Extra 1: Renovation
The house gifted by the Zhong family’s elder brother had been renovated in the same elaborate style. The floor, wallpaper, partitions, staircase, and so on, had all been renovated. Even the furniture and lights had been installed; one could move in right away. However, the overall design was European. The house appeared luxurious but lacked warmth and coziness.
When Zhong Yibin brought Chu Qin over to take a look at the new house, they had merely taken one step into the place but were already blinded by this magnificent style of decoration.
Marble floors so glossy one could see their reflection, a sofa made of real leather that exuded a domineering wealth, and a sturdy staircase made of stone. The house looked like a European palace.
The corner of Chu Qin’s mouth twitched. “Who designed this?”
“According to the publicity booklet, it’s North Europe’s famous interior designer Oscar,” Zhong Yibin looked through the publicity booklet in his hands.
Who didn’t know that claims made regarding real estate usually couldn’t be relied upon? The Zhong family was already considered less of a fraud in this respect. But considering Zhong Yibin’s meaning, there was definitely something else to it. Chu Qin raised a brow slightly. “In reality?”
“Oscar was the dog my family raised in the past…” Zhong Yibin said honestly.
“…” The corner of Chu Qin’s mouth twitched. This fake publicity had gone too far, right!
In actuality, this neighborhood had been designed by the Zhong family’s own renovation company. The materials used were of good quality. It was just the publicity that wasn’t very classy. Most families would renovate the place again upon moving in.
Chu Qin wasn’t too fond of this type of extravagant style that gave one an illusion that they were living in a hotel. Since they were going to make this their home, then it should be done in that way.
Zhong Yibin thought of Chu Qin’s comfortable apartment and glanced again at the extravagance before him. He had the same sentiments. “Then we’ll change this and find someone to renovate it again.”
“Okay. I’ll come up with the renovation money,” Chu Qin stood on the second floor and looked down. Inwardly, he started to plan how the house would look like.
Zhong Yibin originally wanted to object. But his train of thought went in another direction – when buying their matrimonial flat, many families would have the husband buy the house while the wife paid for the renovation. Like this, the property could be considered a joint asset. Thinking in this manner, Zhong Yibin again became happy and immediately agreed.
Fortunately, it was his own family’s business. The furniture and lights didn’t go to waste and was carted back to the warehouse. They could be used during the renovation of the next neighborhood. Zhong Yibin contacted the company to arrange for people to take the items back. Within the next few days, the entire house was wiped clean. Even the lights and ornaments were removed, leaving behind an extravagant empty house.
Chu Qin looked at the empty house and touched his chin. “Zhong Chick, I have an honorable yet arduous task for you.”
“Please instruct me, sir!” Zhong Yibin, who was circling the house randomly, swiftly appeared in the living room and stood at attention.
“The renovation design will be handed to you. I want a style that is fresh and clean,” Chu Qin raised his chin slightly.
“Yes, sir!” Zhong Yibin saluted. Then, he strode forward and pressed a kiss onto Chu Qin.
“How can you kiss your commanding officer? You’re breaking the rules!” Chu Qin pushed the large head that floated over.
“Let me break the rules then. You can punish me as much as you like,” Zhong Yibin smiled mischievously and bit Chu Qin’s ear.
The reason why this task was handed to Zhong Yibin was also because Chu Qin was busy during this period. Ever since returning from the Golden Gong Awards, the relationship between the two of them was put on display before the entire country. Naturally, his career would take a hit.
Chu Qin had three main sources of income. The first one was Shengshi TV’s annual salary and program bonus. The second one was his various appearances at business events. His third source was his work as a brand ambassador, which was one of his greatest sources of income. Chu Qin was the fixed ambassador for two brands. One of them was a certain brand of handphones made in China, and the other was men’s clothes for youngsters.
The boss of that brand of handphones made in China was very conservative. After he heard of this news, he slapped the table and terminated the contract with Chu Qin. “If people knew that we had a gay ambassador, who would dare to buy our products in the future? Guys who buy our products will be mocked for being gay!”
Hence, Chu Qin received the news of this brand’s cancellation of contract immediately after returning. Not only was this year’s ambassador fees gone, they even wanted him to fork out three million as compensation for damage to the brand’s image.
Chu Qin’s manager, Zhao Bai, was so angry that he stomped about in anger. He called the other party and gave them a vicious scolding.
“There isn’t any use in you saying all these. Our products are selling poorly now. Don’t tell me that it wasn’t caused by Chu Qin,” The manager of the other party’s marketing department replied coldly.
“Your phones have such poor functions – battery dying after two uses; constantly incurring viruses. If not for the charity of our Chu Qin’s fans, you all would have long gone bankrupt!” Zhao Bai wasn’t a saint either. In any case, their cooperation wouldn’t continue so he might as well give them a good scolding.
The other party was so incensed that they gasped out a few crude statements. “Hehe, you guys better manage yourselves well. Chu Qin will be blocked by the national station in two days. I’ll see what more you can do then.”
Chu Qin finished reading every word of the termination letter before searching for the advertising contract he had signed previously. The contract had stipulated in detail the matter of termination, but there wasn’t a single clause that stated that issues regarding the artist’s sexual orientation necessitated a termination of contract. Chu Qin indicated to Zhao Bai to stop arguing. “File a lawsuit then. Based on this contract, they won’t be able to win and will even lose money to us.”
This matter was handed over to Shengshi’s legal department to settle. Both sides very quickly met in the courtroom. Chu Qin raised the idea of having a public hearing and inviting the media to spectate, and the handphone company unexpectedly agreed cheerfully. Perhaps, from their perspective, this was a chance to make their brand known while raising the profile of their handphones at the same time.
The lawsuit was fast approaching. For the time being, Chu Qin lacked the time to manage the renovations. Hence, it was first handed over to Zhong Yibin to complete the design before showing it to him.
On the day of the court hearing, Chu Qin sat at the stands for those attending court rather than the complainant’s position. Since the contract was between Shengshi Entertainment and the handphone company, the complainant was naturally Shengshi Entertainment. Seated at that position was the company’s representative and manager, Zhao Bai.
“The contract stipulates that the second party has the right to terminate the contract if the artist causes damage to the second party’s reputation due to personal reasons,” The lawyer for the handphone company declared their viewpoint.
“May I ask the defending lawyer, in what ways has Chu Qin caused your company to suffer a loss in reputation? The contract only has one clause, which states that the second party can only be determined to have suffered a loss in reputation if the artist demonstrated immorality, took drugs, was involved in scandals or broke the law,” The lawyer invited by Shengshi refuted eloquently.
“We are all aware that Chu Qin recently publicly admitted to being homosexual at the Golden Gong Awards,” The opposing side’s lawyer stated arrogantly.
“Then in your opinion, homosexuality is immoral?” Shengshi’s lawyer closed in step by step.
“According to our country’s current cultural environment, it is immoral,” The other side’s lawyer followed along and made this statement.
There was a commotion among the entire audience. The scene was broadcasted live to viewers around the entire country via the camera, causing many youths to erupt with anger.
[Homosexuality is immoral? Then is heterosexuality illegal! After all, it is very easy for heterosexual love to cause deaths!]
The court did not make a judgement and would organize another hearing a few days later. During these few days, youngsters in various regions spontaneously organized a boycott of this company. They raised signs of protest outside the shopping male and asked for the handphone company to apologize and compensate Chu Qin for his losses. A boycott of a similar scale also occurred on the internet; everyone continuously raced over to that company’s official Weibo to leave comments.
[In the past, I bought the phones because I liked Qin Qin. Otherwise, how would I know about your lousy phones!]
[This handphone isn’t nice to use at all. I didn’t say much in the past so that Chu Qin’s endorsement fees could be higher, but now I can rant all I like (smile).]
During the few days of waiting for the court’s judgement, the handphone company received countless calls of complaints. Their online selling channel experienced a large-scale return of products. Only at this moment did the handphone company panic. Things didn’t develop in the way they had thought it would. They hurriedly contacted Chu Qin for reconciliation but was rejected by Shengshi Entertainment.
Eventually, the court judged that homosexuality was not a matter of morality. Chu Qin’s individual popularity within the country did not slip. The handphone company was deemed to have violated the agreement by unilaterally terminating the contract based on their personal prejudice and would need to compensate Chu Qin ten million in endorsement fees for the year, as well as a penalty fee of three million.
Chu Qin received the hefty compensation and was very happy. He showed off in front of Zhong Yibin at night. “I’ve earned the money for the renovation! What about the design plan?”
Zhong Yibin smiled mysteriously. He took out three design proposals from the drawer and moved them in front of Chu Qin as if he were presenting treasure. “I found an extremely creative designer. I just stated my ideas and he completed three plans. I think they’re pretty good.”
Chu Qin picked up the design proposals and took a look.
The first one was titled ‘Holy War’. The design plan depicted the entire house styled in the form of an ancient shrine. The staircase was made out of ore, while the railings were made out of pillars from Greece temples. The overall appearance was that of saint warriors locked in a battle with the twelve golden zodiacs.
“… Living amidst battle every day, won’t you feel tired?” The corner of Chu Qin’s mouth twitched.
“Nope, this one has plenty of emotion,” Zhong Yibin pointed at that stone staircase excitedly. “Every time we go upstairs, we can yell ‘Burn, Cosmos. For Athena, rush at the Twelve Zodiacs’. How invigorating!”
Chu Qin, “…” He didn’t know how exactly that was invigorating, so the plan didn’t pass.
The second plan was titled ‘Interstellar’. It was quite pleasing to the eye. The ceiling was made to look like a starry sky while the floor was shaped bumpily like the moon. The sofa, tables and chairs were all shaped like planets in the solar system. Only… what was with that Ultraman-shaped lamppost? And that large, monster-shaped bed. And that toilet bowl in the shape of a fighter plane. Did they need to live out their everyday lives in the war of the universe?
“This is natural enough but sleeping in this type of bedroom will cause nightmares,” Chu Qin tried to compromise.
“Oh. If you don’t like that, there’s still one left,” Zhong Yibin took out the third piece.
The third plan was called ‘Primitive’. This one was truly made according to Chu Qin’s request. It was particularly primitive, particularly natural. The floor was green bricks and pebbles. The tables and chairs were made of stone and logs, with an animal skin hide draped over it. The bed was a soft cushion laid out like hay and encircled by stones. Even the kitchen counter was shaped like a village’s large cauldron…
“There’s no need to be this primitive…” Chu Qin was completely convinced. The hole in this designer’s head was simply too large; taking a home renovation and transforming it into a primitive society, returning to this home every day would give one the misconception that they were cavemen.
“Actually, I don’t really like the third one either. It isn’t romantic at all,” Zhong Yibin took the first plan out again, his eyes sparkling, and strongly recommended the ‘holy warrior’ style.
Chu Qin rubbed his temples. “Forget it, forget it. I’ll go talk to this designer.”
The design eventually returned to its proper route, though some aspects that Zhong Yibin liked were still maintained. The staircase was wooden and had an open concept. By using a transparent material, it appeared to be floating in the air from a distance.
“Just like the flight of steps leading to Athena’s shrine; full of holy light. Don’t you think it’s very cool?” Chu Qin kneaded Zhong Yibin’s pouted little chicken mouth.
Hearing Chu Qin say as such, the eyes of Zhong Yibin, who originally wasn’t very satisfied, lit up. Thinking of it this way, it seemed to be even more cool than the stone staircase, so he immediately nodded.
The ceiling in front of the French windows overlooking the scenery maintained its starry sky design. Except, the two disagreed over the type of deck chair for the place.
Zhong Yibin gazed at a deck chair shaped in the form of a space capsule and refused to leave, insisting that he wanted to get it. He couldn’t be led away no matter what.
“This chair has a cover. You won’t be able to see the stars on the ceiling if you look up, how sad is that,” Chu Qin squatted along with him and analyzed the chair made from magnesium alloy. “Look over there, that wooden deck chair is so good looking. It’s bright and spacious lying on it and you won’t bump your head if you want to do something on the chair.”
Zhong Yibin stared blankly for a while. He glanced at the narrow space capsule and then looked at that spacious, cozy, and naturally curved deck chair. The scene of Chu Qin lying on it naked automatically appeared before his eyes. As long as he leapt over, he would be able to do certain shameful things however he wanted to. He instantly nodded and agreed. “Then let’s get that one!”
“Good boy,” Chu Qin stroked Er Bing’s head and pulled his hand, continuing to stroll around.
In the end, the style of the newly renovated house was essentially the concise, natural style that Chu Qin liked. The living room floor was lined with natural wooden boards, with a grey wool carpet laid in the center. The low sofa was spacious and comfortable and had many soft cushions of all sizes and shapes scattered over it.
A ring of pebbles was laid in front of the full-length glass windows where green and lush moss had been planted. Two wooden deck chairs were placed in the area encircled by the pebbles, as well as a transparent large umbrella. When looking through the umbrella, the ceiling that was designed like a starry sky could be seen.
When the Zhong family’s elder brother came to visit, he was very surprised. His younger brothers had previously shown off the three previous design plans to him. He hadn’t expected Chu Qin to be able to coax Zhong Yibin into changing his ideas and on top of that, not have a single strange item appear in the house.
“How did you do it?” Zhong Jiabin asked Chu Qin.
“Just some coaxing,” Chu Qin shrugged.
He hadn’t finished speaking when Zhong Yibin’s voice sounded from upstairs. “Qin Qin, where’s my golden divine sword?”
“It’s hanging on the spirit pillar,” Chu Qin answered. Right after that, he realized that Zhong elder brother was also present and couldn’t help flushing.
The Zhong family’s big brother covered his lips with a fist, concealing the smile at the corner of his mouth. These two were truly well matched.
Translator’s corner: Props to CQ for not throwing those designs in Er Bing’s face HAHAHA