When the other four guests made their way into the cafeteria, Shi Xinyan was overjoyed, like he was reuniting with his beloved family after half a lifetime apart. Then, after just a moment of elation, he saw Jiang Xun standing next to Gu Wei and froze right up.
Seeing those two together was genuinely shocking. Even Shi Xinyan's socks were in danger of being knocked off now.
In that moment, he wasn't sure what was more evil: the diabolical show that was making them jump through all these blazing hoops, or Gu Wei's traitorous finger that had liked a ten-year-old post?
"God Xun," Shi Xinyan blurted out. He could only think of that old post, and the trending tags on Weibo, so he quickly added, "Don't bully our little Weiwei, okay?"
"We're getting along super well now," Gu Wei reassured. He had found the perfect way to compensate Jiang Xun for all the trouble he'd put him through, after all. He was totally confident that he didn't have anything to worry about anymore.
Shi Xinyan didn't get it at all.
Could the grievous sin of liking a ten-year-old piece of someone's dark history truly be forgiven so easily? What price had Gu Wei paid to earn that forgiveness?
Furthermore, Shi Xinyan still didn't understand why he had been forced to wash fifty extra plates.
"I don't want to do a reality show anymore," Shi Xinyan complained, whining like he was close to tears. "I want to go home."
And he really, really, really wanted to know what Jiang Xun and Gu Wei had done.
After hearing the other four guests recount their experiences on the show so far, Shi Xinyan pouted and complained, "Why does it feel like you guys are participating in a game show, while I'm working a part-time job?"
The main purpose of the first stage of the show was to unite the five guests, so the challenges hadn't been too daunting. All five of the contestants had managed to clear their first challenges and win a task key.
After the group assembled, the games began in earnest. These games weren't exceptionally challenging either, as the main purpose was to have the guests interact and get to know each other. The five guests blew through the games and soon won their freedom, unlocking the school gates to make their escape while each throwing the director a middle finger on their way out.
With filming on the first installment of the show all wrapped up, the contestants retired to the hotel the director had arranged for them. They would get a night to rest up before going their separate ways and heading home the next day. Since the games had all been cleared so easily, the director decided to get some extra footage of the guests checking in at the hotel.
After filming together all day, the five guests had become fast friends. They had no shortage of things to chat about when they gathered for dinner.
"Next time, let's be the ones to torment the director," Qian Yining, who had been subjected to wearing a tiny miniskirt all day, suggested. "We can't let these showrunners mess with us for free."
"Sounds good," Gu Wei agreed eagerly. "I'm totally in."
This was nothing like the variety shows he had filmed before. His companions were all so friendly, making it easy for Gu Wei to let his guard down.
Bei Ke was a bit older than everyone else, but he was incredibly easy-going and easy to talk to. Qian Yining was younger and more energetic, and she was a total pro at keeping the conversation flowing. Although they each had different personalities and backgrounds, they had no problem getting along and chatting all throughout the meal they shared.
Jiang Xun noticed when Gu Wei's gaze lingered on a plate of crab, but Gu Wei didn't reach out to help himself to one.
"Do you want one?" Jiang Xun asked.
Gu Wei shook his head. "I can get it myself."
"Oh, he doesn't know how to crack the shells," Shi Xinyan said, cruelly blurting out the cold, hard truth.
Jiang Xun couldn't help but think that a little brat who liked to eat crabs but didn't know how to shell them was… really kind of cute.
Naturally, Jiang Xun picked up the tongs and grabbed a crab to place on his own plate. He cracked open one of the claws and scooped out the snow white crab meat. Originally, he had only meant to place the meat on Gu Wei's plate.
But when he looked over, Gu Wei was staring at him with those peach-petal eyes, completely transfixed. Completely of his own accord, Gu Wei parted his lips.
It was only after the sweet, fresh taste of the crab meat hit his tongue that Gu Wei realized what he had done.
He still had the tips of Jiang Xun's chopsticks between his teeth.
"Is it good?" Jiang Xun asked.
Gu Wei nodded, still biting down on the chopsticks.
"How are you going to thank me?" Jiang Xun continued.
"I understand," Gu Wei answered dutifully, his expression one of perfect earnestness. "Don't worry."
The show was over now. It was time to compensate the meme.
Jiang Xun didn't give too much thought to what Gu Wei thought he understood. He was preoccupied by chatting with Bei Ke, on his left, and continuing to shell the crab for Gu Wei, on his right.
Gu Wei took out his phone and pulled up his chat log with his band's rapper, Chi Yunkai.
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: Hello hello hello? Are you there? Are you there? I have an emergency.
[Yunkai Sees Mooncakes]: Holy shit, you're alive! You made it out alive! Dude, you didn't see the trailer 'Escape Without a Trace' put out, right? It was hella exciting, I can't believe they booked Jiang Xun! How was it? When you saw him, were you scared? Weiwei, your big bro is really impressed. You made it out of that hot mess alive, huh? Did our God Xun give you a spanking? Hahahahaha, I can't wait to see your episode when it comes out.
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: I was very clever and avoided a full-blown conflict.
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: ProudOfMyself.jpg
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: Mooncake, let me ask you something.
[Yunkai Sees Mooncakes]: Go ahead, ask me anything.
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: Do you know where I can order 'that' kind of service?
[Yunkai Sees Mooncakes]: 'That' kind? What kind?
[Yunkai Sees Mooncakes]: terrified.jpg
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: You know, 'that' kind… the professional… kind where you can subscribe for a year… and feel very good… 'that' kind of special service.
Gu Wei set aside his chopsticks, glanced over at Jiang Xun, and added one more thing.
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: Oh, and it needs to be a man.
[Yunkai Sees Mooncakes]: A PROSTITUTE???
[Yunkai Sees Mooncakes]: terrified.jpg
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: Right, pretty much.
[Yunkai Sees Mooncakes]: For you?
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: No, one of my friends said he wants one.
[Yunkai Sees Mooncakes]: ……
"It'll get cold if you don't eat it quickly," Jiang Xun said from Gu Wei's side. "You're messing with your phone even now?"
Gu Wei looked up from his phone. His mood instantly brightened when he saw that his plate was now full of decadent crab meat, and he quickly set his phone aside to savor the delicious food.
But the phone he had placed on the table suddenly rang with an incoming call from Chi Yunkai.
"What are you doing?" Gu Wei whispered when he picked up the phone. "This is supposed to be a secret, be cool."
Chi Yunkai was silent for a moment before he said, "I thought you'd been hacked."
"No, no," Gu Wei reassured. "Nothing like that."
"Weiwei, I really want to know exactly what you experienced on Director Zhang's show."
"I already told you, it's not for me, it's for my friend," Gu Wei said. "I'll leave it to you."
"Alright, I guess," Chi Yunkai said. "But I still don't understand. Why do you want… didn't your dad say he introduced you to someone suitable?"
"It's not for me!"
Obviously it was for the 'Lonely Jiang Xun' who sat next to him.
Chi Yunkai couldn't wrap his head around this bizarre request at all, but still gamely offered, "Fine, I'll get someone to contact you later to talk about the details."
Gu Wei hung up and noticed that Jiang Xun was looking at him.
"What awful idea have you come up with now?" Jiang Xun asked. "You have such an evil look on your face."
"Ge," Gu Wei said, setting his phone aside once more. "I'm going to give you a nice surprise!"