“Co…Commander…” The second lieutenant who came to send a message had just arrived at the door when he ran into the thunderous scene of Adrian’s rage. When he listened carefully to its content, he realized that someone had actually stepped on the Commander’s “minefield”, and suddenly he could feel the strong urge to turn around and leave in case he got dragged into it.
The entire Navi Military Command—ah no, every single person within the Navi System knew that their commander was not a harsh boss; in fact, he usually did not put on airs when he was with ordinary soldiers nor even with ordinary citizens due to his young age. He had a prestigious reputation in Navi, and he would rarely get angry or make things hard for his subordinates; even if he did get angry, it would pass very quickly. However, there was a single spot in the “minefield” that you must absolutely never step on.
And it was that person from the very far end of the Federation, the one who stayed in the bustling Capital.
Some say that when the Commander had just arrived at Navi, he was only holding a nominal title with no real power to speak of. His position was very low, and the entire Federation was still gossiping about the fallout of the Twin Stars at the time; even the remote Navi was no exception. There would always be people asking Adrian questions about that person. After Adrian showed his position on the matter and made it clear for others not to bring him up in front of him ever, most people were tactful and stopped asking.
But during that time, there was a young captain who, due to having a fierce fighting style, made quite an impact in that region. He had no care for a young man who had just come out of school at the age of twenty. To him, this great young master was just someone who came from a good family, and most of the people from that school had also gotten there by paying themselves in. So, since he had already fallen apart with his family, there was nothing worth being worried about.
Finally, after asking him in front of the public, “Have you slept with Zhong Yan?”, Adrian slammed the table and shouted in the quiet canteen. “I slept with 18 generations of your ancestors so they could give birth to a stupid c*nt like you!”
There were many different combat ranking lists in the Federation’s Supreme Institution’s School of Military Affairs, and one of them was a comprehensive ranking called the solo combat ranking list. It combines all their data and ranks each person based on their combined battle prowess. The list was updated in real-time, and Adrian remained at the top of the list for the entire year, setting the record for the longest time at the top in this half of the century; and this was also why the School of Military affairs granted him the honorary title of Chief.
As for how much weight the ranking held, the remote Navi System had no idea. But since that day, they felt it; they felt it with their own bodies.
In the chaotic region of the Navi System, the toughness of your fist was true power. When there was a fight to see, it would be beheld by everyone in jovial spirits, and they would spontaneously be buried within a flesh circle, granting them a temporary stage.
Fayn wanted to rush in to break up the fight, but he was stopped by the spectating crowd. Everyone was pulling him back in cheerful spirits, asking him not to spoil the fun.
“Spoil my ass! If you’re not going to stop it, then just prepare a funeral for that idiot!” Just two hands were not enough for Fayn to fight his way over to them, and since he could not get near, he could only shout, “Boss! Go easy on him! Don’t kill him!”
At first, everyone thought it was a joke; but before five minutes could even pass, the crowd was getting anxious; every inch of the young captain was covered in blood, and his complexion was getting pale. He could hardly breathe, but he was still panting heavily; from the looks of it, he was nearly gone, but nobody went in to stop them—there were two subordinates from the captain’s team that tried to get in when they saw that things were turning out very badly, but their arms were broken in just a few hits, leaving them to yell in pain as they writhed on the ground. One of them was kicked out and landed on a wall—Even to this day, he was still unable to get up.
Nobody would have thought that this young master who came from one of the most affluent families in the Capital would be so fierce in a fight. Fortunately, he still seemed to retain his rationality. He had no intention of taking his life, so when the Captain was beaten to the point where he could no longer even move, he turned to the crowd.
“I said don’t mention that name in front of me, did all of you get that?”
Blood was still streaked across his face and the aura seeping from his body was suffocating. Nobody dared to meet his eyes, and the crowd that was watching the show with loud enthusiasm was now quiet enough that you could hear a pin drop.
“Get this trash to a hospital, I’ll settle the medical bill.” He kicked the man on the ground and turned to Fayn, “Let’s go.”
The Captain had to stay in the intensive care unit for several days before they managed to get him out alive. Adrian had been punished for that incident, but he had also made a name for himself with just one fight and was soon transferred to the combat division. He made many contributions as soon as he began, and his promotions brought him higher and higher.
After that, there were several cases where others had also committed this taboo, be it accidentally or intentionally. Without exception, all of them had a tragic end. By the time Adrian ascended to the highest position within the military, this had become a rule of survival within the Navi System, and nobody dared to commit that sin ever again.
“Come in.” With his sharp eyes, Fayn managed to catch that little second lieutenant, and quickly stop him, “What do you need?”
Adrian barely managed to suppress his fury and turned his attention towards the newcomer.
The second lieutenant was trembling with fear. “The meeting…the meeting room upstairs asked me to come for the commander.”
“I’ll be heading up first,” Adrian calmed his emotions and said, “You two continue.”
After he left, the person in charge of the intelligence department had completely melted on his chair. Still in shock, he said, “Oh mother, I thought I’d die there!”
Fayn said to him, “He’s still giving face to civilians like you, if you were any other guy from the army, he would’ve been sent to the hospital by now. Ah, the last time someone got signed into the hospital by him was only three years ago, it’s still quite a recent event, when are you ever going to learn?”
“I just went with the flow!” The person in charge wanted to cry, “He said it himself so many times! I thought their relationship finally eased up after they bumped into each other again!”
“It hasn’t eased up, and from what I can see, it’s gotten worse,” Fayn grumbled, “And to think you’re doing intelligence work.”
“Speaking of which, Adjutant Suster…” The person in charge suddenly lowered his voice and asked, “Didn’t our commander go to the other party’s ship to talk about the fines before you left the Institution Star? So, did it fall through?”
Fayn peered over at him. “How did you know?”
“The entire Federation knows! The names of both of them are still displayed together in the marriage matching system! There’s at least one person out there eyeing the marriage system at every moment to check whether their names have been removed or not.”
“Oh, the signal was quite bad during the flight these last two days, so I didn’t really look at it. What’re they saying in the comments now?”
“They’re all guessing how high the penalty fine is for the Commander to actually have to discuss it with the other party. And also, since there were no results even after the discussion, could it be that both of them can’t afford to pay it even with their buying power combined?”
Even though Zhong Yan was the one in the car that was heading towards Zhong Yan’s personal spacecraft and not Adrian, Fayn knew that the two of them had met privately before that, so they must have been discussing about it. When he heard that hypothesis, even he himself started to speculate, “It can’t be…right? How high could the penalties in the divorce category be? At most, a single fine would be around a hundred thousand? Or a hundred and fifty? Impossible, just thirty years ago there was a council member who refused to marry a noble lady from the Capital, and the base fine was only ninety thousand, which was already the highest number recorded so far. Even if only one of them refuses and has to pay five times the amount, it still shouldn’t be an amount that would bother either of them, right?”
The person in charge responded anxiously, “Could ‘Butterfly’ have raised the fines to make things hard for the Commander on purpose? If the base fine really was at something like two hundred million or so…we could crowdfund it for him.”
Fayn rolled his eyes. “If it really is that high we won’t even have time to celebrate, we can just put out an announcement and the uproar of the public itself would be enough to drown ‘Butterfly’ to death. What’s more, do you really think they can’t afford a hundred or two hundred millions? Do you think we haven’t been rob—cough, I mean, knocking down enough criminals these years?!”
The Navi Military Command was in no way short of money, and as one of the people in charge, he knew it full well. However, this only made things more confusing.
“Alright, gossip time is over.” Fayn stood up, ready to leave. He patted him on the shoulder. “Stop worrying about it, the penalty has a limit of one month, we’ll know the results by then.”
The Capital, Yate Family Residence. Another conversation coming to an end.
“…Yes, just say it like that during the afternoon meeting,” Stalvern concluded.
Zhong Yan lowered his gaze. “Yes.”
The expression on Stalvern’s face finally eased up.
As always, Zhong Yan was ready to hear and accept him, which helped dispel his dissatisfaction with Zhong Yan’s recent behavior of taking action without telling him first. After talking about business, the atmosphere softened considerably. Stalvern changed the topic. “I heard that there’s a kid called…Intron in your office? And that you’ve been quite fond of him, have you?”
Even for such personal matters within the personal office of a councilor, he had received news in just a short while. Not only that, he was even letting Zhong Yan know without any intention of hiding it.
“Intron?” Zhong Yan repeated the name, confused. After a while, he suddenly had an epiphany. “He came early today and I had some records that I urgently needed, so I had him do it.”
“That’s not all, is it? Did he not replace Bayer for a while in the Institution Star? If it was Bayer, he would not have left you to give the Capital a response in such a hurry.”
“Yes, it is true that he is too young, and is lacking in terms of thoughtfulness,” Zhong Yan echoed his thoughts, and went on, “but I do have the intention to nurture him. Compared to the others, he is quite well-versed in his work and he also happens to be an underclassman of mine from the same school. From what I’ve heard from him, he is quite an ambitious one.”
“So that’s how it is.” Stalvern picked up his own cup and took a sip of water at his own leisure. For Zhong Yan to take the initiative to tell him his thoughts made him feel rather reassured, so he was not angry with him. Unhurriedly, he asked, “Zhong Yan…are you starting to find Bayer to be a hindrance?”
“How could I?” Zhong Yan smiled. “What gave you that thought? Without Sir Bayer’s help, I would not be able to say a single word in the council. My respect for him is second only to you. Only, the disparity of age within my team is truly too large, and Mr. Bayer’s body seems to not be in the best condition lately. I’m worried that he would receive his retirement proposal one day, then for a while after that…I can’t help it, even if they’re unfit, we still have to pick the most qualified among them, don’t you think so?”
The choice of words he picked was “we”, which made Stalvern feel very much at ease to hear. He had originally been prepared to reprimand Zhong Yan before he came, but it became a fairly mild warning instead. “You called him too young, but so are you! That brat has also noticed this problem of yours, so he’s caught onto the opportunity to climb up. Moreover, did you think that Bayer’s absence due to illness was a coincidence?”
Zhong Yan’s eyes widened slightly, and his body drooped forward. Due to his surprise, he even interrupted Stalvern with disregard. “That was not a coincidence? Could he be…”
Stalvern tolerated his gaffe and confirmed it. “Of course not. Hmph, it’s an old trick in the council. You’ll be able to hear about some of these tricks if you stay just a few years longer in there. Do you think everyone’s like you? To be able to walk up the ranks so smoothly? Bayer was only caught by that brat’s tricks because he wasn’t prepared! He’s ambitious, and tricky as well. He’s not much younger than you, but you should still keep an eye out and protect yourself!”
Zhong Yan nodded in enlightenment. He had just wanted to add on a few more words when the terminal on his wrist gave a prompt to receive a message.
Stalvern was displeased. “Do you not have the decency to mute your terminal when you’re speaking with me?!”
A small crack emerged on Zhong Yan’s mask for a short moment, but he tried his best to suppress it and apologized obediently. “I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten to mute it today.”
Saying that, he reached out to one of the shortcuts on the side of his terminal. What Stalvern did not see, however, was that he had pressed it twice, and his hands were slightly shaking.
He had always been cautious towards Stalvern, so how could he have forgotten to mute it! He opened it, but the notification still rang.
There was only one message, and it was set to ignore mute within his terminal’s settings.
This was something that happened eight years ago in that dormitory. When they were laughing and messing about, Adrian grabbed his terminal and turned on the setting himself.