Gu Wei stared at the barrage of comments scrolling across the screen of his tablet, nearly dropping the tablet with how hard he trembled.
So Jiang Xun had already heard Gu Wei's proclamation split the sky back then. Did that mean… when they met up later that night…
Gu Wei watched as the him on the screen turned to the director, looking a little sheepish, and said, "Director, cut that out later, okay? I'm sorry, I just… got a little carried away. This really has nothing to do with Jiang Xun at all."
Director Zhang had even included that line in the footage that aired. Wasn't Director Zhang supposed to be a good, smart, and reasonable man?
"We blew half our budget on these guests, we're not cutting out a single line. Our guests have to earn their keep," Director Zhang said into a camera that was recording his reaction. "We'll just cut out the audio or something. Let people guess what he said."
The comments, at that—
[Let us guess??? What kind of monster are you???]
[Did Gu Wei shout something that couldn't be broadcast?]
[So let's think about it from that angle. What kind of thing can't be broadcast? Something not suitable for children?]
[Director Zhang is really getting his money's worth. Gu Wei is seriously worth every penny! Who says our didi doesn't have any on-screen charisma? He's full of charisma, okay?]
[Now the question is… what not-suitable-for-children thing did Jiang Xun do to Gu Wei?]
[Director Zhang, we're all lining up to send you cash, so tell us what isn't suitable for children.]
[When Gu Wei said it had nothing to do with Jiang Xun, I felt like didi's eyes were a little shifty. I think it has everything to do with Jiang Xun after all!]
[The way his lips moved… why do I think it looks like he said 'big pervert'?]
[Wait, you might be onto something…]
[Nobody touch me, I'm shipping, I'm shipping this, I'm shipping this so hard. These two have been shippable since the last installment!]
As Gu Wei watched the program, his face grew redder and redder. It was a good thing there was no one else in the room to see his reaction.
The viewers set aside the issue of Gu Wei's bleeped out line for the time being as the screen cut over to Bei Ke and Qian Yining. Qian Yining was being chased around by a swarm of palace maids who were trying to get her dressed in a royal princess's gown. Qian Yining fled like crazy, loudly denouncing Director Zhang the whole time.
Finally, the comments started to focus on discussing the plot of the episode instead of the famous 'celebrity hit list' scene. But then the scene changed again, now showing footage of Gu Wei and Shi Xinyan deciding to avoid one of Director Zhang's checkpoints by scaling a nearby wall.
Viewers hadn't expected these two to come up with a solution like that. They were almost out of their minds with glee.
[This scene is going to be famous too! How is this variety show doing this? Our group's two precious little brothers are so cool and handsome, and yet they've turned into complete morons on this show. I bet Director Zhang is up to something.]
[Gu Wei seems so sweet and well-behaved, but look at him get up that wall! He zipped up there in the blink of an eye! Oh, and I felt bad for the alpaca for like 0.1 seconds.]
[As soon as I finish watching this, I'm going to check out T.ATW's social media pages. I swear, from this day on, I'm a T.ATW fan. These guys are just too freaking cute!]
[I think the plot is kind of creepy. I'm glad we have these two adorable idiots to lighten the mood.]
[Hey, I haven't heard Gu Wei talk in a while, but I hear the alpaca really clearly???]
[Obviously he dropped his mic. He went too wild, but I'm glad. I haven't seen Gu Wei having this much fun in a long time.]
Gu Wei blinked.
He really had gone a bit wild back then. He hadn't noticed that he'd lost his mic at all, until he saw it trampled by the alpaca now. No wonder Jiang Xun had been sent to give him a new one.
"Worst. Guests. Ever," Director Zhang seethed in the surveillance room. "A wireless mic isn't cheap, you know?"
"I'll pay for it." This was Jiang Xun's voice, sounding out from the speakers in the surveillance room.
Director Zhang instantly perked up, delighted. "Then, can you help out with the background actors' fees too?"
"In your dreams," Jiang Xun said. "I'm already here as a volunteer, and you want to squeeze more money out of me?"
The on-screen comments picked up speed again—
[Was Jiang Xun forced to volunteer? Hahaha, Director Zhang is really stingy to the max.]
[Woooooow, so… can we take Jiang Xun's words to mean that he'll only spend money on Gu Wei? Maybe this really is a ship.]
[This little hedgehog is protecting Gu Wei. Boo! Hiss! I won't let you ship!]
[When Jiang Xun said he would pay for the mic, I swooned.]
Gu Wei didn't know all this had been going on during the recording of the show. As he watched the director lament over his budget, he couldn't help but laugh.
Afterwards, Jiang Xun was given the task of bringing Gu Wei a new mic. He got back on his horse and galloped off in Gu Wei's direction.
The viewers were still fixated on the two guests who'd scaled a wall—
[Let's see how you naughty T.ATW boys get down from there.]
[Holy shit, Jiang Xun can act! Why do I feel like his acting ability puts, like, half the entertainment industry to shame? It's too bad he's not interested in acting.]
[Yeah, he's not into the entertainment industry at all. He was probably forced to be here. I think his mother, the screenwriter Song Jingxi, and Director Zhang are friends.]
On screen, Gu Wei and Shi Xinyan discovered their mission was different from Jiang Xun's. Gu Wei tried to slip away by sneaking back down the wall, and yet he slipped right into Jiang Xun's waiting arms. Jiang Xun, who'd learned of his location long ago, swept him up onto the horse and made off with him.
At that point, the comments went crazy again.
[AHHHHHHHHH I'm not even looking for reasons to ship these two, they're cramming reasons down my throat!]
[I can't handle it anymore. The way he got on that horse was way too smooth. Is Jiang Xun a Mary Sue? And now he's run off with Gu Wei.]
[Please, please, please show us Gu Wei's POV!]
[I want Jiang Xun's POV. I want to hold Weiwei and run away with him on horseback. Jiang Xun is too lucky, isn't he?]
[I'm a little perverted, I want the saddle's POV, hehehe.]
[Director Zhang: Everyone who's asking for a POV right now, SEND ME MONEY.]
Gu Wei had just taken a sip of water when that comment popped up. He choked and couldn't stop coughing. On screen, Jiang Xun whisked him away and raced off until they were no longer visible on any cameras.
"Drones, fly!" Director Zhang commanded. "Cameramen, fly!"
The viewers were also anxious to get their eyes back on the two runaways.
[GET THAT CAMERAMAN SOME WINGS! Hurry up! Catch up! What are those two doing?]
[What the hell is happening right now? Are we going to have to pay to unlock this scene too?]
[Your channel isn't even allowing donations. Open up!]
[Something's fishy! Jiang Xun stole our Weiwei again! Sisters, don't forget that bridal carry from the first installment. This isn't the first time Jiang Xun has stolen Weiwei from Director Zhang. He has a criminal record!]
[Why does Jiang Xun look like he's so used to holding Gu Wei?]
[Poor Director Zhang, he really can't control his guests. Look, now he even has to send Bei Ke to get Shi Xinyan off the roof.]
[I'm sorry, I'm not really a shipper, but even I think these two are very shippable.]
The viewers had no way of knowing it, but Gu Wei remembered exactly what happened in that scene. In a darkened alley where no one could see them, Jiang Xun had held him close. He'd slipped his slightly wind-chilled hands under the collar of Gu Wei's robes, kissing him all over his face while his hands… provoked Gu Wei in other ways.
Ever since the day they kissed in their hotel room, Gu Wei and Jiang Xun had both gotten busy with work. They hadn't seen each other in over half a month, but the feelings between them were still gradually developing and deepening each day.
[Did those two turn off their mics?]
[I think so…]
[Director Zhang is about to bite someone's face off.]
[Mics are back on! But they… seem to be earnestly talking about the game?]
[Definitely a coverup. I don't buy it.]
[Do these two have shippers?]
[Previous commenter, wanna check out 'FoodForXunWei'? Go ahead and give the Weibo supertopic a follow, you'll find your family there~]
Director Zhang's painstakingly crafted plot finally got back on track. The guests assembled at the main hall and settled down to watch the hired actors play out the story behind their missions. Gu Wei knew he'd had a little incident during that scene, and he felt a little nervous. He didn't know how Director Zhang would handle that moment, and he was worried his anti-fans would find a reason to attack him again.
His cell phone suddenly lit up with a notification, telling him he had a new audio call request on WeChat. Gu Wei paused the video on his tablet and took the call.
"Are you watching the variety show?" Jiang Xun asked.
"Yep," Gu Wei said.
"I'm watching it too."
"What do you think?" Gu Wei asked, feeling even more anxious now.
"I think it's great," Jiang Xun said. "Because even subscribers and verified accounts can't see everything I saw."
Gu Wei fell silent.
"And everything I touched."
So Jiang Xun had called to gloat, huh?
Back at TMW's club, Yi Qing was reclining in her gaming chair with her headphones on.
"Hey, sunny, I've got your milk tea with extra red beans." One of the other rookies came by and set her drink down next to her. "Are you joining the practice match against the fourth-string team? If you join, we'll definitely win."
"Nope, jiejie is busy," Yi Qing answered lazily, with a lollipop hanging out of her mouth. "Go play by yourself."
"You're really not coming?" The other rookie sounded a bit disappointed.
"Really not coming. I have something important going on today." Yi Qing waved a hand dismissively. "I'll join in on the game tomorrow night. I'll beat them until they cry."
Once she was alone again, Yi Qing unpaused the video on her screen and continued to watch the second installment of Escape Without a Trace. The director really had gone to great lengths to set the mood for the plot. Every detail, from the elaborate main hall to the actors and the palace maids, gave viewers a sense of being transported back in time.
"Our Weiwei is so handsome," Yi Qing murmured to herself. Her fingers flew at lightning speeds, typing out her 209th comment of the day.
Sunny Doll farted rainbow after rainbow with her ceaseless string of praise. Her comments didn't stop until Gu Wei's expression suddenly shifted, at which point Jiang Xun abruptly moved and covered his eyes.
Yi Qing's eyes went wide.
Huh? Huh? HUH???
"That's right, director!" the Shi Xinyan on the screen suddenly called out. "Our Weiwei gets a little dizzy when he looks at sharp objects!"
Yi Qing watched as Jiang Xun slowly lowered his hand from Gu Wei's eyes. Jiang Xun whispered something reassuring to Gu Wei, and Gu Wei did start to look a bit better. But it wasn't until Jiang Xun whispered something else to him that some color began to return to Gu Wei's pale cheeks.
"Director," Jiang Xun suddenly said, turning around to face the cameras. "Cut out these last few lines for me. Thanks."
Yi Qing slammed the spacebar of her keyboard and crushed her lollipop between her teeth.
There would be time for 'FoodForXunWei' later. Right now, there was a fight she wanted to pick.
When Yi Qing got on Weibo, she saw that many netizens had already finished watching the second episode and started discussing it online. The segment that had caught Yi Qing's attention was already being debated.
@Yellow Peach: I have a question. That part with the needle made me think of that part on one of the earlier episodes of 'Wandering with You'. Remember when Gu Wei was attacked for being rude back then? I think someone handed him a needle in that scene too.
@Dango: So he ran out because he was dizzy, not because he was rude?
@Crispy Fruit: You guys are totally right. I also thought about a phobia of sharp objects right away. Shi Xinyan even mentioned it before, that Gu Wei is scared of sharp objects. And I remember, back when Gu Wei was flamed all day and night for that bit on 'Wandering With You', T.ATW's leader Fu Zhi posted to Weibo the next day. He said, 'Seeing is believing, and hearing is meaningless.' Luo Chenxuan and the others all liked that post. So this is what that was all about?
Already, @T.ATW-FuZhi, @T.ATW-LuoChenxuan, @T.ATW-ChiYunkai, and @-T.ATW-ShiXinyan had given a like to this comment by Crispy Fruit.
@Red King Crab: Hmmmmmm, I just went back and checked out that episode of 'Wandering With You'. It was Jiang Enyuan who handed Gu Wei the embroidery needle. [DoraemonSurprise.jpg] @JiangEnyuan, wanna come out and explain yourself?
@Little Hedgehog's Sunny Doll: @Red King Crab, thank you sister for the reminder. I went to look too, and it really was Jiang Enyuan who gave Gu Wei the needle. VERY. INTERESTING. Then, let's ask @JiangEnyuan a question. Weren't you and Gu Wei rookies at the same agency? You knew him even before he met Shi Xinyan and the others. Did you not know he had a fear of sharp objects?
@Jianbing Guozi: I'll come right out and admit it. Back then, I really said a lot of bad things about Gu Wei without understanding what happened. I want to apologize for my words and actions.
@Dingdong: The dance choreography thing still feels kinda unresolved to me… but when their past comes up, Jiang Enyuan is always the one saying how close they were and how well they knew each other. So Jiang Enyuan should really explain himself. If he knew about Gu Wei's fear of sharp objects, why would he hand Gu Wei a needle?
@Walnut Piupiu: ??? Are you guys crazy? You wanna drag Jiang Enyuan into this? There's nothing unresolved about the choreography plagiarism story. Jiang Enyuan performed the dance first, so it's his dance. Gu Wei copied it. End of story. Is Gu Wei not controversial enough? With you guys stirring up trouble like this, he's really going to become washed out in no time at all.
@Little Hedgehog's Sunny Doll: @Walnut Piupiu: You're just a whole-ass idiot sandwich, aren't you?
Gu Wei was still chatting with Jiang Xun. He had no idea his fans and some passersby had already started feuding fiercely with Jiang Enyuan's fans, causing the Escape Without a Trace supertopic to descend into utter chaos.
@Little Hedgehog's Sunny Doll: @JiangEnyuan, get the fuck out here and apologize. You're cutting into jiejie's shipping time, you unmitigated shithead.