Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
The most tormenting thing was, He YunTing hadn’t returned yet, so even if he could plug Qin Zian’s mouth today, he couldn’t plug the thousands of citizens who could be more terrible than Qin Zian with such out-of-context gossip. This kind of thing simply couldn’t be stopped as long as there was a hint of it.
“I know.” He still smiled at Qi Jiamu, “Thank you.”
Qi Jiamu opened his mouth to say something, but finally fell silent and only answered in a low voice. Qi Jiamu sent Lin Han to He YunTing’s place and left.
Lin Han just stepped into the door and felt something different, guessing that the person in charge of regular maintenance had already come. In fact, since He YunTing didn’t come back, the interior didn’t need much care, and Lin Han smelled a scent of freshly turned soil.
The climate of the Empire wasn’t very similar to that of the former Earth, so the flowering of tulips would be slightly delayed until late spring.
Lin Han saw this very large field of flowers a few days ago, and remembered that when the two of them were in the border area, he said that the tulips would be blooming soon after he returned, and wanted to wait for him to see them together.
But the flowers had only just grown to form stems and leaves, so He YunTing didn’t even have time to take a look at them.
Lin Han walked to the flower field, each flower was well trimmed, he had never seen such a large field of flowers, in fact he was curious why He YunTing would plant such a large number of tulips. After all, he seemed to have no hobby, much less a sense of joy or anger.
But it’s not like there’s no good news, Lin Han thought.
At least when He YunTing returned, his favorite tulips would be in bloom.
Grr quickly adapted to his new life and has regained the awareness that He YunTing was really not here these days, and that the coat that frightened him was just an empty shell, not to be feared.
For example, when Lin Han wasn’t looking, he would sneak up with his paws and pull on He YunTing’s uniform, then land on the epaulets to show off his strength, thinking that when the man really appeared in front of him in this outfit, he would be able to compete with him — at least not in terms of his aura.
And Lin Han went back to He YunTing’s study.
Since He YunTing said he had memory problems, the problem must’ve been with that day. He YunTing didn’t allow himself to run around, and Lin Han couldn’t find any other reason, so why not decide to start from that day, looking for any suspicious clues.
He first looked at He YunTing’s attendance record once again, indeed, that time was the day of practical training that year. According to this year’s strict level, He YunTing would stay with the sergeant in the base, if not for what happened, he simply couldn’t be absent for an entire afternoon.
But what could have happened that day?
Lin Han searched the records for the same day for the three years before and after, showing that He YunTing had only left on that day, so there was no duplication. He also ran a search based on his shooting training, but couldn’t find anything unusual.
Was there anything special about that day?
At the same time, he looked at the base’s dispatch records for mecha, and no mecha had left the base that day. Lin Han had no idea, and he didn’t have access to more detailed information about the base, so he was just about to put He YunTing’s records away when his heart struck a chord.
Maybe he didn’t have to start with He YunTing, but what had happened in the Empire itself that day. He quickly opened the lookup engine and typed in the date of that day, trying to find something else different in the news.
The people of the Empire had diverse access to information, and the news involved varied by partition. Lin Han didn’t spare areas other than the core, and skimmed through them at a glance.
There were many things happening that day, such as Wen TianYao returning to the core area to give a speech after experiencing the people’s situation in the civilian area, or the introduction of a new batch of creatures to the zoo in the Q District, inviting those interested to come and visit.
Another example was that Xu Zhiheng, the academic leader of biological science, brought his best students and gave an academic lecture at the Imperial Army University…
Lin Han suddenly held his breath.
He himself had an impression of this lecture.
When he was a student, he liked to listen to Xu Zhiheng’s lectures, and after he started working, he also lived near the Imperial Army University, and at that time he had just joined the Research Institute. He was very busy every day, and only had a little free time on public holidays, so he didn’t hesitate much and went to Xu Zhiheng’s lecture as usual.
At that time, an assistant professor had been diligently helping Xu Zhiheng to make arrangements, now that he thought about it, it should be the ‘favorite student’ mentioned in the report.
The other party’s name was Xi Yuan.
Lin Han’s eyes rested on it, combined with the events of this period, a strong intuition told him that whether He YunTing’s memory was related to this, but Xi Yuan might have had other thoughts at this time. That day he seemed to have forgotten to bring his nutrients, and halfway through the lecture he felt very sleepy, but didn’t want to leave the classroom midway, so he leaned against a corner and accidentally fell asleep.
When he woke up, the lecture was over, and there were only a few scattered students who were still chatting. He was a little embarrassed that he had fallen asleep after coming to the lecture, but he left the venue and went home without thinking too much about it, and his life afterwards was the same as usual.
Lin Han’s heart was suddenly beating hard.
He YunTing’s attendance records hadn’t been closed, Lin Han just turned over quite a few of them, and in some of them, He Yunting would incidentally write down Lu Anhe’s report along with it. But on the day of the lecture, again there was no record of Lu AnHe’s report.
In other words, it was likely that the two left the base together that day.
Lin Han bit his lips, an absurd thought suddenly appeared in his mind.
Was it possible that He YunTing was also present at the lecture at that time?
Could Lu AnHe know something, but for various reasons couldn’t tell He YunTing?
This conjecture wasn’t corroborated by anything, but Lin Han felt his chest fluttering.
Could it be that He YunTing’s memory could be related to him?
The formation officially returned two days later.
Those cities where antigen aerosols had been dropped began to recover gradually, and although many people still couldn’t return to full normalcy, there were no more new symptoms and no more strikes against humans.
The residents began to stop calling them ‘aliens,’ and since they were getting better, they were just traumatized patients. However, in order to be cautious, the reconstruction of the three cities was temporarily put on hold, and V Proton decided to wait until most of the infected had recovered before proceeding with construction, and the priority now was to maintain the existing stability.
Xu Zhiheng didn’t close his eyes for two days, and when he finally left, he was afraid of any oversight. He kept talking to V Proton’s experts about various precautions, not missing a single detail.
The inhabitants of V Proton Star, because they deeply appreciated the seriousness of this matter, didn’t blame the formation that came to support them for clearing the three cities. There were opportunities for many things, and perhaps the opportunity to solve this matter was the teenager Xu Zhiheng saved — although there were no news now.
No one knew when the opportunity would happen, they knew that if He YunTing didn’t order the slaughter of the city, if Xu Zhiheng didn’t follow, if this teenager didn’t appear, then V Proton Star may now be left with only one city, the central city.
So no one complained, just wanted to cherish the hard-won peace and quiet now. But after the communication was opened, the news passed quickly, and the matter reached the Empire, many people didn’t think the same. As Lin Han thought, within two days, even though the mainstream media had deliberately refrained from mentioning the incident, rumors of all kinds spread.
Whether it was colleagues in the Institution or the Internet, there were all kinds of comments discussing the V Proton rescue.
Unlike the people of V Proton, the people of the Empire had different perspectives on things due to the uneven distribution of the three genders. Some agreed, some thought that He YunTing’s move wasn’t a big mistake, some thought he was too reckless and rash, and some even raised the issue of gender, saying that it was really an insult to the age of the Empire that such a cruel person could be in a high position without being held accountable because he was an Alpha in power. Naturally some of this kind of information would also be fed back to the formation.
It wasn’t the first time that the formation experienced such things, and all of them kept their mouths shut without Lu AnHe speaking up, but despite this, they saw He YunTing’s increasingly silent brow, and a face that was even colder than usual.
When leaving, Chang Lin and a group of people from V Proton Star said that they wanted to send the formation away, Lu AnHe knew that he couldn’t argue, but still went with them. They hadn’t expected the seriousness of the matter when they arrived, and when they left, they felt that it was unexpected that there could be a new turn of events in this situation.
According to their serial number, each mecha, in the eyes of those who were either joyful or adoring or grateful, slowly flew back to their homeland.
He YunTing had to go first to debrief the Emperor, and after that there was usually a short rest period of a few days, after which he would return to base and continue what he had to do. Instead of stopping at a remote berth, the formation crossed over to the L Zone this time and parachuted directly into the Core, passing the central statue that represents the iconic Core before marching towards its destination.
Lin Han stood next to the central statue.
The central avenue was very spacious, as it was originally created for the triumph of the army. Lin Han had only seen it on TV before, where the people would flank and welcome their heroes at every glorious homecoming. He didn’t expect to stand here for the first time with only a few of those citizens around him who had come to greet him. He couldn’t wait for He YunTing to arrive before contacting him, and he wanted to be the first to see him anyway — even if it was just his mecha.
Lin Han had envisioned many ways to welcome He YunTing back, with the people holding flowers and shouting the General’s name at the places where the formation would pass, each word carrying excitement and admiration — after all, that was the god in everyone’s heart.
But it was never like this.
Even though some people were near him, they were still discussing He YunTing’s decision, saying that he shouldn’t have done so, and some even stood in the same place with their stuff for smashing the scene, full of indignation, just waiting for the mecha to pass by, questioning, condemning, and asking for a statement about ‘humanity.’
The weather had already turned warm, but Lin Han felt cold.
Finally, after waiting for an unknown amount of time, someone in front of him yelled out, “The formation has arrived,” and the originally stagnant crowd came to life.
Lin Han’s heart trembled, hearing the familiar sound of the engine, at a certain moment, even sad not wanting to look up. He had never run away from anything, but now he wished that He YunTing’s formation would not pass through Central Avenue and not come to the central statue.
“General, do you even have an explanation?”
“How many lives have disappeared at your command?”
“They didn’t even have the ability to resist, and you used the mecha as a tool for slaughter…”
Some people began to throw things at the mecha, in a tone of righteous anger, while others whispered that the General must have his own reasons for not jumping to conclusions. But it was the ‘justice’ that was the loudest at the moment, and the so-called excuses were eventually overpowered by the angry voices.
It was too noisy.
Lin Han didn’t want to look up, but still couldn’t help to do so. As the sound of the engine drew nearer, he looked up from the noisy crowd and almost stopped breathing as his gaze coalesced around the mecha, which was all too familiar. The huge mecha, like a cold vessel, drove forward without a glance, followed by his subordinates. And people only condemned the leader, even though the mecha was tall and still had a bit of dirt on its feet from some radical people.
It was too noisy.
M2742 came slowly toward him, and Lin Han didn’t move, but watched it with unblinking eyes. He and the mecha stared at each other as if their eyes could penetrate the cold iron and see the man sitting in the cockpit at the moment.
The surroundings were really… it was too noisy.
Did He YunTing see him?
What mood would he be in at this moment?
His expression must be very cold now, his blue eyes must carry a calm and silent emotion, he must not say anything, and must not blame anyone.
Except for He YunTing himself.
Lin Han’s lips were tightly pursed, not letting any emotion leak out, standing silently in place, waiting for this huge mecha brush past him.
Lin Han took the initiative to dial Lu AnHe’s communication an hour later.
The other wasn’t surprised that he would come to him and said politely, “Mr. Lin, Boss is probably not available right now, and Qi Jiamu has to report back to the base…”
“I know.” Lin Han answered, “I may have to trouble Lieutenant Colonel Lu, I’m not feeling well today, can you come to the Institute and pick me up?”
Lu AnHe answered, “Okay.”
Soon, He YunTing’s flying machine drove to the entrance of the Institute.
Lu AnHe didn’t ask much, “Mr. Lin, are you going back to your apartment?”
“No.” Lin Han’s voice was light, “Go to his manor.”
Lu AnHe froze, not expecting Lin Han to be so blunt, but said nothing and drove Lin Han back with ease. The two of them had no words the entire way.
When Lin Han arrived at the destination, Lu AnHe still couldn’t hold back and saw the anguish on Lin Han’s face. “I’ll be back in a while.”
Lin Han answered very softly.
Lu AnHe thought Lin Han would be unhappy because of He YunTing’s coldness when he returned, so he hurriedly explained to him, “Mr. Lin, I know you went to the center statue today, but Boss is afraid of dragging you down because of your relationship, that’s why…”
“It’s okay.” Lin Han didn’t look angry, just had a touch of worry between his eyebrows.
Lu AnHe sighed in relief, “Then I’ll go back first.”
“Wait.” Lin Han called out to him. He smiled a little, smoothing out the emotion between his eyebrows, and said to Lu AnHe, “By the way, I have a question to ask you.”
Lu AnHe stood still and nodded, “What can I do for you, Mr. Lin?”
Lin Han’s tone was normal, “It’s a little concern about the General.”
Lu AnHe didn’t question it, “Okay.”
Lin Han, however, withdrew his smile at that instant, and his expression abruptly changed.
“——Did the General forget about me?”
At the same time as these words fell, Lin Han didn’t move and stared closely into Lu AnHe’s eyes. He thought of many ways to cut in, such as asking tentatively if He YunTing was present at the lecture three years ago, if they had met somewhere before, or if something could have happened to He YunTing for not attending the shooting training that day.
But suddenly he didn’t want to wait, he didn’t want to see He YunTing with a forlorn look, standing under his apartment building waiting for a whole silent night, nor did he want to feel the trembling, hesitation and bitterness in his kiss, or wait until the tulips in the flower field bloom and then thank them. The Erinnerung Nebula had disappeared, and he would never have the chance to see it again in his life.
Lin Han knew the question was absurd, but even if it was a scam to Lu AnHe, he wanted to get an answer. He saw Lu AnHe’s eyes tremble violently.
“I’ll just say this,” Lin Han relaxed and re-hooked the corners of his mouth, looking half-joking and half-serious, “it suddenly came to me yesterday.”
The other party’s expression, except for a moment of surprise when he said that, was soon untraceable.
Lu AnHe followed Lin Han and laughed, his tone relaxed and natural, “Why did Mr. Lin suddenly think of this? Boss has always been at the base before, and the last time at the celebration party was the first time we met with Mr. Lin.”
Lin Han cooperated by nodding his head and bending the tips of his eyes.
“I’m sorry.” The smile on Lin Han’s face hadn’t disappeared, he just lowered his head and whispered.
Before Lu AnHe could understand why Lin Han apologized, the other party abruptly took a step closer and almost somewhat eagerly grabbed his hand.
“…Mr. Lin?” Lu AnHe hesitated for a second, his eyes uncomprehending.
Lin Han’s hand was shaking, and Lu AnHe’s voice, different from the calm voice at this moment, appeared in his ears.
【What’s wrong with Mr. Lin?】
【I should have acted calmly just now.】
【But why did he suddenly ask that?】
【What should I do? Could it be that Mr. Lin… knows?】
The author has something to say:
Xiao Lin: It’s a scam! Everything is a scam!!
Though this is emotional, there is no knife! Don’t panic! Don’t be dramatic in the comment section!
Two useless eggs: the name of the nebula, Erinnerung’s name is borrowed from the German “memory.’ In flower language, purple tulips symbolize never-ending love. 1
- I don’t know where the author read this but purple tulips represent royalty while red tulips represent love like red roses. A Turkish legend may be responsible for the red tulip’s symbolism. The story goes that a prince named Farhad was love struck by a maiden named Shirin. When Farhad learned that Shirin had been killed, he was so overcome with grief that he killed himself – riding his horse over the edge of a cliff. It’s said that a scarlet tulip sprang up from each droplet of his blood, giving the red tulip the meaning “perfect love.”