Chapter 116: A Situation During the Finals!
The grand hall was packed, with no empty seats.
Zhang Ye used his pass to enter, after coming out of the bathroom. The opening speech was already over. A Leader from a radio or television station walked away after putting down the microphone. Following that, two hosts came onstage. Zhang Ye had never seen them before. They were probably students of Beijing University and were a male-female duo.
“Hello Leaders, guests and everyone.”
“Welcome to the annual Beijing Couplet Competition.”
“As a host, I feel very honored. I feel like my body is sparkling with light.”
“Is your Zodiac sign a firefly? I’ve known you for so many years, but this is the first time I’m hearing about this ability of yours?”
The stage lines were clearly prepared beforehand. The two hosts exchanged banter with each other to liven up the atmosphere, before announcing the competition’s rules, “Before we begin, let us introduce the rules of the final.” He pointed to a long stretch of seats from his podium. There were about 50 seats. And to the side, there were three seats for the judges. Their names were written on it. They were the same three judges from the preliminary round. “Here are the seats for the contestants. There are where the judges’ seats are. The final will be held in a first to the answer format. The three judges will each come up with a question. Following that, the other 50 contestants will come up with the first half of a couplet. Whoever manages to speak first will be allowed to answer. If the answer is unanimously agreed upon by the three judges, then the answer will be accepted, giving the contestant one point. If you do not manage to match it… One point will be deducted. Please note that there is a new rule for this year. If a contestant’s couplet cannot be matched by anyone in the time allotted, that contestant will obtain ten points. Finally, the contestants with the highest scores will be placed accordingly for the top three.”
This year’s competition had a slight difference in rules, when compared with last year’s, but they weren’t much different. There were just some changes to the way the points were calculated and the point deductions.
“Next will be the opening dance.”
“Please give a round of applause to our Beijing Couplet Organization’s dancing Teachers!”
An ancient melody sounded. A few dance artists dressed in historical costumes appeared. Their long sleeves fluttered and immediately drew the applause of the audience!
Zhang Ye bent his back as he quickly walked to his front row seat, “Excuse me, thank you.”
His ticket was given to him by Tian Bin. But since the tickets given to the television and radio stations were concentrated together, everyone was actually in one area.
Tian Bin’s wife saw Zhang Ye coming and said puzzledly, “Teacher Zhang, why aren’t you preparing backstage? Haven’t all the contestants gone there?”
Big Sis Zhou asked, “That’s right, Little Zhang. What are you doing here?”
Hu Fei, Xiao Lu and company also looked over, “The competition is about to begin.”
Zhang Ye waved his hand and found an empty spot to sit down. “I’m not participating. Let them compete.”
Hou Ge was shocked, “What? Why aren’t you participating? With your deep foundation in couplets, it is such a great opportunity. Why would you…”
Former Leader Zhao Guozhou also frowned, “Little Zhang, this doesn’t seem like your usual style.”
Xiaofang was even more anxious than Zhang Ye, “Teacher Zhang, go on up! Hurry! How can you not go!?”
Zhang Ye answered truthfully, “I just happened to be lucky at the preliminary round. I don’t believe that I will be that lucky in the final round. They are all experts, so I won’t bring ridicule on myself.”
Actually, Zhang Ye also wanted to give the final round a try. Of course, he wanted to seize a chance to be famous. However, when he heard the competition’s rules when he entered, he decided that it was better not to shame himself. He might as well leave the impressive and mysterious impression he had from the preliminary round. Why? Why didn’t he even try? It was because there were too many questions. He had not heard of most of this world’s couplets. It wasn’t that he could not answer all of them, but he could not answer at least 80% of them. He could not use the literary foundations from his world. So even if he went and happened to hear a few questions that he had previously heard of before, that was pointless. If he couldn’t get into the top three, then it would be a waste. He decided not to go, getting rid of the chance for the Beijing Writers’ Association to suppress him, and not giving them the chance of using the fact that he did not get a placing to fault him!
As for damaging to his Reputation if he abstained? If the preliminary round did not exist, it would definitely have happened. However, he had staged an astonishing couplet duel with Elder Qian in the preliminary round, and had even won. Hence, even if he did not participate in the final round, his fame would only increase, not decrease.
Many of his old friends and colleagues were persuading him.
Zhang Ye only shook his head. He could do nothing about it. It was just that they did not understand the situation.
Seeing that Zhang Ye did not have any intentions in participating, everyone felt a sense of regret and stopped saying anything.
The opening dance.
Recital of Chinese Literature.
Ancient classic couplets were drawn by famous calligraphers.
The program lasted for an hour. It was very interesting, giving enjoyment to people.
Now, everything was being broadcast live on the internet. A few cameras were facing the podium, and a few were hanging above. One of them was above the podium, and another was behind the audience. Compared to a traditional professional television’s live broadcast, this was not considered very professional; there were too few cameras. But since it was a webcast, it was already considered pretty good.
At this moment, the performances came to an end.
The male and female host went onstage.
“Hello, everyone. I believe that the performance from before was already great fun for many, but what is more fun will be in a while. I am announcing the beginning of the competition. Let me first introduce our judges for this Beijing Couplet Competition…” A judge would walk out from backstage as the female host announced each name. Amidst applause, the judges took their seats. Following that, the female host continued to announce, “Next, I will announce the contestant name list for those who passed the preliminary round. Lu Fang, Big Thunder, Zheng Anbang, Zhou Yan…” The final name, “…Zhang Ye.”
Suddenly, there seemed to be a situation.
A staff member with a blue badge ran out. One could tell at a glance that he was from the Writers’ Association, as all the members from the Writers’ Association wore a blue badge. The Couplet Organization wore white. Different units have different colors. Following that, a few Couplet Organization and Writers’ Association employees came out. They surrounded the three judges and seemed to be discussing something with them. Following that, they even signaled to the host onstage to temporary stop. It was as if they wanted the hosts to first delay something.
“What’s the matter?”
“Why is the atmosphere so tense?”
“What has happened? It’s a live broadcast, too. Why aren’t they beginning the finals?”
The camera quickly moved away, but the audience present could see it clearly. They began to discuss about it.
The male host was quick to react, “This competition sure is highly anticipated. I wonder who will be this year’s champion. Last year’s champion, Professor Wang, unfortunately could not come due to his old age. This year, I’m placing my bets on last year’s first runner-up, Teacher Big Thunder. What about you?”
The female host smiled and said, “I’m placing my bets on Teacher Zhang Ye.”
“Why?” From the male host’s expression, he clearly did not know who Zhang Ye was. But since his partner had said so, he had to pretend like he knew.
The female host blinked, “It’s nothing much. It’s only because I’m Teacher Zhang Ye’s fan. I have memorized every poem of his except ‘The Song of the Stormy Petrel’.”
The male host was amused, “But this is a couplet competition.”
“So what? It can’t prevent me from worshiping my idol!” the female host said matter-of-factly.
“I only just realized you chase idols!” The male host was at a loss of whether to laugh or to cry.
The two of them exchanged words as they dragged the time out to change the subject.
Offstage, Xiao Lu was smiling with glee, “Look at our Teacher Zhang’s popularity! He has fans all over Beijing!”
“That’s right. That female host is your fan.” Hou Ge prodded Zhang Ye with his elbow. “Teacher Zhang, are you sure that you aren’t participating? This will disappoint your fan!”
Zhang Ye was actually thinking about how much he wanted to go up onto the stage.
Five minutes passed and the audience was already becoming impatient.
The hosts could no longer drag it out any further. Looking offstage, a host said, “Teacher Judges, can we begin?”
An employee with a blue pass offstage noticed the situation and quickly went onstage, and took over the microphone, “Sorry, but we have a situation. Just now, someone reported that a contestant had violated the rules by cheating. So please wait patiently. We are still discussing the situation.”
The audience began to chatter.
The Beijing Writers’ Association’s employee said quickly, “The person that was reported is Zhang Ye.”
A few judges were looking very harsh, especially Elder Qian. He stared coldly at the Writers’ Association employee who had went up onstage to speak without their agreement. The outcome was not settled, so who allowed you to announce the name of the contestant that was reported? Who let you say it?
The female host was also stunned. She had previously mentioned that she had her bets on Teacher Zhang Ye.
The Writers’ Association employee pretended that he did not see the fierce stares from the Couplet Organization’s Leaders and the few judges. He carried on speaking casually, “This is because during the preliminaries, Zhang Ye was discussing the questions with his surrounding friends. Someone even heard one of his friends suggesting to plan a strategy for him to solve the question. After receiving the report, we checked the video footage and realized that it did happen!”
Elder Qian was enraged, “Get him down! What the heck!”
The faces of the few people from the Couplet Organization turned ugly. A Leader from the Couplet Organization said to a Leader from the Writers’ Association, “Things aren’t even confirmed. Who let you say that? Eh?”
The Writers’ Association’s Leader threw up his hands, “I didn’t instruct him to do it.”
The woman from the Couplet Organization who was responsible for receiving Zhang Ye said, “Get him the f**k down!” Even vulgarities came out!
The Beijing Writers’ Association’s Leader frowned, but he got his employee down. But since the words had been said, it was useless to think of turning the situation around by having his employee removed!
The words were shocking. This matter immediately blew up!
Whether it was the audience or the people watching the live webcast, everyone heard it!
“Zhang Ye cheated?”
“His friends helped him match it during the preliminary round?”
“Hai, I already said it. How can a person manage to match the second half of such a miraculous couplet in such a short time? He must have gotten somebody’s help!”
“This kind of person even participated?”
“Right, quickly revoke Zhang Ye’s finals qualification!”
“I was even amazed at that Zhang Ye. Who knew that he relied on others to enter the finals!”