No Money to Divorce
First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter 44: Compassion
The comment section of the live broadcast blew up as soon as Zhong Yan brought out the rabbit. As for what Zhong Yan said later about his apologies to the innocent Capital Research Institute, how he will take the responsibility to investigate the related media, and so on, nobody paid attention. While he spoke, the rabbit bun was moving about on his palm. Every time the rabbit moved, the comment section below would be filled with screaming.
When Zhong Yan finished the clarification segment and entered the Q&A session, he bent over to put down the rabbit, which drew strong protests from the comments section. Zhong Yan smiled helplessly and tilted the lens slightly downwards. He said patiently, “The rabbit will feel uncomfortable if I keep handling it. It’s time for it to sleep.”
Everyone could see the large box on the ground. Half of it was filled with blankets that were red, orange, and yellow. With how white the rabbit was, the contrast was very eye-catching when it cuddled against the blankets.
They were all screaming about how cute the scene was in the comments section; only Adrian’s mouth was twitching. He recognized the box as the box of the cleaning robot at home. The box was usually stuck in place while the cleaning robot was out, so Zhong Yan must have taken the box while the cleaning robot was out at work; he didn’t even know what the cleaning robot was going to do if it returned to the storeroom to find the box missing.
“Alright, we still have ten minutes, so please ask any questions you may want to know before the time ends.” Zhong Yan straightened his body and turned back to the camera. With the rabbit gone, the intimate aura from his body went as well. Even though he was dressed in casual home clothes, he still sat upright with a solemn face, which made it hard for the audience to joke around.
“Firstly, my friends from various circles in society have been concerned about the progress of ‘Butterfly’s’ implementation in Navi System, correct? Regarding that, the Supreme Council has always placed the interests of the Navi System’s citizens at the forefront, so we need to make full considerations…”
He began to speak his way around the questions eloquently. For the Public Relations Department, they could understand both the inner and outer implications of his words; it was a basic requirement. Ping Yan listened for a while and whispered to Adrian, “Is he trying to drag things on?”
Adrian responded, “The capital never had that plan to begin with. They haven’t figured out our might, so they dare not face us directly. The Intelligence Department will catch you up to speed.”
It seemed reasonable for him to say this much, but if you thought about it carefully, you would realize that it was almost equal to saying nothing.
Zhong Yan saw a question pop up in the comments section.
May I ask why Counselor Zhong Yan has taken this long to divorce Commander Yate?
“Strictly speaking, even though the fine was under ‘divorce-related fines’, we’re still not married yet.” He responded with a few sentences to drag on the time. But at the lower-left corner, a small video frame that only he could see was playing. His assistant team had finished typing out a good answer key for him. “Respect ‘Butterfly’s’ decision. You do not know why Yate is not paying.”
Indeed, that was the safest answer for his position, but the times are different now.
The era of the nation’s belief in artificial intelligence was about to undergo earth-shaking changes. The assistant was not sure which direction the trend would go, but Zhong Yan could not be clearer.
Or perhaps, you could say that he had decided on a direction and was set on pushing towards the era to that direction himself, so he could not answer in that way right now in case it was used against him in the future. What’s more, it also went against his own personal agenda. He needed an intriguing enough reply to draw everyone’s attention towards a different direction.
“I do not have many communications with Mr. Yate so I’m not sure what his thoughts are. But as for me personally…” Zhong Yan spoke in a natural tone, “The fine is too heavy for me, that’s all.”
The audience was in awe.
“So it’s really because you can’t afford the fines? How high is the fine?”
“Is it that the two of them cannot afford the normal fine, or can one of them not afford the five-fold fine?”
“What kind of joke is this? How high can a divorce penalty be? Wouldn’t it be a hundred thousand at most? Five times would only be five hundred thousand.”
“I think he really can’t afford five hundred thousand. Didn’t they say that Councilor Zhong Yan’s house in the Capital is rented?”
“Does that mean…he has the intention to refuse? He must be crazy, refusing ‘Butterfly’s’ proposals less than two years after joining the council? Is he trying to kill his own career?”
“He’s going to be following down Vahl Cayman’s footsteps. Is he not thinking clearly?”
“Seems like he really hates Yate.”
Ping Yan watched Adrian’s reaction. There was a change in his expression as if there was some confusion, but before she could take a good look, a knock sounded from the door.
“Enter,” said Adrian.
The soldier saluted him and said, “Commander, the adjutant is in the Intelligence Department. Please go take a look, there’s news from the capital.”
“I’ll be heading off.” Adrian stressed to Ping Yan, “About the absence of the child, I’ll leave it to you to deal with.”
“You should actually upload some photos of that rabbit to your page.” Ping Yan stood up to see him off, and suggested, “It’ll be good for improving your image. Those of us from the inside know that you’re very approachable, but according to this year’s survey, especially from other star systems, there are some people who’ve misunderstood you as someone who’s too stiff and grim. We’re going to be coming out of Navi soon after all…”
“Then let them think what they want. If I got myself a wolf, I’d take pictures of it every day, but a rabbit…” Adrian recalled the soft creature with a complete lack of combat ability and was completely unable to accept being linked with a pet like this. He continued firmly, “Just forget it.”
“Gines has already departed from the capital,” said Fayn as soon as Adrian entered the room. “There’s no problem if we arrange to meet him on White Aegis, is there? Gines passed us a message through ‘Specimen’. They’re moving through the official route and will arrive at the border in three days, afternoon local time. When that time comes, we can interview Gines, and if nothing unexpected happens, they can make their landing. On the next day, that guy will depart with them.”
“That’ll work, make the arrangements.” Adrian went on, “Is there anything to report from the meeting earlier?”
“Besides everyone discussing enthusiastically at the end about the news between you and him, nothing else happened. The recorder should be able to send you the full recording immediately.” Saying that, Fayn could no longer hold his expression together; stifling back a laugh, he asked, “Is it true? You saved a little rabbit? And you’re even taking care of it? Hahahaha! What the hell, is this overflowing compassion? Or the tenderness of an iron heart?”
He could no longer stop himself after saying that. He began to beat the table in a burst of laughter and was completely unable to take in Adrian’s explanations, “I didn’t! Zhong Yan’s taking care of it! It’s got nothing to do with me!”
It was right of him not to have said anything about the giant space rabbit. With a straight face, Adrian thought about his best friend’s betrayal; if this guy were to find out that he had brought home a giant space rabbit out of a moment of impulse, and even raised it, he would seriously be made fun of till his hair turned white.
He had to raise a wolf. A fierce one. The fiercer the better.
Going back to the topic, where on earth did Zhong Yan whip out a normal white rabbit from?
When Adrian returned home this evening, Zhong Yan was still dealing with work. It was the first working day of the new year, so there was a lot to do to begin with, but he still had to spend some time to deal with unexpected emergencies. What’s more, one of his two assistants was deprived of his terminal as he was put under confinement in White Aegis, while the other had boarded a spaceship and was now sailing around the universe.
The box of the sweeping robot was placed right beside Zhong Yan’s feet. Adrian walked over and opened the lid. The palm-sized white rabbit was sleeping inside.
He picked it up and the rabbit trembled. It woke up and kicked its feet uneasily in the air.
“God, what are you doing?” Zhong Yan discovered Adrian’s atrocities in time, and quickly set his work down to snatch the rabbit back from his hands.
It was actually alive…he thought it was just a simulation. Adrian watched as Zhong Yan carefully pacified the rabbit in his hands with gentle strokes, and asked, “Where’d you get this little rabbit from?”
Zhong Yan asked in turn, “Then why don’t you tell me where you brought that big rabbit from?”
“Those are two different things,” Adrian said, “You’re in my territory, and you’ve suddenly pulled a rabbit out of thin air. How could I not worry? I…hold on, what’s that sound?”
“Oh, the cleaning robot…” Zhong Yan responded awkwardly, “I took its box and turned it into a rabbit nest, so it’s been going in circles in the storeroom this whole time. I tried to turn it off but it didn’t work…”
“That thing has to be turned off from my terminal,” said Adrian, speechless. “I’ll give you authorization for the cleaning robot. Now you don’t have to be bothered about it not cleaning certain spots.”
“Well, when are you going to return the box?”
“Do you have any other boxes? I couldn’t find one. A smaller one is fine too, I just need to stuff the blankets in since we already bought some.”
Adrian looked at him incredulously, then at the rabbit in his hands. “You’re not really thinking of raising that, are you? I’m telling you now, you better return that. I’m not raising no rabbit.”
“I’ll take it away in a few days.” Zhong Yan put the calmed rabbit softly back into its box and said, “Speaking of which, Intron has already departed. He’ll arrive in about 4 days.”
In actuality, he will arrive in just three days. Adrian was unperturbed, “Got it. I’ll tell the guys at the border to lead them to White Aegis’ landing, and I’ll send you off in four days.”
“When I go…if it’s not convenient, I can take the giant space rabbit with me. If you can arrange a larger, empty spaceship, you can put it in. I’ve already checked, there’s a rather large giant space rabbit research center two star systems away from here.” Zhong Yan carefully persuaded, “See, if I go, you’re also…um…not quite fond of it, so you might as well send it off…what’s wrong?”
He couldn’t go on because Adrian was staring at him, and it was giving him goosebumps.
Adrian raged forth, “Don’t even get me started. What on earth kind of shitty story did you make up? What’s the difference between raising a 4-inch rabbit or a 23-foot rabbit? Everyone’s been praising me for my compassion every time they see me today!”
“Because you have more leeway when raising a 4-inch rabbit, but a 23-foot rabbit is a protected animal. What’s more, the way you obtained it was illegal!” Zhong Yan huffed, “I made such short work of getting a rabbit in a hurry, making up a good story, making a nest for it, and covered up the fact that you’ve violated the ‘anti-hunting law’. I even helped you establish a good image, but you’re not appreciative of it at all!”
But I got it through legal channels! I don’t want this kind of image! Adrian could practically feel himself spitting blood. But no matter what, he would never tell Zhong Yan how he got the rabbit, so he could only grit his teeth. “Send it away? Don’t even think about it, I’m hiring a chef and turning it into braised rabbit as soon as you leave.”