Not long after Jiang Ying got home, he received a voice message from Qi Jun: "You home?"
"Home," Jiang Ying answered.
"Right, so, I just saw what trended. You really went hard. It was just a game, did you have to fight that fiercely? Now all of Weibo has seen our Jiang #2's 'wicked skills'."
"Just don't let Qi Zhu know that was me," Jiang Ying warned. "I can't lose that much face."
At the same time, a bunch of people on Weibo were still talking about Qi Zhu and Jiang Ying—
[Just a few days ago, wasn't there someone saying they wanted to see what these two would be like if they starred in a drama together? Now you see why it's impossible. They're really like fire and ice, and their fans are like cats and dogs. There's no way they can shoot a drama together.]
[That's too bad. I wanted to see how explosive they would be on the same set.]
[Have you guys noticed that these two are pretty interesting? They're like this. With Jiang Ying, if you say one bad thing about him, he'll come back at you with a hundred things. But with Qi Zhu, if you say a hundred bad things about him, he'll shut you up with just one line.]
[Yeah, and I feel like Jiang Ying will fight anything that moves even if he doesn't have a reason. But Qi Zhu doesn't pick fights for no reason. Am I the only one who wants to see them battle?]
[I actually want to see Jiang Ying and that 'Boss Crab' battle. I feel like they both fight in the same way.]
The song 'Good Luck Comes' was still playing in Jiang Ying's room. He had been too lazy to make it stop after Gossip Buddy streamed it of its own accord. When Jiang Ying logged into his Boss Crab account, he saw—as expected—that Boss Crab's DMs and notifications were blowing up.
Boss Crab's last fight had been broadcast live by a certain reality show. That episode had featured Chi Yunkai, and the other members of T.ATW had all done their part to help promote the show. T.ATW was extremely popular, so it was only natural that fans of Chi Yunkai and fans of T.ATW had all gathered to watch the episode live.
Although T.ATW's Gu Wei was Jiang Ying's old nemesis, Jiang Ying's fated foe was undeniably Qi Zhu.
They fought backstage, and they fought on red carpets. They never had anything nice to say to each other, and everyone in the industry knew their relationship was no good. It was just a fact of life in the industry. One which didn't need to be openly discussed.
But now, two innocent little games of 'Fight!' had made it so that no one would stop openly discussing the 'discord' between Qi Zhu and Jiang Ying.
With Boss Crab's two splendid victories, Qi Zhu's fans were beyond convinced. In their minds, Boss Crab was a diehard Qi Zhu fan. There was no doubt about it.
Jiang Ying didn't post to the Boss Crab account often. One of the most recent posts was from New Year's, when he'd flaunted his Top 10 ranking in the game. Now, underneath that post, countless new comments had appeared.
Qi Zhu's Big Fan: Boss Crab, as long as you're okay with it, we already consider you family. Check your DMs, we've sent you lots of beautiful pictures of our gege. If there's anything else you need, just let us know. We'll share all our content with you.
Qi Zhu's Defense Squad Leader: Brother, there's no need to be embarrassed. We can tell you really love our gege. Tell you what, if you're okay with giving us your address, we'll send you some merch. (Lots of it is exclusive!)
Jiang Ying did go check his DMs, and he was instantly rendered speechless.
He had spent years collecting dirt on Qi Zhu, and now his DMs were home to a hoard of videos and photos of Qi Zhu. A hoard large enough to rival his 50 gigs of dirt.
But who the hell would want to see beautiful pictures of this gege's abs?
Just as he was getting ready to block some of Qi Zhu's bigger fans, Jiang Ying received a new alert from QQ.
[Class Monitor]: [poke poke]
[Class Monitor]: What are you doing?
[Big-Clawed Crab]: Watching my brother's livestream.
[Big-Clawed Crab]: LittleDinoRaisesEyebrow.jpg
[Class Monitor]: Oh.
[Class Monitor]: Tonight's reunion party was pretty nice.
[Big-Clawed Crab]: Really? No one would've been able to tell you thought it was 'pretty nice' based on your expression.
[Class Monitor]: The footprint on Qi Jun's shoe was pretty nice too.
[Big-Clawed Crab]: What are you implying.
[Big-Clawed Crab]: LittleDinoSweats.jpg
[Class Monitor]: The app that trended tonight was really interesting.
[Big-Clawed Crab]: Not to me.
[Big-Clawed Crab]: LittleDinoSweats.jpg
Did Qi Zhu know something about something? Jiang Ying thought about it for a long while, then gave up on blocking Qi Zhu's big-name fans for the time being. He couldn't act recklessly now. For now, it seemed he had to allow Boss Crab to continue being falsely accused of being a Qi Zhu fan.
[Big-Clawed Crab]: [poke poke]
[Class Monitor]: ?
[Big-Clawed Crab]: What are you doing?
Qi Zhu seemed to be busy with something; it was a long while before he responded again.
[Class Monitor]: Studying a script. I took a new drama.
Jiang Ying quit out of QQ and went back over to Weibo. Several comments from his own big-name fans had come in under Boss Crab's recent posts, all berating him for his actions.
@Shadow Will Always Love Gege: Boss Crab, no one has ever treated our gege so poorly before. You're doomed. Jiang Ying is going to roast the hell out of you.
@Mimi Won't Lose: Boss Crab, I eagerly await the day a shameless Qi Zhu simp like you loses everything.
Jing Ying stared.
He felt… somewhat touched. But also pissed.
He was touched that his shadows were defending him so fiercely, but pissed because—
Ever since the reunion dinner party, he had been feeling aggrieved. But he couldn't deal with that by biting back at every one of these commenters, because these were his precious fans. He'd never been in such a pickle before.
Among all the comments, he even saw one from the fuming Assistant Chen's alt account.
@1234567: It's all your fault! I could have left work early today, but you A;DLSKFJA;SDKLF……
What could Jiang Ying possibly say? He quietly loaded up WeChat and sent Assistant Chen a 250 yuan red envelope.
Five minutes passed. The chat interface showed that the other party was typing, but there was no movement on the red envelope. Apparently, Assistant Chen felt quite conflicted.
[Big-Clawed Crab]: What, you don't want it?
[The recipient has accepted your red envelope.]
[Assistant Chen]: Thank you, Jiang #2.
[Assistant Chen]: You haven't started anything, have you?
[Big-Clawed Crab]: Of course not.
[Big-Clawed Crab]: Can't I give you a bonus without starting anything?
[Assistant Chen]: It's not like that, it's not like that. I just thought money didn't grow on trees, but I was thinking too much.
Jiang Ying was, apparently, very popular that day. He hadn't even finished talking to Assistant Chen when his phone rang with a call from his brother Jiang Xun.
"What are you doing?" Jiang Xun asked. "Is the reunion over?"
"It ended ages ago," Jiang Ying said. Then, he boldly lied, "I'm studying a script right now. Hopefully I'll be able to hone my acting skills."
Jiang Xun seemed to be satisfied with that. "Mom is glad you've come around. You know, someone said today that the acting skills in our family probably skipped a generation. Dad was pissed about that. Mom and Dad both say, if you just put in a little effort, you can show that netizen how wrong they are.
"Mom also said she's tired of being caught in the crossfire when you fight with people. She hopes you'll work hard at acting and do a good job on set."
Jiang Ying fell silent. Well that was… a bit awkward.
"Your answer?" Jiang Xun prompted.
"I swear I'll work hard on set and live up to the expectations of the Jiang family," Jiang Ying promised shamelessly.
"Good," Jiang Xun said. "You impressed the director and screenwriter at your audition for 'An Auspicious Snow' today. It's been decided. The role is yours."
Jiang Ying was baffled. "But the story is so good and the team is so impressive. Do they seriously want a controversial actor like me working with them? Do they not care about their ratings at all?"
"The agency has already signed the contract for you, and the official casting announcement will be made in a few days. Although you won't be playing the lead, your character is an important part of the story. You'll have a lot of scenes. Be sure to get along with the other members of the cast. Your manager and assistant will tell you all the details."
"Sure, I guess."
Jiang Ying was good at going with the flow. He didn't make any outlandish demands. Since this was already happening, he figured it may as well happen.
"Then that's all," Jiang Xun said, clearly growing tired of this conversation. "By the way, 'An Auspicious Snow' signed T.ATW to do the song for their ending credits. Weiwei and the others will make a special appearance in the drama as well. They'll be on set with you for a few days, so be sure to treat them well."
"Wow! Seriously? That's exciting!" Jiang Ying finally felt a bit of genuine interest in his upcoming drama. "Can I take our Weiwei clubbing?"
"Don't even think about it," Jiang Xun snapped.
"Well, whatever. It'll be nice to have people I know around," Jiang Ying said.
Gossip Buddy was still playing the same song on repeat: "Good luck comes, we wish you good luck. Good luck comes, bringing love and joy~~~"
"Oh, that's right," Jiang Xun added, remembering something just before he hung up. "Speaking of people you know, there are actually quite a few working on this drama. Since you like having familiar faces around, be sure to work hard and do a good job."
"Who else is there?" Jiang Ying asked. Hearing that had put him in a good mood.
"The screenwriter is someone Mom used to work with, and Dad knows the director. In terms of the cast, there's Miao Ye. You fought with him, so I guess you kind of know him. And you know the lead actor too."
"Who's the lead actor?" Jiang Ying asked. He quickly cycled through a mental list of all the actors he knew, and he couldn't think of a single one that suited the role.
"Your Qi-gege," Jiang Xun said. Then he hung up.
Jiang Ying squawked.
At the same time, Gossip Buddy continued to sing: "Good luck comes, good luck comes to us all. Open your arms and embrace the good luck that's coming to you!!!"