It was late at night but the courtyard of the Jiang family was brightly lit.
Yi Hui logged in to Weibo with his computer, with real-time alerts for new messages in the bottom right corner. If he was not careful and clicked on them, the endless questions and verbal abuse jumping to his eyes would overwhelm him.
It was very difficult to find Dora-Hum-Hum’s message among them. Words like ”plagiarism“, ”shameless“, and ”come out to apologize” hit like bullets. Yi Hui couldn’t bear it. Subconsciously trying to hide, he covered his eyes and slumped on the table. Jiang Xuemei had to call out several times when she came in to bring the sweet soup, before he slowly lifted his head.
“Right, I have a mobile phone.” With a fluster, he turned to the bed and rummaged there.
An hour ago, Yi Hui was lying in bed ready to go to sleep, opening Weibo to say good night to Dora-Hum-Hum. Before he could click on the dialog box, he was stunned by a three-digit number of new mentions.
Since he opened Weibo, the number of Xiao Hui Xia’s fans just exceeded a thousand so far. Usually, the most likes and comments for his published works he had received were in the double digits. He didn’t expect that the first time he received so many new alerts would be because of suspected plagiarism.
Jiang Yimang, who was still in S City, was very anxious when she saw Weibo. When she said on the phone that she wanted to come back, Yi Hui stopped her, saying, “No, you finally went out, come back after you have enough fun.”
“What fun, they are bullying my brother.” Jiang Yimang huffed and puffed, “Plagiarism? Empty words won’t kill him, wait for me to find someone to report him!”
Anyway, she was persuaded not to rush back overnight. When Yi Hui clicked on Weibo with his mobile phone, he found that his hands were still shaking and there were dark stains floating before his eyes, so he failed to press the button several times. Only after turning off strangers’ private messages and comments according to Jiang Yimang’s instructions and blocking Weibo mention alerts did the world finally return to silence.
“Come, have a sip of soup first.”
Jiang Xuemei felt terribly distressed when she saw her son’s pale face and cold sweat covering his forehead. She didn’t understand Weibo or anything, so the only way she could help was to stay with her son and feed Yi Hui soup, spoon by spoon.
Yi Hui couldn’t actually drink it but fearing that his mother would be worried, he reluctantly took a few sips. As soon as he drank a small bowl, he vomited it all out.
As he sat next to the toilet, his physiological tears fell into the sewer with the filth. Yi Hui desperately yanked the paper to wipe his dirty face. Even though he was a mess, he was still thinking about comforting Jiang Xuemei: “I, I’m fine, the soup, wait a minute, I’ll drink it… It’s not that Mom’s cooking is bad.”
Jiang Xuemei looked at him with her eyes red, stepped forward and hugged his shoulders, patting him lightly on the back: “It’s okay, it’s okay if you don’t drink it, it’s okay. If you don’t draw in the future, it’s okay, our family is still fine.”
Although he had never experienced this kind of thing before, Yi Hui could guess from those malicious comments that the incident was very serious, so serious that it might affect his reputation in the entire artistic circle.
The other concerned party, artist A, had already heard the news and expressed his shock by reposting in Weibo, saying, “I didn’t expect that my less mature work from last year would also be copied.” At the same time, he mourned the declining trends of the world and advised fledgling young painters not to rush to make quick gains but to hone their skills in a proper manner.
Artist A was also a new online artist who was on the rise. His popularity was higher than that of Yi Hui, with just over 10,000 followers. The comments on his Weibo were one-sided, all saying that he was too kind and sympathising with him. Almost every comment mentioned Xiao Hui Xia, demanding the plagiator dog to kneel down and apologize and then put down his brush forever and get lost.
Even blocking didn’t work. With a swipe of his hand, he could still see all kinds of cynical remarks and verbal insults. Yi Hui posted a few replies, hoping that netizens who didn’t know the truth could distinguish right from wrong or at least see the cause and effect clearly before making judgments.
However, it didn’t work. Leaving aside the fans of Artist A, most of the passers-by were just trying to have a quick laugh and they would leave after scolding him, regardless of whether he had plagiarized or not.
Yi Hui’s head was in a turmoil as various voices from all directions overwhelmed him, some laughing, some cursing. The followers he had previously met in the comments section, who usually always praised him for his divine paintings, now were threatening to unfollow him without listening to his explanations, saying they were disappointed in him.
He wanted to reply to the comments one by one and tell them, “I did not plagiarize” but he himself felt that this explanation was weak. Who would believe his one-sided words?
Except for Jiang Xuemei and Jiang Yimang, there was probably only Dora-Hum-Hum.
After changing settings to not accept private messages from those whom he didn’t follow, Dora-Hum-Hum’s private message box was at the top, his messages coming one by one without interruption——
Don’t read the comments. Block all others except for my private messages.
Don’t listen to their nonsense, I know you didn’t, how could you copy it?
I’ve sorted out the cause and effects and know what to do.
Send me the original painting that was commissioned and tell me who commissioned it.
If you don’t have his real name, a Weibo account is also fine.
Are you still there?
Don’t you believe me? Our chat history is here, you can take screenshots in real time for your records.
Trust me, I will definitely take care of it for you.
Are you still there? If you are there, just reply to me. If you don’t want to talk, you can press an emoticon. I am very worried.
For some reason, Yi Hui didn’t cry when facing verbal criticism and endured without crying when he was held in his mother’s arms; but at this moment, receiving the support and help of someone he had never met, he wanted to cry.
With his nose sour, Yi Hui opened his eyes wide and raised his head to desperately hold back the tears. He opened the message box with difficulty because of his blurry vision and chose an emoticon to send.
Seeing the [ok] emoticon appearing in the dialog box, Zhou Jinheng breathed a sigh of relief.
He was this close to calling Yi Hui. Fortunately, he received a reply at the last minute, otherwise he would have acted impulsively. It was not clear which was worse: the plagiarism storm or the online silence.
Not long after, Xiao Hui Xia sent him the commissioned painting and the Weibo account of the customer. The matter had fermented to this point but he was still protecting others: the person who made a commission was also a victim, so he didn’t want to reveal his name.
While he waited, Zhou Jinheng thoroughly researched the matter and compared the two paintings suspected of plagiarism. At this moment, he sneered with confidence and replied: Victim? Perpetrator is more like it.
Yi Hui’s response was very slow; he seemed to be thinking: Why did he want to harm me?
Zhou Jinheng hesitated for a moment but eventually did not tell Yi Hui about the cruel laws he had seen since he entered the society. He only said: There are many bad people in this world. They will mess with you even if you do nothing wrong. There are bad guys who won’t change their ways, and others who won’t cry until they see their coffin, and there are those who are so stupid that they don’t know how to regret until they’ve done a lot of things wrong.
Yi Hui digested it for a long time and replied solemnly: If you know your mistakes and can change, you are a good man.
When he saw this, Zhou Jinheng laughed at the little fool’s unauthorized change of “good boy” to “good man” and at the fact that his Dora-Hum-Hum mask was always gathering the praises.
Zhou Jinheng, who had been issued a good man card, was full of energy and rushed home as soon as he returned to S City.
All of Yi Hui’s works were stored carefully in the studio and he even came back to look at them after the filming a few days ago, so it was easy to find the painting he wanted.
Before leaving, he poured water on the pot of snowflakes at the door. Zhou Jinheng learned from Yi Hui’s example, squatted in front of the flower pot and poked its leaves: “Wait a little, your master will be back soon.”
In the early morning of the next day, within eight hours after the plagiarism incident broke out, a Weibo user named “Dora-Hum-Hum” posted a long article about ① Xiao Hui Xia, Artist A and the fake account that posted the plagiarism testimony last night.
Starting from the events of last night, the article first analyzed the differences in composition and color of the two paintings, and then cited the legal provision showing that the so-called “extreme partial similarity” was not established.
In order to block the mouths of netizens, a number of similar works were also demonstrated later. One of the paintings signed by Mr. Yi was particularly representative. When the three paintings were compared together, it could be said that they were quite similar in painting style and composition skills. Other aspects had their own merits and there was no plagiarism at all.
What followed was the chat history. Judging from the timeline, Xiao Hui Xia received this commission last month. The other party asked him to paint a kind grandmother. In addition to stipulating the appearance of the character in the painting, he also required that she had to sit facing the window, with the sunset light falling obliquely on her body.
This kind of composition would have something in common with the work of Artist A in any case, not to mention that the customer also made a request for the background, asking the artist to draw a pot of white flowers on the low table next to her.
This pot of white flowers was the focus of discussion among passers-by last night. Many people thought that elderly people in declining years mostly preferred colorful flowers and were unlikely to like white flowers that were traditionally considered more inauspicious. In addition, the two hand-painted grandmothers were wearing brightly colored Tang costumes. No matter how you looked at it, you would feel that the white flowers next to them looked somewhat dissonant.
When Artist A made this painting public, he explained that his grandmother raised this flower when she lived in the south when she was a child, so she had a special preference for it. This was tantamount to pointing a finger at Xiao Hui Xia – why did he think of painting this flower? How come it happened to be the same variety as Artist A’s snowflakes that were not common in China?
In this regard, in addition to giving chat records to prove that the flowers were requested by the customer, the blogger also posted several photos of snowflakes, saying: “My family in S City raises them. This flower is not unusual at all. Is there a kind of rule that forbids painting something you don’t own? Did the great artist A Dada make it up?”
The whole piece was factual and reasonable, but this sentence was mixed with personal feelings, as if someone improvised and added a sentence to a prepared public relations text. It was also because this sentence was full of mockery that the whole official script acquired a little bit of vivid personality.
After all, no one could be calm when encountering this kind of thing.
Because the clarification was timely enough, the impact was contained before it expanded. A lot of people who went to bed early, got up early, and saw the whole process of the so-called plagiarism matter being quickly counter-attacked. After the article was reposted by several big names in the circle, everyone enjoyed the show for a while. Not only was there a lot of noise in the circle, but people from outside the circle also came to join in the fun and see the joke.
But all this had nothing to do with Yi Hui anymore. He clicked on Weibo and watched his number of followers go up. Not only did those who scolded him yesterday come back to apologize, but also many new faces appeared. They flicked through the archive of his Weibo. Everyone praised him for his good painting skills, and some asked him if he would accept commissions, saying that since it was almost the New Year, they would add money to cut in line to get a painting for it.
Yi Hui, who had spent the whole night thinking of a way out, was in a daze, thinking whether this was the “hype” Jiang Yimang mentioned.
With excitement and anxiety, Yi Hui asked Dora-Hum-Hum: Hum-Hum, are you doing marketing work?
Dora-Hum-Hum: Similar. Usually others are marketing me.
Yi Hui breathed a sigh of relief: No wonder you’re so amazing [Doraemon is surprised]
Recalling how frightened he was by the unexpected situation last night, Yi Hui hid his head under the quilt again, revealing only two reddened eyes: Thank you! Did your team write that article? How much does it cost, I will reimburse you!
He asked sincerely, but Zhou Jinheng, who saw this on his mobile phone, almost laughed out loud.
The little fool even knew the word “team”. He should be more careful when chatting with him in the future, don’t give yourself away by chance.
After replying that there was no team, Zhou Jinheng opened the car door and got out. He looked up and saw the faint morning light floating on the low roof with the words ”XX Service Area” gleaming with gold, and he wanted to laugh even more.
After taking evidence from S City, he didn’t think about anything, got in the car and asked the driver to drive to the southern town where Yi Hui lived. At that time, he had only one goal, which was to get there quickly, hold him in his arms and tell him not to be afraid.
Flying there would be faster but flying was not an option for Zhou Jinheng. He had to be online for the little fool all the time. What if he looked for him during the flight and couldn’t find him and cried again?
The whole process from communication, drafting and publishing was all done in the car. At this moment, looking at the unfamiliar scenery around him and the vehicles passing by on the highway, Zhou Jinheng realized in a daze that he had been in the car all night. After he stretched his body, the backache was merciless. He rubbed the back of his neck and checked where he was; it turned out he was still hundreds of kilometers away from the small southern town.
Wasn’t it funny? When the car got there, Yi Hui might have completed the painting for him.
After rubbing his tingling back, Zhou Jinheng moved his muscles and joints. First, intending to make amends for the driver who had been driving all night, he went to buy food and drinks for him, then took off his mask and walked to the sink to wash his face with cold water.
When he raised his head, he saw himself in the mirror, dressed in a suit and shoes, and suddenly remembered that he had embarked on a journey right after the awards ceremony yesterday. He didn’t have time to participate in the celebration banquet and Xiao Lin’s phone was also decisively blacklisted by him.
He was really in a hurry, really anxious, his thoughts full of the little fool; he couldn’t care about anything else.
When Yi Hui asked him if he really had a pot of snowflakes in his house, Zhou Jinheng leaned against the car door and just lit a cigarette.
He replied: No, my friend’s house.
① Xiao Hui Xia: So that’s it… Actually, this flower is really not very common.
Slowly exhaling a string of smoke rings, Zhou Jinheng typed with one hand: En, but I like it very much.
He liked the flower, but even more, he liked the person who liked to raise the flower.
After learning that the painting used for comparison was also found by a friend in the gallery of painting competition works in S City, Yi Hui’s concerns seemed to be dispelled and his tone became lighter: Hum-Hum’s friends are as good as Hum-Hum, they can even find that! [like]
As his tightly wound nerves loosened and exhaustion spread through his body, Zhou Jinheng inhaled the smoke again, recalling the surprised expression on Yi Hui’s face when he saw him smoking in the tent that day.
Thinking about it, he raised the corner of his mouth again. The little fool also denied that he was Yi Hui but “When did you learn to smoke” was clearly written on his face, almost as if he wanted to take the cigarette out of his mouth and throw it out.
Thinking himself an elder, the little fool had a clear system of rewards and punishments, and he did these things a lot.
He remembered that when he came home with the Best Newcomer award last year, the little fool was so sleepy that he couldn’t open his eyes, but he still stood at the door with a bunch of flowers to greet him. When he walked into the house to put down the flowers, he received a reward kiss as soon as he turned around.
Yi Hui tiptoed and leaned to his ear and said, “My husband is awesome.”
His soft voice was very drowsy and his words muffled, but he treasured them in his heart to this day.
He really wanted to hear them again.
Zhou Jinheng picked up his mobile phone, thought about it again and again, and wrote: I won an award yesterday, a pretty good award, the whole company will be on the rise next year.
After sending it, he held his mobile phone, looking forward to the reply. Yi Hui replied quickly and lived up to his expectations: Hum-Hum is awesome! [praise][praise][praise]
Zhou Jinheng imagined the voice in his mind and transformed the words slightly. ”HengHeng is awesome”. Not only did it make his heart ripple but also seemed to instantly infuse him with energy. There was no need to smoke and he could win eight more Best Actor awards in one breath.
He was the best actor who belonged only to this little fool.
When he threw the cigarette into the trash can, he received another message from Yi Hui: Hum-Hum, you are so nice, why are you so nice to me?
The little fool in his mind was so good and the other one was so good, too; Zhou Jinheng was almost wrapped around by him. He smiled and typed a few words, then deleted them, and typed another line but still didn’t think it was appropriate.
Because I like you.
Because I said that I will never let you be wronged again.
Zhou Jinheng had some difficulty pushing back his black hair that had become messy without styling. When he tilted his head, the sun rose over the roof, its warm light passing through the strands of his hair and shining gently on his face.
He deleted and changed it again. Only five words were left in the end: Because you are worth it.