World Hopping: Avenge Our Love
First Published on Chaleuria
Count down to one? The f*ck? Is this Xie Qianchen an idiot?!
The paparazzi reporter burst into laughter after reading the message. He forwarded the message to Luo Tong.
“That piece of trash is acting all big now, huh. Anyone could bully him back then, and he knelt and pleaded for mercy. He’s threatening people now, huh.” The paparazzi reporter was not bothered by the threat at all.
He had been the one who’d exposed that Lu Wenyuan and Cao Kun didn’t have a clean relationship two years ago.
He’d only taken a picture of Cao Kun bringing someone into a hotel suite at first. The person looked like a celebrity from the back, but Cao Kun had played around with way too many small-time celebrities. It wasn’t guaranteed that it would draw interest, even if that little celebrity was known. What he had not expected, however, was that Xie Qianchen had come too, looking like he was in a hurry. The paparazzi had taken a photo, just in case.
These two photographs had no connection to one another at first. Later, Luo Tong messed with Han Feiran, and put the blame on Xie Qianchen by labelling him a pimp. The paparazzi made a fake headline claiming that Lu Wenyuan had been sold to Cao Kun by Xie Qianchen.
By coincidence, the person whom Cao Kun had brought to the hotel that day was Lu Wenyuan. This paparazzi reporter had made it in the industry thanks to that bit of gossip. He’d trampled on Lu Wenyuan’s future to get to where he was now. Even Yuan Yue couldn’t do anything about him.
Now, his sensitivity to the trends in the gossip market, and his ability to create something from nothing, enabled him to be on par with Yuan Yue in the paparazzi circles. Xie Qianchen could not do anything to him in the past. He’d become a high-flier now, and Xie Qianchen’s threatening him? How is this not a joke?
Luo Tong was more cautious. “Xie Qianchen might be able to follow up on that threat. You’d better be careful.”
“Careful? He deserves it. He says I’ll meet with misfortune because of my unscrupulous ways? I’ll wait and see, then!” He hung up right after saying that, and contacted his subordinates. His first order to them was to sensationalise the gossip article about Xu Ziheng’s secret marriage further. They were also told to put a “responsibility of the celebrity” slant to the story.
Xu Ziheng had a huge female fan base, right? Time to say goodbye to them. As for the other interesting ambiguous bits of the article, those were up to the reader to interpret. What did it have to do with him?
The paparazzi reporter relaxed when those thoughts ran through his head.
He actually had a secret pleasure people didn’t know about, and that was seeing these so-called high profile people be stomped underfoot, be ruined by his hand. He reveled in their fear, their panic, and the feeling of holding them in the palm of his hand gave him a thrill.
He had completely forgotten about the warning message Song Yucheng had sent him.
There’s an old saying in China that goes ‘listen to the opinions of others, that you may learn from them’. This paparazzi reporter had not done so, and he was soon in tears because of it.
The paparazzi reporter’s Weibo got hacked very abruptly three hours after Song Yucheng sent the warning to him. This hacking was different from the usual — it was more of a provocation.
It was 11:00pm, and the paparazzi reporter had written that he would see the netizens tomorrow. Right now, he was with a subordinate of his at the workplace, preparing the Weibo post for publishing. He was going to reveal the evidence of Xu Ziheng’s secret marriage, and his daughter to the world.
“The editing is done, boss. Please check and see if it’s right.” The subordinate wrote the last word and raised his voice to call the paparazzi reporter over to check if the draft he’d written was to his boss’s specifications.
Then an odd thing happened. The paparazzi reporter had walked over and hadn’t even checked the work twice yet when he discovered that his company’s Weibo—no, his computer—had been hacked.
The two men watched as the words they had just typed got deleted, one by one. Not one of their fingers was on the keyboard.
“Wh… What’s going on here?” The subordinate was shocked, and he looked up at his boss with terror in his eyes.
The paparazzi reporter was in shock too. He quickly looked down at the keyboard. Neither of them were touching it by accident. Their hands were on the table and the computer mouse wasn’t even touched. How were these words disappearing?
Were they hallucinating?
They exchanged looks. This was very strange. They couldn’t find a reason for it, so this had to be some sort of operational error. They decided to start over. The strange thing which happened earlier had them spooked though, and they wrote with trepidation.
Fortunately, it didn’t happen after they wrote the article again. The computer worked normally.
It must’ve been some sort of glitch earlier. The paparazzi reporter and his subordinate breathed a sigh of relief.
They had a base manuscript after all, so it was easy enough to copy and paste. While they were doing this however, that thing happened again, and whatever they typed in was deleted.
“Is the keyboard broken?” The two of them were panicking. They typed frantically on the keyboard, to no avail. The words on the screen disappeared one by one at a steady pace.
They broke out in cold sweat. The subordinate was weaker of heart, and he went pale immediately. The paparazzi reporter, on the other hand, had seen a lot in life, and he said calmly, “Let’s use another computer!”
“O, Okay.” They hurriedly moved to another spot as they spoke, and opened up another notebook computer. The machine had only just started up when it died all of a sudden.
It was like it was cursed. The welcome screen flickered on and off, on and off. They couldn’t get the system to start up no matter what key they pressed.
“G, Get another one!” The paparazzi reporter was starting to get scared, and he quickly waved for his subordinate to bring him another notebook computer. Whichever computer they used though, the result was the same.
It was 11:30pm. The time for the promised big reveal was drawing closer and closer. The netizens, hungry for gossip and the truth, were slowly gathering to watch the paparazzi reporter’s corporate Weibo page.
“I thought and thought about it the whole day but I still can’t figure out which celebrity’s hiding his marriage.”
“I’m dying to know too! There’s less than half an hour left now. I’m looking forward to it!”
“Are you guys sick in the head? This is the celebrity’s private family thing and you want to poke your noses in it? Don’t you have your own families to bug?”
“So why are you here then? You’re sick in the head too, right? Don’t act all morally superior when you’re just as curious as us. Retard!”
The netizens were expectant, disapproving, insulting, and had a myriad of feelings about the matter, but they were all waiting for one answer — they wanted to know who the identity of the famous supposedly-single actor who’d kept his child and marriage secret!
Xu Ziheng was too anxious to sleep.
“Is it really going to be all right, Ziheng?” His wife had not gone to bed either. She stayed by his side.
“Don’t worry. Xie Qianchen said he would settle it. Let’s believe in him!” Xu Ziheng said that, but his heart was hammering in his chest. His eyes had not left the computer screen, and he kept moving the mouse cursor to the ‘refresh’ button. He was afraid that the next headline on Weibo was going to have his own name in it.
But what Xu Ziheng did not know was that someone was even more anxious than him right then, and scared too. That person was the paparazzi reporter.
Twenty minutes! A whole twenty minutes had passed! All of the computers in their company could not be started up, and the only one that functioned refused to be controlled by them.
They were able to copy and paste in the beginning, but they could not do so now. They could not even press ‘enter’ on the keyboard, much less copy-paste.
“B, Boss! This is a computer virus, right?” This weirdness was frightening the subordinate so badly that he’d peed his pants.
It was 11:50+ pm, late in the night. It was going to be midnight soon. There were so many things beyond their control that it looked more like a supernatural event than a computer virus problem.
The paparazzi reporter had turned pale too. Right at that moment, his phone pinged. He had a message. He looked at the name of the sender and was petrified.
Han Feiran: Do you get a kick out of starting rumours, and putting other people’s loved ones in the public eye to get criticised?
“. . .”
The paparazzi reporter’s phone slipped from his hands and clattered to the floor. He started trembling.
Han Feiran… Han Feiran… Wasn’t it that award-winning actor who’d jumped and killed himself? But… his death wasn’t anything to do with him! He had just stirred the pot, a little.
Besides, the reputation of the talents under Xie Qianchen’s care had been in tatters back then. Well, he did make a fake news headline, but that wasn’t his fault! Lu Wenyuan had gone mad because he could not take the pressure. Han Feiran had jumped to his death, but he had not been the one to instigate it. Why did Han Feiran come to him?
This was not fair!
“Xie Qianchen! It must be Xie Qianchen behind this!” muttered the paparazzi reporter. He recalled the message Song Yucheng had sent him earlier in the day. He picked up his phone to call him, hoping to negotiate with him.
After the call connected, however, there was no one speaking. A clicking sound came over the line, sounding like some old-fashioned recording on a tape.
Music started playing, and what the paparazzi reporter heard made his hair stand on end. The music was the main theme song of the television drama which had made Lu Wenyuan famous.
“Stop f*cking around with me! Get out here and fight me like a man, damn you! Don’t think that I’ll be scared just because you got a hacker to frighten me. You want to protect Xu Ziheng? Ha! I’ll make sure his reputation is ruined!”
“You can’t stop midnight from coming. You can’t stop tomorrow, can’t stop tomorrow, can’t stop midnight the day after next.”
“I’ve walked down a lot of streets at night. I’m not afraid of any ghost!” The paparazzi reporter shouted. He looked like he wanted to fight Song Yucheng. At that moment, however, the subordinate whom he’d forgotten about spoke up, stuttering.
“B, Boss…” The subordinate was so scared that his face was bloodless. The paparazzi reporter had pointed him to a computer to get it for him, and what the subordinate saw made his legs go weak; he collapsed right away.
On that screen was a row of bloody words. It was written messily, and the message was not decipherable at first glance. Under that row of words was an image macro, also full of blood. Images flashed, one by one, on the macro, each image weirder than the next. Staring at it made it look like the images were jumping out of the screen and onto your face.
“Call the police! Make a report! This is a threat. This must be Xie Qianchen’s doing! It’s definitely him!” The paparazzi reporter was scared out of his wits. The subordinate had rolled his eyes back in his head and fainted long ago.
Releasing gossip at midnight? Their souls were being scared out of their bodies right now — who had the time to bother about updating such a thing?
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