Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 149: God’s Gift
The armored off-roader gradually marched towards the center of the forest. The trees changed from sparse to dense, and then sparse again. With fresh water and medicine, the two children sitting in the back of the car slowly rested. The sky completely darkened, but Su Zhao and Kang Ziyan were both awake.
“Turn left on that rock in front of you, then stick to the wall.” Su Zhao continued to show the way.
There were no lights on in the car; only a little moonlight came in through the window. Coupled with the cover of the woods, the scene in the forest began to become indistinguishable. Fortunately, they were close to their destination—the wall of the management area is solid white, emitting a faint warning-like luminescence in the darkness, like a wandering spirit hiding in the leaves.
“There’s a depression in the wall that is used to place the mechanical radiator. It’s about the size of a small room. There are places to hide inside, and no one from the outside will come after us.”
“You two are quite skilled.” Yu Le bypassed the rock and began to drive against the wall.
“…We hid a few times, but it was easy to get caught before. We discovered this place not long ago.” Kang Ziyan took over and spoke in a low tone. “If it weren’t for my injury this time, I wouldn’t have involved Zhaozhao…”
“What are you talking about? It’s okay now.” Su Zhao kissed Kang Ziyan on the forehead. “It will certainly go well. As long as we come here a few more times, they will find that we haven’t earned too much attention and won’t force us to go to the battlefield again.”
“Speaking of earning attention, don’t you find it strange? Being observed by others, and then being handed attention points or something.” Yu Le, who had been driving for a day, poured himself a sip of ice water. The memory of the previous day in his head still showed no signs of recovery.
“Isn’t everyone like this?” Su Zhao turned her head in confusion. “They say it’s like this all over the world.”
“…Have you ever thought about the question of ‘who is watching’?”
“Of course, it’s God. Those supplies are all given by God, and the administrator is the messenger of God.” Su Zhao replied quickly. “Uncle, why do you keep asking these strange questions? How much have you forgotten?”
This left Yu Le quite speechless for a while. The people here seemed to be completely wrong in their heads, but he couldn’t find a reason to refute her statement at this time. There were obviously phantoms of iconic buildings belonging to various countries in the distance, but the thoughts of people here were stuck several centuries ago.
“Then do you know where those buildings came from? Have they mentioned other countries or anything like that?” The former pirate leader continued to test the waters.
“Mentioned,” Kang Ziyan replied positively. After recovering from his injury, his temperament was much livelier than Su Zhao. “Everyone exchanges resources in their own ways, but most of them are very backward. Those people have different starting lines since birth. Even if some people are talented, they don’t have the opportunity to showcase themselves. I’ve heard that in some places, God is even stricter and even forbids some of them to even stand in front of the starting line.”
“It’s strange how they live,” the child said.
“They are used to it… We are also used to it,” Ji Xiaoman whispered as she shook her head. “I kind of understand them. When I grew up in the Underground City, I used to think that the world was like that.”
Yu Le didn’t say a word. He stepped on the brakes and stopped next to the radiator that Su Zhao mentioned. But before his car stopped steadily, a sharp siren came from inside the wall.
The faces of the two children turned pale in an instant.
“Impossible!” Su Zhao’s voice was shrill with the sharpness of a little girl. “We’ve hidden here twice!”
“Run!” Kang Ziyan was more straightforward. “Uncle, run! The mechanical troops are coming!”
“Fuck, if I find out that you two little brats are playing us…” Yu Le cursed, stepped on the gas, and quickly rushed to the outskirts of the forest.
In the next second, several circular machines rose from inside the wall. The red electronic eyes in the center of the circle locked on the armored off-roader speeding through the woods. Yu Le drove the car into a fighter jet as he swayed the car left and right to avoid the mechanical lock behind him, trying to get the mechanical tracking bombs to smash into the trees. The two children lay down under the seat of the car, covering their heads with their hands and firmly fixing their bodies in the car.
Ji Xiaoman rolled down the window and got out. The petite girl carried a small bazooka for emergencies. She maintained her balance on top of the rampaging car and began blasting those tracking bombs that Yu Le couldn’t easily shake off, as well as the mechanical pursuers that were biting behind their backs.
“Little profiteer, be careful!” Yu Le increased his driving speed. Seeing that there was a narrow ditch in front of the car, he yelled out the window and drove straight over.
The heavy armored off-roader lifted into the air under the action of inertia and barely crossed the ditch. Yu Le was about to breathe a sigh of relief when a tracking bomb exploded at the rear window of the car.
Their pursuers were behind them, while a group of figures also appeared in front of them. The formation wasn’t like an ambush. It should be a direct collision.
In that group of figures, several of them were posing with guns raised towards the car.
“…Ji Xiaoman!” Yu Le roared out, almost turning on the headlights to the brightest setting to interfere with the group of people blocking in front.
However, no answer came from the car roof.
“It’s dark,” Tang Yibu murmured in a low voice, with the sweetness of a chocolate bar in his breath.
Ruan Xian listened hard in the dark.
The sound had the element of being fake. While ordinary people should be okay, the perception of the S-type Prototype should be several levels sharper. There was no big flaw in the perceptual interference itself, but the fake sound matched the real sounds, creating a strong sense of indescribable incongruity, like putting two mismatched puzzles together. All kinds of noisy sounds were mixed together as Ruan Xian quickly sorted them out in his mind, trying to deduce the real situation outside.
This was similar to forcing his perception to its maximum. It didn’t take long for the feeling of being overdrawn to faintly appear.
[The doll head side is on the defensive. The battle is nearby.] He came to this conclusion. [If you want to run, we should take advantage now.]
“A metal cover was added to the top of the hole.” Tang Yi got up. “Wait a moment, Mr. Ruan… and lend me this thing.”
Ruan Xian listened carefully—Tang Yibu easily folded down the metal pin buckle on his holster, causing it to creak a little, then easily climbed to the entrance of the hole, causing the soil and rocks to fall with a faint sound.
For the first time, he witnessed how truly cautious Tang Yibu was—the android didn’t even want to expose his true strength by trying to open the lock by using the keyhole.
Soon after, there was a soft click above his head, followed by the clicking and scraping sound of the metal lid being lifted. Tang Yibu jumped back at him lightly. Then Ruan Xian found himself being picked up.
“Let’s go, Mr. Ruan.” The android bit his ear again.
[How is the situation outside?] The phone was in Tang Yibu’s hand, so all Ruan Xian could see was darkness.
Their movement distance shouldn’t have been completely messed up by the enemy’s fake perception. Tang Yibu clearly held him in his arms, and Ruan Xian still had the feeling of standing on the ground with both feet but compared to being at the bottom of the pit, the fake perception had weakened considerably.
Their perception should have been forged by someone, and the forger was most likely the guard here. When the camp was invaded, it was logical that most of the manpower would be transferred to the battlefield. Tang Yibu’s unlocking process was quite smooth, and the guards shouldn’t be keeping an eye on them all the time.
But now that they have reached the surface, it was difficult to say.
Ruan Xian’s perception began to become fragmented. All he could see was darkness, and his senses of touch and smell were in disarray. Without vision, other perceptions became more easily affected.
He couldn’t feel Tang Yibu’s warm arms holding him. His body felt like it was falling like he was being buried alive in heavy soil. The confusion of touch made him a little nauseous.
Tang Yibu seemed to have suddenly evaporated from his side.
Ruan Xian quickly concluded that most likely, they were discovered and attacked by the guards. Was he still being held by Tang Yibu? Or was he put down? The sense of touch switched as fast as a revolving lantern, and the sense of incongruity became much heavier, almost causing Ruan Xian to almost vomit.
Amidst the chaotic perception, he struggled to listen to the faint reflective sounds of his surroundings, barely finding an anchor point for his senses.
The attacker didn’t seem to mind that he found something wrong, nor did they care if the affect was natural or not and was pouring all his strength into disrupting his perception. Ruan Xian had learned about the effects of augmented reality in this era when he was in The Glass Conservatory and was able to figure out how it worked—such a violent attack theoretically required a high degree of mental concentration, and he was definitely the primary target of the attack.
Tang Yibu had the cellphone in his hand and could see the real situation. Unfortunately, they were being spied on, so it wasn’t easy for the android to show its true strength. They were still in a terrible situation at the moment. It could be seen that the situation couldn’t be easily solved.
The other party couldn’t be exposed, and neither could they.
[Yibu.] He called to the other party through his earring. The surrounding sounds were so noisy that Ruan Xian gave up the idea of expending energy to indiscriminately parse them and instead decided to save his strength first. [If you’re still holding me, leave me as I struggle for a while. If not, don’t do anything.]
Since the guards focused their attacks on him, most likely they figured out that Tang Yibu had the means to eliminate the influence of their perception. The two of them had always behaved very intimately. If they thought like ordinary people…
After another wave of tactile influence arrived, Ruan Xian flailed his limbs indiscriminately, making a frightened and struggling appearance. Then he ignored everything his body perceived and focused all his energy on his ears.
He had to abandon all perception except hearing. Ruan Xian took a deep breath, although he hadn’t tried this approach before, he had to do it now.
There were many trees here, and the faint sound reflections were constantly bouncing back from all directions. He incorporated them into his brain like a bat and began to estimate the real situation nearby through the reflection of the soundwaves.
Gradually, blurred images without color appeared in my mind.
He was being roughly restrained by someone, with a weapon held against his temple. There was another person standing behind him. Judging from his posture, that person should be pointing a gun at Tang Yibu.
The android stood a few steps away; his heartbeat was a little faster than usual.
From this perspective, Tang Yibu should be able to see his expression. Ruan Xian raised the corner of his mouth and smiled in his direction. His hand crept into his waist pocket and grabbed the knife that he had used to cut his abdomen.
Then, while judging the opponent’s subtle movements based on the sound, he turned around abruptly, and the blade slit across the throat of the person behind him.
The other party seemed shocked by his sudden outburst and didn’t react for a while; only covering his throat while backing away. Ruan Xian’s sense disorder became even heavier, as if he was bundled up on a roller coaster or riding a boat in a storm. Dizziness and weightlessness all hit at the same time, splitting his head.
But it didn’t matter. All he needed to do was just listen.
Just remember the way he exerted his strength and treated his body like a marionette. In this way, even if there was no sense of touch under his feet and his entire perception of the space around him was turned upside down, as long as his calculations were correct, he could run.
Ruan Xian grabbed another guard with his backhand, and the bloody blade followed without hesitation. He didn’t leave the opponent any time to breathe. The blow wasn’t successful in hitting their vitals. Ruan Xian drew out his blood gun and shot his opponent twice in the head.
The haptic disorder stopped instantly, and his vision returned to normal. Ruan Xian knelt on his knees and retched a few times. Tang Yibu rushed forward quickly, searched for a weapon on the body, and then stretched out his hand to Ruan Xian.
“Well done, Mr. Ruan.”
In the burning fire and moonlight, those golden eyes were full of smiles.
Ruan Xian couldn’t help but laugh, easily took the hand, and let the other party pull himself up. After confirming that Ruan Xian had stood firm, Tang Yibu picked up the gun he had obtained from the corpse and fired several shots into the surrounding darkness.
Ruan Xian raised his eyebrows until a small bird fell softly in front of him.
“Now you are very… good-looking.” Tang Yibu wiped the blood on Ruan Xian’s cheek with his palm, and then gently kissed the other’s lips that were covered in dirt. “I don’t want others to see too much.”
[Is the sense of peeping still there?] Their location was in the corner of the doll’s head, a bit far from the battlefield, and the light wasn’t strong. Seeing that there were no enemies around him for the time being, Ruan Xian simply took advantage of the situation to deepen the kiss.
“Yes, I’m sorry,” Tang Yibu muttered in a low voice. “Your handling method is very reasonable.”
[It seems that we have to catch your acquaintances quickly and stay away from here.] Ruan Xian looked into the distance.
The ceramic doll heads were still stubbornly glued to their retinas. Counting the flesh and blood that littered the area, the battlefield near the doll’s head was about the size of three to four soccer fields. However, the camp was doing a good job of guarding, as most of the fights were concentrated outside the doll’s head.
“Oh, you guys came out, Xiao Tang.”
Their target delivered themselves to their front door.
Xiao Zhao was stepping on the orchid on the edge of the fleshy and bloody square while holding two heads by their hair, all while still smiling brightly and sweetly.
“… I couldn’t see it. Xiao Ruan is quite capable of fighting.”
“Where’s Kang Ge?” Tang Yibu protected Ruan Xian with one hand and responded calmly.
“I deliberately asked him to kill more. The secret of harmony between husband and wife—it’s not a good thing to be too competitive. It’s good to lose once in a while.” Xiao Zhao’s voice became a little more neurotic and serious. “Well now, you were safe in the cell but decided to run out.”
She threw away the two heads she was holding. They rolled into the orchid bush and splattered blood on the leaves, dying them a dark red.
“I’ll take you back. Xiao Tang, you’ve always listened to us. I’m too lazy to do it so can you take Xiao Ruan back by yourself? …After all, I like your faces very much. It must be very disappointing when they rot.”
Tang Yibu put away the smirk on his face and gradually returned to his expressionless appearance.
“No,” he said.
The author has something to say:
The iron bead at this moment: crying and following the car, trying to think about where everyone has gone.
Fun fact, what Ruan Xian is doing is basically echolocation.