The Complete Guide to the Use and Care of a Personal Assistant
First Published on Chaleuria
The next day, the audio and text transcripts of Su Yuyang’s interview were released on his microblog and the web novel discussion forum. Su Yuyang hadn’t even had time to look at the comments when Mu Yu called.
Ordinarily, Mu Yu contacted Su Yuyang through QQ unless the matter was urgent. Su Yuyang remembered that the last time Mu Yu had called him was to discuss the tie-in game for Demonic Song Defying Heaven. Surely this call wouldn’t be about the rights to Massacre of the Nine Heavens?
Su Yuyang answered the phone with trepidation.
The call went through and Mu Yu’s gentle voice came: “Congratulations, Shu Yang.”
Su Yuyang asked uncertainly, “Congratulations for what?”
Mu Yu laughed happily. “Demonic Song Defying Heaven’s game is going into beta, you and Ling Miao are together, and, most importantly, you’re taking him to meet your parents.”
On hearing this, Su Yuyang could tell why Mu Yu had come looking for him. He glanced at the calendar and guessed, “You’re asking me to go to the Authors’ Gathering?”
The Authors’ Gathering was an event the web novel site hosted every July. The purpose of the event was to get their authors out of the house and do something outside, and to network with each other and their editors. Mu Yu had invited Su Yuyang many times to participate in the Authors’ Gathering, and also the Authors’ New Year’s Party at the end of the year, but Su Yuyang had refused without exception every time. This time, Su Yuyang wanted to refuse again, but Ling Miao was staring at him hopefully. Su Yuyang asked, “You want to go?”
Mu Yu hesitated. What do you mean, I want to go? I have to go! On second thought, Su Yuyang didn’t seem to be asking him. He remembered that the other person in Su Yuyang’s house was also a web novelist and instantly realized who Su Yuyang was asking. Mu Yu coughed and said meaningfully, “Shu Yang, you can bring a plus-one to the Authors’ Gathering.”
Hearing Mu Yu’s words, Su Yuyang said resentfully, “Yu-ge, you’re being underhanded!”
“So what? You’ve already accepted an interview from your fangroup. It won’t matter if you participate in one more company event, right?”
Su Yuyang was still hesitant, but Ling Miao very much wanted to see what the mythical Authors’ Gathering was like. He would also be able to mingle with several authors, other than Shu Yang, whom he also liked very much. Ling Miao folded his arms and stood in front of Su Yuyang. His voice was calm but his tone carried a threat as he said, “You decide whether you’ll go or not, and I’ll also decide whether I’ll go or not.”
The two phrases ‘go or not’ were referring to different destinations. Mu Yu wasn’t listening too closely, so he didn’t give his opinion, but Su Yuyang understood what Ling Miao meant. But Su Yuyang didn’t understand: it was a very ordinary Authors’ Gathering. Why did Ling Miao want to go so much?
“You want to go so much?”
“I want to network with successful authors!”
“There’s a successful author in your house. Where else do you need to go to network?” Su Yuyang asked suspiciously.
Ling Miao rolled his eyes at Su Yuyang and huffed, “You say it like you’re the only successful author. There are other successful authors I like, so don’t get too cocky.”
“There’s a difference between like and like,” Su Yuyang said, like he didn’t mind.
Ling Miao found this surprising. Since when is Su Yuyang this generous?
(Su Yuyang, generous? Change ‘other authors’ to Ji Linxi and see if he’s still generous.)
Since Ling Miao wanted to go and see for himself, Su Yuyang thought that he could also take the chance to meet Mu Yu, and said yes to Mu Yu.
After Su Yuyang had accepted Mu Yu’s invitation, Mu Yu said thoughtfully, “Shu Yang, Great Shu, you’re really a high roller! I asked you one year, two years, and you never came. But once your boyfriend asks, you agree. I’m sad!”
Mu Yu’s tone was dismal but Su Yuyang didn’t think he was sad at all. He pretended to console: “Yu-ge, when we meet at last, let’s have a drink!”
“Sure, I look forward to it!” Mu Yu’s bright laughter reached Su Yuyang’s ears and Su Yuyang began laughing too.
As the call ended, Su Yuyang asked Ling Miao to pack quickly so they could leave.
Su Yuyang’s old home was in Chengdu, which was also where the Authors’ Gathering would be held this year. This was why Mu Yu had so enthusiastically invited Su Yuyang to participate.
They got on the train. Ling Miao yawned, leaned against Su Yuyang’s side, and went right to sleep. Su Yuyang smiled helplessly, then put a coat over Ling Miao so he wouldn’t catch cold. Passersby gave them strange looks, curious looks, and excited looks, but Su Yuyang ignored them all. He held onto Ling Miao’s waist and gazed out of the window at the raindrops flying by.
The entire way, Su Yuyang was thinking about how he would introduce Ling Miao to his parents and his responses to all the questions his mom might ask.
It wasn’t his strict father, but rather his excitable mother who caused him the most headaches every time he went home.
Should he tell Ling Miao beforehand so that Ling Miao could pray for luck?
Before they left, Su Yuyang had called his mother to let her know when they would arrive at the station. On the way, his phone rang every half hour—it was Su Yuyang’s mother calling to check on them. Faced with his mother’s myriad questions, Su Yuyang was helpless. On top of that, most of the questions his mother asked had to do with Ling Miao, which made Su Yuyang jealous. His mother said she’d been concerned for him for more than twenty years, so now she would concern herself more with her daughter-in-law.
Daughter… in-law. Su Yuyang wasn’t sure what expression Ling Miao would have when his mom called him that.
The trip was more than two hours long. Su Yuyang looked out the window the whole time, his gaze calm but his mind busy. Ling Miao leaned against Su Yuyang’s side and slept soundly on his shoulder. He woke up once in the middle, looked out the window, then continued sleeping.
It was midday when they reached Chengdu, and Su Yuyang’s mother was already waiting at the station.
“Mom.” Su Yuyang felt awkward when he saw his mother. Ling Miao was still one third asleep, so although they had left the train he still stuck to Su Yuyang’s side. Su Yuyang’s mother not only didn’t think Ling Miao rude, she was even happy—her son had found a partner who clung to him like this, so surely he wouldn’t be jilted again.
“Xiao Miao?” Su Yuyang called Ling Miao softly, trying to wake him. Ling Miao yawned and looked at Su Yuyang with sleep-hazy eyes, and Su Yuyang hadn’t the heart to keep trying. Su Yuyang’s mother got in her car but Su Yuyang was still dithering. She called, “Get in the car! Your dad’s waiting.”
Ling Miao might not have woken up fully or he might have slept too long—either way, he couldn’t keep his eyes open.
As they waited for the traffic light, Su Yuyang’s mother got a sly smile on her face. “He looks so tired. Xiao Yu, how long did you keep him up?”
Su Yuyang wasn’t sure how to respond to his mother’s question. He grimaced, “Mom, you’ve been reading BL novels again, haven’t you?”
After Su Yuyang’s mom found out her son was gay, she had started reading up on matters regarding homosexuality. She’d gotten addicted to BL novels, so she sometimes would let her train of thought run away.
“No, I’ve been reading your book. The main character of Demonic Song Defying Heaven is your ex-boyfriend, right?”
“Ex-boyfriend?” Ling Miao was roused from his sleep. He looked at Su Yuyang and bellowed, “You’re with your ex-boyfriend again?”
“Not ‘again.’ He’s been with him all along.” That was a woman’s voice containing some slyness. Ling Miao rubbed his head and asked uncertainly, “Who is this big sis?”
Su Yuyang began to laugh out loud. He tamped down on his laughter and said, “Big sis? This is my mom.”
“Ah…” Ling Miao’s brain short-circuited.