Original and most up to date translations are posted at volaretranslations.
Chapter 175: Which Force is It? [Part 1]
Cillin regarded Scarlet Wind’s problem as a matter of great importance. He had said earlier that he would give Scarlet Wind two choices to whether become a man, or a dog.
Different choices meant different ways of training. Right now Scarlet Wind was nearly a blank slate excluding its current abilities and nature brought by its genes. He would pass the choice of which development path to follow to Scarlet Wind himself. If Scarlet Wind were to regret it in the future, he could only blame himself. One would be encouraged to make progress only if the decision was their own.
Scarlet Wind had self-learned very quickly, and his intelligence was obvious to all who saw him. The genes and brain he inherited gave him quite the sizable amount of talent that many people did not possess. Even if he had started slow, he would be able to catch up pretty soon.
Man, or dog?
The gray cat looked down on Scarlet Wind from a high ground as the latter practiced conversing with a smart learning machine. In reality, the gray cat wasn’t all that interested in Scarlet Wind’s choice to develop himself as a man or a dog. From the point of view of a cyborg, neither man nor beast made much difference in its eyes. It was fine as long as Cillin was with it. Whether the others were men or beasts was no concern to it. They were just extra companions.
In fact Scarlet Wind himself did not quite understand why Cillin wanted him to make such a decision in the past. However, after understanding the different orbits of life of a man and a dog, Scarlet Wind chose to become a man without hesitation. Dogs gave emphasis to domestication and loyalty, whereas men gave emphasis to autonomy. The reason Cillin decided to bring Scarlet Wind with him back then was because he liked Scarlet Wind’s ‘autonomy’ when compared to the other hellhounds. Scarlet Wind had not obeyed blindly the twisted and single minded responsibility of a protector hellhound.
Although Cillin had predicted that Scarlet Wind would choose to become a man, he was still very happy when Scarlet Wind had made his choice firmly. Since Scarlet Wind had chosen to become a ‘man’, then he would have to teach Scarlet Wind using a ‘man’s’ standards.
Cillin instructed Scarlet Wind to start walking on his feet instead of all fours, and to start using his hands when he ate his meals. Right now Scarlet Wind was still unfamiliar with the use of his claws, no, hands. Sometimes, his five fingers were too stiff. While they were pretty agile when tearing a prey apart, wielding tools was a different story. In fact he had accidentally crushed many tools because he could not control his strength properly. However, Cillin paid no heed to this. It had been many years, so there had to be a process for his habits to form.
The good news was that Scarlet Wind often saw Cillin and Lung’s movements and learned fairly quickly. He still wasn’t quite used to walking on both legs and could not run swiftly, but walking was no longer a problem. Some of his hair had been shaved too, since the description ‘ungrown hair’ could not be applied to Scarlet Wind. The little fellow’s hair was way too thick since he had a dog’s genes. Although it was not as obvious as a dog’s, his hair was still rather offensively conspicuous compared to a normal human being.
After shaving the hair on his face, hands and other places, giving the small clump of hair on his head a cut, and putting clothes on him, Scarlet Wind looked more or less like a normal kid if one were to ignore his sharper-than-norm ears and his furry tail at his back.
Today, after Lung had awakened from literally several days of sleep, he circled around Scarlet Wind several times and admired his appearance.
“I can’t believe that little dog kid from back then actually looks decent now.” Lung said at the dining table.
It was a small dining table with four seats. Scarlet Wind was holding a spoon with his hands and scooping the food inside the bowl. His long nails had long been withdrawn back into his fingers, and he looked rather harmless with his grinning, childish face.
The gray cat would scoop up the broiled fishes in its plate from time to time with its paws, first nailing it with its claws before lifting it up like a fork and delivering it to its mouth.
After teasing Scarlet Wind for a bit, Lung said, “Cillin, have you figured out which planet you want to go to?”
Before he slept, Lung had told Cillin to consider the latter part of their journey. Since they had decided to head towards a grade three prison planet, they must first decide on exactly which grade three prison planet to head to. Lung himself did not care where they were headed to, and he had passed the decision making power directly to Cillin. He was going to fly straight towards their destination after he woke up.
The reason they chose a grade three prison planet was because there were too many Sector native forces in grade one and two prison planets. These forces had become even more anti-foreigner after the grade one prison planet from before had suffered a devastating blow.
High grade prison planets were too difficult for them since those places were the main focus of firepower right now. Most of the large forces outside of Sector S had all set their sights on these high grade prison planets. After calculating the risks for a bit, a grade three prison planet was the most suitable target for them. If after the journey they felt like they hadn’t enjoyed themselves fully yet, then they might go take a look at high grade prison planet depending on the circumstances. Those planets were not places they could cause trouble whenever they wanted to, however. Bravery did not equal asking for trouble.
If he had to make a choice, then Cillin preferred putting at least some thoughts behind the choice. He chose a planet after looking at the star map. This grade three prison planet wasn’t too far away from where they were right now, and it wasn’t the closest grade three prison planet to the grade one prison planet earlier. Lung agreed after giving it a look. He inserted the coordinates of that grade three prison planet as the target destination of the starship and travelled towards it using the robot-assisted auto pilot.
Now that there was a new talking companion, Lung teased Scarlet Wind like he was teasing a child. Scarlet Wind gave Lung face and did not express dislike towards Lung’s talkative mouth, however.
They received a secret transmission before arriving at their destination. It was a transmission from the Andrea Family. After Lung had inserted the decryption program, the message revealed itself to the duo.
The Andrea Family might not have participated much in that incident fifty years ago, but several of their seniors were sent to Sector S’ prisons prior to it. Therefore, the main reason they sent their men this time was to protect the safety of those few family seniors. After all, there was no telling if someone would seize the opportunity to assassinate them under the current circumstances. Now that ‘Mist’ and ‘Merciless’ had come out, and Blue Butterfly of the great four was growing restless as well, who wouldn’t take the utmost caution?
Lung also shared the secret transmission with Cillin after looking through it. There weren’t much secrets contained in the message, and it was useful for their latter operation anyway.
“A devastating catastrophe?” Cillin muttered after reading the message.
Lung scratched his head, “Isn’t that way too much an exaggeration? Even if that group of people you said came to Sector S, saved and killed some people, it couldn’t have triggered a planetary catastrophe, could it? An apocalyptic catastrophe no less?”
In reality, no prison planets of Sector S were at planetary habitability rank A. They were all either rank B or rank C, and the higher a prison planet’s grade was, the lower its planetary habitability was. The rank A planets in Sector S were mostly controlled by the forces native to Sector S.
But even a rank B or C planet was still valuable. Wasn’t it a pity to destroy it just like that?
Cillin sighed, “Of course they don’t care since it’s not their own planets.”
It was a true statement. The reason Sector S’s forces were anti-foreigner wasn’t just because they hated foreign forces interfering with their own businesses, but also due to worry that a foreign force would ignore the circumstances of a Sector and destroy some good planets. After all, even a rank B planet was difficult to find these days.
When they recalled what happened on that grade one prison planet, both Cillin and Lung had fallen into silence. To some people, destroying a planet was only too easy. It might just be a grade one prison, but it was destroyed all the same in less than half a day. No one could tell if the other prison planets would follow its footsteps.
A grade one prison’s defenses were relatively simpler than others, so it did not take both ‘Mist’ and ‘Merciless’ much to break through it. Earlier, they used viruses to create confusion. The other forces may use a similar method as well.” Cillin said.
Just like how Cillin had used parasites to nearly turn the planet ‘Poison Fang’ was garrisoned on into a graveyard, there were only too many methods to destroy a planet and send it into an apocalyptic catastrophe.
Sometimes, people complained that GAL’s military and government were too powerful and hypocritical, but it could not be denied that the places governed by the GAL army and alliance government had much better law and order compared to other places. In Sector S, the only ones who would be having a headache after the destruction of a planet there were Sector S’ forces. GAL’s military and government wouldn’t give a damn about it.
“Let’s be more careful once we get there. Now that even grade one prison planets are unsafe, we might run into some trifle in a middle stage grade three prison planet.”
“That’s all we can do. The situation’s not so bad that we have to give up, is it?” Lung yawned and when to the armory to prepare the stuff. This time, they would have to make even more preparations so that they wouldn’t be put in the passive too much if anything were to happen.
When they were almost at their destination, Cillin hesitated whether to bring Scarlet Wind with them. After all, the gray cat had made up its mind to follow him no matter what, and the little fellow looked very unhappy to be left alone on the starship. He had been staring pitifully at Cillin and Lung for the whole day, going so far as to make whiny sounds and putting on a pitiful appearance.
“Just bring him along.” the gray cat licked its paws and wiped its face, “It’s not like he’s weak.”
Lung also agreed to bring Scarlet Wind with them. After all, even if they wouldn’t be operating together, he might be able to help them with his beastial talents.
Due to something that happened later, it didn’t take long for Cillin to give his consent.