Chapter 001: Emperor Star
Towering tall buildings, all kinds of flying vehicles shuttled back and forth.
The flow of people at all exits of the Starship Berth Station* was very large. After all, this was the Emperor Star, the center of the entire empire.
*(T/N: The raw is ‘停泊港’. I can’t think of any other words. So, I’ll go with ‘the Starship Berth Station’ for now and will edit it later. If you have better suggestions, please feel free to teach me!)
There were many Berth Station exits*, and there were the above ground and underground transportation as well as air transportation and they were all very convenient.
*(T/N: Another one 停泊港出口)
Shen Ruo pulled the suitcase and walked out from one of the exits. Compared to most of the people walking around in a hurry, his clothes looked a bit old, but they were washed very clean.
There were many people who came to Emperor Star, from all planets, rich and poor. So, Shen Ruo’s clothes were a little bit old, but he was not alone.
Amidst the crowd, Shen Ruo, who was thin and unremarkable, was inconspicuous.
He walked forward. His long bangs covered his eyes. He lowered his head and looked nowhere. His lips were slightly pursed. At first glance, he was the type who was not very talkative. He just walked forward with gentle steps.
From head to toe, Shen Ruo gave people a quiet and introverted feeling, and his slightly pale face made him look gloomy and taciturn.
A robot was patrolling and inspecting, and the blue light emitted from its mechanical eyes searched for all possible dangers.
After walking out of the transparent passage, Shen Ruo stopped on the side of the road.
Looking up at a high place, the sun was a little dazzling, Shen Ruo put one hand over his eyes to block the sunlight.
The finger joints were long and beautiful, and the nails were cut very neatly.
The buildings of the Emperor Star were very tall and beautiful.
The styles of the flying vehicles that flew past were very new. Of course, they were not without the old ones. It was just that even the old ones were uncommon to Shen Ruo.
The Colossal star had been in decline for a long time.
A middle-aged man who hurriedly ran out of the aisle while pulling his suitcase called Shen Ruo.
“Second Uncle.” Shen Ruo said, his voice was not loud.
“Let’s go, Second Uncle bought the ticket.”
Shen Ping said to Shen Ruo with a smile, and the wrinkles in the corners of his eyes were obvious. Even with a smile, he still looked a little ill at ease, especially when looking at Shen Ruo.
After hesitating, Shen Ping didn’t say anything in the end, and took Shen Ruo to find the platform, ready to go to the Chu family’s house.
The hovertrain train runs every three minutes, and they just caught up when they arrived.
There were a lot of people. The two of them took their suitcases and walked to the last car before finding a seat.
The Emperor Star was very large, twice the size of the Colossal Star, and the land area was naturally larger than that of the Colossal Star.
Looking at the various tall buildings that flashed outside the window, Shen Ruo thought of the information about the Emperor Star that he had read on his Light Brain.
Of course, the Emperor Star was not all prosperous everywhere, there were also countryside and small towns. They came to the Imperial Capital on the Emperor Star. Here, the Imperial Capital was the center of the center.
It took more than three hours to take a public hovertrain from the port of the Imperial Capital to the mansion of the Duke of Chu.
The train drove very steadily without any turbulence. The discomfort Shen Ruo experienced when he finally arrived, which was caused by the starship leaping space nodes, had gradually disappeared and his pale complexion improved.
“Xiao Ruo, would you like some fruit?”
Shen Ping, sitting in the seat opposite to him, asked while taking out a bag of washed fruit from the suitcase. It was brought from home, so there was no need to spend money on the way.
“No, Second Uncle, my stomach feels uncomfortable and I don’t feel like eating.”
Shen Ruo shook his head. He got up, took the cups of the two, and he went to the place to get the water.
Looking at his back, Shen Ping sighed.
After Shen Ruo returned from getting the water, Shen Ping’s face was smiling again, and the wrinkles were still obvious.
It was early summer, and they had been on the transit starship for two days. The direct starship to Emperor Star was more expensive, so it was cheaper that way.
The day before coming here, the Shen family was harvesting red rice on their farm at Colossal Star. Red rice was also known as blood rice, blood paddy.
There were very few workers, and all the people of the Shen family needed to be busy, and Shen Ping was the same. Above all, him being the main labor force in the family, he had to worry about many tasks.
Shen Ruo used to help them before, but this year, his second uncle and his family stopped him and didn’t let him work.
The train moved forward, and people kept getting on and off at the station.
Shen Ping leaned on the back of the seat. He rushed all the way and had done a lot of work before he came. He didn’t sleep well on the starship. Now he was dead tired, and his eyes were gradually unable to open.
Shen Ruo watched him fall asleep, his already light movements and actions were even lighter, and he put down the cup cautiously after drinking.
With one hand on the small table in front of him, Shen Ruo propped his chin and looked outside quietly.
There were too many differences between Emperor Star and Colossal Star.
The strange planet and the strange city made Shen Ruo feel the confusion and helplessness in his heart again.
The outside world was prosperous and lively, but when he first arrived, he only felt uneasy.
Will the Chu family accept him?
The Duke mansion was very large, and it was an enormous manor-style mansion.
In the lobby on the first floor of the main building, Shen Ruo, who had just walked in, heard the sound of people walking down the stairs, and the sound was getting closer and closer to the first floor.
Shen Ruo subconsciously looked up when he heard the servants walking up the stairs and the steward who brought them in called the arriving party that way.
His gaze ran into the eyes of the young man with a gentle smile, and he was taken aback for a moment.
He recovered very soon. Shen Ruo lowered his head slightly, fearing that he would lose his courtesy, and besides, he was also afraid of being laughed at. He had looked at a man in a daze.
Seeing the old clothes on his body, he pursed his lips, and suddenly felt a sense of inferiority. He felt that he was incompatible with the Duke’s Mansion. This feeling was abrupt, but he probably knew where it came from.
Some people were naturally attractive, and they were the bright spot of focus. Chu Xiao was like that.
He was tall and had long legs, a slender but sturdy body with excellent proportions, and a neat black suit fitted him perfectly.
With a gentle smile on his handsome face, after seeing Shen Ruo, Chu Xiao said, “Are you Shen Ruo?”
The voice was slightly low, with irresistible magnetism.
Whether it was Chu Xiao, or the steward and the uncle, everyone’s gaze was focused on Shen Ruo at this time. He was a little uncomfortable. He looked at Chu Xiao, there was nervousness in his eyes. He whispered “Yes”, and then lowered his eyes again after speaking.
“I’m Chu Xiao.”
As he said, Chu Xiao made a gesture of please. When this action was made by him, it was indescribably pleasing to the eye. He smiled very softly at Shen Ruo. He did not look down on Shen Rou no matter what the other party’s status or the clothes were.
The elder of Chu family had also arrived. It was Chu Xiao’s grandmother, a kind-hearted old woman.
Seeing the badge that Shen Ruo took out, the Old Lady Chu seemed to recall the old memories in her eyes, she burst into tears, and finally laughed again. Smiling at Shen Ruo, she asked him to put the thing away.
This was given to Shen Ruo by the old Duke Chu eight years ago. From that time on, the little Shen Ruo knew that he had a marriage contract. The other party was the same age as him, but was only two months younger.
At the beginning, Shen Ruo didn’t understand what this meant, so Old Duke Chu touched his head and told him about Chu Xiao.
Chu Xiao was often beaten by the Old Duke Chu. But he would make trouble again after the beating. He was not honest at all. He took the eight-year-old Chu Xiao to operate a mecha but Chu Xiao didn’t listen to him. The two finally got into a dispute and they both tried to grab control of the mecha. In the end, the mecha crashed but luckily they both jumped out.
Grandpa Chu also said that when Shen Rou met Chu Xiao in the future, be remember to indulge and give in to Chu Xiao because he was the young master who eats soft food, but refuses hard food*, and he was too difficult to discipline. However, if Chu Xiao really annoyed or made Shen Ruo angry, he would teach that little bastard a lesson on behalf of Xiao Ruo.
*(T/N: 吃软不吃硬 - literally, eats soft food, but refuses hard food’ which means ‘amenable to coaxing but not coercion’ (from Pleco))
In the end, the body of Old Duke Chu was picked up by the Chu family from Colossal Star, and Shen Ruo never saw the grandfather who treated him very well.
Holding the badge in the palm of his hand, Shen Ruo glanced at Chu Xiao.
Chu Xiao looked very gentle. In this very short time, Chu Xiao gave Shen Ruo an impression of a gentle, elegant and cultured person with a good upbringing.
Yes, Grandpa Chu told him about Chu Xiao that time, but it was Chu Xiao when he was a child, and now that he grew up, people would change.
Just like him, he promised Grandpa Chu when he was a child, but when he grew up, he didn’t want to come to the Emperor Star, because the Chu family had never contacted them all these years, and he was not even sure whether the Chu family knew that Grandpa Chu had arranged marriage between him and Chu Xiao.
But in the end, he still came with his second uncle, and the Chu family had not embarrassed them for now.
Shen Ruo was quiet, and would answer in a low voice when an elder asked. He wasn’t the kind who didn’t dare to speak at all. It was just that there were few words when he first met strangers.
The Old Lady Chu smiled and chatted with him. Chu Xiao smiled softly on the side, took the conversation from time to time, and said a few words with Shen Ruo, and talked about taking Shen Rou around the Duke’s Mansion.
Shen Ruo was here, and they had just arrived at the Duke’s Mansion, so Shen Ping did not mention the marriage contract.
It was almost time for dinner, and Chu Xiao and the Old Lady Chu invited Shen Ruo and Shen Ping to dinner. There were no other people, and the atmosphere of the four was quite pleasant.
After washing his hands, and when he arrived at the dining room, Chu Xiao walked quickly to the table and pulled out the chair for the Old Lady Chu.
After she sat down, Shen Ruo was about to sit down, but a big hand stretched out next to him and gently stopped him.
With a smile and a magnetic voice which was very pleasant to the ear, Chu Xiao was a true gentleman, and he pulled the chair out for Shen Ruo.
The Old Lady Chu looked surprised, but didn’t say anything.
Second Uncle, Shen Ping, pulled the chair by himself. He was a man, not a woman or a YaRen*, and he didn’t need such a caring gentleman to take care of him.
*(T/N: The raw is 亚人. If it is translated literally, it would be ‘Sub-human’ or ‘Sub-man’. But I don’t want to use that and there have been words like ‘Ger’ which is Pinyin used in other translations, so I’m thinking about using its Pinyin ‘YaRen’. Of course, there should be other suitable words or translation for it. It’s just that I rarely read translations in the Interstellar genre, so I really don’t know much of the terms. Well, if you know the correct or suitable word, please never hesitate to teach me!)
The four were seated, and soon the servants came and served the dishes.
The dining room was brightly lit, and the servants serving the dishes wore uniforms and bow ties. They were decent and clean. Shen Ruo picked up the knife and fork. His clothes* were indeed clean and neat but that was all, because they were obviously old.
*(T/N: The raw is ‘衣袖’ which is ‘the sleeve/ sleeves’.)
Everything around was very glamorous, except for him, dull and muddy.
Moreover, Chu Xiao sat beside him.
On the way here, Shen Rou had seen enough of the well-dressed people, but the one in front of him was someone who might marry him, even though they had never met each other before.
Chu Xiao was the kind of person who could be noticed at a glance in the crowd. He had a distinguished family and he himself was a well-educated noble young master.
So, since at the first glance when he saw Chu Xiao and was surprised by his appearance, Shen Ruo didn’t realize that there was a certain kind of cowardice in his heart subconsciously, and he always felt that when standing in front of Chu Xiao, he was very ordinary.
Even if Chu Xiao was approachable, Shen Ruo was still so uncomfortable that he didn’t know how to put his hands and feet, because the two met for the first time, there was already a gap between them.
When talking in the living room, he tried his best to make himself behave more naturally, and now was the same. But he did not know that that kind of cautiousness still fell into Chu Xiao’s eyes. Shen Rou’s movements were very light, and he was very careful not to let the knife and fork makes any noise.
“Do you want to use chopsticks?”
Chu Xiao asked Shen Ruo, turning his head to the side. After speaking, seeing Shen Ruo’s hesitant expression, he smiled and asked the servant to bring four pairs of chopsticks over.
“Xiao Ruo, don’t be restrained. Make yourself at home. We also often use chopsticks.”
Seeing that Chu Xiao said this, the Old Lady Chu put down the knife and fork in her hand and took the lead in using chopsticks, very genial.
Chu Xiao also picked up the chopsticks and smiled at Shen Ruo. Although he didn’t say a word, the chopsticks in his hand were raised slightly, obviously to indicate Shen Ruo.
Putting down the poorly used knife and fork in his hand, Shen Ruo’s eyes were obviously bent and he smiled at Chu Xiao thankfully.
Shen Ruo turned his head to eat seriously and didn’t see that, when Chu Xiao next to him saw the smile, he was slightly surprised and curious. He seemed to be very interested in Shen Ruo, but he immediately regained his gentle appearance.