No Money to Divorce
First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter 43: Illegitimate Child
The next morning, Adrian woke up late.
He took a cold shower in the middle of the night before widening the door of the rabbit’s nest. After his work was done, he started to feel peckish. Thinking about it, all this work was Zhong Yan’s fault to begin with, so he dragged Zhong Yan out of his blanket to have him cook a snack for him, and only fell asleep at dawn.
This directly led to him missing his morning alarm. If Zhong Yan hadn’t come knocking on his door to wake him, he would probably have slept through the first meeting of the year.
Adrian was still struggling to stay awake when he arrived at headquarters. But even so, he still noticed some peculiarities.
The people in the headquarters’ main building were all looking at him strangely today. Adrian walked all the way to the meeting room and was just about to ask what was going on, but unexpectedly, all the high-ranking officers inside were looking at him with inscrutable expressions as soon as he opened the door.
“What’s wrong?” Adrian asked in confusion as he looked towards Fayn.
It was as if Fayn didn’t know him at all; he was looking at him with a brand-new set of eyes.
An officer asked, “Commander, have…have you read the news?”
“No, I was in a hurry this morning so I didn’t get to read it. What happened?”
Before anyone could answer, the door to the conference room was opened. With a frown, Adrian turned around only to see the head of the public relations department, Ping Yan, standing in the doorway with a grumpy face.
Ping Yan was a female officer with a hot body and an even hotter temper. Adrian grumbled, “What’s with you? Don’t you know what level this meeting is for?”
“And what’s your problem?” Ping Yan did not think she was overstepping her boundaries at all, and even snapped back even stronger, “How could you hide such big news from us? We only found out cause it got leaked out in the news so now we don’t have a backup plan at all. Not a single person in the public relations department knows what to do! Come with me now. I have a few key questions prepared that I have to ask you before we can prepare a response.”
“What? What big news am I hiding?” Adrian was beginning to suspect that he was still in a dream. To think a subordinate would actually dare to speak to him like this! “Whatever it is, you can talk to me after the meeting’s over! You can’t just barge into a meeting of the highest level, I could definitely have you…”
“Cough cough, actually, I can also preside over the start of the year meeting,” Fayn suddenly interrupted. “Commander, why don’t you head to the public relations department first? I think things there are a bit more…urgent.”
The rest of the officers nodded in agreement.
Adrian who had not a single idea about what was going on went out with Ping Yan. On the way, he opened his terminal to have a look at what kind of big and shocking “news” everyone was talking about.
The only thing that came to mind was his and Zhong Yan’s outing yesterday. Didn’t they just have a meal, and bought some blankets? Did that count as big news that he was trying to hide from the PR department? What else did they want? Should he have to report all his personal activities to them as well? Adrian was still feeling indignant when the news page loaded.
“Adrian Yate and Zhong Yan have an illegitimate child! The real reason why the refusal of the marriage proposal has been dragging on!”
“Was it unexpected, or was it planned? Analysis of Zhong Yan’s trip to Navi, was the aim to reunite with his son?”
“Blamed for corruption, the Capital’s Institute of Research released an urgent statement: No genetic fusion has been performed for any same-sex partners.”
Adrian was shocked in place. “…”
“Do you see the news now?” Ping Yan had also stopped. She stood akimbo and interrogated him, “You better tell me where you made an artificial baby. Has the evidence been destroyed? How old is the child? Is it male? Female? Where were they born? Navi System or the Capital? Is that guy bringing the child with him when he leaves in a few days? Did he come to Navi to pick up his child to receive education in the capital? Besides you two, has anyone else seen the child? And who else knows about this?”
“I don’t have a child!” Adrian’s head was buzzing as he refuted.
“Then whose child is he? Did he bear a kid with someone else?”
“No, he doesn’t have a child either!”
“You adopted? Is the child not blood-related to either of you? Then that’ll be easy to deal with. We can just issue a statement that-”
“No! There’s no child at all! Where did this child thing come from? Who is pulling this nonsense out their asses?!”
Ping Yan had a face as if she did not believe him in the slightest. She raised a brow. “Last night, you mentioned that the child was still young when you were in the shopping district. That guy said you weren’t good at raising children and even told you to take responsibility. More than just one person heard it. Do you think all these people were just gathering together to lie? And even though some heard more than others, the contents of what they heard still lines up with each other.”
Adrian was speechless, “I did say that, but the subject wasn’t a child at all! Aren’t those sentences just normal?”
“It’s normal if someone else says it, but it’s not normal when it’s you and that guy saying it.” Ping Yan tried to persuade him. “Just admit it, quickly, we still have to write a statement based on the facts.”
“That’s not it, recently, we were raising a…” The words “giant space rabbit” took a detour just as it reached his lips and were shoved back down his throat. From Adrian’s perspective, he would rather admit to having an illegitimate child with Zhong Yan than to admit that he was raising a soft, fluffy, giant space rabbit.
Ping Yan urged him, “Raising a…?”
“Raising a…a pet. Don’t ask me what it is, just know that it’s not a person,” Adrian confessed.
Ping Yan looked at him with suspicion, “What is it?”
“I told you not to ask!”
“Is it really not a child?”
“It really isn’t a child, Sir Yate.” Zhong Yan held the terminal to his ear. He sounded very sincere, but his expression was so calm that hardly any respect could be found within it.
“Make a statement to clarify the issue right now!” Stalvern Yate ordered at the other end, “I told you to inquire for news, and instead of giving me news, you’re giving me some mysterious grandchild?! You could’ve started this rumor with anyone, but it just had to be with that traitorous scum!”
There were no people in the room nor surveillance. A look of unconcealed anger flashed past Zhong Yan’s eyes, but his words were full of obeisance, “Yes, my team is already making preparations. We will set up a live broadcast immediately to clarify the rumors.”
“How long do you think it’s been! Are they even working?”
“My apologies, Intron has been busy with his departure from Capital Star, but the speech should be ready soon.”
“Don’t hang up the call,” Stalvern said discontentedly, “Leave it on and rush them now. I’m going to be supervising you personally in case you mess up as well!”
Zhong Yan’s face darkened. The speech was ready long ago, but no matter how he tried to explain, he just wanted to drag things on for a while so he and Adrian could get their stories straight. But if Stalvern insists on not allowing him to hang up, he would have no way of contacting Adrian.
“Ah, I’ve received the speech,” Zhong Yan pretended to have just received a message, “In that case, I’ll have them arrange for the live broadcast now.”
Since that was the case, he might as well face everyone directly. He had never worried about being mismatched with Adrian when it came to fabricating stories together for outsiders anyway.
Adrian sat in the public relations office to take on the bombings.
Because, even if he died, he still refused to say what on earth it was that had “just been born” that he and Zhong Yan talked about last night in the shopping district. Ping Yan and her assistant both insisted that it must be a child.
“Spare me, sis, Navi doesn’t even have the technology, and the capital’s research institute says they haven’t done it. Where on earth would I get my genes fused with his?”
Ping Yan retorted, “The capital’s always been corrupt, and that councilor is in a high position. It won’t be hard for him to get the Genetic Research Institute to open up a back door for him.”
Adrian responded powerlessly, “There are limits to having those kinds of babies each year, even if Zhong Yan’s a councilor, it’ll still be hard to—”
“Chief!” One of the staff ran in from outside and shouted towards Ping Yan, ” That guy is broadcasting live! He’s making a live clarification on the mess! It’s on his work page!”
Ping Yan immediately turned to observe Adrian’s face. Adrian did not seem panicked in the slightest, and met her gaze calmly; this caused her to waver subconsciously: Could it be that there’s really no child? One had to know that Adrian had been with her this whole time since he found out about the news, and never contacted anyone in between that; there was no time for him to have made up an excuse with anyone.
Adrian had great confidence in Zhong Yan’s public relations ability, and also believed that the other must have a comprehensive argument, so all he had to do was give his cooperation.
Ping Yan went onto Zhong Yan’s work page on her terminal and projected the live broadcast on the wall. They took a seat in the office and watched it together.
Zhong Yan had always kept up his well-dressed image of being suited up all the time, but now, he was only wearing loungewear. It was as if this prince that was so out of reach had suddenly become the boy next door. Before he could even officially start, there were already many fans screaming in the comments because of this never-before-seen side of him.
Adrian could not help but feel offended, but at the same time, he felt regretful for having bought him clothes. Zhong Yan cared so much about his image, so he probably would have done an audio broadcast if he didn’t have clothes.
“Since I’m still recovering, I’ll just make it short. I believe everyone is here to hear the truth.” Zhong Yan began to speak without hurry, “At noon today, capital time, a piece of news was reported concerning me and Adrian Yate bearing an illegitimate child. This entire matter is a misunderstanding.”
“The day before yesterday, Mr. Yate had saved a newborn rabbit while he was on the way to discuss business with me. As everyone knows, I…” He caught the right moment to put on a light smile, “have been studying these creatures for a while. So, I helped him take care of it for two days. Fortunately, the rabbit has almost made a full recovery…”
Saying that, he bent over to pick up something, but Adrian had a bad feeling about it rising up from his guts.
As expected, he was able to see what Zhong Yan picked up from outside of the screen in the next second: it was…a fluffy, soft, and snowy-white rabbit the size of a fist.
For a moment he was unable to control his expression, but fortunately, nobody realized; all of them were focused on the little rabbit.
“Wow!” Ping Yan stared at the screen with sparkling eyes, her body leaning forward to take a closer look at the little rabbit in Zhong Yan’s palm. Then, she turned again and said to Adrian, touched, “Commander, did you save that rabbit? I didn’t know you had such a sweet side to you! Oh gosh, were you too embarrassed to say it earlier? Is it your pet now?”
“No, we’re releasing when it gets better.” Adrian went along with the story Zhong Yan had made up about him with a poker face. With their many years of tacit understanding, he knew very well that there was no way that Zhong Yan would screw up his part of the story. “I saw it on the side of the road and I couldn’t just throw it aside. Zhong Yan needed something to do anyway. It’s better than giving him the free time to investigate us.”
He must be possessed! Was Zhong Yan a rabbit magnet? Where on earth did he get that rabbit? Adrian’s thoughts ran wild; wasn’t one rabbit enough? The giant space rabbit was too big so there was nothing he could do about it, but he had to throw this one out for sure! Otherwise, it’s dinner! Definitely!