Even though he didn’t finish the book, how could the male lead be an antagonist?
And what was with the dumbass power that the author gave him?
Astra shook his head and dismissed the random thought.
He walked to the bedside cabinet and bent down to open the bottom drawer. The drawer was stuffed to the brim with clean towels. One fell on the floor when Astra opened it. Wen walked over and helped him pick it up.
Wen’s waist and limbs were soft and lithe, each of his movements were light, yet carried an indescribable grace. A pair of milk-white hands collected the dropped towel and brought it to Astra. Wen’s eyes curved into the shape of a smile as he spoke lightheartedly, “Better hold on to it this time.”
Astra looked at him in surprise. “Thanks.”
He quickly took the towel from Wen’s outstretched hands. Due to his hurried movement, Astra’s palm enveloped the tips of Wen’s fingers for a brief moment before Astra moved his hands away.
The sensation of warmth at his fingertips was gone before Wen could fully make out the feeling.
Apparently, this little boy was scared of strangers.
Wen thought to himself, feeling a smile curl at the edge of his lips. He returned to stand by the sofa.
The administrators at the Academy knew that there was bound to be some awkwardness between the new recruits, so they required all of the accepted cadets to eat their three daily meals at the same restaurant. The said restaurant was already full of people by the time Astra and Wen arrived.
After making sure that everyone had been seated, an old, grizzled man stood up and made his way to the center of the restaurant. He raised his hands in the air, signalling for the cadets to quiet down in a commandeering yet good-natured gesture. “Silence.”
His voice wasn’t too loud, but Astra still felt the power that his authoritative tone carried.
The whispers and murmurs stopped in an instant. The old man spoke, “Solaris Academy, as you may already know, is the publicly acknowledged number one when it comes to military academies. From its conception, the Academy’s high expectations for its cadets have never once relaxed. Having a high spiritual energy is a good thing, but it’s not reason enough to be arrogant. Now, there is a tough but necessary road ahead of you. In two days you will engage in your first mission. In other words, this is the Academy’s last test for you before you enter its doors.”
Silence settled over the entire restaurant. All of the cadets’ attention was riveted on the speaker, their faces showcased a range of expressions, from shock, to anxiety, to worry, but not a single one of them showed signs of backing down.
The old man looked at each of their faces and smiled in satisfaction. “Two days from today, you will meet up with new recruits from the other two planets, after which you will be transported to the planet that this year’s assessment will take place on. The Academy is only looking to accept a little over 200 recruits this year, so I hope that all of you can make your mother planet proud.”
As soon as he finished speaking, one of the cadets shouted, “We will!”
“Yeah!” More and more people followed along with their replies, “Just you wait and see! We’ll have the other two planets eating our dust by the end of the mission!”
“Bring it on! We’ve already got two people with spiritual power scores over 1800! What other planet can surpass that?!”
All of the seated youths showcased pride in varying degrees.
Solaris Academy’s acceptance threshold of 1200 had been criticized by many in the Empire. They believed that the Academy’s spiritual power requirements were too strict and too high. Only the best of the best could make it into the Academy, and this one criteria was enough to discourage most of the hopefuls in the Empire’s 8 planets.
A score of 1200, for a normal family in the Empire, was near impossible. Spiritual energy increased with age and experience, and as it was, anything past 800 was still a rare sight, even for an experienced elder. Needless to say, for these Solaris Academy recruits, with their natural born spirit energy that had yet to be tempered by time and experience, such a high number was terrifying.
Because of how hard it was to increase spiritual energy, Astra’s score of 1890 still remained at the number one spot after the entire day’s worth of testing.
Even the male lead’s official score was below Astra’s by a whopping 40.
In the original story, Wen wasn’t supposed to be at the number two spot. He actually suppressed his spiritual energy score to the baseline score of 1200, acting as a wolf in sheep’s clothing from the moment he entered the Academy. The original male lead’s storyline was a satisfying journey of face-slapping as he faced down one arrogant opponent after the other.
Astra didn’t know too much about the original book, but he could at least remember this pivotal moment in the plot. He didn’t really know what was going on in the male lead’s head, but he wasn’t too keen to stop Wen from doing as he pleased. In fact, Astra wanted to see the male lead act out even more than he had.
The elder stroked his beard in contemplation and amusement. Turning to the teacher besides him, he asked, “I hear that this group’s number one has a spiritual energy score of almost 1900?”
“Yes.” The teacher accompanying the elder nodded. “It’s highly likely that this will be the highest score for this year. This sort of talent is comparable to what we’ve got in the past.”
“What are their names?”
“One of them is called Astra Li, and the other is Gu WenCheng.” The teacher took out his holopad. Before he could read the more detailed information out loud, a mischievously charming voice sounded from the restaurant’s doors.
The beautiful girl ran all the way from the doorway to the center of the restaurant. The motion made her ponytail swing from side to side in an arc. Her open features were delicate and pretty, and her eyes were especially bright.
Overjoyed at seeing the elder, the girl ran quickly towards him. Her foot caught on the edge of the carpet in her haste, and she tripped forward, panicking as she fell towards the ground.
Luckily, Wen was standing close by. He stepped forward and caught her just in time, pulling her into an embrace as he held her up. “Are you ok?”
The girl’s tightly shut eyes opened slowly. She stared at Wen for a moment, before coming to her senses and struggled out of his grasp with a bright red blush. “Thank you, thank you so much,” she mumbled.
Embarrassed, she backed away and twisted her hands together. She walked slowly towards the elder, sneaking backward glances as she walked.
Anyone with eyes could see her checking Wen out, but she must’ve really believed that no one noticed. It was kind of cute, actually.
Astra took out some napkins and handed it to Wen. He had ducked away just in time, so the water didn’t splash on him at all. Looking at the girl as she walked away, he couldn’t help but tease Wen, “What an adorable girl.”
“Yes, very adorable.” Wen wiped at the mess that the glass of water had made when it was knocked down. Smiling faintly, he asked, “So you like the cute type?”
Before Astra could answer, Wen raised his head and looked at the girl, who had now glued herself to her grandpa as she whined and complained. “If I put it this way, you might misunderstand, but I just want to say that cute girls are really not suitable for someone like you.”
“How so?” Astra rested his chin on his hands and looked at Wen.
Wen answered nonchalantly, “The women behind the hero must never fall for old tricks like this one, all I did was break her fall and she already thinks that I’m a good guy.”
His fingers dipped into the water and drew several wet lines on the glass table. The patterns that he drew looked like words.
Astra looked at him for a bit before lowering his head and softly laughing to himself.
Wen gave up on trying to explain it to the boy in front of him. The displeased expression wrinkling those beautiful features only made him seem more haughty and cold, like an ice lily blooming far from the rest of the world.
Wen was a mysterious person with a lot of tricks up his sleeves and secrets hidden behind those eyes. But Astra’s character setting was the exact opposite, and he enjoyed making the male lead uncomfortable.
In the book, the author once described Astra as:
[He had a strong sense of curiosity, a certain stubbornness when it came to losing, as well as the strongest will. He was warm hearted and lively, but this did not change the weight of his power.
He was powerful because of the strength of his belief, his never-changing heart and his determination that remained constant from start to finish. No matter the challenge and no matter how powerful the enemy, he would always always bring home victory, striking down all that opposed him mercilessly and sparing no extra thought about the bodies that lay in his wake.]
The author’s choice of words was so cheesy that Astra cringed when he first read it.
But that one description about the explosive power and the cold heartedness that lay behind the original Astra’s sunny exterior did actually match the transmigrated Astra’s personality. He was quite used to playing the wolf in sheep’s clothing, acting all innocent and naive when in fact he was anything but.
Under the author’s pen, the character was impulsive and liked to be the one in control. Viewed from a certain angle, this type of character setting actually suited Astra pretty well.
Wen sighed. “You think I’m kidding.”
“No, of course not.” Astra raised a brow. “You’re giving me a compliment, I’m very happy right now.”
All around them, the youths were animated with excitement. Wen looked about thoughtfully, each of the boys were at the edge of their seats with hot-blooded anticipation. Their competitive spirit had been successfully roused by the speaker.
“So we’re going to move in groups, right?”
“If that’s the case, shouldn’t we be looking for teammates before the mission?”
“I’ve got a couple people in mind already…what about you guys?”
Everyone was chattering excitedly about the upcoming mission.
“I’ve heard about the Academy’s final examination.” Wen turned to Astra. “We do need to have a team. Just the two of us aren’t enough — we’ll need at least three more people.”
Wen spoke of the two of them together quite naturally. Instead of refuting Wen’s casual invitation, Astra went along with it. “I’m sure we’ll be able to find some teammates.”
Between the two of them, one could be the leader by appearance, and the other could be the real tiger behind the scenes. It would all work out.
Two days passed in a blur. Solaris Academy’s entrance tests on Sirius finally came to a stop. That night, an official from the school brought them to a spaceship with the Academy’s logo, and the entire group left their home planet to go on to their next destination.
On the spaceship, the stern admissions officer repeated the old speaker’s words before concluding with, “…So, before you exit this ship, I’ll need to hear the information about your teams.”
The newly accepted cadets weren’t around to hear the first message that day in the restaurant. This was the first time that they were hearing about a assessment and having to form a team. As they saw those who were around to hear the news come forward one by one to register their team members, the newly accepted cadets raised their voices in protest, “It’s not fair!”
“We didn’t have any time to learn more about each other, how are we supposed to choose our teammates? Why did they get to know about this before we did?”
“There’s no such thing as fair and unfair,” the supervisor replied coolly, “they heard about this by chance as well. Luck is also an ability. If you guys were lucky enough, you would’ve heard about this earlier as well.”
“But—” They still felt the whole situation to be inconceivable. One of the cadets even stood up, red faced, and confronted the supervisor, “But why does it have to come down to luck? Is the Academy not going to care about this at all?”
The supervisor chuckled. His eyes found the two highest scoring cadets sitting quietly on the side, watching the show. The instructor’s next words pulled them into the spotlight, “There’s always an upside to everything. Yes, you guys did lose the opportunity to get to know each other, but at the same time you’re also luckier than the ones who’ve already formed teams. Because the two highest scoring cadets this year, with spiritual energy scores over 1800, have still not joined a team.”
Once the supervisor made his point, the cadets who had already formed teams no longer felt guilty for their unfair advantage, instead they felt jealous. And the ones who were protesting just moments before had nothing else to say.
They looked at one another, no one knew what to make of this situation. Gosh, did the supervisor really just say that the two cadets with the highest spiritual power scores still didn’t have teams?
…What the hell were those idiots doing, letting such two big fish slip away. They had completely wasted their early start.
The newest group of cadets felt a sense of schadenfreude. The feeling of unfairness dissipated as they began to speak to the others around them, trying to find out which two cadets the supervisor was talking about. A lot of them were already trying to think of ways they could pull one of the 1800+ scorers onto their team.
The best news was that there were still a lot of people who didn’t have teams. Those two must also be in a hurry to form a group, because once they reached the assessment planet, it would be near impossible to form a good one. The students from each planet would have already finalized their teams on the way to the mission, everything would be solved once they arrived at the assessment planet. The ones left over would then have to scramble to cobble together a group — they’d most likely have to form a team with cadets from other planets.
Because the two most powerful cadets were still up for grabs, that meant the rest of them still had a chance at getting a really good team.
Slowly, everyone’s attention turned to where Astra and Wen were standing. The cadets beside them were already fidgeting, as if preparing to lunge at them with eight thousand words of self-introduction.
“…Don’t you think,” Astra suddenly spoke.
Wen was very confused. “Hm?”
“That we’re like two naked women standing in a crowd of dudes,” Astra rubbed the bridge of his nose in embarrassment as he tried to describe it the way a straight guy would, “like, the type with 36D cups.”
T/N: hahahahaha Astra ‘dropped the towel’ loool what kind of foreshadowing is this….