Before everything could be cleared up, Jiang Xun had once again rendered Gu Wei too flustered to continue their conversation.
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: I'll explain it to you later.
Gu Wei decided to first post a Moment to calm himself down a little. He wanted to vent about everything that had happened to him over these past few days and let his groupmates know what his favorite meme was really like under that cool exterior. After he'd calmed down, he would go back and explain things properly to Jiang Xun.
When most people made a mistake, their first instinct was to distance themselves from the whole mess.
Gu Wei was one of those people.
He pulled up the stockpile of stickers he'd saved in WeChat and chose nine of Jiang Xun's reaction memes.
To accompany the pictures, he added—
I'm telling you guys right now, the man in these memes is very indecent. His head is full of nothing but pervy garbage. He'll think about that kind of degenerate trash at the drop of a hat. Brothers, don't be deceived by the way he looks……
Gu Wei was very cautious. He typed around five hundred words expressing his dissatisfaction with Meme Jiang and accusing him of all sorts of unpleasant things. Before he hit send, he was extremely careful to specifically block Jiang Xun from being able to see that Moment.
There was a knock at the door to the training room of the club where Team TMW was based.
"In a good mood?"
Jiang Xun put down his cell phone. There was still the look of a small smile lingering in his eyes. "Chu Yi, what are you doing here?"
"I was just passing H City for work and thought I'd drop by to see you on my way." Chu Yi was wearing a light brown trench coat. He leaned against the doorframe. "How've you been?"
"Pretty good," Jiang Xun answered smoothly. "We just won a world championship. What would I have to complain about?"
Chu Yi took a stack of cards out of his pocket and fanned them out on the table. "Pick one. Whichever one you think looks good."
"Did my mom contact you again?" Jiang Xun asked.
Seeing Chu Yi put him in a pretty good mood. They had been neighbors when Jiang Xun was a kid, and now Chu Yi was an associate professor of applied clinical psychology at A University.
"We're friends, so of course I'll want to check in on the world champ's mental health." Chu Yi avoided his question and nodded insistently at the cards. "Hurry up and choose. I still have to get to work in the afternoon."
Jiang Xun obediently chose one of the cards from the spread on the table. He plucked one out that looked good to him and passed it over to Chu Yi.
"O' Great Doctor Chu, what can you tell from that?" Jiang Xun asked, leaning back in his gaming chair.
"Why did you choose this one?" Chu Yi countered. "What did you see?"
The card Jiang Xun had chosen was tinted a blue-green hue, with some intricate, colorful shapes twined together on it.
"You want me to tell you?" Jiang Xun asked.
Chu Yi nodded. "Just say whatever you see."
Jiang Xun took the card back and studied it for a while longer before he gave his answer. "I see a whirlpool, and there's a small boat in that whirlpool. It felt like I was on that boat, and…"
He pointed to a white spot at the upper right corner of the card. "This is like a lighthouse."
Chu Yi gave Jiang Xun a long, thoughtful look before he suddenly laughed. "Are you planning to retire?"
Jiang Xun was silent for a moment before he straightened up. "You're not bad."
"It wasn't hard to guess," Chu Yi said, smiling. "You're twenty-three, almost at the retirement age for your line of work. What you're projecting onto the card is your feelings of being lost and confused. You have a good reputation, and you don't lack money. What's making you feel lost?"
Lost and confused. About what?
When it came to things like dreams or plans for the future, Jiang Xun only had vague ideas.
"I have been thinking about retirement," he admitted. "But I'll play in the Asia Open tournament this winter, and after that, there's a lot to take care of with the team. I have some promising rookies who still need guidance, so all things considered… I probably wouldn't be able to retire until next year."
"It seems like a vague revelation is coming to you, that's all. Nothing serious that your mother needs to worry about. You can find your own answers," Chu Yi said as he collected his cards and put them away. "You said you saw a lighthouse in the whirlpool. What, did you meet your lighthouse?"
Instantly, and inexplicably, Jiang Xun thought of that short video clip he'd seen of Gu Wei's dancing.
"What are you smiling about?" Chu Yi asked.
"I really can't hide anything when I talk to you," Jiang Xun complained. "It's just a pretty interesting kid I met recently."
Now that he was thinking about it again, he remembered he had just been in the middle of texting that interesting kid.
What was it that Gu Wei said?
Selling services, not his body?
Jiang Xun reached for his phone right away, wanting to check and see if Gu Wei had sent him any new messages. But he accidentally swiped over to his Moments feed instead, and—
The first thing he saw was Gu Wei's avatar, which was a chibified version of Gu Wei drawn for him by a fan.
The chibi version of Gu Wei was round and plump, with short arms and legs. He was smiling with his eyes crinkled and making a motion like he wanted a hug. When Jiang Xun saw it, his corners of his own lips were tugged upwards.
Then that smile froze on his face.
Underneath that cute chibi avatar, Jiang Xun saw nine images of himself.
Nine images of him with aggressive looks, from various tournaments, that had been turned into reaction memes. They were all lined up neatly in rows and columns, with their fingers pointing out at the real him behind the screen.
Accompanying those nine pictures, there was a lengthy essay that seemed to contain a very important announcement.
Jiang Xun was silent.
Chu Yi, who hadn't left, was silent as well.
Alongside these images of Jiang Xun, Gu Wei had posted a five hundred or so word diatribe around the subject of Jiang Xun's indecency and poor moral character. His arguments were clear and rational, and he seemed confident he had the grounds to back up his claims.
At the end of that rant, Gu Wei had added one final sentence:
I just want everyone to know the truth in their hearts. Obviously don't go saying any of this to his face~
"This, uh… lighthouse of yours… really has some guts," Chu Yi said as he thought of the aggressive Jiang Xun who, back in school, had always been the king of his campus. Whoever this kid was, Chu Yi wanted to give him a round of applause. "What kind of kid is he?"
Jiang Xun looked at the chibi Gu Wei again, then back to his own pictures. Then he took a deep breath and said, "Little Gu. Seems like he's the type who's looking for a spanking."