After tidying himself up, Chi Xiaochi went to the jail to see that Omega who had gone into heat.
He was currently wrapped up in a quilt, sound asleep. The alarm and terror filling his face from yesterday yesterday had already been replaced by serenity. It was just that on the side of his exposed neck was a bruise, particularly striking.
Chi Xiaochi asked Yin Shaofeng, “How did that bruise happen?”
Yin Shaofei’s face was sweaty. He turned his gaze to the Zhan Yanchao keeping watch at the entrance of the jail.
Zhan Yanchao, leaning on a major’s sword decorated with mahogany and steel wires, sat by the only entrance to the steel prison. A big bunch of keys hung off the hilt of his sword, and his head was leaning against the railing, drooping as he dozed off.
Yin Shaofei, “Of not for Vice-Division Leader Zhan, there would have been no way that guy would have reached here in one piece……”
Yin Shaofei simply didn’t dare to think too deeply about the chaos last night.
Those Alpha soldiers had all descended into a state of extreme madness. Fortunately, there had been Zhan Yanchao to open a path. In the end, when the Omega had seen the surge of Alphas rushing over, he had started shrieking and screeching in fear, kicking and punching in his arms. Only when Zhan Yanchao turned back and smashed him with the back of his knife did the world finally turn peaceful.
“Then what use do you still have?” Chi Xiaochi shot him a look. “Other than you being able to breathe, what’s the difference between you and a rice cooker?”
The rice cooker, “……”
Chi Xiaochi then asked, “Who brought that Omega into my tent?”
Now, the rice cooker didn’t even dare to breathe.
Chi Xiaochi found his answer from his silence. “That’s just nice. You can go and receive thirty strokes of the cane.”
He turned and walked out. Yin Shaofei, vexed that his attempt to pat the horse’s a.s.s had landed on the horse’s hoof, hurried after him.
The sound of his footsteps as he left finally woke Zhan Yanchao up.
Upon seeing Ji Zuoshan’s back, Zhan Yanchao shot awake and jumped to his feet, but smacked his head against the copper lock above him, making him spin in pain. After letting out a few hisses, only then did he grab the keys and get to his feet, and hurried out the door with the jingling of keys.
Hearing the sound of the keys, Chi Xiaochi turned back, just so happening to meet Zhan Yanchao’s gaze.
Only then did Zhan Yanchao realise that he’d stayed up all night, guarding, cutting quite the sorry figure in front of the neatly dressed General Ji. But Second Young Master Zhan was Second Young Master Zhan, after all. He wouldn’t forget his original intentions.
“I didn’t touch him,” Zhan Yanchao tried to clear things up, “I have…… that, mysophobia.”
Chi Xiaochi just looked at him, silent.
Zhan Yanchao said, “Once I recognise a person, then that’s the person for me.”
In order to hide his embarra.s.sment, as well as to avoid being rejected, Zhan Yanchao muddled on, “Omegas really are as fragile as tofu. ……Thankfully you didn’t become like that.”
Looking at the Ji Zuoshan who was more than half a head taller than him, he muttered, both feeling sweet yet pained, “You being like this, is, is good.”
As he spoke, Zhan Yanchao’s regret value went up by another two points.
It was for no other reason than that he’d truly recognised his past wrongs and outrageousness.
But the youth before him wasn’t Xiao Ji anymore. The gaze he used to look at Zhan Yanchao with, was of General Ji looking at Vice-Division Leader Zhan. He just gave him a shallow nod of approval, then chose to leave.
Zhan Yanchao’s heart twisted with pain, but he could only tighten his grip on the keys, and quietly watched Ji Zuoshan leave.
He thought of something from a long time ago.
Probably when he was about thirteen, fourteen years old, once, because of a reason he’d already completely forgotten, Xiao Ji had received ten lashes from his wip.
At the time, the weather had been humid, and Ji Zuoshan’s wounds had gotten infected. He contracted a high fever, and had to lie in bed for three days and three nights straight. Zhan Yanchao had been keeping watch by his bedside, afraid that he would leave him just like that. As he wallowed in sadness, he quietly swore that he would never beat him ever again.
When Ji Zuoshan woke, he was too tired to talk to him.
He squeezed into Ji Zuoshan’s quilt, and took him into his arms, not talking either.
Ji Zuoshan said in a small voice, “It’s hot.”
He hugged him even tighter.
Ji Zuoshan’s lash wounds had always recovered quickly. He also wasn’t in pain anymore, so he just let him hug him.
Ji Zuoshan said, “Young Master, my break to visit family is coming up soon. How can I go back to see my younger siblings if I’m sick like this?”
Zhan Yanchao wasn’t willing to admit his wrongs. “If you hadn’t made me angry, why would I have beaten you.”
Ji Zuoshan let out a helpless sigh.
Zhan Yanchao curled up in his arms, and looked up at him. His dark eyes shone like stars. “Are you angry with me?”
Ji Zuoshan thought for a moment, then said objectively, “I’ve never gotten angry before.”
Zhan Yanchao wasn’t willing to let him off. “Get angry for a bit for me to see.”
Ji Zuoshan didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “I won’t get angry. ……I’ll probably only be disappointed.”
Zhan Yanchao couldn’t differentiate between the two. “Don’t those mean the same thing?”
Ji Zuoshan good naturedly explained, “With anger, perhaps there would still be a chance of reconciliation; with disappointment, I won’t get angry, I won’t lash out, I’ll just leave, and never come back.”
Zhan Yanchao puffed up his cheeks. He jumped up and said, indignant, “You dare!”
Ji Zuoshan didn’t say he dared, nor did he say that he didn’t dare. He just looked at him, and the corners of his mouth curved up slightly.
Clearly this was a child of the same age as him, but Ji Zuoshan’s eyes held an abnormal gentleness and acceptance.
……Now, Zhan Yanchao understood the meaning in his eyes.
But in the end, Zhan Yanchao had lost that Xiao Ji from the beginning.
After Chi Xiaochi had taken about ten steps away, 061, looking at the blue line representing regret value, notified him, “Xiaochi, it’s full.”
Chi Xiaochi let out a quiet “en”.
061 said, “You’re not planning to do anything else to Zhan Yanchao?”
Chi Xiaochi said, “The choice is always made by the person themselves. It’s not like I didn’t give Yang Baihua and Lou Sifan a chance.” If someone were willing to rein in their horse at the edge of a cliff, there was no need for Chi Xiaochi’s feet to itch and kick them off the cliff.
Ji Zuoshan was a little confused. “‘It’s full’…… What does that mean?”
Chi Xiaochi signalled 061 to stop the mid-grade compression card that had been running all this time. “It means, this body will go back to belonging to you alone at any time now.”
Ji Zuoshan, however, fell silent.
Chi Xiaochi let him stay silent. But he and 061 both knew, a child of this age, can’t stand separation in the end.
Sure enough, after staying silent until lunchtime, Ji Zuoshan started to act.
He said, “Rosie’s coming tomorrow.”
Chi Xiaochi added on for him, “It’s the Miss Rosie who’s the new researcher of the military’s arms research inst.i.tute.”
Ji Zuoshan, “En. She looks very pretty in her women’s military uniform.”
A few days ago, she sent a picture of herself in her military uniform over through the transmitter. Next to her was even w.a.n.g Xiaoqing, a fellow member of the arms inst.i.tute. The two flowers blooming side by side, made people’s eyes heat up when looking at them.
Chi Xiaochi said, “Don’t look at the fact that she’s in a dress, when she pulls it out, she’s bigger than me.”
Ji Zuoshan’s face flushed. “Mister Chi, you shouldn’t say that about a lady.”
Chi Xiaochi said, “I said that she’s bigger than me, compared to you, she’s definitely still a little smaller.”
Ji Zuoshan, “……”
Chi Xiaochi elegantly sliced off a piece of the fragrant, pan-fried veal with a fork and knife, and placed it into his mouth.
Ji Zuoshan tried again, “Mister Chi, you should see her again before leaving.”
Chi Xiaochi said, “There’s no point. She’s your friend.”
Ji Zuoshan wasn’t willing to give up. “She’s yours too.”
Chi Xiaochi didn’t keep refusing, saying an “okay”.
On the public holiday the next day, Rosie and w.a.n.g Xiaoqing came to visit as agreed.
Her hair had grown a little longer, the ear-framing short locks making her look even better. She pulled w.a.n.g Xiaoqing over to look at Ji Zuoshan’s new single-person mecha, then ran back over to Blue, and took its hand. “h.e.l.lo, Blue.”
Blue returned her handshake, and said in a gentlemanly fashion, “h.e.l.lo, Miss Rosie.”
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Off to the side, the Ji Zuoshan inside their body spoke up again, “Mister Chi, Rosie’s very good, right.”
Chi Xiaochi asked, “Liu-laoshi, where’s the star you sent me?”
061 said, “Southeast.”
As Chi Xiaochi searched for that star that was like a single speck in the long river of stars, a pair of steel arms wrapped around him. “Master.”
Looking at the positioning device on his wrist, it wasn’t hard for Chi Xiaochi to imagine how it had found him.
Blue was the first mecha Chi Xiaochi had ever piloted, and had their senses connect. Now, nestled into its embrace, Chi Xiaochi actually felt a trace of reluctance to leave.
He felt like this was too strange. He simply asked it a question that he already knew the answer for, “How did you find me?”
Blue reached out its hand, gently grasping Chi Xiaochi’s wrist which was wearing a positioning device. It lifted his wrist, then pointed at Chi Xiaochi’s heart.
It said softly, “I found Master by following his heartbeat.”
Chi Xiaochi, “……” Is this still a f.u.c.king mecha?
Blue wrapped its arms around him, then continued, “No matter what corner of the galaxy Master is in, as long as your heart’s still beating, I’ll always be able to find you.”
Chi Xiaochi inexplicably felt his ears burn from hearing that.
He leaned back into its arms, and said to it, “……In the future, you need to watch the stars with Xiao Ji, okay?”
Blue seemed as if it didn’t understand. It c.o.c.ked its head to the side. “Master?”
Before Chi Xiaochi closed his eyes, he took one last look at the beautiful starry scene before him.
He wouldn’t be able to see such a good view of the stars in other places, such a pity.
He said to 061, “Let’s go.”
061 moved, extracting Chi Xiaochi’s consciousness. After confirming that his spiritual energy was no longer in this body, he too prepared to leave. Who knew that at this very moment, he heard Ji Zuoshan’s voice, “Liu-laoshi, Mister Chi left?”
His voice sounded very clear, as if he’d already been awake for a long time, or perhaps he’d never slept.
061 “en”-ed. “I’ll be going too. Sorry, we didn’t get to say goodbye before leaving.”
Ji Zuoshan let out a gentle laugh. His eyes were still closed, as if he wasn’t willing to open them, and face a morning of waking up alone.
He said, “Liu-laoshi, my spiritual energy can a.n.a.lyze a certain degree of data. I know that you’re Blue.”
061 just smiled, not speaking.
He had also sensed Ji Zuoshan probing Blue with his spiritual energy. It seemed, it wasn’t just Chi Xiaochi who’d suspected Blue of being too intelligent.
Ji Zuoshan didn’t continue to ask about this. “Will we see each other again in the future?”
061 said, “Maybe.”
Only then did Ji Zuoshan feel a little more at ease. “Please give this video to Mister Chi. Alright?”
In the next moment, 061 sensed a video being added to his database.
He asked, “What is this?”
“Mister Chi is a really good person.” Ji Zuoshan said, “This is…… my gift to him.”
When 061 returned to the snow-white rectangular s.p.a.ce, Chi Xiaochi, who had waited for a long time but he hadn’t come, had already began playing his card game.
Seeing Chi Xiaochi now, 061 couldn’t hide the tenderness in his voice, “I’m home.”
Chi Xiaochi “mm-hm”-ed, “Welcome home.”
061 said, “Xiao Ji knows you left.”
Chi Xiaochi’s hand that had been tapping the screen stilled slightly. “En. ……After that?”
061 played 061’s gift to Chi Xiaochi on the screen in front of him.
It was of a protostar exploding, throwing out broken fragments in all directions. The video came from a molecular cloud of a constellation. In the darkness of the galaxy, burning, lifeless stars silently split apart, their magnificence filling the entire sky, the resplendent glow lingering for a moment before disappearing.
“He set off a cosmic firework for you,” 061 said to a silent Chi Xiaochi, “He said, thank you.”
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