The Complete Guide to the Use and Care of a Personal Assistant
First Published on Chaleuria
Ling Miao was so shocked his mouth dropped open. He suddenly wanted to see Su Yuyang’s expression, but… alright, he didn’t want to go see Su Yuyang’s expression. He was worried that when he saw Su Yuyang, his own mouth wouldn’t be able to close.
A notification for the group flashed. Ling Miao clicked into it. The last message was sent by Su Yuyang.
Shu Yang: Let’s change it.
Blue Unease: Shu-shu, you aren’t afraid of losing, are you?
Shu Yang: I don’t think this is suitable for a wager.
Blue Unease: And ‘woof woof woof’ is suitable? I’m not a dog and I’m willing to post ‘woof woof woof.’ You’re not gay, so why are you unwilling to post “XXX is dominant, I’m a submissive”?
Shu Yang: And if I am?
Chaos Paste: Shu Yang, what’s that mean?
Shu Yang: If I am homosexual?
Haphazardly Chopping Wood: Shu Yang, that joke’s not funny.
In the group, probably only Ling Miao knew that Su Yuyang wasn’t joking. Seeing the reactions from the group, Ling Miao understood why Su Yuyang wrapped himself up so tightly.
Ling Miao didn’t say anything. He exited QQ and went to write.
Su Yuyang watched the group messages. After Haphazardly Chopping Wood had spoken, many lurkers now emerged.
Pale Twilight: Shu Yang, if you’re homosexual, I’m kicking you.
Shu Yang: I’m the admin.
Pale Twilight: I’ll leave the group at once and cut all ties with you!
Shu Yang: Why?
Pale Twilight: No whys. I’m just not comfortable.
Shu Yang: I’m not.
Su Yuyang spoke against his heart, but his face was all smiles. His clear eyes were blanketed in a layer of mist and no one could see what he was thinking.
Haphazardly Chopping Wood: Scared me to death.
Professional Struggling Writer of 18 Years: So what if he’s homosexual?
Professional Struggling Writer of 18 Years was one of the few female authors in the group. She had written BL before, under a different pen name.
Shu Yang: Ah, let’s not talk about this. Keep word sprinting.
Su Yuyang worried that the matter would get out of hand, so he quickly got the conversation back on topic, but somebody had caught hold of Professional Struggling Writer of 18 Years and wouldn’t let go, insisting on arguing it out with her.
Seeing a good word sprint about to turn into a heated argument, Su Yuyang somewhat regretted bringing up this topic.
Su Yuyang had only had a flash of inspiration and wanted to test the group’s reaction to homosexuality, and… ah, Su Yuyang heaved a long sigh. “I’d better keep hiding.”
Su Yuyang looked at the group chat, where the topic had changed from homosexual people to human rights. Su Yuyang rubbed his temple. He swore that from today on he’d never again discuss anything to do with homosexuality in the group.
Suddenly the group chat flashed again. Su Yuyang glanced at the monitor. Mu Yu and An Yuan had appeared at the same time, as if they’d planned it. Both only sent a single exclamation mark.
Mu Yu: Everyone, I beg you, give me your drafts! Updating is hard, and if your story’s a recommended one, please don’t break your update streak, or Little Black House ¹ will be waiting for you! OTZ
An Yuan: Everyone, I beg you, give me your drafts! Updating is hard, and if your story’s a recommended one, please don’t break your update streak, or Little Black House will be waiting for you! OTZ
Alright, Su Yuyang understood why An Yuan and Mu Yu were so in sync. An Yuan just copied and pasted Mu Yu’s words.
Shu Yang: That’s right, word sprint! Who’s in?
Blue Lake: Not in the mood. You go ahead.
Following which, a string of people answered in the same way Blue Lake had. Su Yuyang shrugged, and was about to exit QQ to write when a message from Mu Yu arrived.
Mu Yu: Just one sentence and you made huge waves. Are you still intending to out yourself?
Shu Yang: If there’s a chance, yes. Hiding and sneaking around’s too painful, and my classmates might out me as a homosexual anyway.
Mu Yu: Your readers are mostly male. Some things you understand, too.
Shu Yang: I understand. But I don’t think that liking the same sex is something to be ashamed of.
Mu Yu: Ah, whatever you like. Even if you come out of the closet on your microblog right now, I have nothing to say. As long as you’re not torpedoed by your fans.
Shu Yang: Don’t be so pessimistic.
Mu Yu: Are you trying to make yourself feel better?
Su Yuyang didn’t reply. Mu Yu had correctly identified his inner thoughts. Su Yuyang didn’t reply, so Mu Yu sent another message.
Mu Yu: Give the code for Demonic Song Defying Heaven’s closed beta to your assistant.
Shu Yang: Thank you. Also, from now on, give the management of novel adaptation rights to Xiao Miao. I’ll give you his QQ.
After several seconds, Mu Yu sent a message to Su Yuyang.
Mu Yu: He’s actually an author under me. [Black lines] (T/N: black lines: -_-|||)
Shu Yang: It’s fate.
Ling Miao was still writing so he wasn’t online.
When Ling Miao went online and found that the editor was looking for him, his first reaction was, “My updates for the last few days were fine. Does he want to discontinue my book? Fuck, even if I sign a percentage division contract² I still get discontinued—is there justice in the world?!”
Mu Yu: Xiao Miao, Shu Yang says to give the management of his novel adaptation rights to you to take care of.
Seeing Mu Yu’s words, Ling Miao heaved a sigh of relief, but on reading it in detail, why did he get the feeling that Su Yuyang was giving him trouble?
Ling Miao intended to leave, but Su Yuyang had given his novel adaptation rights to Ling Miao to manage. Ling Miao couldn’t help but suspect that Su Yuyang might be trying to use this to tie him here.
Ling Miao wasn’t sure how to reply to Mu Yu because once he accepted Mu Yu’s task, he wouldn’t be able to extricate himself from Su Yuyang for a very long time. As Ling Miao had already made up his mind to leave, this was a tragedy to him.
Ling Miao stared at Mu Yu’s message in a daze, and with terrible timing, his alarm sounded—it was time to make dinner.
Packing up his feelings, Ling Miao stood up and went to the kitchen.
After making dinner, Ling Miao went to call Su Yuyang to the table.
Su Yuyang glanced at the dishes on the table and suddenly didn’t have much of an appetite anymore.
Ling Miao saw that Su Yuyang had his chopsticks raised but wasn’t moving, and asked worriedly, “Why aren’t you eating?”
Su Yuyang put down his chopsticks and looked at the rice in the bowl which resembled porridge, and asked worriedly, “Is something the matter? These dishes today aren’t up to your usual standard.”
“I was thinking of something Mu Yu sent me in the afternoon.”
“That was my suggestion. He’s only my editor but the things he takes care of are far beyond what he should need to be responsible for. After all, you’re my assistant.”
“And what if I’m not?” Ling Miao said dazedly.
“Are you intending to resign?” Su Yuyang asked jokingly.
Ling Miao didn’t answer. He glanced at the pathetic dishes on the table, got up, took it all into the kitchen, then came back with two packets of instant noodles.
“We’ll just eat this.” Ling Miao looked apologetically at Su Yuyang.
Su Yuyang only nodded to indicate he was fine with it.
“Xiao Miao, do you think that if readers knew I was homosexual, would there be more of them who renounced me or more of them who supported me?” After dinner, Su Yuyang suddenly posed a question to Ling Miao.
Ling Miao raised his head, only to meet Su Yuyang’s deathly still eyes.
Ling Miao knew that consoling words had no effect on Su Yuyang, and he also knew that Su Yuyang coming out of the closet would make huge waves in his readership. Maybe some would turn from a fan to a casual fan to an anti-fan, or maybe some would, out of pity—pity. That was a strange way to say it.
“Either way, you’ve earned enough money. As long as you don’t pick up a gambling habit, you’ve enough to spend for this lifetime. If you want to come out of the closet, wait till you’ve found your other half—with one more person to share the burden, you’ll be more relaxed.” Ling Miao’s voice was steady at first, but at the end he smiled craftily.
“You’re in favor of me coming out of the closet?” A glimmer flashed across Su Yuyang’s gray eyes.
Ling Miao smiled and said: “I like your work, not you as a person. Whether you like men or women has very little to do with me.”
“But you’re a man.”
“But I don’t like men.”
“Maybe you do like men and haven’t discovered it yet.”
“Even if I like a man, that man won’t necessarily be you—maybe it’ll be Linxi.”
“But he doesn’t like men.”
“Who knows? Mm, maybe I’ll fall for Feng Ji.”
“But you’re not Feng Ji’s type.”
Su Yuyang and Ling Miao argued back and forth, neither willing to compromise. From Su Yuyang’s perspective, if Ling Miao fell for a man, that man would definitely be Su Yuyang. Ling Miao, on the other hand, felt that if he fell for a man, that man would definitely not be Su Yuyang.
The day passed amidst these arguments, and under Su Yuyang’s strong request (command), Ling Miao had no choice but to move his bed elsewhere.
Life had regained its former calm, and Ling Miao gradually took on the duties around managing Su Yuyang’s novel adaptation rights. The only thing that left Ling Miao dissatisfied was that he seemed to have no way to resign, again.
After writing the update for several days later, Ling Miao clicked open the document Su Yuyang had just sent over.
In the distance, a white shadow arced across the heavens as it shot toward Yan Luo. Yan Luo narrowed his eyes and waited calmly for this elite—he did not know if the newcomer would be friend or foe—even though the two were very far apart, Yan Luo could feel a very real pressure.
The white shadow came to a halt in front of Yan Luo. On a flying sword stood a man.
The folds of the man’s white robes were adrift in the air, as if he were a celestial being. His faint smile was somewhat intimate, but a stunning cold light flashed through his eyes.
The white-robed man leapt off the flying sword and made a fist and palm salute³ to Yan Luo. “I am Ling Miao of the Two Heavenly Cities…”
“I…” Ling Miao was surprised to see his own name appear in Su Yuyang’s book, but his name was pretty normal, and maybe Su Yuyang had already thought of it before. But then he thought about Su Yuyang asking him if he wanted to cameo, and wasn’t sure if Su Yuyang had already decided beforehand to write in a character “Ling Miao” or if Su Yuyang was intentionally tossing Ling Miao into the story to have fun with.
Ling Miao held back the impulse to question Su Yuyang and continued to edit, but this feeling of empathy was too strong. Ling Miao kept feeling that Ling Miao #2 was actually himself, and reading about Ling Miao #2 getting hit in the face by the protagonist, Ling Miao actually felt his own face hurt.
“Motherfucker, can I even edit properly from now on?” Ling Miao wanted to smash the keyboard, but then remembered Su Yuyang saying that his keyboard had cost almost a thousand bucks. So Ling Miao vented all his anger on the bed.
Actually, Ling Miao could just do this—Ctrl+H and change all instances of “Ling Miao” to someone else’s name.
Inhaling sharply, Ling Miao continued to drag the scrollbar. When he saw the last line, he felt that his lungs were going to burst.
Percentage division: The most common contract type where the author earns 50% of proceeds. Some sites have different rates.
Complete purchase: The publisher buys the rights to the novel and pays the author by the word. The author doesn’t own the novel rights, but is guaranteed an income.
Percentage division with a minimum: A combination of the other two methods. No matter how the novel sells, the author will get some proceeds, but if the novel sells well and exceeds a given ‘minimum’, then the extra will be percentage divided between the author and publisher