Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 81: Out of Control
Yu Le watched the noodles in the bowl bubble up in front of him, fiddled impatiently with the branches, and finally gave up the idea of continuing to eat. After surviving in the Sea of Ruins for so many years, he wasn’t a picky eater, but the fishy smell of the human brains in his memory still lingered at the end of his nose, and his nausea refused to dissipate.
He raised his head again and glanced at Ruan Xian, who was silently peeling eggshells. A few hours ago, that handsome young man looked much paler than he was now.
“Can anyone answer me, what were these things used for before the Great Rebellion?” The memory returned to the basement of the flower peacock shop again, and the other party’s question was still buzzing in his ears.
Yu Le suspected that after returning to the car to rest tonight, he would still dream of those crazy scenes in the basement.
Ruan Xian actually had no appetite. Although everything on the ground floor of that shop had disappeared with the flames, the white light on the operating table was still engraved in his mind.
For the purpose of study and research, he had dissected many creatures since he was a student, until the disease made him lose the ability to pick up a scalpel. Ruan Xian had a high degree of acceptance of blood, but the madness in that scene shook him.
It was difficult for people in peacetime to imagine a pile of real corpses.
People may have seen it in film and television works, texts, or pictures and mistakenly believed that their receptivity was sufficient, but vision and imagination were only two aspects of perception. When a person stood in a real pool of blood, surrounded by the bodies and wreckage of their own kind, the sensory impact wasn’t in the same order of magnitude at all. In an era when people still needed to personally shoot and execute criminals, police officers dealing with all kinds of darkness still needed psychological counseling from all the too twisted scenes that were most likely to collapse the public’s imagination.
Ruan Xian was calmer than he thought, but the cold he felt was more inclined in the other direction.
He suddenly had a weird feeling—his previous self was like a wolf raised among a rabbit pile, and he insisted on living on vegetable leaves under various training. And when they stepped out of the cage, the rabbits were busy gnawing on the flesh scraps of corpses, their mouths full of blood.
Even though there was no shortage of corpses in the Sea of Ruins, the ones here were even more frenzied. The corpse pile itself was bad enough but appearing on a battlefield and appearing in a relatively peaceful neighborhood created two different effects.
The blood was spreading through his memory.
“I don’t know.” Yu Le hesitated for the first time in his memory. “I have been in prison for some years, so I don’t know what was going on outside. Fuck, what the hell are these things…”
The former captain of the Walking Stones seemed to be trying to adjust the atmosphere, but there was an uncontrollable shock in his voice.
“Ruan Xian and Fan Linsong’s ‘Farewell Project’ was different. I should have mentioned that plan to you,” Tang Yibu answered smoothly and coldly. “Extract the memories of patients with special brain damage and complete loss of perception and replace the brain with a cybernetic brain. They let such new products accompany their families in life, and they also let them get rid of the fate of spending money on a hopeless, vegetative person for many years. Of course, some people insist that such products are also considered their family members, but they are just equipped with artificial organs, which is very common.”
“You said that the Farewell Project is strictly controlled.”
“Correct.” Tang Yibu glanced at the cybernetic brain on the shelf. “But I also said that Plan Corp chose another path. They used human tissue and a mechanically synthetic shell, combined with a cybernetic brain, to make androids and put them on the market… At that time, the Ministry of Ethics required that the composition of human tissue in the android’s body could not exceed 35%, and the tissue donation must also be through legal means.”
Then he walked to the edge of the pool full of bodies, lowered his head, and looked at the bodies packed like sardines in it. “Strictly controlling the content of human tissue requires very cutting-edge bionic mechanical technology. We all know how to do it the easiest way. Just combine this plan with the Farewell Project—to create a complete clone, remove the brain, and replace it with a cybernetic brain. Natural design is much more subtle than humans, and it’s faster to manufacture.”
“Part of the black market…?” Ruan Xian felt uncomfortable all over.
“Not necessarily.” Tang Yibu turned his head, and all the smiles on his face disappeared. “To be honest, many people don’t care.”
“Few people really care about the emotions of others, let alone what’s on their minds. As long as you don’t have to see this picture in person, it’s not out of the realm of possibility to treat humans as commodities. “
Tang Yibu stretched out his hand and pulled out a wet arm from the pool.
“On the other hand, if a large number of artificial mechanical organs are used, the natural tissue content of normal humans may also be less than 35%. Can such a person be classified as an android? Later, people simply turn a blind eye.”
“Your ethics department’s efficiency is terrible.” Ruan Xian forced a smile. The inexplicable discomfort became stronger.
“No, the benefits are too great.” Tang Yibu threw back the unresponsive arm. “When Plan Corp launched the android…”
“I know about this. There was much opposition to the use of humanoid mechanical life, right?” Yu Le was still staring at the barrel of brains as he grinded his teeth loudly. “Just before I was jailed, I remember it was quite noisy, but everyone quickly settled down. With legal slaves, they could live more comfortably by themselves. There’s public opinion and money on top of it; who cares about morality and bottom lines?”
“So this is the machine that takes out the brain.” Ruan Xian moved his gaze from the operating table to the pool. “…And that’s the body preservation tank. The bodies are made by an organic printer like that of the refuge. How truly convenient.”
He was silent for a while; his gaze swept over the blood-stained operating table machinery. In the dim lighting, the machine’s slender metal feet cast messy black shadows on the operating table, and with the bloodstains on it, it showed a scene of teeth and claws.
“The technique of taking memory samples from living bodies and then filling a cybernetic brain with memory is definitely not something that non-professionals can do casually. The Farewell Project was Ruan Xian’s own thing, yet he can’t even manage his own technology?”
The anger that he hadn’t experienced in a long time hit him again. Ruan Xian pierced his nails into the palm of his hand and tried to keep his tone steady.
“Sorry, I don’t know the details here.” Tang Yibu’s voice was flat. He wasn’t sure if it was an illusion, but Ruan Xian felt a bit lonely coming from it. The android stood on the edge of the pool filled with body parts, as if he was a part of it, looking strong but also fragile.
“…Crazy, all crazy,” Yu Le murmured. “Compared with these people, Fan Baiyan could be considered a conservative. It seems that it was right to be locked up. I would rather face that group of murderers than watch this…”
“Let’s make a big noise.” Ruan Xian said clearly.
Yu Le and Tang Yibu looked at him at the same time. Tang Yibu turned his head slightly, his eyes flashing with something Ruan Xian didn’t understand.
“What are you planning?” Yu Le sounded eager to try.
“No, our intelligence is insufficient right now.” Tang Yibu rarely puts forward opposition. “This is not the Sea of Ruins. I don’t know much about it. Coupled with the previous City Defenders, the power situation in the Underground City is relatively complicated. Even if our combat ability is fine, if we make too much trouble, it’ll definitely attract the Order Supervisors…”
“What’s more, most of the people here are accustomed to this kind of thing. Qian Yigeng most definitely isn’t the only person doing this. It’s pointless to make a big fuss. Mr. Ruan, this isn’t the purpose of our coming here. It’s better to choose a plan with the greatest chance of winning.”
“I don’t care how other people react, nor how many people are still doing it. Tang Yibu, do you really think I want to be a self-indulgent hero? You still have to learn in terms of observation.”
Ruan Xian began to take materials from the medicine cabinet next to the operating table with extremely firm movements.
“I know how to get the best win rate. It’s just that I’m not in a good mood right now and I don’t care to control it.”
He threw two packs of hemostatic powder casually on the blood-stained operating table and supported himself on the edge of it with both hands, not caring at all about the bloodstains on his hands. Across the operating table, he looked directly into Tang Yibu’s eyes.
“Next, I will declare war, and I will bite Qian Yigeng’s throat tightly and pull him out of this street. As for power, it’s good to take advantage of every move. Our winning chance isn’t zero. We can win. If you want to stop… You know how you can stop me.”
Ruan Xian touched the earring stud in his left ear. Tang Yibu was silent and didn’t respond.
The android silently watched Ruan Xian mix the medicine with other chemicals, while Yu Le began to destroy the large machine proficiently and dumped fuel at key points. The priceless old-fashioned cybernetic brains were placed on the shelf besides him, but the former pirate didn’t even bother to look at them again.
“Yu Le, there’s a fireproof device here. You first go upstairs and make a small fire first. Check to see if those who need to evacuate get out. Then just leave. Remember to draw the attention of those people at the door. Yibu and I will guard this area. When the time is right…”
He pulled the corners of his mouth up, showing a smile that was almost joyful.
“This place will burn to the ground with a bang.”
“Where will we meet?” Yu Le didn’t express any protest against Ruan Xian’s command. He rolled up his sleeves, revealing his sturdy forearms, and then put a sharp scalpel in his waist bag.
“Yibu, do you still want something to eat?” When turning to Tang Yibu, Ruan Xian’s voice softened slightly. “It’s a bit risky to go directly back to the car. Let’s meet at Li Ji Noodle House.”
Yu Le gave him a thumbs up and quickly left the creepy basement. Tang Yibu remained silent. He stared at Ruan Xian tightly, as if he had met him for the first time.
“Perhaps it’s a miscalculation of personality data.” After a long time, he spoke. “Starting from the Sea of Ruins, you’re getting more and more… out of control.”
“Facing such a scene, you want to put the words out of control on me?” Ruan Xian wrapped the wet mixture and stuffed it into an iron pipe he found. “I thought you would like this kind of experiment. After all, you can see a lot of things that you can’t normally see.”
Silence floated between the two for a few seconds.
“Ah.” Ruan Xian put the ready-made time bombs in place. He wiped his hands on his white coat, and the smile on his face became weird. “You’re worried.”
He walked slowly to Tang Yibu and raised his head slightly. “I’m getting more out of control because I’m starting to choose a more difficult path, right? You’re starting to guess… If I continue like this, maybe one day I will also ignore the most reasonable choice and risk my life to attack you.”
He stretched out his hands and held Tang Yibu’s cheeks. He found vigilance in the other party’s gaze without surprise, and there was a hint of panic that was almost untraceable.
“I don’t like this feeling,” Tang Yibu murmured, stretched out a hand, and vaguely stuck it on Ruan Xian’s throat. “It makes me a little uncomfortable.”
The android tightened his fingers slightly, and his gaze swept across the absurd room. Ruan Xian didn’t struggle. He let go of the hand holding the other party’s cheek and touched the operating table behind him.
Two steps away from their feet was a pool with countless bodies piled up and shattered brains that kept spitting out fishy smells from the metal barrels. Tang Yibu pressed him to the edge of the operating table, completely snatching all his escape routes, but the confusion in those golden eyes became deeper.
“It seems you found that I’m not the only one who is out of control,” Ruan Xian continued with some difficulty, clenching his fists secretly.
“This is a test.” Tang Yibu’s voice was hoarse. “You deliberately supported Yu Le, and you didn’t choose a more dangerous approach purely out of emotions…”
“I even prepared a venue and equipment for you.” Ruan Xian smiled. “If you destroy my brain, you may even have the opportunity to replace it with a new old-fashioned cybernetic brain. Very convenient. This is the safest and most reasonable solution. Why don’t you take action?”
A near-dark rage mixed with subtle longing burst out the moment he discovered the true use of the machine. This move was completely foolish but full of temptation. His reason and common sense screamed to stop, but Ruan Xian involuntarily moved his feet to the edge of the cliff.
Perhaps the absurd environment exacerbated this madness, and the almost illogical pleasure made his blood boil.
An outburst of anger, a subtle desire. Ruan Xian wasn’t sure if he wanted to confirm something or deny something impatiently. He didn’t know if he was seeing things, but the barrel of the gun that was clinging to the skin near his ribs was slightly warm. The makeshift explosive device held in his hand made his palm hurt, perhaps because it was bleeding.
He ignored the pain and looked at those beautiful eyes with fascination.
“Why don’t you do it?” He repeated it again and was satisfied to find that Tang Yibu’s ability to restrain himself was getting smaller. For a moment, he looked like a lone wolf who had lost his pack.
“This is a dangerous influence,” Tang Yibu murmured, sounding even a little aggrieved. “Unknown and dangerous, but very valuable. And it makes me… very uncomfortable.”
He looked at Ruan Xian, as if he wanted to dig out some antidote from the other person’s face with his gaze.
“Mr. Ruan,” a few seconds later, he whispered in a low voice, as if it wasn’t himself who had just shown murderous intent. “You win. Let’s take this step first and see Qian Yigeng’s reaction. I still don’t support your approach, but if I can’t hear you anymore…”
Ruan Xian didn’t respond. He hooked Tang Yibu’s waist with one hand, grabbed the other’s black hair with his other hand, and kissed him fiercely. The makeshift bomb in his hand rolled to the ground and stopped quietly. Tang Yibu responded to the kiss a little awkwardly for the first time. He pressed the other party on the operating table again and almost rubbed his forehead against the bloodstained mechanical tip.
It wasn’t a lustful kiss. Ruan Xian didn’t even know why he was doing it—maybe he wanted to prove a certain emotion, or maybe he wanted to defeat his opponent with this.
And the other party’s reaction was also marked by the same uncertainty and vacillation.
‘Simply escaping was no longer an option,’ Ruan Xian thought. Not to mention Tang Yibu, he couldn’t accept this—the other party was like a beautiful butterfly with a high degree of poison. He understood that it was fatal, but he couldn’t bear to look away from it. If he wanted to be free, then freedom was bound to be bloody.
The original simple use of the relationship gradually developed into a mess, only to see who would show the knife first.
He pulled Tang Yibu’s hair fiercely, making sure that the other party bit the tip of his tongue, intentionally or unintentionally. While deepening the bloody kiss, he kicked the makeshift bomb on the operating table. The bomb exploded and the fire ignited the side of the metal barrel filled with brains.
Ruan Xian grabbed two parts and ended the long panting kiss. The air began to be filled with the peculiar smell of burnt flesh. The ceiling was collapsing, and he knew that those bright red signal bombs were exploding. The flames would follow the iron pipe through the roof and light up a bright red marker in the dark.
“…What kind of noodles do you want to eat this time? My bowl still belongs to you.”
The things that followed were much simpler. With Tang Yibu, a person who could quickly shuttle through the darkness, they arrived at the noodle restaurant almost at the same time as Yu Le.
Dragging himself out of his memories, Ruan Xian put the peeled boiled eggs into Tang Yibu’s bowl and sighed.
Tang Yibu’s chopsticks stopped for a few seconds. He carefully opened the egg and took the egg yolk solemnly to Ruan Xian’s mouth. His movements were a bit aggressive, as if he was playing some kind of game.
“You two stop.” Yu Le pushed the soggy bowl of noodles aside. “It’s fine now, so it’s time to make trouble. Next, I think—”
“If I’m not mistaken, Qian Yigeng will ask He An first.” Ruan Xian swallowed the egg yolk in one bite and licked the tip of the chopsticks. “Let’s not talk about He An’s attitude. Qian Yigeng himself will definitely take action.”
“Well, I don’t think He An will help.” Lao Yu took one of the branch chopsticks and began to pick his teeth. “He doesn’t look like a he has a broken brain… Hey, forget it. Maybe we are the ones with the broken brains.”
“Let’s see what Miss Ji does in the morning.” Tang Yibu quickly finished the bowl of noodles. “After all, she has a certain amount of information in her hand, so it’s better to be safe.”
Ruan Xian glanced at him meaningfully. “Agreed.”
“Uh.” Yu Le knocked on the table with chopsticks and raised his eyebrows slightly. He was sitting facing the entrance, looking in the direction of the small door of the noodle shop. “Maybe we can get more information now. Both of you, look back quietly.”
Unfortunately, he didn’t get to finish as the other party stepped forward first. His voice was smiling, gentle, and pleasant.
“Lao Li Tou, save me a bowl of noodles. I’ll come and get it later! The three of you. We meet again. It’s quite late for supper.” He An still had a warm smile on his face. “Hm, you have found a mechanic that could repair your car? And they even introduced you to Li Ji Noodle House. I have to say, the person here is an old fritter*. The noodles here are the best in the neighborhood.”
*(老油条) Metaphor referring to someone who is experienced and smooth. In the literal sense, it’s youtiao.
After that, he pulled out a stool and sat down. “…So, who did you find? Tell me, and I can help you see if they’re reliable.”