Jiang Ying had been home for less than three hours when he was suddenly attacked by a fierce alliance of his fans and Qi Zhu's fans.
In the comments section of the post from the official Weibo account of 'An Auspicious Snow', they were like this—
[Qi Zhu is a good actor and a good person. We shouldn't have dissed your gege before. As a shadow, I apologize.]
[Yeah, yeah. Qi-laoshi's acting skills are superb. If he can give our Jiang Ying some tips, that would be amazing.]
[Your Jiang Ying is also pretty good! When he doesn't talk, he's so good-looking. Very appealing. His acting skills aren't a problem. He'll definitely improve in the future.]
[We shouldn't have attacked you guys before either, that was our bad. We hope our idols will grow closer in the future.]
Just like that, the two fan bases made peace. Together, hand-in-hand, they skipped over to Boss Crab's Weibo page and gave him hell—
[HELLO? SIR? ANYONE HOME??? You wanna get your ass out here and explain why you were starting shirt? You think you can play us like circus monkeys?]
[As a shadow, I'm here to scold you on our gege's behalf. Boss Crab, you're the lowest of the low.]
[You can take back your rainbow farts of praise. Our Qi Zhu-gege is outstanding. He doesn't need the likes of you to talk him up.]
[Are you ready to face the wrath of our two families?]
Jiang Ying was, in fact, not ready. But it was too late. He was already trending.
The tag was a live feed of the two fan bases ripping into Boss Crab. They had truly joined forces now.
When Jiang Xun passed by, he saw his little brother holding his phone in one hand, rapidly switching back and forth between two Weibo accounts. In his other hand, he held a walnut that he was absently chewing on. The walnut was still in its shell.
Jiang Xun stared.
Where did their family even get such a ridiculous child?
"Ogre Jiang," Jiang Xun called out. "It looks to me like you're a bit worked up about something."
Jiang Ying hummed distractedly. "Mind your own business, I don't have time to fight with you right now."
"As if I don't already know your business." Jiang Xun reached out and pried Jiang Ying's phone out of his hands. "You only get this worked up when people are feuding with you or about you."
Sure enough, Jiang Ying's main account had messages like—
@Sleepwalking Shadow: Gege, wahhhhhh, we've been duped. That Boss Crab went over the top. He really played both our families.
And the situation on his alt looked like this—
@Sleepwalking Shadow: You're just a stupid, useless turd, you know that? You'll never accomplish anything in life. You know how to start shit, and that's it.
Jiang Xun stared at Jiang Ying's phone.
Then he looked up. "Explain."
"Don't tell anyone," Jiang Ying hastily warned. "You don't say anything, I don't say anything. No one ever has to know."
Jiang Ying really was worked up. He was practically beside himself with excitement. It was so rare for so many people to come knocking on his door, looking for a fight. But he had his professional integrity. He was duty-bound to protect his fans; he couldn't feud with them. And he only really wanted to fight with Qi Zhu, not Qi Zhu's fans.
He was very clear on what he could and couldn't do in this situation.
Even with this many people looking to fight him, Jiang Ying could only choke down his urges to fight back. It really was quite suffocating. He felt faint.
Because he understood the implications of the choices laid out before him—
In the 21st century, when netizens brought a fight to your doorstep, you either kept your mouth shut or fought back. If Jiang Ying kept his silence now, Boss Crab would definitely go down in history as a coward. If he fought back, he would be seen as an arrogant and unreasonable prick.
And because of his professional integrity, Jiang Ying couldn't fight back right now. In the eyes of all the netizens in the mob, Boss Crab was indeed a coward.
Furthermore, his silence was as good as an admission of guilt. Boss Crab was branded a troublemaker, an instigator.
[Not gonna talk? Scared? Then we must have been right about you.]
[In this day and age, young people really are capable of doing anything for clout.]
At this point, some people who'd gotten wind of the commotion on Weibo actually reached out to Jiang Ying.
[Qi Jun]: Lord Jiang, please accept my awe.
[Qi Jun]: The guys in the Jiang family really know how to play. Jiang Xun is so good at playing games, and you're so good at playing yourself.
[Qi Jun]: Aren't you tired of hitting yourself? Even my face hurts from laughing. Do you feel this? LittlePandaKicksYourFace.jpg
[Big-Clawed Crab]: ?
[Big-Clawed Crab]: Nope. I feel nothing.
[Big-Clawed Crab]: SpitsInEveryDirection.jpg
[Big-Clawed Crab]: TheDisconnectBetweenHumanJoyAndSorrow.jpg
[Qi Jun]: You know, I bought a trending tag for one of my agency's pretty meimei today. To promote her new album.
[Qi Jun]: She was the top trending topic. Until…
[Big-Clawed Crab]: ……
[Qi Jun]: Well, now she's not. We bought that tag for nothing. Seems some people can trend for free. Everyone's talking about Jiang Ying's fans and Qi Zhu's fans joining hands to wage war against this Boss Crab account. I just wanna ask, what did you do in a past life to trend so much in this life?
[Qi Jun]: PuppyCriesSaltyTears.jpg
[Qi Jun]: On behalf of all netizens, let me conduct an interview with the net-famous Boss Crab who even dissed himself. How are you feeling right now?
[Big-Clawed Crab]: This net-famous crab is currently very stable.
[Big-Clawed Crab]: You don't say anything, I don't say anything. No one ever has to know.
[Big-Clawed Crab]: And if someone finds out about my double identity, I'll know you were the one who spilled. EvilSmile.jpg
[Qi Jun]: Fuck.
After threatening Little Qi-zong into silence, Jiang Ying contentedly strolled into his own room. This was his room back at the Jiang family's villa, not the apartment he kept close to his agency. He was too busy to come back often, but they had housekeepers to keep it clean.
On the bookshelf by the window, there were titles such as 'How to Win an Argument' and 'Argumentative Powers'. There were also tons of little notebooks that Jiang Ying had accumulated over his years of being a member of the disciplinary committee at school.
There were two giant Krabby plushies on his bed. One had been given to him by Jiang Xun, and Qi Zhu had bought the other one for him in middle school. Jiang Ying stared at that arrogant looking crab pokemon and, for a moment, got lost in thought.
He couldn't quite remember when he'd gotten it, so he decided to ask Qi Jun.
[Big-Clawed Crab]: Little Qi-zong, come back.
[Big-Clawed Crab]: [image] This thing. I know Class Monitor bought it, but do you remember when?
[Qi Jun]: Oh, that. Hahahahahahahahaha.
[Big-Clawed Crab]: ?
[Qi Jun]: Back in our second year of middle school, Class 3's basketball team had a cheerleading squad. And we just had Little Jiang Ying. Some guy from Class 3, ah, what was his name… well, whatever. They lost, and he threw a fit. Wouldn't admit defeat. So you just tore into him until he cried, hahahahahahaha. Holy fuck, that really brings back memories. You've been this fierce since middle school. Back then, you were already famous within a hundred-mile radius.
[Qi Jun]: I think there was a forum thread back then called something like… 'Has Shitty Jiang Started Shit With Anyone Today'. All the people you'd fought with were complaining in there, hahahaha.
[Big-Clawed Crab]: Get to the point.
[Qi Jun]: Oh, right. You got way into that fight and wouldn't back off. Qi Zhu used that pillow to lure you away.
[Big-Clawed Crab]: ?
[Big-Clawed Crab]: The younger me was such a loser.
[Big-Clawed Crab]: I have a little something called conviction now. I'll never be swayed by Class Monitor's bribes again.
[Qi Jun]: applause.jpg
Although Jiang Ying said that, the Krabby from Qi Zhu had remained on his bed all this time.
Now that he thought about it, Jiang Ying realized Qi Zhu had actually given him a lot of stuff throughout the years. And, besides the Gossip Buddy from last time, Qi Zhu's gifts were mostly stuffed animals and hugging pillows.
The stuffed Krabby, the stuffed penguin, even stuffed ducks. Qi Zhu seemed to like those soft and fuzzy things.
Just as Qi Zhu crossed his mind, Jiang Ying heard his phone chime with a QQ notification. The name with a big ship next to it appeared on his cell phone screen.
Sure enough, his big ship was poking him again.
[Class Monitor]: [poke poke]
[Class Monitor]: You're not busy, right?
[Class Monitor]: Little Troll Jiang?
[Big-Clawed Crab]: ? Oh, I'll troll you alright.
[Big-Clawed Crab]: What do you want. Get to the point.
[Class Monitor]: Okay.
[Class Monitor]: Did your manager tell you? Our variety show has been moved up. I'll see you at the airport tomorrow morning.
[Big-Clawed Crab]: Fine. Bye.
[Class Monitor]: They'll be confiscating our cell phones during the recording.
No cell phones meant no internet, and no internet meant no fighting.
There was no way Jiang Ying would survive that. He would just have to fight all night to get his fill.
And so he loaded up the 'Fight!' app. The first thing he saw was a new request to become his apprentice. It looked like it came from a pretty new account. The username was still a random string of numbers.
The new account didn't blow smoke up his ass or cry and beg to be taken as an apprentice. It just said—
Fighter3357868: Oh, misclicked.
Then this person was quite special.
Jiang Ying accepted the request.