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That year, a certain TV station's New Year's gala had a new sponsor—the 'Fight!' app.
The app had been gaining more and more users in recent years, gradually becoming a behemoth of the industry.
The 'Fight!' logo was displayed at the gala, and the hosts would occasionally read out some promotional material for the app to advertise it to their viewers.
"Got some spare time? Come revitalize your soul with a fight. The 'Fight!' app is truly worth using," Jiang Ying recited. After wasting some time on stage, he'd been tasked with reading out a promotional snippet.
But then he went out of his way to add a line of cold, hard truth: "Well, it depends on the person. If your head isn't hard enough, don't come."
A wave of raucous laughter rippled through the crowd of spectators. Various audience members spoke up, deeming themselves hard-headed enough to give the app a shot.
"But the 'Fight!' app really doesn't have it easy," Jiang Ying continued, slightly curving the subject. "Every time something goes wrong, we diss it like crazy. It's an app that's weathered many harsh storms. I hope 'Fight!' will become better and better with time."
"We heard you once had a bit of a disaster on the app?" the host asked with a smile. "Little Ying is a veteran player, right?"
"Yeah, and yeah." The veteran player scrounged up a deadpan expression to protect his own dignity. "When you spend years walking along a muddy river, how can you expect to not get mud in your shoes?"
And that had all been Qi Zhu's fault. Disaster was sure to befall anyone he targeted.
Jiang Ying flapped a hand, dismissing the subject. "Forget it, forget it. Let's not bring that up here. We should be looking forward to the future now."
The spectators wouldn't take that for an answer. They instantly started chanting Qi Zhu's name.
"Shh, stop making a fuss over nothing. Be good and watch the program," Jiang Ying chided. He held the microphone in one hand and made a shushing motion at the crowd with his other hand. With a smile that crinkled the corners of his eyes, he warned, "Otherwise gege will scold you."
Shrieks rose from the crowd and didn't cease until Jiang Ying left the stage.
"Gege, scold me!"
"Hahaha, is Qi Zhu here? Jiang Ying is being mean to us!"
On stage, Jiang Ying had put on a handsome air. But as soon as he got backstage, he dropped all pretenses and flopped onto the first couch he found, without any care for the fact that the couch was already occupied by a certain Qi Zhu.
"How was it? Did I sing well?" Jiang Ying asked.
"You were very consistent," Qi Zhu said. "As always, you went off-key."
Jiang Ying blinked. "…oh."
Well, that wasn't a big problem. Other people have made the same mistake. Jiang Ying had even made fun of those other people in the past.
After the drama 'An Auspicious Snow' aired, viewers had widely praised Jiang Ying's acting skills. His popularity climbed day by day. He was still controversial, sure, but he was genuinely popular now too. He'd just finished performing his character song from the drama, and a clip of it was already circulating on Weibo.
[Ahhhhhhh, he sounds so good!]
[My ships are all here tonight, ahhhhhh!]
[Gege went off-key during the chorus, hahahahaha.]
[Jiang Ying: At least I didn't lip-synch, right?]
[The troll's pride would never allow him to lip-synch. Am I right or am I right?]
@JiangYingKANI: Thank you everyone for complimenting me with your eyes and ears closed. EmbarrassedBlush.jpg @CoconutTV: [gala clip]
@QiZhu: @JiangYingKANI Ahhhhh, sounds so good.
@JiangYingKANI replying to @QiZhu: ? Have you no shame. Don't copy fan comments. Also, that wasn't what you said a minute ago. SlightSmile.jpg
Netizen Comment 1: Hahaha, you guys wait until you get home to fight, alright?
Netizen Comment 2: Exactly. You guys fight at home. Let us shippers ship in peace. Don't get in our way.
Netizen Comment 3: There's a saying that goes, if you fight at the head of the bed, you'll get along at the foot of the bed. Maybe you guys need a bed?
"Whoa, you guys are done!" Qi Jun exclaimed. He came over with the center of a certain girl band, waving at the two on the couch as he approached. "We just finished up too."
Qi Jun had spent the better part of a year pursuing her, and in the end he'd managed to catch up to his beloved little jiejie Yu Mengmeng. It was a cause for celebration.
"Ahem, you guys sort of met during the talent show, but let me make the introductions again," Qi Jun said. "These two are my middle school classmates."
These two 'middle school classmates' had actually both acted as judges on Qi Zhu's talent show a while ago. Their behavior had been extraordinarily… memorable. They'd left an extremely deep impression on Yu Mengmeng.
"We're also your daddies," Jiang Ying interjected lazily.
"Right, right, right. Daddy Jiang, Daddy Qi." Qi Jun nodded humbly. "You two sirs are both my superiors."
"Jiang-laoshi, Qi-laoshi, hello." Yu Mengmeng politely greeted the two judges who had once evaluated her performance.
Without really understanding the dynamic between these three men, Yu Mengmeng took hold of Qi Jun's arm and drifted away with him.
"You guys used to be classmates?" she asked curiously.
"Those two were classmates for a much longer time," Qi Jun said. "I'm just the chubby supporting actor in their story."
Yu Mengmeng giggled.
"I can consider myself a witness to a portion of the development between them, I guess," Qi Jun continued. "I witnessed the wild years of their youth, and I witnessed the two of them coming together to walk the same path. In our futures, even when we all go our separate ways, I have full faith that the two of them will continue getting along well."
"Ah, it's snowing." Jiang Ying shivered as soon as he stepped out of the TV broadcast station, hit by a blast of cold air. He quickly stuffed his hands into Qi Zhu's pockets. "Stupid weather. Why's it snowing in the middle of the night?"
"You can even fight with snowflakes," Qi Zhu mused. He put his own hands into his pockets too, taking hold of a certain someone's ice cold hands. "Come on, let's go home."
Jiang Ying must have been hungry. He followed after Qi Zhu, and his mouth didn't stop rambling—
"Roasted potatoes, grilled corn, grilled fish, roasted chicken wings, toasted bread, whole roasted lamb, grilled eggplant, barbecue skewers…"
"Let's have some toast," Qi Zhu said.
"Mm, 'kay." Jiang Ying faltered in mid-step, slipping on the snow underfoot and crashing into Qi Zhu's arms.
Like a sweet memory from the distant past, he lifted his gaze with a smile and the light of the snowy night dancing in his eyes.