41 - She heard a man's low and hoarse voice
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After reading the draft plan, Luo Tang was very satisfied. The commercial shooting for the new LO game 'Ice War' was officially launched. Wei Ruxia moved into the LO advertising department and had her own separate office.
With her arrival, the advertising department was mixed with curiosity and doubts. After the filming began, their doubts were gradually erased. Wei Ruxia did have her own unique skills, and it seemed she wasn't just asked to shoot the 'Ice War' commercial due to the 'relationship between her and an LO executive' as was rumoured.
At the end of the first round of shooting, Chen Peini, the head of the advertising department, invited everyone out. First, to celebrate the completion of the first stage of the advertisement, and second, as a belated welcome for Wei Ruxia.
The welcome dinner was scheduled at the Jingyue Business Club near the LO company building. After they got off work, everyone would gather there then go to karaoke after dinner. They expected the celebration to last until two or three in the morning.
Wei Ruxia was quite used to this kind of occasion. She liked lively places and meeting new friends. As the chief director of the commercial, she was second only to Chen Peini in power, but she was easy-going, relaxed, and playful and the people in the advertising department liked her a lot.
Wei Ruxia's ability to drink was very strong, and when everyone was playing in the KTV, she didn't hold back. In the big box of the KTV, Wei Ruxia and everyone exchanged cups, laughed and relaxed.
The advertising department included the photography team, art team, technical team, and planning team. They were all young people with active minds. After playing a few rounds of games, everyone knew everyone better, and the awkwardness was relieved. The ones who sang were still singing, and those who were chatting below started to talk about gossip they heard.
In fact, the people here were about the same age as Wei Ruxia, and Chen Peini was slightly older, 35 years old this year. Chen Peini was a very independent woman, and it was no wonder she could lead such a large department at such a young age.
She chatted with Wei Ruxia about advertising and after chatting for a while, Chen Peini asked Wei Ruxia, "You're so capable and young. Have you ever thought of setting up a studio?"
Chen Peini said this because she admired Wei Ruxia, her direction during this time had been really strong. She had been a leader for many years and had a good read on people.
Wei Ruxia could hear the praise in her words. The two of them had the most contact at work, and were very comfortable with each other.
"I've thought about it. But in the past few years, I still want to take a few more freelance gigs. I'll consider it again in a few years."
People like Wei Ruxia who were motivated wouldn't shelve their plans for later. There must be some difficulty she couldn't overcome if she was putting them off. The most obvious reason would be that she had no money, but Chen Peini also felt that Wei Ruxia had no reason to join the LO company.
"Song Meng will be in the group for filming next week. What do you think, will Mr. Luo come to see her?" A female staff member brought up that topic.
After her that held her wine glass shook, Wei Ruxia looked up. The woman who just spoke was amongst four or five other young women who were gathered to gossip about work.
"I think that the two of them are too touch and go. Mr. Luo is too cold, and feels a little bit fridgid," said the woman with a ponytail.
Wei Ruxia and Chen Peini next to each other looked at each other and smiled.
"He's not cold, he's just shy! Him in a suit and leather shoes outside, so serious and steady. Take off his suit, and inside...ah!" The woman who just spoke saw that everyone's eyes were cast on her, so she didn't finish and blushed, covering her mouth.
A few male staff members jeered and a short-haired woman retorted, "What, it's not only you who are allowed to have delusions about beautiful women, are we not allowed to dream about beautiful men!"
"But you just said that Mr. Luo and Song Meng are a couple." A young man said.
"They're not a couple." The short-haired girl said, "Mr Luo definitely doesn't like Song Meng, but Song Meng definitely likes Mr. Luo."
Song Meng was a popular star in China, much like Li Wen, but she had a background in modelling and had a better international reputation. She had endorsed many big fashion brands and was also a frequent visitor of Fashion Week.
When she heard about it, Wei Ruxia was a little impressed with her.
"Who ordered 'Want to sing, me to you'?" A man who had just finished singing interrupted their gossip with the microphone.
"The director, the director!" Wei Ruxia asked Zhu Xiaoyuan to queue it after she left the LO building.
"Yes, yes, it's mine." Wei Ruxia smiled, put her wine glass down and took the microphone. As soon as the accompaniment sounded, everyone's chatter became quieter.
This was the first time that Wei Ruxia had sang this song for many years, and her voice wasn't as sweet as when she was a girl. Drinking had also made her voice a little numb, with a sense of sexy laziness. She made the folk song, feel more like a love song.
After Wei Ruxia finished singing, she received an applause from everyone, but she felt that the applause was mostly encouragement. She didn't care, thanked everyone with a smile, and then handed the microphone to the next person.
When she handed over microphone, she held a wine glass again. She had drank a lot, but she wasn't drunk yet. She drank the red wine in the glass and Chen Peini gave her another glass.
Wei Ruxia laughed and thanked her with a wine glass in both hands. Chen Peini looked at her face as she watched the screen. The woman's profile was very beautiful, with clear and distinct lines. She was an amazing beauty, but she was beautiful without flaunting it and rarely dressed herself up.
She dressed a bit like Jun Ji-hyun in 'Daisy', in the casual and undisciplined style of an artist, mixed with the innocence and laziness of a young woman.
Chen Peini mulled over her thoughts as she clinked glasses with Wei Ruxia. The two drank. She moved her body to Wei Ruxia's side and spoke to her with a voice that only the two of them could hear, with some gossip that only she knew about in the entire advertising department.
"I participated in an office event before, and everyone went to a KTV. Song Meng also sang 'Want to Sing, Me to You' too. After that, Mr. Luo asked her to sing it several times in a row. It was because of this that people started rumours about Song Meng with Mr. Luo."
The sound of singing and the sound of men and women pouring wine and passing cups continued, shooting through her eardrums like an arrow. The screen was dimmed and Wei Ruxia looked back at Chen Peini. Chen Peini only gave her a faint smile and then turned back to watch the singing.
Chen Peini's words were like a hook, scratching her heart little by little. Wei Ruxia smiled suddenly, as if she felt a little strange after drinking a glass of wine.
Not only was Luo Tang approaching her, everyone seemed to be urging her to go to Luo Tang.
Sure enough, everyone played until two o'clock in the morning. The next day was luckily a Sunday, and the first stage of the commercial had been filmed. So with a day off, Wei Ruxia simply slept in the hotel for a day and only woke up after two o'clock in the afternoon.
She called her father first, and then ordered takeaway. Just after eating, Cen Nianbai called. After investing in advertising, their returns had been good and Cen Nianbai later recommended several other bosses to her. But she currently has enough to eat with the big loaf of LO, and she hadn't needed to reach out much.
"Come out and play?" Cen Nianbai asked.
Since Wei Ruxia came to Ancheng this time, the two had met once, and they were both busy.
Wei Ruxia still felt a little uncomfortable even though she didn't fall after a thousand cups, and she already felt like sweating when she looked at the big sun outside the window.
"Forget it, I'm not going out, hot."
"Why are you turning into a homebody now?" Cen Nianbai said with a low smile.
"Not a homebody, just tired." Wei Ruxia swallowed and sighed, "It's not easy to make money."
Cen Nianbai smiled, and said, "Then let's relax online and play a game?"
Putting down her cup, Wei Ruxia leaned against the desk, smiling and replied, "Sounds good."
When they said that they would play, the game they played was usually LO's 'Assassin'. This game was released two years ago. Although the popularity wasn't as high as before, it wasstill the hottest mobile game on the market.
The rules of the game were very simple. 99 people formed a team to survive in the wilderness and assassinate other players. The last survivor wins and would receive various accolades and prizes.
Cen Nianbai was a strong player, Wei Ruxia only sometimes played with him, even if she couldn't get the first place, the top ten still got a lot of rewards.
The two picked equipment and entered the game. Wei Ruxia chose the role of a survivalist, half damage and half support. Cen Nianbai chose the role of an assassin, which was all damage.
Wei Ruxia assisted Cen Nianbai in the game and the two entered the tropical rainforest and killed a wave of enemy players. The screen showed that there were 30 surviving players left.
The territory they were playing on was shrinking continuously and the two of them ran toward the lake, following the map. When they first arrived at the lake, Cen Nianbai was almost killed by a crocodile, and she forced to revive him back to half health.
When the two were about to cross the lake, when Cen Nianbai suddenly said, "It's over."
Wei Ruxia had turned on voice chat, and when she heard Cen Nianbai, she asked, "What's wrong?"
After asked, an old man with a red cross armband appeared in front of her. He was a doctor in the game, a support class.
Before she could speak, Cen Nianbai took her and fled, while running away he said, "That's the top player in the game!"
Before the two of them had escaped far, the 'No. 1 player in the game' rushed in front of them, and then grabbed Cen Nianbai and gave him an injection. Cen Nianbai's blood bar was instantly emptied and he died.
Cen Nianbai had still resisted, but the skills of the 'No. 1 player in the game' was too OP and his resistance was basically a needless struggle.
Wei Ruxia took a look. Now were only 16 players left, and they would all have some level of skill. She wouldn't live long now that Cen Nianbai was dead, but it could be considered honorable to die to the 'No. 1 player in the game'.
Just when she gave up struggling, the 'No. 1 player in the game' suddenly ran away.
Wei Ruxia, "..."
After the 'No. 1 player in the game' escaped, Wei Ruxia noticed that the number of living players was dropping at the speed of light, until only the 'No. 1 player in the game' stood.
He wasn't actually called the 'No. 1 player in the game', his username was L23.
In the end, the only survivors in the game were her and L23. Wei Ruxia didn't need to run or hide, L23 ran back to find her.
Wei Ruxia was still quite satisfied in her heart that she won the second place by lying down. Now, it was time for L23 to give her an injection.
But things often went beyond her expectations, and L23 didn't give her an injection. He took off all his equipment, picked his most lethal gun and threw it in front of Wei Ruxia.
【L23: Kill me.】
He didn't speak, Wei Ruxia looked at the two words, then typed a few words in the dialog box and sent them.
【WR: Luo Tang?】
She was just guessing, Luo Tang shouldn't know her username. But who else would he be? Who would else take the initiative to give her their head?
While she was thinking, L23 responded to the message.
Wei Ruxia looked at the simple "Yeah", her heart seemed to be still, then the corners of her lips raised and her heartbeat quickly rose.
【WR: How do you know the name of my account?】
【L23: When you tried 'Ice War' this was the ID you used.】
It made sense, Wei Ruxia laughed.
【L23: Why play with him?】
Luo Tang used 'him'. It seemed that he also knew Cen Nianbai's username. Cen Nianbai was a whale in this game after all so he probably knew of him.
Wei Ruxia didn't continue typing and threw a voice invite to Luo Tang. As soon as Luo Tang connected, Wei Ruxia smiled and replied, "Nianbai said he could boost me and he wins, so I played with him."
As soon as she finished speaking, Luo Tang said, "I developed the game, I'm the best boost there is."
Wei Ruxia: "..."
She had no words.
"Are you still playing?" Luo Tang asked.
"I'll play!" Wei Ruxia hugged his thigh tightly.
Holding Luo Tang's thigh, Wei Ruxia even surpassed Cen Nianbai. After finishing the game, Wei Ruxia glanced out the window, it was already dark.
Before she knew it, it was already night.
Luo Tang was still waiting for her invitation in game. He was still online, and Wei Ruxia's heart was slightly touched, she typed a few words and sent them.
【WR: Should we get dinner?】
There was no response for a long time, and when Wei Ruxia was about to ask over voice chat, Luo Tang replied.
【L23: I'll pick you up.】
Wei Ruxia puts her finger on the screen, their fingertips were separated by the screens, but she seemed to be able to feel a slight current. She laughed and sent a message.
【WR: Okay, I'll wait for you.】
After sending the message, Wei Ruxia got up and cleaned up. After getting up today, she took a shower and brushed her teeth, but didn't change out of her pajamas.
When she was about to enter the bathroom, Cen Nianbai called and said, "Are you still playing?"
After Cen Nianbai was killed by Luo Tang, he happened to be called away by something. Now that he was done, he poked Wei Ruxia to see if she would continue playing the game.
Wei Ruxia refused and said, "No, I'm going out to eat."
He could hear Wei Ruxia's unbearable smile, Cen Nianbai asked, "Didn't you say that it's hot outside and you don't want to go out? You know, it's even hotter now, I just came back from outside."
"I'm not afraid of heat." After Wei Ruxia replied, she laughed and hung up the phone.
After Wei Ruxia changed her clothes, she put on some light makeup to make herself look less haggard, then she went downstairs with her bag on her shoulder. Luo Tang was already waiting for her in the lounge area of the foyer.
He wasn't wearing a suit, only a white tee and a pair of black shorts, showing his tight muscular calves. He looked clean and handsome in the crowd.
Sitting in the lounge, there was a steady stream of women's eyes cast over him. When he looked back and saw Wei Ruxia, the women next to her gave another small exclamation.
Whether he was a teenager or an adult, he had an irresistible charm. This was the power of good-looking skin.
Wei Ruxia wore a simple short shirt and shorts. Her favourite colours were fresh and light, and the materials were always cottons and linens, which looked comfortable and cool. She tied up her long hair, revealing her smooth forehead and heroic eyebrows. She was tall and slender, and her temperament wasn't inferior to a model.
The two met in the lobby and went out under the gazes of men and women.
Cen Nianbai wasn't lying, it seemed like it would rain tomorrow, and the weather tonight was extremely sultry. Even the street lights were a little hazy with steam. As soon as Wei Ruxia got into Luo Tang's car, she felt a thin layer of sweat on the back of her neck. Luo Tang started the car and turned on the air-conditioning, and she sobered up.
Luo Tang drove out with his slender fingers on the steering wheel, and asked while driving, "What do you want to eat?"
Wei Ruxia leaned back on the seat and stretched her back. She looked back at Luo Tang and said, "What do you like to eat? My treat."
As soon as she spoke, Luo Tang's gaze floated over. The man's eyelashes were long and thick, and his eyes under the eyelashes were as black as ink. Wei Ruxia was moved by him, smiled slightly, and said, "To thank you for taking me to play games today."
At the time, she just wanted to ask Luo Tang out. She used this reason to persuade herself in her heart, but in reality she just wanted to understand how much Luo Tang had changed in the past eight years. Now that he had really come out, there was still an awkward silence between the two.
Luo Tang understood what she meant and concentrated on driving. Wei Ruxia turned her head and looked out the window. In Ancheng at night, the long roads were dimly lit and busy, making it a bit like a flow of fire.
Despite the humid weather, there were still many people outside, especially at the entrance of the shopping streets.
This street was a food court, and the entrance of the street had a magnificent gate, making it look like an ancient night market. At the gate, people came and went, and you could see hawkers selling food on the street.
Wei Ruxia's gaze followed the front of the car and then gradually looked back. When he reached the entrance of the main street, Wei Ruxia couldn't see the food street anymore. She looked back at Luo Tang, and Luo Tang said, "We're here."
It was hot outside, but the novelty and her enthusiasm made Wei Ruxia ignore the heat. Luo Tang parked the car, and the two entered the food market together.
The food street was very well laid out, each vendor had small shop. The stall was at the door and inside was a place to eat. It was the hottest time of day so there were more or less people in most shops.
Wei Ruxia smelled the scents and walked forward. Luo Taolng followed her. After a while, he saw Wei Ruxia stop in front of a stall.
Compared with other stalls, this shopkeeper had fewer customer. Seeing Wei Ruxia happily standing in front of the stall, he hurriedly smiled to greet his new customers, and said, "Beautiful women are you coming to eat?"
"Okay." Wei Ruxia didn't looked bothered at all as smiled and pointed and said, "I want two scorpions, two scorpions, please~"
There was a reason why this stall had few customers. Because all the food sold at his stall were all kinds of insects skewered together. These kinds of things were high in protein but most people were afraid and didn't dare to eat them. Wei Ruxia wasn't scared at all. When she was a child in Dongzhen, she went with Wu Yu to pick up scorpions under the rocks. In the summer, she collected them with him and they were fried by Wu Yu's mother.
This kind of scorpion was inherently hard, but they had a particularly good taste after being fried. She hadn't eaten them for a long time, and she didn't expect anyone would sell it here.
"Very good." The shopkeeper responded with a smile, took four skewers and quickly put them in a frying pan to fry them.
Watching the shopkeeper cooking, Wei Ruxia remembered that she invited Luo Tang to dinner, and couldn't only help herself. She took the bunch of skewered scorpions, turned her head and asked Luo Tang, "Do you want to try it?"
The moment she picked up the scorpion and handed it to Luo Tang, Luo Tang stared at the scorpion, frowning slightly.
Wei Ruxia looked at him strangely, then laughed and said, "Are you afraid?"
"I'm not afraid." Luo Tang loosened his eyebrows and said with a faint expression, "I'm not eating it."
After he finished speaking, Wei Ruxia, who was holding the scorpion, poked the scorpion at him in a playful manner. Luo Tang raised his eyes to look at her smiling face and avoided her attack.
Whether or not Luo Tang was afraid, Wei Ruxia thought it was a lot of fun to prod at him. It was like they were back in high school and would chase each other.
Wei Ruxia frightened Luo Tang with a scorpion, but for a moment, she forgot to mind the angle of her body, when she realised, she was about to fall. At the moment when she lost balance, two hands suddenly appeared on her waist, stabilising her.
Her playing had left her a little out of breath and when she felt the man's big hands on her waist, her heartbeat was turbulent. They were hot and strong, and the heat felt on sensitive skin of her waist through her thin clothes. She blushed.
At the same time, a man's low and hoarse voice came from beside her ear, which seemed to be faintly suppressed.
"Naughty." Luo Tang said.
The author has something to say:
Xiaxia: What does your game name mean?
Tangtang: 23 is the alphabetical number for W, L can be understood as Luo or "love"
Announcement: Daylight savings has ended in my timezone, chapters will continue to be uploaded at random times everyday.
I actually though L23 was a Japanese pun, since Luo Tang read so much manga. Like L-niisan = L-ge, like that? Anyways, still taking recs~