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Chapter 9: Meeting Space Pirates

"Look who it is, the once top student and double-S genius from Military Academy No. 1."

A teasing voice sounded from the crowd, and the bystanders instinctively stepped aside for her.

"Is that Vivian? What's she doing here?"

"Probably here for the drama."

"More like kicking someone when he's down. One of the prettiest girls in school, she chased Tuss for a year. But he never paid attention to her. Now that Tuss is disabled, she must feel pretty smug."

"Wow, this should be interesting."

"..."

Whispers circulated among the crowd.

Yuri raised an eyebrow. Vivian had a reputation at Military Academy No. 1 as Tuss's devoted admirer. But now, she'd not only changed her attitude but came to mock him. Not the best character.

But Vivian was undoubtedly gorgeous.

"So, this is your wife?" Vivian examined Yuri with a critical gaze before scoffing, "Ugly and disabled, and an omega to top it off. Tuss, it looks like this is the best you can do now."

Yuri's mouth twitched, thinking, "Ugly? Too bad that this beauty was blind."

"She's kinder than you," Tuss responded calmly.

"What do you mean? Are you saying I'm evil?" Vivian's face contorted slightly.

Tuss looked at her coldly, not saying a word, his expression saying it all.

Angry, Vivian reached out to push Tuss's wheelchair, but Yuri acted quickly, steering the wheelchair aside and saying, "Let's go. We have paperwork to handle."

With that, she pushed Tuss away.

The onlooking students dispersed, heading to their classes, whispering quietly as they went.

"Poor Tuss, such a good person, and he has to go through something like this."

"I know. I cried all night for him. He was my idol."

"Mine too. Who would have thought he'd end up marrying a fellow disabled omega? I just can't accept it; he deserves better."

"Better what? No beta would marry a family outcast and a disabled person. If it were you, would you?"

"Uh... no, I wouldn't."

"Exactly. They're a perfect match."

"..."

Yuri glanced at Tuss and thought to herself, "Indeed, one missing an arm, the other without legs – quite the duo."

Throughout the process of arranging a leave of absence from campus, Tuss stayed silent, his face icy. Even after they left the grand gates of Military Academy No. 1, the ice didn't seem to thaw.

He looked back at the imposing school gates, his eyes slightly red, as if struggling to hold something back.

"Having trouble letting go?" Yuri asked.

Tuss turned his head and replied, dodging the question, "Let's go back."

Yuri walked behind the wheelchair, watching his slender shoulders tremble slightly. She couldn't help but sigh – after all, he was just a nineteen-year-old guy who had experienced such a drastic change. He must be hurting inside.

Yuri stayed with Tuss on a long walk until his mood improved. Only then did they board a lev to fly back to the Hiro family mansion

Early the next morning, Yuri, Tuss, and Zeek headed to the spaceport together to board a starship. The Hiro family did own a private starship, which Darth and Meliena typically used, but Darth didn't offer it for Tuss's trip to the ore planet.

As they boarded the starship, Yuri looked around with wide-eyed curiosity, exploring and touching everything in sight.

Even Tuss, usually stoic, couldn't help but feel embarrassed by her behavior.

Zeek, however, smiled affectionately and patiently shared some starship knowledge with Yuri.

Yuri's Enova had already climbed onto the ship's hull, absorbing genesis residue from the metal. Feeling her Enova rejuvenate, she beamed and praised Zeek, "You know so much, Zeek."

Zeek modestly brushed her off, "Not at all, my knowledge is limited. Mr. Hiro is the one who truly knows everything about starships."

Yuri turned her gaze to Tuss, but he had closed his eyes, uninterested in showing off.

As the starship left the spaceport and entered the space, Yuri looked out the window and marveled at the vast expanse of space, exclaiming, "This is just too beautiful!"

Tuss opened his eyes and saw Yuri. He realized that her bright eyes were no less radiant than any celestial body outside the window—perhaps even more beautiful.

The starship would take five days to reach its destination. Zeek had only booked one room, so Tuss and Yuri would share it while he slept in a communal area.

The room was small, with a bed, a small dining table, and a bathroom.

"It looks like we'll have to share the bed; there's not enough room for a makeshift bed on the floor," Yuri said.

Tuss frowned and replied, "Book another room."

"I've checked, and there are no more vacancies. The communal area doesn't have any available beds either," Yuri told the truth. To reassure Tuss, she said, "The bed is about six feet wide and over six feet long. If we sleep horizontally, one on each end, there'll be more than three feet between us. If you're still worried, I can place two suitcases in the middle."

Tuss didn't respond.

"Alright, I'll take it as a yes. I'll sleep on this side, and you'll sleep on that side." Having woken up before 5 a.m., Yuri yawned, planning to catch up on some sleep.

She took out the blanket she had brought from the Hiro family home, spread it on the bed, and lay down. She turned her head and asked, "Can you get on the bed by yourself, or do you need help?"

"No need," Tuss coldly refused and didn't get on the bed.

Yuri left him alone, closed her eyes, and fell asleep within minutes.

As her breathing grew steadier, Tuss stared at the sleeping girl, feeling annoyed. He wondered, "Did she just fall asleep like that? Did she trust me so much that she was sure I wouldn't do anything to her?"

For some reason, a strange feeling welled up in his chest.

After making sure Yuri wouldn't wake up, Tuss lifted the blanket from his wheelchair and used his hands to support himself as he climbed onto the bed. The process wasn't strenuous or difficult, but it didn't look good.

He had seen himself in the mirror before, looking like a gorilla—no, worse than a gorilla, because at least gorillas had legs. He was like a monster, as repulsive as the insectoids he despised, hideous in every way.

Each time he saw himself like this, he loathed himself even more. Even though he didn't like Yuri, he didn't want her to see him in such an ugly state.

Yuri had only managed to sleep for two hours before waking up just in time for lunch. She glanced over to see Tuss still snoozing, so she quietly got up and snuck out of the room.

The second she left, Tuss's eyes popped open.

When Yuri returned with lunch, Tuss was already back in his wheelchair.

They ate their meal without talking. As Yuri cleaned up, she asked, "I'm going for a walk later. Wanna join?"

The starship had a gym, a bar, a movie theater, and other fun places, all free for passengers to enjoy.

"Nope," Tuss said, grabbing a paperback book.

Four days flew by, and Yuri and her "roommate", Tuss, got along just fine.

One day, Yuri was playing games in the arcade when she suddenly heard a terrifying scream, followed by gunshots. She instantly dropped the game controller and sprinted to their room.

The starship was in chaos. Yuri, with only one arm, had an even tougher time keeping her balance than everyone else. As she stumbled her way there, a big man suddenly grabbed her collar and lifted her up.

Holding her like she was a tiny bird, the guy took a few steps and threw her into a group of people, saying, "Stay here and don't move, or else—"

Bang!

A gunshot. Someone fell, blood pooling on the floor.

"Got it?" he said.

Yuri nodded, shrinking back into the crowd.

"Are they... space pirates?" someone whispered, their voice shaking with fear.

"Who else would hijack a starship? Let's just hope they only want money and not our lives," another person answered, voice quivering but trying to sound brave.

The pirates dragged everyone in the room out too. Yuri's heart raced when she saw Tuss being carried by a pirate.

"Why bother with this guy who can't walk?" one pirate snickered.

"He's an alpha, after all," the pirate holding Tuss shot back before carelessly tossing him aside.

Tuss closed his eyes, bracing for a painful landing. But instead, he found himself caught in a gentle hug. Opening his eyes, he saw the pale face of Yuri.

"Phew, good thing I caught you," Yuri whispered.


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