Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 223: Pool of Blood
“Follow the direction agreed upon before!” Ruan Xian yelled in the whirring wind.
Another armed machine that caught up was shot down. Although Ruan Xian could do more with half the effort by relying on his perception, in the end, his strength was limited. The Mainbrain’s pursuers were getting harder to deal with—considering that their target was small, the number of their pursuers that caught up didn’t increase as time went by. However, in terms of ability, the strength of their chasers had risen extremely fast. Most likely, the Mainbrain had recruited them from nearby.
This wasn’t counting the R-α and M-α that were coming.
Tang Yibu couldn’t give him a hand. Ruan Xian had only one blood gun to deal with them, so if they were caught and became entangled, this would put them at an absolute disadvantage. Knowing this well, Tang Yibu was running for his life.
As agreed in advance, they ran in the direction of the forest petri dish.
Bearing the bumps of Tang Yibu’s galloping while still trying to deal with the enemy, Ruan Xian’s arm was so sore to the point of paralysis. The originally lightweight blood gun seemed a thousand times heavier. In order to ensure that Tang Yibu was in the best condition, he had to use his body to help him block a few shots.
While thinking in a trance, Ruan Xian suddenly laughed. He had a funny illusion—the inspiring appearance of the Mainbrain inexplicably reminded him of the past. Two cockroaches used in their test ran away, and a colleague, who was a neat freak, was walking on edge for the entire day.
The man’s eyes were red, and his blood vessels looked as if they would pop at any second. He almost burned down the entire floor.
If it weren’t for the fact that their goals were too small and Tang Yibu had the ability to reverse control the machines, Ruan Xian wouldn’t be surprised even if the Mainbrain moved an army of tens of thousands to them.
Fortunately, the light was just ahead.
The northside of the forest petri dish was adjacent to the Sea of Ruins, while the southside had a large forest. They were rushing towards that forest.
Tang Yibu plunged into the forest. Many machines that weren’t suitable for the woodland retreated, leaving only a few of the more dexterous ones still tracking. Just as they expected, the Mainbrain didn’t increase its troops—the two advanced products of the Prototype were about to arrive.
As soon as the two of them arrived in the depths of the forest, Tang Yibu put down Ruan Xian, whose clothes were soaked in crimson, and turned back to attack the remaining pursuers. At the moment, he also had a helper—a huge scavenger puppet was wandering nearby, and its program was hacked by Tang Yibu. He began to use its size advantage to clean up the battlefield.
π struggled out of the backpack. It rolled to Ruan Xian’s side and rattled anxiously, then used its round body to arch towards Ruan Xian’s hand.
“I’m fine. Just resting.” While the scavenging puppet wreaked destruction, Ruan Xian caught his breath. “There will be a tough battle in a while. You have to stay close to me.”
“Gwah!” the iron bead barked angrily.
“That’s not an enemy you can match.” Ruan Xian smiled. “Do as you’re told.”
After eliminating the most dangerous armed machines, Tang Yibu staggered to Ruan Xian’s side, pulled out a gross energy bar from his backpack, and stuffed it into his mouth. The escape just now consumed a lot of energy. Tang Yibu’s long back hair was glued to his neck and collarbone, covered in sweat. The original neat combat clothing was now in tatters and most of his skin was exposed. He was trying to adjust his breathing and his body was radiating an abnormally high temperature after excessive exercise.
“How far?” Tang Yibu asked Ruan Xian while swallowing the unpleasant food.
“Two minutes.” Ruan Xian knew what he was asking about.
Tang Yibu thought for a moment. He seemed to have made an important decision. He wiped his mouth and took out a can of candied cherries from his backpack. “I took more from the kitchen, so you can eat something too. If our energy isn’t replenished and we can’t keep up, we’ll definitely lose.”
After that, he hurriedly unwrapped a few energy bars.
Ruan Xian didn’t say much. He took the small jar, poured the overly sweet and greasy mixture into his mouth, and then chewed it. This kind of thing was indeed easier to eat, and the taste wasn’t bad. Ruan Xian stared at Tang Yibu, who was still gnawing on an energy bar, and threw over a paper bag.
“The snacks you ordered today. Here. The cookies and chocolates aren’t too dry. I can’t swallow them, so it’s yours.”
Tang Yibu looked at the empty jar of candied cherries, then at the food handed over by Ruan Xian, and froze for half a second. Ruan Xian couldn’t help but stretch out his hand and touch Tang Yibu’s sweaty hair.
“We will win, and then we will find a place where we can replenish.” He kissed the corner of Tang Yibu’s lips, suddenly with an inexplicable sense of satisfaction.
“…Even if we lose, we will lose together.”
Tang Yibu didn’t give a reply. He ate all the food that could replenish his energy in silence, then gave Ruan Xian some portable props for self-defense.
As the most dangerous enemy, the two advanced products arrived quietly.
A huge, twisted monster that was the size of a small car stopped at the top of a tree with a beautiful woman riding on it.
The monster had no fur. Its skin was an unsightly cyan-gray and its body was like a deformed tiger. Like Z-α, it was equipped with a tailor-made auxiliary exoskeleton. Its facial features were completely alienated, and the only thing resembling human was its eyes. The woman was exactly the same person that Ruan Xian had seen in the Mainbrain’s city—a younger version of his mother was looking down expressionlessly at them from the top.
Based on their looks, the opposing side was an advanced product of the A-type and S-type Prototypes, while their own side was the actual Prototypes. However, counting external auxiliaries—just the body modification and exoskeleton additions alone could improve the D-type products to the point where they could injure Tang Yibu.
It was like two heavily armed shooters with guns and bullets facing off against two unlucky fellows who were bare naked. The Prototype performance couldn’t make up for all the gaps. Strictly speaking, their odds of winning weren’t high.
From an optimistic standpoint, if they could defeat the two in front of them, the Mainbrain would be unable to create any more in the near future.
Ruan Xian took a deep breath and looked into the dark eyes of his “mother”.
He gently squeezed Tang Yibu’s hand. “Don’t be afraid.”
Taking the lead, the monster-looking M-α rushed towards the huge scavenger puppet. It stretched out its sharp metal claws and climbed all the way along the body of the scavenger puppet. The claws tore at the metal skin, cleanly cutting it like a hot knife cutting butter. The scavenger puppet let out a hoarse wail as the connecting pipe on its body spewed out white and yellow liquid.
M-α leaped to the scavenger puppet’s throat with such speed that Ruan Xian could barely catch it. The puppet suddenly came to its senses and used all its limbs to flee the scene. Tang Yibu had relinquished his control over it.
M-α didn’t hesitate at all because of this act. It took advantage of the height of the scavenger puppet and bounced straight in the direction of Tang Yibu. Tang Yibu didn’t force himself to stand. He arched his back and dodged the blow like a leopard. Ruan Xian pretended to be harmless and hid in the bushes with bated breath. He firmly grabbed the blood gun in his hand and concentrated on finding M-α’s flaws.
With the S-type advanced products present, their opponent could quickly recover, so the method they used to defeat Z-α couldn’t be used a second time.
They had to come up with a better way.
The replica of his mother was firmly grabbing on M-α’s body, sitting very still. Ruan Xian’s bullet couldn’t break through M-α’s exoskeleton, and the opponent continued to attack without any pain or fear, without putting this “researcher” in its eyes at all. Ruan Xian could see that if it weren’t for the fact that Tang Yibu’s cybernetic brain couldn’t be damaged, M-α’s attacks would be much fiercer.
So far, Tang Yibu had focused on defense while occasionally would take the offensive. Although he could cope with the speed, it was only a matter of time before he would lose.
The enemy wasn’t paralyzed by his attacks. Through the gap of M-α’s attacks, R-α also acted—the beautiful woman extended her arms and the breath from her mouth and nose became dark red. As soon as Tang Yibu’s left hand came into contact with the poisonous mist, ulcers and abscesses started to spread, like an explosion, along his fingertips, climbing all the way up his arm.
Due to the injury, Tang Yibu’s movements slowed. He gritted his teeth and took out the concentrated blood that Ruan Xian made for him and quickly injected it into his body. Only then was it able to suppress the spreading infection in his arm.
As R-α spat out poisonous mist, a transparent pipe on its body stretched out and connected to a notch behind M-α. Black and red blood were slowly injected into the monster’s body, creating a deadly poisonous mist armor. Tang Yibu’s face was covered with sweat as he was heavily panting, but he still didn’t give up.
Seeing that the enemy had no intention of giving up, the monster opened its deformed mouth, which was about a meter wide, and took a bite of Tang Yibu’s slow-moving left arm. Blood splattered everywhere as it swallowed the broken arm.
“Flesh. Body tissue sampling is complete.” The woman on its back whispered as she tilted her head like a puppet made of wood. “It’s being crushed and encapsulated. The remaining 95% is ready for M-α to absorb and digest.”
The voice was exactly the same as the mother in Ruan Xian’s memory.
“NUL-00, the Mainbrain sincerely recommends that you surrender,” she continued. “Unnecessary pain doesn’t do any good. If you surrender now, we just need to take another sample of Ruan Lijie and we’ll allow you to keep your body intact for the time being.”
The second half was obviously a lie, and they all knew it.
Tang Yibu continued to avoid the attack as he took a few more concentrated blood vials. His left arm was slowly growing back, but the speed was too slow. Hearing these words, he subconsciously turned his head and glanced in Ruan Xian’s direction.
Ruan Xian closed his eyes.
They had considered a powerful chaser, but they never thought the Mainbrain would be so cautious towards the so-called researcher. He and Tang Yibu didn’t agree on a detailed combat strategy in advance, which was the downside of going off the rails—they had to face these extraordinary bad situations.
After a deep breath, Ruan Xian responded to Tang Yibu’s gaze. He smiled at the android.
Those golden eyes gleamed in the night, as beautiful as ever. Tang Yibu was determining his status, and Ruan Xian knew it. The android was probably also desperately calculating possible tactics.
But he could give him a little hint.
It was a good thing to hold information in his hands, and now he had another chance to change things… As long as Tang Yibu could help him do it.
“Is there any more ‘medicine’?” Ruan Xian’s voice was quite calm. “Separate them. Half a minute is enough.”
After that, he rushed out of the bushes.
His movements were so sudden and unexpected that the enemy paused momentarily. Tang Yibu didn’t ask any questions. He chopped off the nearest tree trunk with his backhand and took the opportunity to throw it directly at R-α.
“Run,” Ruan Xian ordered, and threw the iron bead to Tang Yibu. “Yibu, run.”
In an instant, Tang Yibu’s eyes changed from puzzled to sparkling. His plan was crazy, but the android understood.
Ruan Xian enjoyed this strange sense of resonance for a while. He picked up the attack props that Tang Yibu gave him and activated them all, no matter what they were—they really wouldn’t hurt M-α, but they could still provide some annoyance and distraction.
Tang Yibu quickly ran away and soon disappeared, while “Ruan Lijie” stayed in front of M-α, trying his best to slow it down with various distractions—at first glance, this looked like an undoubtedly desperate situation.
R-α, who was flung away by the tree trunk, was quickly returning to its position, while M-α was roaring at Ruan Xian.
He was running out of time.
Ruan Xian took out all the remaining mechanical nerve disruptors from his pockets. This time, he didn’t mix them into his own blood but injected them all into his body through his pants.
M-α was huge in size, and unlike when facing Z-α, he couldn’t temporarily make enough blood agents. Without Ji Xiaoman and the others around and Tang Yibu had brought limited items, he didn’t have the time or tools to make more.
…But it didn’t matter.
In the buzz of mechanical traps, Ruan Xian raised his blood gun and directly hit the four eyes of the two enemies on the opposite side. While M-α opened its mouth and roared, Ruan Xian rushed towards the monster’s open mouth.
The moment before his vision turned black, Ruan Xian saw R-α was hurriedly injecting blood towards the monster underneath it.
The Mainbrain knew how Z-α had died. It was killed by him, a “mechanical life expert specializing in viruses”. Without knowing that the S-type Prototype still existed, the slightly manipulated blood was destined to be interpreted as some kind of virus. Since it was a virus, R-α blood treatment was reasonable.
Ruan Xian curved the corners of his mouth.
What followed was pain, enough to break one’s nerves. Few people could live to experience the feeling of having their body being chewed to pieces, but Ruan Xian still forced himself to stay conscious—even if he only relatively had his head intact.
This time, it was his turn to count down.
In severe pain, the smelly space he was crumpled in was spasming.
R-α, who had noticed the abnormality, continued to feed blood, but its actions only intensified the process.
The dark and narrow space was vibrating. M-α let out a painful wail. Ruan Xian felt the wind again—this time, the monster’s body didn’t dissolve but simply exploded into a pool of blood.
Without his lungs, Ruan Xian stopped breathing, but he could feel the vertebrae growing and his internal organs rapidly maturing. His body was using this puddle of flesh and blood as a nutrient to quickly restore his human appearance.
The identity of the S-type Prototype couldn’t be concealed any longer.
His regrown lungs began to work again, and Ruan Xian coughed up a mouthful of blood. His newly grown body was extremely weak, and he was naked, covered in black and red plasma, and he couldn’t even stand up.
R-α was stunned for a full three seconds because of this unexpected situation.
This was its fatal mistake—in the next moment, its whole body was pierced by a section of a tree trunk and nailed to the ground. They finally had a short recovery time.
Ruan Xian wiped the blood from his face and grabbed Tang Yibu’s outstretched hand.
“I told you we would win.”
The author has something to say:
There is another enemy to knock down next—