The intricately carved sandalwood doors on both sides slowly opened, and Huo Ren walked towards the center of the press conference.
Uncle Jiang and several other company executives were already standing here, holding the PR statement that had been revised nearly twenty times. The pauses and emotions in their speech were clearly marked.
The entire conference hall seemed to have turned into a scene of torrential rain.
The camera shutters flickered so frequently that it resembled raindrops pounding on the surface of a lake, and the flashes hunted him alone without ceasing.
Uncle Jiang had already changed into a neat and plain suit, standing beside Huo Ren to make the statement.
—All the facts he mentioned had already been revealed in specific and detailed videos and texts beforehand.
At this point, bringing them up again was just to further strengthen the impression on bystanders and fans, and to repeatedly emphasize the truth of the matter.
Huo Ren stood silently by his side, not uttering a word.
“This press conference is not only to clarify our company’s stance but also to protect the image of our artist—”
The official rhetoric had little attraction to the reporters and the outside world.
Instinctively, they were waiting for something more sensational and thrilling.
“Well then…” Uncle Jiang glanced at Huo Ren with some unease and took a step aside. “Now, we invite the party involved to speak.”
Huo Ren nodded slightly and took a step forward.
The sound of camera shutters accelerated once again, and the flashes were so blinding that he couldn’t see the faces of the onlookers.
Huo Ren held the microphone firmly, but for a moment, he didn’t speak.
He paused for five seconds.
Then tears fell in a steady stream.
This crying was extremely calm.
There was no furrowed brow, no expression of grief, not even the anticipated anger and grievance.
Instead, his eyes were empty.
He still didn’t speak, appearing thin in front of the camera.
Huo Ren lived up to his name, possessing a kind of sharp and exquisite beauty since his debut.
He lifted his gaze, his expression devoid of ripples, while the tears continued to fall.
The journalists, originally like vultures catching the scent of blood, were frantically taking photos and videos. But after a few seconds, it seemed as though even their minds had been captured by him.
This feeling was fragmented, pale, and incomplete.
They gazed at his face in a daze, momentarily losing the string of pre-set questions in their minds.
It turned out that this sharp-edged youth could exhibit such beauty when shedding tears.
Even though he hadn’t said anything yet, their breathing and hearts felt constricted, instinctively wanting to comfort and console him.
“I’m here this time,” he finally spoke, “to publicly sever my ties with my father.”
The journalists, as if awakening from a dream, once again went crazy taking photos, and the young figure in the camera finally lifted his head.
He was like a white wolf, with luxurious fur and sharp fangs.
At this moment, even with tears streaming down his cheeks, his silhouette remained resolute and tenacious, as if he would never be defeated.
After the two lines were spoken, journalists quickly wrote news articles and sent them to the frontlines, nearly knocking over their colleagues’ water cups in their haste.
Uncle Jiang swiftly took Huo Ren back with him.
“Please listen to our spokesperson’s explanation regarding the relevant situation—”
Just these two sentences were enough.
As the reports and candid shots were posted online, they simultaneously ignited a storm on Weibo headlines and hot searches, causing fans, individual fans, ship fans, and casual observers to enter a state of complete empathy.
“I should have felt sorry for him, but what the hell is this insanely beautiful capture?! Why does this young man look so sublime when he cries? Ahhh, I can’t just be a casual fan anymore, I’m captivated!!!”
“Baby, baby, baby, don’t cry!! Don’t cry, ahhhh, my heart is breaking!!! I’ll buy ten copies of the new album, no, twenty copies! And I’ll buy tickets to the concert, buy, buy, buy!!!”
“Are those saints and truth-seekers happy now? I totally understand Cain’s state of mind. He didn’t sever ties for so many years because he still held onto fantasies about his family. The blow of his mother’s death was already devastating enough, and now this idiot father, who was obviously bribed, has come out to stab him in the back. Fuck—”
“No one severs ties with their father just to generate publicity during the New Year. Those brainless casual observers who keep spouting formulaic conspiracies, please, use hydrogen peroxide to wash your brains.”
While Zhang Wu fondled the thigh of a foreign girl in the underground casino, his own son became a target of public ridicule on New Year’s Eve. It’s ironic when you compare the before and after.
Once this photo was released, its spread was so extensive that even the elderly who couldn’t give a damn about the entertainment industry were discussing it.
How dark must one’s heart be to accept money and act on New Year’s Eve, pushing their own son to a dead end just for the sake of gambling??
Was he abused?? He’s enjoying himself in American casinos. Who the fuck is abusing whom??
The anger and resentment further escalated the situation, and some people even voluntarily came forward, claiming to have encountered this man in Las Vegas a month ago!
People’s kind sympathy was completely manipulated, and before they could vent their anger, they saw the tearful young man in the press conference, and everyone started apologizing and admitting their mistakes.
The initial eight marketing accounts that coordinated the release of the scandal were completely done for. Their accumulated popularity and business were blown away without a trace.
There was no need for further explanation.
As Huo Ren didn’t explain himself, all the bystanders and onlookers spontaneously searched for information and repeatedly reviewed the compelling evidence released by SPF.
And they poured even more guilt and attention towards him.
TV stations and popular influencers were already discussing the impact of domestic violence on children, and Corona, who lost hundreds of thousands of fans yesterday, had them multiplied several times over today.
Subsequently, the marketing accounts that wrongly forwarded the information were the first to apologize.
Most of these marketing accounts themselves have no emotions or stance; everything is done for money, and they can twist their words without hesitation.
They had made a deal with SPF and certainly didn’t want to offend Uncle Jiang and President Qi too much, so they quickly backed down when given an opportunity.
Goose Rabbit Circle: I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have forwarded false information. Here, I sincerely apologize to Mr. Huo Ren and pre-order fifty albums as a gesture of apology.
Entertainment Sis: This incident really made me feel terrible. I hastily forwarded such news without verifying the situation, almost ruining the future and life of an outstanding artist. I have already pre-ordered sixty albums and will hold a lottery for everyone who shares this post. Wishing Corona more success. Weibo Lottery Platform.
All the insults and mockery were being efficiently transformed into popularity.
Just five days ago, the scandal of parental abuse seemed like a fatal blow to SPF and Corona, and as soon as the photo was exposed, it seemed like the outcome had already been determined.
SPF keenly seized the opportunity and instead used the crisis as a chance to amplify and expand their fan base.
With the release of their third album imminent, even the pre-sale numbers alone had already broken records.
The album suddenly transformed from a product that one person would only buy one copy of into a gift to make amends.
4G mobile data had become completely ubiquitous, and there were almost no fans who preferred listening to physical albums.
More and more people had become accustomed to digital lifestyles, purchasing ten or twenty sets of electronic albums, only providing their address to receive the accompanying flashcards, posters, and signed photos, which they would then exchange or resell.
The pre-sale numbers for the electronic album reached an incredible four million copies, a figure that seemed unimaginable.
Some media outlets had already proclaimed that the era of digital streaming had arrived and that this number would serve as the highest benchmark.
However, none of this information reached Huo Ren’s ears.
After returning to the 17th floor, he had been sleeping.
Huo Ren had long been in need of a thorough rest.
Since 2010, he had been tirelessly preparing everything for Corona, pushing himself to the limit. Even when exhausted, he would sleep for thirteen to fourteen hours and then continue his recovery.
After the conclusion of the press conference, he sank into his bed, sleeping for several hours. His breathing was so light that his brothers came in multiple times to check his pulse.
In the living room, everyone had gathered and sat down, their expressions solemn.
“Have we found out who was behind this?”
“We have some suspects, but all transactions were done using Bitcoin. It’s impossible to trace the source.”
Uncle Jiang rubbed the cigarette between his fingers wearily. His voice was tired as he spoke, “Seirong Media, Chuanshang Culture, Lizhi Entertainment… anyone could be behind this.”
“What do you mean?” Long Jia’s face turned cold, his voice growing deeper. “Are they doing this to destroy Corona?”
“It’s more than just destruction,” Uncle Jiang said calmly. “Do you know how many people are waiting for you to fall from your pedestal?”
The breathing of all the young men paused for a moment.
“Why do you think I forced you to memorize the Ten Commandments before your debut?” Uncle Jiang spoke coldly. “The higher you stand, the more people are hoping for you to fall hard.”
“This industry has always been about hating those who succeed.”
“Do you think you can be safe from being manipulated and attacked? It’s simply impossible.”
If Corona were to collapse, all the hard-earned popularity, heat, and influence would be devoured by those who came after, and the commercial value would be incalculable.
Not only would tens of millions of fans be forced to switch their affections, but endorsement deals, collaborations, variety show appearances—everything would be swallowed up like spoils of war.
Uncle Jiang sighed, glancing at Pei Ruye who was still rubbing his temples. His voice softened.
“That’s why we often say in this industry that it’s better to endure for a long time than to soar high.”
“By staying moderately successful in third and fourth-tier for ten years, you might actually end up with a better outcome in the end.”
Xie Lianyun let out a light sigh.
Pei Ruye had been working tirelessly for five consecutive days because of this incident. Only after confirming Huo Ren’s safety did he return to the 16th floor to rest and catch up on sleep.
While there were still many things that needed to be sorted out on SPF’s side, the most difficult part had been resolved. The remaining tasks could be delegated to lower-level subordinates.
Finally, the dust settled.
Bo Jue was worried about Huo Ren. He went to see him at two in the afternoon and again at three-thirty. When he went to the administrative building after the meeting at six-thirty, Huo Ren was no longer in the bedroom.
“Huo Ren?!” Bo Jue instantly panicked and hurriedly went out to look for him. “Where did Huo Huo go?!”
“Over here,” Mei Shengyao, familiar with the place, found him and waved to his brothers from a distance. “The captain is in the study room, he fell asleep again.”
They opened the door and went to see him, only to find Huo Ren sleeping heavily next to the musical scores and music theory books as if he had sleepwalked over.
Bo Jue bent down and checked, feeling distressed. “Quick, go find the team doctor. He has a fever.”
All the exhaustion and suppression had transformed into illness. The young man’s forehead was abnormally hot.
Mei Shengyao responded and quickly went to the living room to call the team doctor, Chi Ji went to find a blanket, and Xie Lianyun went to get an ice pack, trying to make the captain feel better.
Bo Jue was extremely anxious, but his strength was insufficient to lift Huo Ren.
“You go get a thermometer first,” Long Jia bent down and said. “I’ll take him back to the room.”
With his height approaching six feet, he easily carried his younger brother horizontally, as if cradling a sedated wolf cub, and turned to walk back.
Bo Jue was momentarily stunned but quickly followed, helping Huo Ren put on his coat to prevent him from catching a cold.
The team doctor arrived soon after.
Blood was drawn, tests were conducted, body temperature was checked, and heart rate and lung sounds were confirmed.
“It’s not viral flu, it’s a physical reaction caused by mental stress and excessive exhaustion.”
Bo Jue refused to leave Huo Ren’s side, staying with him as he drank the medicine in his drowsy state. He repeatedly helped him wipe his neck and forehead.
Chi Ji and Mei Shengyao stayed by their side, reading books for two hours before being sent back to their rooms to sleep.
Xie Lianyun faced the gaze of death as he helped him massage his arms and neck to alleviate the soreness, his hands gentle and evenly applied, perfect for playing the piano.
Long Jia and Bo Jue remained by his side until the early hours of the morning.
They weren’t sitting close together, but the room was so quiet that they could hear each other’s breathing.
As the countdown for the New Year’s concert reached its final second, Long Jia held Bo Jue’s hand tightly, and at the moment their palms connected, their hearts burned in synchronization.
However, after the concert ended, they never had any contact again, as if nothing had ever happened.
Bo Jue avoided him in their daily lives, and Long Jia understood, refraining from asking too many questions.
Now that Huo Ren suddenly fell ill, they had no choice but to face each other’s presence.
Bo Jue’s thoughts were solely focused on Huo Ren, and when it was 3:40 AM and he confirmed that his fever had completely subsided, he slowly got up.
He leaned over to tuck his brother in, adjusted the ventilation window slightly, and double-checked the time for taking the medication before leaving the room.
Long Jia carefully placed four pillows to protect Huo Ren’s side, fearing that he might roll off in deep sleep, and then anxiously reached out to touch his brother’s forehead.
Bo Jue didn’t go back to sleep but stayed against the wall, trying to control his emotions.
Huo Ren… he was worth reaching the highest peak.
Talent, effort, spiritual energy, perseverance—all precious qualities converged in him, creating a beauty that felt almost unreal.
The captain shouldn’t be injured, even if it’s just a false alarm, even if the outcome will eventually be reversed.
Just the thought of it was heart-wrenching.
Long Jia stood quietly at the door with Bo Jue for a while.
He took off his own coat and draped it over his shoulders, then leaned in closer.
Bo Jue’s pupils shrank, and he instinctively tried to avoid him.
Their warm foreheads touched, like a gentle caress between wild beasts.
“We’re here,” the man whispered, making a solemn promise. “We’ll protect him.”
Bo Jue looked up at him, finally meeting his gaze in the darkness.
Steady and dignified, like the eyes of a dragon.
He took a step back, his heart pounding, as the distance between them widened and then closed again, their breaths overlapping like the wings of swans.
Just a little closer.
If they were just a little closer, they could kiss the person they loved.
They both stopped moving closer.
And in that moment, without a word, they silently shook their heads at each other.
Even though their lover’s lips were within reach.
“…Go to sleep,” Long Jia said softly.
“Yeah, good night,” Bo Jue replied.
Huo Ren rested for two to three days and felt like he had recovered.
Although the needle marks on his hand still hurt a bit and his limbs felt weak, he was fully capable of singing and dancing.
However, both Uncle Jiang and Corona firmly refused.
“Rest for another week! Uncle has postponed all your work, so just relax, sleep, and drink soup. Don’t worry about anything else!”
“Huo Huo, let’s do yoga instead of practicing dance—”
Bo Jue started making him pig trotter soup and lotus root soup every day, filling the kitchen with such a delightful aroma that Xie Lianyun and Xiao Chi scratched the walls together.
He wasn’t used to being pampered by everyone like this, and he didn’t know how to express his gratitude or respond.
But his sleep still wasn’t good.
During the day, he felt weak and lethargic, and at night, he couldn’t fall asleep.
Sometimes, even at three in the morning, he had no signs of drowsiness and could only sit by the floor-to-ceiling window, gazing into the distance.
The cityscape was bustling and magnificent, like golden star trails traversing the dark night.
Huo Ren hugged his knees, counting the streetlights, unsure if he was asleep or awake.
Suddenly, a melodious sound of a piano drifted over, as if it were the wind in spring, sweeping away the willow leaves.
“You know the sun is in your eyes (你可知你眼中有烈日)—
and hurricanes and rains, black and cloudy skies (有飓风和暴雨，还有乌云密布的天空).”
The young boy immediately turned his head and saw Chi Ji sitting by the grand piano, the rabbit ears on his pajama hood swaying with his movements.
Xiao Chi smiled with narrowed eyes, his voice light and gentle, evoking a sudden urge to cry.
“The fates are vicious and they’re cruel (命运残忍而充满恶意)
You learned too late, you’ve used two wishes like a fool (你不知不觉许掉两个愿望，才惊觉清醒)”
Huo Ren leaned against the wall, tightly wrapped in his blanket, suddenly wishing that time could freeze in this moment.
The darkness was calm and filled with simple happiness.
Every time he heard Xiao Chi sing, it felt like life would surely get better.
All exhaustion and endurance were dissolved and forgiven.
“And if you’ve got no other choice (但倘若你已别无选择)
You can follow my voice (你还可以跟随我的声音)
Through the dark turns and noise of this wicked little town…” (穿过这邪恶小镇的暗巷喧嚣……”)
Chi Ji sat by the heavy grand piano, like an elf formed by winter and spring, his clear voice flowing forward like a spring.
The night seemed to become gentle.
The sound of the electronic door lock suddenly rang out.
Huo Ren woke up from drowsiness, and Mei Shengyao, who had been dozing off on the living room couch, rushed over in a flash.
Pei Ruye was also standing by the door, holding a down jacket, hat, and scarf in his hands.
“Open the door, I’m taking Huo Huo out.”
It was now three fifty-nine in the morning.
Teacher Pei not only boldly knocked on the door in the middle of the night but also brought equipment with him, carrying a full set of winter clothing.
Huo Ren, who hadn’t slept well for the past few days, didn’t react in time and was tightly bundled up from head to toe.
Chi Ji stayed by the piano, saying, “Teacher Pei, don’t suffocate him–”
Pei Ruye, as if building a snowman, helped wrap the scarf around Huo Ren, handing him gloves and saying, “It’s windy outside.”
As the two reached the door to leave, Mei Shengyao rushed over again, sidestepping and reaching out to stop them.
“Where are you taking Brother Ren so late–”
Pei Ruye also casually adjusted Yao Yao’s tilted hood.
“To see someone very important.” He looked serious. “We’ll be back within two hours.”
Huo Ren vaguely guessed where they were going.
He walked into the elevator with the man, and there was silence for a while.
Pei Ruye didn’t explain much either, waiting until the elevator descended to the basement level before hiding Huo Ren’s ears that were exposed outside the hat brim.
Between three and four in the morning is when people are in their deepest sleep.
Even paparazzi can’t really hold on at this time.
When the car door opened, the front passenger seat was filled with a large bouquet of white chrysanthemums. At first glance, it was intricately arranged, adorned with light blue forget-me-not flowers.
Huo Ren silently held onto the bouquet, waiting for Pei Ruye to take him to their destination.
Pei Ruye drove smoothly, his gaze fixed ahead, his breathing calm.
“Not many people visit graves at night.”
It was still a winter night with the north wind howling.
“I don’t have any ghosts in my heart,” Huo Ren said calmly. “There’s no difference between day and night.”
He was just going to visit his mother.
The cemetery was built on a hill, and the sports car drove up in the darkness, as if entering the realm of the afterlife.
Huo Ren lowered his head and sniffed the flowers for a while before asking, “Aren’t you afraid, Teacher?”
“I’m not afraid.”
The car twisted and turned, and the sound of the wind could be heard outside the window.
“I walked out of the darkness, and going back only makes me nostalgic.”
The main entrance of the Yongning Cemetery was completely closed, and the nearby walls had been reinforced long ago, with electric wires wound around the top.
They entered through a side gate, and in the next moment, they felt as if they were immersed in a silent deep sea.
No one visits their deceased loved ones’ graves in the late night, and the cemetery has never had night lights.
Pei Ruye gave him a powerful flashlight, and together they walked to a higher position.
The location here is great, with a panoramic view of the distant mountains during the day.
Huo Siyue’s tombstone had been cleaned and tidied, and the floral tributes and offerings were still fresh.
Huo Ren hadn’t been here in years, and at this moment, he felt a long-lost sense of relaxation.
The paparazzi wouldn’t come in, the cameras wouldn’t capture anything, everything felt safe.
Pei Ruye used a dry cloth to wipe the tombstone clean once again, then took a few steps back after bowing.
“You two take your time, I’ll keep the light.”
With that, he walked away, holding the flashlight.
Huo Ren stood in the blurry periphery, took off one glove, and reached out to touch the woman’s face in the black and white photograph.
After a long, long time, he finally spoke.
“Mom, I haven’t visited you in a long time.”
After saying that, his mind felt empty, as if all emotions had disappeared.
“Don’t worry about me.”
“My brothers take good care of me, and our home on the seventeenth floor is warm.”
“Mom, it’s been a cold winter this year. Sometimes, waiting backstage for too long feels like my socks have turned into blocks of ice.”
“It’s been a long time since I dreamed of you.”
“…Could you let me dream of you again, sometime? Is that okay?”
On the way here, Huo Ren had a feeling that he might cry, or that there were many solemn words he wanted to say to her.
Seeing her face after such a long time, Huo Ren behaved like a child, rambling on about trivial matters incessantly.
“I might be busy in the future and won’t be able to visit you regularly.”
“But once all of this is over, I’ll come every month.”
He hesitated for a moment, then opened his arms and clumsily embraced the stone monument.
“I’m sorry,” Huo Ren whispered softly, “for coming late at night and disturbing your rest.”
“…I miss you so much.”
He held onto the tombstone for a long time, long enough for himself to feel frozen like ice in the winter wind.
When he finally stood up, it felt as if something had suddenly been released in his heart.
“We no longer have any connection with him.” Huo Ren looked at the woman’s smile and spoke slowly, “You must be happy too.”
Pei Ruye stood by the narrow path, holding the flashlight, and looked up at the chaotic night sky.
When they drove back again, the strong wind had stopped.
Huo Ren had fully recovered and even walked with a lighter step.
His secret wish had been quietly fulfilled in the depths of the night, helplessness and fatigue suddenly dispersed. When he woke up, he even felt happy.
After not seeing his mother for many years, now that he had finally seen her, it felt like he had found some inner peace.
The others didn’t ask him where he had gone in the early morning, they just let out a long sigh of relief and urged him to go practice singing together, smiling.
The album “Only Leaving” had soared to a total sales of 6.75 million, reaching a new height in the industry.
In an industry that was declining year by year, Corona was leading the way in revitalizing the industry through digital platforms.
Fans quickly noticed an issue – now when buying albums, not only were there no crown vouchers, but there were also no variety show clues.
“What’s going on?!! The album price has increased and the experience has gotten worse!! I refuse!!!”
“That’s not right, I filled in my ID number and personal information both online and offline when buying the album… but I didn’t see any information about the lucky draw?”
“No variety shows this year? No way! I’ve been saving money to become a luckier fan!”
The reason why Corona became popular was sixty-five percent due to the exceptional artists and their works, with outstanding talent that had no rivals in China.
On the other hand, their promotion and accompanying programs were also extremely powerful.
In the first year, “Crown Animal Park” exploded in ratings, with its entertaining content making even the elderly who weren’t interested in celebrities enjoy it. There were even many fans from the older generation eagerly following the live broadcasts every weekend, just to see the long-haired handsome guy being chased by geese or how the young people fed milk to the panda cubs.
In the second year, “Crown Café” was perfectly arranged, combining interesting topics, humor, and social responsibility. It not only attracted audiences from inside and outside the industry but also revealed the special stories behind various professions, delivering heartwarming and touching moments through charity work.
The programs were so popular that the live album release events in February and March became a must-watch for fans.
If they were lucky enough to win a crown voucher, they could have close contact with their idols!! Are you feeling excited or not?!!
If they were fortunate, they could even taste their favorite idol’s cooking and experience girlfriend-level treatment!! Corona spoils their fans every year!!!
Just a few days after the album went on sale, all official promotion platforms simultaneously released a link.
Fans who had purchased the album could log in using their ID numbers.
The website featured a dynamic illustration as its main theme.
A little wooden figure stumbled through a maze, emerging from swamps and thorns, covered in scars and dirt.
The six handsome young men were already waiting for it.
They dressed it in splendid robes, adorned its features, and with smiles, welcomed it to the other side of the curtain.
Startled men and women passed through the mirror, each one dressed impeccably and looking extraordinary.
Among them were the chubby and the slim, the youthful and the old, all walking hand in hand with the Crown Six, stepping onto the glamorous red carpet, heading towards a brighter future.
“—As you enter the ‘Crown Dressing Room,’ you will embark on a brand new life.”
The scene then swiftly changed, and magnificent garments twirled past like a carousel from both sides. Lipsticks, eyebrow pencils, ties, and suits all streaked across the screen like shooting stars.
The lottery entrance was represented by a crystal fish tank containing a thousand paper cranes, which fans could select with their mouse.
Each ID could only participate in the lottery once, and the number of lottery entries was tied to the number of albums purchased, with only ten slots available worldwide.
If you became one of the chosen ten, the Crown would accompany you through the most significant moments of your life.
“Come, let’s move forward together, embracing the light.”
Next to the crystal fish tank, the numbers began to spin and change rapidly, providing real-time updates on the remaining lottery entries.
The gemstones and fans of the Crown and the Six Families all exploded with excitement, rushing to participate in the lottery without even sparing time for watermarked posts.
“What did I just see? Is my idol going to do my makeup personally?!”
“Two years ago, someone used a cat’s paw to win the Crown ticket, and last year, a dog tore open a Crown ticket. This year, even if I have to rub the mouse with a turtle shell, I’ll snatch a spot!”
“My idol doing my eyebrows and makeup is already beyond girlfriend treatment—I’m so excited! But all the beauty brands, what am I going to do?!”
This plan devised by SPF was indeed clever.
With too many fans, it was difficult to organize physical lotteries, which were prone to forgery and fraudulent claims. There had been incidents with scalpers in the past.
Now, using a data-based lottery system, even if fans couldn’t participate in the recording of the program, they could be given another chance through supplementary draws and recordings, ensuring greater flexibility and storytelling control.
At the same moment, the Crown finally entered its third year of music show promotions.
“Musi’s Ultimate Chart” had been eagerly awaiting their appearance.
Most other popular shows had guests waiting for time slots, but here, the headliners’ music show was the one awaiting guests.
The reason was simple—
Since Corona broke the record with back-to-back wins last year, nobody had come close to touching their position until this year.
Before Huo Ren’s incident, Corona’s music show was scheduled for January, and second and third-tier artists dreaded competing with them.
Who would want to sing on the same stage as them? There was no need to compare performances—they were unbeatable!
With Mei Shengyao’s terrifying dance skills and Chi Ji’s incredible high notes, even the second round would be too much to handle!
Once the turmoil in Corona was settled, Uncle Jiang’s show was rescheduled for February 10th, triggering a wave of boy and girl groups pleading with their own managers to change their schedules.
They were purely jumping on the bandwagon to make money, hoping to survive for a year or two before disbanding. If they were to compete with Corona on the same stage, the comparison would be embarrassingly one-sided. The difference before and after their performances would be so stark that they would be mercilessly ridiculed.
Last year, Corona debuted with their second album “Ridiculous Sensation” and not only defeated Feng Yi to enter the finals but also received an overwhelming number of real-time votes both inside and outside the show.
The song “Nameless Moment” became an instant hit nationwide after the program ended. It could be heard everywhere, from internet cafes and restaurants to supermarkets and clothing stores. Even if you hailed a random taxi, it was playing either “Night Fire” or “Your Crown”.
Some fans jokingly said that since Corona’s debut, countless KTVs across the country had been successfully revitalized, eagerly awaiting their new album each year to stay in business.
They consistently scored a perfect 800 points in the venue and had a real-time vote count of 10,320,000. No one could break that record in a year.
According to the rules of “Musi’s Ultimate Chart,” the champion’s score would be displayed at the top of the stage along with the artist’s exclusive logo.
As a result, the program was forced to keep the Crown at the top for a year, and singers and boy groups would come to challenge them in their music shows, only to end up with their noses rubbed in defeat.
The executive producer smoked for a long time, but there was still no solution.
…They might as well rename the program to “Corona’s Ultimate Chart”!
Now that the turmoil had subsided, Corona returned to the center of the stage, waving and smiling at the three hosts.
Host Aya couldn’t help but feel emotional when she saw them. Last year, when she first met them, the kids had bright and sunny smiles on their faces.
This year, three or four of them had undergone a change in temperament, exhibiting a maturity that could only be acquired through experience. It was evident that their journey had not been easy.
So much had happened in the past year…
“We’ve been waiting for you for so long!” she smiled and lightened the atmosphere. “If you didn’t show up, we would have asked SPF for sponsorship fees.”
Huo Ren smiled and bowed, leading the entire group to greet the audience.
“Hello, everyone. We are—”
The audience shouted in unison, “Co! Ro! Na!”
This time, their return made the other contestants quite relaxed. They were so relaxed that they didn’t even care much about their rankings anymore. Friendship came first, followed by watching the performances and eating melon seeds.
Don’t ask, it’s all about being a companion runner.
Being a companion runner is just being a companion runner. Losing to a skyrocketing supergroup is not embarrassing!
Not only the hosts on stage were moved, but the audience below also felt nostalgic.
“This time in the music show, do you have confidence in surpassing your previous achievements?”
Huo Ren adjusted his earpiece and his gaze softened.
“We only hope to bring the most perfect live performance to everyone.”
There was no suspense in the first and second rounds.
People knew without guessing that they would be the winners of the third round. They were eagerly awaiting a new result.
At the beginning of last year, Corona hadn’t fully established itself.
Like ephemeral flowers, like fireworks, like a moment of dazzling brilliance.
Today, Corona is about to enter its even more glorious third year.
Their trophy case is full, with numerous honors, and their works are terrifyingly popular.
After the controversies involving Huo Ren came to an end, even passersby were eagerly anticipating their future.
No one believed anymore that they would only be popular for a short time.
With their outstanding abilities and strong mentality, coupled with a lineup of unbeatable members, their dominance in the world of boy groups was already evident.
Which group can surpass them now? None at all!!
The moment they appeared on the stage of Act Three, the audience held their breath.
Have you already reached the pinnacle, or is this just the beginning?
Last year’s achievements and works were already breathtaking. Can they become even stronger this year?
No, it’s impossible—
“Today, the special stage that the top four will challenge is—the Glass Stage!”
As the lights illuminated the stage, the five-meter-high transparent stage shone like a glass prison.
Although the program had already taken comprehensive safety measures against falls, the visual impact was still significant.
The hexagonal stage stood tall in the midst of everyone, transparent as if the platform itself did not exist.
To perform their title track flawlessly, they had to maintain precise positioning without any deviations, and overcome the sense of danger at such heights…
As soon as the stage was revealed, the forced smiles on the faces of the other three companion runners became evident.
The only folk singer who didn’t have to dance sighed with relief. “Director, could you please secure the chair I’m sitting on a bit more securely? I’m really feeling a bit nervous.”
After the artists’ performances ended, the six young men reappeared in the darkness, their silhouettes resembling statues.
They seemed naturally suited for such heights, as well as being admired and revered by everyone.
Corona’s real-time vote count had reached 6.99 million.
The whole world fell silent, and the sound of seashell chimes echoed in the air.
The interplay of lights formed a deep blue sea, rotating counterclockwise with the chimes.
“Darkness and pain become ropes that suffocate our breath.”
“I cannot surrender.”
Huo Ren stood at the edge of the glass stage, his smile calm and resolute.
His marshal’s cloak featured a silver-red color scheme, and the long tassels accentuated his slender figure.
His voice was like a chilling gust of wind, causing listeners to shudder.
“The mad lion awaits a bloody slaughter in the abyss.”
“I cannot lose.”
Xie Lianyun raised his right hand, catching the six-pointed snowflake projected by the lantern.
His phoenix-like eyes were cool, and his silver-green military uniform adorned with numerous medals.
Many fans suddenly understood the suppressed emotions in the lyrics and recalled how they had endured together during these days, listening with teary eyes.
They couldn’t lose, couldn’t surrender, couldn’t let the world be taken over by those demons.
The two locked eyes, then raised their fingers and blew a whistle, one after the other.
Instantly, the shadowy wolf pack moved like ghosts across the walls, domes, and the crowd. The icy silver mist spread silently, blurring and distorting everyone’s vision.
The chilling melody swayed and lingered, as if stepping on the throat.
“They trample upon our efforts, wantonly defile.”
“Turning black and white into blood-stained spears, self-proclaimed fathers of truth.”
The six members simultaneously changed formations, dancing in mid-air like southern geese piercing through clouds.
All laser beams pierced through the glass stage at this moment, making them seem to spiral within thorny iron chains.
Violins and pianos produced resounding melodies, swinging and leaping with unrestrained variation.
“Mockery and cruelty devour everything, wanting to turn my heart into candlelight—”
“But I will never yield!”
All the gems simultaneously shouted in rhythm: “Co! Ro!! Na!!”
Suddenly, explosive drum beats shattered the rhythm, like thunder and lightning obliterating everything!
Huo Ren was surrounded by the five of them in the center of the spotlight and the heights. Even after their swift dancing, his high notes remained steady, his crystal-clear vocals soaring with the sound of the piano.
“The opposing winds will turn into the cold brilliance of my soul—this battle will not disappoint the deep crimson backbone!”
“The hidden despair will become the cold brilliance in my eyes—”
Mei Shengyao and Chi Ji’s voices sounded simultaneously, dividing the soundtrack into three paths that interweaved with the wind.
“All pain will be transformed into mermaid pearls—”
The classical and vibrant music segment harmonized with the deep bass electronic music, and the six members changed formation from a fishbone to a cross, then to a diamond shape. Huo Ren, with Long Jia, stood at the center once again, their backs colliding.
Long Jia faced south, their eyes rebellious and unrestrained.
“When the brilliance emerges, who will kneel?!”
The music abruptly stopped, waiting for the final answer to the battle.
The young man lightly pressed his lips with two fingers, bestowing a silent kiss upon the world.
At this moment, the entire dome fell into darkness, leaving him bathed in swirling golden light.
A knowing smile gleamed in Huo Ren’s eyes, his voice as cold as ever.
“You shall grant me—”
People didn’t even know when they had stood up, waving their hands and synchronously roaring at the top of their lungs at this moment. They only wanted to offer all their love and adoration before him—
“The one and only Crown!”