Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Xie Sen’s group entered the lobby of The Phantom of the Sea. They were walking towards the elevator when Simeon stopped them with four armed security guards, and asked them to cooperate with the investigation in regards to suspicion of theft. The four men were prepared for this. They acted very cooperative, and allowed the officers to take them away.
Xie Sen originally thought they would go to the local police department, but to his surprise, Simeon took them directly to a hall on the 87th floor.
The room was very large, and there was a set of white leather sofas on the right hand side. A man in a blue shirt was sitting there. He had a particularly good-looking face, with blue hair and long eyelashes.
Xie Sen froze, and secretly wondered, was this makeup or natural?
His stare was so obvious that Lanny raised his eyes slightly to look at him. Xie Sen subconsciously raised his smile to express his friendliness. This man must be a high ranking member of The Phantom of the Sea.
“Grand Prince,” Simeon bowed towards Lanny.
Lanny casually waved his hand, and gestured for him to leave.
But Simeon felt the four men were strange. Their strength was unpredictable, and it was too dangerous for Lanny to meet with them alone.
Lanny glanced at him. “Go out.”
Simeon had no choice but to leave the hall, and wait outside the door.
“Sit down.” Lanny swept his gaze over the four, and said indifferently.
They looked at each other. Lanny’s attitude was too friendly and too calm, which made them more wary. The four sat down opposite Lanny, and waited for him to speak. Lanny’s gaze fell on them one by one, and each time he looked at one of them, he identified them. “The Long family, the Bai family, the only plant beast master, and the flying lion beast master who broke off relations with his family. All of you are from Brandt Star. Are you trying to provoke me by stealing the treasure of The Phantom of the Sea?”
Xie Sen blinked, and gave him an innocent look. “Stealing? There might be a misunderstanding here.”
“Misunderstanding?” Lanny snorted. “Do you think The Phantom of the Sea can’t find evidence, and can’t do anything to you? Not to mention the evidence, as long as you don’t throw away the stolen items, when you try to leave our borders, we can search your bodies to find the items lost by The Phantom of the Sea. According to Blue law, you will then be directly thrown into the Deadly Waters.”
Xie Sen suddenly felt weak. Little Silver was born on Blue and might not want to leave, but the giant crocodile beast and giant bear beast were different. They were captured and sent to Planet Blue. It was likely that they would choose to leave with them.
If they left with them, Lanny would search the group during their departure and find them.
Xie Sen maintained his composure. “Search all you want. We don’t have anything from The Phantom of the Sea on us.”
Lanny stared at him, his brow furrowed lightly. “Don’t tell me you stole something just to throw it away?”
Of course not! Xie Sen didn’t say anything for a moment.
Maine stared at Lanny, “What’s your purpose?”
Since Lanny had thought about searching them on the way out, he simply could have stayed put and waited for them to leave before he made his move.
Lanny looked at him, then pulled up the picture the search team had passed on to him. He zoomed the screen in and turned it toward them. “How did you escape?”
The photo was taken from an overhead perspective. A small mountain of a blue whale was next to a large reef in the ocean, but otherwise, no one was there. Lanny immediately switched photos. Now the blue whale hadn’t yet approached the reef, and on the reef were four very small figures.
Two photos in contrast. There was a blue whale close to the reef, so the four people on the reef should have been eaten.
Xie Sen hadn’t expected that the blue whale would create this illusion. He finally understood why the two flying machines withdrew. It turned out that they thought they had been eaten by the blue whale.
“Wow! It looks even bigger!” Long Teng’s eyes glowed, and he couldn’t help but exclaim.
Bai Jiao gave him a pinch on his hand, not with much force, but he could feel the pain. He immediately reacted, and turned his head to smile at Bai Jiao. His glare said, shut up and don’t say anything.
Xie Sen tried, “You just want us to satisfy your curiosity? If we tell you how we escaped, you’ll stop suspecting us?”
“Of course not,” Lenny said. “I’m not suspicious. I’m certain you stole the stuff.”
None of the four men said another word. They made up their minds not to admit it, as they had agreed to do on the way there.
Lanny saw their intentions. He knew they were determined that if The Phantom of the Sea couldn’t produce evidence, they wouldn’t admit to anything. He gave a light tsk, and his eyes narrowed. “Do you know how much loss was suffered because of this? Do you think I will eat this secret loss?”
He operated his bracelet a few times, and pulled out a piece of information, then he showed them the screen. “If you can’t recognize what this is, I don’t mind explaining it.”
On the screen was a still photo. It wasn’t a regular photo, the colors were black and white, where the walls and floor had turned a transparent black, but there was something else in the middle of the black. On the walls were fingerprints, and on the floor were two rows of white footprints.
Xie Sen, There is something so high-tech?
He didn’t know what kind of technology was used to make this kind of picture, but as soon as he saw it, he understood that these marks were left by him and Maine on the 82nd floor.
He pulled a smile, “Hahahaha, this…We heard that the security of The Phantom of the Sea is very strict and we were just curious.”
“Is that so?” Lanny raised an eyebrow. “Since you were just curious, you should return the stuff to its rightful owner, right?”
Xie Sen blinked, and said in a meditative tone. “How about you tell us a price, and since we don’t have the treasure we’ll let it go.”
“You think I’ll believe such a reason?”
Xie Sen’s expression was serious. “In Brandt Star, it’s illegal to sell contract beasts privately. The contract beasts are our friends. We didn’t want them to be bought, so we took them away and released them.”
“You could have bid at the auction.” Lanny said coldly.
Long Teng said, “But most of the auction price will go to the contract beast dealer. They will still enjoy the profiteering of selling contract beasts, and will definitely harm more of them in the future.”
“The auction item was lost in The Phantom of the Sea. The Phantom of the Sea must compensate with the average auction price of similar items,” Lanny looked at him. “They get the money, regardless.”
Long Teng, “They are so bad. Don’t compensate them!”
Lanny snorted lightly. “It’s surprising that Long Yu’s son is so naive.” He folded his arms, and leaned back on the sofa. “I’ll give you a chance to tell me how you escaped from the blue whale, then hand over the stuff and I can pretend that nothing happened.”
He said that, then stretched out his hand. There was a flap of black fungus between his fingers. “Right, and also tell me how you got this thing on the camera.”
Xie Sen looked at the black fungus, and couldn’t help but ask, “Did you guys find this on your cameras?”
Lanny, “Of course.”
Xie Sen’s mind went to the black fungi, and gulped. “Give them back to me, and I can give you a demonstration.”
Lanny surveyed his expression, and threw the piece in his hand to him. “Just use this one for demonstration.”
Xie Sen secretly thought, what a pity. He picked up the black fungus, held it in his hand and squeezed it. When the fungus flap left the root he would lose control, so this couldn’t be used at all.
He thought about it. Little Silver and the contract beasts certainly wouldn’t be returned. Lanny had proposed three requirements. Since he couldn’t complete them all, then he simply wouldn’t do any of them. He wasn’t ready to demonstrate the fungi, but he also felt a bit guilty. After all, their behavior was illegal, and indeed they had harmed the interests of The Phantom of the Sea.
He pinched the black fungus, and had an inspiration. He leaned forward and looked serious. “Grand Prince, why don’t we make a deal?”
Lanny’s eyes showed a touch of surprise. If the four of them hadn’t stolen the shell and contract beasts, then hadn’t consigned the watermelon and he heard this, he would likely have been disdainful, but now he wouldn’t underestimate them. However he was curious.
“Tell me about it.”
Xie Sen smiled. His tone was full of sincerity, “I have never seen such a beautiful place as Blue. When I arrived at the spaceport, I saw many, many tourists who all looked happy as they cheered and praised the sea. Grand Prince, how can such a beautiful place tolerate bad things? Except for the mermaid race, most of the planet’s people have awakened their contract beasts and treat them as friends and companions. Many people are disgusted with such behavior as selling contract beasts. I think everything on Planet Blue should be beautiful and such things should be strictly prohibited.”
Xie Sen said this and paused. This was just what he thought. They could save two contract beasts, but there would be countless more contract beasts that would be sent to auction.
If there was a market, there would be harm, and the real protection of contract beasts should start with the distribution channels.
On Brandt Star, privately selling contract beasts was illegal. The Ministry of Military Affairs’ suppression of the black market was very strong. When he was kidnapped, the Ministry of Military Affairs found the contract beast dealer organization and destroyed it.
But if they couldn’t be sold on Brandt Star, they might come to sell on Planet Blue. Blue was a special planet. The indigenous mermaids didn’t have contract beasts, so there was no law relating to the protection of contract beasts. For contract beast vendors, this was undoubtedly a treasure trove.
Lanny’s eyes shifted slightly. “As far as I know, bonding is a sacred thing. Beast masters are eager to bond, but can’t find contract beasts. The Phantom of the Sea auction of contract beasts satisfies their desire. Those who can bid are not of poor family backgrounds, and the beast masters are good to their contract beasts. That is a beautiful thing, not a bad thing.”
Xie Sen looked at him in surprise. He thought Lanny was more concerned with profit, but he didn’t expect Lanny to say something that seemed to indicate that everything was fine on Planet Blue.
He said bluntly, “It’s not like that. The intelligence of the contract beasts is very high. They are individuals with independent thoughts.” He considered it. “You can think about it in a different way. I heard that the mermaid race can switch between human and beast form. If there was a mermaid race beast master now, who forced a contract with you, and made you do anything to follow that person and obey his actions, but he was good to you, would you like it? Would you be happy?”
Lenny’s face sank. “No one can control a mermaid,” he said coldly. “I don’t like this transposition. Not willingly.”
Xie Sen said, “You see, that’s the thing. The contract beasts just can’t communicate with humans with words. However their intelligence isn’t inferior to humans, and forcing a contract beast, even to be hurt, is a very bad thing.”
“Yes,” Long Teng said in an aside. “If there is the ability, the contract beast will willingly obey its master. There is no need to force a contract.”
Lanny looked puzzled. After a moment, he said, “Planet Blue will lose a lot of wealth by banning the sale of contract beasts.”
Xie Sen thought to himself, you really still mentioned the profit? But he was prepared. “This is the deal I’m talking about. Instead of selling contract beasts, you can sell something else. Something that all people will like.”
“You mean the watermelon?” Lanny asked.
Xie Sen said, “This is only one of them. You shouldn’t underestimate the profit from food. You can certainly find a huge business opportunity after you have had a taste of the watermelon. Of course, the watermelon can’t be counted within the trade.”
“You want to exchange the watermelon for the shell and contract beasts?” Lanny poked at his idea.
Xie Sen laughed, “I think it’s worth it. In your eyes, the shell and contract beasts, they really are nothing, aren’t they? You can taste it now, and see if what I say is true.”
Lenny looked at him vaguely, and didn’t say anything. It really wasn’t much, or he wouldn’t have been so polite. The reason he hadn’t just had them arrested, but chose to see them was because they weren’t as important to him as satisfying his interest.
He sent a message with his bracelet. Not long after, Simeon walked in with the watermelon in his arms, and put it on the coffee table in the middle of the sofas.
Xie Sen smiled, and took out a fruit knife. He cut the watermelon in half vertically, then divided it into pieces, picked up a piece and handed it to Lanny. “Eat the red pulp. The black bits are the seeds, so spit them out.” He really couldn’t resist a sales pitch. “In addition to eating, it can also be squeezed into watermelon juice. After soaking in the sea, drinking the juice is a wonderful feeling!”
Lanny received the proffered slice from his hand and subconsciously sniffed it. It was a light sweet aroma in his nose, and his eyes became slightly bright. He took a bite, chewed casually and the sweet juice filled his mouth. His eyes lit up even more as he finished the slice of watermelon, and wiped his hands. “Growing conditions?”
Xie Sen thought for a moment. “Dry land. Is there dry land on Planet Blue?”
Lanny, “Only the island has dry land, and the area is very small, but that doesn’t matter. Planet Blue has a resource planet, and we can try to plant it there.”
Xie Sen laughed, “So, you are agreeing to my deal?”
Lanny, “There are thousands of contract beast types. You only offer one kind of fruit. How do I calculate what I’ll lose? But for the shell and contract beasts, I can leave it alone.”
This was the result Xie Sen most wanted when he was invited here, but now that he had a better idea, he was a little dissatisfied with the result.
“I think you should think more about the deal I’m offering. The watermelon is just a fruit, but for human travel, in addition to seeing the scenery, the most important thing is eating. Seafood, although delicious, when eaten continuously, it will make one tired and it’s too light.”
Lanny raised his eyebrows. “You mean there are other foods? As far as I know, edible food is scarce on Brandt Star.”
Xie Sen smiled. “Of course there are other plants,” he said and looked at the time. “It’s almost past lunchtime. How about we have a meal? I’ll let you taste something else.”
Five people moved to the 57th floor. The 57th and 56th floors weren’t the same. On the 57th floor, in addition to casual seating, there were private rooms. Lanny directly ordered a deluxe private room.
Xie Sen requested two hot pots. The waiter immediately served all the seafood. As he left, he was about to close the door, but Xie Sen stopped him. “Don’t close it, just leave it open. Otherwise, it will be difficult to ventilate later.”
The waiter looked at Lanny, who nodded.
The seafood was slowly cooking in the pot. Xie Sen exchanged a medium-hot chili pepper, let it turn into powder and sprinkled it evenly into the hot pot in front of him. Soon the spicy scent wafted out.
Long Teng was eating raw seafood, when he looked up and gulped, “A’Sen, did you put in a chili? It smells so good!”
Xie Sen nodded. The spicy flavor was amazing, and the smell was so appetizing. He looked at the soup turning red in the pot, and was a bit impatient, but he had to wait because it wasn’t cooked.
In the next moment, his face was red, his eyes were red, and his lips were red as if they were stained with blood.
Xie Sen secretly thought it was too much. Although it was only medium spicy, the mermaid was used to a light taste, so if he suddenly ate something spicy, even medium spicy for him might be explosively spicy.
“If it’s too spicy, try thinning it with water before you eat it,” he suggested.
Lanny gave him a red-eyed look from the corner of his eyes. He took a sip of water, and without hesitation, he took a scallop and ate the meat.
Xie Sen watched him eat one after another, and knew that he liked it. He put his mind at ease. There was something to talk about if he liked it.
Long Teng couldn’t resist and also reached out his chopsticks, but Bai Jiao grabbed his wrist. “We’ll get sick if we eat half-raw seafood.”
“Wow! Don’t eat it, it’s not even cooked yet!” Long Teng could only withdraw his hand, but his eyes stared straight at the spicy hot pot. He saw the seafood in the pot was becoming less and less, then hastily held his hand over the hot pot and glared at Lanny.
Lanny even drank several mouthfuls of water. Because it was too spicy, his eyes were filled with a layer of moisture. “That doesn’t matter.” No matter what kind of seafood, for mermaids, they could eat it.
A long time ago, when mermaids couldn’t turn into humans, they couldn’t eat hot food, so even now they were able to eat like that with the development of shifting between human and beast forms.
Bai Jiao, amused, pulled Long Teng’s hand away as Lanny continued to eat. Bai Jiao used a spoon to scoop some of the seafood in the clear soup pot into the spicy pot. “If it’s not enough, add more later.”
Long Teng immediately laughed, and looked at Bai Jiao with a wide smile. “You are so nice and smart.”
Xie Sen spat, “You’re the one who’s stupid.”
Maine picked up a piece of scallop, looked at it, and immediately put it on Xie Sen’s plate. “It’s cooked. It’s ready to eat.” Xie Sen turned his head, and smiled at him. “You eat too.”
Long Teng pouted, and was about to refute Xie Sen’s words, but when he saw that, he didn’t do so and started to eat.
The more the spice was cooked, the stronger it was, and the more the aroma drifted outward from the room. After taking an order for food from a booth, the waiter opened the door and was prepared to leave, when the aroma came to him and made him stop.
In the room, the customer’s eyes lit up. “Wait, don’t go yet. What is this smell? Give us one too.”
The waiter froze. “Sorry, I don’t know.”
“You go to the kitchen and ask. No matter what it is, and no matter what the price, I want it. The smell is too attractive. I wasn’t hungry but the smell of this makes me particularly want to eat.”
“My mouth is watering. It’s totally out of control!”
“Me too. God knows I usually hate eating!”
The waiter dizzily ran to the kitchen, and the chef glared at him. “What’s new? It’s the same thing every day, isn’t it? There’s no difference except that there’s more salt and less salt.”
“If you don’t believe me, you’ll know when you go outside. The outside room is full of fragrance.”
The chef walked out, and said as he went, “How is it possible that I don’t know what I’m cooking?” After a while. “Oh my God, how can it smell so good!”
He followed the scent to the booth. When a customer saw him in his uniform, he grabbed him. “What are they eating? Give me one! Hurry up, I’m dying for it.”
The chef said, “How should I know?” He said soothingly, “Wait in the booth.” After the guests were dealt with, he made his way to Xie Sen’s private room.
When he saw Lanny, he stared at Xie Sen and scolded, “How dare you bully the prince!”
“Get out.” Lanny said indifferently, and wiped his mouth.
The corners of Xie Sen’s mouth twitched. “How did we bully him?”
“The Grand Prince is crying,” the chef said angrily.
Xie Sen looked at Lanny. His eyes were wet and red, his face was also red…It really looked like he was crying. He glanced down to stifle laughter.
Lanny’s face went cold. “Who is crying?”
The chef was instantly panicked into a muggle. “No, no…No one.” He swept a glance around the room. The rest of the people’s situation was better than Lanny’s, but their symptoms were similar. He looked at the table where the spicy smell wafted from, and decisively changed the subject. “There are many guests who want to eat this. Grand Prince, how is this made?”
Lanny looked to Xie Sen who shrugged his shoulders. Lanny said, “New product under research. It’s not for sale.”
The chef left reluctantly, and used Lanny’s words to deal with all the customers who were waiting for food.
One of the customers was so hungry that they ran to the door of the room. “Dude, can I get a table?”
A minute later, this person was invited to leave by the people Simeon brought. Simeon stood at the door, and looked worriedly at Lanny. Lanny glanced at him. “Leave, and have someone stand guard three meters away.”
Simeon stared at him for a while to make sure he wasn’t crying, and in a normal mood, then personally guarded three meters outside the door. Any guests who wanted to approach were stopped by him.
The five people ate with satisfaction, while the rest of the guests on the same floor were in pain. It was torture to smell, and not eat.
Back on the 87th floor, Lanny ate another piece of watermelon as the redness on his face gradually dissipated. He took a sip of water. “What did you just put in there?”
Xie Sen unfolded his hand and put a red chili pepper in the palm of his hand. “Chili pepper. Just now it was medium spicy. Different chili peppers have different levels of spiciness. It can be made into a powdered seasoning, just like now, and it can also be made into food. It’s eaten in many ways.”
Lenny reached out to take it, and Xie Sen’s hand curled into a fist. “Now, what do you think of the deal I’m talking about?”
“I’d consider it, but it’s just that plant research is a long and uncertain thing. Can you provide seeds and the exact way to grow them?” Lanny asked.
Xie Sen said, “Yes.” He looked at the calendar and froze. It was actually the twentieth. He wondered how the apartment and the contract beasts’ residence had been built, He decided to take the time to ask later.
His thoughts turned, and he looked at Lanny. “In half a month, Brandt Star chilies will be available. If you don’t believe me, I can send you pictures of the growing chilies right now.”
Lanny pondered for a moment. He was about to say something, when Simeon came in with a tense expression. “Grand Prince. I just received an urgent report. The blue whale has entered the safe waters, and is moving rapidly towards the east, while the sea monsters of the Deadly Waters have gathered at the edge. They have taken no action for the time being.”
Lanny’s expression changed. “Stop the blue whale as soon as possible,” he said in a cold voice. “By any means necessary.”