At his wits’ end, Mr He looked at the new arrival.
The other man’s eyes were like the night in a blizzard; pitch-black darkness along with pale snow. They naturally knew what made people afraid and in those cold eyes, it could be seen that they had plenty of experience in doing so.
His lips were pursed into a straight line, though the corner of his lips were somewhat angled. However, this wasn’t a smile that was pleasing to the eye; instead, it made one’s heart extremely uneasy.
Mr He went soft at the knees, his heart becoming weak. Even his immaculately groomed appearance seemed unable to withstand it.
He really wasn’t clear on the current situation.
Why would the Imperial Military suddenly come knocking at his door? There was no reason for it. Somewhat dizzily, he focused on the epaulet rank on that person’s uniform; after he counted it, he almost couldn’t believe his eyes.
“I-Is something the matter?”
His voice finally quietened down, the expression in his eyes somewhat nervous but still striving to maintain his dignity. He took out a handkerchief that he carried on his person and wiped at the sweat on his face. Looking at the damaged door of the parlour, he then spoke angrily.
“We are a lawful mech battlesquad, acting like this is quite inappropriate! Willfully damaging personal property, I can have you reported! B-but, if you have other grounds for this…”
It was a pity that just as he decided to be a little firm, he shrunk back under the other man’s extremely cold eyes again.
Yan Shuo was completely uninterested in the man before him. A man nearing his forties, he seemed extremely well-dressed and dignified, a successful figure.
But the thirty or so years before in his life were probably not like that. At a glance, Yan Shuo could see through his immaculate appearance to the false bravado and powerlessness within. If it weren’t for his luck in signing Shen Zhifan, keeping this kind of third-rate battlesquad in business every year would already be challenging, never mind attaining the neat, glorious appearance they had now.
Unfortunately, this kind of person was truly insatiable and didn’t know when to stop. Shen Zhifan obviously wouldn’t stay in this kind of battlesquad forever, yet he relied on his own so-called patronage 1 知遇之恩, lit. the kindness of recognising sb’s worth and employing him (idiom); patronage; protection to desperately hold Shen Zhifan here.
Filthy, ignorant, and idiotic.
Looking at this before, he’d already been quite unhappy. Listening to this person continuously nagging at Shen Zhifan just then made him even more so.
With restraint in his eyes, he looked at this man who had an appearance of gold and jade but was filled with rotten padding2 金玉其外败絮其中, someone who’s dressed richly on the outside, rotten on the inside . Well, this kind of person really lived up to the saying.
He had merely stood there, calm and indifferent, and this had simply rendered the man in front of him utterly defeated.
“I received a report,” Waiting until this Mr He scared himself stupid, Yan Shuo then indolently stepped onto the unfortunate door that had been smashed and scattered on the floor. “Your battlesquad secretly altered the age of an athlete in order to evade enlistment.”
Mr He’s heart shook, though he tried to maintain a calm facade, “We haven’t done anything of the sort.”
Yan Shuo laughed coldly for a moment, looking at him as if he were looking at an idiot.
“Are you certain you want to say that?”
Mr He guessed that the man in front of him was younger than himself. Thinking of this, he looked at the man’s arrogant3 居高临下, to live high and look down (idiom); to overlook; to tower above; to occupy the high ground; fig. arrogance based on one’s social position. expression and the corners of his eyes which were absent of any wrinkles. Mr He had almost come to his senses just then, but now immediately fell apart, layer by layer, as he was faced with the other’s cold laugh.
Mr He hesitated, unconsciously glancing at Shen Zhifan.
Shen Zhifan didn’t understand anything. At the moment, he was happily chewing away at a fruit he’d picked up from the coffee table. When he caught sight of Mr He’s pitiful expression, he somewhat embarrassedly put down the fruit.
Mr He was really quite annoying, but looking at that expression, he felt as if he was being told that they were on the same side.
“It’s fine,” Yan Shuo suddenly spoke, startling Mr He. However, the latter didn’t have time to be happy as he heard the next phrase, “You can keep eating.”
…Shen Zhifan was even more embarrassed.
In any case, since Yan Shuo walked in, Shen Zhifan had been inexplicably relieved.
How to say it – he was also General Yan’s lifesaving benefactor ah.
Although he didn’t really remember, it was fine as long as the other man did.
However, something wasn’t right here. How come Yan Shuo knew where he was? Or was it that he was actually just investigating this matter and happened to come here?
No no no, he quickly banished the thought.
What kind of person was Yan Shuo ah? How was it possible that he would personally come over on his own to deal with such a trivial matter?
Then, that left only one reason…
Shen Zhifan covered his face with the scarf, extremely embarrassed.
Mr He dazedly watched General Yan’s two-faced performance, and with great difficulty, put on a friendly and cheerful expression.
“S-so you were KK’s friend ah,” Mr. He’s tongue hadn’t completely untangled yet, so he could only force himself to smile, “Since we’re all friends, this honorable officer, you…”
“I’m not your friend.” Although Shen Zhifan’s eyes were still fixated on the fruit, he didn’t forget to mercilessly undermine the other’s plans.
Yan Shuo suddenly chuckled again.
Facing enemies both on the outside and inside, Mr. He was extremely pitiful.
Slowly, a crowd of people had gathered outside. Watching a scene enjoyably was an important tradition passed down through the masses over the years. Even if it was the workplace, it didn’t stop them; even if it was their own boss getting unlucky, it didn’t stop them.
Besides, Mr He wasn’t really the boss, he had just been lucky to sign KK back in the day. He passed the next few years by using powerful connections to intimidate those under him and throwing the battlesquad into turmoil.
“This is the report.” Yan Shuo took out a screen, “Mech athlete KK, male, original name Shen Zhifan, aged twenty-four, should have enlisted in the army last year. However, the battlesquad modified his age for personal reasons, with their officials accepting bribes.”
Mr He’s fine hair almost stood on its ends. He simply didn’t know what kind of power the other man possessed in order to dig up these things.
He just knew that the other wasn’t joking. At least, the pretty, slender firearm in his hand wasn’t joking.
“I…I was also under orders!” He suddenly looked as if he’d thought of something, “He was the one who wasn’t willing to enlist, if you need to blame someone then obviously the person running away is more involved, no?!”
Shen Zhifan glanced at Mr He, disgusted.
“Alright. Then, Mr Shen,” In Yan Shuo’s eyes, there seemed to be an unnoticeable hint of a smile, “Are you willing to apply for enlistment?”
As soon as he turned to Shen Zhifan, Yan Shuo’s voice naturally warmed somewhat.
“Me? I’m willing ah.”
Shen Zhifan was still a little confused. At the beginning, he’d thought that Yan Shuo was making all of this up, but after seeing Mr He’s reaction, he realised that the matter of him avoiding enlistment was true.
“Good, then it’s decided.”
Yan Shuo propped his gun on the floor and waved at Shen Zhifan, “Please come with me.”
Shen Zhifan decisively got up and followed him out.
Mr He stood still for a moment, completely dumbstruck. Suddenly, he realised that Yan Shuo was the external help that Shen Zhifan had called over, and began seething with anger. He’d been distracted and only reacted when the two had walked out the door.
However, he didn’t dare to even let out a fart.
Just as he walked through the door, Yan Shuo’s steps paused. Turning around, he took a look at Mr He, whose mood was still clearly terrible, and smiled slightly.
“I advise you to retain some of your morals. Embezzling KK like this, do his fans know?”
Mr He’s heartbeat suddenly stopped again.
“Though, they will know about it soon.”
Yan Shuo held up his phone, then took the man behind him and walked right out.
By the time there wasn’t even a shadow of the two left, Mr He then swore for half a day. When he came back to his senses, he realised that everyone was still looking at him.
“The hell are you looking at? You’re not working yet?!”
His threatening gestures made him look like a clown. His face, which could barely count as handsome, was now twisted and deformed.
What bullshit, what officer, he wasn’t a swindler, was he?
Mr He’s eyes lit up and he quickly reacted. This couldn’t be an actor that Shen Zhifan had hired, right?
He had clearly counted the military rank on that person’s uniform right then; a Lieutenant General. What a joke, that man who didn’t look as if he were past thirty, could he even be a Lieutenant General?
Appearing to decide that this Lieutenant General was a fake, Mr He was also completely bereft of any desire to verify this. It was probably the only way to make himself feel better.
This Shen Zhifan, who bit the hand that fed him, really…
“What are you all still standing around for?!”
He was just thinking of how to retaliate, but as soon as he lifted his head he realised that no one had moved. At the head of the crowd was the lazy-looking trump card that the battlesquad had just invited for a high price.
Ai Ding grinned at Mr He, “I’m quitting.”
Mr He blanked.
“KK’s left, so there’s absolutely no reason for me to stay here,” Ai Ding waved a hand but paused before he left, turning back to sneer, “Luckily I didn’t sign one of those overlord contracts with Battlesquad V.”
Mr. He continued to stand bewilderedly in the same spot, after all, the contracts signed between the athletes and himself were classified. He hadn’t figured out how Ai Ding managed to find out when the surrounding crowd began to speak one by one.
“I-I also want to cancel my contract, even KK left.”
“That’s right… it wasn’t just me who said it, but what was all this nonsense in here…?”
“Y-you!” Although he had long expected many to leave with KK, Mr He didn’t expect it to be like this. Biting his lip, his face darkened, “Who said that KK left?!”
Others didn’t even bother with him, only the kind receptionist showed him her phone screen.
“Everything is out. What you did to KK, writing up such a contract, embezzlement, and all kinds of other things, everyone already knows…”
He hurried to take the phone. The more he saw, the more cold sweat drenched his back.
It was just something that happened half an hour ago, “Famous Mech Star Trapped Under Overlord Contract?”, “The Current State of Mech Stars”, etc…
The comments below were practically a one-sided slaughter.
“It’s always been KK, constantly being bullied by his battlesquad. We have to get this thread to the top to let others see.”
“Who else other than KK? How much money do you think a certain team has raked in just by using his name? To be able to do this kind of thing, they’re really quite capable.”
“KK enlisted? My god, who will I watch now during the competition ah…”
“KK is really going to enlist. As someone who was present, there was an extremely handsome officer. I saw it firsthand.”
He suddenly raised his head towards the group surrounding him. The bits and pieces of discussion slowly started to gather into his ears.
“Heh, better run, in a few minutes KK’s fan army is going to tear this place apart…”
“Run, what run? I want to tear it apart right now.”
“I came for KK ah, KK actually suffered so badly…”
“Fuck, what is this shit? He even conspired against KK, I told you that every time KK got angry, he was always here!”
“Wait… what? Is this the latest article…”
Mr He recoiled slightly, resentful. His arm was held to his forehead, panic rising through him continuously.
Was a torch really being thrown into the business he had run for so long?
Just because Shen Zhifan walked away, did that mean he really had nothing left?
He was suddenly aware of the dire straits he was in. The trump card that had been grasped in his hands had suddenly been taken away by others.
He almost couldn’t hear the disdainful and loathing voices of those around him. Somewhat vacantly, he stood on the spot and thought.
He…as soon as he looked up, he actually found that the only person standing in front of him was the receptionist.
He froze, and couldn’t help but soften, “They’re all brainless morons, I never thought that only you…”
“No, no, you’re flattering me,” The receptionist flushed and waved a hand around, embarrassed; then the next moment, her expression changed as she ruthlessly stomped her seven-centimetre-high heels onto his foot, “I’ve been fucking cursing you out for so damn long! You don’t know how to do anything but order people around, what an idiot! Damn pervert! You still haven’t admitted to groping my butt last month!”
After venting, the receptionist threw her documents away and strode off.
The air was filled with white files scattering about, as if starting an early funeral for this place.
- 1知遇之恩, lit. the kindness of recognising sb’s worth and employing him (idiom); patronage; protection
- 2金玉其外败絮其中, someone who’s dressed richly on the outside, rotten on the inside
- 3居高临下, to live high and look down (idiom); to overlook; to tower above; to occupy the high ground; fig. arrogance based on one’s social position.