Wuxiaworld > Superstars of Tomorrow > Chapter 339: New Assistant

Chapter 339: New Assistant

Chapter 339: New Assistant

Translator: Min_Lee Editor: Tennesh
Compared to the first test's graders, the instructors at HuangArt had a better impression of Fang Zhao. They had graded fairly in the second round of the admission exam. They hadn't known Fang Zhao, but they'd trusted Xue Jing and Mo Lang.

One's final ranking in the admission exam depended on their overall score. There were no interviews, because they weren't necessary. The candidates who were singled out by the initial graders were all known quantities. Even if someone used a pseudonym, the instructors could figure out whose disciple that person was with a quick read of their exam.

There wasn't much of a point to the interviews, so they had eventually been phased out.

The first class was the first time these music masters were able to observe Fang Zhao up close.

"He has great promise. He has his own style."

"The kid was nominated for a Galaxy Supernova Award this year."

"Oh? He was the one who received a nomination by special mention?"

"Come to think of it, now I remember. There was indeed a Fang Zhao on the list of special mentions."

"Did Xue Jing tell him about this?"

"Old Xue must have his reasons for not telling him. Let's not butt in. We should hold off on telling him for now as well."

Fang Zhao, who was sitting in the audience: ...I heard everything you said.

The Galaxy Awards was the most prestigious prize in the arts world, second to none.

Supernova was a subcategory of the Galaxy Awards that honored young artists who had made a substantial contribution. It was awarded not just to musicians but also to up-and-coming painters, dancers, and actors.

Most winners were artists in their 40s or 50s, which was considered a young age in the New Era.

To be nominated in one's 20s was already a tremendous honor.

But Fang Zhao didn't understand what "special mention" meant.

Setting aside commercial value and considering only artistic achievement, Fang Zhao naturally paled in comparison to those artists in their 40s and 50s who had enjoyed fame for many years. He could not prove himself by passing the Twelve Tones exam alone.

The Galaxy Supernova "special mention" nomination was the equivalent of using VIP access, of cutting in line, but this alone did not turn off the masters at the academy. The nomination had to be irrefutably justified.

The Galaxy Awards put a premium on contribution, not commercial viability. Even if someone produced an outstanding piece, if they hadn't accumulated a critical mass of work or reached a certain level of artistic sophistication, they wouldn't be nominated.

Contribution, special mention...

A light bulb flashed in Fang Zhao's head.

The four-part "100-Year Period of Destruction" series, the Hull virus!

The "Period of Destruction" series had created a window for curing the Hull virus. Some five years had passed since then. With more systematic treatment protocols and better results, Ming Ye's condition had improved significantly. Even though he didn't speak much and his range of emotions was limited, at first glance, he didn't differ from the average person in a major way.

If that was the reason Fang Zhao had been nominated for a Galaxy Supernova Award, that meant a total cure for the Hull virus wasn't far off, if it hadn't been cured already.

Only that would prove the value of the four movements of the "Period of Destruction" series and assuage these masters into allowing this shortcut, a nomination by special mention, with no qualms.

It had been five years. The organizers of the Galaxy Awards had kept quiet all along. It turned out they had been gearing up for a big move.

All things considered, the "Period of Destruction" series did constitute a major artistic contribution, and its influence spanned different fields, enough for the jurors to make an exception.

Fang Zhao was delighted when he figured out the reasoning, not because of the Supernova nomination but because his work paved the way for a cure to this disease that had originated during the Period of Destruction. He had never thought that his series might have such an impact when he'd composed it.

In any case, this was a good thing.

Since the masters had no intention of breaking the news to Fang Zhao just yet, he pretended he hadn't heard anything.

After his first day his classes, Fang Zhao returned to his dorm room, where he found Yan Biao and Zuo Yu waiting.

Fang Zhao had signed them up for a celebrity bodyguard course so they would have a better understanding of the kinds of situations bodyguards who worked in the entertainment industry faced and how to respond in a professional manner. They would learn how other bodyguards practiced their trade.

Yan Biao and Zuo Yu took no issue with the assignment. In fact, they were delighted. The fact that Fang Zhao was willing to sign them up for further studies meant he wanted to keep them around long-term.

So exciting! Not being fired is terrific news!

The two men were extremely enthusiastic. They promised Fang Zhao that they would brief him on their progress every few days. That was the purpose of their visit today.

Zuo Yu and Yan Biao had too much free time. Apart from the fact that Fang Zhao could handle himself very well, the two bodyguards were also inexperienced. On many occasions, Fang Zhao could deal with matters by himself more efficiently than if he delegated the matter to them. Just a few days into the course and it had already made a difference. The two men realized many of their shortcomings. It was easier than learning on the job. This professional bodyguard course in Huangzhou lived up to its high price tag.

To prove they were serious about their studies, the two men took notes and let Fang Zhao examine them.

When Fang Zhao arrived, his neighbor Will also returned. He stared at Fang Zhao briefly before entering his own room, frowning.

After entering Fang Zhao's room, Yan Biao couldn't help but blurt out, "Boss, is your neighbor..." a nutcase ?

Yan Biao didn't finish his sentence. He felt the guy next door had looked at Fang Zhao weirdly, like a voyeur. But passing judgment based on a mere look didn't seem appropriate, so he'd held back.

"I've asked him about it. He wants to paint a portrait of me, but he's stuck. He needs to observe me some more." Fang Zhao had figured out the reason behind the odd behavior, but he still wasn't entirely clear on why Will was stuck. Painters had their own way of doing things. Fang Zhao wasn't about to quibble with him over the occasional stare.

After briefing Fang Zhao on their progress and letting him inspect their notes, Yan Biao blurted out, "Boss, do you need an assistant? I have a former comrade who has been working in Huangzhou since he retired from the military. He knows the entertainment industry well, has a lively personality, and is meticulous and smooth."

Fang Zhao nodded. "Go on."

Yan Biao was delighted and gave the lowdown on his former teammate.

"His name is Nanfeng, as in southern wind. He used to be a member of Outpost No. 23 too. He was a sniper. Unfortunately, he injured his left eye during an operation. Back then, Baiji had still been poor, and the medical infrastructure had been primitive, so his treatment was delayed. Eventually, he retired and returned to Earth, where he had a prosthetic eye implanted at a military hospital. Then, armed with his pension and discharge payment, he moved to Huangzhou."

Because he hadn't notched any major merits and his length of service had been short, Nanfeng's discharge payment had been meager. He worked as a bodyguard and an extra. Even though he was skinny and short, he was quick with his hands and got along well with his colleagues. He was also quick on his feet and diplomatic. He had fared well compared to most other folks.

Last month, Nanfeng had used his hard-earned savings to upgrade to an artificially intelligent left eye. Now that he was strapped for cash again, he was looking for new work. Lo and behold, he'd run into Yan Biao one day.

Fang Zhao got a decent grasp of Nanfeng's situation from Yan Biao's briefing. "I don't have class tomorrow afternoon. See if has time for a meeting."

"Of course! Of course! He has all the time in the world," Yan Biao blurted out.

"Then let's meet tomorrow at 3 p.m. in your apartment."

"Oh?" Yan Biao froze. "There's no need for Boss to make the trip personally. I can bring him here."

"It's OK. I'll come over."

Since Fang Zhao had made up his mind, Yan Biao didn't press the matter. After leaving Fang Zhao's apartment, he gave Nanfeng a call.

Nanfeng was quite emotional. "Thank you, Captain!"

He had actually been quite sad when he'd run into his former captain and learned that Yan Biao had been forced into retirement after losing his legs in a terrorist attack. Baiji's fortunes had improved vastly, so it was a shame that Yan Biao had had to quit the military so early due to an injury. But after learning about Yan Biao's current line of work, Nanfeng had almost lost it.

He wanted a piece of that easy money!

But he also understood that if he didn't show initiative and complacently twiddled his thumbs, he wouldn't survive for long.

Nanfeng was confident that he was quite the well-rounded employee—he was a good waiter, he could drive, cook, walk the dog, and feed the rabbit, he knew how to handle interpersonal relationships, and he was willing to put himself at his boss's beck and call.

Besides, based on what Yan Biao had said, he figured Fang Zhao would be easy to get along with. As long as he did his job, Fang Zhao wouldn't give him a hard time.

"Don't thank me now. Thank me after you've impressed our boss. Remember to show up early tomorrow. Don't make boss wait," Yan Biao said.

"No, I'm going to head over now." Nanfeng was ecstatic. "I have quite a few questions for Captain. I need to learn about boss's preferences so I can do a good job. Captain, my future is in your hands!"

"Sure, why not?"

Nanfeng brought appetizers, barbecued meat, and a few cans of beer.

"Let's skip the alcohol," Yan Biao said.

Zuo Yu agreed, "It wouldn't be a good idea to reek of alcohol when Boss shows up tomorrow." Zuo Yu gave this prospective colleague a few pointers. He also asked, "So how's your tolerance?"

"Oh, don't you worry about that! Don't be fooled by my stature. I actually have decent tolerance. I can drink on boss's behalf in the future!" Nanfeng said with a chuckle.

Zuo examined Nanfeng's new left eye curiously. "Your new eye is really high-quality. It looks no different from the real thing." He could tell the difference up close, but from a distance, it looked like a real eye.

"Of course." Nanfeng was quite happy with his new eye. "It cost more than 10 million dollars. It took me seven years to save up."

Technological advancements in the New Era brought conveniences to the handicapped. Take Yan Biao's prosthetic legs and Nanfeng's eye, for example.

"Do you have X-ray vision? Can you see through walls?" Zuo Yu asked.

"Of course not! Civilian models are all heavily restricted. I didn't want that many new functions either. I was happy as long as it could restore my vision."

"Why is it so expensive if it has so few functions?" Zuo Yu wondered.

"There's no way around it. Quality costs. Inferior models will hurt me here." Nanfeng pointed at his head. "There's the risk of dementia."

"So your new eye has no additional functions?" Yan Biao asked.

"Of course it does!" Nanfeng crept closer. "Look at my left eye."

The color of Nanfeng's left iris turned from white to red, then yellow, green, jade, blue, purple, and finally black.

"Look, the full range of color variation!"

Yan Biao: "..."

Zuo Yu opened his mouth but decided it was better to stay mum. This team member of Yan Biao's is indeed quite the character!

Nanfeng adjusted his eye color back to normal. He noticed that Yan Biao's face had gone black. He slapped himself on the chest and proclaimed, "Don't worry, Captain. I know more than you do about how to be a good celebrity assistant!"

"No, it's not that. I just want to remind you that our boss is a bit different. He's not the average celebrity," Yan Biao said.

"How different?" Nanfeng asked.

Yan Biao didn't respond directly, instead asking, "Have you watched the Yanzhou chapter of 'Founding Era'?"

"I started watching yesterday. I'm on season five now." Nanfeng wasn't from Yanzhou and had never watched the Yanzhou chapter before. He had crammed them only because he was applying to become Fang Zhao's assistant. And he'd fast-forwarded through the show, playing only the segments where Fang Zhao appeared. It might come in handy for brownnosing.

"Our boss's solo fighting ability is no different than in the show," Yan Biao said.

Nanfeng wore an expression that said "You're f*cking kidding me." He glanced at Zuo Yu for confirmation.

A serious-looking Zuo Yu nodded, then pointed to himself, Yan Biao, and Nanfeng before saying, "Believe it or not, with his bare hands, Boss could beat the three of us into pulp."

Nanfeng started to tremble.