Bonus Ko-fi Chapter 1/6~ Special thanks to Teddy, Noelle, and Anonymous for the Ko-fis!
Late at night, at a barbeque stand next to the street.
A few men were guzzling alcohol, their arms bared, voices rough. Empty alcohol bottles were scattered all over the floor, and the slightest touch made them clang together loudly.
Their entire bodies were red from drinking, and all the other customers stayed far away from them upon seeing that. The only one near them was a teenager.
A few dozen skewers were placed in front of the youth. One leg was hooked over the other disdainfully, a hat placed casually on his thigh; his hair was an attention-grabbing blue. He was currently eating skewers as he talked to someone on the phone.
“I told you before that the platform was going to undergo reforms, but I didn’t think it would be like this.” Shiliu paused for a second and coughed lightly. “And I completely forget that you’re only seventeen…”
Jian Rong swallowed a piece of lamb and corrected him stiffly, “Seventeen and a half.”
His unemployment arrived too out of the blue. Twenty lamb skewers were already sitting in his stomach, but Jian Rong still hadn’t truly recovered yet.
“But it’s not too bad, waiting a few months until you’re of age and coming back to stream then. Your audience is fairly fixed, you won’t lose too many of them.” Shiliu said, “At least you’ll get a chance to relax for a few months, travel a bit. Want me to take you to have some fun in Disney?”
Jian Rong could make out Shiliu’s brotherly way of speaking, and he said coldly, “Why the hell don’t you just say you’ll take me to the kiddie playground?”
He drank a mouthful of alcohol to cleanse his palate and spoke again. “I’m not worried about streaming.”
It was just that he actually couldn’t think of something to do now that he was suddenly no longer streaming.
“How about finding a job to keep busy?” Shiliu guessed what he was thinking and pondered over it. “Take advantage of your youth, you can go do some part-time work and experience life a bit. Otherwise, when you start streaming, you won’t have time to do anything else again. Or is there anything else you really want to do?”
Jian Rong stared at the fizzing liquid in the bottle and paused for a beat. “Make money.”
“…” At first, Shiliu wanted to say, ‘you’re just a kid, why so materialistic,’ but he was also afraid of being cursed out, so he forcefully restrained himself.
He glanced up at the streamer group chat, which was chatting energetically, and suddenly thought of something. “How about you go give dating a try? A few months will pass by in a flash, really.”
Jian Rong: “?”
“Ge can introduce someone to you,” Shiliu said. “Do you want someone older or younger than you? It’s not very easy to find someone younger than you though. Or what type do you like? Actually, I know many female streamers who are quite interested in getting to know you…”
Jian Rong hung up decisively and concentrated on eating his skewers.
After completely demolishing all the skewers, Jian Rong picked up his phone again and opened Weibo.
His mood earlier hadn’t been very good, so he had just sent out a brief post about stopping streaming before leaving his apartment.
[Soft: Special circumstances, no longer streaming, will return later.]
Looking at the four thousand comments below the post, Jian Rong felt his eyelid twitch; his intuition told him that it wasn’t a good thing.
There were a few other underage streamers who had also been forced to stop streaming like him. The comment sections of their announcement posts were all filled with things like “kiss kiss,” “pats head,” “waiting for your return.”
But Jian Rong’s comment section—
[Fuck, so he was actually a little dumbass!]
[Your hair hasn’t even all grown in, yet you’re out here talking back to your seniors every day?]
[Phew, laozi’s ears can finally have some peace and quiet for a while]
Jian Rong laughed out of anger, and he selected a few comments to reply to while drinking more alcohol.
[Dumbass darling, what do you plan on doing from now on?]
[Soft: Don’t be gross. Open a barbeque stand.]
[Will you starve to death if you don’t stream? Come to Hangzhou and kowtow to me three times, I’ll support you.]
[Soft: Don’t worry, Dad has more money than you.]
[Soft’s Only Fanclub 1: Wuwuwu son don’t be sad, you may be unlucky in business, but you might be lucky in love [photo] water friends who like Soft, remember to go to Road’s Weibo to like and bump the comment~ uwu!1]
Didn’t he blacklist this crappy fanclub a long time ago?
Jian Rong frowned faintly and subconsciously clicked on the image attached to the comment.
It was a screenshot of a comment under Road’s newest Weibo post.
[Soft’s Only Fanclub 1: Before Soft’s account was locked, he released a big confession. He said bluntly, “I like TTC’s jungler the most, he’s really awesome.” The video is in your PMs, God Lu please check it out!]
There were a bunch of replies underneath too—
[Didn’t he say “he’s really handsome”?]
[He said “he’s really charming” thank you]
[Were his original words not “he’s really awesome, begging my daddy water friends to go help me ask for his hand in marriage”?]
The comment had 6,000 likes, even more than the number of freaking comments underneath his own Weibo post, firmly occupying the top comment position.
When he saw the last reply, Jian Rong suddenly choked and covered his mouth while he swallowed the alcohol. He lowered his head and coughed until his cheeks were flushed red. Even the group of bros nearby couldn’t help but look over.
Jian Rong picked up a napkin and roughly wiped his mouth before he gritted his teeth and started typing.
[Soft replied to Soft’s Only Fanclub 1: GTFO, Dad is deactivating from Weibo 882]
The next day, StarTV’s representative came to find him.
He said that recently, top management was being extremely strict and had prohibited minors from streaming, ordering StarTV to comply and reform. The notice arrived both urgently and at the last minute, which was why so many livestream rooms had been locked abruptly.
Jian Rong was woken up by the call. He closed his eyes. “Just tell me what the proposed solution is.”
“… it’s like this. Our platform’s contract with you was originally two years long anyway, so it’ll expire next month. We are interested in continuing to work with you.”
Jian Rong let out an “oh” and said after a few seconds, “I want to raise the salary.”
Two years ago, he was in desperate need of money, and he was also a minor on top of that. He didn’t have an audience to rely on, so the platform gave him an extremely low base salary, and he didn’t receive a particularly high percentage of the gifts either.
That led to his income still being much lower than the income of other streamers at the same level as him, even though he was currently ranked among the top streamers in terms of popularity in LoL’s streaming category.
The other party wasn’t surprised either. “Okay, we can discuss that later when drawing up the contract. I will inform management of your request.”
Jian Rong said, “En, hanging up now.”
“Wait a moment.” The representative quickly stopped him. “There’s something else.”
“Our platform is planning on establishing a LoL team sometime soon, and we’re currently recruiting talented players. I’m not sure if you’re interested or not?” The representative said, “The tryouts start on the seventh next month, and it’ll last two weeks…”
“Not interested.” Jian Rong cut him off.
“The team that we launch will directly purchase a place in the LPL, so you won’t have to start playing from the secondary league. The signing bonus is negotiable.” The representative continued to do his best. “We’ll also give you some concessions in terms of the platform’s streaming contract…”
“Not interested, hanging up now.”
While Jian Rong was brushing his teeth, Shiliu called him and asked why he rejected the offer to join the team.
“You get your information quite fast.” Jian Rong spat out the foam. “Not interested in their team.”
“Are you not interested in playing professionally either?” Shiliu said, “I don’t believe that. Every top player has more or less thought about the path of playing professionally, you’ve definitely also considered it before.”
Jian Rong put the phone on speaker and stooped to wash his face. He didn’t answer him.
“Could it be that you have some dark shadow hanging over it?” Shiliu guessed.
Jian Rong said, “No.”
He really didn’t. It wasn’t like he hadn’t thought about playing professionally at first, but its monthly income was too shameful; trainees only received 800 yuan3 a month, not including food and rent. That tiny amount of money wasn’t even enough to pay for a month of his grandpa’s medicine.
“Then why not give it a try? Right now, contracts are all approximately two years long, and some short ones are even only a year long. I believe that you can definitely play well enough to get some good scores. When the time comes, even if you retire on the spot, your streaming popularity will more than double from what it currently is.”
Shiliu paused momentarily. “Actually, I also know a team who wants to contact you. You can go train with them first, and if that goes well, you can play for them; if not, just come back. In any case, you’re lounging around for the next few months, so just treat it as earning some extra money.”
“No thanks.” The sound of the water was too loud, so Jian Rong couldn’t hear the last part of what Shiliu was saying very well. He grabbed a towel and wiped his face, his voice indistinct. “Don’t want to join those teams.”
Shiliu said a few more things. Before hanging up, he asked, “Is there no team that you would want to join?”
Almost instantaneously, a corner deep in his memories softened slightly. A man’s face flashed across Jian Rong’s mind, along with the admission ticket that the man had handed to him.
The admission ticket had been in the man’s pocket for too long, so a bit of an indescribable cold fragrance had rubbed off on it.
After hanging up, Jian Rong buried his face in the towel again. He only walked out into the bedroom quite some time later.
He left his apartment to eat breakfast.
The sunlight was just right. Jian Rong lowered his head to drink his soup, but someone passing by suddenly knocked into his table, splashing some liquid onto the brim of his hat.
The other person apologized repeatedly. Jian Rong took off his hat and lowered his eyes, looking at the “Road” that had been soaked by a few drops of soup. After a long pause, he finally said, “It’s fine.”
In the evening. Ding-ge returned to the base and walked straight over to the man sitting on the sofa playing video games. He asked, “There are two pieces of bad news, which do you want to hear first?”
Lu Boyuan manipulated his controller and didn’t look up. “The worse one.”
“Savior chose PUD.” Ding-ge said, “PUD’s boss went crazy and put down an enormous sum of money. We assessed that Savior wasn’t worth that price and decided to give him up.”
Lu Boyuan made a noise of agreement and beautifully slammed the final boss that Xiao Bai fought five times without beating onto the ground. “The other news?”
“I sent someone to ask, but Soft has no plans to play professionally,” Ding-ge said.
Lu Boyuan lowered his eyes and didn’t say anything.
The character in the video game paused briefly before quickly continuing onwards to the next checkpoint.
“But I didn’t have particularly high hopes in the first place. If he wanted to play professionally, he would’ve entered the industry two years ago.”
Ding-ge sat down next to him. “I also asked around a little. It seems like he was in urgent need of money back then, so he signed an extremely disadvantageous contract with StarTV. This time when he renews the contract, the signing bonus will probably soar up, and it’ll be much better than changing tracks to play professionally. After all, no matter how well he plays, he can only receive the newcomer’s contract when he just joins the team.”
His phone chimed, and Lu Boyuan played for a little more before pausing the game to check it out.
The chime was from a QQ email.
Ding-ge: “Forget it, in any case choosing him was also a gamble. He might not necessarily be suitable for the professional arena.”
Originally, Lu Boyuan wanted to clear away the email notification, but he accidentally clicked on it. He swept a look over it; the new email’s subject only contained two words—
There was a lot of spam in his inbox. Lu Boyuan clicked on the “select all” button and was about to delete them when he spotted one of the email previews below.
Ding-ge sighed. “I heard Xiao Bai say that he’s your fan, so I thought that he would at the very least consider it a bit. I didn’t think that he would directly refuse and not even give us a chance to discuss it with him. Never mind, I’ll filter through the candidates again…”
“No need.” Lu Boyuan interrupted him.
Ding-ge looked over, puzzled, only to see Lu Boyuan scrolling through his email, head lowered.
After scrolling to the bottom, Lu Boyuan smiled imperceptibly. He tossed his phone towards Ding-ge before he picked up the controller and continued playing the game.
Ding-ge quickly caught the phone and subconsciously glanced down—
Name: Jian Rong
Height: 175 cm
Weight: 54 kg
Game ID: Soft
Proficiency Level: Was once ranked 4th in the Korean server’s Challenger tier, was once in the national server’s Challenger tier
Applying For: TTC Esports Club’s LoL Branch – Mid Laner
- The raws don’t actually say uwu, but it says ‘啾咪’ (jiu mi), which is basically just a cute way to end a statement but it in itself doesn’t actually have much meaning (I think)? The emoticon equivalent is ^.< if that helps. If anyone has a better way to translate this lmk but I kind of just went with the closest English slang lol ^
- 88 is pronounced ‘ba ba’, which sounds like ‘bye bye’ ^
- Roughly $117. 😮 ^
Yan: Oh Jian Rong, you’re so silly hahaha. In case anyone’s curious (and like me also doesn’t use the metric system bc the US likes to be ~special~), Jian Rong is approximately 5’9 and weighs 119 lbs. Everyone makes fun of him for being short but he really isn’t that short??! Also don’t be silly and drink outside alone (like Jian Rong) if you’re underage. :’) Drink responsibly! With someone like Road!
Wei: Poor Jian Rong getting taken advantage of by StarTV ;-; It’s okay my son now you get to go play with Road!