Chapter 7 – Miller, a Man Who Was Played

Translator: Lucia Rose
Editor: Nine Knights


“What the h*ll — the four-eyed frog was actually an ikemen1The original Chinese was 帅哥 (shuài gē), or “handsome older brother”. Colloquially, it refers to any young or handsome guy, but silver-tongued street peddlers seeking to sell their wares will sometimes call their customers this…hehe. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)?!”

Livy put on a frightening expression as his eyes switched back and forth between the spectacles in his hands and Miller’s face, “What are you doing hiding behind a pair of ugly glasses?”

“That’s my business!” Miller quickly took back his glasses while glaring at Livy.

“Hey, hey… don’t you think just swimming like this is very boring? Why don’t we both have a race?”

Miller absolutely did not want to pay him any more attention than he already had. He felt as though Livy’s presence had sullied the entire pool, and he couldn’t stand the idea of remaining in the same contaminated space for another second more. He was just about to return to shore when Livy, who was still in the water, called out to him, “Don’t tell me… you’re afraid of competing with me? Is the major afraid of losing to a technical sergeant?”

“What did you just say?!”

Miller stared incredulously at Livy, “It’s because I dare not compete with a cockroach; a cockroach, mind you!”

“A cockroach? Where?!” Livy gasped, pretending not to understand the metaphor that Miller was trying to make. He feigned a look of horror and confusion and started to squirm around the pool as if looking for signs of a cockroach in it.

2Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Miller was not pleased with his antics. “Argh! Let’s just compete!”

When Miller jumped back into the pool, the sudden movement caused Livy to receive a face full of water.

The two men positioned themselves side by side as they held onto the pool coping; then, in the blink of an eye, both of them plunged backwards into the water.

Even though Miller was a scholar and spent most of his time in the lab, the muscles on his back rippled smoothly and intensely with every stroke. The two men swam shoulder to shoulder and stirred up the water with every fervent wave of their arms.

Miller’s fingers finally touched the opposite side of the pool. Pulling his face out of the water, he propped himself up against the tiles and started to look around in all directions in search of his competitor. However, he found himself alone and didn’t see any traces of Livy.

Miller seemed to have realized something. “B*st*rd! How dare you trick me!”

It was already nearing dinner time, so most of the patrons had already left. The entire pool area was now empty.

Miller let out an exasperated sigh as he thought perhaps Livy had tricked him into joining the race and then left him behind as a way to retaliate against him. He wouldn’t put it past Livy to embarrass him like this, especially when he considered the young staff sergeant’s moral compass.

As the seconds ticked by, Miller grew more and more convinced that Livy had conned him into a race and then took the opportunity to slip away. Gritting his teeth, he got out of the water and prepared to leave as well. Just then, something out of the corner of his eye caused him to stop. He glanced back at the pool and spotted a vague figure floating on top of it.

At that moment, his chest tightened, “Livy—”

Miller dived back into the waters and swam as fast as he could to the other side. Upon reaching Livy, he pulled him back to shore. Seeing his unresponsive form, Miller forcefully slapped Livy’s cheek, “Livy! Livy Van Perle!”

Seeing no response from the other party, Miller immediately began performing CPR. After the fourth or fifth press, Livy finally gasped and started coughing aggressively as his lungs pushed the excess water out of his system.

Miller immediately pushed him away. He sat on the ground and let out a breath. “If you can’t swim, then don’t! Don’t gamble with your life!”

“Who says I can’t swim?! I just didn’t expect to get a cramp!” Livy was still choking on water.

“Cramp?! Did you warm up properly or not?!” Miller was still yelling; his pale face was red with anger.

“How could you think I didn’t do any warm-ups? I even finished a lap with no problems. Who knew I’d get a sudden cramp after competing with you?” Livy lowered his head. He focused on massaging his numb calves and ignored Miller’s livid face.

“Then, I’ll ask you this: have you been eating properly?”

“Ah! Eat? I haven’t eaten lunch yet if that’s what you’re asking. Speaking of eating, isn’t it dinner time now? Come on, come on, let’s go eat!”

Livy shakily stood up and was about to pull Miller along with him when the other party fiercely shook off his outstretched hand.

“Why don’t you just starve to death, then?!”

Miller stomped towards the shower room while completely disregarding Livy. Left behind, Livy gave an ugly smile and followed after him.


Inside the shower room, the two of them started to wash the chlorine off their bodies.

The harsh beating of water slapped against Livy’s bare skin. In the cubicle next to him, aside from the rush of running water, there was no sound from Miller.

“I won’t die that easily!” Livy told Miller as he picked at his ears. However, the latter did not respond.

“Okay, okay, thank you for saving me. If it weren’t for you, I would have rotted in that pool…” Livy’s tone became slightly wheedling as he tried to coax a response out of his companion.

“Don’t be angry~~ I promise you that in the future, I’ll even salute you whenever I see you. This is already my biggest concession. You should know; I don’t even give this kind of respect to Claude…”

Livy looked a little resentful.

He was just about to give up hope on ever receiving a reply when his bathroom door was suddenly swung open, and Miller was in his face.

“Do you even know what you mean to us?!?!”


Miller stepped further into the cubicle; he was so close that the water from Livy’s shower had also started hitting him as well. Miller then placed both his hands at Livy’s sides. Livy became painfully aware of how close their half-naked bodies were standing next to each other.

“You mean that one day, the Pure-Hued Lady will fly into the sky! You mean that one day, there will be warplanes equal in strength to those of alien aircraft! You mean that one day, humanity will take its first step towards regaining control over our airspace! You mean that one day, the life’s work of those of us who cannot step onto the battlefield will finally be paid off!” Although Miller did not yell, he emphasized each of his words clearly and forcefully, like a hammer intently hitting a nail and driving it into place.

Livy looked him in the eye. A long time passed before he opened his mouth.

“Miller……you’re really pretty…”

For two seconds, Miller wore an unreadable expression on his face before he let go of Livy. He then laughed out loud in a self-deprecating manner, “I’m so crazy! I’m crazy to swim with you! Crazy to save you! Crazy to talk such nonsense with you!”

“You’re right, only a madman could be as persevering as you.”

In stark contrast to Miller’s tone, Livy’s voice was rather calm, “……No one has ever had any expectations of me, Major. I wasn’t a bad kid, but I wasn’t a good one, either. When my parents saw my transcript from the Air Force Academy, their greatest wish was for me to quit. You know that the survival rate after an aerial battle is two-thirds, right? My parents really believed I would only become part of the one-third cannon fodder. To be honest, I still find it inconceivable how you guys could have so much hope in someone like me.”

For a moment, it was as if time stood still, and Miller closed his eyes with a sigh. He spoke to Livy seriously, “You definitely can’t be part of that one-third, because you are one of a kind.”

Livy chuckled to himself and reached out to pat the other man’s shoulder, “I now believe that you are the best mathematician in the entire K11 base.”

“Clean yourself up, and then we’ll go to dinner. It’ll be my treat.”

“Yes, Major.”

Livy then started to push Miller out of his cubicle, “I’m going to close the door to the shower now.”


After the pair had finished dressing, they started heading towards a small restaurant near the swimming pool area to grab dinner. The decor of the place was rather basic, and the furniture was rather common; however, the food was great.

Miller ordered a steak, some grains, freshly squeezed juice, and a vegetable salad for Livy.

“It’s just dinner. Do you really have to go through this much trouble?”

Livy frowned at Miller, but the latter shoved a fork into his hand.

“Trouble? In the first place, there wouldn’t have been any trouble at all if you ate properly and didn’t get cramps. Not only did you not eat lunch, but you also did a physically draining exercise like swimming right after. If you don’t replenish your energy now, don’t blame me when you get cramps in the simulation cabin tomorrow, too!”

“Don’t you think you’re going overboard with your criticism and are being dramatic?”

“Tomorrow, you can rest assured that I will report your cramps today to Major General Sien.”

“What?! I treated you as a friend, and this is how you betray me?!”

“Correction. We are not friends. You and I have a superior-subordinate relationship and nothing more.”


When Livy entered Zone Z the next morning, he spotted Claude leaning against Pure-Hued Lady with a food cart in front of him.

Grinning, Livy knew that Miller really did not consider him as a friend.

“While I’m glad that you didn’t miss a single button on your uniform today, I’m upset that you don’t eat breakfast in the morning. Of course, I won’t waste my energy trying to educate you on the evils of skipping breakfast, because you won’t even listen.” Claude lifted the lid off the platter as he spoke to Livy, “So, starting from today, the entire Zone Z has decided to watch you eat your breakfast every morning.”

Sitting down in front of the food cart, Livy took a big bite of pasta, “Bour beally dood — daking duh bimble badder uhb bun berson gibbing behess an den baking id duh endire besponsibilidy uhb Bone Bee.” Because his mouth was full, Livy spoke incoherently. (Translation: You’re really good — taking the simple matter of one person skipping breakfast and then making it the entire responsibility of Zone Z.)

The breakfast they prepared for him was quite rich. However, the portions were just right, so Livy didn’t feel full even after eating.

That day’s training in the Pure-Hued Lady was the same as that of yesterday. They covered simple flight patterns. However, the maneuvers which were normally easily performed inside of ordinary warplanes became especially difficult to execute while inside of the Pure-Hued Lady.

While Miller analyzed their current data from Livy and the past records of other flights they had administered, he started to suspect something. He turned his attention from his computer to Claude and asked softly, “Claude, you said that many pilots before were unable to fly the Pure-Hued Lady with the same fluidity that they could fly ordinary warplanes. Have you considered that this, in fact, could be attributable to a problem within our own design?”

“Do not doubt yourself, and do not doubt Livy.” The confidence oozing from Claude’s tone made Miller feel as if all his concerns were superfluous, so he retreated back into his workstation and continued with his data gathering.


It had already been a few days, and Livy had already settled into a routine of training in Zone Z. Still, Livy’s flying of the Pure-Hued Lady did not show any substantial progress; he only seemed to look more and more tired with each passing day. In the beginning, he would usually be able to carry on merely bantering with Claude, but now, he showed little reaction even when Claude took the initiative and deliberately provoked him.

Finally, after a week of grueling training, Livy, with his chin raised, stood in front of Claude and declared, “I want to rest!”

“Okay.” Claude nodded his head, but Livy continued to give him a pensive look.

“I want to withdraw from the training.” The young technical sergeant looked as if he had already thought over this matter deeply.

However, Claude laughed as if he were humoring a child, “Why do you want to withdraw?”

“Because I’m a fighter pilot. I want to go out and fight, not be stuck as a test pilot here!” Although Livy often looked as if he didn’t have a care in the world and was easy going, the truth was that he was not a patient person.

“I can grant you leave, but it’s not up to you to decide whether or not you can quit the training.” Claude reached out and stroked Livy’s head. Then, seemingly because Livy’s hair was so nice to touch, he patted it two more times.

Livy dodged his hand with extreme displeasure painted on his face. Then, he turned on his heels and strode out of the training room.

“He’s hit that slump, too, just like all the other pilots before him.” Miller spoke up from behind Claude as the pair watched Livy leave.

“Despite this setback, I know he will be able to recover from that slump.” Claude snorted, “Even I find it strange why I believe in him so strongly.”


The first thing Livy did when he got back to his dorm was to tell Lilith: “Don’t bother me; I want to sleep.”

Livy collapsed onto his bed and covered his head with his blanket, but he remained wide awake. It was a given that every time he came out of the Pure-Hued Lady’s simulation system, he would feel as tired as a limp noodle. So, why did he find himself struggling to fall asleep this time?

After tossing and turning on his bed for more than two hours, Livy suddenly felt a jolt in his body when he heard an emergency announcement from headquarters.

‘Attention all pilots! Attention all pilots! Incoming invaders! Please proceed to your stations quickly and prepare for battle.’

Livy quickly bolted up from his bed. He was about to step out of it when Claude’s words from before suddenly came to mind. He remembered the major general telling him that he wouldn’t equip his fighter plane with oxygen, so it was useless for him to fly it. Thinking of this, Livy’s whole body became like a frost-beaten eggplant3I’ll quickly explain! ヾ(•ω•`)o 霜打的茄子 (shuāng dǎ de qié zi), or “frost-beaten eggplant”, is used metaphorically to describe a person who is spiritless and listless. To explain in more detail, the dips in temperatures during late-autumn nights causes the moisture on eggplants to form a thin layer of frost in the early morning, and eggplants that are not picked in time succumb to this frost; by afternoon, their outer skin will become shriveled up and wrinkled. An English equivalent would be “deflated balloon”.. He sprawled back on top of his bed and writhed anxiously, “Ah, why? Why!”

While Livy was feeling agonized, the announcement speakers suddenly came on again, ‘Technical Sergeant Livy Van Perle! Please stand by in Aisle 2B!’

Livy picked at his ears when he heard his name being called, starting to think that he was hearing things. However, he finally became convinced once the radio had repeated itself. He instantly jumped off of his bed and sprinted out of his quarters.

When he arrived in the hallway, Livy was overwhelmed by the chaos that he saw. The entire corridor was filled with running pilots, and he was just one of many. When he stumbled into Aisle 2B, the mechanics were already finishing their work in preparing his aircraft.

“Hey! Are you ready?” The mechanics shouted at him.

“So soon? Isn’t it on ‘stand by’?”

Livy barely managed to utter those words when he was unceremoniously shoved into the cockpit by the other party.

“That’s because all the fighters who suffered damage already retreated! There aren’t enough fighters on the frontlines!”

After saying that, they closed the hatch.

“Oxygen confirmed. Cabin air pressure confirmed. Missiles confirmed. Laser missiles confirmed. Systems confirmed. Pilot in position.”

“Wait—” Livy wanted to say that he had to go to the toilet, but he lost the window to do so when his fighter jet blasted off the runway and sped into the sky.

As he tore through the atmosphere, in his ears were the sounds of relentless missiles and explosions.

He was headed into a merciless battle.

  • 1
    The original Chinese was 帅哥 (shuài gē), or “handsome older brother”. Colloquially, it refers to any young or handsome guy, but silver-tongued street peddlers seeking to sell their wares will sometimes call their customers this…hehe. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
  • 2
    Image by Pexels from Pixabay
  • 3
    I’ll quickly explain! ヾ(•ω•`)o 霜打的茄子 (shuāng dǎ de qié zi), or “frost-beaten eggplant”, is used metaphorically to describe a person who is spiritless and listless. To explain in more detail, the dips in temperatures during late-autumn nights causes the moisture on eggplants to form a thin layer of frost in the early morning, and eggplants that are not picked in time succumb to this frost; by afternoon, their outer skin will become shriveled up and wrinkled. An English equivalent would be “deflated balloon”.

Lucia Rose

Thank you so much for reading! ☺ °✩ Above the Firmament: Legend of Skyrim [TL] ⋆。° Knight of the Sea [Co-TL w/ Sushi] ゚。⋆ Could You Not Tease Me? [Co-TL w/ Nura] ✩˖ ࣪‧₊˚ If you wish to support me, please consider donating to my Ko-fi! ♡

If you find any errors (E.g. spelling, inconsistent terms, broken links, etc.) , please let us know through our discord channel

Support Dummy

Your donations will help fund a part of the site's costs and management. You can find individual translators' ko-fi under each chapter^^

Join our discord channel

4 thoughts on “Chapter 7 – Miller, a Man Who Was Played”

Leave a Comment