Chapter 31: Third World (3)
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Accepting the vital task entrusted by Zhou Mo, Bai Duan immediately began to study the sketch of the equipment he provided and moved into Zhou Mo’s current residence. On the one hand, this sketch was extremely confidential, and this was to prevent the secret from leaking; on the other hand, it was convenient for him to discuss progress with Zhou Mo, the original designer at any time, so as not to take a detour.
Bai Duan had no objection to this arrangement. He was protected by a deputy general and returned to his shop. He settled things with the old carpenter, arranged several clothes and articles, and brought his usual tools.
On the way, the deputy general, who was named, Song Ying, showed great enthusiasm and curiosity for Bai Duan. Bai Duan pushed boats along the river and asked him a lot of news.
According to Song Ying, which of course, omitted a lot of fanatical worship, General Zhou had the idea of making such a device long before he was sent to prison. He intended to use it to fight the Northern Hu people, but unexpectedly the wind and clouds changed abruptly. He had not yet sought the perfect craftsmen, then he was sent to a barren and bitter place.
Even though he was extremely disappointed with the court, General Zhou still did not give up his ideas, because he did not design these instruments to flatter the court and seek fame and fortune, but for tens of millions of soldiers on the battlefield.
After rebelling against the imperial court, General Zhou restarted the process of making instruments. Unfortunately, they did not find enough craftsmen to perfect the design sketches all the way. As a result, General Zhou and they were disappointed again and again, and even some doubted whether the conceptual plans were just fantasies.
The appearance of Bai Duan gave them a glimmer of hope.
“Brother Bai, don’t let us put too much pressure on you. The general and we all know the difficulty of this matter very well. Even if it can’t be made, I’ll thank you as well!” Song Ying, with a bright smile, raised his hand and patted Bai Duan on the shoulder.
Bai Duan staggered, quickly stabilized his body, thoughtfully nodding, “I have always been impressed by Lord General Zhou in my heart. To tell you the truth, my father also served under the General. Since I was a child, I have always respected the General. I will certainly do my best to help the general achieve his dream.”
Hearing that Bai Duan was the son of a comrade in arms, Song Ying treated him more kindly, and could not help but mention a few words to the little brother who would live with Zhou Mo day and night for a long time in the future. “Although General Zhou looks serious in appearance and does not like to laugh very much, his personality is quite mild. You need not be afraid of him, no matter what the problem is, be straightforward. The general likes this kind of man best! “
Bai Duan nodded and then wondered, “Is the general serious? I think he’s extremely approachable.”
Song Ying murmured for a moment, “Maybe he liked Little Brother Bai at first sight. Today, the General’s smiled a lot more, and he even joked about Little Brother Bai’s nickname. It really surprised us!!”
When it came to this embarrassment, Bai Duan blushed and laughed embarrassingly.
Seeing his appearance, Song Ying laughed and consoled, “Brother Bai need not be shy, we are all poor people, have nicknames like tiger, dog or even egg. These generals also know, and even some people’s common names are given by generals!” After a pause, he was quite doubtful. “But the general never made fun of our nicknames, so we were so surprised that he laughed about it today.”
With that, Song Ying looked Bai Duan up and down, raised his eyebrows slightly, and pinched Bai Duan’s cheek. “It must be because you look so beautiful, more beautiful than the most beautiful girl we’ve ever seen. It’s more interesting to wear this name!” Song Ying stiffened sharply before the laughing words fell. He turned his head vigilantly, held a dagger in one hand, and the handle to the door in the other, but he did not have to pull the blade out. His serious face turned into flattery for a moment, and he coughed dryly, “Er… General?”
Bai Duan looked, only to see Zhou Mo. He did not know when he had left the county government office, and he was now standing in front of the house with a serious expression.
Song Ying quietly loosened his dagger under the strong sense of oppression. He uncomfortably wiped two fingers that had pinched Bai Duan cheek on his clothes and trousers but found that his General’s sight was more penetrating.
“Song Ying.” Zhou Mo said quietly, “Since you are so idle, with time to make fun of others here, you might as well go and help sort out and register the goods.”
Song Ying was astonished, “Don’t! General! You know what I hate most about trivial things. It’s a headache to look at the numbers! Asking the General to show mercy!”
“If you are not good at it, you can’t escape it. Only with more training can we make progress.” General Zhou Mo glanced at him lightly but was not moved at all. “Go quickly!”
“… Yes.” Song Ying, crying and mourning, saluted Zhou Mo and then left with his tail between his legs like a bereaved dog.
Seeing the eye-catching person go away, Zhou Mo calmed down and went to the startled Bai Duan. His tone was gentle, “Sorry, my men are all big and thick, and their words and deeds are inappropriate. He bumped into little brother.”
Bai Duan looked back and shook his head hastily. “No harm, no harm!”
Although Bai Duan was a little unhappy with Song Ying’s frivolous action, at this moment, his heart was full of sympathy for him.
Zhou Mo smiled and raised his hand to make a ‘please’ gesture, “I have ordered people to tidy up the rooms. Come and see if it is satisfactory, and what needs to be added to the purchase list.”
Bai Duan didn’t expect Zhou Mo to settle him in person and was flattered for a moment. He followed Zhou Mo and visited the place where he would live in the future. It was not that Zhou Mo was overly polite, but the arrangement was so thorough and meticulous that he could not pick out any mistakes at all. It was better than if Bai Duan had prepared it himself. It suited him quite well.
After thanking Zhou Mo, Bai Duan couldn’t find any topic to alleviate the strange and embarrassing atmosphere between them. He was always uncommunicative, and every day he worked hard and communicated with customers with the old carpenter. At this moment, facing Zhou Mo, who had power and strong momentum, he was even more helpless.
Zhou Mou looked at Bai Duan, sighed slightly in his heart, reached for him, sat down at the table, and took out the scroll with a sketch. “I came here personally to see if you were satisfied with the arrangement. On the other hand, I also wanted to hear your opinions on my devices as soon as possible. You said earlier that you had some ideas, I wonder if you could tell me?”
Hearing Zhou Mo’s reasonable explanation, Bai Duan immediately threw aside that helplessness, took several pieces of white paper, and began to explain his ideas and correct some of the errors Zhou Mo made.
After referring to the topic he was good at, Bai Duan quickly focused on it. While he was writing and drawing on the paper, he straightened out his ideas. His tone became more and more definite, and his thoughts became clearer and more apparent. He completely lost his nervousness and talked endlessly.
Unfortunately, Zhou Mo, the listener, was not very attentive. His face was serious, and he nodded twice and asked a few questions from time to time, but his eyes were always turning on the slender fingers holding the pen, the slender neck, and the white cheeks on Bai Duan’s face. And he primarily focused on the small piece that had been ‘dyed’ red by Song Ying. He wished he could use his eyes to wipe it twice and erase the imprint, but that would be very eye-catching.
Bai Duan was a simple working-class person, and his character was more honest and wooden, which made Zhou Lu feel entirely novel. However, he was not happy to see the different faces of his lover. On the contrary, Zhou Mo had been a little crazy since he came to this world.
Bai Duan had always been lacking in love. When they first met, even in an information-driven, open, and pluralistic world, he wasted all his efforts to make the other really enlightened. Nowadays, they were in a conservative and closed ancient world, and Bai Duan’s memories were completely sealed. Without the feeling of love at first sight, Zhou Mo really did not know how long he would have to endure before he could hold his beauty again.
More importantly, in this era, the citizens still believed in some gods and ghosts. Even in front of Bai Duan, Zhou Mo could not show too much abnormality. He could only make himself more gentle, so as not to frighten his honest little lover and make him more afraid to approach him.
To have a reasonable lover’s relationship, Zhou Mo was so worried about those issues that he didn’t even think about anything else when he was sent to prison and exiled.
However, it was no use to be anxious. The road needed to be taken step by step, and lovers needed to eat one mouthful at a time. The only thing Zhou Mo could do now was boil frogs in warm water with Bai Duan around him and stir them up imperceptibly.
Using him to help manufacture military equipment was a good reason to keep him around. Zhou Mo had prepared for this for a long time, even at the risk of violating the norms and inventing something that did not belong to this era.
Nevertheless, although he made the sketch, he deliberately changed it into a mess and full of fallacies. What he really needed was for Bai Duan to perfect it, which would be regarded as the indigenous people of this era doing so by the criteria, so it was not too big a mistake. After all, it was not the first time that Zhou Mo had found a loophole, and his technique was naturally quite skilled. The inch he navigated through was also well grasped.
In this way, while listening to Bai Duan narrate with one heart and two minds, while thinking about the beautiful future of his lover in mind, Zhou Mo soon saw Bai Duan put down his pen with slightly red cheeks. “Well… that’s all I can think of. Do you think it will work, General?”
“Very good!” Zhou Mo immediately grabbed back his scattered mind and nodded earnestly. On his face, he was overwhelmed with excitement and appreciation. “I think your idea is very good! It’s worth a try!”
Hearing that his opinion was accepted and agreed with, Bai Duan was naturally pleased, “Then I will start making models tomorrow!”
“Good.” Zhou Mo smiled at Bai Duan and said softly, “It’s hard for you.”
Bai Duan’s cheeks flushed, and he glanced at him slightly. “It’s a privilege for this one to serve the general.”
Looking at Bai Duan being so shy, Zhou Mo felt only itchy palms. He raised his hand and tried to touch the other’s head or pinch his cheek like Song Ying, but he restrained himself. Finally, he put his hand on Bai Duan’s shoulder and patted it gently, “Don’t be so polite, you are the first person who understands my sketch, and you are my only confidant. I don’t want to be your superior. You are now like a brother to me. I’ll call you ‘Brother Duan,’ and you call me ‘Big Brother Zhou.’ How about that?”
After thinking about it, Zhou Mo felt that Song Ying’s company was too cheap, so he decided to add more workloads to him.
For Zhou Mo’s proposal, Bai Duan felt that he was overstepping his boundaries. After all, other people respectfully called Zhou Mo’ General,’ and he was only an ordinary person. He really couldn’t afford to call him ‘Big Brother Zhou.’
However, looking at Zhou Mo’s eagerly anticipating eyes, Bai Duan did not know why he could not speak out his refusal. After a long time, he finally nodded softly, “Un, Big Brother Zhou.”
Zhou Mo smiled with satisfaction and finally raised his hand, rubbed Bai Duan’s head like he loved his younger brother, and looked at his white cheek for three seconds with regret.
Well, Song Ying’s workload has doubled again!
Song Ying, who was busy in the warehouse, said, “I’m sorry to hear that. QAQ”