Gu Wei found his cell phone under the bed. He'd forgotten to plug it in before falling asleep, and now the battery was dead.
He plugged in his phone once he woke, then stepped out of his room to wash his face and brush his teeth.
"Morning," he greeted.
In the common area, there were two people sitting on the couch and two people sprawled out on their backs. They turned to Gu Wei in unisob when he entered the room.
"Why are you guys looking at me like that?" Gu Wei asked, thoroughly befuddled. "Did I sleep so long that my face changed shape?"
Just one night had passed before they last saw each other. Yet, for some reason, these four were looking at Gu Wei with something like admiration in their eyes.
He was a dancer in a boyband. When did people ever look at him with that kind of admiration?
"Didi, have you seen what's trending?" Shi Xinyan asked.
"My phone ran out of battery and shut itself off," Gu Wei said. "Am I being dissed again?"
It couldn't be, right? He hadn't done anything wrong. He hadn't tried to steal the spotlight at their performance last night, and he hadn't picked a fight with his rival.
The other four shook their heads in unison.
"It's even worse than that?" he asked.
The other four shook their heads again.
"Then it's not a problem," Gu Wei said. "I'm going to go wash up. I have to get to the airport soon."
Since he was so accustomed to trending due to his anti-fans berating him for this or that, he wasn't too bothered by this issue.
Chi Yunkai and Shi Xinyan had been holding the news in all night, and they had even been wounded in the line of duty. Now, they both cracked. They just couldn't hold it in any longer.
"Didi, take a look at what's trending."
"My phone is charging," Gu Wei said, holding out his hands.
"Take mine." Chi Yunkai passed over his cell phone.
Gu Wei stopped moving and turned his gaze to Chi Yunkai's phone.
"Eh?" Gu Wei frowned.
What was so interesting about a trending topic like that? His bandmates were way too obsessed with Jiang Xun, weren't they? It would be one thing if they just followed his tournaments, but they cared when he trended, too?
Gu Wei wasn't one of Jiang Xun's diehard fans. Why should he care if the meme was trending?
"What do you think?" Chi Yunkai asked. He rubbed his hands together, like he was expecting something profound.
"I'd expect nothing less from Pervert Jiang," Gu Wei said. "Even feeling lonely is enough of a reason for him to trend."
This reaction meme was really too high-profile.
Gu Wei could admire that about him.
Chi Yunkai had fallen silent.
And Shi Xinyan as well.
Gu Wei returned the phone and went on his merry way, strolling off to the bathroom and leaving the other four behind to share apprehensive looks with one another.
"Did he dig up that old post on purpose?" Luo Chenxuan whispered.
Fu Zhi, holding a big mug, shook his head. "I don't think so."
Since they couldn't put together all the pieces of this puzzle, the four of them were left to stew in their confusion.
Gu Wei and Shi Xinyan had a variety show to film that day, and the others had their own work to attend to as well. After breakfast, they went their separate ways. Gu Wei and Shi Xinyan grabbed their luggage and headed to the airport.
On their flight, Gu Wei read through the script of Like the Moon. Shi Xinyan, in the seat next to his, seemed somewhat restless.
There was obviously something Shi Xinyan wanted to say, and his expression was a little complex.
So Gu Wei took the initiative and asked, "Is there something you want to tell me?"
"Nope, nothing," Shi Xinyan said. "My ass hurts, that's all. It got scalded yesterday."
Gu Wei looked alarmed. "How did that happen?"
"How about you… check the trending topics again?" Shi Xinyan suggested very, very patiently.
Gu Wei gave him a look of utter bafflement.
What was wrong with these people today?
How big of a deal was this trending topic they kept nudging him towards?
Had the stock market crashed?
Was winter coming?
Or maybe… T.ATW was disbanding?
Their plane landed in Y city, where no small number of fans who'd learned of their itinerary had gathered to greet them at the airport. Arrangements had already been made to manage the crowds, and everyone greeted Gu Wei and Shi Xinyan in an orderly fashion.
Gu Wei flashed a smile for a few cameras along the way.
"Weiwei, look at what's trending!" shouted one of the fans in the crowd.
Immediately afterwards, several others picked up the chant, and soon the whole crowd was calling out, "Weiwei, check what's trending!"
Gu Wei seriously didn't get it.
What kind of day was this? Why was everyone so keen on him checking the trending tags on Weibo?
Even the young lady working at the security check counter seemed to recognize Gu Wei. She suppressed a small smile and whispered that he should really check the currently trending topics.
"Okay, I'll check," Gu Wei promised. He waved at his fans on his way out of the airport, calling out to them, "Don't worry! Everyone be safe on your way home."
"We're worried!" the fans called back.
As soon as Gu Wei climbed into the car sent over by the show they were there to film, he turned on his cell phone. After a short wait on the powering up screen, his phone woke up, found a signal, and showed him four new notifications of messages that had all come in the previous night.
The first message:
[Manager Zhao]: Beautifully done.
Gu Wei frowned in confusion. What had he done? What had he done beautifully?
The second message came from his group's own Chi Yunkai:
[Yunkai Sees Mooncakes]: Areyouasleepareyouasleepareyouasleep? Weiwei areyouthere Weiwei areyouthere?? I'll ask you later if you're not there.
[Yunkai Sees Mooncakes]: Waaaaaaaaah.
Once again, Gu Wei was confused. What was Chi Yunkai doing texting him in the middle of the night instead of sleeping? How important was this matter? And if it was so important, why didn't Chi Yunkai bring it up when they saw each other earlier that day?
The third message came from a very familiar… acquaintance.
[100K Volts]: See you tomorrow.
Gu Wei was ten thousand times more confused now.
See you what now?
The engagement had been called off, and Gu Wei had a variety show to film. He didn't have time to deal with whatever the meme was on about.
The fourth and final message came from his nemesis.
[Big-Clawed Crab]: You are a worthy opponent.
Now Gu Wei was a hundred thousand times more confused.
Seriously, what was going on? Even his rival was acting like a total weirdo.
He left the four baffling messages unanswered in WeChat and opened Weibo instead. The first thing he saw was still that same trending tag from earlier that morning:
The messages from WeChat rolled through Gu Wei's mind again and again, and he suddenly heard alarms going off in his head.
He remembered, just then, that last night… before falling asleep… because he was reading his new script… he had dug through Jiang Xun's Weibo page. If he remembered correctly, he had dug pretty enthusiastically and he had dug pretty deep.
After that, he must have fallen asleep.
Although he was still consumed by disbelief, Gu Wei tentatively reached out and tapped on that trending tag that at first glance seemed to have nothing to do with him. But as soon as the top posts loaded up, he saw a Weibo ID that he was very, very familiar with.
As well as that post from ten years ago that had been innocently, inadvertently liked.
Gu Wei stared.
Then he stared some more.
His life was over. He'd really made a mess of things now.
Digging into Jiang Xun's past like a social media archeologist had been pretty fun. And the more he dug, the more fun it was. It was super fun, right up until he fell asleep in the middle of having that fun.
When he fell asleep, his hand must have stayed on his cell phone screen.
His useless, traitorous right hand.
If he apologized now… well, it was far too late.
Based on what Gu Wei knew about Jiang Xun, he was sure that Jiang Xun had already concocted countless ways of teasing and bullying him for this latest mishap.
A whole night had passed. Now, every last soul on the internet knew that, ten years ago, the esports world champion Jiang Xun had once wallowed in loneliness in the dead of night.
The netizens who spread this news around had already circulated their reactions countless times, and the fans and anti-fans involved had already clashed over the issue just as many times. Now, everyone was simply waiting for the two people at the heart of this matter to make a statement.
As soon as Gu Wei and Shi Xinyan climbed into the car, the camera crew had started to film. The director turned to the two honored guests and said, smiling, "It's time to hand over your cell phones. The show is officially starting now."
"Great! Perfect! Wonderful. I just love reality shows," Gu Wei enthused deliriously. He gripped the director's hand in both of his own and gave it an enthusiastic shake before eagerly handing over his cell phone.
Hiding from reality was shameful, but also useful.
For the first time since his debut, Gu Wei found himself thinking variety shows really were just so interesting.
Who cared about the absolute clusterfuck of a hot mess waiting for him online? He would go film this show, hide out for a few days, and deal with everything else later.
Jiang Xun may have been fierce, but surely he wasn't so fierce that he would come over and wail on Gu Wei today. Right?
There would be some harsh words at some point, but words were just words.
After seeing Jiang Xun's Weibo post from ten years ago, Gu Wei had started feeling like he had nothing to be afraid of.