TOTLS Chapter 101: Arc 6.16

Arc 6: Interstellar Art Soldiers Chapter 16

The first squad of literary soldiers in the backstage dressing room was getting ready, some are doing their makeup, vocal warm-ups, and stretching.

Dean had come to the a11 planet base to deliver military supplies and had arrived the previous day. He was planning to leave tomorrow. When he was still a literary soldier, he had been good friends with the first squad’s squad team leader. So, after finishing his work today, he went over to chat with him.

Erman came down from the stage and saw his brother talking to the squad team leader. He was quite happy and wanted to go over there, but he was stopped by a few people.

“Erman, it’s a rare occasion that your brother is here. Why don’t we let him perform on stage? He’s a legend among us literary soldiers, and I’m sure many veterans would love to see his performance.”

“And the new recruits would definitely love to see him perform too. Even his performance videos from a few years ago are still getting plenty of views from the soldiers.”

“Yeah, Erman, let your brother perform. Show some people what a real legendary literary soldier is, and let him know who the true top artist is. This will also humble his arrogance a bit.”

“Exactly, we should bring down his arrogance and show him that there’s always someone better, or else he’ll think he’s better than all of us just because he’s a little bit stronger than us.”

Erman lowered his head and thought for a moment. He agreed with what they were saying. After performing so many shows during this period, he had come to terms with reality and realized he could never surpass Tao Yuan. But he couldn’t help feeling jealous and unwilling. Since he couldn’t outdo Tao Yuan himself, he thought it might be nice to have his brother do it for him.

So Erman nodded to them and walked over to Dean and the squad team leader.

“Brother,” Erman called out as he approached.

Dean turned to look at him and smiled, nodding in acknowledgment.

“Brother, I haven’t seen your performance in so many years. How about taking this opportunity to perform on stage?” Erman then turned to the squad team leader and said, “squad team leader, I’m sure there are many veterans who miss my brother’s performance. Can you spare some time to let my brother perform a short piece?”

“This…” The squad team leader looked at Erman and then at Dean, not knowing how to respond.

“What nonsense is this?” Dean glared at Erman and said, “How long has it been since I sang or danced? I’m out of practice. Are you trying to see your brother make a fool of himself?”

“No, that’s not it. I just thought your performance would be better than anyone else’s, so I…” Erman tried to explain hurriedly as he saw his brother getting a bit angry.

“I’m a human, not a god. It’s been several years, and I haven’t been practicing regularly. How can I be in the same shape as before?” Dean was both angry and helpless with Erman, so he just tapped his brother on the forehead and said, “You, you never listen to what I say. You always listen to others’ instigations. How many times have I told you? Stop getting these strange ideas and just do what you’re supposed to do properly. Why won’t you listen?”

“It’s not like that, brother. I’ve really listened to what you said,” Erman argued.

“If you could really listen and do everything, I’d die in peace,” Dean said, looking at him.

“Don’t say that, brother. I’ll remember your words and follow them,” Erman blushed and assured his brother immediately.

“Don’t be angry either. Erman is a good kid, he’s just a bit soft-hearted. He’s still young after all. He’ll get better with time,” the squad team leader intervened, trying to smooth things over.

Dean sighed and said, “If he doesn’t experience setbacks, he’ll continue to be like this in the future.”

Erman hung his head, holding back the urge to cry. He couldn’t stand it when his brother talked about dying or anything like that.

Dean watched Erman’s reaction, feeling a bit torn. He wanted to comfort his brother but also believed that Erman, at his age, should start being more responsible. He shook his head and turned away.

The squad team leader glanced at Erman and then followed Dean to see him off.

At that moment, Tao Yuan happened to come out of the dressing room and encountered the two of them. He greeted the squad team leader, saying, “Squad leader.”

Dean and the squad team leader were both momentarily stunned by Tao Yuan’s stunning red dress before they came back to their senses.

“This is our team’s Luo Xi,” the squad team leader introduced, “And this is Erman’s brother, and my friend, Dean.”

“Hello,” Tao Yuan nodded to Dean.

“Hello,” Dean smiled and nodded back at Tao Yuan.

“You’re about to go on stage, right? Get ready,” the squad team leader advised Tao Yuan.

“Alright,” Tao Yuan nodded at Dean and then walked away from him.

Dean couldn’t help but turn back to look at Tao Yuan’s figure again. As he gazed at Tao Yuan’s slender waist and long legs, he couldn’t help but feel a twinge of envy. At his age, he didn’t have such a good figure.

The squad team leader also turned with him and, after Tao Yuan had walked inside, said to Dean, “You, the legendary figure of our literary soldiers, will be replaced by him in no time. His current popularity is even stronger than yours back in the day.”

Dean smiled and said, “Being replaced is inevitable, and I stopped caring about that a long time ago. When I heard what those soldiers had to say about him, I was actually thinking that if we were in the same period as entertainers, he would have been a good rival, motivating me to work harder. But after watching his performance videos, I’m actually relieved that we weren’t in the same period because I have to admit, no matter how hard I try, I can’t reach his level. If he and I were in the same period, then I can only be second best. I wouldn’t have a chance at being number one.”

“You, you haven’t changed at all, you accept defeat so easily,” the squad team leader chuckled.

“I’ve changed in some ways. I can’t find that same level of confidence I had before. As I get older, I have more worries,” Dean replied.

“You’re not even thirty yet. it’s the prime of your life. Why are you acting so old?”

“The age in your heart has nothing to do with time. It’s all about the experiences. There’s something I’d like to ask of you. Erman is quite cunning and likes to use various means to achieve his goals. I hope you can teach him strictly about being a better person. When necessary, don’t be soft on him, so he doesn’t make major mistakes in the future,” Dean said to the squad team leader.

“It hasn’t been easy for you either. You’ve been worrying about your little brother since he was young, and now that he’s grown up, you’re still worrying about him. Sigh…” The squad team leader sighed. “Your brother, compared to you back then, is far behind in every aspect. Whether it’s talent or character, he hasn’t learned anything from you. Right now, he’s hell-bent on competing with Luo Xi. From what I can tell, Luo Xi is not someone who is easy to provoke. He’s not like you, patient and doesn’t like to argue with others. Most importantly, Luo Xi has a strong background. If Erman continues to be so ignorant, he might just end up angering Luo Xi and end up falling flat on his facei.”

“That is why I have come to ask for your help precisely because of our past friendship. Please, discipline him strictly. What worries me most is that he’s using all his brain on schemes and not realizing the dangers he’s getting himself into. I’m his only family, and he’s my only brother. If I don’t worry about him, who will? Right now, I can only entrust him to your care.”

“I’ll do my best,” the squad team leader replied. He didn’t want to make any promises because educating someone else’s child was not an easy task.

“Thank you,” Dean sincerely thanked him. “Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Even if he makes a big mistake in the end, it will be his own doing, not anyone else’s fault. I’ll be on my way now. I’ll come find you tonight, and we can reminisce about our time as literary soldiers. I really miss those days.”

The squad team leader nodded with a smile and watched Dean leave.

As Dean walked, he looked up at the sky, trying not to let his tears fall. Time had worn away all his courage and self-confidence. When he saw Tao Yuan, he couldn’t even summon the courage and self-assurance to compare himself to him. The former him might have had the confidence to compete with him and, even if he lost, he wouldn’t have regretted it.

He had missed out on Zuo Lei, and Zuo Lei had found someone better. Besides feeling sorrow for himself, what else could he do?

Tao Yuan went back to the dressing room and as soon as he sat down in front of the makeup table, Lin Ya approached him and gestured for him to look over at Erman’s direction.

Tao Yuan turned to take a look and noticed that Erman was wiping away tears. He asked, “Did his brother’s visit move him to tears?”

“He went to ask his brother to perform on stage, but his brother scolded him, so he’s crying now. It was the ones who are usually closest to him who encouraged him to do it. They must be feeling awkward and embarrassed now, and he’s crying there all alone with no one comforting him,” Lin Ya explained.

“Is that so?” Tao Yuan smiled and said, “It seems his brain really can’t compare to his brother’s. His brother hasn’t been a performer for several years, so how could he possibly be in the same state as before? Now, when he goes on stage, this legendary figure in the soldiers’ hearts is going to fall from grace. Since he’s a legendary figure, the soldiers undoubtedly have higher expectations of him. With his current performance, he will destroy his previous reputation. It’s better to keep the mysterious image of the legendary figure alive in the soldiers’ hearts.”

“With his IQ, he still wants to compete with you.” Lin Ya shook her head. “I can’t help but feel a little sorry for him.”

Tao Yuan quickly touched up his makeup, stood up, and said, “There’s nothing to feel sorry for. Everyone has to take responsibility for their actions. It’s only natural. Any bad consequences that result from one’s own actions don’t deserve sympathy.”

Tao Yuan walked onto the stage and, before the curtain was drawn, he struck a pose to prepare himself. 

As the performance began, Tao Yuan started dancing, and the soldiers in the audience were thrilled, almost going crazy. He was performing ballet, and his red short skirt and long legs were so sexy that they felt like they might burst into nosebleeds.

Even Zuo Lei, who was watching the live stream on his computer, felt like he was going crazy. He knew that Tao Yuan was going to perform ballet, but he didn’t expect this outfit. He had torn that red skirt apart himself, so why did Tao Yuan have the same one?

Just looking at Tao Yuan’s pair of straight, long, and silky-smooth white legs made Zuo Lei remember the day when Tao Yuan wore the same red skirt and he had him pinned underneath him. Zuo Lei was already feeling aroused. He thought Tao Yuan must have known he would be watching, so he deliberately chose this outfit for the performance.

After Tao Yuan’s performance, Zuo Lei was breathless and got up to take a cold shower in the bathroom to cool down.

They continued performing until very late, and almost everyone went on stage. Tao Yuan performed twice all by himself. The soldiers in the audience watching were fascinated, feeling like they had no regrets in this lifetime.

When they arrived at the temporary dormitory to rest, as they were about to go upstairs, Tao Yuan once again noticed Ke Ning with some soldiers guarding downstairs. Tao Yuan didn’t have much of an opinion about him initially, but the way he kept looking at him with those eyes was starting to make him feel disgusted.

After going upstairs to wash up, Tao Yuan and Lin Ya both lay down on their respective single beds, chatted for a while, and then fell asleep.

Several hours later, everyone in the building was in deep sleep when they were abruptly awakened by the sound of an explosion and blaring alarms.

Tao Yuan and Lin Ya both jerked upright simultaneously. Lin Ya anxiously asked, “Was that an explosion just now? I wasn’t dreaming, was I?”

“It was an explosion, and the alarm is ringing. Hurry up, get dressed, and carry your weapons!” Tao Yuan began dressing as he spoke, opening his suitcase.

In their suitcases, they not only had their performance military uniforms but also a set of combat uniforms and various portable weapons.

Lin Ya also opened his suitcase, quickly put on his combat uniform, and put on the head shield. Afterward, he checked the various weapons in the pockets of his combat uniform. Their combat uniforms and head shields provided some protection to their bodies, so whenever they left the ship, they had to carry their suitcases with them. This was because their suitcases contained combat uniforms with various weapons that could be used for self-defense or to end their lives in critical situations.

Just as they were preparing everything, they heard an urgent doorbell. Lin Ya immediately rushed over and opened the door, looking at the soldier outside and asking, “What’s going on?!”

“Hurry, gather downstairs to take cover!” The soldier didn’t have time to explain further. After quickly relaying the message, he ran off to check other rooms.

Tao Yuan and Lin Ya rushed downstairs, and many people were already running on the stairs.

All the literary soldiers assembled downstairs, and the squad team leader counted the number of people while checking to see if anyone hadn’t come down yet.

Tao Yuan’s eyes shifted, and he saw Dean standing with Erman. He was momentarily surprised, then realized that Dean had come to deliver weapons. This was the only cixing dormitory building in the base. He must have been staying here overnight.

They still didn’t know what was happening. After everyone had gathered, the squad team leader led them to a combat vehicle, under the protection of the soldiers, to quickly move to a safe location to hide.

While they were on the move, they heard more explosions, and sparks from distant explosions filled the sky.

Their combat vehicle had only driven a short distance when they heard a massive bang from behind. They all turned to look. The dormitory building they had just vacated had been crushed by falling debris, with the top two floors completely destroyed.

Tao Yuan wondered, wasn’t there peace between nations now? Even if there was a conflict, no country would be foolish enough to attack this planet. Could it be… interstellar pirates?

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1 Comment

  • Anonymous says:

    truly dean is a prime example that experience brings wisdom.. glad that he actually took the hint .. hes still an asshole for cheating though .. poor kaden too .. though i doubt hes innocent in this scenario anw.. it takes two tango and he was the one who wanted dean to take care of him when he was ill .. too bad it didnt make dean anyless not in love w him

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