Chapter 23: Water Army
Rolls of fatty beef, tripe, luncheon meat… there was essentially no need for vegetable dishes when two men ate hotpot. Chu Qin symbolically bought a box of sliced tofu, which could be counted as a vegetable dish. After gathering the ingredients, he still needed to buy staples. This supermarket’s handmade mung bean noodles were very tasty. Chu Qin pushed the cart to the noodle section.
The master who sold mung bean noodles happened to be using a large knife to cut the noodles. The knife resembled the lever-style guillotines used in the past, slicing the noodles that had been pressed thinly into strands with banging sounds.
“With your way of cutting noodles, going on stage to perform should be possible,” Chu Qin asked for two dollars’ worth of noodles from the master and couldn’t resist chatting with the other party.
“For years where business is bad, even selling noodles requires a back-up,” The noodle-cutting master that had the supermarket’s apron tied around him and a chef’s hat on his head said proudly. His skill in cutting noodles counted as a technical skill in the supermarket, hence his salary was 20% higher than his colleagues.
Chu Qin smiled before suddenly freezing. Back-up…
He didn’t care about the news on Weibo because this sort of photo had zero chance of making any waves, netizens were not that stupid. As a host who relied on television media to survive, these sorts of remarks on Weibo could be dismissed with a laugh. However, if someone was out to harm him, that person would certainly not be so idiotic as to only use such a method of blowing. Perhaps this was just the beginning, there would surely be a follow-up!
At home, Zhong Yibin was looking through his work emails. Regarding the issue about Chu Qin, both the network operations and public relations department had sent him an email. Since he was still on leave, the email had been sent to both him and Deputy Director Li. Deputy Director Li hadn’t replied, he likely felt that this matter was not of much importance.
[Follow this matter closely and find out who informed the paparazzi last night.] Zhong Yibin had a cold look on his face as he replied to everyone. He forwarded it to the media relations department as well, requesting for them to reply before leaving work that night.
“I’m back!” Chu Qin came in with the ingredients, shouting cheerfully. He was very fond of this feeling of having someone at home waiting for him. In the past, they could only be in this space for not longer than two days in a week. Most of the time, Zhong Yibin would accompany him for dinner before heading back to the Zhong family.
Zhong Yibin placed the mobile phone in his hand down and ran to the hall in his bare feet to receive Chu Qin.
“Aiya, put on your slippers!” Chu Qin smoothly threw him a pair of slippers. “How many times have I told you this.”
“This wooden flooring isn’t even cold,” Zhong Yibin grumbled but still obediently put on the slippers, taking the ingredients and drinks from Chu Qin.
Chu Qin took out the electromagnetic stove and pot, as well as the hotpot soup base and a few bottles of beer. Zhong Yibin moved all the things to the dining room, arranging the ingredients nicely before sitting down on the chair with a pair of shining eyes to await the meal.
The sound of popping bubbles accompanied the simmering broth that had red dates and scallions floating on top. The melding of the heat and cold air from the air-conditioner formed a dense white mist, imbuing one with an inexplicable sense of happiness.
Taking advantage of the period when the food was still cooking, Zhong Yibin brought up the issue online, “I’ve received emails already, what is your agent on your side planning to do?”
Chu Qin threw the beef roll into the pot and added a few pieces of tofu, “Resolving the commercial account matter is easy, hiring a water army will do. I’m just afraid of any actions that may come after…”
If it was just a commercial account sensationalizing the matter, attention would be given to it for two days and that would be it. However, Chu Qin had a faint feeling that something was not right, it would be better to settle it earlier.
“After dinner I’ll call the brothers doing network marketing,” Chu Qin rubbed Zhong Yibin’s head, indicating that he needn’t worry. He had encountered this sort of problem many times and knew how to resolve it. Saying this, the beef floated up, ready to be eaten.
The dipping sauce was personally mixed by Chu Qin. As the host of a semi-food show, he was fairly capable at cooking. The thin beef rolls only needed to be cooked for a short while before it could be eaten. Scooping it out and swirling it into the thick dipping sauce, a few drops of spicy oil trickled down the sides of the meat slices. Eating it in one bite, the meat was hot and fragrant. The rich dipping sauce soothed the empty stomach.
Chu Qin didn’t add spicy oil, using sesame sauce instead.
“Don’t you like spice?” Zhong Yibin looked curiously at the dipping sauce in his bowl.
“I can’t eat it today…” Chu Qin said vaguely, bending his head to take a bite of a piping hot piece of luncheon meat.
Zhong Yibin cocked his head and realized that Chu Qin’s ears were somewhat red. The arrival of good fortune made for clear eyes. He dragged his stool closer to Chu Qin, using a hand to stroke Chu Qin’s lower back, “Is it because your buttocks hurt?”
“Cough cough cough…” Chu Qin choked.
Zhong Yibin quickly patted his back. Chu Qin coughed till he teared up. Turning his head to stare at Zhong Yibin, his moisture-tinted eyes lacked the slightest degree of deterrence. On the contrary, he was met with Zhong Yibin’s grin.
This guy, he was still excited! Chu Qin looked towards the sky helplessly. Thinking about it, this guy was like this too the first time they did it, even spiritedly searching for all sorts of information. Must be clean, eat less spicy, apply skincare products…
It was just that work pressure the past two years had been heavy, Zhong Yibin already rarely got excited over these sorts of small details.
“Ah yes, I just searched through a lot of information and realized that you need to apply skincare products. I didn’t apply it last night while bathing you, let’s apply it after eating?” Zhong Yibin smiled from ear to ear as he gave Chu Qin a piece of shrimp, urging him to eat faster.
Chu Qin shook his head helplessly and violently bit into the shrimp.
The two people who had not ate breakfast possessed battle energy that would shock others. They polished off three boxes of beef meat, a box of lamb meat, a box of tripe, a box of luncheon meat, two boxes of shrimp, a box of tofu and the two dollars’ worth of handmade mung bean noodles.
After they finished eating, Chu Qin lay on the lounge chair with his stomach down while Zhong Yibin went to clean up the dishes.
Chu Qin took advantage of this moment and made a call.
“Yo Qin-ge, why did you think of me?” A crafty voice could be heard from the other end.
“Of course I only looked for you because something happened, I wouldn’t think of you at all if not for it,” Chu Qin also switched to a crafty tone.
“Che, I know what this is about. The Weibo of that ‘thief’ right?” The person on the other end was called Zhang Chi. He was Shengshi’s art designer for stage diagrams. His skill at making diagrams was relatively high. However, Shengshi had many people who could make diagrams and his skills weren’t the best, so he didn’t make much money. In the capital where land prices were terribly high, he couldn’t afford a house or marry. By coincidence, he was found by Chu Qin, who liked to worry, and whom recommended him to be an online marketer.
He opened a Weibo account called “Shocking large PP”, mainly to post hilarious photoshopped pictures and jigsaw puzzles. Since he could be considered as half-involved in the entertainment industry, if he could occasionally borrow celebrities’ soft promotion power and pretend that the people within the industry had discovered a ‘shocking secret’, the profits would be considerable. He was grateful to Chu Qin for giving him such a suggestion, so he had always gotten along very well with Chu Qin.
“En, actually ignoring him would be fine but I’m scared the mastermind has a follow-up move. It’s still better to resolve it early and rest at ease early,” Chu Qin conveyed his thoughts to Zhang Chi. The other party thumped his chest and guaranteed that it was no problem, smoothly writing out the proposed bill and showing it to Chu Qin.
Chu Qin agreed with a nod and sent him the money on the spot. The other side also didn’t reject it. When brothers settled accounts, there would need to be give-and-take for the friendship to last.
The topic of “Chu Qin nightclub boss” had already been pushed to a hot topic by the water army. During the afternoon on that day, “Shocking large PP” who had millions of fans also posted on Weibo with this topic.
@Shocking large PP: #Chu Qin nightclub boss# Someone actually released such a shockingly large secret, I can’t fall behind, these big names were also with nightclub bosses!
The diagram had a full nine pictures, all of which were of male celebrities having physical contact with other men. A photo of a popular young hunk being embraced by an investor off-stage, a photo of the film emperor hugging his company’s chairman, a photo of a male actor holding hands with a male director. The most extreme one was the eighth photo – an intimate photo of the leaders of two countries admiring scenery at night. The last photo had a mocking expression pasted on it, accompanied by a speech-bubble “f*cking stupid”.
He could rest easy now that these things had been passed to Zhang Chi, but Chu Qin continued to worry incessantly and gave his agent a call, telling him to hire a water army and push the Weibo post that Zhang Chi had posted. Putting his phone down, Chu Qin counted his own arrangements, he seemed to have overlooked something. A beautiful and glistening apple appeared in front of his eyes.
Previously, the injury to his ribs prevented him from doing chores. After breaking five plates and three bowls in his house, Zhong Yibin learnt to wash the dishes. He was used to cleaning up so after eating he would throw the bowls, chopsticks and leftover food into the pot, even bringing the electromagnetic stove into the kitchen.
After cleaning, he would also wash an apple for Chu Qin.
Chu Qin cradled the apple and took a bite, turning his head to look at Zhong Yibin, who was skillfully wiping his claw with the hand towel. His heart ached a little, a young master who could lead a pampered life had to learn so much just to take care of him. Chu Qin had already recovered long ago. In the future, it was better not to let Zhong Yibin do the housework.
“Baby, let’s go to the bed and apply ointment?” Zhong Yibin finished wiping his hands and squatted beside Chu Qin. His hands clasped the armrests of the recliner, revealing half his head. He gazed at Chu Qin with a pair of sparkling eyes.
“…” Chu Qin silently swallowed his heartache.
The author has something to say:
Small theater: <Since everyone’s nutrient fluid is useless, give it to me>
Small bird: I heard that the nutrient fluid will be cleared on 1st April
Qin Qin: What’s nutrient fluid?
Er Bing: It’s the liquid I poured into that strawberry-flavored thing last night
Qin Qin: Aiya, how can you want this sort of thing so casually?
Small bird: Hey hey! Not that! QAQ
 师傅: this term is used more as a sign of respect rather than a literal term. I translated it literally as master because there isn’t really an English equivalent that would capture the same meaning.
Translator’s corner: Damn, Er Bing is one thirsty guy