Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 134: Hunting
The sun was shining brightly this afternoon, and there was no trace of clouds in the sky. From a distance, the white walls of the prevention shelter seemed to be glowing on their own. The trees and flowers that surrounded it were very well matched, and it looked more like a rich person’s vacation villa than a so-called shelter.
After living in the Underground City for many years, Ji Xiaoman had seen a few similar pictures at most.
She had thought that if there was really paradise in the world, then it would be nothing more than that. But now she had an intriguing illusion, as if she had returned to the poisonous foggy junkyard in the Underground City.
It was different from the ideal paradise in the picture. There were electronic eyes that rotated regularly hidden in the bushes, and the mechanical guards were patrolling around the periphery of the courtyard all the time, with uniformed movements, like a projection of a herd of metal beasts.
There were also humanoid guards. She didn’t know if they were in-the-flesh or remote-controlled humanoids—they were in groups of three, carrying heavy weapons, and looked around behind the patrol machine.
Faced with such a lineup, the iron bead cowered. It no longer had the mechanical shell of the assistant as that got in the way and was now, in its true appearance, tightly attached to Ji Xiaoman’s feet.
The latter’s breathing didn’t even fluctuate in the slightest.
The wreckage and garbage machinery she used to avoid in the past were now replaced by bushes. The clear air wasn’t conducive to hiding but allowed her to perform more dangerous actions without the need to breathe excessively and choke on the poisonous fog. Her prey was still the same.
It was just that the former mechanical hunter wasn’t fighting alone this time.
After making sure that the distance was close enough, Ji Xiaoman picked up the wristband sent by Ruan Lijie and quickly connected it.
“How’s it going?” She spoke extremely fast.
“Wait for the signal,” the other party responded quickly. “Yu Le will pick you up.”
They stopped the conversation before the Mainbrain detected a possible abnormal signal. Ji Xiaoman lowered her body—The information coming from the wristband was brief with very little instructions on what she had to do, so it was more like giving her free reign to act.
There was only one requirement in the plan. She needed to contain the guards in the hospital.
There was no explanation of the preparatory plan, nor was there a backup in case she failed to deal with the situation. She didn’t know if the planner had calculated her strength, or if they had everything under control so that it could withstand the consequences of her failure.
…Or they were planning to use her as a distraction and then abandon her.
She knew that there was no binding treaty between them, and that at most it was a loose alliance of interests. In terms of strength, Ji Xiaoman didn’t think she was an indispensable part. The first two situations were fine, but the last situation could cost her her life.
But she still came.
Ji Xiaoman poked the raspberry sticker on her arm with her metal fingertips, stuffed a few parts at the nervous iron bead, lowered her body, and stared at the moving machinery in the distance.
Maybe it was a stupid thing to talk about trust between them, but Ji Xiaoman just felt that even if Tang Yibu and Ruan Lijie abandoned her, Yu Le would at least try to do something.
She let the bushes tightly cover her thin body and melted her breath into the rustle of the trees. There were no smart electronic devices in operation on her body.
This was the hunting she was familiar with, she thought. Now she just needed to wait…
As a result, as soon as the thought crossed her mind, the signal suddenly appeared.
Although she was prepared for the coming changes, Ji Xiaoman was shocked by the signal in front of her. This was no longer a simple message used to tell companions to act, but a clear provocation.
A huge blood-red smiley face exploded above the prevention shelter, and then quickly copied and spread in all directions—Tang Yibu must have hacked into the weather balance system and used micro-drones floating in the sky to project this.
The red lines wove into a web of light, binding the blue sky tightly within. The nearby electronic surveillance turned towards the sky at almost the same time. The mechanical guards on patrol stopped moving, while the humanoid guards were in disarray and began to communicate in a panic.
Ji Xiaoman leapt out. Her long sleeves were completely shredded by the blade that just popped out. She split the electronic eye like a fruit, then picked up its incomplete parts and spent a few seconds reconnecting the lines, causing it to become a mini bomb. She threw it towards the group of mechanical guards.
The Mainbrain kept a tight watch on all materials that could be related to dangerous goods, but she had the knowledge obtained during her purgatory and the junkyard. Not a single rotten bone would go to waste.
Without weapons, it was natural to seize the opponent’s resources to the maximum extent possible. Such was the natural life in the Underground City.
The effect of the mini-bomb explosions wasn’t satisfactory, but it raised enough smoke. Ji Xiaoman walked through the smoke alone as her prothesis blade vibrated at high-speed while cutting through the mechanical guards that were thrown into disarray due to the changes.
The iron bead dawdled in the bushes for a while and saw that the protective net woven by the opponent was broken. It stretched out its four legs and sneaked out. Every time Ji Xiaoman split a mechanical guard, it filled itself up with two mouthfuls to ensure the other party couldn’t get back up.
The destruction didn’t last for half a minute before the human-looking guards reacted. They didn’t make a sound as more than a dozen bullets lased along with a destruction beam.
Ji Xiaoman directly raised her arms and flipped her body dexterously in midair. She avoided most of them while the rest were blocked by her metal arms.
Under the red sky, the smoke and dust raised also showed a lot of blood. The peace and tranquility of more than ten minutes ago disappeared without a trace.
At the same time, thick smoke rose from the corners of the white building in the distance, and several alarms rang out simultaneously. The patients evacuated from the building with the help of the assistant robots and ran head-on into the chaos stirred up by Ji Xiaoman. The scene faintly showed signs that things were getting out of control.
“Encountering a combat bionic. Requesting backup.” One of the guards finally spoke. After he asked the communicator for help, he immediately turned to his companions. “Not good. Turn on the cyberbrain shield—Ugh.”
As a result, before he finished speaking, Ji Xiaoman flashed away and stepped on his shoulder. Her sharp fingertips gently cut the guard’s neck, revealing the bionic tissue underneath, without any blood oozing out.
“Remote control humanoid,” Ji Xiaoman murmured in a low voice.
The next moment, she simply cut off his head.
The vision in the sky didn’t disappear, and the remaining guards quickly activated the cyberbrain shield, but unfortunately, it didn’t affect Ji Xiaoman. Seeing the confused face of the guard operating the machine, she couldn’t help but smile at him.
The long-sleeved shirt originally used to cover her prosthetic limbs had already become tattered. Her metal arms and legs were all exposed, reflecting a little red light from the smiling face in the sky.
“This is impossible.” The man finally felt a little flustered. “A human? How can there still be disabled humans now—”
“There are,” Ji Xiaoman said softly, and then used the blade to cut the support joint of the nearest guarded machine. “There are many of us.”
The sharp sirens pierced her eardrums, and more and more machines were drawn over. Ji Xiaoman expressionlessly coped with the situation while starting to look around for a way out. The beam of light shooting over became more intense and one happened to graze her left arm, leaving it half burnt. The iron bead closed its mouth in fight and clung to her backpack, pretending as if it was a large pendant.
This wasn’t a battle that could be won from the start.
The people under the Mainbrain weren’t as easy to fool as those gangsters in the Underground City. After finding out she was a human, the rest of them had no plans for any more discussion. After relying on crowd tactics to deplete her combat ability, the guards directly put down their backpacks and took out their sonic weapons.
Ji Xiaoman reluctantly raised her head. Not far from the sky, dozens of small aircraft were swooping over, and the ground reinforcements increased.
The response from the Mainbrain was too quick.
The sound of metal falling to the ground, the heckling and shouts of the guards, mixed with shrill sirens and the sounds of weapons, all combined together like a fist that punched her stomach. Ji Xiaoman gritted her teeth as her ears started to ache.
‘Must retreat,’ she thought as she took a step back.
Her ears were numb. It wasn’t until an arm wrapped around her waist and lifted her out of the battlefield that Ji Xiaoman noticed the hoverbike behind her.
“Good job, little profiteer.” Yu Le’s driving speed was frighteningly fast.
The hoverbike looked like it was temporarily welded together with various medical equipment. Yu Le drove as fast as the wind. The surrounding scenery became a mass of colors. She felt as if she was sitting on an accelerated rocket. Ji Xiaoman clung to her seat, gripped her hands in terror, and stopped breathing—God only knew how Yu Le could see the road going at this speed.
The hoverbike circled the battlefield for several large circles, leaving behind the various attacks that swarmed after it. It even hit a few machines that tried to attack it at close range.
Yu Le smiled sullenly a few times, while Ji Xiaoman could feel the vibration in her chest.
“It’s still so refreshing.” His voice was blown away by the wind, and Ji Xiaoman almost couldn’t hear it clearly.
“What about the other two?”
Gong Siyi only hoped that he could faint or report to the Order Supervisors early so he could become a patient.
He thought that the guys lurking in the hospital were greedy for materials and forged a few accidents that weren’t too excessive. Naturally, they would leave after they were satisfied. The prevention shelter was one of the key places for the Order Supervisors. No one would think about doing something so big in such a place.
It turned out that some people really did think so.
When he saw the blood-red smiley face spreading along the sky dome centered on the prevention shelter, his newly replaced remote-controlled humanoid almost choked on a mouthful of water. Then, when the evacuation alarm sounded, Gong Siyi tasted the cruelty of life for the very first time.
He should start his own employee emergency aircraft and evacuate first.
Countless damage points flickered on the light screen. A fire broke out from the data room in the prevention shelter. It was obvious that it was calculated to leave a clear pathway for personnel to evacuate while doing enough fatal damage to the building. No matter who the Red Ghost were, looking at their actions, they sure liked to make a big splash.
Wrong. Gong Siyi suddenly panicked.
With such a loud noise, most of the people hiding here would escape. As long as he pulled out the patient’s data and compared it one by one, he would naturally be able to find those who disappeared afterwards.
Anyway, this body was just a remote-controlled humanoid. Gong Siyi simply didn’t intend to escape anymore. Along the flames, he hurriedly connected to the database that had begun to show anomalies, confirmed the permission, and tried to save all the information from this week that hadn’t been uploaded to the Mainbrain yet.
Even if this body was burned down, as long as there was time to rescue part of the information, there may still be a chance for him to earn some merit…
Gong Siyi panted with joy, ignoring the hot air, and began to operate quickly on the slightly distorted light screen.
However, the data that appeared wasn’t a list, not a medical record, but just another huge smiley face.
The aircraft that should have been completely under his control rose into the air, smashed through the window, and rushed into the thick smoke. Gong Siyi raised his head blankly, and through the thick smoke, he could vaguely see two figures above.
Dr. Gong stopped breathing, rolled his eyes, and simply disconnected his connection with the remote-controlled humanoid.
The edge of the city.
“Go back.” Zhuo Muran suddenly spoke.
“Commander, the course has been set. I’m afraid it’s not appropriate to change direction now.”
“Prepare a single-person aircraft.” Zhuo Muran spoke decisively.
“There are enough garrisons in the city. There won’t be any problems. If you’re really worried, I can help you contact the city administrator.”
“Pre-start the aircraft. I need to set off within 20 seconds.”
“…I need your justification, sir. Emergency calls to the aircraft on board must provide appropriate requisition records. Even if it is you—”
Zhuo Muran looked at the blood-red smiley faces covering the sky and tightened his brow.
“Intuition,” he replied dryly.