After the message was sent, there was no reply. Gu Xun should be busy. Qi Cong hesitated for a moment before he typed a few more words to send to him.
Qi Cong: Good luck in your work.
After doing this, he turned off his WeChat, reined in all his emotions, and opened Weibo. Zhao Zhenxun said in the morning that Wu Heng issued a statement, which had made him feel concerned throughout the day.
The statement was easy to find. It was on the hot search list. Qi Cong opened it, glanced at it, and then frowned coldly. Wu Heng’s statement was not long, only a few hundred words, and the content could be summarized into four points:
- He apologizes for not telling the readers that the title of Chivalrous and the name of the protagonist were taken from another person’s work.
- He denied the charge of plagiarism or that he continued to write using the other person’s beginning, borrowed the plot, or borrowed anything that was established by others.
- Accused the newcomer author of posting a lie, saying that the time of his acquaintance with the newcomer was earlier than the time the newcomer made the post and that he and this newcomer didn’t get to know each other from this forum at all. He also very confidently welcomed the author of the post to give evidence that he and this newcomer knew each other from this forum.
- Poured dirty water to show that he didn’t continue to write from the beginning of the newcomer but that the newcomer, after chatting with him, secretly used his plot behind his back to improve the beginning of the novel he sent. Coincidentally, later, in order to find the other person he had lost contact with, he used the title of the newcomer (accordingly this newcomer said it hadn’t been published yet) and the name of the main character. Under various kinds of messy mistakes, he created a situation where he couldn’t explain it clearly.
At the end of the statement, Wu Heng also posted several chat records and a record of the release time and the historical revision time of beginning chapters of Chivalrous by Murmuring Water in the old site, Jiangwan.com. There were a total of five chat notes, the two sides of this chat was from a person with the ID, Gouache, and Wu Heng. The earliest chat record showed the time of four years ago.
In the first record, gouache said that he was a fan of Wu Heng and hoped that Wu Heng would not mind his rash behavior of adding his friends through the group of readers. Wu Heng’s attitude was very good and said it was all right and also thanked the reader for liking his work.
The time of the second record is a few months after the last one, in which gouache said that he also wanted to write a novel and asked Wu Heng for advice and patient guidance.
The chat period of the third record was pushed back to a few months after when Wu Heng sent a screenshot of a document entitled Chivalrous Bone plot analysis to gouache.
The chat periods of the fourth and fifth sheets were the latest. Wu Heng asked gouache if he had posted it and if he needed help with recommending it. gouache replied that he had not posted it and was too busy in reality and would never touch writing again.
The rest of the screenshot was from the old Jiangwan.com. website, clearly showing that, not long after the third message was sent, Murmuring Water’s version of Chivalrous Bone had been revised fully at least once.
Maybe the air conditioner in the car was too low, it made goosebumps rise uncontrollably on Qi Cong’s arms.
After knowing him for nearly a year, Qi Cong never knew that Wu Heng had such a cunning side. He also never knew that, while he was chatting with Wu Heng about the Chivalrous Bone, Wu Heng also used it to talk with someone else.
That’s right, it was someone else. The gouache in these five chat records with Wu Heng was not him. He had never even heard of this person. The only thing he was familiar with in this screenshot was the document Wu Heng sent to gouache in the third screenshot.
He remembered the process through which this document was made. At that time, he just had the time to figure out the complete outline for Chivalrous Bones and found that there were several small settings at the beginning of the first version that needed to be changed. Because there were a lot of discussions with Wu Heng during that time, he told Wu Heng about these small changes. Wu Heng was very interested and said he wanted to see the complete outline, so he sent it out. A day later, Wu Heng sent an analysis of the complete outline and made several suggestions. That analysis was the one Wu Heng sent to Gouache in the record.
What made Qi Cong feel even more terrible was that, in terms of time, Wu Heng seemed to have sent the analysis to gouache first, and only a few hours later, he sent this document to him.
What was Wu Heng thinking? Why would he do that?
Qi Cong looked again at the screenshot of the old website of Jiangwan.com.
Jiangwan.com would automatically record the initial release time of each novel and the time of each chapter revision. These data could be seen by all through the page interface. The modification shown in the screenshot, which was used by Wu Heng to fight back, was the one about his revisions of the small settings after talking with Wu Heng. In all of this, this statement was done brilliantly.
The complete chat record, the unchangeable article revision time, and the analysis of the plot of Chivalrous Bone sent out from Wu Heng’s side. All of these combined would make anyone who did not know the truth believe in Wu Heng’s words.
Wu Heng should have taken advantage of the fact that no one could get any evidence that they got to know each other on the forum, and because his social accounts have been canceled, he dared to tell such a big lie. After all, the post he made in the first place had only existed for less than ten minutes. It was already a miracle that someone could see and remember the content of the post. It was almost impossible for someone to take and save the screenshot of this post.
Qi Cong’s heart went completely cold. Back then, he really thought of Wu Heng as a friend, and he was grateful to him for his guidance and help. Before seeing this statement, he still had some expectations from Wu Heng, but since then . . .
He tapped on the comment section under the statement and read it. Several bloggers and people who were certified as actors, directors, and screenwriters appeared in the comments section to express their support for Wu Heng. Wu Heng’s fans were so excited that they rushed to express their gratitude under the comments of these people.
In addition to expressing support, there were also many people who scolded Murmuring Water for “stealing” Wu Heng’s ideas . . . and Gu Xun.
Qi Cong eyes fixed on two hot comments, the seventh and eighth.
Waterbaby: It reversed aaaahhhhh. I knew Wu Heng wouldn’t plagiarize. Waterbaby was so aggrieved oooooh. Although I know that Gu Xun should also be misled by his friends to spread rumors like that, I still feel that Gu Xun should apologize to Water without a Trace. It felt irresponsible for him to say things like this about Wu Heng in public without proving it was the truth.
Spring wind drunk: I was a passerby fan of Gu Xun before, and this incident made me turn my back on Gu Xun. As a public figure, I think he should be more careful with his words. And I think he as a double gold movie emperor picking a fight in the novel circle is . . . kinda low.
Public opinion had been completely biased in Wu Heng’s favor. After all, Gu Xun splashed some water in this incident.
Qi Cong looked into the topic, “Water without a Trace, Clarification,” on hot search. In this topic, the comment area was not so harmonious. There were many people spraying dirt as well as some Gu Xun’s black fans taking advantage of this opportunity to jump inside and insult Gu Xun, saying that Gu Xun would be forced to take back his words.
Qi Cong looked at the few comments and then couldn’t go on. He put down his phone and looked out at the night scene outside the car window, trying to calm down.
It was all right. When his hard drive and notes arrived tomorrow, he would determine the contents of the hard drive and the notes before sending them out. People wouldn’t say things like this about Gu Xun. Gu Xun didn’t do anything wrong. It was because he was too trusting that Gu Xun was implicated. It was because of him that Gu Xun—
He suddenly bowed his head and took out his mobile phone again, closed Weibo, opened his browser, found the old Jiangwan.com site, logged in under his pen name, and entered the background management page to click on his novel to publish the new chapter. He quickly inputted the content and paused for two seconds before pressing the publish button hard.
The prompt of successful chapter publishing popped up. After three years, the fourth chapter of Chivalrous Bones finally appeared.
There was only one sentence in it: “Water without a Trace, I am Murmuring Water. Tomorrow night, a Weibo confrontation, do you dare?”
Almost as soon as the chapter was released, comments on the new chapter skyrocketed. Qi Cong didn’t want to read the comments, so he was about to put away his phone and stop caring about these things and wait for tomorrow’s package to arrive when his mobile phone vibrated.
A new WeChat message shown on the prompt bar.
Gu Xun: Are you finished?
As soon as Qi Cong stopped putting his phone away, he looked at the familiar cat profile and the hard feeling in his heart suddenly disappeared. He clicked on the message and typed back with both hands.
Qi Cong: I’m done.
Qi Cong: I’m sorry for troubling you.
Qi Cong: I will deal with these things.
It took a while for Gu Xun to reply.
Gu Xun: have you browsed Weibo?
Gu Xun: are you angry?
Gu Xun: then go and read it again. Remember to go to my Weibo first to look. Don’t look at others’ mess.
Gu Xun: don’t worry. I didn’t say anything, and I didn’t mention you.
This kind of gentle tone was exactly the same as in his memories as if the two of them had not been separated for three years, nor had they experienced deception or injury.
Qi Cong was a little distracted, and after reflecting on the meaning of Gu Xun’s words, he didn’t want to reply to Gu Xun’s message. He quickly tapped on Weibo and searched for Gu Xun’s name.
A large number of pirated accounts appeared, and Qi Cong was stunned again. Then he realized that Gu Xun’s Weibo account was “Looking back at the flowers” and not Gu Xun’s real name, so he was busy searching again.
When typing the word “Cong.” the word “Gao” automatically appeared in the input box. Qi Cong thumbed up from the edge of the phone and selected the word “Cong” after “Gao.”
This time the searched account was finally right. Qi Cong opened Gu Xun’s homepage and a top Weibo post appeared on the screen.
“Looking back at flowers”:
Looking back at flowers V: I don’t think it’s a very low thing to speak up for justice. @SouthernTian
The post was accompanied by three images and a link underneath.
Qi Cong tapped on the first one to open the picture. The first image was a screenshot of the home page of a pirate novel website, and in the center of the screenshot was the corner of a website work library with circled red name of novel—Chivalrous Bones by Murmuring Water.
In the second picture, it was still the pirate website, but the contents of the page became the article information of Chivalrous. The information showed that the three chapters of Chivalrous Bones were updated in mid-2016, only one day later than the time Qi Cong published Chivalrous Bones on Jiangwan.com. It said that when Qi Cong just published Chivalrous Bones on Jiangwan.com, the pirate website had stolen it at the same time, and it was never updated.
The third picture was still of the pirate website, but the page content became the content of the first chapter of Chivalrous Bones, and then at the center of the page, a line of bold red letters read like this: “I heard that after chatting with Wu Heng, Murmuring Water secretly took Wu Heng’s plot structure behind Wu Heng’s back to improve his own novel? Let’s see, has Murmuring Water really changed the content of the chapter?”
The tone of this Weibo was totally different from the gentle and affectionate WeChat. It somehow gave off a domineering and powerful feeling.
Qi Cong looked at these pictures repeatedly. These . . . Where did Gu Xun find these? He only had three chapters of this small cold novel, but there was a theft at the same time? And could it still be done like this? Using the pirated text of Chivalrous Bones from the Internet to prove that Wu Heng was lying? Qi Cong looked toward the last link, reaching his finger to tap on it.
The pages of the pirated text website jumped out.
Qi Cong: “. . .”
As a screenwriting major, Qi Cong had a strong awareness about copyright. But now . . . his mood was somewhat complicated. What was even more complicated for him was that he couldn’t understand the real character of Gu Xun. Gu Xun, who was fierce and domineering when they first met again, had displayed an unpredictable attitude during their conversation. Gu Xun, who was rational and easy to communicate with during their talk in the car, was gentle and friendly on WeChat, and now in this Weibo post, he was domineering and powerful. Each Gu Xun was different. Which one was the real Gu Xun?
Edited by: Faro