Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 111: Memory Cocktail
Ruan Xian walked away from the decorative fish tank in the botanical garden.
The weather was good outside the prevention shelter. Under the blue sky, the glass was as clear as if it didn’t exist. The aroma of fresh plants and the pleasant sound of rubbing branches and leaves filled the air. Even if the big fish tank had been swallowed by the lush branches and leaves, the murmuring of running water was still clearly audible.
The silver-white assistant robot followed him staggeringly, bumping into small branches from time to time, looking a bit dazed. Ruan Xian slowed down so it could follow him more steadily as he organized his thoughts.
The gradually recovering memory made him uncomfortable.
It wasn’t that the negative emotions that came up were so intense. He just felt a little lost.
The details of those bleak memories surged up and provided a good explanation for his lack of reaction—he never seemed to be on the same channel as “normal” emotions; either misplaced or too weak.
Ruan Xian couldn’t help turning his wrist and looking at the scars on the inside of his left wrist. They may be his most intense emotional proof, but he still couldn’t remember anything about these scars.
Now it seemed that in addition to the luck of the draw of harvesting some specific objects to bring stimulation, there wasn’t much regularity to his memory recovery that followed. There was a lot of time left. Perhaps he should consider allocating more energy to obtaining information.
After all, Tang Yibu had already confirmed that Luo Jian was indeed the target of their operation.
The information obtained last time sounded useful, but it was still too small. Luo Jian should still have a lot of information that could be squeezed out. The sooner he got them, the more initiative he could gain so as not to be controlled by Tang Yibu.
Ruan Xian rubbed his temples hard. Every time he thought of Tang Yibu, there would always be side memories jumping out. However, even if he tried his best to concentrate, the memory of the Sea of Ruins rushed up again, and Ruan Xian’s mind resounded with the first verse of “Step by Step”.
What he found in his memory was true, and the feeling of being attracted was also real.
Without the dilution of too many memories, the emotions Tang Yibu brought to him were like a sharp nail, embedded in his thick protective shell, giving him restlessness, pain, and a trace of wind from the outside world.
‘This was only a small part of what he remembered,’ Ruan Xian thought. He shouldn’t let his emotions grow freely prematurely. He should hold all his emotions firmly in his hands. Sufficient calmness and rationality were the keys to survival.
However, although the truth was very clear, those emotions had become quicksand, and it was difficult for him to firmly control them in his hands.
Finally, Ruan Xian stopped and looked at the blooming pear blossoms in front of him, ready to sort out the memory froth that was constantly tumbling in his head.
After being adopted by Meng Yunlai, his physical condition gradually deteriorated as he grew older. Ruan Xian had never been able to go out again since stepping into the door of Meng Yunlai’s residence and obtaining a position at the Institute.
In order to pass the time, he would ask a lot of questions.
As her research assistant, he would ask Meng Yunlai academic questions like a real researcher would. Taking into account the guests who may visit at any time, most of the time, Ruan Xian would make statements and act in an “age-appropriate” manner, asking questions from the perspective of a child.
But there was only one question he wouldn’t ask. About feelings, or more specifically, about love itself.
Ruan Xian didn’t like to infer things he had never been exposed to by imagination, and this wasn’t an answer he could get from Meng Yunlai alone—family, friendship, love, and more complex feelings; he could only say that he understood in theory. The brain lesions gave him a cold and objective perspective to conclude things in a relatively simple manner.
In a large number of cases, the “love” that people praised may not be as strong as they dreamt it to be. No matter what type of affection, in the vast majority of cases, the root was based on material gain and spiritual satisfaction.
It could be selfless and generous, or it could be terribly fragile.
Usually, people desire to be loved, and the subconscious mind preferred that affection to be prevalent. Even if you suffered a lot of harm or kept a transactional relationship, it seemed that as long as you believe that there was a relationship between the other party and yourself, all reality could be distorted and erased.
Ruan Xian had never really touched these subtle emotions, and he didn’t even know if he wanted them.
[I can tell you its color, shape, size, smell, and even list the nutrients in a table and write the details in a book, but you still won’t know the taste, because you haven’t smelled it, haven’t tasted it, thus you can only imagine. Most people can accept this.]
Tang Yibu’s voice squeezed out of a certain corner of his mind again. From another point of view, the android was right. Those special emotions used to be his piney raspberry; he could only imagine.
But now it was no longer. Even if Ruan Xian only knew in theory, in the current state of sifting through most of his memories to near purity, he was still able to draw a conclusion about the feelings behind that attraction.
Leaving aside the unknown threats of the other party for the time being, and the fact that the other party wasn’t human, he liked Tang Yibu—both physically and spiritually.
Worse still, it had nothing to do with whether the other party had a good impression of him, and the possibility of being deliberately induced to influence him was almost non-existent.
It seemed that the current situation he was facing was more complicated than he thought.
“Why did he want you to come over?” Ruan Xian touched the small machine that was chasing flower petals out of boredom on the side.
Seeing Ruan Xian paying attention to it, the silver-white assistant mechanically became excited to the naked eye. It sneaked into the bushes, avoiding the surveillance, and mysteriously opened the cover on one side.
Ruan Xian found in it the underarm holster and two blood guns that had appeared several times in his memory, as well as a spherical mechanical life with three small eyes shining brightly.
After Ruan Xian could clearly see it, the small ball snapped the shell of the assistant robot closed and began to manipulate it to float wobblingly again, with a bit of pride in its movements.
Ruan Xian touched the round machinery, amused, and finally decided to bury his new discovery in his heart. This ethereal “like” was just a little bit of a spark in his long-decayed life, and it would soon be extinguished.
After all, he didn’t want it to become a flaw.
Ruan Xian glanced at the blooming pear blossoms in front of him again, turned around firmly, and began to move towards his ward.
Yu Le dressed himself in neat formal attire; his eyebrows were tightly locked. His brows were already sharp, and at first glance, he seemed to have a melancholy temperament. Unfortunately, as soon as he spoke, the aura of a serious person disappeared.
“I’m going to be strangled to death by this collar.” He squeezed a word from between his teeth.
Ji Xiaoman put on her long wide sleeves again, dutifully acting as his android, without a change in her expression—she just rolled her eyes when she heard this complaint.
Pear Blossom was easier to find than they thought, and it seemed to have a unique way of screening its audience. Not long after the two of them sat down in the rumored memory bar, the feeling of being watched crept up their backs.
“What do you two like?” The gorgeous bartender smiled behind the bar. Her pupils were silver-white with a little laser luster, and her soft silver hair fell down to her clavicle. It was hard to tell if she was human.
“Well, do you have any specialties here?” Yu Le loosened his collar and showed a little slick smile. The bar would always give him an inexplicable sense of intimacy, and the bartender’s appearance and figure were just right for his appetite.
“Yesterday’s new anti-seasonal memories.” The female bartender’s smile sweetly. “A cool, snowy view of a valley cottage with a forest of fallen leaves attached. The house is a cozy wooden villa. We chose a memory matrix with an excellent personality, and the food provided is of the highest grade. Just one cup is enough to relieve your boredom for a day. Do you want a male single version, a female single version, or…?”
“…” Fortunately, after doing some research in advance, Yu Le was barely able to hold in the phrase “What the fuck” in his throat.
“If you don’t like the scenery of a forest, we can also provide memories of deep-sea excursions or space travel, but it’s a bit more expensive.”
“First time at a memory bar?” Finding that the other party was a bit stuck, the female bartender took over the conversation very empathetically. “I checked your civic consumption, and you have no record of consumption on relevant occasions. Your class should rarely have access to memory therapy. It doesn’t matter. Choose slowly. If you can’t accept it, there are also real-time illusions for sale next door, but it will take you more time.”
“This is memory therapy?” Ji Xiaoman tried her best to suppress the emotions in her voice so that she didn’t sound so nervous.
“Oh, miss, you don’t know, my elder had memory therapy before. I have no idea how long they’ve talked about it. I’m a bit sensitive to these things.” Yu Le immediately grabbed this breakthrough point and began to run the train with a mouthful*. “You know, I don’t make a lot of money for this kind of thing. This is indeed the first time I’ve tried this thing… I’m a little nervous. No offense.”
*Reminder: Can mean various things, as explained before, but in this context, it’s basically describing him speaking in a manner that is good at deceiving people.
“Memory therapy has been eliminated by the times.”
The female bartender’s smile was brighter. Her body leaned forward slightly, but her movements remained elegant and natural.
“The technology wasn’t perfected back then. Now it seems like a rather crude form of treatment—just like injecting the blood of other creatures directly into humans, with a frighteningly high risk. The service we provide, on the other hand, is more like properly processing plasma, with absolutely no side effects of mental confusion or unclear self-awareness.”
“Is it really safe?”
“As a special signal, it will not be too explicit and could give your brain room to repair itself automatically. It will make you believe from the bottom of your heart that this memory is your own, and it is as fresh as if you have just experienced it.” The female bartender skillfully lowered her voice, sounding more tantalizing. “You can try it. This is one of the most popular leisure methods of the upper class.”
“I’ll take the cheapest cup.” Yu Le’s reaction was straightforward.
The female bartender’s expression stiffened slightly, then she winked. “Our lowest-end memory package here is ‘a single candlelit dinner’. You can choose the recipe.”
Yu Le turned on the electronic light screen modestly and began to watch carefully. He played a good role as a newcomer, taking a look around from time to time—people were lying in twos and threes in a special recliner with two thin pieces of metal pressed to their temples. Most of them had a pleasant smile on their faces. Those metal pieces were connected to a cup-mounted device in front of them, and there were beautiful fluorescent flashes inside the device.
It was like there weren’t any sober people here, so that feeling of being scrutinized had unconsciously disappeared without a trace.
Yu Le turned his gaze back to the electronic menu and hitched his breath at the price at the bottom of the page. Since the possible target wasn’t here, he didn’t want to experience this in the flesh at all.
He gave Ji Xiaoman a wink and smiled a little awkwardly. “Sorry, it doesn’t suit my taste. I’d better go next door and have a look.”
“You’re welcome to visit again.” The female bartender’s tone was still enthusiastic.
As a result, just a few steps after the two of them went out, they were blocked by a thin man.
“I have a cheaper memory cocktail here,” he said cautiously. “Would you like to try?”
Yu Le raised his eyebrows.
“Really.” The man leaned against the alley sneakily; his voice low enough to be inaudible. “You know those works that are banned? I have quite a few memories here. The first time is free. It’s absolutely exciting.”
The author has something to say:
Ruan: Okay, now it seems that I like him, so what?
Tang: Okay, now it seems that he’s highly attractive and needs to be killed.
Real father and son (×