YOUR SCANDALS ARE WAY CUTER THAN YOU

Chapter 52: Don't Panic

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Unacceptable.

Jiang Ying had just gotten some new ideas about their 'friendship' of many years. He hadn't even gotten anywhere with those new ideas yet. How could the two symbols of those years disappear, just like that?

He'd wanted to take his time, but now his troubles were right at hand.

Ever since Jiang Ying made up his mind to get the jump on Qi Zhu, so to speak, he'd felt some of his worries fade away. But he'd never imagined their streak would be put to the test before he could even fully hatch or execute his plan.

Jiang Ying would be going on this reality show with Qi Zhu. He decided to have a serious talk with Class Monitor about it first.

[Supremely Enlightened Big-Clawed Crab]: Are you in your room?

[Class Monitor]: Just got back. What?

[Supremely Enlightened Big-Clawed Crab]: You're pretty slow. Were you captivated by the beautiful sights of the underground parking garage?

[Supremely Enlightened Big-Clawed Crab]: There's a big problem. We need to talk.

It was a big problem that needed to be addressed urgently.

Jiang Ying didn't know what Qi Zhu was doing, but Qi Zhu's response came a little slower than usual.

[Class Monitor]: Speak.

[Supremely Enlightened Big-Clawed Crab]: Reality show. Island. Recording abroad.

[Class Monitor]: I know.

[Supremely Enlightened Big-Clawed Crab]: Then… then… then…

[Supremely Enlightened Big-Clawed Crab]: What do we do about our big ships and our streak? Childish little kids like us care a lot about that sort of thing.

[Class Monitor]: We won't lose our big ships, and we can pay to restore our streak.

What?

They could? Jiang Ying didn't know that.

Their ships and streak had never been at such great peril before, after all.

But—

[Supremely Enlightened Big-Clawed Crab]: Paying won't work.

[Class Monitor]: ?

[Supremely Enlightened Big-Clawed Crab]: Do I care about spending twenty bucks on our streak? No.

[Supremely Enlightened Big-Clawed Crab]: The money is irrelevant. But if we pay to keep our streak, our streak will be tainted. Corrupted.

[Supremely Enlightened Big-Clawed Crab]: Class Monitor, tell me the truth. The feelings attached to our streak that we've maintained through years and years of fighting, without missing a single day… are those feelings so easily bought with money?

Jiang Ying was extremely anxious to receive an answer to that question. He poked Qi Zhu with all sorts of reaction memes laden with question marks. A panda head with a question mark, a rabbit with a question mark… every inquisitive meme in his arsenal came into play.

However, Qi Zhu didn't respond.

[Supremely Enlightened Big-Clawed Crab]: LittleDinoSweats.jpg

[Class Monitor]: Open the door.

Jiang Ying blinked.

This guy… why couldn't he just play by the rules?

"I wanted to talk to you over QQ," Jiang Ying complained as he opened the door to his room. "Who told you to come over?"

"It's not like I wanted to come." Qi Zhu held something out to him. "But a certain someone loses something every time he sees me."

Jiang Ying lowered his gaze from Qi Zhu's face to the object in Qi Zhu's hand.

He froze.

Oh.

Oh, shit.

It was the little diary with the white-cloud pattern that Little Qi-zong had flipped through, the one that had struck Little Qi-zong as a poetic log of adolescent heartbreak.

Jiang Ying could have dropped any of his ledgers. And yet he'd dropped this one.

"This diary looks pretty familiar," Qi Zhu said as he returned the notebook to Jiang Ying.

How could it not look familiar? Qi Zhu was the one who'd given it to him. Besides Jiang Ying's family members, Qi Zhu was pretty much the only one who knew about Jiang Ying's hobby of keeping ledgers of his everyday life.

"We'll think of a way to keep our streak," Qi Zhu said.

Thinking of a way…

That wouldn't be so bad.

"I appreciate you," Jiang Ying said.

And he meant it, too. Not passive-aggressively, but earnestly. Genuinely.

"Here, for you." Qi Zhu also had a garishly decorated bag of marshmallows in his hand. "My assistant bought it. I figured you would probably like it."

"It's alright, I guess. How old do you think I am? I don't go out of my way to eat this sort of thing anymore." Of course, Jiang Ying still took the marshmallows. He nodded at Qi Zhu, closed the door, turned around, and immediately pulled up his WeChat conversation with Little Qi-zong—

[Enlightened Big-Clawed Crab]: [photo]

[Enlightened Big-Clawed Crab]: Class Monitor just gave it to me.

[Enlightened Big-Clawed Crab]: Hehehe.

[Qi Jun]: ……

[Qi Jun]: Impressive. Winning you over doesn't cost a lot, does it.

[Qi Jun]: I'm pursuing my love too. Why are my expenses so high?

[Enlightened Big-Clawed Crab]: Nonsense. Can you put a price tag on this sort of thing?

Little Qi-zong, who'd already dumped a few million yuan into chasing his little jiejie, probably wouldn't understand.

Jiang Ying moved on. He found a contact named 'If You Love Me Please Send Me Money' and opened up their chat log. This was his ex-nemesis, lead dancer of T.ATW—Gu Wei.

[Enlightened Big-Clawed Crab]: [photo]

[Enlightened Big-Clawed Crab]: Hehehe.

[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: CuteBlush.jpg

[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: Where'd you get it?

[Enlightened Big-Clawed Crab]: Childhood romance.

[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: ?

Jiang Ying decided to show off to one more person. He pulled up his WeChat conversation with his ge.

[Enlightened Big-Clawed Crab]: [photo]

[100K Volts]: Already saw it.

[100K Volts]: You're twenty years old. What kind of 'childhood' romance is this. PikachuRage.jpg

After harassing a whole bunch of people on WeChat, Jiang Ying finally remembered his own little white-cloud notebook.

Usually, after filling up one of those notebooks, Jiang Ying just tossed it into a drawer. He didn't flip through them much, and he couldn't remember what sort of 'poetic, adolescent heartbreak' was written in there. What had been so shocking to Little Qi-zong?

Jiang Ying tore open the bag of marshmallows and flipped open the diary.

He blinked.

Ah, the naivety of youth. Jiang Ying was never going to make fun of Jiang Xun's gloomy edgelord phase again.

Jiang Ying must have shut his brain off completely when he wrote these diary entries. He seemed to have scribbled down every thought that popped into his head. When he read those entries now, he sensed a sort of weird, bitter energy from every single word.

Had that really been necessary?

Jiang Ying wanted to drag his past self out here and ask him that question.

This sort of mournful writing would really be detrimental to his image as a fierce fighter. He could only hope Qi Zhu hadn't seen any of it just now.

 

The filming of 'An Auspicious Snow' approached its end, and the marketing team was doing more and more to promote the show on Li Mao Station. In addition to behind-the-scenes highlights, they would sometimes host livestreamed interviews with the cast members.

"It's my turn to read netizen comments today?" Jiang Ying looked at the stack of index cards that a member of the crew was holding. His question was directed at Miao Ye, who was playing the part of the interviewer that day.

"Your turn," Miao Ye confirmed, taking the index cards and handing them to Jiang Ying. "The staff randomly chose these comments. Remember to interact with the netizens live, too."

The order of the comments had been predetermined. While Jiang Ying read each card, the comment would be displayed on screen as well. Netizens in the livestream would be able to talk to him through the bullet comments on Li Mao Station.

The first netizen comment—

[Little Ying, I watched the behind-the-scenes highlights. They're all too good, wahhhhhh, I can't wait for the drama to come out!]

"Thank you," Jiang Ying said after he finished reading out that comment. "I love it when you guys blow rainbow farts about our work."

After a few more cards from netizens offering shameless compliments and rainbow farts, some noticeably more bizarre comments began to appear.

The tenth netizen comment—

[Gege, gege, have you seen the epic battles Boss Crab waged against your anti-fans? What do you think of that net star?]

"Boss Crab, huh? I know of him." Since the question had been placed right in front of him, Jiang Ying wouldn't squander the opportunity to clear up some misunderstandings around his alt. "I don't think there's anything wrong with being a net star. He became internet famous through his own abilities.

"About the time he dissed me, I fully believe that was nothing personal. I can understand his desire to win. I hope everyone will leave him alone and not disrupt him in the future. Let him live a beautiful, peaceful life."

Today's livestream was dedicated to Jiang Ying, so most of the viewers were his fans. Many of those fans had harshly berated Boss Crab in the past, and they all rushed to offer their opinions now—

[Our gege is too nice. Let's all listen to our gege. If we run into a certain net star in the future, let's just each mind our own business.]

[Gege has spoken. We won't bother that crab anymore.]

[Ah, I'm just a passerby, but I feel like it's such a pity that we won't be able to see you two battle it out.]

Jiang Ying could consider this a success. One more step had been taken on the long road to cleaning up Boss Crab's reputation.

He moved on to the next comment.

[Little Ying, we saw the clip of our Qi-gege patting your head and comforting you. How warm is our gege's embrace?]

Jiang Ying blinked.

How was he supposed to read that?

Why did he have to tell these people how warm it was?

Jiang Ying opened his mouth and haphazardly made up a different comment instead: "Little Ying's acting skills are getting better and better. We shadows will always love you. Keep up the good work! QAQ!"

The next comment—

[There's a scene where you push Qi Zhu-gege off a cliff, right? We want to ask Little Ying, how do our gege's abs feel? Good? Very good?]

Jiang Ying blinked.

He would have to actually get his hands on Qi Zhu's abs before he could tell them that.

Jiang Ying closed his eyes and made up another nonsense comment: "Little Ying is great. I can see he's really working hard on set this time. I look forward to seeing his stunning performance."

After reciting that fake comment, he added, "Thank you, everyone. Each and every person on set is working hard. I'll do my best too."

The bullet comments—

[???]

[Hahahahahaha, he has no shame.]

[Nice. He's holding the cards, but all his comments are made up.]

[Jiang-gege, I'm sorry, I can't stay silent anymore. I have to remind you, the comments you're supposed to be reading… we can see them on screen.]

[He doesn't seem to know. Meow Meow probably forgot to tell him.]

[LaughingCrying.jpg He's better at blowing rainbow farts about himself than us fans. Gege, how many times have you secretly voted for yourself in the popularity polls? Ah, it seems I've become a fan of a controversial idol who loves to love himself.]

[I'm losing my mind, hahahahaha, I looked forward to Jiang Ying reading our comments all month. And now it's turned into his improv show.]

[Get him out of here and have someone else read his comments. Anyone will do.]

The marketing team couldn't bear to watch this any longer either. They stifled their laughter and frantically signaled for Miao Ye to put an end to this.

"At the request of our viewers, the last comment will be read by…" Miao Ye reached out to take the cards away from Jiang Ying, in order to read the last comment himself. But someone else beat him to it.

"I'll do it," said Qi Zhu. He had just finished filming a scene and was still in costume when he walked in front of the cameras. "Hand it over."

Jiang Ying hadn't gotten a chance to read the comment on the last card yet. He clutched it tightly, not wanting to give it up, but Qi Zhu forcefully pried his fingers off, one by one, and ripped the card away from him.

The bullet comments—

[Little Ying, don't panic. The last one is from me. It's a lovely rainbow fart, I promise you'll love it.]

[Look at this poor kid, he's so anxious.]

[Don't be fooled by his outer appearance. You guys probably haven't seen him attack a tabloid yet.]

[Not bad, not bad. This isn't a problem. Don't panic, lololololol!]

[Wahhhhhh, Qi Zhu, why didn't you come sooner?]

[Forcefully stealing the card… they really are close. I love them so much.]

Qi Zhu skimmed the final comment on the card, then lifted his head to glance at the bullet comments flying across the nearby monitor. He turned to the camera and pressed a finger to his lips, gesturing for their viewers to shush.

Half the bullet comments suddenly disappeared, and the remaining half all turned into 'ah ah ahhhhhh' comments and long strings of heart emojis.

With fewer comments blocking the screen, the comment Qi Zhu was about to read could clearly be seen on the monitor. Jiang Ying's eyes widened as he heard a familiar voice ring out in his ears—

"Jiang Ying is an extremely promising actor. He may have some little problems, like all of us. Sometimes he slacks off, sometimes he doesn't work hard enough, sometimes he'll get confused. But there are times when he tackles his jobs with a fierce, unwavering sort of dedication. I've seen the soul he puts into his performances."

With his training, Qi Zhu could memorize all the words on that card with just one glance. He didn't look at the card again, and he didn't look at the copy of the comment on the screen. He faced Jiang Ying, who sat on the couch, and flawlessly recited every word of the netizen comment that had been written on the card.

"Little Ying, I believe there will be a day when you play a character that blows everyone away. One day, you'll give an outstanding performance that makes everyone remember you."

Jiang Ying stared up at Qi Zhu, dazed. This was clearly just a normal netizen comment, but when it was read out by Qi Zhu, it gave Jiang Ying a different feeling altogether.

And if he could feel it, the netizens in the bullet comments could obviously feel it too—

[Holy fuck, which one of our sisters said all that? His acting sucks so bad, and you still wrote all that with a straight face? I bow down to you.]

[The comment isn't that outrageous, it's the way Qi Zhu is reading it. It's all Qi Zhu.]

[His voice is so soft, so warm. I'm seriously down on my knees right now. Why do I feel like the Qi Zhu who's speaking to Jiang YIng is a bit… flirty?]

[One of them just made shit up. One of them glanced at a card and memorized the whole thing. Between the two of them, Qi Zhu is really way too impressive.]

[LMAO.jpg @QiZhu If you're going to read a comment, just read the comment. Why does this sound more like a confession? Let me see if I have any pocket money left, I feel like I should give you a tip.]

[Shhh, what kind of nonsense are you saying? Don't just drop a truth bomb like that.]

Neither Qi Zhu nor Jiang Ying paid any attention to the bullet comments on the screen. Miao Ye, who did sneak a peek at the comments, clapped a hand over his own mouth. He didn't even dare breathe too loudly.

"Little Ying, I admit I started following you because of the Weibo-shattering fight you had with that tabloid account," Qi Zhu continued, moving on to the second half of the netizen comment. "Then your daily routines allowed me to see your true nature, your most genuine self. You didn't cover yourself up with a false persona, and you don't rely on netizen comments to paint a rosy picture of you.

"You're just like us. You have feelings, just like us, and you aren't afraid to show those feelings. You're closer to us than any other idol is to their fans."

And then, the final line of the comment—

"Keep up the good work." The corners of Qi Zhu's lips quirked into a smile. He lowered his head and finished, "Little Ying, I like you."

Bullet comments instantly packed the screen.

One minute later, the livestreaming platform crashed.

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Chapter 52: Don't Panic

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