Chapter 23


Translated by boilpoil
Edited by boilpoil

That shemale laughing with his teeth on full display crouches down and watches Cheng Zhaoci massage his waist, “hello, mister.”

“I’m not sure this is a good time for greetings,” Cheng Zhaoci plants a business smile on him. He almost felt like he just crippled himself having made an overshoot.

He was sure there was nobody around. Now where did he… Cheng Zhaoci looks at the person and his military attire. Black hair, tall nose. A rather warm kind of laugh. If only he wasn’t the object of his amusement, then he’d certainly feel warmer, too.

“Condolences,” the shemale says. Cheng Zhaoci feels like he’d add an ‘but it’s really funny’ to the end.

Cheng Zhaoci and the shemale just ends up having this staring contest, until the shemale asks, “you’re Officer Wei’s xiongzhu?”

“Huh? ‘Course not!” Cheng Zhaoci tries to stand up quickly, until another ‘crack’ and he falls back down over. This time, even the shemale soldier is gasping. Possibly questioning the young male’s ability to use his waist.

Cheng Zhaoci is explaining between hisses, “I just live here temporarily,” though he doesn’t know how long this temporary might be.

“I see. I was curious why there might be a male insectoid here,” the shemale mumbles, “let’s try this again. Hello, I’m Sun Wushe, a half-brother of Flying Officer Wei Zhuo. Nice to meet you.”

There is nothing ‘nice’ about this at all. Cheng Zhaoci barely suppresses his urge to retort while taking deep breaths. He thinks he can’t get up by himself now, and so asks, “could you come help me up?”

The crouching shemale looks at the defensive perimetre on the fence and shakes his head in earnest, “I doubt it.”

The quiet Cheng Zhaoci then uses his holodeck to contact Meng Yuele, telling him with utter embarrassment that he fell over and has difficulty getting back up, asking if he’s free to come help.

Meng Yuele came really quickly; apparently, it’s his day off.

When Meng Yuele is here, Cheng Zhaoci sees Sun Wushe, who was watching and chatting him up the whole time suddenly stand up and give Meng Yuele a bro hug, “yo, I thought this male was Wei-ge‘s xiongzhu. I was shocked.”

Is it more ‘shock’ or ‘pleasure seeing other’s misery’? Cheng Zhaoci makes a rather ugly face at him. Finally, Meng Yuele has helped pry Cheng Zhaoci from his beloved grass lawn to check his waist, and assure him that he just needs some rest. Then he rolls his eyes at Sun Wushe, “were you serious?! You were staring at the young male the whole time?! If Mr Cheng Zhaoci here wasn’t as amiable in personality, he might have already sued your bollocks off at this point!”

Amiable in personality, huh. Sun Wushe watches Cheng Zhaoci closely. He’s clearly not happy, but he hasn’t thrown a tantrum. The amiable part gets a tick. So Sun Wushe can’t help but smile, in that warm but oddly sarcastic way, “I’m just curious seeing such a well-behaved male insectoid.”

“So that’s why you kept gawping at me, crouching on your side of the fence?” Cheng Zhaoci finally retorts. He face-planted embarrassingly on the ground, only to get this curious onlooker treatment from some guy across the fence like he’s a rare animal in a zoo. It’s like if he never stops him, he could just stare and speak until the star explodes. Seriously, some respect and dignity would be nice.

“I was waiting for you to tell me to shut up or go away eventuality, although that didn’t happen, you see,” Sun Wushe says, all matter-of-factly, like he doesn’t think what he’s doing is weird at all, “you’re quite extraordinary,” he says, leaving a final comment.

Cheng Zhaoci takes another deep breath to calm down, then asks, “you said you’re Officer Wei’s brother?”

“He’ll be a Squadron Leader when he’s back in a few days,” Sun Wushe replies, “a half-brother. I left the family with him, but I abandoned my original surname as well and adopted my dad’s; we grew up together.”

“You’re not like him at all,” from appearance to demeanour and everything else.

Sun Wushe only smiles as a response.

“Mister Cheng, you can just ignore the bastard. The more attention you give the whoreson, the more excited he gets,” Meng Yuele gives Sun Wushe a body slam to knock him further away from Cheng Zhaoci, “he’s normal enough when he slaps some gentle and nice clothes on him, but whenever he sees a male, it’s like someone’s socked him on the head.”

Sun Wushe doesn’t seem at all offended Meng Yuele is describing him this way; in fact, the latter is still continuing, “seriously, if he even lost what precious brain cells that made him act appropriately when it mattered, he’d probably be able to get that badge removed in no time.”

Sun Wushe really is a timebomb waiting to happen here, so Meng Yuele quickly drags him away.

“Have a good rest, Mr Cheng,” Meng Yuele waves Cheng Zhaoci goodbye with a smile, then quickly goes all serious outside the door, “are you serious, man?! Harassing a minor male insectoid?!”

“You call that harassment? I just looked at him and talked. Not like I went and bit him or anything, “Sun Wushe furrows his brows as he removes the paw Meng Yuele is pawing him with, “what, you look pretty protective of the little guy. You like him?”

“Yeah, yeah, he’s not of age, didn’t you hear?” Meng Yuele raises his brow at Sun Wushe, then he points at his holodeck and lowers his tone to a whisper like he’s doing something illicit, “the little male needs to stay in tip-top shape. And mentally, too. I can’t have him sad, ‘cuz I’m still waiting for my updates.”

“Updates?” Sun Wushe looks over as Meng Yuele presents his holodeck screen like it’s some kind of treasure.

Huh? BombInMyPants? The comic artist?!

Wouldn’t that make him the little male that bastard Jin Yue has got on his mind lately? Sun Wushe tried digging into it, but Jin Yue didn’t even know the real name of the little male, and just kept calling him ‘ugly thing.’ Sun Wushe smiles a little. Ah, the world sure is smaller than you think.

“What kind of reaction is that?” As Sun Wushe doesn’t seem at all surprised or shocked, Meng Yuele is unhappy.

Sun Wushe gives him his classic business smile, “I am shocked. I’ve actually been following his work,” since he might be Jin Yue’s unrequited love and thus could possibly be a leverage he can use. He didn’t watch a single panel of comic, though, since he doesn’t have that kind of free time, “I read the comic, but I didn’t imagine the artist was a male.”

“I know, right?! And he really is so great in personality, too,” the big and burly Meng Yuele almost looks like he’s shy right now, “he actually started drawing and publishing to earn a living for his family, can you believe it?”

“Earn a living?” That is certainly completely unexpected. Meng Yuele seems satisfied with Sun Wushe’s reaction at last, “come closer, let me tell you all about it…”

The two shemales leave with hands on shoulders; Cheng Zhaoci, meanwhile, goes back to lazy mode alone.

He’s busy as a bee when he is, but when he finishes and lazes about, he feels like he loses meaning in life. Cheng Zhaoci closes his eyes and lies flat on the sofa. Then he opens his eyes again, and stares at the snowy white ceiling. He’s bored.

Zhou Luoluo came visiting quite often a few weeks past, but school season is open again now, so he’s stuck there.

Maybe he’s experiencing the emptiness of pensioner life early? Not knowing where one belongs or what one should be doing. Ah, why would this advanced insectoid society not even have developed something as menially passable as Tetris?!

But finally, a ‘ding’ from his holodeck saves him from his quandary. Cheng Zhaoci flies up from the sofa to see, and oh, it’s a message from Wei Zhuo.

[WeiZhuo: I’m back on the Capital planet. I have two days’ holiday, and I have promised to show you around. Is there any place you want to go?]

Nice timing! Cheng Zhaoci is so touched he could cry. He quickly replies yes, wherever, whatever, just don’t leave him to wallow in solitude!

Though apparently, insectoid society is really severely lacking in entertainment. The ‘wherever, whatever’ has just made Wei Zhuo confused. For him, the only place he finds interesting, is probably the mecha fighting simulation stores.

As mechas demand quite inhuman levels of physical capabilities, and male insectoids being generally disinterested in them, there are no mecha suitable for male insectoids to drive.

So Wei Zhuo asks, already trying to think of another choice, if Cheng Zhaoci is interested in mechas.

Is Cheng Zhaoci interested? You bet he is!

Mechas! Stuff you see only in sci-fi movies and anime! Is there any boy who have never wanted to play with plastic mechas? It’s a dream come true! A completely unrealistic fantasy come true! He can’t let this opportunity slip by!

When Wei Zhou goes to pick up Cheng Zhaoci, he ends up finding an excited and glowing Cheng Zhaoci.

As a transmigrator, Cheng Zhaoci is imagining that perhaps this is the start of his grand universal conquest! It’s already cliché, you see. The thin and small looking guy in a mecha ends up becoming the slaughterhouse. A match for 100 men, showcasing all sorts of exotic techniques! Igniting passions the whole Federation over1

He’ll become cool and peerless, and see the world as a lonely, unmatched warrior.

Cheng Zhaoci normally isn’t as out of touch with reality, but he really can’t stop himself here. What if! What if he’s actually a diamond in the rough!

As truth will have it, there are no ‘what-ifs’ in this world. When God gives you talent in drawing, he’s also going to bolt many of the other doors down.

A player whose average performance in battle royale games is to become lootboxes for other players shouldn’t expect to be able to fight valiantly in the interstellar civilisation, true.

Since Cheng Zhaoci couldn’t figure his way around a virtual mecha’s control room at all, Wei Zhuo picked a two-pilot cockpit to teach him. Wei Zhuo was kind of surprised at first at how quickly Cheng Zhaoci is able to learn the basic controls.

When Wei Zhuo was thinking if Cheng Zhaoci could actually be a peerless male insectoid never-before-seen and possibly never-to-be-seen-again in history, they’ve entered an actual game for a 2-on-2. Before Cheng Zhaoci has even reacted, though, the other side has already headshot and disabled him.

Wei Zhuo, who is already halfway finished sniping the other side, turns to Cheng Zhaoci in shock.

“It’s your first time. It’ll just take some getting used to,” Wei Zhuo tries to cheer him up, before engaging in a 1-on-2 with the other side. Wei Zhuo wins.

The next time, Cheng Zhaoci continues to get killed basically the moment he enters the round.

“As soon as the match begins, you must immediately take note of where the enemy is likely to attack from,” Wei Zhuo offers practical advice, before winning once more on a 1-on-2.

The fifth time, Cheng Zhaoci is no longer dying as soon as the round begins; he trips himself as he evades the attack, and the enemy just plunges a laser sabre into him as a follow-up.

“It’s already great that you’ve lived two more seconds than the first time,” Wei Zhuo is still cheering him up, before winning on a 1-on-2, yet again.

Attempt #30. A direct assault on his chassis leaves him disabled for the count.

“… Eh,” Wei Zhuo just vocalises a syllable this time. He thinks he must study the art of linguistics some more. He shouldn’t have run out of words to soothe the young male insectoid so quickly.

It’s a sigh that’s the direct hit on Cheng Zhaoci personally. He wants to fuck this waste of time already, but, but just, he can’t accept this!

Wei Zhuo doesn’t make it look too difficult. It’s just a bit more micromanagement. He thinks he should be able to improve in time, as long as he gets more practice! Just another round for practice!

While he’s absorbed in the game, his comic that is set to release at 8 this night, with all 7 chapters released at once, is published.

Sun Wushe, who is resting on his office chair, hears seven consecutive dings, and opens his eyes.

Looking at his holodeck, it’s the comic artist he’s been following. New chapters published. Since he only follows a few accounts on the entire internet, with only one being in this entertainment section of the internet, he’s never had to mute the notification settings.

Sun Wushe doesn’t have any fake friendly face on right now, since no one is nearby; it’s tiring.

When he is going back to rest, though, he suddenly recalls the male insectoid in the garden, yelling some numbers and flailing his limbs ridiculously. It’s so energetic, unlike any of the quiet, pretentious males; that said, it might just be his side when no one is looking.

Sun Wushe still ends up opening the comic to read. He doesn’t have urgent work right now, and he wants to rest a little.

Unlike the males, Sun Wushe isn’t much of a fan of this colourful, vibrant and unprecedented art style. It’s too far detached from reality. A beautification of the cruelties of the world. Something you’d expect a young, immature male insectoid who has never experienced pain and suffering to produce.

Reading the cover, he furrows his brows a little. Hide-and-seek, is it? Heartwarming, for sure. So heartwarming it is sickeningly unrealistic.

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