“This goddamn internet speed! The upload started at 11:57pm and only finished at midnight. Is there a goddamn conspiracy against me or what?!” Ling Miao looked at the router and its flashing green light. Ordinarily, the light was gentle, but now it was blinding to Ling Miao’s eyes.
Ji Linxi shook his head. As if to liven up the atmosphere, he joked, “If you wrote a thesis, it should be ‘On the Importance of Saving Drafts to Doing One’s Best.’”
“A pity. That wouldn’t earn a penny in our profession.” Ling Miao flopped a hand over the side of his bed. Ji Linxi narrowed his eyes at Ling Miao’s hand—Ling Miao was flipping him the bird.
The moment Ling Miao finished speaking, Ji Linxi heard a ‘thunk.’ Looking over, he saw that Ling Miao had slammed his laptop shut.
“I give up. Bedtime!”
At the sound of Ling Miao lying down on the upper bunk, Ji Linxi closed his eyes and continued to sleep. Ling Miao, on the hand, was not someone who could fall asleep at will.
For a long time Ling Miao did not move. Ji Linxi even thought that Ling Miao had been provoked so much today that his personality had changed, and he was so happy at the thought that his mood relaxed and he prepared to fall into a deep sleep. But then came a laugh so loud it seemed to pierce through the air.
“Ha ha!” Ling Miao raised his face toward the ceiling and laughed, he even punched the bed twice in agitation.
Ji Linxi jumped up from his bed, flustered, and blearily asked, “Ah, an earthquake?”
Ling Miao laughed and replied, “Nope, nope!”
Ling Miao’s laughter contained uncontrollable joy. His laughter pelted down on Ji Linxi’s head like a biscuit. Ji Linxi yawned and asked, “Then what’re you so excited about?”
“I was just reading Shu Yang’s new chapter from yesterday…”
“Get—to—the—point—” Ji Linxi drew out every word, exhaustion in his voice.
“Shu Yang is hiring a personal assistant!” Ling Miao proudly delivered this news as if he had already gotten the position as Shu Yang’s personal assistant.
The ‘Shu Yang’ in question was Ling Miao’s favorite web author. (In other words: Ling Miao was Shu Yang’s die-hard obsessed fan.)
Shu Yang’s writing had been being published for five years. He did not have many books, but his first book had already cemented his status as a successful author. In other words, Shu Yang had shot to stardom with his very first book.
As for whether Shu Yang had at any point been a no-name writer before he was a successful author, or how many times his books had gone unnoticed—these things were all secrets hidden beneath his halo.
Shu Yang was a very low-key personality. There was basically no information about him, aside from details related to his novels and related matters, online. Photos and such were even rarer.
Four years ago, Ling Miao had joined a premium readers group of Shu Yang’s novels. According to the group’s leader, Shu Yang was also in the group, but had never spoken or participated in any events related to his works. It was as if Shu Yang refused to interact with his readers anywhere besides on his microblog, WeChat’s public forums, and the comments sections of his books.
People had wanted to doxx Shu Yang before, but all of his information was too vague. Shu Yang’s fans also opposed all attempts to invade his privacy, and Shu Yang himself issued a warning against it. So, the motivation for ‘doxxing Shu Yang’ had gradually vanished.
Three years ago, the online publisher of Shu Yang’s novels had invited Shu Yang to participate in an authors’ gala. Many people had hoped to catch a glimpse of Shu Yang at the gala, but regrettably, Shu Yang had not attended.
As a result, Shu Yang became one of the most mysterious figures among successful web novelists. There was a lot of speculation surrounding Shu Yang’s unwillingness to reveal his face, and the one Ling Miao thought was the most plausible was: Shu Yang himself believed that he looked ugly. However, so as not to disappoint his fans, he chose to leave them to their fantasies.
Ji Linxi had already guessed Ling Miao’s intentions from his words. Ji Linxi asked, “You’re going to apply?”
“Why not?” Ling Miao’s tone held great confidence and Ji Linxi could not resist dumping cold water on his enthusiasm. “Shu Yang has so many fans. Are you sure about your chances? I think you’ll have a problem even getting an interview.”
“Hey, do you really have to jinx your bro like that?” Ling Miao said flippantly.
Ji Linxi rolled over and warned: “I’m going to sleep. If you disturb me again, there will be consequences.”
Ling Miao closed his mouth and did not respond. He was opening his laptop.
Only after turning in the application to Mu Yu’s inbox did Ling Miao fall asleep.
Mu Yu was Shu Yang’s editor, and also Ling Miao’s editor.
For the next few days, Ling Miao did not set foot outside his door. Aside from eating and writing, he kept refreshing his inbox. Every time, he would hit F5 with anticipation then tab out into his word document with disappointment.
Ling Miao looked at his word document and thought: I answered every question on the application completely sincerely. If I don’t make it, that’s fine. But there isn’t even a reply? Even when I send a manuscript that gets shot down I’ll get an email telling me it’s been rejected!
At night, when Ji Linxi returned to their rented apartment, Ling Miao was slumped over on his desk and was sighing as he continuously refreshed his microblog.
Ji Linxi said expressionlessly, “Told you that you might not make the first cut…”
“Ha ha!” Ji Linxi was cut off by Ling Miao’s shout. Ling Miao pointed at his computer screen and said excitedly, “Linxi, I got a reply from Mu Yu. He’s letting me into the interview group!”
Ji Linxi was speechless. He inhaled sharply then slapped Ling Miao’s head. “Go write your words.”
“I’m in a very good mood today and I don’t want to write.” Ling Miao hummed as he joined the group Mu Yu had sent him an invitation for and clicked into Shu Yang’s novel.