Chapter 17: Go Their Separate Ways

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Boss Crab's achievements in battle were truly astonishing. Chen Shu suddenly slammed on the brakes. The car jolted so violently that Jiang Ying jerked forward and dropped his phone on his foot.

Qi Zhu, who had been resting, slowly opened his eyes. His expression was totally inscrutable as he took out his earbuds and cast a seemingly disinterested glance in Jiang Ying's direction. Jiang Ying panicked and kicked his phone towards the door on his side of the car.

"It's nothing, I… was just browsing Weibo. That was someone else's video," Jiang Ying said. "I thought it was something interesting. Didn't know it was gonna be that loud."

After a beat of silence, Jiang Ying added, "Ha. Haha."

It was a good thing the stupid app hadn't announced his user ID. Otherwise, Jiang Ying would have had a much harder time explaining this away.

Assistant Chen bought the lie. Qi Zhu… may or may not have bought it. He just looked at Jiang Ying for a while before glancing down at the phone that still sat on the floor by Jiang Ying's feet. Then he put his earbuds back in and nodded absently, like he didn't quite give a damn. After that, he just uttered a soft hum and went back to resting his eyes.

Jiang Ying stared at Qi Zhu for a long, long while. After he was sure Qi Zhu hadn't come to any startling realizations, he let out a breath of relief and reached down to pick up his phone.

Just as Jiang Ying bent over to pick up his phone, Assistant Chen glanced into the back seat through the rearview mirror. He just so happened to catch sight of Qi Zhu smiling. Assistant Chen was beginning to feel more and more like this man was something of an enigma.

Since the app had dared to put out such an idiotic update, Jiang Ying decided it would have to suffer the wrath of one of its most formidable players.

Unthinkingly, he opened up the app store and left the 'Fight!' app an extremely colorful review. His criticism of the new update was harsh, sincere, and impassioned. He concluded by wishing the entire developer's family a very hearty fuck off.

Right below his review was another scathing critique of the app. It was also extremely brutal and well-crafted in its viciousness. Definitely penned by a very capable, accomplished player. Jiang Ying instantly gave that review a like.

Besides that ego-stroking welcome message, a few other new features had been added to 'Fight!' as well. For example, when Jiang Ying opened up his app, he saw that a new 'Apprentice' feature had been added. It had been less than a day since the app's last update, but Boss Crab had already received thousands of requests from players eager to become his apprentice.

[Chief, please take me as your apprentice. Just name your price.]

[Please choose me as your apprentice! I'm extremely filial!]

[Check out my profile, I'm a Qi Zhu fan. I can diss Jiang Ying with you all day. If you take me as your apprentice, I promise I'll fill your days with joy!]

[Master! I bow down to your epic skills! Take me as your apprentice. I swear to carry on your legacy!]

Jiang Ying fought on this app purely for the sake of his own personal enjoyment. He'd never thought about anything like preserving his legacy or passing down his skills, so he ignored this new feature for now. He paid no attention to those requests to be his apprentice and turned his attention to another new feature instead.

The app had also added a rewards function. Spectators could now purchase rewards to give to the winners of the matches they watched, or to the losers if they chose to console the players who fell in combat instead. It seemed the app had really taken advantage of their popularity boom, pushing out all these new revenue-generating features overnight.

But to someone of Jiang Ying's skill level, paltry rewards meant nothing. The thrill of victory was all he craved.

The promotional stream for Li Mao Station had taken up most of the afternoon. Assistant Chen then had to drive halfway across H City to drop Qi Zhu off, so it was already dark by the time Jiang Ying got home.

Netizens were avidly discussing the stream from that afternoon on Weibo, and the response was generally pretty good. With filming for 'An Auspicious Snow' due to start soon, most people focused their attention on discussing the show. Of course, there were inevitably a handful of commenters who poked and prodded at the relationship between Jiang Ying and Qi Zhu.

Netizen 1: Nothing much to say, really. Their relationship is just bad.

Netizen 2: Usually when two celebrities have warring fan bases, their relationship is legit bad. But after watching this livestream, I kinda feel like the relationship between these two isn't all that strained. There's just a subtle… something there. But I can't put my finger on what that 'something' is.

Netizen 3: Yeah, honestly, I'm kind of confused too. When they caught Jiang Ying sleeping, Qi Zhu tried to make an excuse for him. I don't know if you all heard it, but Qi Zhu said it was his fault for being late.

Netizen 4: That's because our gege is kind and courteous, unlike a certain shameless someone. But there's really no goodwill between them. Their relationship is rotten, inside and out.

Netizen 5: Do you guys really not care about what they called each other? Am I the only one still thinking about this 'class monitor' thing?

The script of the drama adaptation of 'An Auspicious Snow' was really quite enthralling. Jiang Ying got wrapped up in it and studied it for half the night. He didn't set it aside until his eyes started to feel strained. Lately, he hadn't been squabbling with netizens as much, and he felt like his stamina had suffered for it. He got tired way more easily than usual these days.

Just as he opened the 'Fight!' app again, he received a private message from someone on his friend's list: sunny.

[Boss Crab]: Wanna go?

[sunny]: Not right now. I'm in a super bad mood.

[Boss Crab]: ?

[sunny]: Did you get the update? This new 'feature' is so fucking stupid. You know, that bullshit that announces your ranking?

[Boss Crab]: Totally agree.

[sunny]: My win rate is only 95%! That just breaks my heart. I'll have to work even harder to not dishonor my family name. I need to do better.

[Boss Crab]: ???

[Boss Crab]: SlightSmile.jpg

[Boss Crab]: You're talking like those kids who get 99/100 on a test and wail like their lives are over.

Lots of 'Fight!' players were showing off their stats on Weibo that night. Jiang Ying actually wanted to flaunt his Boss Crab account's win rate as well, but he held back when he thought of what had happened in the car earlier that day.

He switched back to his main account on Weibo and discovered his fans and Qi Zhu's fans were fighting with passersby again. After thoroughly reading their combative comments, he realized it had all started with what he and Qi Zhu had called each other during their stream.

Jiang Ying only ever called Qi Zhu a few things. He'd gotten used to those few nicknames, and he didn't think it felt so weird to let one fall from his lips. But to netizens who'd heard a certain nickname for the very first time, it was an abnormality that needed close inspection.

Passerby 1: Their relationship really doesn't seem that bad. It's just their fans getting carried away. They actually seem to be on alright terms with each other.

Passterby 2: Agreed. I feel the same way. I can't really explain why, though. Just intuition.

@Sleepwalking Shadow: This is really unnecessary. Jiang Ying was just a bit confused after waking up. There's no deeper meaning to it. These two didn't know each other before, and their relationship really isn't good. There's no need to spin it into something that it isn't just because they're going to be working on a drama together. They're at their best when they're apart.

@Beibei Wants Beef Jerky: I couldn't agree more. There's no reason to try to shove our two families together. We operate just fine independently.

@Beibei Wants Beef Jerky: Passersby, take my advice. Don't read too deeply into this. I guarantee you they were just putting on an act for the cameras. They're both professionals, they know what kind of performance they have to put on for the public. But don't be fooled by that 'peace and harmony' farce. I promise you, as soon as the stream ended, they each went their separate ways.

It was rare for the two fan bases to be in agreement on something. Jiang Ying was pretty surprised that something like this had brought them together. He gave a like to all the top comments, whether they were made by his fans or Qi Zhu's fans. Just as he was about to dive in and get himself even more involved in this commotion, he saw that his old classmate Qi Jun had put up a brand new post with some photos from their class reunion.

@GuapiMedia-LittleQiZong: I've been so busy lately that I almost forgot to share some photos from my class reunion! These are from a few days ago. It was kind of intimidating to sit next to my old class monitor and an old member of the disciplinary committee, hahahaha!


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