Warning: spoilers for the source material, mentions of physical abuse not taken seriously in canon or fanon, R18.
In which I attempt to make sense of how I ended up carving an OTP out of side characters relegated to the extras section of a 95-chapter novel. First draft painstakingly drafted for public clowning on July 12, 2021.
An author writes a stallion novel. An author dies. An author finds himself in a hell of his own making (a lousily-written stallion novel). An author becomes the loyal servant of his favorite OC. An author is forced to fix his own shit writing as an active participant in order to save his favorite OC and himself from the bad ending he wrote for their roles.
This webpage focuses on a pair of characters from The S██m V██lain's S██f-S██ing S██tem, a novel by MXTX about a guy who shitposts on a webnovel's comment section so hard he is magically transported into the world of the novel he hates as the main villain of the story, and is tasked with fixing the plot and reaching a good ending by an omniscient System. Eventually, he finds out he's not the only transmigrator being bullied into fixing this story, as the author himself has ended up in the shoes of a much more irrelevant, cannon fodder of an antagonist character.
And that is the guy my brain decided should be my favorite.
MBJ is a very powerful, very minor character in Airplane's webnovel. He's a demon in control of his clan (his name actually being a title: Lord of the Northern Desert), and the loyal right hand man of the stallion novel's protagonist. He's a stoic, regal demon lord who seems to find it easier to express himself through actions than with words. That is to say, it's much easier to pry a punch out of him than a full sentence. While he seems to stand out as a cool character, his appearance in the original webnovel is rather brief. Eventually he is betrayed and murdered by the only family he had left, his uncle L██guang-Jun.
Beyond his natural inclination towards a hostile personality (being a demon and all), MBJ has deeply ingrained trust issues born from his fractured relationship with his uncle. As a child, MBJ held his uncle in high regard, unaware of the resentment the other harbored for MBJ's father. LGJ eventually channeled that hate towards his still young nephew, going as far as to throw him into the human world for cultivators to hunt and attack him for days. Because of this betrayal, MBJ grew to be a cold, mistrustful lord with no close relationships.
MBJ can summon ice swords made of demonic energy, but is unable to use them to fly as cultivators do. His most unique ability is being able to teleport through shadows, which fits his aloof personality, coming and going at will without consideration for those around him. He is described as handsome, masculine, badass and cold (according to the wiki, at least). There is no art of MBJ in the novels, though the donghua gives him white hair, thin brows, and a narrow face. I'm not very fond of this design (except for his tits out approach to fashion), and prefer to draw him with a muscular body, a more masculine face, and black hair that looks just a little unkempt. MXTX stated that his height is 188cm. I reject this reality. MBJ should be at least 200cm tall. Demon lords with gremlin servants should always tower over others like a building.
The original SQH is a peak lord in a cultivation sect. As the peak lord of the division in charge of the sect's (boring, unheroic, undignified) logistics, he doesn't harness a lot of respect from his peers, and is actually secretly in cahoots with the demon realm. He serves as a spy for MBJ from the time he was a lowly outer disciple and until his betrayal is exposed and he is killed by MBJ himself. This SQH is a rather vile, ambitious character, who feels no remorse for the tragedy his path to power caused.
In the original story, SQH barely has any presence. He's a minor character whose reason of being is merely to push along certain B plots, and the author writes him out of the story soon after he's served his purpose.
According to Faelicy's translation, SQH is described as "proper and handsome", yet having "an air of sleaziness that couldn't be removed". MXTX stated that his height is 175cm. I reject this reality. The SQH I draw is 150cm at best, shorter if I can get away with it. A short person can be proper and handsome, surely! So, my SQH is a short little gremlin. The novel did not include official illustrations for SQH, so everyone draws him to fit their preferences. I like to go for brown eyes and hair, the latter done in a half ponytail.
To be honest, I don't much care for the original goods. I've read interesting moshang stories involving the original MBJ and the original SQH, but ultimately, my interest in this ship focuses on Airplane, how he has to mold himself to the role of SQH while retaining his own personality, and how that changes the fate written for both this character and his king.
A██plane S██oting T██ards the S██ (Airplane, to keep it short) is the author of a certain lengthy infamous stallion webnovel. He's the kind of author that is easily swayed by external opinions, and will drop ideas and plot points left and right for the sake of pleasing his audience. His writing is sloppy, he has a million ideas and can't complete any of them, and his chapter's comments section is full of haters. But it's okay. The shitposters keep him fed with their paid subscriptions and their attention as they come back for more.
Airplane dies by dropping instant noodles on his computer and electrocuting himself. Somehow, this gets him transported into his own story, replacing the original SQH from birth. Like the other transmigrator, he is bullied by a System that forces him to follow the story beats present in the original webnovel and keeps him from straying too far from the role of the character he inhabits, all while working to "fix" the novel.
As SQH, he is quite pathetic. A shameless crybaby that tries his best to appear as both weak and useful in an attempt to stay in the good graces of the powerful characters that surround him, especially MBJ. He wishes his 'sons' (that is to say, his characters) would respect him, but alas, he cannot pull the "I am your creator" card with them or the System will punish him for going off-script.
Airplane's original appearance is unknown. My preference is to imagine him as very short (145cm supremacy!!!), slightly shorter than his appearance as SQH, and fatter. A body that has never known exercise, runs on instant noodles, and is well on its slow, steady way to muscle atrophy thanks to all those hours spent typing away on his computer and not doing much else. I like to draw him with short brown hair that won't make itself presentable despite Airplane's best efforts. Thick glasses, anime shirts, baggy hoodies, the whole nerd look. But his eyes are the same as Airplane and SQH. It's not clear how old Airplane was at the time of his death, but he might have been in his twenties. If Faelicy's calculations are accurate, it's safe to assume that SQH is in his late twenties in the first chapter of the story. I have no solid information to base this on, but I like to believe SQH and MBJ's ages are within the same decade, with Airplane being older. And of course, Airplane has canonically lived two lives that he is conscious of up to at least his late twenties, so he's been around at least 50 years... This tired father needs some rest.
SQH and MBJ have known each other for a long time. Their first meeting, when SQH was a 17-year-old outer disciple at his sect, came as quite a surprise to the transmigrator. As Airplane, his writing of the novel had been quite fast and loose; SQH's story was not particularly deep or well planned, so he had no idea when and where he would officially go down the path of becoming the demon realm's spy. The encounter turned out to be a bloody one where everyone SQH had been travelling with was killed by an angry MBJ.
This was also the first time SQH had been given the option to dip out of his deadly fate. MBJ had turned out to be badly injured at the time, losing consciousness while SQH bargained with him, and the System dished no punishments when SQH picked up a rock with the intention of smashing MBJ's head with it. But, he couldn't get through with it. Seeing MBJ in the flesh was truly a shock. In that moment, his fear for his would-be master and eventual murderer was rivaled only by his admiration for MBJ's handsome features. In other words, he was too horny for his own good. (I recently stumbled upon lanbanli's post on the contrast between Airplane's mental age and SQH's teenaged body that gave me a lot to think about regarding this scene.)
From then on, SQH's undignified life as MBJ's pleading leg-koala began. He devoted himself entirely to his role as MBJ's pitiful and very non-threatening servant for the sake of surviving, which worked, in a way. From the get-go, working under MBJ means thankless, restless work. Enduring verbal and physical abuse is just par of the course. Though MBJ's violence comes without any real heat (something SQH learns once he's on the receiving end of LGJ's honest murderous intent), it happens so often and so consistently throughout their time together that SQH will instinctively flinch if he sees MBJ make any sudden movement near him. That's some real domestic abuse hours! Being a demon, MBJ probably doesn't see the cowering and belly showing as anything more than the natural submitting of a lesser being, not once thinking that humans don't enjoy being hit. To begin with, the first time he met the human MBJ witnessed him being bullied by fellow cultivators, so a beating hierarchy was established from the start. I'm curious if MBJ's treatment of the original goods and his treatment of Airplane are significantly different as Airplane inevitably strays from the character he's meant to play, and the story itself changes thanks to the other transmigrator. Though the distinction probably lies in how each SQH took this burden. Obviously, Airplane would rather be stepped on than killed, knowing what fate awaits him if he were to seem expendable or treacherous enough to his master, so his tolerance for disrespect and humiliation must be high. But his personality must be a part of that too. After all, he would regularly read his toxic comments section, and even missed the nastiest user there, considering him a friend. Parasocially bonding with your biggest hater... Not exactly the best of signs. What kind of life did Airplane have offline?
MBJ is cold and a brute. As both a demon who probably has a particular bias against humans and someone with huge trust issues thanks to his childhood trauma, he never fully trusts SQH, even though the cultivator has given him no real reason to doubt his pledge in all the years they spend together. It takes MBJ several life-threatening events for him to understand that SQH really did mean it when he said he'd follow him for the rest of his life, and that, perhaps surprising himself, he wants SQH to stay with him. Even then, when he feels at risk of losing SQH, MBJ is so bad at communicating what he feels that what comes out instead is a violent threat, business as usual with them. It doesn't work, though. Even Airplane has a limit to what he'll tolerate!
Likewise, SQH is bad at identifying his own feelings. He will very casually think about how MBJ is his ideal man in every way, mentally sing praises about his king's masculine beauty and coolness at the same time he curses his bad temper. He often reaffirms to himself how no one compares to MBJ, not even the novel's protagonist. He admits he wrote MBJ for himself, a minor character for his enjoyment only. When the system offers Airplane a way back home to the real world, he ultimately ends up rejecting it, choosing to stay with his king. But SQH never says these things out loud (not until he finally explodes, at least, in-between angry complaints and demands of recognition), never seems to fully parse that 1+1 equals he has feelings for his favorite character. When MBJ finally humbles himself and shows him kindness, he focuses on the feeling of finally getting his due, rather than fully understanding the affection behind the offering.
These two characters are barely present both in the novel and novel-within-the-novel, but I ended up being most fond of them above even the main couple. They are both quite stupid when it comes to understanding themselves, each other and their feelings. At some point, when asked how to be in tune someone's heart (romantically), MBJ suggests you have to beat the object of affection three times a day, while SQH suggests the person seeking favor has to be pathetic and clingy. Gee, I wonder towards whom do these behaviors apply to... It's okay that they are clueless, though, I love living in pre-slash limbo.
Though we never get to see how it happens, MXTX has said that MBJ and SQH eventually got married, and that their first time was terrible. That's great. Love that for them. I hope they figure it out.
The brainrot takes over once I cross a line of fondness for a ship. In the case of moshang, since the story involves the idea of alternative universes, I have fun reading any sort of AU separated from the canon, though my favorite flavor is throwing Airplane into different versions of the story: a scenario without the second transmigrator, where he bonds with the original S██n Q██gqiu; a scenario where he ends up interacting with the original MBJ pre or post-SQH murder; a scenario where he meets MBJ when his uncle abandons him in the human realm, and so and so. Always, my focus is Airplane.
The scenario I daydream the most about, however, is this: for XYZ reason (a magical device, a bug in the System, a sudden death, etc), Airplane is thrown back into his old life in the real world. Perhaps he wakes up in a hospital, somehow saved from his frying incident, or simply regains consciousness in his own room, nothing out of place at the home that had become but a fading memory after a lifetime of being away from it. He gathers himself up, he readjusts, he copes with the loss. And then, somehow, MBJ finds his way to him.
This setting is complete self-indulgence. How it happens is irrelevant, what I care about is establishing an extreme level of domesticity between moshang, where the all the distracting fantastical elements are removed save for MBJ's existence. There's no kingdom to look over, no adventure in search of a plot device, no peak lord or demon realm secretarial duties to worry over, just a demon and an human, doing their best to adjust (readjust, in Airplane's case) to the mundane life of the modern world, while slowly working through the emotional load of about three decades of mostly keeping to a master-servant dynamic. I like to set this scenario somewhere vaguely after the canon story ends, but before any proper romance develops between them.
Post-canon MBJ is someone who wants SQH to stay, so in this setting, he behaves to the best of his ability. No more beatings, no matter how odd the lack of display of strength might be to a member of the demon race. No more commands or threats to get his way, MBJ has to learn to ask for things. He might not quite yet get the point of saying "please", but he tempers himself for the sake of keeping SQH happy. Whatever the other gives, he'll take. The only thing he demands is to stay together forever. SQH promised after all!
Airplane arrives to the mundane world alone. He finds it easy to fall back into the habits of real life. He's well acquainted with adapting by now, though he doesn't love the change, especially when it means losing his modestly handsome, modestly built, modestly immortal body, along with his modestly high rank position in a fantastical world. He's back to being a soft-bodied nobody, barely making ends meet in a stuffy apartment, back in a world he feels little connection to beyond its modern commodities (those, he sorely missed.) It must be quite lonely to come back to a place where your most meaningful connections were strangers on the comments section of your webnovel.
Their reunion is shocking at first, for both of them (did MBJ roam around this new world before finally finding Airplane? Did he appear right in front of him?), but other than that, I think MBJ would adapt surprisingly quickly. If understanding that he's a fictional character created by Airplane is too complicated, he'll simply brush it aside, identify SQH as some kind of deity whose blessings are reserved for only him, and call it a day. The outcome is being together without any further risks, so the reasons of being don't matter. Airplane teaches him the way to behave and dress in public, and at least attempts to make him understand the way their new home works. It's hard to make a prideful king behave in public, but they make it work. Airplane will drag MBJ along with him to whatever part-time job he can find and shamelessly exploit his king's good looks. A themed cafe? A photoshoot? A drawing class in need of a model? All good! But MBJ won't accept any jobs that keep him away from SQH, even if the pay is good. Many a talent scout is rejected without so much as a second glance.
MBJ is Airplane's king, no matter their situation, so he continues to address him as "my king". When he's in a bad mood, he'll refer to him as his "spoiled son", which draws awkward attention to the pair when it slips out in public. MBJ has always known SQH as such, so he continues to call him by that name. Airplane doesn't mind at all, he's lived longer as SQH the cultivator than he has as his human self. They are both a part of his identity.
As for their relationship progression... A speedy success! The sudden lengthy separation gives them both a sense of urgency that, after some days of stumbling through the new environment and Airplane's new presence, culminates in some desperate smooching. They have to learn how to navigate Airplane's new-old body with low stamina that won't magically heal faster or give him super strength. It both frustrates and fascinates MBJ, eager to be familiar with his new shape. Airplane is just as eager to be intimately familiar with his king, particularly via getting d***ed by the man of his dreams, but a) they are both virgins (MBJ by nature, being written without any love interests in mind; Airplane by his own choosing, or so he claims), and b) MBJ's icicle is really quite mighty and Airplane's weak mortal body can only endure so much. Thus begins their slowburn journey towards successful a*** sex, full of online toy shopping, non-penetrative pleasure seeking, and occasional enthusiastic aggressive bottoming from MBJ's part. (I'm real particular about riba for this ship so it's best you don't attempt to connect with me via shangmo, I'll cook what I enjoy at my own pace.)
They 🇱 🇴 🇻 🇪 each other and stay together forever in low-income, apartment-hopping domestic bliss, the end! I make no angsty material for this scenario, just funny comics and horny art. I hope you like my delusion, and I hope you have been infected by my gremlin SQH tiny fat Airplane brain worms.