Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Although Xie Sen guessed that Maine’s gesture might be a thank-you ritual, he couldn’t help but blush. His heart beat uncontrollably, as he turned around and went into the kitchen.
He. was. a. male. Maine was also a male. So the shameful thought of ‘does he like me?’ was absolutely impossible! Xie Sen slapped his face, and tried to forget all the messy thoughts in his head. At the same time, he thought to himself, I can’t let Maine know that I had such a thought. It’s too humiliating.
When he carried the bowl of fries to the living room, his face had returned to normal as he put the fries in front of Maine. “Try it and see if it tastes good.”
Maine chucked a piece into his mouth, and a faint smile appeared at the corner of his mouth. “It’s delicious. These are made with potatoes?”
Xie Sen nodded and smiled. “There are still two watermelons in the fridge. You can have them for lunch.” This was a gift from him and the watermelon vine.
Maine looked at him, his eyes gentle. “Okay.”
Xie Sen looked at the 2 energy prompt in front of him and couldn’t help but think, Maine really likes watermelon!
He finished his breakfast with Maine in a happy mood, then went to work at Gold Medal. It was a Saturday, and he was supposed to be off work. However, he wasn’t sure how long he would stay in the forest. He thought the longer he took off, the better, so he applied for overtime.
While he was free from work, he received a request for help from a colleague. A giant beast had injured its hind leg, and it was extraordinarily uncooperative with the treatment. Whenever the caretaker tried to approach it, it would kick him unceremoniously and knock him over.
Without a word, Xie Sen went over to help, and managed to calm the beast down, which allowed his colleague to clean and dress its wounds.
The beast owner thanked him gratefully, and left with the contract beast.
The colleague rubbed his back, and said, “Thank you so much. I’m glad you helped me. Otherwise, even with my strong body, I wouldn’t have been able to stand and would’ve been knocked over. I should have known to put a rug on the floor.”
Xie Sen smiled, and shook his head to indicate that he was welcome. Suddenly, the scene of how Maine thanked him that morning came to mind. He hesitated, couldn’t help it and asked, “Do you have any etiquette for thanking people?”
The colleague blinked. “Do you want me to give you a red packet?”
Xie Sen hurriedly waved his hands. “No. No. Don’t misunderstand.”
The colleague laughed, “Haha! I’m just kidding. I’m teasing you. You’ve helped me many times. I still don’t know you? But what did you mean by what you just asked?”
Xie Sen blushed, slightly uncomfortable, and touched his forehead. “Is there etiquette for kissing each other’s forehead out of gratitude?”
“I’ll go!” The colleague instantly understood what he meant, and jumped up on the spot, as he said angrily, “There’s no such thing as that etiquette. Who’s taking advantage of you? Who in the department doesn’t know you have a boyfriend, that they used such a poor excuse to take advantage of you? Tell me. I’ll beat him up for you! Yes, also tell Manager Sun. If he dares to harass colleagues, let the manager fire him directly!”
Xie Sen cried and laughed. He pulled on his colleague, who was about to go to Sun Mao’s office. “Don’t be impulsive, no one took advantage of me,” he babbled. “I just saw two customers on the way over. One thanked the other, and then kissed the other on the forehead. I was a little curious.”
The colleague laughed. “They must be either partners or lovers.” He patted Xie Sen’s shoulder. “Alas, you have a boyfriend, and did something so daring. How can you still be so innocent? It’s true that you’re still young and not experienced enough.”
The corners of Xie Sen’s mouth twitched. Can you not mention that ‘daring thing?’ Nothing happened at all! But… He was in a trance. If it wasn’t a thank you ritual, why would Maine do that?
“Hey, are you thinking of something impure? Your face is all red.” The colleague bumped him with his shoulder, and laughed suggestively.
Xie Sen came back to his senses. “No, nothing. I’m going to work.”
In the evening after work, Xie Sen took his leave in advance. When he returned to the apartment, Maine was sitting on the sofa. As soon as Xie Sen saw him, his eyes couldn’t help but fall on his lips.
So, what does that mean? He…likes me? Bah, what a nonsense thought!
“What’s wrong?” Maine saw he was staring at him without saying anything, and raised an eyebrow.
“Nothing.” Xie Sen hurriedly withdrew his gaze, and headed for the kitchen. “I’ll go make dinner.”
“I’ve made it. It’s warm. It’s still early, so we’ll eat later.” Maine said.
Xie Sen sat down on the couch. “What time do we leave tomorrow morning?”
“We’ll meet here at 6:30, and leave at 7:30. The craft is fast, and we’ll be there by 9:00.”
Xie Sen silently calculated in his mind. The speed of the aircraft was almost twelve kilometers per minute, similar to modern airplanes. He thought about what to bring, then it suddenly occurred to him that he didn’t have a space pack! He had to at least bring some clothes, and carrying a backpack wouldn’t be as convenient as wearing a small piece of jewelry.
“I forgot to buy a spatial backpack,” he said as he opened his bracelet. “Luckily, logistics are fast. I’ll buy one now.”
“No need,” Maine’s right hand held his wrist, while he opened his left hand. “It’s for you.”
Xie Sen froze when he saw the silver ring in his hand. “Why did you get me this?”
“I missed your birthday. This is to make up for your birthday gift.” Maine finished, and paused. “I love the gift you gave me today.”
Xie Sen looked at him. “A gift from me?”
“Potato pancakes and potato sticks. I like them both.” Maine looked serious.
Xie Sen was stunned. Those weren’t gifts at all. They were just the breakfast he made to celebrate Maine’s birthday. He never thought Maine would take them as a gift. Was it because he hand-delivered them to him, and said birthday wishes at the same time?
He looked at Maine who was so seriously making gifts for him, and he was touched. He didn’t explain that they weren’t gifts, and just thought that he must seriously send a gift to Maine on his birthday next year. He raised a smile. “We didn’t know each other on my birthday, so you don’t need to make up gifts.”
Maine pondered for a moment, and said seriously, “I’ll make it up to you when we get back from the forest.”
“Don’t,” Xie Sen waved his hand, and the shameful thought came up again, was he really just treating him as a brother by being so nice to him? “I’m just kidding. Don’t make it up, or I’ll have to make it up to you too.”
“You don’t have to.” Maine put the ring on his left pinky. “I’ll just give it to you.”
Xie Sen’s fingers subconsciously curled up as he felt Maine’s sincerity. He looked at Maine’s expression and laughed, “That’s not okay. We’re brothers. How can I take advantage of you?”
Maine’s face moved slightly. His eyes looked at him, and their gazes met. Xie Sen’s heart skipped a beat. The look in Maine’s eyes, why did it make him panic? He averted his eyes, and changed the subject. “Have you informed Long Teng and Bai Jiao of the arrangements for tomorrow?”
“Yes,” Maine gave him a deep look, and got up. “I’ll go get dinner.”
He gave Tuan Tuan a small piece of watermelon rind when he came back. Tuan Tuan grabbed it, and ate it happily in the corner without pestering him. Xie Sen felt a pain in his brain. It was something he didn’t want to think about, but the more he thought about it, the more he felt that Maine seemed to be interested in him.
He had heard that when people were caught in a thought, even if the things they thought were false, the subconscious mind would think they were true. Like self-hypnosis. He felt sorry for his brother. His self-hypnosis of thinking about Maine as someone who had thoughts about him was simply insulting Maine’s true brotherly love for him!
Xie Sen was washing the dishes with a torn face when Maine grabbed his shoulders from behind, and looked at him with penetrating eyes. “You’re avoiding me?”
Xie Sen blushed, and his eyes dodged his gaze. “I’m sorry, I…It’s so bad!”
Maine’s deep expression was stunned. He wasn’t expecting him to say that at all. “Why are you avoiding me?”
“I…I…” Xie Sen gritted his teeth. He thought that it was worse to think about it this way, rather than to say it clearly, and then explain that Maine was good-looking and nice to him, so he couldn’t help but think about it. He turned around, and quickly finished in one breath, “I’m sorry, I insulted your brotherly love for me by thinking you had thoughts about me…”
He was about to snort, explain himself and say he wouldn’t think anything if he said it, when Maine’s words interrupted him.
“No insult.” Maine looked down at him, his eyes were deep and focused. “I had thoughts about you.”
“Huh?” Xie Sen froze.
Maine lifted Xie Sen’s chin. “I was going to take it slow, but you realized it already. I like you, and I want you to be my mate.”
Xie Sen took a violent step backwards and hit the sink, his expression instantly tangled.
Maine grabbed him around the waist, and brought him forward. “Be careful.” With that, he turned him around, and switched their positions. Maine said, “I’ll do the dishes.”
He washed the dishes, and wiped them down. Xie Sen stared at his back, and screamed like a groundhog in his heart. He must have just hallucinated, right? Otherwise, how could anyone react so calmly after confessing?
Shouldn’t they wait nervously for the other person to respond, or at least ask them what they think?
Xie Sen came back to his senses. That ‘other person’ was him!
He was confessed to by a man, and the man was his best friend! He was still thinking that his best friend’s reaction was wrong, but wasn’t he the one who was really wrong?
Xie Sen covered his face. He forgot for a moment that he had just washed the dishes, had foam on his hands and didn’t rinse them. His face was instantly smeared with foam. He hurriedly went ‘bah’ twice, and blew the foam away from the corners of his mouth.
Maine turned his head to see him like this, and laughed slightly. Xie Sen’s face was red as he rushed to wash his face. In his heart he muttered, Why laugh? It’s not because of you!
After the dishes were washed, the two of them walked out of the kitchen. Maine looked carefully at Xie Sen, and said, “I won’t force you, so don’t hide from me.” Then he sat down on the sofa to sort out the measuring instrument.
Xie Sen watched for a while, but only saw Maine calmly doing his business. He looked at Maine. Although he had never wanted to be with a boy, the other party was Maine so he didn’t resent the idea at all.
He thought no more about it, and went into his bedroom to train the plants.
The next day Xie Sen got up before six o’clock, and made a big pot of boiled meat with watermelon rind to be ready when Bai Jiao and Long Teng arrived. Both of them were dressed in camouflage combat uniforms, and black leather military boots. It was the same as Xie Sen and Maine’s clothes, which were bought from the outdoor store recommended by Maine.
Xie Sen invited them to have breakfast together. Bai Jiao took one bite, and realized it tasted much better than usual. “What did you add?”
“Watermelon rind,” Xie Sen said.
Long Teng blew on the hot meat, and ate it while he explained to Bai Jiao, “The rind of the melon is super tasty too! It’s crispy and fragrant!”
Xie Sen smiled. Yesterday, he and Maine only ate one watermelon, while the other one was put in his backpack. He didn’t tell them, ready to give them a surprise.
After breakfast, the four of them sat around the sofa. Maine gave each of them a bracelet. “This is a contact device. There is a high probability that there will be no signal deep in the forest. This one is good within one kilometer, but just in case there is a strong signal ray on it,” he said as he pressed the button on the contact device. “This is the red light, representing the distress signal, while this is the green light, representing the safety signal.” He looked at Long Teng sternly. “Don’t press it if nothing is wrong.”
Long Teng stared at him. “I’m not going to press it!” With that, his bracelet suddenly lit up with a penetrating red light, and he laughed. “Look. This is a red light. I remember.” He quickly turned it off.
Xie Sen and Bai Jiao looked at him helplessly, as he repeatedly assured them that there would be no mistake.
All of them put the bracelets on, then Bai Jiao gave each of them a box of ointment. “I’ve improved it a bit. It’s better than the previous one, and the medicine lasts longer. You can put it on now.”
The four of them made a series of preparations at Maine’s apartment. It didn’t take long for Maine’s reserved flight to arrive.