Chapter 13: It’s Not Easy — Earning money is the best entertainment.
Lin Zhen and Tang Zheng walked to a nearby restaurant.
“There’s another Western-style restaurant up ahead, and their food is pretty good. How about we go there to eat?” Lin Zhen proposed.
Especially considerate, Tang Zheng said, “Wherever you like to eat is fine with me.”
Lin Zhen coughed and asked him, “Did your family also force you to go on a blind date?”
“Yes.” Mentioning this, Tang Zheng felt rather helpless. “I really don’t know what they’re being anxious about.”
…Eh. With your type of circumstances, shouldn’t your family be worried? After thinking this, Lin Zhen ruefully said, “It truly isn’t easy.”
Tang Zheng also seemed to be rather touched and said to her, “You as well.”
Between the two of them, a kind of camaraderie suddenly arose that felt similar to the feeling of forming an alliance when the world falls into an apocalyptic state.
“Oh, that’s right. I still don’t know how I should address you?”
After Lin Zhen heard him say this, she also just recalled that the two of them seemed to not have introduced themselves to one another. “I am Lin Zhen.” She took out a business card case from her bag as she said this and drew out a business card to hand over to him.
Tang Zheng took the proffered business card and glanced at it. The tip of his brow lightly rose. “Zhen Guo Studio. Isn’t that the studio of the very famous manhua artist, Tang Zhi?”
Tang Zheng smiled at her. “Chief Lin is not only stunning, her career development is also very good.”
Lin Zhen also smiled and said, “You’re too kind.”
“I’m Tang Zheng, He Xiu’s best friend.” He also passed over his business card to Lin Zhen as he said this. “I am very happy to make your acquaintance.”
Lin Zhen looked at his title——Tang Shi Company, Deputy Head. He really was a Master from a rich family. “Being acquainted with Head Tang is my honor.”
Tang Zheng laughed softly. “How did we get to talking about business?”
Lin Zhen put away his business card and said to him, “Maybe we’ll truly have a chance to collaborate in the future?”
Tang Zheng considered this for a moment before saying, “Actually, we have already collaborated before.”
Lin Zhen looked at him in slight surprise. “Already collaborated before?”
“Yes.” Tang Zheng smiled at her and explained, “In fact, I’m also the person in charge of VOICE. Our studio is in charge of the theme song for the radio drama 《 Satisfactory 》.”
Lin Zhen stumbled in shock. “You are the person in charge of VOICE?”
The Deputy Head of a large company was unexpectedly the person in charge of VOICE?
Tang Zheng said, “Haha, it’s a little unlike me. VOICE is merely a club I made in univesity. After graduating, we were unwilling to disband, so I began to operate it as a business. I didn’t think that its development to date would be very good.”
It was probably because they were uneasy over him never relinquishing this studio that his family felt he was not engaging in honest work, so they arranged blind dates for him.
As Lin Zhen had frequently listened to the concerts they had arranged, she knew about VOICE’s growth and history. At this time, she suddenly reacted and somewhat excitedly looked at Tang Zheng. “Then do know Nan Si?”
Tang Zheng: “…”
If He Xiu’s luck with real life ladies was better than his, then fine, but how come even online ladies were like this??
He smiled at Lin Zhen. “I know him. He is the leading artist of our studio.”
“I really like him. I don’t know if you could refer me to him?”
Tang Zheng maintained his smile. “I cannot.”
Lin Zhen: “…”
Tang Zheng elaborated, “His real life is kept very separate from his online life. I’m sorry.”
“So it’s like this…” Although Lin Zhen was somewhat depressed, she understood. After all, Jian Yan was also this type of character. “It’s okay. I’m also very happy to be able to meet you. I hope that we can have more collaborations together in the future.”
She and Tang Zheng finished eating lunch before returning to their respective homes. On the way, she couldn’t help but call Jian Yan. At this moment, Jian Yan still hadn’t gotten off work when she heard her phone vibrate in her bag. She quickly walked to the side and accepted the call.
“I’m still at work. Wait for me to get off work before you start complaining about your blind date again.”
“That’s not it! You know Tang Zheng, right? I met him today…”
“You already said this.”
“But I haven’t told you that he’s the person in charge of VOICE, right?!”
Jian Yan stared blankly for a moment. “Which VOICE?”
“How many other VOICEs are there? It’s the one that Nan Si is in!”
Jian Yan: “…”
Tang Zheng was the person in charge of VOICE? This indeed was something people had a hard time accepting.
“At first, I wanted him to introduce Nan Si to me, but he refused.”
“Oh…Perhaps he didn’t want to expose his real identity online.”
“Mn, just like you. He also doesn’t like to upload photos on Weibo.” As she said this, she felt a little curiosity. “Normally, this kind of person either looks weird or gorgeous. Which type do you think he is?”
Jian Yan didn’t answer her question, instead asking, “Are you driving your car?”
“Then it’s best that you don’t talk while driving.”
Lin Zhen: “…”
She hung up the phone with hardly any reluctance.
At this moment, Tang Zheng was also talking on the phone to He Xiu while he drove. “Do you know who that friend of Jian Yan’s is when we ran across them at the restaurant last time?”
He Xiu lowered his head to look at the plans concerning the shopping mall sale in his hands. He continued reading smoothly as he asked, “Who?”
“Zhen Guo Studio’s Chief Lin! That studio Tang Zhi belongs to!”
He Xiu stopped flipping through the material in his hand and made a sound of acknowledgement. “Oh.”
“…Aren’t you a little too calm and collected?”
“Actually, I am very curious as to why you’re so excited.”
“…” Yes, why was he so excited?
“Ke.” Tang Zheng coughed and said, “Aren’t you recording a song for Tang Zhi at the moment? I thought that you would be interested in this.”
“Mn. I am very interested. Thanks.”
“…” Completely can’t hear that you are interested, okay? “Since she is the boss of Zhen Guo Studio, do you think Jian Yan also knows Tang Zhi?”
“Don’t know, possibly.”
“…” Tang Zheng felt that today’s chat couldn’t be continued anymore. “Goodbye.”
When He Xiu heard the sound of the call being hung up, di, his gaze finally moved away from the document in his hands. The corners of his mouth gently quirked.
Jian Yan had been busy the whole day at the shopping mall and didn’t want to cook when she came home, so she planned on ordering food online later. She poured herself a glass of milk, and when she received her work documents, she turned on her computer to continue drawing her Christmas Celebration illustration again.
She didn’t know how much time had passed when her phone began ringing from its spot on the table. She glanced at it; it was Lin Zhen again.
“What? Your mom shouldn’t have had arranged another blind date for you so quickly, right?”
Lin Zhen chuckled. “This time it’s business.”
“Oh, I like business; it indicates more money.”
“…” Lin Zhen was speechless for a moment, before going straight to the point. “Starlight General Merchandise wants to commission a piece of artwork.”
“Ah?” Jian Yan was somewhat surprised. Many people wanted to commission her for her artwork, but this was unconditionally the first time it was a department store. “What type of drawing did they want?”
“Seems like their campaign design has something to do with Christmas. They want to have you draw something with the Christmas spirit to print on their shopping bags. During Christmas, it will be used as a limited complimentary item in the supermarket and every owned store.”
“Oh, so it’s like this…do they have any demands?”
“Nothing was specifically demanded. Their main request is to incorporate their department store LOGO. The design can be pretty simple. For the shopping bags, I think you drawing a Q-version1 should be pretty good. You can add in the Christmas elements afterward.”
“Understood. When do they want it?”
“In a hurry, give it to me by the end of this week. They want to make it before the Christmas season. Also, I’ll send both the business contract and the drawing specifications to your mailbox. The author’s remuneration is also very generous. The crux of the matter is the mutual publicity, which is quite good.”
“OK.” Jian Yan saved the sketch she had on her computer and opened up a new project. “I can draw right now. Hurry and send me the references and contract.”
“…Mn.” Work magic wasn’t done in a day. “Apart from work, have you not done anything fun today?”
Jian Yan said, “Earning money is the best entertainment.”
Lin Zhen: “…”
Just as Jian Yan was intending to hang up, Lin Zhen hurriedly spoke again, unwilling to hang up so quickly. “Say, do you think it’s because today I said to Tang Zheng that I hoped to have more opportunities to collaborate that Starlight General Merchandise reached out to you about an art contract?”
“…Starlight General Merchandise’s family surname is He, not Tang.”
“It’s not like you don’t know about the relationship between Master He and Tang Zheng.”
“…You should hurry up and e-mail me the stuff. Waiting online, very urgent.”
Lin Zhen: “…”
Jian Yan took advantage of the time Lin Zhen would take to mail her the material to quickly order her food. When she began to work, she would certainly forget again.
Later that day, only after Jian Yan had sent the first draft to Lin Zhen did she head to bed. The next day, she had morning shift. She woke up early. After she walked to the kitchen, she recalled something. Didn’t Director He say that he was treating her to lunch today? Then she didn’t need to cook?
She concluded that even if He Xiu forgot this matter, she could still eat at the dining hall. She used the time she would normally spend on making breakfast to do her morning exercises.
During the routine meeting among early shift employees, the site manager declared that the sale was being held this Saturday, and that everyone may need to work overtime on that day. Jian Yan thought to herself that it was fortunate that she finished her drawing draft last night.
Every end of year, Starlight General Merchandise held a sale. Jian Yan had also come to one previously, but in actuality, she had only gone there without taking a single step inside.By giving discounts, it was as if they didn’t need money. Close to New Year’s Eve, every brand would also release lucky bags,2 which had even longer lines. To get one, they had to line up the night before.
If one word had to be used to summarize the end of the year, it would be busy.
In this period, many employees would complain that they were exhausted. Jian Yan, though, felt that it wasn’t bad; only when it was busy could she gather even more source material.
In a flash, it was time to eat lunch again. Jian Yan subconsciously wanted to grab her lunchbox, but it was only after she grabbed thin air did she recall that she hadn’t brought lunch today. Even though Director He had said that he wanted to treat her to lunch, he had yet to come down from his office. Should she wait here or go directly to the dining hall?
After a moment of hesitation, Jian Yan headed directly to the dining hall. They only had half an hour to eat. When she finished eating, she still had to return and switch with the others that needed to eat.
She hadn’t eaten the dining hall food in a while. At the moment, she walked up to the window with the intention of grabbing a meal tray, only to catch sight of Director He walking in. “I saw that you weren’t in the store, so I guessed that you would come to the dining hall.”
Jian Yan was somewhat embarrassed and explained to him, “We have a limited amount of time to eat. I also don’t have your contact details…”
“It was me who just finished a meeting and came late.” He Xiu took the initiative to accept the blame himself. “If you need my contact details, however, I can give that to you.”
When everyone finishes reading, they can prepare for Double 12 War 『doge』3
- Q-version: cartoonification or infantilization in the artistic renderings of real life or serious human, animal figures or other characters or objects—especially in Anime. “Q” being the Chinese approximation of “cute.” ↩
- Fukubukuro or “lucky bag,” Japanese New Year custom where merchants offer grab bags containing random products at a steep discount ↩
- Double 12 = 12/12; China’s Cyber Monday. ↩