On the morning of Chinese New Year’s Eve, Uncle Jiang gathered all of them in the conference hall.
The projection screen widened the face of the old man in the video, making him look like a serious toad.
“Oh, here we go again.” Xie Lianyun, who hadn’t fully woken up, sighed and slumped on the table. “They play this every holiday. It’s really unnecessary.”
“If it’s too much, Uncle, why don’t you record it again?” Mei Shengyao murmured softly. “We’ve been watching it for three or four years, it’s getting boring.”
Uncle Jiang slammed the unopened couplet on the table. “No New Year spirit at all! Sit up straight and watch the video!”
Everyone sluggishly took their seats, watching the Ten Commandments video for the ten thousandth time.
“We should record a video of us sitting down and play the two videos side by side.”
“Xie Lianyun, do you think you’ve become hot stuff with your wings spread wide?”
“Uncle, don’t talk about wings. I haven’t eaten chicken wings for half a year, I’m hungry.”
The video started playing again, and the speakers on both sides emitted rough noises due to the early recording, with poor audio and video quality.
“The first commandment: absolutely no dating allowed. Not outside the group, and especially not within the group!”
Chi Ji lazily propped his chin and watched, while Bo Jue looked indifferent next to him.
Long Jia leaned against Huo Ren and said leisurely, “My youth…”
My forced celibacy for five or six years, my youth as a monk…
Huo Ren patted his shoulder and smiled faintly with lowered eyes.
“The second commandment: be vigilant against eavesdropping and surveillance at all times. Even when staying in the company, do not expose any dangerous details!”
“The third commandment: anything outside the plastic surgery checklist—”
“The eighth commandment: no participation in discussions on social issues, and no connection with religious hot news.”
“The ninth commandment: stay alert, stay calm, and do not let emotions manipulate you.”
Finally, everyone endured until the end of the video, and in unison, they elongated their voices and said, “Be patient and cautious, and no harm shall come!”
At the same time, Pei Ruye sat in a friend’s studio, idly amusing a parrot on the stand.
Qin Lu’s popularity had skyrocketed in the past few years. A-list artists lined up half a year in advance to ask her to design their performance costumes, and she couldn’t keep up with the invitations from various film and TV productions.
With the Lunar New Year approaching, her studio was like a dragon dance scene. Dozens of clothing racks were being pushed around, and fabric scraps, rhinestones, and silk flowers were scattered on the floor, creating a chaotic pile of colors.
Pei Ruye absentmindedly peeled sunflower seeds, eating one for himself and feeding one to the bird without saying a word.
“Brother… Big brother… President Pei!”
Qin Lu finally finished three orders and took a breath, finally finding the time to speak and usher people out. “It’s already four in the afternoon. Aren’t you leaving yet?”
Pei Ruye swirled his glass. “Is there any tea left?”
Qin, the renowned designer, furrowed her brows and went to pour hot tea. Stepping back, she observed him and said, “This is not like you.”
Whether it was publicly or privately, Pei Ruye had always been a workaholic, prioritizing work above all else. She had never seen him with free time.
“Did SPF fire you? Did your own company go bankrupt?”
Pei Ruye slowly sipped his tea, taking his time before speaking.
“It’s an emotional matter.”
Qin Lu nearly choked on her breath, thinking she must be hearing things.
She gestured to her girlfriend, signaling her to take the employees and go to the neighboring room, clearing the area within a couple of steps. Then she closed the door.
“President Pei, a workaholic like you even knows the word ’emotional’?”
Pei Ruye examined the tea leaves without responding.
Qin Lu sat down and pondered for a while, then suddenly stood up.
“This doesn’t make sense.” She scratched her head in haste. “You spent the past two years immersed in Corona. Even when the hip-hop king asked you to work on a stage, you didn’t go. How did this suddenly—”
“I’ve developed feelings for one of my students.”
Qin Lu nearly knocked over the nearby table.
“You? What the hell?”
She applied a deep plum-colored lipstick, her mouth opening wide as if she were going to devour someone.
“You’re interested in one of my protégés? I won’t allow it!!!”
Pei Ruye furrowed his brow. “You shouldn’t be so obsessed with being a fan.”
“What the hell… what the hell… what the hell!!”
Qin Lu paced back and forth, her expression turning grim. “You didn’t make a move on him, did you?”
“No, I didn’t.”
“Huo Ren? Is it Huo Ren?”
“Does he like you? Does he know about your feelings for him?”
“… There’s no way he would.”
Qin Lu was torn between sympathizing with her beloved idol and being a concerned friend.
She sat back down slowly, fully aware of Pei Ruye’s character. “So, what are you planning to do?”
“I won’t do anything.” Pei Ruye shifted his gaze to the pine branches outside the window. “I can only be his teacher. I won’t cross any boundaries.”
“Huo Huo relies on you a lot, I know that,” Qin Lu whispered. “You’ve been there for him since he was sixteen. If you suddenly become distant to maintain a clear boundary, he won’t be able to handle it.”
I’m the same way.
Pei Ruye didn’t voice those thoughts. He spoke softly, “He won’t do anything wrong, and neither will I.”
Qin Lu was in a difficult position. After a while, she asked quietly, “What if you try liking someone else?”
With Pei Ruye’s current status and position, he could easily pursue second or third-tier artists, and even have a high success rate with A-list celebrities.
There were plenty of attractive men and women in the entertainment industry. Perhaps it would be better to explore other options.
– As long as it’s not Corona, they’re a supergroup, a myth in the making.
When Pei Ruye heard this question, he suddenly smiled.
“Old Qin,” he straightened up and spoke gently, “Do you think if I were to completely fall for him, would it be possible for me to be attracted to anyone else in the future?”
Qin Lu paused for a moment, then decisively shook her head.
“No, it’s not possible. Absolutely not.”
After falling for Corona, she couldn’t find interest in any other boy bands. It was impossible to climb over the wall once she had fallen for them.
This group was just too exceptional. Once you fell for them, there was no way out.
Moreover, the one Pei Ruye was interested in was the core member of the group… That was practically a lifelong commitment.
Huo Huo was only twenty this year, and his looks were already top-tier in the entertainment industry.
In a few more years, when his appearance fully matured, even if he didn’t sing and just stood there, he could drive a crowd crazy, okay!!
“Hey, why don’t you look at it from a different perspective?” Qin Lu sighed. “Everyone can only look up to him from a distance, but you’re the person closest to him.”
“You can accompany him and guide him. How lucky is that?”
Pei Ruye’s eyes showed a hint of a smile.
“Yes,” he whispered. “I’m already very fortunate.”
Qin Lu wanted to make this guy happy during the New Year, so she took out her phone to share some of her cherished wallpapers with him.
When she first saw Huo Ren’s profile, she was immediately captivated, and later when she designed costumes for their concert, she even wanted to sew a heart into them.
“Come, come, come, Pei, look at this—what the hell?!!”
Qin Lu suddenly stood up, her tone panicked. “Pei Ruye!! Something has happened!! You need to go back now!!!”
An instant report from Weibo popped up on her phone.
The captain of the popular boy band Corona, Huo Ren, was exposed for abusing his family, and his biological father was found alone picking vegetable leaves in a market to make a living—
Pei Ruye’s eyes darkened, without saying a word, he grabbed his coat and rushed out.
The SPF PR department was in chaos.
Uncle Jiang, who was with them at the TV station preparing for the New Year’s performance, couldn’t come back at this moment.
The news was from an anonymous source, and the photos were clear and authentic, providing concrete evidence.
There were three photos in the headline news.
The first photo was a back view.
It was deep winter now, and everyone was wearing clean and warm down jackets, but the old father was still wearing a tattered cotton coat, stooped over and picking rotten vegetable leaves.
The second photo was a close-up shot.
Zhang Wu’s face was filled with weariness and exhaustion, his hair completely white, and the back of his hand holding a Mao ticket was covered in cracked wounds.
The third photo, however, was of Huo Ren attending a high-end luxury brand’s annual celebration yesterday.
He was dressed in a suit and shining gemstones on his earrings and cufflinks were dazzling.
“According to the reporter’s investigation, the elderly man is indeed Huo Ren’s biological father, who has been making a living by picking up scrap for years.”
“The only property in the family has been completely changed and locked, leaving him homeless and forced to stay in a shanty at the market.”
“According to the neighbors in the vicinity, Huo Ren’s mother passed away early, and before entering the entertainment industry, it was his father who supported and took care of him…”
As soon as the news broke, the heat rose to the point where Weibo itself was paralyzed.
This scandal was too shocking.
It was the holiday season, a time when the whole country was in a warm and festive atmosphere of reunion.
The old man in the photos looked destitute and frail, evoking pity even from passersby who wanted to offer some help.
But his son—turns out to be the core member of this year’s hottest boy band!!
Doesn’t Huo Ren have a heart?!! How could he do such a thing if he had even an ounce of humanity?!!!
The top trending topics were tightly packed together, with the heat constantly rising.
Huo Ren abuses his biological father
Huo Ren should be expelled from the entertainment industry
Gulu Gulu: This is hilarious. The captain of the top-tier boy band has such a beastly character. With such solid evidence, there are still fans defending and whitewashing him???
Today I didn’t get to eat roasted eggplant: Are you controlling the comments or controlling your father? Is your father also picking rotten leaves to eat at the market on New Year’s Eve? Are all these fans going crazy in their obsession with idols?
It’s Sisi but also Gemstone: I feel like throwing up. What kind of garbage idol is this? Please, can he just leave Corona? Why should the other members be scolded for his mistakes? Such scum should stay away from the entertainment industry. I suggest a lifetime ban!!!
All the devoted fans were urgently contacting the staff on SPF’s side, and their temporary response plan to the public was “Someone is maliciously fabricating news.”
The PR department at SPF was going crazy.
How the hell were they supposed to salvage this situation?
Now, issuing an urgent statement claiming that Zhang Wu gambled and ended up in this state, how many people would believe it?
A written explanation alone lacks the impact of photos. Throwing out official statements and lawyer’s letters together might even backfire—
Immediately, the third trending topic appeared.
Huo Ren’s household registration information.
Someone managed to illegally obtain Huo Ren’s online household registration information and openly posted his father-son relationship with Zhang Wu online.
Once this evidence emerged, the entire Corona’s trending topic plaza turned into a scene of unfollowing.
Nini Loves the Crown: I’m going to cry like an idiot. I love him so much, I always thought he was the best person in the world. How could he be so disgusting?
Feifeifei: There’s no way to salvage this situation. Even if their father-son relationship isn’t good, with Huo Ren’s current annual income, he could easily throw a few tens of thousands of dollars to his father to have a decent New Year, right?? Sorry, I can’t bear to watch anymore. I’m turning from a fan to a hater.
No Longer Chasing Stars: I even bought a membership to change my ID for him. I’ve smashed the albums and torn the posters. I won’t chase stars for the rest of my life. I’ve wasted my sincere heart. Why does he have to disgust me like this on New Year’s?
Uncle Jiang’s high blood pressure was acting up. He was taking medicine while calling Pei Ruye backstage at the TV station.
He couldn’t get through at all.
“Damn it, where did he go at a time like this?! Where is he?!”
“Boss Pei went to the company, stayed for a few minutes to explain, and then disappeared,” the assistant next to him said softly. “The PR department’s proposed solutions are not that great…”
Huo Ren sat silently next to him, pinching the palm of his hand without moving.
Beside him, Bo Jue snatched his phone urgently and said, “We all know, Huo Huo, don’t take their words to heart—”
Before the words could even settle, the deputy station chief hurriedly pushed open the door to the rest area, his face darkened. “Uncle Jiang, what does this mean?”
“Has SPF become so stupid in handling things?? You can’t even protect your image??” Uncle Jiang cursed, “At such a critical moment, you caused such a mess—”
“Don’t tell me, go explain it to the audience,” the deputy station chief quickly interrupted. “We can’t let artists with distorted values go on stage. I’m sorry, your program for the New Year’s Eve gala has been canceled.”
The TV station had already released the guest lineup early, and now they were bombarded with calls and had to urgently rearrange the program schedule, making it impossible to handle.
“I have a deep personal relationship with you, we can negotiate the breach of contract fees, but the program really can’t go on,” the deputy station chief sighed. “It’s difficult for me too, Uncle Jiang, please leave.”
From the moment he entered to the moment he left, he didn’t even glance at the people involved.
Uncle Jiang pinched his nose, looking disheveled and tired.
“Let’s go,” his voice was hoarse, and his words were slightly slurred. “Let’s go back first.”
Huo Ren spoke softly, “I’m sorry, all of you.”
Long Jia embraced his neck, feeling both heartbroken and at a loss for how to comfort him. “Let’s go home first. We can talk when we get home.”
The moment they walked out of the rest area, all the artists and staff in the corridor were staring at them.
Someone even secretly took photos with their phones.
Xie Lianyun and Long Jia stood at the forefront, while Bo Jue glared at everyone with a deadly gaze.
Huo Ren remained expressionless throughout, his palms numb with pain.
As the nanny car drove out of the TV station gate, reporters and fans who came to support them surrounded them, blocking their way.
“Mr. Jiang, please explain!”
“Why hasn’t SPF provided an explanation yet? Is this already an admission of guilt??”
Some fans had pale faces and tears streaming down their cheeks.
“Why?!” one of them screamed. “Why are you this kind of person?!”
Bo Jue immediately wrapped Huo Ren tightly in his coat, covering his ears with his hands to shield him from the sound of crying.
“Ge, it’s useless,” the young man whispered. “I can hear it too.”
SPF did not respond immediately.
There was only one chance to respond to such a serious incident, and once it went wrong, any attempt to clarify or explain would not be effectively disseminated, and the damage would be irreparable.
President Qi’s face was filled with anxiety, rubbing his stubble as he asked Uncle Jiang, “What should we do? What do we do now?”
“We fight,” Uncle Jiang extinguished his cigarette. “Someone is provoking us, and we can’t back down.”
He still couldn’t reach Pei Ruye at the moment, so he decided to set him aside and take matters into his own hands, leading his team to deal with the situation.
The luxurious and spacious nanny car was replaced with a shabby pickup truck, and they made their way out through a hidden exit, avoiding the reporters.
Uncle Jiang took Huo Ren to Chen’s house.
Chen’s family had already prepared dumplings and soup to watch the New Year’s Eve gala, but now they were too shocked to utter a word when they saw the news.
As the door opened, Uncle Jiang bowed with Huo Ren in tow.
“I’m sorry to disturb you.”
Tears were streaming down Mrs. Chen’s face. “Huo Huo, what’s going on? How did they find your father?”
“We know how much you’ve suffered over the years. Why do they have the right to say such things about you?”
“Don’t cry for now.” Mr. Chen spoke sternly. “We’ll help you, however we can.”
“If your family stands up for him, this place won’t be able to protect him. Reporters will be watching day and night.” Uncle Jiang hoarsely said, “Our security company will help handle the situation, and we’ll replace your house and furniture with new ones.”
Mr. Chen decisively said, “We can afford it ourselves, no need for that. Just tell us how we can help directly.”
It had started to snow heavily.
Uncle Jiang bowed and apologized to each family, his hair turning completely white from the frost.
He was the main person in charge, and Huo Ren was at the center of it all.
At this point, it would be foolish to rely solely on money to seek help. They needed to show their sincerity, ensuring that there would be no further mistakes.
Homeroom teacher Ms. Fang had aged significantly, and when she saw Huo Ren, she couldn’t find the words to express her anguish.
“If you had gone to college back then,” she choked up, “there wouldn’t be so many terrible things happening.”
“Child, why didn’t you go and study properly…”
Uncle Jiang knew his role had no use in this situation, so he bent over and bowed deeply.
“Please, I’m begging you to help him.”
Finally, they arrived at the hospital.
Huo Ren didn’t want to be here at all, but he had no choice.
“Listen to me. Your family, teachers, and friends’ information has been exposed. The company can help clean up and arrange everything—changing houses, jobs, hospitals, anything,” Uncle Jiang said with a serious expression. “But if you let this incident destroy you, you won’t be able to live your life anywhere.”
Just the thought of his motherly figure, Aunt Lu, made Huo Ren’s voice unable to stay calm.
He had feared this for a long time, and now it was coming true, like a nightmare descending upon him.
“I’m sorry, all of you,” he murmured. “I’m sorry.”
Uncle Jiang quickly patted his shoulder and led him to the entrance of the VIP passage in the private hospital.
There was a person smoking at the entrance, their overcoat stained with the color of flying snow.
“Pei Ruye?!” Uncle Jiang thought his eyes were playing tricks on him. “You didn’t tell me you were coming over?!”
“Where were you for the past three hours?!”
Pei Ruye pressed his nose bridge and led them back.
“I just finished dealing with things over there. I didn’t have time to call you.”
Huo Ren, who had been trapped in an icy cave, seemed numb when he saw him.
Once the three of them were back in the car, the man finally began to explain.
“I was at Yongning Cemetery just now.”
Huo Ren’s expression changed dramatically in an instant, like a wild wolf suddenly provoked. “What are you trying to do?! Don’t involve her!!!”
“No,” Pei Ruye calmly replied. “I replaced the entire security system at the cemetery.”
The cemetery is owned by the state, but maintenance and security are contracted to private companies.
Pei Ruye quickly took over the entire small company and used the pretext of temporary maintenance to seal off all entrances and exits. Except for immediate family members presenting identification, no unrelated individuals were allowed inside.
Huo Ren looked at him with red eyes, holding back his emotions and not daring to move.
“Uncle Jiang is handling things on SPF’s side. He knows what to do.”
“But those journalists and paparazzi are urgently digging into your background. Sooner or later, they’ll trace it back to the cemetery,” Pei Ruye said as he opened his arms and embraced Huo Ren. His voice remained calm and steady, but his arms tightened inch by inch.
“Huo Ren, I’ve secured the cemetery.”
“You need to keep moving forward.”
Pei Ruye disappeared once again.
Overnight, Uncle Jiang arranged the response to the media and marketing accounts at the TV station, using a seasoned and almost ruthless approach.
SPF continued to maintain silence, while Huo Ren remained hidden deep on the 17th floor, completely shielded from exposure.
The related topics on Weibo were in chaos, akin to a tornado sweeping through. Some busybodies even made graphics analyzing the prices of his airport outfits, speculating with a near-bloodthirsty curiosity about his wealth.
The more money Huo Ren had, the more pitiful and destitute his father appeared.
At 22:03, the first video of the involved parties was leaked.
Huo Ren’s middle school teacher, Ms. Fang, gave an interview to a television station.
Ms. Fang was not accustomed to being in front of the camera, but she earnestly answered all the reporters’ questions.
No need for a prepared script, just tell the truth.
“How do you view this scandal involving your student?”
“I feel deeply for him.”
“Don’t you think he was abusing his father?”
“Abuse?” Ms. Fang suddenly laughed. “Do you know how many times I reported incidents on his behalf when he was in middle school?”
The teacher’s temples were frosted white, her face thin and trustworthy.
She gestured for the reporter to follow her to the study and brought out old diaries and police records.
“When his mother was still alive, she was the one protecting him.”
“But after she passed away in a car accident, it was me and his aunt who supported him and helped him move forward.”
Ms. Fang looked up at the camera and pointed to each word in the worn-out diary for the reporter to see.
“A twelve-year-old child who was beaten by that man to the point that even the wooden stool broke.”
She asked softly.
“Comrade reporter, who is abusing whom?”
When the video was released, public opinion suddenly reversed.
A large number of fans who had recently unfollowed him quickly returned to defend him, while more people began to mock the interview, claiming it was all fake and that Huo Ren was using money to whitewash his image.
Huo Ren’s private message box on Weibo refreshed at a speed so fast that it was nearly impossible to read each line. Insults, humiliations, and expressions of pity all blended together, forming blurry remnants.
At 22:14, the second interview video was released.
Another reporter from a different television station arrived at Chen’s residence while the New Year’s Gala was still being broadcasted on TV.
Chen’s mother signaled for her child to go to the study and proceeded to answer all the questions.
“What is your relationship with Huo Ren?”
“We used to be neighbors,” the woman spoke gently and earnestly. “Before the child’s mother passed away, our families had a good relationship.”
“What happened afterward?”
“The child’s father sold all of his late wife’s belongings to gamble and even threatened us, saying that if we didn’t lend him money, he wouldn’t let the child go to school.”
The reporter was taken aback by this revelation about the currently popular idol. For a moment, they didn’t know how to continue the interview.
However, Chen’s mother retrieved a key and took the reporter to Huo Ren’s old house.
“You’re journalists, you want to report the truth.”
“I’ll show you the truth.”
Although the locks had been changed at the old house, there were still traces and items inside, covered in thick layers of dust.
Stepping inside felt like exposing someone’s wounds and delving into their dark pain.
“Hold the camera steady,” Chen’s mother said calmly. “Capture everything clearly.”
The house was not large, and there were large patches of strange stains on the floor.
The reporter asked instinctively, “What is this?”
“That man had accumulated a lot of gambling debts, and in order to force him to pay back the money, thugs came to the school gate and even poured paint here on holidays and special occasions.”
“The child was almost evicted by the property management, and the door was smashed two or three times. We helped replace it,” Chen’s mother turned her head to the reporter and continued calmly, “The locksmith is here, and the neighbors on the upper and lower floors are all witnesses.”
“If you don’t believe it, you can continue to investigate.”
The living room was cluttered with bottles, and the television had its glass shattered. The whole house was in a mess.
There was no study, only two bedrooms.
Huo Ren’s room had very few books, and other scattered items were on the windowsill and bed. Paint footprints could be seen from the doorway all the way to the window.
“He jumped out of the window at that time, and my son caught him.”
As soon as the second video was released, nobody had the mind to watch the skits and magic tricks on the New Year’s Gala. Everyone had their TVs on as background noise while frantically searching for related terms on their phones.
—What does this mean???
—This plot twist is too horrifying, isn’t it???
—Living in such a family, exclusive to legal programs, and still becoming the top scorer in the college entrance examination?!!
User559357298: We were classmates, and that incident with the chicken at the school gate was really terrifying. The principal almost forced him to drop out.
CoronaWillBeFamousForever: Damn, damn, damn! I can’t even imagine how my ultimate bias managed to survive—this scum of a father deserves to die a thousand times over!!! It serves him right to eat vegetable leaves. I wish I could grab a kitchen knife and chop him right now!!!
DeerAntEarrings: Why did he have to go through so much? People on Weibo still want to wait for a plot twist? Come on, the police records are out, and you still want to look for a twist? This kind of thing can’t be faked, okay? I really feel sorry for my Blade, it’s suffocating me.
Dark Jokes Not Funny: Am I the only one who thinks this is all a publicity stunt?? Isn’t it annoying to have this series of stunts during the Lunar New Year???
More and more people started getting involved in this dispute and found the truth from the clues.
The paint all over the floor in the video matched perfectly with the paint on 15-year-old Huo Ren’s pants in Corona’s initial video released in February, both in color and timing.
Not only that, but the court’s list of dishonest individuals was also leaked, and some even found old legal reports mentioning a case of Huo (26 years old) being a victim of domestic violence but unable to divorce.
—The court’s reason was “the marital relationship is not broken, allowing an eight-month cooling-off period for reconsideration.”
The anonymous zone and official website forums quickly filled with comments, and many people were in tears.
: He’s such a good person, and I didn’t trust him just now!! I’m really sad. These videos only show the tip of the iceberg. How did he grow up when he was young?
: It suddenly became the top trending topic today, and I thought it wasn’t normal. Attacking someone’s family on such a day, and even coordinating with marketing accounts to release statements? Can you have any shame?? I hope you get a 500-meter ban!!
: Three unsuccessful divorces, claiming “the marital relationship is not broken” and “having an actively apologetic attitude.” It’s so ridiculous. That father of his, that beast, deserves to be tortured a thousand times over. Can I suspect that he staged all this for gambling money??
: The guest lineup was already confirmed, and they suddenly removed it today. I can’t even imagine how he’s feeling right now. My ultimate bias has such a strong sense of responsibility. When he was the team captain, he always took care of everyone’s feelings. How guilty must he feel… Damn those blood-sucking marketing accounts!! The crown will always be the crown!!!
This is just the first wave of counterattacks.
It’s not enough, far from enough.
At first, Uncle Jiang’s blood pressure soared due to anger, but now he is becoming more and more courageous, completely fearless.
Isn’t it typical to stir up trouble during the Lunar New Year??
Didn’t they want to crush him to the bottom??
If I don’t reclaim his reputation today, I won’t stay in the entertainment industry anymore!!!
At midnight, Aunt Lu’s interview audio and related evidence appeared on the trending headlines.
Aunt Lu accompanied Huo Ren and Pei Ruye during his mother’s three hospital transfers. Trusting her teacher, she handed over the keys to her home when she couldn’t move freely.
“As long as I can help him,” the woman said firmly. “This is nothing at all.”
The content included all the evidence of her being with his mother during the divorce preparation, every court and medical record, all well-preserved and clear.
These pieces of evidence undoubtedly tore through Huo Ren’s halo, exposing his unknown dark past, but at the same time, they were also rescuing him from hell and bringing him back to the human world.
If Huo Ren’s father’s two-staged photos could be called evidence, then this was the ultimate hammer of truth, soaring like a celestial rocket.
Tens of thousands of fans once again flooded the official accounts of SPF and Corona, demanding that they treat Huo Ren well and be his only support.
“Our captain has come such a long way, it’s really been tough. Please, please treat him better.”
“Don’t give him too much work, it’s okay if we listen to the album a bit later. Please give him more love, please.”
“I cried so much that my mom thought I had gone crazy… Thank you for taking him in back then. He has become your pride, hasn’t he? Please protect him and don’t let him get hurt again—”
As one wave subsided, another wave rose.
The next morning at 6:30 a.m., Pei Ruye finally finished organizing the materials and sent the compressed file.
Immediately after that, a marketing account on Weibo released an anonymous disclosure.
EntertainmentCircleCircle: Shocking!! A fan who has a relative involved in the gambling business provided me with this!!!
The photos actually reveal Zhang Wu’s gambling records from the past few years.
Casinos communicate with each other to confirm the unpaid debts of regular gamblers and, if necessary, keep evidence as leverage.
This absolute internal information not only surfaced but was exposed to everyone.
Zhang Wu pawned his ID card, forged property certificates, and was recorded in numerous audio files.
“My son—look at this household registration book, even the reissued one is real! If you don’t believe it, go to the police station and check!”
“My son is Huo Ren!! Does Huo Ren know? A money tree?? You won’t let me gamble inside?”
“No money, no money!!!! Go to that Aces place if you want money!!”
Everything was thoroughly exposed.
Netizens never expected to be taken for a ride during the Lunar New Year, and now all their compassion and sympathy turned into a frenzy of backlash.
They couldn’t find a way to directly vent their anger at the gambling addict in the photos. Instead, they targeted the marketing accounts that initially leaked and spread the information, channeling all their anger toward them.
How dare you accept this dirty money??? Have some self-respect, will you???
During the Lunar New Year, are you trying to drive Huo Huo to his death? His bright future is ruined because of idiots like you, how will you compensate for that???
The fans regrouped once again, launching a coordinated attack in the early morning amidst the falling snow, targeting and blasting four major marketing accounts.
Everything was rapidly reversing and overturning.
Xiao Lin Reads Books: I shouldn’t have retweeted so quickly after all—this reversal is too shocking. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have hurled insults. Here, I apologize to Huo Ren and all the fans.
Susu Loves Makeup: I can’t believe entertainment industry reversals can be this terrifying… I’m sorry, I apologize. From now on, I’ll wait for official statements before sharing such news. I’m really sorry, that scumbag went too far.
Huang Li Niang’s Gossip Account: It’s obvious that someone wants to bring down the crown, right??? They dare to bring up Huo Ren’s father, they’re so heartless. What I hope for now is that SPF provides him with a professional psychologist for counseling. He’s barely twenty, and being attacked like this across the internet is so tragic.
At seven in the morning, Uncle Jiang and Pei Ruye confirmed the last link in the chain of revelations and fell into a deep sleep in the living room on the 17th floor.
“It’s not enough,” Pei Ruye, sleepless all night, rubbed his temples. “Once we find…”
“Sleep first.” Uncle Jiang had already wrapped himself in a blanket and settled on the couch. “We can’t risk our lives. When we wake up, we’ll continue to fuck them…”
Huo Ren silently helped them cover themselves with the blanket and quietly said, “Thank you.”
Then, he was forcibly taken back to the communal sleeping area in Long Jia’s room.
“Huo Huo! Sleep!”
“Captain, it wasn’t your fault to begin with. Don’t think about it. Let’s sleep together!”
“Dog shit, Xie Lianyun, you stepped on my blanket!!! Move!!”
“Why are you yelling at me for stepping on your blanket—”
Four days passed, and SPF still hadn’t responded officially.
Public relations in a major crisis only had one chance. No matter how many times you try to supplement it later, it won’t have the same impact as the initial dissemination.
The most lethal weapon had yet to be found, and they had to continue waiting.
– Where is Zhang Wu now?
Pei Ruye mobilized almost all his connections, while Uncle Jiang repeatedly urged his subordinates to investigate all available information.
President Qi was smoking a cigarette while making a phone call to an old friend when he suddenly choked.
“Old Bai, hey, it’s been a long time since we last contacted. Can you help me find someone?”
“If I can’t find him, I won’t be able to peacefully celebrate the New Year with my wife and son. I’ll have to kneel and scrub the washboard.”
“Damn it, hurry up!! I’ll treat you to a meal when you come back to the country!!!”
On the fifth day, an updated photo of Zhang Wu finally appeared online.
He had already taken up residence in an underground gambling den in Las Vegas, stuffing money into the fishnet stockings of a blond stripper with a smirk on his face.
“The time has come,” Pei Ruye led Huo Ren to the entrance of the press conference.
“You can finally rid yourself of him.”
The man restrained his emotions and lightly brushed off the dust from Huo Ren’s shoulder.
“Huo Ren, when you go on stage, don’t say anything.”
“Let them see you shed tears.”
Pei Ruye took a deep breath, feeling a cold detachment within himself. “By not saying anything, they will feel even more.”
“I know you’ve always been resilient.”
“But all the compassion and guilt you feel at this moment will be compensated for with everything you deserve.”
Huo Ren glanced at him and suddenly reached out to embrace him once again.
“Teacher,” he whispered softly in the man’s ear, “When I shed tears, don’t feel sorry for me.”
“The peak is still far away, let’s go there together.”
Chapter 25 of “The Idol Group and The Crown”
“Eating, sleeping, privacy.”
“Love, emotions, words.”
“Health, personal space, desires.”
“All the things that contracts cannot constrain or clarify.”
“Will be sacrificed to boundless fame and fortune.”
The man interlaced his fingers and pressed them against his lips, his gaze penetrating and full of pity.
“Huo Ren, now you have the right to leave for the last time.”
Chapter 26 of “The Idol Group and The Crown”
“Sacrifice.” Huo Ren repeated the word, “Almost everything.”
“I’m not allowed to give you any advice,” Pei Ruye said calmly, “But I will accompany you in the future.”
The young man raised his eyes and smiled.
“That’s already good enough.”
His smile was like the first thaw of spring, his brows and eyes exuding a heroic and gentle aura.
“Teacher Pei, thank you for feeling sorry for me.”