IRL C4 The Immortal of the Peach Garden

Shangguan Yu logged back into the game as soon as he came back but nothing could be seen of his in-game husband yet. He wasn’t worried about that though. He would often be online for about an hour before Ao Jing went online. In that time, he would just go and refine some of the ingredients he had collected the previous day or do a short one-player instance that they wouldn’t be able to do together anyway. If Ao Jing was really late, he’d go and do some missions. Since they were married, Ao Jing would get part of the experience points anyway and could join in halfway as long as the mission wasn’t decidedly for just one person.

While Shangguan Yu played, Ao Jing finished up work. He tidied up his desk, stretched, and then grabbed his coat with a smile. His internship was fun and he was actually thrilled when he thought of how he would be able to start working by next year but at the end of each day, he was also happy to be able to go back home. The prospect of going online and seeing Shangguan Yu again was just too tempting.

Leaving the building, he went to get his car. After driving out of the car park and down the road, he furrowed his brows and turned into one of the streets nearby. Parking the car at the side of the street, he walked over to look at the display window of a men’s outfitter. He looked over the suits on display and pressed his lips together.

It might be stupid but … he couldn’t help but worry about what to wear when he met up with Shangguan Yu. If this was just a normal date or even a blind date, it wouldn’t be as bad. But this time, he was meeting somebody that he already knew but hadn’t seen before. It was a strange situation.

In the game, Shangguan Yu definitely liked him. But while they could hear each other’s voices and while the words they said were their own, their appearances weren’t. And wouldn’t they unwittingly compare the one they knew and the one they would be confronted with when they met up? But how was he supposed to win over a game character that had been made to show perfection?

Ao Jing rubbed his forehead, slightly regretting his choices back when he started the game. If he had made a character that looked a little less perfect, maybe his chances with Shangguan Yu would be better now? But then again, maybe Shangguan Yu and he wouldn’t even have gotten married in-game if he had?

His lips curved up in a smile when he thought of that day. He had been staying up especially late since the next day was a Sunday and he didn’t need to go to either university or his internship. He had started to feel a little light-headed though with his eyes were burning from overstrain and he was thinking about turning in for the night when an announcement popped up at the top of the screen.

[The entrance to the Immortals’ peach blossom garden has been discovered! Hurry over to the rainbow waterfalls to take part in the exciting adventures that await you between the falling petals!]

Ao Jing had rubbed his eyes, yawned, and rushed over to the waterfall. Anyway, who knew if these ‘exciting adventures’ were only a limited offer? He’d regret it if he didn’t at least go and take a look! If it wasn’t as great as the announcement made it out to be, he could still go and log off.

Making his way through the crowds that were rushing toward the waterfall and taking advantage of the limited edition flying mount he had bought just a couple of weeks ago, he was one of the first to make his way into the peach gardens.

For a moment, he could only stare wide-eyed. Row upon row of peach trees stood in front of his eyes, the branches extending toward the sky while the breeze rustled through the leaves, showering the ground in pink petals. Among that rain of colors stood a lone figure, the slender body wrapped in a purple robe and a thousand strands of white hair dancing in the wind.

Maybe it was because his gaze was obstructed by the petals or maybe he had really been overly exhausted, but Ao Jing went over, wanting to accept whatever quest this NPC was likely to give out. After all, this should be the immortal of the peach orchard, right? The one who would start the exciting adventure?

His hopes were high upon seeing how much effort had gone into the design of this place and the quest giver. But when he stopped behind him, his steps muted by the grass and only the wind rustling in his clothes, the perceived NPC turned around, some surprise showing on the ethereal face.

“Oh, wow.”

The voice that came through the headset sounded young and the chosen words didn’t help that impression. It seemed … he had mistaken a player for an NPC. At that moment, he had wanted to die of embarrassment. But it had been the first step on a road that led to them getting married in-game and staying together for half a year so maybe that embarrassment was worth it.

Well, as long as he didn’t mistake another person for Shangguan Yu when they met up, it was not worth mentioning. In the future, it would just be the slightly awkward story of how they met for the first time. If they could laugh about it together, wasn’t that actually a good thing?

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