!
It turned out that the shooting for the variety show had already begun!
Wu Jin’s waist instantly straightened, and he sat up seriously.
He had to admit that the program organizers certainly had bold ideas. Instead of looking for the camera, Wu Jin calmly picked up the documents and walked out the door.
The moment he stepped into the corridor, astonishment swept over him––
The corridor that had still been bustling a few minutes ago was now quiet.
The corridor led directly outside, and it was noon, so the light should’ve been stronger than it was now no matter what.
He took a few more steps forward. The furnishings in the corridor were completely different from when he had first arrived.
The beige wallpaper had been replaced with a light metallic color, and the rows of chairs in the rest area had disappeared, replaced by a display made of some bizarre material.
Wu Jin was stunned.
This was really too costly to be a prank targeted towards the contestants.
Who would go so far as to redecorate the entire corridor in a few short minutes?
Wu Jin hesitantly walked towards the display that was glowing faintly with a pale white light. Several old posters were stuck there.
< Azure Competition Zone Crosson Reality Show, Season 42 Contestant Recruitment >
< Azure Competition Zone White Moonlight Entertainment, Season 40 Top 16 >
Another poster was partially covered by the bottom corner of the ‘Top 16’ poster.
The poster featured a man of about twenty seven with healthy, dark skin. He wore a silver-white combat suit that seemed to come from some kind of science fiction movie, and he was holding up a trophy. There was a blood-stained bandage wrapped around the wrist of his right hand, revealing a few intricate tattoos. However, all of this was secondary.
The man’s slightly twisted brows and the wild momentum in his eyes could be seen from the small section of the poster that was exposed––this was a man who absolutely couldn’t be ignored.
There was no one else in the corridor. Wu Jin shifted his gaze away after a few glances. From memory, he had never seen such an artist on television before.
Rather than studying it further, he was more concerned with his current circumstances.
Where was this?
Where was he supposed to go to register?
Would he be able to make a smooth debut?
A small, dark door suddenly opened at the other end of the corridor.
A thirty year old woman dressed in professional attire, her long hair pulled up in a mesh bun, stepped out from the doorway. She took in the number plate on Wu Jin in the dim light and was mildly surprised, “There’s still more? Didn’t they say that there were only six applicants today… Oh well. Come with me.”
Wu Jin was completely at a loss as he obediently caught up to her.
That lady looked back and fell into a daze when she saw Wu Jin’s face.
Wu Jin asked very politely, “Sorry, I may have gone to the wrong place. I’m looking for the contestant entrance for the audition––”
The lady finally recovered, a blush surfacing on her cheeks, “Yes, yes, yes. You’re right, it’s here. Today is audition day. Come in, I’ll collect your registration form.”
Wu Jin tentatively asked again, “XX talent show, right? Hello, I’m trainee Wu Jin from Bluebird Entertainment.”
The lady was still distracted, but when she heard the word ‘trainee’, she confirmed decisively, “No problem. Go ahead and enter. The examiner is about to leave, and if you’d come a little later you’d have missed your chance––Go quickly!”
Wu Jin finally relaxed as he recalled that he had been the last one to take a number. After thanking the lady, he picked up his pace and went through the door.
The area behind the door was divided into two sections, and several tall and well built men and women stood around the water cooler in the outer section chatting. Wu Jin didn’t have a chance to greet them before heading further inside to the section marked ‘assessment room’.
The three examiners were surprised when they saw that the door was being pushed open and when they saw Wu Jin, they were even more dumbfounded.
“……Did you come to the right place?”
Wu Jin nodded several times.
The lead examiner was delighted, “Not bad. Young fellow, you’re pretty smart.”
Wu Jin was modest and humble.
“Tell us, what position are you aiming for?”
Wu Yu was at a loss for a moment. The organizers for this program were quite unusual, letting contestants choose a position before dividing them into groups. However, since the opportunity had been placed in front of him, he naturally wasn’t about to let it go.
The examiners’ expressions suddenly turned solemn, “You have courage. Okay then, come and do a test first.”
As the curtain to one side slowly pulled back, Wu Jin was still reviewing his long-prepared audition performance in his head. However, when he looked up, his eyes widened in foolish shock––
There was an open space nearly six times the size of a dance studio behind the curtain, and obstacles were placed randomly throughout the space. It looked like an equestrian training ground at first glance.
And at the entrance to the space, there were two rows of fully equipped weapon racks.
From cold steel weapons, to guns, to small-scale fixed cannons––
“……” Wu Jin: Guns, there’s guns, they have guns ahhhhhhhh!!!
The examiner had a pleasant, benign expression on his face as he patted him on the shoulder, “Although it’s not as good as what’s available in a genuine survival reality show, we have all the basics. Well then, pick something and get started.”
welcome to xiin’s giant pit #3 i mean, this new novel has been brewing for a while (since before i finished off BTTA, actually). i originally wanted to wait until september before staring to post it, but simply couldn’t resist… expect sporadic weekly-ish releases for the next few weeks before it settles into a proper schedule. i hope you guys enjoy it!