Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 41: Glory
Ruan Xian smelled blood, fresh plants, sewage, and indifference from Tang Yibu.
The android didn’t behave like he had just finished dangerous espionage but was like a lion who had just finished patrolling its territory. Tang Yibu put the iron bead in the center of the soft sofa cushion and moved his bandaged legs casually. He then took off his coat with satisfaction, revealing his muscular and beautiful upper body, and was about to climb onto the bed again. “It’s before five now. We can talk about it when we wake up.”
The nameless fire lit up again, and Ruan Xian pulled away the quilt with a cold face. Tang Yibu tried unsuccessfully to burrow into the quilt and could only lean on the head of the bed, aggrieved.
“Tell me next time.” Ruan Xian’s tone was cold and harsh.
“But this matter has nothing to do with you.” Tang Yibu clutched the corner of the quilt with a trace of blankness across his face.
“The premise for me to sleep with peace of mind is to have your combat power by my side. If there was an attack just now, I might not be able to react.” Ruan Xian took the quilt away mercilessly. “Conversely, if something happens to you, I can also answer you more easily. This is the value of ‘cooperation’.”
“I’m not used to it yet.” Tang Yibu rubbed his hands. “Okay, I will remember… Can you return the quilt to me?”
Ruan Xian deeply doubted this.
He now probably understood Tang Yibu’s behavioral characteristics—the android wouldn’t make a mysterious appearance or gestures like “I have a lot of hardships”. Tang Yibu’s actions could be said to be very magnanimous to the point where they were irritating. However, even if he looked heartless, he was still a very superior person in his bones.
Ruan Xian had an inexplicable feeling. Rather than being Tang Yibu’s “partner”, he probably regarded him more as an accessory, pet, or convenient prop. It was like bringing a well-trained hound when traveling alone on a solo trip or leading a horse on the prairie. They were undoubtedly smart animals, and people would comfort and help these companions, but when humans tied them up and occasionally left to do their own things, they would rarely wake said pet up to notify them.
In Tang Yibu’s opinion, he might have sharp fangs at best.
This wasn’t the first time that this feeling had appeared, and it made Ruan Xian very unhappy. Although he didn’t really regard Tang Yibu as his kind, he really didn’t like this kind of superiority isolation.
‘People are really greedy,’ Ruan Xian thought. At first, this thought made him feel free, but now he instinctively wanted more.
He still hadn’t been able to get rid of the influence of the other person’s human appearance. Ruan Xian looked at Tang Yibu, trying to imagine him as a leopard, a horse, or something else…
Tang Yibu was naked, sniffling, staring straight at the soft quilt in Ruan Xian’s arms. He had bandages wrapped around his powerful and beautiful thighs, which only made him look more miserable. Ruan Xian sighed, leaned over, and covered the other person’s body with the quilt unskillfully.
Tang Yibu grabbed the quilt, and his golden pupils moved slightly with Ruan Xian’s movements.
“You go to sleep,” Ruan Xian said tiredly, his brows furrowed.
“Aren’t you sleepy?” Tang Yibu moved in Ruan Xian’s direction. “You seem to be sleep deprived.”
“I don’t want to sleep yet.” Ruan Xian dimmed the table lamp at the head of the bed.
“Oh, then I can talk to you for a while.” The android got what he wanted and slipped into the quilt and hummed comfortably.
“Like I just hacked into their monitoring system.” Tang Yibu tightened the quilt, as if he was afraid that Ruan Xian would pull it away again. “Their system is worse than rotten ground meat. Shabby and outdated. At present, I have only touched the separate power generator system and the alarm system. Nothing else has been found. Some machines are estimated to be turned off at night. In contrast, Guan Haiming managed the refuge very well.”
“Nn.” Ruan Xian responded briefly, which saved him from having to plan an invasion. A full-scale invasion had to reap some benefits; at least equivalent to a wealthy city waiting to be broken into. A large-scale raid on an unsuspecting broken village wouldn’t reap much benefit, so it was better to infiltrate at a fixed point.
After a few seconds of silence, Ruan Xian glanced at Tang Yibu, who was still peeking at him. “What’s on the fifth floor?”
“The outer wall is closed and there are patrols.” By the sound of his voice, Tang Yibu also wasn’t sleepy. “Then… It’s very quiet. I don’t have your perception, but I think it’s too quiet there. It was designed to look like a residential area, but there are not many traces of human activity. They also carried a dead body up.”
“I can listen to it now.” The living always have to breathe. Although this range was a bit larger, it wasn’t something that Ruan Xian couldn’t do.
“No, this is a good opportunity to practice.” Tang Yibu turned over and sat up, feeling refreshed.
Ruan Xian looked at him speechlessly.
“Tactile exercises are to let you control the degree, and the second step is to learn to narrow the target.” Tang Yibu didn’t care about his quilt any longer. He stretched out his hand and gestured happily. “Before, in order to find a point in the distance, you needed to draw a circle around yourself with you at the center. Now you need to focus on that point and learn to eliminate other distractions.”
“Yes, like the difference between a shotgun and a sniper rifle.” Tang Yibu nodded solemnly. “Energy should always be used sparingly. While we’re here and can get free meals, you can practice to your heart’s content.”
“But I don’t know what counts as ‘sniping’. I need a reference.” Ruan Xian confirmed it cautiously.
“I’ll hum a song by your side. When you can hear the situation on the fifth floor clearly and can’t hear me humming, then you know you’re successful.”
As soon as he finished speaking, the android began to hum that strange melody again.
“You seem to know a lot about the S-type Prototype.” Ruan Xian leaned firmly on the headboard of the bed and exhaled slowly.
Tang Yibu’s humming stopped, and he turned his head sideways. “The previous S-type products can do what I just said. You must have no issues with the integration of the Prototype. These are the basics.”
Watertight. Ruan Xian twitched the corners of his mouth and didn’t speak again.
The strange melody in his ears started again. Ruan Xian closed his eyes and carefully let go of his senses. The sound waves seemed to leave traces in the darkness in front of them, entangled like smoke. He heard the soft sound of skin rubbing against the tabletop downstairs and water-soaked cloth rubbing against the smooth tiles. The friction of nearby residents turning on their beds was like thunder. And there were groans, pleadings, and gasps that pierced through his eardrums. A sound of a soldier’s gun rubbed against his belt and a light screen beeped softly when it was activated and turned off.
Breathing, thousands of breaths came from all directions, like silk cocoons, wrapping him in the center. Tang Yibu’s humming voice was low and clear, and Ruan Xian’s brain was buzzing.
A full five minutes.
He held his head in both hands, retracted his senses, and gasped for breath. With ten fingers inserted into his black hair, Ruan Xian touched the cold sweat on his forehead.
This was the first time he had concentrated on listening to all the details in the vast space, and it was also the first time he had persisted for so long. Given that Tang Yibu’s eccentric tune was so clear, he probably failed.
“Don’t force it, it’s only the first day.” Tang Yibu handed over a glass of water. “Go to bed when you’re tired.”
Ruan Xian shook his head. He poured water down his throat and closed his eyes again.
The second time, he seemed to be groping in the dark sound cocoon, trying to pull out the few silks he needed. Tang Yibu’s singing voice was still in his ears, but it sounded a lot more blurred.
The time jumped from 4:25 to 7:38.
In this way, Ruan Xian practiced all the way to the sound of people in the hall, and countless footsteps and whispers joined the pot that was making chowder. Ruan Xian couldn’t hear Tang Yibu’s tune again, but he wasn’t sure if that was the result of his own efforts, or if he was simply too tired to be conscious—His brain seemed to be part of the pot of chowder that was bubbling.
“I hear twenty-five soldiers,” he said at last. His voice was low and soft, not hoarse as usual. “They keep moving on the fifth floor, and the number of breaths matched the sound of footsteps. There are only these people on the fifth floor and no other living creatures.”
After that, he opened his eyes it took a while for him to pull his hearing back. After more than three hours of practice, he seemed to have run several marathons in a row as he was covered in sweat and had a colic-like hunger coming from his stomach.
When his attention was taken away from his hunger, Ruan Xian slowly felt the other person’s body temperature—he didn’t know when, but Tang Yibu had hugged him to prevent him from bumping into him because of his loss of strength.
“Well done.” Tang Yibu let go of his arms and took out a piece of chocolate from his bag. He carefully peeled off the tin foil, stuffed it into Ruan Xian’s mouth, and then sucked his fingertips stained with the brown dessert. “Just in time for breakfast.”
Ruan Xian swallowed the chocolate in his mouth with difficulty, propped up his weak body, and took a simple shower. His limbs were so weak that Ruan Xian almost thought of his time in the wheelchair had returned—This was the first time he understood Tang Yibu’s feelings for food.
The aroma of breakfast brought his whole body to life.
“Xiao Tang, I heard about what happened last night. I’m here to apologize. You have suffered a little injustice.” Fan Baiyan was sitting at the small table with the newcomers, and he glanced at Tang Yibu with a smile. “…It’s just little brother Tang, that type of mechanical life sleeps like a log at night. Why did it run out in the early hours of the morning?”
Duan Lili sat next to the old man, with a demure and gentle look, without saying a word.
“Oh.” Tang Yibu wiped the scrambled egg from the corner of his mouth, and his tone became a little cramped. He glanced at the weak Ruan Xian and smiled shyly. “We tossed around a little late into the night and maybe woke it up because of the noise.”
Ruan Xian almost choked to death on his scrambled egg that he was chewing. In line with the principle of not wasting anything, he swallowed it forcibly.
Fan Baiyan was obviously a slick person. His gaze swept to Ruan Xian’s slightly wet hair, red eyes, and the light blue bags from lack of sleep and let out a long “oh”. “Young people nowadays are quite vigorous.”
Then he smiled. “But this can’t happen again. Xiao Tang, there are important people above, and I have to protect their safety. Although I don’t want to say it, if this happens again, those soldiers will come get you.”
He stretched out his fingers like withered branches and nodded with his eyebrows.
“No, no. I dare not.” Tang Yibu shook his head quickly. “I’m really sorry, Fan Lao. That medicine was too exciting, and I forgot myself for a while… Sorry.”
“Nn.” Fan Baiyan’s smile came back, but there was not much smile in his eyes. “Oh, I have an announcement to make to everyone, so you guys listen carefully.”
After that, he stood up, smoothed the wrinkles on his robe, and walked to the center of the dining area. Standing still on a slightly higher platform, Fan Baiyan took the microphone that Duan Lili handed over with both hands.
“Good morning, everyone.” The wrinkles on Fan Lao’s face gathered together, and he looked extremely kind-hearted. “On a new day, there are two happy events—”
The pirates who were eating breakfast stopped their chopsticks one after another and looked at the captain of Elysium.
“Liang Yilan, who was in charge of the cleaning in Area C, and Jiang Lin, who was in charge of the exploration of the flickering grass, have already risen to the fifth floor and no longer need to perform high-intensity labor. Come, Yilan and Linlin, say hello to everyone.”
A giant light screen emerged from the air, and two display boxes were divided on the light screen. Jiang Lin and a middle-aged man occupied each half of the screen, waving at the pirates in the restaurant. A hearty breakfast was placed in front of the two of them. They looked to be in good condition, and the white room behind them looked extremely luxurious.
“Hopefully, seeing these efforts will encourage you. So far, a total of fifty-nine people have received this honor, but there are still more than three hundred empty positions. Now, two people around Linlin have gone up, and Yilian has also gone to accompany his wife to live a leisurely life and enjoy the blessings of their work.”
Fan Lao stroked his beard. “There are those who you’re friends with up there. Let them pass on a few words of wisdom. I remember that Dong Cong and Chen Liming still have friends here, right? Learn from them and don’t think about harassing little girls all day long.”
There was a burst of embarrassing laughter among the pirates.
“It’s less than half a month before the disinfection by the Mainbrain. I know everyone is nervous… But listen to my advice. You should rest well. Your body comes first. It’s rare to have such a good environment these days. If you can live a year, that means you can earn a year longer. If you get sick, don’t be embarrassed. Just tell me. We have top-notch medical resources, and someone can make up the work at any time. Don’t be afraid of delay—now we have a few strong young men who have joined. You are their senior, so you have to remember to take care of them.”
A few people laughed this time, but the pirates applauded symbolically, their smile showing a bit of reluctance.
“Okay, let’s eat.” The old man shook the bell again and walked slowly down the high platform.
Ruan Xian and Tang Yibu exchanged glances in silence. The “disinfection” of the Order Supervisors; this information also appeared on the Walking Stones side.
[You will know what’s good or bad when the Order Supervisors come to “disinfect” next time. The boarding fee is not easy to make up.]
[If it weren’t for survival, who would drive an entire ship these days?]
‘Things are getting more and more interesting,’ Ruan Xian thought as he stuffed his mouth full of greasy scrambled eggs.
“Don’t panic.” Fan Baiyan returned to his seat and took a sip of tea. “In the first few days, you’re still guests. I will send you some wine and fireflies in a while. Everyone should take a break and walk around. If you really don’t want to stay, I won’t force you to.”
“Fan Lao.” Tang Yibu smiled cautiously. “This… Can I borrow your medical room? My leg still hurts a little bit.”
Duan Lili finally raised her head and glanced in the direction of the two of them. Her eyes were full of disappointment. When Ruan Xian looked up, she turned her eyes away and looked at another young man among the newcomers.
The young man also looked straight at her, his eyes full of pity, faintly angry.
“Of course, of course, it’s on the third floor.” Without noticing the episode around him, Fan Baiyan showed a little embarrassed look. “But Xiao Tang, medicine is not cheap. When the treatment is over, I’m afraid you two will have to work here for some time to pay off your debts. This, you can understand, right?”
“No problem, right, baby?” Tang Yibu’s smile brightened again.
“Of course.” Ruan Xian also smiled.
Yes, Tang Yibu is calling Ruan Xian baobei, if you’re wondering.