The Emperor's Runaway Lover - Chapter 20
The off-road vehicle advanced steadily, the large expanse of brown desert passing by the window.
“Seventeen days and five hours,” Bai Mo said suddenly.
“Seventeen days and five hours of what?” Fu Yucheng didn’t know what he was talking about.
“Earlier, Yu-ge, you said that I had been giving you the cold shoulder for two or three weeks. But I didn’t spend two or three weeks without talking to you, it’s been seventeen days and five hours.”
“…” Fu Yucheng was a little speechless. “You’re so proud of it that you even timed it?”
“I’m not proud,” Bai Mo replied softly. “It was hard to get through with it.”
He turned his head, suddenly smiling. “Everything is okay now, though.”
Fu Yucheng glanced at him. He thought that when this indifferent and stubborn brat smiled, it was like snow melting. Fu Yucheng guessed that he’d break many girls’ hearts in the future.
At first, Fu Yucheng still felt like this kid was a great deal of trouble, and he was getting a headache from it. However, now, his mood gradually improved. Bai Mo was just an ignorant kid whose psionic power had just awakened. Even if something happened, they’d figure out how to improvise and adapt somehow.1
After all, was there anything in the world he hadn’t seen yet?
Compared to his past, dealing with this kid would be a piece of cake.
While turning the steering wheel, Fu Yucheng thought for a bit and said, “Little Mo, although I have promised to take you with me to the fort, before going in, I need you to agree to follow three rules.”
“Follow three rules?” Bai Mo blinked. “What rules?”
“First, you must try to control your emotions and avoid activating your untested psionic power. After some time, I’ll figure out a suitable moment to test you and determine your grade and type.”
After the mess at the recycling station just a short while ago, Fu Yucheng had figured out that the boy’s psionic force was extremely unstable, and closely linked to his emotions. However, he wouldn’t be able to judge his grade and category for a while.
Bai Mo nodded. “I will try my best to control it. What’s the second one?”
“Secondly, while we live in Fort Hurricane, you should only move within the limits I determine. You’re not allowed to run around, much less have anything to do with the Mo family.”
“No problem. What else?”
“Thirdly, don’t be impulsive. When you encounter anything, you must first discuss it with me.”
“Alright, I’ll listen to you, Yu-ge,” Bai Mo said seriously.
Fu Yucheng sighed and patted his hair lightly. “Easier said than done. Impulsiveness is the devil, little Mo, remember my words.”
The off-road vehicle sped across the vast dark brown desert, quickly passing the belt of white windmills.
After a long time, a row of dark circular buildings finally appeared on the distant horizon.
As the vehicle gradually approached, the true face of Fort Hurricane finally revealed itself: twelve smaller ring-shaped fortresses that spread around a huge circular fortress in the middle.
Any architects from the past would have immediately been able to recognize these shapes as resembling the Hakka Tulou from Fujian, China, from many centuries ago.2
Fu Yucheng had heard that General Mo Hanchuan’s ancestors were ethnically Hakka from Fujian, so Fort Hurricane, that he had created by himself, had clear regional and ethnic elements.
Bai Mo said softly, “Fort Hurricane looks a bit like-”
Fu Yucheng gave him a surprised look.
This brat had grown up in the Dyson Cloud laboratory. Besides having high level assassin skills and a general lack of common sense, he had actually recognized Fort Hurricane’s origins-?
Bai Mo continued, “-like the doughnut you bought me the other day.”
“…” The corners of Fu Yucheng’s mouth twitched slightly. “I bought you those two donuts to coax you, but since you brat were in such a foul mood, I thought you had thrown them away.”
“I didn’t throw them away.” Bai Mo tilted his head to look out of the window, seeming a little embarrassed. “I ate them all, they tasted good.”
“If you like to eat those, I will buy more for you in the future.”
Bai Mo looked out the window and let out a low ‘uh-huh’.
Fu Yucheng couldn’t help feeling amused. He’d already figured out since a while ago that, despite the kid’s cold and proud appearance, he had a sweet tooth. First he ate the lollipops, now the donuts, and he even ate the steamed cake sent by the auntie next door.
Suddenly, Fu Yucheng thought of something, and snapped his fingers. “By the way, when is your birthday? I’ll buy you a small shortcake, you’ll probably like it.”
Bai Mo was dumbfounded. “I don’t know my birthday, I-”
He was just an experiment, how could he have a birthday?
“It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the specific date, it’s just a formality.” Fu Yucheng shrugged. “You can choose any day that you like, as long as it is not February 29th; if you choose that, you’ll only get a birthday every four years, haha.”
Bai Mo looked out the window, seemingly deep in thought.
He was silent for a long time before whispering, “September 15th.”
Fu Yucheng paused for a moment, and then realized that it was the day when he had found the boy in the desert.
“Alright.” He nodded. “It’s a new start.”
As the two of them talked, before they knew it, their vehicle was already at Fort Hurricane.
Up close, the group of huge fortresses looked even more majestic.
The entire fort consisted of twelve smaller outer fortresses, plus a huge central fortress. The central fortress was located in the very center, with the other twelve outer forts surrounding it. There were countless bridges and cables connecting the big fortress to the smaller ones, and all sorts of old hydraulic equipment and mechanical gears were visible from the outside, giving it a bizarre appearance.
The off-road vehicle stopped several hundred meters away from the buildings.
A group of guards, dressed in dark, fully metallic exoskeleton armor, ordered them to stop. The leader of the group had a solemn expression. “Show me your resident ID card.”
Fu Yucheng took out a thin metal card and handed it out through the car window.
After inspection, the captain nodded and gave it back. “Fu Yucheng, resident 40012 of Parking Lot 4, report at Jiaolong Fort at 5 o’clock. Vehicles cannot enter the Fort. We will keep it, and when you leave the Fort it’ll be returned back to you.”
Fu Yucheng nodded and got out of the car with Bai Mo.
He gave the car key to the captain, somewhat unwilling, and said, “Be careful, they don’t make these anymore.”
The captain nodded. “You can pass.”
“Baby,3 wait for me to come back.” Fu Yucheng touched the front of the car lightly, then turned and tried to leave reluctantly, but after turning around, he wasn’t able to move his feet.
The captain of the guard didn’t know what to say, and Bai Mo, a bit dumbfounded, had to forcibly drag Fu Yucheng away.
The two walked made their way to Jiaolong Fort.4
Bai Mo looked at the towering fortress in the distance, wondering out loud, “Why is it called Jiaolong Fort?”
“The twelve outer fortresses of Fort Hurricane are named clockwise after the names of the zodiac.” Fu Yucheng shrugged. “The fort at five o’clock is predictably called Jiaolong Fort.”5
“What about the one in the middle?”
“The central fortress is the private residence of the Mo family. It doesn’t need to follow the Chinese zodiac theme. It’s just called the Mo family’s fortress.”
The two walked for a long time before they arrived at the walls of Jiaolong Fort.
Looking up, the ring-shaped building appeared to be hundreds of meters high, with walls made of tens of thousands of huge granite and basalt blocks. The color, jet black, gave a depressing and solemn feeling, like a silent tomb.
On the rough and uneven outer wall of the fort, there were some square holes spreading around, and a faint cold light came from the inside.
“Are those windows?” Bai Mo looked at the openings with some doubts.
Fu Yucheng raised his head and glanced up. “It’s not a window, it’s an embrasure.6 There must be either heavy crossbows or long range artillery inside. They say that, a hundred years ago, the Mo family built the Fort Hurricane like this because the twilight belt was full of mutant monsters. Easy to defend, hard to attack.”
As the two talked, they reached the fortress gate and swiped the ID card again.
After entering the gate and going through a long gloomy corridor, they finally arrived to the inside of the Jiaolong Fort.
Before them was a huge open-air circular courtyard, with hundreds of people standing around. There were many familiar faces, workers from Parking Lot 4 that were going to join the factory.
Mr. Wei spotted them from a distance, and hurried over together with Aaron. “Fu Yucheng, where have you been?! I almost died from the stress!”
Aaron said gruffly, “When we gathered back in the parking lot, we couldn’t find you. Mr. Wei was terrified thinking that you ran away.”
“You have no confidence in me, Aaron. If you didn’t run, I wouldn’t run away either.” Fu Yucheng smiled. “I didn’t know we were supposed to gather beforehand, so I came here by myself.”
“Fu Yucheng, you really need to change that unruly temperament of yours after you enter the fort!” Mr. Wei spotted Bai Mo on the side and made a surprised expression. “How could you bring this kid here with you? It’s not safe for him to be here, you should have left him in the parking lot! Little guy, return with me later.”
Bai Mo glanced at him coldly, not bothering to answer.
Mr. Wei couldn’t help but shake his head. “Fu Yucheng, this child of yours is going to have quite a temper in the future,” he said.
Xu Youyou, who was standing on the side, also came over. The punk girl with colorful short hair approached Fu Yucheng curiously. “Yucheng-ge, why did you bring this kid? It’d be better to leave him in the parking lot. My sister will take care of him.”
“…” Bai Mo glared at her.
Looking at Bai Mo’s increasingly nasty expression, Fu Yucheng feared that his psionic power would suddenly act up, so he quickly changed the topic. “Youyou, how has your sister been doing these days?”
Xu Youyou’s face dimmed. “Well, she hasn’t been in high spirits lately.”
They all chatted for a while until a lean old man arrived at the courtyard with a group of people.
The old man coughed slightly, and the courtyard fell silent.
“I am the chief manager of Jiaolong Fort, Zhou Yan. Starting today, you new workers will work in the underground factory of Jiaolong Fort for three years. Ah Yao, you can tell them about the organization and rules of the factory.”
As soon as the old man stopped speaking, a young man next to him stood up and said loudly, “Hello everyone, I am the manager Ah Yao. Now, I will explain to you the most important elements of Fort Hurricane.”
Fu Yucheng and Bai Mo stood near the back of the crowd, but Ah Yao’s voice was very loud, so even the two of them heard every word.
As it turned out, all the ring shaped buildings of Fort Hurricane had a very special structure. They were divided into 36 floors above ground, surrounding the huge courtyard, and 36 floors underground surrounding the underground factories.
The staff, guards, and other personnel of Fort Hurricane lived in the above ground area. Meanwhile, the workers from the parking lots were only allowed to live underground, and their living conditions were very harsh.
Most of the work in the underground factories was assembly line work. The tasks were very simple but also very tough. Workers had to work from seven in the morning to ten in the evening, and they could only take a single day off each week. Sick leave was to be deducted from vacation time as well.
If work required it, it was possible to travel freely between the twelve outer fortresses through diverse bridges and tunnels. However, the huge central fortress, also known as ‘Mo family’s fort’, was off limits, and any trespassers would be killed.
After Ah Yao finished speaking, Manager Zhou looked around coldly. “Is that clear to all of you? If anyone enters the central fortress, they’ll be executed, no matter the reason!”
Everyone answered in unison, “Understood!”
Fu Yucheng, without a word, lowered his eyes, as if deep in thought.
Bai Mo couldn’t help but glance at him. “Yu-ge…”
And we begin the Fort Hurricane arc! I’m looking forward to it, even if baby Bai Mo is adorable :’)
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If you want even more extra releases, the counter has been reset and you can get me a ko-fi here~
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- Actual saying in the raws was 兵来将挡，水来土掩 ‘soldiers stop it, water covers it’ more or less, with the meaning ‘flexible countermeasures to adapt to the situation’.
- A specific type of settlement to the region, source (with pictures).
- 宝贝儿 baobei if anyone’s curious :’D
- 蛟龙堡 A kind of dragon from Chinese mythology, capable of invoking storms, so it’s also called a flood dragon, or a kraken on occasion.
- In Chinese zodiac charts, the dragon is usually around the five o’clock position (though sometimes it seems to be mirrored. Example. Also, the zodiac symbol is 龙, but a jiaolong sticks closer to the hurricane theme.
- Aka loophole, aka a hole to shoot through.