Some data on Song Yucheng suddenly arrived in Xu Muzhi’s internet celebrity lover’s inbox. He was someone who knew the industry, and he knew who the sender was right away. Everyone in the entertainment circles knew that Song Yucheng belonged to Xu Muzhi, so who else would be able to gather so much detail, like how many lessons he’d attended, and all this information other than Xu Muzhi?
The internet celebrity lover became more unrestrained with his actions. That’s right! Song Yucheng was just a plaything! How could Xu Muzhi care so much about him?
He revealed two more pieces of information on Song Yucheng as he thought those thoughts. One was a picture of Song Yucheng coming out of his ocean-blue gilded cage, and another was a picture of his villa.
It was not a big thing for rich people to have a little kept lover in this era, but if that photograph was real, it meant that Song Yucheng had been a kept pet since he’d been in junior high. And it looked like he had been very obviously willing.
Things blew up.
Song Yucheng’s fans, and the casual supporters who’d taken notice of him before, could not believe their eyes. The further they tried to verify it, though, the stranger things seemed.
The casual fans who loved gossip also brought out screenshots of Song Yucheng from the time he had appeared on “Swapping Lives” as proof. One of the most unexplainable things in the screenshots was a shot of Song Yucheng moving with a noble grace. That sort of poise could not be imitated. It must have come from years of excellent education, to have set this sort of foundation. And this thing they’d pointed out was a contradiction to the early deaths of Song Yucheng’s parents.
Those crafting skills of Song Yucheng’s too — indigo dyeing, basket weaving, straw weaving, and even some basic interior design. Any one of those skills cost a lot of money to learn, but Song Yucheng was able to earn money for himself using these skills. Where had he learnt them from? And who would burn cash to let him learn all these?
The ferocity of the comments on the internet increased. Xu Muzhi’s internet celebrity lover wanted to blow the matter up further, and thought of a way to pull certain people into it. These people hated Song Yucheng to the core, and wanted nothing more than for him to disappear immediately. These people were the trash relatives of Song Yucheng who had tried to forcibly take his villa from him.
The evidence became more varied with their involvement.
# Shocking news! “Swapping Lives” star Song Yucheng is actually an ungrateful swine! #
When that headline came out, a lot of the people who clicked on it felt that their view of the boy had been turned upside down.
The scummy relatives of Song Yucheng had twisted the facts. Their seizing of his property turned into an offer to manage his assets. They had done this to ruin his reputation. They said that they had brought Song Yucheng into their homes right after his parents’ funeral, and gave him the best they could. However, they had too many children in the house and could not take care of their needs all the time, so Song Yucheng had been angry about it and said he could not put up with it. He had run away on his own and gotten himself a sponsor in rebellion.
They even said that the house Song Yucheng had now had been snatched from them.
Song Yucheng’s public image was completely torn apart when that was “revealed”.
It was like that on the internet. If you relied on a public persona to get popular, you would become a laughingstock once this public persona falls. Those who’d chased after this public image they liked would also think that they had been duped, and be disgusted by you.
This was like the time a celebrity had been exposed and his public persona was well and truly f*ucked. He’d immediately become the butt of everyone’s jokes on the internet.
“The world is wide and full of wonders. Man, I used to like this Song Yucheng too and I thought he was really inspirational. Now that I look at it, I can only say that I’ve been laughably stupid.”
“I’m really disgusted. I had a huge fight with my bestie over this when the news first came out. Oh, my weary heart. I won’t believe things on the internet again.”
“I don’t care. I believe in Songsong. Songsong is awesome! They must be spreading lies. I will stand on Songsong’s side forever unless I see real proof!”
Waves of discussion swept the internet. Insults, doubt, standing up for Song Yucheng, all these came in wave after wave. The youngsters who had participated in the “Swapping Lives” programme could not hold themselves back any longer.
Li Zhao was the first of the youngsters to make a stand. He used his own ID to reply to comments, and went straight into fighting with the netizens.
“What for?” Song Yucheng was at home, listening to Li Zhao nag about unfairness over the phone. He was helpless too. He was the one being insulted on the internet, but Li Zhao was more anxious about it than himself. He could only try to calm him by saying, “I’m not a celebrity and I won’t have to rely on fame to earn a living. There’s no need for me to fight them. It will all be fine once it passes.”
“No way! How can you let yourself be bullied? Brother Yucheng, it’s okay if you don’t want to come home with me and it’s fine if you like someone else, but don’t let yourself be wronged like this. It hurts me to watch…” Li Zhao’s voice got all choked up as he spoke, like he was going to cry again.
“Okay, okay, I’ll listen to you.” Song Yucheng was at a bit of a loss when he saw Li Zhao like this, but he did not object to Li Zhao speaking up for him in the end; he let him make all the fuss he wanted. Song Yucheng actually had a countermeasure for these actions of Xu Muzhi’s lover, but he had not made his move because the time was just not yet right to launch it.
On his end, Li Zhao went all out with Song Yucheng’s permission. He teamed up with the other three too, and they started sparring with netizens insulting Song Yucheng. They even got their lawyers to send out letters, saying that they would take this to court.
Li Zhao finally sent out a Weibo post. “You ignorant people think that a self-possessed person has to be a result of money. Why can’t you allow it to be due to talent? What’s this about money? Let me ask you people then — even if I give you money to learn all those skills, would you be able to get to Brother Yucheng’s level of skill?”
Li Zhao’s popularity on “Swapping Lives” had been pretty good too. He was lively, down-to-earth, and a little goofy, so many people like him. His outright support of Song Yucheng, in turn, did not come across as an abrupt move, but made people feel like his words could be trusted and were not just for show.
Meanwhile, the other three youngsters who had participated in the programme all came forward to vouch for Song Yucheng too, saying that their Brother Yucheng was definitely not like what those people were saying. He was obviously very talented, gentle and an excellent person.
Even with all of this, Song Yucheng’s name could not be washed clean. The main focus of the derision was that Song Yucheng was a kept pet, and whether he was talented or not had no real connection to his character.
The addition of Li Zhao and the other youngsters using their real IDs to get involved in the mess made the situation more messy.
“This was aimed at me.” Song Yucheng smiled as he read the trends on the internet. The expression in his eyes did not change; he was very calm.
Chu Rong was sitting next to him, face dark. He retorted, “Those who follow trends are forever brainless.”
He was mad? Song Yucheng raised his head to look at him. The young man had a heavy expression on his face, and a bit of an imposing, attractive aura. Unfortunately, he was still like a huffy kitty, and he would not claw anyone even if his fur was all puffed up in anger; he was nothing but adorable.
Pouty and growly, and protective of his owner.
Song Yucheng could not help smiling at the image in his head. He moved close to Chu Rong and patted his hair. “Don’t be mad. You have a rare few days of rest. It’s not worth you getting mad over something like this.” He stood as he spoke. “Want some tea?”
“I’ll get it.” Chu Rong hurriedly got to his feet, but Song Yucheng pressed him back down on the sofa.
“Do you know where to get the tea? It’s better that I go.” Song Yucheng was very close to Chu Rong when he said that. Warm breath caressed Chu Rong’s ear, and his ears turned red immediately.
They’ve been together for quite a while, and he still got so embarrassed? Chu Rong’s involuntary shyness squeezed at Song Yucheng’s heart, and he could not help pinching his ear. He smiled as he walked to the kitchen.
On the sofa, Chu Rong slowly came back down to Earth again after some time. Just then, a basket in the corner of the tea table caught Chu Rong’s attention.
He reached out and pulled it to himself. The basket was filled with gadgets men used, but the style of these gadgets had a more mature inclination to them. It was obvious that these were made for older men, and not something a young man like Song Yucheng would use himself.
So was this a purchase order? That was Chu Rong’s first thought, but the book he found next to the gadgets changed his way of thinking.
It was Song Yucheng’s diary. Chu Rong had not known what was written in it before he’d opened it up out of curiosity. He only read one page, but he was overwhelmed by Song Yucheng’s description of deep despair which had been borne of Xu Muzhi’s rejection of his love.
‘Day X, Month X, Year X
It was only today that I understood for certain that I am just a substitute. Even so, I also wish that Uncle Xu can be happy…’
The devastating sorrow made Chu Rong’s heart grow cold immediately. That familiar timestamp was like a sharp knife, plunging itself into his heart and making it bleed. Chu Rong remembered the date well — it was the date Song Yucheng received the script.
It was also the day Song Yucheng had been cast aside by Xu Muzhi to become Chu Rong’s stepping stone.
Chu Rong’s breathing grew short. He quickly flipped a few pages ahead, like he was anxious to find proof of something. What met his eyes was Song Yucheng’s expression of deep feeling for Xu Muzhi.
The little object in the basket next to him was, without a doubt, something which Song Yucheng had made personally for Xu Muzhi.
So did Song Yucheng love Xu Muzhi, even when he had been made to kneel and beg, and to give up his pride and self-esteem?
Chu Rong was rooted to the spot. His fingers started to tremble with the stinging of his heart. Uncontrollable darkness and jealousy tore through him, rearing ugly heads in his heart. He clenched his fists subconsciously as he tried his best to keep a hold on his emotions.
And right at that moment, the sound of footsteps came from behind him. The unexpected sound interrupted his thoughts, and Chu Rong looked back to see Song Yucheng walk out of the kitchen, carrying some black tea.
Song Yucheng saw Chu Rong’s movement right away, and his usual warm smile dimmed; even the look in his eyes took on an edge of danger. It was as if what Chu Rong had stumbled across was not Song Yucheng’s diary, but Pandora’s Box, bringer of disaster.
The atmosphere in the room became tense immediately.