The Huya TV live-streaming platform. A small channel with around 70 viewers showing a ranked League of Legends game. The streamer, Evening Snowfall, was playing the champion Vayne, the ad-carry on the blue team. She was completely focused on farming minions at bottom lane. But standing in her way was the enemy ad-carry, a Caitlyn in a sexy police officer skin. A Caitlyn that was abusing long range attacks to constantly chip away at Evening Snowfall’s health and forcing her to miss out on last-hitting minions. She was clearly losing the lane.
The people watching the stream, they responded to Evening Snowfall’s poor gameplay by doing what League players do best. A barrage of text machine-gunned through the stream, all of which was mockery or contempt. On the bottom right of the stream, covering the mini-map, was a small window with Evening Snowfall’s webcam feed. It showed a pretty 24-year-old girl trying to ignore the messages and failing. She tied her long, black hair into a pony-tail and bit her lip. Then she focused back onto the game. But letting chat know that the toxicity was having an effect on her—that was the wrong move. Instead of stemming it, she opened the flood-gates.
「man this vayne sux」
「my grandma has better mechanics than her」
「rofl!!!!!1 imagine trying to be a streamer while being hardstuck at Gold 1 」
「LOL!!! GRiL GaMeR!」
「I CUM 4 TITS N ASS!!!!111 NOT BRONZE PLAYS!!!!!!!」
Evening Snowfall’s cheeks flared red and burned from anger at the messages running through her chat. She gnashed her teeth, fighting back the impulse to argue with her viewers. A hurricane of profanities brewed in her head. She was beautiful! Classically beautiful! When did it become okay to subject someone as beautiful as her to this kind of abuse? The only reason she was holding back and not telling her viewers how she really felt was because she wanted to become a famous streamer. If it wasn’t for that—
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK
The knock on her front door interrupted Evening Snowfall’s mental tirade against her viewers. She looked at the door, surprised by the knocking since she wasn’t expecting anyone to come by today. But small blessings and silver linings, it was a good excuse to get away from the loathsome people watching her stream, just for a bit. She got up from her gaming chair and told her stream that she had to go answer the door. She was wearing some cute but comfortable shorts which just so happened to also reveal her fair, slender thighs. The on-point thigh game, she was confident that would calm her viewers down a bit. Then she stepped into her pink teddy bear loafers and walked out into the living room. Evening Snowfall opened the front door to find her landlady, a mature and beautiful woman in her 30s, standing there with a young man.
“Chu Yishu? Why are you here?” Evening Snowfall asked, surprised. Then she remembered how late she was with rent. “I-is it about the rent…?” she asked tentatively, her face etched with panic. “Just give me a few more days! I found a new way to make money. I’ll have the three months I owe you soon!”
The woman chuckled before waving her hand. “No, no, don’t worry about that. I’m not here about the rent today. I’m too beautiful to hound my tenants for rent, right?”
Evening Snowfall breathed a sigh of relief. Then, her gaze fell on the youth. “This is…?” The young man standing next to Chu Yishu looked like he was in high school, much too old to be her landlady’s son. Unless...
The young man looked more like a boy, delicate and handsome. His fluffy, messy hair was almost asking for a good ruffle. He wore a bashful expression on his face. Not bad… definitely idol material. The thought struck her mind before she realized it.
Chu Yishu’s eyes lit up as she pulled the boy forward. “Right! This is my nephew, Lin Feng. Come on, kiddo, introduce yourself. This is Su Xue. She’s also one of my tenants.”
Su Xue. Evening Snowfall’s real name. It took her a brief second to remember that she was talking to someone in the real world and not online. Then she remembered something that she missed because she was thrown off by hearing her real name.
Also...? Su Xue finally caught onto this important word, but she had no time to think about it. She quickly put on a friendly smile and extended her hand out to the young man. “Lin Feng, is it? Nice to meet you.”
The young man politely shook Su Xue’s hand. “Ah, nice to meet you too, ma’am.”
Ma’am…? Su Xue’s smile froze stiff as her lips trembled. You little punk! Do I look like a ma’am to you? I’m only 24, not even close to 30! Do I have to dig your eyes out and wash them for you!? Her impression of this boy immediately plummeted to rock bottom!
Chu Yishu burst out laughing. “Hahaha! You can’t say that. Just call her Su Xue or big sis.”
Chu Yishu turned to Su Xue, still stifling her laughter, and apologized, “Ah, I’m sorry. You see, Lin Feng here has a bad habit of putting his foot in his mouth. He’s always saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. You’ll get used to it after living with him for a while. Honestly, he’s not a bad kid.”
Su Xue was about to nod and accept the apology when she caught on to the last part. Her eyes went wide. “Living with him? What do you mean?”
Chu Yishu went on uninterrupted, “That’s why I came here today. You see, this kid transferred schools to Shanghai for his senior year in high school. His mom doesn’t feel safe letting him live on his own in the school dorms. So, she left him with me. Doesn’t this apartment have two bedrooms? You use one, he can use the other.”
This came completely out of left field. A new roommate? A MALE ROOMMATE? Su Xue finally noticed the large suitcases sitting outside her door.
Lin Feng, completely failing to read the room, found this to be an opportune moment to interject. “I’ll be in your care!”
Screw you! Who wants to take care of you! Su Xue pulled Chu Yishu to the side, “Please, I’m begging you. Don’t do this. I’ve been just fine living here by myself! Why do I have to let some stranger move in? Please don’t do this!”
Chu Yishu chuckled. “Hey, hey, hey aren’t you only using one bedroom? This apartment has two. I can’t just let the spare one go to waste.” But she also understood that Su Xue needed a bit of reassurance, “You don’t have to worry at all. It's fine. I wouldn’t put you in an unsafe situation. Feng Feng is only a high school senior. He’s a nice, quiet boy who won’t make any trouble for you, I promise. He’s not like those guys outside who can’t stop leering the moment they see you walk out. Besides…” She winked at Su Xue. “...Dontcha think he looks just like one of those pretty boys on TV? Mmmmhmmm. If I were 10 years younger, I might consider going after him myself. Aren’t you still single? This is your chance!”
Su Xue forced tears to well up in her eyes. “Please don’t joke around with me like that…”
Chu Yishu noticed the crocodile tears and decided it was time to reveal her facedown trap card. “Alright, alright. There’s no need to get upset. I don’t want you to feel like I’m forcing this on you with no benefit to you at all. How about this? It’s almost time to pay your rent, right? I’ll write it off. Right now!”
Su Xue was stunned. Not having to pay rent for a month did pacify her raging heart a little bit. But she still hesitated a bit before starting to talk. She wanted to say that a month of rent was only a small benefit. But before she could get the words out, Chu Yishu added, “I’ll also take ¥200 off your rent permanently!”
“Hah... fine. Deal!” Su Xue caved. The truth of the world was that money talks, and she could put up with a bit of inconvenience if it meant she’d have more money in her pocket.
“That’s great!” Chu Yishu’s face lit up with joy. She then added in a well-meaning voice, “Tell me. Did you get fired from that job I got you last month? It isn’t easy to find work, you know, especially not in today’s economy. If you want to continue living here in Shanghai, you have to learn to endure hardship. You can’t just run away from every small obstacle...”
Su Xue nodded. “I know… I’m working on it. I started a streaming channel for games. I want to make that work.” Suddenly, she remembered she was in the middle of a League game. “Shit! I have to get back to my stream!”
Chu Yishu watched Su Xue rush back inside and shook her head in exasperation. She turned to her nephew and said, “Feng Feng, I’m going. I trust you’ll have no problem settling into your new room. Get along with Su Xue, okay? Also, you have my number. Let me know how it goes. I want weekly updates!”
Lin Feng nodded before grabbing his bag. “Alright. Bye, Auntie!”
Back in her room, Su Xue rushed to get herself situated and back into the game. Her champion, Vayne, had just been standing in the fountain while she was AFK. She’d been gone for a little over five minutes, and the enemy team had used that time to take the outer turret on her side of bot lane.
The people watching Su Xue’s stream spammed the chat with questions.
「What the hell? did she just AFK?」
「Didn’t hear what she mumbled.」
「where she go?????」
「EMPTY CAM! EMPTY CAM! EMPTY CAM!」
Su Xue quickly moved her Vayne out of the fountain and back to bot lane, then explained to her stream, “Sorry guys! I had to go see who was at the door. It was my landlady—”
A voice suddenly sounded out behind her. “Is there no soda in the fridge?”
Su Xue turned around and saw her new roommate poking his head into her room. Her eyelids started twitching. “There isn’t any. If you’re thirsty, there’s water in the cooler. Clean glasses in the living room.”
Lin Feng let out a sad sigh. “Oh. I really want to drink a soda though.”
Su Xue’s eyelids continued twitching. “There’s a corner store downstairs. If you want it so badly, go and get some!”
By this time, Lin Feng had already invited himself into her room. As his gaze fell on the screen in front of Su Xue, he remarked in surprise, “Oh, you play League of Legends too? And you’re a streamer?”
Su Xue took a deep breath and replied as calmly as she could, “Yes.”
“Can I watch you play?”
“...Sure. Why not? You’re already living here. Why not this too?”
Lin Feng pulled up a chair and sat down next to Su Xue, all his attention on the game. At the same time, Su Xue’s 70-odd viewers noticed Lin Feng through the webcam.
「new fone who dis? 」
「never seen him before! Why is a guy here?」
Su Xue glanced at the chat, then explained, “He’s my landlady’s nephew.”
Lin Feng waved to the webcam. “Hello, everyone!”
The vein on Su Xue’s forehead started throbbing. “If you want to watch, that’s fine, but be quiet.”
Lin Feng scratched his head. “Oh, alright.”
A minute later, Su Xue managed to get her Vayne killed again because she got caught out of position by the enemy bottom lane duo. Her screen faded to grey as she waited to respawn.
The stream chat immediately started stirring again.
「Man. Zero map awareness. How did you die from that?」
「Someone call an ambulance, she getting rekt.」
「LMAO seems like anybody can become a streamer these days. even I’m better than her」
Su Xue’s mood soured after reading what chat was saying. She glanced at her screen, morose and helpless because there was literally nothing she could say back to them. The only thing she could do was stew in her annoyance. How did this happen?
Lin Feng’s voice jolted her from her thoughts. He had decided this was the best time to offer some input. “Hey, those guys in your stream are all calling you bad.”
Su Xue weakly grunted in acknowledgement. She couldn’t help but wonder if this boy was going to try to comfort her. His heart might be in the right place, but what use were words of comfort right now...?
Lin Feng continued with a thoughtful rub of his chin, “Mhm. I think they’re right.”
The bulging vein on Su Xue’s forehead throbbed. “SHUT UP!” she screamed.Next Chapter
So, I wanted to go for a realistic portrayal of chat. I wonder how you guys feel about it.
Dev Thought: Y’all have no idea how much of a pain the whole chat thing is. We can’t use emojis or display how spammy it can get. Also, there’s some subtle nuance to the whole thing. For example, a 100 viewer stream’s chat is not going to be the same as a 10,000 viewer stream’s chat.