Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 138: The Original Show
Fan Linsong stood by the window.
The blood-red smiley faces slowly covered the sky before his eyes, and then disappeared like an ebbing tide. Carol Young, who he hadn’t listened to for a long time, resounded through the sky. He just stood there, his eyes full of tears.
Even if he had to forget all this again, he still wanted to imprint the scene in front of him in his mind. People were still fighting, which made him excited and desperate.
The Professor Ruan he knew wouldn’t make such a publicity move, and the faint madness made him think of a person who had long since disappeared. That person now had no bones left. That person’s body should be completely dissolved by the nanobots and then sent to the waste liquid chamber. After being briefly sampled, the bin solution would flow into the treatment machine together with other liquid waste, and be completely destroyed, filtered, and finally discharged into the rivers, lakes, and seas.
According to his own arrangements, even the little sample taken would not be left. The NUL-00 project, which carried that person’s efforts, should be ordered to be eliminated at the same time after they take away the required information and data.
He buried everything that belonged to the past, but twelve years later, the cold ghost still lingered by his side.
Fan Linsong was in a daze. The floor-to-ceiling window slowly opened, and Zhuo Muran manipulated the exoskeleton to land beside him. His face looked extremely ugly. After confirming that Fan Linsong wasn’t missing an arm or leg, nor was he a high-fidelity projection, Zhuo Muran moved his fingers and the images of four people appeared in front of him.
“People you know?” Zhuo Muran asked succinctly.
Fan Linsong coldly scanned the four young faces on the light screen. He didn’t know any of them, and he didn’t even need to open his mouth to explain. Zhuo Muran would get the answer he wanted from his physiological indicators.
The four faces were a little blurred, probably restored by Zhuo Muran from his own memory. They were probably the culprits responsible for the riot.
“You were fooled by so few people?” Fan Linsong gave an ugly smile. “In the Chang Jiang River, the waves behind drive on those before*. How wonderful. How wonderful.”
*(长江后浪推前浪) Also known as the Yangtze River, this is a metaphor referring to a more powerful new person or the more accumulated new thing that takes over the old person or old thing. || Basically, he’s saying a more powerful younger upstart is replacing the old (that being Zhuo Muran).
Zhuo Muran wasn’t provoked. He looked at Fan Linsong coldly, ignoring the information notification sounds one after another around him, and operated on the light screen again. After a few seconds, the four images became much clearer.
“Think about it. Whether they are rebels or not, they have enough technology to interfere with the city’s protective walls, so they cannot be nobodies.”
Fan Linsong snorted softly and scanned the young faces casually. If he hadn’t seen them before, then he hadn’t. He said this in his heart and felt very pleased that Zhuo Muran had inexplicably kicked the iron plate*.”
*Referring to thinking someone is soft and easy to bully but as a result suffered a loss themselves. (Like thinking you’re kicking a soft persimmon, but it turns out to be an iron plate, so you injured your own foot).
“I haven’t seen them before. There’s nothing…”
His gaze stopped on the face of one of the young men.
Fan Linsong was pretty sure he hadn’t seen this face before, but he knew the look on it. It was dim and scorching, and there was a faint madness. The facial features were also vaguely familiar, like…
The old man held his breath.
In the information given to him by the prevention agency, he had seen a face very similar to this one—it was Ruan Xian’s late mother, a stunning beauty. Due to the stark contrast with the appearance of her son, who was disfigured due to illness, it left a deep impression on him.
Shit, was his second reaction.
“It seems that you have a little impression of this one.” Zhuo Muran threw the light screen, carrying the young man’s face in front of Fan Linsong.
“He looks a lot like a woman I have met.” Fan Linsong reacted quickly, and he responded very casually and proactively. “…But that was many years ago.”
He thought this was the truth, trying to suppress other churning thoughts.
Zhuo Muran carefully looked at Fan Linsong’s physiological indicators, sneered, and bought the explanation.
“Don’t think about it. He’s dead,” Zhuo Muran responded coldly. “I won’t erase this part of your memory. It’s not bad to give you a little fresh stimulation. How does it feel to hear the song that you banned yourself?”
“It’s terrible,” Fan Linsong replied softly.
“Then I’m relieved.”
Fan Linsong stared at Zhuo Muran, who turned and left, suddenly showing a creepy smile.
“It can’t be killed.” His lips did not move, and there was an indistinguishable breath between his teeth. “The demon can’t be killed.”
In the beautiful melody, Fan Linsong raised his head and looked at the sky that had a bit of red remaining.
“…And he’s just right for this world.” The old man’s tone seemed as if he was making a wish.
The immortal demon was currently thinking solemnly in the car.
Tang Yibu almost died on The Android Show. For Yu Le and Ji Xiaoman, this information wasn’t very useful. At most, it just showed that The Android Show was a dangerous place.
But for Ruan Xian, this sentence revealed much more.
If it was just because of illness or accidental consumption of poisons that caused the worry of life, Tang Yibu didn’t need to tell everyone so solemnly. If he was attacked, Tang Yibu, who was equipped with the A-type Prototype, wouldn’t have fallen to the point of “almost dying”.
Unless at that time, Tang Yibu had not yet obtained the A-type Prototype.
Without the fusion of the A-type Prototype, Tang Yibu’s body was nothing more than flesh and blood that was almost the same as a human. Judging from his physical fitness alone, he was at most a healthy and strong young man. The highest possibility was that Tang Yibu had entered the show in just a pure human flesh body.
[I prefer to call this body an “energy supply device”. I completed it myself, and I had other options at the time, but this shape was more convenient for me to complete my project.]
But Tang Yibu had said this.
Assuming that Tang Yibu didn’t lie to him, his maker probably only designed and completed his cybernetic brain and then abandoned the project. The body was constructed by Tang Yibu himself, so how did he make this body? How did he get on the show as an outsider? How did he get the Prototype that should have been destroyed?
There were mountains of questions piling up.
…However, Tang Yibu didn’t need to be an alarmist or lie about this matter.
If Tang Yibu wanted to pretend, he could give a perfect enough story temporarily, but the android didn’t continue. He just wrapped his fingers around Ruan Xian’s hair, without the intention of divulging any further details.
“Speaking of, which show are we going to? Don’t run into a theme that’s too perverted.” Yu Le skillfully bypassed the collapsed walls and pillars in front of him. “For example, that thing, the propaganda that me and the little profiteer saw some time ago—it showed the struggle between mankind and a plague.”
“Struggler II. It’s on an island to the south. Just follow the navigation.” Tang Yibu held Ruan Xian upright, then followed Ruan Xian’s example and rested his chin on the other party’s shoulder, muttering comfortably in his throat. The iron bead dawdled in the gap of the seat for a while, as if intending to imitate Tang Yibu by dangling itself on Ruan Xian’s leg as if it was a pillow.
The car kept driving for a day, worried that Zhuo Muran’s people would catch up. Not to mention an island, they didn’t even see a lake anywhere. There were no dead walls nearby; no buildings that were in harmony; only the ruins of a city buried by the sand.
Yu Le specially picked large buildings as a shelter, trying to avoid the reconnaissance aircraft that flew over the sky from time to time. After Ji Xiaoman, who had been fighting for most of the morning, had finished her treatment, she seemed to have exhausted her energy and leaned on the car seat and fell asleep.
Tang Yibu, who was leaning on Ruan Xian’s shoulders, also slept soundly. Ruan Xian didn’t close his eyes anymore. He supported the other’s warm body with one arm and stroked the iron bead lying on his lap with the other hand.
As night fell, Yu Le dimmed the lights in the car and stopped the music. In the distance, several large wild mechanical creatures were slowly moving, leaving huge black silhouettes in the dark. He specifically slowed down the speed and switched the mode to autonomous driving.
The air smelled like expired gasoline and dust.
“Chat for a bit, Xiao Ruan?” Yu Le tore open a bag of squid feet and spoke in a low voice. “The music can’t be turned on either. After driving this fucking car for a whole day, I’m sleepy as hell.”
Tang Yibu twitched his nose slightly in his sleep.
Ruan Xian had been sitting quietly, staring at the darkness outside the window. Hearing Yu Le’s request, he gently turned his head and nodded in agreement.
“What the hell is going on between you and Xiao Tang?” There wasn’t much teasing in Yu Le’s tone this time.
Ruan Xian originally thought that Yu Le would make some small talk and then sidetrack to their purpose, but he didn’t expect that the other party would directly use Tang Yibu as the entry point.
“Xiao Tang is an android, which is quite obvious. I must say that his situation doesn’t look like an android that I’ve come across before, but more like a pure artificial intelligence without personality data.” Yu Le tugged at the squid feet with his teeth as he sounded a bit rambunctious. “I’m not a professional like that little profiteer, but I’ve heard some things.”
“Ruan Xian’s apprentice Guan Haiming is willing to trust you, and you’re not like the Mainbrain… But you’re not like the rebels either. Ruan Xian wouldn’t allow a pure artificial intelligence into his camp. Having said that, the pure artificial intelligence that still exists is basically stuff from Plan Corp, and they’re the ones that initiated The Android Show in the beginning.”
Yu Le seemed to have a smoking addiction, but since he couldn’t smoke in the car, he could only suck on squid feet one by one.
Ji Xiaoman had woken up some time ago and took the squid feet from the bag Yu Le had stuffed between the seats of the car and listened while eating. Yu Le didn’t seem to have any intention of changing the topic.
“I’ll just ask directly. Do you two have anything to do with Plan Corp?”
“Is this question important?” Ruan Xian’s expression was relaxed and calm.
“Of course it’s important,” Yu Le lazily replied. “Earlier Xiao Tang said we were going to the Struggler II show. It’s a restoration of the famous Struggler from the past.”
“Struggler is the most dangerous android show. Tu Rui mentioned to me many times. Many of Plan Corp’s experimental works were done before the rules were established, which brought significant impact on the market at the time,” Yu Le continued. “If Ruan Xian is hiding in that show, and you don’t understand the setting and content of it, the four of us will be delivering ourselves to the door for nothing in return. I know what you want to say. It’s not a question of whether we can fight…”
Ruan Xian thought for a moment and took out a bag of egg yolk tablets from his pocket. He tore open the package under Yu Le’s gaze, took out a piece, and turned to Tang Yibu, who was leaning on his shoulder.
Then he flicked it and turned it twice under the android’s nose.
Yu Le: “……”
Tang Yibu twitched his nose again and opened his eyes in a dazed manner. Ruan Xian stuffed the small snack into Tang Yibu’s mouth. The other party’s hot and wet tongue slid across his fingertips.
[Have you had enough of pretending you’re asleep?] Ruan Xian simply sent the message through his earring. [The next step depends on you.]
Tang Yibu moved his neck, still with an innocent face.
“Mr. Ruan, one more.” He pointed to his mouth and chewed happily for a while after getting his snack before turning to Yu Le.
“We’re talking about the destination. With the lack of information, I think we need to think about considering other options, such as how to get Ruan Xian out.” Yu Le clicked his tongue.
“I have information.” Tang Yibu swallowed the snack in his mouth. “The show I participated in before was Struggler.”
The author has something to say:
Tang is a genuine STR series! Do you remember the STR code name on the banks of Daming Lake (…)