Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Lin Han’s index finger, with its soft warmth, lightly swiped the corner of He YunTing’s lips. He lost his mind-reading skills, but he was able to touch and self-interpret such emotions without interference at this moment.
In the past, even if He YunTing wanted to comfort him, because he didn’t know how to make such an expression, he could only say “nothing” to him with his usual stern face. He YunTing himself didn’t realize that he also had such emotions, and without Lin Han’s reminder, he didn’t even know that he was smiling.
He was stunned for a moment, and replied with a rare lack of confidence, “…I don’t know.”
Just like Lin Han once asked him if he liked him. He seemed to be so confident and conceited about everything, but wavered on the matters related to Lin Han. Lin Han withdrew his fingers and lifted his face a little from He YunTing’s back, without saying anything more.
For a moment he wanted to move forward to see what He YunTing would look like when he smiled, but withdrew the idea for fear of embarrassing him.
The smile he couldn’t see with his eyes could be touched with his fingers.
However, the two were still panting and puffing and imitating hard, even adhering to the indomitable spirit, not feeling any pain at all and planning to continue practicing imitation, not noticing the two people being imitated, one with a red face, the other with a smile at the corner of its mouth.
Until the two big guys failed three times, only to learn to give up, they finally called twice, Grr then jumped back onto the nose of one of them.
Although there was still no energy supply and M2742 was still just a cold tin, at least there was no fear of being swallowed by the swamp again, unable to be retrieved. The mecha was too big, and finally, not knowing what Grr had exchanged with its companions, a few kind creatures helped push M2742 forward some more, moving it to the back of some mound so that it wouldn’t be attacked by the glare and harsh atmosphere all the time.
Lin Han didn’t expect these rough-looking creatures to have such considerate thoughts, and with He YunTing’s smile still resting on his fingertips, for a while, he felt emotional and warm.
He YunTing’s sense of direction was good, and he wrote down the location of the mecha before following the Ruien race while carrying Lin Han on his back.
This time they walked for about an hour, during which a certain ThudThud seemed to be worried whether this weak-looking creature could follow them for such a long time, frequently turning back to observe and nudging its nose at He YunTing, as if to tell him and Lin Han — if they couldn’t walk, they could also ride on their noses like that fur ball.
From the successful arrival here, Lin Han had been in a good mood, and even He YunTing was infected by him. Although the pace was still as serious and cold as in the base, the frost in his eyes melted some.
They led the two to a place where the ecology was even more lush than just now.
Although the ground here was still not quite flat, many strange-shaped stones scattered among them, there were some unknown animal carcasses formed by the stones. But there were obviously more trees here than before, so the climate wasn’t as stuffy.
The most crucial thing was that there was a naturally formed stone cave here, and next to it was a water source that the two hadn’t seen for a long time. Grr jumped off the nose of the ThudThud, waved his paws in mid-air, and with a proud gesture, flopped down into the water with precision.
The little black blob splashed in the water for a moment, then Grr purred a string of bubbles, poked its head out contentedly and looked at Lin Han and He YunTing. The ThudThud’s began to slam their heads down with tons and tons of water, making gobbling noises in their throats.
…Lin Han suddenly knew the origin of their name and sent out a heartfelt admiration for the wisdom of the imperial people1. He YunTing found the cleanest place to put Lin Han down, the temperature gradually rose, he threw his jacket aside and sat himself beside Lin Han.
“Mr. Lin, rest here first,” He YunTing said, “I’ll go and find a little something we can eat.”
He was just about to get back on his feet when Lin Han pulled him back.
“I’m not very hungry.” Lin Han glared, then softly lowered his eyes, “Just keep me company and just rest for a while as well.”
These days, he was really too tired. Sometimes Lin Han would think, if his body didn’t become a burden to He YunTing, would the other person be able to survive better alone. But he eventually didn’t think too deeply about it, some questions didn’t need clear answers, just like on the day of the incident, he would be determined to follow through.
He knew He YunTing wouldn’t give up on him, and he had absolute trust in him. The two sat for a while and He YunTing looked at the creatures in front of him, “Would Mr. Lin like to clean up?”
Lin Han certainly understood what He YunTing meant and froze for a moment.
“I’ll leave for a while,” He YunTing quickly added, “but if you need me… I can help.”
Lin Han, with a rare blush, immediately said, “I should be fine on my own.”
He YunTing also seemed relieved since he had never been very good at dealing with such things, and nodded as he answered, “Okay.”
It was a relatively comfortable day for the two of them.
When He YunTing came back, Lin Han had a simple clean up, his white uniform stained with blood and dust was finally taken off and cleaned, and he only had a fairly clean shirt on him. Lin Han seemed sleepy again, his eyes narrowed when he saw He YunTing, then he barely greeted him and went back to sleep.
He YunTing lightened his footsteps and sat back down next to Lin Han. He thought that he could finally get a good night’s sleep today. After making sure Lin Han was asleep, he kissed his fingers as usual before he closed his eyes in satisfaction.
Lin Han woke up early the next day, his body was still wet from last night, even though he might need He YunTing to carry him until he returned to the Empire, at least he was in better spirits.
He YunTing had already woken up, and was hanging up his clean clothes. When he turned his head, he saw Lin Han rubbing his eyes, and was stunned, “Hello, Mr. Lin.”
Lin Han nodded with a smile and raised his hand to touch Grr who was sleeping in his arms. He half sat up and leaned against a strangely shaped tree trunk, quietly looking at He YunTing. Lin Han remembered He YunTing’s room, cold and tidy, not like a normal person’s. Everything was done by an AI and never done by hand. His demand for quality of life was so low that Lin Han felt it was almost unimaginable.
Now he was doing it all naturally, together with his previous smile, so Lin Han had a feeling of getting to know him again. He YunTing gave the Oddbound creatures food too, after all, He YunTing wasn’t really an encyclopedia. Many things he hadn’t seen or dared to try, and what the ThudThud’s could eat, the humans might necessarily not. He YunTing finally took some he was familiar with, such as gold Lin fruit, and handed them to Lin Han.
A few of the sleeping Ruiens also woke up.
Lin Han couldn’t understand some of their activities, such as them imitating their poses at the first meeting, and then doing some strange actions, such as playing hide-and-seek with Grr. It was also hard for them to find a place to hide in the Great Plains, because their size and the vibration of the ground caused by their walking didn’t allow them to participate in the game properly. But both creatures were happy and gentle, and even if sometimes they didn’t understand what the creatures were doing, at least they weren’t too lonely with a company like this.
And now, two Ruiens watched Lin Han and He YunTing wake up and started walking towards them. Lin Han had no idea what they would do, but he curled his eyes with interest and looked at them expectantly.
He YunTing, still holding food in his hand, followed suit.
Seeing that both humans were here, the two ThudThud’s intended to start their best imitation session — they had seen some more moves last night that the Ruien race couldn’t understand.
This tall, cold-faced looking man would actually touch another man’s paw with his lips!
Not knowing what this meant, the studious Ruien race decided to be friendly and welcoming to humans in their own way.
Lin Han watched as the two ThudThud’s mooed twice at each other, with the first one leaning forward and daintily and tentatively extending its front paw, which gave its body a bizarre pose. And the second happily came over, then fluttered its ears, and very laboriously leaned forward, right into the first’s front paws, and was ready to kiss with its lips—
In a flash of lightning, He YunTing suddenly understood something.
He YunTing, who didn’t expect this group of creatures to imitate even such a secret little action of his, threw away the object in his hand, and for the first time, somewhat forcefully covered Lin Han’s eyes with his hand. He was worried that Lin Han was curious and blocked his view with his tall figure, “Mr. Lin don’t look.”
Lin Han, who hadn’t had a good look at what the two creatures were doing, was confused for a moment, but still subconsciously chose to believe He YunTing and let out, “Hmm… They… What are they doing?”
He YunTing was silent for a moment, not knowing how to explain, “…Something not very nice.”
“Oh.” Lin Han understood and felt that there was nothing he couldn’t say about this kind of thing, he just didn’t look at it, and said frankly, “Are they mating?”
This time He YunTing was silent for a longer time. No, they’re imitating me stealing a kiss from you.
But fortunately Lin Han now had no mind reading, and He YunTing wouldn’t tell him the truth.
The two ThudThud’s were feeling very sad, wondering why one of the humans wasn’t looking at them, while the other one, who didn’t look too inviting, was staring more intensely. They began to wonder if their imitation wasn’t good enough. But that was what this taller human did last night.
So the second patiently decided to do it again.
With a “moo”, he continued to get down on his heavy body, his head struggling to get next to the first one, who also cooperated by extending his front paws towards him and responding approvingly.
The second seized the opportunity — because the animal really didn’t know what a ‘kiss’ was, but still racked its brain to recall the scene it had seen. Then it used its thick lips to heavily touch the first’s front paw, making a weird and loud ‘smack’ sound.
He YunTing, “……”
This sound confirmed Lin Han’s suspicions, and when he didn’t get a response from He YunTing for a long time, he curiously asked once more, “Are they?”
Seeing that the two large ThudThud’s were very satisfied with their imitation, they looked towards him as if they were taking credit for it…
He YunTing looked serious, and his tone was cold, as if he was facing a thousand armies, “…Yes.”