For an entire day, those few topics stayed hot on Weibo. Just about every modern netizen now knew that there was a certain controversial idol who'd donned a secret identity and dissed themselves on some fighting app.
While Jiang Ying filmed his scenes that afternoon, he constantly felt like there were countless pairs of eyes on him. His every move was taken in by those gawking gazes, which seemed to say—
Quick, come look! That's him. He's the one who dissed himself. Fierce!
He's so young, and he's pretty attractive. He comes from a good family, and he sounds like a pretty rational, logical person. How could he start dissing himself? And so fiercely, at that?!
Jiang-ge is amazing. He's so intense, so flexible. He can be fierce towards other people and he can be fierce towards himself. I feel like he's definitely going to get popular soon.
He's too self-aware, too enlightened. How should I put it… I've lived over forty years, and not even I could do something like this.
He and Qi Zhu have a pretty good relationship, don't they? I feel like Qi Zhu doesn't have it easy either…
Jiang Ying had hoarded so many scandals from the entertainment industry. He never thought there would be a day when he became the scandal at the center of the industry.
During one of Jiang Ying's breaks, his manager finally recovered from a sluggish, dazed state and gave him a call.
"Should we suppress the trending tag?" his manager asked cautiously.
"You're asking me?" Jiang Ying froze on the spot. "Aren't you guys the professionals?"
"Sorry. My mistake." His manager hesitated for a moment before slowly continuing, "Our PR team says they've never encountered something like this before. Speaking poorly of yourself is rarely seen, but it isn't a big deal in and of itself. The main problem is that you brought the hammer down on yourself in such a public way. Every netizen knows about this now. We really don't know where to start clearing your name, so we thought we would ask for your opinion."
Qi Zhu, who was still avidly scrolling through Weibo next to him, suddenly coughed twice. Jiang Ying turned to him with a sharp, accusatory look on his face.
"I wasn't laughing," Qi Zhu said without lifting his head. "I'm brushing up on a more serious matter on Weibo."
"Okay, weirdo?" Jiang Ying returned his attention to his call. "Is there any point to getting the tag taken down now?"
"Sorry," his manager repeated, still speaking slowly and cautiously. "It's basically pointless. Everyone knows by now."
Ever since Jiang Ying helped Miao Ye scare off a certain celebrity who was trying to steal the spotlight, the two of them had established a solid foundation of friendship. That afternoon, Miao Ye passed by Jiang Ying several times, boldly peering over to get a few more laughs at his Jiang-ge's expense.
Miao Ye swung by just in time to hear Jiang Ying talking to his manager:
"My mom has already started asking me if there's an idiot on our set who disses himself more fiercely than anyone in the world could ever diss him. So what's the point of taking down the tag now? Forget it, and tell the PR team not to bother with clearing my name."
Jiang Ying had given up.
"It's pointless, right? Why should we waste all that PR money just to put on another act when everyone already knows the truth? Let it go and think of it as saving money."
"This isn't actually a bad thing," said his manager. Naturally, a manager who could take charge of an aggressive, fighty troll wasn't going to be any average person. This sort of thing had happened too many times already. After the initial shock had passed, Jiang Ying's manager wasn't all that stressed about it. "Every time you appear in a new drama, tabloids rush to publish articles about how bad your acting is.
"This time, the actor himself has said it all. You beat them to the punch. You took the words out of their mouth. That's something we can celebrate."
"Jiang-ge." Miao Ye radiated admiration from the bottom of his heart. "Everyone is right. You really are living an enlightened life."
That same afternoon, a certain renowned and respected veteran of the industry heard about this story through his friends on WeChat. After getting a sense of the full story, he took to Weibo to express his views on the matter—
@A Certain Veteran Celebrity: Although everyone thinks this is quite funny, us older people see this as a rather good thing. We're older, and we might see things from a different perspective than you young people. I often worry today's youth are too brazen. This incident gives me hope for the younger generation. We need more kids like this in the industry. We need actors who are more down-to-earth. This young man is clear-headed and logical. He doesn't mire himself in delusions of grandeur. He hasn't lost himself in his ego. He's perfectly aware of his own shortcomings, and he'll definitely have boundless room for growth in the future. His potential is limitless.
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"It's enough for other people to treat me as a joke. What are you getting in on the commotion for?" Jiang Ying demanded, flinging down his cell phone. His left hand, which had been holding a bottle of iced water this whole time, was freezing cold. When he saw Qi Zhu taking obvious pleasure in his misfortune, he instantly came up with a mischievous idea. He slapped his cold hand to Qi Zhu's neck and continued, "Who just claimed he was reading about a more serious matter on Weibo?"
"If other people can eat up your scandals, shouldn't I be allowed to eat up even more?" Qi Zhu reached out and pressed down on Jiang Ying's chilled hand.
The warmth of Qi Zhu's palm gradually seeped into Jiang Ying's skin, dispelling the huff he'd worked himself into. Jiang Ying sighed and said, "There's no more. I only have those few hobbies, and now everyone knows everything.
"I don't have big dreams, and I don't have lots of passions. Sometimes I collect some dirt on people in the industry, sometimes I evaluate people's battle potential, and sometimes I go on 'Fight!' to have a lively debate. And now I have you too. Besides all that, there's nothing else I like.
"I'd love to give you some more juicy scandals to devour." Jiang Ying pulled his hand back after it had been warmed. "But I don't have anything left. Not even a bite."
"There'll be something else," Qi Zhu reassured. He sounded completely certain of that fact. "Just look. You said you weren't all that interested in the 'Fight!' app, and now a nice surprise has come from that."
"There's nothing else," Jiang Ying insisted. "This gege should be content with what he has. One or two nice surprises is enough. Where do you think you're going to keep getting more of them from?"
Qi Zhu didn't argue with him, and Jiang Ying didn't really know what he was thinking. He didn't know if Qi Zhu had been convinced, or if he still had some other ideas on his mind.
"Your grandpa is really something else," Jiang Ying continued. The subject returned to the Weibo post of glowing praise from an industry veteran. The more Jiang Ying looked at it, the better he felt. "Our generation's artists can't hold a candle to the dignity of the older generation. This rainbow fart can keep me going for half a year or more."
"Grandpa was just asking me a while ago," Qi Zhu said, "when the chubby little kid from the Jiang family would visit him again?"
That question had instantly made Qi Zhu think back to their childhood years.
"You tell Grandpa," Jiang Ying instantly retorted, "that I was only fat when I was little. I'm super hot now. My hotness levels have been on the rise ever since kindergarten."
@JiangYingKANI liked and shared A Certain Veteran Celebrity's post: FightOn.jpg
From early that morning to late that afternoon, netizens waited eagerly for Jiang Ying's response. During that time, one of Jiang Ying's professional anti-fans formally announced their resignation.
Big Name Anti-fan: This account is going inactive. I'm done. I quit. He's too good at attacking himself. I can't beat him. Truth be told, I don't need this gig. I use the 'Fight!' app too, and the Top 10… their skill… ask any fighter, and they'll tell you what the Top 10 are like.
After waiting all afternoon, the gossip-loving netizens finally saw Jiang Ying come online.
Gossip Hound 1: The big boss is here, let's pour some tea for the big boss! Little ol' me was blind to the truth before. I failed to see his greatness. I'm Boss Crab's diehard fan, and I used to look down on my meimei for chasing an idol like Jiang Ying. But now I see the truth. My mei and I were standing on the same team all along.
Gossip Hound 2: Ah, his desire to win really is intense. I have to admire that.
Gossip Hound 3: Are the tickets expensive? I want to buy a ticket to see you. I'll fight off the scalpers if I have to.
The tabloid accounts that had been stunned into a daze by Jiang Ying's big reveal suddenly remembered their jobs and hastily put out a post of their own, trying to leech some views and likes from this big topic.
@A Certain Tabloid: #JiangYingBafflingBehavior# Has everyone seen what's trending? We all knew Jiang Ying was controversial because he loved to feud, but we never thought he would have a 'Fight!' account. And he's one of their top-ranked fighters, too. His power is shocking! He even once dissed himself… why do we suddenly feel like this troll of a celebrity is kind of cute?
Comment 1: Well, duh. His haters can't beat him. They have no choice but to love him instead.
Comment 2: Is this app any fun? I want to download it and try it out.
Comment 3: See, this is why those celebs who like using others to get more popular don't try that shit with Jiang Ying. He doesn't go out of his way to start trouble, but he can fight for real, and he knows how to hold a grudge. His fans are the same way. They usually don't mess with other fan bases. They mind their own business, vote for their own idol. Their idol is the one setting that example for them, after all.
Comment 4: I think this is a good thing. You can't expect an idol to be perfect in every way, and I feel like he's just being real with us. He says what needs to be said, and he doesn't care what other people think of him.
In the dressing room after work, Jiang Ying lay on the couch while waiting for Qi Zhu to get out of costume and makeup. "You know what? I felt like a new animal at the zoo today. I was surrounded, all day."
Qi Zhu was in the middle of having his makeup removed. He didn't say anything, but Jiang Ying hadn't planned on waiting for him to respond anyway.
"I once fought with people on my university forums over whether the noodle shop outside the south gate was better than the noodle shop outside the north gate. Even that's been dug up by netizens and plastered all over Weibo."
Qi Zhu remained silent.
"The attention should start to go away soon, right?" Jiang Ying hugged his water bottle and made a wish. "Please forget about me quickly. I still want to be able to use this account."
@JiangYingKANI: PrayerHands.jpg @Good Luck Koi: Share this post and you'll definitely encounter good luck within the next three months.
[lucky koi photo] x9
That night, none of the trending tags disappeared. But a new one did appear.
Due to that day's trending topics and the sudden reveal of Jiang Ying's secret identity, countless curious internet babies had opened up their app stores, waggled their little fingers, and downloaded the 'Fight!' app in hopes of catching sight of this 'Elated Boss Crab'.
The app received too much traffic and died.
@A Great Mountain Growing Deep In A Lemon Tree: #FightCrash# Okay, I took an afternoon nap. My face still hurts. But I'm back to give everyone a word of warning. If you just downloaded the 'Fight!' app, go to the forums and lurk for a while first. Then go ahead and try a match. Keep in mind that the fighters here don't rely on cursing each other's mothers and fathers to win. We duel with logic and typing speed. This isn't a place for filthy, mindless obscenities. Once more, just a word of warning—new players, be cautious.
@A Great Mountain Growing Deep In A Lemon Tree: GroundhogScream.jpg I just had two cans of walnut milk to wake myself up. Now, like all netizens, I'm scrolling through my chat logs with Coward Crab. I'm… surprised and happy and angry and delighted and… and I'm about to explode, HELP!