Finally, the five of them ended their childish water fight and crawled up from the lake, completely soaked.
The only blanket on the aircraft was finally put to use as they took turns using it to soak up the water from their bodies.
They were all quite energetic in the water, but now all they wanted to do after coming out of the lake was to find a place to lie down. This was another effect of the lake water, the boys wouldn’t be able to recover their strength until several hours later.
“Ohhh, it’s so comfortable.” Simon wrapped himself in the blanket, barely managing to cover his body at all. “Jade Planet is a pretty nice spot.”
“This nice spot was found by me.” Linus entered the aircraft first. “The Southern region of the Jade Planet is still in the middle of war, and the Northern regions are too busy dealing with the ecological effect of their industrial evolution. Only this spot is quiet, and doesn’t have any people from other planets.”
Or else Linus would have never allowed everyone to get in the water all at once, as the relaxing effects of the lake would make them dangerously vulnerable.
“Yeah.” Jiyu did his best to help Linus. “What he said.”
Astra felt way better after the dip in the lake, much more clear-minded than he had been earlier. He peered curiously at Jiyu’s computing device as it beeped with oncoming notifications. “Who’s sending you so many messages?”
Jiyu froze, and smiled awkwardly. Before he could reply, Astra jokingly asked, “Did you get a girlfriend without telling us?”
This was so awkward. “These are all replies from kind starnet users who took an interest in my question.”
“What question? Question about not being able to find a girlfriend?” Astra couldn’t help himself.
If he actually showed the question to Astra, it would probably be the other’s turn to be awkward. But Jiyu was very kind. Plus, he was too embarrassed to show them the questions he had posted in a panic.
It’ll be too awkward, Jiyu thought. A man with another man, their spiritual energies actually connected.
Even Simon was tactfully quiet as he refrained from bringing up what had happened out of fear of adding salt to their injury.
After all, connecting spiritual energy with another man…
Sigh. He felt bad for them.
Wen and Astra, the subjects of Jiyu’s sympathy, didn’t notice their friends’ careful attitudes at all. The feeling of not having spiritual energy at his command made Wen feel very uncomfortable. He steadied his emotions and asked, “Did you guys open the detection device?”
“Yep.” Linus looked at the monitor. “No sign of anyone within a thousand meter radius.”
Hopefully it stays this peaceful until our spiritual energies recover, Wen thought as his hand curled into a fist.
There was nothing he couldn’t do with his powerful spiritual energy, so he was very dependent on it. Now that it was temporarily gone, the sense of unease he felt was way stronger than the discomfort felt by Jiyu and the rest of the team.
Astra wrapped a hand around Wen’s fist.
Wen looked at Astra in surprise.
“Relax.” Astra slowly opened Wen’s tight grip and rubbed a thumb over the middle of his palm, where Wen’s nails had left crescent indents in the skin from where he had dug them in with too much force. “It’s alright. Everyone is here, and we still have weapons.”
“You’re right.” Wen’s tense stance relaxed a bit as he nodded. Even without spiritual energy, they were still perfectly healthy and fit. “What you said is right.”
After all, Wen just couldn’t let himself be less in control than a teenager.
Astra’s answering smile was bright and infectious.
Simon looked at Wen, and then at Astra, and finally looked at their intertwined hands.
Simon sunk into a rare moment of silence.
So this was the side effect of same-sex spiritual energy connections? Why did it look so weird?
Mercy Lake’s water was only effective for three to five hours. After recovering their strength, the five of them closed the detection device and started the aircraft.
Just as they got back into space, Simon’s computing device suddenly lit up. Supervisor Marten had replied. He stood in his office with a very serious expression on his face, an old man beside him. It was the same person as the elder that had told them about forming teams during their entrance tests.
“Where are you guys?” The supervisor spoke. “You used the spacetime warp device.”
He didn’t think that a level D mission warranted the use of a last resort tactic.
Simon gave Wen and Astra an awkward glance and whispered, “Something came up, we had to take a detour to the Jade Planet.”
The Jade Planet was too far from Ganymede. The two-day mission would probably wind up taking an entire week to finish.
“Tell me everything.” The supervisor’s expression was one of disbelief. Why was it always them? “Don’t skip over a single detail.”
Simon stuttered, unsure of how to describe it all. In the end, it was Jiyu who put him out of his misery by taking over and relaying their situation in three or so sentences.
Who would’ve known that after Jiyu had finished explaining, Professor Marten and the elder’s expressions would turn so serious. “How are the two of them now?!”
Astra and Wen had to make their appearance and gave the two adults a military salute. “We’re all good now, there was nothing wrong to begin with.”
“Use the medical station on the aircraft and do a full-body check-up.” The supervisor’s tone held no room for opposition. “I need to see those check-up results for myself.”
It was only then that they all remembered the aircraft’s medical station. They were too panicked back then, so they had chosen the quickest way to solve their problem.
They opened up the medical station. The entire group waited nervously for the results. When the green light appeared, signalling that there were no problems found, everyone including the supervisor and the elder breathed a sigh of relief.
A spiritual energy connection was something very rare and important. Spiritual energy itself was something very intimate, it was separate from everyone else’s. No one knew what would happen to them if they mixed their spiritual energy with another’s. The supervisor was very shocked and curious about this result, but mostly he was glad that the boys were alright.
Seeing the boys’ awkward expressions, Professor Marten tried his best to comfort them, “Spiritual energy connections aren’t necessarily a bad thing. At least it proves that both of you are very talented. You don’t need to feel troubled or embarrassed for it. I’ll have you know, under conditions of friendship and mutual trust, as long as they were sure that it would be safe, there are actually a lot of people who are interested in trying to form a connection with the same gender.”
Astra acted as if he was comforted. “Really?”
Wen was already very calm. He only realized after he’d seen Astra’s relieved expression that the boy who had appeared completely unfazed was actually just very good at hiding his feelings of awkwardness.
Wen was no longer young. He was already thirty eight years old, he had lived for a long time. He actually felt that he had taken advantage of the innocent boy in front of him.
Wen guiltily lowered his head, pretending he didn’t see the expression of relief on Astra’s face.
Of course, despite what Wen was thinking, Astra was having the time of his life acting the role of a straight, naive boy.
Supervisor Marten nodded. “Of course, but according to your team’s report, Wen’s spiritual energy materialized today, and slipped out of control?”
“Yes.” Wen’s expression was the perfect image of confusion. “I’m still wondering why it suddenly started to rampage.”
The supervisor and the elder fell silent for a moment. Then the elder spoke up, “You’ve just left the Jade Planet?”
The team answered yes.
The elder continued, “I will give you the coordinates of a planet. Planet Weiss is a famous entertainment planet, and it’s not far from where you are. The child from the Bai family is currently holding a concert there.”
“Then you will need to give them a ticket as well.” The supervisor smiled. “Miss Bai’s singing incorporates spiritual energy that is capable of healing and guiding other people’s spiritual energies. A ticket to her concert is very hard to come by.”
Usually, the healing and stabilizing ability of a female’s spiritual energy was only effective on themselves, but Bai Tong was an exception, her spiritual energy could heal and stabilize the spiritual energy of other people.
“Of course,” the elder laughed, “I’ll ask her to meet you guys backstage. Wen, my boy, you should really take advantage of the opportunity.”
Wen smiled politely. “Thank you very much. I certainly will.”
After their conversation finished, a set of tickets was already sent to their computing devices.
They turned their aircraft around.
“Wow, we’re going to Weiss.”
A famous entertainment planet. This mission was definitely worth it. They were supposed to be heading to Ganymede now, but before they reached their target, they had the chance to stop by the Jade planet and Planet Weiss.
Just as the elder had told them, Planet Weiss was indeed very close.
The entertainment planet was a world apart from their previous landing site. The team underwent a complete security check at the entrance to the planet, and left their vehicle there to charge as they stepped into a self-driving hovercar. They set the destination as the location of Bai Tong’s concert, and then leaned back to admire the view outside the window.
Different from all the planets they’d been to before, only Planet Weiss’s scenery had all the elements of a high tech future envisioned by Astra back then, before he had transmigrated.
Towers stretched impossibly high into the sky, hovercars zipping through the strange-looking towers in complicated routes. The road below was lined with vibrant, flowering trees that looked like cherry blossoms, creating an ocean of blush-pink petals that drifted in the wind.
“It’s so different from the Jade Planet,” Astra commented. Nonetheless, both these planets were beautiful in their own way.
Bai Tong was the most celebrated singer among all the galaxies. At the same time, she was a member of the male lead’s harem. The author actually liked this character a lot — not only did the author give this character the face of an angel, Bai Tong also possessed a beautiful voice unlike any other in the world.
At the entrance of the concert, the largest stage on Weiss displayed a poster of Bai Tong on the giant screens just outside the concert hall.
The woman on the screen was smiling gently, with a hint of shyness. Her eyes were bright like stars, and her black hair was thrown over her shoulder casually, falling down her back in a smooth cascade. Several strands of her bangs curled at the side of her face, making her seem delicate and cute.
Astra paused as he looked at the smiling girl, the rest of the team looked over as well. She was really a beauty, a real real beauty.
Bai Tong’s popularity was even more explosive than what these bunch of straight guys had imagined. They had nowhere else to go, so they decided to line up early. But when they got there, there was already a large crowd of people waiting at the doors.
A staff member walked up and down the lines. She paused when she saw the group of boys, before running over. “Hello, may I see your tickets please?”
Astra and the team showed their tickets.
“This way please, your tickets are all VIP, so you can enter the concert hall first, from another entrance.”
Then, under the envious gazes of the other concert-goers, they followed the staff and entered through a side door. Their seats were at the very front, but the concert didn’t start yet. “Please follow me.”
The staff member smiled. “Miss Bai told me to take you backstage to meet her.”
They were going to meet the beauty?
The little boys hurriedly smoothed their clothes and patted at their hair. Linus took note of the path to the backstage resting areas and strode forward, passing through Astra and Wen who were walking side by side.
“How long will Miss Bai stay on Weiss?”
No one knew what Miss Bai had told the staff, but the staff member’s attitude was very warm. They were even willing to answer such an intimate question. “Tomorrow morning, she will be boarding an aircraft going to the next planet.”
Being a singer is a very tiring occupation, Linus thought. Mechanical engineering and playing on the starnet was definitely way better.
They didn’t get to chat for long before they reached their destination. The staff member knocked on the door, and a melodious voice called from within the room, “Come in, please.”
Astra’s footsteps halted suddenly as he displayed a weirded-out expression.
—Can someone please explain why this voice… sounded like a drag queen’s falsetto?
T/N: Hey guys, obviously I’m not a part of the drag scene, so I really don’t know what you’re supposed to call it. If you have a better term than ‘fake voice’, by all means please tell me in the comments so I can change it.