Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 240: Two Cages
Around the Mainbrain’s core, the heat between the calculation cubes distorted the air.
The iron bead was in a terrible rush. It didn’t even have a chance to rattle. There were more and more cleaning machines gathering. Even if it could destroy one at a time, the speed wasn’t fast enough. The iron bead was too small that it could only protect Ruan Xian’s body at most. His arms and legs were still seriously injured—the cleaning machines had more or less scraped off pieces of his flesh from there.
The iron bead didn’t understand humans’ injuries. It could only sensitively perceive the speed of recovery of the person behind it getting slower. Ruan Xian had almost no bones left in his hands, but there had been no signs of recovery for more than ten minutes. In the hot air, the blood clotted extremely quickly, burning into a thick blood scab on the surface of the bones.
Another wave of cleaning machines squeezed through, almost knocking the iron bead into Ruan Xian’s body. Most of Ruan Xian’s clothes were burned, and he was tightly holding a box in his arms. The iron bead didn’t have anything to hold onto, so it could only poke its thin feet into Ruan Xian’s skin and clamp on his spine.
A little blood flowed out along its movements.
Tang Yibu—its big friend had asked it to protect this person, but it couldn’t protect him anymore. The cleaning machine had listed it as an object to be cleaned. Its beautiful shell was marked with countless scratches, and the original shiny metal surface had been scorched black by the heat weapons. A few more beams of light came over and blasted into its weakly protected mouth slit. π couldn’t help but let out a scream and almost fell to the ground.
Though it had eaten a lot of rare materials, it couldn’t bear the large number of opponents. Its iron shell was slowly breaking, and fragile white tissue was leaking out. π winced twice.
It couldn’t help but think that things were too complicated. It didn’t know how to take advantage of the situation to escape. The iron bead lay on Ruan Xian’s back and rattled for a while, just wanting the battle to end quickly.
It had to survive this crisis and π vaguely knew why. The human blood under its body seemed to have a strange effect. Eating it would make it feel particularly satiated. The iron bead hesitated for a while, then began to chew on the flesh and blood cut off by the cleaning machine.
Sure enough, the familiar feeling came back. Its shell was recovering, and its entire body felt warm. Fortunately, these cleaning machines didn’t have mouths, and it thankfully had attached to Ruan Xian’s spine.
Its big friend would come pick it up, and the human under it was also quite good to it.
So it had to work a little harder.
Soon, the warm feeling turned into pain. The shell kept going back and forth between being damaged and repaired. The iron bead didn’t understand the reason, but it instinctively kept eating, hoping that it would feel better. It opened its mouth to the max, biting at the approaching cleaning machine and gobbling down the pieces of flesh stuck to their mechanical blades.
Its consciousness was getting vague, but it couldn’t sleep yet. Tang Yibu hadn’t come back yet.
In the dimness, the iron bead felt that its mouth seemed to have become bigger. The enemies that were in front of it were farther away. There seemed to be a lot of unfamiliar parts on its body, but it didn’t have time to think about them. There was only one thought in its mind.
This person has to be protected. Although he is weak, his heart is still beating.
“What is that thing?!” the garrison leader said in horror.
Under the scanner, something was attached to Ruan Lijie’s spine. At first glance, it was a ball the size of a bowling ball, but then it swelled a few times. It looked like a terrifying flower bud as it kept gnawing at the surrounding cleaning machines at lightning speed. They sent thousands of cleaning machines, which would have cut Ruan Lijie down into a skeleton, but the result now was just attrition to his limbs at best.
The ball didn’t even stop there. It continued to grow. The enlarged spherical object cracked in a more exaggerated form so that its original appearance couldn’t be seen any longer. Countless mechanical limbs stretched out, bypassing the floating calculation cubes, and wrapped around the gaps to form an octahedral metal cage, protecting Ruan Lijie in the middle.
The metal limbs were pulsating regularly, and each corner of the octahedron gave birth to petal shaped mouthparts, which kept opening and closing all around. The scene had turned creepy. The “corpse” was curled up in the blue light from the electric arc, and behind it was a huge metal flower.
They had never seen anything like this.
The cleaning machine could no longer get close. Once they approached the living guard cage, there was always a mouth—and sometimes even more than one—biting it, gnawing their central parts to pieces.
…The battle situation didn’t seem to be as simple as he thought. The leader pinched himself severely before recounting the information to Zhuo Muran. As humans, the Order Supervisors withdrew at Zhuo Muran’s order, but now that even machines couldn’t do anything, he didn’t know what to do.
He hoped that Commander Zhuo could spare time to look at this. The leader thought this as he wiped the sweat from his forehead.
“Withdraw the cleaning machines. That thing can digest metal. Don’t get close to it!” The leader conveyed his instructions. “The Mainbrain will not be defeated by a human clone. Continue to improve the surrounding encirclement network and prepare for the aftermath!”
However, Commander Zhuo didn’t have the energy for the time being.
Tang Yibu was knocked to the ground. His back crashed into the concrete floor. Thousands of calculation cubes flickered and spun around in vain.
Zhuo Muran didn’t give him a chance to breathe. Accompanied by the rain of bullets, M-β darted towards him, wrapped in a poisonous mist. Tang Yibu got up with difficulty and barely managed to dodge, but he almost ran into Zhuo Muran’s attack.
With the help of the calculation cubes, Tang Yibu barley managed to tie M-β and R-β. As a user of the D-type Prototype, Zhuo Muran’s appearance directly disrupted the balance. Half of Tang Yibu’s shoulder was almost crushed by M-β. He had to swallow a lot of the compressed blood agent to stabilize his injury.
However, the worst thing wasn’t purely poor combat power. Zhuo Muran was commanding M-β and R-β, and the actions of the three were extremely clean. Tang Yibu’s body was barely able to recover, but his backpack full of food had become ashes.
There was still some food left in his pocket, and he still had more than half the blood agents made by Mr. Ruan, but they would be consumed sooner or later. The bodies of the three opposite him had precision nuclear energy tanks built into them, so there was no need to worry about them collapsing halfway.
Tang Yibu commanded the calculation cubes to assemble and made a simple flying platform. They carried him into the air and temporarily separated him from his opponent’s pursuit. However, Zhuo Muran quickly chased after him. Without saying a word, he directly activated all the weapons on the exoskeleton and bombarded Tang Yibu.
The calculation cubes blocked most of the attack, but there were still some stray bullets that hit his abdomen. Tang Yibu whimpered, barely swallowing his groan, as dark red blood splattered on the black metal cube.
Those small cubes couldn’t fly too far away from the massive body of the Mainbrain that was running under his feet.
“Mr. Ruan,” Tang Yibu shouted softly, even though he knew the other party couldn’t hear me.
The time they spent together making plans made him relax, and he liked the feeling very much—the two of them were planning together, just waiting to put it into action, and there was no time to be vigilant of each other. Those days were his things, and at this moment, Tang Yibu desperately hoped to get them back.
Zhuo Muran wouldn’t wait for him to recover. He flew around Tang Yibu, seizing all his flaws, and attacked. Smoke coming from the exoskeleton left faint traces in the air. M-β attacked from below and smashed into a calculation cube that was supporting Tang Yibu.
At this moment, there were a few more fist-sized blood holes in Tang Yibu’s shoulders. He relied on his reflexes to barely manage to keep his neck.
Three hours had passed, but they still needed time.
Blood flowed into his eyes. In the blood-red world, Zhuo Muran was talking to someone. Tang Yibu ordered the little cubes to protect him as he barely landed, then woefully avoided R-β germ attack.
He needed to wait for an opportunity, an absolutely safe opportunity. Not yet. Tang Yibu squinted his eyes at M-β, who was closely behind him, and completely gave up the attack and turned to a defensive style. Then he looked at the biggest threat…
After ending the call, Zhuo Muran followed again, but his face was a little more solemn. However, the other party had no intention of talking and just focused on helping M-β block him.
The other party was too concentrated, so his plan may not work. They had to wait for Yu Le to weaken the connection, and then they would have the winning ticket in hand. However, although the signal was stable from time to time, it didn’t maintain the weakest level. The great ruins pirate was able to hold up better than he thought.
Although it would take longer, the effect would be better. Tang Yibu glanced at the core of the Mainbrain and inexplicably felt uncomfortable.
However, what Yu Le did was even more desperate than he thought.
Near the Mainbrain’s body was a broadcasting device that was used to facilitate commands. It was just an ordinary loudspeaker. The Order Supervisors that usually managed them had been withdrawn.
“We’re in Petri Dish No. 1306. Help!!!”
A roar of excellent sound quality resounded through the night sky so loudly that it even made the cubes around the Mainbrain stop rotating for a moment.
“Tang Yibu! Ruan Lijie! I know you two bastards are listening! If laozi dies here, I’ll become a ghost—hey, Little Captain, are you sure this can be connected to the Mainbrain? Oh, oh—a ghost that will come back and haunt you! This stupid device isn’t useful at all, so contact me as soon as you hear this!”
Tang Yibu: “……”
M-β and R-β stopped their movements out of confusion, and Zhuo Muran was still some distance away. Tang Yibu didn’t let go of this moment…
He didn’t even bother to treat his body and basically gave up on defense. He directed all the calculation cubes to rush to the chest and abdomen of M-β. Realizing this wasn’t good, Zhuo Muran ordered M-β to duck, but his speed wasn’t fast enough.
More than a thousand cubes crushed M-β’s chest and then exploded.
The explosion was so powerful that it destroyed the nuclear energy tank in M-β’s body and set off a small nuclear explosion. Tang Yibu was at the edge of the explosion. He stuffed a mouthful of blood agent into his mouth and tried his best to have the calculation cube surround M-β tightly. This was a makeshift version of an explosion-proof box made from out of Mainbrain.
A burning light leaked out, stinging Tang Yibu’s eyes.
Given that the people present were all equipped with high-level armaments, Tang Yibu didn’t expect the radiation to kill anyone, but his purpose had been achieved—when the calculation cubes dispersed, M-β had disappeared without a trace.
Focusing on “defense”, Tang Yibu quietly stuck powerful sucker bombs on those cubes for more than three hours. Hundreds of bombs had exploded all at once, and even then, the damage didn’t make a dent in the Mainbrain’s cube, but it was enough to crush the nuclear energy tank.
Tang Yibu had to laugh as Yu Le was still scolding through the loudspeaker.
“Come on, continue.” He wiped the blood from the corner of his mouth and said to Zhuo Muran, who was now livid, “Now it’s my turn to attack.”
The author has something to say:
The passive (?) beating is finally over. The second evolution of the iron bead √
Ruan: So cool behind.jpg
Tang: …I can’t afford it!