Surprise Resignation of Female Substitute Secretary

Chapter 45

Su Tao booked a plane ticket to Beicheng for tomorrow to finalize some connections with the producer team of Survival Show ahead of the finals happening very soon.

She brought Le Xuan along this time, intending to introduce her to many of Su Tao's connections. Le Xuan loved wearing baseball shirts with cargo pants, and with her neat short haircut, she was often mistaken for a boy.

She was a bit careless when it came to emotions, but she applied the meticulousness inherent to girls when it came to getting things done. The only thing she lacked was more experience. Su Tao felt that with proper grooming, Le Xuan could definitely stand on her own in a couple years.

She also picked a clever-looking new artist assistant from the company's recent recruitment to bring along and pair up with Jiang Qi.

Su Tao attended the shareholder meeting entirely via video while en route. It was mainly about the matter of the Publicity Director and Liu Wan Tao selling the company's information.

The evidence provided by Liang Ke was conclusive, so Su Tao didn't need to say much, she only needed to vote when the time came.

Liu Wan Tao no longer had the arrogance she displayed last time when confronting Su Tao, knowing that no matter how much she said it was futile. She took full responsibility for everything.

The final resolution was to fire Liu Wan Tao and the Publicity Director, and require them to compensate the company for losses.

The Finance Director had already calculated several options. Liu Wan Tao chose the most aggressive approach - liquidating all her shares, subtracting the penalty amount, and demanding the remainder be deposited into her account within a week.

Zhang Qi Guang always looked very calm on the surface, but he was absolutely uncompromising when it came to matters of principle.

Besides, which "Buddhist" bosses in this world were truly Buddhist? It was all just a guise for their desires.

Zhang Qi Guang immediately agreed to purchase Liu Wan Tao's stocks using his personal account.

But he also directly stated that Liu Wan Tao's actions would spread through the industry, and he believed no companies would dare hire someone who stole company information, schemed against colleagues, and disregarded the company's interests.

Zhang Qi Guang's attitude made Liu Wan Tao extremely regretful. She didn't expect this seemingly Buddhist man to have such a temper.

This meant she would no longer be able to continue mixing in the domestic industry.

Disregarding how this made her lose face, Liu Wan Tao said: "Boss Zhang, actually I still have feelings for the company. I was just upset earlier, I don't necessarily want to liquidate immediately. If your funds are tight..."

"I can purchase 5% of the shares," Su Tao, who had been observing via video, suddenly spoke up. Her tone was calm, as if she was merely suggesting adding some meat to the hotpot.

Su Tao: "Boss Zhang, give me an internal price. I'll have the money transferred to your account within a week."

Zhang Qi Guang burst out laughing. Su Tao looked obedient on the surface, but was sly on the inside. Her playful temper hadn't changed one bit - whoever provoked her wouldn't get off easy.

He hung up the video link amidst Liu Wan Tao's furious expression.

The car arrived at the predetermined restaurant. Su Tao and Le Xuan didn't have time to settle in before joining the Survival Show crew for a meal.

After finalizing arrangements to add a clip at the end of the show announcing DG's signing, and confirming details of the process, Su Tao finally felt at ease.

In the training camp, Jiang Qi had just finished dancing his solo performance in a private training room. Leaning against the barre in front of the mirror, he tipped his head back to drink some water.

The water droplets rolled down his sharp jawline to his fair neck, eventually stopping at his Adam's apple, bobbing up and down before falling onto his chest.

"Click", Jiang Qi stopped drinking and narrowed his slender eyes, looking towards the door of the training room. The door was opened just a crack, and a phone camera lens was peeking through taking pictures.

"Who is it?" Jiang Qi called out in dissatisfaction. The next second, the door was pushed open.

A pretty melon-seed shaped face peeked in, red lips and white teeth, the typical beauty of Jiangnan. Her voice was tender as she said "It's me~"

The intruder was Fu Chengcheng, the most popular female contestant.

Jiang Qi's aloofness made Fu Chengcheng very uncomfortable. Although she hadn't seen him take the initiative to flirt with anyone after entering the camp, he wasn't this dismissive before.

Fu Chengcheng walked closer to him and saw the water stains on his neck. She took out a pack of tissues and pulled one out, wanting to help wipe him, but Jiang Qi turned his head to dodge her, casually wiping with the back of his hand as he said "Delete that photo."

Fu Chengcheng's fingers trembled. She had taken the initiative to find him today because the finals were happening tomorrow. If she didn't make a move now, she might not have another chance to interact with him.

But Jiang Qi asking her to delete the photo was equivalent to directly rejecting her, telling her he wasn't interested.

However, her friends at T University told her Jiang Qi was gentle and romantic, and he welcomed any girl who approached him.

Fu Chengcheng looked at him with tearful almond eyes. "Jiang Qi, barring any surprises, I'll get first place among the female contestants, and you'll get first for the males. My agent got me an idol drama, I want to recommend you for the male lead."

Jiang Qi undid his hair tie, shook out his slightly long bangs, and casually brushed his hair back with his hand. Indifferently, he said: "You'll have to discuss that with my agent, but I'm not very interested in idol dramas."

Suddenly, hurried footsteps sounded outside the training room, followed by Su Yang Xing's voice: "Jiang Qi, my sister is here, she's in the conference room."

Jiang Qi's clear eyes instantly lit up, and the corners of his mouth couldn't help twitching up before he suppressed it back into a straight line. He took two steps, then turned back to grab his muted phone that he had left to the side. As expected, there were several missed calls from Su Tao.

Unable to restrain himself any longer, the corners of his mouth turned up. He was about to head out when his collar was suddenly grabbed, forcing him to stop one meter away from the door.

Jiang Qi looked back with knitted brows at Su Yang Xing behind him, grabbing his collar. Dissatisfied, he said: "What are you doing pulling me? That's my sister."

"Even if she's your sister, you can't."

Jiang Qi firmly shook his finger in refusal, completely rejecting his reason for getting close to Su Tao. Then he forcefully yanked Su Yang Xing behind him.

With one big stride, he perched on the armrest of the chair next to Su Tao. Legs splayed apart, hands in pockets, leaning slightly forward, he smiled radiantly at Su Tao.

Su Tao also smiled back, placing the contract on the table in front of him to block his burning gaze. "The DG endorsement contract."

Jiang Qi tilted his head to peek out from the side of the contract, staring fixedly at her. The emotions in his eyes were utterly unmasked, like a raging fire - he would rather be destroyed together than repress it to preserve himself.

To stabilize his emotions, Su Tao didn't bring up any sensitive topics, speaking lightly to reassure him: "I've handled everything for you. Just perform your best tomorrow."

"What's my reward if I do well?" Jiang Qi's clear eyes glimmered with an alluring smile, flirting without a trace.

"Are you two done flirting? Am I transparent?" Su Yang Xing, who had been waiting to the side, finally couldn't stand being ignored and spoke up.

Su Yang Xing's words happened to save Su Tao. She actually couldn't get through to Jiang Qi's phone, so she called Su Yang Xing instead.

The poor child seemed unaware he was just a messenger. He actually thought Su Tao came specifically to encourage him before the finals.

Su Tao wasn't that heartless. She smiled at Su Yang Xing and gently said: "Yes, you'll definitely get a good ranking tomorrow. Do your best."

Seeing that Le Xuan had been treated as transparent, she immediately understood Su Tao's intention. She walked over and patted Su Yang Xing's shoulder, pointing outside: "The boss bought you delicious treats, they're in the car. Help me get them, I can't carry them myself."

Hearing Su Tao got him food, Su Yang Xing was touched and excited. Without thinking further, he followed Le Xuan out.

Su Tao wanted to discuss some signing details with Jiang Qi without Su Yang Xing overhearing. It wasn't that she didn't trust him, but this was a critical moment, and she worried Su Hao Yang might pry something from him.

The spacious conference room was left with just Su Tao and Jiang Qi.

Su Tao took out a schedule for tomorrow's recording from her bag and put it on the table, pointing it out to Jiang Qi.

"I just discussed with the program team and changed the last segment. I'll make sure you get absolute first place in votes. After you give your winner's speech, the program team will play a video on the big screen, announcing your contract with DG, then we'll go to the contract signing press conference..." Su Tao said so much when she turned her head and found he wasn't looking at the new schedule at all. Instead, he was staring at her, his gaze somewhat transfixed.

"Jiang Qi," Su Tao called his name again, tapped the table to try to get his attention back, "What are you thinking about?"

"Thinking about how gorgeous you look." Not only did Jiang Qi not look away, he even stretched out his slender fingers towards her.

Su Tao's breath hitched as she quickly leaned back to avoid him, elbow bumping into the water bottle on the table without the lid properly on. Water spilled out, dripping onto her bag.

Su Tao hurriedly got up, shook the water off her bag, and a tissue was handed to her. Su Tao took it and wiped her bag, only to discover a lipstick kiss mark on the tissue.

Su Tao unfolded the tissue to take a look. It was just an ordinary brand of tissue, the kiss mark on it clearly imprinted on later, and from the size, it looked to be a woman's.

Before Su Tao could ask, Jiang Qi immediately explained, his voice tinged with panic, "It's not mine."

Su Tao turned her head to look at the pack of tissues in his hand, took one out and unfolded it, and there was still a kiss mark on it.

The entire pack of tissues had kiss marks, Su Tao was 100% sure they were imprinted intentionally.

"That's quite an unconventional way." Su Tao quirked her brows, speaking mockingly.

She knew Jiang Qi was popular, but didn't expect the ways he got confessed to were so varied, giving her a helpless sense that she couldn't prevent them all.

Now Su Tao felt it was inevitable Jiang Qi would fall in love sooner or later, after all he used to be so good at flirting with girls.

Although she felt helpless, she still had to earnestly advise, "Jiang Qi, even if you want to fall in love, at least wait until you've reached high enough, okay? The next two years are a crucial period..."

"I will never have feelings for anyone other than you from now on."

Jiang Qi's voice was somewhat hoarse, he looked very dejected, and left the conference room ignoring Su Tao's objections.

Su Tao, who had settled down nicely at the hotel, originally had quite a good mood, but it turned gloomy because of Jiang Qi.

She thought about it and still sent him a message.

[Su Tao: Jiang Qi, let's not think about other things first, you have to do well tomorrow, okay?]

[Su Tao: Everything, as long as you perform well, we can discuss it properly after the competition ends.]

[Su Tao: Jiang Qi, say something back, I'm so worried I can't sleep.]

[Jiang Qi: That's the point, to make you worry and think of me all night.]

Su Tao: ...

This childish guy.

Just as Su Tao was worrying, she got a phone call. Thinking it was Jiang Qi having a change of heart, she didn't check the caller ID and immediately answered, "Had a change of heart?"

"Change of heart about what?" Xie Jin's low voice came from the phone.

Su Tao sighed and said in a dejected tone, "Oh, it's you. What's up?"

Xie Jin's tone instantly turned gloomy, "Who did you think it was?"

"Just say what you wanted to talk about?" Su Tao's tone was impatient, clearly ready to hang up at a moment's notice.

"I'm back in Beicheng, where are you staying? Or do you want to come back to..." He wanted to say come back home, but stopped himself and changed it to, "Just come stay at my villa with your colleagues, there are lots of rooms."

Su Tao: "No need, thanks."

Xie Jin: "Then where are you staying? Send me your location."

Su Tao: "Not sending it. Bye."

Xie Jin: "......"

The venue for the finals was bigger than any previous stage, and the art direction was higher level too, with an even more luxurious guest lineup.

Only 36 contestants were left, 18 male and 18 female. Here, the 9 members of each gender for the group would soon be determined.

Su Tao arrived at the live show's venue early. She took the opportunity when they were on break from rehearsals to call Jiang Qi over to talk.

Jiang Qi already had his stage makeup on, the eyeliner evenly outlined his slender eye contours, his pupils were brown color contacts, looking even more captivating with his piercing gaze.

"Did you dream of me all night?" Jiang Qi asked with an insolent smile, seeming to be in good spirits.

Su Tao finally breathed a sigh of relief, somewhat reassured. She glared at him and urged, "Do well."

Someone on stage called for Jiang Qi. He blinked playfully at Su Tao and mysteriously said, "I'll give you a surprise later."

Su Tao's expression changed slightly. "What surprise? You have to tell me beforehand if you have any ideas, you can't just do things on your own, understand?"

Jiang Qi giggled and flicked her forehead before running back onto the stage.

Su Tao watched him worriedly for a while before the incoming greetings from industry colleagues interrupted her thoughts and she started chatting with them.

As more and more guests arrived, the mingling became more intense, finally reaching its peak with Xie Jin's arrival.

Xie Jin still had an aloof aura that dominated the atmosphere of the entire venue. With one glance he spotted Su Tao in the crowd, his gloomy expression warning others to stay away as he strode directly towards her.

Halfway there, with just an indifferent look from Su Tao, his footsteps changed direction and he went to sit in the seat with his name card, crossing his arms on the armrests while maintaining his dignified posture, though with slight aggrievement hidden in his eyes.

No one dared to approach, only going over to leave a business card and say a quick greeting before leaving.

The guests who arrived later, seeing this scene, also followed suit to go leave their business cards.

In the end, a line actually formed, as if a new check-in method.

Xie Jin sat there scowling as he watched the scene before him, not knowing why he had become a human check-in machine.

With the curtain falling on Moody Tycoon Check-in Machine, the show officially kicked off.

This finals used a live broadcast format, with an audience and fans. When the center curtain was pulled open, the guests discovered over a thousand people sitting in the back rows.

It started with all 36 performing together, and each person had their fans screaming when they came out. The screams hit a small peak when Fu Chengcheng appeared, and a huge peak when Jiang Qi came out.

Jiang Qi had a massive fanbase, half the venue was his signature golden yellow color, the cheers deafening.

Everyone could see Jiang Qi's great skills on stage, breaking through himself again and again, each improvement enormous. He had talent and worked hard.

The competition proceeded smoothly according to schedule. Voting results were announced three times. Jiang Qi's number of votes compared to the other contestants was a sheer cliff of difference.

Of Liang Ke's four artists, only two made it to the finals, and Xue Xinzi was eliminated before the final solo performances.

Jiang Qi performed last, picking a high tempo emotional ballad. His magnetic deep vocals mixed with slight panting during the dance stimulated the audience's eardrums.

The dance steps were sexy and cool, matching his seductive stage presence and gorgeous face, inciting shrieks from his fans, and even non-fans were influenced, some even fangirling on the spot.

Looking at him on stage, Su Tao's eyes shone brightly. She knew Jiang Qi was talented, but didn't expect him to be so outstanding, exceeding her imagination outstanding.

She had seen him perform with his band before. Back then his rapping was average.

With just one month of training, he was able to find a performance style suited to himself and bring his skills up to an almost professional level. His talent really was astounding.

Standing in the center of the stage, he was the absolute king. He was born for the stage.

The final result was unsurprising. Jiang Qi won by a huge margin. When it came time for his winner's speech, the spotlight shone on Jiang Qi center stage. Even if he did nothing, he could dominate the entire stage.

His gaze sweeping the venue finally landed on Su Tao. The enchanting yet cold look in his eyes slowly filled with tenderness.

Sitting below, the smile on Su Tao's face gradually disappeared. As he opened his mouth to speak, she suddenly recalled his meaningful words during rehearsal about giving her a surprise, and her frozen smile stiffened.

Jiang Qi: "I have something to say to someone."

The moment Jiang Qi uttered the first sentence, Su Tao silently took out her phone and sent a stealthy message to Le Xuan.

Jiang Qi: "That day on the sunset beach, I met a girl. Didn't expect that from then on I would..."

When he mentioned the word "girl", there was a burst of discussion from the fans, and it grew louder and louder, showing signs of getting out of control.

It was foreseeable how serious the consequences would be if he really said something inappropriate in this occasion.

Just when the whole scene was in chaos, a clear, spring-like voice abruptly interrupted Jiang Qi's words.

"Hello everyone, I'm Jiang Qi's agent Su Tao. First of all, thank you Jiang Qi for calling me a 'girl' at my age, I'm very happy."

With her words, the whole scene quieted down again, and Jiang Qi's eyebrows slowly furrowed as he stared at her silently.

Su Tao stood up very solemnly, "Today I'm very proud of you. You don't need to thank me specially, I'm your agent, I'm just doing my job, and you, have done what an excellent artist should do. You possess the most precious qualities - real strength and hard work. In the future, your path will become wider and better, I will witness your growth with all your fans, and once again thank everyone who supports Jiang Qi, thank you all."

Su Tao's words completely replaced Jiang Qi's championship speech. As the applause sounded, the lights instantly dimmed and Li Yajie appeared on the big screen.

With a smile in her eyes, she announced that Jiang Qi was the spokesperson for DG, which drew cheers from all the fans and envious looks from the contestants and representatives of various companies present.

With the confetti raining down and the lively scene of the host and all the contestants going on stage, this season of "The Road to Stardom" came to a successful conclusion.

Su Tao heaved a long sigh of relief and sat down, lowering her head to send a message to Le Xuan, who had cooperated with her in acting out that scene.

【Su Tao: Well done.】

Next, Su Tao and Le Xuan escorted Jiang Qi out of the venue and onto the van with the new assistant.

In the car, the new assistant took the initiative to introduce herself to Jiang Qi, while Jiang Qi's eyes were fixed on Su Tao, who was sitting alone in the single seat next to him.

She didn't say a word, not even showing any expression, neither praising nor scolding him, leaving him feeling anxious.

Of course Su Tao didn't want to affect Jiang Qi's mood for his next schedule, moreover there was the driver, Le Xuan, and a new assistant in the car.

With so many people around, she couldn't possibly talk much to Jiang Qi.

But unexpectedly, Jiang Qi couldn't hold back and spoke up first.

Jiang Qi: "Why didn't you let me finish?"

Su Tao's expression remained calm and her tone gentle, "Let's talk about it after the press conference is over."

Jiang Qi: "You know I wanted to tell you that I..."

"I know!"

Su Tao's bright eyes suddenly turned sharp as she loudly cut off his words. She didn't expect that he would blurt it out in front of so many people, regardless of everything.

Su Tao: "I told you to let me know in advance what you wanted to do, why didn't you listen?"

Jiang Qi: "I did mention it to you in advance, would you have agreed?"

Su Tao raised her voice, staring with wide doe eyes, and shouted at Jiang Qi for the first time, "Then you'd ruin yourself?"

Everyone in the car was startled, fortunately no one besides Le Xuan understood what had happened.

The car stopped in front of the press conference. Sitting in the passenger seat, Le Xuan said in a low voice, "Boss, we've arrived."

Su Tao effortlessly regained her calm composure, because she had deliberately shouted just now to interrupt Jiang Qi.

Jiang Qi's clear eyes were now speckled with shimmers, a little misty, wet and aggrieved.

In a small voice, somewhat choked up, he said, "Don't I even have the right to speak my heart?"

Su Tao stretched out her fair hands and tidied his collar, the corners of her lips curved up slightly to soothe his emotions, "Yes, when you're strong enough. Smile now, we have a press conference to attend."

"Su Tao, is work all you care about? No, you don't even have a heart."

Jiang Qi closed his eyes weakly, concealing the emotions in them, then opened them again, now calm, and walked out of the car with a cold face, leaving Su Tao with just a glimpse of his elegant back.

The contract signing ceremony at the press conference went very smoothly. Holding the official contract with the seal, Su Tao finally felt a weight off her chest.

Next was the photo shoot and interviews.

Jiang Qi's microphone box had fallen to his ankle.

The new assistant, perhaps wanting to impress on her first day or having some other motive, unexpectedly knelt down on stage in front of all the media cameras to get the microphone box for Jiang Qi.

Su Tao's face froze. She immediately went on stage, pulled the assistant up, and gave her a glare to get her off the stage quickly.

Just as Su Tao was about to go over and swiftly fix it for him herself, unexpectedly, a tall, cold figure suddenly rushed up on stage, grabbed her hand, and blocked her steps.

When everyone saw that the person on stage was Xie Jin, they were stunned, not knowing what his relationship was with DG's contract signing press conference.

Many reporters who had attended his company's merger press conferences secretly wondered if DG had also been acquired by Tianjin.

With endless guesses, no one could have imagined that the noble and solemn Xie Jin would personally walk to Jiang Qi's side and, under the stare of the public, half-kneel down.

Everyone: "!"

He was helping Jiang Qi with the microphone box.

Xie Jin's hand reached into Jiang Qi's trouser leg. His warm palm occasionally touched Jiang Qi's leg skin.

Every touch, Xie Jin's face darkened a little more, until finally, with Xie Jin's gloomily cold expression, Jiang Qi's microphone box was finally pulled out from his waistband.

His arm was still around Jiang Qi's slender waist, the posture ambiguous, inevitably leading people's imaginations astray.

Oblivious to the strange looks from everyone, Xie Jin straightened up as if having accomplished his goal, and before leaving, with his back to the cameras, he cast a sinister look at Jiang Qi.

That look was as if he wanted to devour him flesh and bones.