The Clown won!
Applause rang out in the studio!
The judges were also cheering for him!
The Clown raised his voice-transforming microphone to say a few words.
His first words were: "Thank you."
His next words came after some thought: "Thank you."
Zhang Ye had braced himself and taken the stage to perform. He never considered singing just well enough, no, he wanted to do his best on every song he sang, to relate all that he wanted to say, and to finish doing the things that he wanted done. Just like the time he released the documentary live at the Central TV press conference by himself, he did it to the best of his ability. Even if he landed himself in a tight spot because of his actions, he did not care as the consequences were unimportant to him. He was the same today, not thinking about winning some spot as the first Masked King. He personally knew that he was in very bad shape too and that he was very lucky not to have been eliminated in the previous round. So when he saw some of the audience members crying, when he saw that many of them were moved by his song, and when he realized that he had actually been voted as the first Masked King of the show, Zhang Ye honestly felt…very good.
His face was covered!
His voice caught!
But there were still people who understood him!
His voice could still be heard by others!
This was good.
This was really very good.
And so he wanted to thank them.
As such, he said thank you twice.
"You're the best!"
"You sang so well!"
With that, Zhang Ye exited the stage.
There was still another segment to be recorded, the elimination round to send away two contestants before the first episode's recording of King of Masked Singers could be concluded. In the next episode, the rules of the competition were different from the Chinese version of King of Masked Singers. The Masked King would not have to reveal their identity, but that position was also not going to be theirs forever. The Masked King from the previous episode would still have to participate in the next episode's competition and could even get eliminated from it. Meanwhile, the two contestants who were eliminated from the first episode would be replaced by new masked singers to compete in the show's new episode! However, Zhang Ye no longer had any strength to watch the rest of the recording. He was utterly exhausted after having spent all his energy onstage!
Han Qi and many of the program team staff surrounded Zhang Ye to help him off the stage.
"How are you doing?"
"You sang so wonderfully today!"
"Will there be a vehicle coming to pick you up? Why don't you let Little Han send you back instead?"
Zhang Ye thanked them for their kindness but did not let anyone see him off. After everyone left, he found a place to change out of his costume and even took off his socks. Then he took his bag with him before activating Invisibility (Upgraded) and departed from Beijing Television.
In the vicinity of the parking lot.
"Eh, Teacher Zhang Ye?"
"Teacher Zhang, you're here?"
"Brother Hu and Teacher Shanshan were looking for you earlier."
"Yeah, when they saw your car parked here they looked for you for a while, since you didn't answer your phone when they called. So you were here watching the recording all this time? Are you leaving now?"
A few of his former colleagues spotted him out here.
Zhang Ye smiled and nodded at them but did not open his mouth and speak. He was afraid that he would give himself away.
Those coworkers of his did not notice anything unusual about it. Back when they were working in the same office, Zhang Ye was not someone who really liked to talk much. It was only when the topic of work came up, or if there was a quarrel or fight with other people that he had no lack of words to say. So no one thought much of it nor was there anything for them to contemplate.
"Take care then."
"Goodbye, Teacher Zhang."
Zhang Ye waved goodbye to them and caught his breath before struggling into his car. After fastening his seat belt, he took out another Stamina Potion from the game ring's inventory and drank it. He managed to perk himself up and drove back home in a hurry.
Back at home.
Zhang Ye collapsed into his bed and coughed a couple times. He could feel his cold becoming less severe. It might have been due to the cortisone shots that he had received at the Beijing Television infirmary taking effect, although his chest throbbed and he could feel slight shoulder and middle back pain in the places he had been injured!
But Zhang Ye was smiling.
He had been crowned Masked King!
That was enough for him! It was worth all the pain and injuries he endured!
Perhaps because Beijing Television had finished recording the show, Zhang Ye's cell phone suddenly started ringing. His cell phone was still in his pants' pocket as he hadn't taken it out since he'd gotten back home. He had to prop himself up while he looked for his pants that he had changed out of. He retrieved the cell phone from them. He took a look at the caller ID and saw that it was Yao Jiancai calling.
Zhang Ye cleared his throat to try to make himself sound as normal as possible.
He answered the call.
Yao Jiancai greeted: "Zhang'er, what's up?"
Zhang Ye replied: "I'm lazin' about."
"What's with your voice? Why do you sound so sleepy? Are you in bed?"
"Yeah, I just got back and hit the sack."
"I didn't see you at the recording studio today. Why didn't you come? Haha, I saw a really amazing singer today. He sang so wonderfully!"
Zhang Ye laughed. "Really?"
"You're the executive producer right? C'mon, share with me, who's that guy? You must definitely know something. Don't try to fool me."
Zhang Ye blinked. "I honestly don't know. I didn't follow up with or participate in the production work at all."
"Heh, I thought that you'd know for sure. You didn't hear that guy's song, but it was so good that I can't describe it in words. Also, nobody had ever heard the songs he performed before. Perhaps his talent agency had them written specifically for him before the competition, so going along that line, a newcomer would definitely not enjoy such privileges. He must be a big name, and it's definitively a big name who's a supporting pillar of their agency. That's why he could enjoy such treatment from them! They're all good songs and I believe it would cost quite a bit to even buy the copyrights to them."
Zhang Ye smiled and said: "I guess so."
Yao Jiancai said: "Oh well, I'll let you get back to sleep. I'll ask around some."
He hung up.
Soon after, Zhang Xia also called.
The moment the call connected, Grandma Zhang said: "Little Zhang, I have just two questions for you. Who is Petal Shower? Who is The Clown?"
Zhang Ye chuckled and said: "Old Yao just called me as well to ask about this. I really don't know as I'm only in charge of the overall production. I did not oversee any other parts of the show and did not participate in those roles either."
Zhang Xia did not believe him. "That's impossible. Even you do not know?"
"I really do not know." Zhang Ye lied without blinking.
Zhang Ye suddenly remembered something. "Oh right, Grandma Zhang. Did Sunset Glow get eliminated?"
Zhang Ye felt that Sunset Glow was someone that he knew personally, and Petal Shower also felt somewhat familiar to him, although he couldn't be sure. As for Sunflower in the Starlight and the other contestants, Zhang Ye did not have any idea about them because he probably did not know them, but it could also turn out that he was familiar with them. Nothing was certain here.
Zhang Xia replied: "Sunset Glow did not get eliminated."
I'm sorry about this, but I really have to keep it from you two for now. I will apologize to you two at a later time.
No one knew that Zhang Ye had anonymously joined the King of Masked Singers competition, not even his parents and Old Wu were informed about it, so he wasn't planning on telling anyone else!
The main issue here was that he was afraid that if he lost, it would be too embarrassing for him!
He had thought about it before, that if he were to lose, he wouldn't reveal himself and would just exit the stage!