After wrapping up his conversation with his apprentice, Jiang Ying got ready to have a few fights of his own. It was only then that he noticed the results of his freestyle fight with Little Lemon from earlier that day.
Because of Qi Zhu's interference, Jiang Ying hadn't been able to finish that match properly. Due to his inactivity, the system automatically deemed him the loser. Little Lemon emerged victorious.
Little Lemon's last messages from that match could still be seen on their game interface—
[Little Lemon]: Where'd you go?
[Little Lemon]: Why'd you disappear as soon as I brought up ZFZY?
[Little Lemon]: Ai, if this is the best you can do, you should probably stick to starting shit on Weibo.
[Little Lemon]: Cowardly Boss Crab. MiddleFinger.jpg
[Little Lemon]: Game over. Seeya~
[Little Lemon]: Oh, one last thing. I love them.
[Little Lemon]: It's too bad. You don't understand my love.
"I understand half of it," Jiang Ying muttered to himself. "I love myself, at least."
He was an idol who always supported himself, after all.
Outside their match, Little Lemon had sent him a private message as well.
[Little Lemon]: Coward Crab, are you coming to the meet-and-greet for the Top 10?
[Boss Crab]: Nope.
[Little Lemon]: Why? Everyone is super curious about who you are.
[Boss Crab]: 'Fight!' can't afford to invite me.
[Boss Crab]: I'm too important.
[Little Lemon]: Shameless…
Jiang Ying hadn't visited the romance category in 'Fight!' for over two years. But after talking about it with his apprentice earlier, he took a peek inside that lovey-dovey battlefield.
Even after two years, nothing had changed. That battlefield was still a gory mess of PDA.
Jiang Ying retreated. Racking up points to climb the ranks in the tournament was more important than spectating in the romance category.
"Good evening," the smart speaker on the nightstand suddenly greeted, of its own accord.
"Good evening," Jiang Ying echoed. He was in a pretty good mood, so he was even willing to chat with the idiotic speaker.
"What are you doing?" Little Buddy asked.
"Fighting," Jiang Ying answered without looking up from his phone. He'd already started working on his tournament rank. "It's a joy you wouldn't understand."
Little Buddy chirped inquisitively.
While Jiang Ying fought, the variety show he'd filmed started to air right on schedule. The episode opened on an aerial shot of the cozy village where they had filmed. A breeze and a light drizzle filled the air with the refreshing atmosphere that the show wanted to capture. Bullet comments started to stream across the screen right away.
[There was a sudden change in two guests this time, right?]
[Yeah, there was. Miao Ye is a special guest, too. Qi Zhu and Jiang Ying became part of the main cast.]
[Jiang Ying??? Hahahaha, has the director lost his mind? Refreshing youth Jiang Ying? As if!]
[I heard a rumor from a big verified account. They said Qi Zhu only took this show because Jiang Ying was going to be there. And that makes sense, right? Otherwise this show wouldn't have been able to get Qi-laoshi.]
[Previous commenter, stop talking nonsense. Their fans were feuding like crazy when they took this show. That definitely would have affected their relationship. Let's just see how the showrunners fix this in post-production.]
[Watch the show, watch the show! Honestly I'm kind of impressed you people can start fighting before the broadcast even starts.]
After the opening shots, the scene changed. Footage of the director and crew inspecting the guests' luggage began to play. The first two guests to arrive opened their suitcases and watched as the crew took out all the prohibited items inside.
"What on earth is all this…" The crew member in charge of inspecting the suitcases was stunned while pulling out all sorts of items from Chi Yunkai's bag. A compass, an outdoor survival manual, a bundle of climbing ropes…
"Huh? Isn't this a wilderness survival episode? Did I pack something wrong?" Chi Yunkai scratched his head. "Our group's lead dancer and lead singer told me this was all stuff I would definitely need."
[The show is doomed, hahaha. I already had a feeling this refreshing atmosphere was going to collapse. T.ATW can really make a mess of things.]
[Fu Zhi-gege is pretty well-suited for the theme of this show. He likes calm, not chaos.]
[They're both in the same group. What's wrong with Chi Yunkai? lolol]
[Where are the other three guests? Where's our Little Ying?]
The scene changed again. A car stopped outside the little farmhouse, and Qi Zhu and Jiang Ying both disembarked.
[OMFG, Jiang Ying brought such a big suitcase! It's half as tall as him. What did he pack for?]
[Ah, ah, ah, ahhhhhh! Qi Zhu is helping him carry his suitcase, our gege is so warm and kind!]
[Pffft, as if. Whether or not your gege is warm depends on the person he's with. Have you guys forgotten how he ignored a girl who was guest starring with him on another show? She was carrying a suitcase too, and he totally blanked her.]
[That lady obviously wanted to stir up some relationship rumors with our gege, okay? If you want to gossip, at least gossip about real shit. Thanks.]
The snacks and dog biscuits in Jiang Ying's suitcase all came out, eliciting another wave of heated discussion from the viewers. By the time Jiang Ying got his fill of fighting and turned his attention back to the broadcast and Weibo, many netizens had already seen the segment where the guests went into town to buy groceries and hunt for their fifth member.
Jiang Ying loaded up the video and caught up to the spot where most viewers would be. At that time, many of his own fans were feeling sorry for him for having to put on those roller skates bright and early in the morning.
[Is our Little Ying going to be okay? With Qi Zhu dragging him to town, I keep worrying he'll fall!]
[Qi Zhu, hold on tight to our Little Ying! I get the feeling he really doesn't know how to skate.]
[I'm sorry, but am I the only one who thinks the way they're getting to town is… super funny? lololol]
The show cut over to Miao Ye at that point. Miao Ye had just gotten to town, and he was receiving his instructions from the crew. They had just handed him a basket of eggs as the reward to be given out after the next challenge.
"I'm excited," Miao Ye said to the camera. "I don't know if I'll find them first, or if they'll find me first. I hope the quest item I've been given will be a nice surprise for the other guests."
After a moment, the not-so-popular Miao Ye honestly added, "I'm just a little worried they won't recognize me."
The bullet comments—
[This nobody is really self-aware and honest… later, I'll give him some love.]
[Meow Meow, believe in yourself! Even though you always play cannon fodder roles, you have great fans, okay? Look, the auntie working at the produce stall has been looking at you this whole time.]
[Auntie: I've seen you on TV.]
[I watched ahead. Meow Meow, have faith! Someone is going to recognize you in a second, I promise.]
Fu Zhi had arrived in town long ago. He'd made his way to a teahouse and brewed himself a pot of tea. Chi Yunkai was still drifting down a little river, going the wrong way. Jiang Ying was hitching a ride on the back of Qi Zhu's bicycle, slowly gliding his way into town to tackle whatever challenges the crew had laid out for them.
Jiang Ying suddenly remembered that he had been distracted by a fight while recording the show. He'd wandered off to watch, only to be found in a little alleyway by Qi Zhu a while later. Now that he was actually watching the show, he realized Qi Zhu and the crew had all reacted rather spectacularly to his absence.
One of the crew members looked confused.
Another exclaimed, "Oh no, oh no! We lost one of our super expensive guests."
A third said, "Where did Jiang Ying go? He was here just a second ago. Did the crew following him stick with him?"
The crew in charge of following Jiang Ying was standing right there, with the other baffled crew members. "Um. So sorry. We lost him."
A fleeting flash of alarm crossed Qi Zhu's eyes, but it was quickly replaced by his usual calm. "This is fine."
Following Qi Zhu's lead, the crew quickly found Jiang Ying in an alleyway, where he was still fascinated by the fight.
The show's viewers were just about thrilled to death by this sequence of events. At that point, everyone had already realized this installment wouldn't have anything to do with the 'refreshing' theme of the program at all—
[God, what's so interesting about a fight?]
[I totally believe this show is unscripted now. Hahaha, I'm going to die laughing.]
[As a shadow, I encourage everyone to laugh. Our gege just loves watching a commotion like this.]
[A commotion? No, no, Jiang Ying just likes watching fights. Out of all the celebrities in the world, he's the only one who practically lives on Weibo. He's always stalking celebrity feuds, and sometimes he even rolls up his sleeves and joins the fight himself, hahaha.]
[Previous commenter, you know nothing! Our gege doesn't spend all day on Weibo. He practically lives on Douban and Tianya too, lolololol!]
"I spend a lot of time on 'Fight!' too," Jiang Ying corrected as he read the bullet comments. "But you guys aren't allowed to know about that."
[Um, the bluestone path here looks pretty rough… how did he get into the alleyway?]
[Our gege is so strong-willed. In order to watch people fight, he probably tottered over even while trembling.]
[I just wanna say, isn't Qi Zhu way too impressive? He asked one question and found Jiang Ying. If Jiang Ying's fans know about his special hobby, fine. That makes sense. But why does Qi Zhu know so much?]
[Ai, that's nothing. All fans know this about Jiang Ying.]
[Once I accept that this is just a part of Jiang Ying, I get the feeling all his scandals weren't really scandals at all…]
[That's right, he's not really prone to scandals at all. This is just his hobby, but people inevitably attack him for it.]
It was only after watching this part that Jiang Ying discovered how Qi Zhu had found him that day. Jiang Ying felt that was pretty… interesting. He did like watching a fight and checking out a commotion, but he shouldn't have left such a deep impression on Qi Zhu, right?
The Jiang Ying on the monitor grabbed a corner of Qi Zhu's clothes and couldn't be bothered to take a single step on his own—
[So this is what was happening in that photo someone posted to Weibo that day. It's so rare to see them getting along like this. So peaceful, so nice. And it looks like Jiang Ying really doesn't know how to skate.]
[Am I hallucinating? Why do I feel like Qi Zhu is doting on him?]
[I wanted to ask something too. This guy is usually so fierce. Why does he get so clingy around Qi Zhu?]
Assistant Chen had taken off earlier that day. Jiang Ying thought no one would be around to buy him milk tea that night. He never could have imagined that Qi Zhu would suddenly knock on his door, bearing milk tea.
"Where'd you get this?" Jiang Ying asked.
"My assistant bought too much," Qi Zhu said, setting a cup of milk tea down on the nightstand. "Will you be able to sleep if you drink this at night?"
"Totally, yeah." As a veteran milk tea lover, Jiang Ying had a hard time getting to sleep without milk tea.
"You're watching a variety show? The one we filmed a while ago?" Qi Zhu asked when he heard the voices from the video. He glanced at Jiang Ying's tablet screen. "Have fun."
In the show, they had just spotted Miao Ye on the street. Jiang Ying kicked off and flew towards him on his roller skates, giving chase.
All the fans who'd said 'gege be careful' and 'gege can't skate' and 'Qi Zhu, take care of our gege' suddenly filled the screen with question marks and ellipses—
[? I'm literally shaking???]
[Who said he couldn't skate?]
[Not only can he skate, he seems… really good at it…]
[? Did Qi Zhu just say Little Ying was in the roller skating club at school? Us fans didn't even know about that. He never mentioned it.]
[It's appeared! A certain idol's hidden skill.]
[Look, you fans didn't know, but Qi Zhu knew. He's so calm, hahaha.]
[Not only does he know, he doesn't think this is a big scene at all. He called it a little scene.]
[Ahhh, then we really really really want to see a big scene.]