Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 3: Meeting
When Ruan Xian woke up again, sunlight was pouring from the hole in the ceiling. From the perspective of light, the sun should’ve risen.
The monster’s corpse lay in the shadows, and the warm light sprinkled on the dilapidated machinery and bones gave a strange sense of peace.
Unfortunately, his state was not at all harmonious.
His physical strength had recovered a bit, but the high fever in his body showed no signs of receding. Sweat kept coming out of his pores. Ruan Xian was short of breath, his mouth was dry, and he was shivering from the cold. He had used the flimsy plastic cloth as a blanket, and he was still so exhausted that he just wanted to go back to sleep, but reason woke him up unceremoniously. His physical condition wasn’t normal, and if this continued, he would only get weaker.
Although he still hadn’t eaten, hunger was almost overwhelmed by anxiety and thirst so that it didn’t have much sense of existence left.
Ruan Xian shook his head and forced himself to sober up a bit.
The over-magnified hearing came in handy for the first time. The gurgling sound of surging water rushed into his ears. It seemed there was water nearby that was within a hundred meters. Fortunately, it didn’t seem to originate from the surface or deeper underground.
He hoped it wasn’t the sound coming from the pipes inside the wall.
The plastic cloth on his body was replaced with the coat from the corpse. He put the food cannister and lantern in the dirty waist bag and tied two intact weapons to it. After Ruan Xian was ready, he propped himself up on a hollow plastic pipe and tried to stand up.
He hadn’t stood up successfully for many years, and his body was weak. Before Ruan Xian could straighten his legs, he fell to the ground.
After grinding his teeth in pain for over ten seconds, he got up bitterly and tried to stand again. However, under the premise of insufficient skill, the plastic pipe couldn’t steadily support most of the weight of an adult man, so the end on the ground skidded. This time, Ruan Xian knelt down in place.
The third time, the fourth time, the fifth time.
Every time he tried, it ended with him lying on his stomach. The sensitive sense of touch didn’t help at all, and the pain was so painful that he didn’t even dare to vent his anger by smashing the ground.
His two legs were indeed intact, and the hardware worked fine, but Mr. Ruan, who had great powers, was in urgent need of a book of instructions for the use of human legs. His attempts didn’t get him up quickly and made him feel like a plate full of smashed cucumbers.
Ruan Xian glared at the scratched-up plastic pipe in his hand and redoubled his efforts.
An hour and a half later.
Panting on two temporarily assembled crutches, Ruan Xian barely straightened up and walked to the corner of the dilapidated hall. All this tossing and turning almost exhausted the last of his strength.
Hesitating for a few seconds, Ruan Xian leisurely freed his right hand and pulled the food canister out of his waist bag with the smiling side facing him.
“Don’t talk about climbing back to the surface, every step can kill me… Say, they won’t be free to make random changes.”
The whisper failed to echo in the empty underground ruins. No one answered him. Ruan Xian smiled reluctantly.
The long-abandoned hall was originally on the second floor of the underground, with a height of around eight meters. Based on his current physical state, if he failed to find supplies in time, it was absolutely impossible to return to the surface from this hole.
Other pathways were blocked. Ruan Xian remembered the floor plan of the entire experimental building. Even if he went out of the hall normally, it would be a long way to return to the surface. Not to mention that most of the doors were covered by ruins, and there was only bottomless darkness in the gaps.
There was also good news.
Looking at the condition of the hall, the layout hadn’t changed much in the past twelve years. The underground space was originally used for storage and observation, so a small residential area was also allocated. As one of the most prestigious guests, his room was always well equipped and shouldn’t be easily converted for other purposes.
It included a bathroom that was connected to an independent water supply system.
He couldn’t hear the exact location of the sound of water, but the general direction was indeed consistent with his former residence.
Ruan Xian quickly touched the outermost door. Indeed, it was still the door in his memory, but it was so tightly sealed that not even a crack was there. It wasn’t destroyed as he had hoped. Ruan Xian brushed the dead vines by the door, pressed around, and barely touched something that was close to a recognizer.
He wiped the thick dust on it with his hand, and a trace of blue light appeared from behind the hard glass.
Not to mention whether this thing could be used or not, it was better to say that it was absolutely improbable that the security system hadn’t been upgraded for these full twelve years.
“It seems that we have to drill into the corridor next door.” Ruan Xian sighed at the smiling face and retracted hand. “I hope that thing yesterday doesn’t have any relatives around…”
But before he could finish speaking, a somewhat distorted electronic noise sounded.
“Welcome, Mr. Ruan Xian. Today is March 17, 2107. I wish you a wonderful day.”
The sweet and friendly voice was mixed with pitch changes and a jarring tone, making it sound quite eerie. The tightly closed metal door made an unpleasant scrapping sound and withdrew to the sides. The wall lamps in the corridor behind the door suddenly lit up, and several of them kept flickering.
Ruan Xian clenched his crutches and carefully moved into the corridor.
Something was wrong.
Regardless of whether he was designated as dead or missing that year, the institute wouldn’t retain his access, let alone synchronize the information to the new device. However, there were too many inexplicable things currently that was far worse than this issue. Ruan Xian’s attention was very focused. Since the facilities here were relatively intact, the hope of finding water was also much greater.
The sound of water had changed from vague and dull to clear and audible.
Licking his chapped lips, his Adam’s apple bobbed, and he almost instinctively turned to the door of his original residence. This door was the closest to the entrance, and a thin layer of dust had accumulated in front of it so it should be a good choice.
Ruan Xian stuffed the food cannister back into his waist bag and clenched his weapons. His back tensed. He then knocked on the strange security lock with his fingertips, obediently allowing the light that came through to quickly sweep over his entire body.
“Cheers. Welcome back to… home.” The emotionless electronic sound was intermittent, more distorted, and hoarser than the one at the door.
This time the door didn’t immediately open, and the familiar password light screen appeared in front of him.
Ruan Xian frowned.
All kinds of pictures flashed on the password light screen. Photos of orchids, buildings, complicated physical formula and mathematical equations, complex molecular structures, and even a few music scores and excerpts from literature. Dozens of pictures were mixed together, flashing and switching so fast that if they were to be made public, they would need an epilepsy warning.
Bracing himself, Ruan Xian looked at the rapidly flashing light screen without blinking.
In less than ten seconds, the pictures finished playing. He pondered for a moment, stretched out his fingers, and drew an intricate figure on the blank light screen. Just as the scorching fingertips drew away, the heavy door clicked softly, and then slid open silently.
…Everything was the same.
At the beginning, he liked to take all kinds of information back to his room for research. For safety reasons, Ruan Xian specifically wrote a password system for himself. The order in which the pictures were played each time was completely random, and the association and inference of the pictures could only be done with his own brain.
The things in those pictures were only meaningful to him, and there was no second person in the entire world who could use this password mechanism.
Things were getting weirder.
Ruan Xian broke off one of the tubes that he was using as a crutch and wasn’t stable. After making sure it would allow the automatic door to leave a crack, he put his finger on the trigger and dragged himself into the room as quietly as possible.
The layout of the room was earth-shattering.
Ruan Xian liked warm colors and a relaxed decorating style. When he left the room “this morning”, the artificial sunlight still shone on the thick and soft carpet, making the small half of the wooden table white. Now the spacious front hall was cut off, leaving only a suffocating narrow space in front of the door, like stepping into another corridor.
The sensor light in the room turned on in response.
There wasn’t a single piece of the original furniture left. The wooden floor was replaced with ceramic tiles, which were cold and hard. On one side of the wall was a rough iron cabinet, half a person high, with a slightly ajar door. Ruan Xian leaned against the wall and opened the cabinet door with his other crutch. There were a few sets of vacuum-treated uniform-style clothes and two pairs of ordinary rubber boots.
Ruan Xian left the cabinet without hesitation and stopped in front of the extra wall—the texture of the wall was strange, and it didn’t look thick. The only door that seemed to have no mystery is the one that was just an ordinary sliding door.
The loud sound of water was behind the wall.
Ruan Xian raised the gun in his hand a little higher, leaned against the wall on the side door, trying to maintain his balance, and opened the sliding door with his other hand.
Except for the steady sound of water, there was no other sound in the room. Ruan Xian waited patiently for a few minutes, then grabbed his crutch and glanced cautiously through the door.
Then he stopped breathing.
The door was empty. The wall that was originally embedded with a huge electronic window was now filled with all kinds of machines, and there was no longer a place for virtual scenery. The wall facing the door could hardly be considered a “wall” anymore.
A huge water tank occupied the small room, taking up close to half the space. The thick transparent glass filled the space from the ceiling to the floor, extending to both ends of the walls on both sides. From a glance, it looked a bit like an aquarium display tank, but the glass of the display tank didn’t flash densely with data like this.
The sound of water was coming from behind the glass.
There were no rare creatures soaked in the liquid, and there was no tube that provided nutrition or oxygen. A mass of white things was wandering underwater, a bit like a large jellyfish that was curled up.
Making sure there was no suspicious sound, Ruan Xian moved into the room and stroked the cold glass with one hand. The liquid in the tank was very clear, and he was sure he smelled water and not the pungent smell of chemicals. The water tank was equipped with a circulating filtration device. If the independent water supply system in this room was used, it wasn’t difficult to maintain it for decades.
As long as he could find the filter device, he could draw out clean water.
The high heat from his body made the glass touched by his palm colder, and the hot air from his nostrils almost burned the skin. Ruan Xian took a few breaths, then retracted his gaze from the wall full of machines and instinctively looked ahead…
For a moment, he almost thought he was hallucinating.
The white mass of things floated in front of him at some point, sticking to his hand that was touching the glass. Like a mirror image, a human hand condensed on the other side of the glass, followed by arms, torso, head, and feet.
The opposite thing had no sexual characteristics, no hair, and even no facial features on the head. Compared to humans, it was more like a wooden mannequin used for decoration and reference hundreds of years ago.
It floated in the liquid, accurately imitating Ruan Xian’s every movement, like a ghost reflection in the mirror.
Ruan Xian suddenly retracted his hand from the glass.
The “person” on the opposite side didn’t imitate this action but leaned over and drew back its hand.
Then it slammed onto the glass.
The force was so great that the whole piece of glass shook violently a few times. Ruan Xian propped up his crutches, took two steps back, and grabbed the gun tightly in his hand. With a deadly high fever, his headache became worse and everything in front of him began to appear murky.
Bang. Bang. Bang.
The thing was beating the glass frantically, moving faster.
The glass let out an overwhelming creak, and gradually white ice crack lines emerged, and the flashing data began to disappear.
Ruan Xian briefly estimated his distance from the door, then simply raised his gun.
The moment the human-like object came out, Ruan Xian bombarded its body and head frantically, and then was knocked to the ground by a large amount of liquid gushing out. The fragile temporary crutch immediately fell apart and hit the corner of the room with the water flowing with glass blocks.
Ruan Xian’s mind became a little clearer after being submerged with cold water all over his body. He coughed out a few mouthfuls of water, grabbed another gun pinned to his waist bag, sat down on the floor, and looked around vigilantly.
The white human-like object was blown into several pieces, but there was no structure similar to human tissue. It quickly condensed together, glued back to its human form, and then crawled quickly towards him.
Ruan Xian didn’t hesitate to shoot again.
This time, the explosive shell went straight through the humanoid, as if it was passing through smoke, and finally exploded in vain on the empty wall behind it. The humanoid object stretched out its hand and grabbed Ruan Xian’s ankle with a terrifying force.
Ruan Xian supported his body and retreated. The shards of glass scratched his palms, but he didn’t even feel it. He just stared at his ankle, trying to command the disobedient leg muscle to retract and pull away.
However, it wasn’t as simple as “being caught”.
The thing clenched his ankle, and the skin of the “hand” began to stick to the skin on his ankle, like two masses of mud that were blending together. The burning pain rushed straight to the brain along the ankle. This time Ruan Xian didn’t hold back and screamed.
Although he hadn’t experienced it before, it felt as if he was being skinned alive, but his consciousness still remained.
As long as his consciousness was still there, he could think of a way.
Ruan Xian gasped with difficulty, staring closely at the thing that only God knew what it was, and persistently retreated to the door. His movements were fast and anxious, causing multiple glass shards to plunge into the palms of his hands, but in front of the spreading unknown pain, that pain was considered negligible.
The blood was spreading fast into the stagnant water on the floor.
Amazingly, he just retreated to the “corridor” near the metal cabinet when the thing weakened without warning.
Like a snowball in heat, the petals of a flower in fire, it quickly withered, collapsed, and eventually only left a large puddle of goo in place. The crisis was temporarily averted. Ruan Xian laid on the spot with all his strength, swallowing oxygen desperately in the joy of the aftermath. After his brain was emptied for a full half a minute, he raised his hands and began to clean up the glass shards embedded in his wounds.
After getting rid of the foreign object, the wound was healing quickly at an abnormal rate.
At any rate, he wasn’t short on water now. Ruan Xian couldn’t help but laugh dryly. He held onto the iron cabinet and could barely stand up. The fever seemed to have gone down a bit, and his brain that was almost cooked into a pot of porridge had finally calmed down…
He had to go back to the hall quickly and get himself another pair of crutches and a few more weapons. This place was bad. It was like a ridiculous nightmare. Before planning any more details, he must first ensure his safety.
However, when Mr. Ruan crawled back to the hall, there was an additional thing amid the otherwise empty space.
A figure stood in the center of the hall, directly below the hole.
Needless to say, Ruan Xian was nervous about humanoid objects now. He subconsciously reached out his arm and crossed over the ribs of who knows what to grab the gun next to the corpse.
The other party was faster than him.
Almost the next second, the figure flashed in front of him. Seeing that the figure was a tall man, Ruan Xian wanted to take a closer look, but his collar was seized. The coat he got was extremely rough; the tug caused it to rub harshly on his skin. It was so painful he almost cursed.
Unfortunately, there was no chance to utter any expletives.
The visitor—whoever or whatever it was—lowered his head and decisively kissed him.
He should have tried to grab the gun just now, but he was in shock. Since he had no weapons, he chose to pretend to be dead, letting the other part lick the tip of his tongue.
The superficial calmness returned to actual calmness, and the warm sense of invasion made him sweat and his scalp tingled.
Calm down. Ruan Xian pinched his thighs. He endured being hunted by that monster, endured the ruins full of corpses all night, and even endured the weird thing just now, then surely he could endure this.
Ruan Xian’s breathing began to shorten.
Anger was spreading rapidly. If it weren’t for the fact that his physical condition wasn’t in good condition, he would hardly be able to restrain the urge to bite that tongue.
After a full twenty seconds, the visitor finally moved his face away and wiped his mouth casually.
As soon as the hand holding his collar loosened, Ruan Xian sat back down and managed to stabilize his sitting position with his disobedient legs. The man half-knelt down and looked at him head to toe from about a step away.
His face was extremely handsome.
The weird stranger in front of him looked younger than thirty. He had fair skin and rare champagne golden eyes, a head of black hair that was slightly too long, and the tips of his hair covered the back of his neck. He had a gentle and friendly temperament. If he had met such a person on any other occasion, Ruan Xian believed he would have had a good impression of him.
However, his favorability now was in the negatives.
“I have roughly analyzed your situation. You now have two choices.” Golden eyes spoke seriously and remained expressionless, as if the two of them had just shook hands. “Cooperate with me or die here. Choose.”
“…You also have two choices, sir.”
After a few deep breaths, showing a slightly twitching smirk, Ruan Xian quickly responded.
“Explain or explain. Come on, choose one.”
The author has something to say:
Two formal teachers!!! (^ρ^)/
This is the end of the prologue, and the next step is the first arc—
Ruan Xian won’t have limited mobility all the time. He just needs a little time to adapt. It’s impossible to suddenly walk like he’s flying hhhhhhhhh
This wraps up the prologue. Wow, we already got a kiss right off the bat.