You are getting ready for work, putting your long black hair into a messy bun, kind of distractedly. As you look at your black eyes in your reflection, your housemate comes in.
[["Stop reading yaoi, Y/N," he says.]]How does he know?
"I'm being normal right now, my good friend H/N (housemate's name)," you say. You look up from your phone, where your own face was reflected.
Maybe reenacting Michelangelo's //Creation of Adam// will be a good enough distraction.
You reach out with your index finger.
(click: "finger.")[Quickly, with your other hand, you try to turn over your phone to hide its web browser, open to Archive of Our Own dot org.
Your phone tips onto the ground.
Not separating your index finger from H/N's, you desperately try to catch your phone on the way down.
You keep stretching. And stretching. Until you're basically on the floor reaching up.
[["Uh... Y/N?"]]"Huh?" you say gormlessly.
And then you see it. Right there in front of you. On the ground, right by your face, is an assortment of tomatoes, eggplants, and raw onions. All things you're allergic to.
You tossed them onto the ground in a fit of pique last night, when you realized that they were in your home anyway.
[[And now, you're right on top of them.]]Well, you suppose that's it for you.
You die extremely quickly, even though you'd assumed your whole life your allergies were mild. You'd actually continued to eat all three foods, despite your sensitivity to them.
(click: "them.")[Maybe that's what brought you to this point.
And with your dying words, you choke out, [["Stupid yaoi, stupid fanfiction."]]]You open your eyes again.
You didn't realize you could... do that.
[[You're dead, aren't you?]]"Activation code: 'Stupid yaoi, stupid fanfiction.' Automatically triggering system," a squeaky voice intones.
Somehow, you're reminded of your good friend from Twitter dot com, who loves telling you bad news.
(click: "bad news.")["We welcome your entrance into the system. This system is based on the development concept of 'talk shit, get hit.' We hope to provide you with the best experience. It is our sincere hope that during the course of your experience, you can achieve what you desired: to ensure that your wives achieve happiness."
[[My. My wives?]]]Suddenly, hologram men of all shapes and size begin circling you.
You can recognize some of them-- wait, as your eyes focus, you know all of them.
(click: "recognize")[There's Edmond. Chu Wanning. Older wives, ones you've sent to your metaphorical cold palace, like Ignis, Zenyatta, Felix from Fire Emblem. You're surrounded by tsunderes with ponytails of all types, and also some outliers.
"Choose one to make happy," the system tells you.]
(click: "Edmond.")[And, well, there was only ever one choice for you.
(click: "Chu Wanning.")[And, well, there was only ever one choice for you.
(click: "Ignis")[And, well, there was only ever one choice for you.
(click: "Zenyatta")[And, well, there was only ever one choice for you.
(click: "Felix from Fire Emblem.")[And, well, there was only ever one choice for you.
[["Liu Qingge."]]]And with that, the afterlife swirls away, and you wake up somewhere else.
"Huh? Wh- What's going on, everypony?" you say, completely confused.
(click:"everypony?")["There's no horse here, knave. You're outnumbered," a deep voice growls from behind you.
[[Who-?]]]Frankly, if you didn't expect Liu Qingge, you probably have bigger problems.
It is him. He's standing there, all 6 foot 1 of him. (click-replace: "6 foot 1 of him.")[5 foot 7 of him. Who are we kidding.]
He tosses his ponytail, reminding you a little bit of a horse himself actually.
[["It's Liu Qingge,"]] you say.His hand flies to his sword.
"How do you know me?" he snaps.
(click:"How do you know me?")["Oh, um, well--"
[[My good friend Shen Qingqiu told me all about you.]]
[[I'm a very big fan of yours.]]]He looks skeptical.
Actually, he still mostly looks angry, but now he looks skeptical and angry at the same time. You get the feeling most of his expressions are like this.
"What did he say?"
(click:"What did he say?")["He said..."
[[The invincible Bai Zhan Peak’s Lord, why did he have to grow this kind of
elegant young prince’s face?->Face]]
[[That you like stabbing.]]]
"A fan? I already found and returned that. Lying again!" He runs at you with his sword.
BAD END."He's right," Liu Qingge says.
Uh oh. You're not quite sure this defused the situation.
You rush to clarify.
[["And he hates that habit of yours!"]]Liu Qingge looks murderous.
But Shen Qingqiu did say that! He said that in Chapter 9 of the New York Times best-selling novel //The Scum Villain's Self-Saving System//!
Liu Qingge doesn't look like he cares.
BAD END.He scoffs a little. "Why would I allow that to dictate my behavior? Besides-"
He stops speaking.
You prompt him. "Besides?"
(click: "Besides?")["He certainly doesn't seem to have a problem with others causing violence."
Oh, this is a sensitive subject. You should tread carefully.
[["Haha, yeah."]]]There's silence after you say that. You're not really sure if it's awkward or not, but it's sure there.
You're not really sure what to say to him. You think it would be a non-starter to tell him about the crazy things they do to his cervix on Twitter dot com. Unfortunately, that's the only thing you can think about right now.
In the end, he's the one that speaks first.
[["What are you doing here?"]]It's time to bluff. Confidence is key here. You think.
"Should I not be here?" you ask.
"Shen Qingqiu is no judge of character," he tells you.
Okay, fair point. His imaginary endorsement means very little.
[[Maybe this is your in.]]"You can keep an eye on me, and then decide for yourself," you tell him. And then he'll have such a great time he'll get the ending he deserves. Probably.
Look, you're being realistic here. On multiple levels. Like, you don't actually want to marry this guy. And you find Liushen kind of boring. And you'd have to worry about Luo Binghe if you didn't, anyway.
Maybe he can have one good day, assisted by your charming personality, and then you can look for a nice guy for him. And //then,// if you can access Archive of Our Own dot org on the system--
[[You can't, the system tells you in your head.]]Bloohoohoohoo, you think, very intensely.
"You can access Futekiya, the online library for yaoi," the system concedes. "But only as long as your friends who are still alive continue paying for the subscription."
Well, shit. You hope they don't let you down.
"Tshirt, can you tell Dee to switch the card to theirs?" you think very hard.
The system doesn't respond.
Anyway, Liu Qingge is still there.
You mean, he agreed.
You can do this. This is your wife, after all. And probably more importantly to the task at hand, you have years of customer service under your belt. Just imagine him sitting in your section at Y/O/J (your old job).
[[All of a sudden the neurotypicality starts coursing through your body.]]Liu Qingge looks unnerved (and angry). He must be able to sense it, the way horses can feel earthquakes coming.
You turn it off, and he relaxes. Sort of. He looks regular angry now.
"We can go for a walk?" you say, sort of tentatively.
He stares at you.
You shift a little.
[["Start walking then," he says.]]You pick a direction at random and start heading that way.
It's a pretty okay walk, if trudging through a forest in silence is your thing.
But it isn't. You immediately begin to fill the air with conversation.
You tell Liu Qingge about your latest original character, who is a Terezi expy.
[[A lot of this seems to be going over his head.]]That's okay with you. You'd like to imagine you're filling the air with soothing white noise, the kind they play for babies and overstimulated adults whose attention spans have been destroyed by their phones.
The furrow between his brows actually seems to be decreasing over time. It's really, really working!
He eventually speaks up.
[["I'm not concerned anymore."]]Mission success! You fixed this guy! Epic wife win! Wahoo! Yippee!
He continues speaking. "You are clearly no threat to Cang Qiong Mountain." You'd tried to tell him that. "In fact, you seem incapable of threatening anything."
"I can be threatening!" you protest.
He doesn't seem very threatened by that. Which, upon further reflection, probably works out better for you.
"Our paths separate here," he tells you.
He looks stressed again. You might have just cancelled out all your hard work.
You should distract him. You look around wildly, trying to see if there's anything nearby for him to fight. He likes that kind of stuff, right?
[[What's that there?]]It's a snake. Fuck yeah! You actually have a snake at home, Miss S/N (snake name).
As a result, you're adept in handling them.
Maybe you can mislead him into thinking you're in more trouble than you actually are.
You wrangle this forest snake like it's Miss S/N. [[Expertly.]]Liu Qingge draws his sword.
Hm. Now you feel sort of bad for sicing him on some poor innocent snake. You clutch it protectively.
"Let him go!" he shouts.
You clutch it tighter. You are NOT giving this snake up to be butchered. You'd never be able to face Miss S/N again.
[["You can't fool me," he says.]]The snake shifts around your arm, and makes a horrible strangled hissing noise.
It seems to grow and warp before your eyes, turning into this hideous snake man thing.
This... does not seem to be a normal snake.
Now, contextually, from the information you have available to you, the most reasonable answer is that you did not grab a snake.
[[You grabbed Zhuzhi-lang.]]You attempt to set him down immediately. Yet politely.
The snake man thing wriggles onto the ground. It writhes there as both you and Liu Qingge watch it.
Liu Qingge never points his sword away from the snake man.
Eventually, it seems to be done writhing. It stands up, just a normal guy, if mildly snake-y looking, and yeah that almost certainly is Zhuzhi-lang.
[[You'd always recognize your cutie pie.]]That's like a wife. But with less commitment, you guess.
This could be something, you think. It's a little rarepair for your tastes-- rarepair usually means no longfics, which means no bedtime stories for you-- but the number of fics on Archive of Our Own dot org means nothing in the face of canon.
You mean real life.
What you envision is that as the two fight, you could get this like, enemies-to-lovers type thing, with like, a righteous human cultivator and a snake demon. It would be like, oh, okay, tsukkomi x moe through helplessness. Not //classic// yaoi, but pretty good. Think like, Yakumond.
Granted, Yakumond doesn't have any good fic because no one understand their dynamic well because the NU: carnival Archive of Our Own tag is a hellhole. But the version of the ship that exists in your mind.
[[It's pretty simple.]]Maybe it's not. While you were musing on the intricacies of yaoi gacha game ships, the two actually started fighting.
It's kind of scary to watch.
Now you feel a little bad you spent so much time making fun of Liu Qingge for losing to Binghe for five years. He is pretty good at fighting.
[[But Zhuzhi-lang is fighting back.]]While Liu Qingge is using his sword, Zhuzhi-lang is writhing about using his freaky snake body. Woah!
He's also using his fangs and venom to keep Liu Qingge on edge.
His venom is flying everywhere. It sizzles on the leaves where it falls. Miss S/N does NOT do that. She's very gentle and completely harmless actually. Pet snakes get a bad reputation for--
More venom flies.
[[You try to back up.]]Your footsteps make Liu Qingge glance towards you. But Zhuzhi-lang is ready.
He seizes the chance and spits a massive gob of venom right at Liu Qingge's head.
Liu Qingge ducks in time, but-- But--
[[His hair!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]]It's falling right off his head!! The venom burned right through it!!!
You're almost in tears. Zhuzhi-lang balded your wife!!!!!!!!!!
Liu Qingge clicks his tongue. "Come! Liuzhi-lang!"
[[HUH??]]Liuzhi-lang sounds like their ship name. Did Liu Qingge canonize it right there????
You pause, reflect, and reconsider more soberly.
"Is. Is that your name?" you ask the snake tentatively.
He nods. "Junshang named all of us after Liu Yuxi poems."
"That's really beautiful," you tell him.
[[Fuck!! That wasn't your cutie pie!!!]]Okay, well. That's mildly embarrassing, but in your defense, you thought half-snake demons were pretty rare. There wasn't anyone else you knew of that it could be.
You repeat that to yourself a couple times, until you feel more normal.
This is fine.
Anyway, if this isn't your cutie pie, there's no need to worry about this guy.
You need to reprioritize.
[[Liu Qingge's HAIR....]]He shakes his head and the last remaining long strands fall. He is thoroughly balded.
You're... not sure how you feel about this.
If he's not a long haired tsundere, what IS he? You hate to say it, but not all wives last.
[[It's time to let him go.]]
[[Some wives are forever.]]Look, man. He's a fictional character. If he's not smexy, what's the point?
You don't really feel any more obligation to him at this point. Well, you feel a little bad, but not enough to stop you from slipping away.
[[It's time to look for another Scum Villain wife.]]He's still the same guy, even without the ponytail. You're not that shallow!
You'll stand by him, bald head and all!
You look directly at his shiny dome, just to prove a point.
[[That shine on his head grows brighter and brighter the more you stare at it.]]It shines until it seems to be a bright light, filling up your vision.
"His pupils look fine," you hear a voice say.
"Oh, I think he's waking up," someone replies.
[[You blink blearily.]]"Oh, you're up, Y/N," your good friend H/N says to you.
Your good friend H2/N (housemate 2's name) puts down the phone flashlight. "When you laid down on the ground, you just passed out. I was worried, but I guess you were just sleepy."
"I thought I DIED because of my allergies," you tell them.
"Your allergies aren't bad enough for that I thought," H/N says.
"Like, you still eat eggplants, tomatoes, and raw onions," H2/N tells you.
[[In my DREAM, that was the PROBLEM.]]"I had a dream I died and I was--" you start to recount your entire adventure thus far.
"Don't you have work today?" H2/N asks.
[[YARGHH!!!! YOU HAVE TO ANSWER EMAILS!!!!]]THE END!!!!!
okay happy bappy xtine!!! hope you enjoyed my very important and serious game with gripping mechanics and hyperrealistic visuals & that you have an extremelyyyy slay birthday.
This is a work of fiction. Unless otherwise indicated, all the names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents in this book are either the product of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
from your friend TSHIRT. 10/4/2022.But as you sneak away from the still raging fight, you lose your footing on the forest floor.
You slip and you slip, arms comically pinwheeling as your feet skitter out from underneath you, kicking up dust clouds the whole way.
Your feet finally lose solid ground and you plunge dramatically off a cliff.