Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 40: Night Tour
At 3:30 in the morning, Tang Yibu sat up in the dark.
His movements were extremely light that the soft mattress didn’t vibrate at all. The ceiling lights inside the mall weren’t turned off, so the outside light came in a little. Tang Yibu turned his head and looked at the young man sleeping on the pillow.
His partner breathed evenly, and his heartbeat was gentle. His brows frowned slightly, and his forehead was covered with a fine cold sweat. He didn’t seem to sleep well, but various physiological signs proved that the other party was undoubtedly in a state of deep sleep.
Tang Yibu stretched out his fingers, poked the other party’s slightly frowning brows, and finally touched his lips.
The kiss at the dinner party gave him another chance to read the other’s body data. The S-type Prototype had been completely fused with human cells, but it was impossible to accurately estimate the capabilities of the fused prototype.
Both from the point of view of practicality and observational value, this sample was extremely interesting.
Tang Yibu tied up his slightly long hair in satisfaction, carefully wiped the sweat from the other party’s forehead with his palms, and pulled the quilt that was about to be kicked away.
After taking care of everything, Tang Yibu jumped barefoot on the thick-carpeted floor and quickly put on his clothes. The black uniform-style top was light and fitted, and his trousers were carefully tucked into his boots.
The iron bead that was dozing off on the sofa had been scrubbed and polished and was rolling around comfortably. Tang Yibu thought for a moment, scooped it into his arms and quietly sneaked out.
“Gwah.” The iron bead muttered drowsily. It rolled impatiently for a bit, then fell asleep again.
Tang Yibu took out a water bottle from his waist bag that he had prepared a while ago, pocketed the entire iron bead into the bag, and hung it on the side of his waist. Then, his eyes were aimed at the surveillance cameras that were turning around in the corridor, and he carefully stepped into a blind spot.
The marble floor tiles in the mall were polished to be discerning, reflecting the specially dimmed lights. Although it was early in the morning, there were still a lot of people in the hall. People hurriedly shuttled through the hall. Many people in hypertrophic uniforms were bending over to wipe the pillars and floors on the first floor, and the rest were sitting at the table, staring at the light screen in front of them. Almost no one talked, and Tang Yibu only heard a vague cough.
He went around, selected a corridor window leading to the outside world, and opened it carefully.
It was pitch black outside.
Tang Yibu casually broke off a piece of rubble and threw it down. He didn’t hear the slightest echo. The structure of this shopping mall was similar to the prison in the Walking Stones that held them, and it was surrounded by natural guard cliffs.
However, Tang Yibu didn’t hesitate.
He leaned over and looked out the window, easily inserting his fingers into the hard wall and moving like a gecko. The windows above the second floor were all sealed from the inside. After confirming that they couldn’t be opened quietly, Tang Yibu climbed back to the first floor.
On the first floor, even the space where the window was originally placed was crowded with people sleeping; their clothes and sheets were full of stains.
Tang Yibu carefully avoided the sleeping people, picked a storage room and squeezed into the window. After groping around in the dark, he picked up a hypertrophic uniform and put it on, then he put the iron bead that was still asleep in a bucket, lowered the ugly uniform cap, pushed the cleaning cart out of the storage room, and walked straight past the surveillance camera.
No one noticed him. It was better to say that people didn’t notice anything other than work. Their eyes were blue, their footsteps were floating, and they manipulated the light screen with extremely low efficiency, but no one went to sleep. In a remote corner, a middle-aged man who was wiping the wall bit by bit finally couldn’t resist drowsiness and fell to the ground.
The bucket containing dirty water was overturned, and the foamy sewage spilled all over the floor.
No one moved. Everyone continued to work numbly like a clockwork machine as the sewage wetted the middle-aged man’s pants. He rubbed his eyes hard, and reluctantly stood up against the wall.
Tang Yibu pushed the cleaning cart closer, picked up the mop in the cleaning cart, and began to help clean up the mess.
“You should go to bed.” In a flat tone, Tang Yibu suggested
The man in front of him had bloodshot eyes, a pale complexion, and a surprisingly slow reaction speed. This suggestion wasn’t out of concern but was closer to a rational narrative.
“Oh, oh,” the middle-aged man muttered vaguely, as if it took him several seconds to realize that someone was talking to him. “Hey, no, my contribution is almost there.”
Then he twisted his neck hard as if there wasn’t a head attached to it but a heavy shotput. “I’m no better than you young people. I can still rely on my physical strength for contribution, and I’ve been working hard… Working hard… Fan Lao will see. Look how clean this tile is.”
The middle-aged man’s voice was intermittent, like a dream, sounding a bit breathless.
‘It’s pretty clean,’ Tang Yibu thought to himself. At a time when human civilization was almost destroyed, among the barren ruins, someone risked his life to wipe away an irrelevant tile, and this happened right before his eyes.
“Why?” He asked simply, twisting the mop that was full of sewage, causing the dirty water to tumble back into the sewage bucket.
Seeing that Tang Yibu was helping him clean up, the middle-aged man wiped his face and leaned back against the wall, as if he was about to fall asleep in the next second. “Work? It’s always right to work hard… If you contribute enough points, you can upgrade and get more fireflies… Then have a good day…”
“Firefly is a psychedelic, and I think there are more meaningful things to do than clean tiles. The resources here are wasted excessively, which isn’t reasonable.” Tang Yibu pulled down the brim of his hat, making sure he had his back to the camera.
A trace of anger squeezed out of the man’s numb face. “Nonsense, are you a spy sent by another ship? My wife has risen to the top floor, and I had a video call with her yesterday… Elysium is a good place. There’s always a reward for your efforts. There must be a return. I’m willing…”
“You didn’t deny the psychedelic part.”
Everyone must suffer a little bit in order to live a better life! Fireflies won’t kill anyone. They just make people relax better. Even if it really hurts my body, I don’t expect to live to eighty or ninety… Fan Lao is looking out for us. People have to have hope for the future, not to mention that everyone is like this… Disinformation and shady people can’t see the good…”
“I understand.” Tang Yibu wiped the last bit of sewage clean and wiped his hands on the towel. “But I still suggest you sleep a little bit.”
The middle-aged man snorted, rolled his eyes at him, ignored him, and just continued to work sullenly.
Tang Yibu didn’t say much. He pushed the cleaning cart, walked slowly around the hall, and continued to observe the surroundings. As a result, as soon as he walked ten steps, the clanking sound of a bucket sounded again.
The middle-aged man fell to the ground again, this time with his eyes wide open, and his expression was a little dazed. He fell slowly, face down into the sewage, and the wall that had just been wiped clean was splashed with overturned sewage again. His body twitched slightly for a few seconds, and soon stopped breathing.
No one moved in the hall. Tang Yibu looked back without meaning to return.
The mall had a total of six floors “above ground”, and the road to the underground was blocked, making it unsuitable for immediate exploration. The lobby on the first floor was basically filled with such people, who had little observation value and weren’t as interesting as his new partner. When he checked in on the second floor, Tang Yibu paid special attention to it. It was basically all accommodation areas.
Even if someone was awake at this time, they were most likely busy having sex. Tang Yibu parked his cleaning cart in front of the elevator and was just about to press “3”—
The elevator door opened and two machines carrying a stretcher floated out, heading straight in the direction of the middle-aged man. They stretched out their robotic arms, put the man’s body on the stretcher, and then quickly floated back in the direction of the elevator as if they were in a hurry.
From this angle, the well-partitioned fifth floor couldn’t be seen. Tang Yibu quickly glanced at the pirate team patrolling on the fourth floor. He didn’t want to alarm anyone, but the opportunity now was too good.
There was nothing that reflected the characteristics of a system better than “how they treat the dead”.
He hid in the shadows, stripped off his hypertrophic uniform, then threw the sleeping iron bead into the elevator and followed inside.
Medical machinery was a common style in the human era. Their size was close to half an oil barrel. Tang Yibu had seen a few scrapped ones in the ruins of the hospital. Although the two of them had been cleaned up nicely, metal patches and signs of old wear and tear were still clearly visible. They ignored Tang Yibu, who was squeezing in, and directly pressed the “5” with the forbidden symbol.
The metal bead finally woke up this time. It was obviously dissatisfied with the small confinement it was in at the moment and began to frantically smash about. As the elevator door slid silently open, it slipped out with a whoosh.
The two medical machines lifted the body and kept it up without delay. Tang Yibu followed them closely and got out of the elevator with them.
Unfortunately, he didn’t see anything that could be used as an intelligence reference.
The rooms here were distributed close to the residential areas, but the glass walls were coated with opaque white paint, and the doors were all tightly closed. The interior decoration was equally attentive, except that a thin layer of dust had fallen on the relief, which had obviously not been taken care of for a long time. The walls were covered with reproductions of famous paintings, and the dining table was full of electronic papers for reading, which were unnaturally arranged.
Warm lights were lit in the corridor. Compared with downstairs, the air here was more humid, and elegant living plant decorations could be seen everywhere. At first glance, it looked very much like a leisurely artificial garden. The two medical machines carried the body around the dense indoor shrubs and gradually disappeared at the corner of a certain passage.
Suddenly, Tang Yibu felt a gun push on his head. He raised his arms without the slightest intention of resisting.
“I haven’t seen you before,” a hoarse voice said. “You’re not allowed to come up here casually. Didn’t you see the warning in the elevator?”
“I’m new here.” Tang Yibu turned around obediently and blinked innocently at the muzzle of the gun pointed straight at his nose. “My iron bead ran up, sir. It chased the medical machines into the elevator. The gentleman on the stretcher didn’t look very good, so I was afraid of delaying their business and didn’t dare to stop.”
The eyes of the soldiers on the opposite side had dark blue eyes, but they looked more sober than the group of people on the first floor, and their eyes flashed with abnormal fanaticism.
“Iron bead?” The soldier’s voice was a little suspicious.
“It definitely didn’t run far; I can guarantee it. It’s a very small mechanical life, and it’s usually very naughty—”
Seeing that the environment was unfamiliar, the iron bead didn’t dare to run far. At that moment, it just rolled over with a grunt and began hitting Tang Yibu’s ankle.
“Attention all units, someone has entered the fifth floor.” The soldier glanced at the rattling iron bead and didn’t seem to buy Tang Yibu’s story. “Which room are you in? Don’t move, I’ll check the surveillance. If you lie at all…”
“I wouldn’t dare. I live on the second floor, the fifth room from the east side. I forgot the door and house number.” Tang Yibu looked scared.
The soldier snorted hastily, holding a gun in one hand, turning on the mechanical device attached to his wrist in the other, and began to look for monitoring records with one hand.
“Ouch—” Tang Yibu suddenly screamed. He seemed to have been tripped by the impact of the iron bead and rushed towards the soldier in front of him. The soldier stepped back in time, but his wrist was brushed.
Without hesitation, he directly shot Tang Yibu twice in the thigh, and bright red blood gushed out quickly.
“Be honest!” the soldier roared.
Tang Yibu sat on the ground, his golden eyes slightly moist, groaning in pain. The iron bead instantly hid behind Tang Yibu, too frightened to move.
Seeing that the other party was just covering the wound tightly, his face was confused and scared. The soldier narrowed his eyes and continued to check the surveillance records on the light screen.
On the light screen, the room on the second floor was arched open by the iron bead, and then the pretty boy in front of him chased after it and disappeared into the stairwell. There were also clips of the two in the stairwell as well. The soldier snorted, and finally brought the image up in the hall. The iron bead rushed out of the shadows in the hall and squeezed into the elevator together with the medical machines.
There didn’t seem to be a problem with the other party’s confession, but just a faint blue light flashed from his wrist, which he hadn’t seen before.
Perhaps he was seeing things because he hadn’t had a break for so long.
The young man in front of him was empty-handed and looked harmless. The soldier shook his head and cleared his throat. “Take care of your pet! The people here are very important. Not someone you can afford to offend… All units, pay attention! The crisis is over! Let the medical machine send some emergency hemostatic medicine.”
After briefly stopping the bleeding, Tang Yibu was held up by a soldier and thrown directly back to his room. The iron bead rolled honestly beside him with its mouth tightly closed.
After the soldiers left, Tang Yibu squatted at the door for a while before carefully opening the door…
“Do you mind explaining?” His partner was sitting at the head of the bed. His linen robe was tied carelessly, revealing a smooth collarbone. The other party’s expression wasn’t very good, and those dark eyes were aimed directly at him that Tang Yibu couldn’t help standing up straight.
Ruan Xian was full of a nameless fire.
For some reason, he suddenly felt cold in his sleep. Instinctively, Ruan Xian shifted in the direction of Tang Yibu, trying to warm himself up—He endured for a while but still didn’t feel Tang Yibu and eventually inched himself all the way to the other end of the bed and rolled to the ground.
There was still a little warmth left on Tang Yibu’s side, but his clothes and the iron bead were gone. He had obviously been out for a while.
Ruan Xian’s brain was blank for a moment. He was stunned for two seconds before he remembered to touch the earrings on his earlobes. The hard metal made him feel lost for an instant, followed by vigilance, mixed with an inexplicable peace of mind.
He took a deep breath, let go of his senses, and began to listen to the voices in the mall. As a result, before Ruan Xian officially started looking, he heard the sound of pain at the door, and the smell of blood was so strong that it was hard to ignore.
“You can hurt yourself here?” Seeing Tang Yibu holding the iron bead and moving to the sofa, Ruan Xian continued to ask, emphasizing the pronunciation of “here”.
“It just looks bad.” Tang Yibu took off his blood-stained trousers and took out the two bullets that were embedded in him, leaving two shallow holes. “We have to stay for three more days, and it’s not suitable to take serious action now.”
Ruan Xian crossed his arms and said nothing.
“You can’t perceive the structure of the building, so I briefly explored it.” Tang Yibu wrapped the wound with gauze, deliberately letting the blood soak into the bandage. “There are the fewest people active at this point in time, and it’s relatively safe.”
“Truly safe.” His gaze swept across the blood-stained bandage. Ruan Xian didn’t hide the sarcasm in his voice. “Have you found anything, detective?”
“Of course, I had a great time.”
Tang Yibu cocked the corners of his mouth.
“You have passed your tactile exercises. It’s time to start the next step of training—for example, determining how many living people there are on the fifth floor.”
The author has something to say:
Tang: Daily night tour (×
Don’t be fooled by his performance. XD He… is much harder than soft (.
The iron bead is so cute. Below is the art the author herself drew of Tang Yibu, Ruan Xian, and the Iron Bead that someone shared with me on Discord.
Here’s a fanart.