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Author:Eveofchaos Category:Unreal Update time:2022-09-14 08:17:02


Chapter 402 Manners

A normal person would get incredibly mad at Jenna, but Khan didn't belong to that category. His relationship with her was also far from the ordinary, and they had both expected something like that to happen.

Moreover, Jenna didn't do anything terrible, at least from Khan's perspective. She had revealed a truth that Monica was bound to learn sooner or later. Khan would have preferred Monica to hear it from him, but Jenna's toxic sides had ended up getting there first.

"[Are you mad at me]" Jenna asked without hiding her anticipation. She looked eager to reexperience their previous interaction, but Khan's silence ruined her plans.

Khan already had a heavy mind after meeting Rodney. He was in no condition to deal with those new problems. His team was also waiting for him inside the building, but he didn't hurry inside.

Jenna's smirk turned into a surprised face when Khan reached for her hair. She remained clung to his arm while he caressed her. His unexpected reaction told her that something was wrong, but his lost gaze didn't let her pry into his problems right away.

Except for the dock, Khan and Jenna had always restrained themselves in public. She had also avoided expressing her affection outside of the Nele's district. Appearances were a big deal for her species, so that behavior was safer.

Still, a lot had changed since then, and not only for Jenna. Her urges had continued to intensify, and Monica's situation had ultimately made her explode. Holding back had become impossible for her, and Khan found himself in a similar situation.

'One step at a time,' Khan thought while immersing himself in Jenna's affectionate warmth. 'Without pretenses or lies.'

"[I messed up, didn't I]" Jenna exclaimed when she felt that the proper time to speak had arrived.

Khan finally focused on Jenna. Her gaze expressed her confusion. She seemed busy looking for a reason behind her recent action, and some sadness arrived when she realized what she had done.

"[How could I ever be mad at you]" Khan reassured before Jenna could blame herself. "[The way I see it, I put you in this situation]."

"[Don't even try that]," Jenna complained.

"[I could have solved this by kissing you during our first meeting]," Khan joked. "[You wouldn't have had the time to be jealous if I did]."

"[We both know why you didn't]," Jenna stated. "[We both know why you always stop me]."

Khan could only smile. They had gone over that topic many times, both explicitly and in their minds. The Nele's approach to feelings was too similar to the Niqols'. Khan would have used Jenna to replace Liiza without ever loving her like the latter.

That was unacceptable for Khan. The closer he grew to Jenna, the more he wanted her to experience true happiness. Allowing her to fulfill her feelings would trap her in a relationship where she would always be in second place, and she deserved better.

Monica was by no means inferior. She also deserved someone who put her in the first place, but her human approach to feelings created a path that Khan could tread.

Khan could have a different relationship with Monica, one that didn't initially involve a broader emotional spectrum, something innocent born only by mutual attraction.

Of course, that type of relationship involved different risks. Khan would never find complete satisfaction if everything remained under human terms. Monica might also be unable to keep up with Khan for various reasons, but he was willing to take that risk. He wanted to try to be happy, and that path showed some potential.

"[Are you calm now]" Khan asked while the long exchange of gazes with Jenna continued.

"[No]," Jenna stated without bothering to hide her lie. She could almost feel that Khan would let her go if she said otherwise.

"[I've met Rodney]," Khan revealed since Jenna's reaction reassured him. "[He has more eyes than we initially realized. I'm afraid we can't beat him in that field]."

"[How did he even get here unnoticed]" Jenna wondered.

"[He is aware of my senses]," Khan explained, "[And he is smart enough to expect the same from your species. He must have hidden his face even before crossing the short-distance teleports]."

"[Troublesome]," Jenna commented. "[None of us had the chance to sense his presence properly]."

"[It doesn't matter]," Khan responded. "[He won't give any of us the chance to sense him. He'll remain hidden until the celebrations arrive]."

Jenna's questioning gaze forced Khan to spill the bean. He summarized the contents of his meeting with Rodney, highlighting the time left before the mission and his plans.

As a citizen of Milia 222, Jenna was aware of the celebrations, but her knowledge ended there. She knew nothing about a hidden area above the dock, let alone any structure inside it.

Yet, Jenna's focus remained on Khan's requests. The walk back to the building had given him the time to devise plans, and one of them involved the only place on Milia 222 with natural mana.

"[Everyone will welcome you with open arms]," Jenna exclaimed before recalling something. "[But, are you sure Your departure will create problems]."

"[Let me handle Luke]," Khan reassured. "[As for Monica, we never had any future if she can't get over you]."

"[I like seeing you so confident]," Jenna commented, but the kiss that landed on her forehead pushed back her resurfacing urges.

"[I need you to take care of the messenger]," Khan whispered while his face remained close to Jenna's. "[I can't trust anyone else]."

"[You have grown sly]," Jenna complained.

"[I've always been sly]," Khan teased, "[But you know I'm telling the truth]."

Jenna sighed. She didn't like the idea of leaving Khan again, but she had no other options. The Nele were perfect for the task.

"[We might fail]," Jenna warned. "[The Orlats are annoying, and Rodney's allies don't end at that species]."

"[They are hired muscles]," Khan declared. "[Quality beats quantity. Besides, I only need to know if the messenger slips up]."

"[Since everyone has seen us already]," Jenna teased, "[I'm the only one who can report to you without arousing suspicion]."

"[I wouldn't think of anyone else for that role]," Khan revealed. "[Hurry up now. We'll be together soon anyway]."

"[I won't let you go for even a second once we get home]," Jenna giggled and squeezed Khan's arm before letting it go. The two separated, and Khan followed Jenna with his senses once she disappeared around the corner.

The synthetic mana eventually gained features that Khan could recognize. Everything was too distant from him to provide an actual description, but he could confirm that more Nele had arrived in the area. Jenna must have joined them, and Khan understood that his time to return had also come.

'Quality beats quantity,' Khan repeated in his mind as he walked around the building to reach its entrance.

Rodney's words resounded in Khan's ears while he remained immersed in his thoughts, and he couldn't refute them. Being a member of the human species granted incredible advantages, and Khan relied on them, even if not on purpose.

The Orlats had a bad reputation and an even worse character. The Fuveall were famous for relying on technology over people, and their peculiar beliefs didn't help with political relationships.

Instead, the humans occupied a middle ground that allowed them to be anything they wanted. They were a flexible species that held great influence in the universe. They were so flexible that extremes like Khan and Rodney could exist inside the same organization.

Khan had to thank his species for his current knowledge, at least partially. He had mostly abandoned the Global Army's teachings, but that same organization had opened the doors for the alien arts so dear to him.

However, when Khan compared the two, he preferred his approach over Rodney's. He would always choose fewer but meaningful relationships. Having a bunch of puppets under his payroll didn't interest him in the slightest.

When Khan entered Luke's building, he was still immersed in his thoughts, but the tension that landed on his senses forced him to snap back to reality. The four first-level warriors, Francis, and Bruce were in the main hall, and they appeared far from happy.

"What took you so long!" Bruce immediately exclaimed while leaving the armchair.

Khan only needed a glance to understand that the attack on the warehouses had failed, but he had expected a similar result. Meeting Rodney had only confirmed his guess, so that scene didn't surprise him.

"Where is Luke" Khan asked, going directly to the point as he made his way through the room.

"I'm sick of this!" Francis shouted while leaving the couch to step in front of Khan. "You can't treat us like this!"

Khan didn't even realize that his hand went for the sheath, but Francis' following words made him interrupt the gesture. "What did you even do to Monica I've never seen her act like that!"

'Right,' Khan thought as his annoyance suddenly disappeared.

Monica had cried. Khan could imagine that her return inside the building had been far from peaceful. Martha was also nowhere to be seen, and part of him hoped she was with Monica.

Khan believed that Monica had to accept Jenna's situation, but he could acknowledge his wrongdoings. He didn't feel wrong for what he did with Jenna, but he was guilty of keeping Monica partially in the dark.

"You are right," Khan muttered. "I'll do better."

Francis wasn't ready for that honest reply. Khan appeared genuinely sorry and willing to make up for his mistakes. Even his gaze expressed some shame when he lowered it.

"Y-," Francis eventually managed to stammer, but Khan abruptly lifted his gaze and interrupted his line. Yet, Khan's eyes didn't point at him. They looked past Francis to inspect the elevator in the back of the hall.

The sound of opening doors made Francis turn. The elevator had just landed, revealing Luke standing inside it. His face was oddly cold, but Francis became unable to inspect it since Khan's back filled his vision. He had crossed him during that unexpected arrival.

"We need to talk," Khan announced before Luke could say anything. Silence reigned while Khan entered the elevator, and no one spoke even after its doors closed.

Luke kept his eyes on the entrance while the elevator reached the last floor. He remained silent even after marching into the corridor and entering the meeting area with the interactive desk. Meanwhile, Khan followed him closely and sorted out his thoughts.

"What the ** are you even doing!" Luke exploded once the metal door closed behind Khan.

Luke turned to show his livid face. The failure of the assault on the warehouses had clearly dealt a painful blow to his morale, and Khan's behavior had only worsened the situation.

"I give you all the resources and freedom in the world," Luke continued, "And you treat me like dirt! I'm not even asking for much. Just show some respect in public!"

Contrary to Monica's events, Khan felt no remorse before Luke's anger. He was in the wrong, but Luke had used Martha against him. That remained unforgivable.

"So" Luke asked. "Nothing Will you just stand still and in silence"

"I'm waiting for you to calm down," Khan finally spoke.

"Calm down" Luke repeated. "I've failed in a vital family mission, and my best subordinate can't even bother to stick to basic manners!"

Luke realized that something was wrong as soon as his phrase ended. The area grew cold, and a chill ran down his spine.

"You hired me," Khan slowly spoke, "But I'm not your subordinate."

Luke wanted to respond, but his better self took over and made him take a deep breath. Venting was pointless, and Khan was right. Calling him a subordinate had been a mistake on many levels.

"Sorry," Luke quickly voiced. "I have a lot on my plate, and I took it out on you."

Luke's social skills prevented an unnecessary escalation, which also made Khan take a step back. Luke's behavior was quite understandable, and the words he chose simply revealed goals that Khan was already aware of.

"There is a bottle in the back," Luke continued. "And I need a drink. I hope you'll accompany me."

"Of course," Khan accepted while mustering a shameless smile. "Something to eat would be nice too."

"No problem," Luke chuckled before his tone turned slightly serious, "But you'll tell me everything afterward."

"I planned to do that in the first place," Khan revealed, and the two approached the interactive table to begin that meeting.

Drinks came out and food arrived while Khan described everything he knew. He also talked about Rodney but avoided details that might reveal too much about the Nele, especially those involving the dock.

Luke had already understood that his family had become a suspect in Khan's mind, and learning about the Fuveall's opinion on security systems played in favor of that hypothesis. Yet, the news remained a bit shocking, especially when he heard how much Khan could connect to it.

"How do you know that my uncle is guilty" Luke asked once the explanation ended.

"I wouldn't dare to throw such accusations," Khan stated. "Mister Raymond does fit the profile of someone who could pull this off, but I have no actual proof."

Luke's gaze fell on his drink as he reviewed what he had just learnt. His expertise didn't involve technology, so he couldn't reject the opinion of a Fuveall. He was also out of reasonable answers. Only an actual ghost could have stolen the reinforced fabric after his arrival, and the scanners in the factory would have probably captured it anyway.

"It would make perfect sense," Luke eventually sighed. "My uncle is one of the few with the knowledge, influence, and resources necessary to plant someone inside the factory. Part of the crew might be loyal to him."

Khan nodded without adding anything. He knew that Luke might pull the plug on the investigation anyway, so he remained silent to wait for his decision.

"Changing the security logs," Luke scoffed. "Of course. There wouldn't be any need to resurface either. My uncle might have built a secret passage under the factory before the start of the project."

That idea had escaped Khan's mind, but he wasn't really to blame since he didn't know the entire timeline of the factory. Still, a secret passage would surely come in handy when stealing something.

"Did he set me up to fail" Luke wondered. "It's strange. My father only cares about results, but my uncle is different. I know he loves me, so he must be up to something important."

"Should I back away" Khan asked.

"Would it piss you off" Luke chuckled.

"A bit," Khan admitted, "But the mission is yours. Only you can make that decision."

"Both paths will anger someone inside my family," Luke helplessly revealed. "If I retreat, my father will see me as a failure. If I keep going, I might ruin my uncle's plans."

The decision was far from easy. Khan didn't envy Luke's position. In comparison, his desire to remain on Milia 222 was relatively pure.

"I guess I'm my father's son," Luke cursed. "I love my uncle, but this is my mission. He should have asked permission before messing up with it."

"I'll follow my plan then," Khan responded. "Rodney can't be trusted, but he seemed really scared. He should lead us to the hidden area."

"About that," Luke called. "I don't like leaving everything on you. Let's double-cross Rodney. Master Ivor would be more than happy to come along."

"I wish it were that easy," Khan uttered. "I hate to admit it, but the guy is pretty smart. He won't give us the chance to double-cross him."

"What about the spies" Luke wondered. "I'm richer than him. I'm sure I can bribe someone in his network."

"It's too risky," Khan stated. "Some of his spies are blackmailed criminals who won't budge before money. We might get unlucky and bribe one of them only to have Rodney learn about our attempts."

"Who even is this guy" Luke scoffed. "I've never seen such meticulous planning."

"Survivors have the bad habit of being a few steps ahead," Khan voiced while losing himself deep in his memories. "Istrone was bad, but Nitis was worse, and Rodney saw his share of things there."

"I feel so powerless," Luke sighed. "At least, keep me in the loop, and try not to disappear for too long before the celebrations. I'll come up with a story to get the team ready."

"Right," Khan recalled, "Is my stuff here The luggage I left on the first asteroid."

"Yes, of course," Luke announced. "It should be in your room. Didn't you check"

"I never thought I'd need it," Khan shrugged his shoulders before standing up. In his mind, the meeting was over.

"One last thing," Luke called before Khan could turn. "Do I need to know anything about Miss Solodrey"

"Luke, you aren't dumb," Khan declared. "You know you shouldn't ask such questions."

With that, Khan turned and approached the entrance. He almost expected Luke to stop him, but the silence that followed told him that he could leave.

'This is done,' Khan thought as soon as the corridor expanded in his view. He had a lot to do, but he needed to make a stop before starting his preparations. Hopefully, Monica was ready to see him.-

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