What were the directors thinking? This wasn’t a swapping lives show but a punishment show now!
Even Song Yucheng couldn’t help the astonishment on his face. This was now completely different from the story of the old Song Yucheng’s memories. In his memories, the old Song Yucheng and Chu Rong’s group had not managed to make any money and failed their first task in the small county town. Because of that, they were immediately thrown in with their host families after they arrived in the village. The script that the new Song Yucheng held in his hand now also wrote about this continuing scenario.
It was completely unexpected for things to have progressed in this way. This development was totally different from the old Song Yucheng’s memories. This was good too, though — it was too boring to keep to the pre-set order of things. Song Yucheng thought about it, and quickly went back to being calm.
What he did not know was that the directors had also been surprised by the turn of events. This was because there had never been a single participant in all the past seasons of the programme who had managed to succeed at earning money in this place. Even elites of the inner circles were unable to use their advantages when put in a small county town where they were not familiar with the people and the lay of the land.
One could say that Song Yucheng’s existence in the programme was like that of a glitch. Also, the directors had it written long ago, at the beginning of the first season of Swapping Lives, that this would be the next stage of development if anyone completed the first task. This was why quite a few of the viewers were looking very much forward to this development now, throwing the directors into a dilemma.
This sudden development in the programme was enough to make the directors so busy that they could twist themselves into pretzels. The development on Weibo that night also made a bad situation worse for them.
No one expected, on the night the directors gave their latest task, that the gossip Weibo bloggers who had been bad-mouthing Song Yucheng all along would release a clip which would justify Song Yucheng’s actions. They had even pitched in to purchase a “most searched” spot in the rankings so that the video would have enough exposure.
# A Tsundere’s Way of Opening Up — You would never be able to envision it if you didn’t see it with your own eyes. There is actually such a kind and considerate young man to be found in this world still #
The video was not very long, just three sections, but the edits were done very cleverly. It showed every bit of Song Yucheng’s consideration, and the care that he had shown Chu Rong and the others was brilliantly displayed.
And the focus of the video was on Song Yucheng weaving the flower baskets and straw hats. Not one frame was left out. These gossip bloggers wanted nothing more than to make this segment of the video one of the pure beauty of handicraft in order to make people see Song Yucheng’s talent all the more clearly. If people were not awed by Song Yucheng’s nimble fingers, the bloggers wanted them to be enraptured by his good looks.
And the last section shocked people speechless. It showed screenshots of the bullet screen comments making personal attacks on Song Yucheng.
Blogger: If you did not see it with your own eyes, you would never know how dark and utterly malicious the hearts of man are. We all owe Song Yucheng an apology.
“Swapping Lives” was very popular, but it was not a variety show on the national level, so a lot of people had not watched it before. The whole of Weibo exploded when this video was uploaded.
Many were turned into instant casual fans after watching the video. The Song Yucheng in the video was truly too likeable. Many wished that they had a brother or a son like this.
What made hearts quiver the most, was the hotness of his tsundere behaviour — how his extreme prickly exterior contrasted with his thoughtful actions. No matter how arrogant he had been, every line he had delivered, and every thing that he had done, was in consideration of Chu Rong and his group. The dear boy had did his best to give the best he had to the others, even if it meant making things tougher for himself.
What thoughtfulness! Even hearts made of stone would melt, much less because he was a boy who could easily sway others. The comments displayed towards the end of the video, words so terrible one would feel they stained the eyes if one looked at them, immediately stirred up feelings of indignation in the hearts of many.
“I thought that the gossip bloggers were most likely buying a ‘most searched’ spot for marketing a debut. I can only say that this Song Yucheng boy really makes my heart hurt for him.”
“It’s like this in the 3D world too. There are always those people who are not good at talking and get mistaken for bad people. I really want to punch those keyboard warriors in the mouth! He is such a good child! Are you guys blind?”
“Saying that they’re blind is too kind. It’s the internet. They feel like they are all powerful and impressive with cable connection, and even insult people behind their backs like this. I wonder what sort of disgusting face is behind this.”
“I’ve never watched Swapping Lives before. I’m going to watch it now, for Song Yucheng.”
In the short span of a few hours, the terms “Song Yucheng”, “Swapping Lives”, and “Cyber violence” were added to the hot search terms list.
And those original fans of “Swapping Lives” were also stunned speechless when the whole incident blew up.
No one expected that the young man whom people called the lowest of the low in the main livestream comments was actually doing so many things quietly in the background. Such a deep truth had actually been hidden a mouse-click away on their screens. If this had not been revealed today, it was likely that this innocent young man would have to bear these terrible labels on him till the end of the programme.
If that was the case… then their sin was just too great.
Right then, the fans watching the main livestream of “Swapping Lives” all started clamouring. The Weibo page of the directors was flooded. As more and more apologies flooded in, questions came in too, asking them why they had never stepped forward to explain things when they had obviously seen that everyone had misunderstood Song Yucheng. There had also been frequent deliberate comments in the main livestream channel to make people think that Song Yucheng was an incorrigible bastard.
Could this be a dirty trick? Were they using such disgusting high-handed methods to make things entertaining? Directors of this sort were unheard of, and never before seen.
The directors, in the meantime, were also in a state of doom and gloom.
Shouts calling for justice for Song Yucheng had come deafening them too quickly, and their public relations liaisons were overwhelmed.
This had been an unexpected disaster. In the beginning, when Xu Muzhi had arranged for Song Yucheng to join the programme, they had thought that Song Yucheng was just a Chu Rong substitute which Xu Muzhi had tired of. Contrary to expectations, Song Yucheng actually had a hidden level of astonishing skill. The script they had written for Song Yucheng was entirely unsuitable.
They had shot themselves in the foot.
With his level of skill in weaving, Song Yucheng would have no need to worry about meals in the smallest of villages, let alone a county town like this. If he were to be placed in a city… He might very well be able to build an empire from scratch. And in the script which had been given to Song Yucheng, the clause which said to “not work with others but work alone” was just simply giving him the opportunity to strike out on his own and make money, and also gave him the chance to help Chu Rong and the others complete their task.
As for their other requirements, Song Yucheng had held up his end of the bargain very well too.
They had required him to “speak unpleasantly”, and Song Yucheng had very earnestly crushed Li Zhao. That infuriating tone of voice made even onlookers want to strangle him.
The requirement for him to “not move with the group” was also fulfilled splendidly. Song Yucheng did not even share the same room as the other young men.
The final requirement, which was for him to “be lazy and at rest in front of the others” had also been acted out perfectly. After all, whenever Chu Rong and the others were in the courtyard, Song Yucheng was always lying in his own room and he didn’t come out.
But the other aspects of it which pertained to Song Yucheng’s own time spent on earning money, buying food, and renting the rooms — the directors did not dare to command him to not do so. This was because Xu Muzhi had laid instructions for Song Yucheng to take care of Chu Rong before they had come to the filming location. If they hindered him on their end and caused Chu Rong suffering as a result, Xu Muzhi would be angered, and no one was willing to bear the consequences of that.
And so, Song Yucheng had followed the script to a tee so far, and had not simply paid lip service to it. He had acted all in accordance with the requirements in the script the directors had written for him, but this in turn had held the directors over the fire, caught between a rock and a hard place.
And the development on this end was quickly communicated to Xu Muzhi. This very busy president of a company personally gave the directors a call.
“I am very curious to know how things turned out this way. Is this the script that you gave? The script that is supposed to help Chu Rong change his public persona?” Xu Muzhi clicked through the feedback on the internet. He had put a smile into his voice but the hairs on the backs of the directors’ necks still prickled with fear.
“President Xu, this…” The director tried to explain, but he didn’t even know where to begin explaining things. Xu Muzhi had had a look at the script back then too, and there were no objections. Now that something had happened, he did not dare talk back to Xu Muzhi though he had called them for a sort of reckoning. However, Xu Muzhi did not probe, and quickly changed the topic.
“I will take care of the PR for that post on the internet. As for the rest of the script, there’s no need to change it. Let Song Yucheng figure it out himself. Ah, but remember to deliver the latest morning paper to them tomorrow.” He looked languidly over at the hottest video of the day, watching as Song Yucheng’s fingers fluttered in weaving. Long, slender fingers, beautiful fingers. The practiced movements too, were a joy to look at, and attractive indeed. To Xu Muzhi, however, those hands spoke scorn and mockery.
He’d been too generous. Xu Muzhi curled his lip in a sneer. This plaything he had raised was resisting him now. It had even learnt how to hide its claws and play mind games. There was that matter involving Secretary Yang, and how he had played along with the script but opposed it in essence. How cute.
However, based on Song Yucheng’s previous track record of obedience, Xu Muzhi felt like he should give him a good, final warning. This little thing must not forget who the real master was.
That night, there was a fire in the area in which Song Yucheng lived in Beijing. Fortunately, the fire brigade arrived in time and there were no casualties. The flower garden next to the old villa house which had caught fire, on the other hand, had been burnt to a crisp.
It was not a terribly big case, and the cause of it was an accident, but it was given a fairly conspicuous cubic spot in the newspapers. This newspaper reporting the fire was then delivered, fresh from the press, to the hands of Song Yucheng via the production crew.
What was this?
Song Yucheng accepted the newspaper, and he understood immediately at first glance. This was a warning from Xu Muzhi. The old villa house with a burnt up garden in the newspapers was Song Yucheng’s home in Beijing.
As for the reason why, it was undoubtedly because Xu Muzhi had felt that he was out of control now, and so he was threatening him. This method of his was despicable.
Song Yucheng narrowed his eyes, and a dangerous glint flashed in his eyes.
He had known that Xu Muzhi would make this move, whether he had followed the script or not. The old Song Yucheng had muddied himself but he had also received this type of warning from Xu Muzhi after he had got to the village. His heart had felt like it had been doused in cold water.
Xu Muzhi knew the past of the old Song Yucheng like the back of his hand, and he knew what that old villa meant to him. It was the last thing the old Song Yucheng’s parents had left for him, and was his last bastion of warmth in this world. The old Song Yucheng had also started being loyal to Xu Muzhi and seen him as a benefactor because Xu Muzhi had spoken up on his behalf and helped him to get this house back.
The old Song Yucheng held this house more dearly than his own life, and Xu Muzhi had attacked it cruelly. He had done it to be certain that Song Yucheng would do his absolute best to prop Chu Rong up high, and not have any other thoughts in his head but that.
Xu Muzhi was not treating him like a human being at all. His heart hurt so badly he could not breathe.
Perhaps the pain and sorrow of the old Song Yucheng’s memories had been just too deep, for the rims of the new Song Yucheng’s eyes reddened instantly. It was just for a second, and he clamped down on the negative emotions. He decided then that he would be sure to teach Xu Muzhi a good lesson later.
Take care of his Chu Rong? Prop his Chu Rong up to the Heavens? No problem.
But whether or not this Chu Rong would still be his at the end of all this was not for Xu Muzhi to decide.
Song Yucheng had always followed the principle of fairness. Xu Muzhi dared to harm what was dear to him, so he was going to hurt him back.
At that thought, Song Yucheng suddenly found that the task given to them today, to get enough money for rent, was simply a heaven-sent opportunity to further his goals.
He had an inkling of what he was going to do, and it included a strategy concerning Chu Rong as well as how he would get money for rent.
And Chu Rong, who had taken to observing Song Yucheng habitually from the other side of the room, was surprised to see the various changes in expression on his face. When Song Yucheng moved out of the room, Chu Rong came out silently, picked up the newspaper which Song Yucheng had thrown to the floor, and glanced at it. After seeing the article on the fire, and the creases left by the tight grip Song Yucheng had on the newspaper, Chu Rong felt that what he envisioned was not entirely the same as what things were really like.
But, no matter what he felt about it, he still had to eat breakfast, and after breakfast, they had to start thinking of ways to get money. Right now, if they counted Song Yucheng’s cash too, they had just 190 yuan left.
In other words, if they failed to earn 310 yuan, they would be homeless the next day. They had thought about it the whole night but had not come up with any good ideas.
How about making delicious food, like commonly depicted in novels? Impossible. With their skill, they wouldn’t dare to eat anything they made themselves. Peddling trinkets? No hope for that either. They were able to sell the straw hats before because they had zero base cost, and they had been close to the marketplace. They were now in the village, and would need three to four hours to get to the small county town. They thought it over and over, but were unable to come up with anything.
Plus, the people of this village seemed to have a lifestyle that was pretty much a self-sufficient paradise. Even if Chu Rong and his group really did hurry to the county town to buy things to sell and come back, there was no guarantee that they would find suitable buyers and be successful at selling their goods.
They were stuck.
“Did you think of anything?” Li Zhao had been holding that question back for a long time, but he finally caved and asked Song Yucheng.
Song Yucheng took no notice of him. He left the house with a sombre look on his face. What stood out to them the most, was that Song Yucheng had taken out his money from the money jar containing everyone’s cash, and gone straight out the door after doing that.
Misgivings sprang in the hearts of many watching the main livestream. Just what in the world was Song Yucheng planning to do?