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Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations

Editor: GaeaTiamat

 

The violent vibration of the airship made Duan FeiZhou almost hit the cylindrical vessel head-on. His instincts told him that something must have happened to Colonel Freeman. He hoped very much that the Colonel had taken control of the bridge. Because to destroy the mind control spell, he had to drain the liquid from the cylindrical container, and the engines would stop running. Until then, the Wellington had to land in a safe place.

The vibrations became more and more intense, and Duan FeiZhou could clearly feel that the ship was tilting. This wasn’t normal flight, but a downward dive. The animals panicked, and the two parrots chattered so loudly that it hurt his brain. The fox and squirrel ran around restlessly. The snake slithered behind Duan FeiZhou, as it made a dangerous hissing sound.

Suddenly, a majestic voice resounded through the fuel bay.

“Attention all departments, this is Captain Henry Freeman. I have taken control of the bridge and quelled the mutiny. The Wellington is temporarily malfunctioning. All personnel remain calm. Do not panic. Return to your stations. Continue work, and await further instructions! I repeat…”

Duan FeiZhou’s eyes lit up, Colonel Freeman did a great job! He didn’t think they’d recover the Wellington so soon!

He looked around for the source of the sound, and eventually found the speaking tube in a corner of the fuel bay. In the days before radio was invented, sound could only be transmitted to all parts of the ship through copper pipes. The advantage was that as long as the pipes were not clogged, orders could always be transmitted unimpeded. The downside was that someone had to be at the speaking tube all the time, as after all, the speaking tube didn’t have a telephone bell. He ran over and grabbed the tube. “Colonel Freeman, I’m in the fuel room. What’s the status of the airship?”

After a moment, the Colonel’s voice came back, “You’ve found ‘the one’?”

“Yes. I need to stop the Ether crystal-powered engine for a while. Can the airship land on the surface?”

“Not now. The ship’s differential has been tampered with. We can’t even control the airship ourselves. Let alone shut down the engines or land the ship…Chief Reeves, what are you saying?”

Duan FeiZhou was confused. Who was Warrant Officer Reeves? One of the colonel’s men?

A different voice came over the sound tube, “Hello, Sir, this is Reeves from the maintenance team. If you want to extinguish the engine, you can just empty the liquid in the Ether Crystalline Disintegrator. If the crystals don’t decompose, the engine will have no power. There is a very low probability of engine failure, but it’s worth a try.”

Duan FeiZhou thought about it. Emptying the decomposer, wasn’t that the equivalent of pulling coal out of the coal furnace?

“But wouldn’t that crash the airship?” he asked.

Colonel Freeman came back over the speaker tube, “Not yet. We are now…” He stopped talking for a long moment before he said in an incredulous tone, “The beast is carrying the Wellington.”

Duan FeiZhou was stunned, thought he had heard wrong, and pulled hard on his ears. “You mean, Leviathan? It’s carrying…the Wellington?”

The colonel was silent for a moment, and said, “I know it sounds outrageous, but it’s the truth. You’ll know it when you see it. I’m not sure how long it can hold up, so please finish your mission as soon as possible.”

Duan FeiZhou had encountered many strange things in his life, and this incident could probably be ranked among the top three. Leviathan, who had previously been on a killing spree, had suddenly turned around and was supporting the ship so it wouldn’t fall?

Monsters and animals saved mankind, but mankind killed each other. In the end was this upside down chaos, a sign of the times? He didn’t have time to think about this philosophical puzzle. Regardless of the Leviathan’s motives for helping them, he had to scramble to destroy the mind control spell. The Wellington couldn’t operate without the control of the senior crew and technicians, so if they didn’t cooperate, the others would be stuck in the Arctic for the rest of their lives, never to return to London.

Duan FeiZhou returned to the cylindrical container, which now he knew was called a disintegrator.

The buttons on the panel were labeled with their functions. He pressed the “Empty” button. A pair of mechanical arms dangled from above the disintegrator and clamped down on the Ether crystals. Then the liquid level inside the container dropped and eventually emptied. He opened the glass cover of the disintegrator, jumped onto the base, and drew on his energy to smooth out the spell.

Meanwhile, on the bridge, the many senior crew members who had been suppressed by guns held their heads up. It was as if the ice melted from their faces as the cold looks disappeared. Now they were more confused and puzzled, as if wondering why they were there and why they were being held down by the soldiers.

Colonel Freeman crouched down in front of the navigator. The latter blinked hard and tossed his head, as he tried to clear his mind.

“Are you awake?” the colonel asked with a smile.

“I…What’s wrong?” The navigator frowned. “I seem to have had a long, long dream that I did a lot of irrational things…”

“Since you’re awake, please go and modify the shipboard differential.”

“Why should I modify it? Isn’t it working fine?”

Colonel Freeman sighed “…I’ll explain it to you later.”

He ordered the soldiers to release the senior crew members. The soldiers were reluctant at first, since even the slowest of them realized that it was the senior crew that had banded together to victimize the colonel, and had ordered the attack on those who dared to resist. If they got free and then started to do evil, what could they do?

However it was the captain’s orders. Who would dare to disobey it? They couldn’t trust the senior crew, but the captain was convinced.

The weight on the navigator disappeared and the captain held out his hand to him. The man hesitated for a moment. As his mind cleared, he suddenly had a terrible thought. Maybe his “dream” was real, and he had secretly tampered with the ship’s differential program, which alone would be enough to get him court-martialed for life.

The look on Captain’s face was as if he was saying, ‘It’s not your fault. I don’t care. I’m here. All of you will be fine.’

The navigator took the captain’s hand and was pulled to his feet. He immediately went to work and began to modify the differential program. He fed a perforated slip of paper into the differential machine. The other senior crew members also gradually regained their senses. Although they were still a bit confused, their habits from years of training allowed them to quickly get into shape and help the navigator to modify the hull balance parameters and adjust the course.

The ship’s hull, which had been vibrating incessantly, finally stabilized. The moment the vibrating hum disappeared completely, the whole airship fell into absolute silence. The crew looked at each other and then broke out into an earth-shattering cheer.

On the other side, in the fuel room.

After he destroyed the spell, Duan FeiZhou lowered the glass cover and refilled the solution in the disintegrator. The Ether crystal-powered engine restarted, and he could clearly feel that the ship not only regained its balance, but was also slowly rising, which meant that the Wellington was at least free from the risk of crashing.

The animals were no longer agitated, but glued to him. The parrots flew up to his shoulders, rubbed their cheeks against him, and nibbled on his earlobes with their pointed beaks. The squirrel burrowed into his collar, and left only a large, fluffy tail on the outside, with fluffy fur that tickled him just enough to make him want to laugh. The fox jumped around in front of him and used its front paws to pick at his clothes. The snake, however, was very high strung and just slithered to his feet and coiled itself into a mosquito-like shape.

They were safe. Finally they could go home.

However, there were some people left behind forever at the end of this cold world.

Duan FeiZhou choked up a little and decided not to think about those who died. He would mourn them, but not now. He would prioritize his time for those who were still alive. He turned to leave the fuel bay and followed the map in his head to the bridge. The animals followed in his footsteps. 

All along the way, he could see happy soldiers. They hugged each other’s shoulders, some sang songs, while others cried for joy after the disaster. Many of them were in pain, but didn’t care to be healed. Some had sided with the “rebels” during the previous crackdown, while others had attacked them as suppressors. However, at that moment all the barriers between them had disappeared. There were no more suppressors and no more rebels, they were all part of the Wellington.

Many people cast astonished and puzzled glances at Duan FeiZhou, as if they were asking why this man was on their ship. Then they remembered that the man was one of the scholars on board. They remembered that there were clearly two scholars, but why was there only one left? Where was the other one?

Duan FeiZhou came in sight of the bridge. There were still traces of the battle here, with a dark red bloodstain stretching from the console to the doorway. However, order had been restored. Everyone was sitting at the consoles, busy with their jobs. He heard them reporting parameters, ordering subordinates, passing messages…

Captain Freeman stood at the very front of the bridge. When he saw Duan FeiZhou, he greeted him warmly, “Thank you, sir. Without you, the Wellington would be gone by now!”

Duan FeiZhou smiled stiffly. “It’s nothing. I just made a small contribution.”

He looked around and saw no sign of the lieutenant. He already knew who the bloodstain on the bridge belonged to.

“I’ve ordered a return flight.” Colonel Freeman said, “We’re not going around this time, we’re going straight to London. I think we’ll be there in a few hours.”

“But what about your mission? You escorted Simon here, however he’s dead and the Leviathan hasn’t been tamed. You’re just going to return to the ship?”

Colonel Freeman smiled regretfully. “I will take full responsibility for this failure. It was my momentary lapse of attention that led to this result. However, I don’t think we were complete failures.”

“Leviathan wasn’t tamed,” Duan FeiZhou reminded him.

“Yes, but…” Colonel Freeman was about to say something, but instead looked out the porthole.

Duan FeiZhou didn’t understand what he was looking at. There was nothing outside the porthole but the same old sky and ocean.

Then, the sky darkened.

It wasn’t dark. The Arctic days were long, and it was far from sunset. There was something huge blocking the light.

He looked out the window with Colonel Freeman.

A large, blood-red eye filled the window.

He drew a cold breath, and subconsciously extracted energy to protect himself.

Colonel Freeman laughed out loud. “Don’t worry, it won’t attack us.”

“That’s Leviathan,” Duan FeiZhou told him. “It’s the one that killed Simon and fought the Wellington.”

“Take a closer look.”

Duan FeiZhou went to the window and looked across to the sky with the blood-red eye. The Wellington was sailing between the sea and the sky, and Leviathan was soaring shoulder to shoulder with it. The blood-red eye blinked a little and moved slightly away from the Wellington. The full face of the beast was revealed. It was a bit like the dragons Duan FeiZhou had seen in fantasy movies, but more hideous and terrifying than dragons; full of sharp teeth, a line of spikes on the spine, and black scales. It was a flying nightmare.

However, the top of the black beast’s head was crowned with a touch of frosty white.

Duan FeiZhou pressed against the glass, and couldn’t believe his eyes.

The man at the top of the beast’s head also turned his head to look at him, with only one hand left to pluck away the silver hair that covered his eyes, while on the other side, the empty sleeve fluttered in the wind.

How was this possible…!

“Colonel Freeman, am I seeing things?” He asked very carefully. “On Leviathan’s head…there’s a man?”

Colonel Freeman walked over to him, hands behind his back, and squinted his eyes. “Yes, there is one. The navigator told me that it is Mr. Xenia, the Royal Academy scholar. Hmm? Isn’t he your companion?”

Duan FeiZhou forgot how to breathe. He had clearly watched the man fall into the icy sea. Was it possible to fall into the sea from that height and still be alive? An ordinary person might not be able to, but a modified body might be able to withstand the impact of the fall.

His brain began to fly as he analyzed the possibility of surviving a fall into the water. It was strange. Why was his mind full of physics problems at a time like this, instead of…and not…

He didn’t dare to think about anything else. It was as if once he went to fantasize about something, expect something, what he was expecting would be forever gone.

Duan FeiZhou gave a surprised cry and raised his head, but the white figure was no longer visible from above. He then realized that it was not the Leviathan that was rising, but the Wellington was descending.

“There’s a harbor on that island over there. Moor up for a while.” Colonel Freeman ordered. “Get Mr. Xenia on board.”

Z’s return won the applause of the entire crew. They treated him as a hero who had tamed the monster, and gave him the highest courtesy. From the moment he stepped on board the Wellington, people kept clamoring to shake his hand, tap him on the shoulder, and even ask for his autograph. If they had flowers in their hands, there would be a road of flowers under Z’s feet right now.

He didn’t say anything, just kept his customary indifferent smile and walked between the crew members who were cheering on the scene. Even Colonel Freeman came to greet him personally.

The two were actually meeting for the first time. It was long before Z boarded the ship that Colonel Freeman was put in the bilge by the fake colonel. He shook hands with Z as if they were old friends who had known each other for years, praised each other’s courage, and couldn’t help but glance at his empty sleeve.

It was Duan FeiZhou’s turn last, as he deliberately put himself at the end of the line to delay meeting Z, but eventually it was his turn. After he exchanged pleasantries with Colonel Freeman, Z’s eyes inevitably met his. Their eyes met, then the two men quickly averted their eyes again.

“Colonel, if you’ll excuse me.” Z said. “I’m going to fix my prosthetic.”

“Certainly. certainly. Go ahead.” Colonel Freeman smiled brightly. “Will you be coming to our celebration dinner?”

“It depends.” Z was noncommittal.

A few minutes later, Z sat in his cabin. The animals crouched at his feet, and surveyed the man, half of whose body was made of metal, with curious eyes. Z looked a little uncomfortable. He asked, “Can you let them out?” 

“They don’t listen to me.” Duan FeiZhou bristled. He pulled out the prosthetic and stared at Z.

“I’ll do it myself.” Z said.

Duan FeiZhou handed him the prosthetic limb. He held his own hand and looked up at the young man in front of him, impassive. Duan FeiZhou asked teasingly, “What’s wrong? Do you want me to turn around?” 

“That would really be a lot of work for you.” Z said without teasing.

Duan FeiZhou turned his back to Z, crossed his arms over him chest and tapped his toes impatiently on the floor.

Z slowly took off his jacket, and clumsily unbuttoned his shirt with one hand.

“How did you survive?” Duan FeiZhou asked.

“Falling into the sea doesn’t necessarily kill you.” Z shrugged off his shirt.

“What about Leviathan? Did you tame it?”

“No. I just…I found myself able to communicate with it. It said we both have Ether crystals inside us. Maybe we can communicate just because of that.”

Z’s heart was powered by Ether crystals, something Duan FeiZhou knew about, but it was the first time he had heard that Leviathan also had crystals inside it.

“What about you? What exactly is the situation on the Wellington?”

Duan FeiZhou succinctly described everything that happened. Z listened while he checked the interface of the prosthesis, confirmed that there were no problems, and then pointed the interface at his shoulder and pressed it hard. He gave a muffled grunt.

Duan FeiZhou turned around with concern, then quickly turned his head again. Z said he wasn’t allowed to look, and he wasn’t going to look.

Z moved his arm and tried to flex his fingers. “Why do I feel weird about this hand?”

“Uh… It’s probably because I stored energy in it. You know, my finger rings were confiscated by the fake colonel, and your prosthetic arm happens to be brass.”

“…Oh.”

“If you don’t like it, I’ll just pump the energy out.”

“No need,” Z said. “It’s nothing uncomfortable. And if you ever run out of energy again, you can just take it from me…”

He stopped and wouldn’t say any more. To say more would be to acquiesce that they would continue to be together in the future. Z’s eyes roamed the cabin and finally landed on his suitcase. The suitcase had been resting under the bed, but now it had been pulled out.

A vague anxiety surfaced in his mind. He asked in a low voice, “You’ve read my suicide note?” 

“Yes.”

“…Then what do you think of the writing?”

Duan FeiZhou was dumbfounded. How could there be such a person in the world who wanted others to evaluate his own suicide note? Do you want me to praise it for its beautiful rhetoric, heartfelt emotions, and then give it a score?

That was definitely not what Z wanted to ask. He knew what Z wanted to ask. His toes kicked at the ground. Give him enough time, and he could kick a crater in the metal floor. After a few moments of hesitation, he asked, “Why Miss Acheson?”

Z looked up in dismay. “Huh?”

“Why did you appoint Miss Acheson as the next leader of the Nightmen? I know that every generation is headed by a non-occult practitioner, but isn’t Miss Acheson too young? Wouldn’t Mr. R be more suitable?”

“The next leader of the Nightmen is a non-occult practitioner. Besides, her father was the last chief of the Nightmen, and was highly respected.”

Duan FeiZhou asked again, “Then who is Mr. N? Why was he appointed to assist Miss Acheson?”

“You haven’t met him, he’s on a long vacation…No. That’s what you’re asking after reading my suicide note?” Z’s voice became a little shrill.

Duan FeiZhou stared at his toes.

Z did not say a word, and he followed the silence.

The animals looked at Z and then at Duan FeiZhou. Their heads kept turning left and right.

After a long time, Duan FeiZhou could no longer tolerate the awkward and weird atmosphere. “I really didn’t mean to deceive you.”

“…”

“I was all set to close the trading house forever. Who would have thought that the theater thing would happen just then? If you don’t believe me, ask Mr. Yeats. He’ll testify for me.”

“…”

“I had no choice but to run the trading house, I just wanted to help people sell their stuff to make some life-saving money or something.”

“…”

“I didn’t think that selling that doll to Madame Boyle would harm Madeleine. I’ve known for a long time that the customers of the trading house are mixed, and some people will use the purchased goods to commit crimes. But I…”

“…”

“I don’t know what to do. It seems like it’s not right to run it, and it’s not right not to close it.”

“…”

“Why don’t you say anything?” Duan FeiZhou turned to face Z directly, green eyes gazing into red ones.

Z’s shirt was only half on, and revealed half of his bruised body.

“…That’s all I have to say. Don’t forget the celebration dinner tonight.” Duan FeiZhou opened the hatch door and let the animals wander out first. He had just lifted one leg when a hand reached out sharply from behind him and pushed the door shut again.

Z encircled his body from behind. His mechanical prosthetic hand clasped his waist, and buried his head in the nape of his neck.

Duan FeiZhou was struck by lightning, petrified.

“I believe you.” Z’s low, hoarse voice rang in his ears.

Every word this person said, he was willing to believe. Even if it was a lie or a scam. He was willing to be lied to.

What a sweet lie it was.

And he knew that from now on, this young man would never lie to him again.

And how sweet was the fruit of truth.

Tasting it was not enough.

Z took Duan FeiZhou by the shoulders and forced him to turn around and face himself, “I…”

Before Z could finish his words, his lips were sealed.

Z’s eyes widened slightly.

Duan FeiZhou stood on his tiptoes and kissed him fiercely, like a wild animal tearing at him. It was as if he wanted to give back all the suffering he had endured all those days. He wrapped his arms around Z’s back and ran his fingers down the metal spine.

The animals that were locked outside were scratching at the door.

Soon they did not dare to scratch. Because there was a strange banging sound from behind the door. They looked at each other, frightened by the noise the humans were making, and decided to flee to the colonel, who was kind enough to give them fresh cereal and meatloaf.

That night, neither of them went to the celebration feast.

Duan FeiZhou figured out a question that he had been confused about for a long time. How much of Z’s body had been modified, and how much left was original.

At the same time, he also realized another thing. Z’s mechanical prosthesis was hard, but some other parts were even harder and could pin his whole body to the bed.

 

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6 Tell us your thoughts on the chapter.
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WangXian31
February 6, 2023 1:51 pm

My ponderings answered too 😉😏
Things will be very different now, I think.
Frightening the animals like that though 🫣
I’m just concerned for the Leviathan now.
Thanks for translating and editing.

Solis
February 6, 2023 4:09 pm

I was so happy for them to be together again! Thanks for the chapter!

BlueFish
February 6, 2023 4:30 pm

All I’ve imagined is DFZ carrying that prosthetic arm everywhere he goes – like a child carrying their favorite comfort blanket.

Beshiiie
February 7, 2023 4:37 am

How I wish he would elaborate it even more 🥺

loneplum
March 13, 2023 2:40 pm

This time DFZ took the initiative! Yay! Finally together!! 🎉
Thank you for the chapter!

octachus
March 20, 2023 1:45 am

………. Where’s the smut? I’m waiting this long not for a poetic censored shit the author concocted. I need the real smut. Come on, give me the smut.

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