There was an earthquake in the esports circle.
The esports fans were all collectively stupefied for ten seconds. Every person who saw the announcement went through the same sequence of events: “screenshot” — “click on TTC ་ Soft to confirm it was that bluenette” — “click on TTC Esports Club to confirm it was the official Weibo” — “and then freaking repeatedly click on them, unwilling to give up” — “accept reality” — “reply with question marks under the aforementioned Weibo.”
In less than ten minutes, TTC’s official announcement reached six thousand comments. The top comments in the first five pages were all question marks, and the commenters were all real, active Weibo accounts too. The entertainment circle’s water army1 gasped in amazement and pure astonishment.
Meanwhile, underneath the LPL’s penalty post—
[Dumbass, you’re worthy of being you.]
[Dumbass, you’re worthy of being you.]
No Weibo post before had ever caused everyone’s responses to be so uniform, not even when idol fans controlled the comments.
Not long after, “TTC ་ Soft” reposted TTC’s official announcement.
[TTC ་ Soft: I will do my best to prove myself, thanks for the support (post this three minutes later) //TTC Esports Club: Welcome new member…]
All the spectators: “…”
This Weibo post was edited very quickly.
[TTC ་ Soft: Thank you for all the support! After joining the team, I’ll definitely practice hard. I won’t let down the fans’ and club’s expectations [heart].]
Since the official post had been drowned out by question marks, all the fans came over to report to Jian Rong’s Weibo after recovering.
[You’re really such a damn unfilial son. Dad just argued for a day and a night with those moronic TTC fans under Kan’s matchfixing Weibo, but now it turns out you fucking voluntarily went to be a hostage???]
[One ‘dumbass, get lost’ is 10k2 yuan? You must be working part-time for the Discipline Committee, right??]
[Congrats in advance to the LPL’s Discipline Committee getting rich.]
[Did you drug Tank Team’s management? Even someone like you deserves to play competitively??]
[The one who said my son isn’t deserving, I’ve already sent the compilation of Soft solo killing Kan in high ranked games to your PMs, please check that you’ve received it~! XOXO!]
[I think that Soft is a very outstanding player, I’m really looking forward to his performance in TTC (a paid commenter)]
[Feeling sympathetic for TTC fans now.]
[That’s not really necessary, if he can enter the team he must have some skill. TTC’s boss has always had good foresight. Back then, didn’t the boss also spot Road and pull him straight into the starting position? Original veteran Tank fans are already used to this.]
[Just an observation. Did TTC give up because they couldn’t snatch my baby Savior? Recruiting even this kind of mid laner… is next year’s top 4 gonna become top 16?]
With that comment, TTC’s hardcore fans and Soft’s livestream water friends, who had once argued with each other for a day and a night underneath Kan’s suspension Weibo post, simultaneously appeared.
[PUD fans, have some face. Do you all not know about the incident two years ago when my son won three consecutive games against Savior on the Korean server and easily took 48 points from him? Two years later, your baby Savior shouldn’t be as trash anymore right??]
[PUD fans are really so shameless. The reason why TTC doesn’t want your baby Savior is definitely because they think the price your baby’s charging is way too unreasonable, and he isn’t worth it. If your words had the final say concerning next year’s achievements, then your PUD would’ve long since won the championship. Would you even need to come here and be shady?]
A few seconds later, the two of them again—
[How come it’s you again, dumbass TTC fan. Don’t copy your dad!]
[I commented one second after you, you’re saying that I’m copying you? Can Soft’s moronic fans quickly get away from laozi!]
Since all the other teams’ fans were currently merrily looking on and reading the comments, a few more topics appeared on the hot search not long after the announcement was posted.
“‘TTC’s new member Soft,’ ‘TTC’s gone crazy,’ ‘LoL Esports penalizes Soft,’ ‘Road called Soft a well-behaved child’… there’s also a shocked emoticon after that last topic hahahaha?” Lying on the couch, Xiao Bai nearly laughed himself silly. “This is the kind of scene that a fucking Worlds champion would have! When PUD announced Savior, that level of popularity wasn’t even half of yours!”
PUD had just announced their new mid laner Savior a few days ago. Although the comments under the Weibo post were filled with cheers and praise, the post itself hadn’t caused many waves because everyone had been expecting it.
Jian Rong sat cross-legged on the armchair to the side. Ding-ge had just finished lecturing him, and Jian Rong guessed that Ding-ge was going to continue from where he left off once he finished his phone call.
Jian Rong looked up from his phone and asked, “I’ll give this scene to you, want it?”
“No no no, I couldn’t possibly accept that.” Xiao Bai happily scrolled down the phone screen. When he saw a comment saying “Road and Pine are both handsome hunks, and now they had Soft too, looking forward to TTC’s future competitions,” his smile froze, and he patted Pine, who was sitting next to him, and interrogated, “P-baby, am I not handsome?”
Pine shot a very meaningful look at him.
After coordinating with each other for so many years in the bot lane, Xiao Bai instantly knew what kind of crap Pine was going to spout the moment he opened his mouth. Xiao Bai immediately said, “Shut up, I don’t want to know anymore.”
Ding-ge finished his call and came back from the balcony. He sat down on the sofa and took a sip of tea to clear his throat, watching Jian Rong with complicated eyes.
“After I finished warning you yesterday night, I told the work chat to get ready to promote, and I said that you couldn’t possibly make a mistake…” Ding-ge rubbed his aching face. “Now we don’t need the publicity anymore either. Just then, a friend from Weibo asked if I wanted to spend money to take it off the hot search.”
Jian Rong: “…”
He was silent for a long moment before he said earnestly, “You should take it off. It’s my mess, so I’ll pay for it.”
“No need, it’s not anything serious.” Lu Boyuan said lazily.
He had just been woken up by Ding-ge, and his voice was slightly hoarse. Probably because he didn’t get enough sleep, he had only played around on his phone and hadn’t really said anything after coming downstairs.
Originally, Ding-ge wanted to lecture Jian Rong a little more, but after Lu Boyuan said that, it wasn’t appropriate for him to keep going.
“…it’s true, we don’t need to take it off. It’s not like any of the topics are slander, and it saved us a lot of money in terms of publicity. I’d rather it hang up on there for an entire day.” Ding-ge said, “But you still have to pay the fine.”
Jian Rong nodded.
Yuan Qian said, puzzled, “Xiao Rong insulted someone before the official announcement came out. Even that will be penalized?”
“Of course. You’re a professional player as soon as you’re registered, the official announcement is just a formality.” Ding-ge’s phone chimed, and he glanced at it. After a while, he frowned and couldn’t help but let out a, “Fuck…”
Xiao Bai: “What’s wrong?”
“The sponsor daddy is looking for me.” Ding-ge said.
Xiao Bai grew terrified at once, and even his speech grew much faster. “What’s the matter? It can’t be that he wants to terminate his contract with us and look for other teams because he’s afraid our popularity will fall after getting a new member right??”
“It’s not that.” Ding-ge’s face was filled with a “what’s wrong with today’s society” confusion. “He said that they’re about to release a very coolly designed blue switch mechanical keyboard, and he thinks that Jian Rong suits this product really well. He wants Jian Rong to be a product ambassador for it.”
It felt extremely good pressing down on the keys of a blue switch keyboard, and out of all the keyboard types, it was the loudest when typing.
When streaming, Jian Rong had used an old blue switch keyboard. Whenever he was typing and insulting people, the sound of the keyboard was quite stimulating, and the water friends in his stream always called him an expert whenever they heard it.
Even this was okay??
Ding-ge lowered his head and replied to the message. “Jian Rong, what do you think? If you’re interested, I can discuss it with him.”
“I’m not.” Jian Rong answered bluntly.
Xiao Bai was startled, and he blurted out, “You better think it over carefully, do you know how many dumbasses you can afford to insult with an endorsement fee?”
Lu Boyuan ducked his head and let out a laugh.
“…” Jian Rong stared at the tangerines on the table, wondering whether or not they were the right size to stuff into Xiao Bai’s mouth. “I haven’t even played in a single competition yet. With no achievements and nothing to back me up, there’s no point in accepting things like this.”
Xiao Bai was astonished.
Just like that, Jian Rong’s ‘money-grubbing’ image collapsed in Xiao Bai’s mind.
Ding-ge was also a bit surprised. He shot a glance at him admiringly. “That’s also true. I’ll let him know that’s the case then. Don’t worry, once you show some good results in the future, heaps of endorsements will be waiting for you. It’s not urgent right now. Also, don’t look at those comments on Weibo, those anti-fans always say the same old stuff to mess with you mentally. I’m afraid you’ll be affected if you read too many of them.”
“Affected?” Jian Rong furrowed his brows. “Me?”
Ding-ge told the truth. “…don’t look at them, I’m afraid you won’t be able to resist answering if you do.”
After the previous incident, Ding-ge no longer trusted him in the slightest anymore, and with a flick of his hand he slapped a ‘special follow’ on Jian Rong.
Lu Boyuan was in the middle of replying to messages.
Ever since he got out of bed, his phone hadn’t calmed down once, especially concerning XIU. Lu Boyuan felt like this man’s APM wasn’t even this fast when he was playing in a competition.
[PUD, XIU: This is the well-behaved kid you were talking about before?]
[PUD, XIU: The well-behaved kid that debuted with a penalty announcement?]
[PUD, XIU: You did this on purpose, didn’t you, so I deliberately wouldn’t be able to guess it right?]
[PUD, XIU: Did you know that after your team’s official announcement, all—and I mean all—the other teams have the same exact meme as their top comment under their latest Weibo posts?]
[PUD, XIU: [run.jpg]3]
Lu Boyuan found him too noisy, so he put his phone on mute and got up to get a glass of water.
When he passed by Jian Rong, he saw from the corner of his eyes that Jian Rong was scrolling through the Weibo comment section.
But he wasn’t scrolling through his own comments; rather, it was Lu Boyuan’s.
Jian Rong was looking through the comments underneath Lu Boyuan’s newest Weibo post. Every time he saw one that was badmouthing himself, his eyebrows knit even tighter together.
The word that appeared most frequently in Lu Boyuan’s comment section was “liar.”
He was in the middle of concentratedly reading through them when someone very lightly patted his head twice.
“Don’t cross your legs, it’s not good for your back.” Lu Boyuan said mildly.
Jian Rong immediately covered his phone screen with his hand and put down his legs, sitting up straight. “…okay.”
After Lu Boyuan left, Jian Rong was about to let out a breath of air when his phone suddenly buzzed.
[R is transferring you 10,000 yuan.]
Jian Rong stared blankly and subconsciously asked:
[R-ong: Transferred to the wrong person?]
[R: Penalty money.]
[R: Since you helped me insult them back, then of course I should pay the penalty fee.]
Jian Rong returned the money.
[R-ong: It’s fine, I just felt like insulting them. I flamed them voluntarily, so I’ll take the blame.]
[R: Then half-half?]
[R: The team’s signing bonus probably won’t hit your account until next week.]
It took half a minute for him to get a response to that.
Lu Boyuan glanced down at it and couldn’t help but laugh.
Jian Rong directly sent him a screenshot of a bank account balance. All of his wealth was consolidated into one number, displayed clearly in front of Lu Boyuan’s eyes.
[R-ong: I have a lot of money.]
[R: Got it.]
Lu Boyuan didn’t say anything else. He opened his contact list and found a friend.
[R: Help me order another custom keyboard.]
The other side replied very quickly: [OK, what type?]
[R: The same style as mine, but change it into blue and white. Make the letter on the keycap ‘S,’ and engrave Soft on the back.]
[Gotcha. If it’s going to be the same kind as yours, then it’ll be the same old price: 6,8004.]
[R: Make two]
[Both engraved with Soft?]
[R: Yes, the other one will be used on stage.]
After dinner, Ding-ge instructed the rest of TTC’s members to repost the official Weibo announcement, saying that it was easier to create goodwill for Jian Rong if the team members personally stepped up.
As a result, that night, the esports fans got another string of Weibo posts—
[TTC ་ Qian: Welcome new member, let’s work hard together in the future! Our first goal, winning the spring season! //TTC Esports Club: Welcome new member…]
[TTC ་ Pine: Welcome //TTC Esports Club: Welcome new member…]
[TTC ་ Bye: Looking forward to the best you^^ //League of Legends Esports: [Article: The penalty announcement concerning the inappropriate statements made by TTC’s Jian Rong (ID: TTC ་ Soft) on Weibo]]
“Zhuang Yibai!!!” Smoke spouted from Ding-ge’s ears as he seethed with anger. He roared upstairs, “You reposted the wrong fucking Weibo!!!!!”
Jian Rong laughed and commented an “OK” underneath that post before continuing to scroll downwards.
[TTC ་ Road: Wasn’t lying. Welcome @TTC ་ Soft]
- Ghost accounts that people can buy to post comments and boost popularity ^
- About 1500 USD ^
- the meme ^
- About $1000 ^