Chapter 20

An Unpopular Friend

Translated by boilpoil
Edited by boilpoil

After Zhou Luoluo has finished reading the entire story, he’s devolved to a sopping mess, “why can you, how can it be, sob. The cute shemale has died, he died…” And a bubble emerges from his nose. Cheng Zhaoci can only hand him a tissue in response.

Zhou Luoluo receives it with trembling hands. Then he says with teary eyes, “this is how the mute shemale gave the protagonist a tissue,” the helplessly crying form could definitely win him an Oscar for best crying scene ever.

“Enough,” Cheng Zhaoci says, his veins twitching, feeling second-hand embarrassment from how emotional Zhou Luoluo has become. Evidently, though, Zhou Luoluo is not done yet, “the bastard who killed the mute shemale! I’ll have him disgraced and exiled!” The way he’s gritting his teeth when saying that is quite reminiscent of how ‘bossy CEO’ archetypes would act on soap operas back in Cheng Zhaoci’s old world.

Well, it’s the mad ravings of a 16-year-old. Rather than taking it seriously, it feels more like his eighth-grade syndrome needs urgent treatment.

Cheng Zhaoci pats Zhou Luoluo on the shoulder, “it’s fake. The male does not exist. How will you disgrace and exile someone who doesn’t exist?”

“If it’s in the comic, the male should have been punished by the law!” Zhou Luoluo is yelling like a stubborn brat who wouldn’t budge until his parents bought him the toy he wanted.

Cheng Zhaoci goes quiet, then, when Zhou Luoluo’s wails finally begin to subside, asks suddenly, “do you know me well?”

“Huh?” Zhou Luoluo is too confused by the sudden change in topic that he forgets he’s still crying.

“Do you know the male insectoids of the Capital planet well?” Cheng Zhaoci changes his question.

“Many of them, I do,” Zhou Luoluo thinks and answers, “I’d be familiar with the name even if I haven’t seen them.”

Males are rare and generally keep to themselves. There are also frequent social gatherings, so he can confidently claim that he’d know at least 7 out of 10 males around his age. Finally, Zhou Luoluo has realised what Cheng Zhaoci is asking about.

When he first met Cheng Zhaoci, he assumed he came from some other planet. Now he’s followed him home, though, that means Cheng Zhaoci lives here?

Oh, or this could possibly be a vacation home?

It still doesn’t make sense, though, because no young male insectoid would follow their shemale dad to some other planet instead of being with their male father before marriage. He also has two shemale older brothers with him, hasn’t he?

Zhou Luoluo has confused himself now, and so he asks, “so you’re not from the Capital planet?”

“I grew up on Zhousuo,” Cheng Zhaoci reveals the answer, since he doesn’t view it as a shameful secret to be kept hidden away.

Now that he’s on the Capital planet, in person, he isn’t planning to continue hiding everything for fear of reprisal from that insane cijun of his cheap father.

Zhou Luoluo finds ‘Zhousuo‘ a largely unfamiliar name. Like, he’s heard of it somewhere, for sure, but he doesn’t know what it is.

Cheng Zhaoci reveals the answer, “it’s one of the furthest landfill planets from the Capital planet.”

Oh, that reminds Zhou Luoluo. In the very beginning, the comic of the little zombie was posted by an author from Zhousuo.

He remembers seeing comments that insult the artist as a shemale who’s never so much as seen any male in his life on a landfill planet, and is fantasising about them instead of doing more honest work.

Wait, so the artist is from a landfill planet, but is a male on a landfill planet?! Zhou Luoluo is in shock. Why would any male insectoid be on a landfill planet?!

“Don’t look at me like that. I’ll be brief; circumstances have forced me to hide my male identity. I was an egg when my shemale dad was exiled from the Capital planet,” Cheng Zhaoci shrugs, “my dad was exiled because my father was killed by one of his shemale slaves.”

“What?!” Zhou Luoluo is stunned, that a shemale slave has attacked and killed his xiongzhu, “was the slave executed?”

“He was,” Cheng Zhaoci says in quite the monotonous tone. Zhou Luoluo appears to find the incident an affront to his values, so he asks, “if, in my comic, I made the mute shemale resist and struggle, and kill that male insectoid who demeaned and tortured him to death, what would you think?”

“Justice is served!” Zhou Luoluo says by reflex, and is, once again, bewildered at the change in topic, “wait, what are you trying to say?”

Cheng Zhaoci smiles and says, “I’m trying to say, that if the mute shemale did resist, then, like the shemale slave of my late father, only capital punishment awaited him.”

Ignoring Zhou Luoluo, who suddenly goes all stiff, Cheng Zhaoci continues, “in fact, not only would the mute shemale be receiving the death penalty, he would also be reviled for being a shemale concubine who killed his xiongzhu.”

“But, but it’s different. The mute shemale is not like the shemale slave,” because he’s pure and kind.

“Different? You don’t even know that shemale slave. How do you know he isn’t someone caring and gentle like the mute shemale?” Cheng Zhaoci asks with an exceedingly calm tone that is more soothing than pressing, but Zhou Luoluo is at a loss for words, “think about it this way. If you didn’t know who the mute shemale was, would you not think the same only hearing that he killed his xiongzhu? That he deserved to die just like that shemale slave?”

“Oh, and, by the way, I doubt you would be able to find out the reason why that shemale slave killed his xiongzhu on official records,” Cheng Zhaoci continues, “perhaps there are very few insectoids left, like my dad, who knew – it was because the shemale slave is on the brink of death being tortured by my so-called ‘father,’ and it was an involuntary struggle. Do you feel like it’s even more similar now?”

Colour has largely drained from Zhou Luoluo’s face now. He only finds it in him to speak up after a long time, “do, do you, do you loathe all the male insectoids?” He thinks he has an idea why he would release such a comic.

He didn’t know at all why Cheng Zhaoci, a male insectoid, would have such values and views, but the explanation has shed light on his thoughts.

What are shemales? It’s a problem Zhou Luoluo has never thought about deeply. They’re like things that are there, something you’re expected to get after becoming an adult. The general education in insectoid society means that he is unable to think from the perspective of the shemales. In short, they are completely apathetic to their plight.

However, if they do start to think about it, start to observe it, they would finally realise, shemales are also insectoids just like them.

They have their own lives, they have moments of joy, of sorrow, of anger, of happiness. They have a much more difficult time making it by, but they do their very best. They are also the natural born warriors – protectors, the pride of their society.

These living, independent, noble existences, then end up dead in some unknown ditch somewhere, because of some unnecessary ‘entertainment’ of the males, like the mute shemale. Wounded. Defiled. Exposed.

“Not really,” not just because Cheng Zhaoci himself is a male, but also because he knows not all male insectoids are like them. If every male insectoid is a sadistic psycho, it will certainly take divine intervention just to keep the Federation and insectoid society from collapsing.

The more prevalent but silent majority are largely ‘unfaithful,’ giving their love to whomever strikes their fancy, and toxic ‘masculinity’ is still rampant, but they still do have lines they would not cross. They would also never harm their own shemales – their family.

However, because of the great gender and subsequent power imbalance, the initiative lies on males. Whether it is good or bad, only the males can decide.

Cheng Zhaoci is no saint, and normally, he wouldn’t try to intervene in these things no one can change alone in futility. It’s unwanted, unneeded, and disliked. Why not try to make a few more easy bucks instead of meddling in societal change?

And that’s what he did all the time before coming to the Capital planet, but after he did, he finds there is a pressing, impending sense of doom. Not for himself, but for his good shemale dad, and for his good friends, the brainy and the brawny.

It’s almost like a bad joke. Cheng Zhaoci has gained family, but also gained family worries. He himself might be more worried than the family members in question that they might be mistreated or discriminated against on the Capital planet.

He’s worried sick the dum-dum Xiao Ji might go blind and fall head-over-heels for a trash male insectoid, and not even Cheng Zhaoci could save him in the end.

Zhou Luoluo has become much quieter since he stopped asking. When the sun starts to set, before Zhou Luoluo has to go home, he tells Cheng Zhaoci, with a very serious tone, “I want to be friends with you! And it’s not because of the comics!”

“You are a very good insectoid. I like insectoids like you!” Zhou Luoluo’s tone is so solemn like it’s some kind of wedding vow.

When Meng Yuele was walking upstairs, ‘I like insectoids like you’ was all he could hear. So shocked was he that he almost dropped the juice in his hands. He, and Cheng Jin, who was walking up with him, shared a glance, as Meng Yuele blinked rapidly to ask what’s going on.

Cheng Jin doesn’t know. He just watches as the teenage male insectoid walks out from his son’s room with reddened eyes. He’s cried, it seems. Meanwhile, he’s also looking at Cheng Zhaoci all determined and touched, like he’s all ready to break away with society, and marry Cheng Zhaoci, to start an unprecedented male-male relationship for the only possible time in history.

Cheng Jin suddenly realises something. Xiao Ji and He Huaijian are both pretty handsome when it comes to shemales. Why does his good son not seem interested in them? Could he really be…

If Cheng Zhaoci knows what Cheng Jin is thinking about, he would probably make a forced smile. He did transmigrate, with his past memories; he still remembers the times when Xiao Ji was but a short stubby brat and peeing everywhere, and when He Huaijian was making silly smiles with snot still hanging from his nose. There is no way there will be anything romantic between them, ever.

But Cheng Zhaoci does not know, nor does Cheng Jin know. He can only look at Cheng Zhaoci, all worried.

When it comes time to leave, Zhou Luoluo gives Cheng Zhaoci a big hug, too, “I’ll go with you to see the editor tomorrow! We must have the upper hand in the negotiations!”

Cheng Zhaoci doesn’t know why suddenly he and Zhou Luoluo is a ‘we,’ but having a male insectoid as a friend on the Capital planet is probably going to be a good thing. He doesn’t say anything more.

Meng Yuele watches the two males part with each other ‘intimately (?),’ and thinks, something has gone terribly wrong.

After he leaves, all dazed, he immediately reports it to Wei Zhuo.

Wei Zhuo, in his dangerous, secret mission, only has a few moments a day he can check his holodeck. When he settles down for the night to write a message for Cheng Zhaoci, he receives this almost creepy message from Meng Yuele.

Wei Zhuo, still thinking about what to write “???”

The young male insectoid is in love with another male insectoid? They had a private rendezvous right in front of him and his shemale dad? Wait! A private rendezvous in front of his dad? Meng Yuele, the bastard, did he learn to speak using his arse instead of his brain?

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