Cartridge Case (3)
At the assembly area.
A frightening silence spreads.
Before the ice forest, these young people who had worked hard to beat red caterpillars for three hours, holding the fruits of their blood and sweat in their arms—which were a dozen or twenty pieces of real crystal ore, were staring dully at the IP in front of them.
Waving its mechanical arm, the said IP took out real crystal ores from its belly.
Tang Zhen spit out a sentence. “…Fuck!”
He scratched his hair, not knowing whether to laugh or cry, and said to Bei Maner, who was also looking like a mess beside him. “I just said that we can easily win first place after listening to Little Jiang’s words—tsk, it turns out that the person is already ahead of us.”
Lieutenant Raymond’s eyes widened and his lips trembled. “How, how many more pieces are there!?”
Jiang Jianming was sitting in the cockpit manipulating the robotic arm, and when he heard this, he raised his head and said apologetically. “I’m sorry….I was pressed on time to count.”
But as he spoke, the IP’s mechanical arm poured real crystal ores to the ground, and the transparent crystal ores rolled and jumped around happily. The original sincere “sorry”, was instead taken with a sarcastic meaning.
In the cold wind, a group of young officers touched the few real crystal ores in their arms.
At this moment, they all felt offended.
Huo Lin’s face was as black as the bottom of a pot. “Who helped you?”
Jiang Jianming said, “It’s His Royal Highness Prince Garcia.”
“…If you really don’t want to say it,” Huo Lin said, with blue veins throbbing on his forehead, while squeezing his fingers, “you can choose to just shut up.”
Jiang Jianming felt that these words were a bit familiar.
He felt sorry for himself, clearly he had been telling the truth all the time.
After counting, he harvested 113 pieces of real crystal ore, which placed him first in this time trial.
And by the way, Li Youfang, who also worked hard, harvested a full twenty real crystal ores and was ranked fifth, which was a result to be proud of—under the precondition that if there was no bad bet involved.
“It was an accident, I didn’t expect something like that to happen.”
Back at the fortress, everyone got off the mecha. Jiang Jianming patted Li Youfang when he passed by, as he couldn’t bear to see his teammate’s pale face, “Don’t take it too seriously, that bet…”
Li Youfang raised his head feeling like a dying ember, thinking that the other party was going to say “let’s forget about the bet.” But as a result, Jiang Jianming said, “…you can owe me money first and pay it back slowly. I don’t charge any interest.”
Killing and punishing the heart, I’m afraid it’s only that and nothing more!!
(t/n Killing and punishing the heart, Chinese idiom, pinyin is shā rén zhū xīn, which means to destroy a person’s body, it is better to expose and condemn such person’s motives, thoughts and intentions)
According to the rules of the Silver Big Dipper Fortress, when one goes out to fight to harvest crystal ores, one could choose to convert it into meritorious deeds or points according to its quality and purity.
It was worth mentioning that “merit” was one of the most important concepts for the soldiers and officers of the fortress. Silver Big Dipper had been stationed in the distant interstellar with a harsh environment all year round. It’s basically in a special state of “the sky is high and the emperor is far away”, therefore no one could control it, and the laws of ordinary imperial legions cannot be applied as well.
(t/n the sky is high and the emperor is far away- a Chinese word , pronounced tiān gāo huáng dì yuǎn, originally refers to a remote place where the power of the central government cannot be reached. Now it generally refers to the organization far away from the leading authority, making its own opinion in case of trouble and not being restrained.)
Here, military merits and capabilities were the only criteria.
Soldiers who have accumulated more merits not only could get faster promotion opportunities, acquire more advanced weapons, mechas……but could also have the decision-making and command power at critical times.
Therefore, it was not a surprise that…..everyone except Jiang Jianming chose military merits.
It was only Jiang Jianming who breathed a sigh of relief when he saw the sudden increase of hundreds of thousands of points on his wrist device.
Tang Zhen and the others were still confirming the record of their meritorious deeds one by one, while Jiang Jianming waited nearby, bored and a little distracted.
He remembered the IP, those emerald eyes, and the brass cartridge case that landed in his palm. Through his military uniform, he felt the cartridge case that he had put in his left breast pocket.
Jiang Jianming looked around and walked in the direction of Lieutenant Raymond. He had already witnessed that this young lieutenant was very good, but the most important thing was that he didn’t have any discrimination against him.
Jiang Jianming saluted politely.
Raymond was leaning against the wall with a retro-style cigarette in his mouth. He was in a daze when he looked at him, but when he saw him come over, he immediately pinched the cigarette, smiled and said, “It’s you.”
The lieutenant touched his nose. “Cough, Chief Huo Lin’s temper is just like that, don’t take it too seriously. I personally admire you very much.” He patted Jiang Jianming, “A very courageous young man.”
“Don’t exaggerate Lieutenant.” Jiang Jianming said, “Lieutenant, may I ask you a few questions?”
Raymond: “Of course, as long as I can answer them.”
Jiang Jianming: “Do you know His Royal Highness Prince Garcia?”
Raymond was surprised, he didn’t expect him to ask this. “Well, an ordinary officer like me, in fact, couldn’t really get in touch with His Royal Highness…” He shook his hair, “Why ask about this? Right, just now, you even used His Royal Highness as an excuse for the time trial. “
No, it’s not an excuse, it was the truth… Jiang Jianming felt helpless. But he did not insist on it, but walked to the lieutenant’s side. “To be honest, I admire the old Crown Prince Ryann very much.”
“Hm,” Raymond immediately showed a clear look and raised his eyebrows cheerfully, “Who wouldn’t!” Obviously, he had already classified Jiang Jianming as one of the thousands of young people who fervently worshiped the old prince.
Jiang Jianming bit his lower lip. “I heard from an officer that His Royal Highness Garcia is a new crystal human being that is not inferior to his royal brother.”
“However, for so many years, the only one who had worked tirelessly to seek benefits for the people of the Empire was only His Royal Highness Ryann…and this Second Prince, I have really never heard of him.”
He deliberately brought a little emotion in his tone, which made him look more like an aggrieved prince fanatic……and not a widow trying to find out about his deceased husband.
Jiang Jianming wanted to lament that it was too difficult for him, with an expression that was still cold, he genuinely said, “Now that His Royal Highness the Crown Prince sacrificed himself heroically in the frontier for the Empire, His Royal Highness Garcia was left as the only prince, isn’t it justifiable to only inherit the Empire in the future?”
Lieutenant Raymond smiled kindly and said, “I can’t really say that. But, in the past three years, His Royal Highness Garcia has done a lot for the fortress. He is indeed very strong.”
—In the past three years….
Jiang Jianming felt that his scalp and back ignited together.
He asked calmly, “You said in the past three years? What about three years ago… How old is His Royal Highness Garcia really?”
Raymond replied, “I don’t know His Royal Highness’ age, but he doesn’t look much younger than the old prince. As for the past three years… His Royal Highness Garcia only started going to the battlefield three years ago. I heard that he grew up in the Far Stars. He lived for a long time on the alien planet where the Third Fortress was located, the Omega Alien Star.”
Jiang Jianming was silent for a long time before asking the next sentence. “That is, until three years ago, but you haven’t seen this person, have you? And even heard of him?”
“If I have to say so, that would be the case.” Raymond said, scratching his hair, “Omega Alien Star is too far away from Alpha and Beta, I’m not really sure…and I think many people are too.”
Jiang Jianming took a deep breath, letting that breath cool his internal organs and then spit it out a word silently. “I see… Thank you.”
Omega Alien Star, the Third Fortress of the Silver Big Dipper….
When Ryann realized that he longed for the distant stars in the universe, he personally took him to the different alien stars where the three Silver Big Dipper fortresses were located.
Among them, Omega was a bit special—because on this beautiful alien star, which had rosy clouds flowing like fire at sunrise, the Little Highness proposed to him.
Of course, this was not the most important thing now. What made Jiang Jianming more impressed at the Omega Alien Star was that besides being a military fortress, the most mysterious scientific research base of the Empire, the headquarters of the Black Shark Base was also located there.
The more Jiang Jianming thought about it, the more headaches he had. Several bad guesses surfaced on his head, but there was no evidence.
He was very tired today, therefore he simply stopped thinking about it.
Also because there was still tomorrow’s training content.
He returned to the dormitory with Tang Zhen and Bei Maner, and without looking at Li Youfang’s pale face and Joe’s strange eyes, he took a tranquilizer, quickly washed up and went to sleep.
That night, Jiang Jianming did not sleep peacefully. He woke up twice in the middle of the night, with heart beating terrifyingly fast, gasping, and feeling chills all over his body.
The next morning, he vaguely heard his own alarm go off, but was soon switched off.
Someone was talking, but the voice seemed to be separated by a layer of curtain.
Jiang Jianming knew that he should wake up, but his consciousness struggled for a long time before he could feel his own body.
It was heavy, sore, and sometimes hot and cold.
Jiang Jianming forced himself to open his eyes, his vision blurred for a while before it became clear, then he caught the complicated gazes of Li Youfang and Joe in the dormitory.
“Disabled human beings,” Joe muttered in a muffled voice, “as expected…”
He met Li Youfang’s gaze again, and almost smiled scornfully, “That’s right.”
His mind was sluggish and he thought laboriously: What happened to the “disabled person” this time?
Jiang Jianming wanted to get up from the bed, but when he made even the slightest movement, he couldn’t help but take a deep breath and pressed down on his temple, which hurt like something was drilling his brain.
When his fingertips touched the hot skin on his forehead, he was startled for a second, realizing that his temperature was not right.
Tang Zhen walked in from outside the door with a sullen face, and wiped Jiang Jianming’s forehead with an iced towel, “Lie down, you have a fever… Have you brought any medicine with you?”