No Money to Divorce
First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter 51: Return
Their ship had already set sail for two hours, and the rabbit had already woken up, but Intron was still immersed in the great shock he received just now.
Every day, he had been dealing with Zhong Yan with his heart in his throat. Anytime Zhong Yan’s calm and unfathomable gaze brushed over him, he would wonder with his heart pounding whether he had messed up anywhere. But now he’s telling him that the one in this battle of wits was actually his real superior?
When Zhong Yan verified his identity with him, he had done it so simply like nothing had happened and told him to go put the rabbit away just like usual.
Intron watched soullessly as the little rabbit nibbled on its rabbit pellets when suddenly, his terminal lit up.
They’ve just entered an area with a stable signal. Intron looked through the news that had just come in, and slowly stabilized his expression before getting up to look for Zhong Yan.
He knocked on the door of Zhong Yan’s Office. When he heard the call of “come in” from inside, he opened the door and went in. The terminal screen was not on, and Zhong Yan was not working. He seemed to be in a daze.
“Sir Zhong, we’ve just received news,” Intron said, ” The Interim Council Head of Lebor System has arrived in Labor System.”
“Did he just arrive?” Zhong Yan asked. “That means he just passed us by, didn’t he?”
“No, he seems to have arrived a long time ago.” Intron shook his head. “Perhaps the message was delayed.”
Ever since separating from Adrian in White Aegis, Zhong Yan had been feeling restless. He rubbed his temples and gave it some thought. “Show me information on Qu Yongyi.”
Intron was surprised, and he asked, “Do you suspect that there’s a problem with him? Do you want to look at the official information, or…”
“The information we built on him is not official,” Zhong Yan said. Intron was a very orderly worker and soon sent over all the files regarding Qu Yongyi to him with his terminal.
Zhong Yan did not ask him to leave, so he stood beside Zhong Yan, and went through the files with him.
If Qu Yongyi was placed in the general public, he would definitely become a successful person at the top of the pyramid. After all, he worked in the Capital’s Supreme Council. But if you were to hand in that resume to the internal departments of the Supreme Council, he could only be said to be unremarkable. His father was also a councilman, but he had only worked in the council house of a second-tier planet. After transferring into the Supreme Council of the Capital, his connections were lacking, and his rate of promotion was also slow. He was only in his thirties when he entered the Supreme Council, which was considered a relatively young age for them. Now that a decade has passed, he was no longer the “young” one. His political achievements were bland and unremarkable. Adding on his reserved personality, he was practically buried in the Supreme Council where the elite gathered and became a wallflower.
This time, when “Butterfly” suddenly launched an issue with the Lebor System, the interests of many parties were locked in a stalemate, which was how he came to be pushed out. Zhong Yan originally thought that he would not be able to come to work so smoothly, but he had already arrived, and he did not seem to have stumbled at all.
Zhong Yan looked through the files of this middle-aged man with a frown between his brows. After wasting so much effort through the ups and downs, there’s no way Pearson would be willing to just let this go. But now that Qu Yongyi had already headed off to work, what were they going to do now? Drag him down again? That would be too unsightly, and it’ll be hard to just brush this over.
The Lebor System is close to the Navi System and has large amounts of mineral resources. The reason why Pearson put his hands on Lebor was so he could put the star system in his bag. Zhong Yan didn’t feel like any of this was worth his curiosity. He had also screened Qu Yongyi’s information a long time ago. From the looks of it, he was just someone who happened upon a catch birthed from conflict, and nobody could say for sure whether it was good or bad. But today, he was feeling vaguely uneasy about all this.
“Have we left Lebor yet?” Zhong Yan asked.
“Not yet,” Intron responded, “We have a while to go.”
“How far is the next signal zone?”
“We passed one just a while ago, so the next one…” Intron checked the map on his terminal, “should be half an hour away. This area is densely populated, so there are many areas with stable signals.”
Zhong Yan looked at the time. There was less than half an hour to go for his and Adrian’s penalty deadline.
He had already paid him half of the fines after taking off. Adrian said he had set up an automatic transfer, but even though he did not know how long in advance his transfer was set to go, he was sure it should be right before the deadline.
In other words, when they receive a signal in half an hour, he should receive news that their marriage contract has been dissolved.
“Is everything settled on the public relations side?” Zhong Yan asked.
Intron did not ask him what he meant. After the ideal marriage partner is announced, there is a one-month buffer time before the spousal relationship is officially announced. If they wish to refuse the proposal, they also had to pay the fines within that timeframe. The list updated last month on this very day will officially be announced soon. Today, the various platforms of the virtual community were counting down, especially as the times were coming closer, and the two had yet to pay the fine. Intron even thinks that most everyone in the Federation was likely on their terminals, eagerly awaiting the news.
“Everything is ready, don’t worry,” Intron responded.
“What about Navi’s Public Relations Department?”
“I contacted them this morning. The drafts on both sides are ready. As soon as the news of the dissolution of your and Commander Yate’s relationship is announced, we will be able to follow up immediately after to control the situation.”
“Good. Where did Councilor Cayman head to?”
“He returned immediately after talking with Commander Yate yesterday. We just contacted their fleet earlier. They’ve passed the Glory System, and all is safe.”
After asking about all the little details, Zhong Yan finally eased up and allowed Intron to leave.
Half an hour soon passed. As soon as their ship entered a stable signal zone, the notification bell of his terminal beeped without a moment’s delay.
Zhong Yan sat at his office desk, and he knew that everything was over now. He was rarely weak when he was alone, but he did not open his terminal. Even if he knew that news about the dissolution of his and Adrian’s relationship was now flooding the entirety of the Federation very quickly, from all angles with various interpretations from various positions, each competing with each other, it didn’t matter. The Public Relations departments on both sides have already prepared their rhetorics. At the very least, there was no need for him to step out personally at this moment.
Then just let him run away from this for a few more minutes; to turn away from the goodbye known throughout the entire world; their last goodbye after the previous one from seven years ago.
Someone was knocking urgently on his door. Zhong Yan answered, “Come in.”
Intron who had left not long ago hurried in again. Before Zhong Yan could say anything, he quickly said, “Sir Zhong, have you contacted the other side?”
“Which side?” Zhong Yan could sense that something was not right. “Contact about what?”
“Haven’t you looked at your terminal yet?”
Before he even finished speaking, Zhong Yan opened his terminal, and he didn’t even have time to look at the news when he saw the two notices from “Butterfly”.
…Two notices. Zhong Yan knew the very moment he saw that number that a deviation had occurred. After all, it only took one notice to notify him of the marriage contract nullification.
And of those two, one was the notice of the late payment of the fine, and the second, the change in his marital status.
The first notice notified him that since the fine was not paid within the stipulated time, his refusal was invalid, and so the parts of the fine that had been paid was returned to his account.
The next notice congratulated him on his partnership with federal citizen Adrian Yate.
“That’s impossible!” Zhong Yan stood up abruptly from his seat and looked at the two notices with incredulity.
“What do we do now?” Intron asked, completely unsure of what to do. “None of our manuscripts and plans can be used anymore. Earlier, the Capital office contacted me and asked me what to do. Even those from Specimen are asking about our next steps. The people from Navi contacted me as well on my way to your office to ask us what to do. Maybe it’s better if both sides keep quiet for a while…”
“Hold on,” Zhong Yan caught a clue in this raging chaos, “people from Navi are asking us what to do? Why don’t they ask—”
He paused. if the Navi Military Command was contacting him, that meant they couldn’t get in contact with Adrian.
Zhong Yan suddenly thought of White Aegis. Before Adrian left, Zhong Yan saw his guard changing into casualwear. At that time, he also guessed that he was probably going somewhere that would be convenient for them to be in their uniforms.
Zhong Yan’s heart started beating rapidly. He tried to dial Adrian’s number, but he did not succeed.
The call did not go through. Even the automatic transfer failed. Did Adrian’s terminal stop working completely? Why? What happened?
“Leave that aside for now.” Zhong Yan forced himself to calm down and told Intron, “Contact our men now. At the fastest speed possible, and at all costs, check if…”
Before he could finish, he was interrupted by a special ringtone that sounded from his own terminal. His expression changed—this was an emergency call from ‘Specimen’.
Zhong Yan picked up, and the two sides quickly exchanged their codewords. The other side hurriedly said, “I just received news that the people secretly trained by Pearson have disappeared. It’s been more than a day, and we have yet to be able to verify when it first happened. But it seems to be…”
“When Qu Yongyi departed from the Capital to his post?” Zhong Yan asked with a dark expression.
Zhong Yan hung up directly. All the doubts in his mind had formed into a clear line. He did not try in vain to contact Adrian and instead called Fayn directly.
As soon as the call connected, Zhong Yan asked without even waiting for Fayn to say anything, “Is he in Lebor System right now? To see Qu Yongyi? And has the other party taken the initiative to seek cooperation with you?”
After breaking through all the high-level military secrets in one quick burst, Fayn blurted in astonishment, “How did you know?”
“Because something is wrong, he’s not on your side! He’s just bait, this was a trap!” Zhong Yan quickly said, “Pearson has trained a group of throwaway assassins to deal with his problems whenever they crop up. I’m almost completely sure now that they must have followed Qu Yongyi to Lebor.”
“Adrian brought his guard…” Fayn said subconsciously. But his heart suddenly sank—he stopped being able to contact Adrian as soon as the news came out, and he thought that Adrian might be in a secret meeting with Lebor’s interim council head. The Lebor System was within “Butterfly’s” supervision, so it was normal for both sides to activate their shielding devices. Perhaps the reason why Adrian missed the deadline for the fees was due to his neglect on that point.
But now it seems like there’s a large possibility that he was not negligent. He was unable to get himself out of the shielded place in time.
“I’ll bring some people over right now.”
“Give me the coordinates,” Zhong Yan said, “I still haven’t left Lebor.”
Without even a single word of nonsense, Fayn immediately reported the name and coordinates of the planet before quickly hanging up.
Zhong Yan looked at Intron. After hearing that conversation, Intron was completely able to grasp the current situation. When he saw him walking over, he immediately asked, “Should we notify the cockpit?”
“Yes.” Zhong Yan repeated the address to him. “Notify the cockpit to turn around immediately and head to the destination at full speed.”