Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 70: Throbbing
Yu Le lay bored in the car alone.
His plan wasn’t very successful. Even when he went to buy the camouflage net, Ji Xiaoman still didn’t say much words to him. The girl didn’t have the vitality that young people should have. She was more like a vending machine from all angles. She spoke less than ten words throughout the entire process. The beautiful middle-aged woman went back into the room behind the store and never came out again.
With the camouflage net and tire lock, the car melded with the surrounding debris and ruins of the dead-end alley. Unless one were to touch it with their hands, you usually couldn’t see the flaws. Yu Le laid down like this for a few hours, and the salted dried fish in his mouth began to become tasteless.
The overwhelming boredom paralyzed his tongue.
Suddenly, a harsh crash and scratching sounded at the door of the car. Yu Le instantly became excited. He raised the muzzle of his gun one step ahead of his eyes. Then he saw a round shadow struggling to jump to the position of the car window. Its four thin legs tried to grab onto the glass, but the next second, it slid down helplessly and fell to the ground with a bang.
Then the aggrieved rattle came from outside the car.
Yu Le opened the door of the car and let the bouncing iron bead get in. He looked at the mechanical life wordlessly for a few seconds, and slowly laid back.
The next second, the iron bead jumped directly onto Yu Le’s chest. The latter was smashed and got up angrily. The spherical mechanical life turned around in place, trying to twist its round body, and showed Yu Le the note in the gap in the metal shell.
The former captain of the Walking Stones raised his eyebrows and pulled out the note: “Yo, there’s no direct communication. Did you go to a shady place?”
The iron bead let out a serious growl.
“Let me see… ‘Mr. Ruan and I are tentatively scheduled to spend the night in a prostitute hall tonight, and we are tentatively scheduled to be back before 10 tomorrow. We will contact you if we have something else.’” There was also a scribbled smiley face symbol at the end of the sentence.
“…So these two boys are being romantic and happy together, leaving laozi alone to watch the car? What do they think I am, a dog?” Yu Le crumbled the paper angrily.
The iron bead bit the corner of Yu Le’s clothes and began to shake its head vigorously.
“I know they are investigating, but the smell on this paper… Damn, I also want to go to such an investigation.” Yu Le sniffed the paper with a sweet and greasy aroma and threw away the salted dried fish in his arms. “Let’s go for a walk and go shopping with Uncle Yu. Fuck the curfew.”
The iron bead crawled deep into the back seat, took out the lid of the can that it had been hidden before, and began to nibble on it slowly.
“No love for me?” Yu Le grinned. “Alright, you can watch the car. I’ll be—”
The door of the small shop not far away slowly opened, and a slender figure squeezed out from the gap, looking around vigilantly. Yu Le swallowed the second half of his words back and watched with interest.”
He wasn’t the only one who planned to ignore the curfew.
Ji Xiaoman changed into a close-fitting black dress, carrying some messy metal props on her back, and some even hung around her waist. Despite bringing a load of equipment, the girl didn’t make any noise as she passed through the poisonous fog.
Her face was buttoned up with a bulky half-face gas mask, which made her look smaller. For a few seconds, coupled with the dark gray prosthetic limbs of her arms and right leg, and the blood-red goggles, she didn’t look like a human at all.
Seeing that a good observation target was delivered to his front door, Yu Le rubbed his hands, put on his gas mask, and slipped out of the car.
There were still many people on the street after the curfew. Most of them were nervously laughing or murmuring vaguely. From a glance, there seemed to be something wrong with their heads. Some people were violent, smashing their fists full of blood, while others were having sex in the dark corners, ignoring the screams from below. In every sense, this wasn’t an environment suitable for young girls to go out alone.
Ji Xiaoman didn’t choose the main road. She jumped on the roof like a cat, raising her hands and feet silently. Yu Le used 100% of his eyesight that he possessed as a captain of a ship so he wouldn’t lose her in the heavy poisonous fog.
In this way, the two bypassed the spider-web-like alley and walked all the way to a sparsely lit area. Just when Yu Le began to suspect that Ji Xiaoman just liked to hunt and walk around, she finally jumped off the roof and rushed into the darkness in the distance.
Even through the gas mask, Yu Le could smell the metallic sour smell in the air. He hid behind a box-shaped machine that was no longer working and turned on the infrared scanning mode of his googles, continuing to observe quietly.
It was very likely that this was the metal disposal junkyard that He An mentioned, and the ruins of mechanical parts were built into natural traps. Even in this muddy and viscous air, Yu Le could see the poisonous fog floating around the junkyard. Many long-legged mechanical creatures were lying on the ruins to feed. They were more than half a person tall and looked like centipedes that had been cut into small sections. The lights on their heads were flashing uncomfortably red.
Ji Xiaoman opened her limbs. A metal rod longer than her small arm popped out at the end of the prosthetic leg, and a device with a similar structure appeared on the sole of the intact leg. After a brief adjustment, she landed on all fours, vividly imitating those mechanical life, and moved forward quickly through the ruins. The movements were graceful yet creepy, like humanoid aliens in old horror movies.
She lowered her body, rushed into the mechanical group of life that was gnawing on the machinery wreckage, and then jumped away like a spider. A series of contractions and implosions resounded through the darkness. The mechanical beings slammed together and soon stopped moving.
Ji Xiaoman pulled out a long, sharp knife from behind and began to skillfully cut open the metal corpses and remove the small parts inside. She was busy skimming a delicate screw out of the mucus, when a scavenger puppet lying in the garbage dump raised its body and bit in the direction of Ji Xiaoman.
Yu Le gasped. The scavenger puppet was at least ten times bigger than those in the Sea of Ruins. Comparing Ji Xiaoman’s to that huge body, her head was like the size of its thumb.
The girl seemed to have eyes behind her back. She neatly grabbed the parts, dragged a few more metal corpses, and quickly jumped out of the attack range of the scavenger puppet. Seeing that the attack was fruitless, the behemoth didn’t pursue, but hid its upper body in the metal scrap heap again.
Then it suffered a series of explosions.
This time it wasn’t an implosion but a normal explosion with great power—the junkyard was lit up in flames that turned eerily blueish green from various metal scraps. The billowing black smoke drifted in the direction of Yu Le, blown by the wind.
The girl in a gas mask stood among the flames and continued to dismember the corpses of the mechanical beings like they were oysters in her hands. Yu Le couldn’t stand the black smoke attack, so he moved in the other direction. Hearing a series of crackling sounds that sounded like eggshells being smashed under someone’s feet, Ji Xiaoman quickly turned around and assumed an offensive posture.
“Who?” Her voice was low in the blistering sound of flames burning.
At the same time, inside the city.
The room in front of him was clean and refreshing, with sunlight projected from the fake windows that gilded the edge of the bathtub with golden light. Fresh flowers were placed at the head of the bed, exuding a nice fragrance. Ruan Xian fiddled with his hands, and his fingers went directly through the petals that had dew on them—a projection.
His gaze swept around the five-star hotel like decoration, as well as the high-altitude view overlooking the city with a clear blue sky outside the window. It looked like a high-rise room at a luxurious hotel before the end of the world, but Ruan Xian couldn’t help but imagine what it would look like after the projection was removed.
The champagne mentioned by flower peacock was at the head of the bed, lying obliquely in a metal bucket with ice that exuded a hint of cool air. The shopkeeper, who was dressed in bells and whistles, didn’t match the elegant decoration, and he himself seemed to know this. After leading Ruan Xian and Tang Yibu into the room, he quickly closed the door and left.
“The temperature here is a bit high,” Tang Yibu said, sitting down on the soft mattress as he mouthed his words.
“It seems that that gentleman really wants us to drink this bottle of champagne.” Ruan Xian picked up a piece of ice casually. It was real as it was slowly melting between his fingers. He also replied silently with his lips.
The girl who was still in the window just now was wearing a student uniform and had a shorter hairstyle. She was hiding under the empty space of the table and cabinet, shaking like sieve. The little girl’s nose and eyes were flushed, and her arms were scrawny and weak. As soon as Tang Yibu moved in her direction, she let out a sharp scream and hugged her head tightly.
“I’ll take a shower first.” Ruan Xian spoke out this time, with the confidence and laziness unique to someone superior in his voice. “This environment… It seems that we can’t play dirty games.”
“I will go with you.” Tang Yibu said knowingly, and Ruan Xian glared at him.
Seeing that the two of them had no intention of touching her, the little girl stopped screaming and squeezed into the depths of the shadows again; her eyes were dark and desperate.
Just like all the guests who couldn’t wait, Ruan Xian quickly washed away the stains on his body and seriously rejected Tang Yibu’s proposal that “it’s more efficient to wash together”. After the android had started showering, Ruan Xian wiped his half-dry hair and knelt down at the table where the girl was hiding. The girl known as Tiantian-Q2 suddenly choked with fright. The details of her expression were impeccable. Ruan Xian couldn’t tell whether she was a human or an android.
She was constantly exuding fear and rejection into the air, and in addition to despair, a few traces of hatred appeared in her eyes.
Ruan Xian suddenly understood the selling point of this “commodity”—people who came here weren’t simply intending to vent their desires, but often preferred to dominate and destroy. Sometimes the pleasure of stepping on others was no less than pure sex.
“When my person is done washing, I hope you will take a shower,” Ruan Xian said in a command-like tone, grabbing the girl’s wrist. The girl looked like she wanted to bite him for a moment. “Wash it well,” he added.
Footsteps came from the door. Someone was pacing outside. Ruan Xian glanced in the direction of the door and increased the force he was using to grab the girl’s wrist. The girl was abruptly dragged out from under the table by him. Tang Yibu had just finished taking a shower and had put on a loose bathrobe when he saw such a scene as soon as he came out.
“No!” The girl’s voice was sharp and tearful. She scratched at Ruan Xian and kicked over the seat beside her. “Don’t touch me, scumbag, pervert!”
The footsteps at the door stopped.
Someone was opening the door. Ruan Xian gave Tang Yibu a wink, who was learning on the head of the bed knowingly. He picked up a fruit knife and began to cut the pears in the bowl of fruit.
“Are you okay?” The flower peacock knocked on the door symbolically. “Is the effect very realistic? You don’t have to worry about it. Just teach her the lesson. We have good medical insurance. Don’t be hurt by her. It’s not worth it.”
“It’s just a little girl.” Ruan Xian raised his voice. “Is listening around the corner a feature of your store as well?”
“Sorry, sorry. Because the setting of Tiantian-Q2 is relatively special, something has happened before… You continue to enjoy it. I will leave now.” The flower peacock hurriedly declared, but his footsteps didn’t move.
Ruan Xian listened to the movement outside the fake window for a while, raised his hand, and gave the little girl a firm slap. His strength wasn’t so small that the girl was stunned by the slap before she remembered to cry two seconds later. The corners of her lips were bloodshot, and her beautiful face swelled, visible to the naked eye.
Hearing this, the flower peacock left with satisfaction.
Ruan Xian put down his hand, ignoring the hostility in the girl’s eyes. He took out a roll of yellow bandage from his waist bag, stood up, and took the knife from Tang Yibu’s hand.
The girl crawled back with her hands and feet, her teeth chattering. Ruan Xian shook his head and stabbed himself in the palm with the knife, letting the blood drip on the bandage. Then he picked up the yellowish orange lube by the head of the bed and squeezed some on the bandage and wiped the corner of the wall to make it look dirty and shabby.
After preparing for all this, he picked up his dirty coat. “Take off your skirt.”
“No.” The girl covered her swollen face and choked desperately. Tang Yibu stared at Ruan Xian, without much expression on his face.
“Why don’t you go to the toilet and stain it yourself. It’s best to make it look shabby.” Ruan Xian lowered his voice. “Do you want to escape?”
The girl’s body stiffened. She didn’t answer, but her lips trembled badly.
“Now your face is swollen, no one can see you clearly. I will ask you to take a shower again in a while, after my person and I go first. After that, I’m guessing something will happen. While they take us away, you can break the glass and escape.”
The girl in uniform sat slumped on the ground, confused without turning her head.
“Outside, the glass is an alley, not a high-rise building. It’s curfew now. You can figure out the rest.”
“I… My eyes…” the girl murmured. It took a while for her to find her voice.
“Pretend to be blind.” Ruan Xian threw the bloody, dirty bandage over. “Wrap it around your eyes and wear my coat to cover your upper body. A tall old woman with a swollen face and bloody eyes wouldn’t be targeted. I put the gas mask in the bathroom. You can put it on yourself.”
“You…” The girl was still trying to find her voice as tears fell again. “You believe me. I really—”
“I don’t believe you,” Ruan Xian replied quietly.
Tang Yibu frowned.
“To be honest, I don’t really care what’s in your head. As for whether you will run or come back yourself because of your program, that’s also your business. It’s fine to report us. Anyways, we probably can’t get out of here now.”
Ruan Xian gathered a handful of wet black hair, revealing a little clavicle. He raised his voice again. “Now go wash it. I’ll play here for a while. Make sure to wash yourself well and don’t come out without hearing my instructions.”
The girl glanced at him deeply, grabbed the bandage and clothes, rushed into the bathroom, and quickly bolted the door from the inside.
Ruan Xian chuckled and turned the sharp fruit knife in his hand. He released his hand and the deep wound in it had already healed. He looked at the champagne at the head of the bed for a while and then lay down in the position Tang Yibu had vacated.
“You have to save her,” Tang Yibu muttered in a low voice.
“I didn’t save her. I gave her a chance to save herself. I just don’t like seeing children locked up.” Ruan Xian turned his back to him.
“But you don’t know if she’s human.”
“Is that important?”
Tang Yibu didn’t answer. Ruan Xian felt a force erupting from behind him, and the next moment, a pair of golden eyes looked down at him full of complex emotions.
“I can’t analyze the current situation anymore,” Tang Yibu said mindlessly. “You’re not like him, but he made you…”
Tang Yibu stopped talking, lowered his body again, pressing his bare skin onto Ruan Xian’s neck. Ruan Xian swallowed and squeezed the fruit knife in his hand.
“…” Ruan Xian knew who Tang Yibu was referring to, his nominal maker, the other “Ruan Xian”.
But he couldn’t understand Tang Yibu’s specific meaning. For the first time, Tang Yibu revealed such a complex emotion, but he seemed to be unclear on how to deal with it. Both his expressions and movements were eerily stiff and awkward.
“You obviously have human personality data.” Tang Yibu stretched out a hand and slowly slid down from the side of Ruan Xian’s face, with a bit of exclamation in his voice. “It’s not the emotionally sensitive type. It actually resonates with creatures that are suspected of being bionic.”
“Even if you plan to update your observation diary of me.” Ruan Xian gritted his teeth. The friction between their skin-on-skin contact made him feel anxious. The other party’s inhuman reaction sent instinctive chills down his spine, “This posture isn’t necessary.”
However, at the moment when this new fear hit, another heat quickly ignited with it. Some kind of thrill of close contact with danger made his breathing short, like poison that corroded his heart.
“You said you wanted to ‘play with me for a while’. That guy just now must’ve been listening.” Tang Yibu moved his lips silently and stopped his hand on Ruan Xian’s fragile neck. “We have to make some noises… As far as your emotional processing method is concerned, I don’t think you can imitate it well. I can help you with that.”
“No need.” Ruan Xian erected the tip of the knife. The flickering cold blade pierced the android’s bare chest. Tang Yibu’s bathrobe slid down. There were still horrifying fresh burns across his arms—probably left over from when he attacked the bandit’s camp.
“I’ll say it again, no need,” Ruan Xian repeated again. His body was trembling slightly because of the unfamiliar sensation, but his hand still held the knife stably.
“But you’re excited.” Those beautiful golden eyes blinked. “Mr. Ruan, if you were able to cross that line and hear her voice, would you also be able to…”
He leaned down completely, put his hand into Ruan Xian’s bathrobe, and slid it over Ruan Xian’s back very skillfully. The latter let out a hoarse moan, and then firmly sent out the knife.
Tang Yibu ignored the blade that pierced his body. He hugged the other party firmly, rubbing the tip of his nose against Ruan Xian’s temple, as if he had lost the sense of pain. Blood gushed down the place where the two chests were pressed against each other, dyeing the light-colored sheets red.
“…Hear me as well?” he whispered.