Translator: ZFX and THISBRO
Thalassa, also known as the Thalass Goddess1 Thalassa Goddess – a primordial deity in Greek mythology, goddess of the sea. , is a cruise ship that displaces 16,0000 tons of water. It’s route begins at SanYa, then crosses the South and East China Sea, and finally sails into the Northern Pacific Ocean. It’s the highest quality cruise ship in Asia.
Although Xia Yi’s company, Chao Hua Entertainment, is one of the top entertainment companies, it’s still impossible for them to charter a cruise like this. As for Mr Han who is responsible for this entire event, if the sole motivation for his actions was his elite singer girlfriend, then he’d be an idiot, not a successful businessman.
In reality, Mr Han was hosting a year-end party on the ship. Other than the CEOs and managers of various regions, he also invited all the top businessmen he works with, and the rich-second-generations that he wishes to befriend. It’s completely a monetary socializing event. But just this isn’t enough; what these people who are living at the tip of the pyramid want is thrill.
That’s right, rather than calling it an invitation to all artists of Chao Hua Entertainment, it was merely for the sake of having them liven up the atmosphere; a fairly unscrupulous role. One could say that this wonderful opportunity of finding a sponsor all rested on whether or not they could arouse the interest of a patron.
Xia Yi’s only disappointment was that he didn’t have any filming this New Year season. Since he wasn’t a famous celebrity, there were no variety shows requesting his presence. Thus, he had no excuse to reject the invitation.
SanYa’s sun is exceedingly bright. Xia Yi, who was sitting at a small white table at the outdoor cafe, could clearly see the coastlines in the distance.
The waiter standing in front of him wore a crisp tuxedo with a bow tie. He bent down slightly to show his respect, but someone like Xia Yi, who was alone with no partner, didn’t seem to have a high status. Thus, the waiter was slightly neglectful and instead of presenting the expensive wine list, he simply asked quietly.
“What would you like to order, sir?”
Instead of replying, Xia Yi just stared at him. He was genuinely waiting for the menu.
About a minute passed and the waiter started to sweat, he mumbled in his heart, what’s this dude’s problem? Just when things were becoming awkward, laughter sounded from behind.
“There you are, Xia-QianBei!2 前辈, a respectful term for someone who is older and more experienced in the field discussed; almost has the same meaning as “Senpai””
It was an alluring woman with silver, starry blue eye shadow. She possessed a gorgeous figure, curves in all the right areas, and as she swayed over adorning a blue-on-white cheongsam, all the men’s eyes were glued on her.
“Where did your assistant go, QianBei? That’s so irresponsible of him– running around on this cruise. It’ll be a nightmare if he offends someone he’s not supposed to.”
She took out a long cigarette and a smooth silver lighter with markings, proving that it was a limited edition product from a high-end brand. With a click of her finger, she lighted the cigar and put it to her lips, her honey-coloured lip gloss leaving light imprints at the base. With an elegant toss of her wavy hair, she said to the gawking waiter, “Please bring a cup of sparkling water and a serving of geoduck for this mister.”
The room bursted into whispers.
“Who is that? She looks familiar.”
“I think she’s a famous magazine model, right, I’ve seen her on a cover before, her name is An Li!”
While everyone was staring at Xia Yi with envy, the lady chose not to take this chance to sit down. Instead, she winked fearlessly at her surroundings and walked out in her high heels. Immediately, half of the customers in the cafe called for their bills, their minds were already out the door with her.
On the other hand, it took Xia Yi three minutes to logistically work out the underlying message in her words.
She’s reminding him to not attract so much attention and warn Li Shao to stop leaving their cabin so often. There were a lot of tycoons present and they couldn’t afford to offend any of them.
As a matter of fact, Xia Yi had an ominous feeling about this trip from the very start.
He was nervous on the plane and that anxiousness followed him onto the ship. Could it be that since he wasn’t on solid land, he felt unsafe?
People with Asperger’s Syndrome could be very sensitive, especially when they’re tense.
January 7th, 17:00, the rightmost outdoor cafe on the seventh floor of the Thalassa, table 17. From this alone, one could see that Xia Yi was suffering from a strange state of agitation. He doesn’t get seasick, so this feeling is irrational.
The Thalassa Goddess is almost 200 meters long and 30 meters wide. Its height towering 49 meters above the surface of the ocean with a total of ten floors. Being such a giant, it’s practically a functioning city on the sea. It has all sorts of GPS systems, satellites, and at the very worst, it would take a hundred meter high tsunami to sink it. But with modern technology, the captain will receive updates first-hand on the weather forecast. This was not the era of the Titanic, the furthest the Thalassa Goddess will go is 40° latitude north; it’s impossible for there to be icebergs.
The setting sun stained the sea with a blanket of gold.
As the night fell, Thalassa’s crazy festival was just beginning.
Men wore designer tuxedos so extravagant that they cannot be purchased in China. With their success, they could easily use a gold credit card or their suit, to attract the gazes of beauties. After all, what these men liked about this trip was the number of celebrities present.
The ship was far too big, with eight different themed bars, 12 specialized restaurants, including Italian, French, Chinese, and Japanese. The high-end shopping district on the center of the fifth floor sold the newest fashion from Paris, luxurious watches from Switzerland, and jewelries that were priced with at least seven zeros. This display shocked Li Shao, who was seasick and throwing up left and right, but still dragged himself out of the cabin. He couldn’t afford anything himself so his poor heart ached when people brought these items with pocket money.
“Xia-Ge, I finally know what it means to be rich!”
Li Shao grimaced and exclaimed. The corners of his mouth twitched as he flipped through the menu handed to him.
This was a Chinese restaurant he found on one of the lower floors. Here, Xiaolongbao3 小笼包, a type of Chinese steamed bun cost $300 for ten, milk cost $100 per cup, and beef noodle soup was also $100 per bowl. What kind of exploitation was this? (Because it’s on sea, all of the fresh resources need to be flown in by helicopter thus, the milk prices skyrocketed.)
Li Shao ordered it while clenching his teeth, but the noodle that was served tasted no different from the $10-per-bowl ones he had on the street!
No, not even; the ones on the streets tasted better than this. Li Shao was so irritated that all the excitement he had before boarding the ship was gone, his entire person seemed to wilt on the chair. Xia Yi didn’t say anything… Actually, the seafood he had eaten this afternoon, the one that barely accounted for a meal, could’ve bought him eight bowls of noodles.
“Xia-Ge, you see, I didn’t bring much money…”
Li Shao’s chopsticks hit the bottom of his bowl.
Xia Yi wasn’t a popular actor. The only reason he didn’t have a low income was because he took on a lot of projects. Directors only needed to explain the script once and he would perform perfectly for the entire duration of filming. That greatly eased everyone’s job but even then, with such a good reputation, he only got paid five to six digits for two sometimes three months of non-stop filming. How could he compare to the stars whose pay began in the millions?
As his agent, Li Shao naturally knew Xia Yi’s financial situation. Whether it be eating at the company cafeteria or outside, it was always Xia Yi who paid the bill. It never burdened Li Shao’s conscience, however, his worldview had suffered a massive blow today. This wasn’t necessarily the most expensive meal they had eaten together since it was only a few hundred dollars, but just thinking about how they needed to stay on this ship for half a month, Li Shao’s face instantly paled.
Meanwhile, Xia Yi acted like he didn’t see anything. He took out their room key and motioned to the waiter for the bill. The Thalassa Goddess allowed its guests to credit services to a certain degree, based on the level of their rooms. Most guests have to pay just once at the end of each day, but those staying in presidential suites with an ocean view could even pay at the end of the voyage— of course, that would be an astronomical invoice.
Li Shao felt a little embarrassed and wanted to say something when a sudden force pushed against him, knocking his head on the table and into the bowl. He not only spilled the soup everywhere, but also scraped his forehead.
“Did your eyes disappear?! Bast—”
Li Shao hadn’t even finished cursing, before he turned to see who it was. Immediately, he was frightened half to death and jumped away.
It was a tightly dressed old man who sat at the table behind Li Shao. Out of nowhere, the elderly man fell backwards, his face was all purple as he began to convulse. It was clear that he was barely breathing. The female secretary that the man was holding onto earlier was also terrified and began to scream.
“He collapsed on his own, it had nothing to do with me!” Li Shao was unspeakably anxious, beginning to shout.
Rather it was the servers with enough training to keep a level head that ran over to take a look. They immediately asked the supervisor to use the wireless communicator to contact the resident doctor.
“Hello? Hello? Weird.” The waiter stared at his headset and assumed it might’ve been faulty so he ran to call somebody instead.
As Xia Yi left the restaurant, he could still hear people discussing.
“…falling down for no reason, seems like a heart attack.”
It was nothing major, but Li Shao was still scared. He kept looking around as he walked, afraid that bodyguards would rush out of nowhere and arrest him. Before they returned to their cabins, he saw stretchers carrying another convulsing elderly from the bowling alley.
“You aren’t that young anymore, be more mindful of the extent you’re playing to…”
“Manager Zhang, this is called ‘dying under a peony, remaining romantic even in death’ hahaha!”
These proceeding mumblings let Li Shao regain his cool, even sharing something he found to be funny, “Xia-Ge, these rich people can really play themselves to death, ha!”
Xia Yi watched the on-board doctor rush over with his medical kit. No, rather he was watching what was behind the doctor. The distant sky was filled with birds that were meant to be back in their nests. They screeched and hovered above the sea.
The ocean far from the lighted cruise seemed to shimmer with silver, as if a big fish surfaced to take a breath before sinking quickly once again. Xia Yi walked briskly to the front of the deck and looked out as he held onto the railing. Other than the birds that weren’t supposed to fly during the night, there was nothing; the sea was still aside from some small waves breaking through.
A sudden pang shot up his forehead and Xia Yi turned back to the illuminated Thalassa Goddess. On every deck stood men in tuxedos and women in evening gowns, chatting over the music, with gentle yet fake smiles plastered on their faces. All of this only intensified the ominous presage that Xia Yi felt.
It was as if there was a terrifying monster staring intently at this cruise ship through the water.
- 1Thalassa Goddess – a primordial deity in Greek mythology, goddess of the sea.
- 2前辈, a respectful term for someone who is older and more experienced in the field discussed; almost has the same meaning as “Senpai”
- 3小笼包, a type of Chinese steamed bun