Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Since it was a private meeting, the place was set in the not high-profile side hall. In contrast to He YunTing and Xu Zhiheng who were dressed formally, the man standing in front of the window looked very casual.
The political system of reverting to a binary constitutional monarchy had many drawbacks compared to the Earth era, but it was better to hold power in one’s hands and develop military power faster under a unified and oppressive centralized power, which was the reason why the Empire had come a long way and no one dared to mess with him.
Even the side halls were decorated in a gorgeous way, the baroque style permeated every detail, complete with stone pillars topped by golden capitals inlaid, the ceiling depicting exquisite giant paintings, white reliefs stretching down the long and magnificent corridor. Wen Zhaoge was casually draped in a velvet jacket, and his eyes fell on the extreme lines of the fountain sculpture outside the window.
He had slightly long black hair, his face had a very light tiredness, abating some of the harsh taste, but still with the innate unique aura. His fingers seemed to be playing with something, the movement was leisurely and calm.
When the two arrived, he withdrew his eyes, raised his hand to let the two in private occasions not have to formally salute, and sat down again.
“General has worked hard.”
Xu Zhiheng responded by nodding his head in an unobtrusive and decent manner.
“Don’t be too formal, it’s just a chat,” Wen Zhao said casually, his hand still flexibly weaving the small object in and out of his fingers, “Don’t have too much pressure.” But after these words, he continued, “I just want to know what you two have in mind for the current situation.”
Although his tone was like a family conversation, the question wasn’t meant to be a ‘casual conversation’ at all.
“By the way,” Wen Zhaoge turned to He YunTing, “the last decision was made by the General, wasn’t it? The ‘Massacre’ decision.”
According to the Empire’s system, even though the General might not have as much say as the council in some aspects, fundamentally, he didn’t need to cross paths with those old men who bickered all day long, because he only needed to follow the Emperor’s orders. Unless Wen Zhaoming’s order said no, He YunTing didn’t have his hands tied.
He YunTing lowered his eyes and said in a deep voice, “Yes. The last time I came back to report on my duties, I already told you the details.”
Including why it was decided so, instead of waiting in that place for some more time. Although it was an imperial system, a certain former emperor had abolished the title of inferiority, and everyone could call themselves I and only address those in higher positions as ‘you’ or the position.
“Wow.” Wen Zhaoge casually responded, but no emotion could be heard.
He YunTing finished the rest of his words, “But Your Majesty, Professor Xu’s serum deserves a lot of credit.”
Wen Zhaoge tossed the object in his hand high and caught it with precision, holding it in his palm, “Indeed. I’ve always wanted to meet Professor Xu in person, and this time I finally have the opportunity.” He then changed topics, “But, the current situation…” Wen Zhaoge placed his other hand on his forehead, gently tapped his temple, and said, “V Proton Star is the most important to the Empire out of all the planets under its jurisdiction. It’s because of this that the General was directly invited to form a formation to V Proton before.”
He YunTing stood up and did the most standard imperial salute, “I will re-dispatch the formation to the planet as quickly as possible, and this time, no matter what, it will be completely resolved.”
“I have never doubted the General’s ability.” Wen Zhaoge said indifferently, “I don’t take back any decision-making power. No matter what the outcome is, I believe that the General is doing his best. In the starship,” Wen Zhaoge said, “General doesn’t need to report to me if he uses it.”
He YunTing bowed his head in response and made no more noise.
Wen Zhaoge seemed to really trust him and didn’t ask He YunTing how he wanted to solve it, nor did he want to know.
There was no possibility that V Proton Star would really end up with no one left, and he would still give all his trust to his most capable men.
“Professor Xu’s case, you can decide for yourself.” Wen Zhaoge said, “After all, I can’t let such a pillar of academia risk his life.”
“Professor Xu doesn’t have to go.” He YunTing rejoined, “V Proton Star is too dangerous, and the situation is different from last time, I may not be able to protect him. As for those doubts and abusive public opinions before, I will try my best to speak for him.”
Xu Zhiheng seemed to belatedly realize that he had to decide whether to go again so soon, and without a moment’s hesitation, he immediately saluted and stepped forward, “I will go with the General. There’s no need to consider my safety, and I will not be reckless and impulsive like last time. Not to mention that I developed the antigen, so even if there’s really an accident, the consequences should be carried by me alone.”
Wen Zhaoge smiled after hearing his words, “You’re worthy of being a pillar of the Empire.” He stood up, “Since you’ve all made your choices, I won’t interfere any further.”
Xu Zhiheng left first, He YunTing was a little late and redid the base report, before Wen Zhao waved his hand and let He YunTing leave as well.
All was very casual, anyway, they only needed to let the spokesman sort out the final results to tell the parliament and the official media, so the formalities didn’t seem to be important to him.
Wen Zhaoge raised his eyes, but his eyes didn’t fall anywhere. He put the object in his hand back on the table — the whole body was precious and polished, and it was made of rare materials and top techniques.
It turned out to be a chess piece.
He YunTing didn’t expect to meet someone he hadn’t seen for a long time on the way back.
Wen TianYao seemed to be surprised too, but still managed to squeeze out a good smile to greet He YunTing. After the last practical training accident, for some reason, he didn’t contact He YunTing much, let alone come to the base.
He YunTing sidled up to let Wen TianYao go first, and was about to leave when he saw that the deputy who always followed him originally had changed to someone else.
“Your Highness the Prince.” He YunTing stood in place and spoke, “Where’s that deputy you had before?”
Wen TianYao turned around and looked at his new deputy who was as puzzled as he was, “Who’s General referring to? Xi Yuan?”
Wen TianYao seemed to have not expected that the General, who had never talked much, would care about his deputy, and froze for a moment, “He was transferred, and hasn’t been here for a long time.”
“So His Highness doesn’t care where his former deputies have ended up.” He YunTing said.
“…General?” Wen TianYao felt puzzled, “It’s normal not to tell youabout my subordinates’ career transfer, right? Besides, Xi Yuan proposed it himself, so of course I won’t stop it.”
He saw He YunTing seemed to think for a moment before he said, “I see.”
For some reason, Wen TianYao actually heard a hint of mockery in He YunTing’s tone which never smiled.
He YunTing didn’t want to say more to him, withdrew his eyes and left.
The two were summoned by the Emperor, and the news that He YunTing was about to return to V Proton with Xu Zhiheng spread quickly. There was a lot of talk from all sides, some prayers, some anxiety, some disillusionment, some conspiracy theories, and for a while it was impossible to tell which side had the upper hand. This time it was as sudden as the last one, and there was little time to prepare.
The base seemed to have begun preparations after the V Proton accident, re-integration of forces and personnel, the difference was that this time there was no more restriction of Xu Zhiheng’s freedom, and he was assigned to Qi JiaMu’s mecha.
The reason why people feel that the Empire was real this time was that they were no longer a streamlined elite squad, but a starship that was rarely used, as in the previous practical training.
The practical training was originally to experience real battles, and only when the number of people and mechs were large enough would they use warships, but this time, it wasn’t only the battleship used in the training, but a huge starship that could accommodate tens of thousands of people.
Some people began to wonder why they needed to make it such a big deal, the results of the base directly published a partial list of many brave and skilled sergeants among the participants, not to mention the rescue team and expert group directly allocated by the Empire.
The base seemed to have done everything to ensure success, even if the accident really happened like in the practical training, the base seemed to be prepared for anything.
“I’ll go with you.” Lin Han heard the apartment door slam and knew it was He YunTing coming back. He didn’t beat around the bush, just waited for the other party to step in the door and said it straight.
He YunTing was still wearing the formal clothes he came back from Wen Zhao’s place, Lin Han reached out and touched the tassel on his epaulets. He seemed to like the Empire’s design on certain uniforms, “I don’t see you wear it often, it’s so rare.”
He YunTing knew that Lin Han had already made up his mind by saying this, and was just about to say something when Lin Han moved his lips and continued, “I have a work plan arranged, the Research Institute is still very relaxed if there are no tasks, so don’t worry about me.”
“What’s more, if you use starships, I can barely be considered an expert.” Lin Han said confidently.
He YunTing looked down at Lin Han playing with the tassel on his shoulder, “Yes, Mr. Lin.”
“Why are you still calling me that?” Lin Han looked up at him helplessly, but didn’t get angry, only found He YunTing becoming more and more interesting, “Makes me feel quite old.”
Lin Han’s fingers kept waving in front of He YunTing’s eyes, he couldn’t resist and reached out to grab his thin white wrist.
He YunTing knew Lin Han could hear what he was thinking, “Have you thought about it?”
Lin Han nodded, “I only takes a special invitation letter from the General.”
He YunTing knew Lin Han’s decision, “Then I’ll ask Lu AnHe to prepare it.”
“We have to leave the morning after tomorrow at the latest.” He YunTing said, “I will help you make the arrangements.”
One advantage of going to V Proton over the border area was that there was no need to leap, and if the transportation was a starship, it would be much faster and could be reached in a day’s time.
“It’s good,” Lin Han said, “to go to places I haven’t been before.”
“I will protect you, don’t worry.” He YunTing leaned down to hug him, and was afraid that the shoulder patch on his chest would rub Lin Han uncomfortably, so he deliberately avoided it a little.
But Lin Han didn’t mind at all, instead he tugged on his ribbon to pull him in a bit and rested his head on his shoulder patch, “Mn. That’s what you said last time in the border area, I believe you.”
He YunTing froze for a moment, before stroking the other man’s soft black hair. “I didn’t know I liked you back then.” He YunTing said truthfully, “Or rather, didn’t figure it out yet. But I just didn’t want to see anything happen to you.”
Thinking about those that the two experienced later, Lin Han was so weak that even his mind-reading disappeared, and He YunTing also had a hard time without food and water, but now when recalled, surprisingly it seemed like a long time ago, almost a blur.
“I won’t stay on the starship this time.” Lin Han said, “Let me have the second cockpit seat.”
Anyway, most of the people heading to the base, if they really didn’t want to be seen, M2742 was so big that quietly coming out of the second cockpit wouldn’t draw attention.
He Yunting held Lin Han’s waist and said, “Okay.”
“All right, you can rest here tonight and get ready tomorrow.” Lin Han pushed He Yunting toward the bathroom, but thought of something and said, “My bed is a little small, so you just have to make do.”
Lin Han unbuttoned the collar of his uniform for He Yunting one by one, and He Yunting saw Lin Han’s fascinated eyes, “Does Mr. Lin like this a lot?”
“Yeah, I especially like it.” Lin Han bent the tips of his eyes and replied without hesitation.
“I like your hat, the wind discipline buckle, the shoulder patch, the ribbon, I like all of it.”
Lin Han opened the delicate belt buckle on the side of He Yunting’s waist and laughed.
There was a feeling of holding the hero of millions of people in his arms.
But he didn’t say that out loud.
The starship departed as scheduled.
Lin Han successfully boarded the starship as part of a group of experts, but because of his different status, he didn’t join He Yunting when boarding for the time being.
As the starship and the mech formation were different, the trajectory of the voyage was naturally different, but for the convenience of landing, the location was chosen at Chris Port.
The city had already been cleaned up by the formation once before, and V Proton Star didn’t have the energy to rebuild it in a short time, so it could only be left empty for the time being.
But after all, Chris Port was near the sea, so the circulation would be better than other cities. The starship’s first landing was positioned here, and after that, it was re-divided in mech formations according to various needs.
Everything proceeded in an orderly manner, and after surveying the nearby environment, the starship was able to dock peacefully.
As usual, there were a group of pioneer small mechs used as a survey, connected to the main ship in real time, waiting for the commander to give the order to continue the next step of the plan.
The small mechs in charge of the survey disembarked from the starship first, and the screen was successfully connected, so He Yunting sat in the middle and watched the current situation.
Surprisingly, this place that should have become a dead city still seemed to be changing in some way.
“Wait a minute.”
“Number 8775,” He Yunting spoke over the public comm, naming one of the small mechs that was searching, “take a step back.”
The other mecha was unsure and did as ordered.
When the small mech’s front feet moved away, everyone realized that it seemed to have stepped on a corpse.
However, those who had participated in the practical training, or had seen Wen Tianyao before, couldn’t help but draw a breath of cold air when they saw the person at the mech’s feet.
That corpse was no other than the former deputy of His Royal Highness, Xi Yuan.