Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 147: Concerns
After being a pirate for so long and as a marauder, Yu Le’s first reaction when he heard the imperative words “hand over” was to laugh.
“I haven’t heard of this kind of request in years.” He laughed for a while. “I say, how many of you are there? Isn’t it humiliating to have that much just to threaten?”
“Raw face.” The person next to the leader on the other side said.
“If they’re not one of us, then it’s fine,” The young man who was the leader said. “Forget it. Kill them—”
“Do it?” Ji Xiaoman moved her metal prosthesis and opened the window.
“Remember to keep them alive.” Yu Le didn’t talk nonsense and slammed on the gas.
The car crashed straight into the group in front of him. Yu Le adjusted all the window glass to one-way light transmission mode. Ji Xiaoman crawled out of the car window like a gecko, flipped to the roof of the car, and fired her machine gun in all directions.
In order to secure the luggage, the top of the armored off-roader had a small recess. The petite Ji Xiaoman was just small enough to lie down inside, and with the height of the roof of the car, the bullets on the opposite side couldn’t hit her. Occasionally, thrown weapons fell on the roof of the car, but Ji Xiaoman ignored them and focused all her attention on the subtle vibration of the roof.
No one knew better than her how metal reacted when it’s touched, and if that reaction was wrong, even if the “bombs exploded” under Ji Xiaoman’s nose, she had no intention of moving.
As a mechanical hunter who grew up in the Underground City, being suspicious of everything could be said to be an instinct engraved in her bones, and facing death was even more commonplace.
This was the first time they had fought against an opponent with reality-augmentation capabilities. Even if they weren’t affected by the unimaginable weirdness, the opponent’s positions and distance may be fake. At any rate, the two of them were struggling in a real fight, so they could never be too cautious.
Eyes, ears, and nose couldn’t be trusted. The phone could only help them determine three things: the surrounding environment, the number of people on the other side, and the degree of armament they had.
These three things were enough.
Yu Le kicked one of the military fireboxes installed near the seat, took out a few incendiary grenades, and weighed them in his hand.
“Little profiteer, it may be a bit hot outside. Remember to buckle the gas mask tightly.” After that, he waited for a few seconds, and then began to throw incendiary grenades around. The choking smoke was accompanied by large flames raging everywhere. Behind the gas mask, the corner of Ji Xiaoman’s mouth hooked as she began to shoot intensively at the few gaps left by Yu Le.
At the same time, Yu Le drove the bulky armored off-roader like it was a living thing. The attacker specially picked a densely wooded area to appear in but failed to successfully trap the behemoth with trees.
Everything was burning. When the incendiary bombs ignited, Yu Le almost turned around in place so that Ji Xiaoman could get a better shooting angle. The bullets fired from outside slammed against the car windows but failed to break them. The former pirate leader whistled triumphantly.
The shooting lasted for a few minutes before Ji Xiaoman formed a fist with her hand and knocked on the roof of the car. Yu Le went around the smoke and confirmed the enemy’s injuries one by one with the cellphone screen. After confirming that their opponents were all incapacitated, he put on a bulletproof vest and got out.
Ji Xiaoman lightly leapt off the roof of the car, took off her jacket, lifted her mask a bit, and wiped the soot and sweat off her face. “Done?”
“Done.” Yu Le dragged the injured together and kept watch of them on his cellphone at all times.
“Which side are you from?” Despite falling so far, the young leader didn’t seem to show even a slight bit of panic. His legs were hit by Ji Xiaoman and the wounds were bleeding, so most of his attention was now focused on trying to stop the bleeding.
“No comment.” Yu Le squatted down, with a rogue smile on his face. Unfortunately, the gas mask could only reveal his eyes. Ji Xiaoman threw the jacket into the car window. Her sharp blade was still popped out of her prosthetic leg, and her whole body was in a combat state.
“A group of you in your twenties chasing after two children; have you no shame? What? There’s an attack tonight and these two children are the only ones on the battlefield or something?” Yu Le deliberately lowered his voice to make himself sound more intimidating.
“Why ask if you already know?” The little leader’s voice became cold. “They are big attention getters on our side. Isn’t that what you guys are thinking?”
However, Yu Le didn’t show any surprise on his face and continued, “But they’re not willing to get out of the car and hang out with you. Shouldn’t you respect the opinions of the other party? If I were you, I would worry about myself first.”
“Lao Yu.” Ji Xiaoman moved to Yu Le’s side; her voice was low. “There are detection birds nearby.”
The smoke was blown away by the wind, and several sparrow-sized detection birds stood in a row on a nearby branch, with the camera structure of their heads facing their way.
“It seems that we are going to become stars.” Yu Le sneered in a low voice. “Just let them shoot. Sooner or later, we’ll be filmed anyways. As long as we wear our masks—”
Before he could finish speaking, a person suddenly jumped from the pile of wounded. While the two of them were focusing attention on their conversation, Yu Le hugged Ji Xiaoman, who wasn’t very tall, and used his weight advantage to knock her to the ground. The knife in the assailant’s hand almost slashed the little girl’s throat.
Fortunately, before the knife fell, Yu Le jumped up and kicked the assailant in the head. The man didn’t even have time to scream. He just struggled a few times before going silent. Ji Xiaoman quickly grabbed the knife. She stretched out two sharp metal fingers and pierced the other party’s temples.
“You really thought I’m just a driver.” Yu Le pointed a gun at the rest of the group with one hand while stretching his other arm in the direction of Ji Xiaoman, allowing the girl to perch on it. “It stands to reason that I should kill you, but there are still children in the backseat watching and I don’t have any grudge with you. Just go back and tell your people not to come for a second time… That is if you still have your life to go back. Little profiteer, let’s go.”
The two stepped on the scorched grass, passed through the gray-black smoke, and returned to the car. The two children didn’t run away but hugged each other tightly, looking at them vigilantly.
“Continue to show the way.” Yu Le started the car. “What are you staring at? Just because we’re muddleheaded doesn’t mean we’ve become retards who can’t fight.”
“…Thank you,” Su Zhao said in a mosquito-like voice.
“If you’re really thankful, explain it to us. What’s with this attention getters? I don’t remember this.”
“Someone is watching,” Su Zhao said. “Someone is watching outside the island. If you’re good-looking and have a special situation or out-of-the-ordinary behavior, it will get you attention… If you get noticed enough, you get attention points. Everyone’s supplies and people are exchanged for these points.”
“I don’t see any attention points.”
“Clap your hands three times and it will be shown on the palm of your left hand,” Kang Ziyan interjected.
“Little profiteer, try it.” This mechanism sounds a bit silly, but it was more convincing to let someone in a marginal situation like Ji Xiaoman try it.
Ji Xiaoman stretched out two metal palms in silence, clapped them vigorously three times, and then looked down at the palm of her left hand. After seeing what was in the palm of her hand clearly, she was taken aback for a moment, then picked up the phone and shone it in the palm of her hand.
“450 points,” she said. “Since it can be photographed, this shouldn’t be reality augmented.”
This time, Yu Le didn’t habitually make a joke. Behind the gas mask, he frowned.
At any rate, he had been a leader in a certain sense and knew what this mechanism meant. People needed to get attention from the outside world through various behaviors and then exchange their attention points for supplies—it sounded like a simple rule, but no matter how bizarre the augmented reality of this island was, real reality wouldn’t change.
The Mainbrain didn’t know magic. The efficiency of material delivery was the highest, which would inevitably lead to the rapid formation of various forces. If you fight alone on this island, even if you could get enough points to maintain your life, after the materials were exchanged, there would be other forces waiting for you. It seemed that the combat power of the people here wasn’t much different from normal humans, and they had to rely on outside forces to survive.
Thinking about it this way, that weird “weekly battle” was also very reasonable.
The upper-class people in The Glass Conservatory sought out “stimulation due to the lack of excitement in their living environment”. With this as the premise, everyone who lived in peace would only lead to common poverty. In such a difficult environment, children were probably the scarcest, and good-looking children with certain abilities to protect themselves were even rarer. These two children had a natural advantage and were obviously more likely to attract attention.
The subsequent problems that followed, though, were even more terrifying.
Everyone here knows that they are being watched? How much do they know about their situation?
How did he and Ji Xiaoman get included in the system? If the administrator of this island discovered the four of them as outsiders, why wasn’t there any reaction, but instead they let them directly participate in this absurd show?
“Lao Yu.” Ji Xiaoman poked Yu Le’s thigh again, interrupting Yu Le’s thoughts. “…There are more humans here than just those two children.”
“What do you mean?”
“The man who wanted to kill me just now, I poked my finger into his brain.” Ji Xiaoman’s voice was so low that it was almost inaudible. “I confirmed that the human brain matter on my finger is not bionic tissue of a cybernetic brain. I’m afraid this is not an android show—”
“Well, I think so too.” Yu Le squinted. “It could be a petri dish.”
The two on the other side were in bad shape.
Ruan Xian took a nap for a while, regaining some energy. The cellphone was in the hands of Tang Yibu, who was better at fighting. In order to ensure his safety, he chose to sleep in Tang Yibu’s arms. In this way, if there was any movement on Tang Yibu’s side, he could wake up immediately.
The warm embrace of the other party also relaxed Ruan Xian a lot.
As he expected, there was indeed movement on Tang Yibu’s side now, and the movement wasn’t small, but it wasn’t anything he guessed—the android’s stomach was growling, which was pretty loud.
They hadn’t eaten since they had some grilled fish and coconuts in the morning. Each was equipped with a Prototype, which consumed a lot of energy, making them hungry very quickly. Now it seemed that Tang Yibu’s energy requirements were much higher than his own.
Although Kang Ge and the others said they would come to deliver food, Ruan Xian didn’t intend to trust two people with obvious mental abnormalities. He sighed and touched his waist bag. There were two chocolate bars, a pack of hardtack, and the canned smiley face he had been carrying with him in his waist bag.
This would be enough for them to last until the evening. Ruan Xian pulled the chocolate bar out in the dark, bit open the wrapping paper with his teeth, and put it towards Tang Yibu’s mouth.
[You eat. I still have some food here. Eat more.] He motioned through his earring and stuffed all the food except the canned smiley face into Tang Yibu’s arms. [You are the main combat power and are more susceptible to fatal injuries. It’s better to maintain your physical strength.]
Ruan Xian pinched the chocolate bar and could feel Tang Yibu nibbling on it. The android didn’t speak, and only concentrated on eating, but his gnawing became slower.
“I left a third. You can eat the rest.” Tang Yibu grabbed the chocolate bar and poked the corner of Ruan Xian’s mouth with it as he said in a muffled voice. “I prefer you assist me in battle. This is the most reasonable energy distribution.”
At that moment, Ruan Xian felt the feeling of being peeped at again, but like the previous few times, the feeling was fleeting. He was just about to tell Tang Yibu about his discovery when a dazzling light appeared in the darkness.
In the augmented reality cage, Xiao Zhao opened the outer door of the prison cell and was sitting at the door with her hands on her cheeks. A cloth bag was placed beside her that was oozing with a suspicious dark red color.
“So kind.” She sighed. “I didn’t expect that a character like our Xiao Tang, who only has a good face, could get such an object—who’s that over there? What are you doing?”
“Mr. Ruan suffered a throat injury and is unable to speak.” Tang Yibu hugged Ruan Xian tighter.
“Oh, it turns out to be Xiao Ruan.” Xiao Zhao smiled happily. “What route are you planning to take? To win sympathy? Demonstrating the survival of a good-for-nothing? Or doing it for others to see?”
A monitoring bird stopped on her wrist. Xiao Zhao smiled sweetly at the camera embedded in the bird’s head and even blew it a kiss.
“Today’s theme is feeding!” She stated happily, taking out a piece of half-rotted raw meat from the cloth bag and throwing it to Tang Yibu. “But they are not hungry yet, so we may have to wait a day or two to see the results. What a pity—”
Tang Yibu narrowed his golden eyes.
“Tell you what. I’ll shut you guys in for a month. I want to know which one of the two of you will eat the other.” Xiao Zhao suddenly let out a cheer. “Oh, I just thought of it now. I’m such a genius!”
Her tone of voice was extremely relaxed and sweet. If you ignored the contents of her speech, it wouldn’t be out of place even in a commercial for a dessert store.
“Xiao Zhao, didn’t I tell you to wait for me?” Kang Ge stopped behind Xiao Zhao, stretched out his arms and rubbed her face from behind. The latter let out a cute squeal. “Are you here to tease Xiao Tang again?”
“It’s all your fault for walking too slowly! And this is not teasing. I’m giving Xiao Tang the value of life. I just had a particularly good idea…”
“Let’s talk about it tomorrow.” Kang Ge dotingly pinched her face. “I heard a little. The idea is very good, but more details are needed. We still have a game tonight, didn’t we agree? I’ll go and grab more gifts for you.”
“Well, like usual—let’s see who gets more attention. If I’m still number one, you give me a kiss. If you overtake me this time, I’ll give you a kiss.”
“My Xiao Zhao will always be number one.”
“After all, those idiots don’t understand anything.” Xiao Zhao stood up with a smile and lifted the cloth bag that smelled of corpses.
“…They don’t even know that they are living in an android show.”