No Money to Divorce
First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter 89: Tyrant
Under Zhong Yan’s instruction, the inauguration ceremony was simplified, and though they called it an inauguration for the new president, it was more like a press conference. Only, the hall was not filled with the media but instead with the councilors.
Ten minutes before the event begins, just as the councilors have already sat down one after, the protagonist of this ceremony was losing himself over his partner’s choice of dress.
“You can’t hang it outside! It looks too weird! The ceremony is going to be broadcasted to the whole world, take it off!”
Adrian left his military uniform in the Institution Star, so the clothes he was wearing today was the black suit Zhong Yan had prepared for him. Adrian had never paid attention to formalities and spent most of his time in casualwear. Even his military uniform was rarely worn. He was so rarely found in formal wear, in fact, that Zhong Yan had never actually seen him dressed up in a suit and leather shoes despite knowing him for ten years.
The well-pressed fabric was covering the strong muscles on his body, and he almost looked like—actually, he was—a handsome noble prince. Zhong Yan paired him with a silver tie that accentuated his silver eyes even more.
Everything was perfect until Adrian suddenly pulled out that white ball and hung it around his waist about five minutes ago.
It was the lucky rabbit tail felt pendant Zhong Yan had crafted with the giant space rabbit’s fur.
“What’s wrong with it being a live broadcast?” Adrian said, unperturbed. “And how does it look weird at all? I think it looks quite good.”
Yeah, and you think our wedding rings look great too. But Zhong Yan did not say that to him. No matter what, the sight of a small white ball hanging on Adrian’s serious black formal suit was embarrassing to him. This was the very first felting project he had worked on, and to put it nicely, it was a rabbit’s tail. But, in fact, making a ball was just the easiest since he was in a hurry. He knew himself that be it style or technique, the pendant was still unsatisfactory. If Adrian was to wear that outside, then that was no different than a public punishment for him.
“Stop playing around, this is an official occasion…”
Zhong Yan tried hard to persuade him, but Adrian would not take it off no matter what. Vahl walked over from the stage. While walking towards them, he said, “Gentlemen, the ceremony is about to begin. Are you ready yet…Oh, um…what is that you’re wearing, Adrian?”
He pointed to the white ball hanging at Adrian’s waist. Zhong Yan finally found an opportunity and tried his best to drag Vahl over to his side, complaining, “He won’t take it off no matter what!”
“It’s the lucky charm Xiao Yan made me!” Adrian responded at the same time he did.
“Oh, is that the charm those students were talking about?” Vahl said kindly to Adrian, “You did good work on it.”
Zhong Yan was instantly stunned. “What students?”
Vahl answered, “The students from the Supreme Institution, of course! You must have missed the news because you were too busy. I had to hear it from one of the youngsters on my team myself. The students from the Supreme Institution said a few days ago on the virtual community that Commander Yate would wear a white ball on him every day, and it was the lucky charm made for him by Councilor Zhong Yan. But nobody ever uploaded a picture of it. So that’s what it looks like?”
Zhong Yan was so shocked that he turned stiff. For some time, he had no idea if it was more embarrassing that Adrian wore that every day, or that his not very successful first felt project was shown to the world. He felt that falling in love must have made him sick, because despite how embarrassing it was…he actually thought it was a little sweet.
While they were talking, another staff member ran in from the front and said to Zhong Yan, “Sir Zhong, everything’s ready at the front. Do you think we can begin now?”
“Let’s begin,” Zhong Yan said. The first segment was his inauguration speech. He tidied up his clothes one last time before quickly exchanging kisses on the cheek with Adrian. Then, he followed the staff member up to the stage.
“Here I was worried he was too young to hold up,” Adrian said as he watched the back of his disappearing figure. Casually, he said to Vahl, “I didn’t expect these people to be so afraid of him. They’re all acting so respectful.”
Vahl shook his head, amused. “You’re overthinking it. Who would dare to bully him for being young after what happened yesterday?”
“Yesterday?” Adrian asked, confused. “What happened yesterday?”
“I’m talking about the position he proposed for you yesterday…You didn’t know? He didn’t tell you?”
“Oh…He might have wanted to, but he was too tired and fell asleep halfway through. It’s the same if you tell me now anyway.” While saying that, Adrian couldn’t help but recall Zhong Yan’s soft and harmless face from last time, lying quietly in his arms. It really was…
“Right now, everyone in the council’s calling him the ‘Tyrant’,” Vahl sighed. “Tyrant it is, I guess. Better than being called indecisive. We’re in a messy situation right now. What the Federation needs is a strong leader.”
For a while, Adrian was unable to associate the words “strong” and “tyrant” to Zhong Yan’s image from yesterday night. He asked, surprised, “What?”
“Well, he proposed a new position for you yesterday, right?”
“Commander of the fifty-three military regions. I know about it,” Adrian said. “He and I talked about it early on, that the military power must be separated from the hands of the council.”
Vahl said, “So you spoke about it? During the break for the meeting, someone told Zhong Yan in private that he understood his painstaking efforts to appease you temporarily by giving you military power. He said…he was willing to help the President with his troubles, and that he would help him get rid of your restraints so the President could get the military power back…and his own freedom.”
Adrian froze for a moment before he finally realized what sort of freedom he meant, and that instantly sent his anger surging. Just as he was about to start yelling, he heard Vahl say, “It was just casual talk during the meeting break. He used to be in the same party as Pearson, and I think he was just trying to show his goodwill to the President so he could become his confidant, but he didn’t expect Zhong Yan to recount the matter to the entire table and say his intentions were questionable and questioned how he could still be thinking about gaining power in such a crisis. Then, he dismissed him. After he announced his expulsion, one of the councilors continued to protest, but Zhong Yan said, ‘you can go home with him if you’re unhappy’. He actually dismissed that guy as well, just like that. Both of them were kicked out of the meeting together. Even though the meeting wasn’t over, the two of them had to pack up their stuff and they were escorted out of the building by security. It was quite a commotion, everyone in the building found out in a moment.”
“Adrian, as I said earlier, it’s right of him to stay tough right now. But even without him expressing it, I know that he did not dismiss those two high level councilors for what he claimed, but because they were belittling and plotting against you.” Vahl looked at Adrian. “As your uncle, I’m happy he did that, but as the Vice President, it worries me too. If someone else became the Commander of the fifty-three military commands, would the President have gained another confidant yesterday?”
“Uncle Vahl, I understand that you’d be worried for my sake, but your concerns so far have all been superfluous.”
“Take a look around the Federation. As long as I stay alive, nobody but me can become the Commander,” Adrian said, “and I will keep an eye on the President.”
Zhong Yan was worried about the ball hanging at Adrian’s waist. Even though it looked out of place, his worries had, in truth, been for nothing. After learning about their survival crisis, practically nobody paid attention to why the newly appointed Commander of the fifty-three military regions had a white ball around his waist. Instead, they were all swarming the Supreme Council’s page to ask the new President about the current situation.
Zhong Yan had already issued the order to destroy the ninth floor of the Supreme Council, and his decisive actions won him a lot of support. Vahl was right in predicting that the world would prefer a tough leader when a crisis was approaching.
There were only four days left before “Butterfly” woke up. The technical department and the research institute had been working overtime but they still lacked the necessary information. They had no idea where “Butterfly’s” brain or “Cocoon” was, and things seemed to have entered a deadlock.
Adrian was told outside of Zhong Yan’s office that the President was not in.
The President’s newly-appointed secretary, Intron, quickly came out when he heard the news and asked, “Sir Yate, what brought you here?”
Adrian had just been granted the highest military post in the morning and became Commander of the fifty-three military regions. It seemed that this should be a busy time for him, when he should be doing the initial confirmations of the situation in each of the military regions.
“Where’s the President? I came to talk to him because he did not respond to my messages.”
It was most likely something urgent at a time like this. Intron quickly responded, “The President is currently at the police headquarters. There must be a signal blocker there. I’ll help you pass on the message when he leaves.”
Adrian frowned slightly. There were no signal blockers in the police headquarters to begin with. The only place with a signal blocker was the detention center next to the HQ.
“He went to see Pearson? Why didn’t he tell me…Forget it. I’ll go and wait for him.”
At this moment, Zhong Yan was visiting Pearson in the Capital Detention Center.
“Those men are all garbage! To think a kid like you managed to snatch away the spot of President…” said Pearson fiercely as he sat on the chair with his hands and legs restrained. Though he had been shut in here for several days, he did not suffer any physical pains. So, besides his mental state being a little poor, he was in pretty good condition. He had just been told about the recent events happening these past few days by Zhong Yan, and he sneered, “And so you’ve come begging to me for it now? You want to ask me whether I know ‘Butterfly’s’ secret? You’re no fool at least. I do know a thing or two. As long as you agree to…”
“What are you thinking about?” Zhong Yan interrupted him rudely. “Of course not. I just felt irritated that there’s been no progress in my work, and that’s why I’ve come to humiliate you to vent my stress.”
Pearson’s face distorted when he heard his straightforward way of speech. “You! Do you really not want to know where ‘Butterfly’s’ brain is?”
“You talk as if you do know. But if you did know of its self-protection modules, you would not have gone against it to begin with. You actually confirmed yourself that neither me nor Sir Yate have any means of threatening you. After you no longer required ‘Butterfly’s’ protection, you took the opportunity to turn your back on it without any hesitation. It really shows that you know nothing.”
Pearson’s hatred could almost pour out from his eyes. He gritted his teeth and said, “Your plots against me are absolutely terrible! If I had known the truth then I would’ve gotten someone to kill that Yate brat at all costs when ‘Butterfly’ told me he was leaving the Institution Star alone!”
Zhong Yan’s heart thumped. “Butterfly” knew that Adrian left the Institution Star?
He had come to probe Pearson, who had the closest personal relationship with “Butterfly”, but he did not expect to actually hear any useful information. Pearson had no idea, but Zhong Yan knew well that the entire monitoring system had been completely removed when Adrian left the Institution Star.
But then, how could “Butterfly” find out what the situation was within the Institution Star without any monitoring systems?