Wu Bingwang and his wife were out on a walk. Their phone camera pointed directly at their faces, without any thought as to their appearances. The couple knew that their niece had taken on a variety show, but not that the show was being live-streamed. They thought that, since Mo Sui accepted the video call, she probably had time to herself, and thus began to speak nonchalantly of personal affairs.
Here, they asked Mo Sui what lipstick shade she’d worn to her last event. There, they wanted to know whether her dress was from the latest season. The two sometimes then spoke to each other, filling the screen with their lovey-doveyness. The bullet comment area filled with viewers saying this lovey-dovey scene between an old couple was very entertaining too.
Wu Bingwang knew that his niece had a cold personality. Though she did not make a sound, he did not mind. Instead, he cleared his throat and prepared to re-open discussion on an oft-trodden topic: “Sui Sui, you and you husband haven’t come home to eat for so long, as a couple—”
“Uncle,” Mo Sui cut in. She turned her camera slightly to show a slew of unfamiliar faces.
Wu Bingeing’s eyes widened. He immediately swallowed back the words he had yet to say.
“Auntie, the lipstick from last time was given to me by the makeup artist, so I don’t know the shade. I’ll ask in a bit and have someone send you one tomorrow.”
Zhao Yanqing hurriedly said, “Sure, Sui Sui, I’ll leave you to it.”
Even after the video call ended, the couple stared at each other.
When did their niece make so many friends she could eat together with?
The couple began smiling delightedly, regaining energy in their legs. Their little walk turned into a walking race.
At the other side, Mo Sui hung up and looked towards Zhuang Ruyin without a sound.
Jiang Lin’s and Qin Feng’s gazes were also full of disdain. They were also riding on another’s popularity, but they’d never once done anything this shameless. To pour dirty water onto the Movie Empress in front of a camera, how could that be borne?
“A misunderstanding, it’s just a misunderstanding,” Zhang Jinming said awkwardly, breaking through the silence. “Ruyin isn’t sensible, please forgive her.”
“A person in her twenties still isn’t reasonable?” Jiang Lin glanced at her from the corner of her eyes.
Zhuang Ruyin seemed frozen in place. “How, how could this be...”
This piece of gossip came from her mother, a personal agent. It couldn’t be wrong.
“Ruyin, hurry and apologize to Ms. Mo.” Zhang Jinming, breaking out in cold sweat, pulled at his wife’s clothes.
But it was as though Zhuang Ruyin lost all her senses. She stared dumbly at Mo Sui, eyes full of disbelief.
The viewers in the live broadcast room were also stunned by this development. Dingwang Construction Materials was a well-known business, and many people had heard of it. But no one knew that it was founded by Mo Sui’s uncle. So, not only was Mo Sui herself very successful, even her family could not be looked down upon?
“Mama Jiang, Papa Qin, we’re full.”
Li Li had pushed open the room door and come out, the other two kids following him like a little tail. It was obvious that the three kiddos had gotten along. At least, when they came out, they were all smiling, without anyone crying or making a fuss. Even Ni Ni was well-behaved.
The children’s arrival softened the stiff atmosphere. Zhuang Ruyin let out a breath, and tried to pretend nothing had happened. She pulled Ni Ni to her side and pinched her little cheek, saying gently, “Ni Ni, what games did you play with your little friends in there?”
“Chatting,” Ni Ni said. She wasn’t that close with her intern mother: she leaned back with all her strength to avoid her pinches, so much that she almost got a cramp in her little neck.
“What did you chat about?” Zhuang Ruyin said, pretending to find this interesting.
The guests were all adults, and understood they ought to give others an out. They didn’t pursue the matter of Zhuang Ruyin’s attempt to slander Mo Sui. After all, with so many viewers in the audience watching, once she left the show, she’d still have to face the consequences.
“Chatting about An An being an orphan.” Ni Ni turned to grab An An’s arm, as though she were a little heroine. “We agreed, from now on I’ll protect her.”
An An looked at Ni Ni’s chubby face with worshipful eyes.
Zhuang Ruyin paled and tried to change the topic, saying, “Oh right—”
Jiang Lin raised an eyebrow and cut in. “Kiddo, how do you know about orphans?”
Zhuang Ruyin looked towards the doorway, anxiously asking, “Is the strawberry cake still not here yet?”
Ni Ni poked at Zhang Ruyin’s nose with one small finger without hesitation. “She told me!” Zhuang Ruyin’s face turned ashen. Ni Ni hooked her arm even more tightly around An An’s and angrily said, “If you look down on my friend, you look down on me! I’m gonna tell my dad to replace you! Get out, get out!”
Everyone on scene were stunned.
【 Hahahaha the movie empress is probably thinking: “This kid’s on the right track, saves me from having to put pressure on the program team myself.” 】
【 Zhuang Ruyin is just too despicable. I was fooled by her appearance before, this couple should quickly get offline. 】
【 Our An An and Ni Ni have a pretty good sister dynamics? Let me proclaim, Zhuang Ruyin and Zhang Jinming need to get out of the show, but Ni Ni the little heroine must stay! 】
【 Who called Ni Ni a wild child and an upstart earlier? You’ve played yourself. 】
Whether one played oneself or not, oh well. The scenery was too sweet.
Zhuang Ruyin could no longer face the rest of the group. She pretended to be extremely drunk and went home.
The strawberry cake did arrive in the end, but it was so late that Jiang Lin simply cut it and had everyone take a portion home.
An An took the paper plate with both hands, eyes glued to the cake. Jiang Lin and Qin Feng both smiled at her from the doorway as she went past, and said in unison, “An An, come back to play again!”
An An softly agreed. She walked out holding her portion of the cake.
“You’re going the wrong way,” Mo Sui called out. Seeing that the little dumpling hadn’t heard her at all, she went to take hold of An An’s arm, but then thought better and pulled at the strap of the little water bottle instead. “It’s that way.”
An An only then broke out of her daze. Her face turned red. “Little Ear’s running away from home...” she said. This was a phrase she’d learned from the picture books that kind uncles and aunties donated to the orphanage.
The pair thus went home.
Once her intern mother turned on the lights, the little dumpling ran to put the cake on the dining table. She accidentally smeared her hand on a bit of cream from the edge of the paper plate. Reluctant to wash the bit of cream off, she carefully licked it clean. It tasted sweet!
“Can I eat it?” An An said, watching Mo Sui attentively with her large round apricot eyes.
“Yes, wash your hands first,” Mo Sui said.
An An immediately cheered up and ran to wash her hands with a pitter-patter sound. Mo Sui watched her quick-footed movement, unaware that her own lips had begun to curl into a smile.
The little dumpling washed her hands and came back. She wanted to pull Mo Sui to eat the cake with her. But her intern mother deftly avoided being touched by her little hand, without leaving any hint of having done so.
Mo Sui brushed through her long, wavy hair. She cleared her throat stiffly. “Come eat then.”
The little dumpling didn’t notice a thing. She skipped to the dining table and climbed into her child-sized chair. She picked up her spoon with a little hand, then looked curiously between the wall clock and the camera in the corner.
An An was very smart. She knew that the livestream ended at 8:30. But she didn’t know how to read the clock’s long and short hands.
Mo Sui followed her gaze and looked at the time. “It’s only 8 right now,” she explained, “but the focus of tonight’s program is at the neighbour’s, so our livestream camera isn’t on.”
An An nodded as if she understood.
【 Ahhhh—That’s not it, the camera’s on, we’re here! 】
【 Movie Empress wake up! How could the program team miss out on any potential topics, they would definitely be filming your routine after returning home! 】
【 Does that mean we get to see the movie empress’ candid side? 】
【 And our little cub An An, she seems a bit livelier than before. 】
The livestream audience cried and howled, but An An and Mo Sui, still sat before the cake, were completely unaware.
Mo Sui watched the child eat the cake. The creamy cake was topped with fresh strawberry halves. The little dumpling scooped up a small mouthful with her spoon straight into her mouth. The rich and mellow taste filled her mouth and, as she gently bit down with her milk teeth, was followed immediately by the strawberries’ sweet and light taste.
The cake’s taste was layered one on top of the other. An An didn’t even time to sigh as she ate through the layers.
Still, eating was fine, but sharing was also important. There were two pieces of cake on the little paper plate. An An finished hers and obediently put down her spoon.
“Auntie, please eat,” she said quietly. The two friends she’d made would say mom instead, such as “Mama Jiang” and “Zhuang Mama”, but An An did not dare.
“I’m not eating,” Mo Sui said, lightly raising her delicate eyebrows. Hearing that, An An went back to staring at the cake.
Mo Sui originally planned to let An An finish the cake, but then thought that perhaps it wasn’t good for kids to eat so much dessert before bed. “You can’t have more. Go wash your face first, afterwards I’ll help you—” she hesitated.
“I can wash by myself!” the little dumpling said.
This was better. Mo Sui brought the child a change of clothes and returned to the dining table to clean up. She picked up the little paper plate with one hand and walked towards the garbage bin in the kitchen.
But once there, she suddenly paused. She never gave much thought to the meals she ate every day. Satisfying a single moment of temptation would lead to getting fatter and faster skin aging due to increased sugar intake.
But as she looked at the cake, she still felt conflicted. An An seemed to have enjoyed the cake so much. That look of satisfaction was if she hadn’t a care in the world.
【 Could it be that Mo Sui wants to eat some too? 】
【 Of course not. She’s so strict about her diet, how could she possibly eat this calorie bomb after 8PM! 】
【 Even if it’s in the morning it’s still impossible. I watched the vlog that the movie empress’ team made for her last year, her food intake is too scary. Just a few pieces of vegetables were considered a full meal. 】
【 As a fan, I feel bad for her. To be that self-disciplined, is there any joy in living still? 】
【 Upstairs, look at your bank balance first. You should feel bad for yourself. 】
Mo Sui stared at the cake for a long while. The cream seemed to morph into a little person waving towards her. Come eat, come eat, it’s just one bite, life is already hard enough, it seemed to say.
Mo Sui’s brows furrowed slightly.
【 Why do I feel like she really does want to eat? 】
【 That conflicted expression, so lacking in her usual coldness, just like me every time I fail to lose weight... 】
【 Ahhh—Mo Sui’s a bit cute here. 】
【 She’s going to eat, she grabbed a spoon!!! Thank you program team for not turning off the camera, this stealth eating scene is too amazing! 】
Indeed, Mo Sui grabbed a spoon. She faced the cake, steeled her heart, and scooped a spoonful as if she were facing death head-on. After eating that one bite, her expression turned stunned, the furrow in her brows gradually relaxing.
An An, who had walked out of the bathroom with her little toothbrush, mouth still full of toothpaste, blinked in surprise. It was exactly 8:30PM: the live broadcast room made a snapping sound and prepared to close.
The livestream viewers held their phones in hand still, lost in thought. When they returned to the livestream room tomorrow morning, would they get to see Mo Sui die of embarrassment as she realized the truth?
And, would Ni Ni really get Zhuang Ruyin kicked out of the show?
1. You'll commonly see this (left un)translated as 'dog food.' This is an unintentional lovey-dovey show put on before someone/a group of people who are usually characterized as single. ↩︎
2. As previously noted, a nickname created by duplicating her given name Sui. ↩︎
3. The original pithy saying (打脸了) plays on the face-slapping trope (humiliating a rival/antagonist) by changing it to the person slapping themself. DJ Khaled puts it better in English.
4. This is an actual storybook/children's tale, The Little Ear That's Run Away From Home (离家出走的小耳朵). It's about a kid who won't stop thus irritating his ear by picking it, sticking random stuff inside, playing loud music, not telling his parents that his ears hurt (probably ear infection?), etc, and always brushes off the ear's complaints. Then one day the ear just leaves, and he can't hear anymore. Finally he agrees to go to the doctor and learns to treat his ears better; the ear then agrees to come back. Basically, a cautionary tale for kindergarteners to take care of their ears. If you're interested in an illustrated version, here's one (but it's in Chinese). ↩︎
5. Also translated as almond eyes, due to the similarity between the kernel and the nut and in their naming (杏子 vs 杏仁 respectively, vs apricot eyes 杏眼; notice the same character used in all 3)—in fact, there's a pretty big controversy in which people got scammed into buying the lower-priced almond at apricot kernel prices. This eyeshape is very different from its western counterpart, and would generally look like this (image taken from this tweet:)
6. As in, she doesn’t care whether she personally enjoyed the meal. ↩︎
7. A Chinese saying (吃得香) sometimes translated as "eating deliciously" (Korean has this too). AKA visibly enjoying the food/drink. ↩︎
8. She specifically blinks multiple times in a row, like the blinking guy meme: