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February 20, 2021
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Zhang Ye gave him a look. “Are you done talking?”

Flowing Time said, “Yes, for now.”

Zhang Ye curved two fingers up, one after the other. “First, I’ll decide by myself if I’ll sing a Cantonese song or not and what song I will sing. I don’t need you to tell me that. Second, if you’re here to defend Li Yu’s actions, feel free to do so. But there’s no need for so much nonsense. Let’s leave it all on the stage.” He turned around and walked away.

Flowing Time shouted after him, “Sure! Let’s meet on the stage!”

When they walked far off, Han Qi, who was beside Zhang Ye all this while, said angrily, “Is that guy crazy?”

Zhang Ye said, “Who knows?”

Han Qi said, “Li Yu’s punishment has already been decided. He was the one who didn’t abide by the rules and interrupted our show’s progression. Does he even think he has a case here?”

Zhang Ye threw his hands up.

Han Qi asked, “Is that really Teacher Zhao Qiquan?”

“I don’t know.”

“Since he said that he sings minority language songs, then he might just really be Zhao Qiquan. A lot of netizens were guessing that it’s him. Teacher, I’ll be cheering you on. Beat him!”

Zhang Ye nodded. “Mm.”



Online.

There was a press release with a picture attached.

“Zhang Ye’s Mysterious Female Bodyguard!”

“Wow!”

“What a beauty!”

“Yeah. Although I can’t see her face clearly since she’s wearing those sunglasses, from her profile and that figure, she must definitely be a beauty. Did Teacher Zhang hire a bodyguard?”

“A female bodyguard? Is she just for show?”

“Who knows? I heard that Teacher Zhang’s newly hired agent is also a very beautiful woman!”

“Teacher Zhang has offended too many people. I guess it was about time for him to get a bodyguard.”

“All I care about right now are the results of King of Masked Singers’ fourth episode!”

“Who on earth is The Clown?”

“The industry is still guessing as well. No one knows who he is!”

“Flowing Time has challenged him. If it’s really the Hokkien singer, Teacher Zhao Qiquan, then it will surely be interesting to watch. It would be even more wonderful if they end up fighting!”

“I wonder what song The Clown will be singing today.”

“I’m so looking forward to Flowing Time’s performance!”

“I still prefer Petal Shower!”

“Haha, I’ll be headed to the studio soon for the recording.”

“Ah, does the previous poster have a ticket?”

“Yeah, I got it through my company.”

“I’m so jealous of you!”

“You gotta stream from the studio!”

Even before the show’s recording, it had drawn the attention of the people!

As long as it was a topic related to the King of Masked Singers, it would be hotly discussed!



In the afternoon.

At Beijing Television, the drawing of lots began.

Before long, the matchups and appearance sequence for today were set.

The order of appearance was as followed:


First: Spinach

Second: Flowing Time (Replacement masked singer)

Third: Marshal Persona (Replacement masked singer)

Fourth: The Clown

Fifth: Petal Shower

Sixth: Sunset Glow

It was not yet time for the audience to be admitted into the venue. There was still plenty of time until then.

As such, Executive Director Hu Fei decided to organize a simple tea party at a small backstage dining area and invited all of today’s contestants. Afternoon tea was served with some snacks, even including red wine. “This is the first time that all the contestants have gathered together. Let me briefly introduce our two new replacement singers. This is Teacher Flowing Time, and this is Teacher Marshal Persona. So then, everyone please feel free to have some tea and chat, hur hur. This part will not be broadcast anyway.”

Marshal Persona was the first to greet everyone. “Hello, everyone. I’m a newcomer. Nice to meet all of you.”

From his voice, he didn’t sound that young. He was perhaps in his 30s or 40s?

Flowing Time smiled and said, “You don’t sound like a newcomer.”

Marshal Persona laughed but did not say anything.

Petal Shower looked at Sunset Glow. “The two of us are facing each other today.”

“Please go easy on me.” Sunset Glow smiled shyly.

Petal Shower smiled and said, “I was about to ask you the same. I’m not in too good a shape today.”

Sunset Glow looked off to the side. “Then today’s main event will have to be between The Clown and Flowing Time.”

The Clown simply shrugged it off.

Flowing Time chuckled, saying nothing.

When the others heard that, they also looked at those two. Everyone already knew about the provocations by Flowing Time on Weibo and wanted to find out who would be the better singer between the two of them. But as they were not matched against each other, they would not get to meet each other in the first round. So the prerequisite was that the two of them had to get through the first round before they could meet in the second round.

Outside.

In the recording studio.

The audience had started to line up in advance to get into the studio.

“Wow, the venue is so big!”

“The set design is really nice.”

Naruto: Reincarnated “This is all Zhang Ye’s creation. I heard that Teacher Zhang personally decorated the set.”

“It’s just somehow better with Zhang Ye taking part in the production. He’s currently the country’s best television show director and producer after all.”

“Ah, is that Dong Shanshan?”

“It’s her, it’s her. She’s testing the microphone?”

“Where’s Petal Shower?”

“And where’s The Clown?”

“Don’t bother looking for them. They’re definitely backstage.”

Suddenly, a large group of people arrived from outside. They all seemed like they knew each other and were even wearing the same outfit, which had a company’s name printed on it. A rough estimate put about 70 to 80 people in the group. When they opened their mouths to speak, they were all talking in Hokkien!

The audience members around them all turned to look at them.

Many of the program team staff were momentarily stunned.

With The Clown attending the tea party, Han Qi was left with nothing much to do. So she came over to the studio to help out with work. However, when Han Qi witnessed this, she started to feel a little panicked and went to look for Dafei immediately.

Han Qi tugged at him. “Brother Fei!”


Dafei turned around. “What’s the matter, Little Han?”

Han Qi pointed to the audience. “W-Why are there so many Fuzhounese?”

When Dafei saw this, he also found it a little odd and went to check with someone. Only then did he learn what was what was going on. He said to Han Qi, “They’re from a company based in Xiamen and are a second-tier advertising sponsor for our show. They had asked for some tickets from us, so Brother Hu allocated 70 to 80 tickets for them. We originally thought that they were going to organize a lucky draw to give away the tickets, which was what they had claimed as well. We hadn’t expected that their company employees and families would come to Beijing for a meeting. They decided to organize a tour while they were in Beijing and now they’re here. The majority of the employees are from Xiamen, and they speak Hokkien over there.”

Han Qi asked, “Then will they be allowed to vote as well?”

“Of course,” Dafei said.

Han Qi was badly worried now. Empire of Souls She ran off to look for The Clown. When she got there, the tea party had just ended. “Teacher Clown, come with me, quick. There’s something urgent!”

Back in the waiting room.

The Clown asked, “What’s the matter?”

Han Qi said, “There are nearly a hundred people in today’s audience who speak Hokkien!” She related the matter to him and asked, “What should we do now? If Flowing Time is really Teacher Zhao Qiquan, then he’s one of the best Hokkien singers around. Wouldn’t those hundred votes go to him almost by default? How could anyone compete with him if that’s the case? Just think about it. If the abilities of two people are on par and the 500 audience members vote equally for each person, that will give them each 250 votes. Even with a slight deviation, ten votes would already be a huge margin, not to mention a hundred votes. But fortunately, Hokkien songs are slightly more niche. Other than this hundred people from the Xiamen sponsor company, the rest of the audience members would probably not-“

All of a sudden, someone knocked on the door.

Han Qi went to open the door.

Xiao Lu was standing outside. She quickly said, “I won’t be going inside. Just let Teacher Clown know that a company from Chaoshan with roughly 40 to 50 people has arrived. They came to Beijing for a meeting a few days ago. The program team hadn’t expected that these two groups would come to the recording session together. I’ll be going as I still need to inform the other singers. We’ve made a mistake in our planning by not properly arranging for the attendees.”

Han Qi was a little confused. “What’s about the company from Chaoshan?”

The Clown spoke, “Teochew is a branch of the Min language. There’s about a 60-70% similarity.”

Han Qi exclaimed, “What?”

Xiao Lu sighed. “That’s the issue I’m talking about.”

The Clown said calmly, “I understand.”

“We’re terribly sorry,” apologized Xiao Lu before leaving in a hurry.

“How can that happen!” Han Qi said, “Those 70, 80 people are already enough to mess the results up, but now there are another 40, 50 others? Wouldn’t that be over a hundred people in total? Wouldn’t today’s stage become Flowing Time’s home field then?”

Previously, the program team had been very particular with the audience composition. For example, when it came to age demographics, they would not only get young people to attend. They would invite people of all ages from their teens to their 50s. As for gender, it would basically be half-and-half with at most a 10% difference. As for the language they spoke, this was not a consideration at all. Since this was the Mainland, they couldn’t possibly bring in half the audience from Hong Kong and the other half from the Mainland just to show that they were fair to the Cantonese singers. Moreover, Cantonese songs were quite mainstream and well recognized by Mainlanders, so there was no need to do that. As such, what was happening today was indeed unexpected. No one had expected that such a coincidence would happen, that so many people who spoke Hokkien would come to attend the recording! And from the apologetic attitude of Xiao Lu, it was crystal clear who Flowing Time was. He was definitely a Hokkien singer!

The other contestants gradually learned about it as well.

Petal Shower did not say anything.

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