Interstellar Power Couple
Quality Check: Lala
First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter 33: A Sprout
Lei Jue was roused by an odd, yet sweet scent. He cracked open his eyes, only to realize that the day was only just brightening. The bedroom, which originally had no discernible smell in it, was now filled with a fragrance that was both familiar and comforting. This scent wasn’t particularly cloying, but it wasn’t faint enough to the point that he wouldn’t notice it, either.
Xiao Lingyu had obviously also smelled it. The two of them noticed the scent at more or less the same time.
“What smell is this? It smells so good.” Xiao Lingyu sniffed Lei Jue and realized that the scent wasn’t emanating from his body, so he got off the bed to continue his search. “Babe, did you buy something recently?”
“Close your eyes first.” Lei Jue had wanted to get off the bed as well, but then he suddenly remembered that he was still nude. Seeing that Xiao Lingyu had obediently shut his eyes, he hurriedly pulled on his clothes. “I didn’t buy anything. Don’t you think this smell is familiar?” Having said that, he opened the box in the mini cabinet by the bedpost head. Suddenly, he froze.
“What’s wrong?” Xiao Lingyu hurried over to take a look. He too was surprised by what he saw. “It sprouted?!” So it really was a seed! They could see that the ‘pearl’ hanging from the wooden carving of a grey arctic wolf had grown a fresh, tiny sprout the size of a fingernail. Although it was small, it seemed full of life.
Lei Jue quickly, but carefully took the seed along with its sprout out from the box and gently caressed it. When it was placed in his hand, the little seed seemed to be able to sense the tremendous amount of life energy coursing through his body and tiny roots began bursting from the seed. The root tendrils then pierced into his hand and took hold there. The eerie thing was, he didn’t feel even a single scrap of pain, nor was a drop of blood spilled.
Nervousness was spelled over Xiao Lingyu’s face until he saw the faint smile on Lei Jue’s own face and no discomfort. It was only then that he gradually relaxed. He watched as this little seedling furiously absorbed life energy from Lei Jue’s hand. He could also see that it was growing at a noticeable pace.
Lei Jue seemed to like this seedling, and let it do as it wished. It shed its seed coat on his hand, transforming from a seedling into a sprout. Then, the roots which had impaled Lei Jue’s hand—roots which were now thicker and sturdier—slowly retracted from his flesh.
“Do I need to get you a flowerpot and some soil?” Xiao Lingyu asked.
“Not now, we can’t plant it here.” Lei Jue gestured at the newly-grown leaves. “This was the kind of leaf I was talking about earlier: heart-shaped, with lobed leaf edges. This kind of leaf is particularly uncommon, so I’m guessing that Zuo Yan, Feng Gu, and the others were searching for this. I’m thinking we shouldn’t let anyone else know about the plant before we figure it out. We don’t always come back here, so it’ll be a mess if someone steals it while we’re gone. After all, this thing’s scent is very noticeable.”
“Then let’s grow it at my mum’s place.” The security at the Xiao family’s main residence was especially tight. In comparison with their villa on the floating mountain, it was far safer.
“The day is still young, shall we have breakfast with mom?” Lei Jue shook the sprout off, then grabbed a jacket and tugged it on.
Xiao Lingyu ordered Carrera to bring their aircraft right to the door, and the two of them went back to Xiao Lingyu’s parents’ house while the sky was still lingering between day and night.
The rest of the Xiao family had only just woken up. The security robots had confirmed their arrival via text three times when they found out the two of them were coming over at such an early time. Even Uncle Fu had purposely came out to see for himself. It was only when he saw that it really was Xiao Lingyu and Lei Jue that he allowed himself to relax.
When Luo Yuling heard the sound of the door opening, she exited her room upstairs to meet the children who had entered. Worry showed on her face. “Why are you two here at this hour? Did something happen?”
“Nothing,” Xiao Lingyu said. “We just got up early and wanted to come back and have breakfast with everyone, that’s all.”
“Mom, do we have a spare flowerpot?” Lei Jue asked.
“You’ll have to ask your grandmother,” Luo Yuling said.
As it just so happened, his grandmother had gotten up just a moment ago. Upon hearing their voices, she made her way over to see what the commotion was about. “What does Little Jue want to grow?”
Lei Jue showed Xiao Lingyu’s grandmother the sprout in his hand. “I’m thinking of planting this.”
She had always been fond of plants and flowers. Since the winters in Northern Ling were too frigid, the outdoors weren’t conducive for her flowers, so most of them were grown in pots indoors. Naturally, she had many flower pots of all shapes and sizes. She took Lei Jue to pick one out, and even gave him a potful of soil.
Lei Jue planted the sprout and provided a bit of life energy to aid it in rooting itself into the soil. He then placed the pot in Xiao Lingyu’s bedroom, which was now his bedroom, too. Xiao Lingyu had even strengthened the alert system at their house. Once he was done, he told his family at breakfast that that plant was very important and that they were not to tell anyone else about it for now.
Seeing how Xiao Lingyu was so protective over a tiny plant, Xiao Zhicheng chuckled and said, “It’s rare to see you treasure something this much. I’ve never seen you like this before, even when you found the Abyssal Comet Fire.”
Xiao Lingyu placed some side dishes that Lei Jue liked onto Lei Jue’s plate. “The one I prize the most is right here.”
Lei Jue wanted to say, “Even a meal can’t stop your lips from flapping!” But if he were to say that, he’d involve Xiao Zhicheng as well, so he was forced to keep his mouth shut.
After they finished their breakfast, Lei Jue began another round of treatment for Xiao Zhicheng, taking the opportunity to bring up the time when he had run into Feng Gu and Zuo Yan on Mount Rikalun. He spoke about how those people had probably been searching for the sprout that Lei Jue and Xiao Lingyu had brought over today.
Xiao Zhicheng had been listening up until now, but when he heard those words, he asked, “Little Jue, where did you get that sprout?”
Lei Jue replied, “It was from the bead that was hanging from the neck of the wolf carving that my father gave you. That bead was actually a seed. Lingyu and I smelled a strange, sweet scent this morning, and when we were searching for whatever caused the smell, we found out that the seed had sprouted. When I went to grab it, it became like this. Is there something wrong, dad?”
Xiao Zhicheng fell into thought for a moment. “After Marshall Zuo returned from changing the defense legislation on Resplendere, it was found that he was poisoned with the same poison as me, and, like in my case, they still can’t figure out exactly when he was poisoned. However, because we were concerned that the morale of the Southern Clearwater soldiers would be affected if we announced it, few people were told about the poisoning. Earlier, they asked Elder Ming to perform a checkup on him. Although the poison is under control, this isn’t a sustainable solution. After that, they came to know about a plant that can cure all poisons, so that’s why they’ve been hunting for it.
Lei Jue’s eyes sparkled. “Then doesn’t that mean that your poisoning can be cleared up as well?”
Xiao Zhicheng, however, didn’t feel any joy from hearing those words, because he suddenly recalled an incident that happened several years ago. He was unsure whether or not it was related to the plant that Lei Jue had mentioned. He only knew about the mission that Lei Jianwei had been sent to carry out all those years ago after Lei Jianwei had passed.
Because the number of elemental users being born on Casweir had been declining for the past few years, and their power ranking had been growing weaker and weaker as well, the departments related to these matters had been thinking of ways to combat this situation. Unfortunately, their efforts had little effect. So at that time, someone had brought up the idea of sending an elite troop to search for even greater sources of power. One of the people who took part in the 5A-rank covert mission was Lei Jue’s father, Lei Jianwei.
“Then did they just search blindly? With no intelligence at all and without even knowing if such an energy source existed.” Lei Jue thought it was a little hard to believe. He would understand if they’d been sent to research and learn about other planets, or if they were sent to increase defense measures against outside threats, but being sent to search for energy sources? What nonsense was this? Were they supposed to slowly search planet by planet in such a vast galaxy?
“Of course they wouldn’t have just started searching without a lead,” Xiao Zhicheng said. “The god of nature, Lord Lyniel, has dominion over five powerful elements. You’ve seen Lord Lyniel’s statue before, so you should know this. According to historical records, in the early days there were indeed people who had more than one elemental ability, and there were rumours that the secret to inducing the creation of those people wasn’t on Casweir.”
“But why my father, out of so many people?”
“Your father’s wilderness combat skills made him a force to be reckoned with, and he was a plant elemental ability user with self-regeneration powers. Combined with his gift for languages, it wasn’t strange that he was chosen,” Xiao Zhicheng said. “What I
think was odd was that when he’d first came back after being sent out, he said that he had not succeeded in finding an energy source. But if that seed you planted was truly that fantastical, why hadn’t he brought it up before?”
Searching for external energy sources was important, but if he had really found a plant capable of curing any poison, then logically, he should report it as it was still a precious resource.
But he hadn’t.
Lei Jue thought that things didn’t line up at all, but he wasn’t part of the team involved in the search, so he currently couldn’t understand it.
“I should figure out this plant first, before continuing this talk,” Lei Jue said. “Dad, you should go do your business first. I’m heading back.”
“Go, then.” Having said that, Xiao Zhicheng was in no rush to go to the military headquarters. He folded one hand over the other on top of his abdomen and began recalling the people who were sent with Lei Jianwei, who their superior was, and other details.
Lei Jue returned to the bedroom after the talk and saw Xiao Lingyu standing not too far away from the plant, hitting and thumping something. When he approached it and got a closer look, he realized he was adjusting the angle of a micro monitoring camera.
“Once this is done, you can connect your communicator and check on it anytime, anywhere.” Xiao Lingyu said.
Sometimes, Lei Jue felt that Xiao Lingyu was an especially thoughtful person. When he told him that, Lei Jue came up from behind Xiao Lingyu and hugged him. “Dad said that Marshall Xiao was poisoned with the same substance as him. When we saw Zuo Yan and Feng Gu searching earlier, they were most likely trying to find the plant that we have now. But because we don’t know where the Zuo family heard that this plant is a cure-all for poison, we have to carefully watch over it. If the Zuo family’s information is true, then this thing might very well be able to fully heal our father.”
XIao Lingyu turned around and kissed Lei Jue. “Whatever you say.”
Lei Jue thought for a while. “Can I borrow Carrera to help me with something?”
Xiao Lingyu laughed. “Why don’t you see for yourself by calling for her?”
“Here!” Carrera’s voice was instantly broadcasted from Lei Jue’s communicator. “Madam, are you in need of my help? If you have anything you want me to do, you just need to ask!”
“I’ll take a photo for you. Help me check if this plant is listed among all known plants. If it is, please compile a report with the details.”
“No problem!” Carrera waited for a few moments after that. Upon seeing the photo that Lei Jue had taken, she immediately began trawling and filtering information from the internet.
“Honey.” Xiao Lingyu was finally done with his endeavor and turned around to pull Lei Jue into a hug. “You’re my boss. Carrera answers to me, so of course she’ll answer to you, too. From now on, if there’s anything you need, you can just call for her.”
Lei Jue felt that this was a nice arrangement and pulled Xiao Lingyu closer by the back of his neck, pressing a kiss to his lips. “A reward for you.”
Xiao Lingyu reciprocated the kiss for a fleeting moment, then released him. “Hey, the medicine’s almost wearing off; we can’t be this unrestrained.” With those words, he returned to simply holding Lei Jue. “Little Jue, to tell you the truth, at first I thought you wouldn’t like being addressed as ‘milady’, ‘babe’, and the like. Not only that, but with your personality, I thought that you would try to stifle me any time. But, you proved me wrong.”
“It’s only a manner of address. I’d thought that you were a flighty person in need of a kick or two, that’s why I felt annoyed with you at first. However, after I got comfortable with you and began getting to know you as a person, I couldn’t be bothered to make you change.” Lei Jue pinched Xiao Lingyu’s ear. “Besides, is it wrong to admit that I like being the one at the bottom? I think I would be more cowardly if I wanted to bottom but didn’t want to admit it. Anyway, I like being called ‘babe’ by you. ‘Milady’, too. Is there a problem with that? It’s hard to buy my feelings with gifts and riches, you got that?” He didn’t think that liking being on top or bottom said anything about him. The most important thing was still one’s heart, after all.
“You’re so beautiful that whatever you say is right,” Xiao Lingyu said in a soft voice. “Stop pinching, my ears are sensitive.”
“Quit horsing around. When you’re with me, I think any part of your body is a sensitive zone.” Lei Jue may have said that, but he still released his hold on Xiao Lingyu’s ear. The two of them then went to feed the snow-capped jadewings.
Xiao Lingyu scattered a large handful of bird feed on the ground. “Babe, my leave is almost up. I’ll be busy again in two days,” he said.
Lei Jue had already extrapolated that Xiao Lingyu wasn’t one to idle around. It was just that Xiao Lingyu hadn’t revealed what he was doing, so Lei Jue also didn’t question him about it. After all, there were some things that should remain secret, even if the two of them were married now. This wasn’t about trust, but work.
“Just do whatever you have to. As an alien with no money to his name, I still need your monetary support for the time being,” Lei Jue said. “So, this family’s cash flow is depending on you.”
“That’s my duty. If you wanted me to feed you for the rest of your life, I’d do that, too.” Xiao Lingyu squatted down beside Lei Jue, letting the birds settle on his palm. “However, I still want to maintain my image as a ‘repentant manwh*re’ in the future, so can you please go along with it for me, babe?”
“Do I get paid?”
“All rights to our household finances shall belong to you.”
“Deal!” Lei Jue clapped his hands together and stood up to drag Xiao Lingyu out for an impromptu outing.
Xiao Lingyu hadn’t been sent on any missions since the wedding. All traces of his amorous, playboy exploits were gone, so all the netizens could dig up were ancient incidents from days past. Lately, his image had been on the upswing, and many netizens had begun to change their tune. Even if it were just to give Lei Jue some face as a wood element ability user, they’d begun giving their blessings to the pair. The reason was because they thought that, in comparison to roasting the casanova that was Xiao Lingyu, the kindly Lei Jue’s happiness was even more important.
True to Lei Jue’s words, time would eventually reveal all. That phrase not only embodied them, but Lei Jianying as well.
If Lei Jianying still held any delusions, then he completely understood now that Lei Jue wasn’t coming back ever again. ‘Plan A3’ had lost its original use, and Xiao Lingyu was maintaining his image as the perfect spouse. When he had nothing to do, he would take Lei Jue on outings, or to have fun with some fresh new experience. He even brought Lei Jue to a drifter fruit farm to pick some drifter fruits, and the two were spotted by some frequent visitors of the farm. Photos of the pair being lovey-dovey with each other were spread all over the web. The emotions from their gazes were practically leaking out from the screen.
In short, the two of them went everywhere as a pair, successfully embodying what it meant to be the most loving husband-and-wife combo. Even if Lei Jianying wanted to dig up some new hate fodder for Xiao Lingyu, there was nothing to be found.
The worst thing was that, due to Lei Jue’s elemental gift, the number of people who wished to curry favor with the Xiao family had been increasing. The higher-ups also held Xiao Zhicheng in higher regard now. The reason? There may not be an ability user with metal elemental powers, but Xiao Lingyu and Lei Jue were very likely to give birth to a child who would be a wood elemental ability user! And if they were to get closer to the Xiao family, if anything dire were to happen they could turn to Lei Jue for help. There would be plenty to gain, but nothing to lose with this.
As soon as Lei Jianying thought about how if he hadn’t gifted Lei Jue away, this powerful resource would have belonged to him, he was overcome with frustration. Like oil poured onto a bonfire, he just had to catch wind of the rumour that the Zuo family were also thinking of seeking Lei Jue’s help.
Lei Jue was talking with Xiao Lingyu about paying a visit to Si Wannian’s mecha corps, when his communicator rang. Xiao Zhicheng was calling to say that the Zuo family were hoping that Lei Jue could help to heal Marshal Zuo Zhihuan, so they asked if he had time for them.