As for Zhen Zhu, as it turned out, things weren’t as scary as he had feared at first. As soon as Yu Sui brought him over, he saw several phoenixes that were gathered in a large room all sitting together, drinking, eating, and chatting with each other. It really looked like the atmosphere of a big family, where it was easy to lose track of time.
Zhen Zhu who hadn’t seen much outside of his shell yet was immediately intrigued. Especially now that he saw so many different kinds of phoenixes. From the memories of his clan, he had a certain image of their people: There was the elegant bearing of the phoenix lady in his mind who had joined a dragon in marriage for the first time, as well as an idea of several other important figures. All of them were men and women that were incredibly beautiful with slender limbs, soft skin, flowing hair, and bright eyes that could make somebody lose their soul when gazing into them.
It really made one feel as if there had never been an ugly phoenix born in all the years that their clan existed. Now though, he actually found out that there were all kinds of them. He saw tall ones and short ones, thin and thick ones, older and younger phoenixes, and even some that looked a bit ferocious. If he hadn’t been told that they were phoenixes, he might not have assumed so for a handful of them. This was really opening his eyes.
The other phoenixes looked up and seeing Yu Sui bring in a small phoenix, the lot of them were all excited.
One of the male phoenixes immediately put down his cup of wine, got up in a fluid motion, and then strode over, stopping right in front of Zhen Zhu. The phoenix towered over him with a difference in height of two heads, making Zhen Zhu even more amazed. He had seen that this man was a bit taller than the other phoenixes, but to think that he was actually just as tall as his husband still came as a surprise to him. There really were all kinds of phoenixes, ah!
The phoenix smiled when he saw Zhen Zhu stare at him, not at all seeming disturbed. “So that is a little one that was brought over yesterday. What’s your name?”
“Zhen Zhu.” He looked at the other phoenix and then couldn’t help but ask back. “So, what about you?”
The other phoenix continued to smile and motioned into the room. “I am Dong Ling. Come on, sit down and have a chat with us.”
Zhen Zhu nodded and then followed after him, watching Dong Ling’s hair that he had put into a long braid was swinging behind his back. No wonder he actually hadn’t noticed it before. With this way of wearing it, it really wasn’t very obvious.
Dong Ling noticed that he was looking at him but he didn’t say anything about it. In any case, which young phoenix wasn’t curious about the things around them? Since they were mostly ignorant about the world save for the bit that they had seen on their way to the dragon’s valley, it was quite normal.
When the three of them sat down, a phoenix with pale pink hair immediately scuttled over, sitting down not far from them. “So, how are you doing? Has Zhu Hong been treating you well?”
Zhen Zhu looked at her, admiring the way that her hair curled. It really was very beautiful. He couldn’t help but wonder if it was something that could be done with his hair as well. Falling into thought for a few moments, all the phoenixes in the room turned to look at him. If he had to hesitate for so long, could it be that there was something wrong with the way his husband was treating him?
Dong Ling leaned forward and peered into his face, but noticed that this little phoenix was just in a daze. “What? You don’t know what to compare it to?” That seemed to be the most likely explanation.
Zhen Zhu was pulled out of his thoughts and looked back at the green-haired phoenix next to him, seeming a little puzzled. “What?”
“The way your husband treats you. What do you think about it?”
Zhen Zhu blinked his eyes and then tilted his head. “He’s very nice. Why?”
Dong Ling’s lips twitched and he picked up that cup of wine again before he leaned back, crossing his legs in the process. “This little one … I’d say he doesn’t need any help.”
Zhen Zhu just continued to look at him in puzzlement and then turned back to the pink-haired phoenix and Yu Sui, trying to understand what was going on.
Yu Sui just reached out and patted his shoulder. “Don’t think too much.” Looking at Dong Ling and the others, she shook her head. “Whether his husband treats him well or not, you really do not need to worry. Zhu Hong came by my father’s house before to introduce him. He was the one who asked me to bring Zhen Zhu over so that he could get to know everyone. Clearly, he has his best interests at heart.”
Dong Ling just gave a hum. “In the first few days, aren’t they all like that?”
Yu Sui just threw him a glance but didn’t bother to answer. In any case, who didn’t know that he didn’t have anything to complain about? If anybody had to be worried in that relationship, it was clearly his husband. Dong Ling wasn’t an easy person to deal with after all. As for his poor soul of a husband, that guy was still rushing to kiss the soil upon which he walked. Really too pitiful.
The other phoenixes also didn’t say anything and just focused on Zhen Zhu again. The ones that had been spread throughout the room before all drew closer bit by bit, soon having gathered around the table where the four of them were sitting. Then, Zhen Zhu was asked all kinds of questions.
“What kind of robe did he prepare for you?” This was the first question that a phoenix in the second row brought up. In the first few days, it was difficult to say how well a dragon was treating their phoenix spouse since the young ones didn’t have much to go off. But the things that had been prepared for them were usually a dead give-away of their general attitude.
Zhen Zhu pondered for a moment and thought back to the gorgeous ones that Zhu Hong had shown him this morning. “They were all very pretty. They also fit me very well and all have my colors in them. But he also had a few that were different. And he said that depending on what I like, he would have more made in the future.”
The other phoenixes immediately nodded, satisfied with Zhu Hong’s way to go about this. It definitely wasn’t a bad sign.
“Well, think of who Zhu Hong is. That kind of thing, he can’t rely on anyone else for it. I don’t think Elder Bi has a lot to give with having had both a phoenix daughter two children-in-law. And all of them have about the same figure as Zhen Zhu, maybe just being a little taller. How would he have any spares that he could give Zhu Hong?”
“Not only that, even if he had spares, would they be in the right colors? Clearly, Zhu Hong paid a lot of attention when he found the egg on the mountain. He actually prepared really well. That’s the sign of a superb husband!”
Hearing the others praise his husband like this, Zhen Zhu smiled happily, although there seemed to be a hint of melancholy mixed in. “He’s really very good to me. No matter what, he always asks my opinion. He also did my hair today.” He reached up, clearly quite satisfied with Zhu Hong’s handiwork.
The other phoenixes looked up and also felt like it wasn’t too bad. If it came to their spouses, there were quite a few that were sure that they wouldn’t let them touch their hairstyle even in a million years. Who knew if they wouldn’t mess it up?
“That’s really quite considerate of him. Then, what about the house? Has he said anything about that?” another phoenix couldn’t help but inquire.
Zhen Zhu tilted his head, not quite sure what the other phoenix meant. “What about the house?”
“Well, what kind of task is he giving you in regard to it? Surely, you’ll be in charge of it, right?”
For most couples in the dragons’ valleys, the dragon spouses would take tasks outside to make sure that there would be enough money and resources, while the phoenix spouse would stay at home, take care of the house, and raise any dragon children that were born. There were only a few rare exceptions to that rule.
Zhen Zhu also remembered that there was such a thing in the memories passed down by the clan when the other started to point this out. “Oh, well, there wasn’t that much time yet so he didn’t mention anything about that. In any case, we just got married yesterday and then we slept in today. After that, he immediately took me to visit Elder Bi and his family, and then I came here with sister Yu Sui.
“So I don’t know what he has planned. But he did speak of going out to do some missions in the future and that it would be good if I knew you guys so I could stay here at those times. So I guess he probably thinks of doing something like that as well?” He wasn’t sure but he intended to ask Zhu Hong when he got home later today. This was definitely a very important question.
In any case, he had already thought about it before when he saw Elder Bi’s house, hadn’t he? And he had a lot of ideas about how to make Zhu Hong’s house into a special place for them. Thinking of that, Zhen Zhu immediately shot the other phoenixes a bright smile. “But in any case, he said that it was our home now so I’m not too worried.”
The other phoenix sighed, feeling that it was quite good that he had at least made that much clear. “Don’t wait too long to ask him about it though. That is an important question that needs to be answered soon enough. If you don’t, then who knows what will happen later on?”
Zhen Zhu nodded and earnestly promised to take care of that.
The other phoenixes were satisfied with that. “Then how is he otherwise? You said that he treats you well but is he gentle enough? The dragons, they all have so much strength. Sometimes, they really can’t control themselves.”
Zhen Zhu could only shake his head. He definitely hadn’t experienced anything like that.
“Then what did he say about the next days? Do you already know what you’re going to do?”
“He said that we’d go to meet everyone else so I guess it will take a few days. Ah, and he also wanted to show me the valley. Today, he has already explained quite a lot of things to me. So, I guess that it will continue to be like this for at least the rest of the week?”
The others nodded, content with that as well.
“Well, no matter what we ask, it looks like Zhu Hong really is doing well as a newly minted husband. I’m sure that he will treat Zhen Zhu right in the future as well.”
This time, even Dong Ling nodded along. “It doesn’t sound like he’s that bad. In any case, if he doesn’t treat you right, just tell us. We’ll definitely make him pay for it.”
Zhen Zhu just blinked his eyes, not promising this time. He really liked Zhu Hong. He’d rather trust him than the people he had just gotten to know today. Well, not that he had gotten to know Zhu Hong any better than them. After all, they had only married yesterday and Zhu Hong had only picked his egg up a week before that. In the weeks since then, they also hadn’t been able to interact. How much closer could he be to him than to the others?
But still, the knowledge that that man was his husband and how he had said that he should rely on him in the future made his heart jump in joy, overwhelming any doubts he might have. He couldn’t imagine anything but to trust him.
The other phoenixes could also see that it was hopeless to tell him something like this. Dong Ling huffed, but the others just felt that it was adorable that Zhen Zhu trusted in his husband this much. In any case, who didn’t want to have this kind of relationship with their partner?
The ones who had been in the same situation couldn’t help but see themselves in Zhen Zhu, feeling that back then, they had also been like this, immediately adoring their dragon spouse. The ones who had needed to work a little longer on their relationship with their spouse before they reached that kind of trust were a little envious but also happy for him that he had been able to achieve this state earlier than they did. After all, it really was difficult for the young phoenixes. The sooner they managed to arrange themselves with this life, the better it was for them.
After another round of questions, Yu Sui glanced out of the window and realized that it had gotten quite late. “I think we should also leave by now. I’m sure that Zhu Hong and my wife will both be a little worried by now.
The other phoenixes glanced to the window as well, and then, the whole room erupted into a hectic panic. They all hurriedly said their goodbyes and then rushed out of the door, not even looking at the two dragons opposite them when they realized that it wasn’t their spouses that had come to get them. Also, seeing Zhu Hong and Yu Sui’s wife Hui Se there, quite a few of those spouses would be getting an earful about how neglectful they were compared to the two youngsters of Elder Bi’s family.
With everybody else rushing out, Yu Sui kept Zhen Zhu back for a little while longer until the others had gone and then slowly led him out of the house. “If you want to go over again, you can always ask me to come along. While I do prefer to spend time with my wife compared to with the others, I still come over regularly. The next time, I can also show you a bit more of the house. This was just one single room after all. And now that everybody has sated their curiosity, I’m sure that things will also be a little calmer in the future.”
Zhen Zhu nodded his head. When the two of them reached the door, his eyes brightened up as soon as he saw the person that was standing a few steps away. He rushed over and jumped into Zhu Hong’s arms, clearly happy to finally have his husband with him again even though he had also been happy to spend time with the other phoenixes.
Zhu Hong laughed, reached up, and rubbed the back of Zhen Zhu’s head, his fingers trailing through the strands of his white hair. “I thought I’d come and get you so you won’t have to wait that long. I hope you had a nice time.”
Zhen Zhu nodded and the two couples hurriedly bid farewell before each of them returned to their own home.