Novel Wars

Picked Up A Small Cannon Fodder Chapter 32 - Number One Idol

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NOTE: There is baby talk in this chapter that I've opted to keep as baby talk. In the original Chinese, Li Jiyue mangles the words by mispronouncing them, which the author portrays by using characters that approximate the sound he'd make, in place of the proper ones. This is difficult to translate directly, so I've chosen to render it as the pronounciations of a little kid who has trouble with "r" and "l" sounds.

If a word seems nonsensical, that's because it is! Try to pronounce it out loud, and you should be able to guess what word Li Jiyue is purposefully mangling.

The man knew nothing about Little Laba’s plan. He looked at the child’s clothes with some confusion: they were all brand name, so how could the parents abandon him for eating too much?

“Little buddy, do you remember where you got separated from your mom and dad?”

It was over, it was over! Baby’s eyes darted all about again. Maybe this wasn’t a trafficker, but a kidnapper, who wanted to kidnap Baby and ask Mommy and Daddy for money!

The kiddo’s heart filled with fear. He wouldn’t let this guy succeed.

“Baby... Baby was abandoned somewhere selling yummy food.”

Little Laba’s brain worked at top speed. He created himself an image of a ‘pitiful baby who was a burden to his young parents by eating too much, thus needing to be thrown away despite how painful doing so was.’

“But your clothes are all very expensive, your parents should be able to afford raising you.”

Expensive? Baby didn’t think he’d get found out over clothes. “This... This is what Baby found in the twash.”


The kiddo threw himself into the acting with tears and sobs. “Baby doesn’t have clothes, but Baby has everything else. Baby went to the garbage and found some clothes. You can wear them after washing. Baby put on the new clothes. And can also be a pretty baby.”

What a pitiful child! The man brushed away the tears from his eyes. He picked up Little Laba in his arms. “Be good, Uncle will take you to go find your mommy and daddy.”

“Don’t... Don’t gwo!” Baby will never give you the chance to threaten Mommy and Daddy!

The uncle was astonished. “What is it?”

Little Laba thought a bit. “They don’t want Baby anymore, you can’t do anything even if you go.”

Mommy and Daddy will never give you money, just give up!

The man grew outraged. “Don’t be afraid, once I find your parents I will definitely give them a good scolding. If they’re really too outrageous, I will expose them!”

Little Laba’s eyes widened. This seemed different from what Baby was expecting? After the creepy uncle found out how poor Baby’s family was, shouldn’t he abandon Baby, let Baby continue being a kid who goes through the garbage?

Meanwhile, the driver who was waiting outside felt that the young master had been inside for a bit too long. He pushed open the door, meaning to go see if everything was all right, and saw instead the young master being held by a stranger.

A trafficker?!

Uncle Driver was a veteran with good combat skills. The pair of adult and child both looked towards the door. Baby, who was being held, hugged tightly around the man’s neck. “Uncle, come quickly! Baby cwaught a bad guy!”

The creepy uncle looked astonishingly at the kiddo. “Aren’t you a child who was abandoned for eating too much and had to go through the garbage to find clothes? How come you still have an uncle?”

What kind of nonsense was that? Uncle driver flew at his opponent and subdued him. Luckily nothing had happened to the young master, else it would really be the end.

This was Baby’s second time going into the police station.

He sat obediently on the little bench, as Uncle Policeman tried to understand the situation.

“I’m really not the bad guy!” The creepy uncle was at his wits’ end. “He’s the one who said he was abandoned, so I wanted to take him to find his parents.”

The couple who’d hurried over glanced dubiously at their darling child. Heavens knew how panicked they were after receiving the driver’s phone call.

Everyone looked at the kiddo in unison. The creepy uncle made an aggrieved expression. “Did you say you were abandoned, yes or no? That you ate too much, your family can’t afford to raise you. That the brand name clothes you’re wearing were picked up from the trash!”

“Yeah!” The kiddo had looked at the policeman uncle and knew he was safe. He obediently nodded. Baby did say all of this.

The creepy uncle looked as if he was wronged. “You see, you see! I just thought this kid was too pitiful, I wanted to find his parents and give them a good scolding, that they can’t treat their child this way.”

So this all turned out to be a misunderstanding. The creepy uncle wasn’t a bad guy, he was the assistant director of a film crew. The film crew happened to be filming at the amusement park, and he had gone to use the restroom, only to end up meeting Little Laba of the Tragic Backstory.

Everyone seemed to hesitate over what to say. The policeman uncle looked towards Little Laba. “Little friend, why did you say you were abandoned?”

Little Laba blinked back at him with large eyes. “Becwause Baby’s too cute, lots of people want to steal Baby away. If Baby tells them Baby eats too much, they don’t have enough money to raise Baby, then they won’t take Baby away.”


The child couldn’t be said to be at fault. The child actually had a high level of vigilance, and deserved praise.

Since it was all a misunderstanding, then it would be better for everyone to settle this matter privately. Wei Xue and Feng Tingyun apologized over and over for the misunderstanding.

The aggrieved party didn’t get annoyed either. “It’s fine, it’s fine. Although, your driver’s quite strong.”

He shook out his hand. The driver was somewhat mortified. Still, in a way, the two only got to understand the other through fighting.

This assistant director didn’t forget to always be on the lookout to poach talent. He took out his phone and readied to add the driver’s contact. “I think your fighting skill is pretty good. Let’s add each other. If the crew ever lacks people, you can come help me out?”

The driver glanced towards Feng Tingyun. Once he received permission, he recited out his phone number. While the assistant director rubbed his hands together, thinking about poaching Little Laba next, a tall and thin man furiously stormed in.

His temper was quite bad, and he didn’t seem young either, and his expression was severe. “Wu Huahua![1] Just going to the toilet can get you to the police station, do you know how long you’ve delayed the crew for!”

No one had been able to find the assistant director. The director had thought that maybe something had happened. Turned out, he was mistaken for a trafficker and taken away.

Luckily, the police station was right by the entrance to the amusement park. This director thus furiously stormed in.

Wu Huahua?! Wei Xue and Feng Tingyun looked at each other. No wonder the man refused to give out his name, and insisted on simply being called Mr. Wu.

Assistant Director Wu wiped away the cold sweat that’d broken out on his forehead. “You... Why do you always call me by my old name, I’ve already changed it how many years ago?”

Looked like these two were old friends. Director Wang glanced at him. “Your new name isn’t any better, Comrade Wu Has-It-All.” [2]

Assistant Director Wu grew angry. “You can insult me, but you can’t insult my name. You think your Wang Super-Handsome sounds good?!” [3]

Wei Xue really felt embarrassed by all this. She didn’t realize that in this world, there would be a pair of friends whose names were equally half-baked.

Director Wang walked over with a stormy expression. “You’re the ones who got our assistant director sent to the station?”

Wei Xue looked apologetically at him. Feng Tingyun stood protectively in front of his wife. This Director Wang seemed to have a bad temper.

“We’re very sorry, this is all a misunderstanding.”

“A misunderstanding.” Director Wang harrumphed and rolled his eyes. “Do you know how much time this misunderstanding of yours has cost our crew, how much damage it’s done? Do you know how much money it will take to rectify this?”

To express his sincerity, Feng Tingyun invited Director Wang to name his price.

Director Wang harrumphed coldly. “Seems you have some common sense. This amount!” [4]

Feng Tingyun let out a breath. This wasn’t too bad. “Fifty thousand? Then I’ll transfer[5] the amount to you now.”

Director Wang was struck dumb. Assistant Director Wu also stared with wide eyes. The two of them muttered amongst themselves, looking like idiots. [6]

“Old Wu, where did this exploited moneybags[7] come from?"

“Old Wang, do all rich people use ten-thousand as a base unit?” [8]

”I don’t know, I was thinking five hundred.” [9]

Director, who’d only wanted five hundred dollars, raked in a fortune. Though he was excited, he was still a man with principles. “It’s fine, it’s fine, we’re a low-budget webfilm, we won’t cheat you. Our entire budget added up is only fifty thousand, just give us five hundred as a show of goodwill. We still haven’t paid the money we owe the young actor.” [10]

Five hundred was just enough to cover the money owed.

Feng Tingyun thought of those big productions that easily cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and was momentarily at a loss for words. Director Wu and Director Wang were really saving money on the filming.

Just as Feng Tingyun was ready to transfer the money, Director Wang took out his Nokia. “Excuse me, let me answer this call.”

The news from the other end directly dealt Director Wang a big blow. The young actor quit! He waived the five hundred dollars of pay too, saying the crew was really too poor, and to count it as a donation to the crew.

Director Wu buried his face in his hands and cried, snot and all. “I just wanted to complete my dream film, why is nothing working out!”

The actor left, where else was he going to find someone that cheaply.... ah no, someone that spiritual?

Assistant Director Wu patted his shoulder. “Try to see past that. Maybe this is Heaven’s will.”

Director Wang seemed to completely lose his previous image. To see a proper man [11] crying like this... “What will?”

Assistant Director Wu said directly, “Maybe Heaven wants you to realise, your movie really sucks. I’m begging you, just do your job as a directly properly, don’t write scripts anymore.”

The more Feng Tingyun listened, the more he felt bad for them. This crew, with a budget of fifty thousand dollars, equipment that was all borrowed, a script that was written by Director Wang, cinematography concurrently done by Assistant Director Wu. This entire crew rested entirely on the two of them.

Director Wang howled to the sky, “I also wanted to find a scriptwriter, but I don’t have the money!”

Little Laba walked over and patted this uncle’s head. Director Wang glanced at him. “Little kid, are you pitying me?”

Suddenly, Director Wang’s eyes lit up. A little kid?! There was a little kid in front of him?!

Wei Xue quietly tugged her son back to her. Director Wang looked imploringly at Feng Tingyun. “Does this young master have any desire to enter the entertainment circle?”

Assistant Director Wu clapped his hands together. “He can! He fooled me good!”

Little Laba twisted about self-consciously. “Baby, isn’t as great as you say.”

Jiang Fang hesitated to say, I don’t think anyone’s praising you.

The two middle-aged men’s imploring looks were too much for Feng Tingyun, but the person who gave him the most grief was his own son.

Little Laba excited jumped up and down. “Baby wants to act, Baby wants to be a male star!”

No one thought Little Laba would dream of being a movie star. Wei Xue looked at her son with some surprise. Little Laba whispered in her ear, “Being an actor gets five hundred dollars, Mommy, agree quickly, agree quickly!”

Baby can soon earn money!

Seeing the kiddo had so much interest, Feng Tingyun asked reasonably, “May I ask what the content of the movie is? How long are you filming for?”

On this, Director Wang had a lot to say. “One week, we only need your free time for filming. I’ve always wanted to film a sci-fi movie, but sci-fi is a bit out of date and needs trendy topics added to it.[12] It’s necessary for the main character to have some emotional entanglements, while pets can add cuteness to the atmosphere.”

Feng Tingyun had a bad feeling. “And so?”

Director Wang held his fist against his chest, a look of resolve and faith on his faith. “So the movie we’re filming is about a three-year old doggy who accidentally turns into a human, and then realizes he’s actually not a dog, or a dogman. He always appears like a three-year-old child (we really can’t afford an adult actor). His actual identity is that of an alien prince, and after studying on Earth with his all might for a few decades, he finally builds a rocket to go to an alien planet.”

Feng Tingyun nodded. “So did he return home?”

Director made an expression of ‘you amateur.’ “Who knows, the ending is a scene of him building the rocket. The film ends abruptly to give the audience space to imagine, this way they can get a lasting afterimpression.”

This movie... Feng Tingyun thought he understood why Director Wang was struggling for so many years.

But Baby clapped his hands excitedly. “Great! Baby wants to act, Baby wants to act!”

Director Wang and Little Laba hit it off immediately. After searching for so many years, so his soulmate was here!

The two of them clasped hands. Director Wang said, his eyes full of tears, “I’ve decided, you are my number one!”

The kiddo nodded seriously.

Director Wang looked at Feng Tingyun. “Transfer the money. You can transfer the five hundred directly into your son’s account.”

  1. 1. 花花 (Huahua) can actually mean a bunch of things in this context, such as: colourful, cute flower, dazzling, etc. Basically this is a completely ridiculous name. The duplication of Hua/花 also make it way too cutesy. ↩︎

  2. 2. 五全有, translated directly. Also completely ridiculous as a name, but in a tasteless/gaudy way, kind of like how a nouveau riche would start decorating with gold everywhere. So when Li Jiyue calls himself uncultured/uneducated (没文化) in ch29, this is what he meant LOL. ↩︎

  3. 3. 王帅帅, also translated literally. Once more a completely ridiculous name, and this one matches Wu Huahua's name in that the duplication of Shuai/帅 makes it way too cutesy. Both are the sort of nicknames a young girl would give ironically. ↩︎

  4. 4. Presumeably he held up a hand with all 5 fingers raised. ↩︎

  5. 5. E-transfer, probably using Wechat or Alipay, in which one person presents a QR code of their account that the other person then scans to send the money to. These sort of money-transferring apps are directly tied to both your bank account and your government-issued ID, so the money goes directly into your bank account. ↩︎

  6. 6. So the phrase used here (没有见识) can that mean they've never seen something like this before, or that they're inexperienced in the ways of the world, or that they're idiots. It's implied that the answer is all 3, so I just went with the 3rd one. ↩︎

  7. 7. The connotation of this specific term here (冤大头) is that you've done great wrong to the moneybags in question. As in, you taking advantage of this (gullible) rich person reflects badly on you. ↩︎

  8. 8. Digit position up to 10000 (10/十, 100/百, 1000/千, 10000/万) are really easy to say and count in Chinese, which is why some people say math is easier to calculate in Chinese. 50000 (5万) and 500 (5百) both only need only 2 characters (you can see why Wang Shuaishuai only held up his hand), and the difference (万 vs 百) is the "base unit" to which you multiply to get the number you want (5 x 10000 = 50000, 5 x 100 = 500). ↩︎

  9. 9. This is incredibly cheap, about 70 USD or 60 euro. ↩︎

  10. 10. Although I put it as young actor (for reasons that will become clear soon), this term (小演员) can also just mean a small-time actor. Someone unknown who doesn't really get a lot of roles, or only gets small ones. ↩︎

  11. 11. The actual term used is once again 大老爷们儿, with the exact same connotation. I've translated it a bit differently this time for variety. This term appears again below as "two middle-aged men." ↩︎

  12. 12. The implication is that he would need to spend time/money that he doesn't have on marketing it. And probably also that the level of scientific sophistication needed (at least plot-wise) is above his ability. ↩︎