"Tch, is there really no one suitable to be team leader besides the few of them? I think Wang Zheng is suitable. If Wang Zheng is unwilling, even I would do it," Zhang Shan said.
Everyone was stunned for a moment, then they burst out into laughter. "Alright, I also came because I wanted to be a team leader, but for now let's be real and think of a way to get into a team. That's the only way we can have a chance to qualify and see what the outside world is really like," Yuan Ye said.
He had to decide. Should he go to the Moon side or the Mars side? Both sides still had space. If they waited for others to defect, they would have no place and would definitely be eliminated. In fact, results were not even the most crucial factor.
But words were just words. In the current situation, Zhang Shan was frustrated and unwilling to wait. Originally, it was uncomplicated battle of skill. However, now it had evolved into a matter of team politics. This was unfair from the start. The military had favored some Academy X students too much, to the point that the rest were left out. It had now come to the point where the majority had no choice but these select few.
The problem was, they were four, and it seemed unlikely that a team could take in all of them.
"Why do we have to depend on others, anyway? If our own abilities are insufficient, then elimination is a matter of course. If we are strong, then we won't be taken down," Meng Tian said dispassionately.
In this team, Meng Tian and Zhang Runan had options available to them. It was Wang Zheng and Zhang Shan that would face problems.
Wang Zheng smiled. "It's not a bad idea to take care of ourselves. I approve of Meng Tian's view."
"Tch, I'm Zhang Shan! I fear nobody! This brother is a future general, a rising star in the army!" Zhang Shan blustered. They would definitely be full of tricks, and in actuality no one knew what the army's criteria were.
Thinking that a position was set in stone for them by following a particular team was merely wishful thinking for those present, as things would still change.
"Rather than overthink things, it would be better to elevate oneself through proper training. Every step of preparation is meaningful. The long trek this time around also got us more familiar with the mecha. Haven't you all realized that the sense of foreignness has disappeared and that the mecha are like old friends?" Zhang Runan asked.
It was indeed as she had pointed out. Previously, mecha were mecha, tools. But after experiencing the long march, especially weathering the sandstorm, they had become more attuned to their mecha and were clearer and more familiar with the fine details. This was a skill of experience, which was not something any book or instructor could teach. It was a realization that each individual had to find out for themselves.
The training had been the same. Some people had been resentful, some grew closer, some had built networks, while others were only just beginning to realize its purpose.
"We should rest early. Tomorrow will not be easy."
The two girls could not wait to take a bath. These five days had been tough.
There had been a huge stir in the music scene recently. Lin Huiyin's latest single had met with a disaster akin to the Battle of Waterloo. After its chart debut at sixth place, it had fallen to 18th within a week, causing a huge commotion.
For an Aslan princess to achieve a string of successes within the music industry with nothing but her own effort had earned Lin Huiyin the title of 'perfect'. Every new song was met with strong anticipation, and expectations of her grew steadily. But one could not strive thus forever. Humans were not gods.
Furthermore, Lin Huiyin's presence ticked off some of the industry bigwigs. Why would a princess come to snatch jobs from them? She had brought quite a few inconveniences upon them, but they could not lay a finger on her, for fear of the fan army's vengeance.
The music industry was cut-throat. Of course, her status as a princess meant that the taunts would be suitably dressed up when her downfall came.
"Hello, everybody, you're tuned in to music stage VIVI, and I'm your host, Ai Le. Today we're especially fortunate to have the prince of music, Robert, as an honored guest at VIVI. Robert, I'm sure you've heard the latest hot news in the music scene, that Princess Huiyin's illustrious career has finally hit a snag. What are your thoughts on the song 'Love Affinity'?"
"Well, all in all it's not bad, if a little ambitious. She's tried to express too much in the song and ended up cluttering its meaning. Music-making requires a certain composure to it."
"That's quite right! Robert's opinion is held by the majority as well. This song has fallen short of her usual standard. It seems like young people would do well not to be too reckless!"
The host smiled. This was on Arbiter, which was similarly a large empire. They would not bother too much with Lin Huiyin, although it was the hot topic even in Arbiter entertainment.
"Yes, that's what I think. I feel that Huiyin should take some time to consolidate her work. Just doing the same things over and over again will get old very quickly."
"This music update has been brought to you by music stage VIVI. Now, on to the next topic, our very own Arbitan Robert - the real prince of music - has a new upcoming album…"
Ye Zisu switched off the Skylink program. Virtually every television channel was the same. Only the Aslan television channels continued to support Huiyin. Only, the quality of the song was indeed different.
In truth, the new single was not as bad as it was made out to be, except that the first few were written from the heart, while the latter were written by the brain. These were less stirring, and the more brilliant the first few songs were, the more apparent that this one was a flop was.
Beep beep beep. The Skylink entered a designated group and let out an alert tone. Someone had started a group chat - it was a music club.
"Did everyone see the VIVI music stage program just now? It makes me so angry to see Robert trying to step on Princess Huiyin to further his own status. And the audacity to call himself a prince? It's bad enough that he looks plain, but to put on such airs…"
The diva group leader was laying into it with fang and claw.
Ye Zisu said reasonably, "Everyone has unrealistic expectations of Huiyin. If one puts them aside, the single is actually not bad."
"Isn't it!? I think so too. Oh, looks like a new participant in the club. Not bad, not bad. As long as you continue contributing actively and meaningfully, if Lin Huiyin ever comes back to Earth- no, to the Solar System, there'll definitely be a club ticket with your name on it."
The group descended into chaos again with a roar, evoking many members to clamor for all kinds of freebies and services. Especially the male members.
"Shut up! Today's mission is a community war against those that are badmouthing Huiyin."
Ye Zisu smiled. She had received her mission, and the rules had been relaxed.
She was just about to use her account to go on the designated music forum when the Skylink emitted a special ringtone…
"I'm still waiting on my tiptoes…"
It was from her composition "I Really Miss You".
This song's ringtone had been exclusively designated to two people.
One was Wang Zheng.
The other was Lin Huiyin.
Flipping open the Skylink, it was Huiyin's communication. No surprises.
She connected the Skylink to see Lin Huiyin's smiling face. "Zisu, it's me! I'm bored, what are you up to?"
"I'm preparing to go to war for you, the loyal fan that I am." Ye Zisu laughed.
Lin Huiyin perked up in an instant. Truth be told, the situation was complicated. On one hand, she supported her sister Aina. On the other hand, Zisu was her sister's love rival. But Huiyin really liked Ye Zisu, especially her understanding of music. Put simply, she knew what was up!
"Mm, the high music society has started posting and replying…"
Lin Huiyin listened for a while, and her eyes widened. "Isn't this one of the fabled Internet flame wars?"
In far away Aslan…
In a unique recess room, Lin Huiyin was huffily reading through an endless string of posts.
Although she knew deep down in her heart that her new single had issues, she still felt defensive reading through all kinds of slander…
On the occasion that a supportive fan stood up for her, the following posts were all filled with "Another brainless fan?"
Her fans were NOT brainless!
Lin Huiyin blinked. In truth, she did feel a little slighted, but she was largely unafraid of harsh criticism. But she was looking for constructive feedback after the scorn, not pointless abuse and jabs. Nor did she wish for her fans to be insulted thus. Why would they be that happy that her songs were not doing well?
All she wanted was to bring the joy of music to everybody.
"Zisu, what do you think romance is?" She was still sore about her loss regarding the song "Love Affair." Deep down, Huiyin had a streak of pride, especially concerning her musical talent. This was not something bestowed upon her by her status as a princess, but a result of her own efforts, and she would not admit defeat easily.
On the other side, Ye Zisu pondered the question with a smile. "Simplicity."
In Lin Huiyin's mind, romance was a raging, surging torrent of emotions, a collision of stars. She thought of the classic romantic tragedy between the shepherd and the weaver.
"It's not complicated. As long as you have that feeling, then it's a good memory, regardless of the outcome."
"What else? Do you mean to say that people can be happy even if they're not together? I don't get it." Lin Huiyin's interest peaked. It suddenly occurred to her that this was creative material. Although she had no personal experience, she had seen the entire process before, after all. And a personal account made for the best material!
In an instant, Lin Huiyin had forgotten her worries. Unexplainably, Ye Zisu began to pour her heart out to Aina's sister, speaking of things she could not tell those close to her, not her father nor An Mei, who were prone to taking venting too seriously.
But she was unafraid with Lin Huiyin. She was not worried that she would tell Aina, who already knew everything.
Lin Huiyin was indeed a good listener. Although nothing stood out in their conversation, the feel of the conversation gave Lin Huiyin great inspiration.
After a long, pleasant conversation with Ye Zisu, Lin Huiyin felt that she had made great breakthroughs. How could she not have discovered such wonderful things previously? Inspiration came from life, and art was greater than life.
Lin Huiyin immediately called Aina on the Skylink. Of course, one need not stand on ceremony with one's own sister.
"Sis, are you busy? Spare me some time."
"What's up?" Aina looked at Lin Huiyin's cheeky expression with mild amusement.
Lin Huiyin looked at Aina through the Skylink with a frank gaze. "Sis, you… really are becoming prettier and prettier. I'm almost swooning with love for you."
Aina's smile was dazzling, like a clear pond in the misty mountains. It cut through to one's heart.
Aina blinked. "Out with it. What trouble have you gotten into this time?"