Chapter 474: Lowering Difficulty by Five Times!
On the day of the competition.
Afternoon, at Central TV's Department 11's recording venue.
At the ground floor of the high-rise building, there was a filming spot. Cameras were hooked up, and there was even a camera drone buzzing midair. Underneath a large billboard screaming "National Crosstalk and Skit Competition", regions were divided with thousands of people lining up to enter the venue.
"One by one!"
"Everyone line up with your preliminary competition admission pass!"
"Please produce your identification cards as well. Thank you for cooperating!"
This was a much anticipated day. Today was the day where the crosstalk competition unveiled its curtains before the skit competition. Numerous members of the media from the television stations, newspapers, and internet news portals were scrambling to report on the competition.
Members of Central TV's Department 11 had long forgotten about breakfast. The moment they arrived, they were busying themselves with all sorts of jobs. Every year, the crosstalk and skit competition would draw upon all their manpower. After all, this was the hottest program with the best ratings in the country. Not only domestically, even quite a number of overseas Chinese citizens looked forward to the beginning of the competition. The powers had already their issued the order that the competition was only to succeed and there was to be no failures. Hence, everyone from Central TV's Department 11 paid a great deal of attention to this. When it came to a program that everyone knew about, it was very difficult to make it better than the last. However, they had to ensure that it was not worse than the previous year's. This was a matter they worked very hard on every year!
A host from Central TV's Department 11 was interviewing contestants for the crosstalk competition. A few cameraman were also following closely behind.
"Nice to meet you Teacher Peng, long time no see." the female host said with a smile.
The man, who was in his forties, looked over. "Hello, it's you this time?"
The female host said, "The off-site hosting is still me. It was quite a pity last year. You had to quit last year during the finals due to medical reason. With you coming again this year, you must have a different feeling, right?"
Teacher Peng said with a sigh, "That's right. There are more and more contestants, so the pressure is quite great. Don't you see, my partner is so scared that he has gone to the bathroom."
"Hur Hur, you sure are humorous." The female host said.
Then, they continued to interview several people. They were the popular contestants for this year's crosstalk competition. There were professional crosstalk actors who were already somewhat famous in the industry, as well as contestants from last year who had pretty good results the previous year. There were also people from the general public and some popular "non-mainstream" crosstalk actors on the internet.
It was a gathering of elites!
This year's competition was bound to be an intense battle!
In the chaotic admission line, Zhang Ye and Yao Jiancai had arrived on scene.
Yao Jiancai was still on the phone. "Dear, don't be so angry...I swear to the Heavens that I didn't do anything. Really.. If you don't believe, ask Little Zhang. He can testify for me...Aiyah, we are already at the competition's venue. I won't be able to use the phone once I enter... At least tell me something. I can't stay at Little Zhang's place forever. It's inappropriate...Can I come home today?"
Once the duo came over, the Central TV staff all stared at them. However, after a few glances, everyone returned to whatever they were busying themselves with. The female host hesitated for a few moments and did not interview them. In fact, she truly wished she could interview a legendary figure like Zhang Ye. Besides, Zhang Ye was partnering with the drama actor, Yao Jiancai for their "song and dance". This team combination was too strange and made many people curious. However, they knew very well about the governmental policies. Zhang Ye and Yao Jiancai were banned, so even if they had seen them, they had to pretend as if they had never seen them.
"That's Zhang Ye?"
"Isn't that Yao Jiancai?"
"The two of them really came?"
"Man, I thought those were just rumors on the internet!"
"Just mind yourselves. They have nothing to do with us. Even if they participate, their program will not be aired. Even if it's aired, do you think their crosstalk will be any good?"
"Uh, that's true. We began learning crosstalk at a young age. You can't even get good at it without ten years of practice."
Zhang Ye and Yao Jiancai's arrival attracted the attention of many contestants. After all, in terms of fame, Zhang Ye and Yao Jiancai were much more famous than these crosstalk actors. However, it was useless. Fame here wasn't useful. Besides they were banned, and this was a crosstalk competition. If this were a calligraphy competition, hosting competition, or poem competition, they would admit defeat without a second word if Zhang Ye came. However, a crosstalk competition did not depend on one's literary talent or hosting abilities. With decree #43 looming in the background, the contestants did not think much of this duo as rivals!
This pair were gods of plague?
Let's avoid them as much as possible!
People from Central TV, as well as the contestants, turned a blind eye towards Zhang Ye and Yao Jiancai. The two of them were currently on the cusp of a wave, so no one dared to incur trouble for themselves!
"Old Yao, hurry." Zhang Ye rushed him.
Yao Jiancai hung up the phone call with his wife. He rushed over to line up. "Old bro, you need to put in a good word for me when I go home tonight. My wife is still mad."
Zhang Ye threw up his hands. "Will I make a difference?"
Yao Jiancai said, "At least my wife will let me in the door. If you don't go, she wouldn't even open the door for me. Heh, it's not like you don't know my wife's temper."
People entered one by one, and soon, it was their turn. Everyone else had tensed looks, while others were practicing their lines, as they prepared for the preliminaries. However, Zhang Ye and Yao Jiancai were rather special. Neither one of them looked nervous. As they chatted, they walked into the building and found a sofa to sit down on before carrying on with their chat. This was all about one's foundation. One of them was a C-lister and the other was a D-lister. They had encountered all sorts of situations, and had gone through all sorts of storms in the entertainment industry. What had they not seen? Naturally, they were much more calm and composed than other contestants. Even if they were worried deep down inside, it would not show on their faces.
Everyone came in.
The staff were also in position.
Following that, someone brought all the participants through the corridors to an outdoor courtyard.
The crosstalk competition's host immediately went on stage. A temporary hosting podium had been set up in the middle of the courtyard, and there was a wall of screens behind. The details inscribed in the decorations were quite intricate, and seemed ready for a magnificent show. Just from looking at the stage alone, one could tell that they had spent a great deal of money. One had to know that this was just the opening stage for the preliminaries. The host was a very popular celebrity host. However, he was not from Department 11, but was a host from Central TV's Department 3. It was for some unknown reason why he was transferred over for this competition.
"Haha, Wang Ge'er!"
Some of the amateur participants started shouting when they saw a star. Wang Ge'er was his official stage name, so anyone who liked him called him by that name.
The cameras began rolling.
Two cameras were aimed at the hosting podium, while two cameras were aimed at the contestants.
Wang Ge'er chuckled and said, "Welcome everybody, be they new or old friends. The annual National Crosstalk and Skit Competition's crosstalk competition will once again begin. This year, I am honored to stand here as the host of the preliminaries..." After a bout of his chattering, it came to the important point. "Let me introduce the procedure. The first part will be the divisions. We have invited notaries so as to ensure that this part is held fair and square. After the division, it will be the preliminaries within each division..."
Actually, instead of calling it a preliminary round, it was, in fact, more of an audition. It was quite similar to those singing competitions. As there were too many contestants, there was no way all of them could go on television. Hence, there was an internet choice audition. By using one's fame and true strength, the contestants would be promoted so as to formally enter the crosstalk competition. To put it simply, the preliminaries were just a way to create a buzz, so that the audience all over the country would get to know the contestants.
The drawing of lots began.
Thousands of contestants watched intently!
These people were basically in pairs. Of course, there were groups with a handful of partners. There were even some groups with more than ten partners. There were probably a thousand groups total!
Zhang Ye and Yao Jiancai remained rather low key and stood right at the back of the crowd. This was because they knew that even if they walked to the front, the cameras would not focus on them.
"How long will the drawing of lots take?" Zhang Ye asked.
Yao Jiancai said, "It will take at least half an hour. Picking lots would be fast, but the main thing is announcing the divisions. With over a thousand teams, how fast can it be? Just reading the names will take all day."
Zhang Ye was still not particularly familiar with the competition. "Will they finish recording today?"
Yao Jiancai patted him on the shoulder and said, "What are you thinking? The first round of preliminaries would take a few days of recording. Even if all the recording studios opened up, it wouldn't be done in a day. It's best if we can finish recording today, so that we don't have to keep coming for the next few days. It's like this with all talent shows. The contestants will have to endure the suffering."
On the other side, the first pair in division A was chosen. The staff announced the names and sent the two of them to recording studio #3 to prepare for the competition.
Seeing how things were, Zhang Ye said to Old Yao, "I'll go to the bathroom."
Yao Jiancai said casually. "Go ahead. I'll stay here and watch."
Zhang Ye then went back into the building and followed the corridors and managed to find a bathroom. Everyone was outside, so it was rather quiet in here. He was alone, so he went into a stall and locked the door from inside. He took a deep breath...Well, it was a bit smelly. He hurriedly put on a face mask, and then closed his eyes to calm his mind. He did not say a word, nor was he here to use the bathroom. He just stood there strangely.
Suddenly, Zhang Ye's hand moved as he opened the game ring's interface on his pinky. He grabbed out two items from his inventory. It was two dice!
[ Difficulty Adjustment Dice ] .
These were items that Zhang Ye had drawn a long time ago. He did not dare to use them all this time, or it should be said he did not plan on using them at all. Even at this moment, he was using both his hands to hold the dice carefully, afraid he would drop them. He was nervous and alert. The main reason was because this fellow had lost his wits ever since the hijacking incident. Back then, a tiny die had nearly brought his plane crashing into a building. Once bitten, twice shy. Zhang Ye had later on managed to draw two of these dice and placed them in his inventory, without touching them at all. This time, Zhang Ye took them out and hesitated slightly. He then kept one of the dice and left one dice in his hand
It was time for it to do its job!
He was already at a desperate juncture. The only way to have a fighting chance was to risk it all. As for what would happen if an accident happened? He could not care about it anymore!
Yes, Zhang Ye was planning on adjusting the difficulty. Now with him being banned, he was completely out of options. The difficulty was too great. If he did not adjust the difficulty, he wouldn't know what to do either. However, he was not going leave it completely to fate. If he were to receive another crazily abnormal difficulty, wouldn't he be killing himself right here and now? The reason why Zhang Ye dared to make this bet was because of another reason. This was because he had managed to buy the rights to a certain Merchant Shop item!
At the moment he obtained the right, Zhang Ye had planned on using the Difficulty Adjustment Die. However, he did not get the opportunity to do so, or was forced to do it. Now, he had to use the Lucky Halo to roll the die. He believed that under the auspices of luck, even if he did not get the simplest difficulty from the die, it would at least not come out with some crazy abnormal difficulty, right? As for his Reputation points, the last lucky draw had nearly emptied out all his Reputation points. However, the revealing of three poems had increased his Reputation points by quite a bit. It was enough for him to switch on the Lucky Halo for about a minute or two!
Alright, here we go!
Whether it worked was up to it!
Zhang Ye's face was one of his "going for broke" expressions. With gritted teeth, he stretched his hand out to tap on the "Lucky Halo" in the Merchant Shop. Click. Activate!
A white halo appeared above Zhang Ye's head, just like an angelic halo. Then shimmering light ripples appeared, sending out tiny waves midair. Ripple after ripple, they moved outwards. The game ring's indication also appeared!
[ Lucky Halo is in effect ]
His Reputation points were decreasing by 10,000 every second!
Zhang Ye felt the pinch as he saw this. The Lucky Halo was great in every sense of the word, but it was just too expensive. Furthermore, it was charged by the second. He was now in trouble, and he could not waste his Reputation points so casually. Hence, he immediately grabbed the dice and closing his eyes, he threw it upwards!
The dice flew up!
Phew, and seconds later it fell down!
When the die fell to the ground, Zhang Ye felt his heart stall. He stared intently at it, watching it bounce and roll on the ground! The die's six faces wrote a corresponding difficulty: Decreasing Difficulty By 10x, Decreasing Difficulty By 5x, Decreasing Difficulty By 1x, Increasing Difficulty By 1x, Increasing Difficulty By 5x, Increasing Difficulty By 10x. These difficulties kept appearing in front of Zhang Ye's eyes as the die rolled.
"Move over there, hurry!"
In the bathroom, Zhang Ye began yelling to himself.
Finally after some time, the die lost its energy and with a snap, it stopped. Finally, the text on the top face entered Zhang Ye's eyes!
Upon seeing this, a loud guffaw nearly erupted from his throat. "Hahahahahaha!"
The difficulty was lowered by five times!
He had really managed to roll it!
However, Zhang Ye did not switch off his Lucky Halo, as he still had to wait. He needed to wait for the die's duration. Back on the plane, the die's increasing of ten times difficulty had lasted an hour. The duration of the Difficulty Adjustment Die was also random, and did not seem like it had a limit. Hence, even though he felt the pinch with the Lucky Halo draining his Reputation points every second, Zhang Ye had to endure it. It wasn't the end yet!
Finally, the outcome was out!
The die transformed into a flash of light. With a flicker, it was as if the entire world was illuminated. And then with another flash, it disappeared into thin air.
[ Difficulty has been adjusted ]
[ Lowering Five Times Difficulty ]
[ Lasting for: 6 days 1 hour 17 minutes. ]
[ Countdown begins. 6 days 1 hour 16:59... ]
More than six days!?
When Zhang Ye saw this, he was astonished. He could not believe his eyes before he quickly switching off his "Lucky Halo", before gasping...a stench, as he was still in the bathroom. He could not help but roar as if a pie had dropped from the sky! The last time when he rolled the die on the plane, it was just an hour! This time he managed to get a duration of more than six days? And it was with a lowered difficulty of five times? Heaven will always leave a door open! The Lucky Halo was too awesome!
Of course, he still shuddered thinking of the possibilities. Back on the plane while going to Shanghai, it was thankful that the 10x difficulty only lasted for nearly an hour. If it f**king lasted for a few days, even if Zhang Ye managed to survive the calamity in the plane, he would probably not survive after he landed. He would probably die a few hundred times over!
Thankfully he had the Lucky Halo!
Thankfully, the three poems from a few days ago had left him enough Reputation points to activate the Lucky Halo for a minute or two!
It was time to recover from this!
Although Zhang Ye did not know what lowering the difficulty by five times would do, according to the analysis and deduction of the crazy ten times difficulty increase, it definitely wouldn't have weak effects! That was to say, from today onwards, for the next six days, Zhang Ye was nearly an invincible existence!
From yesterday to today, numerous good friends and relatives kept giving him calls. They did not know why Zhang Ye wanted to participate in the national crosstalk competition. They felt it was meaningless for him to participate in it. Yes, Zhang Ye naturally knew all of this, that even if he registered, even if Central TV's Department 11 allowed them to participate, it was all meaningless. This wasn't a way out. With the ban in place, Zhang Ye had no way out!
Then why did he come?
Why did he do so even though he knew it was pointless?
Now the answer was out. Since there was no way out, then Zhang Ye would do things according to his own methods. He would not sit still and wait for death!
There was no way out?
Then I'll force my way out!
The National Crosstalk and Skit Competition, which was the talk of the town, was the way out that he had found. He needed to do so before the buzz from the ban dissipated. He wanted to stand on this stage, in front of every citizen, telling those who disliked him, questioned him, cursed him, or hated him, that no matter how much you hated me till you grind your teeth, no matter how tight the ban is, this bro will stand on stage!
What can you do to me!?
Walking out the bathroom, Zhang Ye was in a great mood. Just thinking of the upcoming crosstalk competition, he could not help but recite a poem:
"Bright moonlight before my bed."
A employee, who walked past was stunned. Taking a look, it was Zhang Ye!
"I suppose it is frost on the ground."
Another Central TV's female employee also looked over upon hearing this. Ah, Zhang Ye was reciting a poem?
"I raise my head to view the bright moon."
Another person who heard it was immediately full of anticipation. What a good poem! A good poem!
"I am face-smacking Zhang!"
When the last line came out, the few employees from the Central TV nearly fainted on the spot!