Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 96: The Dust Settles
Fu Yu mixed the thawed minced meat and added more pepper. He thought for a while and took the layers of butter off the top shelf. They had just eaten meat pies the other day, and even though it was considered a luxury to have such a recipe after the end of the world, he still wanted to make something different.
Maybe adding some onions would make it taste better. When He An comes back, he could cook some wild vegetables and fry some eggs and ham in butter…
He An had been returning very late recently. Today, he also went out early in the morning, saying he wanted to investigate alone. However, Fu Yu ended the patrol on time and returned home. The room was still dark and there was no light.
To be honest, Fu Yu wasn’t particularly worried.
Qian Yigeng’s people were staring at him in the streets and alleys. He An himself was a member of the City Defenders. When his partner was still human, he had a habit of coming back late—but at that time, he would always bring a woman home.
Although the android didn’t inherit He An’s memory strictly, after the processing and infusion of his memories, he still became more and more like his partner.
It was like watching a former best friend gradually wake up. Fu Yu grinned a bit bitterly at the minced meat that exuded a meaty smell.
He cut the baked meat pie into a plate and put it in the insulation compartment. Then he heated the pot, pondering the time when He An would come back. He was stroking the delicate packaging of butter with his fingers when there was a knock on the door.
“Coming!” He skimmed a piece of butter to the bottom of the pot, summoned a light screen, and prepared to open the door habitually.
But this time he didn’t see He An’s handsome face on the screen.
A tall stranger stood at his door. That person was exceptionally strong, with very handsome eyebrows, with a bit of European and American look. However, with his dark skin and golden eyes, the visitor’s aura was slightly gloomy.
An android he had never seen before, and he wasn’t alone.
The strange man was holding a slender little girl and stood quietly at the door. The girl looked sweet, had a small figure, and looked no more than twenty years old at most. She was covered with mottled blood, and her eyes were tightly closed, as if she was asleep. Unlike that man, Fu Yu felt that she was softer.
“Who?” He frowned and kicked the kitchen cabinet. A gun slid out from the mechanism, and the handle was within his reach.
“There is still a curfew outside. Please let us in first.” The man opened his mouth and took two steps back so that he could expose himself to the scanning range of the access control. “I’m not armed, and I have news about He An.”
The butter hissed in the pan, emitting a rich aroma. Fu Yu’s expression became solemn. He turned off the fire and checked the gun around his waist again. After submitting the visitor situation to the City Defenders organization, he wiped his hands on his apron and walked out of the kitchen.
The tall, strange android put the little girl on the couch and sat on another sofa very naturally. Fu Yu walked into the living room with his face down and pressed his hand on the handle of the gun.
“I have already passed your information to the City Defenders,” he said dryly. “You’d better not…”
“…Think about it. I know.” The android smiled, sniffed the aroma of pepper and butter in the air, and his eyes became complicated.
Fu Yu walked up to the little girl. The pretty girl was shot in the torso. The bullet had entered her back, passed through her chest, and injured her lungs, but it was handled well. An object in her pocket protruded and hung heavily, looking like a gun.
Fu Yu frowned, took out a bottle of anti-inflammatory spray from the cupboard, sprayed it around the wound, and then continued the topic. “What happened to He An?”
“You will soon get the news that Qian Yigeng’s headquarters was attacked by the Red Ghost and the base was destroyed. Qian Yigeng himself died, and the androids he hid ran away… The matter was quite noisy.”
The other party’s conversation was not as stiff as in the early days of ordinary androids, as if he had already understood himself. Fu Yu frowned. “Get to the point.”
“He An died.” The man’s words were concise, and his tone was fluttering.
Fu Yu stood up abruptly. His hand on the handle of the gun trembled a little. “No, as long as his brain is not destroyed…”
“Unfortunately, it was completely destroyed.”
The strange android didn’t seem to mind sprinkling salt on the wound. He took out the electronic wristband that originally belonged to He An from his pocket and connected it, then pulled up a light screen showing the junkyard. Above the misty junkyard, a huge blood-red smiley face was plastered. Billowing smoke emerged from the ground, making the scene more terrifying.
“This girl and I escaped from Qian Yigeng’s side… I’m okay. There’s a problem with this girl’s memory module, and she doesn’t remember anything. If I leave her alone, something will definitely happen.”
Fu Yu just shook his head, as if this would negate the facts.
“He An asked me to come and take care of you before… He was destroyed,” the android continued. “After all, you still need a partner and I have nowhere else to go. He hopes you won’t take it out on the Red Ghost. Qian Yigeng has been blackmailing him for resetting his memories over the years. He had assisted the Red Ghost in sabotaging him.”
“If you have any doubts, just grab a key figure from Qian Yigeng’s side, or a guest who has purchased an android from Qian Yigeng, and you’ll know—He An wasn’t the only target of blackmail.”
Fu Yu sat down in a chair sadly, his eyes frighteningly red. He didn’t shed tears, but just looked at a point in the void in a daze. The android pursed his lips, looking a bit irritable.
“Anyway, it’s all over now,” he continued coldly. “…He still has something for me to give you.”
Barely raising his head, Fu Yu looked over numbly. The tall male android handed over a transparent chip the size of a chewing gum.
“The video diary of the human He An,” the male android said. “He An asked Ji Xiaoman to fix this thing before, but she actually fixed it a long time ago. Ji Xiaoman happened to be at the scene of the discovery, and this time she handed it over. He wanted you to see it…”
“I can guess what’s inside.” Fu Yu interrupted the other party’s words, and the strange male android showed a trace of surprise.
“The real He An doesn’t like me, nor does he like himself.” Fu Yu clenched his hand, turning his knuckles white. “I… In order to add richer information to that android, I conducted an investigation after his death. At least now I know that he had a serious drug problem when he was still alive, which was becoming abusive… But he just kept pretending to be okay in front of me. In fact, I also noticed little details. I guess there’s a lot of cursing of me in there.”
He smiled bitterly.
“Come to think of it, we have known each other for so many years… His physique has always been good before the end of the world. How could he suddenly die from ordinary typhoid fever? I didn’t notice that he—”
“He was also involved in Qian Yigeng’s and Chang Yaqi’s businesses, helping them find prey and expanding the market,” the android added mercilessly. “In my opinion, He An isn’t a very decent human.”
Fu Yu buried his face in his hands.
“I know that people will change, and people will show different faces in front of different people. Most people are dealing with imaginary others. It’s absurd to judge the personality of the other party just by getting along one-on-one.”
His voice was quiet and fragile.
“Before, I thought it was stupid to escape reality or drink poison to quench my thirst, but once a person gets to that situation… A trustworthy old friend is too important in this world. Even if it is fake, I…”
After a long silence, Fu Yu wiped his face fiercely and squeezed the chip tightly. “Forget it, don’t talk about these things. I’ll get a room for this girl. She needs to rest. You can also find a place to rest for a while. I’ll keep this thing.”
The handsome male android was still sitting on the sofa, looking at him without blinking.
“I probably know what my android partner wants to tell me, and the contradictory data must’ve made it difficult for him.” Fu Yu reluctantly tugged at the corners of his mouth. “I’ll let you stay. I won’t go… Well, create another ‘impressionable’ partner again.”
The strange male android smiled slightly, then nodded. “You can give me a name.”
“Literally. I have never had my own name. You can give me one.” The nameless android shrugged. “It’s more convenient.”
“I’ll think about it. If you have something you like, you can pick one for yourself.” Fu Yu didn’t sound interested, and his mood remained low. “If you have any requests, you can also tell me directly… I want to be by myself for a while. Are you hungry? There are meat pies in the kitchen. You can take some for yourself—”
“Except for ‘He An’.”
“Any name except for ‘He An’.” The male android smiled at him for the first time, sharp and wanton, with an inexplicable sense of familiarity. “…I hope there’s not too much pepper in the meat pie this time.”
At almost the same time, Yu Le was contemplating life.
Captain Yu considered himself to be a great figure. The Sea of Ruins was so big, yet his own steady footing had temporarily gained him a piece of the world. At least in the suspended piles of ruins, basically everything was within his grasp.
But now, he wasn’t so sure.
Now it seemed that the two little bastards had completely deceived him. At most, he doubted Tang Yibu’s identity because of his eyes—although the other party’s personality and intelligence weren’t like ordinary androids, his behavior and demeanor had an indefinable sense of estrangement. Ruan Lijie was different. Yu Le thought that the other party was 100% pure human lunatic, but suddenly this bombshell happened.
The blood-red smiley face that gave people chills down their spines was still hanging high above the junkyard. Even if they had left a long time ago and arrived near Li Ji Noodle House, they could still see the red in the distance from here.
According to his own experience, the junkyard would usher in a new wave of chaos—Qian Yigeng’s organization would completely collapse, just like a fat green dying worm on the grass, countless small insects would rush up and quickly eat it. As for the so-called “Red Ghost”, most likely they would become a legend use to scare people in this place.
And the originator of these tricks was sitting steadily opposite Ji Xiaoman with a smile on his face.
“I thought you would get rid of the other shells.” After all the fuss, Ruan Xian finally became hungry and was stuffing cookies into his mouth.
“No, the ones Qian Yigeng hid in the warehouse are all D-type products. It would be dangerous to be used by interested parties. It’s better to destroy them. It’s already dangerous to give He An one.” Ji Xiaoman was holding a screwdriver and was carefully debugging her damaged arm—She used this mutilated hand to perform a cybernetic brain transplant on He An, and now there was still a lot of blood on it. “He would go back to Fu Yu now. He’s a nice person… He’ll take care of Tiantian.”
She was still not used to calling Tiantian-Q2 “Ji Xiaoman”.
“Our side is also done.” Tang Yibu quickly walked over, threw a shovel into the rubble, and grabbed the iron bead that was eyeing it. “I buried her very deep. The place is dry, so the D-type product won’t decay so easily.”
“Thank you,” Ji Xiaoman whispered, carefully clearing her throat and lowering her head. “Give me the coordinates later, and I’ll send them to He An. With the help of the City Defenders, Mom will be very safe.”
“Nn.” Seeing Tang Yibu sitting down beside him, Ruan Xian stroked the other party’s back and pulled the topic back. “Miss Ji, now we have erased Qian Yigeng and safe-keep your mother. In addition to repairing Yu Le’s car, I hope you can also provide us with Ruan Xian’s information first.”
Although it was a polite tone, Ji Xiaoman knew very well that it was not a topic that could be discussed. At least after seeing the strength of the three people on the opposite side, she didn’t want to dance with death—Qian Yigeng was dead, and his base was in chaos. These three people abruptly paved a bloody path and sent her to the most chaotic warehouse. This wasn’t something that could be done with the support of weapons alone. And…
“I can say it now.” Ji Xiaoman continued to twist the small screws on the robotic arm. “The junkyard where the rebel army is located is one of my hunting grounds. I don’t know the location of its headquarters. There are still a few areas. Less than two years ago, I met a man riding a hoverbike over there.”
Since seeing the scene of Ruan Xian torturing Qian Yigeng, she has instinctively avoided Ruan Xian’s sight.
“He was wearing a gas mask, so I couldn’t see his face, and he didn’t have much luggage. I originally thought the sound was familiar at that time, but it didn’t match.” Ji Xiaoman moved her left arm, which had barely recovered its appearance. “He asked for directions and gave me some parts as a reward. They were all incredible, high-end goods. I was quite impressed.”
“Ruan Xian.” Tang Yibu stared at Ji Xiaoman’s mouth.
“Yes, because he moved his legs freely at the time, I didn’t think about that at all. I felt that it was strange for such a person to come out alone just after the chaos was over. I also remember the question. He asked me if I knew how to get to the southeast gate of the Underground City, B12.”
Ji Xiaoman finally raised her head. “The southeast gate, Exit B12, is one of the exits to leave the Underground City. The closest thing to it is Petri Dish No. 1024, but it has been destroyed by natural disasters a long time ago and should still be under blockade. Then there’s Petri Dish No. 2217… If Ruan Xian took that exit, he must have gone towards it.”
“Do you know about that petri dish?” Ruan Xian frowned.
“Most people here know.” Ji Xiaoman smiled briefly. “But the days must go on. The Underground City is so big that there are many people. The difference between knowing and not knowing is actually not that big. Besides, nothing can be changed.”
She shook her head and poured herself a cup of cold water. “In short, I can provide you with the route of the B12 port, as well as the weapon support needed for Petri Dish No. 2217, but I have to say first… This was almost two years ago, and No. 2217 isn’t easy to enter. Well, I haven’t heard of anyone who has succeeded.”
Ruan Xian looked at Tang Yibu beside him, and Tang Yibu also shook his head. “I don’t know any information about No. 2217.”
“That’s probably how things are.” Ji Xiaoman raised her eyes. “Mr. Ruan, before I provide details and support, about my mother’s matter…”
“Oh, I know a little something about 2217.” Yu Le held up his arms and his expression became a little distorted. “I have a man who came out of there. He calls it The Glass Conservatory. However, before laozi provides more information so that you can continue this calm combat meeting, I have something to say, so listen up.”
Captain Yu took a deep breath.
“This guy says he’s an android.” He pointed at Ruan Xian and looked at Ji Xiaoman with a complicated expression. “Is this situation normal to you? A great mechanic? Look at these eyes! This guy and the one surnamed Tang were so sticky this whole time, hugging and gnawing—they almost fucked in front of me—You call this an android? Even if you want to fool laozi, this is just too rich for my blood, no?”
He scratched his head irritably.
“I don’t care if you talk about your business, but before I figure this out, our business is out of the question—if Tu Rui knows that I took two strange androids with unknown details to the ruins of the rebel army, he’ll have me chopped to pieces.”
“The one surname Ruan and the surname Tang, I want an explanation.”
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Captain Yu’s strength collapsed (×