TOTLS Chapter 96: Arc 6.11

Arc 6: Interstellar Art Soldiers Chapter 11

According to the agreement at the previous meeting, Tao Yuan naturally became the lead performer in the premiere of a large-scale musical.

During their time at school, they had undergone strict training in singing, dancing, and acting. However, before the official performance, they wouldn’t be given much rehearsal time. Often, they had to start performing immediately after being told what they were going to perform.

Although the ship-wide performance is not the largest in terms of audience scale, it could still be considered a large-scale event. For such important performances, they were given some rehearsal time.

The “Red and White Roses” was like a drama, consisting of a total of five acts, but this time, they were only performing the first act. The role of “Red and White Roses” could be considered one character or two, as there were both Red and White Roses, but they had to be portrayed by one person. In the storyline, “Red and White Roses” suffered from dissociative identity disorder, displaying completely different personalities during the day and night. Both personalities were aware of each other’s existence, so one appeared during the day and the other at night. This musical was a great test of acting skills.

Because it was a large-scale musical, Tao Yuan was not the only character. All the literary soldiers were involved, and some good-looking soldiers were selected to play supporting and background roles.

Lin Ya played the role of the villain, a young and promiscuous widow who became a jealous rival of Red Roses and constantly schemed against him.

Erman plays the role of a noble count’s adopted cixing, appearing very dignified, but deep down, he feels inferior due to being an adopted child. He secretly envies White Roses, while the person he likes is in love with White Roses.

As Tao Yuan acted alongside Lin Ya and Erman, their team leader watched from the side and was extremely satisfied, even a bit excited, because all three of them displayed exceptional acting skills. The best acting can make the audience forget the actor and remember the character, giving a sense of authenticity, and they all achieved that. The team leader could already envision how explosive the performance would be after this.

Because of Tao Yuan’s previous dance performance, even soldiers from other ships had seen the recording. When they found out he was going to play Red and White Roses, soldiers from other ships requested to watch the performance through a live broadcast. It wasn’t a big deal, and since so many soldiers wanted to see it, the request was granted.

Initially, Ke Ning promised Erman that he would swap shifts with someone else and not attend the performance. But after much internal struggle, he found himself walking into the auditorium on the day of the performance, taking the seat he had reserved for himself. Although the auditorium was large and there were so many seats, he was certain that Erman wouldn’t see him, but he still felt inexplicably guilty.

Zuo Lei arrived early and took a seat in the front row at the center. He didn’t need to watch the big screen as  he could clearly see the expressions on the actors’ faces.

“Captain, you rarely watch literary soldiers’ performances. Every time there’s a ship-wide performance, you volunteer to replace someone else for duty. Why are you suddenly interested in literary soldiers’ performance? You even made me get the best seat for you,” Yi Bin teased, having already guessed the reason but wanting to hear it from Zuo Lei directly.

“Shut up,” Zuo Lei replied, leaving no room for arguments.

“The performance hasn’t even started, so won’t you tell me? What’s going on? I promise not to tell anyone,” Yi Bin continued fearlessly.

“Do you really want to know?” Zuo Lei replied expressionlessly.

“Of course, why else would I ask?” Yi Bin nodded.

“After the performance is over, come with me to the close combat room. If you can last two hours, I’ll tell you,” Zuo Lei said, setting the condition.

“Um, actually, I don’t really want to know. I was just asking casually. Captain, please don’t tell me, I really don’t want to know,” Yi Bin immediately chickened out, then quickly closed his mouth and sat still, waiting for the performance to begin.

In the backstage dressing rooms, everyone was busy preparing. Tao Yuan had already finished his makeup and was just waiting for the performance time to arrive so he could go on stage.

Lin Ya’s appearance was scheduled for the fourth act, so he let others use the space for makeup first and started his own makeup after the performers of the first act went on stage.

“You’ll be performing several acts in a row, can you handle it?” Lin Ya asked, leaning against the dressing table.

“Whether I can handle it or not, I have to do it,” Tao Yuan said.

“After this performance, it’s almost certain that you’ll be the chief literary soldier of our team. You have to work harder and show your best performance.”

Tao Yuan looked at his face in the mirror and said, “That’s only natural.”

The time for the performance was getting closer. Tao Yuan got up and prepared to go on stage.

The other performers who were already on stage, especially the soldiers brought in as extras, couldn’t take their eyes off him when they saw him approaching. It was the first time they saw him up close, and they felt that his face looked even more exquisite than it did on the screen.

After the team leader confirmed everyone’s positions, he asked Tao Yuan to stand on the prop stairs and wait. There were a few minutes left before the performance would begin.

Tao Yuan lifted the hem of his skirt and walked up the stairs, then stood behind the curtain, waiting.

After all the final checks were done, the team leader quickly stepped off the stage and stood in the side entrance, watching them.

The curtain slowly pulled apart, and the Count, who played the role of White Rose’s father, began the opening scene, introducing today’s banquet as White Rose’s coming-of-age celebration. Then, the pearl curtain on the stairs opened, and Tao Yuan appeared in everyone’s sight.

Tao Yuan gracefully walked down the stairs, with a dignified posture and elegant temperament. His exquisite and radiant white face looked even more delicate than the two white roses on his top hat.

As Tao Yuan descended the stairs and stood in the banquet hall decorated with many white roses, he lifted his skirt and elegantly greeted the audience.

The audience below felt a sense of enjoyment just from watching even a simple gesture from him.

After Tao Yuan’s greeting, he danced the first dance with the actor playing his father, followed by a group dance with all the actors dressed in women’s clothing. This dance had elements of competition, showcasing who could perform more gracefully and elegantly.

Erman’s dance position was next to Tao Yuan. According to the plot, he intended to outshine White Rose, so he danced with great effort and dedication. Tao Yuan, as White Rose, danced effortlessly and gracefully, easily surpassing him.

At this moment, Erman’s emotions included not only those of his character but also his own. He was genuinely trying his best to show his dance moves, wanting to outperform Tao Yuan. However, in the eyes of the audience below, no matter how you compared them, Tao Yuan’s dance moves were more aesthetically pleasing.

When Tao Yuan twirled his skirt, he looked like a blooming pure white rose. When he stretched his body, he resembled a graceful dancing white butterfly. Everyone around him became a mere background, and in the audience’s eyes, they could only see no one but him.

The dance scene at the banquet is the first act. In the second act, after changing the setting to a garden, some noble youths try to approach him and show their favor. Tao Yuan has changed into a white long dress and moves gracefully among those noble youths, neither too arrogant nor too distant, but with a sense of reserved aloofness. The noble aura exuding from him, combined with his elegant and captivating demeanor, is like a bright moonlight shining into people’s hearts—pure, radiant, and unattainable.

The third act takes place at night, and his personalities start to switch.

The curtain rises, showing Tao Yuan kneeling by the edge of a bathtub, wearing only a bath towel. As he opens his eyes and sits up, his gaze and posture have completely changed from the previous act. When he raises his hand to tuck his loose hair behind his ear, it exudes a charm that makes people blush and their hearts race.

In the audience Zuo Lei is watching, wishing he could rush up and take him away, not allowing anyone to see him in the bath. Although Tao Yuan is wrapped in a towel, Zuo Lei doesn’t want anyone to see even his arms and collarbones.

Zuo Lei clenches his fists tightly, torn between being captivated by Tao Yuan’s sexy and enchanting eyes and not wanting others to see him like this, his eyes turning red with struggle.

In the entire audience, perhaps only Yi Bin wants to see but dares not to. He can only avert his gaze to the side. If he hadn’t guessed the relationship between Zuo Lei and Tao Yuan, he would have watched without worry. But after guessing their relationship, he doesn’t dare to look anymore. Especially after glancing at Zuo Lei’s expression, he simply lowered his head and didn’t watch this part.

The actors playing maids entered the stage, unfolding a folding screen to completely block Tao Yuan’s bathtub from view. Then they went behind the screen and raised the bath curtain.

When Tao Yuan emerges from behind the screen, he is already dressed in a long red dress, and his makeup is perfectly done.

With the accompaniment of slow, gentle and ambiguous music, Tao Yuan opens his mouth and starts singing. As he slightly parts his red lips, the audience below can’t help but swallow their saliva. Then, as they listen to his singing, it is as alluring as his appearance, with a touch of sensuality.

While singing, Tao Yuan was also performing, depicting the inner conflict of his character. The personality of Red Rose is completely different from that of White Rose. He yearns for a free and carefree life and resists the strict etiquette and rules of the nobility.

Therefore, the hidden meaning in this story is that White Rose represents the strict enforcer of etiquette, while Red Rose symbolizes the resistor against feudal constraints—two opposing sides within one entity.

In the fourth act, Red Rose sneaks out of the castle and goes to a famous party venue in the White Night Street to have fun. Although he was wearing a mask, and only revealed his eyes and half of his face, he immediately captured the attention of everyone present. This party venue is like a modern dance hall, a respectable place for singing and dancing, not specifically for engaging in shady activities. Of course, if people get acquainted and want to do private things, they can leave and do so.

Meanwhile, Lin Ya is on stage wearing a mask and singing. He was playing a character, a wealthy widow who enjoys being admired and indulges in intimacy. He is a well-known figure at night parties, and many people come every day, hoping to become his guest of honor..

However, when Red Rose appeared, everyone shifted their gaze and focused on him, no longer paying attention to Lin Ya’s singing. Before he finished singing, he walked down the stage and provocatively looked at Red Rose. When Red Rose stepped onto the stage, her singing mesmerized and enchanted everyone present.

With just a glance, he could make people feel a burning sensation throughout their bodies. His rosy lips made people want to kiss him, and his figure stirred everyone, making their hearts itchy. 

After he finished singing, many people approached him, implying their interest in pursuing him. But he didn’t linger or engage with anyone but arrogantly left, leaving those who were infatuated with her longing and yearning.

After the end of the fourth act, the entire performance came to a close. All performers came on stage for the final bow, and the audience erupted in enthusiastic applause.

Tao Yuan was still wearing that very sexy red long dress. As the main character, he took a few steps forward, lifted the long dress, and bowed to the audience, which elicited even more enthusiastic applause.

The curtain closed again, and the performers went backstage to remove their makeup, while the soldiers gradually left the venue.

However, Zuo Lei remained seated and unmoving. Yi Bin pushed him with confusion, “Captain, what’s wrong? The show is over.”

Zuo Lei closed his eyes to calm his emotions. He wanted to hide Tao Yuan away, not letting anyone see him. It’s the best if he could keep Tao Yuan in his pocket, where only he could see him. Whenever he missed him, he would take Tao Yuan out of his pocket and give him a kiss.

He had never felt like this before, nor had he ever had such thoughts. This made him feel inexplicably anxious and flustered because it meant that he had fallen deeply in love with Tao Yuan. He was acutely aware of how his love for Tao Yuan was rapidly growing, to the point where it scared him made him panicked. 

“Captain?” Yi Bin called again.

Only then did Zuo Lei open his eyes and stood up to walk outside.

Changing Yibin to Yi Bin.

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