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The Grand Unified Theory of Shen Qingqiu is a The Scum Villain’s Self-Saving System: Ren Zha Fanpai Zijiu Xitong fanfic written by 00janeblonde.

Shěn Qīngqiū new game pluses himself into a happy ending and unlocks some premium content along the way.

The story begins with Shen Qingqiu, having died at Maigu Ridge after a qi deviation, being informed by his System that he has earned enough points for a New Game Plus, allowing him to start the story over...and also giving him the option to regain his memories of having been Shen Jiu, the 'original goods' scum villain of Proud Immortal Demon Way, before the fever and qi deviation that restored his memories of his previous lifetime as Shen Yuan at the cost of his memories of his current life.

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It can currently be divided into two parts, with a third forthcoming - the first beginning with Shen Qingqiu's New Game Plus to the beginning of the events of The Scum Villain's Self-Saving System, and the second with his jumping back again to his days as Succeeding Disciple to the previous Qing Jing Peak Lord.


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This fanfiction contains examples of:

     The Grand Unified Theory of Shen Qingqiu 

Tropes shared by the entire fic:

  • The Ace: Shen Qingqiu. As Shen Jiu, he was a Broken Ace, but thanks to his memories as the much better-adjusted Shen Yuan, he now fully qualifies as this trope. This becomes even more apparent after he new-game-pluses back to his disciple days with the memories of his time as a Peak Lord, when it becomes almost a Running Gag that his fellow disciples are driven to distraction by how talented he is.
  • Adoptive Name Change: The street urchin 'Jiu' received the courtesy name of 'Shen Qingqiu' upon being named as succeeding disciple to Qing Jing Peak, which is ordinary enough. The 'Shen' part of his name, however, was given to him because it was the name of his mentor, Shen Anwei, who viewed Shen Qingqiu as practically his own son.
  • All There in the Manual: Extra details about the world of The Grand Unified Theory can be found in the author's FAQ, including the names of all the Peak Lords of the An and Qing generations by seniority, a guide to all the original characters introduced in the fic, and an explanation of the fic's crossover elements.
  • Changeling Fantasy: For his original life, Shen Qingqiu believed that he was simply an abandoned foundling turned into a slave. It turns out he was a shu son of the Qiu family. His mother was drugged by a midwife on the orders of the primary wife, Qiu Jianluo's mother, so that she was unaware of having given birth to more than one child, allowing the primary wife to discard Shen Qingqiu so that he couldn't grow up to compete with her own son.
  • Composite Character: In-universe, the New Game Plus Shen Qingqiu is a composite of his original 'Shen Jiu' personality, the 'scum villain' of Proud Immortal Demon Way, and his previous incarnation of 'Shen Yuan'.
  • Full-Boar Action: Zi Dan, the husband of Peak Lord Ruan Qingruan and one of the more prominent side-characters, has a spirit boar companion named Xiao Dou.
  • Giver of Lame Names: Shen Qingqiu is a gifted poet and writes very eloquent essays, but he cannot apply any of that eloquence to titling his paintings, most of which are titled things like 'Happy Tortoise Eating a Melon' and 'Broken Jar in a Window'.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: How Qiu Jianluo's fate appears in hindsight. His mother paid off a midwife to abandon Shen Qingqiu at birth, leading Shen Qingqiu's mother to believe that she had only had one child, Qiu Haitang, so that Shen Qingqiu couldn't compete with his older half-brother. Then, later in life, Qiu Jianluo unknowingly enslaves his half-brother in order to use him as a test subject for his experiments in harvesting cultivation from others in order to open his own spirit veins. To make matters worse, he also uses memory charms on his half-sister to conceal their parents' deaths and the diminishment of the household as he sells off other household slaves to afford cultivation manuals and artefacts. Shen Qingqiu eventually kills him in self-defence, and by the time the murder is revealed to the cultivation world, Shen Qingqiu's subsequent rise to power and fame and Qiu Jianluo's own actions mean that Shen Qingqiu suffers no legal consequences, and only minimal social repercussions.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: In addition to the canonical cast of The Scum Villain’s Self-Saving System: Ren Zha Fanpai Zijiu Xitong, the Grand Unified Theory adds the canonically unnamed peak lords, and a wide variety of disciples from all the various peaks, as well as characters outside the sect, including a few characters and sects borrowed from Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation: Mo Dao Zu Shi, necessitating a dedicated FAQ page to keep everyone straight.
  • A Master Makes Their Own Tools: The fused Shen Qingqiu is a great believer in this, both crafting all his own instruments and insisting that his students do the same, so that both their ability as musicians and the quality of their instruments will improve with time. He also crafts his own brushes for both painting and calligraphy, makes his own pencils, and when asked what he uses that he doesn't make by a frustrated Liu Qingge, actually has to think about it before admitting that, while he can, he doesn't usually make his own cloth or paper, finding the process too time-consuming.
  • The Needless: Due to the trauma of Luo Binghe lacing his cooking with his Blood Parasites, Shen Qingqiu rarely eats, preferring to practice inedia.
  • O.C. Stand-in: The Peak Lords Lin Qingshui of Zhi Ji Peak (dedicated to feng shui and divination), Duan Qingze of Ling You Peak (dedicated to the taming, raising and study of spirit beasts), Ruan Qingruan of Zui Xian Peak (dedicated to brewing, elixir-making and the production of spiritual food), Gao Qinggao of Ku Xing Peak (mentioned in canon as the ascetic and talisman-making peak) and Xu Qingli of Chuang Zao (dedicated to the creation and refinement of wondrous artefacts) are unnamed and make no significant appearances in canon, but equivalents can be presumed to have existed as peak lords of the unnamed remaining peaks of Cang Qiong.
  • Practically Different Generations: Liu Qingge and Liu Mingyan's exact age difference isn't specified, but during the second New Game Plus, Liu Mingyan has not yet been born when Liu Qingge is in his late twenties or possibly very early thirties. Justified, as cultivators' eternal youth and extended lifespans would make large gaps between siblings more possible.
  • Promotion to Parent: Yue Qingyuan essentially raised Shen Qingqiu since he found the latter as a newborn foundling as a street kid.
  • Rapid DNA Test: In both timelines, mixing samples of Shen Qingqiu's blood and Qiu Haitang's blood with a talisman proved they were full-blooded siblings. It only took testers to stir the blood with his qi and the result was immediate. This is based on a genuine superstition in which it was believed that mixing two blood samples could determine consanguinity.
  • Seers: Both Shang Qinghua and Shen Qingqiu. Amusingly, neither of them actually believes that they are seers, despite both of them possessing knowledge of the future. In Shang Qinghua's case, the ability was also present in his previous life as Airplane-Shooting-Towards-The-Sky, which was how he had the knowledge to write Proud Immortal Demon Way.
  • Self-Made Man: It is a major shock to the public when it is revealed that Shen Qingqiu was a former slave after the Old Palace Master attempts to take him captive by publicly revealing his history and his role in the death of Qiu Jianluo. Going from a slave to second-in-command of Cang Qiong Sect is a considerable feat, and it's mentioned that, if Shen Qingqiu were a civil official instead of a cultivator, he would be in a great deal of trouble because of this revelation.
  • Separated at Birth: Shen Qingqiu and Qiu Haitang turn out to be twins. Qiu Jianluo's mother had the midwife drug their mother, a concubine, so Shen Qingqiu would be left out to die.
  • Shipper on Deck: A great many Qiong Ding disciples ship Yue Qingyuan and Shen Qingqiu, because it makes Yue Qingyuan happy and arranging time with Shen Qingqiu is one way to make the Sect Leader stop and take a break, although this is far from universal, and other disciples disapprove of the relationship due to Shen Qingqiu's previous coldness towards Yue Qingyuan.
  • Split-Personality Merge: Shen Qingqiu goes through a very slow one throughout the story, though even when he first awakens back in his bamboo house at the beginning of the first New Game Plus, he is clearly much closer to Shen Jiu than he was at the beginning of the original novel. Over the course of the story, he begins gathering memory markers pointed out to him by the System, as well as carrying out an extended quest, leading to a more balanced fusion between his Shen Yuan and Shen Jiu incarnations.
  • Stern Teacher: Post-New Game Plus Shen Qingqiu is much stricter with his disciples than he was as Shen Yuan, but lacks Shen Jiu's cruelty towards them. This is best illustrated by an incident early in the fic, in which a visiting disciple comes to him asking for a reduction in teaching duties, after he cracks down on the practice of cutting lessons short to free up time for the teachers' own research. Questioning quickly reveals that the true problem is an unreasonably broad research topic, which Shen Qingqiu deals with by reducing the teacher's library access by one section for every week, until she can come up with an outline based on the remaining sections available to her. When the teacher reappears in a later chapter, it is revealed that this was actually very helpful in refining her research proposal.
  • Surprise Incest: While Shen Qingqiu never had feelings for her, he is still horrified that he was nearly forced into marrying his twin sister.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: The fic opens with Shen Yuan being informed by his System that he never transmigrated. He reincarnated, and thus has always been Shen Qingqiu.
  • True Craftsman: Shen Qingqiu takes a great deal of pride in his artistic abilities, and dedicates a great deal of his time to constantly improving his skills as a painter, jade-carver, musician, instrument-maker and any number of other forms of craftsmanship, to the point where his own homemade instruments - and not even the best of those - are fine enough to be given as a gift at the Imperial court.
     New Game + 

Tropes that first appear in the first arc of The Grand Unified Theory of Shen Qingqiu:

  • Adopt the Food: After Liu Qingge brings Shen Qingqiu an unidentified short-furred monster as a thank-you gift for saving his life, Luo Binghe accidentally-on-purpose lets the creature go, leading to it being adopted as the Qing Jing Peak classroom pet and named 'Porkchop'.
  • Alternate Personality Punishment: Shen Qingqiu subtly bullies and inconveniences Shang Qinghua as punishment for the first timeline's Shang Qinghua's utter botching of the Sun and Moon Seed and subsequent decision to reveal Shen Qingqiu's survival to Luo Binghe.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: It is heavily implied that Shen Qingqiu suffered from severe depression before the qi deviation that cost him his memories, leading to his neglect of his disciples and abuse of Luo Binghe.
  • Apathetic Teacher: One of the symptoms of Shen Qingqiu's depression before his qi deviation was increasing disinterest in his duties as peak lord of Qing Jing, leading to many of his educational standards being allowed to slip due to his inattention. His junior teachers and hallmasters are caught very much off-guard when, after his qi deviation, Shen Qingqiu begins taking an active interest in the running of his peak again, and discovers what they've been getting away with due to his previous depressed apathy.
  • Hanlon's Razor: Ming Fan is proven to be responsible for Luo Binghe's first, flawed cultivation manual, not out of any malicious intent, despite his bullying, but because he sincerely believed that he was helping by giving Luo Binghe a 'more efficient' manual, with all the exercises that didn't seem to do anything removed. Those exercises were, in fact, designed to smooth the flow of qi and prevent deviations and blockages. The lack of active malice is the only reason Ming Fan is not expelled from Cang Qiong outright, though he is still punished with two years of probation before being considered for head disciple duties or being allowed to try for his sword.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: Shen Qingqiu introduces the There Is No Try phrase when advising a student, partially out as geniune advice and mostly because he always wanted to use that phrase.
  • It Amused Me: When Shen Qingqiu finds out Shang Qinghua going nuts trying to find the origin of the There Is No Try phrase, Shen Qingqiu dedicates himself introducing Star Wars as a folktale simply to mess with him.
  • Kidnapped Scientist: Shen Qingqiu is a talented cultivator in making and breaking arrays and a revolutionary librarian. The Huan Hua Palace master attempted to have Shen Qingqiu arrested and jailed in his sect's Water Prision to force the latter to break the array locking the Huan Hua Palace library.
  • Lying to Protect Your Feelings: Shen Qingqiu and Qiu Haitang's teacher Lu Zhiguang find out the truth of Shen Qingqiu's blood relation to Qiu Haitang. They both come to conclusion to hide the truth until Qiu Haitang is more mentally stable to not risk her going into Qi Deviation. When the truth is revealed anyway due to the Old Palace Master's machinations, this fear is proved to be entirely founded, as Qiu Haitang goes into a qi deviation at the news.
  • Reincarnation Romance: Ruan Qingruan and his husband Zi Dan were separated by Zi Dan's early death, until Zi Dan reincarnated ten years later and grew old enough to remember his previous life, whereupon he returned to Cang Qiong and the two resumed their relationship.
     New Game ++ 

Tropes that first appear in the second arc of The Grand Unified Theory of Shen Qingqiu

  • Parental Substitute: Old Master Shen Anwei and his husband Zhao Yunlan for Shen Qingqiu, the only positive parental figures Shen Jiu had in his life (although Shen Yuan is implied to have had quite a good relationship with his own parents), who are only mentioned in the first part, but become prominent characters in the second New Game Plus.
  • Parents as People: A mentorly version. Shen Anwei and Zhao Yunlan clearly love Shen Qingqiu as their own, but Shen Anwei being very close to ascension, and under a time crunch from his martial siblings to get his succeeding disciple trained up in time for them to ascend within the century meant that, in the original timeline, Shen Anwei focused on Shen Qingqiu's cultivation and artistic skills to the exclusion of any form of social development, leaving him desperately isolated and without a support system and leading him to slide into depression after his teacher ascended, eventually leading to his withdrawing from all teaching and externalising his self-loathing onto Luo Binghe, which would, if not for his qi deviation awakening his memories of his previous life as Shen Yuan, have led to the destruction of the Cang Qiong Mountain Sect and, eventually, the whole cultivation world. To his credit, after Shen Qingqiu returns to his time as head disciple, Shen Anwei is quick to realise his mistake, and starts trying to encourage Shen Qingqiu to build up closer bonds with his fellow succeeding disciples to prevent it from happening again.
  • Penny Among Diamonds: Downplayed during the second New Game Plus, as Shen Qingqiu gets a small stipend for his teaching duties and his teacher, Shen Anwei, offers a reasonably generous travelling allowance for his favourite student, but he still can't call upon the same sort of financial resources as his fellow students, with the exception of Yue Qingyuan, and his elegant appearance is mostly the result of his embellishing all his clothing himself in order to keep up appearances.
  • Psychological Projection: Liu Qingge eventually becomes convinced that Shen Qingqiu has a crush on him, citing as evidence Shen Qingqiu's tendency to give personalised presents, increasing friendliness, and the fact that he is obviously using cultivational techniques to draw Liu Qingge's attention to his hands and his clothes when he would not otherwise pay attention to his rival.
  • Sustained Misunderstanding: Due to his elegant demeanour and high-quality clothing and accessories, Liu Qingge assumes that Shen Qingqiu is a spoilt young master from a wealthy family and seems to regard him as his personal Privileged Rival. In fact, Shen Qingqiu is an ex-slave who makes all his 'extravagant' clothes himself in order to keep up appearances as a Penny Among Diamonds.
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