Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 38: Feast
The bed was really soft, and an untimely thought jumped into Ruan Xian’s mind.
The mattress was deeply concave because of his weight. Tang Yibu was half looking down at him, smelling a light aroma unique after bathing. The light wasn’t strong, but he could still see the faint traces of water on the other person’s skin.
But this time, Ruan Xian didn’t mean to relax for half a minute, and he held his breath.
He didn’t need to ask Tang Yibu how he found out. The android’s tone was very firm, and it was difficult to say whether this was a test from the beginning, but the opportunity was fleeting, and he didn’t have much choice.
But it didn’t matter.
Ruan Xian stared at those eyes blankly. His right hand slowly moved to the holster, and the next moment, his wrist was tightly grabbed. He didn’t know if it was because he had just taken a shower, but Tang Yibu’s palm felt a bit hot.
“Too slow,” Tang Yibu said in a serious tone. “You can’t be faster than me.”
“Really?” Ruan Xian slowly raised the corner of his mouth.
The dark muzzle slanted on top of Tang Yibu’s chest, close to his heart.
“You thanked me too early,” Ruan Xian said softly, pulling the trigger with his left finger.
At this distance, the opponent’s heartbeat is clearly audible. The heart, which he didn’t know if it was a human organ, beat steadily and powerfully, and exuberant vitality seeped out of the skin. Tang Yibu tilted his head, finally showing a surprised expression.
“You quietly changed the left and right positions of the two guns. What a clever liar.” The android blinked and released Ruan Xian’s right hand, which should have grabbed the “offensive blood gun”. “I admit, I may not be faster than you at this distance… But you are here. As long as I get enough flesh and blood as soon as possible, even if my heart is blown up, I’ll still be fine.”
After that, he ignored the cold muzzle, lowered his head, and bit Ruan Xian’s throat lightly.
Ruan Xian’s Adam’s apple bobbed as he felt the warm teeth rip through the skin of his neck, and then the scorching tip of someone’s tongue closed the opening. The pain wasn’t too intense as Tang Yibu didn’t mean to hurt him.
“And you didn’t really aim at my heart. You already knew that I wouldn’t easily give a signal to destroy.” Tang Yibu stretched out his hand and pinched the deadly earring stud in Ruan Xian’s left ear. This posture seemed extremely ambiguous at first glance, but Ruan Xian secretly speeded up his breathing, and the adrenaline made every one of his nerves burn.
“Yes,” Ruan Xian didn’t want to laugh, but the corners of his mouth curled up inadvertently. He was sure that the smile on his face was by no means qualified as a warm smile. “…But even if I have to wear a collar, I don’t want the person holding the leash to feel at ease.”
Tang Yibu propped up his body and tucked the wet hair tips that were still dripping with water behind his ears. “This is an unnecessary conflict. We all know that it’s impossible for us to trust each other with our lives.”
Indeed. The fable of The North Wind and the Sun* wasn’t suitable for them. After all, the traveler didn’t have the power to retaliate against the scorching sun or the cold wind, but he did. As relatives, friends, and lovers of the same kind can turn against each other, Tang Yibu’s handling was rough but prudent, and there wasn’t any logical problem. Ruan Xian knew this, but he didn’t want to withdraw the muzzle. The stimulation of blood-burning made his whole body feel like it was walking on clouds, and his chest felt inexplicably refreshed.
*An Aesop’s fable. The moral it teaches is to use gentle and kind persuasion over force. You can click on the link to read it. || In this context, I believe there are two meanings the author is intending. First, it’s putting Ruan Xian in the position of the traveler who is susceptive to the battle between the wind and the sun (Tang Yibu). Unlike in the fable, the traveler (Ruan Xian) has the means to fight back against the sun/wind (Tang Yibu). Second, like the morale, Tang Yibu is using kind persuasion (working together with Ruan Xian cooperatively) rather than force (basically just using Ruan Xian as a blood bag). He has both the means of the sun and wind.
“I understand, but I don’t like it.” He heard himself speak, with a terrifying smile in his tone.
However, in the next second, Tang Yibu’s suddenly enlightened expression completely destroyed the atmosphere. “I see, you are losing your temper!”
He seemed to want to jump up and find a notebook or something to record this event, while Ruan Xian wanted to shoot him right on the spot.
“That’s right, I’m losing my temper.” Ruan Xian kicked off the iron bead that jumped into bed with him and was gnawing on his big toe. He squeezed the words out from between his teeth. “I don’t like having a deadly weapon hanging on my ear, I don’t like my toes being gnawed on by a stupid mechanical being, and I don’t like being pressed on by a half-naked person of the same sex.”
The quick-washing machine timely made a beep, and Tang Yibu jumped out of the bed. He quickly put on his shirt and walked back with a serious expression on his face.
“I see.” The android’s tone was solemn. “I will work hard to build a trusting relationship between us. Are you still angry?”
“Angry,” Ruan Xian said in despair. “Put on your pants before you talk again.”
After speaking, he laughed out loud. Tang Yibu quickly put on his pants and politely expressed his puzzlement.
Ruan Xian laughed harder. He had never laughed like this before; he even started to cough. He smiled to himself for a while before putting away the gun and responding to Tang Yibu in a low voice. “You… I really want to know what your maker is thinking in his mind. Speaking of which, do you really understand the meaning of ‘trust‘?”
Perhaps it was because of the light. For a moment, Tang Yibu, who had always been carefree, looked a little sad. “Don’t be on guard, don’t pretend. I think that the other party will act according to a similar standard, and they will eventually fulfill the agreement. I think this mode of thinking should be defined as ‘trust’.”
He stretched out a hand to Ruan Xian and pulled Ruan Xian up from the soft bed.
“If you follow the standards of human trust, I have indeed trusted someone. After that, there is no need for me to trust other individuals, but we’re a good fit, so I want to try and foster trust between us.”
“According to my observation, you’re not the type who likes to be controlled. That earring makes you angry, and too frequent anger is not conducive to the smooth development of a partnership.”
Tang Yibu stuffed Ruan Xian’s dirty coat into the quick-washing machine while his tone remained calm.
“Besides, you are very similar to me. You who have been infused with human memory but also don’t trust others, which is very… observable.”
“Maybe because we have similar experiences.” Ruan Xian walked to the bathroom, without planning to remove his holster. He closed the door, faced the bathtub full of clear water, and exhaled.
He also once trusted a person, and after that, he also had no need to trust other individuals.
[Xianxian, don’t listen to the nonsense of those doctors, you are normal.]
[Xianxian, you’ll be fine. You’ll be fine.]
[Xianxian, mom will always love you.]
The faucet wasn’t closed tightly, so water droplets dripped into the tub. In his memory, the smell of a corpse poured into his nostrils, and the woman’s swollen and rotting feet hung in the air, dangling in front of his eyes. Turbid liquid gently dripped down from the corpse onto the floor.
[This is for the best.] She said so at the end. [You should have died a long time ago.]
Ruan Xian threw off his sweat-soaked clothes and sank himself into the water, then put the blood guns within reach.
He skillfully pressed those memories back into his heart.
Half an hour later, despite staying in a refuge full of supplies, Ruan Xian was shocked by the situation in front of him.
Countless plates were placed on snow-white tablecloths, and several long tables were full of people on both sides. The meal at their small table was particularly hearty, with the aroma of creamy pumpkin soup and boiled carrots and broccoli that were next to thick, juicy steaks. The steamed eggs were sprinkled with sesame oil, and the unique aroma of the stir-fried dishes was coated with the taste of fried chili, which made one’s finger twitch.
There was even dessert on the small plate on one side. The crystal-clear fruit cake wiggled and smelled sweet and sour.
Ruan Xian sniffed vigilantly but didn’t smell the flickering grass. He hesitated for a moment, picked up a spoon, stared at the old man in front of him, and slapped Tang Yibu’s hands that were reaching for the fruit cake.
“It’s okay, it’s okay. Young people, they just have an appetite. We don’t pay attention to those polite manners.” The old man had a long beard, gray hair, and a red face with a faint smell attributed to an immortal. Behind him stood two people in suits, both holding guns.
The old man smiled and watched Tang Yibu stuff the fruit cake into his mouth and chew it happily, with a kind expression on his face.
There were still a few people at the table. Their outfits didn’t match the bustling shopping mall, and they were busy casting novel glances around, or swallowing food as if it didn’t have any taste. Most of them were “new guests” here.
Ruan Xian scooped up a spoonful of steamed eggs. He didn’t pay attention to the exquisite interior decoration and turned his gaze to the permanent residents who were enjoying dinner.
The pirates of Elysium were sitting not far away, and a steady stream of pleasant talk and laughter floated from all around, but the smiles didn’t hide the exhaustion on the pirates’ faces. The people here obviously haven’t had a good rest. Ruan Xian noticed a lot of external lesions caused by fatigue, as well as the faint smell of the flickering grass fruit.
The situation was even worse for the tables where the eating speed was relatively slow—the pirates there were thin, and their demeanor was a bit like Jiang Lin. There was a bit of madness in their numbness. The food in front of them was more exquisite, but the owners of the food generally had poor appetites, and they only moved their chopsticks laboriously, as if eating was a daunting task.
The smell of the fruit emitted from their bodies was particularly strong.
“They are our senior cadres over there.” Noticing Ruan Xian’s gaze, the old man sitting at the small table stroked his beard. Duan Lili was sitting to his right, hanging her head obediently. “This meal is my treat. If you are willing to stay and live here, you’ll be able to eat such good things sooner or later.”
Ruan Xian didn’t answer. Tang Yibu drank all the soup in front of him and was concentrating on the steak next while several newcomers around him were obviously excited and whispered to each other.
“I am the captain of Elysium, Fan Baiyan. I have been captain for about four years. In terms of stability, we are the most stable.” The old man didn’t put on any airs. “As long as you work hard, we can provide all kinds of entertainment here.”
Fan Lao made a somewhat obscene gesture to the group of newcomers where there were no women. “All kinds of entertainment.”
Amid the laughter of the men, Duan Lili buried her head lower.
Ruan Xian narrowed his eyes and, taking advantage of the commotion among the new people, he looked at the hall for a while. Captain Fan shouldn’t have exaggerated the time. Compared to the settlement at Elysium, the Walking Stones were indeed underdeveloped and chaotic, but…
Tang Yibu wiped the gravy from the corner of his mouth with a napkin, pushed the empty plate away, and poked Ruan Xian, who was lost in thought. “Are you going to eat your fruit cake?”
Ruan Xian glanced at him faintly and pushed the dessert towards him.
“Of course, I can’t speak much here since everyone’s attention isn’t focused. Go on, eat. Let’s not talk about business while we’re eating. When it gets dark, I’ll send a special guide to tell everyone the details.”
After that, Fan Lao clapped his hands and waved out a light screen, and the images of several beautiful girls attracted a burst of unkind laughter. “You can choose the one you want and ‘talk’ all night. Just make sure to remember the rules.”
Ruan Xian’s eyes circled the lifeless eyes of those girls without any expression on his face.
Except for Tang Yibu, who was busy sucking on a straw, among the group of extremely excited men, Ruan Xian’s reaction stood out, causing Fan Lao to look at him with interest. “This little brother has very high taste, hm?”
“Not true,” Ruan Xian responded quietly. He pulled up Tang Yibu, who was still drinking juice with a satisfied face, and lightly bit the other’s lower lip. “I’m not interested in women.”
Tang Yibu almost choked.
“Oh, I have offended you.” Fan Lao had a smile on his face, but there was no smile in his eyes. “It’s not easy to have a one-on-one relationship these days. It’s okay, you can choose one normally and let everyone go back early.”
“Then can we get an extra one?” The man next to him let out a wretched laugh.
“There’s something better.” Fan Lao took out a flannel bag and took out about eight small green pills. “You can try this and it’ll make sure you’ll have a good time tonight.”
As soon as he took out the medicine, the voices on the table instantly quieted down.
“Don’t worry, everyone here eats this. Everyone knows what it looks like outside. This thing can give you more peace of mind.” Fan Lao pinched a pill and stuffed it into his mouth. “I’m an old bone and I’ve eaten this in the past few years and lived to the present. It’s not like it’s a disease or causes harm. Just take it like smoking a cigarette. Don’t eat it, but don’t throw it away—if I wanted to do you guys dirty, I wouldn’t give it to you like this.”
Fan Lao gave Duan Lili a wink, and Duan Lili got up knowingly. She smiled sweetly and distributed the bright green pills to everyone at the table. Her towering breasts brushed against the shoulders of the men, intentionally causing them to burst out in laughter.
“It’s okay,” she persuaded softly, as if she couldn’t hear the laughter. “Look over there. Everyone takes it. Don’t worry brothers, I can help you test it out.”
After that, she picked up the pills, licked them with the tip of her pink tongue, and then put them back in the palms of the men.
Many pirates had finished their dinner at the long table not far away. They took out a small pill from the same flannel bag, threw them into their mouths like chewing gum, and then showed varying degrees of intoxication.
The tense atmosphere relaxed again, and several newcomers sniffed the bright green pills in front of them before eating them on the spot.
“Oh, good stuff.” One of them hissed and gasped. “Why am I so happy? It’s been a long time since I’ve been so relaxed.”
Ruan Xian lowered his eyes and stuffed the allocated pill into his pocket. He could feel that after this series of reactions, Fan Lao’s vision stayed with him longer. He thought for a moment, knocked Tang Yibu lightly with the tip of his shoe, and then slid across his calf in a flirtatious manner.
Tang Yibu clearly understood what he meant. The android first chewed the firefly he was allocated, then ambiguously touched Ruan Xian’s pocket and took out the one meant for Ruan Xian.
“Don’t be so formal. Come on, baby, I’ll feed you.” The android was full of smiles. He balanced the pill with the tip of his tongue and hooked his arm around Ruan Xian’s neck.
Ruan Xian didn’t resist this time.
They kissed each other in front of the captain of Elysium, covering up their vigilance with the sound of their tongues and lips. After the kiss, Ruan Xian made a gesture of swallowing something and then glanced at Tang Yibu “reproachfully”.
In the remaining light of his vision, Fan Lao looked away with satisfaction, while Duan Lili’s eyes darkened for a second.
“Go ahead, everyone. The night is still long.” As the closing speech of the dinner ended, the old man narrowed his eyes and left the hall under the escort of bodyguards.
Ruan Xian wiped away the smile on his face, grabbed Tang Yibu, who was still picking at candy and was about to go back to the room…
A thin white arm stretched out and held Ruan Xian familiarly.
“Since there is no need for ‘additional services’, let me explain it to the two of you,” Duan Lili said with a smile.
The next second, she quickly glanced at Fan Lao, who had left, buried her head, and lowered her voice, “…Go back to your room, quickly. There’s still time to vomit out the medicine.”
The author has something to say:
Ruan: Your maker is very interesting.
A long time later.
Ruan: …It’s all my fault!!!