Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 2: Twelve Years
Ruan Xian wiped away the remaining blood on his abdomen in disbelief as he saw it disappear in the palm of his hand and burrow back into his skin like a living thing. Whether it was his bare waist or abdomen or the palm that should have been stained with blood, there was no trace of blood left.
On the other side, as if encouraged by the smell of blood, the monster finally turned over and growled shrilly.
Now wasn’t the time to study anomalies. Ruan Xian pulled out a piece of plastic cloth to cover his body, separating his sensitive skin from the outside world, and the pain was instantly relieved. Immediately, he stretched out his arm and reached for a gun-like object in the rubble until he managed to grab it.
…It seemed his luck had not run out.
There was no gawdy design for the firearm in his hand. Numerous details and inferences from observation were intertwined in his mind. As a top scientist with a shooting hobby, he figured out how to use this thing almost immediately. Ruan Xian maintained a posture leaning on a concrete slab as he pointed the gun at the monster.
“Come on, let’s gamble.” He grinned, revealing his first smile since awakening.
The monster didn’t care if its extra meal came in an extra layer of packaging. It crawled closer eagerly with its mouth hidden in its gaiters that were splitting in all directions. Saliva dripped uncontrollably from the mouthparts where it bared its teeth.
His opponent kept moving in the faint light, but Ruan Xian had never seen so clearly. The hard thorns on the monster’s black feet were conspicuous, and its long crab-like eyes were hidden between the gaps in its feet. He could even see the folds of flesh at the junction of its eyeballs.
It was a good idea to attack the eyes, but the arms that have not yet recovered were indefatigable and unable to make fine movements. Ruan Xian hesitated for a moment and decided to choose a more secure option.
He simply pulled the trigger.
The gunfire wasn’t loud, and he could barely handle the recoil. The gap between the ammunition and his memory was obvious—the bullet successfully hit the thick joint gap on the foot, but what was left was not a bloody hole but an open fire explosion. The leg was directly blown off, and pus-yellow mucus sprayed all over the floor.
As calculated, the monster’s heavy body instantly lost balance and fell to the ground.
Lying on the spot, it hissed a few times, and it struggled to get up. The intact feet wedged fiercely into the ruins, and it stretched them out as it crawled, trying to stab Ruan Xian frantically, but its movement had faltered, causing its speed to slow.
Ruan Xian clenched the gun in his hand.
Its power far exceeded expectations, but its endurance was inversely proportional to its power. Perhaps it was rusted inside, or maybe it was damaged. After a single shot, thin smoke diffused from the gun’s seams and the sound of melting metal could be heard. The risk of another shot was too high, and it wouldn’t be good if the thing exploded.
Glancing at a row of large metal cans not far away, as well as the decayed ceiling overhanging them, he quickly had an idea.
Rolling all the way to the edge of the ruins, Ruan Xian propped up his body and spontaneously climbed the wall full of metal cans. The monster followed closely, dragging its broken foot and continuing to attack frantically. The closest it got was almost rubbing against his scalp with one of its feet.
The moment he leaned his back against the metal can, the monster’s sharp feet swung down again and got stuck between the gap of two metal cans. Ruan Xian took this opportunity to climb away from the monster and threw the gun that was scrapped in his hand vigorously—
The garbage gun smashed into the metal can, changed it trajectory, and bumped against the handle of another gun a few steps away. The seemingly well-preserved weapon slid along the slopping concrete slab and stopped just within Ruan Xian’s reach.
After picking up a few spares from the poor-quality secondaries around him, Ruan Xian grabbed the gun and slid to his side.
“…It’s better to hit a fixed target.”
Four gunshots sounded, followed by the sound of slime splattering. Ruan Xian smoothly destroyed two of the monster’s eyes, but the last two shots didn’t hit the monster’s body. He raised the gun and shot into the darkness above his head.
The sound of gunfire was followed by cracking noises. With the biting sound of metal pulling apart, several large pieces of steel beams fell from the ceiling, right in the middle of the monster’s soft abdomen. The impact this time wasn’t something that its thick, soft leather could resist. The monster’s deformed abdomen was smashed to pieces, and the internal liquid slowly flowed out of the edge of the steel beams.
It twitched fiercely a few times and finally stopped moving.
Ruan Xian lay back on the ground and gasped for a few minutes before swallowing his heart that was about to jump out of his throat.
The sun was about to set, and it was getting darker. His limbs became heavier and sore. There was the sound of needles falling in the entire underground space, and occasionally the monster would make small sounds of collapse.
After saving his strength for a while and crawling over more than a dozen scattered dead bones, he finally dragged himself to a dry and clean corner, clinging to a relatively intact corpse. Ruan Xian touched around subconsciously and cleared up the area. Suddenly, something that felt good rolled into the palm of his hand.
It was a metal can. It was food that had a shelf life of fifty years.
The unexpected appearance of food made him feel at ease. He picked up a piece of metal and drew a crooked smile on the can.
“From now on, you are… Let’s see… Forget it. You’re just canned food, and I need a person to talk to. Seriously, this environment is not conducive to one’s mental health at all,” Ruan Xian took a long breath and muttered in a low voice.
With a “companion”, he would be better mentally prepared. With the light that hadn’t completely disappeared, he began to carefully observe the corpse near him that had its mouth wide open, as if it was roaring.
Judging by the environment and the degree of decay, this corpse had been here for at least two years. Looking at the damage to the bones, 80% of the damage was due to some kind of heat weapon. There were no obvious signs of gnawing marks on the bones, so there shouldn’t be many beasts or rats here.
“Okay, at least there are no beasts. This place should be safe,” he muttered to the food cannister in his hand and continued to check the corpse.
The style of clothing of the deceased was unfamiliar. It somewhat resembled a loose military uniform, and its rotting and shapeless hand was resting on a waist bag.
He carefully pulled the corpse’s hand away and slowly unbuckled the dirty buckle on the waist bag, trying to find more cans. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much content inside; only a few weird pieces of equipment, which were several times dirtier than the food cannister in his hand. The deceased didn’t seem like the owner of this food cannister.
He felt the cylindrical can-size was a bit familiar. Ruan Xian remembered seeing it in other research groups. It seemed to be some kind of military lighting tool. He fumbled for a few seconds and unscrewed it along the gap in the middle.
The warm sunlight instantly dispelled the darkness, and with the handle at the end of the cylinder, it looked very much like a small lantern. After being activated, the side of the small cylinder against the handle lit up. A countdown accurate to seconds was displayed next to the “remaining time”, and the small print carefully marked the current time.
[March 16, 2107. 19:23]
Despite subconsciously mentally preparing himself, Ruan Xian’s mind still buzzed.
…For him, “today” should have been April 21, 2095.
Swallowing with difficulty, Ruan Xian raised the lantern and looked seriously at the dusty ruins for the first time. The floor tiles were a familiar pattern, and the metal corridor on the surface was also something that was in his laboratory. The remaining letters and Chinese characters flickered in the light, which looked terribly familiar.
This used to be his laboratory, but no matter how he looked at it, it was a far cry from the place he remembered being extremely neat and tidy, which could make someone with an obsessive-compulsive disorder or a cleanliness addiction feel at ease.
He had been running for his life since he woke up, and now he finally had the chance to figure out the current situation.
Ruan Xian slowly lowered his head and checked his left wrist. Three small moles lay quietly on the inside of his wrist, next to several thin scars.
Although the state of his skin was very different, this was indeed his body. Forget the mole. If this was some kind of reconstruction of the body, no one would bother to restore the scar.
He then opened the little plastic cloth wrapped around his body and moved his gaze to his legs.
These legs also made him feel strange.
There were no lesions and pigmentation anywhere on the skin, no severe joint pain that tormented him, and no protruding veins due to weakness. His legs looked extremely healthy, long and straight, and his muscles were well proportioned.
Perhaps this was nothing for most people, but Ruan Xian had never experienced the meaning of the word “healthy” in his 28 years of life.
Everything in front of him was too absurd. If it weren’t for the certainty that his body belonged to him, Ruan Xian would have started to doubt if this was an experience project created by the project team next door. Usually, at this time, he should have returned home, given himself a cup of hot goat milk, and then written today’s summary in front of the light screen, as usual.
Ruan Xian frowned and tried to dig up memory fragments from the depths of his mind.
The dry flowers in the laboratory, the strange assistants with their heads down, an argument, a gun with a silencer, and the sense of impact, as if a heavy object had hit him in the face. Fragments of memory floated in his mind, making him a little nauseous.
If he remembered correctly, before losing consciousness, he was indeed shot in the head by a bullet. The man was proficient in marksmanship. His skull didn’t have a metal plate implanted in it, making it impossible for him to survive that level of damage. Even if there was a one-in-a-billion chance that he was really lucky, the other party would definitely take care of his body and make sure that he was thoroughly dead.
The time jump, the abnormal physique, plus the him who should have died. Nothing made sense.
It was a pity that the memory became blurred, and his temples started to hurt terribly. A bad heat was rising from his limbs and bones, and his thinking became uncontrollably chaotic. The feeling of soreness and softness became more intense. The lantern in his hand felt heavy and dark spots started to appear before he fainted.
Ruan Xian retreated to the corner. The boundless exhaustion and uneasiness came, and the sense of collapse overwhelmed him. After thinking for a moment, he moved his legs to the clean ground so that he could stay away from the corpse.
“I have to get a good night’s sleep.” The food cannister wasn’t far away, smiling at him. Ruan Xian solemnly whispered to it, “…Then figure out what the fuck is going on.”
He forced himself not to look at the corpses around him. He ignored the human bones visible all over the floor. After holding a few barely usable guns tightly in his arms, Ruan Xian extinguished the lantern.
About six kilometers away, three figures shuttled through the woods.
“News from Zhang Ge* hasn’t come. Didn’t you say that he would report to us before sunset?” A flat-headed youth in a camouflage T-shirt spoke. “Chi Ge, do we have to go and look? If something happens…”
*Brother (哥) Term used by someone younger to refer to someone who is male, who’s older than you and whom you have a good relationship with or respect.
“It’s close to the ‘wild cemetery’. This is normal. Lao* Zhang most likely encountered trouble and avoided the limelight… Don’t worry. It’s more important to find more parts than anything.” An older man was smacking on a twig in his mouth.
*Old (老) When used in front of a name conveys feelings of a close relationship.
“Yes, do you want 231 to take a look?”
“Hey, you son of a bitch. I haven’t seen you in the base. Without 231, you’ll be attacked.”
“But the chief said we can’t get too close to the ‘Wild Cemetery’—”
“Shut up. 231, set up camp.”
The man known as “Chi Ge” spit out the twig in his mouth and wiped it. “Ugh, I get creeped out every time I look at this thing. At least in Lao Li’s team, it looks like a beautiful girl. This one on our team… Well, let’s stop talking about it.”
While Chi Ge was talking, a third figure a few steps away from the two finally moved.
At first glance, it was a young man with delicate eyebrows. His face was handsome, his complexion was fair, and he had no sense of animosity. He was smiling brightly, with a soft and gentle temperament, and he felt a bit like a white sheet drying in the warm sun. It made it easy for people to let down their guard.
However, as time went on, the sense of dissonance was revealed. The smile remained motionless, as if it was imprinted on his face, or he was wearing a stiff mask.
“Yes, STR-Y type 307a231 is at your service,” he responded, gently enunciating standardly.
“Ugh,” Chi Ge sighed again and turned around. He straightened the lantern in his hand and continued to survey the surroundings. “Next time I have to report to the above. This kind of android should be exchanged every once in a while. Can’t we use a police model or something?”
The two men continued to work on their own affairs. The android got instructions and proceeded to set up a tent and arrange cooking and animal repellent devices. Within a few seconds of the two men turning their backs, “231” stopped moving.
He raised his head and looked in the direction of the ‘Wild Cemetery’.
In just a few seconds, the bright smile on “231’s” face disappeared instantly. He straightened his face and showed a thoughtful expression.
The author has something to say:
The（ ψ °▽°) is here!
The author seems to like to make her MC’s possess rapidly healing abilities (looking at you Nemo).
I have decided to start using pinyin for many common terms like xiao, lao, ge, jie (ect.) as there is really no English equivalent that really captures the meaning intended.