Chapter 30: Shut Him Up

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Jiang Ying didn't get it. He thought very hard, but he just didn't get it. He and Qi Zhu hadn't done anything that could be considered shameful or inappropriate, so why would they run into any problems with the censors?

He very politely expressed his absolute bafflement to Little Qi-zong.

[Qi Jun]: Well, here's what I think.

[Qi Jun]: Not harmonious enough.

[Qi Jun]: You know I didn't get into the same high school as you two. I had different people sitting behind me in high school, and my stress levels went down so much that I started gaining weight.

[Big-Clawed Crab]: Oh? I had an effect on Little Qi-zong's weight?

Qi Jun was probably feeling pent up after not having contacted Jiang Ying in a few days. He had a lot to say, and all his words were sincere truths that came from the bottom of his heart.

[Qi Jun]: Jiang #2, you're like a perpetual motion machine. You just blah blah blah nonstop.

[Big-Clawed Crab]: ???

[Big-Clawed Crab]: SlightSmile.jpg

[Big-Clawed Crab]: Are you itching for a spanking? Where are your manners?

[Qi Jun]: Have you forgotten? You two would always fight.

[Qi Jun]: Our class monitor was never interested in rising to anyone else's taunts, but he would always entertain you.

Then, Qi Jun asked a rather thought-provoking question.

[Qi Jun]: Your director is trying to make a refreshing show about country living. Do you think the whole nation wants to watch a show like that just to see you and Qi Zhu bicker?

Jiang Ying had no response for that.

He replayed the events of that day in his mind, from beginning to end. Although he certainly couldn't describe his own behavior and 'nice and refreshing', he didn't think he'd done anything particularly objectionable either. He'd really worked hard and tried to do a good job, and he'd remained on fairly peaceful terms with Qi Zhu.

As for why Qi Jun was so skeptical of their ability to get along, that probably had something to do with how chaotic they were in middle school—

In their class, they had a morning reading period in which they were to memorize passages of assigned texts. Mondays and Wednesdays were for English, and Tuesdays and Thursdays were for Chinese literature. On Friday, deskmates were supposed to quiz each other on the week's assigned passages.

These Friday quizzes were like a test of the bonds of each pair of deskmates. Normally, students wouldn't be so strict with each other. They would put on a show in front of their teacher, but that was pretty much all they did. That went for all deskmates except the pair that sat by the window in the back row.

Jiang Ying was pretty good at both English and literature, but he just couldn't memorize classical Chinese to save his life. When it came to these Friday quizzes, Qi Zhu would always catch onto his little mistakes. And he would never let anything slide.

"The last sentence was wrong. Try again," Qi Zhu would always say, expressionlessly.

"I can't memorize it." Jiang #2 flung his book down and flumped over the desk like he was boneless. He gave up completely, putting on an air of wanting to go home right that second.

"Even if you can't memorize it, you have to memorize it," Qi Zhu said, completely ignoring his mini-tantrum. He pried Jiang Ying's hands off the table, one finger at a time, and dragged Jiang Ying back up by the back of his collar. "You usually talk so much. How can you struggle to memorize some classic literature? Sit up straight."

"Can't," Jiang Ying shot back, petulantly flopping over the desk again.

Qi Zhu began the arduous process of peeling Jiang Ying off the desk again, and that was enough to start a war. Jiang #2 started needling at Qi Zhu, physically and verbally, and the two of them soon got into a proper tussle in their seats. A certain someone knocked over a cup of hot water with his grubby little claws and sent the liquid flying towards Qi Jun's back.

It was the last month of the lunar calendar. With the winter cold filling up the room, Qi Jun suddenly felt a flash of boiling heat spill over his back. In the seat in front of Jiang Ying, he nearly blacked out.

Jiang Ying was good at provoking people, and he was especially good at provoking Qi Zhu. And when he was unhappy, the whole class had to be on guard all morning.

During their morning lessons, the teacher called on Qi Zhu to stand up and answer a question. Jiang Ying took that opportunity to discreetly move Qi Zhu's chair far away. He gestured for Qi Jun to keep his mouth shut.

Qi Zhu easily gave a perfect answer to the teacher's question. Then, as though he'd grown eyes from the back of his head, he calmly turned around and went to fetch his chair from where it had been moved.

Jiang #2 was punished with extra writing exercises.

There was no way he could finish his punishment alone. He had a passage to copy twenty times. In the end, everyone in the back row banded together to help him—

Including Qi Zhu.

For that reason, the entire back row learned how to forge Jiang Ying's handwriting.

All those incidents that had resulted in Jiang Ying having to copy a passage of writing twenty times must have left a deep impression on Qi Jun. He still saw Jiang Ying as a troublemaker who couldn't coexist peacefully with Qi Zhu.

And Qi Zhu, for his part, had stayed in touch with Jiang Ying throughout the years. Their relationship, and their way of interacting with each other, hadn't changed from what it used to be.

[Big-Clawed Crab]: Anyway, what did Little Qi-zong need me for?

[Qi Jun]: Oh, right. There really was something I wanted to talk to you about.

[Qi Jun]: You know that 'Fight!' app? Our agency's pretty little meimei seems to like it, so I made an account.

[Qi Jun]: But I don't really know what I'm doing. Will the old master help me out? StarryEyes.jpg

[Big-Clawed Crab]: Nope, I don't take apprentices that easily.

After cruelly rejecting Qi Jun's request, the old master who didn't take apprentices so easily quit WeChat and burrowed under the covers. His mind drifted to that beautiful, lovely, wonderful app of his.

The bedroom door was still closed; Qi Zhu had yet to return. Jiang Ying quickly opened 'Fight!' on his phone and found the apprentice he'd taken a liking to.

His apprentice was, surprisingly enough, online. And several days had passed since their first conversation, but this player still hadn't changed his username or avatar.

[Boss Crab]: Is this fate? We're always online at the same time.

[Fighter3357868]: ?

[Boss Crab]: Why don't you change your name and avatar?

[Fighter3357868]: Pointless.

[Boss Crab]: Are you people the type who think doing anything 'pointless' is just a waste of time?

[Fighter3357868]: Mm.

[Fighter3357868]: Us people?

[Boss Crab]: Never mind. I just thought of someone I know.

[Boss Crab]: Apprentice-didi, you don't even have a proper name. You won't just disappear if you get bored one day, will you?

[Fighter3357868]: I won't.

[Fighter3357868]: You aren't 'pointless'.

Jiang Ying felt some relief at that. This person was extremely curt and straightforward, but he could be unexpectedly sweet.

[Boss Crab]: Ready to learn to fight, buddy? I promise I'll turn you into a winner.

[Fighter3357868]: ……

[Fighter3357868]: Not interested.

After not talking for a day, this guy had turned back into a block of ice. He was extremely similar to a certain acquaintance of Jiang Ying's.

That acquaintance had yet to return from the shower. Jiang Ying was pretty sure he could squeeze in a quick lesson before Qi Zhu came back—

[Boss Crab]: Today, we have a new lesson. We'll be learning how to observe.

The other party seemed a little more interested now.

[Fighter3357868]: Observe what?

[Boss Crab]: Fights, of course. Fights between netizens, fights between passersby. These are all worth watching. Mostly because I think they're pretty entertaining.

[Fighter3357868]: Not interested.

[Boss Crab]: Unacceptable. What you lack is fighting spirit. Oh, that's right. Do you have anyone in your life who likes to fight?

[Fighter3357868]: …I guess?

[Boss Crab]: Fierce?

[Fighter3357868]: Fierce.

[Boss Crab]: More fierce than me?

[Fighter3357868]: He says he doesn't know.

[Boss Crab]: Does he play this game? Tell him to come have a match with me.

[Fighter3357868]: He says he doesn't play.

[Boss Crab]: Tsk, pretentious.

[Boss Crab]: Then you keep an eye on him. Make him your target, your goal. Whenever you can shut him up, that's when you'll graduate from this apprenticeship.

[Fighter3357868]: Got it. FightOn.jpg

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