Exclusive Rights to An Online Voice Actor - Chapter 77

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Chapter 77


TLC: Lilies


unedited



It wasn’t “Who is that”.


It wasn’t “I don’t know him”.


It wasn’t a denial, quite the opposite even—“Why do you ask” definitely had an underlying affirmative tone in it.


“So it was you—” This sudden realisation dawned on Qi Jing.


Sleek horses run fast didn’t give any comment to those words and simply chuckled lightly, making Qi Jing even more certain of his guess.


“I think I finally got it now.” He said to himself, his expression turning into a textbook example of “dead fish eyes” in front of the screen. All of this caught him off guard, but it was also within reason, “At the time, I only thought of IRL, so I completely overlooked your existence in 2D… I really missed the most obvious answer by thinking too much.”


He should have thought of this person way before.


He should have realized who could have that “similar voice” description alluded to.


At that time, Sleek horses run fast laughed, “To be honest, when I first learnt of your ID… It was because of him.”


Qi Jing was stunned, he adjusted his sitting posture slightly and straightened his back—his natural reaction when a topic he was particularly interested in was brought up in a conversation.


Sleek horses run fast continued talking, “At first, I just wanted to see for myself how much the voice of this so-called substitute’s voice was to mine. When I heard the first of your audio dramas, I was actually really surprised… But after listening more closely, I could still spot an essential difference.”


Hearing this, Qi Jing couldn’t help his curiosity, “And where did that essential difference lie?”


The other replied with a sly smile, “I’m way cuter.”


Qi Jing moved the mouse toward the upper right corner of the channel window, trying to control the urge to click that red close window button. Perhaps Sleek horses run fast guessed his thoughts, because he begged for mercy while laughing, “I’m joking, I’m joking—… But to be fair, my voice is pretty distinctive, so it’s nearly impossible to find someone with a similar voice type. That’s why as long as my fans hear someone with even a tidbit similar voice, they would immediately start saying some stuff like ‘you remind me of that XYZ’ to them and use them as substitutes.


Indeed… He had experienced it when he first entered the circle.


Qi Jing nodded his head subconsciously.


Sleek horses run fast said unhurriedly, “To put it bluntly, it’s just them tricking and convincing themselves. What’s more, your usual voice is pretty different from the one you use when voice acting… It only makes the difference even more obvious.”


“Noodles also said that it was audio dramas that he listened to. I didn’t notice any particular reaction from him when we talked.” Qi Jing admitted.


He had read a fair deal of psychology cases when he was doing research for the news articles. Once a person loses something they really loved, when they find something that resembles it later—even if the two items were only slightly similar—they will gradually develop this illusion that the new item was becoming “more and more similar”, and ultimately they would move onto the new item


Still, there was a prerequisite for such a psychological suggestion—love.


“That’s because your fans love you.” Qi Jing hesitated; he was unsure whether his next words would be appropriate, so he lowered his voice, “… Noodles too.”


For a rare moment, the man on the other end of the line fell silent.


After a long while, he answered in a serene voice, “Mn, I know.”


Qi Jing was about to say something, but the other suddenly added another word, “But…”


It was rarely a good sign when this classic turn of phrase appeared in a conversation. Qi Jing temporarily put the words he was about to say off, preparing to hear him speak to the end. But Sleek horses run fast went completely quiet for a moment, then just chuckled faintly.


“Forget it, let’s not talk about that.” He dismissed the topic briefly.


There could be two reasons for such a situation: one when the person didn’t want to talk about the topic, and the other when the person didn’t know how to approach the topic. Qi Jing could hear a mix of both in the subtle change of the other person’s tone.


This kind of Sleek horses run fast felt way more real, more relatable than that skittish dude from a moment ago.


Qi Jing pondered for a moment, then opened another chat box smoothly, “There’s one matter I didn’t know if I should mention to Noodles. Sleek Horses-sama, you’re a veteran of the voice acting world, so you’ve probably seen no small amount of dramas in the circle, so there’s something I want to ask you about. When it comes to someone deliberately sowing discord between me and Noodles—how should I handle it?”


The other party was seemingly caught by a surprise.


This time, the smile in his voice was gone without a trace, even becoming more sombre as he asked, “Who?”


Qi Jing briefly gave a recap on how he was “asked” to leave by multiple production teams, then told him a part of the conversation between him and Jade Butterfly, using this to observe his reaction.


At first, Sleek horses run fast listened to him without saying a word, but once he heard the ID of “Jade Butterfly”, it was as if he got reminded of something—he scoffed with a “hmph”. But didn’t explain that reaction at all and just continued to listen in silence until Qi Jing finished. All that time, Qi Jing could hear the sound of him turning left and right on his chair—it was easy to imagine him sitting on the chair pondering over something.


“Still, maybe this girl didn’t lie to me, and Noodles might really be bearing some grudges against me and plotting something… That explanation of us having a similar voice kind of sounds like an excuse.”


As he was finishing talking, Qi Jing deliberately tossed out such a statement.


This statement was immediately dismissed by Sleek horses run fast, “He’s not that type of a person.”


Qi Jing piqued his brow as his lips curled up, “Oh? Then what kind of person is he?”


“He’s not that petty and he doesn’t have time to malevolently scheme against others all day long.” The other guy said those words with utmost calmness, no trace of doubt in his tone, “If he really felt revulsed by you, then he wouldn’t even speak a word to you and ignored you completely instead.”


At this point of the conversation, it was as if the tables had been turned slightly.


The one who was laughing and the one who wasn’t, exchanged places.


Qi Jing poked fun at him, his eyes narrowing cheekily from smiling, “Eh? Sleek horses-sama, so you will go to such lengths to speak for him… It seems evident that you care quite a bit about him.”


The other man probably realized Qi Jing’s intentions and the voice in his headphones faltered for a while.


When he was heard again, he had already resumed that reproaching tone of resentful little wife, “You’re sounding me out on purpose? So~ mean~”


Once the other party started using this kind of cloying sweet tone, there was nothing Qi Jing could do about him again.


“But I do remember the woman you have just mentioned.” At that time, Sleek horses run fast had already recovered his initial composure and chuckled lightly, “She’s also a pretty famous VA, you know? Although she’s not as famous here, on the BL side, she’s pretty big within the BG circle, and even dabbled in professional voice acting later in her career. Moreover…”


At that time, he paused for a moment, then said the line that momentarily made Qi Jing choke.


“She also has pursued me before.”


“Pursued… “ Qi Jing couldn’t believe what he had just heard. There was a long spell of blank silence before he tried to confirm it once again, “You mean, the romantic type of ‘pursuing’?”


“Mhm…”


“Why?” He asked without even thinking.


“Because I’m too cute.” Sleek horses run fast suddenly laughed cheekily in a low voice. Qi Jing’s fist clenched instinctively before he took a deep breath, moving his mouse over to the exit channel button for the second time.


“I will slap myself if I ever talk with you again on YY…”


“Hey, hey, don’t be like that~ I will speak seriously from now on.”


Even though he knew that this former god would continue with his silly antics, Qi Jing still lost to his curiosity, so he restrained his temper and continued asking, “Why would she pursue you, doesn’t she know that you’re bent?”


According to Jade Butterfly’s attitude towards gays, if she knew about that, she would most probably not even think to get close to him.


Hearing him say so, Sleek horses run fast went silent for a moment, hesitating whether to speak.


“I’m… not.”


Upon hearing this, Qi Jing immediately jerked his head up before the screen, his lips moving silently in a sudden realisation.


But, in this moment, he had no idea what to say.


“Actually, I am not. I’m not bent.” That man’s laugh heard through a mic didn’t reveal too much detail, as if it was passed through a filter that prevented the deepest emotions from flowing out, “At least I wasn’t before…”


At least he wasn’t before?Then was he now or was he not? And if he was, would he ‘unbend’ in the future?


Qi Jing stood up from his chair with a jerk—a completely subconscious, instinctive movement.


He stood there for a couple of seconds, then, as he slowly sat down, he suddenly had a strange adverse reaction to looking at his own reflection because he must have a terrible expression on his face at the moment.


“Sleek Horses-sama,” He did his utmost to make his voice appear calm and rational, but he couldn’t help the chilling tone from seeping into each and every of his words, “As a person who’s had a similar experience, I only wish to give you a warning—if you have no intention of changing yourself from the start, please don’t mess with those who are truly bent.”


Qi Jing finished saying it in one breath and immediately felt much better.


Just now, for a moment, it brought back memories of that man who had once made him struggle for so many years and he couldn’t contain his anger, making him forget his manners for a moment. Still, he didn’t regret speaking up.


Sleek horses run fast listened to him in silence, not at all upset at the underlying criticism in Qi Jing’s words. He didn’t even refute him, only laughing bitterly when he finished talking, actually agreeing with his point of view, “Return Date, You’re being absolutely right: if one doesn’t have a conviction to follow through with their decision from the start… Then they shouldn’t take that first step.”


With the other being so frank about it, Qi Jing instead felt that his tone was too harsh and regretted it a bit.


“I’m sorry… I just got reminded of my own dark history.” He slowly sorted his emotions out, closing his eyes as he calmed his breath.


“Do you mind talking a bit in detail about your dark history?” Surprisingly enough, that guy’s inquiry was quite sincere, not at all as if he was digging for gossip and more like he was asking for help and advice.


“Honestly, there’s nothing particularly special about it, it’s just the same clichés everyone from the gay community has heard of.” Qi Jing replied blandly. If it was previous him, he wouldn’t be able to even talk about it, but since he told it to Shen Yan, he had already let it go, making it much easier to bear, “When I was young, I fell in love with a straight guy, he agreed, so we dated for a while. In the end, he still got married, had a son and now he lives happily ever after.”


What’s more, he even had an intention to go for a quickie when we met once again…But Qi Jing didn’t even want to recall that memory, not to mention speaking about it. He only scorned it coldy in his heart, leaving it unsaid instead.


“I see…”


The other man muttered softly, before going silent, as if he had fallen deep into his thoughts.


Between the two of them, no one had spoken for a while.


Suddenly, Sleek horses run fast said, “So, Return Date… to you, it’s better to end it decisively at the very beginning?”


Qi Jing was taken aback.


Looking back at it now, it was indeed how he felt now. But how could he at the time know how it would end?


Not waiting for him to think of a rational answer, Sleek horses run fast himself spoke first, “Ah, right, if you didn’t move on from your ex to this day, then you would miss Shen Yan.”


Hearing this, Qi Jing stared at the screen wide-eyed.


“You just said Shen Yan…”


“At this point, there’s no need to hide it anymore,” Sleek horses run fast chuckled, “You certainly are that ‘flatmate’ and your relationship with him is no doubt beyond the regular. What’s more… to think he’d willingly let you stay at his place—that’s not easy. By simply taking a guess, I just feel that compared to you two being friends, you’re more likely his boyfriend.


Their relationship being seen through was already inevitable, but compared to that, Qi Jing was more surprised with another detail, “No, Sleek Horse-sama… You, you just called him by his real name.”


Even if Don’t ask for my return date knew Geese fly north and Geese fly north knew Don’t ask for my return date, only after knowing them IRL would someone use “Qi Jing” and “Shen Yan”, those two names.


“And from what you’re saying, you seem to know what his home means to him.” Otherwise why would he use wording like ‘to think that’, ‘that’s not easy’.


The other man also seemed to be taken by surprise, then bursted out laughing.


“Return Date, you really are something—you’re virtually just like those tabloid reporters out there.”


“Ugh…” Qi Jing choked at once. Even his occupation accidentally guessed right, although he didn’t specialise in gossip, but news.


After he finished laughing, Sleek horses run fast admitted magnanimously, “I do have some understanding of his real life circumstances.”


He only said one sentence, but the teasing tone in his voice already faded away.


“That’s why I really don’t know why he would go for the ‘Marquess Shunyang’ role…”


Qi Jing had a particularly deep impression of that role name; not because Bronze Sparrow Terrace was listed among other contestants for this role, but because Shen Yan mentioned a few times that he chose it to “overcome” something.


But he didn’t expect Sleek horses run fast to mention it as well—he clearly knew the story behind it.


Although he already knew that they were old friends, there was still this great sense of disparity Qi Jing had to face—a kind of uneasiness that made Qi Jing feel as if he was in a pitch-black darkness, only able to rely on his two hands and feeling his way around to make small steps with a great difficulty. Especially under the circumstances where he knew that there was another person with a torch in their hand out there.


Feeling a bit sour, he couldn’t help but continue pursuing the matter, “That role… Is there some special meaning to it?”


The other party got taken aback, as if he didn’t expect him to ask this. He called “ah” in a low voice, then sucked in a breathful of air, appearing as if he made some serious mistake in a moment of carelessness.


“I’m sorry… I thought that…” he already told you.


“Sleek Horse-sama?”


“Don’t ask,” Sleek horses run fast lowered his voice a bit, his tone imploring—a tone he rarely ever used, “If you don’t know the meaning of what I just said, then please, treat it as if you didn’t hear anything at all. Please.”


Hearing that the other wanted to move on from that topic, Qi Jing got even more anxious instead, “If I don’t know anything, then how can I even help him?”


Today, Shen Yan’s behaviour gave him a vague sense that the situation was far from being simple, but Shen Yan didn’t say a thing, so he had no way of doing anything about it.


At the present, it seemed as if he found a clue, but the person who provided that clue was also unwilling to share anything more.


All that remained was a stalemate…


“You can’t help him,” After a long while, Sleek horses run fast said slowly, breaking that deadlock, “Only with this matter… No one is able to help him.”



A/N:


So I believe that everyone knows what’s the deal with Sleek Horses and Noodles already, en. (To be fair, whether Sleek Horses is a scum or not depends on the details, his and 2Yan’s ex situations are still two different things)


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