Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 214: The Correct Decision
After emptying the Fu Yu family’s egg reserves, Tang Yibu wiped his hands, making sure that K6 wasn’t enthusiastic about the whole thing—thinking about it, Yu Le and Ji Xiaoman weren’t the brainless type. It was impossible for them to have “we’re working for Ruan Xian” written all over their faces. At most, there was some human relationship between them. Since the matter happened, they were now even.
Moreover, Fu Yu insisted on repaying said human relationship. Tang Yibu glanced at K6, who was talking to A’Qiao. He didn’t think that this android had such humanized thinking, or he knew of it but didn’t bother following it.
For example, K6 didn’t even do basic greetings and didn’t care where Tang Yibu came from or what happened recently. Unlike the previous “He An” and all his facets, K6 was as cold as a glacier.
Half an hour later, the one who stepped through the doors wasn’t the Order Supervisors but Fu Yu, who had returned from his meetings with the City Defenders.
Fu Yu looked a lot more energetic than a few months ago. His cheeks, which were originally thin, were now well-rounded, making him look about six years younger. He walked through the door, hung the gas mask he had just taken off on the coat rack, and exchanged a short kiss with K6.
“You’re here.” Then he turned to Tang Yibu and smiled lightly, which gave a little more human touch to his gestures.
Given that Fu Yu was the colder one before, Tang Yibu couldn’t help but wonder if the two had swapped bodies.
“Today’s meat pie was a success. I put some in the insulation box so you can take it with you in the afternoon.”
“Let’s deal with Mr. Tang first.” Fu Yu showed the glow of a normal person. “Are you going to see that kid, Zhong Qing? I’ll take you there.”
“Let A’Qiao take him.” K6 was dissatisfied. “You’re a City Defender. It’ll be too conspicuous.”
“Mr. Tang should be fine alone.”
“Two young adults acting together? In this current environment, it’ll definitely attract unnecessary attention.” K6 shoveled the steaming meat pie onto his plate still disapproving. “You already took risks with Zhong Qing. There’s no need to wade into this mess again.”
“K6 is right. I’ll take him.” A’Qiao raised an arm. “I’m familiar with the place and I also want to stop by and buy something.”
“Okay.” Fu Yu didn’t insist. “Mr. Tang?”
“That’s fine.” Tang Yibu naturally had no opinion. The boiled eggs here didn’t taste right. He missed the taste of Li Ji’s Noodle House.
A’Qiao’s movements were agile and neat, and she talked very little. She took Tang Yibu around seven or eight turns before turning into the junkyard where Qian Yigeng’s headquarters was located. When she passed that area, they stopped for a while as she silently stood there.
“Do you want to know what happened before?”
“No,” A’Qiao replied. “K6 told me a lot of things—having other people’s memories dumped into me and being thrown into that kind of place. To hell with wanting to think about those things… But occasionally I come across places that make me feel nostalgic.”
She checked the knife on her belt and then grabbed the gun they had given her and spun it in her hand.
“Or maybe it’s vestigiality? Do you know if a cybernetic brain has nostalgia programs?”
The junkyard was filled with toxic smog. Tang Yibu stepped on two poisonous green snails and looked up at the shadowed outlines of buildings in all directions. There were quite a few people milling around nearby. Qian Yigeng had fallen from the stage, so this place no longer had a master. Most likely, these people were here to try and find gold among the piles of garbage.
“Will you be okay?” Tang Yibu had little enthusiasm for being a bodyguard, so he inquired deeper.
“Fu Yu shared his physical body memory with me, and I also have two sets of combat programs installed. I ask that you don’t hold me back.”
No one was listening right now, so neither of them bothered to pretend to be human. Tang Yibu gave her a sideways glance, quietly noted the information, and continued to follow.
Qian Yigeng’s underground base wasn’t small. A’Qiao led Tang Yibu around a few big circles, then slipped into the underground through an isolated dark door. Tang Yibu had no impression of this area. Looking at the underground furnishings, it seemed to be a place used by Qian Yigeng’s gang to store supplies. Now it was full of garbage and looked dilapidated.
The iron bead let out a loud cheer as it struggled desperately in the net pocket until Tang Yibu put it down on the ground—to it, this place was like a fairytale candy castle.
A’Qiao walked in front. She stood still in an area that had less garbage and blew a whistle. Zhong Qing opened the mouth of a rusty pipe in the corner and climbed out.
“My lunch is here?” He patted the dust on his body for a while and lifted his head, then saw Tang Yibu. “….Oh my god, it’s you!”
As he spoke, the hat on Zhong Qing’s head buckled as he hurried over. “Tang Yibu, no, Yibu Ge, did you bring anything to eat? The kinds that are sealed, no, where you can identify what’s in it. This place is horrible, too horrible.”
“Not sharing,” Tang Yibu said cold.
“If you want me to share some, you have to tell me in detail what happened in the past few days.” Tang Yibu casually dragged over a deflated iron cabinet and sat down nonchalantly. He then opened his backpack and took out a bag of dried fruit and shook it in front of Zhong Qing. “All the details.”
Zhong Qing opened his mouth. His expression darkened, as if he suddenly remembered something bad. “…Even if you didn’t ask, I would tell you.”
“Here, lunch.” A’Qiao took out the meat pies wrapped in foil from her backpack and threw them at Zhong Qing. “You two talk. I’ll go outside and keep watch.”
“I regret it.” When A’Qiao disappeared, Zhong Qing carefully held the meat pie as if he wasn’t holding food but a ticking bomb that could explode at any moment. “I don’t know how people can… How do they live like this. I’ve never seen such a dirty place in my life… Did you see that girl just now? She’s dressed like a monster!”
Tang Yibu glanced at Zhong Qing’s hat meaningfully.
“…Okay, maybe I’m not qualified to say that. Although they can get medicine here, do I really have to stay here?”
“In your situation, you cannot visit the Glass Conservatory. This is already the most abundant petri dish.” Tang Yibu had no desire to listen to Zhong Qing’s complaints. He was in a bad mood without the familiar face, despite being in a familiar place. “Get to the point. Tell me about those two. According to Professor Ruan’s instructions, you shouldn’t have arrived at the Underground City so late. What happened?”
He kept throwing the bag of dried fruit in his hand up and down.
“I’m just saying it’s too broken here being alone.” Having not seen Zhong Qing for a few days, he had become more honest. Zhong Qing took a deep breath and chose a relatively clean place to stand. “So, Yu Le… I mean, Yu Ge didn’t follow Professor Ruan’s arrangements.”
“Don’t look at me like I’m trying to escape. I was actually quite scared. I wanted to stay in the car for a few more days and spend time with people I know… So I told Yu Ge that I’d work first and then they could drop me off at the Underground City. In exchange, I’ll use my eyes as a lookout. Yu Ge agreed.”
Tang Yibu thought that was reasonable. Although it was riskier, Zhong Qing’s price tag was hard to pass up, given their experience when they escaped from the Mainbrain’s city. Besides, the Underground City was on the way to and from, so there was no need to make additional detours.
“Continue,” Tang Yibu said, stopping the movement of his hand.
“When they met with others, they kept it from me. I stayed in the car and never went out. I guess it was to protect me, but I can still see this kind of thing… In short, there were many more things than what was required. It could be supplementary supplies? I don’t know. But after they stopped at the forest refuge, something went wrong.”
Zhong Qing lowered his head. “I found that we were being followed.”
Tang Yibu said nothing.
“The people who were tracking us had good equipment. It must be someone from the Mainbrain. I saw about five of them. I didn’t know if there’s more. After I told Yu Ge, he asked me to hide among the luggage and not move or do anything, not even look. So I hid under the pile of luggage and didn’t dare open my eyes. I just remember feeling the stop and go of the car.”
“Did a conflict break out?”
“No. At least I didn’t hear it.” Zhong Qing shook his head. “I remember what Xiaoman Jie was doing. I heard the sound of her making a machine and it jingled for a long time. The two of them turned on the sound insulation function when they were talking, so I only know this.”
Tang Yibu thought that Yu Le really protected this child well. The less Zhong Qing knew, the less danger he was in. As a precious virus parasite, even if the Mainbrain caught him, it wouldn’t really do much to him.
“…Then I don’t know how long it took before I was told we’d reached my destination. I don’t know why, but as soon as we entered the city, he separated from Xiaoman Jie—I don’t know where Xiaoman Jie went. Yu Ge gave me a bag and got out. And then… And then…”
“You were taken in by Fu Yu.”
“Yes.” Zhong Qing’s face turned bitter. “That was the last time I saw Yu Ge. I didn’t even get the chance to say goodbye to him! That Fu Yu brought me directly to this hellish place. It’s all garbage. Fuck, you don’t know what I’ve seen.”
Tang Yibu sat on the deflated cabinet and let out a short sigh. The iron bead stomped its feet and moved back to Tang Yibu’s side laboriously, then lay down contentedly on the ground.
“That monster girl told me that they seemed to have been captured by the Order Supervisors.” Zhong Qing glanced at the iron bead. His attention was no longer focused on the bag of dried fruits. “Is it true, Yibu Ge? You guys are so powerful, so it shouldn’t be that easy. The people who were following us weren’t fully armed and didn’t look like they were there to hunt us down…”
“Eat.” Tang Yibu threw the dried fruits into Zhong Qing’s arms and rubbed the belly of the iron bead with his feet. “I’ll ask you one last question. Did they really say nothing in front of you? You didn’t see anything either?”
“This is a serious matter. I can be obedient when it comes to things like this.” Zhong Qing shrank his neck and hugged the bag of dried fruits tightly, but he seemed to have lost his appetite. “Ah… but when they got here, they did talk to me once.”
“Yu Ge said, this car has been ruined by him and Tu Rui will definitely call him personally and skin him alive. I hope you can help me for the sake of the friendship we forged along the way. This was what he said to Xiaoman Jie. Xiaoman Jie then said she was feeling homesick and wanted to go see her family.”
“Are you sure?”
“Well, in the few days after discovering the pursuers, the two of them only said that in front of me. It was quite impressionable, but the content didn’t seem very special… They may have forgotten to turn on the sound insulation.”
“Word for word?”
“I’m not sure if that was exactly what they said, but I didn’t miss the meaning.”
“I have no further questions.” Tang Yibu leapt from the deflated cabinet. “Just endure a few more days. I think Mr. Fu will find a better place for you to live.”
“Wait, where are you going?” Zhong Qing hurriedly tucked the bag of dried fruit under his arms and started to follow. “Don’t leave me here!”
“Yu Le’s meaning is obvious. He doesn’t want you to get involved in this matter,” Tang Yibu said. “Fu Yu can give you the best protection, so you don’t need to know too much.”
“But they were caught!” Zhong Qing shouted. “They… treated me very well. Can’t I want to do my best to help them? At least let me help you—this place, it’s full of fog, so there’s no better sentry than me!”
Tang Yibu paused his motion of fishing up the iron bead. “Why do you think I will agree?”
“Because you neither respect the old nor love the young.” Zhong Qing spoke quite fast in a low voice. “In any case, you certainly don’t care too much about me, but I can add to your security, especially in this city where Order Supervisors are everywhere.”
“I still find your reason for repaying kindness too farfetched.” Tang Yibu smacked his lips, neither giving confirmation nor denial.
“In addition to this, I don’t want to stay in this city for too long. The quality of life is no different than death. I—I thought if I help you, you’ll bring me back to the edge of the Mainbrain’s city… or something.” Zhong Qing’s voice was getting smaller. “The environment here can give me at least 180 kinds of diseases. I would rather die in a cold, idyllic, yet normal setting.”
Tang Yibu tucked the iron bead back into the net pocket and stared at Zhong Qing.
It seemed Lao Yu didn’t tell him the truth—although Zhong Qing still retained his human appearance, as Rhododendron Disease could ensure he grew up like a human, as a polymeric mimicry of the virus, ordinary pathogens could no longer hurt him.
Zhong Qing was right. He didn’t mind using him in this city. Right now, all Tang Yibu wanted to do was push the plan forward as quickly as possible to catch his Mr. Ruan back to his side. Since Zhong Qing offered, this was a consensual matter. All he needed was to agree—this deal was beneficial to both parties.
Strictly speaking, this matter didn’t even have anything to do with humans.
However, Tang Yibu didn’t speak. He tilted his head and looked at the nervous Zhong Qing and suddenly wanted to laugh.
“No,” he said.
“Why?” Zhong Qing fiercely pulled on his hat. “Isn’t this also good for you?”
“Even if I don’t say a word, as long as I take you with me, you’ll inevitably learn some things. Yu Le and Ji Xiaoman are both very smart people, and they are now in my camp. I don’t want to…” Tang Yibu paused. “I don’t want to hurt them.”
“If you don’t say it, and I won’t speak it, who will know?” Zhong Qing yelled in dissatisfaction. “Look, I know you hate me—”
“If you really don’t want to live here, I will take you back in a while,” Tang Yibu continued.
Zhong Qing closed his mouth quickly. After a while, he bitterly said, “Okay, but I really want to help… How do you know they will mind? Compared to me, are you their true companion?”
“I don’t know if they will mind, nor are they my companions.” Tang Yibu tugged at the corners of his mouth, and his golden eyes narrowed. “You have a point, but I just don’t know if the judgment is right.”
“Then you still…!”
“Because I suddenly felt that it would be very interesting if I made a decision like this. I know exactly where I’m going, so I’m not going to wander around aimlessly outside. It’s not easy to target me.” Tang Yibu picked up the iron bead. “…Have a nice lunch.”
The author has something to say:
Tang: Start to apply the subject flexibly (?
Lao Yu’s highlight√
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