Upon transmigrating into the world of Proud Immortal Demon Way, Shen Yuan makes two mistakes. The first mistake goes something like this:
"Shen Qingqiu? Are you kidding me? No, I don't want my role to be bound to fucking Shen Qingqiu! Fuck that! He's the villain, the scum villain! He gets his limbs chopped off in the end! Who the hell would want to be playing his role?! No, no, thousand times no!"
And the second, shortly following the first:
"What kind of System are you - aren't you supposed to be, like, helping me - what's with these shitty options? Either become Shen Qingqiu or die? You're the one that dragged me in here! I don't have to deal with this - no, absolutely not! A System is supposed to aid the transmigrator in becoming stronger and eventually ruling the world or whatever - you're supposed to be serving me, not whatever this bullshit is! I mean, come on, why even bring me here unless it's to aid me in becoming the strongest in the world, huh? Come on, you shitty System, give me something better than fucking Shen Qingqiu!"
His error, mainly, is in expecting that he has any choice in the matter, and that the System is on his side. In Shen Yuan's defence, he'd read several transmigrator stories, and most of them followed a certain pattern, of the main character being able to use any number of cheats to rise above the common plebs of the story they now inhabited. The System was either an OP servant that saw to the main character's every whim, or it was a neutral type of videogame menu with point stores and stat options. Shen Yuan, erroneously, expected his System to be something to that effect.
He was wrong. Those transmigration stories aren't guidelines or advertisements for how a System should operate. They are, in fact, propaganda.
And his System is very much not on his side.
[User 002's failure to comply with basic instructions has resulted in activation of a Punishment Protocol! Maximum survivable punishment! User 002's role is automatically bound, "Scum Villain Double". Location automatically bound, "The Endless Abyss". Title automatically bound, "The Cursed One". May User please get ready. Penalty will load in 60 seconds.]
If a floating Windows XP system window could breathe malice, this one did. Shen Yuan gets only enough time to sputter incredulously and then demand answers, much good that it does him. "What the hell do you mean, Scum Villain Double - the Endless Abyss? You shitty System, what do you mean, the Cursed One? You aren't sending me anywhere until you explain this! You piece of shit! Answer me!"
The System doesn't answer him. Shen Yuan thinks briefly of how miserable his death was - he'd barely gotten the time to register that he had actually died, choking on spoiled noodles behind his damn computer desk like the worst sort of shut-in, and, damn, his last words, his last thoughts, his very last action on earth, had been to read and complain about goddamn PIDW! What kind of death was that? What kind of afterlife is this! Someone had better answer for this!
And then the Punishment Protocol grabs him and sends him to hell.
Shen Yuan had lived a fairly average sort of sad life. Born into a decently wealthy - okay, more than decently, closer to uncommonly wealthy - family, with parents who were politically powerful enough to get away with some shit, and who spoiled their three children without shame. Shen Yuan, as one of those spoiled children, lived a life of luxury, in a sizable condo in Beijing, doing nothing much at all with his brief life. Mostly he stayed indoors, played video games and read shitty web novels.
Proud Immortal Demon Way was one of those web novels, and easily the longest, shittiest, most aggravating piece of work he'd ever had the misfortune to follow and pay money for. Not that his donations to the author made much difference one way or the other, it seemed. Great Master Airplane Shooting Towards The Sky seemed to only spiral further and further down the drain of smut and filth with each instalment, turning what started out as an interesting concept of an abused half-demon disciple rising to power and getting his revenge... into a tiresome marathon to fuck as many uninspired stereotypes as possible. Literally. A decent action monster-fighting story, turned into a stallion novel. Over twenty million words of crap.
Shen Yuan spent over five years of his life reading it. It was fine when he was a stupid teenager of barely fifteen years of age who didn't know any better - but by the time he was eighteen, he'd invested too much of his time, money and energy in the piece of crap called Proud Immortal Demon Way to give up on it. He'd made monthly donations, he bought merchandise, he participated in discussion, he'd edited the wiki! By the time it became clear that the thing was never going to get any better, sunk cost fallacy had him by the balls, and he had to see it through. And he did. For another two, almost three years, he'd kept up with it out of pure damn spite.
And then it just… ended? Without even a satisfying conclusion?! Hundreds of characters whose stories never got a resolution, never mind some actual character arcs. Dozens upon dozens of side plots and loose ends and plot hooks that never went anywhere. Instead what they got was chapter upon chapter of Luo Binghe deflowering scrumptious virgins and fixing issues with either miraculous talents he pulled out of his ass, or once-in-a-thousand-years treasures and plants that seemed to sprout out of fucking nowhere when the protagonist needed them! Luo Binghe, who started out as a sweet, interesting, tenacious kid, turned into a bland mass of clichés wrapped in a million layers of plot armour, with a harem of hundreds, armoury fit for a small army and a vault full of priceless treasures he never did anything with.
And then it ended with the smallest hint, barely implied, that his harem, who'd spend the last several hundreds of chapters very spicily infighting, might finally turn their claws on him and then - then! Then it just ended! Without even telling if Luo Binghe turned Xin Mo against his harem, or if his harem succeeded in assassinating him, if they even attacked him, or - or anything. Just, Luo Binghe lounging about on his stupid throne, surrounded by his brainless court, and Ning Yingying coming to him with gaze full of knives, to air her grievances and - ugh. What kind of ending is that?!
What kind of thing is that to die from.
The last chapter was so long and so aggravating that Shen Yuan forgot to eat. He was still spitting mad, writing his final review while shovelling stale noodles into his mouth. Five years of his life wasted on complete nonsense - he wanted his time, his brain cells, and his money back! What a shitty story. What a shitty author, to let everything descend in quality that badly!
And then Shen Yuan actually tasted the noodles, felt the mold on his tongue - and in his attempt to hack it out, he ended up inhaling it instead. And that was it. Shen Yuan, the youngest son of the Shen Family, died at his keyboard, choking on spoiled noodles, like an absolute loser.
He's still mad about it, when he wakes up to a blaring siren and a System notification.
[Warning! You are being hunted!]
"Wha -" Shen Yuan groans and then winces at the feeling to his body - namely, the pain coursing through it. He feels bruised all over, worse than after his sister's 18th birthday, when she decided she wanted to have her party in a crossfit gym, followed by a bar crawl through the city. Afterwards Shen Yuan woke up feeling like he'd gotten into a fist fight with a bus. This is a little like that, but worse. Did he fall…?
With a shaking hand Shen Yuan reaches for his glasses, lying on the ground in front of him, and then hears a wet, nasty sounding snarl of some kind of animal. By a reflex he didn't even know he possessed, his body automatically rolls out of the way, his wide, bleary eyes seeking the threat out without his say so. It isn't until he gets his glasses on that he can make sense of it - and even then it barely makes any sense.
It's a rat the size of a dog, with a spiky tail and tusks like a boar, with foaming spittle spilling from it's disgusting jaws - and it's already coming at him again, screeching, nasty looking talons scrambling over the crusty, blood red dirt.
"What the -!" Shen Yuan cries and scrambles away, stumbling to his feet - just in time for the damn thing to latch onto his leg, tearing at the soft fabric of his sweatpants. A new source of pain spikes through his already aching body as the rat's teeth sink into his flesh and reflexively Shen Yuan kicks with all his might, his sock-clad foot colliding with the rat's ribs, his toes complaining severely with the impact. But it gets the rat off him, if only for a moment.
Shen Yuan gets a moment to look around, his eyes taking in the landscape wildly without really comprehending any of it. He's outside, there's dirt and rocks everywhere, but there's no sky - he's not sure what it is above him, but it's not that. It's not a ceiling either, or some sort or roof, it's just - a weight, like the empty space above had been condensed into a physical thing. As his mind gibbers over the sky-that-isn't-sky, his eyes take in a dry desert landscape full of jagged rocks without any plant life in sight, just red dust and sand and stones. Like scenery from Mars, except somehow bloodstained.
And then the rat comes at him again, tail swishing, jaws clattering, hissing. There's madness in its eyes and blood on its jagged teeth. Shen Yuan's blood.
Not thinking - there isn't time to think - Shen Yuan goes for another kick, and almost loses his balance - the rat skitters to the side, avoiding the hit. Before he can regain his balance and try again, the rat is upon him, taking a leap to try and get at his torso - no, at his neck. Desperate, Shen Yuan swings his arm, gets it in the way just in time to stop the damn beast from biting something vital - and of course the rat latches onto his arm, jaws closing around his wrist.
"Son of a - fuck!" Shen Yuan cries out, the pain of having his wrist chewed rising above the rest.
There's no thought, no skill, to his counter attack as he begins beating the side of the rat's head, trying to get it to release - but it's latched on tight, his blood spilling from its nasty maw. Together, they tumble to the ground, the rat's paws - hands? - scrambling at Shen Yuan's legs and waist as he tries to pry the fucking thing off. The fingers of his bitten hand are convulsing in pain, and he's already losing sensation - the beast is really trying to bite right through his wrist!
Desperate, Shen Yuan scrambles to reach something, anything, and his hands find a jagged, sharp rock, closing around it tightly. The rat, lost in its blood lust, doesn't react to the first time he slams the rock against its head, so he hits it again, and again, shouting in anger and pain until the rock starts getting bloody and the rat releases him, letting out a pained, high-pitched whine.
"You - fucking - fuck!" Shen Yuan shouts and doesn't stop hitting the beast, grabbing his make-do weapon in both hands and slamming the rock with all his might against the rat's head again and again… until it stops moving it, it's twitching limbs and swishing tail all falling still, it's bloody head lolling to the side, tongue hanging out. It's disgusting.
There's a little mechanical jingle and a distinctively red-hued Windows XP pop-up appears.
[Congratulations, congratulations, congratulations! Against all odds, you have survived!]
"Oh, fuck you," Shen Yuan pants, dropping the gore-covered rock and grabbing his throbbing wrist, thinking to stop the bleeding, only… "Ow, fuck -!"
It's not bleeding, which would be a good thing, if it wasn't for the reason. The skin around the bite mark is already red and swollen, throbbing with every beat of his heart. Just like that, it's infected, blood no longer flowing where it should.
"What the hell was that?" Shen Yuan grounds out, gingerly examining the injury. It's one solid mass of pain, but he can move his fingers, even rotate his wrist a little. It isn't broken, at least. "System, answer me, what is this?"
With another merry, sinister jingle, the System answers.
[You have suffered an injury that has become infected! If you do not find a cure within 12 hours, you will die.]
"What?" Shen Yuan asks, looking at the window in horror. "But I just - are you kidding me?! I just got here, and I'm already -? What's the cure, where is it? Is there a map - point me where it is!"
The System does no such thing, of course. Instead, utterly unsympathetic, it offers him;
[Alert! You are being hunted!]
Shen Yuan stares at the window, uncomprehending, for a split second - and then he hears it. Another wet, nasty sounding snarl, the scrape of nails on dusty, rocky earth. More gigantic rats coming his way.
Clamping his mouth shut on all the curses that want to spill out, Shen Yuan stumbles up to his somewhat shaking feet, and turns to run. Fuck this shit - he's out!
The rats, guided by a sadistic System that's clearly trying to kill him, follow.
Shen Yuan has two new scrapes and a bad case of exhaustion and dizziness by the time he gets away from the rats enough to actually take in his situation. They're still following him, he's still got the you are being hunted tag on him - but it turns out the rats aren't too good climbers. He nearly got himself killed, falling off the spire he'd ended to seeking shelter in, and he's now lost all feeling in his bitten hand… but he made it.
First thing he does with his break is panic and throw up. There's nothing in his stomach, and it comes out as nothing more than burning stomach acid, another bit of pain to add into the growing collection he's carrying. It does nothing to clear his head, and only leaves him feeling more lightheaded, gasping back tears and furious screams.
What the shit is any of this supposed to be? What kind of transmigration story is this?!
At least now he knows - or rather, has been forced to accept - where he is. The Endless Abyss of Proud Immortal Demon Way, the Hell of Hells, the worst place in the known universe. Chaotic in-between-dimension where already mutated monsters mutated only more, and where beasts grew only beastlier. Even demons didn't come here willingly, it was that bad - and Shen Yuan was in one of its least chaotic places. The Rock Desert was, as the Endless Abyss went, almost pleasant. No poisonous lakes, no acid rain, no million billion plants looking to fuck anything living over - sometimes literally! The only thing there was in the Rock Desert was rocks, dust, and minor beasts, like the Bloodthirsty Tusk Rats he'd been running away from. Airplane's imagination at its finest.
In the web novel, after being cast into a dimensional rift by his scum villain teacher Shen Qingqiu, Luo Binghe spent years in the Endless Abyss - and they were, almost universally, horrible. He'd levelled up in power - and begun losing his sanity. It's not exactly a shining review for the place.
Shen Yuan has eleven hours left on his death timer, and the System is doing its utmost to not help him at all. In fact, it's clearly looking to make things worse for him, sending more and more beasts after him and offering him no aid whatsoever. It could be mistaken for a beginner quest, sure, - it was just rats, after all, barely tutorial level monsters. For Luo Binghe this place had barely been a pit stop on his way to a more interesting location - by that time he was OP enough that the beasts of the desert didn't even bother him.
For a very human, very mortal Shen Yuan, it is actual hell, and the rats are a very real threat to his life. He didn't even get any experience for the ones he'd killed! And if he somehow managed to kill all of the over twenty rats after him, the System would probably send something worse after him. There are Demon Vultures and Hell Scorpions in this desert too, and probably half a dozen other things that could kill him.
[Warning! You are being hunted!]
Nervous, Shen Yuan looks around - and up - just in case, but it's just the rats, gathered around the base of the stone spire.
"You're such a shitty System," he groans, wiping at his mouth. "Who the hell authorised this, huh? I want to talk to a damn administrator! System, are you listening to me?!"
The System doesn't answer, except to flash the you are being hunted window again, a bit more insistently this time.
Shen Yuan flips a finger at it and then inspects his arm again. It's… already looking kinda bad. He's never been this badly injured, never even seen anyone be this badly injured, but… human skin isn't supposed to be that colour, he's pretty sure. It's also swelling up, by a lot. It's the sort of thing you rush to ER for. The sort of thing that even today might cause someone to lose their arm, even with all modern medicine and antibiotics.
"Fuck," Shen Yuan murmurs, bowing over the throbbing arm and then drawing a breath and straightening up again.
Eleven hours to find a cure. He's in the Endless Abyss, he's infected, and there are no antibiotics in this setting, and there are absolutely no hospitals either. During Luo Binghe's time the Endless Abyss only had about half a dozen sapient occupants - of which five were fuckable, and the last one the protagonist killed. Shen Yuan couldn't get to any of them in time, they're all too far away, and even if he did, the rats would probably keep following him, until the System sent something worse after him. It was probably expecting him to die in short order.
Well, sucks to be the System, because the Endless Abyss was Shen Yuan's first favourite arc in Proud Immortal Demon Way, and he wrote most of the wiki pages about it - he has this place memorised.
There are a few ways he could deal with this infection that he could think of from the top of his head. There is the All-Cleansing Fruit of the Corrupted Nymph, a tree that tried its best to tentacle-hentai anything with two legs that got near. There is the Purifying Water of the Crystalline Spring, which was a trap and would probably end up with him being eaten by transparent demon piranhas. There is the blood of the Four-Winged Phoenix, but even Luo Binghe couldn't catch the thing. The Void Egg of the Abyssal Ouroboros is supposed to renew the body to its purest, healthiest state, but the Abyssal Ouroboros is also too high level for Shen Yuan to even think about it. And then there are the Rejuvenating Grapes of the Climbing Pleasure Vine… which dusted everyone that came near with sex pollen - one of the deadliest sex pollens in the story, at that, deadly unless dual cultivated into submission over two weeks.
"Fuck fuck fuck," Shen Yuan murmurs, clutching his hand to his chest, trying to stop it from hurting so damn much.
Of all the potential cures for this level of infection, the Climbing Pleasure Vine was the closest, though, just in the Leaking Flower Meadow, which was on the other side of the Rock Desert. Problem is, the Leaking Flower Meadow got its name from all the papapa plants in there - the whole forest existed to trap people into pleasurable haze of hundred different sex pollens. It was like the worst aspects of the world of Proud Immortal Demon Way condensed in one place - it was downright prophetic, in a way, for what would come in the story hundreds of chapters later. The forest knocked unsuspecting travellers over the head with an aphrodisiac, and then - well.
Luo Binghe got to taste the forest personally, spending weeks trapped there, fucking his two companions senseless. It was… kind of tiresome to read, really. And not something Shen Yuan is interested in experiencing.
However… there is something he'd always wished someone would've thought to try in Proud Immortal Demon Way, when it came to all the sex pollens. He'd written several forum posts about it, to no avail.
Not a single one of the many women victimised by the plant life, not Luo Binghe or any of his servants or lieutenants, not even the few incredibly talented healers and doctors, thought to try, you know… not breathing it in. No one tried to cover their nose or mouth, no one thought about using a mask. Or even some kind of seal, talisman, anything. Not a single one did anything other than brace for the effects, when encountered with the threat of date-rape-drug-plant. So stupid.
Shen Yuan is desperate and hurting, but he's spent five years theorising about all the things people could've done in the world of Proud Immortal Demon Way, if they had even two brain cells to rub together. Eleven hours isn't a lot of time to work with, especially when one is being hunted by evil rats. But near to the Leaking Flower Meadow, there is a swamp with Gaseous Squids - Airplane's knock-off Octorocks. It would be a little bit of a detour, but if they worked like they did in Zelda…
It's probably an insane plan, but… "Fuck it," Shen Yuan groans and gets up. What else is he going to do - sit here and die? Fuck that.
First things first though. Rats. There is a whole damn horde of them out there. He couldn't - and probably shouldn't - kill all of them, but he would need to cut a path through them if he wanted to get out of there alive.
With a grunt, Shen Yuan picks up a rock and tests its weight. Hefty and sharp.
Well then. Time to test the time-honoured method of heavy objects thrown from high places.
Somehow Shen Yuan makes it out of the Rock Desert alive and with minor extra injuries. The ones he has are all throbbing now, all of them to some extent infected, though none as badly as the arm. But he's alive, and that's a damn accomplishment, no matter what the System says.
He has six hours left. Six hours to get to the swamp and figure out how to hunt Gaseous Squids and then make his way to the Leaking Flower Meadow and get the grapes.
It would be easier if he wasn't starving.
Six hours in this world, and Shen Yuan has run into nothing edible. Which isn't that surprising, actually - it wasn't like Luo Binghe enjoyed regular meals in the Endless Abyss either, suffering hunger and starvation before he finally resorted to eating his kills. He was half-demon, though, with half-demon's stamina and constitution - Luo Binghe could eat just about anything without getting something as inconvenient as food poisoning. So even though he still has a horde of Bloodthirsty Tusk Rats following him, Shen Yuan isn't even a little bit tempted.
Besides, water is a way bigger issue than food.
Endless Abyss as a whole doesn't have a lot of water. Drinkable water is even rarer, and it's always guarded by some beast or another. The Leaking Flower Meadow would have some, but it would be absolutely full of sex pollen. Again, Luo Binghe got to experience that personally, too. The most dehydrating drink ever, really.
The list of things Shen Yuan therefore needs is growing.
First, he needs something to hunt the Gaseous Squids with. His current best bet is a well-aimed rock throw, because he has no weapons. Maybe if he found a sharp enough rock he could take a branch or something from the Leaking Flower Meadow and turn that into a spear, but that's… unlikely too.
[Warning! You are being hunted!]
Tsking with disgust, Shen Yuan gives the window a glare and then keeps moving.
The Leaking Flower Meadow is within sight now - and it's a very out of place sight indeed. The trees are every colour of rainbow, reds and pinks and purples and blues, with greens and yellows here and there - and they're shimmering. It's like there's a heat haze over the place, or like it's some sort of hologram, a mirage - it looks otherworldly and magical. It looks inviting too, which is just insidious.
Luo Binghe had, erroneously, thought it was a place of great natural Qi, that it might house some great spiritual weapon or artefact - but no! It was just drugs.
Shen Yuan eyes the hazy shimmer surrounding the place and decides he's not going anywhere near it without a gas mask. So, to the swamp he goes, exhaustedly jogging on already aching feet to keep ahead of the rats.
It feels almost like the distance gets longer the further he goes, every step taking more effort. His arm throbs, every cut and nick pulsing with worrisome heat, and underneath it all, he'd bruised all over. He really fell into the Endless Abyss, and the System didn't cushion his fall at all.
Shen Yuan pushes through it with a sort of mental fortification only lethal danger and pure spite can give. His socks are ruined, and his feet are probably bleeding, and he's shaking with feverish chill, but he keeps going.
He's going to fucking prove his idea works, to the System, if not to the message boards.
And there, finally, the rocky landscape of the Rock Desert stops and the swamp comes into view. It's a bit unnatural - it's like the world is cut with a knife. The desert just ends, as dry as ever, and then there's wet, spongy moss everywhere. One biome changing and another beginning, with no transition in between.
Whatever, Shen Yuan is beyond caring.
At the border between the biomes, he collects good-sized rocks into his hoodie pockets, as many as he can carry. Then, wincing at the feeling of the swamp muck against his scratched feet, he steps into the swamp.
[Warning! You are being hunted!]
"Yeah, yeah, I know, you shitty piece of -" Shen Yuan shuts up sharply, seeing something in the mossy water - moving under three swamp's surface. A rough shape like a log, but sinuous like a snake.
There are more beasts here than just the Gaseous Squids. And the main threat is the Thousand Tooth Alligators.
And one of them is coming right at him.
"Fuck!" Shen Yuan shouts, and scrambles, barely in time to avoid losing his leg, as a long, narrow maw with many teeth comes at him with speed. Swampy water splashes on him a the Thousand Tooth Alligator slams back into the water, jaws closing on nothing.
For a moment Shen Yuan just stares at the murky surface, his heart pounding.
Then a pair of malicious eyes pierce the surface and narrow in his way, considering, plotting. Behind them more rough, log-like shapes move in the water.
"Yeah, fuck that," Shen Yuan decides and backs away hurriedly.
Without the air bladders of Gaseous Squids to use as air tanks, braving the Leaking Flower Meadow becomes a little riskier. Though in hindsight, using the air bladders probably would've been a bad idea anyway - breathing whatever lingering fumes of the gasses the squids used to hover? That sounds a bit like giving yourself some kind of poisoning. Probably just as well.
"Filter," Shen Yuan murmurs, wiping sweat off his eyes and knocking his glasses askew. "What I need is a filter mask."
But that's pretty far beyond his means right now. His steps are starting to stumble, and his head swims, and his arm…
He's trying not to look at it - trying not to think about it. He thinks of nothing but. It's no longer throbbing. Now it just - hurts. Hurts, hurts, hurts…
With clumsy, shaking hand, Shen Yuan strips out of his hoodie and then awkwardly ties it around his face, bunching up the fabric best he can so that it's thickest around his nose and mouth. Then, with eyes burning from both dryness and sweat, he turns to the meadow.
It's like walking into a garden made of rainbows. Between one step and another, everything becomes psychedelically vivid and iridescent, like there are prisms everywhere and he's walking through a colourful fog full of their refractions. An acid trip, but make it a physical place.
Shen Yuan had been properly high only once in his life, when his tonsils had been removed. He doesn't remember much about it, except how the lights looked like - multilayered and so much more than they should've been. Like they came through dimensions, like there was more in them than there should be. He remembers staring at the fluorescent rods overhead and trying to see them, until their shapes were burned into his retinas and he couldn't see anything else for what then felt like days, but probably was only minutes. His mother fed him ice chips, and they tasted blue, like the sky.
Shen Yuan's eyes burn, and everything turns into astigmatic smears and starbursts - the glowing flowers around him like little explosions, unbearably bright. He's hot all over, all of a sudden, hot and - and -
Climbing Pleasure Vine, he needs to get to the Climbing Pleasure Vine, and get the Rejuvenating Grapes. Because they would fix him. Fix his arms, and hopefully everything else too. Fix his arm. Just the one. He only has the one? No, he has two, but one of them doesn't work. Can't jerk off with just one arm.
Fuck, he wants to jerk off. So bad. Worse than when he'd first discovered that one fanartist who did PIDW weird niche smut so good and -
"Fuck," Shen Yuan groans, muffled by the hoodie, squeezing his eyes shut. Can sex pollen get you through the skin? Through his eyes, maybe? His eyes are itching, rubbing them would feel so good, but all his shrinking germaphobic modern soul can see the colourful smears on his hand - where did those come from? - and knows that getting that shit into his eyes would be a bad thing. Getting it on his dick would probably also be a bad idea.
That doesn't stop him from rubbing himself through his sweatpants, cursing at how it just makes it feel worse. No wonder all the characters in PIDW are just fucking bowled over by papapa pollen - fuck, if there was someone around, like Binghe always had, then, fuck -
Shaking his head to clear the mental image of Binghe in the throes of this stuff, Shen Yuan tries to concentrate. He isn't sure why he's here anymore. Where the hell even is he? When did he leave his condo? It's like a garden - can't jerk off in a garden -
Is that flower… dripping? And why does it look like…?
Fuck, fuck, right, Leaking Flower Meadow, named for its signature flower, the Maiden's Secret, which not so secretly looks like a wet, glistening pussy. The fan artists had a damn field day with that one. Not his proudest wank.
Damn they really look like you could just stick it right in and it would feel so good, so wet and -
Shen Yuan bumps blindly into a low branch in his way, and the pain that flashes through him is like being hit with a thousand volts - pure white flash that turns every nerve in his body up and high to the station of white noise. His whole body buzzing with pain, he automatically goes to clutch at his arm - and that cranks it up to eleven.
In an instant his head clears. Everything feels soupy, and he's rock hard in his sweats, the head of his dick feeling raw and tingly where it pressed against the taut fabric - but his brain drops right out of horny town.
Before him there's a wall of Maiden's Secrets, dripping golden nectar. The smell is -
"Eurgh -!" Shen Yuan gags and backs away, feet clumsy and his stupid dick like a damn magnet, trying to pull him back in. His head is clear now, though, and even if his body is right there with the flowers, well, he is sure as hell not fucking a damn flower! Especially since he knows they're flesh-eating plants! Well, technically, Qi-eating - but same difference!
No, no, absolutely not - no. He needs to find the Climbing Pleasure Vine and get the grapes and get the hell out of here before he's really fucked. Maybe literally! The forest trapped all kinds of creatures and monsters, and Great Master Airplane teased all kinds of monsterfucking possibilities here, and - and Shen Yuan totally did not check out those discussions nor the art, and - and he definitely doesn't want to experience anything like that personally! Hell no!
Fuck, if he gets out of here alive, he's turning his glasses into goggles. And he's definitely going to make a proper gas mask. And he's going to burn this forest to the ground!
… No, he isn't, there are too many interesting plants.
Fuck, he's throbbing again.
Not stopping to examine which part of him hurts more - his arm or his dick - Shen Yuan stumbles away. He has a fucking vine to find. Focus, focus, he's gotta focus…
Shen Yuan is feeling tingly and dehydrated and very bothered by the time he does, and only by periodically squeezing his arm does he keep his mind on track. His body is confusion of pleasure and pain by now, he can't tell where one ends and the other begins or maybe it's all the same thing. Probably is, with how these things were described in text. Pleasure like pain, pain like pleasure. Nerves firing every which way. Doesn't matter.
The Climbing Pleasure Vine isn't that difficult to recognise - it's tangled around a cluster of trees and doing unimaginable things to them. Actually the trees kind of look like bodies - humanoid bodies. Like just being near the vine, being trapped in its invasive branches turned all victims into receptive, uh, receptacles. Airplane's writing at its finest - papapa vine infestation turns trees into porny statues.
Shen Yuan doesn't have enough blood in his brain for this.
Nor does he have enough strength to try and climb the vine to try and get to the grapes hanging from above. With the pollen hanging in the air he can't get close without risking his life and his dick, and with his luck he'd just end up tangled and - yeah. Climbing Pleasure Vine got its name for a reason. Death by endless, ever increasing pleasure might sound like one hell of a way to go, but Shen Yuan has come too damn far to die here.
Half an hour left on his timer, Shen Yuan does what he screamed at Luo Binghe to do in the comments, to no avail.
He finds a long branch to whack the grapes until they loosened and fell. And damn, if that isn't a metaphor. They even look like testicles, for fuck's sake.
"I hate this book so damn much," Shen Yuan groans, and bites in with a vengeance. At least they have the decency to taste good. Creamy and moist. Yeah.
Fuck Airplane, seriously.
Shen Yuan comes out of the Leaking Flower Meadow with a belly full of grapes, more packed away into every pocket and hanging from a ripped bit of vine just in case, and a serious case of blue balls. His arm is better, though, as are all his other injuries. The bite mark and all the others had left scars, because of course, but the infection is gone. He's going to live.
He's not particularly relieved though. He's fucking furious.
[Congratulations, congratulations, congratulations! Against all odds, you have survived!]
"Yeah fuck you too," Shen Yuan growls and points at the window with a grape smeared finger. "You know what, you shitty System? I'm going to fucking beat you."
He knows so much about Proud Immortal Demon Way, and he knows just about everything that was ever written about the Endless Abyss - all the dangers, yes, but also all the beneficial things. There's so many weird plants and beasts whose parts have all kinds of beneficial effects - from Luminous Lizards who make you glow, to Bull Wyrms, whose hearts double your physical strength. Luo Binghe had dismissed a lot of the Endless Abyss' enticing treasures because of honour, because he wanted to be strong on his own merit, because there was someone around to fuck and he was too busy. Whatever. Shen Yuan just got though the fucking date rape drug forest, he has no use for honour.
"I'm going to beat this game," Shen Yuan snarls. "I'm going to beat this book, and if I'm ever running into Luo fucking Binghe, I'm going to beat him too! Just fucking watch me!"
One day he would find the whole Bull Wyrm flock and eat all their hearts, and so what if righteous cultivators thought it was a demonic technique? Shen Yuan doesn't give two shits!
[Warning! You are being hunted!]
"Tch!" Shen Yuan scoffs, grabbing his grape-whacking branch. "Fucking bring it!"