Chapter 27: Glutton For Punishment

Translator: Mukyuu
Editor: Mikyuu

It was late. Ning Yan fell asleep on their way home. In his dreams, the man held him and gently fed him chicken drumsticks. 

Ning Yan curled into the man’s arms and felt comforted both physically and emotionally. He inhaled the enticing scent of chicken drumsticks, swallowed his saliva, and opened his mouth to take a big bite. 

In the car, Lin Rong held a chicken drumstick midair, “…” 

He had originally only intended to tease the fast-asleep little puppy with the fried chicken drumsticks that his assistant had bought. Never in his dreams had he imagined the puppy taking a bite while his eyes were closed and being able to eat while sleeping. 

Lin Rong fell silent at the sight. After a few moments, he let out a light laugh. 

Once back in the apartment, he thought for a moment and then wiped down the white puppy’s body and four paws. 

Sometime during that process, the white puppy woke up briefly and licked Lin Rong’s fingertips. 

Lin Rong scritched the puppy’s chin and waited until the puppy fell back asleep before gently putting him on the bed. Then Lin Rong picked up a change of clothes and walked into the bathroom. 

Back in the room, everything was silent on the big, wide bed. 

Suddenly, there was a tiny poof sound and the white puppy instantly turned into a slender young man. 

The young man had pale skin, a slender figure, and his cheeks were rosy with sleep. His fingers clutched subconsciously at the comforter underneath him. 

On the other side of the wall, the sound of water splashing filled the bathroom. 

Ten minutes later, the bedroom door opened— 

Lin Rong walked in while drying his hair with a towel. He peeked at the bed. 

In the middle of the bed, the puppy was fast asleep with all four paws in the air. 

===========================

After recording the show for an entire day and a good night’s sleep, Ning Yan was back to full energy the next day. He didn’t feel that anything was off with his body. 

Lin Rong once again spent his time writing songs. The dog and the human had an uneventful half a month at home. 

—After half a month, the episode they had filmed was finally about to be broadcast. 

Fans had long seen leaked fancams from the day of the recording and there were audience participants who promised this episode would be hilarious. Therefore, everyone howled in anticipation. 

Especially the “Beauties,” who were Lin Rong’s fans1容颜 (literally: beauty) is made up of the 容 from Lin Rong and 颜 (literally: color/features). Chinese group fan names often incorporate a character from the idol or a character that shares the same pinyin as their idol’s name.  .

“Miao Bro is finally going to be on a variety show! I’m so touched I could cry!” 

“*sob* The MIA person is back!” 

“The last time bro came back to Weibo was because of the puppy, and now he’s on a variety show because of this puppy. I have to say this, but from today onward that mysterious puppy has now surpassed Fanfan and Dundun as my number one!” 

“Thank you to the mysterious friend who asked Miao Bro to take care of the puppy!” 

“Grateful!” 

“Looking forward to tonight!” 

In the past, other outdoor variety shows had invited pet dogs and cats, but they usually only participated in one segment. After all, animals were hard to control and there was only so much they could do on a variety show. Therefore, part of the audience felt there was no need to set such high expectations for this episode of Hello, World

However, not just fans but also the average viewers struck back at these conspiracy theory comments.

“You know what, I just want to watch kitties and puppers. I’m not asking for much. After all, I can watch cats sleeping for half an hour on a certain website. [doge]”

Some of the comments below that post: 

“Half an hour? I can watch for an hour!” 

“? Should I, as someone who can watch for an entire day, say anything?” 

“Have you forgotten about Gossip?” 

“Gossip is hard to cuddle *covers face*”

“Gossip: You damned idiots!”

… 

The show aired every Friday at 8:30pm. Lin Rong didn’t appear to have a habit of watching his own shows and it took Ning Yan dancing around the TV anxiously a couple of times and barking at him before Lin Rong remembered about it. 

At the beginning of the show, Ning Yan sat at Lin Rong’s feet and watched the screen intently. 

As the episode slowly progressed, Ning Yan nodded in satisfaction. Not bad, both he and the big pervert look cool and the editing is great too. 

—As expected, that episode blew up on social media. 

Before the show had even finished airing, related topics appeared on the trending list for the night. 

Neither fans nor the general population had expected for this show to bring anything new to the table. They were content to just admire their idols’ beauty and coo over the animals. 

They hadn’t expected for this episode to cause them to drop their jaws. 

“Hold on, what’s up with the white puppy that Lin Rong has??? He’s too talented!”

“Mystery of the day: Lin Rong’s puppy is named ‘sese’, so which ‘se’ is it? *laughcry*”

“I’ll be damned! Didn’t we have a rule that animals can’t self-uplift after 1949?!2建国后不能成精 is a Chinese meme. It refers to a rule set forth by the National Radio and Television Administration that said shows set after 1949 (the founding of the People’s Republic of China) were not allowed to have non-human beings that exhibit human-level intelligence. Here, uplifted is used in the science fiction sense: “developmental process to transform a certain species of animals into more intelligent beings by other, already-intelligent beings.” The translator is using “self-uplift” to indicate that this process is done by the creature itself, without outside intervention. The Chinese phrase has evolved into slang, often used to indicate high intelligence in animals/plants, etc.  What is up with ‘sese’!! That instinct for the cameras! That intelligence! There’s got to be a human inside his body, right?!” 

“Curse it, Lin Rong and Wei Zhounan wearing girls’ clothing has got me on the floor laughing. LOLOLOL!” 

“Gossip is so entertaining. All of his speech is ‘beep’!” 

“Look here, if there are two ‘beeps’ coming from Gossip, then he’s saying ‘idiot’. If there are four ‘beeps’ then it’s ‘damn you idiot.’ In conclusion: it wasn’t worth it to censor him at all [doge]”

“Both cats are so lovable!” 

“In comparison to sese, the golden retriever is really slow on the uptake…” 

“Miao Bro’s first time dressing as a woman was because of big boss sese… respect!3“Respect” was written phonetically in Chinese as 瑞思拜.

“Saying it loud and clear, please have sese be a regular guest! @HelloWorld” 

“Ahhhhhhh sese I’m now your fan!! Please debut!” 

“Looking at sese and then back at my doggo, I think I’ve found the greatest mystery of my life…” 

“This episode is so great! All of the furry animals are so cute!”

“Sese has a higher IQ than I do, that’s it.” 

“The dog and cat are better at flirting than I am…”

“Here come the GIFs~”

“No self-uplifted animals after 1949,” “big boss sese,” “Lin Rong and Wei Zhounan cross-dressing,” “Gossip being censored the entire show”… all sorts of terms made their rounds on social media. Each of the animal guests clearly had their own fanbase. 

Naturally, Ning Yan was the most popular. 

That drift at the start of the show, the decisive paw when it came to choosing a teammate, the scheming intelligence he exhibited while fighting for the mission cards, the teasing expression he had when he picked out women’s clothing for Lin Rong and Wei Zhounan, and the flower that he presented to the young girl… there was too much to talk about and too many surprises!

Even Xue Lian couldn’t resist posting something on Weibo. “I have to say that after recording this show, sese has become the dog of my dreams…” 

The comment section below his post was filled with people dying of laughter. The netizens commented sarcastically: 

“Gossip: ????? You idiot!” 

“That’s not a problem at all. It’s natural for people to admire those stronger than them. Sese’s IQ must be higher than yours, LOL!” 

“Miao Bro, someone’s out to get your dog!” 

“Beauties come guard our ‘family’s’ god-like dog!” 

“Gossip really has it rough LOLOLOL!!!”

Though Ning Yan couldn’t see any of this, he could probably have guessed. 

So when Ning Yan overhead a week later on a phone call between Lin Rong and Lu Ming that a pet food brand wanted to talk to Lin Rong about having Ning Yan shoot a commercial for them, Ning Yan merely straightened his back elegantly—This is completely normal, no need to be surprised!

Lin Rong looked down at the puppy with his tail pointed skyward and then rubbed the corners of his eyes. He told Lu Ming, “Lu Bro, could I ask you to talk about this with Ning Bro… Ning Yue? I won’t be taking this and I don’t think Yanyan will either.” 

This time Lu Ming didn’t ask any further questions. After all, the dog was Ning Yan’s and shooting the commercial would be weird for either Lin Rong or Ning Yan. So he immediately acquiesced but couldn’t help asking, “How did someone with Ning Yan’s personality raise a dog like this?” 

That Ning Yan usually seemed so quiet and dignified. 

But the puppy was very much a trickster. 

Lin Rong glanced at the youth on the poster on his walls. For no reason at all, he suddenly recalled what Ning Yue had said. 

“Dogs do take after their humans.” 

He looked back down.

The white puppy was barking at him, seemingly upset at something. 

In that instant, Lin Rong’s gaze shifted and he looked thoughtful. 

… 

Ning Yan heard Lin Rong refuse Lu Ming and was very dissatisfied. 

Why did he refuse this job offer? It would be nice to get some money by advertising!

Wait, did Lu Ming tell his cousin? 

His cousin knows him, so he’ll probably accept it? 

—But that did not happen. 

That night, Ning Yue the black dog told Ning Yan when they met up downstairs, “This time it’s Lin Rong himself who doesn’t want to do the commercial. I can’t very well force him, can I?” 

So Ning Yan became sad. 

It’d be fun to shoot a commercial with him. 

The puppy was feeling noticeably down but Lin Rong didn’t know why. When they got back home, he snuggled the puppy and spent a long time trying to sooth it. 

Just saying comforting words wasn’t enough. Lin Rong took out the new wet food he had bought from Gu Shi and that did the trick. 

Ning Yan liked the wet food. It smelled delicious but Lin Rong had refused to give him a lot on previous occasions. Lin Rong would only hand out a bit every day, saying that he was worried if Ning Yan ate too much at once, it’d cause an upset stomach. 

Ning Yan thought that he wasn’t a dog, after all. While it was important to be careful when switching food for pets, they weren’t really switching foods. He’d had some previously and this was just upping the amount consumed!

How can he get diarrhea from this? It was a rare occurrence for the man to feel bad because Ning Yan was feeling down, so Ning Yan took full advantage of it. He whined pitifully a couple of times and clung to the man’s hand as he devoured the entire pouch of wet food. 

Lin Rong, “…” 

Why does it feel like he’s been tricked?

That pouch of wet food was a decent size. Ning Yan felt fully satiated, let out a tiny hiccup, and then snuggled against Lin Rong’s palm. 

Okay, it’s fine not to shoot the commercial; no more agonizing over it!

Lin Rong looked uncertainly at the empty wet-food pouch and then carefully prodded the puppy’s rounded belly. 

Ning Yan gave him a reassuring look. He had a super fast metabolism. 

… And then Ning Yan got diarrhea the next day. 

===========================

The next afternoon, as Ning Yan sat in front of the toilet for the third time that day and cried pitifully for Lin Rong, he felt despair take over his entire body. 

When did his stomach get so fragile?!

That one pouch of wet food?! That single one?!

But his stomach gurgling nonstop was already an indisputable fact. 

The man rushed over and frowned as he lifted the puppy onto the toilet. Ning Yan felt like he was going to cry. 

Want to die

When they finished the latest round of business, Lin Rong held him and said guiltily, “It’s my fault. I shouldn’t have let you eat that much yesterday. We’ll go to the hospital right now.” 

Ning Yan collapsed weakly into the man’s arms and whined helplessly. 

Lin Rong drove and they quickly arrived at Gu Shi’s. Gu Shi looked surprised to see them, but after hearing out Lin Rong, he immediately asked for a diagnostic test. 

Ning Yan had his blood drawn and a patch of his belly fur was shaved. The exposed area felt chilly as staff lifted him onto the table for an ultrasound. The final diagnosis was gastroenteritis and a fever. 

“Let’s put him on a saline drip for a few days. Don’t give him any food or water for today and we’ll see what happens tomorrow.” Gu Shi stroked Ning Yan’s head. He was so lively last time they had met. “This is what happens when you’re greedy with food.” 

“It’s also my fault.” Lin Rong’s brows remained furrowed. 

Ning Yan didn’t have any energy left. Even so, he tried to crawl over and nudge his head against the man’s chest when he heard what the man had said. 

Don’t feel guilty, big pervert. It was his fault for being too greedy with food. Won’t happen again.

Lin Rong hugged Ning Yan and gently stroked the puppy’s back. 

Gu Shi looked at the human and pet pair for a while, and then his gaze fell unwittingly back on the dog. 

He had only realized that Lin Rong was temporarily taking care of the dog when Lin Rong posted that update on Weibo on his birthday. 

Even though these two hadn’t been together for long and they’d probably be separated soon, there seemed to be an indescribable, tacit understanding between them. 

The white puppy really did seem to know what they were saying. 

Gu Shi had a strange feeling. 

Many owners would choose to keep their pets overnight at the vet’s for the two-day saline treatment and then take them back when the treatment was over. 

But Lin Rong had stayed behind and said, “I’ll keep him company and take him back when we’re done. I’ll bring him around again tomorrow.” 

There were some staff at the vet who recognized their employer’s good friend. When they had heard this, they were a bit surprised. 

This was rare for pet owners. That celebrity was really good to his puppy. 

Afterwards, the man and the dog found a quiet and out-of-the-way corner to wait out the saline drip. 

Even if Ning Yan had been a human, he’d be unable to cause a ruckus while sick, much less when he was a dog. 

Seeing this, Lin Rong didn’t bother putting an Elizabethan collar on him. 

The puppy slept curled up on the table and the man sat in a chair next to it. Sometimes the man looked down at his phone and sometimes he’d gaze around blankly. Other times he’d gently stroke the puppy. The air around them seemed soothing and relaxed. 

When Ning Yan occasionally woke up groggily from his dreams, he’d sleepily recognize the man in front of him and feel a sense of indescribable security and trust. 

Whenever he had gotten sick before, it was only his parents and Ning Yue who kept him company like this… 

The saline drip took a little over three hours. One additional injection later, Ning Yan was on his way home. 

By then he felt much better. Lin Rong saw that he was wagging his tail again and no longer showed any signs of throwing up, so Lin Rong finally relaxed. 

When they went to the vet again the next day, he was in a more relaxed mood. 

Gu Shi gave Lin Rong a few capsules of probiotics. When he saw Lin Rong take a capsule out from the medicine bag, Gu Shi was about to suggest that he demonstrate how to quickly and easily feed a dog medicine—since that took some skill—but he saw the man tell the little white dog, “Good Sese, open up and eat the medicine.” 

The white puppy opened his mouth. 

Lin Rong tossed in the medicine. 

The white puppy closed his mouth, swallowed, stuck out his tongue, and wagged his tail. 

Gu Shi, who had seen his fair share of scenes where feeding medicine was like feeding poison, “…” 

Lin Rong saw how surprised his friend was and looked over quizzically. 

Just then, the vet tech took Ning Yan over to give him a shot. 

Gu Shi took a deep breath, glanced at his friend, and said, “You know, just last night I read a book about a human turning into a demon…” 

Lin Rong, “?” 

Gu Shi then glanced at the puppy next to them. “That story also had a white puppy.” 

Lin Rong, “…” 

Gu Shi said, “And that book was a male/male romance.” 

Lin Rong, “…” 

Mukyuu

50% reader, 40% translator, and 10% snarker.