Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
He YunTing placed the meteorite in his hand and left soon after.
The object in Lin Han’s palm still carried He YunTing’s warmth, while the other was still in a trance after he said ‘Happy Birthday.’
It had been too long… He hadn’t heard those simple words in a long time.
He looked down at the uniquely shaped stone, which was definitely not pretty, and his chest was filled with something light and gentle.
Since his heart had been empty for too long, and it was suddenly filled with something else, in this moment a strange yet soft emotion rushed up, and then spread out, all the way to Lin Han’s fingertips.
Lin Han wrapped the small stone with his five fingers, lowered his eyes, and whispered, “Thank you, General.”
He thought that if he told He YunTing about Qi Jiaze, he would tell him about the Omega with damaged glands. But just because he told He YunTing voluntarily, it didn’t mean that the other had to go against his principles and reveal secrets to him.
Lin Han understood this reasoning, but he didn’t expect that He YunTing would actually appear in front of him so carefully, just because he thought he would be angry.
Since Lin Han didn’t speak for a long time, and the weird atmosphere hadn’t disappeared yet, He YunTing misunderstood and thought that Lin Han didn’t like his gift. He paused for a moment, before he explained, “Mr. Lin, don’t mind that it’s ugly.”
Lin Han smiled, looked up at him, and wanted to say that he didn’t.
“…It’s really a star, I’m not lying to you.” He YunTing didn’t wait for Lin Han to say anything and added, “If Mr. Lin doesn’t like it, I’ll find another one if I have the chance.”
There were still many opportunities anyway.
When Lin Han heard this, he slowly understood the meaning of He YunTing’s words. He finally raised his lips and smiled, his pure black eyes shining with light, better than the bright star trails He YunTing had seen that day.
“Thank you, General, for the star,” Lin Han held the gift of tens of thousands of light years away, “I like it very much.”
He YunTing then seemed to calm his heart down — and, as a sign, after getting rid of his nervousness his expression became indifferent once again.
But Lin Han no longer thought that this face was unapproachable, he instead felt a tinge of joy at being able to recognize the delicate, soft emotions behind He YunTing’s coldness.
I’m the only one who knows these little secrets.
Lin Han saw that the other was still standing in the same place, seemingly thinking about something.
“General?” Lin Han called him, “What’s wrong?”
He saw that He YunTing had doubts in his expression.
Lin Han recalled that Lu AnHe had once said that General never had a birthday, and didn’t even remember what day his own birthday was.
He YunTing asked him, “A day like this… Is there any other way to spend it besides giving gifts?”
By saying that, it seemed that He YunTing didn’t have a good birthday either. Not only did he not have a good time, he was almost stabbed and killed, causing the wound on his shoulder to worsen.
Lin Han regretted for a moment being so emotional towards He YunTing that day, or at least, he should have stayed with him a little longer.
Lin Ha recalled his memories, “I suppose there’s not much else. When my mother was still alive, she would buy a cake and let me make a wish.” Lin Han said, a little embarrassed, “…But that was many years ago and now it seems quite childish. The wishes made at that time were also simple, many of them I can’t even remember.”
He hooked the corner of his mouth and looked at He YunTing again, the other’s expression remained unchanged, but his eyes seemed thoughtful. He did not want He YunTing to be bothered, so he took the initiative to say, “We’re leaving tomorrow, so General should be very busy now. It’s already nice to be told happy birthday,” Lin Han said, “there’s no need to prepare anything else.”
“But,” He YunTing spoke, his tone low and deep, as if making the simplest of statements, “…Mr. Lin, you haven’t wished anything yet. I’ve heard people say before that shooting stars can grant wishes.” He YunTing said.
Lin Han saw He YunTing holding the glass of water, his rough fingers rhythmically tapping the rim of the glass, making the water surface ripple in a circle, coinciding with his current rate of breathing. “Mr. Lin can try,” He YunTing turned his face to look at him, “if it’s possible, I may be able to help make it happen… I hope Mr. Lin’s wish will come true.”
This last statement finally sounded a bit of He YunTing’s exclusive, awkward flavor, in the same vein as telling Lin Han to drink more hot water during his heat. He didn’t know that making a wish was something one kept to themselves, and simply wanted to help him make it come true.
Lin Han looked at He YunTing and had many questions gradually piling up.
For example, ‘What exactly do you think of me?’
‘Why are you being so nice to me again?’
But then he remembered the emptiness he had read during He YunTing’s susceptible period, the words he had asked on impulse, and the other’s ‘I don’t know’ so Lin Han couldn’t ask again.
Lin Han looked at He YunTing for a long time, and only when he saw that the other finally looked away uncomfortably, did he close his eyes.
Three seconds later, Lin Han reopened his eyes, smiled at He YunTing, and said, “Okay”.
The other didn’t understand why Lin Han didn’t want to say what he wanted, but didn’t ask in the end, staying in his room for a while longer before preparing to leave. Before He YunTing left, he confirmed with Lin Han one last time, “If Mr. Lin really doesn’t want to participate in the fourth round of practical training, it’s not too late to withdraw.”
“General, this is my job.” Lin Han looked at him helplessly, but still asked curiously, “But approximately how long does the training take? I’ll get some more nutrients.”
He YunTing thought for a moment, “If everything goes well, about half a month.”
Lin Han nodded, and after He YunTing left, he started to prepare. He hadn’t been to too many places, he had lived in the Q District with his mother when he was a child, and came to the Core District when he grew up, and had only seen other places on the video and news.
The border area sounded a little scary, but he was vaguely excited to see a different night sky.
Early the next morning, the base was on full alert.
Whether participating or not, all soldiers put on their solemn formal uniforms and stood straight for the final preparations before boarding the ship.
Lin Han didn’t belong to any of the squads and only stood outside the grounds.
Wen TianYao was indeed there as he said, but since the base warship was to be activated, even if he was of royal blood, he had to board the ship together with everyone else. He was dressed in a dignified fancy dress, with delicate royal flip-flops on the cuffs and collar, and stood not far from the square, without saying a word.
Even though it was only a drill, the activation of the warship was about the same as a march, and the soldiers would take an oath of loyalty to the Empire before they left, to live forever.
There was silence all around, and no one took it lightly.
After a short time, accompanied by a steady sound of military boots, the eyes of the crowd moved towards that direction.
Lin Han saw the pale green uniform of He YunTing as he walked in, his face cold, back straight as a green onion poplar, holding the symbol of the highest honor of the imperial scepter in his hand, taking every step with absolute majesty, then standing in front of the crowd.
He saw the medals and ribbons on the other’s uniform, as well as the cold glittering General shoulder patch. He saw He YunTing’s left hand hanging down at the side of his leg, slowly and decisively raising his right hand in a tough and solemn gesture against his heart, his eyes austere and his thin lips slightly moving.
“We swear by our lives——”
Thousands of soldiers solemnly, with the same posture against their hearts, at this moment everyone’s heart frequency converged in one place, chest stirring, as they swore the common oath together—
We swear by our lives—
Faith and loyalty to the Empire, with light to forge the sword, with stars as spears, with blood as blades, walk through the galaxy of chaos, step through the abyss of red flames. Foolishness and sin will eventually turn into ashes, only glory and victory will be mine!
“Only glory and victory will be mine—”
The oath of the soldiers echoed in the base, and Wen TianYao also took off his hat, pursed his lips, and performed the royal ritual to all soldiers.
And at the end of the ceremony, Lin Han also followed everyone to the northernmost part of the base and began to board the ship.
The Belfast was the Empire’s most glorious warship, able to carry countless small ships and mecha to berth, and its armament and force weren’t to be underestimated. The day before, the ship’s mecha had already been prepared, and just in case, the superior offensive power and battle success of M2742 and the top defensive power of Aegis had also been carried on board, and all participants had undergone the most rigorous inspection before being allowed to board the ship and enter each of the different areas according to their positions and status.
Lin Han followed He YunTing and Lu AnHe directly to the captain’s cabin of the Belfast, while Wen TianYao wasn’t among them and went to a lower level of command. It took about three days to cruise all the way from the base to the border area. The new recruits participating in the selection couldn’t hide their excitement and kept running around the movable area with red faces.
Only Qi Jiamu’s face was taut, more serious than usual without any excitement.
Lin Han looked at him through the monitor in the captain’s room.
It was his first time to board a warship of this level, and because He YunTing told him so, he had been following him as a special case.
He YunTing was also the captain of the Belfast, and his second-in-command wasn’t only Lu AnHe, but also the battleship’s deputy captain Ye Ling.
After some communication with the console below, the huge engine’s roar sounded and the battleship left the ground, heading for the exclusive star path towards the border area.
This was the most exciting time of the year for the people of the Empire, they had no intention of war, but were only proud of the Belfast, and what made the battleship set out was the annual fourth round of practical training for pilots.
Although they couldn’t get close to the battleship, countless people still spontaneously came to the closest position to the star path and watched the huge battleship drive by. Some cheered, some marveled, and some were so excited that they had tears in their eyes. And after a feeling of weightlessness, the Belfast finally sailed into its own star path, and the battleship began to pick up speed and fly, carrying the Empire’s current and future most elite non-commissioned officers and men to unknown parts of the universe.
It was a sensational voyage, and like a magnificent and grand wandering. Everything proceeded in an orderly manner, and after a good padding and acceleration, the Belfast finally stabilized, the automatic cruise was turned on, and the crowd was able to breathe a sigh of relief.
The battleship was equipped with the same specifications as the base’s housekeeping, with sufficient supplies and space, allowing the pilots to have a long-awaited relaxation in these three days.
Lin Han was still curious.
It was his first time to board a ship and his first time to sail in space.
What was more, he was in the captain’s room, looking at it all from a higher perspective.
It was similar while also different from what he had imagined.
The same was that the universe was as vast and romantic as he thought it would be, and even though he couldn’t see too far away due to the star path, he was still enthusiastic.
And the difference was his state of mind.
The first day of the voyage was calm and uneventful, because of the distance of the star path, still driving in the territory of the imperial M Star.
And that night, when Lin Han wanted to return to the lounge, he was called by He YunTing who had been busy all day.
“Lin Han,” He YunTing’s tone was deep as he called his name, “do you want to see the starry sky up close?”
The author has something to say: Totally fictional! Purely made-up! Don’t take it seriously!
It’s my first time writing this kind of in-the-middle content, so I’m nervous and apprehensive, but happy at the same time.
The Belfast, the Edinburgh-class light cruiser built by the Royal Navy in the 1930s, is the No. 2 ship. I only borrowed the name, so don’t judge.