Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
“You’re so lovey-dovey…”
Huan Xiu had just stepped through the lab door when he heard Kaczki’s voice coming from behind him.
“You saw that?”
“I just happened to pass by on my way out of the car.” Kaczki shrugged, getting used to the fact that Huan Xiu was particularly affectionate with his concubine.
Huan Xiu smiled very openly, not embarrassed at all.
“You dote on him too much, don’t you?” Kaczki took the goggles from the shelf by the door on one side and tossed them to Huan Xiu and put a pair on himself, “If you like him so much, why don’t you make him your monarch?”
“In the planning stages. But a proposal requires a wedding, right? And you need a ring too, right? I haven’t prepared anything yet.” Speaking of Huan Xiu, he and Xi Ran had been living together for a few months now and were slowly getting into a stable relationship these days, and now he was even thinking about a wedding ring.
“There are packages available at the registry. There are lots of gold, silver, and gemstones. In addition to rings, you can also make various other types of ‘ornaments’.” Kaczki, as an ‘experienced’ person, was enthusiastically giving advice to Huan Xiu.
“I have the skill, so I want to make one myself.” Huan Xiu looked at his surroundings, it was fortunate that he was familiar with handling metal since college, although he had only made models before, never jewelry, but since this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, he still wanted to try it himself.
Kaczki clearly had a shocked look on his face and his mouth formed an ‘o’ shape, “Oh my God.”
The colleagues who heard this gossip were surprised to hear that Huan Xiu was so nice to his female Zerg.
“Beware of him becoming arrogant.”
“He won’t.” Huan Xiu smiled, thinking that it would be better if Xi Ran could be a little ’arrogant’.
“If we weren’t both male Zerg, I would fall in love with your kind of Zerg.” A colleague exaggeratedly exclaimed.
“……I don’t like your type either.” Huan Xiu quickly refused.
The male Zerg who was rejected looked very hurt as he covered his chest. The laughter of the Zerg filled the lab. A few months ago, this would have been unthinkable, but Huan Xiu was now on good terms with all his colleagues, and the relationship was much better than before.
It was just a small interlude before work, but soon the only sounds in the lab were of those getting into the swing of things such as sketching and opening the door to the next station. Colleagues smiled and sighed, and then it was over. But Huan Xiu was indeed genuinely thinking about the ring.
He could imagine how surprised and frightened Xi Ran would be when he took out the ring he made with his own hands. Huan Xiu couldn’t help but smile as he pictured the expression in his head.
After work, he went to pick up Xiao Ye as usual, who was in high spirits on the way home. Knowing that he would be going on an exchange trip, even though he won’t be leaving until next week, he can’t wait to start making a list of what he needed to bring.
“Don’t you want us to help you pack? Can you fold your own clothes?”
“I can do it myself! My summer clothes are easy to fold… but thanks, male father.” Huan Ye said with delight.
As Xi Ran had said, he had always been very independent, and Huan Xiu thought to himself, ‘on Earth, there would be very few kids in primary school who could do that’. Huan Ye had been acting very mature, but the little details showed how young he was.
Thinking about the students who came out of middle school, most of them looked around fifteen or sixteen years old, which was what the Zerg people called ‘secondary awakening’, Huan Xiu thought that maybe Huan Ye’s little boy state wouldn’t last long now.
“How many more years do you have to go before you go through your secondary awakening?”
“Eh?” Huan Ye didn’t know what was going on when male father suddenly asked a question that couldn’t be answered, but he was quick to answer, “Three years… What’s the matter?”
“Nothing, just a casual question.” Huan Xiu suddenly felt sad. Such a small child would grow up into a young man soon. He had never experienced it, but he could still vaguely understand from his memory that such a change really happened ‘overnight’.
It was unscientific. This way of evolution. Hua Xu thought, not knowing how many times he sighed.
But at the same time, he was curious about what Xi Ran looked like as a child, and if he was as cute as Huan Ye was now.
In the evening when Xi Ran came home, Huan Xiu couldn’t help but ask about it at the dinner table.
“My childhood pictures?”
“Have any?” Huan Xiu wasn’t expecting much, knowing that Xi Ran didn’t have a family after all, so maybe it was normal that he never took pictures when he was little.
“There might be some records of me in the orphanage files, but probably not from when I was at Xiao Ye’s age.” Xi Ran said. He didn’t look very surprised when he mentioned the orphanage, which he had long thought of as a normal part of his memory. “But I took a picture when I entered the military. At that time I had already had my second awakening, but I only have one picture of me and Lan Ji shortly after I joined the army. The interval between my second awakening and full awakening was very short.”
“That says a lot about you,” Huan Xiu complimented. From the book, he knew that there was no definite time limit for a Zerg to awaken, especially between the second awakening and true adulthood, which varied from Zerg to Zerg. However, the shorter the time it took, the stronger the Zerg would be.
Xi Ran did not deny this kind of praise, it was one of the few things that he identified with. Since Huan Xiu was curious about his old photos, and although he didn’t find them attractive, Xi Ran still pulled up the old information.
“I’m full,” Huan Ye finished, picking up his plate and looked expectantly at Huan Xiu and Xi Ran, “Can I go pack my bags first?”
“Isn’t the trip next week?” Xi Ran frowned.
“I want to get ready now,” Huan Ye was a little out of breath.
Xi Ran noticed that he seemed to be taking Huan Ye too seriously again and forced himself to soften his tone, “Go ahead. Call me if you need help.”
Huan Ye’s eyes lit up again, he put down his chopsticks and quickly ran upstairs.
Xi Ran let out a small sigh of relief when he saw him go upstairs. He knew that he was still learning how to be a good father.
“Isn’t it nice? It’s just us.” Huan Xiu joked.
“Right, the photos.” Xi Ran came back to his senses and tapped his communicator again.
“There’s no rush actually…”
“This is a file photo from the orphanage.” Xi Ran had found it lightning fast.
Huan Xiu felt as if he was reviewing data, which was not at all how he had imagined the two of them enjoying the old photos in a cozy atmosphere!
“Let’s see…” Huan Xiu couldn’t help but sigh in amazement, “This is really the same as looking at Xiao Ye. You’re carved out of the same mold… Ah no, I should say that Xiao Ye came out of the same mold as you.”
“We are quite similar.” Xi Ran compared childhood photos with Xiao Ye’s face, and even people who didn’t know better would definitely think they were family when they saw such photos.
To be honest, Xi Ran was lucky. If Xiao Ye didn’t look like him and looked like another male Zerg, even if the gentle Master wouldn’t care, he would still feel bad for Huan Xiu. Fortunately…
“This one,” Xi Ran fiddled some more, another photo easily searched for, seemingly already in the information storage, “Is a group photo from when we first entered the barracks and met Lan Ji.”
Huan Xiu padded closer, the photo of Xi Ran as a teenager, his height had suddenly tumbled, estimated at over 1.7 meters, his body slightly thinner than it was now, but his current profile was already vaguely visible. Unlike the uniform, custom-made clothes when he was in this position, at that time, he looked like a new recruit in the training camp. He was wearing common old clothes and looked funny because they didn’t fit. Lan Ji, the friend who visited last time, as he could see from this picture that they have been friends for many years. He also looked like he had had his second awakening, without the haze between his eyebrows, and generally speaking, he looked like a cheerful young man.
“Then I came of age in less than two years. Lan Ji was a few years younger than me, and his awakening was a little slower, which is why he was reluctant to take photos with me during those years…” Xi Ran also had a flashback of what happened with his best friend. The feeling was like thinking of a memory long ago.
Huan Xiu couldn’t help but smile when he saw the new photo. The Xi Ran in the photo was the same as he was now, but his friend Lan Ji was still in his fifteen year old state and looked like a younger brother in the photo. Maybe that was the reason Lan Ji had an unhappy expression on his face, like he was reluctant to get his picture taken.
“Why does your friend look so gloomy and serious now?”
Xi Ran was a bit helpless, “He’s been through a lot of things in the military, so it can’t be helped. And maybe my experience has also made him more disappointed in this society…”
“By the way… he even has pictures with you as a kid. I’ve never taken a picture with you to this day!” Huan Xiu deliberately pretended to be upset in order to change the atmosphere.
Xi Ran could tell that Master was joking, but still couldn’t help defending himself, “Master, he’s also a female Zerg…”
Huan Xiu changed the subject, “Let’s go for a shoot sometime. Wedding photos?”
Xi Ran froze and looked at Huan Xiu for half a day as if he didn’t understand what he was saying.
“Don’t want to?”
“No way.” Xi Ran denied, probably because he had just digested Huan Xiu’s comment about ‘getting married’ once. Realizing that his Master had taken the matter of making himself a monarch to heart, he felt a bit sour and warm at the same time, “But… I’m not attractive at all.”
“You are though?” Huan Xiu waved his hand, he was already starting to be able to ignore Xi Ran’s subconscious self-belittling as if it were a whisper.
“…Then I’ll leave the decision to Master.” Xi Ran stood up and started to clear the table.
“I’ll do it.”
Xi Ran stopped Huan Xiu, “No. Master go take a shower first.”
“Shower?” Huan Xiu was a bit bored, he did take a shower at night, but what was going on today, Xi Ran was urging him to take a shower?
“A bath is fine. Master can take his time, I’ll be upstairs as soon as I’m cleaned up,” Xi Ran cleared his throat and raised his eyes to ask, “Can I join you in the shower today?”
“Oh. Oh! Of course you can.” Huan Xiu was looking forward to it. In the past, Xi Ran would only take a shower with him if invited, and most of the time he was only active in running water and wiping his hair and body. It was just that Huan Xiu was a bit overwhelmed by this kind of paternalistic care.
What Xi Ran said in the morning, ‘I will serve you well when I get home at night’, Huan Xiu was looking forward to it.