Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 54: Disinfection Commences
Ruan Xian took a deep breath and almost choked on the smoke and dust from the bombs. Tang Yibu stood obediently in front of him, trying his best to look innocent, like a cat who had accidentally knocked over a water cup, making his hands itchy.
“You already did it.” Ruan Xian tried to maintain a calm tone while his face was a little stiff.
Seeing that he couldn’t hide it, Tang Yibu simply spread out his hands. “You have seen the interior decoration of his ship, and you can see that he’s a self-preservation type person. Judging from the management of Elysium, Mr. Fan doesn’t care much about the life and death of the crew. There’s a very high possibility that he’ll privately use the spare energy. I just made some basic inferences.”
Tang Yibu probably manipulated the wiring of the backup energy. Ruan Xian pinched his eyebrows. Neither of them could resurrect the dead Fan Baiyan, and it didn’t make much sense for this topic to continue.
He could hear Fan Baiyan starting the private ship to leave, and the people in Elysium quickly discovered the disappearance of their captain. The artillery fire temporarily weakened and finally stopped. The group of warships from the Walking Stones stopped on the deck of the main ship of Elysium in a V-shape. The heavily armed pirates didn’t rush onto Elysium but went around the deck to outflank the commercial building and slowly advanced. With gestures, one could see that they have been trained countless times.
There was a rumbling sound in the distance, and another giant ship approached with a low rumble. The Walking Stones obviously didn’t install the settlement on the main ship. It preserved the original appearance of a giant ship to the maximum extent, like an iron-gray whale with countless bright yellow eyes.
“Let’s go.” Ruan Xian flashed over a piece of falling gravel. “Let’s go find Tu Rui.”
After Duan Lili’s death, Elysium didn’t show any changes. Seeing Tang Yibu’s relaxed reaction, Ruan Xian didn’t think that the Mainbrain had placed a second Oder Supervisor on Elysium, but there were also many other pirate ships that came to inquire about the news. No one knew whether there would be backup personnel for the Mainbrain on the other ships or a lower-level crew member. The overall situation had been set and staying any longer would only increase the risk of exposure.
“Nn. At dinner, you have to tell me why those people don’t think Fan Baiyan is hurting them—”
He patted the dust on the tip of Tang Yibu’s hair. “Okay.”
Tang Yibu rubbed his hand against his cheek in satisfaction. “Wait for me here for two minutes, and we’ll leave immediately.”
“You want to go back to Elysium?” Seeing the android turning to the fallen commercial building, Ruan Xian frowned.
“The iron bead is still inside.”
“…” Ruan Xian wiped his face. “Go ahead. Remember to drive a ship back.”
The main ship of the Walking Stones.
Yu Le carried a scanner in his left hand and squeezed a pen and paper in his right. He sat lazily on a recliner, close to the sealed warehouse door leading to the interior of the giant ship, with two tall, armed pirates standing on the left and right.
Countless weird-looking small broken ships hung along the edge of the giant ship, and the people on board lined up in a long row on the deck.
“Zhou Hongmei, Chen Baoshan, and Chen Wei’s family.” He held half of his cigarette butt in his mouth and made a few simple strokes on paper with a pen. 5,000 per child, for a total of 25,000 contribution points. Here, this is the proof. Take it.”
“Sun Qin, 10,000. Take the proof.”
“Zheng Shangqu, 10,000. Take it.”
“Wu Jiacheng, 10,000. Here.”
The team moved forward very quickly, and there were more and more contribution points on the light screen beside Yu Le, but there was not much joy on his face, only a deep impatience. After calling a few names, Yu Le picked up the water cup and filled it, wiping his mouth.
“…Wu Honglei.” This time, Yu Le’s speed of speech slowed down a lot. He crossed his legs and looked at the tall man in front of him. “What are you waiting for? Do you have the contribution points? You didn’t sew a trading instrument to your crotch, did you Lei Ge?”
“I only have five thousand.” Lei Ge replied with a stern face. “Captain, I’ve been with you for a long time. Can I get an advance on the credit?”
“Five thousand is the fare of a child. At your height, I estimate that you can only enter by cutting yourself in half.” Yu Le bared his teeth. “Rules are rules. Come back when you have it.”
“Everyone is exchanging points, and it will be disinfection in less than half a day. Where can I get it?!”
“Hey, it’s not like I didn’t tell everyone in advance. Look, you see, little girls are able to put together their fees but a big master like you can’t gather supplies for a few days? Don’t spend a lot on your little lovers again.” Yu Le straightened up and knocked on the armrest with his pen impatiently. “Leave quickly if you don’t have the credits. It’s not like you don’t have a ship. You can hide yourself.”
“Fuck you, Yu Le!” The blue veins on Lei Ge’s forehead bulged. “I spend points on people, but in the end is it not to your pockets? Fucking Elysium never charges a disinfection fee. Are you here to suck blood dry while pretending to be a great uncle?”
“Then go to Elysium. Once on that ship, you’re bound for life. Unlike my side, where people can come and go, it’s more cost-effective.” Yu Le stood up and responded without a smile. “I’m not forcing you to make a contribution. Like I said earlier, don’t you love hiding yourself? What’s the matter? Laozi’s craft can keep everyone alive, so he must give it away selflessly? Do you have the manpower and resources to get a shuttle agent?”
“You’re the captain!”
“Yes, I’m the captain, not your nanny. Are you finished? Get out of here quickly. You’re wasting for my time.” Yu Le waved his hand, as if he was squatting away a fly. “Either you really go to Elysium or drag yourself forward, but if you don’t survive, you can only blame yourself.”
“How many years have I been on this ship, and how many times have I made contributions, huh?” Instead of leaving, Lei Ge punched the railing. “Damn it, you won’t even give me an advance credit. What if you happen to be sick or injured? You don’t even recognize me because I don’t have the points, yet you pretend to be a good person? Yu Le, let me tell you, when the voting screen comes down in the middle of the night, I hold a vote in my hand.”
With a gunshot, Yu Le shot directly through Lei Ge’s foot, and Lei Ge suddenly screamed.
“My boat, my rules.” Yu Le glanced at the ugly-looking pirate nearby without showing the slightest gentle expression. “I’m so sick that I have a medical certificate so I can tell those who are seriously injured. If you have good hands and feet, then you should get out.”
Lei Ge spit bitterly, opened his throat and yelled at the back. “Do you see this? Don’t take any sincerity here. After a few years of friendship, he won’t even extend any credit. Sooner or later, you’ll become the next Fai Baiyan.”
“Next.” Yu Le ignored him.
Lei Ge dragged his feet and walked bitterly towards the main ship of Elysium. Feng Jiang stepped forward with his eyes wide open.
“Newcomer? Three thousand for newcomers is enough. What do you mean by this number?”
“I didn’t dive deep,” Feng Jiang said hoarsely. “I just came from Elysium a few days ago…”
“I told you three days in advance. I remember you were there. There’s no shortage of work to prepare for disinfection. You can work bare-chested for a day or two, dive deep into the ruins, and three thousand could easily be made up.” Yu Le rolled his eyes. “Hide by yourself or be dragged away by Elysium. You can choose. Next!”
“I’m a rebel…”
“Even if you are Ruan Xian’s own son, you have to follow laozi’s rules in laozi’s territory. Don’t expect anything from Tu Rui. He won’t intercede for you. Are you sick? Disabled? Why are there so many mothers-in-laws* today. Next!”
*(婆婆妈妈) Term used to describe people who are long-winded and do trivial actions. Also used to describe those who are emotionally vulnerable, but in this context it’s the former.
Feng Jiang took a few deep breaths and turned his head in the direction of the main ship of Elysium. A young man in the team poked his head out for a while, then walked up.
Half an hour later, Yu Le turned his wrist and smiled for the first time. “Oh, you two are back. You both look like you were dug out of a construction site. Bathing is not included in the disinfection. Well, since you two are in a relationship, you can both get a discount for your contributions…”
“We got another ship. The chains are tied, and we will stop there.” Tang Yibu pointed in the direction of the stern, “Is that enough?”
Yu Le grinned and waved his pen and paper. “Enough, it’s enough, go on. Gang Zi is down there. You can ask him if you don’t understand.”
Ruan Xian took the proof, glanced casually, and his facial muscles twitched.
“This is the captain’s anti-counterfeiting method. I’m afraid someone will try to sneak in.” They climbed down the iron ladder, and Gang Zi was waiting for them below the ship as he checked the proof in people’s hands one by one. “I recognize the captain’s handwriting. Even if I’m not sure, I can still ask the captain about it.”
“No, I want to ask about the content…”
“The captain’s own impression of everyone is hard to fake. Look at this. A litter of mongooses, the captain’s impression of Chen Baoshan and his family.”
On the piece of paper were simply drawn a few U-shaped objects that looked more like a bunch of ghosts than mongooses. Ruan Xian instantly understood the anti-counterfeit effect of this thing, as most people really can’t draw like this.
Ruan Xian looked at his speechlessly. He tried to distinguish it for a long time, and he probably had a guess in his heart but…
“You’re a snake.” Gang Zi confirmed his guess. “I know what you want to say, it looks like a lump… Ahem, the captain has always drawn snakes like this. Forgive me.”
Ruan Xian numbly stuffed the piece of paper into his pocket and raised his chin at Tang Yibu. Gang Zi frowned at the voucher that Tang Yibu handed over, sighed, and stuffed it back.
“It stands to reason that I have to confirm with the captain, but since the two came together, and the handwriting is also like the captain’s, it shouldn’t be a forgery. It’s just that it’s usually an animal, Xiao Tang… Forget it, forget it.”
Tang Yibu smiled and picked up the piece of paper, folding it. Ruan Xian moved half a step back, and saw the contents of the paper from the gap between Tang Yibu’s movements…
A poorly painted stick figure was drawn on it.
“It’s past four in the afternoon, and there’s less than an hour before we set sail. The two of you can find a comfortable place to sit down. It may get bumpy.” Gang Zi cleared his throat and continued to check tickets.
Ruan Xian and Tang Yibu exchanged glances.
The interior of the boat was divided into many layers by breathable metal mesh, and people generally got together when camping. Relying on their physical strength, the two of them climbed to the top floor with the least number of people and shrank in the corner.
“It’s impossible for Yu Le to tell. There’s no problem with my disguise.” Tang Yibu untied his backpack and grabbed two bottles of champagne, a large piece of fresh cornbread, and even a can of caviar. In the end, he took out the iron bead that was being crushed to death and stuck it firmly between the two iron bars.
“Next time you can choose reasons other than a sexual fetish,” Ruan Xian said, while accepting the bread, “You didn’t just pick up the iron bead, did you?”
“If I didn’t grab these, they would be broken.” Tang Yibu confidently pulled off the cap of the bottle of champagne and handed it to Ruan Xian. “I can’t figure it out…”
“Maybe he just thinks you look like an android.” Ruan Xian comforted him very sincerely and took a bite of the bread. “Anyway, he doesn’t have evidence. At best, he can only guess that you’re my android—Don’t worry too much. We’ll leave as soon as possible after disinfection.”
Tang Yibu stuffed a mouthful of bread with a contemplative expression on his face.
“Okay, let’s talk about something else.” Ruan Xian took a sip of champagne cautiously.
There was less than an hour left. When the disinfection began, Tu Rui would definitely be back, and they could ask questions. Even if something went wrong, it was very convenient to escape under the bombardment. Whether it was the Walking Stones or the Order Supervisors, it was destined that they wouldn’t concentrate their efforts on tracking the whereabouts of two people.
“Oh.” Tang Yibu was shocked. He stretched out his arm and put some caviar on Ruan Xian’s bread. “Fan Baiyan’s side just now…”
“People will live like that.”
Ruan Xian suddenly felt that the bread in his mouth had no taste. He stopped chewing and looked at the caviar on the bread. This may be Fan Baiyan’s private collection. It didn’t release much of a fishy smell, but rather a faint nutty aroma.
“As long as you firmly believe that the other party is good, no matter how much you have suffered, you will not treat them seriously as if they are harmful. Those who are paranoid will also use them as a test and tempering.”
The hand holding the wine bottle trembled a little. Ruan Xian was silent for a while and put the champagne bottle on the ground.
“Their bodies are broken, and the fact that they are under control is also very obvious. You may not notice it for a day or two, but long-term drug use will inevitably weaken the body.” Tang Yibu frowned slightly.
“’Knowing’ and ‘understanding’ are two different things,” Ruan Xian replied indifferently. “It’s not that Fan Baiyan had brilliant acting skills, but the people of Elysium had the desire to believe. They want to believe that Elysium is stable, and that their dedication and trust will be rewarded.”
As long as there were enough people moving in a certain direction, someone would follow in a daze. At this point, the difference between man and sheep may not be that great. Once immersed in a certain kind of water, it was like being entangled in a warm swamp. Sober people would try to question it, while docile people usually just sink. They were gathered so closely and so united—how could the “vast majority” be wrong?
Not to mention that they “wanted” to join this illusory dream.
Tang Yibu swallowed the bread in his mouth, lowered his eyes, and chewed on the edge of the bread in small bites. There was still blood on his hands, and his long eyelashes were stained with dust.
“I don’t understand.” After thinking for nearly ten minutes, the android spoke again.
“It took me a long time to figure this out,” Ruan Xian replied quietly, withdrawing his gaze from Tang Yibu. “After all, you’re not the same kind, so this kind of idea may be more difficult to understand.”
“It seems that the sample information I collected is still not enough.” Tang Yibu stuffed the pieces of bread stained with caviar into his mouth, his voice a little muffled. “…Thank you for your explanation.”
“You’re welcome.” Ruan Xian smiled briefly and fed the metal bottle cap to the iron bead.
The iron bead opened its mouth happily, ready to pick up the two bottle caps that flew over when the hull of the ship bumped at this moment, causing the two bottle caps to fly away, making the iron bead stuck to the bars let out a rattling cry.
“What’s the matter?”
“The Walking Stones are fixing Elysium’s main ship, a bit like a trailer.” Tang Yibu hugged Ruan Xian tightly for the first time. He tightly grabbed the other party’s waist with one hand and the iron railing with the other and put his face on the small window. “The Walking Stones are about to make their move.”
Another wave of tremors. Ruan Xian also pulled out the iron bead stuck in the railing and stuffed it into his backpack and carried it behind him. The finished champagne bottle rolled down the slopping metal mesh and hit the ground with a clatter.
“It’s time for us… Uh.” Ruan Xian wanted to say that it was time to find Tu Rui, but he was almost vomited by the sudden bumps created by the Walking Stones. He didn’t know where Yu Le learned his sailing skills from, but the Walking Stones trembled as if it was a tricycle riding on a mountain road.
Tang Yibu left the window, put his arms through the metal mesh, put his knees on top, and pressed Ruan Xian against the metal mesh. The backpack containing the iron bead was thrown aside and firmly hooked onto Ruan Xian’s shoulders. This posture was obviously very labor-saving, and the android breathed in satisfaction and directly used Ruan Xian as a meat mat.
“You are going to crush me to death,” Ruan Xian said with difficulty.
The other person’s weight and body temperature hit together, causing him to have difficulty breathing in every sense.
“Is Tu Rui back?” Tang Yibu leaned aside, aggrieved. “If I don’t lock you in place and it starts shaking badly, you may be seriously injured by something. So many people are watching. In case you recover on the spot…”
“Tu Rui hasn’t come back yet, so you don’t have to explain,” Ruan Xian gasped with difficulty. The air in the confined cabin was already muggy, and the continuous turbulence aggravated his discomfort. “If you keep talking, I’ll vomit on your face.”
Tang Yibu hummed, then backed down, resting his head on Ruan Xian’s chest. “What about this?”
If it weren’t for the terrible environment, Ruan Xian would have wanted to refuse this overly intimate posture, but after the vomit of another person flew over his head and almost splashed on him, Ruan Xian decided to remain silent and stick firmly to his original position.
Amidst the huge bumps, Tang Yibu began to hum the sad love song while upside-down. Ruan Xian tried his best to calm down for a while, and finally was able to open his mouth.
“Why are you humming upside down?” He asked with difficulty. “This is Carol Young’s ‘Step by Step’. I can hear it.”
Tang Yibu stopped humming. From this angle, Ruan Xian could only see the top of his head and the tip of his nose. The soft black hair was scattered on his chest, and the weight of the other person brought an inexplicable sense of security.
“I don’t know,” the android replied, “but it seems to make me feel like I can go back in time, which gives me a strange feeling.”
“Would you mind explaining?”
“It’s like a caviar jar that was dropped to the ground as soon as it was opened, and the cornbread fell into the mud.” Tang Yibu raised his head, with a little emotion in his eyes that Ruan Xian couldn’t understand. This was so rare that Ruan Xian was taken aback.
“They used to be my things, but I can’t restore them to their original state.” Tang Yibu’s voice was a little low. “What do humans call this?”
In an instant, countless memories hit his chest. Ruan Xian was a little nauseous again this time, but the reason wasn’t from the turbulence of the Walking Stones.
“Regret,” he replied softly.