Although I had yet to decipher the danger that Cang Yu posed exactly, I trusted my gut feelings.
Xing Chuan slowly raised his arm and the plot of grass in front of us suddenly moved away. Then, a huge brilliant golden flower head rose from the ground. It was an exceptionally huge sunflower!
It was way bigger than the ones in Noah City. It was as if… it had consumed some really strong steroids that caused all its cells to grow and expand.
The sunflower stood tall in front of us. The huge leaves on it spread open like umbrellas in the sky above us.
“This is a sunflower…” He Lei went under the huge sunflower and lifted his chin to look. He stared at it for a really long time. That was a gift from his grandma, the most precious gift.
He slowly raised his hand and raised his hand to his chest, then took out the small old pouch that had long turned yellow. Back then, he had given Xing Chuan and I a sunflower seed each, as he’d wished that sunflowers could grow all over the world one day.
Now, the huge sunflower head was filled with seeds. They would be sprinkled across the entire land in the future.
“This is a sunflower that we have genetically modified.” Xing Chuan went under the huge sunflower and touched the stem that was almost as thick as a tree trunk as he said, “It can adapt to the current world’s conditions and can grow on the ground. The production could be high and it could also purify the soil. We will be harvesting the first batch of the seeds soon and we will try to plant them on the ground.”
He Lei stared at Xing Chuan, his gaze was complex, yet also holding gratitude.
“Thank you,” he said.
I knew that Xing Chuan had already moved him and entered his heart again. At least from now on, He Lei wouldn’t feel as much repulsion towards Xing Chuan.
Xing Chuan was really good at winning people’s hearts.
*Heh*, should I thank Xing Chuan for showing me his true colors then? When he is with me, he would only be the expressionless Xing Chuan who always wanted to sleep and was tired of putting on a disguise.
I stood up, turned and walked away because I felt complicated.
I couldn’t stand watching him ‘get’ He Lei, but I also didn’t want to ruin his efforts in fixing their relationship either.
Xing Chuan seemed to be a very objective-driven person. He mentioned that he’d thought He Lei would be the only one who could lead the Aurora Legion. It meant that Xing Chuan recognized He Lei’s capability, which I agreed with.
I saw how much He Lei had transformed within a year, and noticed that his potential was boundless.
He would need Xing Chuan’s power to become the leader of the Aurora Legion and lead the army.
He Lei was smart. He had probably avoided worsening his relationship with Xing Chuan to a stalemate situation because of this.
Just like what Xing Chuan had said, there wasn’t anyone taking advantage of others in war, only everyone sharing the same objective, which was to combine our strengths to destroy our common enemy: the Ghost Eclipsers.
“Where are you going?” Xing Chuan fixed his gaze on me.
He Lei’s attention had been caught by the huge sunflower; he had too many fond memories of sunflowers. The soft petals of the sunflowers were just like the softest spot of He Lei’s heart.
Sunflowers held a different meaning for himt.
To Xing Chuan, the blooming of sunflowers was a scientific or learning success, and meant that sunflowers could be grown.
However, to He Lei, it was a dream and also a wish.
“Heading back.” Although I should avoid Cang Yu since he’s dangerous, will he suspect anything if I were to leave now?
“Don’t go.” He Lei suddenly turned back and looked at me. His usually solemn face seemed unprecedentedly at ease now. After a pause, he finally said, “Let’s grab a drink, the three of us.”
I looked at him and he looked at Xing Chuan. Then, Xing Chuan glanced at me and He Lei turned to me too. He Lei said, “Just treat it as a celebration for our first encounter and for the first time we defeated the Ghost Eclipsers.”
I became quiet. My mood turned complicated now that He Lei had brought up the battle from a year ago.
The robot set up a table for us very quickly. It was a round floating table, with three equally comfortable floating chairs that we could lean back into.
On the table was a vintage wine, its fragrance filling the air under the sunflower.
The robot poured wine for us seriously.
The three of us raised our glasses.
“To our first encounter,” He Lei raised his glass. He seemed to have received a baptism in his heart from standing under the sunflower, somehow becoming more mature and prudent, no longer holding suppressed anger towards Xing Chuan over the latter’s treatment of me.
I sighed, “If only life would always be like when we first met.” I raised my glass too.
Xing Chuan glanced at me and went silent for a moment. “Yes, if only life could be like when we first met…” It was rare that he’d let out a sigh too. He looked at me. “If I could have trusted you then, I could have…”
“Stop,” I cut him off directly. I didn’t want to hear any of his nonsense.
He turned silent again.
He Lei wasn’t as awkward as before, but he was more emotional.
We hadn’t known each other when we’d first met.
He Lei was from the ground while Xing Chuan was from Silver Moon City. And I was from a different world. The three of us had come from completely different lives but we’d met because we’d been locked in the same prisoner’s cage. We had built trust between us because we’d wanted to escape. We had cooperated to escape that place and had destroyed the Ghost Eclipsers who had caught us.
Xing Chuan had been warm and kind then. He’d wished for He Lei to follow him back to Silver Moon City and defeat the Ghost Eclipsers together. He’d also wanted to bring me back to Silver Moon City to treat my wounds, to lend me a helping hand. He had been just like an angel sent from heaven. He had been genuinely kind and warm.
On the contrary, He Lei had been filled with anger back then. He had been impetuous. He’d hated the merciless Ghost Eclipsers, hated the cold Silver Moon City. He’d hated the world. But he had been moved by Xing Chuan’s sincerity and had given Xing Chuan one of his most precious seeds.
Who would have thought that after He Lei had rejected Xing Chuan’s offer to come to Silver Moon City, and after I’d followed Xing Chuan to Silver Moon City, all the heavenly facades that Xing Chuan had put on would have vanished and thus made our relationship complicated and strange.
We weren’t enemies nor were we friends. We weren’t strangers either.
He Lei raised his glass and cheered, “To the future!”
“To the future!”
*Clink!* Our glasses clinked under the last beam of sunlight. The surrounding protective wall shifted to let in the moonlight, gently pouring onto the field.
None of us spoke, as befitting our awkward relationship. We each held our own glasses as we watched the crimson planet, which was moving so slowly that we couldn’t perceive it revolving.
I closed my eyes and rested back against the floating chair.
He Lei said quietly and slowly, “I have learned a lot recently. I would have learned a lot more if I had followed you to Silver Moon City a year ago.”
“Perhaps, you would have become like me if you came with me to Silver Moon City a year ago,” Xing Chuan said monotonously. “On the contrary, I found… the feelings that I have almost forgotten in Luo Bing. If you’d abandoned your people and came back with me a year ago, you could have turned into someone like me. You could have turned ruthless and cold.”
“Is this the real you? I mean, the Xing Chuan who I am speaking to right now?”
“Yes, I’ve realized that I am sick of disguising myself as I spend more time with Luo Bing. I know that he is angry at me because I abandoned him back then. So, I will work harder to gain his forgiveness.”
“Humph,” He Lei chuckled lightly. ”I don’t quite understand your feelings.”
"I don’t think it’s because you don’t understand it but it is because you have yet to fall for someone. When you like someone, you wouldn’t mind whether that person is a boy or a girl. Just like how I found out that I like Luo Bing and I pursue him without hesitation. However, it seemed like I’ve made a mistake and made him hate me even more.” Xing Chuan sounded confused.
“Heh. Although I have yet to truly like someone, even I know that I can’t force the other person. Xing Chuan, you are being too forceful. You can like Luo Bing but you can’t force him to like you back.”
I didn’t want to listen to this anymore but they obviously thought that I was asleep. If I were to wake up now, it would only make He Lei feel awkward.
“My decision is also for his sake. The guy that he likes has slept with another woman. He wasn’t loyal to him.”
"Have you not slept with any women before?!” I finally couldn’t hold myself back because he was talking about Harry.
Xing Chuan looked at me calmly.
He Lei chuckled as he held his glass. He had become calm and wasn’t as awkward as before. It seemed like he was getting used to the ‘special’ relationship between Xing Chuan and I.
“But after I realized that I like you, I have never touched any other girls,” he refuted indignantly as though there was no problem at all, looking exceptionally sincere.
I glanced at him and found him ridiculous. "So what? My feelings are my decision, not yours! You can’t decide who I should like even if you are my dad. Also, have you forgotten what you did to me on my bed the other day!? If it wasn’t for He Lei and the future, I would rather never see you again!” I threw my glass at him furiously. I finally couldn’t hold my anger in anymore, allowing it to explode.
He Lei caught the glass that I threw at Xing Chuan but he couldn’t stop the wine from pouring out. Now, he became awkward. But he quickly held back his awkwardness and faced Xing Chuan with a glum look. "What else did you do besides forcing him to like you back?”
The crimson red wine dripped down from Xing Chuan’s face, rolling down his slender neck to his collar. His white shirt was stained red, as though I’d smashed the wine bottle on his head. Frowning, he was silent for a while, before he looked at He Lei. "We are both men. There are some things that are difficult to control…”
*Bang!* He Lei punched Xing Chuan’s face.
Xing Chuan didn’t move at all.
He Lei put down his glass and looked at me. "Let’s go!”
I nodded glumly.
Xing Chuan sat where he was even after He Lei and I had walked away. He picked up the glass calmly and continued to drink as if nothing had happened.
Suddenly, I felt as if I could see Cang Yu’s shadow in his calmness. Why did I only realize it now? He was actually very similar to Cang Yu. But I probably hadn’t noticed because he was far less elegant than Cang Yu.
Until now, when he’d picked up his wine and drank as if nothing happened, and I saw in him the Cang Yu who was always drinking his tea calmly.
The next day, the three of us sat together as if nothing had ever happened. There were the twenty candidates in front of us. Besides Sharjah, Blue Charm and Moon Dream, there were seventeen new faces. Of course, those seventeen included Sophia whose boobs were more attractive than her person.
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