No Money to Divorce
First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter 60: Remote Command
Train your troops for a thousand days, use them for a short moment.
News of the announcement of Lebor’s integration into the Navi System spread. When the entire Federation was debating over it, Navi had already readied two regiments to take control of the major planets of the Lebor System in lightning speed. In conjunction with the Lebor Military Command, they forcefully demolished all of “Butterfly’s” monitoring devices before the Capital could make any declarations.
For the Navi Military Command, this was its first large-scale foreign mission since laying low in Navi for so long. Even though they were busy, everything was done in proper order, because they hadn’t only been preparing for the past few days. They had been preparing for many thousands of days and nights just for this day.
At the end of the press conference, the Supreme Commander himself who had returned to the Navi System appeared in a place that nobody expected him to appear.
Improvements could be seen recently in Navi’s economy. There was a relatively small planet that gradually gained some fame even in the Navi System thanks to a clothing store that was opened on it that spanned half the planet. Many people have made a special trip to the planet just to buy clothes. And today, dressed casually, Adrian landed in a low-key manner with two of his guards on that small planet.
But no matter how low-key he tried to be, his face was way too recognizable. He had only visited the first store when half of the planet’s store owners had already heard the news.
After being attacked, the security level around this Supreme Commander had multiplied considerably. The two guards were standing on guard by Adrian the entire time. Only a single clerk who was casually picked out by Adrian was allowed to follow him, to give Adrian information on their clothes.
The young salesgirls gathered together to peek at Adrian’s handsome profile from afar and were whispering to each other excitedly. They were also feeling envious towards the lucky girl that had been picked.
“The Commander is really tall! This is my first time seeing him in person. It feels like he looks even taller in person than in the photos circulating around the virtual community!”
“Of course, he’s usually standing with the adjutant and the rest of the gang in the photos. Adjutant Suster is very tall as well, so he doesn’t look especially tall in them.”
“Didn’t you see the photos that came out from when they were still studying in the Supreme Institution? That time when he was standing with…that guy, he looked really tall.”
“What do you mean that guy? Didn’t you see the live broadcast earlier? That name isn’t banned anymore. They’ve already gotten married.”
“You say it if you have the guts. Anyway, I’m not saying it.”
“I don’t dare to say it either…”
“Didn’t he say he wasn’t getting divorced because he couldn’t afford it?”
“Did we watch the same broadcast? I don’t think he means it like that…”
“I saw someone posting an analysis and they said…”
While the two girls were eagerly discussing the hot comments in the virtual community, another clerk interrupted them and said, “You can talk about that later! Look, it’s weird, the Commander is holding two pieces of clothing and one of them doesn’t look his size.”
The two salesgirls quickly stopped their talk and looked over.
One of the guards was holding the clothes he had picked out so they couldn’t see the size, but Adrian himself was checking out a warm brown sweater. Strangely enough, he was talking non-stop, but he didn’t seem to be talking to any of his guards or the sales girl next to him.
After a while, he said a few things to the clerk, and she quickly helped him find the size he needed. Adrian held it out to see, and all the girls watching could clearly see right then: the size of this one was definitely much smaller than Adrian’s body.
“Should I just get the brown one?” Adrian tried to confirm as he turned around and began looking at another row of clothes. Only then did the clerks saw the wireless headset on one of his ears, and the camera function was lit up.
Clearly, Adrian was talking to someone through a video call, and buying clothes under remote command of the other person.
That person didn’t come out with him. Perhaps it was because it wouldn’t be convenient to. And when they linked it up with the size of the clothes…
The salesgirls looked back at each other, and all of them made the same, bold guess.
From a small distance away, Adrian’s voice would occasionally drift into their ears. Even though they couldn’t hear him too clearly, it still didn’t prevent them from hearing the gentle tone of his voice.
“…But doesn’t this look pretty good? Too expensive? It’s not that bad…”
“Okay, okay, I’ll listen to you, I won’t buy it.”
“I’ll buy you a red one, how does that sound? I don’t think you have any bright-colored clothes. What do you think about this one?”
“You want me to wear it? …Maybe not…Alright, alright, I’ll wear it, I’ll wear it.” Adrian turned his head to the side. “Miss, get me two of these, one in the other size, and one in mine.”
Then, he picked out another two sets of pajamas. He had casually bought two sets of pajamas for Zhong Yan last month. Among them was the one with the cartoon prints of the giant space rabbit that he had bought as a nasty joke, and was torn by him the night before Zhong Yan left. It was a good chance now to buy another two sets.
After stocking up on Zhong Yan’s daily clothes, Adrian was chatting with Zhong Yan about some casual matters and was just about to leave when he suddenly saw an unusual set of pajamas from the corner of his eye.
Subconsciously, he pressed a button on his headset, not allowing his camera to show that corner. Nonchalantly, he continued, “Then I’ll head back now. No, just settle down, you don’t have to cook. I’ll bring dinner home tonight. Alright, see you later.”
After hanging up the call, he was just about to buy that pair of pajamas, but he suddenly recalled what happened last time. He had only bought a few blankets with Zhong Yan but they ended up being in some illegitimate child rumor. He couldn’t help feeling worried and stopped, turning towards another shop instead.
After heading out, Adrian suddenly stopped before they could reach the parking lot. He turned around and observed his two guards expressionlessly.
“Co…Commander?” None of the guards knew what was going on, but they felt very awkward to be stared at in such a way.
Adrian asked the older-looking one of the two, “Do you have a child?”
The guard was completely perplexed as he answered, “I do, had one last year. What’s wrong, Commander?”
“Alright, head back to the store we went to last. Go to the kid’s section and pick out an outfit for your child. Take it as a gift from me.”
“Then, help me buy something from there as well…” Adrian lowered his voice to a whisper and carefully described the pajamas he had just seen.
When Adrian returned home, Zhong Yan was waiting for him at the door.
“Thank you for your hard work.” Zhong Yan smiled at him. “Welcome home.”
Adrian’s heart suddenly filled up. A long time ago, Zhong Yan would also tell him “Thank you for the hard work” every time he returned to the dorm, but Zhong Yan rarely said “Welcome home” because it was just a dorm. That place was only their temporary shelter, not their true home.
Then, he finally got a place he could legally call his own. But every time he returned to that cold and empty house, only silence was there to greet him.
But now—The warm lights were on, and it had been carefully adjusted to a comfortable brightness. The living room was still very clean, but there were several cushions on the sofa that didn’t match in color. Those were extras from what they bought for the rabbit, and Zhong Yan had repurposed them for the living room sofa; a table cloth was set over the dining table. It was the floral tablecloth Adrian had bought last time cause Zhong Yan said he needed it, even though it seemed to clash with the minimalistic design of the table; normally, when Adrian was not around much, the tableware left at the table as decorations. Now they were organized on the racks in the open-style kitchen. Some of the dishes were still covered with water droplets. Those were the plates Zhong Yan had just used this afternoon, and the water had not yet dried.
Not to mention the small and inconspicuous daily necessities that had been added all around the place. The little things were two drinking cups on the coffee table in the living room, and the big was a new roasting machine Adrian had just bought in the kitchen. This multi-storied building was finally filled with life.
Adrian did not push the wheelchair. He leaned down and picked up Zhong Yan from the wheelchair and carried him over to the sofa and sat down. In a pretentious act, he pretended to be unhappy. “You promised me when I went out. I knew you wouldn’t listen—didn’t I tell you to leave the plates when you were done with lunch, and I’d clean them?”
“I just put it in the dishwasher and took it back out, it’s nothing.” Zhong Yan reached out cheerfully to curl his arms around his neck. “What’s more, you said so much before going out, how could I remember everything? At least I did everything else.”
“I’ll have to print out all the precautions tomorrow and stick them at home,” Adrian laughed. After parting for a day, he wanted to give his legal partner a little reunion kiss. He had just leaned down when Zhong Yan quickly stopped him. “Wait! You’re going to crush the rabbit!”
Having his lovey-dovey moment interrupted, Adrian straightened his body sulkily. “What am I going to crush?”
Zhong Yan took out the small white rabbit bun from his pocket and brought it in front of Adrian. “Look! Doesn’t it look whiter? I washed it today.”
“…Does it? Hasn’t it always been white?” Adrian picked up the palm-sized rabbit from Zhong Yan’s hand and examined it from its ears to its toes. The small rabbit was woken up by it and kicked out its hind legs unhappily. Zhong Yan quickly snatched it back and stroked its back to comfort it before stuffing it back inside his pocket.
“I told you not to work. Why didn’t you wait for me to come back before washing it?” Adrian complained.
Zhong Yan patted his chest and laughed. “Don’t worry, I left you some work. I only washed the small one. You can wash the big one tomorrow.”
“Alright. I’ll bring out the hose later. I’ll wash it before I head out to work tomorrow morning.” Adrian accepted readily and caressed his face. “Does your wound still hurt today?”
“Not anymore. You don’t have to be so anxious all the time.” Actually, it still hurt a little when he moved around, but he didn’t want to worry Adrian so he changed the topic.” Right, I saw the live broadcast of the press conference today. Can I talk to you about something?”
The press conference? Adrian’s first reaction was that Zhong Yan wanted to talk to him about business. He wanted to say that he had just gotten some so couldn’t they wait a little before talking about work, but then he heard Zhong Yan ask, “Can I see you wear the military uniform at home?”
“…Military uniform?” Adrian was stunned. “The one I wore at the press conference?”
Zhong Yan looked at him with anticipating eyes and nodded.
Adrian slowly revealed a meaningful smile. “Of course. In exchange…you’ll wear the pajamas I just bought tonight, okay?”
Zhong Yan had been watching him buy the pajamas, and one of them was a light-colored one that Adrian picked out. He didn’t quite like the style at the time, but Adrian still bought it. He thought that that was the one Adrian meant, so he did not hesitate to agree.