Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 6: Awakening and Strength
Ten minutes ago.
Chi Lei rolled a sheet of grass, wrapped it in some dried lotus leaves, and twisted it into a conical roll of paper. He lit it and took a deep puff. This thing wasn’t as good as tobacco, but at times when supplies were scarce, it could relieve the addiction.
The scanner temporarily set up in front of him didn’t respond. If Lao Zhang was within a five-kilometer radius of them, he could detect a little. However, there was only a blank on the flashing scanner screen.
He viciously puffed out a mouthful of smoke.
“Brother Chi.” Ding Zepeng followed, hanging his head. “Do you want me to help adjust the antenna?”
“No. I’ll call you when I need help. Just watch the tent for now.” Chi Lei didn’t even turn his head aside as he stared at the screen.
“231 went in,” Ding Zepeng said immediately.
“What do you think of this new guy?” Chi Lei didn’t continue the subject but switched to a different one.
“Didn’t 231 say that he’s a waiter? Ruan Ge seems a little nervous. I guess he hasn’t adapted yet, but everything else is quite normal.”
Chi Lei sneered and took another puff. “Count it as intuition. That kid isn’t so simple. The way he looks at a gun is not like ordinary people… He has bad legs?”
“Yes, but it’s not a big problem. He could move freely after a while. According to 231’s diagnosis, his head has some issues—Ruan Ge seemed to have suffered some stimulation, so he has a little memory loss, plus the infection on his neck couldn’t be seen.”
“There’s no news of Lao Zhang from 231?”
“He said he couldn’t find him, and only saw the survivor that Lao Zhang was going to meet. 231 will not lie to us. Chi Ge, he took the medicine. Ruan Ge must not be from the city. He doesn’t have any weapons…”
“I don’t like his face,” Chi Lei interrupted. “You were still young after the world ended, so it’s normal if you don’t understand. Café waiter? That’s not the kind of face one would have. The best case would be some young master who had adjusted his genes, which will be quite troublesome. It’s annoying enough to have Guan Haiming in the base.”
Ding Zepeng stopped talking. Every time he mentioned the world before it was destroyed, he couldn’t continue the conversation.
Seeing Ding Zeping silent, Chi Lei smiled wearily, put his cigarette in his mouth, and patted the young man on the back of the head. “It doesn’t hurt to be overly cautious.”
The two of them were silent for a while as they stared at the blank scanner screen.
“Chi Ge, do you think Zhang Ge will…”
“Talk less and no one will think you’re dumb.”
“I’m not asking you—fuck!” Seeing the shadow of black footsteps in the corner of his eyes, Chi Lei quickly reacted and pushed Ding Zepeng away. The sharp feet cut into Chi Lei’s back, and blood immediately gushed out.
“It’s a ventral cockroach. Run!” Chi Lei roared.
The two of them ignored the machine they had set up and ran down the mountain. Before they could even move two steps, another ventral cockroach lay in front of them. It stretched out its sickle-shaped hooked feet, flung open its fat and soft abdomen, and blocked their most convenient way to escape.
Chi Lei fired two shots. The belly of the cockroach was thick, so there was no point in hitting its abdomen; the eyes and joints were the focus. Unfortunately, the wound on his back slowed him down—the cockroach didn’t stop moving, so he missed his shots.
Blood began to drip on the ground.
Ding Zepeng swallowed. He hurriedly put together a laser stick and took a few steps and blocked Chi Lei’s injured back with his own. The tip of the stick was pointed at another approaching from behind.
“Two,” Chi Lei hissed. “Damn, why did they come here?”
“Chi Ge, the patrol time in the city…”
“I know. 231 should be coming. Wait for him to stabilize the situation, then we’ll escape together… Xiao Ding, don’t think about attacking. This is not something that can be dealt with!”
Ding Zepeng sighed and changed the position of his stick.
A hundred meters away, on the other side of the blocked road, Tang Yibu suddenly stopped.
“That’s a ventral cockroach.” Tang Yibu looked at the monster and introduced it to him cordially, in a tone like a kindergarten teacher. “You’ve already killed one.”
“…Thanks for the explanation,” Ruan Xian said numbly.
“I’ll have to settle with a gun.”
“Hmm,” Ruan Xian responded as he raised his eyebrows. Just looking at Tang Yibu’s skills in the ruins, it didn’t look like he needed a gun.
“Thank you for your understanding.” Tang Yibu let go of his hands.
Ruan Xian, who was originally being princess carried, hit the ground and was left dazed for a moment. Mr. Ruan sat up slowly, rubbed his painful back, and looked at Tang Yibu in shock.
Tang Yibu moved sharply. Both hands were equipped with gun-like weapons. He smacked his lips, threw one of the guns to Ruan Xian, and then gave a thumbs up, as if he misread Ruan Xian’s eyes.
A somewhat fake bright smile emerged on his expressionless face, full of routine.
“Don’t worry. This distance is within my protection range. You’ll be fine.”
“…” Ruan Xian’s facial muscles twitched.
Tang Yibu sprinted onto the boulder on the side of the mountain, and with his feet on the abdomen of the ventral cockroach, he flipped beautifully to the side of the battlefield. The two ventral cockroaches in front of him were much larger than the one in the ruins, as their bellies were close to two meters high. It was difficult for Ruan Xian, who was sitting on the ground, to see the situation on the other side.
Ruan Xian took a deep breath and carefully looked at the gun in his hand. While quickly speculating on the usage, he tried to distinguish the various sounds of the battle.
Things were obvious now. Tang Yibu had a body that was very close to that of a human, but from the way he spoke, he obviously didn’t think he was a member of the human race. Based on the existing information, he was most likely related to the androids that Ding Zepeng warned him about.
Research on androids had been ongoing, but the progress wasn’t really fast. Humans have been trying to make androids since a hundred years ago, but even until the time before their death, the technology was still far from completion. There weren’t too many jobs that required a human form. The police would have large mechanical police dogs for assistance, the military would have intelligent combat vehicles, and even domestic robots were only the size of a garbage can.
In contrast, the cost of a realistic human appearance was too high and wasn’t as marketable as one might think.
Virtual reality had progressed closer to completion, and the development of independent AI was the fastest way to make money. Abandoning the detour of “making hardware closer to people” and simply pairing a virtual image with suitable intracranial stimulation had met most of the population’s needs.
In order to ensure the stability of investment, Ruan Xian himself had a dedicated AI project team of his own. Unfortunately, before the project was completed, he was shot in the head.
So far, from his attitude, Tang Yibu probably regarded him as a similar kind. The secrets that needed to be kept in the cooperation agreement should also be related to Tang Yibu’s true situation.
If Tang Yibu needed a similar kind, it would be better for him to “temporarily disguise” himself than “face the possibility of being killed”.
Ruan Xian activated his firearm and stared at the battlefield a hundred meters away.
A ventral cockroach could be stalled by an implosion bomb, but it couldn’t be possible when being surrounded by two cockroaches. The ventral cockroach that blocked the road occasionally moved, revealing a bit of the situation on the battlefield. Ding Zepeng waved his laser stick with ease and had already cut off a few feet of one of them. Chi Ge was injured and was shooting with his gun, and for a while, he couldn’t see which side had the upper hand.
Ruan Xian raised the muzzle of his gun and his eyes fixed on the movements of the abdominal muscles.
Indiscriminately attacking them would only irritate them. He must seize the moment—The success in the ruins was purely fate, and if it weren’t for those steel beams on the ceiling, Ruan Xian didn’t think he could handle the kind of thing in front of him.
After a burst of gunfire, a shrill wail pierced Ruan Xian’s ears. One of the bloated abdomens stopped moving. The actions of the other gradually slowed down. Tang Yibu held a gun in one hand and supported Chi Ge, whose legs were weak, with the other. He leaped over the belly of the strange insect again and ran towards Ruan Xian. Xiao Ding jumped up and quickly followed Tang Yibu closely.
The abdomen of the insect was originally soft, and after some fighting, it was wrapped in a lot of mucus. Ding Zepeng stagged and fell straight down from the two-meter-high insect abdomen.
Tang Yibu stopped immediately, turned his head and fired a few more shots. The bug seemed to be dizzy as it waved its feet without the slightest inclination to escape. Its thick abdomen suddenly deflated, and three scorpion-tail-like things burst out from the bulging abdomen and stabbed Ding Zepeng.
“It’s a tail stinger. This thing wants to die with us!” Chi Ge shouted in a hoarse voice. “231, use explosives. Bomb it!”
“It’s already blind.” Tang Yibu’s voice was steady as he continued shooting. “The explosion will attract detection birds, which isn’t the best solution.
“The patrol time for the detection bird is still approaching. We’ll still have time to hide!” Seeing Ding Zepeng struggle to stand up, his face paled, and he dragged his legs forward. Chi Ge’s voice became sharp. “Xiao Ding! You brat, come here!”
The monster was already covered in gunshot wounds. It was a few steps behind Ding Zepeng as it bit down. Its broken black sickle-like feet were waving while the mucus-stained stingers were poking frantically. Ding Zepeng pursed his lips and looked towards them. Instead of approaching, he began to lead it away.
“Where are you going? Get back!” Chi Ge roared as he watched the monster leave his range. “231. Explosives. Bomb it. This is an order!”
“I can only properly carry two people. Now that the three of you are all in a state of inconvenience, when the explosion attracts the detection bird, one person is destined to fail to escape the reconnaissance. It takes five minutes to kill a ventral cockroach, while the patrol will take five minutes and forty seconds. There is a surplus of forty seconds. In theory, all the crew can survive… If Ding Zepeng is unfortunately sacrificed, I will immediately take you two to hide.”
“…Use the explosives first. Bomb it, then take those two boys away. I give you my authorization.” Chi Ge shook off Tang Yibu’s arm and sat on the ground panting. “You can’t take risks with Xiao Ding. They are still young. If someone has to die, I should be the one.”
“No.” Tang Yibu’s movements didn’t stop. “I must choose the plan with the highest collective survival rate. This is the rule.”
His voice was calm and unwavering.
“You—” Chi Ge was so angry he lost his breath and almost dropped the gun in his hand.
“Xiao Ding, come here!” Ruan Xian suddenly raised his voice. “231 has a way—!”
Hearing that “231” had a way, Ding Zepeng honestly changed direction and limped towards them, who were just a few hundred meters away.
“What are you doing?! I told you…” Chi Ge was about to divert his anger but suddenly fell to the ground softly, as if he had lost consciousness.
Tang Yibu glanced at Ruan Xian meaningfully.
“He has lost too much blood. His physiological reaction won’t lie. You were also waiting for him to faint, weren’t you?” Ruan Xian sighed.
It was now.
His heart beat like a drum and his ears were full of the sound of blood flowing. Ruan Xian gasped desperately, holding onto the muzzle of the gun with both hands. Time flow seemed to slow down, and the monster’s movements were clear and slow.
Combining wind speed, weapon status, and distance, he found that he could predict where the bullet would hit. It felt wonderful, abnormal but natural, as if it came from instinct and the calculation process was almost negligible.
It was like bending over to pick up a fallen leaf.
This feeling had appeared in the ruins before, but this time it was particularly strong.
In Ding Zepeng’s shocked eyes, Ruan Xian fired at the monster behind him. Outside the young man’s field of vision, every bullet hit the place where Tang Yibu had hit.
The damage suddenly doubled, and the frantic abdominal movement stagnated for a few seconds.
Tang Yibu took the opportunity to rush forward and knocked Ding Zepeng aside while firing—The latter didn’t get up again after falling. Ruan Xian was pretty sure he saw Tang Yibu put away something similar to a needleless syringe.
Tang Yibu dropped his gun.
“Hit the columnar structure below its mouth!” The patterned smile on his face disappeared as Tang Yibu stepped onto the abdomen of the cockroach.
Ruan Xian didn’t hesitate.
After being hit in its sensitive area, the crazy ventral cockroach instinctively curled up. This action caused its stingers to shrink back and its abdomen to swell again. Tang Yibu directly clung to a stinger and tore it off cleanly, bringing out a large bunch of viscous internal organs. Before the ventral cockroach had time to react, he used the stinger as a weapon and nailed the soft abdomen of the ventral cockroach to the soil fiercely.
The entire process was rough and precise, like a fierce beast hunting down prey.
Just like Ruan Xian had seen before, the ruptured abdomen quickly stopped moving.
Tang Yibu clapped his hands, put the gun on the ground back on his belt, and then picked up Ding Zepeng. He easily returned the way he came and placed the unconscious Ding Zepeng next to the unconscious Chi Ge.
“What should I do now?” Holding back the shock and tension, Ruan Xian asked in a steady tone. “There’s less than a minute left. I can’t move yet. Can’t you move three people?”
“I’ll control their coma time to two hours.” Tang Yibu spread his hands. “That should be enough.”
“According to the conversation you just had, the detection bird…”
“Yes, that’s them.” Tang Yibu’s irritating introductory tone reappeared as he pointed to the flock of birds flying their way.
Then he simply made a gesture.
The flock of birds turned a little and flew away from the area. A single bird flew out of the unusually neat flock, flapping its wings as it descended, stopping on Tang Yibu’s index finger.
“Detection birds.” Tang Yibu stretched out his hand slightly and showed it to Ruan Xian. “The city uses this to detect human traces.”
The shape of the detection bird was a bit like a sparrow, with brown and gray feathers, which made it an excellent camouflage in the woods. Its head had no eyes or beak, only a camera-like structure in the middle, and its body was not much different from a real living bird.
Ruan Xian forcibly held back his shudder and observed it as calmly as possible.
Tang Yibu was flat-faced and rubbed the deformed head of the bird with his fingers.
“Since it is used to detect human traces, what about Chi Ge and Xiao Ding?” Ruan Xian specifically excluded himself.
“They will not be discovered.”
Tang Yibu retracted his hand and let the probing bird fly back into the sky.
“…I used my administrative rights to rewrite the exploration log of the birds.”
Ruan Xian turned his face mechanically.
‘You must hide it,’ he thought. The reason for Tang Yibu to silence him so he won’t be exposed seemed to have just increased by another count.
The author has something to say:
Yes, this is a love story between a range + (?) melee. Before, a friend asked who fights better. Under normal circumstances, they are evenly matched… It mainly depends on the terrain√
But Mr. Ruan’s current strength hasn’t been fully unlocked XD
Thank you all for your support (*/ω＼*)