With this explosive news suddenly being revealed, the family naturally didn’t go to sleep anytime soon. There were so many things to speak about, so many questions to be asked, they naturally didn’t manage to go back to their own rooms and neither of them felt like they would be calm enough to sleep anyway.
It was only in the middle of the night when Hui Se finally got up and pulled her wife to her feet. "Alright, You’ve bothered her enough with all the questions for now. It’s pretty late. We should all go to sleep. Especially now, Yu Sui needs a lot of rest." She didn’t even wait for a response and just started to shoo her wife out of the room, making sure that nobody would be able to follow along to make trouble.
Chengse sighed and leaned against her husband, watching the two of them walk away. "I still can’t believe it. It feels like they only got married yesterday. I’m not sure if I should be happy or sad. It’s their first child so this is going to be another huge moment. But it really makes me feel like all my children are growing up." Speaking of that, she turned to Zhu Hong and Zhen Zhu and grasped the phoenix’s hand, patting it gently. "Zhen Zhu, you listen to me, there is no reason for you to get pregnant anytime soon. If Zhu Hong tries to talk you into it, you better tell him that he should wait a bit. It’s not good to be a parent too early. Just enjoy being an uncle to the little ones for now."
Zhen Zhu nodded, not bothering to explain that Zhu Hong actually said that they should wait himself. Right now, he was just too tired. Even though they had slept in this morning and then also gone to lie down after they returned to the valley, he was still tired again. In any case, it had been another long day today. He really wondered when they would get back to having normal-sized days.
Zhu Hong picked up on the fact that his husband wasn’t quite there with his thoughts and pulled him up to his chest while he still looked at her. "Don’t worry, we aren’t planning to have any anytime soon. For now, there are still a lot of things for Zhen Zhu to see. I’m not going to pressure him into anything. Now, it’s gotten pretty late, Hui Se was right with that. I’ll bring Zhen Zhu up and then we can talk about everything else tomorrow."
Chengse nodded and patted his shoulder, motioning up before she pushed her husband. "Go and show them which room you prepared for them."
Elder Bi nodded and then walked ahead but he still turned around with every two steps, looking at the young couple.
Zhu Hong raised his brows. "Is there a reason you are giving us these looks? If there’s something you want to say, you can say it already."
Elder Bi furrowed his brows and then gave a hum, finally only opening up after they had arrived in front of the room.
Zhu Hong already opened the door to let Zhen Zhu inside and then motioned for Elder Bi to go ahead. "Now, what is this about?"
Elder Bi still wouldn’t talk for a moment but then finally clicked his tongue. "It’s just that … don’t mind what Chengse said. If you want to have a child, it would be absolutely alright. You don’t need to wait. In any case, having a child is something really nice. And you would definitely make for a splendid father."
Zhu Hong couldn’t help but smile and his gaze softened. "I’m sure that I’m going to make a good father but … I don’t think it’s too late to do that in a few years. What I said to Chengse just now is true: There are still many things that need to be taken care of or that I at least want to take care of.
"When we have a child, things are going to be more difficult so we should use the time we have right now. If it happens in the meantime though, I definitely wouldn’t be unhappy. I’m ready whenever it happens. And I’m sure that Zhen Zhu will be as well. Now, it’s really time to sleep. You should go back as well."
Elder Bi nodded and then left but he still took another look at Zhu Hong. Most likely, to him, he still wasn’t done with the topic.
Zhu Hong shook his head and then went into the room, closing the door behind him. Looking up, his little spouse had already climbed into bed, not bothering to take off his robe or even cover himself with a blanket. He had just crawled right in and laid down where he was, probably falling asleep the second his head hit the pillow.
Zhu Hong laughed and then went over, pulling Zhen Zhu up a little and helping him out of the clothes. Then, he rolled him to the side, grabbing the blanket before he rolled Zhen Zhu back and covered him.
He looked at him for a moment and then leaned down, kissing his forehead. "Good night, my love." His eyes were shimmering with warmth and he really had trouble pulling back and taking off his own clothes before he lay down next to him.
He couldn’t help but look at Zhen Zhu some more after he did so. This life … it was exactly what he had wanted, what he had always imagined.
When he couldn’t form that bond, he had feared that he might never have that. But he had been wrong. Now, he was even more positive of that than he had been before. With time, everything was sorting itself out and as it turned out, the issue was him albeit not in the way he had originally assumed.
He shook his head at himself and then pulled Zhen Zhu into his arms, closing his eyes as well to fall asleep.
The next morning, the two of them woke up on time. At most, it was a little later than usual. Since they hadn’t really taken anything with them, they put on their clothes from yesterday again and then went down the stairs, finding Elder Bi and Chengse sitting exactly where they had been yesterday evening. Nothing could be seen of the others though.
"Good morning!" Zhu Hong greeted them and then led Zhen Zhu over, sitting down opposite them. For one, there were probably some more things that the two of them wanted to talk about and then, as he knew Chengse, she would probably want to make sure that Zhen Zhu and he ate before they left.
Indeed, at that time, Chengse already got up and gave the two of them a kind smile. "We’ve already eaten with the others before but you shouldn’t leave before you had a bite as well. I’ll go and get you something."
"Bring one of my cookie jars with you! Zhen Zhu likes them so much, he should treat himself to some."
Chengse didn’t even look back when her husband piped up and pretended that she hadn’t heard him. Even though Zhen Zhu hadn’t had any bad reaction the other time, she still didn’t want to take the risk.
Yesterday had reminded her of the fact that she really needed to be careful with the young phoenixes. Who knew when they would get pregnant? It was much better to be careful before something happened. And even though Zhu Hong had promised that they would wait, sometimes accidents would happen. Who knew when it would be time for them?
Elder Bi pursed his lips as if he could already imagine what was going to happen but for the time being, he didn’t care about it too much. Instead, he turned to the other two. "This morning, there was a delivery from the city."
Zhu Hong’s eyes widened and he was worrying about how to inconspicuously let him know that they definitely couldn’t talk about this right now. If only he had thought of telling Elder Bi yesterday after Zhen Zhu had already climbed in bed and they had still been outside talking. It would’ve been the perfect moment. But after all the excitement of the evening, he just hadn’t remembered that he still needed to inform him.
Elder Bi took one look at his expression and then glanced at Zhen Zhu and realized that there was probably something going on. He leaned back and gave a faint cough, putting on the expression of a dignified elder. "Well, thank you for taking care of that. I really wouldn’t have wanted to go over myself just to make the order."
Zhu Hong closed his eyes, really wanting to heave a sigh of relief but he held back at the last moment. Opening his eyes again, he gave him a thankful smile and nodded. "Of course. If you need anything else in the future, just say it." In any case, this wasn’t an empty promise. If Elder Bi did indeed need something, he also wouldn’t say no.
Next to him, Zhen Zhu was puzzled. "Did we go to order something?" He definitely couldn’t remember anything like that.
Zhu Hong turned to him, not too worried about that part. "Remember the first morning we spent in the city? You were still asleep so I told you that I would take care of getting us something to eat and do a few errands. You might have been too tired to really register what I said though."
Zhen Zhu thought for a bit and then nodded slowly. "I thought that you had been speaking to me but I wasn’t quite sure if I had dreamed that. Well, as long as you managed to do it. You could’ve told me that you needed to do something before though. You didn’t have to get up early to do these things."
Zhu Hong nodded and squeezed his hand. "I’ll remember it for the future. I just thought that — considering everything was new — you might want to spend as much time as you can exploring. I didn’t want to take even a minute of that away. In the future, it will be different and we’ll have more time for things so it will be different anyway."
Zhen Zhu nodded and then didn’t think about it any longer.
At that time, Chengse already returned with the food and the two of them started to eat. When they finished, they went home. For the next few days, they really didn’t want to do anything but just go about things slowly. Thus, they stayed inside for the rest of the day, talking about the things they had experienced and their plans for the future.
At that time, Zhen Zhu couldn’t help but shake his head at himself. "I forgot to ask Elder Bi about the other tribes."
Zhu Hong reached out and ruffled his hair for the first time in quite a while, really being unable to keep himself from doing so this time around. "Don’t worry about it. In any case, since we are in the valley now, it won’t be a problem to go over again later. Actually, how about doing that tomorrow? You can ask him all about it and I’ll go and take care of some other things. How does that sound?"
Zhen Zhu looked at his husband, not quite sure if he really liked the second part of that statement. But after thinking for a moment, it would probably be really boring for Zhu Hong to sit next to them while Elder Bi spoke about things that he already knew. Thus, he could only nod. "But you’ll come by in-between, right? You won’t just stay out the whole day, right?"
Zhu Hong chuckled at that. He leaned over and kissed his spouse’s lips, then shook his head. "Don’t worry about that! How about this? We can go over for breakfast, you tell Elder Bi what you want to know and if he agrees, I’ll go out on my own for a bit and then return for lunch. We can see how far you’ve gotten by then. Whether there is anything else you want to do there or if you want to go somewhere else and then we decide what to do in the afternoon. Does that sound good?"
Zhen Zhu nodded, feeling that just a few hours without his husband didn’t sound like they would be too much. In any case, while Elder Bi told him all these things, he would be pretty busy. Maybe he wouldn’t even have the time to miss his husband.
Having agreed on that, the two of them really just continued to rest at home and then went over the next morning, surprising Elder Bi and Chengse, as well as their two dragon children, who were both there.
Li Se raised his brows at them. "When you promised that you would come over regularly in the future, I thought you were just placating father. But look at this! It’s the next day and you’re already back here. Is this really going to become a regular thing now? That’s good to me!"
Zhu Hong smiled and first brought Zhen Zhu to sit down before he turned back to Li Se. "Well, I wouldn’t mind. Today, I won’t be staying long though. But if it’s okay, Zhen Zhu will."
Elder Bi couldn’t help but show some worry on his face. "A new mission?"
At that, Zhen Zhu immediately turned around to him, his expression fearful. While he did understand that the missions were necessary, he also couldn’t help but worry after what Zhu Hong had told him about it. After all, he was aware now that they were rather dangerous. And while he trusted in his husband and that he would try to keep himself safe, there were just some things that he wouldn’t be able to guard against.
Zhu Hong shook his head and then hurriedly rubbed Zhen Zhu’s back to calm him down. "No, not yet. There are some other things I need to take care of though and I guess talking with Grandelder Zise is one of these things. We’ll need to organize how I’ll go about the missions in the future.
"Since we only married recently, I don’t want to go out for a while but after that, I only to find some kind of rhythm to make sure that Zhen Zhu isn’t alone for too long but that I will still be able to do my part."
Elder Bi nodded. This was indeed the case. In larger families like theirs, sometimes, other members would jump in for you so you didn’t have to go out as often. But they also needed more things so oftentimes, they still wouldn’t get around it.
"Well, if you need anyone to cover for you, just say it."
Zhu Hong shook his head though. Li Se had already lost his wife. And he was the only parent that their child had left. He was definitely the last person that he wanted to take on missions for him. In fact, if he could, he would rather cover for him so that he could spend more time with Zi Lan Se. Thinking back to his own childhood, he wished that would’ve been a possibility for him.
Li Se could also see that Zhu Hong wouldn’t agree but in any case, this wasn’t something that needed to be decided anytime soon. "Well, go to the Grandelder first. I’m sure he’ll have his ways."
Zhu Hong nodded and then turned back to his husband. "Well, today is about Zhen Zhu though."
Zhen Zhu nodded and then turned to Elder Bi. "Elder, in the city, I saw a lot of people from different tribes. Zhu Hong was told me a bit about them but I really don’t know much yet. He told me that you know a lot though. Would you mind teaching me? I would really like to know more about them!"
Elder Bi raised his brows but inwardly, he was already excited. This child not only had good taste when it came to food, he was also able to see just who was a good teacher here. This was great!
He felt more and more, that the son he had basically adopted had really good taste. It made him wonder if that was a question of who he was related to or who had raised him. If it was the latter, he felt that some of this was thanks to him.
In any case, being happy, he reached out and took Zhen Zhu’s hand. "I’ll teach you everything that you want to know! Whether it’s the tribes, the countries, or even the plants, you just need to ask the question."
Zhen Zhu nodded eagerly, clearly very much interested in knowing about all these things. To him, everything was new, so everything seemed to be exciting as well. He might change his thoughts on that later on but for the time being, that was definitely how he thought about everything. "Alright. If I don’t understand something, I’ll definitely tell you."
Zhu Hong smiled happily when he saw this and they all started eating breakfast before Zhu Hong got up and kissed Zhen Zhu goodbye. "Alright, I’m off then!"
Chengse also got up and gave him a smile. "I’ll bring you to the door."
Zhu Hong nodded.
When the two of them had walked outside, Chengse gave him a knowing smile. "I guess there’s something special that you want to do today?"
Zhu Hong smiled as well. "You really know me well. Do you mind telling me where the materials are? Actually, do you have a room where I could take care of it?"
Chengse pondered for a moment. "I can definitely give you the materials but as for a room … that will be a bit difficult. Not that I wouldn’t want to give you one or don’t have one but it’ll be difficult to transport. It’s best to already take care of that at your home. Do you have the room picked out already?"
Zhu Hong gave a hum, not quite sure of that. "Well, to be honest, I don’t. And I’m not quite sure how exactly he would like to have it. It’s supposed to be a surprise so I can’t really ask much about it, can I?"
Chengse gave a hum as well and nodded slowly, trying to think of a solution. "Well, I don’t know for sure yet but I guess you’ll have to try quite a bit anyway. How about this? You go and speak with Grandelder Zise first. Take care of those things surrounding the missions and whatever else you have to do. In the meantime, I’ll try to come up with a plan. When you come back, we can talk about it. Also, you could first try out using the materials at our place and then go to your own when you are more proficient with it. You don’t have to finish it in one day. In any case, I don’t think you could do that."
Zhu Hong nodded even though he was a little reluctant to let things go on for even longer. He wanted to make true on his promise already.
Chengse just laughed and patted his arm. "Don’t be impatient now! In any case, didn’t you say you wanted to take a break in the valley for some time? In that case, it shouldn’t be a problem. Anyway, you still need to find out some more to make sure you have the best chances to make something that Zhen Zhu can be happy with long term. Surprises are nice but it’s even better if they fit the person, wouldn’t you say so?"
"I’m afraid I can’t argue with you there. Alright, then we’ll do it that way. You can help me with the things in the future as well."
Chengse nodded. "Don’t worry about it. You’re family. We’ll always help you." In fact, even if he hadn’t been, helping him out with just this wasn’t a problem. But especially because he was family she wanted to make things perfect for both him and Zhen Zhu. And this was the perfect chance for her to be of help. Why wouldn’t she take that? And just imagining how the little phoenix’s face would light up when he was finally presented with the perfect surprise, she was almost getting as impatient as Zhu Hong when it came to planning things out.