Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 180: A Rational Decision
Soft sliding wings protruded from both sides of the armored off-roader. They undulated like waves on the sea as the entire car moved extremely fast. Whenever the detection aircraft of the Mainbrain got close, the vehicle would dive into the water for a short time and wait for the scans to pass over.
After Tang Yibu and Ruan Xian got in the car, their positions changed again. Ji Xiaoman took the front passenger seat while Tang Yibu and Ruan Xian sat in the back row. π was still crowded in its exclusive space. In order for Professor Ruan to concentrate on controlling the temporary perceptual camouflage, they vacated a place in the last row of the car used to store luggage, so that Professor Ruan could stay there quietly alone.
The smoking island had long been left behind by them, and the original thick column of smoke looked like a gray-black thread from afar.
Compared to other plans in his mind, this was indeed the easiest and safest way to escape. The sunlight basked on the surrounding sea surface as the bionic gliding wings slapped on the water surface, creating the unique sound of the ocean’s tidal friction that penetrated one’s ears. For a while, there were no other creatures in sight, and everything was extremely peaceful.
But the atmosphere in the car wasn’t very relaxed.
Yu Le could be regarded as having achieved his goal. No matter what he thought now, he had successfully helped Professor Ruan escape from the eyes of the Mainbrain. Ji Xiaoman met the person she wanted to see the most, but she was still sorting out her emotions. It seemed that the pressure had not only not decreased but had increased several times.
Ruan Xian thought he and Tang Yibu should be regarded as the unluckiest.
They did get the answers they wanted, but they underestimated Professor Ruan’s obsession with winning the war, and accidentally stepped into the trap woven by the latter. Right now, everyone’s interests were the same for the time being, and when they reached their destination, there would inevitably be another dispute.
Ruan Xian sighed and decided to take advantage of this precious hour to get a good rest. He pressed down the agitated thoughts in his mind and turned to face Tang Yibu.
To be honest, although he could understand Tang Yibu’s strategy, he still didn’t agree with the android’s initiative to expose himself. There was indeed one purpose, but there could be many methods. In response, he also chose a more efficient but more dangerous path. It meant that they were dancing on the edge of a cliff together.
Now, Ruan Xian found it hard to say whether he regretted it or not—in terms of strategy, he didn’t think there was anything wrong with his approach. If he didn’t come forward, the Mainbrain would investigate every inch and crevice about him, so he might as well give a misdirection in advance and portray himself as a senior technician who had been compelled by Tang Yibu. This trick had also deceived Professor Ruan, so it wasn’t too difficult to fool the Mainbrain.
As long as he let their thoughts stray from the S-type Prototype, it would be considered a half-success.
But there were also points of regret. This approach complicated the already chaotic emotional relationship between them. Facing Tang Yibu, Ruan Xian couldn’t say whether he should be angry, appeased, or give him a warm kiss.
The actual fact was that he had always been unable to see through the android’s abnormal thoughts and was now no longer clearly able to grasp his own.
After settling into his seat, Tang Yibu remained affectionate towards him but chose to inject the remaining blood to treat his wound. Then he took off his blood-soaked shirt. Instead of washing it immediately, he added some solvent with the intention of extracting the blood left by Z-β.
As he waited for the wounds to heal, the android soaked a towel in warm water and wiped away the bloodstains, sweat, and dust on his upper body and face. This process was long and careful and was comparable to that of a cat cleaning its fur. After making sure that there was no longer the smell of blood on his body, Tang Yibu let out a long sigh of relief, and started to stare at the pearl-like foam of the ocean outside the window.
The hot body heat dissipated from the clean and soft skin, penetrated into the fabric, and finally swept across his nerve endings like a feather. Ruan Xian turned his head and carefully gazed at the side of Tang Yibu’s face.
Perhaps it would be a good idea to smooth out their emotional problems before another wave of emergencies arrives.
He had to tread carefully. This problem was completely beyond his control. If Tang Yibu was the NUL-00 he knew, then he was bound not to be good at such aspects as well—NUL-00 had seen enough cases, but unfortunately, there was no such extreme situation like his own in those cases.
“Yu Ge, can you close the sound insulation for the back row?” Tang Yibu stared at the waves for a while before he smiled and spoke.
Yu Le didn’t turn his head but silently separated Professor Ruan from them.
“Turn off the sound to the front seat as well. Thanks. My father and I need a little privacy. Ten minutes will be enough. It won’t take too long.”
Hearing the word father, Yu Le shuddered reflexively, but the great ruins pirate lacked the mood to comment. He casually waved his hand on the light screen. “What? You want me to put on some background music as well?”
“No need.” Tang Yibu politely refused.
He watched as the latest wave of scanning aircraft dispersed. When the transparent barrier in front rose to the roof of the car, Tang Yibu opened the window a bit, allowing the fresh air of the ocean to pour in. The sea breeze whistled in their ears and the sultry heat in the car dissipated a bit.
“Yibu?” Ruan Xian cleared his throat, trying to create a calmer opening.
“I analyzed the behavior of the two of us not long ago.” Tang Yibu finally turned his face. Unexpectedly, there wasn’t much expression on it. “Father, we have all chosen a high-return, high-risk approach and have deviated from the model of action we’ve always taken.”
“I knew a long time ago that my interest in you would cause damage to myself.”
Tang Yibu touched his well-muscled arm. Not long ago, there were terrible lacerations and burns on it.
“The damage at that time was still within my control, and in order to get more useful information, I was also happy to accept it. But after knowing that you are my father, this interest got out of hand.”
“On the one hand, I am indeed happy to study these fresh emotions and collect more data. On the other hand, I still want to survive. Contradictions began to appear between them… and my analysis speed could not keep up with the speed of change of these unknown feelings, which was terrible.”
Ruan Xian listened in silence. Tang Yibu looked straight at him. Behind him was the clear sky and the silk-like sea, but his heart seemed to be filled with lead pulsating extremely hard.
Everything around him suddenly made him feel extremely dull.
“If this continues, there will be more and more situations outside of our model that will lead to destruction.” Tang Yibu came to a similar conclusion to Ruan Xian.
They were both too raw, too stubborn, and the speed of their approach was too fast. It was like diving into a dark cave hand in hand and navigating its narrow waters; if they didn’t pay attention, they would both die because of loss of control.
It wasn’t that Ruan Xian hadn’t thought about slowing down the speed, but he couldn’t pull the brakes on the wild horse that he was riding. This strong emotion began to make him feel terrible. He knew they had to treat it more carefully, but…
Tang Yibu stretched out his hand and held Ruan Xian’s face. The palm of the android was a bit hot.
“…We may have the same answer,” Tang Yibu whispered. “No, you may have reached your conclusion earlier than me.””
“I’m still me, you’re still you. Just like before?”
“I have an emotional bond that can keep you, unique and irreplaceable. According to my analysis of you, you… will not simply leave.” Tang Yibu’s speech was getting slower. “You will stay with me. At the same time, you will hope that I will not leave you easily as well.”
For a second, Ruan Xian was a bit nostalgic about their relationship before they knew each other’s identities—selfish but wanton, swaying the emotions rippling inside. They could kiss each other without restraint, spend hours at a time in bed, then get up and continue their tit-for-tat, and cut each other’s throats without any hesitation.
However, after recognizing each other, the two sharp blades were wrapped with strong, sticky spider silk, which made things irritating. They became cautious, but even crazier.
Tang Yibu guessed correctly. Just like every time before, they came to the same conclusion again.
…To be precise, it was he who put on the mask first, but Ruan Xian didn’t really want to agree with Tang Yibu, so he pursed his lips tightly.
“Dopamine doesn’t necessarily have to be produced. In terms of reproductive behavior, we won’t be greatly affected—I have always been able to control the hormone levels in my body. I have been with you for five years and know that you have a very high ability to manage your body. We just need to change our behavior patterns and we have the past as a ready-made example.”
The android’s speech became faster.
“Before the environment is safe, let us return to the way we got along twelve years ago. In my opinion, this is the best solution and is completely feasible. This will effectively inhibit the creation of uncontrollable behavior without too many unknown factors appearing to interfere with…interfere with…”
“I understand,” Ruan Xian said. “…Don’t cry.””
“Huh?” Tang Yibu didn’t react for a while. He used his fingertips to wipe under his eyes that had turned red, licked the salty liquid with the tip of his tongue, and his expression turned into pure shock.
“Maybe the sea breeze is a bit strong.” Ruan Xian crossed Tang Yibu’s position and closed the car window, deliberately making his voice appear relieved. “It’s common.”
“Oh.” Tang Yibu wiped his eyes indiscriminately. “Then our views are in agreement?””
“…” Ruan Xian did not answer.
Ruan Xian thought that, given their current tense situation, this was a wise approach. Before this intense relationship “deteriorates” further, it was best to cut it off with a sharp knife—logically speaking, this would make their relationship less tense.
But he just didn’t want to give an exact answer.
After that, none of them spoke again. Tang Yibu was still wiping his eyes suspiciously. Ruan Xian crossed his hands and looked at the meter-shaped crack that had been knocked out of its isolation layer.
On the bright side, with Tang Yibu safely at his side and Professor Ruan in the back, they weren’t without a chance of winning against the Mainbrain.
Everything is fine.
…Everything is fine.
Ruan Xian put his hands in the shadows and slightly exerted force, creating a severe pain that came from the tips of his fingers. His state of mind was relatively calm at first. The anxiety and restlessness had magically subsided for a bit, but as time passed, they’d made a comeback again, mixed with an unbearable chill.
They had just put the temporarily unsolvable problems in a jar and sealed it.
Ruan Xian repeatedly took deep breaths as he went over the pros and cons continuously, trying to convince himself. Tang Yibu didn’t choke, or breath tremblingly, but just carefully wiped tears from his eyes with the back of his hand.
Those tears apparently didn’t stop with the departure of the sea breeze. They didn’t amount to much, but they kept flowing and had no intention of stopping.
And the owner of the tears didn’t have any expression related to pain on his face, only growing puzzlement.
“Let me think about it again. There’s still some time. You should sleep for a bit.” Ruan Xian sighed softly. He hooked Tang Yibu’s shoulder and let the other party lie on his lap. Tang Yibu turned sideways obediently and curled up his legs while still remaining silent.
“After a sharp recovery, the body will be relatively fragile, so it’s common for the chemical composition in your body to be unbalanced. Don’t think too much about it,” Ruan Xian said as gently as possible. “Just sleep for a while.”
He stretched out his hand, covered Tang Yibu’s eyes with the palm of his hand, and repeated, “…Go to sleep, Yibu.”
The distance between them was extremely close, but the temperature didn’t come through again. The place where their skin touched was like a thick layer of ice, which brought about a strange sensation of detachment.