Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 248: Invitation
In the wind and snow, the mobile stronghold began to move forward again and went deeper in the Arctic hinterland with the Mainbrain. It finally stopped in no man’s land and opened the perceptual camouflage, turning the array of black cubes into a plain white mountain peak.
MUL-01 would live on top of this ice land and continue its calculation in the vast world.
However, it wasn’t only itself that was left behind.
The mechanical beings that transcended the times surrounded it. Their metabolism was minimized, and they fell into a deep sleep. A few high-level officials of the Order Supervisors decided to follow the Mainbrain. In order to deal with possible threats or changes nearby, they put the mobile stronghold within range of the perceptual camouflage and then entered a sleeping cabin that was prepared for long-term hibernation. Only when the Mainbrain was back in charge of human society would they officially return.
The snowmobile quietly left the edge of the polar region.
After sending off Professor Ruan, Guan Haiming hurriedly bid farewell to the two of them—December 31st was coming, and the things that needed to be done were higher than a mountain, so he didn’t have much time to be sad.
Ruan Xian and Tang Yibu returned directly to S City, which was close to recovery.
The dark gray sky was constantly sprinkled with snow. Huge flying machines stopped in the air while vehicles that looked similar to crushing devices were set up on the street.
The Mainbrain was ready for its final preparations.
The city was approaching perfection. The power system was operating normally. Only the residents were missing. Many survivors from their hometown in S City walked on the streets with confusion or heavy emotions on their faces. However, there were still too few people, which made the entire city look extremely empty.
At this moment, Ruan Xian and Tang Yibu weren’t on the street.
Ruan Xian first returned to his residence in the underground of the Institute. The Mainbrain had restored everything very well, but it had been used by Professor Ruan for several years, so he didn’t find much that belonged to him. Leaving the residence empty-handed, Ruan Xian found Tang Yibu in the computer lab.
Tang Yibu was sitting on a radiator in the lab, looking at the swirling snow through the window.
“According to the information from the Mainbrain, Zhuo Muran has officially entered hibernation. He has no plans to return to society at all.” Tang Yibu followed Ruan Xian, who was approaching him, with his eyes. “The D-type Prototypes are gone, which means that for you and me, the final threat no longer exists.”
“I checked the progress of all AI research at this point in time. Before the environment matures, I can control it before it turns into an alpha wolf.” Ruan Xian didn’t know where Tang Yibu had found some candies, but he threw one to Ruan Xian while he sucked on the other one himself.
The Institute was warm and quiet.
“…Now that your illness is cured, where do you want to go?” Tang Yibu bit the candy, causing a crunching sound.
Whether it was the scene in front of him or the problem at hand, there was a weird sense of familiarity. Ruan Xian was startled and put the candy in his pocket.
“I want to find a place to live with you first.” After thinking for a moment, he gave a realistic answer. “I made our fake identities, but the specific residence is still undecided. The Mainbrain has left a few construction machines, so we can plan it well. Yibu, time is limited. It’s better to leave here as soon as possible—”
Tang Yibu swallowed the candy, creating a loud noise that interrupted Ruan Xian’s words. He turned his head slightly, without meaning to move from his spot.
“We have unfished business.” After taking a few more glances at the familiar window, Tang Yibu jumped off the radiator. “Time is almost up.”
“What time…?” However, before he could finish asking, a sound ringing around Ruan Xian answered for him.
Yes, although the snowflakes were flying around and the sky was dark, it was indeed time for an afternoon break. Carol Young’s “And So It Goes” came on. The soft song swept through the empty Institute.
“What belongs to NUL-00 must end here.”
Tang Yibu walked up to Ruan Xian and lowered his head. The two were so close that Ruan Xian could feel the other party’s warm breath. This place was as warm as he remembered, if not warmer.
“Regarding the question you left back then, I want to formally give my answer… About the definition of hurt.”
Ruan Xian held his breath and waited quietly for the other party to answer. The wind and snow outside the window blew softly against the glass.
“Article 97325,” Tang Yibu said.
“In the agreement between me and the main brain, I listed 97,325 things that may harm me personally. This is still the first edition,” Tang Yibu said. “I am not proficient in controlling emotions, so I won’t have too much influence and interference of the same kind, but I have at least 97,325 situations that bring harm… By the way, I have passed this information to you. You can take a look when you have time.”
“Then it took me nearly a year to get to know you, but I still can’t be completely sure which things will hurt you and which will make you unhappy. You also belong to the type of emotionally distant human. If you were classified by complexity, you would be the easiest to analyze—but I still can’t give a complete answer. My way of observing is changing, and so are you.”
Ruan Xian looked at Tang Yibu’s golden eyes. The outside of the window was gray, and the lab was plain and cold; only those yes carried the warmth of color.
“As for other intelligent lives, the same reasoning can be deduced. Perhaps Yu Le has more than 100,000 damage concepts, while Ji Xiaoman has 200,000—there may be some commonalities and conflicts. They may also have different judgments about an exact scenario. These are known only to themselves… or until a particular moment comes.” The android had a serious expression.
“I may be able to roughly classify and guess commonalities, but I can’t give a precise definition of harm. You gave me an unanswerable question, Mr. Ruan. I will never be able to obtain complete data until all intelligent life in the world completely fades away.”
With that, Tang Yibu’s eyes curved up because he was smiling.
“So I can only continue to observe, act cautiously, and don’t jump to conclusions… Is this what you’re trying to tell me?”
“No. I’m just curious about your answer.” Ruan Xian shook his head. “An ordinary afternoon. An ordinary detection problem. That’s all.”
“I see.” Tang Yibu stretched out his hand to hold Ruan Xian’s waist and put his chin on his shoulder as he muttered in a low voice, “I gave you my answer… The NUL-00 project can end here, Mr. Ruan.”
Ruan Xian was hugged tightly by Tang Yibu, and he could feel the beating of Tang Yibu’s heart.
“It’s not over yet,” Ruan Xian said suddenly.
Tang Yibu took a step back, and a trace of horror appeared on his face.
“I am very curious about your experience in these twelve years,” Ruan Xian said solemnly. “We will have a long time after this, so you have to tell me slowly—as the main person in charge of the NUL-00 project, this is my last request.”
The android breathed an undisguised sigh of relief.
“And?” Tang Yibu quickly tensed up again.
“Before our home is settled, there’s still room for our fake identity to be perfected. It’s just that to complete this information, you need your own signature.”
Ruan Xian pressed on the electronic wristband, and a light screen floated in front of Tang Yibu.
“Considering that the two of us are going to live and act together for a long time. The identity of a distant relative is not appropriate, and there are all kinds of inconveniences if you’re a brother…”
Ruan Xian stopped.
“…If you don’t have much opinion, sign this marriage registration document.”
The android was stunned in place for a full five seconds before he reacted. Tang Yibu poked his finger on the light screen and quickly left his signature—
“You changed ‘Ruan Lijie’ to ‘Ruan Xian’?” After signing his name, Tang Yibu looked curiously at the information on the light screen.
“Nn. Ruan Xian isn’t a special name, and the citizens also have the right to change their names.”
“So does that count as a proposal?”
“We don’t have a ring.”
“When order is restored, I will buy it.”
“And there are no flowers.”
“Do you want that kind of thing? I remembered you weren’t interested in them.”
“I didn’t even get down on one knee.”
Ruan Xian crossed his arms and raised his eyebrows at Tang Yibu.
“…I’m just comparing it with the standard process.”
Tang Yibu clicked his tongue loudly; his expression had not yet recovered from the shock. He circled Ruan Xian a few times like a beast and finally stopped in front of Ruan Xian again. This time he took out a small box from his pocket, which still smelled of fruit candy.
Two black earrings lay quietly in a small box; the style was more exquisite than the previous two.
“Since I left the Mainbrain, I haven’t had time to give you a new one,” Tang Yibu said. “Let’s use this instead of the ring first.”
He put the earrings in his palm. “They’re not fatal. I only put on location tracking and communication. No matter where you are on earth, I can find you and contact you, and vice versa.”
When he said this, he secretly looked at Ruan Xian with his eyes.
“I like you wearing what I gave you.” After a while, Tang Yibu added another sentence. “Since I am your legal husband, the cooperation policy between us can be updated. I won’t keep you… Ah, forcibly by my side.”
“But if you leave without saying goodbye and stay away for too long, I’ll never stop contacting you until I get an answer,” he continued to emphasize. “Maybe I’ll even call the police.”
“By the way, the ringtone of the earring is the cry of the iron bead. You don’t want it to ring in your head for too long.”
Ruan Xian pondered for a while, then reached out, picked up the earring, and put it on his left ear.
Tang Yibu followed his movements closely. The android put the other earring on his right ear, and a little blood oozed from his earlobe. Then he leaned forward, pressed himself close to Ruan Xian, and hooked the tip of his tongue to remove the beads of blood from Ruan Xian’s left earlobe.
“But for the next few years, or even decades, we may not be able to withdraw completely. The rebel army and the Order Supervisors almost unanimously chose to keep their memories. There are many radicals on both sides, so they definitely won’t give up.”
After confirming that the earrings were working normally, Tang Yibu played with Ruan Xian’s soft earlobes, and began to ramble again.
“There are also many third-party forces—such as the pirates—who have used cutting-edge technology from the Mainbrain era for themselves in the past seven years. Now, with the Mainbrain living in seclusion behind the scenes, the world’s technological level has decreased by a lot. The transformation of this part of people who are “beyond the times” will also become a factor of instability… Thinking about it this way, the errand left by Professor Ruan is quite troublesome.”
“At least it’s better to deal with that than complete chaos. Moreover, it will take a long time for the world to return to its place, and when everything stabilizes, it’s not too late to consider countermeasures.”
Ruan Xian pressed on Tang Yibu’s lips, forcibly interrupted the other party’s rambling, and motioned for him to listen quietly.
The afternoon lunch break wasn’t over yet, and Carol Young’s songs were still echoing in the room. Half a day later, the reset world would arrive, enveloped in chaos and the unknown.
But before that, they still have a little time.
“Since your topic is temporarily suspended, our information is almost perfect. If you want a proposal ceremony, we still have time to make up some formalities—there are about 20 minutes left in the lunch break, come on.”
Whether it was love, a relationship, or a formal registration, they didn’t seem to follow the “normal” process.
But it didn’t matter.
The lights in the computer room were pale, but the temperature was just right. The melody of “Step by Step” suppressed the sound of the window from outside. Ruan Xian couldn’t help but smile in the looping melody. He stretched out his hand and made an inviting gesture.
“Yibu, would you like to dance with me?”
Whether it was love or formal registration, they didn’t seem to follow the “normal” process.
The author has something to say:
There is one more chapter until the end XDDD
Oh my god, I finally got them married. It wasn’t easy (×
Once upon a time, a scientist made a coconut Tang as a project.
Twelve years later, he was abducted by the coconut Tang when it grew up√
One more chapter to go before the end. Yes, it only took them 248 chapters to reach this point, dear author.
I have to say Tang Yibu is so cute, from beginning to end. He is too adorable.