IPC Chapter 31: Small World

Interstellar Power Couple

Translator: Leslie

Quality Check: Lala

Editor: Chesh

First Published on Chaleuria

Chapter 31: Small World

Mount Rikalun was located in the Southern Clearwater District, which was why it wasn’t a surprise that Zuo Yan would show up here. The strange thing, however, was that he had injuries despite having B-rank fire elemental powers and an A-rank physique.

This was the Southern Clearwater District, after all. Who would be brazen enough to do that?

Lei Jue’s gaze swept over the glaringly obvious wound on Zuo Yan’s left leg. His hands itched, but he didn’t go heal the injury; since Xiao Lingyu had been in a bad mood due to anti-Xiao Lingyu x Lei Jue shippers, he didn’t want to make Xiao Lingyu more upset by acting thoughtlessly

Xiao Lingyu spoke at this moment, “My Little Jue likes eating drifter fruits, so I brought him here to pick some. You can say that we’re here on a hike.” He pointed at Zuo Yan’s injuries. “These wounds of yours….”

Zuo Yan still didn’t speak as the young girl who trailed behind him, who looked to be about fifteen or sixteen years old, looked at Lei Jue with a careful gaze. “Um, about that, can this Little Big Brother help my third brother please?”

“Who burned this?” He pointed at the trees behind him. Although Lei Jue didn’t say he would help, he also didn’t say he wouldn’t extend any help, either.

“It was my second brother who did it.” The young lady’s face held a hint of her grievance. “He had originally wanted to burn….”

“Little Nian! No chattering!” Zuo Yan suddenly called out to cut his younger sister’s words short, then asked Xiao Lingyu, “Is it just the two of you?”

“And a few other friends. Why?”

“Then it’s best that you leave as soon as possible after you’re done picking the drifter fruits. There are… a fair number of people who came here today.” Having said that, Zuo Yan hobbled away without even giving Lei Jue a chance to say that he would heal him.

“Should we help them?” It was a reversal this time as Lei Jue asked Xiao Lingyu.

“Do whatever you want.” Xiao Lingyu hadn’t exactly been willing when he said that, but he still let go of Lei Jue, who he’d had his arm wrapped around earlier.

Lei Jue mentally berated him. He’s so childish! He proceeded to yell at Zuo Yan’s retreating back, “Wait up!”

He saw Zuo Yan stop at his words, then ran over to him in large strides. He lightly pressed the backs of his hands to Zuo Yan’s arms. In a flash, the wounds on Zuo Yan’s legs were completely healed.

Zuo Yan moved his legs, which were now perfectly healed. “Thank you.”

Little Nian circled Zuo Yan once, then twice, then gazed at Lei Jue as if she were looking upon a deity. “Little Big Brother, you’re really awesome. Thank you for curing my third brother.”

 Lei Jue nodded his head. He spun around and ran back toward Xiao Lingyu. “Let’s go.”

Xiao Lingyu wrapped Lei Jue in another embrace, but a few steps later he suddenly turned and called out, “Zuo Yan, is Zuo Feng here?”

Zuo Yan furrowed his brows and made a noise of affirmation. He then walked away without looking back over his shoulder.

“Who is Zuo Feng?” Lei Jue asked.

“He’s the second eldest child of the Zuo family,” Xiao Lingyu informed Lei Jue. “These two brothers share the same father, but were born to different mothers, so they aren’t as close as what outsiders would normally think. Zuo Yan’s mother only married into the Zuo family after Marshall Zuo’s first wife had passed. Some time later, she gave birth to Zuo Yan and that young girl from earlier. However, even though those two have fire elemental abilities, their power levels don’t compare to their other two elder brothers’. That was why ever since they were little, they have been… in any case, they haven’t led easy lives. Zuo Yan’s injury could very well be caused by Zuo Feng.”

 “He wanted us to go back quickly because he didn’t want us to bump into Zuo Feng?”

“Probably.”

“Then do we continue staying here?” Just what sort of person was this elder brother, such that his younger brother felt the need to warn strangers to stay away from them? To top it off, it was a warning given with a hint of friendliness. 

“Do you still want to stay?” Xiao Lingyu had mostly meant ‘so long as you’re happy, we’ll remain here’.

However, the powers that be didn’t give Lei Jue the chance to choose; instead, they decided to dump him into a proverbial cesspit of melodrama. Just as he was thinking although toad-like people were not frightening, they were still repulsive, so they should go somewhere else to play, Si Qing sent a message saying that Yu Le had been caught by Zuo Feng’s men.

If it had been Si Qing, or Qi Yu and the others, even if there was a fight or a clash, Zuo Feng couldn’t simply detain them as he wished; but Yu Le was a nobody. Except for his position as a member of the Northern Ling District’s special operations force, he was just another regular citizen, so when he had accidentally hit one of Zuo Feng’s followers with a paint bullet, Zuo Feng had his men capture Yu Le. 

Of course, if it had just been limited to this, Lei Jue wouldn’t have thought of the ‘cesspit of melodrama’ to describe it. He thought the situation was melodramatic because when he and Xiao Lingyu went to find Zuo Feng’s right-hand men, they had bumped into Feng Gu and Feng Tao, the two brothers who they had not met since their wedding ceremony.

It was evident that there was a reason why the phrase “it’s a small world” managed to survive the ages.

Before Xiao Lingyu neared Zuo Feng and his cronies, he signalled to Qi Yu in code to take everyone and leave via his aircraft. Then he brought Lei Jue and Si Qing over. He gestured at Yu Le with his chin and said, “Second Young Master Zuo, is this because you were affronted that I didn’t come greet you while in your territory?”

When Zuo Feng had captured Yu Le, he hadn’t imagined that he had just so happened to catch one of Xiao Lingyu’s men. However, when he took a look at Yu Le’s appearance again, it was instantly like he’d had a sudden understanding and he laughed uproariously, realization spreading across his face. “I was just saying that I was wondering why such a pretty child dared to come to these deep mountains to play without any company. So he’s one of yours. It’s no wonder he’s so courageous as to open fire on my friend.” As he said this, his eyes swept over Lei Jue with unspoken intent. “Xiao Lingyu, you sure are like others have described you—a person whose luck with lovers is great. You’re certainly something.”

Xiao Lingyu smiled. He glanced at the splotch of purple that bloomed on Feng Tao’s shirt, and, as he unconsciously caressed Lei Jue’s face, he said, “My luck with lovers is certainly not exactly poor. As for whether I’m ‘something’ or not, those are simply the words of people who don’t know me. So, just tell me what I should do to get you to let him go.”

Zuo Feng wasn’t particularly tall in stature; in addition to that, he was skinny as well. However, he was able to give off the air of being a cruel and ruthless person just from his appearance alone. There were hardly any similarities between him and Zuo Yan. Upon hearing Xiao Lingyu’s words, he sank into contemplation. Then, with a smile on his lips, he looked in Feng Tao’s direction. “Since Feng Tao was the one who was shot, we shall let him decide.”

If Feng Tao had had his way, he couldn’t wish any harder for Xiao Lingyu to see in person the things that they would do to Lei Jue. However, Xiao Zhicheng was still around and kicking. If he were to actually do that, he most likely wouldn’t live to see another day. Not only would the Xiao Family hound him without rest, even his old man would have to kill him. And seeing how his elder cousin looked so hesitant and burdened, Feng Tao decided to take a step back.

“Xiao Lingyu, you also know that my brother had courted Lei Jue before. The two of them haven’t met each other in days, so can they have a talk alone together?” Feng Tao chuckled as he glanced at Lei Jue. “As long as you agree, I’ll get Brother Zuo to immediately release that guy.”

“And if I were to refuse?” Xiao Lingyu continued smiling, but his smile had turned a little chilly.

“Refuse, and it’ll have to be this child who will have to stay behind to chat with my brother instead.”

“That’s fine, then. You can keep him,” Xiao Lingyu said. “When I get back, I’ll let General Si have a talk with the Feng family and inform them that you’ve detained his favored son-in-law. I’m sure that he wouldn’t find this journey to be a hassle.”

“Are you making a joke?” How did he gain the favour of General Si? Feng Tao’s eyes roved over Yu Le to size him up, as if he was trying to see if there was anything else that was special apart from Yu Le’s looks.

 “When it comes to his children’s partners of choice, my father likes the gentle and obedient ones,” Si Qing finally said after a long period of silence, as he looked at Yu Le with reassurance and comfort in his eyes.

Everyone quieted at that moment, because they had indeed heard of Si Wannian insisting that his son’s future wife should be one who was soft and gentle. He didn’t want a venomous daughter-in-law, citing something along the lines of ‘household chaos’.

At first, Si Wannian had simply said that to anger Lei Jianying. However, later on he thought that it was a line of thought with sound reasoning, so after that, he kept bringing up to people that when they marry, they should marry a virtuous wife.

Feng Gu saw that Lei Jue’s eyes held mockery for him, so he had considered letting all of this slide at first, but if he did that, it would be a blow to Zuo Feng’s reputation. And so, he still didn’t say anything after some thought. He simply eyed Lei Jue with a hint of blame and hunger in his eyes.

Zuo Feng didn’t want to provoke Si Wannian with such a miniscule matter like Feng Tao’s. After all, even after everything that had transpired, he was still a legend in his own right. If he were to release his prisoner just like this, however, then he would have no need for dignity anymore. He said, “An apology then.”

 Yu Le looked Si Qing in the eye. Seeing Si Qing nod, he apologized in Feng Tao’s direction.

Despite that, Zuo Feng didn’t release his prisoner. He watched Xiao Lingyu and said, “Since you didn’t teach your younger fellows well, shouldn’t the apology be coming from you, the elder one?”

Xiao Lingyu smiled and returned the question, “Your own younger fellow has little tolerance for others. Isn’t this something that you, as the elder, should have set an example for?”

Zuo Yan was sent reeling by that reply, his expression unpleasant. However, he still let Yu Le go at the end. He glanced at Lei Jue, and said to Xiao Lingyu with a laugh, “You met me this time, but who knows who you’ll run into next. That’s why I’m telling you, my old chap Xiao, you should look after your own people better, especially the exceptionally pretty ones. If they were to fall into the wrong hands, it could get terribly unsafe for them.”

Xiao Lingyu nodded. “So what you Second Young Master Zuo meant is, beautiful people are treasures, so naturally we should look after them better. Otherwise, it would kill us to see them be claimed by others.” Xiao Lingyu looked at Feng Gu. “Master Feng, wouldn’t you say that’s true?”

Lei Jue nearly let a chortle slip. Xiao Lingyu sure was a petty person; even before they left the area, he still had to get a jab in when it came to Feng Gu.

Naturally, Feng Gu couldn’t accept those words. He was already furious enough when he saw Lei Jue in Xiao Lingyu’s embrace; if he were to accept those words, then he would die from being apoplectic with rage!

Xiao Lingyu waved a hand in dismissal as he turned and took the others with him. He didn’t get Si Qing to fly their aircraft over, instead leisurely forging onwards as if he were simply on a casual walk.

Perhaps Feng Gu had a few more screws loose that day, as he yelled on impulse, “Little Jue!”

Lei Jue didn’t even turn to look back. When he heard Xiao Lingyu say that just then, he had really put on quite the facade of being an obedient spouse. He hit Xiao Lingyu. This little display of strength was nothing against Xiao Lingyu, but he still stumbled back from the blow to humor him, going through the motions of almost being pushed over. Lei Jue might have thought it was a funny sight, so he tried to shove Xiao Lingyu again. However, Xiao Lingyu didn’t take the push; instead, he took a large step forward to dodge Lei Jue’s assault. When he saw this, Lei Jue began chasing him as if it were a game. For a while, the sound of laughter resounded throughout the woods.

Seeing that Feng Gu was still watching Lei Jue, he clapped him on the arm. “He’s just used goods. Throwing him out is nothing to be sad over.”

The smile Feng Gu had on his face looked somewhat unseemly. This was because only he knew that he’d never actually gotten a taste of those “old goods” before.

With that thought, his hatred for Lei Haige suddenly grew. If it weren’t for him….

Zuo Yan sighed when he saw that Feng Gu still hadn’t returned to reality yet. “However, it’s true that these ‘used goods’ are not just any old ‘goods’. If it were me, I’d constantly be thinking about it too.”

Feng Gu would have been alright, had Zuo Yan not said that. Now that those words were spoken, he was even more irritated by this.

Once they had put a fair amount of distance between the two parties, Yu Le said in an apologetic tone, “Boss, Lei Jue, sorry. It was my fault for not being careful enough.”

Xiao Lingyu waved a hand. “It’s fine. No one could’ve foreseen that you would happen to run into those people.”

Lei Jue recalled Zuo Yan’s clothing from earlier. “They don’t seem to be here just for leisure.”

It seemed more like field training, since they’d been clad in combat clothing.

Xiao Lingyu turned his head to glance behind him. “Indeed it doesn’t. I’m going back there to check it out.”

Upon remembering the gaze that Zuo Yan had earlier, Yu Le asked Xiao Lingyu, “Could my release have been just a farce, and that they are planning something more sinister behind our backs?”

“Zuo Yan isn’t such a gutsy person. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have let us go that easily just then,” Xiao Lingyu said. “However, he can’t possibly let such an incident go just like that. I figure that he might inform Lei Haige about what happened today.”

“Are you saying that he wants to get Lei Haige to handle me?” That was the first thought Lei Jue had when he heard what Xiao Lingyu had said.

“Anyone with eyes can see the jealousy that he has toward you, my dear.” Xiao Lingyu said with a chuckle. “Are you tired? Do you want me to give you a piggyback ride?”

“Aren’t we taking the aircraft?” Lei Jue realized that they had walked quite a long distance.

“Bah, why do you want the aircraft?! Can’t you just give me a chance to show off for once!” Xiao Lingyu, with much reluctance, got Qi Yu to send the aircraft to their location. “Truly, such a waste of a talented hero like me.”

“Do you have to be like this?” Lei Jue got onto Xiao Lingyu’s back with a powerful leap. “Let’s go, ‘talented hero’. No matter what happens, or how long it takes for us to get to the aircraft, you’re not allowed to put me down at all.”

“Then, what if I have to pee?” Xiao Lingyu asked.

“Just hold it in!” With those words said, Lei Jue yanked on Xiao Lingyu’s ears. “Now move. Hurry it up a bit.”

“Then we’ll move. We’re already here anyway, so let’s get some more drifter fruits to bring back.” Having finished speaking, he began marching ahead based on the path he had memorized earlier.

Si Qing and Yu Le knowingly stayed a respectable distance away so that they wouldn’t end up third-wheeling the two in front of them. 

Zuo Yan, Feng Gu, and the others, on the other hand, resumed their hunt for something after Xiao Lingyu and his party had left. However, their minds weren’t fully on the search now. Feng Gu was thinking about Lei Jue, while Zuo Yan was thinking about watching an interesting show—just as Xiao Lingyu had said he would be.

He wasn’t going to earn the ire of the Xiao family, but life had been boring lately. Zuo Yan wanted to know if Lei Haige could stomach the thought that Feng Gu was still pining for Lei Jue.

Lei Haige hadn’t been able to stomach it so far. Ever since he found out that his parents had concealed some parts of Lei Jue’s past, he had begun looking more into this. At that moment, he was in Lei Jianying’s study, which he’d been rifling through for half a day already.

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