Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 28: Dive into the Dark
The originally dark space was suddenly illuminated by lights, and the colors in their field of vision suddenly increased. Ruan Xian narrowed his eyes and looked at the person in front of him.
The darkness just now could be a problem for normal humans, but it wasn’t a problem for a body fused with the S-type Prototype. Tu Rui didn’t come from the entrance. He watched the other party appear in thin air. Now he could see the rise and fall of the other person’s chest caused by his breathing, and he could also hear the sound of hissing, but he couldn’t feel any air flow from that direction.
It was a virtual image.
Ruan Xian took a few steps back in silence; the two blood guns still in the holster hurt his ribs.
“The lights here are still working.” Tang Yibu, who was lying next to him, was quite surprised. The expression on his face resembled that of a shocked human.
“…Hello.” He watched as the android started acting. The corners of Ruan Xian’s mouth twitched. He put on his usual gentle smile and decided to officially start the conversation. After all, their capturers wouldn’t show them a virtual image just for fun.
The man looked at Tang Yibu for a while, then turned his gaze back to Ruan Xian. “Who are you two?”
“Escaped from the petri dish No. 1036.” Tang Yibu grabbed the conversation and showed a proper smile. That smile was natural and sincere, with no hypocrisy in it. “You know Petri Dish No. 1036, right? You understand what’s going on inside. Who could stay there? The two of us plan to go to the Sea of Ruins to have a meal together.”
With a bean-like call, Tu Rui’s attention was smoothly pulled over. “The color of your eyes is quite special.”
“Like an android. I know. It’s just my boyfriend’s kink. It’s not difficult to change the color of one’s iris these days.”
Ruan Xian felt a chill down his spine as he glared at Tang Yibu vigilantly, trying to signal warnings with his eyes.
“Then this is…?” Tu Rui didn’t show an expression of surprise or disgust and turned his head in the direction of Ruan Xian.
“My boyfriend, Ruan Lijie.” Tang Yibu’s tone was firm.
The gentle smile on his face had a tendency to falter as Ruan Xian could feel the blood vessels in his forehead beating wildly. Ever since this hapless android had appeared, he had challenged his bottom line in every sense. This anger wasn’t as dark and vicious as it used to be, but it was more like annoying smoke that blasted directly into his heart…
“Yes.” However, that was all he could answer. Ruan Xian could probably guess Tang Yibu’s thoughts. This bastard had no plans to expose himself at all. In the event of a crisis in the future, their “kiss” would be a good trump card.
But this didn’t prevent him from being frustrated.
“Whatever, as long as you can work.” Tu Rui pushed his glasses. “The two of you can cross the dead wall, which means you have a bit of skill.”
“It’s still hard work, plus a little luck. The refuge just happened to get caught up in a leader change.” Tang Yibu wriggled and sat up.
“Oh? How did the two of you get out?” The man who claimed to be the “deputy captain of the Walking Stones” took two steps closer. “As far as I know, the dead wall will block all electronic equipment close to it. If you want to rely on aircraft or inertia to cross over it, you will also be directly bombarded by missiles. In addition, there will be a pressure-sensitive transmission alarm every five minutes.”
“We stole a few vacuum plungers and tied them to our hands and feet and stuck them on. You see, it’s just the two of us, so the Mainbrain has no intention of pursuing us to the end,” Tang Yibu answered eloquently. “As soon as we ran out…”
Ruan Xian simply closed his eyes and leaned against the wall blankly, listening to the android’s bullshit.
“Ability?” Tu Rui interrupted Tang Yibu’s rigid story, obviously not very interested in the details of their escape.
“I only have a little strength.” Tang Yibu spoke confidently. “I didn’t even bring a weapon.”
“Well, I can see that, boy. This one here is wearing two guns.” Tu Rui turned to Ruan Xian, who was silent. “One whose name is Ruan, what about you? What can you do?”
Ruan Xian opened his eyes suspiciously. “Primary perception is strengthened, marksmanship is okay, and a little bit of mechanical knowledge.”
Tu Rui huffed. “Passable. I can give you two a bite to eat. It’s not too late yet, so go to the sea and get something valuable, then hand it in. I’ll take you to the captain later.”
After that, he clapped his hands. “Bring in the things!”
There was a sound of metal rubbing against the stone surface outside, then two sets of bloated metal spacesuits were dragged into the room. They even had old-fashioned wraps on their backs with long thin metal tubes that were attached to a machine to pull them in. The large-scale machine looked dilapidated, covered with patches of rust all over, and almost got stuck to the half-decayed door.
A burly man with bulging muscles kicked it twice in the back before it stumbled into the room.
“We just escaped, and we don’t have enough physical strength.” Ruan Xian tried to buy time. “I am also a little uncomfortable. If you are willing to provide a little mechanical support, I want to make sure first—”
“No ability, no discussion.” Tu Rui gave an order to the muscular man who had just come in. “Gang Zi, send them down.”
After that, he yawned and pretended to walk out the door.
“Don’t try to run away,” seeing Ruan Xian curled up nervously, the burly man said sullenly, first pulling away the restraint belt on Tang Yibu’s body. “The isolation in this room is very good, and it’s useless for you two to kill me. Listen to the deputy captain and get something.”
“Sorry, we don’t know the situation.” Seeing Tang Yibu’s eyes staring at the metal clothes a few steps away, Ruan Xian retracted his only expectation.
“I’ll tell you about it later. As long as… Ah, like I said, it’s not necessary.” Gang Zi sighed helplessly.
At the moment when the burly man tore open Ruan Xian’s restraint belt, the muzzle of a gun was aimed right at his heart. Ruan Xian calmly held the blood gun and said, “Take us out of here.”
Tang Yibu turned his head and raised his eyebrows.
The burly man raised his hands, not looking nervous at all. He walked in front with a sigh and flashed out the door. “You can see for yourself.”
Ruan Xian went out cautiously. Though he was mentally prepared, he couldn’t help but inhale deeply.
This dilapidated apartment cell was surrounded by huge bottomless cracks and dark ruins squeezed into buildings. The houses were stacked together like broken building blocks—all kinds of signs and broken steel bars were sandwiched in the concrete, and the painted walls of different colors looked like Skittles covered in dust, piled up in a mess. The boundary couldn’t be seen whether he looked up or down, left or right.
They were more than ten meters away from the nearest platform. As long as Tang Yibu didn’t want to expose them, he didn’t have any tools to leap over.
“Even if you can really go there, you will die sooner or later.” The burly man shrugged, as if he had seen through Ruan Xian’s mind. “The Sea of Ruins is a maze. It’s absolutely impossible to traverse without a map and guide.”
Ruan Xian retracted his gun. “…One has to try it.”
The burly man had the expression of “I’m used to hearing that” on his face. He pointed to the two sets of metal clothes in the distance. “Can your wristband still be used? I’ll pass you the information and data. If you find enough things worth 2,000 points, you can hand them in. I’ll contact you two when you’re done.”
Ruan Xian didn’t speak again. He obediently received the information, put on a metal spacesuit, and stood next to Tang Yibu, who had wrapped himself in his metal spacesuit a long time ago.
“Since Mr. Ruan has a weapon, we will no longer provide one.” The burly man muttered, knocking hard on the old machine. “There is no map under here. Please help us explore the way. Let’s go.”
As soon as his voice fell, the ground under Ruan Xian disappeared.
The long metal tubes on their spacesuit whizzed and stretched. At the speed at which they fell, it was close to free fall. Their bodies were slightly hot, and the cross-sections of countless buildings and debris passed in front of them. They were diving into countless ruins, passing through cement and bricks like ghosts.
He didn’t know how long they were falling until they finally slowed down, then they stopped in the air and hung in a dark hall quietly for more than ten seconds. As soon as Ruan Xian wanted to make a tentative sound, the spacesuit completely tore open on both sides, and the two of them fell down.
Fortunately, they weren’t far from the ground enough to really become injured from the fall.
In the next second, the metal spacesuit gradually rose and disappeared from the decayed ceiling, leaving a few circles of ripples like water waves.
“Are you sure you want to deal with these people?” Ruan Xian coughed a few times among the ashes.
The other party’s intention was obvious. In the absence of a map, the only way out for ordinary people was to float up using those metal spacesuits. In this way, they were thrown into the depths of the ruins that their own people had not reclaimed, and this was a test of their abilities. If they were to return, the pirates would undoubtedly have a double harvest, both of materials and intelligence. If they were unfortunately killed, Ruan Xian didn’t think Mr. Tu would really feel bad about it.
This was the attitude of pirates.
“If it’s just observation, it’s the same anywhere.”
Tang Yibu unscrewed the lighting device on the communicator and wandered towards Ruan Xian. The communicator looked like a flashlight for exploration, and it was thoughtfully equipped with a rope at the end. “Don’t worry, they didn’t bug this thing. It only has simple lighting, positioning, and image identification functions.”
“Whatever you want,” Ruan Xian responded flatly. It didn’t make much difference to him. After all, people didn’t write “I know Ruan Xian’s whereabouts” on their foreheads. If they inquired for news about him, it was better that the other party was strong.
“But why did you do such an ineffective resistance just now?” Tang Yibu moved his wrist and carried the backpack used to hold loot. He scanned the corners of the hall with the light, and his face returned to blankness.
“That person was too relaxed. I wanted to know whether his backup was nearby or if he was confident in his strength.” Ruan Xian sniffed, making sure he smelled the faint aroma of medicine. “It would be weird not to resist. After all, my guns were still on me and we just ‘crossed the dead wall’ and was full of resistance enthusiasm.”
“Is that what your indoctrinated human mind told you?”
“Very informative. Thank you, Mr. Ruan.” Tang Yi took two steps forward, avoiding a few drops of water dripping from the ceiling. “It seems that my thinking angle is still a bit biased.”
Ruan Xian turned his head, didn’t speak again, and focused on the environment in front of him.
He didn’t need lighting to see the slightly tilted hall in front of him clearly. They were standing in the middle of the abandoned hospital hall. The consultation table was covered with black mold, there was glass broken into small pieces, and the infusion poles were lying in the corner. A metal cart, which was crushed and deformed by the rubble, was lying on the ground, holding a dirty little bear doll.
After temporarily stuffing the blood gun used for treatment back into the holster, Ruan Xian carefully pulled out the dirty doll. The filling inside had rotted and exuded a thick, moist smell. The doll had lost an eye and was staring at him with only one button left. There was a red thread that hadn’t been pulled clean and was attached to the back of the button.
Ruan Xian raised his head and looked out through the glass window of the hall. The other room was tightly squeezed out of the glass window of the hospital hall—a child’s bedroom, and several plush toys were stuck in the window connected to the hospital hall, pierced by broken glass.
There were no human corpses.
The entire space was empty, like a rotten insect shell. Ruan Xian pursed his lips and put the doll back in place. After half a minute of silence, he turned on the electronic wristband and quickly scanned the “treasure” information thrown by the thieves.
“The most valuable are medicines, tools, and processed food, followed by waste parts and clothes.” Ruan Xian filled his head with all the information. “Follow me. I can’t tell the difference between medicine, but at least I smell the food.”
Tang Yibu pulled out a few unopened syringes from the dust and threw them into his backpack. When his backpack was opened again, canned drinks were thrown in.
“Affiliated convenience store.” Tang Yibu rubbed the dust on the metal bottle with his sleeve. “Yes, these things are still within the shelf life. Would you like a can?”
Ruan Xian stopped throwing biscuits into the backpack. He slipped across the shelf like a cat and pressed Tang Yibu’s head. “Someone.”
Tang Yibu was still holding the bottle of canned soda. He was short and honestly hid himself behind the shelf.
“The pirates in the east sank Chen Ge’s ship,” a somewhat sharp male voice said. “Fuck, I hope that the next time they ‘disinfect’, the Order Supervisor can send Yu Le’s things to the west.”
“He can’t run away,” a female voice replied to him. “Look, it’s just his virtue. Fan Lao* just doesn’t care about him because of us. This kind of scumbag will sooner or later kill himself.”
*When Lao is used after a name, it signifies respect to that person when addressing them (usually for someone who’s older). Translated would be like Elder Fan.
“It’s a pity that Tu Rui couldn’t be pulled to our side. That guy has a shrewd look and stands in line like an idiot.” A new voice joined in, which sounded a bit slick.
“Pity indeed! Have you heard that Tu Rui turned out to be from the rebel army? If he wants to come to our side, that would be a real disaster.”
“Hey… There’s more to this matter. Didn’t Ruan Xian’s rebel army die a long time ago? Why is there still one alive?”