Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Xie Sen sat in the passenger seat. When he saw Maine stop the shuttle, he looked out. They weren’t at the apartment but at the supermarket instead. He asked, “Want to buy something? There’s still enough meat in the house.”
The shuttle was lit with a warm yellow light, and not very bright. The light hit Maine’s face, and created a faint shadow. His eyes darkened slightly as he looked at Xie Sen. “Mn. I need to buy something. Wait for me in the shuttle.”
Xie Sen didn’t think much of it, just reached out and prepared to push the door. “I’ll go with you.”
“No,” Maine said immediately. “You wait here for me.”
Xie Sen raised an eyebrow. He immediately sensed the oddity. Given how clingy Maine was, there was no reason at all to refuse his offer to go with him for such a small thing. Xie Sen’s thoughts turned, and he had a guess. He must have wanted to give him a gift, to surprise him, so he couldn’t let him know in advance. The more Xie Sen thought about it, the more he thought it was possible, and he smiled. “Okay. I’ll wait for you here.”
Maine was very fast. He left and returned in less than three minutes. Xie Sen looked at his empty hands and was a little excited as he wondered what he bought.
When they got home, Xie Sen went straight into the bedroom to find a change of clothes and prepare for a shower. While he was getting his clothes, Maine’s eyes kept following him. He looked at Maine, “Aren’t you going to your bedroom to take a shower? What are you standing there for?”
Did he want to give the gift now? He tried, “Something wrong?”
Maine said, “I’ll wash with you.”
Xie Sen’s movements as he gathered his clothes paused. He coughed dryly, and refused, “No, you go next door.”
Maine took two steps forward to trap him in the middle of the closet, and whispered in his ear, “Why? Are you afraid, or are you shy?”
Xie Sen blushed, and tilted his head to avoid his hot breath, while he reached out to push him. “What do I have to be afraid of? It’s too crowded for two men to wash together, and it’s not convenient.”
Maine stood firm, not moving from his push, as he said thoughtfully, “I’ll talk to the construction company tomorrow about enlarging the bathroom so that the tub in our new home can accommodate at least two people.”
“No!” Xie Sen said hurriedly. The bathtub was already custom-made in a large size. Any fool would know what that deliberate proposal was for.
“Why?” Maine met his gaze. Suddenly he gave a soft laugh. He reached out to his left earlobe and lightly twisted it. “Very red. You are shy.”
Xie Sen’s knees instantly weakened, and he backhanded him. He thought that things would get out of hand if they went on like this, so he slapped his hand away. “Get out. Get your hands off me!”
Maine didn’t go out. Instead he bent down, picked him up and walked towards the bathroom. Then Maine stopped in his tracks. “You don’t want to be close to me?”
“No…” Xie Sen’s face was flushed. He had already been honest with himself in bed, but the thought of being in the bathtub or in the shower together made his heart beat wildly. He grabbed Maine’s arm. He thought about his reaction, and felt too unmanly. Gu Luo’s words suddenly came to his mind. ‘You are a female!’
He said loudly, “Let’s wash together. It’s not like we haven’t seen each other before. Put me down. I haven’t got my change of clothes yet, and neither have you.”
Maine looked at him in confusion. He didn’t understand why he suddenly changed his mind, but he was satisfied with the result and carried him back to the closet, then reached for a pair of shorts and a tank top at random.
Xie Sen also got his clothes. When Maine tried to carry him again, he quickly walked towards the bathroom. “I’ll go by myself.”
The two of them brushed their teeth, and washed their faces side by side at the sink. Xie Sen looked at the two of them in the mirror and grinned.
After they washed up, they went into the bathroom together. Xie Sen was prepared, and didn’t squirm, just neatly took off his clothes.
The difference was a bit big!
He turned on the hot water faucet of the bathtub, then took the nozzle and stood in the corner with his back to Maine. He rinsed his body with hot water. After rinsing once, he put the nozzle to the side. He was about to grab the shower gel, but Maine had already reached out to help him apply it.
“I’ll help you wash.” Maine’s voice was slightly hoarse.
Xie Sen propped his hand on the frosted glass wall and coughed lightly, as he tried to sound normal. “Then I’ll wash you later.”
Maine’s smearing movements stalled slightly, and his voice became even more hoarse. “Okay.”
Maine washed him carefully, as he got closer and closer. Xie Sen noticed it, and the difference between them became more obvious.
Maine’s palm pressed the back of his head forward. He followed the force of Maine’s palm, and bowed his head slightly. The moderate temperature of the water washed the foam from his body. He looked at the dense fog on the glass, gritted his teeth, and finally couldn’t resist asking. “Do I look like a female to you?”
Maine’s expression was slightly cold. “Did someone mock you?”
“No.” Xie Sen hadn’t expected such a reaction from Maine. “Am I too different from a male, and more like a female?”
Maine stroked the peony on his right shoulder. “You are a plant-based beast master. It’s normal to be different from animal-based beast masters.”
This means that he really did resemble a female. No, he should say – was a female.
Xie Sen looked at his thin white arm. Gu Luo’s words kept flashing in his mind. He never wanted to think or believe that he was female. Here female equalled woman, and it was possible to have children!
But he actually knew one thing very well, the possibility existed because his body, which wasn’t really his, belonged to this world. So even if he found all sorts of excuses, like Gu Luo was joking, or was talking nonsense… He would still be emotionally affected by Gu Luo’s words, and would be terrified because of his words. Because he subconsciously, in fact, already believed, but didn’t want to believe. That’s why he had found a variety of counter-arguments.
Maine noticed that his body was shivering, and hastily carried him to the bathtub filled with warm water. He reached out to check his forehead temperature. “Are you uncomfortable? Cold?”
Xie Sen grabbed his hand. “If I were a female, what would you do?”
Maine realized what he meant, and took his hand back. “No matter what your gender is, I want to be with you. If you are female,” he said with a hint of a smile in his eyes. “Then we can have children that belong to us.”
Xie Sen’s whole body trembled, “No…” He gritted his teeth. “I won’t have a baby!”
The thought of being pregnant with a huge belly scared him more than watching the most terrifying horror movie. He repeated, “I won’t have a baby.”
Maine reached out and held him in his arms, with heartache in his eyes. He thought about how Xie Sen, who had always thought he was a male, must be terrified to suddenly know he was a female. If someone had said he could have children, his reaction would’ve been even more intense than Xie Sen’s. He said soothingly, “Mn. No one will force you.”
Xie Sen thought about Gu Luo’s fear of confessing his concerns, and he couldn’t help but ask, “Don’t you want to have children?”
“I only want you.” Maine said immediately without needing to think.
Xie Sen relaxed a lot, and pushed his shoulder. “Get up. I’ll help you take a shower.”
A short time later, Xie Sen was wrapped in an oversized towel and carried to the bed. His body was a light pink color.
The two men had gotten to know each other well enough that things were going well, and the room was filled with the heart-racing scent of ecstasy. It wasn’t until Xie Sen felt Maine’s fingers move down the middle of the back of his neck in a straight line and land somewhere without preparing to turn that he immediately sobered up, and turned to grab Maine’s hand.
“You, you…What are you doing?” Xie Sen said nervously.
Maine kissed him on the lips. “Don’t be afraid. Assistant Gu said we don’t have to be worried about the taboos anymore. Don’t worry, I’m prepared with protection,” he said, then moved back slightly. A light green box appeared in his hand. Xie Sen took one glance at it and knew what it was. The condoms of this world! Every time he went to the supermarket, he had seen them.
The first time he saw it, he thought, What a coincidence, they are all placed near the exit, so it’s convenient to buy them.
He asked, “Did you go to the supermarket to buy them before?”
Maine nodded, “Yes.”
No wonder he bought it so fast! Xie Sen looked at the gift he thought Maine had in his hand. He was a little expectant and a little scared. Could two men really do it?
As it turned out, not only could they do it, but they could do it very well. Xie Sen was lying on the bed, limp, but with a strange satisfaction in his body. He started to get nervous, but none of the painful scenes that he had expected happened and none of the bloody streams appeared. There was still a bit of pain, but compared to the feeling of pleasure, it was completely bearable. However his back was sore.
Maine hugged him and gave him a massage, his eyes deep and doting.
Xie Sen inclined his head to look at Maine. Maine’s gratitude value had become 1/10, so he hadn’t been mistaken before. Maine gave him another energy when the two reached the top, so he gave him 9 energy in one day.
“Are you okay?” Maine saw him look over, and couldn’t resist kissing him on the cheek.
Xie Sen nodded honestly, “I feel great, but…” As he thought about the practice of breeding offspring, he looked down at his flat chest. “How do females get pregnant here?”
“You can get pregnant if you do it without a condom, but the female conception rate is so low that some partners may not have children of their own for the rest of their lives.” Maine thought he was worried and added, “Don’t worry, I’ll always wear a condom.”
Xie Sen thought it was unbelievable that there was no difference between a man and a female from the looks of it. He said seriously, “You have to be careful in the future. Even if the pregnancy rate is low, we can’t take any risks.”
Maine sensed his nervousness, and gathered him close. “Yes.”
Xie Sen felt extraordinarily embarrassed. No matter how open his mind was, he would never have thought that he would one day be worried about an unexpected pregnancy.
The next morning, Maine dropped Xie Sen off at the Gold Medal, waited until Xie Sen was nowhere to be seen, then started the shuttle back to the neighborhood.
Long Teng was munching on some meat, and opened the door while still chewing. His eyes widened in surprise when he saw him. “Maine. What can I do for you?”
Maine organized his language to make his words friendly. “Your dad is testing you to fly the spaceship today, so I’ll go with you. I want to learn to fly the spaceship. Can you help?”
Long Teng swallowed the meat, and raised a bright smile. “Sure. Just wait a bit, I’m going over after breakfast.”
Maine’s fisted hand loosened slightly. “Okay.”
Xie Sen went straight to his work station. He met a few colleagues midway. They greeted each other politely as they passed each other’s shoulders. One colleague suddenly tapped him on the shoulder and joked, “The battle was a bit fierce last night, huh?”
Xie Sen was confused, but his colleagues were already laughing and walking away. On the way to the office, he met some other colleagues who looked at him with knowing expressions. Xie Sen couldn’t help but wonder if these people were the same as the ancient mothers who identified women’s chastity, and could tell at a glance that he had lost his virginity last night.
“Tsk, tsk, tsk…” Sun Mao wandered over to him. His index finger pointed at the back right side of his neck. “Too flashy. Don’t you know that our department is full of single dogs? Feeding dog food like this. Tsk.”
Xie Sen reached out and touched the place, then thought of how Maine bit him there at the time of his release. His face instantly flooded with embarrassment. Although there was no mirror so he couldn’t see, last night Maine had put some ointment on it, so he felt no pain. He’d momentarily forgotten, and worn a round-neck T-shirt today that didn’t cover anything.
He was embarrassed for a moment, but then felt relieved. He and Maine were a couple. They weren’t having an affair, so what was he afraid of?
He laughed and said, “If I want to be flamboyant, then I can stimulate them to fall in love and end their singleness. They will thank me later!”
Sun Mao laughed, then scolded, “Before now, you still covered up and said we misunderstood. Now you aren’t afraid?”
Xie Sen grunted. “It was your misunderstanding. We weren’t together then!” he said. Then he received a work notice, said goodbye to Sun Mao, waved his hand and left.
The morning’s work went well. Although there were a lot of joking eyes, there was also one advantage over the past. Usually when the beast master’s beast’s caretaker was him, he was subject to all kinds of confessions. Today they were very sober. They looked regretful, chagrined, and all kinds of different emotions, but there wasn’t one confession.
Xie Sen just did a good job, and didn’t care about their expressions as long as they continued to give back energy when he cured their contract beast. The lack of confessions saved him a lot of rejections, and he even began to consider, why not let Maine make a mark every day? Especially on weekdays!
At noon, he went to Zone 4-5 as usual. The giant black leopard beast had turned on the live stream. The contract beasts weren’t dancing, but each was playing with toys. The giant tiger beast stood on a large alloy ball, and it constantly moved its feet to control the ball as it rolled around, as if it was playing at acrobatics.
As soon as Xie Sen entered the door, he saw that the huge alloy ball with the giant tiger on top was rolling towards him. His scalp instantly exploded, and he rushed to the side as he screamed, “Don’t let the ball roll over!” If that hit him, he would be dead or ruined.
The viewers in the studio couldn’t help but scream, [Oh my God, the anchor is running!]
[It’s not going to happen!]
The giant tiger beast quickly pawed at the ball with its meaty pads, and stopped it from advancing so it spun in place.
The black leopard and lion beast roared at the same time. A gold and a black figure like a phantom scampered to the ball, and together with the giant tiger beast, extended its claws against the ball.
The viewers in the studio were stunned. [That’s awesome! This speed was too fast. The speed they used to show in the live broadcast turned out to be just a small piece!]
[The rescue action is too neat. It seems to me that the anchor is not raising them, but they are spoiling the anchor.]
[I feel the same way! Even the live room doesn’t need the anchor to take care of it, they make money for the anchor.]
[Today, I am still lemon essence. Sour, giant sour kind!]
The giant tiger beast jumped down from the ball, then the giant lion beast and the giant tiger beast moved quickly to get the ball to the corner. The giant tiger beast ran to Xie Sen, lay down and lowered its head. It’s tail drooped to the ground, and a fleshy pad touched Xie Sen’s feet. It whispered softly, “Sen, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you.”
The contract beasts ran together in a clamor, as they surrounded Xie Sen and the giant tiger beast.
[Strange, the giant tiger beast is obviously an oversized one, why do I feel sorry for it now?]
[As if being taught a collective lesson. it’s really quite pitiful.]
[‘Want to jerk off big meow’ gave the anchor a watermelon rain, Ah, don’t be mean giant tiger beast, it didn’t know you would suddenly come in ah!]
[‘Suck Meow President’ gave the anchor a watermelon rain, anchor don’t be mean to it, the contract beast is already blaming itself!]
Xie Sen was busy calming down his beating heart. When he heard the gift announcements, he couldn’t help but smile. He raised his hand, and rubbed the side of the giant tiger beast’s neck. “It’s okay, I know you didn’t mean it.”
The giant tiger beast turned its head, and rubbed against his arm. “A’Sen is so nice,” it said. Then it stood up and sounded excited, “A’Sen, did you see that the alloy ball can be played with like I just did? It’s super fun!”
Xie Sen laughed, “Yeah, but the ball is heavy, so be careful when you play with it.” He looked at the rest of the contract beasts and smiled. “I’m fine. Don’t worry. Let’s go to the middle.”
After they returned to the middle, the contract beasts surrounded him and chatted casually. Xie Sen asked if there was anything else they wanted, but they all said they didn’t want to buy anything.
All the contract beasts were looking forward to their new place, which was designed with their participation and according to their preferences. So now they were intent on moving and they had no requirements for the present, they were just waiting for the new place to be built.
Xie Sen stopped smiling, “It will take another month to be built. If there is anything you need, you can tell me. If you move later, you can also take it there.”
The contract beasts still shook their heads, and the giant tiger said, “It’s fine now. The ball is fun, and the dance is fun.”
The giant black leopard said, “It’s only a month? I have enough patience!”
Little Spot rubbed against it, “It’s good to be with my brother.”
The giant armored beast said softly, “It’s good enough right now.”
The contract beasts expressed their satisfaction one by one. Xie Sen rubbed the fleshy paws of the nearby giant lion beast, and was deeply aware that animals with high IQs were very easy to care for. To make sure that everything was fine, he stayed for a while and then left.
After work, Xie Sen went straight to the parking lot. He froze when he saw Maine. Maine’s clothes were wrinkled, his sleeves were casually pulled up to his elbows, his hair was wet with sweat and slightly disheveled, and he looked as if he had done some hard work.
“You went into the forest?” he asked in surprise.
Since he established the company, Maine had spent most of his time designing software, and hadn’t gone into the forest to hunt like he used to.
“No,” Maine said, after both of them sat down in the shuttle, he had set the route back to the apartment and started the shuttle. “I went to Long Teng’s house with him to learn to fly the spaceship with Uncle Long.”
Xie Sen looked at him in surprise. “Fly a spaceship?”
Maine nodded. “We’re going to a small planet, and maybe other planets later. By learning to fly a spaceship, we’ll be more secure.”
Xie Sen thought it made sense. “Why don’t I learn how to do that too?”
Maine thought about it. “You can learn the basic operation. It’s just like flying a shuttle, you need to be able to turn around or stop when the ship is off track.”
It sounded simple enough. Xie Sen pointed to his sweaty hair, “What else did you learn?”
Maine, “The basic operations and the main power structure. In case something goes wrong, and I need to find the problem first and fix it.”
Xie Sen marveled, “That would take a long time, wouldn’t it?”
Maine said, “Uncle Long taught me very clearly. It’s all practical knowledge. I took a mechanics course, so it’s not hard to learn. The route design still needs work, but there’s enough time for me to learn.”
Xie Sen exclaimed, “You’re really good.” He thought, Maine’s IQ is definitely super high.
Maine’s eyes were tinged with laughter. The shuttle stopped at the parking lot, and Maine took Xie Sen to the apartment. However, he stood at the door, and didn’t go in. “I have to go practice, so you eat by yourself. Don’t go out at night, and contact me if you need anything.”
Xie Sen was stunned, then couldn’t help but frown. “You should have told me in advance if you had something to do. I could have come back by myself, you make me feel… You make me feel like I’m some kind of loser who needs to be protected by you all the time.”
Maine’s face changed instantly, and he grabbed his arm. “You’re not! Don’t say that!”
Xie Sen slapped his hand away, and took a step back, “If you didn’t think so, if you believed in my abilities, would you be so cautious? You don’t even believe I can get home from work safely!” He took a deep breath. “I know, after what happened with Julos and what happened with Soria, it’s got you upset. I’ll do anything you ask, including driving me to and from work, but only if it doesn’t interfere with your work or your plans.”
Maine looked uneasy, and stepped forward to hug him, as he said sharply, “It doesn’t affect me. Not at all. It affects me when I don’t see you. It’s that I want to see you, not that I don’t trust you.”
Xie Sen pushed him away, but he just let go a little. Xie Sen looked up at him, “Really?”
Maine nodded and kissed his forehead and his cheek. “Mn. I know you’re great, and I don’t doubt your abilities. I like to drive you to and from work so I can delay my separation from you then meet you again earlier.”
Xie Sen’s heart instantly welled up with great emotion. He’d always thought Maine only insisted on commuting with him to work because he wasn’t sure about his safety. He reached out and hugged Maine. “I’m sorry. I just got too excited.”
Maine buried his head in the side of his neck. “A’Sen, I was scared just now. I was scared when you slapped my arm away in anger.”
Xie Sen held him tighter. No one knew better than him how strong Maine was, but no one also knew better than him how vulnerable Maine was. Maine could kill Julos without expression, but was also terrified by his tiniest action.
Maine continued, “If I do something you don’t like, you must tell me. Don’t bring all your grievances together and dismiss me.”
“Mn, I’ll tell you,” Xie Sen said, “As long as you don’t kill innocent people, even if you do something I don’t like, I’ll only be angry for a while. I won’t deny you.”
Maine thought that the issue with Julos still scared him, so he promised, “I won’t kill innocent people.”
Xie Sen let him go. “I thought you said it was your dinner break. Do you want to eat together before you go?”
Maine shook his head. “It will take time to make dinner. I’ll buy food on the way, then return early in the evening. You can cook what you like.”
Xie Sen thought it made sense, so he didn’t persuade him any further. They exchanged a lingering kiss. Maine’s fingers brushed against his lips, his voice slightly muffled, “I’m leaving.”
After Maine left, Xie Sen closed the door behind him and took a piece of meat and melon rind to the kitchen to make boiled meat. Tuan Tuan flew in through the window and looked longingly at the melon rind in his hand.
He smiled. “Wait a minute. I’ll finish cooking the meat and bring you a piece.”
He took the meat and put it in a small casserole dish with the melon rind, turned on the heat and set the time. Then he took out a palm-sized piece of melon rind from the refrigerator, walked to the living room and put it on the coffee table. “Eat.”
Tuan Tuan chirped happily, jumped onto the melon rind and pecked at it.
Xie Sen looked at it, smiled, opened the bracelet, and entered the live broadcast room. The contract beasts were lying together lazily as they watched TV.
[Can they really watch?]
[Why would I want to watch TV in a live room of contract beasts?]
[Looking at their reactions. I think they get it.]
[Hahahaha, their reactions are too funny, right? Just now the two people on TV hit the ground and rolled into a ball. Little Spot lifted his paws to cover his eyes, while the rest of the contract beasts dropped their eyelids, obviously in disgust!]
[Yeah, and when the TV curses, they have more eyes. Even the neck is raised from the paws. They look very interested.]
[Hahahaha! Is this to learn how to curse?]
Xie Sen looked at the pop-ups and couldn’t help but frown. He thought that the contract beasts should be used to fighting without submission but now he felt there was a new meaning to fighting.
While he was watching, there was a sudden knock at the door. Xie Sen froze. He couldn’t imagine who it would be. He opened the door, saw the person outside and his eyes flashed in surprise, “Lieutenant General Cox?”
Meyer was dressed in a black three piece civilian suit with a pair of sunglasses. His face was very serious. He looked at Xie Sen, and then looked inside. “Maine isn’t here?”
“Is something wrong?” Xie Sen didn’t answer, just asked warily.
The corners of Meyer’s mouth snapped downwards as he removed his sunglasses. He glared. “Of course there’s something wrong. You and Maine are lovers, right? Well, what happens to Maine depends on your choice.”
Xie Sen frowned. The word ‘choice’ made him feel uneasy. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“No,” Meyer said in a dark voice. “Of course you do. Don’t tell me you don’t know that Maine killed Julos?!”
Xie Sen’s eyes widened, and his hands clenched into fists. “It’s a misunderstanding.”
“That’s because Maine was so cunning that he even fooled me.” Meyer’s voice was tinged with anger as he lifted his left hand to reveal his bracelet. “I thought you wouldn’t mind going in and talking about it. We’ll sit down together and look at the surveillance from the Gold Medal parking lot.”
Xie Sen dug his fingers heavily into his palms to maintain his composure. “No kidding. I thought the surveillance was destroyed.”
“Yeah, if we hadn’t interrogated Thor, I would have thought it was destroyed too. Even Soria.”
Xie Sen automatically asked, “Who is Thor?”
“The hacker who helped Soria take out the surveillance when he brought the self-destruct device into Gold Medal. The same hacker who helped him destroy the parking lot surveillance… Now, you don’t mind if we go in and talk, do you?”