"Who's Xing Lan?"
"She's the contestant in the recent singing competition that directly advanced to top 100..."
"Oh, what happened with her?"
"Apparently, she was disqualified three years ago from a singing competition because she stole from the organizers. Who would of thought, three years later, she'd compete again with a different name."
"So she's a thief? How could she advance with a dark past like that?"
"She must be shameless. She thought people wouldn't recognize her if she changed her name and appearance, but she ended up being discovered anyway. This is what you call karma..."
This was not the first time that a contestant of a competition-style programme had a scandal. Over the years, it had happened many times. But, this was Xing Lan's second time being the protagonist of a scandal and appearing on the news. So, the internet erupted with complaints. After all, thieves were especially hated in society and many people were strongly deterred by it.
"She's the sister of Li Can, the Queen of Ballads. How could the two sisters be so different?"
"Li Can's so talented. How could she have such an embarrassing sister."
"No matter the reason, I refuse to support a thief!"
"Li Xin should get lost."
"Get lost! Don't tarnish the stage."
These were the attacks and pressures that Tangning wanted Xing Lan to endure. As a result, an old wound had been reopened. Xing Lan originally thought that after it had been previously healed over, it wouldn't hurt as much the second time around, but it was just as bad as before.
Seeing Xing Lan looking a little upset, Lin Qian patted her on the shoulder and comforted, "This will only last for a little while. Don't be afraid."
"Li Can must be laughing in glee," Xing Lan said as she held back her tears. "I really didn't steal anything. I didn't... Whether it was three years ago or now, I would never take anything that belongs to someone else."
There was no other way. If she wanted to clear her name, she had to reopen her wounds. Although doing this would cause Xing Lan a second round of pain, it would also give her a second chance at life.
It didn't take long before the incident escalated online. Eventually, the netizens came to a consensus that Xing Lan should withdraw from the competition and no longer appear in the public eye. As a result, the programme was also affected and the staff began to have conflicting responses. But, President Mo had previously instructed Lu Che to maintain the fairness of the competition. So, the staff were ultimately told that a decision would be made after a thorough investigation was held.
However, the internet was in an uproar. Why would they care about the truth?
They didn't believe that it was just a groundless rumor. If someone made an accusation about someone, then they must have done something wrong to deserve it.
As a famous songstress was involved, the reporters quickly contacted Li Can not too long after.
At first, due to Li Can's various excuses, she did not respond and turned the reporters away empty-handed. But, that was a part of her plan; not responding meant she was agreeing. As a result, the public's attacks became more and more intense.
In the end, she was afraid that the reporters would lose their patience, so she finally accepted an interview with them.
"Miss Li, we would like to ask you about your sister's history of stealing..."
"It's true," Li Can repliedstraightforwardly. "My sister is still young. I hope everyone can give her a chance and stop harassing her. She will withdraw from the competition."
Who agreed to that?
"But, why were you avoiding this topic before?" the reporters asked.
"I was waiting for my sister to confess. But, she still hasn't, so I have no choice but to reveal everything on behalf of her," Li Can said indifferently. "Wrong is wrong. You can't cover up the truth by changing your name and appearance. That's what I believe. There's a fine distinction between right and wrong."
"I also hope that everyone can give my sister some space... Thank you."
Li Can's revelation was huge.
She hinted that Xing Lan denied any wrongdoing and tried to hide the truth by changing her identity. Most importantly, she made herself appear level-minded, while Xing Lan was portrayed as a coward that not only stole but also refused to admit to her faults.
"God, does Li Xin know shame?"
"This 'Xing Lan', even if she does cosmetic surgery, it won't be able to hide the fact that she has sticky fingers."
"I wonder if she'll still be brave enough to compete."
Would she be brave enough?
Meanwhile, Tangning had already instructed Lin Qian to contact the organizers of the competition and everyone was made aware of the show that was currently playing out. So, before the commencement of the next round, they organized for Xing Lan to attend all events as normal.
But, before everyone knew the truth, the director reminded Lin Qian, "Take good care of Xing Lan, she's very talented. Before everything gets clarified, she will definitely be rejected by the public. You will need to protect her well."
"You don't need to worry about this," Lin Qian smiled cryptically at the director. "Superstar Media will take responsibility for her until the end."
"Good, I can relax then. After Xing Lan's innocence gets proven, I won't have to worry about the ratings."
"You sure know how to tell a joke, Director. Which one of your programmes aren't a ratings guarantee?"
Seeing that Lin Qian was quite a sweet talker, the director laughed. After all, he had already spotted the benefit in the situation.
This time, Lin Qian headed to the television studio on her own to explain on behalf of Xing Lan. When she left the house, she was immediately surrounded by reporters. Of course, she also had the intention to be captured on camera by them.
"That's Xing Lan's manager, Lin Qian. She's coming out..."
"That's Quan Ziye's sister. Hurry!"
Lin Qian was prepared to be put in a difficult position. Of course, she had wanted to experience the power of the media's cameras for a long time.
"Lin Qian, as Xing Lan's manager, what have you got to say?"
"It's already been 10 hours since the scandal broke out. It's time you give a response."
"A response?" Lin Qian smirked at the mention of this word. "I would like to thank the reporters for their support towards Xing Lan. We have seen the attacks from the public, but we are confident that everyone will receive a thorough face slap."
"If you think our Xing Lan is a thief, do you have any evidence?"
"But, Li Can..."
"Please don't mention this name in front of me. Three years ago, Li Can participated in a singing competition with her sister and personally reported her sister for theft just before she was about to be awarded. As a result, Xing Lan was labeled a thief, while Li Can went home with first place and became known as the Queen of Ballads."
"I hope everyone can pass on the message to Li Can that the truth isn't far. I also hope that the reporters will continue to follow this matter."
As soon as Lin Qian said this...
...the reporters realized the extra layer of meaning to her words. She was hinting that Li Can had framed her sister because she coveted the throne.
Oh God...so the matter wasn't as simple as it appeared on the surface.
Was Xing Lan actually innocent? And was the actual culprit Li Can?