No Money to Divorce
First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter 26: Breaking Through
Humans have their own selfish desires, but they are limited by their physical bodies. There are limits to one’s energy. No matter who it may be, they will eventually pass away after a hundred years.
But what if an omnipotent, omniscient, and immortal “human being” appeared?
The officers in the room were all shocked. They whispered their thoughts and ideas to each other. It was only Adrian who had thought about this matter since long before. He did not join in on their discussion, and instead asked the person to his right, “What is your aim?”
Everyone stopped their discussions and looked at them.
Zhong Yan slowly took his seat again and responded unperturbed. “I do not understand your question.”
“You do understand.” Adrian continued on sharply. “You said you crossed thousands of miles to get here, all that so you could pass us a warning? You might be able to trick them with this, but not me. What do you want when we begin our collaboration?”
Zhong Yan let out a faint sigh and responded slowly. “With Councilor Pearson in the lead, there are several others who believe that there is a problem with the membership structure of our Supreme Council of today. They believe that the equal ’round table’ structure of the twelve Representative Counselors should be changed to a ‘pyramid’. This plan is already being drafted, and if they’re quick, it will be on the itinerary by next year, and it’s even possible it may start before they start to push forward the Honor Decree’.”
Everyone heard him explain what the “Honor Decree” was prior to this. For the sake of ensuring the stability of the Federation’s government and to further improve the community’s efficacy, they will phase out the fines system and will instead replace it with the deprivation of property and power. So to say, you are only required to pay a lump sum in order to refuse a proposal, but the punishments you may face in the future are likely to include prison sentences.
With the obeisance towards AI as honor, that is the “Honor Decree”.
“Even if it’s next year, I’m still only twenty-eight, that is far too young for the Supreme Council. Moreover, I have only just taken up my seat as a Representative Councilor not long ago, I will definitely be the first to be deprived of power as soon as the structure of authority changes in the council.”
It is rumored that this legendary member of council had taken up his position at an alarmingly young age, all with the help of the century-old household, the great Yate family. Moreover, insiders would know that the patriarch of the Yate Family, Stalvern Yate, is constantly in conflict with Bard Pearson, another representative member of council. The two have been building up their cliques in both the Supreme Council and the upper echelons of the capital, meeting each other face on as equals; they were the two most influential humans of this age.
Even though Stalvern had already retired, his influence was still there, and the fact that he could still raise Zhong Yan up onto that seat was proof of it. But it was unfortunate that no matter how great your influence was after retirement, you still could not compete with someone who was still actively holding his position. Right now, it was Bard, his old rival, that wanted the reform; he would definitely be aiming for Zhong Yan’s head, and Zhong Yan’s position truly would become a difficult thing to hold onto.
Zhong Yan had only told them that he would be the first to bear the brunt only because of his young age, but the high-ranking officers knew that much more was at play in the background. But it truly was an awkward point to consider that the person behind Zhong Yan was in fact, Adrian’s own grandfather. Thus, everyone accepted his reason of being “too young” and said nothing.
“So, your purpose is to stop them and keep your seat?” One of the officers asked.
Zhong Yan gave a faint nod in silent accord of the statement.
Adrian did not continue bombarding him with questions, seemingly having accepted his reasons. He said to Zhong Yan, “You don’t have to listen to the rest.”
He stood up and walked over to open the door to the conference room, and ordered the two guards at the door, “Bring him to my car.”
Zhong Yan followed him to the door, and with his body as a shield against the gazes of those behind them, he carefully reached his hand out from beneath his cloak to pull Adrian’s clothes.
This was a habitual action they were both very familiar with many years ago. Both Adrian and Zhong Yan did not like to talk about their private matters in front of other people, so if they ever had anything to say to each other in a public space, Adrian could just bend down and speak by Zhong Yan’s ear; but Zhong Yan could not reach Adrian, so if he wanted to say something, he had to give Adrian’s clothes a tug and wait for him to lean down before speaking by his ear.
This time, Adrian reacted to his actions as usual; but instead of moving his ear over, he came close to Zhong Yan’s ear and spoke in a quiet yet cold voice. “Listen up, pull my clothes one more time and I’ll break your arms.”
Zhong Yan’s hand immediately retracted into the coat. He whispered back to him, “I just wanted to ask if you locked the car door.”
“I did not lock the door, but there is a lock on the driving system. There are guards all over the yard, so you better settle down, don’t even think about trying to escape with the car or anything.”
“I’m not,” argued Zhong Yan, though in vain. Adrian was not listening to him and was signaling to the guards instead to take him away.
Zhong Yan thought that after bringing him such important information, that Adrian would lighten up a little with him; he never would have expected that not only was that not the case in the slightest, he was even very fierce to him.
He averted his eyes to cover the look of disappointment in his eyes, and left with the guards.
Adrian put out a hand to stop what the officer was saying. “I know what you want to say, the AI has been undergoing changes and is seeking greater control, so we should be abandoning the path to steady development and accelerate our plans, is that right?”
He had hit the nail on the head, and the officer could hear the disapproval in his tone. He felt awkward as he said, “Ye…Yes. The development plans we have planned beforehand were formed with the basis that the AI remains in a constant state, but nobody here could have expected him to change.”
Another officer chimed in, “That’s right. ‘Butterfly’ is now beginning to gather power autonomously. If he allows those powerful human followers of his to push those new policies forward, then his control of the Federation will reach new heights. If we continue as we are now, we will definitely be constrained and forced into a passive position.”
“It’s a good thing we managed to get ahold of this news, it’s not too late to start mapping things out now.”
Adrian silently listened through the enthusiastic discussion of his officers as they planned out a countermeasure. Fayn asked, “Commander, do you still have any doubts on the authenticity of this piece of information? If I may be so bold, the information that the Special Commissioner has just shown us is very hard to forge.”
The other officers did not speak. Even if all the high-level positions in the Navi Military Command now consisted of Adrian’s men, the adjutant was a person who had been following him since they were students after all, so their relationships were definitely closer. Take for example, when it came to that councilor who had just gone out not long ago, it was the adjutant alone who dared to say a word or two about him.
“I know, just…”
Adrian stopped. After a while, he raised a hand to massage the bridge of his nose and said, “What you’ve all said is very reasonable, but we’re not in such a rush that it has to be done within these few days. It’s a very big matter, so wait for the confirmation from the intelligence office before starting any concrete plans. The information is genuine, but the source is too unreliable. No matter what, wait until our men have verified it before you do anything. You’re all dismissed; Adjutant, you stay.”
After all the officers left, Fayn frowned. “What’s wrong with you? It’s not like you to be this wary.”
“How long will it take the intelligence department to verify it?” asked Adrian.
“We’ve just arranged it this afternoon. Something concerning the capital would take several days alone just to transmit information back and forth, I’m afraid our agent in the capital is not in a high enough position. We might even have to contact ‘Specimen’. Well…if you want a more solid estimation, it will take more than just a few days.”
Adrian pondered over it for a moment, and started slowly, “Tell the intelligence department to look over something else…Check if there is any contact between Zhong Yan and Bard Pearson. It doesn’t matter what form of contact it is.”
Fayn was shocked and quickly asked. “What do you mean? You’re still suspecting that this is a ruse?”
“His excuses can’t convince me.” Adrian continued, “Would he invest so much effort in surrendering to his enemy just to protect his position? I don’t believe that this is really the only path he can use to keep himself up there, he has been active in the capital for more than seven years after all.”
“Uh…Actually, all of us believe him.” Fayn expressed analytically, “Even if he used his own networks to find a way to remain in his seat, things will still be tough for him in the future. When the structure changes, Pearson will definitely be above him. When that time comes, there’s no way Pearson won’t go after his head since that guy has been hanging around your grandfather. It can’t be guaranteed he won’t be the death of him one day either. So, he’s better off jumping off the sinking ship and abandoning your grandfather to turn to us instead. If we win, he would have half of the credit, no? You said you wanted to check the relationship between him and Pearson…Are you suspecting that he may actually have switched over to Pearson’s side? Then that’s even more impossible. Would Pearson spend all this effort to set up a ploy just to let us know that the bastard has finally gone crazy? Wouldn’t that be a joke?”
“Makes sense,” said Adrian. Then, he put on a bitter smile. “Why do you think I insisted for you to do the talks with him last time? I told you he’s going to cloud my judgment, do you believe me now?”
Fayn rolled his eyes. “I believe it now. In the past, you’d always think about all the good when it came to him like a brainless idiot, but now you’ve gone the other extreme. It’s all brainless conspiracies now. You better not eat steak or anything when you live together, I’m afraid you’re going to think he was trying to assassinate you if he ever lifts his knife.”
“It’s not that extreme.” Adrian loosened up a little and began to joke, “Aren’t you looking down on me too much? With his level of combat proficiency, I doubt he’d be able to do me in even if I gave him a gun and fought him bare-handed.”
Fayn gave him a playful punch and laughed, “That’s way over the top. I told you you still haven’t come out of it, just look at how deep the psychological trauma was in your heart. You think he’s lying to you no matter what just cause he lied to you once. Do you think that’s necessary? Isn’t it just a failed marriage proposal? It ain’t nothing big! I lost my position of best man too, and I didn’t say anything about it now, did I?”
With a bang, something seemed to have fallen on the ground outside; the faces of the two changed. Adrian quickly rushed over and opened the door.
The statuette that had been on display on the flower stand fell to the ground and rolled away. Zhong Yan was standing there with his face pale with shock, holding the flower stand in one hand, and his body swaying.
Before Adrian could say anything, he asked both urgent and anxiously, “What marriage proposal? What best man? I only heard the last sentence, what were you talking about?”