Shen Fengyue always had a keen sixth sense, and this time was no exception. As expected, Captain Albert was up to no good.
He dragged Shen Fengyue to the recruitment site. Before they left, Shen Fengyue questioned him, “It’s a recruitment for guards, why are you dragging me along?”
The person replied to his question, “You are my designated little chef. Naturally, I have to bring you everywhere I go. You’re the one who’s won over my heart through my stomach.”
Shen Fengyue was rendered speechless by this. Ugh, how disgusting! Designated chef, my foot! Even if I were to become someone’s designated milkman, I wouldn’t want to cook for you!
But in the end, the “Demon King” Albert forcefully dragged Shen Fengyue towards their destination. On the way, Shen Fengyue kept muttering, so much so that the annoyed Demon King Albert suddenly halted.
Shen Fengyue, “?”
The next moment, he felt hands gripping his waist, lifting him off the ground.
“What are you doing!” Shen Fengyue exclaimed in fright.
With a grip as firm as iron, Albert hoisted Shen Fengyue, a grown man, as if picking up a little chick. And as if that wasn’t enough, Albert even gave him a playful toss into the air before catching him securely.
Holding onto Albert’s neck for dear life and trying his best to give himself a little sense of security, Shen Fengyue yelled angrily, “What on earth are you doing?!”
Drawing Shen Fengyue close, Albert looked directly at him and said with a smirk, “I’m playing the ‘lift-you-high’ game.”
“???” What the…?
He added, “The moment I turn away, you might try to sneak off. I might as well hold you like this to prevent you from getting lost, leaving the poor me all alone.”
“!!!” That’s unacceptable!
Shen Fengyue hastily said, “Put me down now. I promise not to run. People are watching.” He’d caught sight of bystanders, already drawn to the spectacle of two grown men. Some were whispering, undoubtedly discussing the scene before them.
Being held up by Albert like this was drawing a lot of attention. Shen Fengyue, who had never been lifted up like this before, felt his face turn beet red from embarrassment.
“You really won’t run?” Albert asked again.
Shen Fengyue nodded frantically, burying his face into Albert’s neck, making sure to hide his flushed face.
“Hurry up and put me down. I promise I won’t run,” he urged in a soft voice.
Upon hearing this, Albert reluctantly set him down, though a hint of disappointment was evident in his voice. Tsk, I haven’t held you enough. Why don’t you let me hug you a little longer?
The moment Shen Fengyue’s feet touched the ground, he darted away like a rabbit. Seeing Albert lag behind, he couldn’t resist urging him, “Can you move a bit faster? We’re on a tight schedule.”
“Oh.” Picking up his pace, Albert caught up in no time.
Shen Fengyue, who was a bit traumatized from the lift-you-high episode, became more enthusiastic about reaching their destination. And in no time, the two arrived at their destination.
The recruitment venue was set up in the largest square of the town. By the time they arrived, a considerable crowd had already gathered, most of whom appeared to hail from impoverished backgrounds.
Among the crowd, Albert stood out with his towering height. Standing tall and proud, he was clearly a head above the rest.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed by Albert’s imposing presence, Shen Fengyue discreetly moved a bit to the side, trying to diminish the noticeable height difference between them.
The guard selection process involved a test of martial prowess. To prevent bloodshed, the authorities mandated the use of wooden swords as weapons. Participants drew lots to determine their match-ups, dueling one-on-one. Fights were stopped upon a clear hit, and those chosen would be announced on the spot.
Being coerced into attending, Shen Fengyue had no genuine interest in becoming a guard. When it was his turn, he gave a half-hearted performance, quickly conceding and then heading off to watch the remaining matches.
While Shen Fengyue’s match was early on, Albert’s was scheduled later. Yet, Shen Fengyue wasn’t the least bit concerned for him. It was clear to anyone watching: these innocent young men, untested by life’s trials, stood no chance against the seasoned and cunning Albert. It felt like the upcoming matches were just stages for Captain Albert to show off his skills.
The man was agile, with sharp senses, and an impressive physique. He knew when to pull punches and when to strike. He emerged victorious from each bout, ranking first, and was smoothly selected.
Albert stood at the forefront of the selected candidates, while Shen Fengyue waved to Albert, silently mouthing a goodbye with his lips, planning to leave the same way without looking back.
It was laughable, really. They were recruiting guards, not chefs. Why was he, a cook, even involved in this event?
But just as Shen Fengyue had walked about ten meters, a steward suddenly rushed over, whispering hurriedly to the consul in charge of the guard recruitment.
Albert, eavesdropping, promptly intervened, “Sir, I’d like to recommend someone to you. He is an exquisite chef, kind-hearted, diligent, and certainly fits your requirements.”
“Who do you want to recommend?” the steward inquired.
With a confident gesture, Albert pointed in Shen Fengyue’s direction and declared, “Him.”
The steward followed the direction of Albert’s pointing finger. A young man with raven-black hair was walking away with his back to them, seemingly intent on leaving.
“Hold up, the person ahead!” He called out hurriedly.
Shen Fengyue, not knowing who was being called, continued walking as if it had nothing to do with him. Then, he heard the steward shout more precisely, “The young man with black hair walking ahead, please wait!”
A young man with black hair, walking ahead… Shen Fengyue glanced around, confirming he was the only one fitting that description. Recognizing that the call was meant for him, he halted and turned around.
The steward caught up and explained. The kitchen was suddenly short of a hand, and the man who ranked first, Albert, had recommended him. Hence, he had come looking.
Upon hearing this, Shen Fengyue immediately understood the situation. He glanced in the direction of the top-ranked man, Albert.
Albert raised an eyebrow and gave a standard grin, showing off eight of his teeth. There was unmistakable smugness in his eyes, a pride he didn’t even attempt to hide.
See? Told you, my designated little chef, you won’t be able to run away.
After Shen Fengyue showcased his culinary skills in the kitchen, he quickly earned the trust of the steward and secured a position as a chef at the federal headquarters.
Seeing the familiar surroundings, pots, and pans, also the same old ingredients and condiments — Shen Fengyue stomped his feet in frustration. I hate this!
He recalled the stark contrast when he and Albert were being assigned their tasks. While Albert was reminded to serve diligently, defend the nation, and stay loyal to the federation, all Shen Fengyue got was, “Cook well.”
Regardless, he was already here, and he had to make the best of it. He had no clue about Albert’s ulterior motives yet and chose to focus on his cooking duties in the federation.
Albert had come here to join as a guard out of the blue, he must have a hidden agenda.
A month passed with Shen Fengyue cooking at the headquarters. One evening, while prepping for the next day’s meal, he heard a noise outside the window.
“Who’s there?!” Without thinking, he instinctively grabbed two kitchen knives from the counter, holding them defensively, his eyes darting towards the window.
A muffled chuckle sounded from the darkness.
A shadow passed by and a figure jumped onto the windowsill, playfully sliding the window back and forth.
Upon seeing the intruder clearly, Shen Fengyue’s panic subsided instantly. His entire demeanor relaxed, and he looked up at Albert expectantly, not uttering a word, conveying his intentions solely through his gaze.
Albert responded, “First, put down the knives. The boss has finished what he had to do. It’s time for us to pack up and leave. Soon someone will be here to pick us up.”
“Oh.” Shen Fengyue obediently set the kitchen knives down, took off the apron he was wearing, threw it on the ground, and, as if venting his frustration, stomped on it a few times.
Albert found it amusing, wondering why this man had such an aversion to cooking. Grabbing his hand, Albert tried to lead him through the window. As Shen Fengyue was halfway out, he suddenly hesitated, keeping one foot inside.
“Why are we doing this? Do you also not like to use the main door compared to climbing through the window?”
“Who else?” Albert picked up on that phrase, questioning him further. “Who else do you know who enjoys climbing out windows?”
Stumped by this question, Shen Fengyue tried to think hard and recall. As he delved deeper into his memories, a jolt of pain, like an electric shock, shot through his mind. However, the pain vanished the moment he stopped pondering the question.
Time was of the essence. Not wanting to waste any more of it, he diverted his attention and urged Albert to hurry. He decided he would figure out what just happened once they were safe.
Albert led him to the meet-up point, but halfway through the journey, he halted abruptly. “I just remembered. Before we leave, we should leave a ‘gift’ for those Federation dogs.”
“Huh?” Shen Fengyue was confused, wondering what mischief Albert was planning.
Albert motioned for him to hide in a spot and stay put, saying he’d be back shortly. And with that, in a flash, he vanished from sight.
True to his word, it wasn’t long before Albert returned. The moment Shen Fengyue saw his silhouette, he immediately stood up, excitedly but cautiously whispering in a hushed tone, “Captain, I’m here!”
Following the sound, Albert made his way over. Under the faint moonlight, he clearly saw the figure standing there. Seeing that Shen Fengyue had obediently stayed put without moving an inch, Albert couldn’t help but praise, “Good boy, little chef.”
Shen Fengyue rolled his eyes, not buying into Albert’s teasing, and asked what he’d been up to.
Albert explained, “You know what, your boss likes to leave a mark wherever he goes, to prove he was there.”
“And so?” Shen Fengyue was puzzled.
“So, I carved a line of words on the door of Federation headquarters.” He shot Shen Fengyue a glance, a look that carried a message of “How do you not get me?” It was a look full of grievance and self-pity. Then, with a lazy tone, he continued, “Albert was here~”
Shen Fengyue was astonished. Witnessing such a childish act from this rascal left him both amused and exasperated. “You went back just for that little stunt?”
“What harm does that line bring to them, and what good does it do for you?”
Albert replied, “It made me vent my anger, while it would annoy them.”
“Just for this?” Shen Fengyue’s dark eyes dimmed.
Albert nodded, still seemingly oblivious to the gravity of the situation, maintaining his playful, rogue-like demeanor.
Shen Fengyue’s patience finally snapped, his face fell, and with a stern expression, he stared intently at Albert, and said emphasizing each word, “I. Was. Worried. About. You.”
The playful expression on the latter’s face disappeared in an instant, all traces of jest vanished. Now, what to do? He’d upset the cute little chef.
“I understand,” Albert said, taking a more sincere tone, “I know you care about me. I promise you I will never play like this again in the future. I didn’t mean to make you worry.”
Shen Fengyue has always been easy to coax. He was quick to get angry, but also quick to forgive. Just as he was considering prolonging his displeasure, Albert’s sincere apology melted his resolve. However, when he saw Albert’s hands moving towards his waist as if ready to lift him up, he immediately pleaded for mercy, asking him to lead the way and leave this dangerous place.
“Don’t worry, Boss has buried quite a few energy bombs below, enough to give them a surprise.”
A starship soared through the sky. Its dark hull bore the emblem of a fierce beast — unmistakably, the mark of the Lone Wolf. The reinforcements have finally arrived.
The appearance of the Lone Wolf’s starship caused quite a commotion. It immediately alerted the Federation, and their top brass quickly reacted, sending people over.
Simultaneously, a thunderous explosion echoed from the Federation’s headquarters. Presumably, the energy bombs had detonated on schedule. Due to the excessive number Albert planted, one explosion set off another, causing consecutive blasts. Flames and thick smoke soon enveloped the area, plunging it into chaos.
The Lone Wolf starship lowered a mechanical cable. Having never climbed such a thing, Shen Fengyue felt a little afraid. Albert climbed first to demonstrate, urging him to follow quickly.
Seeing Albert ascend a few steps, Shen Fengyue mustered the courage to follow.
With both grown men on it, the cable gave a few jolts. Albert comfortingly said, “Don’t be afraid; I’ve got you. I’ll always be watching you.” Being true to his word, every couple of steps, he’d glance back to check on Shen Fengyue.
As they were about to reach the top, just three or four steps from the end, Albert instinctively looked back at Shen Fengyue. At that very moment, a laser beam shot toward them, aiming directly at Shen Fengyue and leaving him no time to dodge.
Albert swiftly descended a step, grabbed him with his right hand, and yanked him to the side to evade the attack.
Shen Fengyue felt a moment of weightlessness, his body suspended in mid-air without any support, leaving a void in his heart. Then he heard Albert, the man holding him, let out a loud shout. Albert’s arm muscles strained fiercely, his face turning a shade of red, as the veins on his forehead bulged. With one strong pull, Albert threw Shen Fengyue upwards towards the open door.
As Shen Fengyue felt the weightlessness of being thrown, his gaze locked with Albert’s.
Behind them were the blazing fires and pursuing Federation soldiers, but all Shen Fengyue could see was Albert’s face.
The glow of the flames illuminated their faces. Shen Fengyue’s attention was drawn to Albert’s eyes.
What kind of eyes were those? Deep blue merged with dark purple, melding into an alternative shade of black. These eyes contained both the brilliance of a starry sky and the depth of a black abyss.
Transfixed by that gaze, Shen Fengyue felt the world spin until, with incredible precision, he landed inside the starship.
The sudden turn of events caught everyone off guard, it took about five seconds for Shen Fengyue to react. He then hurriedly peered out, looking for Albert.
Dodging a few attacks from the Federation forces, Albert too quickly climbed aboard.
The moment the captain was safely aboard, the ship’s door immediately closed and sped away, leaving the pursuing Federation soldiers behind, who could only watch in frustration.
Albert panted, flexing the arm he’d used to pull Shen Fengyue. The bones made a crackling sound, and he hissed in pain. When he met Shen Fengyue’s concerned gaze, he quickly silenced himself, reassuring him, “Don’t worry, boss is fine. Just stretching my muscles a bit.”
“This time, we blew up their headquarters, that should teach them a lesson.” Finishing his statement, he broke into a hearty laugh. Their fearless captain, always brave in the face of danger, set the mood, and soon the rest followed suit with their own laughter. Laughter is contagious, and in the end, even Shen Fengyue couldn’t help but smile, his eyes curving into crescents.
After the laughter, Albert couldn’t resist swearing, “Damn them, trying to ambush me. This is what they get!”