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[Mainland Chinese Drama 2019] Gank Your Heart 陪你到世界之巅

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On 11/20/2019 at 4:19 AM, raziela said:

Thanks so much!  I always wonder about the Douban ratings and the C-audience response to dramas.  Avenue X positively reviewed Young Blood months ago but there were no subtitles.  Thanks for the heads up!  The Legends I have to agree with that score, unfortunately, the last third or so was a complete mess even though I loved the unique female lead and the first half of the drama.  I'm surprised The Rise of the Phoenixes is so high.  I found that drama was rather underwhelming and didn't live up to it's early promise.  I am glad to see Suddenly This Summer with such a high rating.  I don't hear many people talk about it but I thought it was one of the better youth dramas I've watched.  I keep hearing good things about Like A Flowing River and there are even subs on viki so I need to watch it eventually.

I like douban largely because they are usually critical enough for me. MDL's rating is functionally useless to me lol. tRoP is a case of people who like it really really like it, and will rate it highly despite its very apparent flaws, since part of it is due to external forces, the other part is entirely on pacing/writing. (I rated it 5 stars for example, even though objectively I think it's 4? there's no half stars either.) Both Untamed and L&D are like that, although their flaws are less fatal compared to tRoP IMO, they also have different core audience and criteria but anyways. When tRoP aired, the closest comparison was Tribes & Empires which had a great cast with good acting and fantastic production value, but the pacing and writing was just terrible, it still got 6.8. (I haven't seen it, this is general consensus) The director's Longest Day of Chang'an this year largely fixed that, and it was pretty popular when it first aired. The second half dragged quite a bit, the tension sort of fizzled off, the ending was lackluster. It was the kind of drama that I should have loved, history, culture, mystery,  multi-party struggle, but damn I kept wanting to fall asleep whenever I watched it.

 

Suddenly this Summer doesn't have as many ratings as the other youth dramas iirc, I still haven't gotten around to it, since I always remember it after I've already seen two or three of them. As for Like a Flowing RIver, it's also not a drama for everyone. It's set in mostly 80s against the backdrop of economic reform, the characterisation is pretty good, although I have complaints about one of the protagonists, and the third that barely appear. It was the kind of drama that I could appreciate from afar but never super invested in. Wang Kai's fans should like it though, since his character was well written and well acted, none of the drama's flaws had anything to do with him.

 

On 11/20/2019 at 4:19 AM, raziela said:

Oh:( I was hoping The King's Avatar would get better.  I don't mind the lack of romance as I love stories where a band of outsiders and misfits band together to win/fight The Man/beat their enemies/whatever.  Unfortunately, I just find the characters and their acting in the drama so unbelievable.  They all seem to act like caricatures and archetypes with over-top acting.  I am not invested in their actions or relationships at all.  Also for some reason I find the dubbing REALLY distracting in TKA - more so than in other C-dramas I've watched recently.  I do like the opening song and, I LOVE the ending song.

It might click for you later? It's hard to know XD The dubbing is fairly noticeable in TKA, I think just partially I don't expect particular voices from particular faces. They did do it to make the voices consistent across media (it's same as the donghua/anime), I got used to it but yeah I get what you mean with it being distracting. I found certain plot development over the top and drama for the sake of drama, but they are in latter part of the drama. I think the characters are archetypes but they worked for me, I actually found Yang Yang's acting better in this drama, although tbf I haven't seen him outside of Love O2O, he wasn't who I would have cast as protag but he managed to be pretty convincing.

 

@themarchioness ahhh this is an interesting pairing. They don't really interact in the drama but I think you managed to portray them meeting by chance and becoming friends pretty well. I liked that there's potential of something more, but they also might just end up being friends.

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On 11/22/2019 at 11:13 AM, skibbies said:

It might click for you later? It's hard to know XD The dubbing is fairly noticeable in TKA, I think just partially I don't expect particular voices from particular faces. They did do it to make the voices consistent across media (it's same as the donghua/anime), I got used to it but yeah I get what you mean with it being distracting. I found certain plot development over the top and drama for the sake of drama, but they are in latter part of the drama. I think the characters are archetypes but they worked for me, I actually found Yang Yang's acting better in this drama, although tbf I haven't seen him outside of Love O2O, he wasn't who I would have cast as protag but he managed to be pretty convincing.

I pushed until episode 20 but the characters are just not working for me unfortunately.  Far too many other dramas to watch so I have dropped it.  Thanks for validating my opinion about the distracting dubbing haha! I thought maybe I was just being super sensitive :lol:

 

(Sorry everyone as I know I am being off topic :flushed:)

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@raziela lols that's OK... we're the only one on this thread anyway.. haha.. besides we all have our own preference... I finished TKA, it was ok I guess... I love the friendships and how everyone came together, but there were times I find myself feeling a bit bored lols...

 

I'll have to say my fav gaming drama right now would have to be GYH and Die Now.

 

Die Now

Spoiler

You can watch it here https://www.viki.com/tv/35794c-die-now?locale=en

 

Die Now is a psychological game type drama that I discovered few months back in twitter. You should try it.. its only have like 10-12 eps.. I totally feel like I'm watching a J-anime when I watch it... haha.. I had a blast! Sadly there's no hope for a second season imo... 

[and psttt there's no thread about it here huhu :( ]

 

Do I sound like I'm promoting this drama??? hahaha.. Yessssss....  this one is a hidden gem... 

 

Bonus: If you noticed it enough.. the ROCK and Roll BGM in Die now are pretty similar with what they used in TKA too.. 

 

 

 

 

anyway.. good morning for anyone on my side of the world haha.. I woke up today with this song playing in my head :joy:

 

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On 11/29/2019 at 10:27 AM, lynne22 said:

@raziela lols that's OK... we're the only one on this thread anyway.. haha.. besides we all have our own preference... I finished TKA, it was ok I guess... I love the friendships and how everyone came together, but there were times I find myself feeling a bit bored lols...

 

 

i stop TKA hahahaha....didnt really fallen in love with it despite the good graphic for the games :P 

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On 11/29/2019 at 10:27 AM, lynne22 said:

Die Now

  Reveal hidden contents

You can watch it here https://www.viki.com/tv/35794c-die-now?locale=en

 

Die Now is a psychological game type drama that I discovered few months back in twitter. You should try it.. its only have like 10-12 eps.. I totally feel like I'm watching a J-anime when I watch it... haha.. I had a blast! Sadly there's no hope for a second season imo... 

[and psttt there's no thread about it here huhu :( ]

 

Do I sound like I'm promoting this drama??? hahaha.. Yessssss....  this one is a hidden gem... 

 

Bonus: If you noticed it enough.. the ROCK and Roll BGM in Die now are pretty similar with what they used in TKA too.. 

 

 

 

 

OMG we are the bestest friends now because I love Die Now, and it didn't feature any well known actors, it had small budget so it got limited exposure. There should be I think 21? episodes, but they are 30mins episodes, also the OP sound like 00s jpop mv. The story is mostly about protag getting dragged into playing deadly games, variations of escape room, mafia, battle royale. The closest comparison I can think of is jdrama/manga/kdrama Liar Game. I think it starts off a little rocky when it's establishing premise + characters + otp. I find the romance a little cringey (but still kind of cute), and otp acting/chemistry lackluster, but it's not the focus anyways. Protag's acting is better when interacting with other people lol. I just the love the plot so so much.

 

It's based on a complete manhua, and gets pretty scifi I believe, which would explain why it doesn't have second season. They don't have budget for that kind of thing, and it's not like the drama did super well. iirc, the drama is also limited to Sohu, so they must have partially invested in it, and Sohu is a really small platform these days. It could sort of put up a fight 5 years ago, but not really now. The only notable drama from them in recent memory is Wu Xin which was also awhile ago and subsequently bombed itself. The story is fairly well suited to donghua, and it has one (2014? the same year manhua finished, the drama is 2017), but the pacing was rushed and general production value just isn't very good, it also ended 2 or 3 arcs before the drama did. The studio responsible for it is Haoliners, one of the major donghua studios and they have much more anticipated/profitable projects. I want the donghua remade because it's definitely an interesting that deserves to be known.

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On 11/29/2019 at 2:27 AM, lynne22 said:

@raziela lols that's OK... we're the only one on this thread anyway.. haha.. besides we all have our own preference... I finished TKA, it was ok I guess... I love the friendships and how everyone came together, but there were times I find myself feeling a bit bored lols...

 

I'll have to say my fav gaming drama right now would have to be GYH and Die Now.

 

Die Now

  Reveal hidden contents

You can watch it here https://www.viki.com/tv/35794c-die-now?locale=en

 

Die Now is a psychological game type drama that I discovered few months back in twitter. You should try it.. its only have like 10-12 eps.. I totally feel like I'm watching a J-anime when I watch it... haha.. I had a blast! Sadly there's no hope for a second season imo... 

[and psttt there's no thread about it here huhu :( ]

 

Do I sound like I'm promoting this drama??? hahaha.. Yessssss....  this one is a hidden gem... 

 

Bonus: If you noticed it enough.. the ROCK and Roll BGM in Die now are pretty similar with what they used in TKA too.. 

 

 

 

 

Yeah, with TKA it had all the ingredients for dramas I enjoy but I just couldn't get invested in the story or characters at all.

 

Thanks for the recommendation.  Adding it to my to watch list!  It looks great and not too many episodes which is a good thing in my book! And I can see @skibbies is a big fan too from her post :lol:

 

7 hours ago, skibbies said:

OMG we are the bestest friends now because I love Die Now, and it didn't feature any well known actors, it had small budget so it got limited exposure. There should be I think 21? episodes, but they are 30mins episodes, also the OP sound like 00s jpop mv. The story is mostly about protag getting dragged into playing deadly games, variations of escape room, mafia, battle royale. The closest comparison I can think of is jdrama/manga/kdrama Liar Game. I think it starts off a little rocky when it's establishing premise + characters + otp. I find the romance a little cringey (but still kind of cute), and otp acting/chemistry lackluster, but it's not the focus anyways. Protag's acting is better when interacting with other people lol. I just the love the plot so so much.

 

It's based on a complete manhua, and gets pretty scifi I believe, which would explain why it doesn't have second season. They don't have budget for that kind of thing, and it's not like the drama did super well. iirc, the drama is also limited to Sohu, so they must have partially invested in it, and Sohu is a really small platform these days. It could sort of put up a fight 5 years ago, but not really now. The only notable drama from them in recent memory is Wu Xin which was also awhile ago and subsequently bombed itself. The story is fairly well suited to donghua, and it has one (2014? the same year manhua finished, the drama is 2017), but the pacing was rushed and general production value just isn't very good, it also ended 2 or 3 arcs before the drama did. The studio responsible for it is Haoliners, one of the major donghua studios and they have much more anticipated/profitable projects. I want the donghua remade because it's definitely an interesting that deserves to be known.

Thanks so much for all the information.  I looked around to find out a bit more and it's hard to find out much about it in English.  I love how knowledgeable you are!:blush:

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Between work, holidays, and working on my next story, I have sooo much to catch up on this thread.  I have missed it!  For now though, I'll start by responding to comments regarding the last story and then share the new one, which is actually a continuation from Story #10.

 

On 11/20/2019 at 5:23 AM, owlstar said:

This is a really interesting pairing!  Hard to gauge actual chemistry since their paths didn't really cross in the story.  But I think they're both understanding people (I'm choosing to ignore Miya's brief lapse of sanity lol), so it's not that big of a stretch to think there's potential for a connection.  I think Miya still has to figure out what she wants in life, whereas Summer is probably all ready to settle down. :P  But life works in mysterious ways so you never know!  One of my favorite Chinese phrases is 有缘千里来相会,无缘对面不相识.  So if they really did meet up by chance while traveling, then maybe it's fate. :)

 

I like that phrase!  In an interesting way, because of Summer and Miya's lack of interactions in the drama, it actually makes it easier to write a fic about them.  It's like I can give free rein to my imagination.  I don't think they'd jump into anything serious that quickly either - and as the next story will hint at, they're going to take their time figuring that out, but the beginnings of something are definitely there. 

 

On 11/21/2019 at 7:44 PM, raziela said:

I enjoyed reading Summer's internal musing and it can't be easy writing about Miya without making it about XK as that was what 95% of her lines were about in the drama:lol: Can't say I am on the pairing train but I enjoyed reading about their meeting and friendship!

 

Haha, it's funny you say that about Miya's lines because while I was writing that story, I actually revisited her epilogue scene multiple times to see if there was anything I could pull out to add to her story.  There really wasn't.  Her single-minded purpose regarding XK makes her a little flat, but that's why I'm trying to give her character a little more life now.  I knew that Summer and Miya wouldn't be an easy pairing to sell and, as I mentioned previously, it wasn't one that came naturally to me either.  It was literally only because of their respective epilogue scenes that I had the idea at all.  But now that I've started writing about them, I've kind of grown attached to them as a pairing so hopefully that will rub off on others more with my next story.  ;) 

 

On 11/22/2019 at 6:13 AM, skibbies said:

@themarchioness ahhh this is an interesting pairing. They don't really interact in the drama but I think you managed to portray them meeting by chance and becoming friends pretty well. I liked that there's potential of something more, but they also might just end up being friends.

 

I'm glad to hear you found my characterization of their chance meeting convincing and plausible.  Hopefully those feelings will continue into the next one.  :P 

 

If Story #10 was about "Chance Meetings," the next one will be about...

 

Story #11 – Surprise Meetings

Spoiler

 

Story #11 – Surprise Meetings

 

 

 

Poke.  Poke.  Poke.  Pei Xi looked down at the finger poking at his arm and then looked up at the person connected to the finger.  The last time he experienced this exact scenario he ended up having to watch over Dream Journey for almost two months.  He wondered what he’d have to do today.

 

“Ge, the last time you poked me like this you weren’t up to any good.  I guarantee you’re still not up to any good today.” 

 

As he’d responded the last time, Summer responded the same way again today.  “I just want to discuss something with you.”

 

“What?”

 

“I’d like to give myself the day off tomorrow.”

 

“And?”

 

“And since your match ended yesterday, that means you aren’t busy with anything right now and have a lot of free time on your hands, so I want you to look over Dream Journey tomorrow.” 

 

“Just tomorrow?”

 

“Just tomorrow.” 

 

Pei Xi couldn’t help but feel that this conversation was entirely too familiar.   “You aren’t leaving to go find yourself again, are you?”

 

“Can’t you ever say anything nice to me?” his cousin wanted to know.

 

Pei Xi sighed.  “It’s really just for tomorrow?”

 

“I promise.”

 

“Because the last time you said you were going away for only a few weeks it ended up being much longer than that.”

 

“I promise, I promise!”  Summer even held up his right hand for emphasis.

 

“Fine.  What are you doing tomorrow that you need the day off, by the way?”

 

But Summer was already walking away, having gotten what he wanted.  “None of your business,” he called over his shoulder.

 

=//=

 

 

The next day found Summer waiting anxiously at the airport.  He checked his watch for what seemed like the billionth time and tried not to pace around in place.  The arrival board indicated that the flight he was waiting for had been going through customs for the past half hour, but there was still no sign of her. 

 

Just as he scratched at his right ear, the frosted double doors of the international arrival terminal slid open and a wave of passengers burst forth.  Standing on his tiptoes to see past the crowd that had suddenly converged in front of him, Summer tried to see if he could spot her among them, but it was a no go.  Eventually, the crowd disbursed and Summer was once again left waiting.

 

He was just about to flip out his phone to send a weixin when the doors slid open again.  This time only a few passengers trickled out and suddenly she was there.  She was pushing a cart weighed down by her oversized suitcase, guitar case, and bag, and even though her face was covered almost entirely by a broad rimmed khaki-colored hat and face mask, Summer could tell from where he was standing that her eyes were looking all around.

 

Lifting his hand high and waving to attract her attention, he saw when she finally noticed him and from the way she stopped briefly in her tracks before turning her cart in his direction, he imagined there was a smile hiding behind that black mask. 

 

Miya rolled her luggage cart until it stopped right in front of Summer and exclaimed, “You came!” 

 

“I told you I would,” and then he opened his arms wide and greeted her grandly.  “Welcome home.”

 

Laughing with a laughter that only Summer knew how to bring out in her, Miya leaned in for the hug and thanked him for being there to meet her at the end of her long journey. 

 

Summer immediately took over the luggage cart and guided her towards the parking garage where he’d left his car.  “You must be tired.  Are you hungry?”

 

“I ate a little something on the plane not too long ago, so I’m not really hungry, but I am tired,” she admitted. 

 

Summer glanced at his watch again and after doing some quick mathematical calculations figured out it was probably still the middle of the night in the place that she’d just returned from. 

 

“I’ll take you back to your apartment and help you get settled, and then you can get some sleep.”

 

Before Miya had left the country, and as one of her former manager’s last acts, Tony had helped her purchase an apartment and had it outfitted with furniture so that it would be waiting for her when she returned.  Miya was through with living out of hotels.  Now that she was done with her travels, she was ready to put down some roots and focus on her music.

 

“It’ll be nice to finally sleep in my own bed,” she agreed.  And then she repeated in wonderment, “My own bed.  How nice that sounds.” 

 

Miya couldn’t remember the last time she’d had a bed to call her own.

 

“I picked up the keys from your company the other day and stopped by your apartment yesterday to make sure everything was clean and in working order.  I also stocked the fridge and kitchen with some essentials as I figured you would be too tired to go shopping once you returned.  Later, I’ll help show you around your neighborhood so that you’ll know where everything is.”

 

One of the many things Summer and Miya had talked about during their travels together was how it’d been years since she lived in anything other than a hotel room, and how it’d been even longer since she’d lived in China.  Summer knew it would be an adjustment for her returning like this.

 

“Thank you.  I don’t know what I’d do without you.” 

 

Not for the first time, Miya thought about how grateful she was that their paths had crossed when they did and that she’d been able to meet a friend like him.

 

=//=

 

A week later, the Phoenix training base was a hive of activity, but not because the members were hard at work training.  Instead, they were busy cleaning and decorating the living room area. 

 

Lin Yi Xuan and his girlfriend, Lu Yi Yi, worked together to hang up a banner while Ji Xiang Kong and Xia Ling blew up balloons.  Pei Xi, meanwhile, was sitting in the corner with a stack of poster boards in front of him because surprisingly, out of all the Phoenix team members, it was discovered that he had the neatest handwriting.  As for Sun Ze Yi and the team’s coach, Shu Wen, they were busy cooking up a feast in the kitchen.

 

Xia Ling asked how much longer they had before his sister, Qiu Ying, would arrive and Xiang Long looked at his watch.  “Luo Laoshi said he’d bring her by after work, but that he’d make sure they finished early today since it’s her birthday, so I’d say we probably have at least another hour before she arrives.”

 

Having finished hanging up the “Happy Birthday” banner, Yi Yi stepped back briefly to admire her handiwork and then turned around with her hands on her hips.  “We don’t have much time left then.”

 

“Mm,” Xiang Kong agreed and handed her a deflated balloon to blow up.  “How’s it going over there?” he called out to the kitchen.

 

“Everything’s under control over here,” his Sun Ge called back.  But then he looked down at his watch and frowned.  “Someone still needs to pick up the birthday cake though.  Where is that Summer?  I thought he’d pick it up on his way over.”

 

“I haven’t heard from him all day,” Pei Xi spoke from his corner.  “Come to think of it, I’ve barely see my cousin all week.”

 

Xiang Kong frowned with a concern that mirrored the expression on his Sun Ge’s face.  Both of them were thinking how unlike Summer that sounded.  Usually whenever there was a party or other similar event involved, he was the type to be at the front of the lines. 

 

“I’m sure he’ll be here on time for Qiu Ying’s party,” Shu Wen reassured.   “There’s no way he’d overlook Qiu Ying and I sent him a reminder this morning, too.  As for the cake,” she took off her apron and tossed it onto the kitchen counter.  “I’ll head out now to pick it up.”  She then reached for her purse and headed directly for the front door.

 

After Shu Wen left, Yi Xuan predicted that Qiu Ying was going to be surprised when Luo Tian brought her by the training base later that evening. 

 

“Mm,” Xia Ling agreed.  “This morning at breakfast, my dad asked my Jie how she was going to celebrate her birthday and she answered that she didn’t yet know.  My mom then asked her if Dui Zhang was going to do anything for her and she had to answer again that she didn’t know.  My Jie didn’t say anything, but I could tell she was feeling a little sad and confused.”

 

“Qiu Ying’s been sending me messages as well,” Yi Yi shared.  “She keeps asking me things like what does it mean when one’s boyfriend doesn’t say anything about one’s birthday?  In her last message to me, she even wondered if it was possible that Xiang Kong didn’t know about her birthday.”

 

“How have you been answering her?” Yi Xuan asked.

 

“Of course I’ve been cursing him out!” 

 

Yi Yi shrugged unapologetically at Xiang Kong and explained, “I have to keep up the show.  If I spoke up for him and told her to be more understanding, she’d probably suspect something.  So, instead, I tell her she should absolutely not make things easy for him by telling him about her birthday.”  With a giggle, she added, “Qiu Ying doesn’t have a clue.”

 

Behind them, Xiang Kong smirked in amusement and fun.  Tying some balloons together in order to hang them up along the wall, he thought about how shocked Qiu Ying was going to be when she realized that not only had he not forgotten about her birthday, but he’d in fact been secretly spending these past few weeks putting together a surprise party just for her.  He knew she was disappointed that he hadn’t said anything about her birthday.  Qiu Ying wasn’t the type to come out and ask him about it directly, but she hadn’t been able to resist dropping little hints here and there either.  Each time she’d done so, Xiang Kong had played dumb and pretended he didn’t understand.  It’d been a source of amusement for him to watch her struggle and hold onto her frustration while pretending she wasn’t the least bit affected.

 

Pei Xi piped up at that moment to say he was finished with the last poster and both Xiang Kong and Yi Yi wandered over to check them out.  Nodding their heads in approval, they then all pitched in to hang up the rest of the streamers, balloons, and decorations. 

 

When Qiu Ying arrived a little less than an hour later, she found the Phoenix training base totally transformed.  With clasped hands covering her mouth and hints of tears in her eyes, she looked around the room in utter and complete surprise.   She then turned to her friends and said with laughter and emotion, “I don’t know what to say.”

 

“Say ‘thank you,’” Luo Tian suggested.

 

“I should’ve known something was up when you offered to give me a ride over here after work today.”

 

“Surprised?” Yi Yi asked.

 

“Very surprised.  And overwhelmed.  I never expected anything like this.  I can’t believe you never said a word in all the times I messaged you.

 

“And you!” Qi Ying pointed at her younger brother.  “You didn’t say anything either.  Not even this morning when our parents kept asking me how I was going to celebrate my birthday.”

 

Xia Ling laughed in response while Yi Xuan pointed out proudly, “This was all planned by my Kong Ge.”

 

“We would never hear the end of it, if we dared to let anything slip,” Shu Wen told her.

 

“That’s true,” Sun Ze Yi agreed.  “Xiang Kong nagged us more about your surprise birthday party than he has ever nagged the Phoenix team about its training.” 

 

As everyone laughed, Qiu Ying finally turned to Xiang Kong who’d been hanging back to watch in pride and delight as she experienced the surprise of her birthday party.  Walking over she stopped right in front of him and said, “Thank you.”

 

With his hands in his pockets, he lifted his eyebrows and asked, “Is that all?”

 

Since they were surrounded by their friends, all of whom were watching them, Qiu Ying shyly and quickly leaned up to give him a kiss on the cheek.  But Xiang Kong was hardly satisfied. 

 

“After all the efforts I went through to orchestrate this surprise event, that’s all the thanks you’re going to give me?”

 

Muttering under her breath, Qiu Ying nodded subtly to the rest of the room and reminded him that they weren’t alone. 

 

As Xiang Kong pouted, Shu Wen laughed and teased, “Don’t worry about us, we won’t look.”  She then tugged at Sun Ze Yi to turn him around and motioned for the others to do the same. 

 

After making sure no one was peeking, Qiu Ying gave Xiang Kong the thanks he wanted and then fled with blushing cheeks to the table where stacks of presents were awaiting her attention.  “Which one should I open first?” she asked.

 

It was at that moment that Luo Tian thought to ask, “Hey, where’s Summer?  Shouldn’t he be here too?”

 

“That’s right.” Qiu Ying put down the wrapped box she’d only picked up.  “Where is Summer Ge?” 

 

Just as Pei Xi started to explain that he’d received a message not too long ago from his cousin explaining that he was delayed because of traffic, a noise was heard at the front door. 

 

“I’m right here,” Summer announced in his usual boisterous and cheerful way.  “Sorry we’re late; we got hung up in traffic.”

 

Everyone exchanged a look of question and confusion at Summer’s mention of “we,” and then it was their turn to be surprised as Summer reached the end of the entryway hall and stepped aside to reveal Miya behind him.

 

“I hope no one minds, but I brought a friend.”

 

Like the little balls in a pinball arcade game, everyone’s eyes darted back and forth around the living room unsure of what to say or how to react.  Eventually all eyes landed by unspoken and mutual agreement on Xiang Kong and Qiu Ying, as they waited to take their cues from them.

 

It was Qiu Ying who made the first move.   

 

Walking over, she took Miya by the hand and greeted her brightly.  “Miya!  It’s been a long time.  How are you?”  With their hands still clasped, she then turned to Xiang Kong and said, “Xiang Kong, look, it’s Miya!” 

 

He nodded his head in acknowledgment and then greeted her in a more demure fashion.  “Miya.  It’s been a long time.  I didn’t know you were back.”

 

“I returned a week ago, but this time I’m staying for good.”  Miya then turned back to Qiu Ying and handed her the gift bag she’d been carrying.  “Summer Ge mentioned it was your birthday today and insisted I come with him to your party.  I hope it’s okay.”

 

“Of course it is!”  Summer clapped his hands and chimed in enthusiastically.  “We’re all friends here, aren’t we?”

 

“Of course you’re welcome,” Qiu Ying agreed.  She took the gift bag.  “Thank you for the present.  It was very kind of you. You didn’t have to.  Here, come with me.”  Leading Miya farther into the room to join their circle, she added, “My birthday today really has been filled with one surprise after another!” 

 

Xiang Kong had eyes for only Qiu Ying as he watched his girlfriend with an inscrutable expression, trying to figure out how she really felt.

 

Luo Tian, meanwhile, nudged Summer and asked in an audible side whisper how he knew Miya.  “I didn’t think the two of you had ever met before.” 

 

Summer dropped a hand on the back of his friend’s shoulder.  “That, my friend, is a bit of a long story.  But,” he pointed to the table all laid out with food.  “It looks like everything is getting cold so maybe we should all sit down to dinner first?”

 

His suggestion triggered everyone else into action. 

 

“That’s a good idea.”  Sun Ze Yi led Qiu Ying over to the head of the table.  “Here, since you’re today’s guest of honor you should sit here.”

 

Pei Xi quickly added a chair to the other end of the table and after everyone had chosen their seats, Yi Yi suggested Qiu Ying give a toast.

 

Qiu Ying looked around the table and held up her glass.  “Mmm… I’ll keep things simple and just say, thank you.  I’m grateful to have all of you in my life and so for my birthday wish this year, I hope that you will all stay healthy and happy so that you will continue to be a part of my life for many years to come.”  She then turned to Xiang Kong, who had the seat next to hers, and said, “Ji Xiang Kong, I especially thank you.  You are the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

 

“Even better than me?” Xia Ling couldn’t help but ask from Qiu Ying’s other side.

 

As everyone broke out into laughter, she tsked at him while Xiang Kong smiled and patted Qiu Ying on the head affectionately.

 

=//=

 

 

Although the dinner conversation that night might have been a little awkward with their unanticipated guest, it was actually a lot less awkward than everyone had imagined it would be when Miya first showed up alongside Summer. 

 

Still, there was an air of relief when the meal was finally over and everyone could step away from the dinner table for a little bit before gathering again for dessert and cake. 

 

Sun Ze Yi roped Xia Ling and Yi Xuan into helping him and Shu Wen clear the table and Pei Xi headed directly to the kitchen to brew coffee for their dessert. 

 

While the others were occupied, Luo Tian dragged Summer to the training room under the pretense that he had something he needed to ask him about the recent iConquer competitions. 

 

“So what did you want to ask me?”

 

Luo Tian tsked in irritation over his friend’s cluelessness.  Did Summer really think there was something about the iConquer game that he needed to ask him about? 

 

“That’s not why I called you in here.”

 

Summer shot his friend a look that suggested he was behaving weirdly, and said, “If you don’t have anything to ask then we should head back out there to help.  Knowing those rascals, they’ll make Shu Wen peel and cut all the fruit by herself if we don’t offer to help.”

 

Luo Tian held up his hand and told him to wait.  “I do have a question for you, just not about iConquer.  I wanted to ask what you were thinking.”

 

 “About what?”

 

“Stop being so deliberately obtuse.  I know you like to give off the impression that you’re just this happy, easygoing, and clueless person, but we – Yi Ge, Shu Wen, and I – all know you better than that.  You had to know that bringing Miya here tonight would create awkwardness for everyone else.”

 

“Why?”  Turning serious for a second, Summer tucked his hands in his pockets and asked, “Because she’s Ji Xiang Kong’s ex-girlfriend?”

 

“That’s right.  How is Xiang Kong supposed to feel upon seeing her here?  How is Qiu Ying supposed to feel?” 

 

“Aiya!”  Summer returned to his usual playful self and waved away, literally, Luo Tian’s concerns.  “You’re overthinking things.  Didn’t you see how well Qiu Ying handled things earlier?”

 

“Because you didn’t give her a choice!”

 

“Look, I know how protective you feel about Qiu Ying so I understand your concern, but you forget.  I care a lot about Qiu Ying too.  I would never do anything to hurt her or Xiang Kong.  I’m doing this for their own good,” Summer insisted.

 

“Really?  Then why does it feel like you’re doing this for Miya?  Can it be that you have… feelings for her?”

 

It was Summer’s turn to feel irritated and impatient.  “Like we explained over dinner, Miya and I ran into each other during our travels and spent some time together and, so sure, we got to know one another.  I’m also not going to deny that I’ve grown fond of her, although what exactly those feelings are, I’m not sure I know either.  But I’m not going stand here and discuss that with you right now when that’s not the point anyway.  The point is, like you said earlier, you know me and so you should know.  I’m not the type of person to forsake one friend for another. 

 

“You heard what Miya said earlier.  She’s come home to stay this time.  Their paths were bound to cross again eventually.  I just made sure to make it happen sooner rather than later so that they could get it over with.  The first time things may be awkward, but it’ll be easier the next time.  After all, we’re all mature adults.  Let them sort things out and let’s not meddle,” Summer suggested.

 

“Me?  Meddle?”  It was Luo Tian’s turn to balk at the description.  “This coming from the person who brought Miya with him tonight?”

 

“That wasn’t meddling.  That was creating an opportunity.”

 

Luo Tian rolled his eyes, finding his friend utterly hopeless.

 

=//=

 

While Luo Tian and Summer powwowed in the training room, Qiu Ying and Yi Yi were having their own conversation next door in what used to be Qiu Ying’s bedroom. 

 

“How are you feeling?” Yi Yi wanted to know.

 

“Me?”  Qiu Ying asked.  “I’m fine.”

 

“That Summer.  I don’t know what he was thinking.”  With her hands on her hips, Yi Yi huffed her dissatisfaction.  “How could he bring Miya here today, on your birthday, of all days?” 

 

“I already said; I’m fine.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Really.  I admit I was caught off guard initially, but apart from that, it’s really not that big of a deal.”

 

“I don’t know how you can be so calm about this.”

 

Qiu Ying shrugged.  “What’s to be upset about?  It’s not like Miya came tonight because she wants to win back Xiang Kong.”

 

Yi Yi plopped down next to her on the bed.  “You really don’t think so?”

 

“I really don’t think so, and even if she did, it’s not like Xiang Kong would go back to her.”  Qiu Ying could at least feel certain about that.

 

“That’s true.”

 

After puzzling over it for a few more minutes, Yi Yi kicked at the floor.  “Then I wonder why she came at all.”

 

Qiu Ying thought back to earlier when Miya had arrived with Summer.  “I don’t think she came voluntarily.  I think it’s like she said.  Summer insisted that she come with him, so she did.  But I think I see what Summer was trying to do.”

 

“You do?  I don’t.”

 

Qiu Ying smiled at her friend.  Yi Yi was always so protective of her. 

 

“For better or for worse, Miya is like a family member to Xiang Kong,” she reminded.  “Not only did they grow up together, but she also doesn’t have any family and thanks to her career, she doesn’t have a lot of friends either.  It was always inevitable then, now that she’s returned, that they would have to see each other at some point.”

 

“I don’t see why that’s necessarily the case,” Miya grumbled.  In her experience, an ex was just that.  An ex.  And when they broke up, they disappeared from one’s life.

 

But for Qiu Ying, she thought about the way Miya and Summer had interacted all throughout dinner and a smile danced at the corners of her mouth.  “I think we’re just going to have to get used to seeing more of Miya,” was all she would say.

 

=//=

 

 

Seeing how everyone else was occupied, Miya gathered her courage to follow Xiang Kong out to the back patio, where he’d gone for some fresh air. 

 

Stepping through the open doorway, she knocked on the door and cautiously called out, “Xiang Kong.”

 

He turned around at the sound of his name.  “Miya.”

 

“It really has been a while,” she said, echoing his earlier words.  “I’m glad to see, though, that you and Qiu Ying are together again.”

 

Xiang Kong smiled.  “I told you, I never gave her up.”

 

“So you did.”  After a beat, she added, “I hope my being here today isn’t awkward for you or Qiu Ying.”

 

Taking a seat on the corner of the table, Xiang Kong looped his hands together.  “I’m sure it won’t be.  Qiu Ying and I’ve talked about it before.  She understands.  As for me, I’m glad to see you.”

 

“Are you?”  Miya couldn’t help the insecurities inside of her.

 

“Mm.  It’s good to see you doing well.”

 

“Thanks, then.”

 

“You mentioned earlier that you’re staying for good this time?”

 

“Mm.  I can’t live out of hotel rooms forever, can I?  I bought a place and although it’s been a little strange and scary at times, it’s also been a wonderful experience.  I’m rediscovering what it’s like to have to do things for myself.”

 

“You were always very capable,” Xiang Kong observed, remembering briefly how she’d lived all those years ago before fame found her.  “I have no doubt that you’ll be able to do it again.” 

 

“I hope you’re right.”

 

“I know I am.  And you know I’ll always be here for you too.”

 

The breath that Miya had been holding in like a tightly wound knot was finally let loose.  She hadn’t realized how much she needed to hear those words.  “Thank you.” 

 

“Although,” Xiang Kong slowly drawled, “It looks like you have someone else in your life these days to help you.”

 

Miya tilted her head.  “You mean Summer Ge?”

 

Xiang Kong raised his eyebrows in a knowing gesture.  “Mm.”

 

She laughed.  “He’s . . . a friend.”

 

“So am I.”

 

“He’s . . .”

 

When Miya trailed off and didn’t say anything more, Xiang Kong prompted, “He’s . . .?”

 

“I don’t know what he is,” she finally admitted.

 

He nodded his head thoughtfully.   “A very interesting answer.  And one I would argue has meaning in and of itself.”

 

“What is that supposed to mean?” she laughed.

 

He responded with an enigmatic look.

 

“Would it be weird?” Miya asked after a pause.

 

Xiang Kong crossed his arms.  “Why would it be weird?  Summer Ge is one of the best people I’ve ever known.”

 

Miya couldn’t disagree with that.  Although they hadn’t known each other long, she had a good instinct for people and everything about Summer indicated to her that he was someone she could trust and count on.  Most importantly, he made her laugh and find joy in things again.

 

“All I want is for you to be happy,” Xiang Kong finally said to her.  Whatever it is that makes you happy, go after it.  Don’t worry about what your company thinks, what your fans want, or anyone else for that matter.  It’s time for Miya to live the life that Miya wants.”

 

“Live the life that I want . . .”  It was still such a novel concept to her.

 

“If there’s one thing Qiu Ying and I have learned, it’s that sometimes you have to be a little bit selfish when you’re pursuing personal happiness.  Do whatever makes you happy,” he encouraged again.

 

“I will.”

 

=//=

 

 

Later that night, Xiang Kong escorted Qiu Ying home.  Since Xia Ling had opted to stay at the training base that night, it was just the two of them. 

 

“Thank you for my surprise birthday party.”

 

“Was it fun?”

 

“Mm.”  Qiu Ying clasped her hands together in gratefulness.  “I was totally surprised!”

 

“You thought I didn’t know, didn’t you?”

 

“Tch.  What else was I supposed to think when you wouldn’t mention anything about my birthday?” she pouted.  “You wouldn’t even react when I dropped subtle hints.”

 

“Oh, were those supposed to be ‘subtle’ hints?”

 

Xiang Kong’s teasing earned him a poke on the side.

 

Throwing an arm around her shoulder, he leaned in close.  “So long as you liked it, that’s all that matters.”

 

“Mission success, then!” 

 

After they walked a little bit more, Qiu Ying hesitatingly brought up the thing that was really at the forefront of both their minds.  “I saw you and Miya returning from the back patio.  Did you two have a talk?”

 

“Mm.  She came out to greet me since she hadn’t had a chance earlier.  She told me she bought an apartment and is having to relearn how to be responsible for her own life again.”

 

“And what did you say to her?”

 

“I told her to be happy.  Why?  Did you think I would say something else to her?”

 

“No, not at all.  I was just curious.”

 

“Did it upset you having her there tonight?” he asked after a while.

 

“No.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Really.”  Qiu Ying repeated what she’d said to Yi Yi earlier that evening. 

 

“I truly don’t have any ill feelings towards Miya.  Apart from, well, you know, she’s always seemed like a very nice person to me.”

 

“She is.” 

 

Xiang Kong wouldn’t ask Qiu Ying to be a friend to Miya; at least, not yet, but he could see it happening in the future.  They were both such kind-hearted and generous people, it wouldn’t surprise him if they got along.

 

“Summer Ge seems to like her, and he’s a good judge of character,” Qiu Ying observed.

 

“He is.”

 

“Miya seems to like him a lot, too.”

 

“She does.”  He answered absently, lost in his own thoughts, until he realized she seemed to be trying to make a point.  “Wait, what?”

 

Qiu Ying laughed.  “I was commenting on Summer and Miya.  Do you think there might be something going on there?”

 

Considering he’d been asking his own probing questions about that earlier, Xiang Kong didn’t just think.  He knew.

 

“Would it bother you if there was something going on there?”

 

“Why would it bother me?” Xiang Kong answered.  “I told you.  I told her to be happy.  If Summer is what makes Miya happy, then I will send them all my blessings.”

 

“Me too.”

 

Qiu Ying then rested her head against Xiang Kong’s arm, and said, “I wonder how Pei Xi would feel about having Miya as a sister-in-law.”

 

The End

 

 

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On 12/5/2019 at 7:50 PM, themarchioness said:

 

Story #11 – Surprise Meetings

  Reveal hidden contents

 

Story #11 – Surprise Meetings

 

 

 

Poke.  Poke.  Poke.  Pei Xi looked down at the finger poking at his arm and then looked up at the person connected to the finger.  The last time he experienced this exact scenario he ended up having to watch over Dream Journey for almost two months.  He wondered what he’d have to do today.

 

“Ge, the last time you poked me like this you weren’t up to any good.  I guarantee you’re still not up to any good today.” 

 

As he’d responded the last time, Summer responded the same way again today.  “I just want to discuss something with you.”

 

“What?”

 

“I’d like to give myself the day off tomorrow.”

 

“And?”

 

“And since your match ended yesterday, that means you aren’t busy with anything right now and have a lot of free time on your hands, so I want you to look over Dream Journey tomorrow.” 

 

“Just tomorrow?”

 

“Just tomorrow.” 

 

Pei Xi couldn’t help but feel that this conversation was entirely too familiar.   “You aren’t leaving to go find yourself again, are you?”

 

“Can’t you ever say anything nice to me?” his cousin wanted to know.

 

Pei Xi sighed.  “It’s really just for tomorrow?”

 

“I promise.”

 

“Because the last time you said you were going away for only a few weeks it ended up being much longer than that.”

 

“I promise, I promise!”  Summer even held up his right hand for emphasis.

 

“Fine.  What are you doing tomorrow that you need the day off, by the way?”

 

But Summer was already walking away, having gotten what he wanted.  “None of your business,” he called over his shoulder.

 

=//=

 

 

The next day found Summer waiting anxiously at the airport.  He checked his watch for what seemed like the billionth time and tried not to pace around in place.  The arrival board indicated that the flight he was waiting for had been going through customs for the past half hour, but there was still no sign of her. 

 

Just as he scratched at his right ear, the frosted double doors of the international arrival terminal slid open and a wave of passengers burst forth.  Standing on his tiptoes to see past the crowd that had suddenly converged in front of him, Summer tried to see if he could spot her among them, but it was a no go.  Eventually, the crowd disbursed and Summer was once again left waiting.

 

He was just about to flip out his phone to send a weixin when the doors slid open again.  This time only a few passengers trickled out and suddenly she was there.  She was pushing a cart weighed down by her oversized suitcase, guitar case, and bag, and even though her face was covered almost entirely by a broad rimmed khaki-colored hat and face mask, Summer could tell from where he was standing that her eyes were looking all around.

 

Lifting his hand high and waving to attract her attention, he saw when she finally noticed him and from the way she stopped briefly in her tracks before turning her cart in his direction, he imagined there was a smile hiding behind that black mask. 

 

Miya rolled her luggage cart until it stopped right in front of Summer and exclaimed, “You came!” 

 

“I told you I would,” and then he opened his arms wide and greeted her grandly.  “Welcome home.”

 

Laughing with a laughter that only Summer knew how to bring out in her, Miya leaned in for the hug and thanked him for being there to meet her at the end of her long journey. 

 

Summer immediately took over the luggage cart and guided her towards the parking garage where he’d left his car.  “You must be tired.  Are you hungry?”

 

“I ate a little something on the plane not too long ago, so I’m not really hungry, but I am tired,” she admitted. 

 

Summer glanced at his watch again and after doing some quick mathematical calculations figured out it was probably still the middle of the night in the place that she’d just returned from. 

 

“I’ll take you back to your apartment and help you get settled, and then you can get some sleep.”

 

Before Miya had left the country, and as one of her former manager’s last acts, Tony had helped her purchase an apartment and had it outfitted with furniture so that it would be waiting for her when she returned.  Miya was through with living out of hotels.  Now that she was done with her travels, she was ready to put down some roots and focus on her music.

 

“It’ll be nice to finally sleep in my own bed,” she agreed.  And then she repeated in wonderment, “My own bed.  How nice that sounds.” 

 

Miya couldn’t remember the last time she’d had a bed to call her own.

 

“I picked up the keys from your company the other day and stopped by your apartment yesterday to make sure everything was clean and in working order.  I also stocked the fridge and kitchen with some essentials as I figured you would be too tired to go shopping once you returned.  Later, I’ll help show you around your neighborhood so that you’ll know where everything is.”

 

One of the many things Summer and Miya had talked about during their travels together was how it’d been years since she lived in anything other than a hotel room, and how it’d been even longer since she’d lived in China.  Summer knew it would be an adjustment for her returning like this.

 

“Thank you.  I don’t know what I’d do without you.” 

 

Not for the first time, Miya thought about how grateful she was that their paths had crossed when they did and that she’d been able to meet a friend like him.

 

=//=

 

A week later, the Phoenix training base was a hive of activity, but not because the members were hard at work training.  Instead, they were busy cleaning and decorating the living room area. 

 

Lin Yi Xuan and his girlfriend, Lu Yi Yi, worked together to hang up a banner while Ji Xiang Kong and Xia Ling blew up balloons.  Pei Xi, meanwhile, was sitting in the corner with a stack of poster boards in front of him because surprisingly, out of all the Phoenix team members, it was discovered that he had the neatest handwriting.  As for Sun Ze Yi and the team’s coach, Shu Wen, they were busy cooking up a feast in the kitchen.

 

Xia Ling asked how much longer they had before his sister, Qiu Ying, would arrive and Xiang Long looked at his watch.  “Luo Laoshi said he’d bring her by after work, but that he’d make sure they finished early today since it’s her birthday, so I’d say we probably have at least another hour before she arrives.”

 

Having finished hanging up the “Happy Birthday” banner, Yi Yi stepped back briefly to admire her handiwork and then turned around with her hands on her hips.  “We don’t have much time left then.”

 

“Mm,” Xiang Kong agreed and handed her a deflated balloon to blow up.  “How’s it going over there?” he called out to the kitchen.

 

“Everything’s under control over here,” his Sun Ge called back.  But then he looked down at his watch and frowned.  “Someone still needs to pick up the birthday cake though.  Where is that Summer?  I thought he’d pick it up on his way over.”

 

“I haven’t heard from him all day,” Pei Xi spoke from his corner.  “Come to think of it, I’ve barely see my cousin all week.”

 

Xiang Kong frowned with a concern that mirrored the expression on his Sun Ge’s face.  Both of them were thinking how unlike Summer that sounded.  Usually whenever there was a party or other similar event involved, he was the type to be at the front of the lines. 

 

“I’m sure he’ll be here on time for Qiu Ying’s party,” Shu Wen reassured.   “There’s no way he’d overlook Qiu Ying and I sent him a reminder this morning, too.  As for the cake,” she took off her apron and tossed it onto the kitchen counter.  “I’ll head out now to pick it up.”  She then reached for her purse and headed directly for the front door.

 

After Shu Wen left, Yi Xuan predicted that Qiu Ying was going to be surprised when Luo Tian brought her by the training base later that evening. 

 

“Mm,” Xia Ling agreed.  “This morning at breakfast, my dad asked my Jie how she was going to celebrate her birthday and she answered that she didn’t yet know.  My mom then asked her if Dui Zhang was going to do anything for her and she had to answer again that she didn’t know.  My Jie didn’t say anything, but I could tell she was feeling a little sad and confused.”

 

“Qiu Ying’s been sending me messages as well,” Yi Yi shared.  “She keeps asking me things like what does it mean when one’s boyfriend doesn’t say anything about one’s birthday?  In her last message to me, she even wondered if it was possible that Xiang Kong didn’t know about her birthday.”

 

“How have you been answering her?” Yi Xuan asked.

 

“Of course I’ve been cursing him out!” 

 

Yi Yi shrugged unapologetically at Xiang Kong and explained, “I have to keep up the show.  If I spoke up for him and told her to be more understanding, she’d probably suspect something.  So, instead, I tell her she should absolutely not make things easy for him by telling him about her birthday.”  With a giggle, she added, “Qiu Ying doesn’t have a clue.”

 

Behind them, Xiang Kong smirked in amusement and fun.  Tying some balloons together in order to hang them up along the wall, he thought about how shocked Qiu Ying was going to be when she realized that not only had he not forgotten about her birthday, but he’d in fact been secretly spending these past few weeks putting together a surprise party just for her.  He knew she was disappointed that he hadn’t said anything about her birthday.  Qiu Ying wasn’t the type to come out and ask him about it directly, but she hadn’t been able to resist dropping little hints here and there either.  Each time she’d done so, Xiang Kong had played dumb and pretended he didn’t understand.  It’d been a source of amusement for him to watch her struggle and hold onto her frustration while pretending she wasn’t the least bit affected.

 

Pei Xi piped up at that moment to say he was finished with the last poster and both Xiang Kong and Yi Yi wandered over to check them out.  Nodding their heads in approval, they then all pitched in to hang up the rest of the streamers, balloons, and decorations. 

 

When Qiu Ying arrived a little less than an hour later, she found the Phoenix training base totally transformed.  With clasped hands covering her mouth and hints of tears in her eyes, she looked around the room in utter and complete surprise.   She then turned to her friends and said with laughter and emotion, “I don’t know what to say.”

 

“Say ‘thank you,’” Luo Tian suggested.

 

“I should’ve known something was up when you offered to give me a ride over here after work today.”

 

“Surprised?” Yi Yi asked.

 

“Very surprised.  And overwhelmed.  I never expected anything like this.  I can’t believe you never said a word in all the times I messaged you.

 

“And you!” Qi Ying pointed at her younger brother.  “You didn’t say anything either.  Not even this morning when our parents kept asking me how I was going to celebrate my birthday.”

 

Xia Ling laughed in response while Yi Xuan pointed out proudly, “This was all planned by my Kong Ge.”

 

“We would never hear the end of it, if we dared to let anything slip,” Shu Wen told her.

 

“That’s true,” Sun Ze Yi agreed.  “Xiang Kong nagged us more about your surprise birthday party than he has ever nagged the Phoenix team about its training.” 

 

As everyone laughed, Qiu Ying finally turned to Xiang Kong who’d been hanging back to watch in pride and delight as she experienced the surprise of her birthday party.  Walking over she stopped right in front of him and said, “Thank you.”

 

With his hands in his pockets, he lifted his eyebrows and asked, “Is that all?”

 

Since they were surrounded by their friends, all of whom were watching them, Qiu Ying shyly and quickly leaned up to give him a kiss on the cheek.  But Xiang Kong was hardly satisfied. 

 

“After all the efforts I went through to orchestrate this surprise event, that’s all the thanks you’re going to give me?”

 

Muttering under her breath, Qiu Ying nodded subtly to the rest of the room and reminded him that they weren’t alone. 

 

As Xiang Kong pouted, Shu Wen laughed and teased, “Don’t worry about us, we won’t look.”  She then tugged at Sun Ze Yi to turn him around and motioned for the others to do the same. 

 

After making sure no one was peeking, Qiu Ying gave Xiang Kong the thanks he wanted and then fled with blushing cheeks to the table where stacks of presents were awaiting her attention.  “Which one should I open first?” she asked.

 

It was at that moment that Luo Tian thought to ask, “Hey, where’s Summer?  Shouldn’t he be here too?”

 

“That’s right.” Qiu Ying put down the wrapped box she’d only picked up.  “Where is Summer Ge?” 

 

Just as Pei Xi started to explain that he’d received a message not too long ago from his cousin explaining that he was delayed because of traffic, a noise was heard at the front door. 

 

“I’m right here,” Summer announced in his usual boisterous and cheerful way.  “Sorry we’re late; we got hung up in traffic.”

 

Everyone exchanged a look of question and confusion at Summer’s mention of “we,” and then it was their turn to be surprised as Summer reached the end of the entryway hall and stepped aside to reveal Miya behind him.

 

“I hope no one minds, but I brought a friend.”

 

Like the little balls in a pinball arcade game, everyone’s eyes darted back and forth around the living room unsure of what to say or how to react.  Eventually all eyes landed by unspoken and mutual agreement on Xiang Kong and Qiu Ying, as they waited to take their cues from them.

 

It was Qiu Ying who made the first move.   

 

Walking over, she took Miya by the hand and greeted her brightly.  “Miya!  It’s been a long time.  How are you?”  With their hands still clasped, she then turned to Xiang Kong and said, “Xiang Kong, look, it’s Miya!” 

 

He nodded his head in acknowledgment and then greeted her in a more demure fashion.  “Miya.  It’s been a long time.  I didn’t know you were back.”

 

“I returned a week ago, but this time I’m staying for good.”  Miya then turned back to Qiu Ying and handed her the gift bag she’d been carrying.  “Summer Ge mentioned it was your birthday today and insisted I come with him to your party.  I hope it’s okay.”

 

“Of course it is!”  Summer clapped his hands and chimed in enthusiastically.  “We’re all friends here, aren’t we?”

 

“Of course you’re welcome,” Qiu Ying agreed.  She took the gift bag.  “Thank you for the present.  It was very kind of you. You didn’t have to.  Here, come with me.”  Leading Miya farther into the room to join their circle, she added, “My birthday today really has been filled with one surprise after another!” 

 

Xiang Kong had eyes for only Qiu Ying as he watched his girlfriend with an inscrutable expression, trying to figure out how she really felt.

 

Luo Tian, meanwhile, nudged Summer and asked in an audible side whisper how he knew Miya.  “I didn’t think the two of you had ever met before.” 

 

Summer dropped a hand on the back of his friend’s shoulder.  “That, my friend, is a bit of a long story.  But,” he pointed to the table all laid out with food.  “It looks like everything is getting cold so maybe we should all sit down to dinner first?”

 

His suggestion triggered everyone else into action. 

 

“That’s a good idea.”  Sun Ze Yi led Qiu Ying over to the head of the table.  “Here, since you’re today’s guest of honor you should sit here.”

 

Pei Xi quickly added a chair to the other end of the table and after everyone had chosen their seats, Yi Yi suggested Qiu Ying give a toast.

 

Qiu Ying looked around the table and held up her glass.  “Mmm… I’ll keep things simple and just say, thank you.  I’m grateful to have all of you in my life and so for my birthday wish this year, I hope that you will all stay healthy and happy so that you will continue to be a part of my life for many years to come.”  She then turned to Xiang Kong, who had the seat next to hers, and said, “Ji Xiang Kong, I especially thank you.  You are the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

 

“Even better than me?” Xia Ling couldn’t help but ask from Qiu Ying’s other side.

 

As everyone broke out into laughter, she tsked at him while Xiang Kong smiled and patted Qiu Ying on the head affectionately.

 

=//=

 

 

Although the dinner conversation that night might have been a little awkward with their unanticipated guest, it was actually a lot less awkward than everyone had imagined it would be when Miya first showed up alongside Summer. 

 

Still, there was an air of relief when the meal was finally over and everyone could step away from the dinner table for a little bit before gathering again for dessert and cake. 

 

Sun Ze Yi roped Xia Ling and Yi Xuan into helping him and Shu Wen clear the table and Pei Xi headed directly to the kitchen to brew coffee for their dessert. 

 

While the others were occupied, Luo Tian dragged Summer to the training room under the pretense that he had something he needed to ask him about the recent iConquer competitions. 

 

“So what did you want to ask me?”

 

Luo Tian tsked in irritation over his friend’s cluelessness.  Did Summer really think there was something about the iConquer game that he needed to ask him about? 

 

“That’s not why I called you in here.”

 

Summer shot his friend a look that suggested he was behaving weirdly, and said, “If you don’t have anything to ask then we should head back out there to help.  Knowing those rascals, they’ll make Shu Wen peel and cut all the fruit by herself if we don’t offer to help.”

 

Luo Tian held up his hand and told him to wait.  “I do have a question for you, just not about iConquer.  I wanted to ask what you were thinking.”

 

 “About what?”

 

“Stop being so deliberately obtuse.  I know you like to give off the impression that you’re just this happy, easygoing, and clueless person, but we – Yi Ge, Shu Wen, and I – all know you better than that.  You had to know that bringing Miya here tonight would create awkwardness for everyone else.”

 

“Why?”  Turning serious for a second, Summer tucked his hands in his pockets and asked, “Because she’s Ji Xiang Kong’s ex-girlfriend?”

 

“That’s right.  How is Xiang Kong supposed to feel upon seeing her here?  How is Qiu Ying supposed to feel?” 

 

“Aiya!”  Summer returned to his usual playful self and waved away, literally, Luo Tian’s concerns.  “You’re overthinking things.  Didn’t you see how well Qiu Ying handled things earlier?”

 

“Because you didn’t give her a choice!”

 

“Look, I know how protective you feel about Qiu Ying so I understand your concern, but you forget.  I care a lot about Qiu Ying too.  I would never do anything to hurt her or Xiang Kong.  I’m doing this for their own good,” Summer insisted.

 

“Really?  Then why does it feel like you’re doing this for Miya?  Can it be that you have… feelings for her?”

 

It was Summer’s turn to feel irritated and impatient.  “Like we explained over dinner, Miya and I ran into each other during our travels and spent some time together and, so sure, we got to know one another.  I’m also not going to deny that I’ve grown fond of her, although what exactly those feelings are, I’m not sure I know either.  But I’m not going stand here and discuss that with you right now when that’s not the point anyway.  The point is, like you said earlier, you know me and so you should know.  I’m not the type of person to forsake one friend for another. 

 

“You heard what Miya said earlier.  She’s come home to stay this time.  Their paths were bound to cross again eventually.  I just made sure to make it happen sooner rather than later so that they could get it over with.  The first time things may be awkward, but it’ll be easier the next time.  After all, we’re all mature adults.  Let them sort things out and let’s not meddle,” Summer suggested.

 

“Me?  Meddle?”  It was Luo Tian’s turn to balk at the description.  “This coming from the person who brought Miya with him tonight?”

 

“That wasn’t meddling.  That was creating an opportunity.”

 

Luo Tian rolled his eyes, finding his friend utterly hopeless.

 

=//=

 

While Luo Tian and Summer powwowed in the training room, Qiu Ying and Yi Yi were having their own conversation next door in what used to be Qiu Ying’s bedroom. 

 

“How are you feeling?” Yi Yi wanted to know.

 

“Me?”  Qiu Ying asked.  “I’m fine.”

 

“That Summer.  I don’t know what he was thinking.”  With her hands on her hips, Yi Yi huffed her dissatisfaction.  “How could he bring Miya here today, on your birthday, of all days?” 

 

“I already said; I’m fine.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Really.  I admit I was caught off guard initially, but apart from that, it’s really not that big of a deal.”

 

“I don’t know how you can be so calm about this.”

 

Qiu Ying shrugged.  “What’s to be upset about?  It’s not like Miya came tonight because she wants to win back Xiang Kong.”

 

Yi Yi plopped down next to her on the bed.  “You really don’t think so?”

 

“I really don’t think so, and even if she did, it’s not like Xiang Kong would go back to her.”  Qiu Ying could at least feel certain about that.

 

“That’s true.”

 

After puzzling over it for a few more minutes, Yi Yi kicked at the floor.  “Then I wonder why she came at all.”

 

Qiu Ying thought back to earlier when Miya had arrived with Summer.  “I don’t think she came voluntarily.  I think it’s like she said.  Summer insisted that she come with him, so she did.  But I think I see what Summer was trying to do.”

 

“You do?  I don’t.”

 

Qiu Ying smiled at her friend.  Yi Yi was always so protective of her. 

 

“For better or for worse, Miya is like a family member to Xiang Kong,” she reminded.  “Not only did they grow up together, but she also doesn’t have any family and thanks to her career, she doesn’t have a lot of friends either.  It was always inevitable then, now that she’s returned, that they would have to see each other at some point.”

 

“I don’t see why that’s necessarily the case,” Miya grumbled.  In her experience, an ex was just that.  An ex.  And when they broke up, they disappeared from one’s life.

 

But for Qiu Ying, she thought about the way Miya and Summer had interacted all throughout dinner and a smile danced at the corners of her mouth.  “I think we’re just going to have to get used to seeing more of Miya,” was all she would say.

 

=//=

 

 

Seeing how everyone else was occupied, Miya gathered her courage to follow Xiang Kong out to the back patio, where he’d gone for some fresh air. 

 

Stepping through the open doorway, she knocked on the door and cautiously called out, “Xiang Kong.”

 

He turned around at the sound of his name.  “Miya.”

 

“It really has been a while,” she said, echoing his earlier words.  “I’m glad to see, though, that you and Qiu Ying are together again.”

 

Xiang Kong smiled.  “I told you, I never gave her up.”

 

“So you did.”  After a beat, she added, “I hope my being here today isn’t awkward for you or Qiu Ying.”

 

Taking a seat on the corner of the table, Xiang Kong looped his hands together.  “I’m sure it won’t be.  Qiu Ying and I’ve talked about it before.  She understands.  As for me, I’m glad to see you.”

 

“Are you?”  Miya couldn’t help the insecurities inside of her.

 

“Mm.  It’s good to see you doing well.”

 

“Thanks, then.”

 

“You mentioned earlier that you’re staying for good this time?”

 

“Mm.  I can’t live out of hotel rooms forever, can I?  I bought a place and although it’s been a little strange and scary at times, it’s also been a wonderful experience.  I’m rediscovering what it’s like to have to do things for myself.”

 

“You were always very capable,” Xiang Kong observed, remembering briefly how she’d lived all those years ago before fame found her.  “I have no doubt that you’ll be able to do it again.” 

 

“I hope you’re right.”

 

“I know I am.  And you know I’ll always be here for you too.”

 

The breath that Miya had been holding in like a tightly wound knot was finally let loose.  She hadn’t realized how much she needed to hear those words.  “Thank you.” 

 

“Although,” Xiang Kong slowly drawled, “It looks like you have someone else in your life these days to help you.”

 

Miya tilted her head.  “You mean Summer Ge?”

 

Xiang Kong raised his eyebrows in a knowing gesture.  “Mm.”

 

She laughed.  “He’s . . . a friend.”

 

“So am I.”

 

“He’s . . .”

 

When Miya trailed off and didn’t say anything more, Xiang Kong prompted, “He’s . . .?”

 

“I don’t know what he is,” she finally admitted.

 

He nodded his head thoughtfully.   “A very interesting answer.  And one I would argue has meaning in and of itself.”

 

“What is that supposed to mean?” she laughed.

 

He responded with an enigmatic look.

 

“Would it be weird?” Miya asked after a pause.

 

Xiang Kong crossed his arms.  “Why would it be weird?  Summer Ge is one of the best people I’ve ever known.”

 

Miya couldn’t disagree with that.  Although they hadn’t known each other long, she had a good instinct for people and everything about Summer indicated to her that he was someone she could trust and count on.  Most importantly, he made her laugh and find joy in things again.

 

“All I want is for you to be happy,” Xiang Kong finally said to her.  Whatever it is that makes you happy, go after it.  Don’t worry about what your company thinks, what your fans want, or anyone else for that matter.  It’s time for Miya to live the life that Miya wants.”

 

“Live the life that I want . . .”  It was still such a novel concept to her.

 

“If there’s one thing Qiu Ying and I have learned, it’s that sometimes you have to be a little bit selfish when you’re pursuing personal happiness.  Do whatever makes you happy,” he encouraged again.

 

“I will.”

 

=//=

 

 

Later that night, Xiang Kong escorted Qiu Ying home.  Since Xia Ling had opted to stay at the training base that night, it was just the two of them. 

 

“Thank you for my surprise birthday party.”

 

“Was it fun?”

 

“Mm.”  Qiu Ying clasped her hands together in gratefulness.  “I was totally surprised!”

 

“You thought I didn’t know, didn’t you?”

 

“Tch.  What else was I supposed to think when you wouldn’t mention anything about my birthday?” she pouted.  “You wouldn’t even react when I dropped subtle hints.”

 

“Oh, were those supposed to be ‘subtle’ hints?”

 

Xiang Kong’s teasing earned him a poke on the side.

 

Throwing an arm around her shoulder, he leaned in close.  “So long as you liked it, that’s all that matters.”

 

“Mission success, then!” 

 

After they walked a little bit more, Qiu Ying hesitatingly brought up the thing that was really at the forefront of both their minds.  “I saw you and Miya returning from the back patio.  Did you two have a talk?”

 

“Mm.  She came out to greet me since she hadn’t had a chance earlier.  She told me she bought an apartment and is having to relearn how to be responsible for her own life again.”

 

“And what did you say to her?”

 

“I told her to be happy.  Why?  Did you think I would say something else to her?”

 

“No, not at all.  I was just curious.”

 

“Did it upset you having her there tonight?” he asked after a while.

 

“No.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Really.”  Qiu Ying repeated what she’d said to Yi Yi earlier that evening. 

 

“I truly don’t have any ill feelings towards Miya.  Apart from, well, you know, she’s always seemed like a very nice person to me.”

 

“She is.” 

 

Xiang Kong wouldn’t ask Qiu Ying to be a friend to Miya; at least, not yet, but he could see it happening in the future.  They were both such kind-hearted and generous people, it wouldn’t surprise him if they got along.

 

“Summer Ge seems to like her, and he’s a good judge of character,” Qiu Ying observed.

 

“He is.”

 

“Miya seems to like him a lot, too.”

 

“She does.”  He answered absently, lost in his own thoughts, until he realized she seemed to be trying to make a point.  “Wait, what?”

 

Qiu Ying laughed.  “I was commenting on Summer and Miya.  Do you think there might be something going on there?”

 

Considering he’d been asking his own probing questions about that earlier, Xiang Kong didn’t just think.  He knew.

 

“Would it bother you if there was something going on there?”

 

“Why would it bother me?” Xiang Kong answered.  “I told you.  I told her to be happy.  If Summer is what makes Miya happy, then I will send them all my blessings.”

 

“Me too.”

 

Qiu Ying then rested her head against Xiang Kong’s arm, and said, “I wonder how Pei Xi would feel about having Miya as a sister-in-law.”

 

The End

 

 

 

I didn't realize there was going to be a #11... what a surprise indeed. :P   You've been working hard! 

 

QY is really such a saint hahaha... I'm not sure I would be so instantly comfortable with an ex-GF's reappearance with intent to stay around for good lol.  But it speaks to the strength of JXK & QY's relationship, that there is absolutely no seed of doubt or insecurity.  I really enjoyed their cute interactions in this story. :)  As for Miya and Summer, it's going to be the slow slooooow burn type of relationship. :rolleyes:  I feel a little bad for Summer, I think he's more ready to take the next step, but he's probably going to be friend-zoned for a while because I feel Miya's going to need some time to get there.  I could see some potential for a bit of angst where he's unsure if she truly likes him or is just grateful for his help/support?

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4 hours ago, owlstar said:

I didn't realize there was going to be a #11... what a surprise indeed. :P 

 

The only problem with there being a #11 is that I really hate odd numbers (unless they're divisible by 5)... *facepalm*  :sweatingbullets:

 

5 hours ago, owlstar said:

QY is really such a saint hahaha... I'm not sure I would be so instantly comfortable with an ex-GF's reappearance with intent to stay around for good lol.  But it speaks to the strength of JXK & QY's relationship, that there is absolutely no seed of doubt or insecurity.

 

Haha, I think it's a lot of factors, to be honest.  First, I would definitely agree that it is QY's character to be generous and nice, as we saw that throughout the drama.  But she's not a wilting lily either and she's not going to let others trample on her.  We saw that in the way she told off Qiao Xing a couple of times in the drama.  Therefore, I have to believe that if Miya had returned and was actively trying to get XK back or simply not being a nice person, she wouldn't be running over with open arms even if she was a generous and nice person.  I also don't think, however, that QY would ever feel threatened (in that Miya could try and get XK back, but she would feel confident knowing that XK wouldn't go to Miya) since she and XK now have a solid relationship (or should, given everything they went through at the end of the drama).  If I had to make a prediction, I'd say under those conditions she'd either ignore Miya or stand up for herself, if/when necessary.  

 

Having said all that, I genuinely don't think Miya would ever return and be a threat, which is why I have written their story as I have.  As Miya told Tony in her epilogue, she's at peace with everything and feels that they all made their best decisions at the world championships.  And I think the fact that Miya is not a threat is another reason why QY would be okay with her return.  Like I said, it's multi-factorial and not just that QY's a saint.  :P 

 

As I have always said, one of the things I really appreciate about this drama's OTP is that they're both pretty logical and level-headed.  It makes them feel more real and so rather than reacting with emotions and drama (just because it's a drama), I think they'd take a practical approach - and as I've continued to portray through the fic.

 

7 hours ago, owlstar said:

As for Miya and Summer, it's going to be the slow slooooow burn type of relationship. :rolleyes:  I feel a little bad for Summer, I think he's more ready to take the next step, but he's probably going to be friend-zoned for a while because I feel Miya's going to need some time to get there. I could see some potential for a bit of angst where he's unsure if she truly likes him or is just grateful for his help/support?

 

Hehe, one of the things that occurred to me while writing Story #11 was that as much as Miya feels like someone who needs to be coddled and protected at all times, I think she would actually be a really strong person.  I think we just have that image because we saw how in the past, XK was always there next to her supporting her and helping her, and then after she became an idol she had Tony and Karen.  But having Tony and Karen around just meant that her life was always organized down to the minute and she didn't have to bother with reality.  If she grew up as an orphan, I have to believe that even with XK's company, she would have a lot of experience fending for herself!  That's why I ultimately chose to portray her return as one where she just needs to find her footing again. rather than needing to build herself up entirely.  

 

Of course, I always support the notion that an individual should know what they want before getting involved in a relationship, because it shouldn't be one person just always going along with the other.  So I don't want to give the impression either that Miya would just jump from XK to Summer.  Rather, I guess what I'm trying to say is... there may be a process but whether it'll take a long time or short amount of time... I don't actually know.  That's their story to work out.  ;)   And I'm not writing it!  Even if you did drop a tempting morsel with your angst idea.  *mutters*  LOL. 

 

I'm actually feeling bad for Luo Tian, like he's been neglected, so I may try my hand with him for Story #12.  I just fear his will be the hardest story to write.  

 

 

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17 hours ago, themarchioness said:

 

The only problem with there being a #11 is that I really hate odd numbers (unless they're divisible by 5)... *facepalm*  :sweatingbullets:

 

Lol I guess you'll just have to keep 'em coming! :P

 

17 hours ago, themarchioness said:

As I have always said, one of the things I really appreciate about this drama's OTP is that they're both pretty logical and level-headed.  It makes them feel more real and so rather than reacting with emotions and drama (just because it's a drama), I think they'd take a practical approach - and as I've continued to portray through the fic.

 

Definitely one of my favorite things about GYH too, how... normal the OTP is lol, like they're just like an old married couple already and I really like that.  It usually takes a long time to get to that level of familiarity and trust in a relationship, but I guess they just get each other without the need for theatrics, and that's romantic in its way.

 

17 hours ago, themarchioness said:

Hehe, one of the things that occurred to me while writing Story #11 was that as much as Miya feels like someone who needs to be coddled and protected at all times, I think she would actually be a really strong person. 

 

Of course, I always support the notion that an individual should know what they want before getting involved in a relationship, because it shouldn't be one person just always going along with the other.  So I don't want to give the impression either that Miya would just jump from XK to Summer.  Rather, I guess what I'm trying to say is... there may be a process but whether it'll take a long time or short amount of time... I don't actually know.  That's their story to work out.  ;)   And I'm not writing it!  Even if you did drop a tempting morsel with your angst idea.  *mutters*  LOL. 

 

I'm actually feeling bad for Luo Tian, like he's been neglected, so I may try my hand with him for Story #12.  I just fear his will be the hardest story to write.  

 

I do feel that in the drama, Miya comes across as weak and fragile.  But she's probably stronger than she looks to have survived/succeeded in the idol business.  It doesn't really help that we're not privy to any of her thoughts and dreams other than becoming an idol and getting JXK, so once those two things are no longer in the picture, I really don't know what she wants out of life.  So I'm still feeling a gap between where you left off and where I can feasibly see them getting together.  But this is why I'm not a writer haha.  It's a tough job!  But I'll happily take a Luo Tian story if you happen to be offering. ;)

 

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On 12/2/2019 at 6:21 AM, raziela said:

Thanks so much for all the information.  I looked around to find out a bit more and it's hard to find out much about it in English.  I love how knowledgeable you are!:blush:

No worries, I like digging into these things, and it's nice to share information about something I love! (and make use of my obscure donghua knowledge loool)

 

On 12/6/2019 at 11:50 AM, themarchioness said:

 

Story #11 – Surprise Meetings

 

I LOVE the opening line, it's just so on point for Summer, and super adorable, Pei Xi is just "god why do I have to put up with you"? XD The surprise party is very nicely planned. I'm not huge on Summer suddenly just bringing Miya along, so I'm really really glad Luo Tian call him out on it, and Yiyi is so protective of QY, but QY + XK handle it really maturely. I do follow Summer's logic, and I think it's an impulsive move, which makes him little more human, I always thought he could read everyone pretty well, just don't say or interfere much. BUT I think he could have, at least called beforehand, or you know, not take her to QY's birthday party, bring her some other time. This is the best outcome, but it really could have dampen a nice surprise party and make it real awkward. There's little reason for him to do it RIGHT THEN, besides let's get over this asap. Story-wise, it does create interesting conflict and develop Summer more, it's just if this is irl, I'd be Luo Tian yelling at him. I do like the friendly teasing to the new pairing, it's cute.

 

On Miya, she does seem rather fragile in drama since we see her at her most emotionally vulnerable. But I never came away with "fragile" tag on her, because she chose to be an idol, which says so so so much about her. She preserve through hellish training, intense scruitinisation by public + fans, a really hectic schedule for her dream. I mean, she gave up the love of her life and her family/sole support to get there. That's some real determination and mental fortitude. Once she made peace with XK being in the past and given little time to reset herself, she can put her mind to what she wants and will succeed. In her epilogue, she said she just want to keep producing music, which is pretty fair. If she gradually shift away from being idol, she doesn't have to attend as many variety shows + events to keep up popularity, doesn't have to uphold certain image, play/sing songs she wants to, experiment different genre, collaborate with other people. Or study! Or pick up new hobby to enrich her life that might serve as inspiration.

 

You are a total champion, writing so many fics, so long after the drama finish, and still characterise them so well! This drama is so lucky to have you as a fan. <3 You know...I'm kind of tempted to message the author to check out this thread XD

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On 12/6/2019 at 3:50 AM, themarchioness said:

Haha, it's funny you say that about Miya's lines because while I was writing that story, I actually revisited her epilogue scene multiple times to see if there was anything I could pull out to add to her story.  There really wasn't.  Her single-minded purpose regarding XK makes her a little flat, but that's why I'm trying to give her character a little more life now.

I think I am probably being too generous to Miya.  It was probably more like 99% of her lines:lol:

 

On 12/6/2019 at 3:50 AM, themarchioness said:

Story #11 – Surprise Meetings

 

On 12/6/2019 at 2:05 PM, owlstar said:

QY is really such a saint hahaha... I'm not sure I would be so instantly comfortable with an ex-GF's reappearance with intent to stay around for good lol.  But it speaks to the strength of JXK & QY's relationship, that there is absolutely no seed of doubt or insecurity.  I really enjoyed their cute interactions in this story. :)  As for Miya and Summer, it's going to be the slow slooooow burn type of relationship. :rolleyes:  I feel a little bad for Summer, I think he's more ready to take the next step, but he's probably going to be friend-zoned for a while because I feel Miya's going to need some time to get there.  I could see some potential for a bit of angst where he's unsure if she truly likes him or is just grateful for his help/support?

Yeah, I don't think they are in the same place due to the age difference and life experience.  To be honest, I think Miya needs to just live normal life relying on herself.  I thought Summer sounded like Manager Tony her when he was talking about all the things he did for her in her new home before she even landed in the country.  It would have been a good experience for her to have to sort all those things out herself like most people in their mid-twenties.  If Summer had given her advice or assisted her a bit I wouldn't have minded but it seemed like she went from being taken care of by one older male to going on holiday and coming back to be taken care of by yet another older male.

 

4 hours ago, skibbies said:

I LOVE the opening line, it's just so on point for Summer, and super adorable, Pei Xi is just "god why do I have to put up with you"? XD The surprise party is very nicely planned. I'm not huge on Summer suddenly just bringing Miya along, so I'm really really glad Luo Tian call him out on it, and Yiyi is so protective of QY, but QY + XK handle it really maturely. I do follow Summer's logic, and I think it's an impulsive move, which makes him little more human, I always thought he could read everyone pretty well, just don't say or interfere much. BUT I think he could have, at least called beforehand, or you know, not take her to QY's birthday party, bring her some other time. This is the best outcome, but it really could have dampen a nice surprise party and make it real awkward. There's little reason for him to do it RIGHT THEN, besides let's get over this asap. Story-wise, it does create interesting conflict and develop Summer more, it's just if this is irl, I'd be Luo Tian yelling at him. I do like the friendly teasing to the new pairing, it's cute.

I agree with this.  I would have been angry and reacted the same way as Luo Tian and Yi Yi. I actually didn't like Summer's actions in this at all.  He came across as self-involved, insensitive and presumptuous. It was not his decision to make. It was a party for QY organised by her boyfriend and for their friends.  Miya isn't QY or XK's friend.  They aren't in contact or close.  She's XK's ex andalmost ruined their relationship in the past. They didn't even know she was back in the country!  It's common sense not to bring her to something like this.  If he wanted them to talk then he could have arranged something more suitable at another time (maybe have a little gathering at Dream Journey or something?) but this was out of order.  Yes, it turned out alright because like @owlstar said QY is a saint:lol: but it's still not OK to do something like that. 

I really liked seeing all of Team Phoenix family and loved their interactions.  I've missed them:cry: XK and QY teasing each other. QY worrying and interrogating everyone because she thought her boyfriend forgot about her birthday lol. Poor QY :joy:

 

On 12/6/2019 at 9:27 PM, themarchioness said:

I'm actually feeling bad for Luo Tian, like he's been neglected, so I may try my hand with him for Story #12.  I just fear his will be the hardest story to write.  

Yes please!  I continue to love this character even his small role in this story because I totally would have reacted the same way.  Luo Tian is always in QY's corner^_^

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On 11/12/2019 at 10:04 PM, raziela said:

Speaking of Xia Ling, I always wish the drama had introduced his interest in e-sports earlier in the storyline-even if it was just something minor like seeing him playing a few games or talking about it with friends.  We only see him playing after his injury and it seemed unrealistic that he is  suddenly revealed as some kind of hidden rookie genius player.

 

On 11/14/2019 at 7:45 AM, skibbies said:

Mhmm I do agree that it'd make sense to see Xia Ling play beforehand, but I think you are just meant to assume that he always played with his friends beforehand? It's not that much of a leap, considering he was followed his sister's career so closely, and his sister's work was so closely tied with iConquer since the drama started. IRL, it's fairly common for a lot of teenage boys who would play LoL. Not all of them do, but significant amount would. Actually what's even more common is a tencent mobile MoBA game but that's ease of mobility/accessibility. The idea that he only got super into the game after his injury and got to the top is a little over the top and farfetched, but I definitely chalked it up to artistic license. 

 

On 11/14/2019 at 3:08 PM, raziela said:

I know that we are meant to assume about Xia Ling but he just seemed  too convenient.  For him to get that good in such a short amount of time I would assume he was playing a lot already so I still think the drama could have added at least one throwaway line or scene where he plays or mentions playing prior to his accident.

 

Sorry to dredge up old conversations, but I'm late to the train and like Lady Catherine de Bourgh, I must still have my share in the conversation anyway.  It's stuff I had wanted to comment on back then, but didn't have the time. 

 

Anyway, I just wanted to toss in my agreement with @skibbies that I think (even with the "drama effect" that was most certainly going on) we are still supposed to presume that Xia Ling was already playing iConquer prior to his accident and considered a good player.  It's just once he was holed up in his room and not sleeping, the iConquer game became his only outlet and he'd stay up all night climbing the ranks, which is how he was able to reach the top so quickly. 

 

There actually was a bit of a throwaway line in the drama and if you blinked you would miss it, but it was in Episode 29.  Before Qiu Ying even knew about the truth about what was going on with her brother, there was a scene where Xia Ling was lying in bed and refused to eat or talk to his mom when she brought him a plate of food.  Prior to his mom's entrance, he had also received a voice message from his friends and in that message, one of them asked when they were going to play another game of iConquer while another reminded him that he was the expert and wanted to know when he would help lead them.  From this message, I think we can assume that prior to the accident, iConquer was something Xia Ling and his friends would play regularly, which is why they mentioned it as part of their efforts to check in on him and draw him out.

 

There are actually a number of casual mentions in this drama that if you weren't paying attention, it'd be easy enough to miss.  Most of them I didn't even catch until I was rewatching and recapping, and thus paying more attention to the details, but my favorite one is probably when Qiu Ying sends Xiang Kong a text message during the start of the fall competitive season when VNG keeps losing.  The purpose of the moment is to show us how she texts him to say "jia you" and that the loss of one game is no big deal.  But if you look carefully at her phone as she sends the text, you'll see how right about her message is an older one from Xiang Kong that says, "Something came up with the team, I won't be able to make it.  Say thank you for me."  Since we never saw/heard him send that text during the drama, the implication is there's a lot of hanging out that's happening off screen that we're not privy to.  It's similar to how Yi Yi/Yi Xuan will share information with Qiu Ying/Xiang Kong that they've learned from talking to each other, but we don't always see those conversations between Yi Yi and Yi Xuan either.

 

I assume the narrative behind Xia Ling's gaming experience is similar to those things, and takes place off screen.

 

If we're discussing unrealistic things, though, the one scene that feels less and less realistic to me with every rewatch that I do, is the one where Xiang Kong shares his playlist with Qiu Ying to help calm her nerves before the "Tomorrow's Star" competition.  When he shares that song with her, he tells her he listens to it before every one of his competitions to help relieve the pressure and . . . I just can't believe he'd listen to that particular song (a love ballad duet).  Can't.  LOL. 

 

[Boo, I've run out of time.  Will have to comment on King's Avatar and other stuff another day.]

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