Previously, Fiery Bird's sound effects deputy department head You Chuan had left a miniprojector regarding the opening scene of "Battle of the Century" for Fang Zhao. Besides that, he had also given Fang Zhao a storage card that was meant for Fang Zhao to store his completed composition on. It was a very secure means of storage and had been jokingly coined by people within the industry as an 'invitation card.' Only people that had been 'invited' by Fiery Bird could receive such a card.
Duan Qianji had left a message for Fang Zhao the previous day saying that, should anyone approach him, he could just produce the outstanding card with the Fiery Bird insignia emblazoned on it. Duan Qianji had discussed with You Chuan and had obtained his clearance. As long as Fang Zhao did not divulge information regarding the composing of a piece for the opening scene, it was all right. On the other hand, the miniprojector containing the opening scene was not suitable to be handed out.
Duan Qianji had asked You Chuan, "If the card were to fall into anyone else's hands, would there be any consequences?"
You Chuan had confidently replied, "As long as the music piece has not been stored inside, falling into other's hands doesn't matter. Losing it is of no concern either. We have our methods to retrieve it."
When he saw the three interns a while back, Fang Zhao had examined their attire and equipment. The Prairie Fire internship was also real. Besides, the three of them exuded the air of newbies. It did not matter who he handed the card to. Since he had run into them, so be it. After they had taken enough photos and reviewed the authenticity, he would get it back.
Handing it over to Prairie Fire was in line with Duan Qianji's interests.
Fang Zhao was not worried that those people from Prairie Fire would hide the card. Even though the people there really loved finding nonsense topics to attract the attention of the masses, they were still a rather reputable and popular media organization in Yanzhou's entertainment circle. They would not dare to do such a thing. Besides, Fiery Bird's representative had said that they had means of retrieving it, so there was nothing to worry about.
Fang Zhao had done up a part of the composition for the opening scene of "Battle of the Century." However, he felt that it was not enough and required amendments. Once he was done with Xue Jing's side, he would make the adjustments. Anyway, the matters with Xue Jing were almost done, at most another two days.
Fang Zhao had headed to Xue Jing's place with a laidback attitude. The three interns that had been left behind shivered in the chilly wind. They looked around and hurriedly kept the card, afraid that if they were any slower someone might see them. Luckily, it was still early, and the shop was not that eye-catching, so nobody's attention was here.
Interns like them had been dispersed to various locations. The superiors had given out a few locations and required that someone lie in wait. As editors were busy with work, this task fell to the newly employed interns, and they were made to run errands. At this sort of location where the target might show up, meeting the target was good fortune. Just that they had never expected that their luck today would be so great. Not only catching Fang Zhao at the location they were at but even receiving such an important piece of "evidence."
The three of them hurried back to Prairie Fire's headquarters and looked for a senior that had graduated from the same school as them.
Chief editor Qian Cheng was skimming through newly received information when he saw a young editor under him leading three interns over.
"Boss! My juniors stopped Fang Zhao today!"
"Oh?" Qian Cheng's gaze never left the screen. He just asked, "So what are the results?" He did not place much hope on the interns. Even if they managed to stop the target at the location they were stationed at, there was no guarantee of getting the desired information.
"Fang Zhao did not say anything, he just handed this over." The editor indicated to his juniors to bring it out.
The intern fished out a pouch from his pocket with slight reluctance. Opening the pouch, he took out the card. During the journey back, the three of them had touched the card a number of times. This was Fiery Bird's storage card! A storage card only granted to certain collaborators! The average person had no chance of touching it!
Qian Cheng, whose eyes were still glued to the screen, shot a little glance to at the side. He paused for a second and stood up with a "whoosh."
"Fiery Bird's storage card! Where did you obtain it?!"
There were no pirated copies of it. Those who tried were already in jail.
"It was given by Fang Zhao," the intern muttered.
"Fang Zhao? Why does Fang Zhao have this?"
Holding the card, Qian Chen circled the spot twice and pointed at the three interns. "Come to my office and give me a detailed breakdown of the entire encounter."
In the afternoon, Prairie Fire released yet another piece of news in the middle of a live broadcast.
"Recently, there has been nonstop discussions regarding the original composer of the four movements in the "100-Year Period of Destruction" series. I believe that many people just like us are waiting for the next compelling testimony. Today, we were fortunate enough to encounter Teacher Fang Zhao and asked for his thoughts regarding the doubts posted online. After that, Teacher Fang Zhao gave us this—"
Four photographs appeared, taken from every angle. On each of the photos was a card. The "S" shaped insignia on the card was very distinct.
Whether it was really a "coincidental encounter," nobody even cared. Everyone's attention was on the four photographs.
A "Teacher Fang Zhao" had meant this for all the detractors familiar with Prairie Fire. Prairie Fire, which was neutral, had taken a stance. Now that they saw the four photographs, they would understand Prairie Fire's opinion.
"What did I just see?!"
"The fabled 'invitation card'?!"
"This is Fang Zhao's? From whom did he get it?!"
"Impressive. Where are the people who yesterday said that Fang Zhao has a powerful hidden backer? In your faces. Fiery Bird never hides in the shadows!"
Fiery Bird was the number one game company worldwide. Every single game produced by them had very high standards. Production requirements were stringent. For sound effects, from interlude music for loading screens, to accompaniment music, all the way to subtle sound effects that would not raise an eyebrow, attention was given to the finest detail. As for background music, that was really high-end and custom made. Fiery Bird would absolutely purchase the exclusive copyright. Other than in the game, it would not appear anywhere else. Certainly "exclusive" and closed off.
The music used in the production of their games alone might not necessarily have good reviews, but Fiery Bird was essentially a game company. They picked music based on the suitability. However, in the past, those that had received invitations were relatively reputable and capable great masters. Therefore, in the eyes of the masses, people capable of receiving an "invitation" were esteemed masters.
First-rate games and top-notch custom-made music, this was the impression the masses had all along.
Regardless of whether or not a composition would be used, receiving an invitation card was a testament to one's capabilities. Going through the list of parties who had received the invitation, which one of them was not at the rank of a great master? Which one of them was not from a rather reputable studio? Even if one had not attained that rank, they would have made people take notice. Never before had there been a fresh graduate in his twenties that had received an invitation.
Especially among Fiery Bird's faithful fans, gamers of every age group, they did not believe that Fiery Bird would make an exception. If Fiery Bird had given Fang Zhao an invitation, there could only be one possibility—Fang Zhao was capable enough to deserve it!
Soon after, Prairie Fire release some statistics and a list of all known invitees in the past 100 years. This year, Fiery Bird had issued quite a number, but the reason was still undisclosed. Qian Cheng had tried to inquire about the information of the other invitees but had had no luck. However, he believed, even if their identities were publically announced, there still would not be anyone younger than Fang Zhao.
"The youngest invitee in 100 years!"
Fiery bird only had a history of a hundred years, and Fang Zhao, among all the people ever invited, was the youngest!
If he did not have the capability, would Fiery Bird's 100 years of reputation be put on the line?
Although it was not know what sort of sounds Fang Zhao would be making for the game, the number of people doubting that he was the real composer was shrinking.
The evidence displayed in front of their eyes was just too dazzling.
Yanzhou Music Association's deputy head Ming Cang and Dina had already stepped out to verify it. Do you believe it now?
Still not believing?
Good. What about Fiery Bird, then?
Nothing to say now, right?!
However, just when everyone had accepted the fact with great difficulty and discussing Fang Zhao being the youngest ever invitee, yet another piece of news caused a sensation. If it was solely watching this piece of news, the scope of influence would only have been limited to the music industry and the academic world. However, being released now, it caught the attention of all parties.
Xue Jing had posted an article on his social platform mentioning that he was compiling a textbook "New Voices in Symphonic Compilation." The article mentioned the process of his compilation, the contents of his book, as well as people he would like to thank. Included inside were two photographs that caught everyone's attention.
The first was a photograph of Xue Jing in the process of compiling in his study at home. The long-retired Professor Xue Jing was sitting there, leaning over slightly to discuss something with the person at his side, and the person beside Xue Jing was the Fang Zhao that had been dominating all the topics over these few days.
The second photograph was a page in an electronic book that listed the "New Voices in Symphonic Compilation" chief editor and deputy editor, as well as ten other contributing parties.
Inside, the list of contributors contained many familiar names. For example, Ming Cang, Dina, and a few other celebrated foreign persons in the music scene. However, they were only contributors. Whatever contents were contributed by them in the book were not major.
Xue Jing's name was in the column of chief editor—that went without saying—but what surprised people was that the column for deputy editor actually listed Fang Zhao?!
It was known that, for such a compilation of teaching material, to be acknowledged as a deputy editor, sufficient material had to be provided for the book.
The tail end of Xue Jing's article cleared up any doubts that people had.
"At least a third of the contents in this book were written and compiled by Fang Zhao. Inside, he has written about his experiences and techniques used when producing and composing. It also includes any difficulties he faced when producing the four movements of the '100-Year Period of Destruction' and how he tackled it. Everything was written and nothing was hidden. Anyone with an interest in symphonic structures should take a look. I'm sure everyone learnt a little back in secondary school. 'New Voices in Symphonic Compilation' will be launched in two weeks time in both electronic and paperback forms. Please look forward to it."
Following Ming Cang, Dina, and Fiery Bird, yet another hammer had been dropped.
How much ability and potential a virtual idol had depended on the team's decisive function. This was something that the masses followed closely. As for Fang Zhao, he was the core of this team. Now, this core was starting to glow.
Yanbei city, retirement facility.
The nurse at the facility had come to promptly deliver dinner for the elderly living here. However, after pressing the doorbell without any response, and just as she thought that the house was empty, the door opened.
It had been opened using the central command system by someone inside. The nurse entered the house and saw no one. The voices of two elders drifted out from one of the rooms. Walking in, she found two elders huddled together, watching the news on the screen.