"Huh?" Jiang Ying had just been in the middle of detailing his philosophy to Miao Ye. He didn't catch Qi Zhu's meaning right away. "I'm trending? Did someone take a screenshot of my stunning profile while we were filming the reality show?"
Miao Ye was silent.
"Are they blowing rainbow farts about my gorgeous descent after paragliding?" Jiang Ying guessed again.
Miao Ye blinked.
"See for yourself," Qi Zhu said, calmly leaning against a nearby tree and waiting for Jiang Ying to check the trending topics. "Your name is soaring on the trending list."
Miao Ye couldn't fully suppress a snicker. Qi-laoshi's way of speaking was as ruthless as ever.
Jiang Ying stared down at Qi Zhu's phone, baffled.
While he'd been teaching Miao Ye the ways of the troll, his own name had indeed started flying high on the trending topics list. And there was one other name flying with it. A very familiar few words—
Everyone on the internet was confused. Jiang Ying himself was very, very confused.
At just that time, Assistant Chen rushed over.
"What did you post this morning?" Assistant Chen asked while panting heavily. He shoved Jiang Ying's cell phone, which had become the catalyst in a major debacle, into his hands. "How did you get up here?"
Right up there, at the top of Weibo's live trending topics list—
Jiang Ying blinked rapidly.
What the hell happened? Just that morning, he'd donned an air of mystique and bragged to Qi Zhu that he still had lots of secrets. He'd even challenged Qi Zhu to dig up all those secrets, if he was able.
How had every last secret been dug up so quickly?!
Jiang Ying tapped on the trending tag about Boss Crab's true identity. Finally, he got a general idea of what had happened.
Qi Jun was really too kind. He'd sent his own assistant to that island to deliver Jiang Ying's boxed up 'Fight!' mascot.
However, at that time, Jiang Ying had already left with Qi Zhu. But the livestream had still been in progress.
The cameras captured the whole thing.
Some lovely netizen took a screenshot and asked around on Weibo about what the 'thing' was. Many eyes fell upon that screenshot, and undercover 'Fight!' players were hidden all over the internet. It wasn't long before someone recognized the mascot.
That ugly little stick figure model was, as it turned out, a badge of honor that proved one's status as one of the highest ranking players in the 'Fight!' app.
That night, a new wave of netizens had surged into the livestream room—
[This is pretty impressive, who does it belong to? Hahahaha, is there a troll mixed in with these esteemed guests? Let's get a look at who it is, hmmm? Doge.jpg]
[Who else could it be? Doge.jpg Who was it who came down here, hollering across space and time about his delivery? He even called it his badge of honor. @JiangYingKANI We've all seen your badge of honor now.]
[Doge.jpg To quote Jiang #2 himself, 'Your imaginations are way too wild, way too vivid. You have no evidence, so stop talking nonsense.' Hahahahaha, I wonder if he knows he's been exposed?]
[I would so love to have a friend like Little Qi-zong. Doge.jpg]
[They're probably all sleeping by now, right? The world at night is truly wonderful.]
"What exactly have you been doing behind my back?" Assistant Chen demanded, dropping his head into his hands. "Just tell me. The one that dissed your acting skills… was it you or not?"
Jiang Ying looked at Qi Zhu. Then he looked at his assistant. Then he looked at Miao Ye, who had just been moved by Jiang Ying's impassioned speech. After running through some tumultuous thoughts, Jiang Ying finally opened his mouth and admitted:
"…it was me."
Assistant Chen felt like he could faint on the spot.
Miao Ye, once again, couldn't fully stifle a laugh. "Pfft."
Qi Zhu, still leaning against a tree, studied Jiang Ying, and Jiang Ying was pretty sure—no, he was absolutely certain that if bullet comments appeared in the air now, the ones drifting out from Qi Zhu would say:
You were asking for it.
What an interesting turn of events.
"Ai, it's just a package that was delivered to a shop. There were so many guests there. Who can prove it was my package? It could have been for someone else," Jiang Ying argued, suddenly feeling like he should fight for his anonymity a little harder. As long as his skin was thick enough, he could continue to deny everything.
"Didi, you might want to… look at your own Weibo?" Assistant Chen suggested. He couldn't bear to listen to Jiang Ying's attempts at deception any longer. "Take a look, then decide if you want to fight this."
"My Weibo?" Jiang Ying didn't understand. "After the reality show yesterday, I only shared the post from the official…"
His seven-win 'Fight!' streak from last night… his rank as a member of the Top 10 in the ongoing tournament…
He'd habitually shared those statistics to his Weibo after playing last night.
Just which Weibo account had he posted to?!
On his cell phone's notifications list, the message he'd received from 'Fight!' was still there—
There was a problem sharing your battle statistics. We have detected that you are attempting to share your statistics to a Weibo account not linked to your in-game account. Are you sure you would like to share to this Weibo account?
Jiang Ying stared.
And on his Weibo—
@JiangYingKANI: A man's rank doesn't indicate true strength. Only true strength indicates true strength. [battle records]
In the screenshot of his battle records, the 'Fight!' app's interface showed his current tournament ranking, battle results, and in-game username.
Elated Boss Crab
Nobody cared whether or not Jiang Ying had thick skin anymore. Nobody cared whether or not he would deny this. Nobody cared whether he would make a statement.
None of it mattered.
By that point, it was already set in stone. Jiang Ying was Boss Crab! Boss Crab was Jiang Ying! There was no doubt about it!
Every Major Media Tabloid: ????
@GuapiMedia-LittleQiZong: That… this… after spending all morning on Weibo, I've come to the conclusion that… I feel like this probably, kinda, sorta, most likely… isn't my fault, right? LittleDinoEatsPopcorn.jpg
@XuanHuitongLisa: DoraemonSurprise.jpg Such a high rank?
@T.ATW-ChiYunkai: @T.ATW-GuWei, @T.ATW-FuZhi, @T.ATW-LuoChenxuan, @T.ATW-ShiXinyan Wake up. Popcorn time. Remember when I was on that show that had me try the 'Fight!' app, and I was given a question about whether or not Jiang Ying's acting sucked, and matched up against this Boss Crab guy? Remember? Seriously, all of you, wake up right now. All this time, I've been thinking that guy was way too harsh. I've been thinking poorly of him for months. Doge.jpg
@T.ATW-ChiYunkai: I was too kind, too pure. I never in a million years would have thought that some people… who are capable of being fierce towards others… would also be capable of rationally, logically, and calmly dissing themselves. CryingIntoHands.jpg
@FightWeiboOfficial: DoraemonSurprise.jpg Life is full of wonderful surprises.
"Is it too late for me to delete it now?" Jiang Ying lifted his head. "I… think I just asked a stupid question? Even my mom has seen it."
"As long as you know it was a stupid question," Qi Zhu said solemnly.
A certain someone's spotlight was glowing too brightly. Miao Ye stood off to the side, laughing. Qi Zhu was just hanging around to watch the commotion. Assistant Chen was already on the phone, snitching to Jiang Ying's manager.
It was a weekday morning. Working members of society were at work, and students were at school. Lots of people had yet to find out about this matter, but Jiang Ying was already the center of attention in a great many discussions.
As one could easily imagine, he quickly became the sweet little treat that everyone snacked on during their small talk chat breaks.
@Annual Most Bewildering Behavior Awards: #AmITheSortOfPersonWhoWouldDissHimself# We've been eating up the drama from the feud between these two for months. Never in a million years could I have imagined they were the same person. CoversFace.jpg
[reality show screenshot]
Netizen 1: @JiangYingKANI #AmITheSortOfPersonWhoWouldDissHimself# You are. Salute.jpg How did you even manage to say that to all these netizens with a straight face? Hahahahaha, if you don't want people to know, don't do it? This is going to keep me laughing all day.
Netizen 2: This is seriously too baffling. Definitely a candidate for this year's Most Bewildering Behavior award. Who do you think feels the most troubled right now? Jiang Ying? Or Jiang Ying's fans and Qi Zhu's fans? This desire for victory… hahahaha, it's just too funny.
Netizen 3: Being a fan of an idol who'll diss himself never gets old. He brings me new joys every day. Although I feel a little complicated about this, as a shadow… I just want to say a few things about Little Ying first. He's so real and honest. Whenever there's something that needs to be said, he just says it right away. I love him for that sort of radical honesty.
"Is there anything else about you that I don't know?" Qi Zhu asked. He'd already learned how to enjoy a good scandal all by himself. He was still leaning against a tree, dressed in his costume, and his gaze never left his cell phone screen. He easily threw Jiang Ying's challenge from earlier that morning back in his face.
"Nope. Everything has been unexpectedly exposed." Jiang Ying was still in a daze. He'd yet to fully process all that had happened. "As you can see, I have no more secrets."
"Didn't you say, a while ago, that you were only a tiny bit interested in this app?" Qi Zhu asked.
Jiang Ying was silent.
That had been a little fib. He actually had a ton of tiny bits of interest in that app.
In the ensuing hours, netizens dug up and read through every single word this Boss Crab had ever written.
Netizen 4: Did you guys see the old fight where Boss Crab had to defend and compliment Qi Zhu? Boss Crab seemed to have a really deep understanding of Qi Zhu, which means Jiang Ying has a really deep understanding of Qi Zhu… hehehe, need I say more? This is true love. Back then, people were already saying there was no way Boss Crab would have been able to say all that if it weren't true love.
Netizen 5: Oh no, oh no. I died laughing. If these two are the same person, it's the first time I've ever seen an idol dissing his own acting skills so directly, hahahahaha. Jiang Ying is way too self-aware. @JiangYingKANI Don't you want to come out and make a statement? You tossed us all this evidence. Tell us how you feel?
Netizen 6: Every other idol is thinking about how to work hard and get more fans. He's the only one who's concerned with some fighting app. Dissing himself just to get into the Top 10… why do I suddenly find him a bit cuter?
The users of 'Fight!' all took to Weibo, posting their own reactions with all sorts of baffled and bewildered reaction memes. Some of them even took and posted screenshots from the in-game forum.
@I Really Don't Like Fighting: #AmITheSortOfPersonWhoWouldDissHimself# [screenshot] People who don't play 'Fight!' might not know about this, but after the ranking tournament ends, there's going to be a meet-and-greet with the top players. A while ago, Boss Crab was talking himself up on the forums, and everyone laughed at him.
The screenshot featured a certain forum discussion: Let's guess the IRL jobs of the Top 10 fighters.
Boss Crab (40 days ago): If you want to see me, you'll have to snatch your tickets off scalpers first.
Now that the true identity of Boss Crab had been exposed, the thread was becoming active again. It had been excavated with a shovel and flung back to the top of the forums—
11034: …when we mocked him for saying that, did any of us imagine this day would arrive? We were the ignorant ones. We were the ones who didn't know anything about this world.
11035: What you should be asking is… when he told us to buy tickets to see him, did he imagine this day would arrive?
11036: I'm here from Weibo, just downloaded the app. Can someone please tell me how to play this game? It looks super interesting.
11037: He wasn't just talking a big game when he told us we would have to fight scalpers for tickets to see him. He was seriously a bona fide idol…
11038: Although I don't follow celebrities, I'm shocked too. A celebrity like this really exists? Why do I always see people attacking him online?
11039: Don't worry about that. He has thick skin, and his heart is strong. He can even diss himself. Those anti-fans are like ants to him. Their attacks can't hurt him at all.
11040: 'Fight!' should send Jiang Ying some money, fast. I see a lot of new people signing up right now.
At nearly ten in the morning, a wave of college students emerged from their first classes of the day. More and more people flooded onto Weibo. In a sea of rowdy netizens and 'Fight!' users, Little Lemon came online.
@A Lemon Tree Growing Deep In A Great Mountain: Hello, sisters~ I just got out of class. My professor kept calling on us at random today. What's everyone talking about? Why do I feel like a lot of people have been mentioning me? Looks like there's a big commotion. Let me take a look at what's trending first. I think I spotted my idol's name just now.
@A Lemon Tree Growing Deep In A Great Mountain: Little Ying is really so great. He's working so hard. He just finished filming his reality show, and he's already here posting to social media again.
"Can we cut off her internet?" Jiang Ying asked, frantically turning to Assistant Chen and Qi Zhu.
"You can. In your dreams," Qi Zhu answered solemnly. "That would certainly make your request a little more feasible."
The amount of information in those trending tags was probably too much, too bizarre, and too shocking. Little Lemon was silent for a full half hour before she returned to her Weibo to put up another post.
@A Lemon Tree Growing Deep In A Great Mountain: I… am I dreaming? Did I get up too early and ruin my day?
Little Lemon Fan 1: Jiejie, pinch your face. Does it hurt? If your face hurts, you're not dreaming. DoraemonSurprise.jpg
Little Lemon Fan 2: We finally managed to see you get out of class, hahahahaha. I've been waiting all morning for Little Lemon's reaction.
@A Great Mountain Growing Deep In A Lemon Tree: Okay. Alright. Okay. I changed my name. Too many people have been mentioning me. I can't read it all. Thank you everyone for worrying about this Great Mountain. To answer all your questions, yes. My face hurts. BeatenBloodyAndCrying.jpg