Chapter 33: Third World (5)
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
After sighing, Zhou Mo quickly got back to his slack mind because he found his lover. Once again, he corrected his attitude. On the one hand, he cleaned up the army, recruited and trained new soldiers, distributed and arranged materials; on the other hand, he began to study his next marching route.
Of course, in addition to dealing with official duties, Zhou Mo did not neglect his sweetheart. As long as he had free time, he would gather around Bai Duan; study and improve his ‘invention’ with him; accompany him to practice writing, chatting, and strive to close the distance between each other; commonly known as brushing him with good feelings.
In this regard, although some of his confidants were surprised by their general’s undisguised preference for Bai Duan, they did not voice any opinions. On the contrary, they felt that this was the right thing to do. After all, Zhou Mo’s desire for new ordnance was well known. Now that he finally had the hope of success, how could he not concentrate on it?
Therefore, no one thought that under General Zhou’s rigorous appearance, this ‘drunken’ man’s mind was not riddled with an ‘evil heart’.
In this way, Bai Duan’s research process was expanding with his constant discussions with Zhou Mo. He made more than a dozen models in succession, continually improving and adjusting the details of them, and finally succeeded in creating a satisfactory finished product — and then, to scale up the model and make it real, to see if there were problems with the real thing.
Making them come to life was obviously more complicated than making models. At least, to fix such a huge instrument, it was necessary to use iron nails, rivets, bolts, iron sheets, and so on. Unfortunately, Bai Duan did not know the skill of tapping iron.
Nevertheless, it was hard to beat the omnipotent strangers.
After learning the news, Zhou Mo immediately requisitioned the town’s iron shop and went to use it in person.
He skillfully lit the stove, pulled the bellows, and the flames that rushed through the hearth instantaneously reddened his face. Bai Duan watched quietly on one side and was stunned by Zhou Mo’s skillful movements.
Glancing at Bai Duan’s astonished expression, Zhou Mo laughed, “I grew up in the barracks, not only did I like to play with the weapons of my elders, but I also often went to the blacksmith in the army to watch him make and repair weapons. Although I have not officially learned, I saw enough.”
Bai Duan nodded, “But this kind of rough work, I can find a blacksmith to do the same, Big Brother Zhou, you are so busy, you do not need to personally help me…”
“I have nothing else to do lately, you are more important here. As long as I can make the instrument successfully, I will have no worries and can let go of it.” Zhou Mo said, wiping the sweat on his forehead, pulling open his shirt at his directly and briskly, and taking off his jacket, revealing his muscular chest. “Sorry, it’s too hot here. Would you like to take off your jacket, too?”
Bai Duan was so shy and envious that he looked away and waved his hand.
Obviously, he was not too particular about people. He often went to battle barefoot in summer, but somehow, when he saw Zhou Mo’s naked chest, he could not help blushing and becoming embarrassed. He dared not look at it more, nor did he dare to be shirtless together. Even if it was sweltering in the room, and he was sweating horribly.
Well, it must be because his figure was so inferior to Zhou Mo’s that he was embarrassed and wanted to hide his inferior body subconsciously.
Seeing Bai Duan reject his proposal, Zhou Mo smacked his lips with regret, but continued the topic at will, “What’s more, your ‘invention’ was studied by my brother. No one knows it better than us. I wouldn’t feel assured that it would be done correctly if it was handed over to a blacksmith who knows nothing about it. In case if it was not done correctly, I would have to keep returning. So, it would be better for me to do it personally to save more time and effort.”
Bai Duan watched carelessly as Zhou Mo took out the red-burning ironware from the furnace and put it on the iron table to beat and turn it repeatedly as he hammered it into the shape he desired. Zhou Mo’s actions were swift, and his attention was very focused. He quickly completed shaping the parts one by one.
This kind of work was not easy, even Zhou Mo felt tired after working hard for some time. He put down the hammer and wiped the sweat on his face and neck with a cloth towel. He lifted a kettle and drank a few mouthfuls. His sweaty and muscular chest fluctuated violently. Bai Duan could not help but follow this movement as his tongue went dry. He wanted to run away in a hurry but carefully cast his eyes on the iron platform.
After drinking the water, Zhou Mou was depressed to find that even though he had shown off his naked chest and thought he could make his sweetheart move, he discovered that Bai Duan’s vision was not on him at all. He couldn’t help sighing.
Seeing that Bai Duan looked earnest and attentive, Zhou Mo lifted his eyebrows with dignity, “Is Brother Bai interested in beating iron?”
Bai Duan was in a state of confusion, and his brain almost collapsed when he heard his words. He nodded at will. The next second, he was dragged to the fireside by Zhou Mo, who had received the answer but had no good intentions. “If you are interested, why don’t you try?”
Bai Duan was stuffed with a hammer with a dull face, but he could not change his mind and repent. He was so depressed that he could only pick up the hammer and try the weight.
The hammer was extraordinary in appearance and weighed at least tens of kilograms. Even Bai Duan, who was a woodworker and a manual worker, was still unable to control such a massive hammer. Swinging up and smashing the weight four or five times would cause him to feel pain in his arm, even his body could not withstand the great inertia effect, and he could not help but tilt slightly.
Zhou Mo had been waiting for this moment. He laughed, grabbed the unstable Bai Duan into his arms without hesitation, helped him wipe the sweat off his head intimately, and made a joke, “My dear brother, it seems that you still need to exercise a little more!”
The iron hammer weighing more than 1000 jun (2300 pounds) in Bai Duan’s hand was lightly taken away by Zhou Mo and put on the ground. He leaned softly against his opponent’s arms, gasping for breath until he recovered slightly from his fatigue, before realizing his present situation.
Suddenly, Bai Duan’s body stiffened, and a blush spread from his cheeks to behind his ears and to his neck. He felt that the thin sweat-soaked shirt on his body no longer existed. The skin on his back seemed to stick directly to Zhou Mo’s bare chest and arms, and was heated by the heat from the other person.
Zhou Mo was not satisfied with only this. He held Bai Duan in one hand and kneaded Bai Duan’s sore arm with his other hand. Zhou Mo’s technique specialty was full of ambiguous hints. He put his lips on Bai Duan ears, and his voice was tender to the extreme, “Are you all right, little brother? Did you pull your arm?”
Bai Duan was a mess. He didn’t know what he was doing, but he instinctively realized that he could not continue to stay still.
Bai Duan felt panic coarse through his body and did not care who saw him as he tried to calmly run away from the blacksmith forge. He did not know that to anyone else who saw him, they would have thought that he looked like a scared, panicky rabbit as he ran away from a hungry wolf.
Watching Bai Duan leave, Zhou Mou was in a good enough mood to hook the corner of his lips up in a smile before lifting the hammer again to continue his unfinished work.
Regardless of the times and the personalities he needed to play, he had countless ways to make his lover proud and confused and unable to be himself. As long as the feelings for him remained in Bai Duan’s heart, he was doomed to never escape from the palm of his hand.
With the help of Zhou Mo’s enthusiasm, Bai Duan finally made his model into a real object, and the next step was how the experiment worked. The device looked a bit like a catapult, but it had a higher accuracy, a more comprehensive range, and a more robust and compact body. It was also lighter and more mobile because its body was made out of a majority of wood. Most importantly, it did not project rocks but artillery shells.
In this era, gunpowder had been invented. It was occasionally used in military affairs. Still, it had always been used to replace flammable substances such as rosin, grease, and so on to make fireballs, rockets, and other fire attack weapons. However, under the ‘reminder’ of those around him, Bai Duan had exploited its explosive performance to develop weapons with more lethality and deterrence.
When the first projectile was fired, the crashing sound and the momentum made all the people who witnessed the scene shudder like cicadas and split their hearts and gallbladders. Smoke billowed, debris and shrapnel crashed around, deafening sounds drowned the ears, and even the earth seemed to tremble under its power. Even though the people subconsciously raised their hands to cover their ears, they still went numb, but no one was willing to take their eyes off this spectacular and shocking picture.
Among the onlookers, it was not surprising that only Bai Duan was standing jointly with Zhou Mo.
Zhou Mo stood shoulder to shoulder with Bai Duan, looking at the deep pit left by the bomb explosion. He turned his head to Bai Duan with slightly lifted eyebrows and bright eyes, “What do you think of the result?”
“The accuracy is not too high. I have to adjust it again.” Bai Duan licked his lips. Although he said so, he was actually quite satisfied with his work. He had no idea that his first finished product could achieve such a good effect.
“Un, you can continue to adjust, but I think it’s ready for battle.” Zhou Mo gave a light smile.
During their conversation, the rest of them finally recovered from the shock and looked at the black spots painted all over their bodies like a silent monster, full of shock and chill.
“This, this is the instrument you designed, General?!” Song Ying’s voice was trembling. They only knew that the general attached great importance to such an ordinary thing, but never thought that it would have such high power.
Zhou Mo smiled and never competed for credit with his lover. “I didn’t design it so much as I put forward some fantastic ideas at first. It’s Brother Bai, who really turned it into reality. To be honest, it’s more perfect than I imagined.”
Bai Duan was overwhelmed by Zhou Mo’s praise, and bathed in the admiration of the public, and did not know how to deal with it.
Dumbstruck, he instinctively had to straighten his face. His expression was calm, his eyes were gentle but empty. He was carrying a profound and unpredictable detachment in his chest.
Not familiar with Bai Duan, others could not help but be deeply convinced, even Song Ying, who usually walked very close to him and had a good relationship with him, subconsciously breathed a little lighter. He could not believe that this was from the honest, easy to bully, easy to blush embarrassed Brother Bai.
This really was the case of ‘the real person does not reveal the truth, and the truth does not reveal the real person’ ah!