TOTLS Chapter 129

Arc 8: Interstellar Programmer Officer 5

The next day, as Mai Wei prepared to meet Tao Yuan, there was an inexplicable sense of anticipation and nervousness bubbling within him. Throughout his life, he had never experienced such a feeling. Some said he might never know what it’s like to have a heart beating so fast, and he himself believed that his emotions would only ever be stirred by mechas in a strange way.

Watching Tao Yuan approach him from a distance, Mai Wei’s mind once again conjured the images of last night’s dream. The image of Tao Yuan, unclothed, and the present Tao Yuan, dressed before him, overlapped in his eyes. He struggled to suppress the surging emotions within his heart.

Tao Yuan walked up to him, noticing that he seemed a bit off. He asked puzzled, “General Mai Wei, what’s wrong? Are you feeling unwell?”

“…No, I’m fine.” Mai Wei closed his eyes, using his mental strength to regain composure. Then, he looked at Tao Yuan and said, “Let’s go.”

“But… if you’re really not feeling well, why not take a day off today?” Tao Yuan gazed at his calm face, still feeling something was amiss. So, he advised, “Your health is more important than anything. Only with a healthy body can you unleash the maximum power of your mental strength. Taking care of your body is also a way to perform at your best, isn’t it?”

“I really don’t feel unwell. I’m just a bit tired, that’s all. There’s a military medic checking our bodies at the end of each day’s training, so you don’t need to worry.” Mai Wei was quite pleased with Tao Yuan’s concern.

Tao Yuan nodded and said, “Alright, let’s go.”

The two walked inside together, passing through several doors until they reached Mai Wei’s mecha parking bay.

Once inside the mech, Tao Yuan inserted the modified program crystal card into the auxiliary card slot and then took out the energy crystal card, placing it into the energy card slot.

“I’ve already made modifications here yesterday, so there shouldn’t be any issues now. Later, you can try a few times. Also, here…” Tao Yuan adjusted while pointing to the instruments, explaining the areas where the program had been modified to Mai Wei.

After finishing most of the adjustments, Tao Yuan wanted to open the mirrored protector on top. But it was a bit too high for him to reach while sitting. Just as he was about to stand up, Mai Wei had already risen to help him open it. However, since Mai Wei opened it while sitting, he inadvertently pressed against Tao Yuan’s body.

This marked the first physical contact between them in this lifetime, and Tao Yuan felt a momentary hesitation, unsure if it was intentional or unintentional on Mai Wei’s part.

In truth, Mai Wei did it intentionally. The person in his dream last night had a soft and smooth body, making him unable to resist the urge to touch him.

Tao Yuan pretended not to sense anything, continuing with his actions. He couldn’t respond to Mai Wei’s actions just yet. After all, he had joined Mai Wei with the purpose of seeking revenge for the original host’s lover. If he were to “change his mind” so quickly, it would make him seem too fickle and emotional.

On the other hand, Mai Wei looked at Tao Yuan’s unperturbed demeanor with a serious expression, feeling a twinge of dissatisfaction. Normally, wherever he went, a single glance would send females into a frenzy, trying various ways to catch his attention. In the military base, any place he walked through would have females stealing glances at him. If it weren’t for the strict military discipline, those females would surely make more blatant attempts to attract his attention. He used to be indifferent to such behavior, but now he suddenly felt a sense of loss, as if his charm was no longer effective.

Whenever Mai Wei thought about Tao Yuan still holding onto the memory of his lost “lover,” a sour feeling welled up in his heart. But considering the fact that the person was already dead and couldn’t come back to compete for affection, he felt a sense of relief.

The time for adjustments and testing each day lasted two to three hours, but Mai Wei felt that these three hours passed too quickly. It felt like less than thirty minutes, and he was soon preparing to see Tao Yuan off again, left only to await their next meeting the following day.

As Tao Yuan returned to the programming department’s office and sat down for a moment, he heard a few seconds of music playing through the glass wall. He looked up and pressed the automatic door switch, opening the glass door.

“Is there something you need?” Tao Yuan asked the person who walked in.

“Hello, I’m Segre 1, a member of Team Two,” Segre introduced himself.

Tao Yuan could tell from his demeanor that his visit was not as simple as a mere self-introduction.

Tao Yuan raised his hand and gestured, saying, “Please, have a seat.”

“I don’t have anything important. I just wanted to chat with you and get to know each other,” Segre smiled, looking at Tao Yuan. “Even though we’re in different teams, in our department, while there’s a certain level of competition in our work, our personal relationships are quite good. You’ve been here for a few days, but I haven’t seen you interact much in the break area with everyone. I thought maybe you’re a bit shy, so I came to tell you that if you ever feel tired from work, take a break. You can join us for a chat and relax.”

“Thank you for your concern. I’ve been busy because the work on my hands needs to be finished urgently. Also, I’ve always been someone of few words. I hope you don’t mind,” Tao Yuan also smiled and replied. Having lived through so many lifetimes, he had become adept at seeing through people’s intentions. With someone like Segre, attempting to deceive him with such efforts was still quite naive.

“What’s there to mind? If you’re not much of a talker, listening to me share interesting stories is also good. It’s better than staying alone and getting bored to death,” Segre said with a smile.

Tao Yuan nodded with a smile.

“I heard that General Mai Wei got special approval to bring you in. I’m quite curious. How did you get to know General Mai Wei?” Segre asked with a curious expression.

“Through a chance encounter. General Mai Wei took an interest in a program crystal card I had written. As for the specific details, because of confidentiality regulations, I can’t say much,” Tao Yuan thought, finally getting into the main topic.

“My older brother and General Mai Wei have been good friends since childhood. Our families have a great relationship, and I can say I’ve grown up under General Mai Wei’s watchful eye. Since you’re brought in by General Mai Wei, if there’s ever anything you need help with, just let me know. Although we’re in different teams, I’ll definitely lend a hand wherever I can.”

“Thank you.” Tao Yuan didn’t express approval or disapproval verbally, but inside, he felt a bit disdainful. He knew that Segre just wanted to convey his familiarity with Mai Wei.

“I’ll get back to work then. I won’t disturb you. If you ever need anything, feel free to come find me. And if you’re ever free, come chat with me. No need to be formal,” Segre said as he stood up and left.

Tao Yuan maintained a constant smile but refrained from giving a direct response.

Watching Segre leave, Tao Yuan continued his work while thinking about the information he had gathered through the system.

In these past few days, Tao Yuan sensed that Segre was constantly observing him from the shadows, thinking he was being discreet. So, he decided to use the system to investigate him.

It turned out that Segre harbored affection for Mai Wei, a sentiment that had spanned many years from his childhood. While his older brother did share a close friendship with Mai Wei, knowing of Segre’s feelings, he had orchestrated numerous opportunities for the two to spend time together. However, emotions were not something that could be forced simply by creating chances to get along.

Mai Wei had no feelings whatsoever for Segre, and he directly clarified the situation with Segre’s older brother. He made it clear that anything romantic between him and Segre was impossible, instructing him to cease any unnecessary actions. Later, seeing Segre’s melancholy because of his unrequited love, Segre’s older brother advised him to let go and await the arrival of a new love. However, Segre couldn’t bring himself to abandon his feelings for Mai Wei. Anyone connected to Mai Wei in any way became a subject of his attention.

Mai Wei, becoming a general before the age of forty, owed not only to his rare A1-level mental strength but also to his exceptional military prowess. Coupled with his tall, robust, and handsome appearance, he exuded a deadly allure of male hormones.

After hearing that Tao Yuan was brought in by Mai Wei, Segre immediately started paying attention to him. Seeing that Tao Yuan had a good appearance, he became worried that Tao Yuan might develop feelings for Mai Wei and pursue him. Coming from a prestigious noble family, Segre couldn’t resort to direct threats or warnings against Tao Yuan. His purpose in approaching Tao Yuan was to establish a good relationship with him first, then gradually make him realize the reality and discourage any inappropriate feelings toward Mai Wei.

How could Tao Yuan not be oblivious to Segre’s intentions? But until Segre made any overt moves, Tao Yuan decided to handle him with a bit of caution for now.

As Mai Wei slept at night, he dreamt of Tao Yuan again, engaging in intimate activities that left him thoroughly satisfied. Yet, just as he felt an infinite sense of contentment, the dream figure vanished once more. After he woke up, he felt empty and a lingering sense of loss.

After waking up, Mai Wei tossed and turned in bed, unable to fall back asleep. No matter how satisfying the dreams were, they were just that—dreams. He couldn’t help but think how wonderful it would be if a real person could be in his arms at this moment.

After much hesitation, Mai Wei couldn’t resist any longer. He opened the communicator, projected an image, and gazed at Tao Yuan’s sleeping face. As he watched, a smile unconsciously spread across his face, a feeling of deep contentment washing over him.

He reached out, wanting to touch Tao Yuan’s face, even thinking about giving a gentle kiss. But as his hand extended, it met only emptiness, leaving behind a profound sense of emptiness.

Mai Wei suddenly sat up, his gaze fixed on Tao Yuan’s face. The hesitation in his eyes quickly retreated, replaced by a resolute determination. He wanted that person, and he wanted to get them as quickly as possible, regardless of whether they had someone else in their heart. Waiting another day was out of the question for him. Indecision didn’t align with his character. He preferred to actively pursue what he desired, a style of action he had always adhered to.

Mai Wei decided to officially start pursuing Tao Yuan. Even though it hadn’t started yet, now that he had resolved to take action, he wouldn’t be content with just dreams and illusions. With that determination, he soon drifted into a deep sleep.

The next day, when Tao Yuan met Mai Wei again, it was quite apparent that Mai Wei’s gaze towards him had changed. Moreover, some of the deliberate actions Mai Wei took were very suggestive. Whether it was the thoughts reflected in his eyes or the naturally intimate gestures, they all conveyed to Tao Yuan that Mai Wei was expressing his pursuit.

Although Tao Yuan wanted to respond, now was not the time. So, he could only avoid Mai Wei’s gaze and try to steer clear of his intimate actions. But, Mai Wei didn’t feel disheartened or upset at all because of Tao Yuan’s avoidance. Since he had already resolved to pursue Tao Yuan, he naturally had the patience to deal with him.

As the countdown to the mecha competitions of the Five Military Districts began, Mai Wei was so busy that he had no time to find Tao Yuan. On the other hand, Tao Yuan had eased up a lot after completing the upgrade work on Mai Wei’s Level A program. He only needed to tackle some simple tasks assigned by the team leader.

Even when he had no work to do, Tao Yuan preferred staying in the office, crafting energy crystal cards. He chose not to follow Segre’s suggestion to go to the rest area and talk with others.

Finally, the competition started. After successfully advancing through the preliminary rounds, Mai Wei entered the finals, vying for the honor of being the Empire’s strongest mecha warrior against the Second Military District. Since the finals were open to the public, anyone with free time in their department could watch the live broadcast of the competition during their department meetings.

Tao Yuan naturally intended to watch as well. As he was heading towards the conference room, he coincidentally crossed paths with Segre and the rest of their team heading in the same direction.

“Are you going to the conference room to watch the match too?” Segre asked Tao Yuan with a smile.

“Yes,” Tao Yuan nodded, thinking to himself that this was truly a conversation with no need for words.

“Then sit with us,” Segre said, taking Tao Yuan’s wrist and leading him into the conference room, as if they had a close relationship.

The conference room was spacious, and every sofa chair was equally comfortable. There is a low table between each sofa chair, so Tao Yuan doesn’t care where to sit.

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  1. 塞格里 Sāi gé lǐ: English name Segre[]

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