Airplane Shooting Towards the Sky had a lot of things to say about his no good shitty System, and he's hardly been transmigrated for a month.
For starters, he wasn't a human. No, because that was too much to ask for apparently. No, because his stupid System thought it'd be funny to force this author into the role of a hamster– a hamster! The moment he realized he was a small helpless rodent, he wished he could've been anyone else– he'd have even settled for the role of An Ding Peak Lord and all his death flags in exchange for opposable thumbs, for crying out loud.
Although when he realized exactly where he'd landed in the world of Proud Immortal Demon Way, the wish to be that character died rather quickly.
See, when Airplane came to in a hamster's body, he was hit by frigid cold winds. His first priority? Finding shelter. His keen rodent eyes locked onto a mighty palace sprung up from the ice and snow.
Then when he scurried right past the front gates (what luck!), some terrible beast yowled and started to chase him (bad! Bad bad bad!)
He didn't have time to look behind him and see what it was, he only had time to make a desperate dash near the palace walls and hope against hope he could find a hiding spot, maybe a mouse hole, a warm little burrow for his poor freezing furry ass.
And then the beast caught him in its jaws, and Airplane's hopes of living longer than 1 day in this ham ham body died.
And then some person picked the beast up.
And smacked the beast until it spit this Shang Qing-ham out.
Shang Qinghua landed on the palm of someone's hand, and turned to see the beast was… some slightly demonic looking house cat. (With 3 eyes.)
And then Shang Qinghua looked up at his savior.
His little hamster lungs' breath was stolen away when he looked into the eyes of his most beloved creation, his favorite OC, the ice demon Mobei Jun. He was struck with fear that the demon would crush him in his fist and feed him to the demon cat after all, but he was also awestruck at how handsome Mobei Jun looked in the flesh!
For some reason, Mobei Jun kind of decided to… take Shang Qinghua in? As his pet? He doesn't even remember writing Mobei Jun as being fond of animals? And yet the ice demon made a visible effort to tend to this lowly hamster!
He brought Shang Qinghua foods fit for his delicate hamster diet (foods that shouldn't even be common in the northern deserts, was he importing it?!)
And he brought marbles and little toys for Shang Qinghua's entertainment (which, Airplane would learn later, the marbles were actually priceless gems from the treasury that he was putting his lowly paws all over)
And Mobei Jun even made a pseudo hamster ball for Shang Qinghua to scurry around inside. It was made of ice, clear to see through and much stronger than it looked. No beast cat was going to bite it's way through this and eat him, no sir! Who knew that Mobei Jun would be kind of the best pet-owner ever, actually? He even found a way to pass the tiniest trickle of spiritual energy to Shang Qinghua through his little ham hands, allowing Shang Qinghua immunity to the constant cold environment.
His king was so thoughtful!
He even tried to return that thoughtfulness as much as he could in his limited hamster ability. As the author of this novel he knew all sorts of drama and scheming because he wrote it himself. He knew the mistress of the northeastern glacial canyons was actually an assassin sent to kill Mobei Jun, because he wrote all about that backstory in his unpublished drafts. Mobei Jun would not die, of course, but her attempts would seriously hinder Mobei Jun's position among court officials for months to come. So what did this filial hamster do? He opened the "lid" of his ice hamster ball, scurried out, sneaked through the palace courtroom, and crawled up the assassin's robes– all the way up to her ample bosom, where she kept a vial of poison between her cleavage. Predictably, she screamed her head off that a rat was in her robes. Shang Qinghua popped up out of her bosom holding the vial of poison in his hamster jaw and leaped out, into Mobei Jun's palms (good catch, my king!)
Suffice to say Mobei Jun sliced her head off shortly afterwards, and no one faulted him for it.
(Shang Qinghua might have squeaked in fright at the impromptu beheading, he couldn't help his squeaky rodent voice. But Mobei Jun immediately covered his eyes and pet him soothingly after that, almost like calming him down? Perhaps? Who knew Mobei Jun could be so… kind!)
And his king's kindnesses were inadvertently speedrunning him through System milestones. Apparently helping your king uncover assassins and other contrived plot devices really got you to bond with your king, even as a mere pet hamster. So before Shang Qinghua knew it, he'd unlocked the ability to transform back into a human… for one shichen, on a voucher only redeemable once. But it was something! He could eat human food again! He could walk on two human legs again!
There was just one teensy problem. Shang Qinghua hadn't… quite… realized just how attatched Mobei Jun had gotten to hamster-him in such a short time? So, you see, when Shang Qinghua calculated the perfect time to transform into a human, on some important demonic banquet during the winter equinox yadda yadda, he figured the palace would be so crowded with guests that he could easily slip into the parts of the palace that'd be empty and have fun with that. Everyone would be too busy to notice a human "snuck in" the palace. And Mobei Jun would be stuck at the banquet all evening and wouldn't miss him.
That was the theory anyway. In reality it was a total mess.
First, when he transformed, he was naked as the day he was born. He had to steal his king's robes, and they felt 5 sizes too big. Now Shang Qinghua really feared anyone finding him, because he'd be accused as a perv stealing Mobei Jun's personal wardrobe.
Next, he snuck into the kitchens and ate and ate and ate, until he felt sick and regretted his life choices.
Next, some guards came out of nowhere, accusing him of "stealing the prince's pet hamster" wherever they got that idea from, and it led to a wild goose chase while Shang Qinghua managed a stomache ache and a quarter of a shichen left before his human time was up.
Then he ran face first into Mobei Jun's chest when he rounded a corner. He liked that chest. In hamster form he would often burrow between his king's pectorals while his king pat his head, very soothingly. Now though, now it was a nightmare. Because Mobei Jun had the expression of someone who wanted Shang Qinghua skinned alive for daring to… steal his hamster, he supposed.
Maybe it was just the principle of stealing anything from the ice prince, that made much more sense, aiyo…
In any case, Shang Qinghua squeaked and ran inside Mobei Jun's room.
Luck was on his side because he transformed back into a hamster at the last second, just as Mobei Jun forced his way back inside his rooms. So there Shang Qinghua was, on the ground, on top of Mobei Jun's robes he'd borrowed. Mobei Jun swiftly picked him up, pet his head, and dropped him back into his hamster ball.
Overall the experience was a 2 out of 10. He wanted a refund on his "turn human for 2 hours" voucher, because that sucked and he still had indigestion and the living daylights scared out of him. And he didn't know when his shitty System would ever let him transform back again. Was he doomed to be a hamster forever? How long did hamsters even live for anyway??
But time passed. As much as the System really strung him along, always dangling prizes just out of reach, he still made progress little by little. The missions became stranger too. In ordinary circumstances he'd never sneak into his king's bed at night and kiss him on the lips with his rodent mouth, but the System made him do it! And it was for the greater good, so he could transform into a human again one hour per day now. As a human he'd have better chances of warning Mobei Jun of dangers. Even if he had to warn his king through secret messages delivered "anonymously," because humans were still very much not allowed in the palace of the Northern Desert King.
Anyways, using this trick helped out several times in the end. Shang Qinghua's warning letters helped save Mobei Jun from 2 more plots against his life and an attempted coup.
After that Shang Qinghua became somewhat sloppy with his transformations, becoming overconfident because he hadn't gotten caught yet. So the next time he came face to face with Mobei Jun in human form, Shang Qinghua froze and saw his life flash before his eyes.
He didn't give his king a chance to do anything. Shang Qinghua immediately kowtowed and pleaded for his life to serve Mobei Jun and promising eternal loyalty.
Mobei Jun said nothing. Mobei Jun didn't really talk much, or at all for that matter, it was a part of his character coolness. He was a fearsome man of action who didn't need lengthy monologuing– just one glare from Mobei Jun's icey eyes and you'd piss your pants without question.
So Shang Qinghua flinched when Mobei Jun sank down to place a hand on his head. It was an unspoken instruction for Shang Qinghua to stand back up, probably.
"My king…?" Shang Qinghua asked, looking into Mobei Jun's gaze now.
His king still did not offer any words, but nodded.
"Wait, you, I can serve you? I can stay?"
Mobei Jun nodded once more.
"My king!" He said, moved beyond words. To think Mobei Jun would show this kind of mercy… it should have been OOC, but he would take it.
Then Mobei Jun led him to some fancy rooms, and pushed Shang Qinghua inside. Shang Qinghua was confused.
"My king, where are we?"
Mobei Jun's expression pinched. Oh no, had he already annoyed his king? "I'm sorry, nevermind, I just–"
Mobei Jun cut him off with a sweeping gesture. Then Shang Qinghua thought again. "Is this… where I'm meant to… stay?"
Mobei Jun nodded.
"But this room is too nice for a lowly servant like me," Shang Qinghua blurted out.
Mobei Jun shook his head stubbornly.
Mobei Jun made several 'stay put' gestures that Shang Qinghua couldn't refute. Then he sat at the table and gestured for Shang Qinghua to join him, and Shang Qinghua of course had to oblige his king.
Mobei Jun picked up a brush at the table dipped in ink and began to write on the parchment before him. He turned the paper to him for Shang Qinghua to read.
'You were the one who sent me those letters to warn me of assassin's. '
Not a question, a statement. Though Shang Qinghua was a little confused why his king would write it down and not ask aloud– is it that Mobei Jun simply did not like to waste his breath on stupid questions?
"Y-yes, my king. I'm sorry I did not reveal myself before, but I believe we got off on the wrong foot before…" he gulped. "I never meant to steal your hamster, I never would do that! I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and– oh, oh you're writing more, I'll shut up now."
'I know. Now, as my servant, I'll assign you to take care of my hamster'
"...My king!" He said in awe. This opportunity… was really too perfect! If he was the 'caretaker' of Mobei Jun's 'hamster', didn't that mean he had a free pass to transform without fear now? Without arousing suspicion anymore?
Mobei Jun stared at him.
"I'd be honored!" He answered finally. With that, Mobei Jun nodded, looking pleased.
'You will stay.'
"Yes! I'll stay right here, I'll take good care of your hamster! I'll guard him with my life, my king!"
'What is your name.'
"My… oh. This one's name is Shang Qinghua."
For a moment, he really thought Mobei Jun was going to say his name out loud. It even looked like Mobei Jun was just about to. But he settled for a sigh and tapped his brush to the table, and held it out for Shang Qinghua to take.
Shang Qinghua supposed he was indirectly asking what characters made up his name, so he went ahead and wrote it down. In sloppy handwriting. Well, it was legible enough for Mobei Jun to make out, so that was ok for him.
They kept talking like that, back and forth as Mobei Jun wrote more sentences down, until Shang Qinghua's System alerted him that his timer was running out.
"My king!" He blurted out of nowhere. "I, I need to go, to the bathroom!"
Mobei Jun blinked.
There was awkward silence for a beat.
The System timer beeped more incessantly. Shang Qinghua felt a bead of sweat roll down his face. Mobei Jun still was silent.
"Ireallyneedtogo," he stammered, stood abruptly, and ran out the door.
He scurried back to Mobei Jun's room just in time to leap into his hamster ball. Just a few moments later, Mobei Jun swept into the room and picked up his hamster ball, nudging playfully at the ice-wall in greeting.
Shang Qinghua squeaked his signature hamhua hello squeak. The corner of Mobei Jun's mouth ticked up just barely, and then he dropped several sunflower seeds into the hamster ball.
Shang Qinghua devoured them greedily. His king was so good, too wonderful.
And he realized, when he checked back in with the System, he'd apparently just unlocked another achievement thanks to his interactions with Mobei Jun today!
Maybe at this rate, he'd be fully human again before long, after all!
When he left the System interface again, Mobei Jun's giant hand was scooping to pick him up out of his hamster ball. Shang Qinghua used to be much more terrified of his king's hands– he could easily squish him to death by accident – but now he had a much healthier appreciation for those strong and handsome and capable hands.
Mobei Jun cradled his furry body carefully, slowly lifting Shang Qing-ham up to his face. And then… and then… his king, with his ever stoic face always set to a permanent icy glare, nuzzled Shang Qinghua's soft underbelly.
Shang Qinghua tried not to flail at this awkward position. There was some kind of prey animal instincts making his ham brain feel skittish, and there was an apex predator above him, a snow leopard that could – no no no, he knew his king better than this by now, his king was actually, a bit of a softie with a soft side, and for whatever reason Shang Qinghua helped bring that soft side out of him. He was so proud of his favorite character! This new character depth that went beyond even Airplane's original drafts and expectations.
He hoped he could continue serving his king, his favorite OC, for a long time yet, both as a human and a hamster.