Not the Daughter of a Noble Clan
“There are three rules in our squad, and you are obligated to remember them as one of us. First, you must obey orders. Second, do not dive in to die. Third…”
Lin Chucheng had to power walk to keep up with Oraina’s wide strides across the hangar. He was comparable to a primary school student listening to his teacher who was sounding off without looking back, making sure to catch every word.
There were technicians in blue uniforms carrying equipment to work stations, raising the temperature in the hangar.
Oraina, who had three fingers up as she was about to list the third rule, halted in front of a hangar and peered inside: “Third, trust your partner.”
Lin Chucheng’s nerves kicked in upon seeing his aircraft for the first time. The aircraft was recognition he was no longer a student. One mistake and he would never touch earth again. He was focused solely on his aircraft and didn’t notice the young girl sitting to the side.
The girl sitting by the side was a technician judging from her appearance. She set down the hardware and tools to salute the two: “Ma’am Oraina, is he my pilot?”
“Correct. He’s the new pilot, Lin Chucheng. Lin Chucheng, this is your gunner, who will sit behind you Alice Zweina.”
“Lin Chucheng? That’s a rare surname.”
Alice’s response was unexpected, much to Lin Chucheng’s excitement. To him, it was the first time he wasn’t associated with his father.
“Your aircraft is Noble 78 Dive Bomber. Starting from tomorrow morning, you two are to commence teamwork training. For the remainder of today, spend some time getting to know each other. The only one who can help you once you’re in the sky is your partner. If you can’t get along, switch immediately.”
Oraina patted Lin Chucheng on the shoulder to indicate for him to come with her. He followed along with questions on his mind to a corner outside the hangar. Oraina stated, “Lin Chucheng, bear in mind that Alice is a commoner. She comes from the countryside. I know you’re Prime Minister Lin’s son, so you’re of higher standing than me. If you can’t accept being paired up with a commoner, I can reassign you elsewhere. That being said, there’s nobody of your standing in the entire division. We’re both pilots, so we can’t share an aircraft.”
There was no rule against commoners enlisting in the military. Nobles, however, were too proud to be paired up with commoners or serve under them. That was the reason the military was split into commoners and nobles.
As the longest reigning prime minister and designer behind the curtain, Lin Clan’s status was the highest among the nobles. Among the nobles in the military, Oraina had the most prestigious background. As such, the only pairing that would’ve made sense without the pilot context was Lin Chucheng and Oraina. Nonetheless, Lin Chucheng wasn’t a noble who looked down on commoners. He knew best people approached him in the past purely to approach his father. His only real friend was Princess Irena.
Lin Chucheng shook his head: “I don’t mind. I am glad to be paired with Alice.”
Oraina monitored Lin Chucheng to ensure she wasn’t making the wrong judgement then quietly cleared her throat: “As that is your wish, I shall not interfere. As I said, though, your partner is the only one you can rely on once you’re in the air. If there is any discord up there, both of you are doomed. That is why I don’t want you to do this for a farce. If you have anything you’re dissatisfied with, speak up.”
“I understand, and I mean what I say.”
Alice sat back down and worked on a machine gun, which was the weapon she was in charge of in flight. Besides manning the gun, she also needed to fix the aircraft on the fly. She looked up at Lin Chucheng upon hearing his footsteps return. With oil on her face, she dimpled: “Pleasure to meet you. Where do you come from?”
“Mm, the imperial capital.” Lin Chuchen crouched down and watched Alice squeezing metal. “You need a hand?”
“No, I got this.” Alice placed aside the accessory she finished putting together and turned back to Lin Chucheng. Being so close to the smell of oil and a commoner girl was nerve-racking for Lin Chucheng. She removed her glove and smiled brightly: “Hello, Lin Chucheng. I am your gunner. Please keep me safe in the air. I have to bring a medal home for my younger brother.”
Lin Chucheng had shaken hands with plenty of people, including Queen Sisi, her daughter, envoys from other nations and plenty of nobles. He had seen more crafty smiles than he could remember. He was never proud of himself during aforementioned interactions for he realised he was but a tool, humiliating him. Yet, he was nervous when Alice, whose face was slightly sunburnt, held out a hand to him, sleeve stained with fuel.
Lin Chucheng wiped his hand on his pants and brightly took Alice’s hand tight: “I am your pilot. Please look out for me when I can’t see behind me. I also want to bring home a medal for my mother.”
“We’re the best team, then. I believe I’m the best marksman, so you need to be the best pilot.”
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