@A Lemon Tree Growing Deep In A Great Mountain: I'm good, hahaha. Revived. I'm thriving again.
Little Lemon Fan 3: The deceased great mountain seems very stable right now. Doge.jpg
Little Lemon Fan 4: Shouldn't you be renouncing your status as a fan after the total collapse of your idol's public persona? What's up with this reaction?
Little Lemon Fan 5: Everyone knows Jiang Ying's people regret nothing more than trying to erect a persona for him in the first place. Just ask around. Who even remembers the refreshing, studious youth he was supposed to be? He was a grumpy old grouch right from the start.
Little Lemon Fan 6: Makes sense. Jiang Ying's persona collapsed a long time ago, so he can run around and wreak havoc with impunity.
Little Lemon Fan 7: Great Mountain, what are you so happy about? If I remember correctly, you're supposed to be a shipper, right?
Jiang Ying didn't get any sort of response from Little Lemon, but he did see her prance on over to Weibo.
[Anxious Crab]: ???
[Anxious Crab]: Great Mountain, what is the world coming to? You're so cold. Public morality is on the decline. Your idol is right in front of you, and yet you're dancing over on Weibo?
[Little Lemon]: Don't be so modest. You're different from any other idol.
@A Lemon Tree Growing Deep In A Great Mountain: We all chase idols, but it seems I'm not like you guys at all. I'll be totally honest here. I've dissed my idol, I've protected him, I've taken it upon myself to clear his name, and I've even shipped my ship right in front of him. I'm… satisfied. Serenity.jpg
All of Little Lemon's fans gasped in unison.
[Yeah, we're all idol chasers here, but Little Lemon, isn't your life just too exciting?]
[I want to learn to fight too. I want to get closer to my idol.]
[Why do I keep getting the feeling that her ship is real? This is seriously way too exciting.]
[Question: When would a shipper say they're satisfied?]
Little Lemon kept celebrating by herself on Weibo. The 'Fight!' app was seeing heavy traffic that night, and it would still lag and crash every so often. Jiang Ying gave up on finding a fight and quit out of the app.
Two days later, the debacle of Jiang Ying accidentally exposing his feuding account finally stopped trending. But that certainly didn't mean netizens stopped discussing the matter.
"CoconutTV wants to interview you. Have a look at your schedule, see if you have time tomorrow?" Jiang Ying's manager called him at around noon. "And don't try to act like you're still half asleep. Someone saw you on 'Fight!' earlier today."
"I do have time, but I don't want to use this to get attention," Jiang Ying said. He still wanted to keep a low profile and protect his beloved fighting account. "Please just continue treating me as a normal person. Everyone has a hobby, okay?"
"Yes, everyone has a hobby, but ordinary people don't make it into the Top 10 for fighting while enjoying their hobby." After having worked with Jiang Ying for a very long time, his manager knew to talk swiftly and allow no room for interruption. "They're the ones who want to get attention by using you, anyway. It'll just take up a little of your lunch break. They'll contact you when they're ready to go live."
"They really know how to mooch. Fine, I'll finish filming tomorrow anyway," Jiang Ying answered, rubbing at his eyes.
Over the past few days, the reality show he and Qi Zhu had participated in had also become a hot topic among netizens. Qi Zhu really did have a good eye for variety shows. This one was on track to become wildly popular too.
Since Boss Crab's identity had just been exposed, countless passersby were keen to get a look at what this person was like in the entertainment industry. As a reality show, that broadcast became everyone's top pick for getting a sense of the real Boss Crab—
[He's pretty hot. I'm a fan now, I'm a fan.]
[Hahahahaha, he really does deserve to be called an idol. When he doesn't talk, he's absolutely attractive enough to live up to that title. And when he opens his mouth… the troll comes out.]
[I can't believe Qi Zhu is there too! Didn't everyone say they were on bad terms? Why do I feel like their relationship is pretty solid?]
[Previous commenter, do you even get wifi in whatever backwater village you crawled out of? We've known for ages that those two actually have a great relationship. They even followed each other on Weibo. Their shippers have been thriving for a long time already.]
[Yeah, exactly. Keep watching. There's a scene at the beach that's super, super sweet.]
In the few days that had passed since the Boss Crab reveal, Jiang Ying managed to get his muddled thoughts into order. When he thought of Qi Zhu, a new question popped up in his mind.
"Class Monitor." Jiang Ying wandered over with his script in hand. "Back when Boss Crab was thrown into the spotlight—after fighting to defend you, I mean—why did you follow him?"
Qi Zhu was just in the middle of reviewing the last part of his script. When he heard that question, he answered, "Is there a problem with following a high-quality fan?"
If Qi Zhu put it like that, then there was no problem in the logic of it.
"There's something I haven't asked you yet," Qi Zhu continued. He set aside his script for a moment. "Since you knew it was me from the start, why did you soft block me?"
Jiang Ying fell silent.
Oh. Right. He did do that, didn't he?
"We fought for so many years. You following my alt, that's… not great, right?"
"You put on a pretty good act," Qi Zhu said. He rolled the papers in his hand into a small tube and gave Jiang Ying's head a light whack. "Keep up the good work."
Filming on 'An Auspicious Snow' was finally reaching its end. This drama was quite unique. The protagonist faced countless challenges and dangers, ultimately achieving the 'justice' that existed in his heart. But at the end of the day, it could be said that none of the characters had a perfectly happy ending.
The main antagonist Xuan Moling, played by Jiang Ying, was ultimately slain by Luo Nanke's sword. While Jiang Ying and Qi Zhu filmed that scene, some of the little jiejie on set couldn't hold back their tears.
In the very last scene, Qi Zhu's Luo Nanke left a cheering crowd—alone. He slipped away all by himself and returned to the little village where everything began.
The director let out a heartfelt, deeply moved sigh. "This is going to be big."
"Big or not, I feel like I'm about to be cursed into an early grave." The screenwriter wiped at his tears. "Besides the protagonist, every other character croaked. As soon as this drama airs, my Weibo is definitely going to fill up with angry fans. I won't even be able to look at it anymore."
The assistant director patted the screenwriter on the shoulder. "What are you so afraid of? The original author wrote it like this. We just took an extra step towards manifesting the characters' conflicts. This is called respecting the author and maintaining our professional integrity."
"Ai, it's not going to be a problem, really." Jiang Ying, who had just been cosplaying a corpse in Qi Zhu's arms, suddenly sat up to console the screenwriter. "Uncle, don't worry. I'll take the brunt of the hate. My acting is crap, so I'll be drawing all the viewers' hate to me. They won't have any time to attack you."
"Oh, speaking of which, a tabloid put up a poll just a few days ago," said a little assistant jiejie. "Out of all the dramas airing in the second half of this year, 'An Auspicious Snow' is far and away the one people are looking forward to the most."
"Book fans are voting?" Jiang Ying asked.
"Based on our preliminary survey, it looks like fans of the novel and fans of the actors are all voting. There are also tons of votes from the ginormous fanbase of the special guests, T.ATW. Besides these demographics, there are also loads of votes from passersby who are genuinely curious to see whether or not Jiang Ying's acting is actually bad. They're all eagerly awaiting the show's broadcast."
Jiang Ying was silent.
What a bunch of morally deficient nerds.
But, for better or worse, the drama was complete. He and Qi Zhu could probably take a short vacation.
"Get ready to go live," Jiang Ying's assistant said, passing over a work cell phone. "As per your agreement."
The presenter from CoconutTV was already in position. After the video call connected, Jiang Ying appeared on screen for their livestreamed interview.
"Jiang Ying, hello," the presenter greeted. "Could we have you please say hello to our viewers first?"
"Sure, thanks for inviting me," Jiang Ying said. "We just finished filming, and I haven't gotten out of costume yet. I look good, right? My assistant is on my right, and Qi Zhu is on my left. If you don't have much to say, I'll hang up now."
As soon as he said that, he was ready to make his getaway.
The bullet comments—
[He's nervous, he's nervous, he's nervous.]
[We can tell! Boss Crab is being forced to accept this interview, hahahahaha.]
[I'm here from the forums. What's our fighting king nervous for? I'll buy tickets to see you!]
Qi Zhu watched on in silence.
Just how opposed to this interview was Jiang Ying?
Assistant Chen shot him a hopeful look, pleading for help. Qi Zhu reached out and held Jiang Ying in place.
Jiang Ying had just started to get up, preparing to flee. He was only halfway to his feet when Qi Zhu dragged him back down. It was such a sudden yank that he yelped and nearly tumbled to the ground.
[Thanks, thanks, thanks. Qi-laoshi is the best.]
[Hold him down. Thank you!]
[Presenter, hurry up. Interrogate away.]
"Ah, okay." The presenter instantly launched into her questions. "Little Ying, with regards to the matter that trended on Weibo a few days ago, I'd like to ask you a few questions on behalf of all curious netizens. First, about Boss Crab… do you have anything you'd like to say?"
After nearly falling in his foiled attempt to escape, Jiang Ying had been steadied by Qi Zhu. There was no way to bail on this interview now. Jiang Ying could only lean against his neighbor Qi Zhu while every single cell in his body expressed his immense dissatisfaction.
"Everyone has their own hobby," Jiang Ying finally said. "Right?"
[Right, right, right. Boss Crab, you're right about everything.]
[Has it started?]
[It's started, it's started.]
"It's not fighting, anyway. That app facilitates an exchange of words between people with similar interests," Jiang Ying continued, starting to justify his actions with some undeniably fallacious reasoning. "I'm just… very good. At exchanging words."
The bullet comments—
[……as expected, I shouldn't have underestimated his thick skin.]
[I'm an idiot. A while ago, I kept saying I wanted to see him and Boss Crab do battle.]
[Qi Zhu is smiling, hahahaha. He's trying not to laugh, but I saw it all.]
[Our Little Ying is practically sprawled out all over Qi Zhu. Every time we see them, they look so natural and comfortable with each other.]
The presenter was trying to hold back her laughter too. "Then, considering the present circumstances, has Little Ying given up on the Boss Crab account?"
"No way," Jiang Ying said. "I'd rather give up on being an idol first."
[I believe it now. This logic, this attitude… this could only come from a veteran of our app.]
[Don't say that, Little Ying! We aren't saying you can't fight. Don't leave us.]
[Hahahahaha, no way, no way. I won't allow it. We'll pay you to stay.]
"I'll mind my own business and play my own games. If anyone wants to spectate, fine. I'm free to choose my own hobbies, and you gossip lovers are free to chase whatever commotion you want." Jiang Ying waved a hand dismissively. "But you can't keep bringing up my exposed secrets, okay? I'm not totally shameless."
"You're not totally shameless?" Qi Zhu interjected coolly.
Jiang Ying turned to him. "You want to intrude?"
"Please, continue," Qi Zhu said, gesturing for him to reclaim the spotlight.
"Us idols don't have it easy," Jiang Ying said with a shift in his tone. "So at least let me have my hobby, alright? Just let me have that little piece of real estate. I won't go wild."
[Sure, sure, sure, it's all yours. Idols are ordinary people too. We won't expose any more of your secrets.]
[We'll listen to anything Boss Crab says.]
[Real talk, a lot of people have some misconceptions about the 'Fight!' app. Some people are using those misconceptions to attack us. It's really more like a platform for debate. Everyone there is pretty civil. We argue with facts and logic, stuff like that. The fighters who come in cursing your mom and dad never last more than a few days.]
[Don't download the app unless you have a strong head on your shoulders. Otherwise your head will be sent flying.]
"You have an apprentice on the app too, right?" the presenter asked, covering her mouth to hide a smile. "We heard you chose your apprentice yourself. Can you talk to us about what sort of person your apprentice is?"
"Pretty good personality. The cold and aloof sort. Pretty smart, too." Jiang Ying wasn't hesitant to brag; he had a good impression of his apprentice. "I've never met him in person, so everyone—be sure you don't bother him."
[…you two have already followed each other, and you're still praising other people in front of Qi-laoshi? Qi-laoshi won't be very happy about that.]
[Qi-laoshi seems to be in a pretty good mood today.]
[His apprentice really is mysterious. He basically doesn't do anything on the app. He pretty much doesn't fight. He only logs in to talk to Boss Crab. Very single-minded, very dedicated.]
"There's one more question that's on everyone's mind. The last one for today," the presenter continued. "What do you genuinely think of your acting abilities? Are they bad or not?"
"Good question." Jiang Ying straightened up. "Since someone is asking outright, I'll give a straightforward answer."
"Mhm? Mhm?" the presenter prompted eagerly.
"My acting sucks, I know that. I'm working hard. I'm not rushing it. I won't bite off more than I can chew like Little Qi-zong." Jiang Ying pointed at himself, then continued, "I won't name names, but here's a message for the people who are being paid to diss me in the tabloids.
"I can diss myself. Viewers can diss me, the director can diss me, and Qi-gege can diss me too.
"But you people? You talk shit about my acting skills without even watching my dramas. If you diss me, I'll diss you right back. Got it?"