Chapter 346: Can You Handle It, Professor Tan?
The Captain was the first to recover his senses. Sharp claps rang through the bridge as he attempted to gather everyone’s attention. He shouted over the din. “Alright! It’s not time to celebrate yet. Get us back on course, and broadcast to the marshals that we’re out of danger. Everything is back to normal. We are continuing in our route to the Barrows. Someone get me a report on damage sustained and remaining energy reserves. Turn off the shields!”
The crew members reigned in their joy and set about enacting the Captain’s orders. Lan Jue rose to his feet, once the helmet rose from his head. He didn’t dance or sigh as the others – he’d been through several life or death situations in his time. Zhou Qianlin dropped her hands from his shoulders, just as Tan Lingyun allowed her Discipline and its barriers to disperse.
Lan Jue made his way to the Captain. “I apologize, the situation was urgent and dire. I ask that you don’t advertise my involvement in any of this.”
The Captain replied by snatching up Lan Jue’s hand in a hearty shake. “Thank you. Thank you for saving all our lives. How could we not share this news? You’re a hero! I’ve never seen anyone pilot a craft like you did. You’re one hell of a battleship pilot.”
Lan Jue retrieved with hand from the old man’s iron grip with some effort. He chuckled sheepishly. “If you really want to thank them, then let’s keep this whole thing quiet. I guess I couldn’t be opposed to a first-class seat, if you have one available. Tall as I am, economy class is pretty uncomfortable…”
“Not a problem, not a problem. Half the first-class cabins are empty. You and your friends are all welcome.” By now the Captain had returned to his normal, gruff manner. The qualities and character of a commercial pilot needed to be very high to reach the professional level this man enjoyed. He also understood some of Lan Jue’s reticence – after all, what he’d done was extremely illegal.
The ship’s crew looked at Lan Jue in an entirely different light now. Their eyes were full of admiration and appreciation. They were all trained airship operators, so everything they had managed to see, they understood. If asked to describe it, ‘master at work’ was the best they could come up with. Much like the Captain’s praise, they had never seen anyone pilot a ship like that before.
Lan Jue stretched his lanky body, and looked at Tan Lingyun. “Thank you Professor Tan.” She had been very helpful and compliant, questioning him only the once. He was also afraid he might have revealed himself, and wanted to find out more of what she’d seen. In the end, the Savage Goddess had made the right determination in the moment when he needed it most, and for that he was grateful.
She glared at him with hard eyes. Her face seemed a little pale.
Zhou Qianlin gave her a curious look. “Professor, are you alright?”
Tan Lingyun’s eyes swept toward Qianlin. Without warning, she doubled over.
Lan Jue watched wide-eyed and slack-jawed as Tan Lingyun vomited for what seemed like an eternity. She kept throwing up until nothing was left but bile.
Was this… was this motion sickness?
How could it be anything else? She’d remained right behind him, locked in place through the whole ordeal. She wasn’t protected by any shielding or pressure relieving apparatuses like the crew had at their stations. She had felt every pitch and jerk and drop.
In fact, the only way she was handling it this well was because she’d experienced the g-force training Lan Jue had put them through. If she hadn’t, she would likely already be curled up on the floor.
Fighting back a laugh, Lan Jue clicked his tongue at her. “Ah, Professor Tan – are you really suffering from motion sickness? You have to look after yourself! Take it easy…”
“Fu- oouuublaarrrwwghhh!” Tan Lingyun couldn’t even finish her sentence before her body doubled over once again. Lan Jue couldn’t help it, and a booming laugh erupted from him. Such release! Finally, for the first time ever he had the upper hand over this exceedingly unpleasant woman.
The Captain was a man of his word. After another vociferous round of praise, Lan Jue was led to his free first-class cabin upgrade. It was a small room, with enough space for two people. When you were ready to sleep, the spacious and comfortable seats stretched out to become beds. Both chairs ended up being equivalent to two double beds. These tickets were about double the price of a standard economy seat.
The Captain assumed Lan Jue’s relationship with Qianlin and made sure the both of them were placed together in a cabin. Tan Lingyun had her own, all to herself.
Lingyun was too busy violently emptying her stomach to care very much about the room assignments. She could do little more than lay in her spacious seat and sip sugar water 1. This was her first time in a first-class cabin, though, so that at least improved her spirits somewhat.
Lan Jue returned to economy to tell Director Wu about the changes, then sauntered pleasantly back to his spacious cubby hole. What a difference it made! He immediately spread his chair out and slipped the pillow under his head. Splayed out on a leather seat with a comfy pillow – what else could you ask for?
Zhou Qianlin sat beside him. She wasn’t yet interested in laying down. She looked uncomfortable, with a slight tinge of red to her face.
After a moment of enjoying the new situation, Lan Jue noticed her discomfort. “What’s wrong?” He asked, surprised. “What’s making you uncomfortable?”
Zhou Qianlin didn’t say anything. She only glanced at him, then nodded toward the wall.
Lan Jue followed her eyes, where he spied a sign with large red letters: Unscrupulous Activities Prohibited. 2
Lan Jue’s face was strange, and then suddenly he broke in to a fit of snickering laughter.
Qianlin smacked him playfully. “Don’t laugh!”
Lan Jue was in much higher spirits once leaving economy class, not to mention surviving violent destruction. They were safe, comfortable, and the Savage Goddess was somewhere else entirely trying to heave her stomach through her mouth. Things could hardly get better.
“I think I’m starting to get used to the changes in our Discipline,” Lan Jue said quietly, changing the subject. “But it looks like there’s still a lot we don’t know. We should keep exploring the differences.”
Qianlin replied with a nod. “I notice it, too. Once we touch, I can share your Discipline. My own Discipline is still there as well, and can transform in to yours. I can still amplify your powers without being merged. It gives us more options and flexibility.
Lan Jue cut in. “That’s right. That’s precisely what I think as well. As for the summoning, obviously if you’re in danger don’t hesitate to call me to your side. We should try and test the maximum distance of this summoning when we have the time. I’d be curious precisely how far we can be before this stops working.”
Zhou Qianlin timidly nodded her head. She seemed a little less awkward now, and made herself comfortable by lifting her seat’s foot rest. She sank in to the chair with a sigh.