Original and most up to date translations are posted at volaretranslations.
Translator’s Note: Hope you guys enjoyed the joke yesterday. I know we did :P. To the point, Tang Qiuqiu means word by word ‘Sweet Ball Ball’.
Chapter 81: Tang Qiuqiu
Other than Shawton, there was another little girl who looked about six to seven years old inside the room. She held a lollipop in her mouth and was engrossed in playing a shooting game. She kept her eyes glued to the screen and did not bother to acknowledge Cillin’s entry.
“The remuneration settlement just came in. It looks like Aiflon is very satisfied with this case.” Shawton flicked the card in his hand and said.
Cillin Douance had already vanished from this world, and even Aiflon himself would not recognise Cillin’s current appearance. Aiflon, who had become the successor very generously gave them the remuneration settlement. One portion belonged to Cillin, and the other belonged to the Sixth Squadron. This remuneration settlement alone was enough to pay for a whole year of the Sixth Squadron’s daily expenses.
It had been almost a full year since Cillin had accepted the mission. Barring specific personnel, no one else in the Sixth Squadron knew about Cillin’s existence or whereabouts. It wasn’t until the end of the mission that Shawton told Eudy, Cary and a few others about Cillin’s mission, since they were among the very first people to have met him, and a part of Dias’ squad as well. From here on, they would continue to get along with each other.
“Eh? Who are you?”
After completing a game round, the little girl who was playing raised her head to look at Cillin. Her big, sky blue eyes were filled with caution and curiosity.
Cillin too was very curious about her. He was surprised to see that Shawton had brought this little girl with him. Could she be his daughter? But they don’t look alike.
Shawton smiled and pointed at Cillin, introducing him to the little girl, “He’s Cillin.” Then he pointed at the little girl and said to Cillin, “She’s our new arrival, Tang Qiuqiu.”
Before Cillin could be surprised at their unbelievably young teammate, Tang Qiuqiu had let out her own outburst first, “Impossible! Cillin doesn’t look like this!”
Cillin pulled a chair over and sat in front of her, “I am Cillin. You got a problem with that?”
“You’re not! Cillin has light grey hair, and his eyes isn’t like yours either. You don’t look like him, and Cillin is thinner than you as well!” Tang Qiuqiu said with certainty.
“I did plastic surgery.”
“You’re talking nonsense.”
“I’m not talking nonsense.”
“You just are!”
“I am not.”
“What about me? Why do you say that I’m not Cillin?”
“Because I’m the one who shot and killed him!” Tang Qiuqiu shouted angrily.
Cillin was well and truly shocked. He looked at Shawton, and Shawton nodded. All this time Cillin thought that he was the one who fired the shot at Seven Lights’ airport, since that was what he said he would do during the deliberation. If the commander of the Vanguard’s Sixth B Squadron was the one who attended to the matter personally, then it would be incredibly hard for anyone to track down the perpetrator. The fact was that the incident was handled very well, and to this day, Seven Lights still hadn’t found the suspect yet. But he never thought that the one who fired the shot was actually the child before him!
No wonder those people couldn’t find or track down a suspect. Who would connect a cute and innocent young girl about six to seven years old chewing lollipop in the middle of a crowd to the suspect of an assassination?!
“Qiuqiu, he really is Cillin. He just changed a look; the needs of a mission.” Shawton said as he walked over and patted Tang Qiuqiu’s head.
Tang Qiuqiu looked Cillin up and down before jumping down her chair and circled around him twice, “He doesn’t feel like the same person at all.”
“That’s why he’s an excellent Hunter.” Although Shawton didn’t know how Cillin managed to transform from his old looks to his current self – even if he took Cillin at his word, he did not quite believe that a plastic surgery would cover the entire range of the human body – these answers were his members’ own secrets. After all, who doesn’t have a trump card or two of their own? That was why he would not ask unneccessary questions. As long a person’s capable and moral, then their Sixth Squadron would welcome all the same.
“Hmph, I will become better than him in the future!” Tang Qiuqiu returned to her seat and unwrapped another lollipop to put in the mouth. Then she continued playing her game.
Shawton motioned Cillin with his eyes to talk at the room next door.
“You aside, we have a few more new members joining the team this time. They’re all in Dias’ squad, and speaking of which, you should know them. You’ve met Eight Claws and Coy Behind The Smile on the Sector Championship platform. Eight Claws’ real name is Ba Dao, and Coy Behind The Smile’s real name is Xiao Shang. Since they met the age requirement, they were sent to higher institutes of learning to receive their educations. We may be Hunters, but we’re also civilised Hunters.”
Cillin knew the moment Shawton mentioned Eight Claws and Coy Behind The Smile. Those two fellows were pretty good.
“The other newcomer who was placed under Dias is Tang Qiuqiu.” When he talked of Tang Qiuqiu, Shawton let out a heavy sigh, “She came from Sector V.”
Sector V was one of the more chaotic Sectors among the thirteen backwater Sectors. Since it was further away from the Sectors that were more well developed, it was ranked among the last of the thirteen backwater Sectors; utterly incomparable even to Cillin’s old home Sector X. The habitable planets of Sector V were in a perpetual state of war with no peace in sight. It wasn’t just a pure conflict between local forces and foreign forces, but something more complicated than that. The GAL garrisons of Sector V would not interfere with the war, or at least not now right now. They would wait until both sides had almost completely expended themselves before sending the troops to suppress them by force.
Since the development of civilization, after the people of Sector V had come in touch with higher civilizations, they would become split into many factions who contested for superiority and status through war. The permeation of external forces provided them with weapons and wealth, and at the same time, the invading forces too bribed the people they needed to expand their power and domain.
Moreover, many children were reduced to war slaves in that Sector. The first thing they picked up wasn’t a feeding spoon, a doll or a starship model; it was a gun. The adults in the war zones would teach them how to use a gun and how to murder; they would make them believe that killing a person was the most pleasant thing in the world. Many of these kids killed their first human being before they grew taller than their guns. The purpose for murder was to survive to the next day, and to them the act was just like killing a fish for the purpose of eating it. It was nothing to be thought about.
The children of Sector V basically had none of the so-called innocence and naivety that belonged solely to their age. Instead they were replaced with numb and empty looks in their eyes since their entire lifespan might not even compare to that of a G rank genotype person. This was especially true for girls. The older girls who were slightly more than ten had to fight, and work as the men’s sexual objects.
In that sense, Tang Qiuqiu should fall under the same category as well.
“Qiuqiu may appear to be six or seven years old only, but in truth she’s already eight. Since she suffered from undernutrition at a young age, she appeared thinner and weaker than the average child. We met her while we were hunting down a ‘prey’ at Sector V. Dias said that she was the only child he had seen in Sector V who wasn’t tainted by war. At the time, those who went together with him did not believe him, because when we saw Tang Qiuqiu, she was busting an adult’s head with a shot expressionlessly.”
Shawton took out his electronic notebook and opened a picture, “This is Tang Qiuqiu at the time.”
Cillin looked over, and on the electronic notebook, there was a little girl whose hair was withered and messy and her face covered in soot, carrying an old rifle about her size without an expression on her face. The background was a street filled with blood and violence, noise and unrest.
“As you know, Dias may not excel in other areas, but he has a really good eye for people. At the time, Dias had tossed away his firearms right in front of Tang Qiuqiu, and walked towards her with a friendly smile. He motioned to us not to follow him and not to take out our guns. In fact, it would be best if we don’t look at his direction at all, he said. If Dias hadn’t told us not to act recklessly before, we might have fired when we saw Qiuqiu lifting her rifle and pointing it at Dias. He really gave us a cold sweat at the time.”
At this point Shawton couldn’t hold back a smile, “Dias did not pay attention to Qiuqiu’s gun barrel. He walked in front of her, took out a couple of sweets he bought along the way to keep his teeth busy from his pocket, and passed them over. At first, Qiuqiu’s eyes were still wary and suspicious. Then Dias unwrapped one of the sweets and stuffed it into his mouth, making all sorts of grinding noises and he ate. Perhaps it was the sweet scent of fruits that attracted her, but when Dias unwrapped another sweet and passed it over, she took it, and stuffed it into her mouth.”
“When she stuffed the sweet into her mouth, she smiled at Dias.” Shawton opened yet another picture.
Cillin looked at it. It was still the same soot-covered face on the notebook, but the icy cold gaze from before was gone. It was a very clean smile.
And at that moment, her eyes were as free as the sky.