Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 148: The Two Deceased
Tang Yibu completely calmed down.
The piece of rotting flesh was still emitting its heavy stench not far away. The memories associated with the past kept surfacing, but this time the situation was slightly different. There was another person in his arms, and he was no longer the ordinary android who had no resistance twelve years ago. In addition to his mind, he also had enough combat leverage.
But his mood at the moment was a bit strange.
Twelve years ago, he hadn’t gotten the A-type Prototype, and his body was extremely fragile. The body of a pure human was much weaker than that of a synthetic android. Even if he had the intelligence, Tang Yibu still chose the safest route…
Shoot the bird who took the lead*. No matter how advanced the cybernetic brain in the skull was, once the body died and lost its energy supply, all that awaited was the ending of being swallowed by the ground. There was more freedom to develop one’s power, but the possibility of being targeted by others would also skyrocketed.
*(枪打出头鸟) Metaphor referring to those who take the lead are vulnerable to blows. || Basically, he plans to not stand out, so he won’t likely be targeted.
He was constrained by his fragile body, which he couldn’t afford to lose at that time.
It was safest to pretend to be an average participant. In order to survive, as long as he was sure it wasn’t life-threatening and would not bring long-term hidden dangers, he would calmly do it—eating spoiled meat and enduring a certain number of beatings couldn’t be any easier.
Human personality data ran in those androids’ brains so he could perform an accurate analysis. He was very clear about which was occasional violent venting, and which could cause him to be targeted for a long time.
For example, there had been people who rushed to him for sex. Once the other party clearly revealed their intention in this regard, Tang Yibu was more inclined to kill them secretly, as to completely avoid possible follow-up problems.
Even so, the memories of this period were still accompanied by endless pain. It stood to reason that he should have gotten used to this a long time ago. Everything was just part of achieving the goal of “surviving”. Now, with a huge advantage, he should have felt relaxed and satisfied.
However, at this moment, smelling the stench of rotten flesh only made him feel bitter and aggrieved. He couldn’t help but hold the person in his arms tighter.
It wasn’t a weakness, but there was an inexplicable sadness in his heart.
…These were strange emotions with no efficiency, value, or clear purpose.
His Mr. Ruan stretched out his hand and patted him gently on the back. Mr. Ruan didn’t ask any questions, but Tang Yibu knew very well. Relying on the current information, the other party could speculate on what might have happened to him in the past.
Kang Ge and Xiao Zhao left more than ten minutes ago, leaving a lot of information worth discussing. Mr. Ruan didn’t immediately exchange ideas with him but let him hug him tightly. Tang Yibu put his nose on the side of the other party’s neck, sniffed lightly, and made sure that his emotions returned to normal. He finally slowly released his arms.
[I don’t mind if you act coquettishly for longer.] The party’s message finally came. Mr. Ruan ran his fingers through his hair, making him feel a bit itchy. [But now, it’s time to explain your original situation, Yibu. What is the attention focus? What happened to those two just now?]
It turned out that this kind of behavior was considered being coquettish. Tang Yibu looked back on this oddly fresh feeling for a few seconds before he began to answer Mr. Ruan’s question.
“I don’t know what the attention focus is. It may be a new rule added by the Mainbrain.” He licked the earlobe of the person in his arms and gave a contented sigh. It was amazing that the stench of rotting flesh seemed unable to affect his mood any longer. “Kang Ge and Xiao Zhao are my original… They can be regarded as partners with common interests.”
[Looking at the situation just now, is it their because abuse won’t kill you?] There was no positive emotion in Mr. Ruan’s message. Instead there was a chill reading between the lines.
“In the initial Struggler, their situation was also special. They are a bit close to the kind of situation I mentioned of replicating true personality,” Tang Yibu whispered. “But there’s a bit of a subtle difference. Their personalities weren’t put in for the purpose of seeking novelty.”
Ruan Xian didn’t feel very good. The soft piece of rotten flesh fell to the ground. His long-lost dark mood had suddenly risen. No matter what purpose Tang Yibu had that he snuck into the show at the beginning, he didn’t have the A-type Prototype back then. Ruan Xian could guess the strategy the other party adopted with his fragile human body in order to survive in this survival game.
He understood logically, but he couldn’t restrain the anger in his heart.
What an interesting experience.
Ruan Xian slowly stroked Tang Yibu’s muscular back with his fingers, as if comforting a large, injured beast. However, before anger affected reason, he needed to change the subject so that he could stay as calm as possible.
The answer given by Tang Yibu didn’t surprise him too much. After all, the android chose them as partners for cooperation at the beginning, so it wasn’t so that he could die faster.
“For real personality investment for the purpose of novelty, the owner of those personalities basically chooses to watch the excitement from the outside, treating all this as a realistic game. These two people… Their personality provider is dead.”
Ruan Xian frowned. [Tell me more details.]
It was never bad to understand more of the enemy.
“Xiao Zhao’s name is Su Zhao. She was a well-known explorer during her lifetime and was born into a competitive martial arts family, so she’s very good at wilderness survival and hand-to-hand combat. She also possessed a wealth of knowledge. Kang Ziyan is her fiancé who has known her since childhood and was once a top executive of Plan Corp.” Tang Yibu stared at the artificial darkness in front of him. “Su Zhao died unexpectedly during an expedition before her marriage. For research and recording purposes, she made a comprehensive backup of her memory and personality.”
[Putting memories into the Android Show requires permission, right?]
According to the information obtained so far, there was still basic control over the security of human personalities before the doomsday. Not to mention how demanding Professor Ruan was for the “Farewell Project”, even Plan Corp wouldn’t involve such sensitive issues for money and ratings.
“On this issue, they have quarreled in front of me many times. Before the accident, Su Zhao had authorized all her electronic property to Kang Ziyan, and her personality data was included in it. After her unexpected death, Kang Ziyan wasn’t willing to accept reality.”
[The situation of the two people in the Underground City?] Ruan Xian suddenly thought of He An and Fu Yu.
“It’s different from those two. He An’s personality was imitated through Fu Yu’s memories, and it was essentially a brand-new synthetic personality. Those two people are full replicas, closer to the condition of the survivors in the Shade Refuge. Kang Ziyan abused his power—he injected Su Zhao’s and his own personality into the cybernetic brain as is and created identical shells that were put into the show as a ‘background character’. According to the law at the time, Kang Ziyan’s behavior was considered to be a malicious crime.”
When Plan Corp initially modified personality data and injected it into androids, it was already considered an act of marginalization. At that time, there was still lots of controversy about “personality transplantation” of terminally ill patients and brain-dead people, not to mention the matter of bringing back the dead.
Tang Yibu shook his head. His breathing slowed down a bit.
“So after doing all this, Kang Ziyan, who is a human, committed suicide.”
“For the newborn ‘Su Zhao’ and ‘Kang Ziyan’, they will instinctively think that they are human beings, while being very clear about the true situation of the android show. When Plan Corp found out, things had reached a point where it was hard to get off riding the tiger*—they could only offer up the appearance authorization left by Kang Ziyan, falsely claiming that it was some kind of memorial and that the personalities of the two had been adequately reprocessed. Otherwise, they would have to bear joint and several responsibilities… After discovering that they could avoid punishment, Plan Corp also hyped up the matter for a while, which is why I knew about the existence of these two people.”
*(骑虎难下) Metaphor referring to the difficulty to carry on a task, but the situation doesn’t allow it to stop halfway, thus creating a dilemma.
[You said, they haven’t been so crazy before.]
“Nn. Perhaps it’s more appropriate to explain this way—the ‘civilization’ of those two people is far beyond the original Struggler’s design alignment. I have studied their profiles and they are much friendlier to individuals around them than other androids. Things had deteriorated quite a bit by the time I joined. They would quarrel with each other for days and occasionally hurt other androids to vent their anger. Their thinking was barely maintained at a normal human level.”
‘A lean camel is bigger than a horse*. The remnant humanity was better than the pre-set barbarism,’ Ruan Xian thought. Since he couldn’t escape the fate of being injured, it was reasonable for Tang Yibu to choose those two people as partners for cooperation.
*(瘦死的骆驼比马大) Proverb referring to people who have special expertise in one aspect, even if they suddenly reach the point of poverty in this aspect, are better than some people who have just been released in this aspect. || In this context, it means that Su Zhao’s and Kang Ziyan’s actual human personalities were better (for the show) than the preset personalities inputted into an android because at least they were originally humans, and their data is based off of their human characteristics.
However, looking at the current situation…
“I can understand the purpose of why the Mainbrain kept them specifically. They are indeed rare samples.” Tang Yibu sighed in a low voice. “Choosing them at that time was a mistake in my judgment. I originally thought their spirits wouldn’t collapse so quickly.”
[That is to say…] Ruan Xian had a guess. [Only Xiao Zhao and Kang Ge may be like us here; knowing that the ‘reality’ is artificially distorted and the theory behind it. Other people are likely to think that they have the ability to influence ‘reality’, but they don’t know that the world in front of them is an illusion?]
Compared with other characters who had been forcibly instilled with preset worldviews, the two undoubtedly had a considerable information advantage, and it wasn’t surprising that they had climbed to the top of the pyramid of strength.
So it was imperative that the two of them take away their cellphones, but they didn’t think much of the weapons.
“Yes.” Tang Yibu nodded. The tips of his slightly long hair swept across Ruan Xian’s neck. “I don’t know how much of their rationality is left. If they still have a little logic, they will definitely be wary of us.”
[It’s worth testing.]
Compared to “androids” who regarded this island as the whole world, those two people would have more information; about the sense of peeping of unknown origin, about the changes on the island… About Professor Ruan.
Professor Ruan used to be an outsider here. Ruan Xian once thought it was a coincidence that Xiao Zhao and Kang Ge found Tang Yibu, but what if it wasn’t?
Anyway, chaos was destined to break out tonight, as long as one of those two people was still rational.
“Well, not surprisingly, they will have a better understanding of the management of this island.”
Tang Yibu sniffed Ruan Xian’s neck again. “If Ruan… That person is really here, he’s probably hiding near the management area. Even if unsuspecting people have the courage to attack the management area, they often give up after being brutally suppressed—the management area of the Android Show is one of the most heavily guarded areas in the world. It’s difficult for even a fly to enter successfully.”
Besides that, Kang Ziyan used to be a senior executive of Plan Corp, so he wasn’t just an ordinary insider. It shouldn’t be difficult to carefully test and find out the boundary distance that was most beneficial for himself.
[I’m kind of looking forward to the sun setting.] Ruan Xian tugged the corners of his mouth.
They were different from that crazy couple—they didn’t have the reality augmentation devices and couldn’t turn their understanding of rules into deadly weapons. However, relying on their own abilities, it was still possible to ensure safety.
The most threatening thing was the peeping.
It had been sticking to them, but there were no follow-ups. If it was the prying eyes of the Mainbrain, according to its style of killing a thousand by mistake and not letting one go, they should have been caught and quarantined by the Order Supervisors long ago.
But the peeper just observed them in silence.
…If that was Professor Ruan, as a human, how was he doing this? What was the purpose?
They currently lack the necessary information, and it was useless to guess indiscriminately. Now they were very close to the mystery named Professor Ruan.
They just needed to be patient.
Ruan Xian stretched out his hand, pressed the back of Tang Yibu’s head, and gave the other party a soothing kiss in the dark.
Be patient and cautious. No matter what answer he got, he was bound to take away this android from Professor Ruan once and for all.
The sun was about to set. Ji Xiaoman held the cellphone in one hand while the other was facing a screen to repair the damage on her prosthetic limb. She would glance at the back of the car from time to time. The two children sitting in the back row had slightly dropped their guard. Although they didn’t dare to fall asleep together, their posture was no longer stiff.
“Turn right in front of that tree.”
Kang Ziyan, who was more seriously injured, sounded refreshed as he drank more of the canned peaches. The juice from the yellow peach left a dark wet stain on his collar. Su Zhao was sleeping soundly on his shoulder, leaving another wet stain with her saliva.
“Man Jie, why are you holding that thing in your hand?” After pointing the way, Kang Ziyan asked in a low voice.
“Repair equipment. Let me see more clearly.” Ji Xiaoman didn’t intend to tell the truth.
“Oh.” Children were easily dismissed as Kang Ziyan quickly lost interest. “Can you give me two more cans?”
Ji Xiaoman nodded and used the hand holding the cellphone to reach for the food box. In the screen that flashed by, she suddenly noticed something subtle—there seemed to be more cans on the screen than she could see with naked eye.
Ji Xiaoman frowned, pointed her mobile phone at the food box, and took a closer look.
This time, the quantity was normal.
Was it her own eyes? She shook her head. While the two children in the back weren’t paying attention while handing out the canned food, Ji Xiaoman quietly glanced at the two children on the screen—whether they were shown on the phone or not, the two children’s appearance didn’t change.
Ji Xiaoman pursed her lips… Perhaps she was being too overly suspicious.
“Here,” she said. “It’s getting dark, and the lights won’t be on in the car for a while, so hurry up and eat now.”
The author has something to say:
It’s (part of) the past of Kang Ge and Xiao Zhao XD
Tang chose them for a reason XDDD
Ruan: I’m robbing from myself (×
Though Su Zhao’s sex has now been established, depending on how the author narrates and the POV, “he” may still be used for the kid version (since Yu Le and Ji Xiaoman aren’t privy to this information yet, and they can’t tell the sex of Su Zhao). If it’s just a reference and not a POV, the correct pronoun will be used in that case.