Perhaps it was due of Ning Xi’s presence, but everyone noticed that Chang Shi Gui was exceptionally gentle and even easygoing that night. At times, they even spotted Chang Shi Gui and Ning Xi holding hands, and were unwittingly fed a dose of their affection.
The gathering ended on a high. Even though they had to put up with the lovey-dovey display between the couple, everyone clearly saw how important Ning Xi was to Chang Shi Gui.
There were many in their circle who would go into relationships with celebrities. However, these were mostly flings, and few would take their relationships seriously. On the contrary, they could tell from how Chang Shi Gui treated Ning Xi that he was serious about this relationship.
“Brother Chang is usually so quiet, but now he’s going all the way.” Zhao Meng stood at the entrance of the hotel, observing Chang Shi Gui opening the door of the vehicle for Ning Xi. After they both entered the car, it slowly left the hotel. “If this spreads, the taitais would have more to gossip about.”
Chang Shi Gui was considered the most outstanding among the younger generation, to the point that people hated him for his accomplishments. If these people found out that he had an actress for a girlfriend, they would probably laugh at him behind his back.
“So what if they have gossip fodder?” Tao Shenyen raised his brows, “They’ll only dare to talk behind his back. When they meet him face to face, don’t they still go and butter him up?”
“That’s true, someone like Brother Chang would have nothing to be scared of.” Zhao Meng hesitated for a moment. “I’m actually more concerned about Ning Xi …”
Words could inflict the most damage sometimes. Brother Chang could ignore the views of these people, but what about Ning Xi?
After spending some time getting acquainted, he could see that Ning Xi was not someone who would betray herself for a life of luxury. This was both positive yet negative; after all, someone this prideful might not be able to stand it if others viewed her simply as a piece of accessory.
Tao Shenyan let out a long breath, looking in the direction of the departing car. He paused for a moment, then said, “Since they’ve decided to be together, perhaps they already expected to face something like that.”
Zhao Meng was speechless. He was childhood friends with Tao Shenyan. Years ago, they would always follow Brother Chang around. Later, when Brother Chang and Uncle Chang had an accident, resulting in the inheritance struggle, their families even helped to support Brother Chang.
In truth, their families only provided a small amount of assistance that year. However, even after so many years, Brother Chang had given them lots of opportunities on the business front. Even his parents had said he did everything wrong from young, but the one thing he did was to kick up a fuss that year so that they would help Chang Shi Gui.
“We’ve been brothers for so long, and finally we get to see Brother Chang falling for someone. It’d be so sad if he ever gets his heart broken.” Zhao Meng slung his arm across Tao Shenyan, “You’ve spent two years abroad. Let’s go. I’ll show you everything that you missed out in the last two years.”
Tao Shenyan threw his arm away, and rejected his suggestion. “I can already guess where you’re going to bring me. I’m not going. I’m going home to sleep!”
“Tsk!” Zhao Meng did not flare up; he shrugged and walked towards his car. Just as he reached his vehicle, Bai Lu drove up to him.
“Sister Lu,” Zhao Meng bent down towards Bai Lu’s window and said, “You’re going back too?”
“There’s nothing else left to do, so I’ll return home.” Bai Lu eyed the keys in his hands. “Are you planning to drive yourself home?”
Zhao Meng scratched his head and smiled sheepishly, “I wouldn’t dare to. If my dad found out that I was drink-driving, he'd break my legs.” Some time ago, there was a scandal where Jiang Cheng had knocked down some public structures while racing with others. Even though news of the accident had been covered up, in their circle, the Jiang family faced a huge amount of embarrassment.
In each of these aristocratic families, there would at least be one or two in the younger generation that they would be proud of. Yet, both the children of the Jiang family were reckless, and could never take on the responsibility for their family.
Bai Lu nodded, but did not say anything else.
Zhao Meng could tell that she was in low spirits, probably because she still hadn’t given up her feelings for Brother Chang. However, relationships and feelings could not be forced.
“Zhao Meng, Shenyan mentioned just now that Ning Xi and Brother Chang were fated to be together, and even said that they wasted many years. Do you know anything about that?” Bai Lu looked at Zhao Meng, hoping to find out more from him.
“I’m not too sure about this either.” Zhao Meng observed Bai Lu closely, and realised that her expression remained the same even when she mentioned Ning Xi’s name, so he broadly explained, “I just heard that Brother Chang had known Sister Xi many years before, but Sister Xi suddenly withdrew from school and went abroad. It was only then that Brother Chang put his feelings for her aside.”
Now that Bai Lu was clear about what happened, she smiled, and truly set her feelings aside.
It turned out that she had already lost at the starting point. If these two could get together after being apart for so many years, then what’s there for her to feel sour about?
“Goodnight.” Ning Xi got out of the car, then waved back at Chang Shi Gui.
“Wait.” Chang Shi Gui also alighted, then walked to her and suddenly gave her a light peck on her lips.
“Goodnight.” He smiled, then ruffled her hair, “Sweet dreams."
Ning Xi touched her lips and turned towards the lift. Even when she was in the lift, she thought she could hear a low chuckle from Chang Shi Gui.
“He’s a President, but he can be so thick-skinned.” Ning Xi mumbled to herself, then her lips curled up into a smile.
After Chang Shi Gui saw the room in Ning Xi’s apartment light up, he smiled and allowed the driver to wind up the windows, as an unprecedented sense of bliss overwhelmed him.
Over the next few months, apart from spending time filming, Ning Xi spent her time having meals and watching movies with Chang Shi Gui. They would sometimes also meet with some of his good friends. Her days were eventful and well-spent.
However, Ning Xi’s peaceful life was soon broken by a picture that was circulating online.
Someone had posted a picture of her during high school. She was wearing her horrendous-looking school uniform, her hair in an unflattering ponytail. Together with her plump face then, the picture was a stark contrast of how she looked now.
The originator of the Weibo post claimed to be Ning Xi’s classmate. According to the post, Ning Xi was fat and ugly then, and even had a crush on the hottest guy in school, so the girls all hated her.
Everyone was shocked by the release of this photo. They had never expected the fairy-like Ning Xi to have such an ugly look before. Some even declared that they could no longer look at Ning Xi’s face after seeing this photo.
There were others who suspected that Ning Xi underwent cosmetic surgery, hence the vast difference in her pictures then and now.
However, there were many others who felt that this Weibo user was an evil person. Now that Ning Xi was popular, the user took out her old photo and bad-mouthed Ning Xi. This was a high school classmate from hell.
There were all sorts of discussions online. Some “insiders” would occasionally come out with revelations that Ning Xi had previously looked down on others because of her good results. Another group said that Ning Xi was trying to use her high school incident to play up her popularity, and even some who directly scolded Ning Xi a “green tea bitch” .
Anti-fan A: “I wonder if Ning Xi’s non-celebrity boyfriend would be traumatised from seeing her high school photo?
Anti-fan B: Fans of the goddess, can you still love your goddess after seeing her old picture?
The internet was an amazing invention. It could reduce the distance between people, and give rise to the sharing of positive stories, but it was also a place where people expended their negative energies collectively. These people might be polite and humble in real life, but in a cyber world where they could hide their identities, they would unabashedly expose their dark side.
Shortly after, a renowned cosmetic surgeon stepped out to clarify on the point of plastic surgery, and confirmed that Ning Xi’s face was absolutely natural, without a trace of surgery.
The makeup artist of The Legendary Chronicles of Tanhai had also publicly announced on her Weibo that she had worked on enough celebrities to be able to tell apart the ones who had undergone surgery. She swore that if Ning Xi had gone for surgery, she would force her makeup tools down her own throat.
Seeing that the plastic surgery point could no longer affect Ning Xi, the cyber troopers and anti-fans moved the topic to Ning Xi’s looks during high school, and how much she was disliked.
In short, they concluded that Ning Xi was a victim of bullying by her own fault, and not the fault of others.
“Sister Xixi, don’t look at it anymore.” Xiao Yang saw that Ning Xi was still scrolling through her Weibo during her break from filming, and was worried that she might be affected by the negative comments. She added, “Brother Zhang has already gotten someone to investigate the matter. Given how they are putting up these topics all over the place and intentionally slandering you, there must be some plot behind it.”
“It’s fine. This is nothing compared to what they did to me then.” Ning Xi looked at the comments that were ridiculing and insulted her, but laughed instead. She was waiting for the time these classmates acted up, and the day had finally arrived.
Anti-fan number 1: Looking at Goddess Ning Xi’s photo once a day can help curb your appetite. But the question is, how traumatised is her boyfriend right now?
Anti-fan number 2: She’s hard to get along with, but still dares to say that she’d been bullied in school. How shameless is Goddess Ning?
Anti-fan number 3: Ugly people like to stir things up. To think that she dared to have a crush on the school heartthrob. She's truly a goddess, one whose skin is probably umpteenth times thicker than others.
There were many more similar derogatory comments. These people expressed their hatred towards Ning Xi, eager to ensure that she’ll never recover from his scandal, and lose her popularity. They would probably only be satisfied if everything didn’t go well for her.
Xiao Yang fumed after reading all the discussions. If she was this upset even if she wasn’t the victim, how upset would Sister Ning Xi be if she saw these?
Ning Xi: Thanks to the old classmates who kept my old photos. They are really effective for slimming. This is wonderful, since many people can benefit from it. If anyone needs to slim down, please use the photo as you like. I won’t charge for it. :)”
If Ning Xi were to argue with the anti-fans, then others might start to dislike her. Now that the issue had blown up, any female celebrity would have hoped that the issue would fade away immediately, never to be brought up again.
However, Ning Xi didn’t do so. Not only did she refrain from quarrelling with others, she even reposted the picture and engaged the netizens in a cheerful manner. This made the anti-fans appear coercive and unkind.
Passerby number 1: Honestly speaking, as an observer, I feel that these anti-fans are really mean. This time, I’m on Ning Xi’s side. Besides, for someone who is dealing with it so graciously, she doesn’t seem to be as dark or anti-social as they made her out to be. I suspect those who bullied her in the past are now afraid, so they are starting to slander her instead.
Passerby number 2: Claiming that it’s the victim’s fault after bullying others? What kind of logic is this? I am grateful to my high school classmates for not bullying and slandering me. After all, I was so tanned and unfashionable then, but you guys didn’t release photos that would give my boyfriend nightmares. For that, all of you are good people.
Most of the netizens might just be passive observers, but that didn’t mean that they didn’t have any views on the matter. The students had bullied Ning Xi, but Ning Xi was an outstanding student who had even won awards for the school. These were proven facts. However, what those people said about Ning Xi’s antisocial behaviour, her crush on the campus king despite her looks, were all just statements made without evidence.
The suspect is now saying, I hurt the victim, but it’s the victim’s fault, and there’s no proof at all.
Who would a rational person believe?
Passerby fan: The actions of these high school classmates of Ning Xi are scary. From their words, I don’t see a tinge of remorse towards Ning Xi. They rebuke Ning Xi for having a crush on the school hunk, and blame her for being proud of her good results. They’ve solidified their image as a righteous figure, while Ning Xi is the antagonist who deserves to be bullied. I can already imagine Ning Xi’s learning environment in the past. Others were probably jealous of her because of her good grades. Because she was fat, they teased her. Even the supposed crush might not be true. They are not the righteous ones, they are simply trying to justify their bullying of Ning Xi in order to hide their jealousy. Ning Xi never bullied nor scolded you, what wrong did she ever commit? And there are those who came out to mock Ning Xi, saying that her boyfriend might be traumatised. To these anti-fans, I’ll ask a question: to say such mean things about someone who’s just been seriously taking on acting and never did anything wrong, aren’t you afraid of retribution?
This Weibo post attracted many reports and likes. When the tide started to move in Ning Xi’s favour, others started standing out. These were the parents whose children had been victims of school violence, and were then sponsored by Ning Xi.
One parent posted letters, emails, photos and fund transfers from Ning Xi to her child, as well as a list of bank transfers from the last two years. The recipients of the funds were different, but they were bound by the fact that they had been badly affected by school violence. Some of them were physically disadvantaged after, and others, mentally afflicted.
Some of these letters were very old. The postage shows that they were sent a number of years ago, and the sums weren’t too big. However, fans of Ning Xi would know that she was still a student then, and her parents had passed away. It was already an admirable feat that she could even send money to these children.
The anti-fans might have criticised Ning Xi for using school violence to play up her popularity. However, Ning Xi wasn’t even a celebrity a few years back, but a poor student who had been orphaned. Yet, she had done so much for these victims. If she was acting, who was she acting for?
After seeing these, the netizens were enraged. They felt furious for the victims, and also felt wronged towards Ning Xi.
As things had suddenly gotten out of hand, the one behind the scenes had started to regret.
The Weibo user who claimed to be Ning Xi’s high school classmate removed the post and even deleted the account, but it was already too late.
 Green tea bitch - a Chinese Internet slang for a female who looks pure and pretends to be harmless and fragile, without any ambition