Chapter 39: The Esteemed General’s Shamelessness (2)
Big thanks to Mukyuu who really helped with the translation! <3
The Yan family had always been an incredible clan.
The Florent Empire, which had existed for more than seven hundred years since its founding, was currently the most prosperous country in the world.
During this time, the various branches of the numerous noble families spread out like branches on a tree or sprouted continuously like mushrooms after rain. After they reached an apex, they would either rise further or plummet, and those that remained prosperous as before were few and far between.
Amongst them, the Yan family was a rather strong and sturdy clan.
From their roots, the Yan family was a branch of the Milky Way galaxy of old, and tracing back, their lineage had accepted countless bloodlines of other galaxies.
They weren’t like some arrogant and self-important nobles—who pettily closed their doors to outsiders in order to preserve a so-called pure bloodline—but they still didn’t go as far as smaller, lower-class families who refused no-one, mixing the good and bad.
Having gone through periods of both acclaim and devastation, they were outstanding enough to win an immense victory—where other ancient families fell into ruin, they stood straight and unflinching. Nowadays, thanks to the spread of their extensive bloodline, they had been established as the largest clan.
The Yan clan weren’t just made up of people surnamed Yan. But because their head of house had the family name, it was the Yan family at this point in time.
The previous head of the family, General Yan, had already retired five years ago, with the second son Yan Shuo taking over the clan. Although he was young, he lacked nothing—Lieutenant General Yan Shuo had brilliant military successes, even more so than his father. It was just because of his father, the six old geezers on the Central Committee—who did nothing but talk loudly and get frustrated—prevented his promotion.
This was what was called, ‘the achievements of the subordinate should not overshadow the authority of the master’.1 Basically, the son isn’t being promoted because he shouldn’t rank higher than his father.
Starting as far back as three hundred years ago, the royal family’s influence had been waning progressively. The current emperor, Banglin III, was mediocre, useless, and had lingered on the sickbed for many years, practically demoted to a furnishing. Power was distributed between the great families and the Central Committee, balanced on a somewhat dubious fulcrum.
Yan Shuo was barely twenty eight, but his reputation was already excellent. With the protection of his clan, as well as his own extensive brilliance, he held the power of a Lieutenant General—in charge of the military’s First Mech Division, and the command of the mech warhead “Heaven’s Gate.”
He had become famous from one war in the Prota Galaxy, named “The Conquest”. With the S-grade mech “Raphael”, he led the mech division of one thousand and twenty-one men, battling against the Prota Galaxy and seizing an overwhelming victory. Furthermore, he expanded the Empire’s territory by thirty-three galaxies in one move, an unprecedented catch for the Empire.
He soundly beat back their mortal enemy—the Ayers Federation—and because he commanded “Heaven’s Gate”, he had at one point earned the title of “Ares of Heaven.”
Since then, the fighting prowess of mechs were once again described as the ultimate military strength, establishing the beginning of the “Mech Age”.
Mech fever began to brew and the entire population supported the activity. Various virtual mecha matches took the opportunity to come onto the scene.
He had only been twenty-one that year.
However, he gradually delegated his power afterwards. Even though his father was scum, sometimes the advice he gave was still decent; giving and taking at a measured pace helped him stand firmly in the Empire’s centre of power and not be chewed up by the poisonous snakes2 his enemies who hated him.
After all, seven years ago, in the last stages of “The Conquest”, it was exactly because his contributions were too great that he became the target of a traitorous assasination attempt.
He ended the call with his sweetheart who was on the other side of the emperor planet, and suddenly thought of what had happened seven years ago.
He remembered that military campaign in which he’d nearly lost his life, and he remembered the youth beneath the hazy sand and stones.
Yan Shuo had always felt that love at first sight was nonsense—no, not just love at first sight, he’d thought that falling in love was all nonsense. In his early years, the unsightly phrase of ‘illegitimate child’ was brightly plastered on him, and the mockery he endured moulded his personality into something dark and impulsive. Afterwards, he was unyielding and relied on his own abilities; however, there were always people afraid of the Yan family’s first son, and didn’t dare to get too close to Yan Shuo.
It was only until later, when that somewhat narrow-minded first son unexpectedly passed away, that he was taken into the family…His talent and brilliance were finally displayed for all to see.
They kissed the back of his hand the first time they met, as passionate as a bunch of starving beasts falling upon a bowl of cooked meat.
In such a powerful, upper-class society, under the shadow of his parents’ laughable affair, Yan-chuunibyou-Shuo felt that he would never fall in love in this life.
Even if it was those young ladies who were bright and beautiful, lovely as flowers, like shy and bashful irises blooming in the early morning—he only felt bored.
And so, when love at first sight pierced through his heart, he felt both ridiculous and flustered.
He was a twenty-one year old youth at that time; to be honest, he was barely an adult of three years. Having never fallen in love or lust, his heart had only a passionate bloodthirst.
At the beginning, he was in denial. He remembered that at the time, he hadn’t been very clear-headed—he could just push that onto his feverish body.
It was all in his imagination—wake up, how ridiculous is love at first sight?
But his originally weak pulse had actually started beating in earnest, thumping along chaotically—it was like there was something growing and twisting within his blood vessels.
It was earth-shattering; it almost resembled the downpour that’d fallen on him years back, when he had laid alone on the grass after being bullied and humiliated.
Dazed and confused, he was in the darkness. The youth beside him fumbled in the dark and lit a candle, the smell soon floating into his nose. It was somewhat pungent and dizzying, with a hint of a strange fragrance, as well as the faint scent of blood.
However, he’d fortunately already been quite dizzy, so he actually sobered up somewhat from the complete vertigo from before.
While he was still confused, the young man had already taken off his own shirt, exposing a pale but strong body. The line of his lean abdominal muscles showed that he definitely wasn’t lacking in fitness, but he wasn’t bulky either, with an air of youthful softness.
He tore up his shirt and leaned down to bandage Yan Shuo’s wound.
He had just…leaned down slowly, his head almost buried into Yan Shuo’s chest, soft black hair rubbing against him itchily.
His clean aura overflowed onto Yan Shuo’s scalding hot body.
He suddenly felt that it was like a refreshing antidote.
His head was spinning like there was a hammer pounding into it, but he still couldn’t help but gaze at that pale neck.
His body was burning up, calling out with primitive instincts and impulses, hiding a chaotic, fiery blaze. Hellfire raged, and in an instant, consumed him.
In that moment, his rough hands had swept onto the other person’s body.
Sure enough, he was as cool as frost.
Thinking of this, he lifted his head to meet a pair of bright, flustered black eyes.
Under the hazy candlelight, he licked his bloodied lips.
Remembering up to here, the screen suddenly went dark.
He held his forehead—since at that time, his mind had been too much of a mess, he really didn’t remember what had happened next…He didn’t remember whether they’d actually done it or not.
He just knew that they had exchanged a few words after he’d awoken.
The other man had seemed quite shy—no, he’d always been shy, but he hadn’t seemed displeased. So, he shouldn’t have crossed the line. With his body nearing death at that time, he probably didn’t have the ability to do that.
He exhaled. He had been too panicked back then. Regardless if it was his first time falling in love, he was still young and inexperienced, an idiot that completely lacked any and all IQ. That short period of time didn’t allow him to mature either, since the base of “The Conquest” urgently needed him back—the moron who’d betrayed him still needed to be cleaned up.
When they parted, that boy’s gaze was warm, hopeful, and shy.
And so he’d saluted him, stiffly and dryly saying, “The Empire will remember your contribution.”
Thinking of this, the esteemed General covered his eyes in embarrassment.
This was definitely the stupidest, lousiest thing he’d done in his life.
He should have kissed him.
He should have kissed him ah. Giving that youth a kiss, leaning down without any hesitation to kiss him—that would have expressed his true heart, agitated to the point of suffocation, underneath his severe exterior. His fondness had already melted silently into his mind, ready to overflow from his body that was barely holding onto reason.
He should have stroked his soft black hair, told him how much he liked him, and that he would definitely return.
Even saying something like, “Wait for me to return and take3 ‘take’ as in taking a wife for marriage…!!! you in” was extremely moronic, moreover, the other person looked like he was still fifteen or sixteen.
But, at the time, that was what he’d actually thought.
I…really like you.
It was just that he had been both hesitant and helpless, afraid of rejection, and was as thin-skinned as one could be. He could only use an insipid excuse about the empire to spew such stupid bullshit.
He thought that he’d definitely return, after cleaning up all the messes outside.
Very soon, not too long after, no more than a few months, after “The Conquest” was over, everything…would be okay.
Then, he would definitely have tidied up these first-time feelings of sweetness and confusion—he’d even thought of reasons to convince his parents.
Even though the other person was born on such a small, rural planet, he believed that with his own contributions at the time, there was nothing that he couldn’t obtain.
His unkind and extreme life now welcomed the first beam of light in a spring breeze. It was rare for him to have something that he wanted so deeply, leaving him excited and bewildered, as if it were a meeting in a dream. Even if that place was desolate and overgrown, it had almost become the holy land in his heart.
And since he had made his name in the war, his future prospects were endless.
It was the rainbow at the end of the storm and the General was overjoyed.
It was a pity that the esteemed General at this time didn’t know what was called, ‘man proposes but God disposes’, nor did he know that all things in life are subject to Murphy’s Law.4 literal translation of this second saying is ‘in life, things don’t go as you wish eight or nine out of ten times’. It’s a bit long lol.
He had been lying in the hospital room, peeling an apple for himself and thinking of the day when he’d be fully recovered…No, he didn’t need to be fully recovered, he just needed to be able to walk, and he would immediately go and look for him.
He remembered the other’s galaxy and specific location, as he’d already saved the coordinates earlier. He had specifically not used the haphazardly stored communication device to tell the other person…he could already imagine the youth’s shy and pleasantly surprised expression, those clear and bright eyes looking slightly downwards, and himself brushing aside those locks of hair.
His knife suddenly slipped, slicing into a layer of his skin. His skin being fine and thin, it took some seconds for a few drops of blood to drip out.
Just then, the television beside him coldly broke the news of a big bang in a galaxy a thousand miles away.
“…The specific cause is unclear, preliminary confirmations have been made, so far, no survivors have been found.”
His breathing stopped.
Even thinking about it now, he felt his heart palpitating.
Somewhat regretfully and sadly, he sighed, and couldn’t help but light another cigarette.
Speaking of, the lonely comfort of smoking was something that he’d taken up at that time.
He strove…to look for traces of that youth, utilising all of his resources.
But there was no hope.
The effects of an explosion of a galaxy, in that kind of backward region…it was impossible for there to be survivors.
In actuality, at that time, although he was still searching, he had fallen into despair.
He’d always been an extremely rational person; even if he still had people searching, the voice in his heart had already drawn its own conclusions.
He had given up all hope, back then; he sighed. At that time…he had lost interest in practically everything because his heart was full of regrets. He, who had stood up with great difficulty, once again learnt and felt deeply—the world was fickle, and a human life was tenuous.
As time passed, that young man wrapped in regret and pain was now somewhere in his body.
So when he saw the other man again, he remembered all of the blood in his body becoming frozen.
With one glance, he recognised that face.
It was in a filthy underground arena that reeked of blood, and the metallic smell of machinery would make one suffocate.
This had been the last mech fighting match. If they hadn’t arrived, the winner would have ascended to the summit of this underground fighting arena.
It wasn’t a 1v1, nor was it a team competition. It was one person, facing all of those desperate, vicious challengers.
His subordinates all held their breaths and inhaled sharply.
What kind of newly-made killer was this ah? Even those short strands of black hair were soaked in blood, both black and red, dried and drying. It was half-splashed onto his face, contrasting with his pale skin; he was like a piece of thin, icy jade.
His appearance was too outstanding, so much so that the broken mechs and corpses collapsed around him seemed to darken.
But his imposing manner was too strong, making one feel the almost tangible terror of falling into a cave of ice.
Slowly and easily, he jumped out of the mech, carelessly raising his hands. He was expressionless, but his handsome cheeks lifted slightly.
“Oh,” There was a mocking light in his black pupils. His chin was raised coldly and arrogantly, even though his hands were up in surrender, “It’s the Imperial army.”
Yan Shuo quietly looked at this beautiful, indifferent criminal suspect, his expression unchanging, but his mind chaotic enough to birth a whole new universe.
The look in the other man’s eyes was unorganised, as if he was certain that he’d already been caught, but didn’t want to struggle. However, he also seemed to finally notice Yan Shuo’s rather unabashed gaze, and those black eyes soon looked back at him.
The cold, lovely youth suddenly froze, a hint of bewilderment flashing through his eyes.
Yan Shuo’s breath hitched, having caught sight of the slight smile on the other’s lips…before he collapsed without any warning.
Without another thought, his body rushed forward to catch the other. His subordinates glanced at each other, unaware of what he was thinking.
Even he didn’t know what he was thinking.
It seemed like he wasn’t thinking of anything…like this, he seemed like a waterlogged sponge.
The young man was very light, he thought—perhaps his brain had been completely fried, making him feel as if there was no difference between the youth and a wet sponge.
Of course, even if he was a wet sponge, he was still a handsome sponge.
The youth struggled to open his eyes a crack—it turned out that the wild detachment had been a fragile act he’d forced on himself.
Yan Shuo, suddenly unthinking, could only fish one point out of a shifting sea of stars.
He had grown up.
- 1Basically, the son isn’t being promoted because he shouldn’t rank higher than his father.
- 2his enemies
- 3‘take’ as in taking a wife for marriage…!!!
- 4literal translation of this second saying is ‘in life, things don’t go as you wish eight or nine out of ten times’. It’s a bit long lol.