The 'FoodForXunWei' superchat group wasn't particularly active. They didn't have all that many members, and when Gu Wei took a look around, he saw most of the members kept to themselves. It was just Sunny Doll, who had spiraled into a deep depression last night, who now spouted some nonsense about Jiang Xun and Gu Wei being together for real.
@Little Hedgehog's Sunny Doll: #FoodForXunWei Come one, come all, you won't regret investing your feels in our ship. Follow our group today, and you seriously won't regret being one of the earliest fans of XunWei~
Gu Wei was baffled by her conviction.
Sunny Doll had even declared she would personally throw hands with anyone who talked about opposing ships in their group.
Gu Wei didn't get it. He had been keeping a low profile these past few days. Here he was, quietly studying for his upcoming role at Jiang Xun's place, not showing his face in public or making any sort of trouble. How did this tiny fandom surrounding him and Jiang Xun suddenly get a new burst of energy?
And Sunny Doll's claims were so exaggerated that they had lured in a wave of anti-fans.
Anti 1: Seriously shut the fuck up, these two are impossible, just completely impossible. They're only appearing together as hype for their new program.
Anti 2: I'm following you just to wait for you to realize the truth.
Anti 3: We won't stand for it if you keep wrapping Jiang Xun up in this nonsense. Just let him play his games in peace. Can't you leave him alone? Gu Wei has been leeching off him for too long already. We've had enough.
Anti 4: That's right, I've had enough for Gu Wei! If Gu Wei and Jiang Xun are for real, I'll live stream myself eating chicken shit.
@Little Hedgehog's Sunny Doll: @Anti 4 God Xun hasn't said anything, you trolls are just getting upset on your own. I took a screenshot of your profile, I'll be remembering you and waiting for your livestream. Don't chicken out~
In all eighteen years of his life, Gu Wei had never seen such a vicious feud brewing right before his eyes. Betting on tearing off heads and eating chicken poop? It was too grotesquely fascinating. He couldn't help but watch the group for a while longer.
But he didn't get a chance to spectate for too long, because he got an early-morning message from his nemesis of all people—
[Big-Clawed Crab]: [screenshot]
Gu Wei instantly recognized the image as a screenshot of the national celebrity popularity rankings that had just come out. It showed that Jiang Ying had just narrowly, narrowly placed one spot above him.
[Big-Clawed Crab]: Sometimes, effort is more important than fame.
[Big-Clawed Crag]: cheers.jpg
Gu Wei frowned.
Ever since they had become rivals, Jiang Ying would send him a screenshot every time he ranked above Gu Wei on any popularity poll. Of course, when Jiang Ying ranked below him, he wouldn't send anything at all.
Now that Gu Wei thought about it, Jiang Xun's personality and his little brother's personality couldn't have been more different.
And when his mind drifted back to Jiang Xun, Gu Wei couldn't help but remember the way Jiang Xun had called him a lord of dance. It was a commonly used moniker in the entertainment industry, but for some reason that Gu Wei wouldn't comprehend, his heart raced a little faster when he heard it from Jiang Xun.
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: It's bad to stay up all night, don't stay up so late just for your rankings.
[Big-Clawed Crab]: Hmph, I'm just more popular than you.
[Big-Clawed Crab]: CuteBlush.jpg
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: CuteBlush.jpg
[Big-Clawed Crab]: Eh? Why do you also have this meme?
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: ?
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: This was mine first.
This rival of his was way too aggressive. He stole connections and roles and spots on the trending topics list right out from under Gu Wei, and now he was stealing Gu Wei's memes, too?
The door to the room opened, and Jiang Xun finally returned. He was accompanied by a faint, woodsy aroma, with a hint of white tea. Gu Wei put his cell phone aside and accepted the breakfast Jiang Xun had brought him.
"Do you have any plans for today?" Gu Wei asked as he sipped a glass of milk.
"Same as usual, training all day," Jiang Xun answered. He reached out and wiped away a bit of milk from the corner of Gu Wei's lips. "Are you starting to think the life of a professional esports player is pretty boring?"
The career wasn't nearly as glamorous as fans believed. Behind the cameras, it was just long days of training and hard work.
"No, I think it's really interesting," Gu Wei said, shaking his head. "I really like it here."
He liked it here, and he liked every single person here who persistently chased after their dreams.
Now, Gu Wei could honestly say he was Jiang Xun's fan. Not just because Jiang Xun was attractive, and not just because he had been made into a bunch of great memes. Gu Wei had become captivated by the way Jiang Xun got serious in front of a monitor when he poured his whole soul into a game.
Gu Wei was pretty sure he felt the same way any fan felt towards their idol.
"I think I'm really your fan now," he said, echoing his thoughts out loud for Jiang Xun to hear.
"It's too soon for that," Jiang Xun said. "If an illegitimate fan like you wants to be considered legitimate by me, you'll have to work even harder to prove yourself."
Gu Wei ducked his head and hid a smile that snuck onto his lips.
"How should I work hard?" he asked.
"You can start by learning those dances," Jiang Xun said.
Gu Wei fell silent.
He shouldn't have asked.
His days had been busy and full of activity lately. Gu Wei suddenly realized he hadn't thought about the matter of calling off their engagement for a while.
Gu Cai, his dad, had sunk into a deep pit of work again, focusing only on his new script. It was very possible that the task of breaking the engagement had long been forgotten by him.
"What are you thinking about?" Jiang Xun could tell Gu Wei had gotten lost in thought. "Don't get distracted while you're eating breakfast."
Gu Wei made a sound of acknowledgement and pulled himself back to his senses, turning to tackle the breakfast on the nightstand.
"Your assistant asked me to keep an eye on what you eat," Jiang Xun said. "I still have your nutrition plan. What do you want for lunch?"
"I won't eat celery, tonghao, wood ear, lettuce, spinach, or jiaobai. Anything else is fine," he said, ticking off each of the foods he refused to eat on his fingers.
"You're pretty picky," Jiang Xun remarked. He looked over the nutrition plan and saw that spinach had specifically been crossed out. "Let me hear you call me 'Ge'?"
Gu Wei thought that was a great price for avoiding all his most hated foods. He finished the milk in his glass and said, "Ge, I'll keep watching you train today."
"I can find some time to teach you to play something too," Jiang Xun said. "We'll keep it simple for you, just so you can get a sense for it."
"Okay," Gu Wei agreed quickly. He had been hoping for the same thing. The script of Like the Moon contained scenes in which his character, Miao Zihan, was at practice. Although Gu Wei knew he wouldn't be able to capture the skill of a professional, he still wanted to do his best to portray the character without making any major mistakes.
Jiang Xun obviously had a very clear idea of why Gu Wei was visiting. He'd made even better and more comprehensive plans than Gu Wei himself.
The first floor of Team TMW's club building was dedicated as a training area for the rookies. When Gu Wei passed through, he instantly saw the girl with the twin buns from earlier that morning.
She had her back to the door that Gu Wei entered through. Her team jacket was draped over her back, and the golden bow and arrow design on the jacket, with thorny vines wrapped around the crest, flashed underneath the lights in the room. On screen, the round concluded with a 'Victory' message.
The girl leaned back in her chair and basked in the looks of admiration that were cast her way from those around her.
"That's Yi Qing," Jiang Xun said when he noticed Gu Wei looking in that direction. "One of our rookies."
"God Xun!" Yi Qing turned and saw Jiang Xun and Gu Wei by the door. "Morning!"
"Mm, you guys can continue," Jiang Xun said. He nodded towards the rookies in the room, then took Gu Wei and left.
"Perfect," Yi Qing sighed, smiling happily and dopily as she watched the two depart. "That's perfection."
"Right? I wonder when we'll be able to reach God Xun's level," said her teammate from beside her, showing a forlorn and longing expression. "I want two hundred kills too."
"You know nothing," Yi Qing retorted. She turned to her teammate and shook her head sympathetically. "Your pursuit in life and mine aren't the same at all."
Her teammate had no idea what to make of that.
The TMW players who competed at the pro level were all night owls. In the morning, their training room was deserted.
"They're still sleeping," Jiang Xun said. "We often don't have a 'morning' and skip straight to the afternoon."
"Then, you…" Gu Wei was worried Jiang Xun wouldn't be able to adjust his daily work and sleep schedule so easily.
"I'm fine," Jiang Xun said. He led Gu Wei over to a gaming chair. "I have a more regular schedule. Ready to try the game?"
Jiang Xun leaned down from behind Gu Wei and took hold of the mouse, clicking on the game icon on his desktop.
Gu Wei fixed his gaze to the game icon and didn't dare look away. When Jiang Xun leaned down, he was right next to Gu Wei, so close that their cheeks almost touched. Gu Wei felt a little nervous; he was pretty sure he could hear the sound of his own breathing.
Gu Wei didn't play a lot of games, and he didn't really get what the popular FPS 'Shou Ze' was all about. He watched as the login screen popped up. Jiang Xun's account and password were already saved, and Jiang Xun didn't hesitate to get them into the game.
When the loading bar filled up, the game's opening CG flooded Gu Wei's field of vision. Jiang Xun clicked on the option to form a random party, then let Gu Wei take over the mouse.
"Don't be nervous," Jiang Xun said, his voice falling right next to Gu Wei's ear. "Use WASD to move, and use the mouse to adjust your camera. You can just play for a little while to get a feeling for the controls."
After hearing Jiang Xun's reassurances, Gu Wei relaxed. He didn't stress out as much about the game's unfamiliarity, and jumped right in.
Jiang Xun's mouse and keyboard were both pretty special, unlike the ones Gu Wei usually saw in his everyday life. Gu Wei kept his fingers on the WASD keys the whole time, without deviating one bit from Jiang Xun's instructions.
"The MX Red is relatively easy to operate," Jiang Xun said, "but you might need to get used to the mouse."
The game assigned Gu Wei to a random team, but Gu Wei didn't know how to check on his teammates. He was only capable of taking Jiang Xun's advice and moving his character around on screen, randomly running this way and that.
"The WASD keys correspond to up, down, left, and right. Just start by getting a sense for how to move," Jiang Xun said, still coaching him from behind. Once in a while, he would cover Gu Wei's right hand with his own and help him adjust his camera angles and direction.
Ten minutes earlier, in Team TMW's dorms, Kumachan suddenly woke up and realized he hadn't clocked enough streaming hours that month. He got up and turned on the computer in his dorm, deciding to start a livestream and squeeze in a few hours.
He started broadcasting, loaded up the game, and randomly matched with a team for a casual round. When he opened his list of teammates, he couldn't have been more thrilled.
He had lucked into being assigned to a team with his captain, specifically the captain's practice account.
It was still early in the morning, and the captain was already training instead of spending time with his fiancé?
As expected of the captain.
It was no wonder this was the captain who'd led them to the winners' podium at the world championship tournament.
The comments from the viewers of Kumachan's stream were also ones of surprise.
[jioahgiojagoi]: Isn't this Jiang Xun's alt? His name in lowercase? Perfect, perfect, it's good karma for waking up early.
[Pork Floss Bun]: Yesssssssss, we've got two TMW bosses here. I'm glad I decided to watch the morning stream.
[Kumachan World Domination]: Start recording, everyone, this is gonna be good. It'll be a piece of cake to take this match, we're in for some real entertainment here.
[pear]: God Xun ended his stream early last night, I never thought I'd see him again on Kumachan's stream. Lucky!
Kumachan's in-game character was a dark-skinned muscleman wearing a pink hoodie. Seeing the comments from his viewers got him fired up as well. As tmw-LittlePanda, he broke through the barricades and barreled straight towards the red dot on the map indicating Jiang Xun's position.
Nothing could stop him.
"Captain, I'm coming."