Lesson 9: Aside from the good and the bad, there are the in-between
Editor: Zephynel, Sora, Gaiseki
After reconciling with Gege and being promised that ‘you can do anything you want as long as you don’t get hurt,’ Daren told him everything: about accepting the principal’s five missions where the first one was to protect Lance, then agreeing to go to the Chinese opera a few days later, and finally Eloise wanting to go shopping for clothes which was why they went to the department store and ended up beating a bunch of terrorists. He relayed all his experiences to Gege like a story.
Devon had already known that Dar’s experiences would have definitely nothing to do with having a normal school life, but he never imagined that it would actually be this intense… Devon sighed. He had actually been hoping that his little brother would be living as a normal boy in school, but sure enough, it was just all his own wishful thinking. He had been blind and deaf, refusing to see nor hear, naively believing that Dar could live as an ordinary kid.
“Gege, I can continue to protect Lance, right?” Seeing Devon’s complicated expression, Daren anxiously added, “I already promised the principal that I would.”
Seeing his brother’s apprehension, Devon softened his expression to put Daren at ease. However, he was still unwilling of his precious brother protecting that La-whatever. Who the hell was that guy anyways!? What right did he have to be protected by Dar?!
Although things were like this, he wasn’t all that angry; a more accurate way of saying it would be, he couldn’t get angry.
In times like this, would Dar really ever get to experience even a single day of being a normal teenager?
“Ai!” Devon sighed in desperation. Having no other choice, he patted his brother’s head, then emphasized, “Just remember that your life is ten thousand times more important than that what’s-his-face punk, got it?”
Gege actually allowed him to continue the bodyguard mission… After the initial surprise, Daren beamed and happily answered, “I understand, Gege.”
Upon seeing that smile, Devon’s heart warmed. He was about to ask if Didi was hungry, and if he wanted to eat a late night snack…
“He’s awake, he’s awake!”
Theodore barged in, yelling and jumping wildly.
Devon looked at him emotionlessly, pulling the BHP09 out from his torso holster.
“Gege!” Daren hurriedly grabbed the BHP09, then shouted to divert his brother’s attention. “Papa, Papa! What woke up?”
“Yue Baylian!” Theodore’s two eyes were shining as he said, “Yue Baylian woke up!”
Devon didn’t have much of a reaction to these news, for he’d already been informed about this matter. However, Daren was extremely shocked and blurted, “Wasn’t there no microchip?”
Theodore explained, “We used DSII’s microchip.”
Daren hesitated. They used DSII’s microchip? But wouldn’t DSII be…
The terrible DSII had disappeared. Yue Baylian, the person whom DSII had killed, had been saved. Logically, he should have been celebrating over this, but he still felt that something was amiss. If he really should have been celebrating, why did he feel such a tightness across his chest?
“Dar?” Devon noticed that his little brother’s expression looked troubled and dazed. In any case, it wasn’t a happy expression.
“Papa Avery, can you think of a way to save DSII?”
Daren still opened his mouth to ask, though when it came to the word “save,” he suddenly felt strangely awkward. DSII wasn’t human, so there wasn’t really any life or death to speak of, but he couldn’t think of any other word to replace it.
Theodore and Devon both fell silent for a moment, Theodore asked curiously, “Why? Didn’t you hate DSII?”
Daren himself didn’t understand the reason either. He hesitated, saying, “I, I’m scared of the thought that DSII will steal Gege, so I hate him for that. But if DSII dies, I, I wouldn’t be happy either…”
He didn’t know what to do with himself, being so full of contradictions.
“I won’t be taken away by DSII. Dar, what are you thinking?” Devon exclaimed angrily.
Theodore nodded thoughtfully. “It’s because DSII is too much like you; no, I should say that DSII is like the you with the emotional switch turned off. Abandoning him would be like abandoning yourself.”
After Papa Avery put it that way, Daren truly understood why he had such a strange reaction. He nodded, saying, “I used to be like DSII, but now I’m already more human...”
Upon saying this, he hesitated and glanced sheepishly at Gege and Papa Avery, seeking their approval. He was more like a normal human now, right? Just like how ordinary boys should be, as his brother always talked about.
“Nonsense, you already are human!” Devon’s voice almost jumped an octave higher.
Daren smiled, then went on to say, “Then maybe, DSII can also become human…”
“That’s impossible!” Theodore dismissed the idea at once.
Daren was momentarily stunned at the sudden rejection. He tilted his head to look at Avery, waiting for an explanation, and sure enough the latter explained: “Dar, you were human to begin with; it’s just that you had a microchip implanted in your brain. However, DSII is different from you. He is but a clone, and there has yet to be technological breakthrough which will counter the inherent flaws in their brains, which causes them to be unable to operate smoothly. In the first place, DSII doesn’t even have a brain: he only has a microchip.”
Theodore slowly explained, word by word, “DSII isn’t human, Dar. He’s basically no different from the love simulation game you play.”
Daren froze upon hearing this. DSII was the same as Xiao Ai?
“Then think of a way to put DSII inside Dar’s love simulation game, let it make friends with Xiao Ai, and everything will be resolved, right?” Devon couldn’t care a bit whether DSII disappeared or not, but if DSII disappeared, Dar would be sad. Due to this, DSII’s continued existence was necessary.
Theodore rolled his eyes. Besides being a doctor and blacksmith, now he even had to become a toy manufacturer?
“Is that okay?” Daren looked imploringly at Theodore.
Theodore hesitated for a moment. He looked from Daren’s hopeful expression, then to Devon’s deadly eyes which seemed to say, ‘If you can’t do it, I’ll kill you’. He then responded, “If it will only involve simple functions which do not include fighting or other complicated matters, then no microchip is necessary.”
“That’s great!” Daren hugged him, cheering, “Papa’s the best!”
“Hehe…” Theodore grinned. It seemed like Dar, in his happiness, had omitted the word ‘Avery’ and directly called him Papa.
Daren laughed and excitedly said, “Then let’s go see Yue Baylian now!”
As if waking up from a dream, Theodore finally remembered his reason for coming here. He quickly turned to Devon and said, “I think he will want to see you. He just woke up. He’s mentally unstable and his memories are a bit muddled, so seeing familiar people will help his memory!”
“Mentally unstable?” Devon suddenly revealed an interested smile while his gaze drifted away, appearing as if he was pondering about something.
Theodore decided to pretended he didn’t see anything. Grabbing his life-preserver’s –– Daren’s –– hand, he mustered his courage, and said, “Let’s go!”
Daren gasped upon seeing Yue Baylian who was lying in bed. When the latter turned to see the people who entered the room, the first thing he saw was Yue’s right eye which was completely made of metal.
“It feels like something has changed?”
Devon frowned while looking at the bedridden person who seemed to be in a daze. He looked like he was about twenty-years-old, and was extremely beautiful, but it was hard to tell if he was a man or a woman. He looked more like the Yue Ya-er1 of Devon’s memories; not like the evil Yue Baylian.
“Ah…does it?” Theodore asked guiltily.
Actually, there was. Knowing that the Solaris Emperor wanted Yue Baylian as his second all-around secretary, the latter would definitely have the chance to visit this house often. Since they would see each other often, Theodore had secretly modified Yue’s features a little bit while he was installing the eye. It would make him a bit more pleasing to look at, so it wasn’t a bad thing, right?
“Are you alright?”
Devon walked to the bedside while wearing a warm smile as he gazed at the person on the bed.
It seemed like the plan for getting Yue Baylian as the second all-around secretary is definite… Theodore got goosebumps when he saw the Emperor’s gentle smile. Pulling on Daren, the two moved back several steps, until they reached a far corner of the room.
Yue Baylian stared back at Devon as the corners of his lips curved into a smile. He looked as if he had seen an angel.
“Do you recognize who I am?” Devon asked softly.
Yue Baylian opened his mouth imperceptibly. With a weak but clear voice, he said “Dev...”
As Devon sat on the side of the bed, he asked with great concern, “How do you feel right now?”
“A little hungry and very thirsty.” Yue Baylian answered, looking at Devon’s movements. As he watched, he felt a little happy, albeit a bit puzzled.
“I didn’t know Gege liked Yue Baylian this much!” Daren observed curiously.
“He likes Yue Baylian’s work efficiency,” Theodore muttered.
Devon gently said, “Then I’ll first get you a glass of water, and then I’ll tell the chefs to prepare a meal. You’re still recovering from a serious illness, so I think you should just eat congee!”
Yue Baylian nodded gently.
“He clearly isn’t sick; lying with his eyes wide open2…” Theodore whispered.
Devon stood up and walked over to a corner of the room. He picked the phone up and began to give Kyle orders. After ending the call, he immediately returned to Yue Baylian’s side.
Devon caressed Yue Baylian’s long hair, gently saying, “When you’re better, you can be my secretary.”
“But I…am not your secretary,” Yue Baylian said, although his expression looked as if he was quite confused and uncertain.
“You are,” Devon said with finality. He was clearly more confident about the answer, although he was the one who was actually lying.
Yue Baylian’s retort was interrupted mid sentence, for he was silenced—silenced by a kiss… He stared at the slightly trembling golden eyelashes in front of his eyes.
The love he’d waited for, for more than ten years...
Yue Baylian gently closed his eyes.
“What’s Gege doing?” Daren asked as he stared curiously at the couple who was currently kissing.
Theodore coldly observed, “Your brother is selling a kiss. One kiss has a base value of over ten billion, and the annual salary of an all-around secretary is around ten million.”
After saying this, he quickly turned to Daren and added, “Your Gege’s behavior is a bad example, you absolutely should not learn something like this!”
“Oh.” Daren nodded obediently.
Ending the kiss, Devon slowly raised his head. While still looking at Yue Baylian he gently said, “I’ll go to go see if the congee is done.”
Yue Baylian delicately opened his eyes and replied with a tender smile, “Okay.”
Devon left the room.
At this point, Yue Baylian suddenly noticed Daren. With a voice which no longer as frail as the one he was using before, he promptly asked, “Is little Shain3 all right?”
Theodore could only stare, dumbfounded at the sight of the suddenly sober Yue Baylian.
“Shain Baylian?” Daren tilted his head. “He’s very well. He even said he was going to avenge you.”
“Tell him not to be silly. I’m alive and well. Make sure he holds on to the Lunaris Alliance.”
Yue Baylian added crudely, “Go and tell him to access the computer in my study room. Tell him to open any word-processing software there and then type ‘Devon and Yue-er.’ The computer will show what I left for him.”
“Okay.” Daren nodded.
At this moment, Theodore finally found his tongue and asked in surprise, “You’re not delirious?”
Yue Baylian glared at him, but right then, Devon suddenly returned. The person who was supposedly ill immediately laid back on the bed and returned to a dazed and frail state.
“Devon…” Theodore wanted to warn him that Yue Baylian’s current condition was all just an act.
However, Devon only shot a cold glance back at him.
Theodore froze, unable to comprehend the meaning behind the gesture, but Daren drew closer within earshot and whispered, “It seems like Gege wants Papa to shut up!”
Upon hearing this, Theodore felt angry. Fine! Who cares about you, let him lie to you all you want!
“Come, Yue Ya-er, time to eat your congee.” Devon sat on the bedside again.
Yue Baylian glanced at the bowl in Devon’s hands and responded weakly, “But I don’t have enough strength to hold the bowl.”
“Then I’ll feed you.” Devon smiled, as his hand was already stirring the porridge.
“Fine, but before eating, could you kiss me again?”
“Hahaha!” As Devon carefully fed a spoonful of porridge through one side of Yue Baylian’s mouth, he gently said “Wait until you’re better so you can help me with my work, and then I’ll give you another kiss!”
“Fine, but you can’t go back on your word!” Yue Baylian said, as he obediently ate his porridge.
“Why would I go back on my word? As long as you work hard, the rewards definitely won’t be lacking.”
“Of course, haha!”
“These old foxes…they try to one-up each other at acting, with each act more despicable than the act before!”
Theodore couldn’t bear to watch any more and dragged Daren with him away from the room. He couldn’t risk Dar’s angelic purity being polluted by the two shameless devils.
“I’m off to school. Bye-bye! Papa Avery, you have to remember to eat breakfast!” Daren waved enthusiastically.
“Bye-bye,” replied Theodore. As usual, he feebly waved goodbye.
He watched Daren and Ezart walk away until they were out of sight, and then slowly closed the door behind him…
“That kid is really like a child.”
Theodore froze, then slowly turned around. It was Yue Baylian, who had just woken up the night before.
“You’re already up and about?” Theodore was extremely shocked. The truth was, Yue Baylian had been in bed for almost a month. Normal people would have to go through therapy and rehabilitation in order to be able to do normal activities again.
Yue Baylian looked at him arrogantly, then haughtily replied, “Don’t compare my martial arts lineage with you weak normal people.”
Theodore murmured, “Whose martial arts. Yours? You think you’re stronger than Dark Sun? Hmph!”
“What did you say?” Yue Baylian threatened, eyeing him with a deadly glare…a dangerously beautiful stare.
“Nothing. You’re up so early. Want some black coffee?” Theodore made the very smart choice of not provoking a martial artist. Even if he wasn’t stronger than Dark Sun, he could definitely overpower a doctor who spends all day in the laboratory.
“I don’t drink that stuff. Drinking black coffee in the morning will only ruin the body.”
“The Solaris Emperor also drinks it. He drinks even more than I do.” Theodore instantly found a way to use his opponent’s sweetheart’s name to retaliate.
“What a bad habit.” Yue Baylian frowned. However, since the subject now had something to do with Devon, he couldn't find the heart to criticize his sweetheart and he changed the topic instead. “Right, what happened to my eye?”
“Blind, so I found a new one for you.”
Theodore became excited when he began speaking about his experimental products. “I’m telling you, not only can you use that eye to scan everything and record it in the microchip in your head, you can also use it as an X-ray, and it can emit killer rays. However, this is still experimental, so it’s better not to use it right now. If it accidentally explodes, then that would be bad…”
Yue Baylian become more and more angry as he listened and growled, “What the hell are you using my eye as?”
“A guinea pig,” Theodore replied honestly. Truthfully, even Yue Baylian’s brain could be considered his guinea pig.
“I’ll kill you!” Yue Baylian’s gaze was almost as scary as the killer rays.
Theodore hurriedly yelled, “Dar, Dar, someone wants to kill your Papa Avery!”
“You think I’d be afraid of him?” Yue Baylian coldly said.
“Dev, Dev, someone wants to kill your little brother’s father, making your precious Dar sad!”
After yelling, Theodore returned to his usual weak state, waving his hand. “All right! Hurry up and go back to bed and play dead. Once your body has fully recovered, Devon Solaris is sure to use you as his all-purpose secretary. At that point, you’ll be the same as Kyle, with unfinishable work and endless overtime!”
Yue Baylian scowled.
Theodore gloated, “The price of the Solaris Emperor’s kiss is very high and I think he’s only willing to give you this one kiss, so don’t even think about getting more! Now that’s a huge disappointment, right?”
“I don’t need you to care!” Yue Baylian lifted his head, walked back inside the house, and cried, “One kiss, I think it’s worth it!”
Everyone has their own aspirations.
For his laboratory and funds, he could tolerate the BHP09 pointed at his head from time to time, even the bullet grazing his cheek as a sideshow. Theodore Avery had no qualifications to give advice. He drank a sip of his black coffee, planning to return to his laboratory and continue his experiments. Dar’s DSII love simulation game...it should be an interesting experiment!
Devon Solaris looked at Kyle’s face on the phone screen, slowly opening his mouth to say, “I got a new secretary, Yue Baylian. I believe his ability to work is not particularly low.”
Kyle looked at the Solaris Emperor, maintaining a professional expression. He was waiting for instructions.
After looking at Kyle for a while, Devon coughed forcefully and said, “What you owe me, you’ve already paid off. If you want to leave, I’ll allow it, and I’ll give you the pharmacy as your retirement pension. You don’t have to worry about not having the drugs.”
Upon hearing this, Kyle was about to speak...
Devon interrupted him and said, “Right now, with Yue Baylian to help, your workload will, of course, decrease, and I’ll even give you a raise of five hundred million...no, a billion!”
He thought about it. He really was used to having Kyle deal with everything. If he left, he was afraid of having difficulties...raising his annual salary by one billion was just insurance, and if Kyle really wanted to leave, then it would have to be two billion!
Kyle was silent, seeming to mull it over.
Devon Solaris waited until his hair stood on end. He didn't really want to leave, right? If he’d known earlier, he wouldn't have used this method to keep him...no! If he really wanted to leave, then he’d say it was a joke, that he wasn't allowed to go!
Kyle slowly replied, “I think, I really do have to leave…”
What! Devon paled, and yelled, “You’re not allowed to!”
Hearing this, Kyle stared blankly at him, finally saying with a quizzical look, “You just told me I could leave.”
“But now you can’t!” Daren slammed his hand on the table. “What? The Solaris Emperor can’t lie once in a while?”
On the screen, Kyle’s face twisted strangely, but, unable to contain it for any longer, he soon burst into laughter.
Devon Solaris was at first able to keep a stern face, but Kyle kept laughing and laughing until he finally growled, “What are you laughing at?”
Seeing the Solaris Emperor’s discomfort, Kyle tried to return to the professionalism of a secretary, but he could not resist laughing one last time. “Oh, Solaris Emperor, you've misunderstood. I’m not resigning, I want to travel on business. Recently, one of the branches on the continent seems to be having issues. In the past I wanted to deal with it myself, but I thought that if I left, this area wouldn't be taken care of properly, so I never requested to leave.”
Hearing his explanation, Devon became flustered and pretended to look down at his paperwork. He said, “Oh, then no matter. In a few days, I’ll let Yue Baylian come help you. Let him get used to things for a while, and when he’s ready to take over, you can go up.”
“Yes, Solaris Emperor.” Kyle nodded.
Devon suddenly raised his head and said, “Right, you can add that billion to your salary yourself. I’ll tell the pharmaceutical company heads to come find you.”
Kyle gazed profoundly at the Solaris Emperor, then bowed respectfully as he replied, “Yes.”
After he’d finished giving instructions, Devon turned off his phone. He thought, Although giving the pharmaceutical companies to Kyle means losing a powerful bargaining chip, it’s a better solution in the long run.
Threats could keep someone loyal short-term, but over time, it could also make others dissatisfied and they’d try to find loopholes and regain control.
Plus, if it was humans arranging things, then there would always be a loophole no matter how flawless it seems.
One day, Kyle would find where the pharmaceutical companies were...one day, the drugs would have no hold over him...one day, discontent would spill over...
“I can fulfill all your desires as long as you are loyal to me, Kyle.”
Devon Solaris looked at the phone screen, saying lowly, “Loyal to me.”
Daren Solaris was very, very happy these days.
Although Lance was still very annoying and protecting him was a deplorable task, the thought of Elian watching from the peephole next door enduring Sin’s snoring made his own troubles seem very small.
Daren was so happy he invited everyone out to eat a late night snack.
“I’m going to get fat,” Eloise complained as she ate.
Plus, Daren had taken the initiative to find Shain Baylian and and tell him his father was still alive. Originally, he was dubious, but after Daren told him his father’s instructions, he believed him.
The next day, Shain Baylian went to find Daren.
“Since Father would rather have a lover than a son, then I don’t need him either! Tell him that I’ll take care of the Lunaris Alliance’s matters so he doesn't ever have to come back!”
Shain Baylian angrily finished, then walked away without turning back.
Daren stared at Shain Baylian’s retreating figure and could not help but laugh. His footsteps were light, almost dancing instead of walking. They weren't angry, heavy footsteps, so that meant he was actually very happy.
“You seem to be in a good mood lately.”
Daren looked and saw it was Lance who asked the question. This was surprising because school was still in session. Lance usually talked a lot but was very serious in class. He almost never spoke, his eyes never left the blackboard, and he only took notes.
Seeing him like this, Daren also became quite studious. Class A was more interesting than Class D anyway, with vivid explanations about the latest weaponry and practical applications. There were also explanations about the recent major Western modus operandi, etc., which Daren found very useful and so was often engrossed in those lectures.
He was listening to the modus operandi of successful bombings when he heard Lance’s question, and was about to open his mouth to say, “I am very happy,” but he was pretending to be the wintry Dark Sun. How could he say that he was happy?
At this point, he became uncertain. He didn't know how to respond.
“You’re always so cold and arrogant. This is more like you.”
Lance noticed his silence and cracked a familiar smile.
Turned out he didn't actually expect him to talk. Daren felt a bit helpless. If he’d known earlier, he wouldn't have wanted to try and say something.
“Then I’ll trouble you with managing tonight’s Chinese opera,” Lance said, smiling, and turned his attention back on the teacher’s lecture.
Right! Tonight was the show, and Daren was inevitably a bit excited. This was the first time he was attending a Chinese opera!
Unfortunately, Ezart refused to go...
This was disappointing, although Eli-ge and the rest of them supported Ezart’s decision.
Eloise even said venomously, “Just the thought of this big man wearing a suit to go see a Chinese opera...my eyes are rotting!”
Then, Ezart and Eloise ran off to the virtual simulation to duel. Of course, there was Eli to help on Eloise’s side as well.
Elian regarded Daren Solaris. “Dar, going to an Chinese opera requires formal attire, so you’ll need to find a suit to wear, but don’t forget that you’ll have to wear combat clothes underneath, too.”
“A suit? Okay.” Daren searched his microchip, trying to figure out what kind of clothing this was. If he remembered correctly, there was a whole bunch of these suits in the wardrobe at home.
“Then I’ll come pick you...no, ask your chauffeur to give us a ride!”
Elian was originally going to say he’d ride his motorcycle to pick up Daren, but just as the words exited his mouth, he remember that Daren had a sports car and a professional driver. Compared to motorcycles, a car and a driver seemed more appropriate when attending a formal show.
“Okay.” After Daren agreed, he thought about it and asked, “Do you want the same car as last time?”
“You have other cars?” Elian’s eyes shone with excitement.
“I don’t, but Gege has a lot of cars. Kyle said I could use whichever one I wanted.”
Elian couldn't resist saying, “Then, then let’s use a different car!”
“Sure.” Daren nodded.
Although the red beauty was charming, this was a chance to meet other beauties. There was, of course, nothing better, Elian thought halfheartedly.
1. Yue Ya-er: 月牙儿 was what Yue Baylian went by when he pretended he was a girl. They are the same person.
2. Blindly lying with open eyes: Purposely lying despite clearly understanding the truth, as if one was oblivious to the situation.
3. Little Shain - A term of endearment, similar to Yue-er