18 - On Stage
8 min read

18 - On Stage

The auditorium of the studio was divided into two parts, there were the seats placed in the open space beneath the stage, and the seats placed on portable bleachers. Usually, in order to free up more space in the studio, the bleachers were deconstructed and the steel frame was stacked up, and pushed against the wall, freeing up a large area of the ground.

Due to the reputation of the studio, they naturally had a sophisticated setup. Therefore, in addition to the standard steel frame, there were also detachable spliced benches made of steel plates and wood panels. After the steel frame was assembled, the spliced surfaces were added on top, making the studio look like a stepped room.

There were many activities in the studio on weekdays, and there were many times when the stands were taken down or erected. The steel frame was specially made and maintained regularly. Considering that there are often concerts here, the strength of this steel frame could be said to be considerable. The audience could dance atop it without worries so it was impossible for it to be overwhelmed by an audience that was sitting still.

It was definitely not an accident.
Baiju subconsciously pulled Xiao Yao back, "Yao Yao, something’s happening."

"The load-bearing steel bars under the stands have been weakened, and the entire steel frame has begun to deform." Baiju's voice sounded directly in Xiao Yao's mind. The efficiency of the message was extremely high, and the problem was clarified in a short moment, "The fracture is smooth and hasn’t yet dislocated any pairings. As long as the movement in the audience isn’t too aggressive, the stands won’t collapse for the time being... but there are also many cracks in the panels."
But now the musician’s had begun the show. Everyone was screaming at the stage, how could the audience in the stands be motionless? The steel frames were all interlocked with each other, once one part collapsed, the rest would follow. The whole structure could be broken in one blow. Additionally, if the panels couldn’t support the stress, the stands would collapse. If so many people fell into the densely twisted steel bars and broken panels, even if the stand height wasn’t very high, it would be stranger if someone didn’t die.

Baiju’s slightly cool fingertips ran along on Xiao Yao’s palm. The structure of all the steel bars under the stands, the plates, and the location of all the fractures were imprinted in Xiao Yao’s mind, “Yao Yao, can you fix these and hold it for a while?"

Xiao Yao took a deep breath, "Yes."
The damaged sections were almost reaching their limits, but repair spells weren’t a difficult thing. However, with so many people on the scene, and so many cracks to be fixed, he couldn't help with anything else.

Baiju patted Xiao Yao's hand, "Be careful...I'll catch the little thing that caused it."

"Did you see it?" Xiao Yao was a little worried, "I’ll call Qu Lang to cooperate with you."

Baiju waved his hand, "Don’t worry, I don't need assistance for the time being."
After that, Baiju closed his eyes to perceive the surroundings, then turned and rushed backstage.

In the countless corners under the lights and shadows, indistinct black dots surged like ants toward an ants nest; the difference was that these black dots moved much faster than ants.

The lights flickered, and Baiju disappeared from the backstage crowd. Meanwhile, Xiao Yao stepped off the stage from the side, stepping onto the stable points in the stands with extreme flexibility, he shuffled past until he stood in the centre of the last row.

Qu Lang in the monitoring room saw him sharp-eyed and hurriedly called through the headset, "Xiao'ge, what's the matter?"

Xiao Yao touched his earphone, took out the pocket watch-shaped magical astrolabe from his pocket, and replied, "As we expected."
Skipping the explanation, Xiao Yao gestured to the small window of the studio's monitoring room, "Have the lights help mask the astrolabe."

Qu Lang nodded, "Received."
Immediately, he switched to his team's channel and spoke to the members who were guarding the lighting engineer,"A'Heng, he's lighting up the magic astrolabe, find the right time and hide it."

"Received." A'Heng moved his finger and motioned to the lighting engineer to get out of the way and sat down in front of the controller.
The studio lighting had a program that was set in advance, the pattern was one designed long ago; in theory, the lighting equipment could create a three-dimensional illusion that could simulate any shape through the arrangements.

A'Heng's fingers clacked on the keyboard next to him, the speed so fast that only the afterimage could be seen; the lights couldn't completely imitate the appearance of the magic astrolabe, but it could be used as a guise, so as not to make Xiao Yao's magic look too out of place.

The host on the stage was playing the room, and started to recall a story with a few casual words, saying that the people who would be appearing soon used to sing in open-air venues late at night. In order to create the atmosphere, the stage becomes the night sky.

The audience below was very surprised, and the atmosphere in the crowd grew excited again; they didn't know that this was only the result of a password that Qu Lang had sent to the director while A'Heng adjusted the lights.

The host’s voice fell and he made an inviting gesture, and the lights went dark. On the ceiling of the entire venue, a starry sky slowly lit up; A'Heng moved his hot fingers, and countless lights came from the ceiling.  The corners converged and landed on the auditorium, creating a phantom star map.

The musicians who performed on stage were still very witty, using the lights to arouse the emotions of the audience, "Dear friends, this song will bring to you the stars of seven years ago!"

A'Heng twitched the corners of his mouth and coordinated the lights to sprinkle many fine golden lights in the air. Immediately, many viewers raised their hands to catch the stars, and no one felt that there was anything off with the magical star map that was projected across their bodies.
However, if the audiences looked under their feet, they would find that the light on their feet "pierced" through them and imprinted across the benches; not only under their feet, but also under their asses.

Naturally, it was impossible to achieve this with normal lights. What shone under their feet was the formation that Xiao Yao had laid down after starting the magic astrolabe.

Xiao Yao didn't plan to seal the fractures one by one. It was too cumbersome and laborious. Using the magic astrolabe to arrange the array, as long as no one looked down, the auditorium would remain as solid as gold.
He didn't want to consume too much energy here, he had to free his hands to find Baiju...this stupid dog didn't take him along, which only proved that he expected things to be very dangerous.

Xiao Yao mobilised the magic astrolabe, manipulating all of his spiritual power, following the pattern on the ground. Finally he bit his fingertip, forcing a bead of blood out, wrapped with his spiritual power. The blood beads looked like a drop of blood but the red beads rolled down his palm, and when Xiao Yao found the right time, the singer hit the last high note on the stage, he flicked his fingertips to accurately shot the blood beads into the array and the formation on the ground suddenly lit up, fully condensing all the light.

A’Heng removed the lights and cover over the magic star map and heaved a sigh of relief.

·

In the backstage of the studio, Baiju concealed his body and moved through the crowded aisles.
In the messy lighting, Baiju could see countless small black spots converging from every corner, climbing through the grooves in the walls, passing through the lamps and tiles, and seeming to know that Baiju was chasing them. The black spots were provoking and they gathered like strands, moving along the corridor with Baiju's footsteps.

Sure enough, part of their purpose was to lure him out.

Baiju remained silent and followed the black spots closely.

The studio wasn’t a high-rise building. The entire building was only three stories tall and there was also a floor underground that served as part underground garage and part storage facility. The backstage was on the first floor, passing through many rooms filled with props, and pushing open the door of the safety exit, he went all the way down to the basement.

The concrete stairs of the safety exit weren’t very wide, and the lights weren’t on in the corridor. When Baiju followed the shadow and blinked down, he heard a faint rustling sound.

As a dog demon, Baiju could see his surroundings very clearly through the subtle light in the basement; he saw countless thick and fragmented shadows coming from all directions, messy and tangled like the hair of a water ghost. Looking at the direction they were moving in, he was certain most of them came from under the bleachers.
It seemed that the steel frame under the seats was indeed broken by these things; in order to get him out of the way, it had specially split out of the ground to attract his attention.

With a click, the door of the safety exit closed behind him, Baiju glanced at it from the corner of his eyes and ignored it.

Without needing to worry about any witnesses, Baiju was more at ease; after removing the concealment on his body, Baiju slowly walked down the two steps, and saw the black shadows standing up and entangled gradually into the outline of a human form.

"You did it?" Baiju moved his wrist, raised his hand to unfasten two buttons, and pulled the back of his collar to take off his little jacket. Human children's clothing was delicate, and easy to break when worn... or his original fur wasn’t.

The black shadowy figure seemed to have not been completely synthesised. The sounds that came from it were distorted, like they were squeezed from the bottom of the throat, hoarse and hard to distinguish.

Baiju glanced at him, then lowered his head and folded his little jacket, and cast a spell to prevent it from getting dusty.

After two or three breaths, the black shadow completely formed, turning into a pale man, wrapped in a black suit. His facial features seemed to carry a trace of evil.

The man spoke with a muted voice, "White King, I’ve admired you for a long time."

Baiju was unmoved, paying more attention to the aura of the man in black.
It stood to reason that those who deliberately caused accidents would have some sin and blood on their bodies, and they should appear damned in Baiju's eyes. Unexpectedly, this guy looked clean, with only a stiff aura, like an antiquity that hadn’t seen the sky in a long time.

A puppet... still a very well made puppet.

Only if a puppet acted according to its instructions could it avoid contaminating its aura; because the puppet's instructions were complicated, the person performing the technique could choose some non-aggressive conditions to obscure the puppet's motivation.

For example, the restrictions are: Qiu Ziran, high place, steel frame, crowd.
The puppet’s instructions were: practice swordsmanship.

Under the above setting conditions, the person behind could even hide behind another restriction, like the sword couldn’t be used to hurt people; then only when the puppet encountered the appropriate screening conditions, it will act, and there would be a high probability that the sword will be trained on the steel bleacher’s frame.

Baiju didn't need much effort to figure out what had occured, and suddenly he felt a little uncomfortable.
Someone who could make such sophisticated puppets could obviously find a way to lure him out. Why did they want to attack the crowd?

The puppet didn't wait for Baiju's reply. After only a second or two, Baiju, who had clarified his thoughts and raised his hand without hesitation. His fingers turned into claws and swiped at the puppet's face with a fierce killing intent.

The puppet's stiff expression didn’t change as it backed away, unsurprisingly blocking the claw, and then, the two figures staggered and blurred into a fierce yet silent fight.

Baiju had consumed puppets before. They tasted terrible.


The author has something to say:
Audience: Wow, that star map is awesome! I’ll give 101 points for the projection. Do not be afraid of being proud if you score one more point!
Xiao Yao & Qu Lang & A Heng & Director & Host: ... I don't want to talk.
A witty musician: Wow, the atmosphere today is very lively. I didn’t expect the director to temporarily add drama and invite him to dinner later!


I like Xiao Yao's magic, it's cool. I feel like Daoist sorcery is always charms, bells and arrays, the star stuff is cool.

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