T/N: the author used a English name that they thought was cool and badass, unfortunately it’s a little different to us English speaking peoples. So yeah, the pirate captain’s name is Alfred.
The red skull was inlaid in a wreath of sinister, black designs. The ship drew closer and closer. It wasn’t long before everyone else spotted the pirate ship.
Wen’s pupils suddenly constricted. “Spacetime jump,” his cold voice shocked everyone else out of their stupor, “hurry!”
Linu’s hands flew over the ship’s controls. His voice was calm as he gave instructions to the ship: “target location Topia, spacetime jump initiation countdown, in 3, 2…”
An energy cannon blast from the red skull ship directly intercepted the spacetime jump initiation. Following the cannon blast, a number of small ships disengaged from the main pirate ship and surrounded Astra and them in an instant.
From the window, the team could see all of the weapons being pointed their way. The dark barrels of the pirate’s weapons were charged with golden energy, ready to blow them to smithereens in an instant should they decide to make any sudden movements.
The space pirates intercepted their communication signal. The lazy drawl blared out from the aircraft’s speakers, sounding arrogant and almost bored: “Don’t be stupid, don’t make any useless attempts at resisting.”
The aircraft was dead quiet. Astra and his teammates shared a silent look of agreement before he pressed the button that would release a universal signal of surrender.
At the same time, Solaris Academy received the SOS signal as well as the location coordinates from their ship.
Everyone had a calm expression on their faces, but anger and determination blazed white-hot in their hearts as the surrender signal lit up in a flash of white.
They didn’t want to give in just like this, but reason tells them that this is the smartest and the only choice that would get them out of this situation alive. This group of military academy students, who already uphold themselves to a soldier’s standard, would no doubt direct their feelings of humiliation and frustrations towards the pirates in the form of righteous anger.
The pirates that surrounded them urged them along impatiently. Under the watchful eye of the pirates, the team guided their aircraft into the giant ship with the red skull marked on it.
“Come down here brats.”
The man in the form-fitting combat suit leaned his muscular forearms on the window of the aircraft and flashed them a mocking grin: “Us brothers from the Red Skull Pirates will be sure to treat you nicely.”
The youths exited their aircraft. Their faces didn’t even show the slightest hint of terror, which made the pirates ‘tsk’ in disappointment.
The pirates made quick work of finding and removing the communication devices from the team. “This one’s got so much on ‘im.” One of the pirates exclaimed in surprise as he swept the scanner over Linus. “Fuckin’ hell, there’s over thirty communication gadgets on ‘im.”
Linus gave the pirates a cold, sidelong glare, but he made no moves to stop the pirates from taking his communication devices. Astra was next to Linus, so he leaned over and reminded Linus: “Don’t make any rash decisions.”
Astra’s words woke Linus up from his spiral of rage. He lowered his eyes and refused to look at his favorite things being taken away. “En.”
The pirates stood off to the side in groups of two and three, watching the youths with various degrees of ridicule written on their faces.
Crass words were thrown their way. “Look at these soft and weak students, are these really the ones that captured our crewmate a while ago?”
“So useless, he’s an embarrassment for us pirates. I can’t believe that he got caught by these greenhorns from Solaris. Even if he comes back alive, we’ll still kill him for making us Red Skulls look like a comic joke in front of all our pirate brethren.”
“Well don’t hold your breath. He ain’t coming back. Even though it is a bit of an embarrassment, at least all the stuff he’s looted now belongs to the rest of us hahaha.”
Wen’s bright and clear eyes scanned the pirate ship. There were no signs of fear or excitement in his eyes, as if he’s already used to this sort of scenario.
The pirates drifting in the vast expanse of the universe hold a special hatred for the Empire’s military. This dislike extended to military academy students as well.
The pirates commented on the military academy students, looking them up and down in scorn. Strangely, none of them said anything about Astra.
The pirates unconsciously avoided Astra. Maybe they themselves didn’t even notice this, but Astra did.
Astra looked at the teammates besides him, who were all barely suppressing their anger. And then he looked at Wen’s fake smile.
For a moment, Astra had the urge to laugh.
After the pirates finished checking them over for communication devices, they were ushered through a dim hallway. The pirate at the head of the procession knocked on the door at the end of the hallway: “Boss, they’re here.”
The door opened to reveal a golden-haired youth who looked at them with a pair of mischievously curved eyes. “You guys were pretty fast.”
The youth looked handsome and refreshing. He had a friendly demeanor, but the pirate in front of him treated him with great deference and respect: “Sir, all of them are here. These were the ones that caught Old Tang on Planet Sui.”
The golden-haired youth smiled and nodded: “Well done.”
The pirate grinned, absolutely shocked, before he turned and left quickly.
“My guests,” Percy bowed a little and extended an arm in an inviting gesture, signalling the team to step inside the room. Every movement was grateful and precise as the illustrations on an etiquette textbook. “Don’t be shy now. Hopefully you can excuse our clumsy way of inviting you, and make yourself comfortable here.
The more Percy smiled, the more wary Astra and his teammates became.
Fully alert, they prepared for the worst as they entered the room.
Unlike the hallway they just passed through, the room was brightly lit. There was a dark red desk with a matching chair at one end of the room. The most striking feature of the room was the red skull carved into the center of the wall.
There was a large and bulky man perched on the edge of the desk. His features were sharp and menacing. It didn’t help that there was a thick scar running from scalp to chin, adding further to his threatening appearance.
The man was wiping at the barrel of his gun, but he looked up as they filed into the room. There was an air of danger about him as he spoke in a baritone voice: “These are the ones then? The arrogant rascals that you were talking about?”
Percy: “yep. Surprising, isn’t it?”
“I trust that you can take care of this well.” The Captain of the Red Skulls didn’t even spare the team a single glance as he dictated their fate. “I don’t want something this humiliating to happen on my ship ever again.”
“Don’t worry,” Percy smiled. “I will.”
Within minutes, the two pirates had decided the entire team’s fate. There was no way that the pirates would let them wait until help arrived.
Their expression darkened.
Wen swore under his breath.
Astra asked Wen quietly: “How’s your spiritual energy recovery?”
“It’s okay.” Wen’s reply was vague.
Astra understood at once. Wen’s spiritual energy still hasn’t recovered.
What’s even worse: Wen’s spiritual energy level right now isn’t even higher than his.
Astra sighed internally.
……Time to use that embarrassing cheat from the author.
“That piece of trash was one of your crew members?” Astra raised his voice and asked.
Of course, the piece of trash he was talking about refers to the pirate that the team captured on Planet Sui.
The captain of the Red Skull pirates, Alfred, grinned wickedly as a flash of violent anger ignited in his chest. “Good one, you little brat. We were going to give you an easy and painless death, but it seems like you have something else in mind for yourself and your friends over there.”
The scar on his face writhed as he spoke, as if it was a living creature crawling on his face. His sharp eyes were filled with killing intent as he fixed Astra with a chilling glare.
Atra felt as if he was at an interview for a very special career. In order to make the villain like him better, he has to shamelessly display his face and figure. Because after all, physical appearances are the basis of first impressions.
Astra flashed a standard smile that revealed just the right amount of teeth. “You’re right about that one. We don’t have any plans for dying today.”
The teammates were shocked stupid!
What the fuck bro can’t you give us a little warning before you start throwing insults?
If you’re going to badmouth a dangerous criminal, then we’ll need some mental preparation okay? Otherwise we’ll wind up standing around looking stupid and confused.
Originally, Alfred was seething with anger, but after seeing Astra, this feeling suddenly changed. As if Astra’s provocations were nothing major, Alfred suddenly laughed. The grin that stretched across his face looked especially strange when paired with his furrowed brows. “Are all the brats from Solaris this brash?”
Astra raised a brow before he turned to Percy: “why are you coming over here, are you going to take me away and ‘take care’ of me”?
The words ‘take care’ were drawn out suggestively. This fearless brat was like a pin that was hell bent on poking his way under everyone’s skin.
Even though he was being cocky and arrogant, but the more the pirates looked at this brat, the more they liked him.
“Don’t make things up,” Percy couldn’t help but laugh at Astra’s antics. “When did we say that?”
Damn, when did Solaris get a great kid like this. Why didn’t they recruit this kid before the Academy snatched him up.
Alfred suddenly spoke. “Hey brat, c’mere.”
His sharp, permanently wrinkled brows relaxed a bit, but those sharp eyes remained as dangerous as ever. He was a pirate captain after all, his hands were tainted with blood, and cruelty was second nature to him. Even he was just sitting there quietly, his mere presence was enough to chill the room.
He was too dangerous. But Astra didn’t waver a single bit or show the slightest hint of feat. Astra met Alfred’s gaze with a steady, determined expression in his eyes. “If you have anything to say, you can just say it.”
Astra stood his ground and refused to move.
Alfred has seen many youths in his time. Most of them trembled at the mere sight of the pirate captain, and many others would be reduced to a sobbing mess as they kneeled and begged him to spare their lives. Only a select few reacts like the five standing in front of him right now, staring at him with rage barely hidden in their eyes, as if all it would take is a single spark before the wildfire of fury ignites.
Astra definitely belongs to the latter type. But this just made the pirate admire him more.
Meanwhile, was Astra nervous?
Of course he was nervous.
On one hand, he was reluctant to rely on the cheat given to him by the author. On the other hand, he wasn’t sure at all exactly how much of Wen’s spiritual energy had recovered. Even if Wen’s spiritual energy had fully recovered, Astra also didn’t know if Wen will be willing to use the full extent of his spiritual energy in front of everyone.
But this doesn’t mean that Astra didn’t trust Wen.
No matter if it was in the book, or if it was the events that he actually lived through. Wen’s actions have never matched the cold and aloof descriptions that the author used to describe him. Wen was a living, breathing person, not just a 2D character sketched out by words on a flat page.
Astra firmly believes that, if they are ever in danger, Wen would save them without a second thought. The only problem is that although Wen’s secret can be shared with close friends, it’s dangerous to expose himself like that in front of these pirates.
Astra doesn’t like the idea of making Wen go through that sort of self-sacrifice for him.
So even though he’s highly skeptical of the cheat that the author gave him, Astra still acted as if he’s got the situation under control as he tried to charm Alfred.
“You’re not afraid that I’ll kill you?” Alfred said, curious about how this brat will react. “I’m not a patient man, you know.”
“Sure, sure.” Astra shrugged nonchalantly, as if he was complying to some silly request. “Okay, I’ll go over there, and you can tell me whatever it is that you wanted to say.”
His teammates’ eyes were about to pop out of their sockets. “What? Wait!”
Simon wanted to step forward and pull Astra back, but Jiyu and Linus grabbed Simon just in time.
“Trust Astra on this one.” Jiyu gave his teammates a hard stare as he spoke to them. “Don’t interrupt him.”
Wen was still trying to process all the emotions going through his mind.
As if understanding his thoughts, Wen’s formidable spiritual energy churned inside his body as the mysterious NK-03 sped up its recovery.
But he still can’t use his spiritual energy to his heart’s content before it fully recovers.
Astra was trying to give them more time, but all they could do was stand here uselessly and watch as Astra stepped towards danger.
The expression in Wen’s eyes was dark as he watched Astra put on a perfunctory smile and banter with the two pirates.
Only pirates can deal with other pirates. Wen thought to himself. Just you wait and see.
T/N: I’m so sorry guys but I’m a pretty shitty student and studying for the mcat is killing me. On top of that the ‘simple’ research project I’m doing as a lab volunteer is going off the rails T-T (if it fails any more than it already has, I’m going to be stuck trying to learn DNA cloning for MONTHS — it was supposed to be a simple 7 week project but now it’s turned into a whole entire monster). Long story short: I’ll be back in like… September. Hopefully I’ll end up getting an okay score on the mcat and also not fail my project QAQ.