Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 4: Survivor
The stranger on the opposite side blinked and tucked back a strand of hair behind his ear. His face still held no expression.
“Since the S-type Prototype has been marked by you, I can only settle for the next best thing and cooperate with you. If you don’t agree, the difference is only ‘erased by me’ or ‘erased by others in the future’. The latter comes with the risk of exposing me.”
The tone of golden eyes was flat with no emotions.
“The content of the cooperation is simple. You need to act with me as much as possible, provide support, and keep my secret. In return, I can guarantee your safety.”
The situation was suspicious, and the other party had suddenly appeared. He wasn’t stupid enough to obediently reveal his own situation and then ask a hundred thousand questions. Now he could only be sure of one thing. Looking at the degree of dilapidation of the institute and the weapon technology that suddenly jumped, this was indeed twelve years later. As for the various anomalies that occurred around him, true it was odd, but it wasn’t enough to infer the state of the general environment.
This stranger undoubtedly aggravated a sense of violation of reality.
The appearance of the visitor was truly outstanding, perhaps even too outstanding. Compared to a real person, it was more like a virtual image of perfection.
The skin of the person had a fineness that didn’t match the environment at all. The slightly long hair was cleaned and fresh. The limbs were slender and strong, and the nails were trimmed and neat. The style of clothing was close to the uniforms of many of the corpses, but while a bit faded, it didn’t have much damage on it, and even the cuffs were clean.
Without a relatively stable living environment, it was difficult for a person to maintain such an appearance.
Perhaps the situation wasn’t as bad as one would expect.
Ruan Xian squinted his eyes at the huge monster corpse in the shadows. The body wasn’t far from here, but the man didn’t even look at it, nor did he show any sign of nervousness. He carefully observed the man’s equipment and found nothing similar to a weapon.
The high fever in his body had not completely subsided. Within a few seconds of adjusting his leg posture, Ruan Xian’s crazy thoughts were still a bit sluggish.
If this wasn’t some elaborate joke, the strength of the visitor should be guaranteed. Although the details of the “S-type Prototype” and “mark” weren’t clear, this didn’t prevent him from making inferences.
From the state of “settling for the next best thing”, the first goal of golden eyes should be the so-called prototype. He somehow got involved with him and now the other party had to cooperate to achieve his goal. As for confidentiality, Ruan Xian couldn’t guess what golden eyes was referring to, but looking at the other party’s tone, it seemed that it was something he “should” know.
Neither could be used as a powerful bargaining chip.
If the prototype was imperative to golden eyes, or he was extremely concerned about his own secrets, he was bound to be more cautious in his words. There were many ways to induce, and the other party didn’t bother to choose the most drip-proof one. Ruan Xian couldn’t read the tone of voice either. It seemed that “cooperation” or “erasure” didn’t make much difference to that person.
This wasn’t an equal negotiation at all. It was more like a unilateral notification. The other party was more difficult to deal with than anyone he had ever met.
Bluffing, anger, or lying, people always had all kinds of flaws in their expressions, but golden eyes’ youthful face was blank. Unable to analyze his opponent’s emotions, there weren’t many choices he could make.
Out of the corner of his eyes, he once again glanced at the nearest weapon closest to him. Ruan Xian estimated the possibility of grabbing it and arming himself. Unfortunately, the gun was still too far away from him, and the opponent was still unintentionally standing in the position where it was easiest to stop him.
As far as his current physical condition was concerned, as long as golden eyes was willing, it wasn’t difficult to strangle him bare-handed. Although his body was abnormally resilient at the moment, Ruan Xian wasn’t sure whether a broken neck could be restored to its original state.
If he wanted to live, there was only one best choice.
“I agree to cooperate,” Ruan Xian said as calmly as possible as he moved his right leg away from the large piece of debris. “What do you call yourself?”
“Tang Yibu. As a ‘rescued survivor’, you can call me STR-Y type 307a231 or 231.” The man nodded, seemingly unsurprised by his answer. “Tell me your name and information.”
For a few moments, Ruan Xian almost thought that what was in front of him was a machine.
However, he could clearly see the cyan color of the veins under the fair skin. From this distance, the sound of blood flowing and the heart beating in Tang Yibu’s body was very real. This person with the “number” undoubtedly had a living body.
Would someone give a living human a number…? What was the situation outside?
“A rescued survivor? Since you don’t want to be exposed, I need more details. Otherwise, I can’t cooperate with you.” Ruan Xian talked as naturally as possible.
Sure enough, STR-Y type 307a231—or Tang Yibu—stopped moving and stared at him steadily.
“Your information hasn’t been updated,” Tang Yibu said with certainty.
Ruan Xian’s heart sank while he maintained a polite smile on his face.
Tang Yibu stared at him for a while, then swept his eyes across his leg and said, without much thought, “This arrangement is also logical.”
Ruan Xian continued to smile, his expression motionless.
“I’ll give you more information, but not now. At present, your response is very good. I’ll tell them that you have been stimulated and can’t remember too many things for the time being,” Tang Yibu said with a stern face. “As for the areas that need attention… Please don’t mention my affairs to others and don’t show interest in my behavior. If you violate the cooperation agreement, you will only suffer from it.”
It seems that the other party wanted to take him to “other people”.
“No problem.” This time Ruan Xian’s smile came from the heart. What he lacked most now was intelligence. The more people there were, the richer the information he could get from their gestures.
“Now I need your name and information,” Tang Yibu repeated again.
“Ruan Lijie, 28 years old, a waiter in a café.” Ruan Xian stared into the other person’s eyes. “I remember until March 1, 2095. I have no impression of what happened after that.”
“Very good. Happy cooperation, Mr. Ruan,” Tang Yibu stood up and stretched out his hand.
Ruan Xian hesitated for a moment before grabbing his hand.
As a result, Tang Yibu didn’t have any intention of shaking hands. Instead, he directly pulled Ruan Xian from the ground and held him with his right arm. His free left hand went into the torn mouth of Ruan Xian’s jacket and ripped it apart with a swish.
Ruan Xian’s hard-won clothes suddenly disappeared.
“This body doesn’t work. It’s easy to arouse suspicion,” Tang Yibu graciously stated, kicking the shredded clothes aside. “I’ll go find a suitable set for you.”
He even took a serious look at Ruan Xian’s naked body with a calm expression that made no waves, without the slightest embarrassment or unnaturalness. Ruan Xian slowly got rid of his arm, fell to the ground, hugged his naked knees, and beat up the man in front of him ten times in his mind. Even if this was some ruins and the only bystander was of the same sex, Mr. Ruan, who had always paid attention to etiquette, had no interest in streaking.
Tang Yibu didn’t seem to notice the anger of his new partner. He turned and walked to the ruins closest to them and lifted the top of a concrete slab, as if the thing was made of papier-mâché.
Ruan Xian instantly stopped his decompression activities of beating up Tang Yibu in his mind, narrowed his eyes, and carefully observed his opponent’s actions.
Tang Yibu had his back turned to him and was cleaning up the ruins. The heavy stones and concrete seemed to have turned into styrofoam in his hands as he easily plucked them away and plowed out a metal cabinet from the depths of the ruins.
Its style was similar to the one Ruan Xian had seen, and the contents weren’t too different. Tang Yibu tore the iron sheet like an orange and fished out a sealed uniform and a pair of rubber boots from the inside.
“Here.” Tang Yibu patted the dust on his hands and handed over the clothes and boots magnanimously.
Ruan Xian glanced at the hands that easily tore the iron sheet and took the clothes numbly. This time, he didn’t expect Tang Yibu to consciously avert his eyes, but turned around himself with difficulty, reluctantly put on his uniform, and tied the waist bag with the food cannister to his waist.
Now he knew why Tang Yibu wasn’t equipped with weapons. As far as his opponent’s unusual skills were concerned, not to mention the condescension thought of breaking his neck, he might not be able to survive with just a kick alone.
Before Ruan Xian could tidy up his collar, Tang Yibu squatted down in front of him again, lowered his head and put his face extremely close to his.
Just when the tips of their noses almost touched and Ruan Xian began to formally consider whether to retreat, Tang Yibu retracted his body and took out a bandage and a vial from his waist bag.
The weird superhuman gestured for a while, sprayed some potion on the bandage, took it and applied it to Ruan Xian’s neck. The latter shrank his shoulders vigilantly, expressing his puzzlement and dissatisfaction with his eyes.
“You’re not injured. This isn’t natural.” Tang Yibu raised his hand.
“As soon as it’s unwrapped, it’ll be exposed.”
“It doesn’t matter. No one will remove it.”
Seeing Tang Yibu’s tone firm, Ruan Xian sighed and acquiesced to his opponent’s actions.
The bandage that smelled of pungent medicine was wrapped around his neck a few times. Ruan Xian had just planned to find another topic to talk about, but before he could open his mouth, he was picked up horizontally by his opponent.
“…” Damn it.
On the positive side, at least he could leave this shithole early.
Ruan Xian gave up his plan to further communicate with Tang Yibu. He adjusted his posture, closed his eyes, and took the opportunity to recover his strength.
The nerves that had been tight relaxed a little, and the fatigue caused by the long-term high fever swept across his body in an instant. The body temperature of the other person was too comfortable. Ruan Xian squinted his eyes, not resisting the invasion of drowsiness.
He didn’t know how long it took, but the surrounding environment suddenly became noisy.
“Hey. Wake up!” a voice yelled in his ear. “Chi Ge, this person isn’t waking up. Do you think he’s burned out?”
Ruan Xian couldn’t bear to open his eyes. He saw the top of a tent, plus a big smiling face.
The young man in front of him looked more normal than Tang Yibu in all aspects. He was at most in his early twenties, had a simple and honest appearance, with an ordinary flat head. His skin was tanned and red from long-term sun exposure, and he was wearing a camouflage T-shirt that was soaked and exuded a strong smell of sweat.
“Chi Ge. He’s awake!” Seeing Ruan Xian’s eyes open, he suddenly began to yell excitedly, grinning ear to ear.
Ruan Xian found himself lying on a plastic sheet, also covered in sweat, and was covered with a dirty thin blanket. His brain felt like ice water, but it no longer had that stuffy, cold feeling. Most likely, his fever was gone.
He turned his head sideways and didn’t find Tang Yibu in the small tent.
“Are you thirsty? You were burning up badly just now.” The young man’s Mandarin was barely standard, with a northern accent that couldn’t be concealed. He grabbed a potholed iron cup and shook the water inside. “Here, do you want me to give you a hand?”
“Thank you.” The other party’s concerned look didn’t seem fake. Ruan Xian relaxed slightly, returned a sincere smile, mixed with just the right amount of tension. He waved his hand, propped up his upper body, and drank the glass of water.
Clear water moistened his thirsty throat, causing Ruan Xian to let out a comfortable sigh.
His body temperature had returned to normal, the inexplicable amplification of his sensors seemed to have subsided by a lot, and the world was gradually changing back to its familiar appearance.
“Ding Zepeng, but you can just call me Xiao* Ding.” The young man patted his chest and took the empty cup. “There’s still some left in the pot. Want another cup?”
*Little/small (小) When used in front of a name, it’s an affectionate/friendly way to call someone who’s usually younger than you.
Ding Zepeng’s expression was mixed with concern, curiosity, and nervousness, but there weren’t any traces of disgust.
‘That’s rare,’ Ruan Xian thought. It seemed that his skin had recovered well. At the very least, he no longer looked like Frankenstein.
“No, thank you.” Ruan Xian thanked him again and pointed to himself. “Ruan Lijie.”
“Don’t worry, Ruan Ge. Chi Ge is outside and will be here soon.” Ding Zepeng squeezed his shoulder carelessly with a big grin. “Since we’re here, it won’t be a problem anymore.”
As soon as the words left his mouth, the tent curtain was lifted by a hand, and a lean man entered the tent with his head down.
“Chi Ge” had the same tanned and red skin as Ding Zepeng and looked to be in his forties. His stubble had some gray, and his whole person looked a bit gloomy. He had a conspicuous gun hanging from his waist.
“Xiao Ding, stay away from that guy.” Chi Ge frowned as soon as he entered the tent. “We don’t know if that’s a person or a ghost, so don’t be busy getting close.”
The young man opened his mouth and glanced at Ruan Xian a little embarrassedly. Chi Ge threw over a metal box, and his face didn’t look very good. “Take a piece.”
“What is this?” Ruan Xian picked up the metal box and shook it. There was a jingle inside, like it contained pills.
“Antipyretic medicine.” The man raised his tone slightly and replied angrily.
Ruan Xian’s gaze quickly swept across the man’s face. The other party’s impatient expression was well disguised, but unfortunately, it wasn’t perfect.
Chi Ge was lying.
Ruan Xian glanced at Ding Zepeng, who was obviously nervous around him. He didn’t open the metal box and hung the smile on his face. “Thank you, Chi Ge. My fever has already subsided, so there’s no need to waste it.”
Chi Ge’s made a stink face. “You have to recover quickly, or we have to take more time to take care of you. Don’t do this.”
“My physique isn’t very good and I’m allergic to a lot of medicines. Chi Ge, I really don’t need it. In case something happens to you, it’ll only trouble you even more,” Ruan Xian added a little bit of weakness to his tone.
“Please take it.” Chi Ge slowed down his tone and was too lazy to hide it anymore. He put his hand clearly on the handle of the gun around his waist.
“Isn’t this thing rare? Ruan Ge was born well, but 231 didn’t say anything. Chi Ge, you won’t—” Ding Zeping finally couldn’t help but take a step forward, looking a little embarrassed.
“Is he what a survivor looks like? Fine skin, tender meat. What use is 231. It’s just a brainless thing. Who knows what has developed in this city, and if something goes wrong, are you and I going to take the blame?”
Ding Zepeng scratched his head, looked away, and said nothing more.
“Don’t worry. If your brain is fleshy, nothing will happen.” Chi Ge’s voice was a bit hoarse, and his eyes didn’t look good.
Brain is fleshy?
Ruan Xian opened the metal box. There were about five gray discs with metallic lusters lying inside. The shape was like a potion.
“You can put down the gun first. I’ll eat. I’ll eat,” he said obediently.
“I’ll do it myself. Xiao Ding, get the guy ready. You can keep an eye on him, just in case.” Chi Ge drew out his gun, took out another metal box with his spare hand, and took out one of the pieces in it with one hand.
“Where is the gentleman who saved me?” Ruan Xian thought for a moment before making a panicked face.
“Outside. He won’t come to save you this time.” Chi Ge frowned. “Be good.”
Sitting upright, Ruan Xian stared at the muzzle of the gun and pretended to be scared and no longer resisted. He opened his mouth tremblingly.
Since Tang Yibu was outside and specifically mentioned cooperating, it was impossible to be unprepared for the current situation. Tang Yibu didn’t indicate that this thing would pit him too badly; if he wanted to destroy his will, Tang Yibu could pretend to be a rescuer from the beginning to fool him directly.
Chi Ge snorted and neatly stuffed the pill into Ruan Xian’s mouth. He then grabbed a cup of water that Ding Zepeng gave him and directly poured down a few mouthfuls of water.
After making sure there were no traces of the pill left in Ruan Xian’s mouth, Chi Ge put down his gun and moved the cup.
“There don’t seem to be any abnormalities. Let 231 take care of him and also give him something to eat. Xiao Ding, you follow me to contact Lao Zhang. If we don’t hear anything by tonight, we’ll go back to the shelter.”
Ruan Xian covered his mouth and coughed like crazy, choking so much that he almost vomited.
Ding Zepeng hurriedly stood up and patted Ruan Xian on the back.
Seeing Chi Ge head out of the tent, he took out a piece of cake-like stuff from a cloth bag in the corner and stuffed it into Ruan Xian’s hand. Then he lowered his voice, “Ruan Ge, don’t be afraid. Chi Ge has a temper, but he’s actually not malicious…”
“It’s okay. I just didn’t know what was going on, so I was a little flustered.” Ruan Xian smiled amicably. The young man was a person who couldn’t hide his heart. He didn’t want to make it too difficult for the other party. “The rules on your side are quite scary.”
Ding Zepeng’s eyes flickered for a moment. “Ruan Ge… Oh, let’s talk about this later. I have to help Chi Ge.”
“Is there anything to relieve boredom? The kind that can divert attention.” He saw Ding Zepeng becoming more uneasy, so Ruan Xian softened his voice, and he quickly move past the previous topic.
“Oh, oh.” Ding Zepeng took out a circuit board the size of an A4 paper from his cloth bag and handed it over with both hands. “Take a look at this. It’s a little magazine.”
The harvest was much better than expected. Before Ruan Xian had time to thank him, Ding Zepeng added another sentence.
“…It’s a few years before the destruction of the world, so I only found this much.”
The author has something to say:
Ruan Xian finally merged with the true human race!