Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 90: Dive In
“Keep up.” Ruan Xian made a split-second decision.
Now it seemed that Ji Xiaoman’s intention was obvious—use them to create enough chaos to force Qian Yigeng to start the Return South Wild Geese program. Once a large number of androids with old-fashioned brains gathered, Qian Yigeng was likely to need the mind access needle. In this chaotic world, he wouldn’t hide it on somebody else.
Then Ji Xiaoman only needed to meet with Qian Yigeng and wait for the opportunity to attack and torture or simply kill him. She only needed to determine the location of the mind access needle, which was enough. They had used her information to wreak havoc and successfully threw Qian Yigeng into a stressful environment, and now she found a great opportunity to break into Qian Yigeng’s headquarters.
In terms of mutual benefits, this was a good cooperation, but it ended here. If Ji Xiaoman were to find and kill Qian Yigeng one step ahead of them, they would lose the source of information that they were about to get.
Fortunately, the other two present were experienced, and no one asked questions. The three of them were just about to bypass the moldy refrigerator and move forward, when an earth-shattering thud came from an old hover bike that had fallen to the ground.
This was then followed by a long, crying “gwah”.
Ruan Xian pinched the center of his eyebrows and retracted the foot that he had just stepped out. Ji Xiaoman and He An had already chased the female android some distance away, leaving only a pile of corpses and Tiantian-Q2, who was still panting on the ground.
“π, don’t make trouble.” Ruan Xian neatly pried open the basket, and the iron bead immediately stopped screaming. It opened its mouth and gobbled up the rest of the parts in the basket, then stretched out its four thin legs and ran around Ruan Xian’s left foot a few times before rubbing his ankle affectionately.
Ruan Xian bent down and picked up the bowling ball-sized mechanical life. He knocked on its cool shell, then touched the corner of his mouth. That inexplicable smile had appeared again—the situation was getting more distorted, but his smile was subconsciously growing.
He crushed two green poisonous snails that were trying to climb onto his trousers, shook the slime off his white coat, and quickly met with Tang Yibu, who was walking behind. Seeing Tang Yibu, the iron bead became excited and leaped towards him like a cannonball, almost choking on the parts in its mouth.
“Wait.” A female voice sounded behind him. “Please wait a minute.”
Tiantian-Q2 didn’t know where she got her strength from. She stubbornly propped herself up on the iron pipe and stood up again. “Can you take me with you?”
“You have limited mobility. Going there is very dangerous for you and will cause us trouble.” Tang Yibu refused matter-of-factly.
“You can leave me at any time, or… You can use me as a hostage.” The girl’s voice trembled a little, but her tone was firm. “For example, if it’s true that I have an old-fashioned cybernetic brain in my head, they wouldn’t just watch me be destroyed, right?”
“What do you want?” Ruan Xian was more direct.
The girl grinned with difficulty, didn’t answer, and had no intention of giving up. Ruan Xian stared into her eyes for a while, then sighed. “Forget it. Yibu, take her.”
Yu Le stood in the back, silently sizing up his new teammate.
“It’s harder to walk here than last time.” When the burly pirate spoke again, his tone had returned to his usual rambling. “I say, what if Qian Yigeng is not here? It can be dangerous to make people figure out the next step.”
“According to my observation, he doesn’t have the courage.” Tang Yibu quickly denied.
“You have only met him once and that counts?”
“Plus Ji Xiaoman’s decision,” Ruan Xian responded casually. Even through the gas mask, the peculiar stench of the junkyard rushed straight to his nose, and he decided to divert his attention. “Although she’s still young, she’s not stupid. He An was right. She looked more like a winning ticket than a desperate one.”
If it weren’t for a Tiantian-Q2 halfway through, the young mechanic might be in a better mood.
Tiantian-Q2 didn’t wear a gas mask anymore. She was easily carried by Tang Yibu; her sense of existence was even less than that of the iron bead who was chewing on Tang Yibu’s shoulder. She didn’t seem trouble by the stench that overflowed the air, but showed some inexplicable sadness.
“I grew up in an orphanage.” She suddenly opened her mouth. “Because of my deformed arms, no one wanted to adopt me.”
Ruan Xian didn’t answer, just glanced at her two arms in good condition. Tiantian-Q2 realized the other party’s gaze and smiled self-deprecatingly.
“As I said, I had a fever for a while, and when I woke up, my arm was healed. At that time, I thought it might be Qian Yigeng’s gang got some special medical equipment or got me micro-plastic surgery. After all, they wanted me to go… Forget it, it doesn’t seem to make sense to lie to myself now.”
She took a breath, as if she was reorganizing her words. Even if the fog was thick, Ruan Xian could see the girl’s unstoppable tears. Her voice was small, and their footsteps were light. It was like a continuation of a certain narrative stage, and the whole space had an unreal sense of floating.
“But I remember it very clearly.”
The girl clenched the iron pipe in her hand and continued to murmur, not caring if anyone was really listening.
“In the summer of a few years ago, two rich people came to the orphanage as guests, and the dean prepared piney raspberries. When I washed the raspberries, I secretly tasted one that was bad. Its taste and touch, the water temperature, the smell of rain in the air, the buzzing cicadas outside… I remember it all.”
The end of the metal tube plunged into thick piles of garbage, and several green poisonous snails climbed onto her calf, but she didn’t pluck them off. She didn’t sob this time, but her tears fell faster.
“If those are all fake, all someone else’s stuff… What the hell am I? I obviously remember it all.”
Seeing that the girl was on the verge of collapse, Yu Le clicked his tongue and waved away the unresponsive Tang Yibu. “I’ll do it. What a cold-hearted guy.”
He politely picked up the girl’s arm and tried to avoid too much physical contact. After hesitating for a few seconds, he took out a piece of candy from his pocket, held it with two fingers, and threw it into the girl’s pocket.
“Boozy chocolate,” he said. “Eat it later when you have time. It’ll make you feel better.”
Tiantian-Q2 still seemed a bit repulsed by male contact, but she smiled with all her might. “Thank you.”
“If ask me, don’t think too much about it. Just have fun until it’s over. Who cares who’s who,” Yu Le said in a hoarse voice. “If you say your name is Bai Tian, then you can be this Bai Tian. Hey, I know it’s useless to say this. This is a hurdle you have to overcome yourself…”
He shrugged. “But you got this far, which is quite amazing, little miss.”
Tiantian-Q2 sniffled and hiccup. She lowered her head and stared at the small new bulge in her pocket, and her eyes became terribly red.
Not long after, the four of them moved to a square iron manhole cover. Ji Xiaoman and He An figure couldn’t be seen, but their footsteps were still echoing not far underground. Ruan Xian gave Tang Yibu a wink, who then set aside the iron bead that was trying to attack the metal pipe, opened the heavy manhole cover, and made a “please” gesture to the other three.
Qian Yigeng was busy calibrating the cybernetic brain. As soon as the explosion happened, many androids were frightened.
At this moment, the side effects of realistic emotions became apparent—these brains stuffed with human-made things were injected with memories of others, and they firmly believed in their own human identity. Many of them had just been restarted not long ago, and they were still in the stage that needed to be “tamed”.
As soon as Return South Wild Geese started, this part of the goods was the most severely frightened. Even if his subordinates had already bound them in advance, the androids continued to scream and cry, pouring all their vicious words on Qian Yigeng.
Unfortunately, human aesthetics weren’t effective on androids, and it was difficult to stun them. If you wanted to do something too serious, whether you hurt the shell or the inside, it’s your wallet that was unlucky.
Damn it, he must be getting too old. Qian Yigeng bared his teeth.
Right now, there was no place for him to make precise corrections to these cybernetic brains. Qian Yigang had to take out his precious mind access needle and insert it into the back of the merchandise’s head one by one to erase most of the memories in their cybernetic brains. After being reset, the androids would become more honest than frozen rabbits.
When he dealt with the eighth android, Qian Yigeng put the blood-stained needle into the inner pocket of his clothes and wiped the sweat from his forehead. He always felt that something was wrong—Ji Xiaoman was kidnapped, his shops were destroyed, and then he had to use the Return South Wild Geese program…
“Call more people and add more men outside.” He tugged at the bulletproof undergarments, trying to make them tightly wrap around his round belly. “Are my helmet and goggles here? Prepare emergency medication in each room, replace all food with sealed food at the bottom of the warehouse, and water. Do you hear me?”
“But your meal was just…”
“Toss it, find someone to eat it, whatever.” Qian Yigeng waved his hand irritably. “First take these people back to the warehouse and freeze them, then wait for the limelight to pass.”
The subordinate who had just trotted out of the room ran back within a few seconds.
“Boss, He An is here.”
“Call him in! What are you doing, running back? You should be guarding the door and catching mice.” Qian Yigeng quickly put on his bulletproof helmet and adjusted the position of his goggles.
“…Because I caught a big one.” He An entered the door with a smile, carrying a chain in his hand. He wasn’t wearing a gas mask, and his gaze swept across the heavily armed men in front of him. “This is enough for two extensions, isn’t it, Qian Yigeng?”
He tugged on the chain, and Ji Xiaoman, with a gloomy face, was pulled into the door. Her “mother” obediently followed He An, looking a little dazed.
It was conservatively estimated that there were twenty subordinates in Qian Yigeng’s room, all heavily protected, making things a little tricky. Ji Xiaoman tried her best to control the burning anxiety in her heart and tried to look angry.
“My, look who this is.” He An didn’t rush forward. He took a few steps back and greeted the men who were armed to the teeth to come forward. “Finally remember to come back?”
“You have a stranglehold on my mother’s memories. I don’t seem to have many choices.” Ji Xiaoman pulled the chain irritably. “I escaped, okay? Qian Yigeng, do you really need to do this?”
“To be safe,” He An replied for Qian Yigeng. “How’s it going, boss?”
“Very good, very good.” Qian Yigeng didn’t have much of a smile in his voice. “What a coincidence at such a time. You came back as soon as something happened to me that I thought something was wrong.”
The fat man’s voice was cold and sticky, as suspicious as ever, but this time, there was something Ji Xiaoman didn’t like very much—when facing her, Qian Yigeng had a disgusting aura of confidence.
“I don’t care what plans you have with this little girl, and I don’t want to care.” He An’s dragged his voice. “Surname Qian, this should be considered good for my reward.”
“We’ll talk about this later.” Qian Yigeng glanced at the android standing to the side. “Xiaoman…”
‘Here,’ Ji Xiaoman thought to herself.
She lowered her head and quietly looked at the positions of the subordinates around the room, then poked her back with her hands, trying to use the pain to wake herself up.
It was time for her to break free from the tight chains, cut a few blood vessels with her sharp fingertips, and kill all the way until she reached Qian Yigeng. But a new flame was constantly cauterizing her internal organs, and her feet seemed to be stepping on needles made of ice. Intuition drew the deeper darkness closer, and she couldn’t muster the courage to stay away.
Ji Xiaoman didn’t move. She extended her acting time but considering the despair and panic at this moment were real, she wasn’t sure if she was truly acting.
“Am I one of your ‘commodities’?” Her throat seemed as if it had swallowed sandpaper. “…Who the hell is Ji Xiaoman?”
Oh okay, so the mind access needle is literally a needle that you just poke into machines to reset them. LMAO, but I guess this makes sense.