Book 4, Chapter 2 - Unstoppable Maturity

Raffles and I went quiet.

“I know what we can give him.” Raffles hurriedly got up and went into his room. When he came out, he was holding a ring box. He placed it in front of me and smiled. “This.”

I picked up the box and opened it. It was the third ring! The ring that Raffles had said he’d made for Harry.

Raffles sat down again and looked over the ring seriously, like he was examining a piece of new equipment he’d made. “I made some improvements to the design. This ring is relatively independent, it’s different from ours. It won’t sense our emotions nor will it change color. It uses an individual chip. But it can detect our rings over a greater distance, and it can also send location  coordinates.” This design was very well-suited to the conditions of this world.

I smiled. “Alright, let’s give this to him then. Oh yeah, let’s prepare a birthday party for him at our place. Harry will definitely be thrilled.” I looked at Raffles happily.

Raffles avoided my eyes, looking down bashfully. “You can decide. No one has ever properly celebrated Harry’s birthday for him before. If you celebrate his birthday for him, he… will definitely be very happy.”

“I’ll lure him out somehow tomorrow. You make the preparations with Arsenal and the rest. Oh yeah, and invite Brother Qian Li too. It'll be his first time attending a party.”

“Mm.” Raffles hung his head low.

I pushed the ring box towards him. “When it’s time, you can give him the ring.”

“Huh?” Raffles abruptly lifted his head, his expression vaguely. embarrassed.

I gave him a confused look. “What’s wrong?”

Raffles glanced at the ring box and said, “This… Won’t it be inappropriate? Although this is a piece of equipment I made, it’s still a ring after all… If I give it to Harry… it’ll look weird. You give it to him.” He then pushed the ring box to me.

I thought for a while; his words did make sense. A ring held a special meaning by itself, regardless of its functions. It would be somewhat strange if Raffles was the one who gave it to him.

I picked up the ring box and smiled. “I was thinking if we should invite Harry to stay with us.”

Raffles looked up at me at once. I sighed emotionally. “Sometimes when I see Harry alone, I feel sad. He looks pitiful. He helped you and I both, but in the end… he is all alone…” Thinking of this, I felt uneasy. 

“Raffles, what do you think?” I looked at Raffles but he averted his eyes at once.  “I… have no comment. My room is quite big, it can fit the two of us.” He looked at me with a smile. “It has always been the three of us together, but recently he has been avoiding me. I … feel weird too. But… it’s better to see what he thinks first.”

Yes, we had to respect Harry’s decision. We might think this would be good for him, but in the end he might feel even lonelier if he stayed with us.

It was a pity that we couldn’t bring him and Sis Ming You together. Like the saying went, do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you.

“Let’s prepare for his birthday first. I’ll call Harry out.” Placing the ring box back onto the table, I unpinned my apple badge and put it on top of the ring box. The badge hovered in the air as I commanded, “Connect Harry.”

The badge released a ray of light at once, then Harry’s face appeared. “Why aren’t you sleeping yet?” Harry smiled maliciously at me. “Raffles isn’t good at telling bedtime stories, is he?"

He was behaving light-heartedly again, but I paid it no mind and faced him seriously. “We need to go to Raffles City tomorrow to exchange a few books.”

“Alright.” He tossed his fringe back, before he glanced at me and raised his eyebrows. “The two of us going on our own… won’t Raffles be jealous?”

“Don’t say things like that, Harry. You’re the one who said you wanted us to be like before but you didn’t carry out your promise.” I looked at him solemnly. We can’t let him know that we were throwing him a birthday party.

Harry’s expression stiffened and he looked away awkwardly. In fact, I knew that awkward feeling of hanging out with a couple. Like how after Sis Cannon had gotten together with Khai, I’d felt like a third wheel around them.

But Raffles and I weren’t considered as a true couple. We… should be at the stage where I was still working hard to look for the feeling of love.

Besides the fact that I was staying with Raffles, everything else had been around the same as before.

Raffles seemed to be working hard to maintain the current status quo too, so that I would still feel as natural and comfortable around him as before.

A good relationship began with feeling natural and comfortable with each other.

“See you tomorrow at Snowstorm. Don’t oversleep. We have to go early and come back early,” I commanded.

Harry looked bothered as he combed his short brown hair with his fingers. He glanced at me with anticipation in his amber eyes. “Do you know tomorrow’s date?”

“Tomorrow?” I glanced at Raffles. Harry cares about his birthday. Raffles sniggered by the side as I turned back to face Harry. “It’s the first of June tomorrow. Why?”

Disappointment flashed through Harry’s eyes as he lowered his face and smiled faintly. “Nothing.” His faint smile was a little bitter. 

“Alright, see you tomorrow.” I behaved like an emotionless leader.

I cut off the communication and let out a breath of relief. “Phew. That was close!” I chuckled, still excited. “When Harry realizes what we’re preparing for him, he’ll be so surprised!” I couldn’t wait to see his surprised face. He would definitely stand frozen in disbelief.

Then, he’d look at me with grateful eyes. Hahaha.

Raffles looked at me and smiled. “Yes, he will definitely be thrilled,” he said gently. Then, his gaze on my face deepened. My heart started racing and I lowered my face, tightly gripping the cup in my hand with the warm white milk that Raffles had made for me.

Recently… I’ve been maturing really quickly…

Due to malnutrition, I hadn’t been able to develop. But now that I could maintain sufficient nutrients intake, I’d begun to grow. If this continued, I might not be able to  keep using my male disguise very soon. It was already difficult now. During field missions, I would feel stuffy because of the pressure on my chest.

Gently but hesitantly, Raffles moved his cup closer to mine. His cup hit mine softly, the back of his hand resting against mine. His cool skin began to heat up and I could even feel his pulse under his skin. He lowered his face too; his hair hanging by the side of his ears had grown longer and now covered his red ears.

*Lub-dub. Lub-dub.* My heart was beating so fast that I felt suffocated even without tightly wrapping my chest. I felt conscious of my chest rising under my shirt, revealing my feminine body.

I didn’t know what to say. “Your… hair seems to be longer.”

“Is- is it… Then, let me trim it.”

“No.” I immediately looked at him and he looked at me too. His grayish blue eyes were glistening. I bit my lower lip as I blushed. “You… long hair is nice. I like guys with long hair…” I said and lowered my head. His hand that was holding his cup gripped tighter.

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