“Raffles…” I looked at him with concern. Would he be angry at me?
“I’m okay,” he said softly. “I must first quit my habit of speaking to you through this booklet…” he muttered to himself, sounding like he was trying to motivate himself.
I sat next to him and patted his shoulder. “That’s right! The two of us are so close but you still don’t dare to talk to me directly and instead use your booklet. That’s really a little…”
“It’s a habit…” he explained sadly. “When a person is used to being treated as a girl, it becomes a habit to act like one too… It’s okay. I’ll change bit by bit.” He smiled at me, a spark of confidence in his grayish-blue eyes.
I quickly encouraged him. “No matter what kind of Raffles you are, you will almost be my best friend!”
He smiled faintly, then turned back and looked up at the sky. “When I was very young, before I became aware of my gender, everyone had treated me like a girl. Harry had been especially protective over me…”
I see. Harry and the other people are the real culprits!
Before Raffles had reached the age of understanding the difference between genders, they’d first assumed him to be like a girl and treated him so as well. Which naturally led the confused Raffles to think of himself as a girl and rooted the idea in him.
However, Raffles still grew up to be straight. That couldn’t have been easy!
“Later on, I realized that I was a boy and felt like I’d been humiliated. So, I began to lock myself in the lab and stopped talking to Harry and the others. In the end, whenever I encountered girls, I didn’t know how to converse with them…”
“It’s all Harry and the other guys’ fault!”
“Luo Bing, you’re the first girl that I really talked to.” Raffles turned to look at me, and I looked back at him in surprise. “Really?”
He nodded. “Previously… I only spoke to Arsenal on occasion, and that was because she’s the Princess. Even then, I mostly spoke to her from behind the doors…” He chuckled as he took a walk down memory lane. “Hence, you can be considered the first girl that I spoke to face-to-face.” He smiled at me again. “Thank you for making me not shy when I speak to you directly, like this.”
His smile was sincere and heartwarming under the sunlight. It was true that he’d hardly talked to me face to face, side by side like this.
I’m the happiest… when we are like this now… To be able to be with you alone… to talk together… and not be repelled… In my head, there was a sudden flash of memory that felt similar to what Raffles had said. Unclear and far away, it felt at once familiar yet strange. It seemed like someone had once said that to me before, but I couldn’t recall who it was.
“What’s wrong?” Raffles seemed to notice something was off and asked.
I came back to my senses. “Oh, nothing. It seems like someone had once told me that he liked to talk to me too. But I… couldn’t recall who it was. Was it you, Raffles?”
Raffles shook his head and took out his booklet.
“Are you going to talk to me using the booklet again?” I grabbed the booklet at once. He’d just decided to quit the habit, I couldn’t let him pick it up so easily again.
Raffles chuckled. “No, I wanted to write down a chemical formula. My other brain can’t stop working.” He pointed at his brain and looked at me apologetically. “I can’t control how my thoughts run. It’s not because I’m being disrespectful and not listening to you attentively,” he explained anxiously.
I smiled. “I understand, go ahead and do your calculations.”
“Thank you.” He actually thanked me for something so simple. Raffles started writing some kind of complicated chemical formula that I didn’t understand.
“Oh yeah, Raffles, weren’t you with Harry earlier?” I seized the opportunity when he was distracted with something else to ask him. If both his brains were working at the same time, I might be able to pry some secrets from him with his guard down.
“Sis Ceci called for Harry so I was able to get some time to myself. He’s been really annoying recently,” Raffles said as he wrote. His speed of speech was steady, giving him a manly composure. Raffles had changed a lot. Was it because he had two brains? Hence, his speed of evolution was double that of others too?
“Oh yeah, Raffles, I realized that Khai and the other guys have become better looking. Did you notice that too?”
He smiled at me, but his hand didn’t stop writing. Evidently, his dual processing speed wasn’t affected by our on-going conversation at all. “It is the law of nature.”
“Law of nature?” How can Khai and the guys becoming better looking be related to the law of nature?
“It’s something like a genetic evolution. In nature, in order to attract a mate, males would be better looking and would pay more attention to their appearance. At the end of the world, the female is rare. The ratio of men to women in Noah City is one to ten. The rest of the world has a similar ratio too. Hence, metahumans have a kind of evolutionary instinct too. In order to attract females, a male would put in effort to make themselves better looking,” Raffles said as he looked me in the eye, a clear blue color showing in his grayish-blue eyes under the sunlight.
I suddenly realized. “I understand now. You mean that because there are fewer females, the males work hard to make themselves better looking. The guys’ change was also instinctual. Hence, it is considered a genetic evolution.”
“Yes, especially when there is a rival opponent, the change would be even more significant,” Raffles continued to explain. “Khai and the rest are competing against the other guys in Noah City as well. Their rivals in love stimulated their growth. It’s also the reason why metahumans are in general better looking than ordinary people.”
“That’s magical.” I held my cheeks with both hands,.“So, girls wouldn’t experience that kind of evolution?” I turned to look at Raffles.
Raffles looked embarrassed. “As it is the law of nature… girls….” He became even more embarrassed as he trailed off.
“Girls wouldn’t turn uglier and uglier, right?!” I became anxious.
“No, no, no. You wouldn’t.” Raffles’s bullet speed speech had been triggered again. “But you wouldn’t evolve either.”
“As expected. When one is living well, he or she won’t think about improving!” I supported my head with one hand and expressed my disdain towards the laziness of girl’s genes.
“Luo Bing,” Raffles called me softly. I turned to look at him again. “What?”
He looked deep into my eyes and blinked. Looking down, he said softly, “You are very beautiful…”
*Lub-dub.* My heart suddenly skipped a beat. The sudden compliment from Raffles made me blush. Even though Harry had praised my good looks all the time, I hadn’t been bothered much because of his light-heartedness.
However, it was different with Raffles. He’d said it so seriously, so bashfully. He was as bashful as a guy who was confessing his love to another girl. How could it not make me blush?
Raffles started blushing again. The moment he blushed, I couldn’t help but blush too. I turned away and continued to support my head with one hand, which happened to block my blushing face from his sight. “Thank you.”
*Scribble.* We fell into silence as he scribbled on. The temperature in the greenhouse seemed to be on a rise too.
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