Absolute All-Star Binghe - Chapter 1 - Hellister, scholomancefan - 人渣反派自救系统 - 墨香铜臭 | The Scum Villain's Self-Saving System (2024)

Chapter Text

Absolute All-Star Binghe - Chapter 1 - Hellister, scholomancefan - 人渣反派自救系统 - 墨香铜臭 | The Scum Villain's Self-Saving System (1)

Art by KOMMARI

The sun was setting and golden light suffused the harbor. It glinted off the light of the bay, making the dark water sparkle. It lit the old abandoned warehouses and graffitied bus structures until the play of light and shadow turned them into poignant art.

Shen Yuan swung the robot arm of his mecha suit, crushing the bus stop shelter and its stupid useless anti-homeless bench. The bus system hadn’t been running down to the docks anyway; that particular bus line had been canceled a few months ago.

Shen Yuan turned on his microphone so he could laugh maniacally into it–his laughter bounced off the nearby buildings. Screams echoed back as ordinary citizens fled in terror.

Holographic controls bathed the co*ckpit in a blue glow. As Shen Yuan watched, the list of available human targets slowly fell. Shen Yuan poked idly at the controls for the mecha and then disengaged his gloved hand from the manipulator screen. Metallic circuits shone on the surface of Shen Yuan’s glove in the light of the screens, and Shen Yuan took a moment to check that they showed no signs of cracking or damage. After all, the most important part of the battle was coming up soon–equipment failure would be a real downer.

Shen Yuan shifted back to recline in the plush and ergonomic chair, crossing his legs as much as he could. Rocket jets made Shen Yuan’s boots bulky, and they clanked as Shen Yuan shifted, trying to get comfortable.

Then Shen Yuan reached down and pulled out a clipboard. The paper attached to it read “Supervillain To-Do List”. Shen Yuan ticked off the tasks “crush things” and “laugh villainously”. The next few things required Luo Binghe to show up, which Shen Yuan was sure would be any minute now-

The Bing-mobile slammed into Shen Yuan’s mecha suit like the tank it technically was.

The Bing-mobile was enormous and probably not road-legal. But it was the Bingmobile so who cared?

It was all black-painted steel and dark tinted glass. Forget bullets–a rocket launcher couldn’t penetrate its walls. The door opened, springing upwards like a falcon’s wing to reveal its black leather interior.

Luo Binghe jumped out, his split-cape flapping dramatically in the wind. His dark curls tumbled artfully around his face and down his back, alternately hiding and then revealing the crimson and black lines of his suit as the wind shifted.

Luo Binghe’s eyes and huadian glowed a vibrant red, like the embers at the heart of a fire. The matching pattern on his hero suit was less vivid, but still danced like flame, shifting as Luo Binghe moved into a fighting stance. The black portions of Luo Binghe’s suit hid the definition of his muscles in a way that Luo Binghe fans all agreed should be considered a crime.

Luo Binghe’s boots crunched the asphalt of the street. He glared up at Shen Yuan and said nothing, chin set in determination.

Shen Yuan made sure his microphone was turned off, then squealed at Luo Binghe’s awesomeness.

Shen Yuan loved to watch Luo Binghe overcome any obstacle, fight any opponent. Every opportunity to see Luo Binghe in action was something to be treasured. And there was no way to be closer to the action than to be in the middle of it!

Shen Yuan turned his microphone back on and flipped to the second sheet of paper on the clipboard. “So, Luo Binghe, you have come to stop me?” Shen Yuan read. “I will reign supreme! Let mere mortals cower in fear of my–my -” Shen Yuan stopped to squint at the line, where the ink had smudged the next word.

Luo Binghe reached out a clawed hand and ripped the arm off Shen Yuan’s mecha suit.

Shen Yuan pouted. That had been a lot of work to construct, and Luo Binghe had torn it off like tissue paper! But that was Luo Binghe in all his elegant brutal beauty.

Blue screens flashed their warnings and damage reports. Yeah, yeah. Shen Yuan swiped them aside, along with the control system for that arm. He wouldn’t be needing that anymore!

“Oh, Shizun,” Luo Binghe called out as he tossed the robot arm aside. It landed with a crunch on some unlucky person’s car. “I have lost count of how many times I’ve beaten you.”

Luo Binghe narrowed his eyes into a fierce glare, and the corner of his mouth peeled back to reveal sharp fangs.

A thrill of excitement raced through Shen Yuan. Shen Yuan bared his teeth back at Luo Binghe, knowing he could be seen through the glass dome of the mecha.

The sigil on Luo Binghe’s forehead pulsed with red light. “Your attempts to defeat me will come to nothing. Every single one of your plots is indistinguishable and unmemorable–they are all failures, like you. You are so pathetic you can’t even learn, you just come back again and again. But you will always fail.”

Shen Yuan wanted to clap at the monologue. Amazing! And completely off the cuff, too! But Shen Yuan needed both hands to manipulate the controls to slam the remaining arm into Luo Binghe, knocking him into a nearby building.

Luo Binghe hit the enormous metal door of the warehouse’s garage. It caved in around him in a screech of tortured metal. Luo Binghe fell to the ground in a crouch. But he quickly picked himself back up, the minor abrasions he’d picked up healing with glowing red light. Luo Binghe raised a clawed hand and launched himself at Shen Yuan.

Luo Binghe punched right through the tempered glass of the co*ckpit and into Shen Yuan’s chair, nicking Shen Yuan on the neck with a claw and burying his hand in the memory foam supports of Shen Yuan’s chair. Then Luo Binghe flexed his arm, and the glass shattered into tiny pieces that rained down on them both.

Glass shards dusted Luo Binghe’s dark hair and sprayed as he moved, glittering in the light like dewdrops. Luo Binghe was haloed by the golden light of the setting sun. He was poetry in motion as he dove in to grab Shen Yuan’s collar.

Luo Binghe yanked Shen Yuan out of the mecha suit entirely and dragged him out into the street. Shen Yuan engaged his power gloves and rocket boots, punching Luo Binghe in the gut. Luo Binghe let out a loud grunt and his grip weakened, and Shen Yuan used the opportunity and his boot jets to yank himself free. Shen Yuan darted into the air and out of reach, wing-jets deploying to stabilize his flight.

Luo Binghe then grabbed the robot arm he’d torn off earlier, and used it like a baseball bat to swat Shen Yuan out of the sky. The impact hit Shen Yuan like a bolt of lightning, stealing his breath.

So creative and resourceful! Shen Yuan thought as he flew through the air to land in the bay with a splash. Luo Binghe is so cool!

And because most of his tech had been shorted by water and he’d made his way through enough of the to-do list, Shen Yuan hid under a dock until he heard the distinctive roar of the Bing-mobile retreat into the distance.

Then Shen Yuan crawled out of the water and onto the dock. He sat there for a moment to catch his breath, but the air was quickly growing colder as the sun went down. Shen Yuan caught sight of his bedraggled reflection in one of the puddles he’d made.

Normally when Shen Yuan went out as Shizun, he gelled his hair away from his face. But the water had washed the gel away. Black wet locks hung limp instead. And the stage makeup he’d applied to give himself sharper and more imposing features had washed away as well.

He looked like Shen Yuan, ordinary and forgettable.

Luo Binghe was never forgettable. He was always incredible. He didn’t have a secret identity, didn’t hide behind lies. Everything he was, was out there for all the world to see. He never stopped being a hero.

Shen Yuan liked being Luo Binghe’s archnemesis. Liked being part of a matched set with him. But Shizun and Shen Yuan weren’t the same at all. Shen Yuan wasn’t anything to Luo Binghe.

Shen Yuan was still wearing the white and green suit of Shizun. The wet polyester chafed at his skin and chilled him at the slightest breeze. The arc reactor on his chest was heavy and cold. The armor plates protecting his vital points weighed him down almost as much as the water that had soaked into his boots.

Shen Yuan… really wanted a break. But there would be trouble if he was caught out here, dressed like this.

So Shen Yuan squelched his way home.

It hadn’t always been like this. Years ago, Shen Yuan had been a NEET and dedicated Luo Binghe fanboy. His life had been simple and easy. Everything Shen Yuan needed (and his extensive Luo Binghe memorabilia collection) was funded by his brother Shen Jiu, CEO of ShenCorp.

Back then, Shen Jiu had been Shizun, and had engineered many dastardly plots that admittedly had challenged Luo Binghe a lot more. Shen Jiu had even won many times, beating Luo Binghe into a bloody pulp or burning down his house or poisoning him to make Luo Binghe’s own powers turn against him.

And then Shen Jiu had met Yue Qi and fallen hopelessly in love. Shen Yuan had been incredulous at the time. Shen Jiu falling in love was absurd; Yue Qi falling in love back was even more unbelievable. It was like the man was an alien from another planet–he just didn’t make sense.

But Shen Jiu didn’t want his history as the supervillain Shizun to get out. So after threatening to cut off funding to Shen Yuan’s lifestyle and hobbies, Shen Jiu extorted a promise from Shen Yuan. Shen Yuan would act as Shizun, and Shen Jiu would be seen at the same time in a completely different place; thus proving Shen Jiu couldn’t possibly be Shizun. And Yue Qi would never discover Shen Jiu’s secret villainy.

Shen Yuan thought for sure they’d break up within the week. The month. The year. And then Shen Yuan could go back to his previous standard of living.

Instead they moved in together! And suddenly Shen Jiu didn’t want the mantle of Shizun at all, and was very insistent that Shen Yuan take it up instead.

Getting to see Luo Binghe in action and up close was a pretty big perk. And Shen Jiu did fund Shen Yuan engineering all sorts of tech toys. But even so…

Shen Yuan’s phone buzzed in his pocket; he connected it to his headset and accepted the call. Shen Yuan’s wet gloved finger left droplets on the screen. He sighed and tipped his head up to look at the sky. Blue was shading to navy from horizon to horizon. It was still too light to see stars, but only just.

“Didi, that was pathetic.” Shen Jiu didn’t bother with pleasantries. He wasn’t a pleasant kind of person.

“If you have a problem with how I’m handling things, you can do it yourself,” Shen Yuan retorted. “Please do.”

Shen Jiu scoffed. “Trying to get out of it? Get a job or keep doing this one.”

Shen Yuan grumbled and switched to the emails app on his phone. He’d actually been applying to jobs that he hoped would be less soul-sucking than this one. People who thought working with family was nice had never met his brother.

“There’s something I need to talk to you about. And if you tell anyone about this I’ll kill you.”

Shen Yuan was scrolling through his emails and not really paying attention. Shen Jiu said this sort of thing all the time, but he never actually meant it. It was his way of saying “I love you.”

One of the places Shen Yuan had applied to had responded with an interview time–Shen Yuan added it to his calendar.

“I think Qi-ge is cheating on me,” Shen Jiu declared, with an edge to his voice that said the issue was keeping him up at night. Shen Jiu was cranky on a normal day, and not getting enough sleep pushed him straight to homicidal.

“Mmhm,” Shen Yuan said noncommittally.

“I planted a tracker in his phone and followed him and he’s been meeting up with Liu Qingge in secret,” Shen Jiu was starting to sound a little crazed. “Liu Qingge! Maybe I should kill him.”

Shen Jiu talked about killing Liu Qingge a lot. At this point Shen Yuan could respond automatically. “Don’t kill Liu Qingge, Qi-ge would be sad.”

“That’s the problem!” Shen Jiu complained. “I don’t know. Do you think I should talk to Qi-Ge about it? Confront him? I still have that flamethrower.”

Shen Yuan’s eyes widened as he saw an email from the Museum of Luo Binghe come in. It said he’d gotten the job! “Yes!” He cheered.

“All right. I’ll gather more evidence, and if he is cheating then I’ll set him on fire.” Shen Jiu’s voice was dark and vicious like the supervillain he’d been. “Thanks for listening, didi.”

The phone line clicked as he ended the call.

“Hey gege, I got the job! Gege?” Shen Yuan realized his brother had already hung up on him. “Rude.”

It was probably for the best that he hadn’t blurted the news to Shen Jiu yet. The position at the museum was a full-time job and Shen Yuan was not planning to juggle that and supervillainy. It was time to quit being Shizun–and Shen Yuan needed to do it in a way that meant Shen Jiu wouldn’t be able to force Shen Yuan back into it.

There was only one thing for it: Shizun was going to have to die.

Absolute All-Star Binghe - Chapter 1 - Hellister, scholomancefan - 人渣反派自救系统 - 墨香铜臭 | The Scum Villain's Self-Saving System (2024)
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