The song looped again. Jiang Ying finally came back to his senses and frantically pawed through his contacts list on WeChat, searching for his brother's familiar pikachu avatar.
[Big-Clawed Crab]: Ge. Ge, come back. Please. You're my beloved brother.
[Big-Clawed Crab]: HELLO???
[Big-Clawed Crab]: JIANG XUN! SHITHEAD!
[Big-Clawed Crab]: I don't want to do the drama. Seriously. I've consulted the stars, and the stars are saying no way. The stars say this is one mountain that's too small for these two tigers. If I'm in a drama with Qi Zhu, your investment is guaranteed to go down the drain.
[100K Volts]: PikachuRage.jpg
[100K Volts]: The contract has already been signed. Why didn't you say something sooner?
[Big-Clawed Crab]: Why didn't someone tell me Qi Zhu was playing the lead sooner?!
[100K Volts]: I thought you ran into him on the day of your audition. The two of you basically grew up together, anyway. Why can't you shoot a drama with him?
[100K Volts]: Anyway, calm down. Weiwei is home, and he doesn't get a chance to come back often with how busy he is.
[100K Volts]: [red envelope]x3
[Big-Clawed Crab]: LittleDinoCries.jpg If I do a good job in this drama, I'll eat my hat.
Boss Crab's last two fights had sent huge waves through Weibo, and it just so happened that all this happened over a weekend. In two short days, Jiang Ying's fans and Qi Zhu's fans turned Weibo into a warzone. And Boss Crab was caught up in the middle of it all.
In order to avoid making any more headlines, Jiang Ying didn't open the 'Fight!' app for a whole week. But he couldn't just sit still and do nothing. He picked an extraordinary number of fights using his 'Crab Series' alt accounts. Several of them were reported and banned; Jiang Ying suffered some major casualties that week.
Even worse, due to his lack of activity on his fighting app, his rankings fell. He dropped off the Top 10 and shamefully fell behind that user called sunny.
And worst of all, some harebrained netizens were even trying to turn Qi Zhu and Boss Crab into a ship. They'd come up with some nonsense about one of them being a highly talented and competent man, while the other was super thirsty for highly talented and competent men.
"Basically," Jiang Ying concluded after recounting the recent tragedies of his life, "it's all Qi Zhu's fault."
"I… don't know what to say." Gu Wei, lead dancer of popular boy band T.ATW, had listened to Jiang Ying's tirade for two hours before raising a hand to express an opinion. "But it seems to me like Qi Zhu didn't actually do anything except follow that Weibo account of yours. And you even removed him once."
To Gu Wei, it felt a bit like Qi Zhu was being accused falsely and baselessly here.
"Forget that, you're on my side now," Jiang Ying insisted. "Weiwei, definitely don't tell my brother I have an alt just for fighting."
"Do you even remember that we used to be rivals?" Gu Wei asked. He hesitated for a moment before adding, "I won't say anything about your alt, but I feel like Jiang Xun might already know."
"It'll be fine as long as you don't say anything," Jiang Ying said, waving off Gu Wei's concerns. "You're so busy, anyway. Don't waste time thinking about these things."
They were both pretty busy these days, and it was rare for them to get a chance to talk. When they ran into each other at TMW's club building that day, they loitered at the front desk and chatted for ages.
"You wanna try it?" Jiang Ying suggested. He had been urging Gu Wei to download the 'Fight!' app. "Fighting is good for you. It strengthens your body and mind. Remember when I smacked down Jiang Enyuan for you? Wasn't that cool?"
"Idols should act like idols. They just need to focus on singing and dancing and acting. There's no reason for them to learn to fight. Our gege can focus on doing what he loves. His fans will always rush in to defend him when there's a fight to be had." Yi Qing, passing by with a stack of team documents, waved a greeting at Gu Wei. "Gege, good morning."
"Morning." Gu Wei waved back.
Jiang Ying sighed and slumped over the reception desk, dispirited. "You're so popular now, and I'm going to be shipped off to 'An Auspicious Snow' in a few days. The future is bleak."
"'An Auspicious Snow' is pretty good, isn't it? It's basically all action. None of the characters, not even the protagonist, have many emotional plot points," Gu Wei said. "It seems pretty unconventional, and the script looks good.
"Oh, and speaking of this app…" Gu Wei suddenly remembered something. "I think it was about this 'Fight!' thing. Jiang Xun mentioned it last night. Apparently this app wanted to have you do some ads for them. They felt like your temperament was a good fit for their product."
"Then why didn't they contact me?"
Gu Wei gave Jiang Ying a sympathetic look. "They set their sights on Boss Crab instead. They're trying really hard to contact him now, but this Boss Crab seems to have dropped off the radar."
Jiang Ying fell silent.
For better or for worse, that cast of 'An Auspicious Snow' was finalized. The only thing left to do was wait for the official announcement.
The drama adaptation of 'An Auspicious Snow' had gained a lot of attention as soon as it was announced. In the year since, major media outlets and tabloids had incessantly speculated about casting possibilities. Every other day, a new wave of supposed leaks would entice more fans to follow the drama.
Since the major roles had been cast a few days ago, the tabloids with the right connections had already gotten ahold of the news. And they just couldn't wait to leak that news to their readers.
Insider Information: 'An Auspicious Snow' (fantasy, tragedy) is entering production. Protagonist Luo Nanke will be played by popular actor Qi Zhu. Beloved antagonist Xuan Moling will be played by Jiang Ying. Furthermore, the production team has been in contact with Yin Jiayu, Xuan Huitong, Miao Ye, and others.
As soon as the news came out, two fan bases exploded—
@Gossip Hound: Pfft, I'm laughing my ass off. Please, please, please grow a brain cell. Jiang Ying's fans and Qi Zhu's fans are feuding like crazy, and you think they'll shoot a drama together? This is the worst attempt at clickbait that I've ever seen.
@Always Following Qi Zhu: Qi Zhu just accepted a new drama, so he can't possibly star in this one too. If you have time to make up fake leaks like this, you may as well spend some time checking out our gege's actual works. [image]
@Sleepwalking Shadow: Fake. Suuuper fake. Don't believe a word of it, shadows. Gege is super busy these days. His agency has been working hard to get him a new drama. He hasn't even been on Weibo lately.
@Your Shadow: Stop wasting time with this fake news and come have a look at our Jiang Ying-gege. [image][image]
The two fan bases joined forces to shut down these supposedly unfounded rumors. The comments section of the tabloid's post quickly filled up with countless photos of Jiang Ying and Qi Zhu.
The verdict was in. Both fan families reacted to this news with abject disdain—
Qi Zhu and Jiang Ying playing enemies in a drama?