Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 133: Before the Chaos
Tang Yibu couldn’t figure it out.
Mr. Ruan was clearly describing an almost impossible thing, but it could be inferred from his tone that the other party thought it would happen. This confused him—since they stepped into Luo Fei’s ward, everything that happened had confused him. Mr. Ruan hadn’t had much contact with Luo Fei. He only had a few encounters with the young man, yet he was able to make his conjecture so certain.
The night was about to end, and his Mr. Ruan, who hadn’t closed his eyes since the start of the joint therapy, was now sleeping heavily. Though he was fused with the S-type Prototype, the body wouldn’t be too fragile, but mental exhaustion still existed.
Tonight, they just simply stuck together. Tang Yibu hugged his Mr. Ruan to sleep—he gently rested his chin on top of the other’s head, hugged the person in his arms, and stared at the dark blue sky dyed by the night.
Tang Yibu couldn’t sleep.
The cybernetic brain could recognize hormones, and the endorphins brought about by affectionate behavior should have had a positive impact on his emotions, but he still couldn’t sleep, as if a hedgehog was walking in his stomach.
It was difficult for people born in the jungle to distinguish distance by size and difficult for those with color blindness to distinguish colors. These differences aside, most humans observed the world in similar patterns, with the brain instinctively absorbing what it observed. In fact, most of the information was sifted out, leaving only bits and pieces of memory left in the brain.
It was difficult for people to remember every signboard they passed by, every stone brick they stepped on, or even the repeated patterns of the stone brick road.
The information was chopped once, sifted through, and chopped again.
This wasn’t the case for him. Tang Yibu had always observed the world greedily. When he stared at a flower, he imagined it from its germination stage to when the flower would wither. Countless details and calculations tumbled in his mind, nonstop. The texture of the leaves, the folds of the petals, the number of stamens, then its state, life span, and finally the moment of decay.
In this noisy world, only his Mr. Ruan was covered in mist.
Originally, Tang Yibu thought so.
Although he had hit a series of walls on the subject; twelve years without a solution, he was still very confident in his computing power and information reserves—he just hadn’t collected the key information and human samples were limited. However, this problem could be solved with time.
But if the inference of the person in his arms was correct, then it could be true that there were many uncovered truths he hadn’t seen over the years, and he didn’t know how much information he had missed. This idea made the hedgehog in his stomach give up walking and start tap dancing.
Tang Yibu breathed anxiously and decided to shift the center of his thinking to planning how to escape this place.
Commander Zhuo of the Order Supervisors had left, which meant security would go through an adjustment process, shifting from strict to lax. Ji Xiaoman, who was outside, could use her own skills and seize the opportunity to create a wave of chaos. Then they could take advantage of the chaos and escape here silently.
Tang Yibu thought about the plan from beginning to end twice, back and forth, but still couldn’t fall asleep. Seeing the sky outside the window gradually light up, Tang Yibu huffed in dissatisfaction, then lowered his head and kissed his Mr. Ruan.
Mr. Ruan should be awake, but apparently was too lazy to care about Tang Yibu. He let the other party bite his lower lip and continue to sleep. However, when Tang Yibu used his tongue aggressively, he had to wake up.
Wrapped in the body temperature of the android, and exhausted to the extreme. Ruan Xian slept so happily that he gave birth to the notion of just staying in bed. Unfortunately, Tang Yibu had no intention of letting him go as he gave him an overly intense good morning kiss.
Ruan Xian didn’t hesitate. After the other party turned the pecking kiss into a deep kiss, he turned over and held down the unprepared Tang Yibu, and kissed him back fiercely, until the android began to make a serious whining protest because of lack of oxygen.
“Strange for you to have insomnia.” Ruan Xian noticed Tang Yibu’s malaise. “Is it because I put the blood guns under the pillow?”
“…Aren’t they hidden in the assistant machine?” Tang Yibu stiffened.
“Well, I feel it’s more exciting to play like this. I’ll put it back in a while.” Ruan Xian yawned and laid unceremoniously on Tang Yibu’s chest. “What’s the matter with you?”
For a moment, Tang Yibu looked a little aggrieved.
“Why are you so sure that Luo Fei will ‘do stupid things’?”
“His emotional state, combined with the resources in his hands… What’s wrong?” Ruan Xian got out of bed first and started to get dressed. “It’s not like it’s a problem that can stump you.”
“The long-dead ‘Luo Fei’ and him have nothing to do with each other, and Pear Blossom is on the verge of collapse. He’s not an important member, and he doesn’t have the kind of assertive personality that dares to reverse the situation on his own. On top of that, it’s impossible to immediately accept the situation on the outside. Even if there was emotional influence, Luo Jian’s final decision was obviously in his favor, so he shouldn’t be—”
Tang Yibu hesitated on the wording for half a second.
“—He shouldn’t have a hurt appearance. Why can you understand it so easily?”
Ruan Xian’s movements stopped. He didn’t know how to explain the problem.
This wasn’t a question that could be expressed and understood by language alone.
Tang Yibu sat on the edge of the bed, holding his hands on it, looking over with burning eyes. The sun was rising behind him, gradually breaking through the dark blue shadow in the room. Ruan Xian was in a daze for a while, and a certain scene passed through time and space, gradually overlapping with everything in front of him.
It was also early in the morning. After New Year’s Eve, it was the first morning of the new year.
Except for a few people who must preside over the project, most of the employees in the institute had already gone home for New Year’s. He was almost left alone in the underground living area of the institute. Ruan Xian simply got some food and went to the computer room of NUL-00 to pass the time.
When he entered the door, NUL-00 was trying to adapt the rustic old songs used at New Year’s into a grand and mournful symphony. The walls projected a lot of sketch-like stick figures, making the computer look like a murder scene.
For a moment, Ruan Xian seemed to turn around and leave, but the hot air in the computer room was really comfortable, and he hesitated for a few seconds before directing the wheelchair to enter.
[Dad.] NUL-00 threw the word head-on.
[…I told you, I don’t accept this kind of name.] Ruan Xian sighed, feeling a headache coming on.
[Combining real-time information from various places, this is the most intimate name for today’s atmosphere.] NUL-00 solemnly stated. [According to custom, now you should give me New Year’s money.]
At that time, Ruan Xian was very sure that if his condition worsened prematurely, most likely it was due to anger from this thing.
[I’m not your father, and there’s no New Year’s money.] After taking a deep breath, Ruan Xian said gently.
[Let’s watch a movie.] Ruan Xian had become accustomed to dealing with NUL-00’s increasingly disconnected expressions.
Ruan Xian chose a murder film unexpectedly while heating the liquid food used for breakfast on the radiator of NUL-00. As a result, the plot had just reached its climax, and NUL-00 had gone into the 100,000 reasons mode.
[According to the current mainstream values of humans, the male protagonist has no reason to be angry. It’s just that he has repeatedly denied it with reference to reality. No one has attacked him with language or actions that exceed the standard. His socioeconomic status is middle or upper class. Why would he show a state of being hurt?]
This was its first question, and it threw an entire long paragraph along with it.
[The rating of this film is not low. Why can humans easily understand it?]
This was the second question.
Thinking about it now, it was one of the few warm moments in his life. It was a pity that because the project was scrapped by “Professor Ruan”, NUL-00, who had spent five years with him and should have accompanied him to the end of his life, disappeared from this world first.
Ruan Xian couldn’t help but stretch out his hand and pat Tang Yibu’s cheek lightly.
[It’s hard to explain.] At that time, he once replied like this.
“It’s hard to explain.” Ruan Xian salvaged those answers from the past.
[But in my delicate situation, I can understand a thing or two now.]
“You know my condition. Despite the personality defect in me, I could understand a little bit.”
[So I think one day, you can too.]
“…I think one day, you can—” Ruan Xian failed to finish.
The hand he used to caress the side of Tang Yibu’s face was clenched tightly. The android’s gaze was unprecedentedly complicated, so much so that he couldn’t understand it.
“It’s time for us to have breakfast, Mr. Ruan. Today’s breakfast is xiao long bao with gravy.” Tang Yibu stood up, and his tone was somewhat irrefutable. Ruan Xian raised his eyebrows and drew his hand back forcefully.
“Tang Yibu, what are you—”
“Mr. Ruan.” A knock on the door was accompanied by a familiar female voice. “I, ahem, this is Li Han. Please open the door.”
Ruan Xian glanced at Tang Yibu with a subtle expression, then walked to the door and opened it.
Li Han’s eyes were severely swollen, her voice sounded lost, and her mental state wasn’t right. She struggled to smile and showed sadness mixed with eerie exuberance.
“I’m here to deliver a message. Luo Fei wants to talk to you.” The girl didn’t seem to be planning to quit Pear Blossom.
“…It can be said that it is Luo Fei.” She used a rather ambiguous statement. “If it’s convenient for you two…”
“Let’s go now,” Tang Yibu said, and his expression became a little more complicated.
“I would like to provide more information about Professor Ruan.”
When they found Luo Fei, the young man had already eaten his xiao long bao at Luo Jian’s old sitting spot. His appearance hadn’t changed, but his eyes looked more mature, and the sharpness unique to young people was heavily exuded in his body.
“Why did you change your mind?” Ruan Xian sat down opposite him and accepted it very naturally.
“I was… My dad was too cautious before, and he had a deep relationship with that person. I’m not the same.” Luo Fei took a bite of the xiao long bao and smiled embarrassedly, claiming to be still a bit confused. “His trust and protection of Professor Ruan were too over the top. I don’t have that kind of heart. I want to make a deal with you two.”
The tone of this sentence was very similar to the Luo Jian he knew.
“My place, no, my dad has a disposable communication device that can evade the detection system. He hasn’t had time to use it yet. You can take it.”
“Let’s talk about the content of your deal first.” Ruan Xian raised the corners of his mouth with interest.
“Zhuo Muran is leaving today, and you guys are done talking to my dad, so I guess you’ll be leaving as well.” Luo Fei put down his chopsticks and took a sip of his millet porridge. “Cause chaos and leave quietly, right? At the beginning, Professor Ruan also discussed a similar plan with my… dad.”
“I hope that you two will leave with a bang.” Luo Fei gave a rather old-fashioned smile.
“…I guess this means more than a test of strength.”
Luo Fei’s eyes floated for a few moments, showing a bit of praise and relief that wasn’t normally seen on a young man. “The next piece of information is my advance deposit. According to what I know about Professor Ruan, there’s a high probability that he’s still watching this place, and I have a guess about his whereabouts. If you guys make it out alive, I’ll share my conjecture with you.”
“I hope the Red Ghost is strong enough to get you two out of here. If you perform well, Professor Ruan might really be willing to cooperate with you.”
“And this will create an environment for Pear Blossom to raise morale and excite the people.”
“More than that.”
Luo Fei, who had mixed Luo Jian’s memories into him, raised his head and spoke in a flat tone.
“You can also think of this as a signal. I want to convey this news and let Professor Ruan open his eyes and take a good look. His fire is far from being completely extinguished.”
Ruan Xian turned his face and looked at Tang Yibu, only to find that the android happened to be watching him too.
“Okay.” Before he could speak, Tang Yibu spoke first. “This is my opinion.”
“I agree too.” After thinking about the escape route for a while, Ruan Xian didn’t have much resistance to this crazy request. As a cover-up, the name of the Red Ghost would become known sooner or later. He could confirm Yu Le’s opinion afterward. As a great ruins pirate in the Sea of Ruins, Yu Le would probably not object.
“It seems that the cooperation is basically settled, so I will make more preparations.” Tang Yibu took off the collar of the doctor’s uniform and, in a rare moment, didn’t touch his breakfast.
“I’ll wait for good news from you,” Luo Fei said as he sipped his porridge. “…Xiao Han, try this xiao long bao. It tastes really good.”
Seeing that Tang Yibu was in the wrong state, Ruan Xian didn’t have much thought to continue eating breakfast. He nodded to Luo Fei and walked out of the cafeteria with Tang Yibu.
“I didn’t expect you to be quite straightforward,’ Ruan Xian said in a chatty tone. “Doing this kind of big move under the eyes of the Mainbrain… The previous you wouldn’t agree to this.”
“I have estimated the risk, and the risk is within my tolerance.” When he said this, Tang Yibu didn’t look at him. “Since all three of you want to see Ruan Xian, it’s more realistic to seize information from a reliable source than to try our luck.”
“What else?” Tang Yibu had never had the habit of sacrificing himself for the sake of others, and Ruan Xian had no intention of being fooled by the other party in this way.
Tang Yibu stopped and turned to Ruan Xian.
“There’s a problem with my subject. As far as I know, Professor Ruan will have very important reference materials.”
“I questioned my ability to judge.” Tang Yibu’s voice was very soft. “…Mr. Ruan, I’m also a little curious about the answer to your question: ‘Is it the real Ruan Xian?’.”