Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Lin Han felt the breathing of the person in his arms gradually calming down.
He YunTing was a little uncomfortable when he first embraced him, but he regained peace in Lin Han’s lean arms. So he also stopped making noises, and, for the first time, tried to use a dependent position with him.
I can’t take the weight off my shoulders, but I would like to draw peace in your warmth. From now on, you and I are different from others, no one knows that we have a secret that we share on this night.
Gradually, Lin Han’s ears also became quiet, only the other’s strong and steady heartbeat remained — he knew, He YunTing finally stole a moment of leisure.
No more questioning himself all the time, no more dwelling on the various rights and wrongs that plagued him.
At this moment he belonged to him and to himself.
The posture of He YunTing’s arms around him wasn’t weird, but had a sacredness that could not be desecrated.
Lin Han also stopped talking. No one would come to disturb them at this moment, as if they could embrace each other like this, in the silence they gained comfort, in the darkness of the night they felt hope.
Even though he knew that by pushing open the door, He YunTing would still have to face the anxious situation, and even though he tried to remain neutral, he couldn’t avoid the tumultuous political struggle.
Even if the tears never end, even if Redberry could no longer bloom.
Even if the night was endless, it was still short.
He YunTing returned to his old coldness the moment he left, but when Lin Han looked at him, he seemed different from before — that meant the hug was effective.
Lin Han thought, that’s enough. He smiled at He YunTing first, “If General feels tired, he can come to me.” His eyes swept over the hands that remained warm, “And no more polite handshakes with me — you can hold it whenever you wish.”
If this could share even a little of He YunTing’s sadness…
He YunTing seemed stunned for a moment and raised his eyes to look at him.
“You don’t have to think about anything, or care about what’s next to you,” Lin Han said with a tilt of his head, “If the General thinks that would be better… Don’t ask me, you can grab my hand anytime you want.”
Perhaps it was the long hug that brought them closer together, and Lin Han felt the urge to say ‘Smile, He YunTing.’
But he soon felt that he had overstepped the mark and withdrew the idea.
“Thank you.” He YunTing only replied with these two words, which also seemed to be a tacit agreement to what Lin Han said before.
Lin Han tilted his head to look at this always cold face, and that thought he had just now had become more and more vivid, and he couldn’t hide it.
He wanted to see him smile.
He must look good when he smiles, it must be different from everyone else.
There must be an opportunity to see it.
The day would come when it happened.
Lin Han thought all of this.
He YunTing left the observation room and went back to his work as if he wasn’t tired, or as if the hug he had just given him had given him renewed strength.
Lin Han briefly got some sleep and returned to the captain’s room to find some people arguing.
Lu AnHe’s voice came over the communicator, “We just contacted the Oddbound Biosystem, they said the weather is bad these days, visibility is extremely poor, and besides… We’ve just had a change of heart in the border area, and their advice is that the exercise can no longer continue.”
Oddbound didn’t respect the Empire, but the relationship of cooperation over the years didn’t let them give such advice out of thin air. Since the other side said so, it must be really not suitable to continue.
What was more, the sudden accident caught everyone off guard, and the sergeants were too eager to bring Ji Meng’s remains back.
He YunTing wasn’t surprised by this matter, as if he thought the same. His hand was propped up on the command platform, his eyebrows didn’t show his weariness and no one could imagine that he hadn’t closed his eyes for a long time, “I know.”
In order to ensure safety, all the mecha of Group A had been recalled, while Group B, having already ensured their safety, some of the prospective pilots were still unwilling to give up this opportunity, and carried out casual training without clear instructions from He YunTing.
But before He YunTing could say anything, Wen TianYao opened his mouth first, “General, everyone has already gone out of their way to come to the border area like this, not to mention that the fourth round of exercises only comes once a year, if we don’t select the best pilots to be integrated into the army, wouldn’t it be…”
His meaning was clear, he felt that the exercise shouldn’t stop there.
He YunTing turned his head to look at him without emotion, “Then what His Highness means is that you will take the responsibility for Major Ji Meng’s accident this time?”
He YunTing, who used to be unconcerned with Wen TianYao, asked him in such a tone.
Ji Meng had died, but someone wasn’t even willing to take the responsibility.
Wen TianYao’s face turned white and he shook his head subconsciously, excusing himself in a very official tone, saying, “We are all very sad that such a thing happened to Major Ji Meng…”
Lin Han saw He YunTing’s face darken for a minute after hearing this, “So?”
Wen TianYao seemed to be very good at saying these kinds of words, he looked calm, “Lieutenant Colonel Lu has taken over his job, so it shouldn’t stop there, after all, this is an opportunity to select elite pilots for the base, you can’t just leave this easily.”
At this moment, Lin Han suddenly felt odd, he felt that Wen TianYao sometimes had a kind of stupidity that he didn’t even realize. He seemed to put the maintenance of his image and status first, but ignored many issues of principle.
“Oddbound has said that the climate has changed, what if some Star Pirates take advantage of the situation?” He YunTing said word by word, “All the prospective pilots were selected after three rounds of selection at the base, who will be responsible for their lives?”
Wen TianYao seemed to want to say something else, “But Yan Ming is also one of the pilots, yet because of his operation mishap…”
He YunTing was half a head taller than Wen TianYao, looking down at him when his tone was completely cold, the brim of his military cap cast an icy shadow over his eyes, making his sense of oppression even greater. He didn’t wait for Wen TianYao to finish and interrupted him directly, “But they are my sergeants first and the Empire’s sergeants second. The matter of Yan Ming hasn’t yet been fully investigated, and even if there’s to be a trial, it will eventually go back to the military court to convict with solid evidence.” He YunTing didn’t often say such long words to Wen TianYao, even though his tone actually didn’t change much from before, it made Wen TianYao subconsciously avoid his eyes, “Or is it that His Highness the prince wants to overstep his authority?”
Wen TianYao’s tone changed instantly, “What do you mean by that, General?”
He YunTing, however, no longer paid attention to him — probably only he, too, dared to show such a look to the Imperial Prince.
“Pass the communication, tell all pilots in Group B to stop all training immediately, return to the battleship by number, count their numbers and evacuate. Wherever they are now, recall them. Don’t let pilots leave their mecha.”
The climate of the border region was supposed to be the worst of the galaxies under the Empire’s jurisdiction, with huge temperature differences between day and night, toxic ultraviolet rays and a thin atmosphere. Even though in the long evolution, humans weren’t as delicate as they were many years ago when they lived on Earth, almost no one wanted to be exposed to the air without wearing protective clothing.
And the reason why the Star Pirates were more recognizable was that their armament was fragmented out of specification, and the face of the people had become pitch-black and vicissitudes because they were always subjected to the harsh climate.
Wen TianYao’s face was very bad, wanted to insist on something, but because of He YunTing’s pressure, he didn’t continue to speak.
Lin Han couldn’t help but guess his purpose for coming here.
He said he was spying, so who was he spying on? Was it He YunTing, Ye Ling, or these would-be pilots?…
The relationship between the two sides looked tense.
And at that moment, the person who had been staying next to Wen TianYao these days suddenly opened his mouth.
“General doesn’t have to be so angry.” The person smiled politely and distantly, and was well-mannered, “His Royal Highness also means that he just feels that the opportunity is rare and doesn’t want to let it go.”
Wen TianYao heard someone come out to ease the atmosphere, the embarrassed expression on his face subsided a little.
But He YunTing obviously didn’t care about it, just shot a faint glance at the person who opened his mouth, and then turned his eyes away.
After all, there was someone to give a step, Wen TianYao didn’t turn the momentum down, “Xi Yuan, there’s no need to speak.”
The person named Xi Yuan was Wen TianYao’s personal deputy, it was known as the role of a thousand, and counted as half of His Highness. Xi Yuan’s presence wasn’t high, and sometimes Wen TianYao didn’t let him follow, but today, due to the incident, they came together to the captain’s room.
Although Xi Yuan was low-profile, he was really Wen TianYao’s right-hand man, otherwise Wen TianYao wouldn’t have taken him on the battleship. When Xi Yuan heard Wen TianYao say this, he immediately nodded, “Then we will obey the General. Those were just His Highness’s suggestions.”
After saying this, Xi Yuan politely took a step back and said no more.
Wen TianYao eventually couldn’t continue to insist, watching He YunTing recall all the pilots in turn, then take down their numbers and return them to the warship.
Lu AnHe came back with a broken Redberry, but put its remains in his Aegis — the Redberry was badly damaged and had no airtight function, so Ji Meng could easily decay in such an environment where he could come into contact with the outside world.
So Lu AnHe turned the Aegis’ cold air on to the maximum, and then placed Ji Meng inside in a fully airtight way so that he could be brought back to the Empire intact as much as possible under the limited conditions.
Lu AnHe’s expression had calmed down, even when talking to Ye Ling, occasionally there would be a smile. Only there was always something missing in that smile.
With He YunTing around, the execution was quick, and all orders were completed in less than half a day.
Some of the prospective pilots returned to the battleship with a look of confusion on their faces.
Was this it?
After trying their best to pass the three rounds of selection, they had to withdraw and go back to deeper investigation after an accident occurred at the slot when they were about to get the result.
The twilight in the border area was depressing and desolate.
There were no inhabitants here, except for the soldiers stationed on the far side of the border, and only the dirty, dark yellow sand remained.
Lin Han was just a little sorry. He might not be able to see the Erinnerung nebula that He YunTing had mentioned.
The command room of the captain’s room was repositioned, and after a head count, the return journey was imminent.
The route back from the border region was again different from before they came, and they were able to start the leap on the first day, and after a successful leap, were able to take one day less than when they came.
Lin Han used a nutrient and re-entered the captain’s room.
He YunTing was staring intently at the screen in front of him, as the reports of all the items in place continued to come over the comm.
Lin Han looked at him sideways, He YunTing’s face was as deep as water, but there was finally a faint trace of weariness between his eyebrows, and he blinked, leaving this last bit of fatigue behind him.
The previous kind of heartache diffused up again sluggishly.
Lin Han remembered what he had told him earlier and suddenly got the urge to do so, without considering what Ye Ling and Lu AnHe would think of him.
“General,” Lin Han spread his hands to He YunTing and opened his mouth gently with a very natural tone, “do you want to hold it?”
He felt that He YunTing got startled for a moment.
Lin Han didn’t tense up, nor did he withdraw his hand, his cold white five fingers were long and slender, his palm was facing up, waiting for something.
He YunTing didn’t say anything, the color of his eyes finally eased a point, and he wanted to stretch out his hand, over the other’s five fingers.
The change also happened at this moment.
The battleship hadn’t moved yet, but at the same time issued a frightening ear-splitting alarm—
The Empire was on the highest level of alert for Zerg, and some alarms were engraved in the program, and would automatically sound without being pulled in case of an emergency before them.
And that was exactly what was happening now.
This wasn’t a normal alarm, it was a sharp alarm only when the Zerg appeared.
He YunTing’s hand eventually didn’t rise, his eyes turned cold again as he grabbed the communicator to speak…
There was no need to speak anymore.
A second later, the battleship’s external display had come up with a picture.
A huge creature with a dark body appeared at some point not far from the battleship, its pair of tentacles opened and closed, its mouthparts were sharp, and its eight feet were intimidating with horrible mechanical barbs.
It was a massive… Giant mechanical sandworm.