Tang Ci soon found Shao Qingge’s contact information and called him using his communicator. There were a few beeps before a gentle mechanical tone entered their ears. “Hello, the owner isn’t at home. Please leave a message if you need anything.”
Tang Ci left a message for Shao Qingge, asking to call him back. Immediately after, he called the company. The assistant said that Chief Shao wasn’t in and they couldn’t get through to him on Shao Qingge’s private number.
Tang Ci told Xiao Lou, “Shao Qingge isn’t home or at the company. I can’t reach him through his private number.”
Xiao Lou speculated, “Will he be with Ye Qi?”
Tang Ci looked at the information on the search. “Ye Qi is currently a freshman at the Ninth Military Academy in the mecha operations department. Now it is July and it is only a few days away from the summer holidays. Perhaps Chief Shao went to pick up Ye Qi in person?”
Lu Jiuchuan heard Ninth Military Academy and inquired, “Didn’t we graduate from that school?”
Tang Ci nodded. “Yes. You were in the military command department while I was in the mecha control department. I am Ye Qi’s senior.”
Xiao Lou said, “If Chief Shao went to pick up Ye Qi then Southern Cross where the academy is located is far away. It takes two days and two nights to travel to Capital Star. Since we can’t reach him on the landline, perhaps it is because the signal is blocked on the Southern Cross side?”
Tang Ci suggested, “By the way, Professor Xiao, can’t your peach blossom spring forcibly summon teammates? Can you try pulling them over directly?”
Xiao Lou felt it was unlikely. Previously when he pulled his teammates over, everyone was in the same city or even the same labyrinth. They were very close comparatively. Now it was the interstellar era. Could this skill span planets? It was too unscientific.
Starships and high intelligence mecha needed space leap technology to travel between stars. Why did humans need these mechas if they could directly teleport between galaxies tens of thousands of light years away?
Even though he intellectually felt that the possibility of the peach blossom spring calling his teammates wasn’t likely, Xiao Lou still wanted to try it. He summoned Tao Yuanming, released the peach blossom spring and invited his teammates.
Soon, six people appeared under the peach blossom trees.
In addition to Xiao Lou’s group of four, there were Long Sen and Qu Wanyue.
Qu Wanyue came over. “Long Sen just came home and inexplicably asked me many questions about our university days. I answered them and he finally believed I was real. He nervously told me that this instance has clones?”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “Yes, we found Xiao Lou’s clone in the palace.”
He couldn’t help looking at Long Sen. This guy actually needed to rely on questions to determine if his partner was real or not. Long Sen’s observation ability was too low compared to Yu Hanjiang who relied on his eyes to recognize the clone in seconds. Long Sen had to train again.
Long Sen noticed Yu Hanjiang’s disappointment and scratched his head. Then he asked with a smile, “Professor Xiao, you suddenly called the team. Is there anything important?”
Xiao Lou explained, “We can’t find Liu Qiao, Old Mo, Sister Huaying or Senior Gui in the database. We wanted to see if we could use the peach blossom spring to gather all our teammates.”
Long Sen glanced at Tang Ci. “Even Mr Tang can’t find them?”
Tang Ci shook his head. “Their names aren’t in the federation’s database.”
After waiting a while, there were still only the six of them in the peach blossom spring. There were no traces of Liu Qiao’s group and Xiao Lou had to helplessly say, “It seems there is no way to teleport across the universe. We must be on the same planet to enter the peach blossom spring.”
This was within Xiao Lou’s expectations so he didn’t feel too lost. At the very least, Liu Qiao’s group of four not entering the peach blossom spring indirectly proved his speculation. “The other six currently aren’t on Capital Star.”
Lu Jiuchuan touched his chin. “So there must be another plot line?”
Xiao Lou agreed. “Chief Shao and Ye Qi should be on their way back from Southern Cross, since they originally live on Capital Star. However, the remaining four should be searching for clues elsewhere. I just don’t know what roles have been assigned to them.” Then he asked Qu Wanyue. “Do you have any news about Xiao Liu’s group?”
Qu Wanyue shook her head. “I don’t know them in this world. I am a dance teacher and the four of them aren’t among my students or colleagues. By the way, I know General Lin’s daughter, Lin Yan. It is said that she is the fiancée of the crown prince.”
Lu Jiuchuan glanced at Yu Hanjiang. “Xiao Lou has a fiancée?!”
His eyes were very complicated, as if saying, ‘He has a fiancée. Aren’t you f*king holding onto him?’
Yu Hanjiang ignored his brother’s eyes and calmly asked, “What type of person is Miss Lin?”
Qu Wanyue found that he didn’t mind and answered honestly, “Lin Yan is one of the most talented students I have taught. She has been learning ballet since primary school and her figure is good. She has a gentle and generous personality. Her father is a three star general in the military and her mother is the dean of the Imperial Central Academy of Sciences. His Majesty probably chose her as the crown prince’s fiancée due to her strong family background.”
Yu Hanjiang looked at Xiao Lou. “It does sound like a good match.”
Xiao Lou touched his nose. “But I don’t know her.”
Qu Wanyue was doubtful. “Yet in my impression, Lin Yan really seems to like the crown prince and often talks about how good you are. Professor Xiao, are you sure you don’t know her?”
Xiao Lou shook his head. “I’ve never met her before.”
Qu Wanyue was silent for a moment. “Does Miss Lin know the clone?”
Xiao Lou only remembered his father mentioning to him that he had a fiancée and the marriage was decided by his mother. As for what the girl looked like, Xiao Lou really had never seen her before.
Yu Hanjiang also perceived this wasn’t quite right. “Everyone, we will split up first. Be careful and leave the number of your communicators. Teacher Qu, see if you can find Miss Lin again and inform us of any clues.”
Qu Wanyue answered, “I understand.”
They saved each other’s numbers.
After coming out of the peach blossom spring, Yu Hanjiang used the Thumbelina card in Lu Jiuchuan’s hand to shrink Xiao Lou. He placed Xiao Lou in his pocket according to Xiao Lou’s suggestion. At the same time, they connected to each other using Heart has a Tacit Exchange of Romantic Feelings.
Yu Hanjiang drove back to the palace.
Xiao Lou inevitably felt nervous as they approached the gate of the palace. What if all card effects were automatically invalidated the moment they entered the palace? Wouldn’t he become bigger as soon as they went through the gate?
Yu Hanjiang calmly passed the inspection of the guards and walked through the palace gates.
Fortunately, Xiao Lou’s worries didn’t happen and he still stayed small in Yu Hanjiang’s pocket.
Xiao Lou sighed with relief and heard Yu Hanjiang’s voice in his mind. “You guessed correctly. As long as the card is used outside the palace, the effect will still be in place after entering the palace. However, we can’t activate cards inside the palace. It will be difficult if we encounter unexpected situations.”
All instant use cards were disabled within the palace. The only ones that could be used were the cards where the ‘effect duration is relatively long’. For example, Thumbelina’s transformation, as well as Heart has a Tacit Exchange of Romantic Feelings both lasted for 24 hours. They were activated outside the palace and still worked after entering the palace.
Yu Hanjiang returned to the Twin Palaces with the small Xiao Lou. Then he lifted the card’s transformation effect and sent a message to the team members. “I have tested it with Xiao Lou. If a card is used outside the palace, the effect is still valid after entering the palace.”
In this way, Qu Wanyue could use the Chameleon card to sneak into the palace in advance on the day of the birthday banquet.
That night, Yu Hanjiang slept in Xiao Lou’s palace.
There were no guest rooms so he could only sleep in the same bed as Xiao Lou.
As early as 8 of Hearts, they had been husband and wife and shared the same bed every night. However, they hadn’t exchanged feelings at the time so they were embarrassed to touch each other. Every night, the two of them would lie on their backs on the bed and sleep in this position, not touching each other. It was like they were corpses lying next to each other.
Now it was different. They had confessed to each other and were sleeping on the same bed. Both of them were energetic adults. In case it was difficult to control themselves…
The more Xiao Lou thought about it, the hotter his face became. He took a shower, went to the bed and pretended to be asleep.
Yu Hanjiang took a shower in the bathroom.
He came out and found that Xiao Lou had his back to the bathroom, occupying only a quarter of the bed and freeing up a large space for Yu Hanjiang. Yu Hanjiang lifted the quilt and got in. He stretched out his long arms and gently embraced Xiao Lou from behind.
His low voice entered Xiao Lou’s ears. “You are sleeping on the edge of the bed. Aren’t you afraid of falling?”
Xiao Lou’s ears were hot while he moved closer to Yu Hanjiang. Yu Hanjiang held him from behind and both of them had the same shower gel scent. Xiao Lou thought to himself, ‘We seem more like a couple than in 8 of Hearts?’ He was nestled in Yu Hanjiang’s arms, the man’s strong chest pressed against his back. The heat that passed over made his heart beat faster.
As he was thinking about this, low laughter entered his ears. “Yes, since we really are a couple.”
Xiao Lou, “……”
He forgot about Heart has a Tacit Exchange of Romantic Feelings.
Anything he thought could be passed onto Yu Hanjiang’s mind.
Xiao Lou’s face turned red. He didn’t dare to think about anything and quickly closed his eyes.
Yu Hanjiang simply turned him over and pressed him against the bed, deep eyes staring at him. “Xiao Lou, we have experienced so many secret rooms together. Do you know which one I liked best?”
Xiao Lou was embarrassed to answer but an answer appeared in his mind.
8 of Hearts.
Yu Hanjiang placed his lips close to Xiao Lou’s ears and emphasized every word, “I also like 8 of Hearts most—it is because in that world, we were married for the first time and have memories of the bridal chamber.”
Xiao Lou, “……”
He always felt a bit ashamed due to Heart has a Tacit Exchange of Romantic Feelings. He couldn’t hide anything in his mind so he simply reached out and hugged the man pressing against him. “I think you already know but in fact, I already liked you at that time.”
Yu Hanjiang’s voice was gentle. “Me too.”
The kiss came and he was too late to prevent it. The moment his lips were pried open, Xiao Lou’s mind became blank. He didn’t know when, but Yu Hanjiang’s hands entered his loose pajamas and removed his clothes.
It was the first time Xiao Lou had been naked with someone.
He was hugged by Yu Hanjiang while naked and Xiao Lou’s entire body looked like a cooked shrimp. He lowered his eyes in embarrassment while Yu Hanjiang’s scorching kiss was printed on his lips, gradually going down…
Xiao Lou was so nervous that his entire body stiffened. He felt it was a bit sudden.
An ambiguous sound filled the bedroom. Xiao Lou closed his eyes and grasped the sheet with his hands.
Even so, Yu Hanjiang didn’t do it to the end. He knew that the current environment wasn’t suitable for placing a burden on Xiao Lou’s body. Yu Hanjiang calmly stepped on the brakes and took a deep breath to stabilize his fierce heartbeat, his voice low and hoarse. “Don’t worry, I have a sense of measure.” After a pause, he explained, “I left some marks on you to distinguish you from the clone.”
Xiao Lou was flushed. “You are using your official authority for private interests.”
Yu Hanjiang readily admitted it. “Yes. In fact, I just want to stamp marks on you and prove that you’re mine.”
Xiao Lou, “……”
Proof with ‘full body stamps’?
In fact, Xiao Lou knew why Yu Hanjiang did this. He had a fiancée and Yu Hanjiang wasn’t happy, so he left a kiss mark.
Don’t look at this man’s usual cold appearance. His sense of possessiveness was very strong.
Still, Xiao Lou could understand. If Yu Hanjiang was the one who had a fiancée then he definitely wouldn’t be happy.
In order to avoid the situation going out of control, Xiao Lou had to hug Yu Hanjiang and reassure him. “My fiancée is just a set up and I’m not familiar with her, let alone going to marry her. If the emperor forces me to marry her, I will confess to her that I like you.”
Yu Hanjiang was satisfied with this and leaned over to kiss Xiao Lou. Then he turned over and lay beside Xiao Lou, hugging him tightly. “Go to sleep.”
Xiao Lou closed his eyes with peace of mind.
Proofreader: Fictional Reality & Paranoid Kitten