After just a short call, Gu Wei had been teased so thoroughly and ferociously by Jiang Xun that he could no longer speak. The two of them eventually said their goodnights and hung up. It was only then that Gu Wei noticed his manager and Mu Yue had both tried to reach him.
Manager Zhao had written, Don't respond to anything that's happening on Weibo right now. I've already lectured Fu Zhi and the others. You stay silent.
Gu Wei blinked.
He had just taken a phone call, but he suddenly felt like he'd missed a lot of stuff.
Mu Yue's message said, Didi, are you watching the variety show? Things are getting heated on Weibo, but just act like you didn't see anything. We aren't the ones who need to move right now. We can just spectate for the time being.
What was Weibo getting heated about this time?
Just as Gu Wei was getting reading to check the trending topics on Weibo, he received a new notification from WeChat—
[Fu Zhi] is inviting you to join the group [Blow, Blow, Blow Up My Ego]
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: You guys changed the group name again?
[stone]: It's a good change. Very fitting for tonight's mood.
[Yunkai Sees Mooncakes]: The agency told us not to say anything, so we didn't say anything. We just liked a little something. Zhao-jie can scold us all she wants, but it's no use. The deed has been done.
[The Sun At Dawn]: Why didn't we at least dump some water on Jiang Enyuan back when we locked him in the bathroom?
[stone]: Agreed. It should have been boiling water.
[Fu Zhi]: ……can you guys be civil? Are you trying to make our manager cry?
[stone]: Well, we're just a super fake, super plastic group. Sometimes we show a little team spirit, but are we civilized? Pfft, no.
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: So, you guys really were the ones who locked him in back then……
[Fu Zhi]: No.
[The Sun At Dawn]: Nope.
[stone]: No video, no evidence, no crime.
[Yunkai Sees Mooncakes]: Who knows who did it? Total mystery.
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: ……
Gu Wei wanted to know what they were talking about, so he finally got on Weibo. Right away, he saw Escape Without a Trace high on the trending topics list. It was accompanied by the tags 'JiangEnyuanApolozie' and 'SorryGuWei'.
Netizens had connected his reaction to the needle on Escape Without a Trace to his reaction to a needle on Wandering With You, and they had remembered it was Jiang Enyuan who had passed him a needle back then.
When Gu Wei recorded that part of Wandering With You, he genuinely hadn't even realized it was Jiang Enyuan who gave him the needle. It had to be said that the viewers' eyes were fearsomely sharp.
@Panda Head: Ummmmmmm, let's set aside the choreography thing for now. Just this alone really changes my impression of Jiang Enyuan. This couldn't have been a coincidence, right? I still remember how fierce the backlash against Gu Wei was after that episode aired. He even trended because of it. That scene wasn't insignificant, but it wasn't a huge deal either. Was it anything that he should have trended for? I feel like someone led the attack against him. I bet things weren't as simple as they seemed.
@Date-and-Goji-Berry Tea: Can you all just shut up and stop fighting? This is pointless. Both these guys seem like garbage to me, so just drop it. Can't we get some peace and quiet around here?
@Uncrooked Cashew: Jiang Enyuan's fans, wake up, wake up. Your little prince isn't as sweet and pure as he seems.
At midnight, when Gu Wei was getting ready to go to sleep, the topic shot even higher up on the trending topics list. Jiang Enyuan's people, working overtime, had put out a PR notice—
Regarding recent comments on social media: Our agency's artist Jiang Enyuan has no personal relationship with a certain artist of Xueqing Entertainment. The two artists were not close at all. There was no way for our artist to be aware of this certain artist's mental deficiencies. We ask netizens to remove their comments concerning the matter, and we will pursue legal countermeasures if necessary.
The WeChat group 'Blow, Blow, Blow Up My Ego' instantly became active again.
[Fu Zhi]: Well that PR note sucks.
[Yunkai Sees Mooncakes]: Can't be helped. He has a new drama coming out soon. Public opinion of him is going to affect how well the drama is received. But damage control isn't going to be that easy, especially when Mr. High-and-Mighty won't come out and apologize.
[stone]: There's so much going on tonight. I don't want to sleep. I might just stay up.
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: Gege, all of you go to sleep. No more gossiping. Aren't you all traveling tomorrow?
After Gu Wei sent that message, the group chat finally quieted down. Like the Moon was entering its final stages of filming, and Gu Wei had vowed to do a good job on the grand finale. He couldn't afford to let anything affect him or distract him now, so he didn't pay any attention to whatever Jiang Enyuan's people were doing.
He simply couldn't spare any attention for this sort of online drama. He just wanted to do everything in his power to put on a good performance in Like the Moon, so he easily shoved all those nasty comments to the back of his mind as he turned off the lights and went to bed.
It seemed, when one had a dream to pursue, one could really weather any storm.
But the feud on Weibo continued, with or without him. After a PR note was released by Jiang Enyuan's agency, fierce bickering started up in the comments section again.
@Walnut Piupiu: Jiang Enyuan-gege, I love you, I hope you'll focus on shooting your drama, and I hope you won't let anything else affect you.
@Peiqi: This PR note is a disaster. Read between the lines, folks. It's outright dissing Gu Wei.
Shortly after the PR notice was posted, a tabloid account released a new video they'd put together. The video featured a clip from an interview that Jiang Enyuan had done, in which he'd said—
"When Gu Wei and I were rookies, we were extremely close. We knew a lot about each other. Including each other's strengths and weaknesses. And we would always dance together, too…"
The video then immediately cut to a shot of the PR notice that Jiang Enyuan's company had just released. The words 'not close at all' were highlighted by a red streak.
Along with the video, the tabloid wrote: Setting everything else aside for now, aren't Jiang Enyuan and his agency contradicting each other right here?
On WeChat, new messages popped up in the group 'Blow, Blow, Blow Up My Ego' yet again—
[Yunkai Sees Mooncakes]: HAHAHAHA Jiang Enyuan's people are trying to pay off that tabloid, but the tabloid is saying they're not short on money. LMAOOOOOO
[stone]: What a wealthy tabloid~
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: Didn't we agree to go to sleep???
Gu Wei's manager Zhao Ya spent the whole night monitoring the activity on Weibo. On the one hand, she had to worry about those giant children in T.ATW losing control of their inhibitions and going out to personally pick a fight. On the other hand, she had to worry about the tides of public opinion shifting against Gu Wei and causing him to be attacked again.
She stressed about it all night, but discovered in the end that she only really had to worry about the rascals in the group she managed. Everything else was a headache for Jiang Enyuan's people to handle.
At nearly one in the morning, Manager Zhao decided to get some sleep. It was just then that her phone rang, with a familiar number showing up on the screen.
She stared for a long moment before answering.
"Jiang-zong," she greeted. "It's nearly one."
"I know," Jiang Xun said. "You've seen what's happening on Weibo?"
As soon as Zhao Ya heard him ask about that, she instantly understood that what happened tonight wasn't as simple as it seemed. "I've been keeping an eye on it all night. If I'd known you were involved, I wouldn't have worked overtime. Tell me the truth, what did you do?"
"Not much," Jiang Xun said. He leaned against the wall in the hallway outside TMW's training room. "I just bought a few trending topics."
"Which ones?" Zhao Ya was starting to hear alarm bells in her head.
"Oh, you're curious?" Jiang Xun hummed. "One for Jiang Enyuan's PR notice, one for that tabloid account, and…"
"One for 'FoodForXunWei'."
Gu Wei's manager was silent.
Yi Qing had just decided to take a break from feuding with Jiang Enyuan's fans. She had been fighting them back, five-against-one, and had beaten several of them into submission. With her milk tea in hand, she wandered out into the hall just in time to hear her captain making a phone call.
"Jiang-zong, does Gu Wei know you're playing this game?" Manager Zhao asked. Her voice was strained with something close to despair.
"Of course he doesn't know," Jiang Xun said with a low laugh. "My family's little kiddo just needs to worry about doing a good job on set."
When she heard Jiang Xun say all that, Yi Qing suddenly felt like the boba milk tea in her hand wasn't sweet at all anymore. She'd come out just for a breather, and her dear captain had personally crammed a bucket of delicious food down her throat.
"What do you intend to do?" Manager Zhao asked. "I'll be honest with you, Jiang Enyuan had someone protecting him in the past. Our agency's decision was to have T.ATW ignore the scandal."
"I do have some understanding of how things work in your industry," Jiang Xun said. "If you say the dance choreography tapes were simply lost, you might be able to trick children and netizens. But that won't fly with me. I'm curious to find out… once Jiang Enyuan has no career left to speak of, will those who protected him continue to do so?
"In any case, there's no rush. Once I finish my winter season tournaments, I'll have plenty of time and energy to deal with him slowly."
Jiang Xun hung up and noticed the girl standing near him.
"Ah," Yi Qing said, suppressing the 'AHHHHHHHHH' in her heart. "Captain, good evening."
"Have you been slacking off lately, sunny?" Jiang Xun asked. "I watched your practice games. Your command and reaction speeds at the assembly point were slow. You made some rookie mistakes, and there are a few other things you need to work on. Give yourself an extra day of training over the weekend."
"Sure, sure, sure!" Yi Qing had just gotten such an earful of sugary sweetness that she could have trained for five days and nights without rest.
Ever since she started hanging out in the 'FoodForXunWei' group every day, Yi Qing hadn't talked much in the little hedgehogs' defense squad group. But she peeked in and lurked all the time.
These last few days, she had seen quite a lot of activity from 'Little Hedgehog's Edible Crab' in that group.
@Little Hedgehog's Grapes: The chocolate Gu Wei endorsed is on the market now. Sisters, let's buy a lot and get the sales numbers up!
@Little Hedgehog's Edible Crab: I'll buy a box for everyone in the group, okay? [CuteBlush.jpg]
@Little Hedgehog's Cloud: Sisters, it's about time to buy another commercial for our didi. We need to get him some more publicity~
@Little Hedgehog's Edible Crab: Let's buy it. How much? I'll pay. [CuteBlush.jpg]
@Little Hedgehog Grow Up Fast: Banners…
@Little Hedgehog's Edible Crab: I'll buy them. [CuteBlush.jpg]
Several days later…
@Little Hedgehog's Arare: Sisters, are we getting the feeling that one of us has a gold mine?
@Little Hedgehog's Edible Crab: Not a gold mine, just money. [CuteBlush.jpg]
In her free time, the leader of the defense squad sent Yi Qing a message. "Doll, the sister you told me to add to our group is way too powerful. Way too rich."
"We all love Gu Wei the same," Sunny Doll had replied calmly. Of course, in her heart, she was thinking there was no way it could be the same. Her captain's love was romantic. That money was the money of true love.
At half past two in the morning, most of the other people at TMW's club had gone to sleep. Yi Qing was still sitting in front of her computer, watching the 'FoodForXunWei' group shoot up the trending topics list. Everyone had spent all night feuding, and now they were finally ready to enjoy a sweet dessert.
Netizen 1: All the fighting has wiped me out. I watched the new variety show episode again, and I gotta say I really like this dynamic. When they all got soaking wet at the end and gave Director Zhang a big hug, I got the sense that they were really playing, not just working. And when they all did that stupid dance together, I couldn't stop laughing. Director Zhang just had to promote it.
Netizen 2: I totally agree. I laughed my ass off when they all ganged up against the director. And weren't Jiang Xun and Gu Wei so sweet? When Gu Wei saw the needle, Jiang Xun's reaction was so fast! He covered his eyes in, like, a second. And afterwards, he kept Gu Wei close to him the whole time. I felt bad for our didi, but I seriously shrieked at that part. They must be close, they must hang out on their own time.
Netizen 3: And the part where they looked at each other outside the palace walls was so perfect. I'm already making an edit, be sure to stream the video when it's ready~
Netizen 4: Ever since the last installment, I've felt like these two have a story behind them. They understand each other so well even though they aren't in the same industry. They're just so close. Since 'FoodForXunWei' is trending again, I'll ship now and sleep later!
Netizen 5: Does anyone else think Jiang Xun was way too comfortable holding Gu Wei like that? It's like it wasn't his first time. I would do literally anything to get a look at what happened between them when the cameras lost sight of them. Do any of us want to make some content to fill in that gap? I'll devour anything and everything at this point.
Netizen 6: I feel like Weiwei is really so sweet and obedient when he's with Jiang Xun. He's teased and bullied when he's with Jiang Xun, and then he sneaks off and vents a little, only to be caught by Jiang Xun right away! Ahhh, I really can't handle it, these two are just too shippable.
It was obvious that the content from the variety show wouldn't keep the fans in the supertopic satisfied for long. The real detectives soon began to sleuth.
@Thorndike's Cat: Pssssst, I think I found something. In October, Gu Wei posted a photo by a window. I just pulled up a map and checked out the buildings in the background of that photo… and it looks like they're the same buildings that are around TMW's club! Although the background was blurred, you can still make out the silhouettes of the buildings out there. Here, compare these two pictures.
@Has Jiang Enyuan Apologized Yet: Pssssst, I also found something. In October, Jiang Xun did a livestream where someone walked behind him. That person was wearing a white sweater that… I think belongs to Gu Wei? Plus, earlier in the livestream, Jiang Xun was talking to someone next to him. He was telling someone not to sit too close to the screen.
After those two posts came out, all the shippers turned into feral groundhogs screaming into the night. A string of comments that only said 'AHHHHHHHHH' followed those posts.
[Wait, holy shit, I think this might be true? This person in the background, who walked through the livestream… that's definitely Gu Wei, isn't it?]
[Did I really stumble into a ship that's really really real?]
[Let's not overthink this…]
[Gu Wei didn't do any traveling those few days, did he? Could he have gone to stay at TMW's club? I was just thinking we didn't have enough content for this ship, and now we're finding out they spend time together in private?]
[Hang on, I just remembered Gu Wei is playing an esports player in 'Like the Moon'. Maybe he only went to the club to get a sense for the character? He just happened to meet Jiang Xun around that time. We probably shouldn't assume anything here…]
[AH, AH, AHHHHHH! I just remembered! That day, TMW's West said something about the captain's 'wife' during his livestream.]
[!!! Sisters, you're all way too good at digging up this sweet, sweet content. I get the feeling this content we discover on our own is so much sweeter than content that's fed to us?]
[Let's all calm down and act like normal human beings for a second…]
[Wahhhhhh, no, no, don't say that. Whether it's real or not, I'm just going to get my hopes up and pretend they're already talking about tying the knot. QAQ]
@Little Hedgehog's Sunny Doll: #FoodForXunWei, hmmmmmmmmm, you guys really work hard. You've finally arrived.