Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 43: A Thousand Years Scourge
It didn’t feel good to be squeezed in a closet.
The closet was built into the wall, and the depth was extremely limited. Ruan Xian turned his shoulders slightly and twisted his thighs uncomfortably. Fortunately, Doctor Hao wasn’t a neat person, so there weren’t many clothes inside the closet. The ones that were there were piled haphazardly at the bottom of the closet, so that his slight movements didn’t make a sound.
Tang Yibu pressed his entire body on him and gave him a face-to-face hug.
The other person’s slightly higher body temperature made Ruan Xian subconsciously hold his breath. The breathing and heartbeat of another life were tightly attached to him, which was completely different from being hugged from behind. The android’s right arm moved slightly, just like when he cracked Major Ding’s armor. Unfortunately, Ruan Xian’s chin rested on Tang Yibu’s shoulders, and he couldn’t see the other party’s expression or movements. There was only the dark and moldy closet wall in front of him.
“Maybe you’re wrong,” the young voice said. Unfortunately, his behavior and remarks weren’t very consistent. Ruan Xian could hear the sound of rummaging through the cabinets outside.
“We confirmed in the monitoring room together that they did come here for more than half an hour and didn’t leave.” Duan Lili sounded a little lost.
“Maybe they happened to leave. I know, but it took us a few minutes to walk over.” You see, Dr. Hao didn’t just fall asleep.”
“Forget it, it’s too late.” Duan Lili sighed. “I’ll take a look later.”
Tang Yibu’s movements stopped. His hand pulled back from behind Ruan Xian, poked Ruan Xian’s white coat, and slid his fingertips to his chest.
[I have atropine and other drugs in my trouser pocket. Take a few and put them in your pocket just in case.]
The fingertips flicked across his collarbone like butterflies, and there was a slight itch wherever they went.
[Modify. Video recording.] Ruan Xian directly used the earrings to throw back simple words and sentences.
[Ready. Not going to upload it yet. I have to see with my own eyes that soldiers have the authority to instantly confirm the route. Miss Duan’s authority may just be as high as theirs, and there may not be a need to go to the monitoring room specifically.] Tang Yibu’s fingertips went from left to right and from right to left, making Ruan Xian tremble and take in a breath.
Duan Lili was most likely lying.
If she had secretly watched the surveillance herself, any overly obvious changes were likely to arouse her vigilance, but if they were here to steal medicine under the guise of looking after a wound, it was naturally understandable to hide. Ruan Xian didn’t ask any more questions. He froze and listened to the sound of it turning from far to near.
Tang Yibu inserted one of his legs into the gap between Ruan Xian’s legs, and the two turned in the closet like a twist. While Tang Yibu’s heartbeat was very stable, his own was beating a bit faster.
That special anger and fear became even more obvious. Ruan Xian bit his lower lip fiercely, trying to recollect himself from being affected by the other’s body temperature.
Finally, the man’s footsteps stopped at the entrance of the closet. The door was pulled out fiercely, but Tang Yibu squeezed the door shaft tightly, making it stuck.
“This closet can’t be opened.” The young male voice sounded a little embarrassed.
“It may be locked.” Duan Lili replied in a gentle voice. “There’s no handle inside. Even if someone’s there, it’s impossible to fix the door like this. Your efforts are enough.”
“It may also be stuck from the inside.” The man known as Feng Jiang sounded frustrated. “Lili, step back. I’ll kick it open.”
“No, no, what should I do if it’s broken? This might wake up Dr. Hao or attract others. Just leave it.” Duan Lili hurriedly persuaded. “Come here, I’ll show you the evidence.”
“Is it okay if those two people aren’t here?”
“It can only be said that their fate is bad.” Duan Lili sighed faintly. “Those two are smart people. I believe in my own skill of assessing people… Haa, that’s it.”
Unfortunately, the airtight closet had no cracks for them to peep out of. Ruan Xian closed his eyes and focused all his attention on listening.
“You didn’t eat fireflies, did you? Give it to me.” Duan Lili continued.
There was a hissing sound of clothing rubbing, followed by the squeaking scream of the lab rat, as if it had been choked by someone.
“You don’t need three. One is enough. Feng Jiang, grab this mouse.”
“It’s gone! It… It’s a little better.”
“There may not be enough shuttle ingredients left in the firefly, but there are enough psychedelics. See? This is the fresh fruit of the flickering grass, which our people just brought back from outside. Open its mouth and let me squeeze the juice in.”
The man suddenly let out a yelp. “It bit me! Oh my god, I… I can’t catch it anymore! God, did it pass through my hand just now? Why did its nose turn green?”
There was a chaotic squeak and scream, and the other lab rats seemed to be under some kind of attack.
“Flickering grass is… very smart.” Duan Lili’s voice sounds strangely intoxicated. “The psychedelic component is slowly metabolized and the shuttle component that’s consumed allows organisms to pass through solids. When the two reach a fixed ratio—as you can see, it’ll germinate.”
“Will we become the same?” After a moment of silence, there was a little more fear in Feng Jiang’s voice. “Frantically attack our same kind and then become flickering… flickering grass…”
“This is what I want to tell you.” Duan Lili’s voice softened again. “Get out of here, Feng Jiang. Tell the truth to someone you can trust. At least that’ll be one less person tricked.”
“If you take this out and tell everyone—”
“It’s useless.” Duan Lili’s voice sounded like she was in a trance. “There is a clean environment and plenty of food here. All they have to do is work. How can they quit and endure the pain of fireflies? In a comfortable environment of unknown length versus a dilapidated life with great pain, which one would you choose?”
There was a sizzling sound of acid corroding, and Ruan Xian smelled the smell of plants and flesh being dissolved.
“Go to the Walking Stones. The deputy captain of the Walking Stone is the same as you, an ex-rebel. He might treat you better. Compared with those ships that are not climatic, the Walking Stones is more suitable for you.” Duan Lili sounded dishearteningly calm.
“But everyone seems normal.” Feng Jiang’s tone became more bitter. “If something like this happens, how many people will want to leave?”
“Fan Baiyan will not let this happen unless someone directly eats the fruit containing high concentrations of shuttle agents, but the amount of flickering grass and fruit cultivated here is very poor and most people can’t touch it.”
The long-term tightness made Ruan Xian’s back a little painful. He tried to soften his body, but unfortunately, his heel was pinned by the clothes scattered on the ground. Seeing that he was about to tip over backwards, an arm caught his waist and pressed him tightly back to his chest.
Tang Yibu smiled silently. He could feel the vibration in the other party’s chest. The android buried his nose in his neck, and his warm breath sprayed directly on the skin.
[Don’t move.] This time, the scorching fingertips wandered behind his ears.
Feng Jiang left the room first, and Duan Lili’s high heels followed out later. He didn’t know if it was intentional, but she stopped in front of the closet for a few more seconds.
The two didn’t wake up Dr. Hao, who was sleeping outside, and left the room straight away. After confirming that their footsteps disappeared at the end of the corridor, Ruan Xian rushed out of the closet first.
Relatively fresh air poured into his lungs, and the heat from the closet dropped a bit.
Unlike before, this time there was a strong smell of blood in the air. The rat that became grass turned into residue in the strong acid, while the lab rats that were bitten to death and were paralyzed in the cage were eaten by their companions.
“Now there are only two questions left.” After observing the rat carcass, Ruan Xian let out a long sigh and turned his head. “First, the factors that trigger aggressive behavior. Second, the reason for the difference in the fruits of the flickering grass. It’s not difficult to operate, it’s just—”
“It’s just that we need time and resources.” Tang Yibu glanced at the time. “The doctor is about to wake up. We have to get out of here.”
Ruan Xian took some medicine casually on the medicine rack, faithfully playing the role of a thief. He glanced at Tang Yibu, but he didn’t mean to move.
In a sense, Duan Lili really helped him a lot.
“The principle of flickering grass, the operation at Elysium, these are all things you want to know. The identity of the Mainbrain spy is a matter that interests both of us, and my purpose—information on Ruan Xian, which there doesn’t seem to be any traces of.”
Tang Yibu tilted his head. “So?”
Ruan Xian smiled. “What if I can solve all the problems in one go?”
Four hours later, lunch time.
Tang Yibu was so shocked by the soymilk ice cream after lunch that he couldn’t move that they almost watched Fan Baiyan walk up the elevator with his bodyguards. When Ruan Xian caught up with him, Tang Yibu still had light yellow traces of dessert stuck to the corner of his mouth.
Seeing the two of them catching up, Duan Lili’s expression was a bit stiff.
“What’s the matter, Xiao Ruan?” The old man’s beard was neatly groomed, and he put on a Buddha-like smile.
“I have something to talk to you about in private.”
“It’s a bit difficult in private. I’m not that strong. Well, I’ll have Lili prepare the tearoom and we’ll talk as we walk.”
Duan Lili’s expression became even more ugly, but she still bowed obediently and left first. The bodyguards stood beside the two of them, holding the handles of their guns tightly in their hands.
“Are these gentlemen credible?” Ruan Xian asked knowingly.
“Don’t mind them.” Fan Baiyan touched his beard.
“My lover and I are newcomers from the Walking Stones. You must have already known. We’re very satisfied with the life here, but we’re used to casual days and don’t want to squat in one place every day to work.” Ruan Xian put on a flawless smile. “You don’t like the Walking Stones, do you?”
“Yu Le does cause me a lot of trouble.” Fan Baiyan stroked his beard.
“I can turn his deputy captain.” Ruan Xian pointed to his holster. “I have taken the firefly and I know the effect of the medicine. We can lock up Tu Rui for ten and half days and mix the fireflies in with the water. He won’t be able to go back after that.”
“Those two are slippery. Don’t count on it.” Hearing Ruan Xian’s proposal, Fan Baiyan showed a look of disappointment. “I have already asked people to try.”
“They are not me.” Ruan Xian’s smile remained unchanged. “This is an opportunity, Fan Lao. Recently, it happened that a rebel brother wanted to leave Elysium, so we could go back with him.”
“She persuaded you two to leave, didn’t she?” Fan Baiyan raised his eyebrows while his tone remained calm. “I guess she persuaded that little guy too.”
“You know. Is it what you mean, or…?”
“What I mean? You guessed it wrong. She’s a young girl who can only serve others. She can’t fool me—It’s not the first time she’s done this. She has many flaws, but she knows I’m willing to turn a blind eye.” Fai Baiyan turned his back, and his voice was full of confidence. “But it’s fine. She persuaded away the thorns that may cause trouble and forced two great talents into my hands.”
“Then you promised us we could go back.”
“Of course, it’s okay to go back. If I can get Tu Rui back, I will give you two a long vacation.” The elevator stopped on the third floor, and Fan Baiyan slowly stepped onto the glass floor. “But little brother Tang has to stay here. It’s not convenient since he’s injured.”
“I understand.” Ruan Xian was half a step behind, following Fan Baiyan. “Actually, Yibu is very good at medicine. He can assist me here. I wonder if Fan Lao is willing to give us two days? I have to prepare the props.”
As a result, not long after he came out of the tearoom, Ruan Xian was slapped in the face.
Duan Lili was standing at the door of their room menacingly. Her eyes were flushed. “You were in the closet of the laboratory in the morning, right?”
Ruan Xian touched his face and didn’t answer. Tang Yibu gasped as if he was annoyed and was about to lose his temper.
“If you want to jump into the fire pit, do it by yourself. Feng Jiang is leaving! Your conscience has been eaten by dogs.”
“At least we just arrived at this fire pit, and we haven’t had time to help burn it, unlike you.” Ruan Xian retracted his hand and responded neatly.
Duan Lili’s face turned pale. “I know that I will face my retribution, but this doesn’t prevent you from dying.”
“It’s not easy for me to die.” Ruan Xian stepped into the room first, refusing to continue the conversation. “There is a saying that a scourge remains for a thousand years*.”
*This is part of the full saying, “A good man doesn’t live long, and a scourge remains for a thousand years.” It refers to a good person who generally cares about others, so he’s easily wronged while selfish people tend to live a longer life. || In this context, he’s basically calling himself the “scourge” (selfish) because he won’t die easily (because his selfish actions will allow him to live longer).
Tang Yibu didn’t speak. He stared at Ruan Xian’s back; his eyes moved slightly. His partner’s words weren’t acting. They were said in absolute sincerity.
He decided to quietly record this discovery, then politely closed the door and shut the angry Duan Lili out.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” After locking the door, Tang Yibu asked in a low voice. “It’s too late to regret it now.”
“Usually, we can secretly figure out the purpose of the flickering weed. Just continue to act as two ordinary pirates, watching the fire from the other side, and slowly grabbing what we want. This is the safest way to do things, is what you’re trying to say, right?”
“Nn.” Tang Yibu nodded and licked his lips again. The sweetness of soymilk ice cream still lingered at the corner of his mouth.
“It doesn’t matter. It’s me who needs to take action. The Mainbrain won’t notice you.” There seemed to be a fire burning in the young man’s dark eyes. At this moment, his smile wasn’t warm but rather cold.
“I’m just curious. Normally, people tend to avoid risks—”
“I prefer the feeling of facing it head-on. You think with the two sides in a deadlock, and the Order Supervisor is ready to disinfect, all conditions are ready just waiting to be observed…”
The man said, turning his head sideways. His skin was still pale under the warm light.
“…Wouldn’t it be funny if the whole balance suddenly collapses?”
Tang Yibu was silent for a few seconds. According to the consistent style of MUL-01, the Mainbrain had never liked unplanned big variables. This action could indeed force the Mainbrain to take action to maintain balance. With the exception that it was highly dangerous, there was no problem with the overall direction. However…
“Which side do you want to destroy?” he asked.
The author has something to say:
Ruan: Let go of yourself and fly higher and higher.
Tang: Just following (?