Well, hi again, I’m glad we all made it 😀 Today’s episode will close chapter 8–finally, you might say–with a bit of change of scene. You may have been wondering what Li Xiao has been up to all this time… So let’s close that gap!
Though, if you are new to my story, please consider starting with Chapter 1 🙂
Worlds Rising: Rebellion
Chapter 8, Part 4
As soon as he arrived at ground station Tou Hao, Li Xiao reported back to the station commander–his uncle Admiral Zhao Meng Hui. Standing at attention, Li Xiao couldn’t help but notice his uncle’s lack of familial affection. He hadn’t even bothered standing up to greet him. Instead, he sat enthroned on a bulky executive chair behind an equally impressive desk laden with stacks of file record devices. Just as well, Li Xiao thought, for it did let him know exactly where he stood with his uncle.
“I really don’t know how Secretary of War Liung Ho got you this assignment,” the admiral railed, “and I can only assume, what he is playing at. But you will not–under any circumstances–leave this station while under my command. Is that understood?”
Inwardly, Li Xiao counted to three, while doing what he did best: not letting anything show. He bowed dutifully. “Yes, sir! My brother wishes for firsthand impressions about the project’s progress, though. On that account, I should at least see the villages with my own eyes. Of course, one-on-one interviews with the natives would serve the purpose even better.”
“Out of the question!” Face turning red with outrage, his uncle slammed his hand down, causing the record devices to bob on the table. “What is he even thinking? We’re dealing with insurgents here! There have even been attempts on engineering a revolt! Which have been dealt with, naturally.”
Li Xiao pricked his ears up. An uprising? Wouldn’t Shi Wei have given him a heads up if he’d had any notice of this? “Does my brother know?”
“Obviously!” the admiral claimed. “We are well-prepared for such things. I am expecting Professor Huang Quan from the capital in a few days. He will personally lead the project into stage two. Until then, the rebels will have been eliminated.”
“Rebels… as in the Dikang?”
So the rumors Li Xiao had picked up on his transfer flight were true after all. On the troops’ deck people were talking on the quiet. The head of security herself was supposed to have been unmasked as traitor. What had become of her was uncertain, though, for at this point narratives were divided. She had either been executed, shot down in her fighter or had committed suicide. Another rumor had it, she’d actually escaped and found her way to the ‘indigenes’–the stars knew what for.
This last version Li Xiao deemed least likely.
“We’ll make short work of these vermin,” the admiral growled. “There have already been executions as a warning to all. And there will be more. We’ve been way too lenient with the indigenes, as well. This will change.”
The feverish glow in the eyes of his uncle made Li Xiao uneasy. Were they even still talking about the project? Success was of vital importance–there could be no doubt about that. But somehow a suspicion crept up on him, his uncle was driven by something else altogether. Something dangerous.
In comparison to the homeland, the planet was huge, offering vast amounts of resources. Putting a firm foot down on it, might give his uncle the kind of leverage he had never possessed at home. The whole planet could easily become the one crucial asset in a constant struggle for political domination.
As son of the ancestor’s third wife, Admiral Zhao Meng Hui was decades younger than his nephew, the Haodang Long. He’d been a high ranking officer more years than Li Xiao was even alive. One could easily imagine he might feel that he should succeed the patriarch instead of someone barely of age. Was it eating at his uncle that once again he was to be left out? Was he planning a takeover? Could he possibly have formed an alliance with the First House?
Almost one hundred years after Shi Wei had beat the House of the White Tiger in his election as patriarch, they were sure to strive for first rank within the five great families again. Maybe they had come to an agreement with his uncle that could benefit both their goals–if Li Xiao wasn’t standing in the way?
Not, that Li Xiao was even keen on this role as designated successor to the patriarch. All he’d ever wanted was to fly. But that didn’t keep competitors from viewing him as a rival. One, that could easily be disposed of in the vastness of this untamed planet, maybe? Was that the real reason why the Secretary of Family Affairs–a member of the White Tiger himself–had so easily relented to the Secretary of War’s pressure?
Li Xiao decided to be even more on guard as before.
Either way, he was not going to let this adventure slip by him. His uncle could not defy the orders of his chief commander forever. Li Xiao would explore this world. And he would fly. Even if it meant getting the Haodang Long himself to the comm!
Thank you for reading!
I realize, this episode was a short one. Sorry for that! I had debated adding the beginning of next chapter, but there was no good spot for a break there. So, please bear with me until next episode. Thank you!
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