Chapter 5: Core Benevolence
A patrol ship from the Black Gold Fortress?” Dong Du immediately got up from the ground, “It must be sent by Zhu Di to find me. Where are they?”
“Just a little ahead of us. They’ve probably spotted us by now. Are you thinking of escaping now?” Ash Wolf instinctively thought Dong Du wanted to escape for his life. He frowned, and the scar on his face looked even more ferocious. “The enemy’s patrol ship is much more advanced than our spaceship. The chances of successfully escaping are probably very slim.”
“Why run? This is the time to extort money. We’re such a big pirate crew; it must cost a lot to support our brothers!” Dong Du stared at Ash Wolf, full of frustration. When these interstellar pirates robbed him of his little ship, they weren’t so subtle. Why did they become so hesitant when it came to the crucial moment when he could go to the Black Gold Fortress?
Dong Du, who looked gentle, turned out to be as bold as a bandit. Ash Wolf was struck speechless by his huge contrast.
Chu Xuhuan checked the radar on the communicator. The distance between the two ships was very close. The patrol ship from the Black Gold Fortress had likely performed a space jump directly, explaining its sudden appearance. The timing and location were too coincidental, as if they had pinpointed their location.
“Xi Cun, check if you have a locator installed on you.” Chu Xuhuan strode toward the cockpit.
Dong Du closely followed Chu Xuhuan. Although he knew there couldn’t be a locator on him, he still pretended to search himself. “I don’t think so. I searched, and there’s none, right?”
They three entered the cockpit, where Lion, Raccoon, Ferret, and Fox were already present. On the control panel, a projection of the patrol ship from the Black Gold Fortress was displayed. Although the ship hadn’t posed any threat yet, it was evident that it had halted its advance. The two ships were in a standoff.
“What do we do, Brother Huan?” Lion scratched his short hair. “We have fewer people this time, and a direct confrontation probably won’t end well. D*mn it, how did they find us?”
“We don’t need to fight them at all. They know I’m on this ship; they won’t directly attack us,” Dong Du’s heart pounded loudly. He feared that, while he was saying this, the other side might suddenly open fire, giving him a facepalm moment.
But fortunately, the fortress’s fleet wasn’t like interstellar pirates, always ready for violence. The patrol ship docked for a while and then initiated a communication signal to them.
Chu Xuhuan didn’t hesitate much and quickly answered the call.
Dong Du initially thought the communication would be like the walkie-talkie they used during doomsday. However, surprisingly, it was a video call. As soon as the call connected, the other person’s image appeared, and, of course, theirs was transmitted as well. Dong Du found himself right next to Chu Xuhuan.
It became awkward. The people on the other side probably didn’t recognize him.
“This is the seventh patrol ship of the Black Gold Fortress. You have entered the Cross Territory illegally. Please return immediately…”
The person on the other side didn’t speak but played a warning recording.
A flicker of hesitation crossed Chu Xuhuan’s face. Then, his expression turned stern. He grabbed Dong Du by the collar, pressing him against the camera. “Don’t give me these empty threats. Your general’s man is in my hands. If you don’t want him dead, prepare the ransom!”
It was over.
Dong Du felt a chill in his heart. Chu Xuhuan lifting him like this wasn’t about exchanging money; he wanted to confirm whether Dong Du’s earlier words were true or false.
The person on the other side seemed a bit confused, but without saying a word, the communication was abruptly cut off.
“What’s going on?” Ash Wolf impatiently hit the console. “They suddenly cut off communication. Could it be they don’t want to exchange money for you?”
“Impossible.” Dong Du felt extremely uneasy but stated firmly.
The opposing ship still made no move, and the dot on the radar remained stationary. Chu Xuhuan slowly released Dong Du’s collar. “Xi Cun, although we interstellar pirates aren’t wealthy, we haven’t reached the point of using companions to make money. If you’re willing, we can retreat now, and you can live with us in the future.”
This was the second time Chu Xuhuan had said something like this. Dong Du fell into silence for a while before asking slowly, “If we don’t hand me over, can we escape?”
The other side had a well-equipped fleet, and they were just a group of sneaky interstellar pirates on reconnaissance. The disparity was evident.
No one could answer Dong Du’s question because no one could be sure if they could escape unscathed.
The people in the cockpit remained silent, and a stifling atmosphere filled the air. Ash Wolf cursed loudly and hammered the console. “If it comes to it, we’ll all go down together. I won’t do such a thing as exchanging companions for survival. Moreover, if we hand you over, they might still fire at us!”
Realizing that he was already considered a companion, Dong Du was stunned on the spot. He felt a bit bitter. He wiped his eyes harshly, they considered him a companion. They assumed he genuinely worked for Xia En. However, he wasn’t. He was the little prince of Clos that Xia En wanted to design against and kill.
A series of beeping sounds came from the control panel, indicating an incoming communication request.
This time, Chu Xuhuan didn’t immediately answer. He looked at Dong Du, waiting for him to make a decision.
“Ash Wolf, can you please pass me the items in the long piece of cloth bag?” Dong Du looked up at Ash Wolf.
His gaze was so sincere that even Ash Wolf forgot to ask Chu Xuhuan’s opinion. Subconsciously, he followed his words. Chu Xuhuan understood Dong Du’s decision, and he didn’t stop Ash Wolf. He just said, “Don’t worry, we’ll go to the Black Gold Fortress to get you.”
After saying this, he connected to the communication request from the Black Gold Fortress. The moment the connection was established, Dong Du’s muscles tensed, ready to rush to the rear of the ship and escape using the lifeboat.
The person on the other side had evidently changed to a higher-ranking officer for the communication. He wore a neatly fitted military shirt, and his muscular physique strained the fabric, yet miraculously, his face appeared gentle.
“Hello, please release our person immediately, or we will take some coercive measures,” the person on the other side said, hands resting on the console, with an impeccable smile on his face.
Dong Du, who was tense all over, quietly breathed a sigh of relief. The other side indeed noticed the emblem on his protective suit, the insignia of the Clos Royal Fleet.
“Didn’t you understand what we said?” Lion slapped the console loudly. “Bring money for the ransom. Do you think this pirate grandpa is doing charity?”
The person on the other side, after hearing Lion’s words, didn’t change the curvature of his smile at all. Instead, he asked, “How much do you think he’s worth?”
“That depends on how much your general values him,” Chu Xuhuan’s index finger tapped the edge of the console. His face was as dark as the bottom of a pot. For those who didn’t know, it seemed like he was being threatened.
The man raised an eyebrow, gave some instructions to the people behind him, and then the patrol ship’s gangway extended, revealing the chilling gun turrets hidden underneath. With his gentle smile still unchanged, he said, “Sacrificing for the Empire is an honor for every soldier. Of course, making the utmost effort to save lives is also our duty. Now, we need to ensure the safety of our person. Instead of relying on communication, can we lower the gangway and discuss the ransom face to face?”
Chu Xuhuan gently turned his head to glance at Dong Du. “Okay, we agree.”
The communication was cut off, and the other side retracted the gun turrets. The patrol ship slowly approached.
“What do they mean? Do they want to negotiate for ransom for Xi Cun?” Lion paced anxiously. Seeing Ash Wolf bringing Dong Du’s long bag over, he became even more uneasy. “Shouldn’t we just escape? Make a jump and land immediately. They might not be able to catch us. Fox, is it possible?”
“No, it’s not possible.” Fox checked the ship’s fuel compartment. “We don’t have enough fuel for a jump.”
“They’re getting closer, Brother Huan!” Ferret said, “Should we lower the gangway?”
“Release!” Chu Xuhuan let out a heavy sigh, “They want to confirm Xi Cun’s identity and condition. If we don’t release him, they will surely threaten and attack us, maybe even forcibly board the ship. But if we really hand Xi Cun over, they won’t let us go either.”
“What should we do then?” Ash Wolf kicked the wall in frustration, “Are we destined to die today?”
“No.” Chu Xuhuan stared at Dong Du, “We’ll take Xi Cun to the gangway, let them confirm that he is indeed in our hands and not in any life-threatening danger. However, we won’t hand Xi Cun over. This way, they won’t be able to shell our ship. If they try to board forcibly, we’ll use Xi Cun to threaten them.”
Dong Du: “…”
Well, he was certainly being put to good use, but unfortunately, he didn’t have that much value to the Black Gold Fortress.
“The other side has lowered the gangway. Brother Huan, should we release now?” Ferret’s tone was urgent.
“Release.” Chu Xuhuan took a deep breath, came over, and patted Dong Du’s shoulder. “Xi Cun, don’t worry, I won’t hurt you.”
Dong Du nodded, “I know.”
Chu Xuhuan, accompanied by Ash Wolf and Lion, went to the gangway. The people on the other side had already stood at the ship’s hatch. The gangway slowly descended, and the two gangways approached, forming an enclosed space.
The person who just spoke removed their helmet and politely said, “I am Lieutenant Ryan Hanchester, General Zhu Di’s defense officer from the Black Gold Fortress. Hello.”
Chu Xuhuan did not have the habit of introducing himself. He didn’t even take off his helmet. He tightly grasped Dong Du’s collar, “Where’s the ransom?”
Dong Du kept his head down as much as possible, fearing the other side would see something and give up the exchange. Also, in this lowered position, the backpack held tightly by Ash Wolf was visible. Perhaps due to nervousness, Ash Wolf was squeezing the bag tightly.
Hanchester turned his head, wanting to see Dong Du’s face clearly, but failed. He didn’t smell any pheromones either. However, judging from the body shape, he knew this should be an omega.
“I don’t know if you interstellar pirates are aware of something,” he smiled and looked at Chu Xuhuan, “The hostage you have is an alpha, and the Royal Fleet never recruits omegas.”
Before Chu Xuhuan could ponder what Han Chester meant, his wrist suddenly tingled. The Dong Du he was holding slipped out like a fish, followed by a dull thud as Ash Wolf was flipped over on the ground.
Lion wanted to step forward to help, but before he could reach Dong Du, the heavy bag struck his waist, sending him flying.
Chu Xuhuan turned around and faced Dong Du across their helmets again after a day of confrontation.
“You lied to me,” Chu Xuhuan’s voice rang out heavily.
Dong Du didn’t answer, holding the backpack tightly to his chest. He suddenly rushed forward, and Chu Xuhuan reached out to stop him, but the heavy backpack hit his arm, making it numb.
Dong Du landed on the gangway after crossing Chu Xuhuan. He heard a sneer behind him, followed by the sound of bullets being loaded. His heart tightened, and he quickly turned around to use the bag as a shield. However, the black muzzle was aimed at him, and the person holding the gun didn’t pull the trigger.
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