303 A Small Livestreamer

    "Sunny Day's Livestream, viewer number: 25, Followers: 123, Likes: 35, Donation: 6."

    On screen, a sweet-looking young girl was singing. She occasionally scratched her face. Her singing was nothing to cry about but she had youth and energy on her side. Whenever there was a donation, the girl would stop to thank them personally before continuing with the song. She only live streamed at night. This was a new career move for her and it had been going on for only a week and her highest viewer number so far was around 50 concurrent viewers.

    "It's 12 already. My dear oppas, the livestream will end here for today, I'll see you all tomorrow. Again, thank you for Mr. Chilli's donation! Bye bye, good night!" The sweet girl smiled and stood up. The video froze. After the viewers greeted her good night, the number dropped drastically. Tian Yi sighed and scratched her face. She grabbed her phone to check her income for the night... After the cut taken by the platform, she would earn 15 RMB.

    "O well." She told herself, "It's better than nothing." Sitting in front of the camera, she created the illusion that she was living in a girly-decorated bedroom; but beyond the camera, this was actually a cramped living studio. With only one room and attached toilet, it cost her 300 RMB per month for rental. As mentioned earlier, she just started trying out livestreaming. The 300 RMB could be considered her investment. She doubted having the hostel she previously shared with the other factory workers as the background would earn her any views.

    Tian Yi needed to get up early to go to work tomorrow morning. She set the alarm to ring at 6. 30 am and then hurried to use the bathroom. She just celebrated her 18th birthday this month but she dropped out from school 2 years ago. This was not uncommon for children from the countryside, education was simply not that valued. She left her hometown last year to move to this seaside town along the eastern coast. She found a job working at a jewelry factory and earned 2000 RMB per month. The small town was spared by the legionella pneumonia. The factory closed for several days before it opened for business again. However, for safety precaution, every worker was required to wear a mask to work. Nonetheless, as time passed, the masks started disappearing.

    Recently, all her colleagues could discuss Phecda, Phecda University, supernatural forces, and Gu Jun... But for Tian Yi, these were so far away from her life that they appeared to be from another world. Instead she was more concerned about her own life, was she going to spend her whole life like that? Working day in and day out at the assembly line, earning the bare minimum wage every month... When she started her job, she was excited whenever she received her salary but half a year later, the excitement had worn off... It was not that the work was particularly taxing but she simply did not feel any satisfaction from her work, she felt like she was wasting her life away. A life like that was not worth it...

    Tian Yi wished to leave the assembly line and the company. As a young person, she had many dreams, but there was one that stuck close to her heart. Recently, there was a celebrity who had risen from a similar background as her.

    "The celebrity was previously a factory worker as well! To be honest, I don't think she looks that much prettier than any of us, so why can't we achieve what she has?"

    "I'll let you in on a secret, I heard she got a friend that got famous online from livestreaming. They only needed to go online and sing for a few hours and there'd be several millions in their bank account at the end of the year."

    "Several millions?!" Tian Yi could not wrap her head around such an astronomical number. If she could earn ten thousand a year, she would die happy. 'Several millions a year? What kind of concept was that? Celebrity? Livestreaming? I... don't see why I can't do that.' That was the motivation Tian Yi needed to move out from the factory hostel and invested in a set of livestreaming equipment. She wanted to give it a go. The rental's environment was not so good, it was surrounded by other village houses. The sound of children crying, the passing of bicycles and motorcycles, the barking of dogs as well as the crowing of the chickens reared by a local grandma, these noises accompanied her daily life...

    Even though her income from her one whole week of livestreaming was less than 100 RMB, when she received her first donation, Tian Yi could not be more excited. She saw hope! Rome was not built in the day, she knew the more popular she got, the larger her income would be.

    Tian Yi used the towel to dry her hair when she felt an itch on her cheeks. Her hand reached up involuntarily to scratch it. Her fingers scratched here and there. She grabbed a mirror to take a look. She noticed her face in the mirror was red from all the scratch marks. "Jesus, I better stop with the scratching." Tian Yi applied some lotion that she splurged on generously on her face. It was just an itchiness, it would go away in the morning. After drying her hair, she dimmed the light and laid down in the pallet pushed to the corner. She grabbed her phone and checked the email again, "Dream Girls, your registration has been accepted!"

    As she re-read the mail, Tian Yi's heart filled with anticipation for her future. Dream Girls was a talent scout competition looking for the next star among young girls all over the country. The goal was to form a girl group from the finalists and launch them into stardom. This kind of show gained enormous popularity over the past few years. As they say, do not place all your eggs in one basket. While focusing on building her livestreaming career, Tian Yi also applied for the more traditional route to stardom. Who knew, maybe she would be lucky. Whenever she felt down, she would read this email and felt energy surge through her.

    "Time to sleep, still gotta work tomorrow." Tian Yi put down the phone and closed her eyes. She still needed to report at the factory tomorrow morning...

    Just as she was about to drift off, the itchiness on her cheeks returned and chased all her drowsiness away.

    "Aiz." Tian Yi sighed helplessly. She tossed and turned before she surrendered and scratched her face again. 'It's not some kind of allergy, is it?' It would cost to visit the doctor... thankfully, she felt better after some scratching. She was tired from a whole day of working, so eventually she dropped off to sleep. Even in the state of somnolence, her hands moved to scratch her cheeks...

    She did not realize that until the itchiness became so pronounced that it woke her up.

    "Ah..." Tian Yi scratched heavily and it eased her annoyance somewhat. However, the itchiness worsened to become a burning sensation and she could feel slight swelling on her cheeks. That woke her up instantly...

    'Could it be smallpox?' The thought shot her out of bed. She still needed to appear before the camera tomorrow. It was 2.30 am. It should be quiet around the area but the dogs were still barking. The growls were insistent yet despondent, who knew what they were barking about.

    In any case, they annoyed Tian Yi. She went to switch on the lights. 'Please don't let it be smallpox...' She grabbed the mirror. When she saw her reflection, chilblain broke out all over her skin. The mirror shattered against the floor but the shattering sound was drowned out by the young girl's scream.


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