He obediently followed behind Lu Yu, passing through dim and narrow alleys. They turned through an arch and arrived in front of an old building. Through the streetlight downstairs, they could see the walls covered with unknown plants. The white walls, eroded by various colors, bore the marks of time.
This area was filled with similar old buildings. Just by looking at the environment where the Lu family lived, the original owner felt that they were not well off. However, the Lu family was not as poor and dilapidated as the original owner described. Lu’s parents ran a noodle shop, working from early morning till late at night. The business was good, and after several decades, they managed to save enough money to buy a small house for their two sons in the city center.
The original owner was accustomed to a lavish lifestyle and still considered himself a privileged young master after returning home. He repeatedly acted unreasonably, disappointing his biological parents, who eventually refused to support him when he fell into poverty. Jiang Mo knew that in a few years, this area would be demolished, and the Lu family’s life would only get better. The original owner failed to appreciate what he had and couldn’t see the reality. Even if he couldn’t become a rich young master, he still had a comfortable life.
The Lu family lived on the fifth floor. The corridor had no motion-sensor lights, and they could only see the stairs through the lights from the opposite building. Jiang Mo was afraid of stepping into empty space and reached out, grabbing Lu Yu who was walking in front of him.
Lu Yu was walking just fine when suddenly someone tugged at his clothes. He turned his head to look at Jiang Mo, but before he could speak, Jiang Mo spoke first.
“I-I’m sorry.” After speaking, Jiang Mo sheepishly pulled his hand back.
Lu Yu didn’t say anything and continued walking upstairs. After a few seconds, someone grabbed his clothes again. He turned his head again. He was already a head taller than Jiang Mo, and now he stood two steps higher on the staircase. Jiang Mo looked up at him with round almond-shaped eyes filled with caution and fear.
“Brother, I-I can’t see clearly. Can I hold onto you?”
Lu Yu’s heart softened. Jiang Mo must have been traumatized at the Jiang family’s house; otherwise, why would he be different from a few days ago?
Compared to the previous Jiang Mo, he preferred the current Jiang Mo.
“Whatever.” Lu Yu was used to walking the dark path. He could walk to his own doorstep with his eyes closed. In ordinary circumstances, he wouldn’t care about Jiang Mo’s feelings. Didn’t he have a phone? Didn’t he know how to turn on the flashlight for himself?
Lu Yu took out his phone and turned on the flashlight. He heard a slight exhale next to his ear. He glanced at Jiang Mo. Jiang Mo’s tense shoulders relaxed visibly, and his expression also loosened. The dark pupils were illuminated by the light, showing a few traces of gratitude.
With a sudden click, Lu Yu felt his heart being poked again.
The house wasn’t large, with three bedrooms and one living room. The master bedroom was at most ten square meters, and even standing together in the bathroom felt crowded. Each room was filled with clutter, and even the living room was piled up with many things, making it even more cramped.
This place was better than Jiang Mo had imagined. The rented house he previously lived in was smaller and had a worse environment.
Although Lu’s mother was busy, it was evident that she had put a lot of effort into cleaning the house. Even the corners were meticulously cleaned.
As soon as Lu Yu returned, he went straight into his own room. Jiang Mo didn’t dare to touch anything in the house. His hunger had been signaling since the car ride, and after sitting uneasily on the sofa for more than ten minutes, unable to bear the hunger in his stomach, he cautiously knocked on Lu Yu’s door.
After graduating, Lu Yu opened an online store, and business was decent. The thing he did most every day was dealing with troublesome customers who came to his door. As soon as Jiang Mo opened the door, he came face-to-face with Lu Yu’s stern expression. Jiang Mo shrank his neck and stood dumbly by the door. The drums of retreat were about to sound when he heard Lu Yu ask, “What’s the matter?”
Lu Yu was still quite angry, but when he spoke to Jiang Mo, his voice softened a lot, not as fierce as one would imagine.
Jiang Mo whispered, “Brother, I-I’m hungry. Is there any food at home?”
It was almost ten o’clock now, and by the time Lu Yu found Jiang Mo, it was already eight o’clock. Dinner time had long passed, so why hadn’t Jiang Mo eaten?
“Doesn’t the Jiang family even feed you?” Lu Yu was accustomed to being aggressive, and he blurted out without thinking. As soon as he said it, he regretted it. If he said that, Jiang Mo would definitely slam the door and leave.
As a result, Jiang Mo just stood at the door, pursing his lips and gripping the doorknob tightly. With his small stature, he really looked like a primary school student who had done something wrong.
“Tsk.” Lu Yu tossed his phone aside and walked up to Jiang Mo. “What do you want to eat?”
Jiang Mo stuttered, “C-Can I have anything?”
“Don’t aim too high. I can’t cook gourmet meals.” Lu Yu replied.
“I-I want tomato and egg noodles,” Jiang Mo said.
The request wasn’t too demanding.
Lu Yu had helped his parents with their work since he was young, and he was a master at cooking noodles. In no time, Jiang Mo was eating a steaming bowl of soup noodles.
The golden-brown eggs were enveloped in rich tomato broth, and the hand-rolled noodles were topped with vibrant green onions. Lu Yu even added a large spoonful of homemade meat sauce.
When Jiang Mo saw this bowl of soup noodles, his eyes became a bit teary.
Since leaving the orphanage and entering the youth training camp at the age of fifteen, he had always eaten takeout and had never eaten a home-cooked meal.
“Brother, you’re really good to me,” Jiang Mo said as he took the chopsticks handed to him by Lu Yu. His eyes were shining, and he felt that Lu Yu wasn’t fierce at all.
Although the other person’s words were hesitant and awkward, Lu Yu grunted in response, his ears feeling a bit hot, then he turned and went back into his room.
With the warm soup in his stomach, Jiang Mo’s face turned rosy as he ate. When he was halfway through his meal, he received a new message from his manager, Sister Hong.
The original owner debuted as a child star and was a well-known professional child actor, but after growing up, he didn’t have much fame and was often exposed for being arrogant.
When his status as a fake heir to a wealthy family came out, his situation became even more difficult. The company wanted to sideline him, and his manager couldn’t be bothered with him. Now that she was contacting him, Jiang Mo guessed what it was about.
[Sister Hong: The script has been sent to your email.]
In just a few simple sentences, with a dominant tone, there was no room for argument. According to the original plot, the original owner accepted a same-sex variety show with a total of eight guests, and both the protagonist and the recipient were involved.
The recipient of the protagonist was from the same company as the original owner and debuted just half a year ago, gaining some popularity.
This was just the beginning of the protagonist’s halo.
The recipient would shine brightly in the variety show, even the other guests who were recipients were willing to be tools for the protagonist. However, following the script given by Sister Hong, the original owner would do evil deeds and become a despised cannon fodder. Before the program was even recorded, he would be forced to leave the industry by the entire internet.
Jiang Mo didn’t want to be the supporting role and cannon fodder that the main protagonist would step on. He put down his chopsticks and replied to Red Sister’s message.
[MOMO: Sister, can I not participate?]
[Sister Hong: A breach of contract fine of five million. The company won’t pay a penny for you. Prepare the money yourself.]
The mess caused by the original owner was left unresolved, and Jiang Mo was left to deal with it. Even before he transmigrated, the original owner had agreed to participate in the romance variety show and had already signed the contract.
[Sister Hong: As long as you perform according to the script, the company will give you an additional hundred thousand.]
In the entertainment industry, the appearance fee for participating in a variety show was not insignificant. However, for the original owner to join this romance variety show, he would only receive a hundred thousand for ten episodes, which meant he would be paid ten thousand per episode. Even with the additional subsidy from the company, it would only be two hundred thousand. This was clearly exploitation.
Without hesitation, Jiang Mo replied to Red Sister.
[MOMO: I’ll do it!!!]
As long as he participated in ten episodes, he would earn two hundred thousand. Moreover, his role as cannon fodder wouldn’t require much screen time, so he wouldn’t need to be constantly on guard. It would be an easy way to make money. Why not seize the opportunity?
It was just receiving criticism, and he was well-versed in enduring it. He had heard all sorts of insults in his previous life, so why would he be afraid of a little criticism?
It was better than being forced to pay five million!
Jiang Mo was clever; with just a few words, he managed to negotiate an additional hundred thousand!
Jiang Mo happily washed the bowls and chopsticks before going to the bathroom to assess his current appearance.
Seeing his reflection in the mirror, Jiang Mo wasn’t too surprised. Not only did he share the same name, but he also looked exactly like the original owner.
This was a danmei fanfiction, telling the story of the main protagonists, the seme1 and uke2, falling in love through a romance variety show and living an uninhibited life together. The content of the latter half of the story was explicit to the extent that it would be directly banned on certain websites.
The background of this fanfiction was the original world of Jiang Mo. Jiang Mo not only knew the seme, Lu Xuan, but also the uke, Chi Yu, who was a rising star in the entertainment industry and a famous actor. The first movie Jiang Mo watched was Chi Yu’s debut film, <Twins,> in which Chi Yu played dual roles. This film earned Chi Yu the Best Newcomer Award, and because of it, Jiang Mo became Chi Yu’s fan.
Thinking that he would become the cannon fodder that would ruin the relationship between Chi Yu and Lu Xuan, Jiang Mo furrowed his brows unhappily.
He wondered which shipper wrote this fanfiction. The esports and entertainment industries were not the same circle, so why would they pull him, an outsider, to be the cannon fodder?
After finishing his shower, Jiang Mo noticed that the light was still on in Lu Yu’s room. He could hear Lu Yu occasionally cursing from inside. Worried that something might have happened to Lu Yu, Jiang Mo cautiously knocked on Lu Yu’s door.
“Come in,” Lu Yu said, noticeably angrier than before, without restraining his tone.
“Brother, are you… are you okay?” Jiang Mo opened the door but remained standing by the entrance.
Lu Yu looked up from his computer screen and saw the worry in Jiang Mo’s big eyes. Jiang Mo leaned against the door like a koala, looking around cautiously.
Lu Yu found it amusing. He hadn’t prohibited Jiang Mo from entering the room, so why was he acting so timid?
“I’m fine. Just had some bad luck and encountered some idiots,” Lu Yu gritted his teeth, emphasizing the word ‘idiots.’
Jiang Mo looked towards Lu Yu’s screen, and Lu Yu was playing the game that Jiang Mo was most familiar with.
Lu Yu’s character was idling in the fountain, and the chatbox was filled with white text. The font was too small for Jiang Mo to read clearly, but he could guess that Lu Yu probably had conflicts with his teammates and decided to AFK.
“Aren’t you going to sleep?” Lu Yu asked.
“I… I was going to sleep. I just wanted to say goodnight to you,” Jiang Mo replied, stammering.
Lu Yu’s anger subsided considerably, and his voice softened, “Goodnight.”
“Aren’t you going to sleep?” It was already past eleven.
Lu Yu stood up, holding his phone, and said, “The staff doesn’t know where the goods are. I have to go to the warehouse downstairs to find them. I’ll sleep later. You go ahead and sleep.”
“Okay,” Jiang Mo nodded and made way for Lu Yu.
The sound of the door being slammed shut resonated through the room, and the walls seemed to tremble along with the owner’s emotions.
Lu Yu was genuinely angry.
On the screen, the white text continued scrolling. Jiang Mo muttered softly, “Offended.” It was his first time entering Lu Yu’s room. He stood in front of the computer and moved the mouse to check the chat history.
[Ru Geng Zai Hou (Jie Tuo Zhe): The King of Ruin]
[Ru Geng Zai Hou (Jie Tuo Zhe): Are they going to surrender?]
[Yu Jian Ni (Po Bai Zhi Wang): Brother, I’ve caught them three times already. The first time, the enemy flashed, and the other two times, they died. If you can’t win, it’s not my fault.]
[Ru Geng Zai Hou (Jie Tuo Zhe): Why can’t I win? Can’t you see how many times the enemy jungler ganked me?]
[Yu Jian Ni (Po Bai Zhi Wang): But the enemy is playing a card champion, it should be easy for you to beat them.]
[Ru Geng Zai Hou (Jie Tuo Zhe): Easy for you to say! Did you not see the enemy jungler constantly targeting me? Can you even catch people?]
[Yu Jian Ni (Po Bai Zhi Wang): I didn’t help top lane even once, I only focused on helping you. Just calm down.]
[Ru Geng Zai Hou (Jie Tuo Zhe): Calm down my ass! I died, and you’re strolling in the jungle picking graves for me?]
At the beginning, Lu Yu was calm and engaged in a conversation with the other person. The opponent said a lot of nasty things, even using derogatory terms related to Lu Yu’s mother. Lu Yu responded with a few retorts, which only made the opponent more aggressive. The opponent seemed like a habitual offender, using homophonic words that weren’t filtered by the system, which infuriated Jiang Mo as he read it.
After being AFK for too long, the system automatically exited the game.
Jiang Mo sat in Lu Yu’s seat, moved the mouse, and clicked on the reconnect button.