Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
When the nebula appeared, Lin Han hadn’t noticed. Maybe it was before the sky fell, maybe it was after the battle was over.
Lin Han looked up for a moment and could hardly speak.
Unlike the somewhat distant dusty nebula seen that day, this cloudy, brilliant purple with a dreamy light was almost within reach. Its outer atmosphere spread out in a spiral, and even the middle part wasn’t overly bright; it was a nebula abandoned by the stars, and only the diffused light left behind reflected their color, brilliant and striking.
Like blocks of color dissolved in water, every trace of diffusion carried an unrepeatable magnificence. Lin Han’s previous space vertigo had disappeared, but he felt another suffocating sensation making him want to seize the air.
He reached out, trying to grab a piece of the beauty.
Even though they weren’t in a favorable situation, he still had a peace of mind.
“The chances of the Erinnerung Nebula appearing are slim,” He YunTing said, “and I’ve only seen it a few times.”
Lin Han saw him stopping next to him.
“When will this nebula disappear?” Lin Han asked.
“Maybe a few hours, maybe a few days.” He YunTing’s tone was light, “But fortunately, Mr. Lin got to see it.”
Since he saw it, he could be happy.
Lin Han understood the meaning of He YunTing’s words almost instantly. He knew that his current appearance was unsightly, and he also knew that there was no time to talk to He YunTing about meaningless things at this moment.
But just like after the battle, he couldn’t help but look at him, thinking about the touch of his hand, and the strength of his embrace.
Lin Han’s heartbeat suddenly missed a beat, and the person who controlled his breathing emotions was standing in front of him right now.
Maybe the atmosphere was too good, or maybe the nebula was too beautiful.
Lin Han was in the sea of stars at this moment, and found his shore when he couldn’t cross it by himself. This kind of feeling came without warning, but like a prairie fire with a sweeping passion, wrapped around him.
Lin Han knew that some Alphas were born with attraction.
And He YunTing was certainly one of them.
His face was cool and cold, his eyes were always calm, and Lin Han couldn’t wait to grab the other’s hand again like last time, asking bluntly if he liked him.
He looked at his own hands, and as this thought rose up it couldn’t be suppressed.
The feeling in his heart drove him, Lin Han couldn’t help but reach out his hand towards He YunTing, wanting to touch the other’s five fingers and listen to his heart.
“Mr. Lin.” He YunTing opened his mouth at this instant, and turned to look at him at the same time. He asked, “Do you like it?”
Lin Han’s hand stopped in mid-air.
His eyes were still the same as before, blue and cold, so was his voice, and he seemed emotionless when he looked sideways.
Lin Han felt his heart beating faster, his eyes even subconsciously dodged for a moment, and when he spoke again, his voice was slightly louder, as if he was worried that the rumble of his heartbeat like a drum would be detected by the other party, and was trying to cover it up, “I…”
But all the syllables were stuck in his throat, even the simplest words blocked.
Even though he knew that He YunTing was only asking if he liked this nebula, he had the nervous feeling of having his thoughts read — as if he was asking him if he liked him.
Lin Han understood that He YunTing wouldn’t ask that, but for the first time, he felt scared as if his heart was being spied on. He remembered that when he tried to confess to He YunTing, his mind was really panicked.
Lin Han gazed into He YunTing’s eyes and saw a messed up version of himself.
The only thing that was missing was his calmness and gentleness, with only the uncomfortableness and the busy-ness remaining that never existed before.
It was easy and cost-free to explore others, but it was often confusing to explore yourself.
Lin Han even felt that if only he could read his own heart, at least then he would have a clear answer.
Or other emotions?
He couldn’t make sense of it at this moment.
He YunTing didn’t understand why Lin Han hesitated, his brow was slightly knitted, and there was a light trace of loss in his tone, “You don’t like it?”
“No.” This time Lin Han answered quickly, “I like it. Very much.”
But he himself didn’t know which question he was answering.
He had some false hope, and quickly got out of it, trying to find his composure.
Lin Han withdrew his hand from trying to touch He YunTing, “I… I’m going to check the remaining energy of the mecha.”
At least work still calmed him.
Just as the two brushed past each other, He YunTing spoke again.
“——As long as you like it.”
His words were straightforward, pure and unadorned as always.
As long as you like it.
Be it the nebula, or something else.
The mecha had a small reserve compartment near the cooler, which came with a conversion system that delivered stored fresh water to all parts of the mecha for cooling as well as other uses.
Lin Han took a handful of water and washed his face, finally cleaning himself up a little, and gradually calmed himself down. He adjusted his emotions and tried to at least face the situation first. He knew that after this day, He YunTing’s place in his heart had become different.
But Lin Han had always sought to be rational and calm, and if he couldn’t see his own heart, then he kept digging deep until all the veins became clear.
He had never liked anyone else, everyone was like an ordinary passerby to him, leaving no trace nor mark.
When he was a child, he used to yearn for the Galactic Exhibition Hall, but now, he couldn’t list what precious thing he would save.
But He YunTing was different.
Lin Han thought as he reached out and rested his hand on the mecha hatch.
But he didn’t even know whether he liked him or not.
Lin Han was always at his best when he was studying, and he would try to answer all the difficult questions, from a certain angle or with a specific mode of thinking, and he would always find the answer he wanted. He wasn’t one to look ahead and squirm, and if he did come to a conclusion, he would definitely find an opportunity to express it to He YunTing when he returned to the Empire. No matter what the result was, he could bear it.
But for the first time he felt bewildered, because he could not even find the angle to answer this question.
After a long time, it was only when he heard familiar footsteps that Lin Han was able to pull himself out of this period of contemplation, “General.”
The mecha was equipped with an emergency deployment system that allowed the pilot to not run out of gas so quickly after an accident. He said in his usual tone, “The mecha is half depleted, so if we don’t resupply it, we’ll be able to operate for about three days at low power.”
But the reinforcements weren’t going to send a battleship through the leap point, and it was not clear whether they would arrive in three days.
The expression on He YunTing’s face didn’t change as he continued to listen to him.
“It’s best not to constantly keep the communication up, it’s too energy intensive. My suggestion is to open it for half an hour a day.” Lin Han said, “Of course, General can make his own decision, I won’t interfere.”
“I’ll listen to Mr. Lin.” He YunTing, who had never acted decisively, however, didn’t object and nodded in response.
“The most urgent task now is to repair the broken areas,” Lin Han looked outside and said after thinking, “but there’s no other material at the moment, so we can only pick up some metal scraps that fell from the battle to mend it.”
He YunTing understood Lin Han’s meaning, “I’ll go down.” He YunTing continued, “Now the temperature has dropped, so it’s not as hot as it was a few hours ago, the human body can bear it.”
“I’ll join you.” Lin Han said, “Let’s see if there’s anything we can use.”
He YunTing’s eyes fell on Lin Han, but he didn’t refuse him in the end, “Okay.”
He gave him a military jacket, “There’s a big temperature difference, so put it on, Mr. Lin.”
He YunTing didn’t mention what would happen to him at all, as if he wouldn’t be cold or injured.
Lin Han hesitated for a moment, but still couldn’t resist his selfishness and took it. He draped He YunTing’s jacket over his body and inexplicably recalled the scene in the command room earlier.
At that time these things hadn’t happened, nor was there any scheming on display.
But his jacket was just as warm.
He YunTing’s jacket had an extremely faint ebony fragrance left on it, which smelled good.
This gave him the illusion of being embraced.
He walked beside He YunTing, and the two opened the hatch together.
Even though he had been prepared, the cold that hit him still made Lin Han shiver, so he subconsciously wrapped his clothes tighter.
The temperature difference between the border area was really unpredictable.
The fishy smell of Zerg’s blood in the air dispersed a bit, so at least it didn’t make Lin Han want to vomit. Although it was still very cold, with He YunTing’s jacket wrapped around him, he still insisted not to return to mecha.
The two walked one after the other, stepping over the coarse yellow sand. It wasn’t until this moment that Lin Han felt that they were really trapped here.
Hunger also finally reared its head as an afterthought.
Lin Han’s stomach growled and his legs got weak. It had been a day since he had used any nutritional supplements.
However, He YunTing seemed to know what Lin Han was thinking and suddenly said, “Don’t worry. Hang in there. I remember this area, so I can drive there when the mecha is repaired.”
The uneasiness that had just risen in Lin Han’s heart was then soothed as he looked at He YunTing’s broad back, wearing only his shirt, and nodded silently.
Even though He YunTing couldn’t see it now.
The two walked for a while, passing by several battle sites, without finding any satisfactory pieces. After about ten minutes of walking, Lin Han stopped and finally found a piece of metal that was still intact.
He YunTing picked it up for him just as he stood still.
Lin Han compared it to the broken condition of the mecha, “This piece should be enough to mend it.”
He YunTing said, “Okay,” and the two of them planned to return.
Lin Han was about to turn around when he suddenly saw the yellow sand not far away, moving strangely.
It was like… there was something there.
He subconsciously thought there was another Zerg, and was just about to speak when he saw a small black bundle roll over towards him and land at Lin Han’s feet.
“…” The little thing looked cute and harmless, so it shouldn’t be a Zerg.
It wasn’t until it got closer that Lin Han could see its appearance.
The little thing was black, and after it stopped at Lin Han’s feet, it shook its body and shook off all the sand on its fur. Then it stretched out its short limbs and grabbed Lin Han’s pants leg.
“What’s this?” Lin Han asked curiously, having never been to the border area before.
If he didn’t look closely, it was almost like a black ball of fur. Its limbs were short and stubby, and it tucked them all away as it ran towards Lin Han, as if it was easier to roll by force than to crawl by force. The little thing seems to be really harmless, and even afraid of getting Lin Han dirty, shaking off the dust on his body with great effort, and then peeking out with its almost invisible small black eyes hidden in the soft fur to gaze at him.
Lin Han squatted down, “Is this an Oddbound?”
He YunTing said, “Mn. It should be lost. One with a low level of differentiation.”
Lin Han asked, “Then what race is it?”
He YunTing’s expression remained unchanged and said a race name, “Kudzuar.”
Lin Han then nodded and examined the small thing in front of him very carefully.
“Do you have a name, Kudzuar?” Lin Han tried to ask it.
The adorable Kudzuar Oddbound creature didn’t know if it understood, but it still waved its short tail at Lin Han.
Lin Han tried to touch the top of the creature’s head.
They seemed to be very clean, even if they lived in such a harsh environment of the Oddbound planet, its short hair was still shiny, soft and warm to the touch. The little thing’s limbs were really short, and were almost like decoration. Although they could rely on them for movement, it seemed to be very strenuous.
Lin Han cupped his hands just enough to fit the little thing.
“They have another name.” He YunTing stood beside him and added.
“Hmm.” He YunTing answered, but as if he was worried about something, he didn’t say it directly.
Lin Han, however, saw it for the first time, and with little knowledge of the border area, couldn’t help but ask more, “What other name?”
He was so busy looking at the small things in his hands that he didn’t notice a rare trace of embarrassment on He YunTing’s face at the moment.
After a few seconds, he opened his mouth.
Saying such words in He YunTing’s voice always had a strange feeling of being out of tune, yet it wasn’t unpleasant.
He didn’t know if it was because the creature in his hand was too cute, or the unique sense of cute that He YunTing had when he said that word, Lin Han’s tone had a bit more laughter as he repeated, “Grr?”
“…Yeah.” But He YunTing didn’t want to repeat it again.
The little thing seemed to hear Lin Han’s words and suddenly became happy, flipping over a few times in his palm and rubbing against his hand.
Lin Han tried to put it back on the ground and asked, “Are you lost?”
The result was that Grr squeaked and clicked quickly, but finally made a dive and landed back in Lin Han’s hand.
The expression on He YunTing’s face changed without a trace, “…”
Lin Han finally curved his eyes and stood up, “General, let’s go back.”
He YunTing turned around and saw the smile on his face.
So the eyes that looked at this little furball finally became kinder.
For some reason, Grr seemed very close to Lin Han, even though they had only just met.
Lin Han returned to the mecha, set Grr aside, and then took the metal pieces that He YunTing had brought back and began to patch up the holes that had been damaged by the Zerg.
Due to the limited conditions and materials, Lin Han could only barely repair it, making sure to keep the outside environment from affecting the mecha and making it closed again.
While he was patching, He YunTing and Grr, one standing and the other rolling, waited together quietly for him to fix it.
“This will have to do for now.” Lin Han turned to He YunTing and said, “It can’t be fixed to be as good as before.”
He YunTing was stunned for a moment before he realized what “before” meant.
Before, he had instructed Lin Han to fix the mecha, which had lost its right arm.
He YunTing, “…”
But Lin Han didn’t say anything more.
“I’ll rest for a while.” He said.
Lin Han seemed so tired that he put down the tools he was holding and leaned back in the driver’s seat.
But Grr was still happily circling around Lin Han, rubbing his pant legs and occasionally scratching his cuffs.
As if… Lin Han’s body had something that was attracting it.
Lin Han, after leaning on the driver’s seat, felt like he was suddenly drained of strength, even his hunger disappeared, his body started to get soft, and his eyelids became heavy, yet he wasn’t too sleepy.
“Mr. Lin?” He YunTing felt that something was wrong and called out to him.
“Mn.” Lin Han subconsciously answered, but he didn’t realize that the sound he made was sheepish and soft, as if he was very uncomfortable.
Probably because he had consumed too much physical and mental energy today, Lin Han didn’t even react to what happened right now, and even mumbled a question to He YunTing, “What’s wrong?”
What he didn’t realize was that a caramel aroma had wafted out from him.
When he came to the fourth round of training, Lin Han had brought nutrients and suppressants with him, but it happened so suddenly that he had no time to pick them up because of one accident happening after another.
Lin Han, who hadn’t used any nutrients for a day, held out for a long time, but he finally couldn’t continue on. His consciousness began to be withdrawn, his body couldn’t be energized, and a more unbearable heat than the outdoor temperature during the day began to flood out from the depth of his body.
He YunTing smelled the pheromone and quickly understood.
And Grr seemed to be more excited and kept rolling around happily in Lin Han’s sweet-smelling pheromone.
He YunTing was silent for a long time before he finally moved his lips to tell Lin Han this fact.
“It seems that…” He YunTing found it a little hard to say, his face, which was always cold, finally had an unusual expression, “Your heat has arrived.”
And Lin Han, who was dragged into the boundless abyss by his body, couldn’t even hear his words. He frowned, found it difficult to raise his hands, moved uncomfortably in the driver’s seat, but was still trying to look at He YunTing and opened his mouth to call him, “General.”
What did you say?
Why can’t I hear you?
He YunTing began to feel overwhelmed and even took a deliberate step back for fear of something happening, even though he himself wasn’t feeling well now.
“General,” Lin Han was still calling him, his voice carrying a soft tone different from his usual one.
“Mr. Lin, you…” He YunTing was halfway through his sentence, wanting to repeat it and not knowing how to continue.
He turned on the mecha’s air circulation system, but he simply couldn’t take his attention away from the sweet-smelling Omega in front of him.
Lin Han still felt uncomfortable.
Grr began to rub up against him, but the little thing was just too light.
He seemed to be craving something, but he couldn’t even explain what he was craving because he had lost too much mental and physical strength.
He could only look at the tall man in front of him.
He only felt tormented.
Lin Han looked over at He YunTing who had a somewhat tense expression.
He didn’t know what was wrong with him, he just squinted his eyes and stared at the General who was talking.
What was the General saying? He couldn’t quite hear.
But even the thin cold lips of the other opened and closed, he wanted to move toward him.