No Money to Divorce
First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter 36: Can’t Eat That
Zhong Yan was so shocked that he could not speak properly. “Ha…Happy New Year…Where did you go? Ah no, what’s that in the yard?”
While taking off his coat, Adrian said, “Don’t you know what that is? It’s a giant space rabbit. And to think you’ve been talking about how much you liked giant space rabbits all these years.”
“Of course I know what it is!” Zhong Yan refuted. He even ignored the coat Adrian had thrown on the dining chair. “Is this…a holographic projection?”
Adrian responded, “You’ll know when you touch it. Come on.”
Zhong Yan followed him dazedly out the backdoor. They passed through the row of trees, and stopped in front of that giant mass of white fur, lifting their heads to stare at it.
Adrian stuck a hand in his pocket and stood behind him. “Go ahead, try it.”
Zhong Yan put his hand on the dense white fur on the rabbit’s legs; it was soft and warm.
The amount of force he exerted was too light, so the lop-eared rabbit paid no attention to him. However, it suddenly laid down after seemingly having finished observing its surroundings. Zhong Yan was frightened. He retracted his hand and retreated two steps backward, bumping into Adrian who was standing behind him. Adrian supported him by holding his shoulders.
“Did you touch it? Is it a projection?” He asked.
“No…it’s real.” Zhong Yan’s mind was filled with all sorts of questions for a moment. He turned around and stared at Adrian for a long time, but did not say anything. Finally, he managed to pick out a single question with difficulty. “Why do you…Why do you have a giant space rabbit?”
“Didn’t you say you were going to cook dinner for me?”
A bad feeling rose up in Zhong Yan’s heart, and as expected, Adrian continued with, “Red braised sounds good.”
“You can’t eat it!” Zhong Yan stopped him anxiously. He looked carefully at Adrian’s face to see if he was joking, but the other man was looking clearly at him with his head faintly lowered. The lights shining from the house in the distance illuminated half of his face, and the dim light softened his sharp features. In the breeze of the night, his silver irises looked mysterious, and he was so handsome that it made him feel flustered.
Zhong Yan’s heart skipped a beat. His favorite giant space rabbit was just right behind him, and this was the first time in his life that he was so close to one; but at this moment, he had completely lost all notions of turning around to look at it.
There was a scene that attracted his gaze even more, and it was right in front of him.
Adrian said, “Didn’t you bring the knife out as well? Should I help you out?”
Zhong Yan came back to his senses and finally realized that he was still holding the knife. There were simply no words he could use to explain himself. “This isn’t for…I heard a noise just now, so I thought it was an enemy attack…”
He hurried to explain himself in a few words. When he saw that Adrian’s expression was still the same as usual, he finally reacted a little. After some hesitation, he said, “You weren’t joking earlier…were you?”
“Who’s got the time to crack jokes with you?” Adrian responded.
“I’ve already made dinner. There’s a lot of dishes, they’ll be ready after I heat them up!” Zhong Yan tried his best to persuade him from the idea. “I’m very tired now, I can’t move anymore.”
Adrian suggested, “We can eat it tomorrow…Oh, it’s already twelve, so we’ll eat it in the morning. Come on, it’s time to head back.”
“Ah…are we…going just like that?” Zhong Yan asked, “What about the rabbit?”
“What do you mean ‘what’?”
“Should we feed it something? I wonder if it’s hungry. It’s so small, is it still a kit?”
“It’s a kit,” Adrian answered. “I fed it on the way back, and what’s more, it’s normal for these type of rabbits to not eat for more than a dozen days or so…isn’t this what you told me before?”
Zhong Yan was very confused, “…You fed it on the way? Where did you get the rabbit from?”
“Why do you care where it’s from?”
“You didn’t just catch one from somewhere, did you?” Zhong Yan asked with suspicion. “You can’t catch wild giant space rabbits, that’s considered poaching. The ‘Giant Space Rabbit Hunting Law’ states it. I drafted the bill myself.”
Adrian shot him a provoking smile and said, “Welcome to the extrajudicial area, Councilor.”
“Even if that’s the current situation…” Zhong Yan tried to speak, “You still haven’t split from the Federation after all. Laws that are applicable to the entire Federation apply to Navi as well. There are many procedures that have to be gone through to qualify for private breeding of giant space rabbits, and you need a license.”
Speaking to this point, he suddenly realized that Adrian actually met all the qualifications for it.
The giant space rabbit is a mutation of its genus. Thousands of years ago, a scientific research ship crashed. The search and rescue team rescued the researchers, as well as most of the animals and plants, but left several rabbits of different breeds. Within the cosmos, they produced mysterious variations, and coupled with their strong reproduction ability, managed to survive as a new species altogether. An adult giant space rabbit could generally grow up to 20 meters in length, with slight variations in different breeds, They are usually found floating around in outer space, but they can also survive on the surface of planets. They are considered gentle creatures with no aggressive tendencies.
In outer space, its figure was actually small enough to a point where it was negligible, but they appeared very huge on land. And, as a space-land amphibious animal, most giant space rabbits floating in the cosmos will inevitably wander into the atmosphere for a while. In a planet with regions densely packed with various breeds of giant space rabbits, you can occasionally see giant rabbits floating in the sky, and it has even become a famous tourist attraction. Similarly, giant space rabbits living on land, such as those in giant space rabbit research institutions, will be brought by the researchers on a ship every so often into space for a walk to maintain their health.
So to say, not only did taking care of these rabbits require one’s time, energy, and knowledge, a venue large enough to handle the daily activities of such a large rabbit is also needed if one wishes to rear them. They also needed a very large private spaceship.
Such strict conditions have easily filtered out most of the general public, leaving behind only a few of the rich. However, besides being large, having the ability to overcome gravity and to survive in outer space, giant space rabbits did not have any special abilities. A large sum of money is required for their purchase, and the procedures are both numerous and cumbersome. Moreover, you needed to spend time studying to take the test for the license, so rarely would any rich people be interested enough to put themselves through that.
There was a very, very small number of privately raised giant space rabbits in the entire federation. One of the more famous owners of one was a female magnate. Even Adrian who was completely uninterested in giant space rabbits knew about it, and that was because Zhong Yan used to follow her social media account. Every day, he would refresh her page just to see if she posted any pictures of her rabbit.
As for all the other rules and regulations, Adrian was up to the standard. Zhong Yan had also gotten his giant space rabbit rearing license a long seven years ago. With his current position, he only needed to show up and say hello to get the procedures done. Everything would be settled quickly as long as the materials had no issues. Unfortunately, the only problem was the fact that the source of this rabbit seemed to be illegal.
“How could you catch a rabbit? If word gets out, it will be bad for both your reputation and your image.” Zhong Yan was anxious. “Did anyone see you?”
A corner of Adrian’s mouth drew up. “I didn’t catch it, so don’t worry yourself over nothing.”
“Someone caught it and gave it to you? Is this some sort of gray-market entertainment activity?”
Adrian did not confirm nor deny his speculations.
The more Zhong Yan thought about it, the more he felt that that was the case. Lop-eared giant space rabbits were very rare. Maybe Adrian went to participate in a private invite-only party, and the owner gave Adrian the rabbit to get closer to him. It seemed to be a reasonable explanation…but it just wasn’t legal.
Zhong Yan was worried. “Then, we’ll have to raise it secretly. Thank god there’s not many people around here. We’ll need to make it a nest and get it a leash. What if a small lop-eared bunny like this slips out? There are all kinds of people in Navi, it’s too dangerous.”
Adrian was nonchalant, “Aren’t I itching to chop it up and destroy the evidence? Who said we were going to raise it?”
The snow-white lop-eared rabbit was laying down quietly beside them this whole time, but for some reason, it came over and rubbed itself on the two humans right beside it.
Its soft and furry ears swiped past the two. On Zhong Yan’s white-colored loungewear, it was not obvious, but several very long, prominent, and white hairs stood out from Adrian’s black clothes.
The rabbit kit stared at them with its big, red eyes, appearing both innocent and pitiful. Zhong Yan’s heart melted and he could not help himself from happily rubbing away at the droopy ears of the rabbit. “What a good bunny! This one is so sweet!”
It had been a very long time since he had seen Zhong Yan this happy. This man did not smile often, but he looked very good with the corners of his mouth raised. Adrian quietly turned on the camera of his terminal. But of course, when he went back to look at it in the future, he would realize that what he took was a picture of Zhong Yan touching a rabbit in the middle of the night with a knife in his other hand, revealing his side profile decorated with a bright smile. It looked very strange, as if it was some promotional poster for a dark fairy tale movie.
All the way back to the house, Zhong Yan was clearly more excited than usual; even while he was heating up the food, he was still talking to Adrian about the giant space rabbit’s habits, and only suppressed the urge to continue when they were about to begin eating.
The variety of the dishes was overwhelming. Adrian was quite surprised to see the dishes laid out on the table. He knew that these took a long time to make even if he did not know how to cook. Zhong Yan saw Adrian’s hands stopped after he picked up his fork, and he suddenly worried that he was still keen on having rabbit for dinner.
“I’ll buy some rabbit meat tomorrow and make red-braised rabbit, okay?” Zhong Yan hesitated again and again, but still said, “The supermarket sells rabbit meat that was specially bred as poultry, they taste way better than wild rabbits.”
Adrian said, “That’s what you say, but your face is telling me that you don’t want to make it at all.”
“I don’t eat rabbit meat.” Zhong Yan muttered a bit chagrined, “I thought you didn’t like it in the past either?”
“I love eating rabbits now.” Adrian moved his fork. “But don’t buy it, you’ve never cooked rabbit meat so it might not taste good.”
Zhong Yan breathed a sigh of relief and returned to his happy self. Regardless of the matter, Adrian brought home a rabbit before midnight.
He knew that this was no mere coincidence, that no matter what, him being here was definitely part of the reason that Adrian brought it back.
But no matter how big of a reason that was, it was enough to satisfy Zhong Yan as long as that number was not zero.