Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 62: Damage
After a long silence, Ruan Xian responded calmly, “I don’t know the subject of your observation, but humans of your type are usually placed on the list of potential dangers.”
“Ah, the list of potential dangers.” Tang Yibu tore off a piece of cloth from the corpse and wiped the sai in his hand clean. “I know the Supervision Agency.”
Ruan Xian couldn’t be more familiar with the Supervision Agency.
In the days he remembered, physical defects were relatively rare, and most problems could be prevented by obstetric examinations. Even if the child had already been born, as long as it wasn’t a rare disease or an IQ problem, most physical and sensory disabilities could be solved by artificial replacement.
Mental problems were much more complicated.
The name of Supervision Agency was very harmless, and its responsibility was only to evaluate school-age children or adolescents and screen individuals with serious mental defects in advance, then carry out differentiation education and ensured that they would not enter industries that were prone to problems.
People with pedophilia tendencies would be placed in communities and occupations far from children, and people with severe antisocial behavior would be isolated and educated and enter industries with high surveillance. Strictly speaking, they would get a job that would make ends meet, since usually, environmental constraints make it difficult to commit crimes. It sounded good and the public was quite supportive of these practices.
However, there were still some people whose classification was ambiguous, and they were usually not included in the watch list. If the personality defects weren’t manic, bloodthirsty, or extremely violent, the Supervision Agency usually didn’t make special treatment for these people.
But if personality defects were matched with an extremely high IQ, the situation would become complicated. They were good at disguise, elusive, and even more difficult to control as adults. They would be recorded on the list of potential dangers, tracked and followed regularly by the Supervision Agency, and their rights would be restricted accordingly.
However, even without access to politics, there were also strict restrictions on going abroad or long-distance travel. Using their own minds, these people could still obtain considerable wealth through legitimate means.
While society wouldn’t plunder them, they would always have a pair of eyes next to them.
Even with the prestige of his adoptive mother, Meng Yunlai, Ruan Xian was guaranteed to enter the top research institute in China, but he needed a recognized, authoritative colleague to know about it. The Supervision Agency entrusted this heavy task to Fan Linsong, who had a good reputation. They signed a surveillance remuneration agreement and a confidentiality agreement with Fan Linsong.
They thought they were doing it seamlessly, that he didn’t know who his watcher was. Fan Linsong also concealed it well, but Ruan Xian had always been extremely sensitive to the lies of others.
He would never forget the complicated emotions hidden in his eyes when the other party smiled and talked to him. It was dominated by fear, like dirt accumulating in the sewers. No one knew what else was in it, and no one really wanted to know what it was.
This was why he liked Tang Yibu’s eyes. The brilliant light golden color was like the sunlight cast on the skin on a summer afternoon. The emotions inside were extremely clean, only pure and curious.
But right now, the android was standing in a pool of blood and corpses, and his eyes looked abnormal.
But he still couldn’t help being attracted to them.
“…Okay, Yu Le is still waiting. I’ll think about your intuition and the like. Let’s go back.”
“Have you been in contact with the Supervision Agency?” Tang Yibu wasn’t distracted from the topic at hand. “The general public doesn’t care about the list of potential dangers, let alone scientists with relatively limited social interaction.”
“This question is not free.” Ruan Xian didn’t put the gun back into the holster. “Do you want an exchange for it? I’ll you why I care about the list of potential dangers, and you tell me how you developed your intuitive fighting style. That’s not something you can master by just thinking about it.”
It was impossible to just learn combat skills by reading about it. It was something that required a lot of accumulated actual combat and fighting experience.
But according to his own understanding of Tang Yibu, Tang Yibu was extremely afraid of death. He had caught a glimpse of his grumbling when he was shot in the thigh. This android was terribly cautious. Even if his combat abilities were enough for him to win, he didn’t seem to be the type who would actively participate in battle.
Tang Yibu stood still and struggled for a while, and said pitifully, “Well, I won’t ask. Let’s go back.”
Unsurprisingly, Tang Yibu covered his key origins tightly and refused to leave any cracks. He returned to the expressionless state that Ruan Xian was familiar with, but he didn’t hide the trace of loss in his eyes—it wasn’t a fake emotion. Ruan Xian could see it.
Ruan Xian stretched out his hand, brushed off the piece of flesh stuck to Tang Yibu’s shoulder, and patted him. ‘Maybe this was indeed an “effective emotional connection,’ he thought.
“Is the injury serious? If it’s not serious, it’s better to go back with it—”
Before Ruan Xian could finish, Yu Le’s car rushed over. The originally clean front of the car was covered with blood, staining most of the glass.
“Yo, still alive.” Yu Le still had squid feet in his mouth. His voice sounded muffled as he didn’t roll down the window. “What are you two doing? A few of them had managed to reach me.”
“I think as a veteran pirate in an armored off-road vehicle, you didn’t need the two of us to take care of a few stragglers.” Ruan Xian was neither humble nor overbearing.
“They used bombs, okay? Can that be compared to hitting them with a car? My door was almost blown up.” Yu Le bared his teeth. He turned on the headlights, which illuminated the pool of blood and corpses on the ground. “Forget it, come in. Since you two aren’t dead yet, it seems you’re quite capable… Get in the car, get in the car. Are you waiting for an expiration?”
Ruan Xian didn’t respond. He put a safety lock on the gun he collected from the corpse and threw it into the simple arms box in the car. The iron bead jumped around in the back seat, barking with appetite, as if it was particularly interested in the body of the metal gun.
“Mr. Yu, you deliberately detoured this way,” Ruan Xian said casually after the car started again.
“Yu Ge, it seems like more food has increased on your side?” Tang Yibu spoke at almost the same time.
“Oh, we’re going to encounter them sooner or later.” Yu Le glanced at Ruan Xian through the rearview mirror. “What’s that saying? Better to suffer now than long-term*. If you meet early, solve it early, and nip the danger in the bud—”
*(长痛不如短痛) Saying that refers to better to suffer short-term pain so that you won’t have to suffer long-term. (Just get it over with now rather than prolong the agony).
“You have five more dried eggs, two packs of vegetable chips, and three canned sardines. This is what I have found so far,” Tang Yibu insisted on staying on his topic.
“I thought you wanted to give us a nice face slapping, or just solve the problem with us as soon as possible.” Ruan Xian smiled and continued the conversation. “After all, the number of people on the opposite side was several times more than ours.”
“How can you say that, Xiao Ruan.” Yu Le also ignored Tang Yibu and increased his speed. “It’s better to fight now than later. Think about it. These people have blocked all the entrances that could be blocked, just waiting for us to throw ourselves into their net. The efficiency of each attack is relatively good… Okay, okay. I apologize. When we get to their base, I’ll distribute a 70-30 ratio for the weapons.”
“You also took my and Mr. Ruan’s drinks,” Tang Yibu persisted, and was unmoved by the topic. “When we get to their base, our food’s going to be a 0-100 ratio.”
“It seems you know where their base is.” Ruan Xian tried hard to stay on topic.
“Gwah!” The iron bead called out.
Yu Le immediately slammed on the brakes.
“The three of you are so noisy that laozi’s going to explode!” Yu Le took in a deep breath. There was a bit of a pirate aura in his breath. “Fuck, alright! Yes, I took some food and let you out so you could clear the way. Something wrong with that?”
Ruan Xian shook his head at the idea of making a steady profit without losing money. If he and Tang Yibu could come back alive, Yu Le would use them to solve his troubles and formally determine their combat abilities.
And if they died in this battle, as a veteran pirate, Ruan Xian believed that Yu Le had another way to sneak into the city—Then he would have a whole cart of supplies and wouldn’t need to worry about strangers in the back seat making any dangerous moves.
“I don’t intend to complain. I can understand what you mean. If you have information on the bandits, then this is business.” Ruan Xian raised his hand decisively and patted Tang Yibu’s mouth, causing the latter to make a sound of protest. “We really don’t need such a friendly relationship… but there’s no harm in temporarily cooperating before entering the Underground City.”
“Oh, is that right? Then let that kid keep watch tonight. I want to sleep.” The frivolous expression on Yu Le’s face disappeared, “Just understand, without subordinates, I can’t handle the two of you, but you also saw that snakes have their own ways, and so do rats. Your elder is chalk full of intelligence, so there’s no harm in giving them respect.”
Tang Yibu’s whining voice became louder.
“I also want to be full.” Yu Le glanced at Tang Yibu. “There’s still a week to go, so this can be regarded as intelligence expenses.”
A few hours later.
“He took our two bottles of soda.” Tang Yibu sat cross-legged on the roof of the car. His voice was full of grievances.
Ruan Xian silently handed Tang Yibu a can of iced soda and opened his own. “It’s a reasonable deal. At least we now know the location of the bandits.”
“As long as we get close, you can also find their location,” Tang Yibu said, dissatisfied. “In case you can’t use your abilities because of a lack of physical strength—”
“Just treat it as a human investment. It’s more worry-free.” Ruan Xian took a sip of soda. The icy carbonated liquid ran across his tongue.
“I don’t understand.”
“Yu Le is a tough one. He won’t like being treated that way by you. What he did today was a partial warning.” Ruan Xian raised his head and looked at the brilliant starry sky that was glued to the edge of the desert. “…Even if there is no practical value, give some respect, and the possibility of something going wrong in the future will be reduced by a lot.”
“But we never had any friendly behavior between us and him,” Tang Yibu muttered. “Since he is neither a friend nor a companion, why is he unhappy? This was a simple transaction from the beginning.”
“It’s not that simple. Reason is one thing, but mood is another.” Ruan Xian retracted his gaze into the distance. “In our relationship, we don’t have the need to be friendly to each other. From the beginning, it was a simple transaction… or even worse.”
Tang Yibu held the can and no longer spoke.
“If I stop communicating with you now, how will you react?”
“I will have some… negative emotions.” Tang Yibu thought carefully for a while. “But that’s because I like your voice.”
“But these have nothing to do with transactions, right?”
“You mean I hurt him.” Tang Yibu was shocked. “This is an interesting angle. I never thought about it. Can you…”
Ruan Xian yawned.
“…Let’s sleep for a while.” Tang Yibu grabbed the blanket and piled it beside him, patting his leg. “Tomorrow, we have to have someone watch Yu Le with full energy. It’s not safe in the car. I can help you block the wind.”
“In exchange, you have to talk to me tomorrow…”
Ruan Xian didn’t hear the next words clearly, so he curled up and fell quickly asleep. Yu Le parked his car near the dead wall. The car was well hidden by the shadow of the boulder. Yu Le’s slight snoring came from inside.
Ruan Xian wrapped the quilt tightly and leaned unconsciously in the direction of Tang Yibu. Tang Yibu hummed softly. He thought about it for a long time, lowered his head, and gently rubbed Ruan Xian’s hair with his cheek.
“Good night, Mr. Ruan.” he said.