Teaching was a process. In order not to overwhelm his apprentice with new information about fighting, Boss Crab brought their lessons to a close for the day. There was something else he wanted to discuss, anyway.
As the master in this master-apprentice relationship, he had to ask after his apprentice-didi's love life. He had to foster those warm and fuzzy master-apprentice feelings he'd worked so hard to spark.
[Battle-Ready Boss Crab]: How have you been doing with that friend of yours? You said you had some… ideas?
[Fighter3357868]: My friend seems to be in a pretty good mood.
[Battle-Ready Boss Crab]: Wow, so there's hope. What did he say to you? HouseflyRubbingHandsTogether.jpg
[Fighter3357868]: He hasn't said anything yet.
[Battle-Ready Boss Crab]: It's rare for someone to fall in love with a troll. How could he not respond?
[Battle-Ready Boss Crab]: BangingTableWithLemon.jpg
[Fighter3357868]: You'll have someone who loves you too.
[Battle-Ready Boss Crab]: Thank you.
[Battle-Ready Boss Crab]: FightOn.jpg
A new hot topic had popped up on the game's forums. That night, the newly exonerated Boss Crab became the center of attention again.
Opinions Wanted: What did Boss Crab do for Little Lemon? Our jie is protecting him?
Jiang Ying clicked into the thread. It had been posted at 8:30 that evening. The first five pages were flooded by people quoting Little Lemon's famous lines. It was only on the sixth page, when Little Lemon got out of her evening classes and started walking back to her dorm, that a proper conversation started up.
1001: Let's not fight. LaughingCrying.jpg OP has already been dissed into oblivion. Was this OP a newbie? There's an unspoken law around here. You can provoke anyone, but you can't provoke Lemon. She has tons of time and tons of energy. She can diss you in class, she can diss you after class, she can diss you from day to night. There's no way you have more free time to waste than her.
1002: Lemon-jiejie is A University's top student, okay? She has every right to waste her free time however she pleases. Besides, it's not like she's completely wasting her time. She's accumulating skills to top us all in the tournament.
1003: I'm here to get us back on topic. Now that Boss Crab's name has been cleared, he could gradually become a net star.
1004: I think he's gotten too much of a bad rep. If he gets internet famous, I'm going to be looking forward to seeing him crash and burn.
2005 (Battle-Ready Boss Crab): Me? Internet famous? You really think I want to rely on fighting to get rich? You think I'm desperate for the teensy bit of popularity that fighting can bring me?
2006: Previous commenter, are you the real deal? The real Boss Crab is here to speak up?
2007: He's definitely desperate. Look at him, coming here to defend himself. He's hyping himself up, and we all saw the way he pitted those two fan bases against each other before. Now he's acting all righteous and upstanding, and he's talking like a hotshot. If he's really all that special, let's have him show us why he doesn't care about internet fame.
At this point, Little Lemon finished walking back to her dorm room at A University and squeezed into the thread to control the flow of the conversation. She scared off the vast majority of netizens who'd come with the OP to stir up trouble.
8888 (Little Lemon): I, Little Lemon, hereby declare that Coward Crab is my friend from now on. If you want to talk shit about him, you'll have to go through me. People like us will never admit defeat.
Jiang Ying stared.
Little Lemon's logic was strong to the point of being almost illogical: As long as you protect my idol, we're friends.
"It's time for your midday nap again," Gossip Buddy suddenly chirped. "You can choose to listen to a song or you can tell me to shut up."
"Shut up," Jiang Ying decided. "Nobody wants to listen to you sing."
"Okay," Gossip Buddy said. Then, it added, "Would you like to listen to some interesting news?"
"Sure, that's fine."
"In the 'Fight!' app, user Boss Crab has finally been exonerated after being fiercely mobbed by two fan bases. Netizens theorize this user doesn't have enough love in his offline life…"
Jiang Ying blinked. "Which netizens are saying that? Do they really think Boss Crab won't fight back?"
From that day on, Jiang Ying really would pick his fights more carefully. He was determined not to let Boss Crab crash and burn again.
Gossip Buddy wasn't super up-to-date on interesting stories from the industry. Most of the stories it rattled off were ones Jiang Ying already knew something about. As Gossip Buddy continued to chatter, Jiang ying drifted off to sleep.
The program Qi Jun had invested in was still filming. Since 'An Auspicious Snow' didn't have anything on the schedule for the next evening, Jiang Ying gave up on his free time and headed out again to continue filming for Qi Jun.
The stage for the show was still being set up when he arrived, so Jiang Ying spent some time chatting with Qi Jun backstage.
"How's it going?" Qi Jun asked. "Have you finished boiling Class Monitor yet?"
"Besides the program, I came for another reason today," Jiang Ying said. He took a few thick notebooks out from his backpack. "Let's check out some highlights?"
Qi Jun blinked. "I didn't know you had a habit of keeping a diary. And these notebooks are all so thick?"
"To be precise, these are ledgers," Jiang Ying said. He flipped through the newest book. "And it's because I've diligently kept these ledgers updated that we can analyze the highlights of my life."
Qi Jun fell silent for a while.
He suddenly understood why Jiang Ying's language scores on the national high school entrance exams were so good.
What was so interesting about a bunch of 'ledgers'? That was what Qi Jun thought before flipping through Jiang Ying's diaries. But after he flipped through, he started thinking these records were actually quite interesting.
"You guys are really something," Qi Jun said. "He reserved a whole restaurant, and he even got roses?"
"Mm." Jiang Ying circled that part. "And?"
"Why the hell would you buy a supercar?" Qi Jun continued. "Do you think Qi Zhu would be impressed by a red supercar? He's probably just driving that for you, because he knows you like that kind of flashy thing… and where did you get this 'beauty pageant' idea? What kind of weird leap in logic is that? Are you thinking like a troll?"
"Oh." Jiang Ying circled that part in his notebook too. "Just keep reading. Don't attack my trollish spirit, I'm insanely proud of that."
"Fine, you be proud of whatever you want." Qi Jun continued reading. "Oh… he gave you a little penguin plushie. I haven't even given my pretty little meimei anything soft and fuzzy yet."
After flipping through the most recent diary, Qi Jun picked up an older notebook. As soon as he opened it, he grinned. "Jiang #2?"
"Your taste in notebooks is pretty maidenly." Qi Jun waved the one in his hand. "Little white clouds?"
"Shut up, shut up. Focus on the highlights."
"This is your… one-sided high school heartbreak?" Qi Jun couldn't bear to read any more. "Looks like your heart and your mouth really had different ideas. You fought with Class Monitor every day, you always made trouble for him, and you waxed poetic about the trauma of losing him in your little diary?"
Jiang Ying was baffled by that analysis.
He quickly packed up all his notebooks and shoved them back into his backpack, refusing to let Qi Jun read another word.
After filming the program, it was nearly midnight. Jiang Ying had worked on the drama that morning and this show in the evening; by the time he finished, he was so sleepy he could barely keep his eyes open.
"I obviously could have just slacked off," Jiang Ying bemoaned, moved almost to tears by his own efforts. "Why did I work so hard?"
"Need a lift?" Qi Jun asked, watching Jiang Ying drift listlessly through the studio.
"My assistant is coming to pick me up. You just go back with your agency's little jiejie," Jiang Ying said, waving him off and indicating there was no need to bother sending him back. "It's not a long trip back for me, anyway."
Qi Jun was also sleepy. He wanted to open a window and let in the night breeze to wake himself up a bit. As soon as he pushed a window open, he saw a dazzling flash of red outside.
Qi Jun rubbed his eyes in disbelief.
The limited-edition supercar that Jiang Ying had written about in his diary had suddenly appeared not far from him. It was parked outside, and many people just getting off work stopped to take a look as they passed.
"Little Qi-zong, what are you looking at?" Jiang Ying furrowed his brows. "If you stick your head out a little more, you'll fall out the window."
"N… nothing." Qi Jun wanted to say something, but resisted. It seemed the 'situation' between these two was way more intense than he knew. "I'm heading out first."
It was none of his business, Qi Jun decided. If netizens wanted to say there was a secret marriage going on here… well, their guesses weren't completely unfounded.
Jiang Ying headed downstairs with his backpack, only to find that his assistant was nowhere to be seen. He was just about to make a call when he received a message from his big ship of all people.
[Class Monitor]: [poke poke]
[Extremely Enlightened Big-Clawed Crab]: [poke poke]
[Extremely Enlightened Big-Clawed Crab]: WTF, Class Monitor. My assistant has disappeared. Is my assistant okay?
[Class Monitor]: He asked me for a day off. Said something urgent came up at home.
[Extremely Enlightened Big-Clawed Crab]: Oh, okay. That's fine. I'll call a cab.
[Class Monitor]: Come outside.
[Class Monitor]: I'm here to pick you up.
[Extremely Enlightened Big-Clawed Crab]: Terrified.jpg
Jiang Ying ventured out into the night and spotted that familiar red car in the dark.
It was already late, but tabloid reporters would inevitably still be lurking around. Jiang Ying put on his face mask and tugged his cap down low before heading out.
"Class Monitor, you can just drive any old car when you pick me up," Jiang Ying said. He waved at the bodyguard who'd followed him out, then climbed into the car.
"Your ge said you like this kind?" Qi Zhu said.
Jiang Ying said nothing. In the future, he would have to remember not to look down on Qi Jun anymore. That Little Qi-zong was really on the money about some things.
Jiang Xun had told Jiang Ying to make friends with this 'everyone else' who had a supercar.
Well, that wasn't impossible.
"Little Ying, are you sleepy?" Qi Zhu asked.
"Not right now. You scared me wide awake." Jiang Ying settled comfortably in the passenger seat and closed his eyes. "You could have just sent your assistant to get me. You didn't have to come yourself, it's too much of a hassle."
"You're not a hassle."
Jiang Ying had just started to feel sleepy again when that drowsiness was suddenly scattered to the winds once more. A single thought flashed through his mind—
He was thinking… that he wanted to be… 'everyone else's'… boyfriend.
He had to make a plan. A schedule. These big life events couldn't be rushed or handled casually. He had to find the perfect time and place.
It was extremely dark out. Only a few lights were lit in the office buildings that lined the roads. In the car, Qi Zhu played a soft, melodic tune.
Jiang Ying's diaries, his self-proclaimed ledgers, had always been ordered neatly. But after letting Qi Jun look through them, they'd been thrown all out of order. Since they had a bit of a trip back to the set, Jiang Ying relaxed in the passenger seat and took that time to start reorganizing his notebooks.
The 'ledgers' encompassed most of Jiang Ying's life, from his elementary school days to now. He'd accumulated a lot of notebooks.
"You go back first, I'm going to park," Qi Zhu said, stopping right in front of the hotel that had been reserved for the cast and crew of their drama. "Get some rest."
"'kay." Jiang Ying stepped out of the car.
Then he ran into Miao Ye in the elevator.
"Your bag looks pretty heavy," Miao Ye said, giving Jiang Ying's bulging backpack a long look.
"It's my life," Jiang Ying said profoundly.
Miao Ye's head was instantly filled with confusion.
After Qi Zhu parked in the underground garage, the light in the car came on. And on the passenger seat, there was a single notebook.
Jiang Ying had always been like this. He would always lose his textbooks at school, and he would always lose his homework after school.
When Qi Zhu picked it up, the notebook just so happened to fall open.
Jiang Ying, who'd now returned to his room, called his assistant.
"Are you okay?" Jiang Ying asked. "Qi Zhu told me something came up for you, and you took some time off. I'm staying on set, so I can take care of myself for a few days."
"It's nothing serious, already taken care of. I'll be back tomorrow," his assistant said. "By the way, you and Qi Zhu will be going to that reality show this weekend. The one you accepted earlier. Don't forget."
"I remember." Jiang Ying had already looked at the proposal for that show several times. "Heading out to that island this weekend. Won't forget."
"One more thing," his assistant said. "Since the whole thing will be streamed live, guests will be forbidden from using their cell phones and other communication devices during the few days of filming. Which means, didi, you'll be cut off. From the internet."
Jiang Ying froze.
But their streak?
Their big ship?