Happy Doomsday Ch161

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/


Chapter 161: The Edge of Memory

Tang Yibu’s disappearance was expected by Ruan Xian, but he didn’t expect the other party to do it so quickly. The iron bead that suddenly fell from Tang Yibu’s shoulder probably had a psychological shadow and refused to go on by itself. It burrowed deep into Ruan Xian’s arms. Ruan Xian couldn’t argue with this little thing and could only reluctantly hold it in his arms.

Being people who had experienced chaos, Yu Le and Ji Xiaoman didn’t panic, but instead showed a thoughtful expression. Xiao Zhao and Kang Ge were even more carefree. Seeing that there was nothing dangerous inside the door, the couple smiled and opened a row of doors in the corridor.

Ruan Xian thought it was hard to say whether they were in reality or a dream right now. The scene behind those doors had no repetition. Some were connected to other rooms, while many led to trees, wastelands, or darkness. Compared to reality, this was more in line with a joint dream.

The feeling in the corridor was extremely real. Ruan Xian adjusted his breathing for a moment and thought quickly.

Regardless of whether the other Professor Ruan was real or fake, he would inevitably presume Tang Yibu’s condition by observing them. In reality, they could still be wandering around in the forest near the management area, and Tang Yibu was probably taken away a long time ago. A seamless dialogue could also be achieved if they monitored and interfered with the situation on both sides at the same time.

The question was, how far was the other party willing to go?

While he couldn’t be classified as “human”, Yu Le and Ji Xiaoman were natural humans. Professor Ruan may not be obsessed with saving them, but it was unlikely he would take the initiative to kill them maliciously. Since Professor Ruan could live under the pursuit of the Mainbrain for so many years, he wouldn’t do worthless things and, at most, would push them to their limits.

Now the chess game was dominated by Professor Ruan and Tang Yibu that what they could so was relatively limited.

Ruan Xian didn’t think that Tang Yibu would really treat the people on his side as companions. The most useful bargaining chip in his hand was the S-type Prototype, which he gained new inspiration from π. If there was a chance to verify it, it may become a good negotiating card…

He didn’t know if it was because of the temporary loss of dominance of subconsciously thinking Tang Yibu as an opposing third party, but even if he had sufficient confidence in his ability to survive, Ruan Xian still felt annoyed. He hugged the iron bead in his arms tightly, causing the latter to let out a trembling gwah.

Forget it. Let’s see what Professor Ruan intends to show them.

Ruan Xian left the wall and looked into the door beside him. For a second, his brain became blank.

This was the hall of the Institute. The floor light was discernible, and the light screen display in the center of the hall was still working. The ornamental plants placed on the edge of the hall were vibrant; their bright green leaves seemed to glow in the light. Many figures in research suits solidified in the air. Their outlines were blurred, like an overexposed photograph.

Bizarrely, the clock hanging on the wall of the hall was working. The passage of time blended strangely with the stillness.

This was once the edge of his own world. Since entering the Institute, Ruan Xian had never left this gate.

According to Tang Yibu, Su Zhao herself was a famous explorer during her lifetime and was active in various dangerous natural areas for many years. The Institute where he was located had very strict requirements for visitors, so it was unlikely these were memories relevant to Su Zhao. Kang Ziyan’s status as a senior executive of a major company with a competitive relationship was at best received elsewhere, and he wouldn’t have been allowed to enter here.

The source of this memory wasn’t from those two people.

Neither Yu Le’s nor Ji Xiaoman’s brains were cybernetic, nor were they equipped with perceptual augmentation equipment. This wasn’t purely an artificial illusion. Then the source of the memory…

In theory, this was most likely Tang Yibu’s memory.

It was just that the current scene was completely contradictory to the statement given by Tang Yibu before. If he was created by Professor Ruan after the end of the world, it was impossible to have memories of the Institute—at the beginning of the Great Rebellion of the 22nd century, technical support institutions such as the Institute were the primary target. It was estimated that the Institute would be in ruins that day.

Tang Yibu was very sensitive about his identity and was also very secretive about his past experiences. Considering that he wouldn’t be stupid enough to tell everyone everything about himself, despite his curiosity, Ruan Xian didn’t care too much about it at first.

And now, a certain conjecture that couldn’t be suppressed surfaced from his heart uncontrollably.

[My maker thinks I am a failure. Once, I failed to complete my project on time, and he never came back. I have been waiting, thinking that he would continue to improve my shortcomings as usual, but in the end, I only waited for his written destruction order.]

Ruan Xian clutched the iron bead in his arms tightly, causing its shell to clatter.

He had thought that Professor Ruan had gone through great lengths to lure Tang Yibu inside because the android possessed some important data. Now it seemed that the situation might be simpler than he had thought.

Exposing Tang Yibu’s most important identity forced the other side into a situation where he had to make a choice. At the same time, it gave their own side a crisis, which was a good opportunity to collect data… If this was switched to himself, he would definitely do the same.

Endure.’ Ruan Xian kept repeating this to himself, trying to press all his emotions down from his heart.

Until he saw the real evidence, he couldn’t waver. Although less likely, this may also be Professor Ruan’s own memory as a test for him. After all, the name “Ruan Lijie” had been exposed, so the other side wouldn’t give up such a subtle doubt. If his survival had nothing to do with Professor Ruan, it was also possible the other party to do so.

He must determine the core of this memory.

He could play dumb and explore the place slowly with Yu Le and the others, acting as if he was completely ignorant of the matter, but driven by a certain possibility, he didn’t want to wait… Even if this would increase Professor Ruan’s suspicions.

Assuming that he wasn’t something created by Professor Ruan himself and knew everything about the Institute… From Professor Ruan’s point of view, his intelligence could only be obtained from the Mainbrain. After all, MUL-01 owned all the data of the Institute.

Then Professor Ruan should know that in order not to arouse suspicion, “obediently exploring with others” was the most correct approach. This became a cycle of contradictions, and the other party would certainly have doubts about their motives.

What was more, with this joke of a curse in place, he wouldn’t die so easily. Ruan Xian grinned.

Are you watching, Tang Yibu?

Then take a good look.

He straightened the holster under his white jacket, put the iron bead that was loudly protesting on the ground, and held the blood gun used for attacking tightly in his hand. The rattle of the iron bead provided a perfect sound reflex, allowing him to confirm that he was actually holding his gun and that they were still in a relatively vast area.

“Xiao Ruan!” Seeing Ruan Xian rushing into the hall first, Yu Le let out a tsk and followed quickly. Unfortunately, the young couple running around apparently still had self-preservation in mind and followed playfully, with no intention of acting separately.

“This is the edge of memory,” Ji Xiaoman whispered as she followed Yu Le.

“The edge of memory?”

“Usually memory data will be concentrated within your field of vision.” Ji Xiaoman looked around carefully. “Lao Yu, let me ride on your neck.”

“What are you doing?!”

“Confirm your status at any time.” Ji Xiaoman moved her prosthetic limbs. “The other party didn’t leave us a vehicle. I guess that it’s also based on this consideration. If the person whose perception interference is the one we think it is, he certainly doesn’t have much experience in feeling contact between people, so it’ll be difficult for him to simulate.”

“…Alright. In case I can’t avoid an attack, that’s gonna be on you.” Yu Le leaned down slightly.

The little girl jumped up lightly. Her three prosthetic limbs were likely made of special alloy, as she was surprisingly light. Yu Le had no intention of fixing the other party’s legs as he held onto his weapon tightly. “Watch yourself. I won’t care if you fall. Just don’t strangle me with your legs.”

“Nn.” Ji Xiaoman skillfully maintained her balance. The shooting weapon on her prosthetic limb made a crisp loading sound.

The young couple behind them tried to imitate them, but their body shape wasn’t up to standard. When Xiao Zhao’s weight pressed on Kang Ge, he couldn’t even stand up straight, so the two gave up.

“What is the edge of memory?” Yu Le retracted his mocking gaze of the two people behind him and tried to follow Ruan Xian. His voice was a little muffled under the cover of the gas mask. “It’s true that this place is quite evil.”

“Do you remember what we ate at the apartment in The Glass Conservatory?”

“Remember.”

“Most of what you only remember are the things that change within your attention span, such as what you were cooking in the kitchen. But during that period of time, your mind simultaneously remembers the condition of the living room… This part of memory is biased towards static cognition. If you restore it to an image, it shouldn’t be much different from this hall.”

“Awesome, little profiteer.”

“I just read the relevant theories.” Ji Xiaoman only replied after a long time. “In short, this is at most an ‘impression of a certain period’. Ruan Lijie must be looking for the core of this memory—that is, the dynamic details in the observer’s memory.”

“I only care about one thing—hey, keep your head down. Don’t bump into the door frame—is there any danger here?”

“It’s hard to say. These are all perceptual data in the final analysis, so it’s easy to add something.”

“…Xiao Ruan is really desperate. As soon as the opponent made their move and took away the best fighter among us, he still dared to rush in so fast.”

“I don’t know the details, but if it’s that one, he won’t really kill us… right?” Ji Xiaoman’s voice was getting smaller and smaller. “Let’s talk about it first.”

“But it’s also very interesting.” Yu Le accelerated his running speed. “Xiao Ruan seems to be very familiar with this place. Do you recognize this place?”

“No.”

“Me neither. Now I’m getting more and more curious. Those two boys are definitely not simple.”

Ji Xiaoman didn’t answer.

Ruan Xian ignored the two people following him and rushed straight to the computer room where NUL-00 was located. As he ran closer, the sense of reality of the surrounding scenery became stronger. After running to his destination, Ruan Xian panted against the wall, raised his head, and looked at the two people outside the computer room.

The crystallization of his own efforts was randomly placed on a waste cart and was being pushed outside the computer room.

The cybernetic brain half the size of a coconut lay quietly in the pile of parts. It had its own energy reserve structure, and it was still in operation. Out of the soaking of the heat sink, the cybernetic brain of NUL-00 faintly showed signs of overheating. The miniature camera installed on the cybernetic brain was spinning around in horror, trying to look at the surrounding situation.

The artificial intelligence that had been with him for five years was confused, and perhaps a little scared. He knew very well that at that time it had learned how to distinguish those emotions.

Ruan Xian subconsciously stretched out his hand to touch the cybernetic brain, trying to snatch it from the waste cart. But his fingers ghostly passed through the casing covered with heat dissipation fluid and touched nothing.

He opened his mouth and tried to call out to someone, but he knew in his heart that everything was in vain. No one could change the illusion, and no one could change the past.

The iron bead that followed Ruan Xian seemed to notice something abnormal, and although it was still shivering, it tried to rub gently on his trouser legs.

If this memory was specially forged to test himself, Ruan Xian didn’t mind giving Professor Ruan some physical harm.

Right now, Ruan Xian almost had to thank himself for his emotional disorder. Even with the stormy waves in his mind, he could still continue to look at it almost coldly, trying to find clues from the details.

He thought the authenticity of this memory must be determined as soon as possible.

The person pushing the cart wore a mask, so he couldn’t see his appearance, but his body shape looked a bit familiar. However, Ruan Xian didn’t have the energy to recall further—as soon as the person walked up the corridor, the cellphone in his pocket rang.

The other party seemed very surprised by the fact that the phone rang. He hesitated for a moment, picked up the phone, hung up after listening for a few seconds, and turned the phone to silent mode.

On the second step, the phone rang again. The man’s body stiffened, and he connected to the call again, listening for a few seconds longer than the last time. However, this time he still didn’t respond. After a few seconds, he hung up the call in silence, and then turned off the phone.

The man pushed the cart forward for a few meters, and the phone rang again.

“What the hell do you want?!” The third time he connected to the phone, the man remembered to lower his voice, but his tone was a little unstable.

[Live.]

This time, Ruan Xian had enough time to hear the conversation clearly.

[…I want to live.]

The voice was very weird, like an AI voice that came with the phone.

[Let’s make a deal, sir.]


The author has something to say:

Tang’s vest is crumbling XDDD

Ruan already have a guess√


Kinky Thoughts:

For those confused, the edge of memory refers to the memories in one’s mind that are not too vivid but still exist. Taking Ji Xiaoman’s example, our brain usually remembers vividly the things that actually change as we’re doing them. Like if you’re cooking eggs, you would remember how you cooked them in more detail, but such things that weren’t touched but exist would still be recorded by the brain, but it won’t be as vivid. Like if your kitchen had a spice rack or fruit tray with bananas on them (but you didn’t actually use any of that during the cooking process). They would be there because your brain registered them into your memories, but would be hard to recollect down the line. 

What they are seeing now is the edge of someone’s memories (i.e. the fruit tray) and Ruan Xian is trying to get to the more vivid details (the core i.e. the eggs). Hope that makes sense.


<<< || Table of Contents || >>>

Happy Doomsday Ch160

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/


Chapter 160: Door

“Have the monitoring results come out?”

Professor Ruan stood alone in a small, dim room, with light screens hanging in the air around him. The light from them illuminated the naked darkness. Exposed mechanical parts were quietly sitting on the four walls of the room, like steel vines with life.

The fatherly expression on his face disappeared completely, leaving only a wry smile.

“It’s under analysis. Please wait a moment.” Half a minute later, a cold mechanical voice replied.

Following his own arrangements, NUL-00 stepped into the deep underground and confirmed the situation of his companions through the light screen. It may not be accurate to use the word “companions”. The android was probably paying attention to Ruan Lijie’s situation.

Before that, he had already thrown out all the spy points that should be thrown out.

From attitude to words, to the tests of key events in each period, judging from NUL-00’s immediate reaction, he could basically confirm the other party’s mental state and attitude. However, to obtain a more detailed analysis, Professor Ruan must use instruments for precise analysis—from the enlargement and contraction of the pupils, to the trembling of every muscle on the face, to body temperature, heartbeat, breathing rate, and other indicators; there could be no mistake in these matters.

He had to be sure of two points. What kind of thoughts does NUL-00 have about its creator, “Ruan Xian”, and what it knew about “Professor Ruan” himself?

The answer would directly affect his execution of his plan.

“Damn, sure enough, I’m still not used to doing this kind of thing.” Professor Ruan rubbed his cheeks; his voice very low. “I have goose bumps myself.”

From a design level, NUL-00 was more uncontrollable than MUL-01, and as a biological emotional processing system, it was also elusive. Thus, he could only repeatedly stimulate the android, to get as much information as possible in a short period of time, while trying not to be discovered by the other side.

After all, out of survival instinct, NUL-00 also needed to be wary of the possibility of MUL-01’s involvement and wouldn’t remove its defenses to strangers all at once. What was more, even if it was a human, no one would like a character who claimed to be a father but fell short. NUL-00 first reaction was definitely vigilance, which made it more difficult to obtain information.

It was a pity that, even so, that set of questions was already the most efficient set of countless options.

At present, it seemed that NUL-00 responded normally to randomly sampled past events, and there didn’t seem to be any memory loss. The android was undoubtedly a bit resistant to the range of closeness he had deliberately created, but he didn’t show much anger. It controlled its own emotional system very well and didn’t reveal too many emotions that would expose its thoughts.

Very interesting.

Professor Ruan didn’t intend to take his opponent lightly. From the point of view regarding intelligence, NUL-00 and MUL-01 weren’t too far apart. The problem lay in the other party’s unpredictable emotional tendencies…

Facing his own too deliberate closeness and temptation, it didn’t show any emotion similar to contempt or anger. On the surface, its performance could barely be classified as “still dissatisfied with its creator”, and it hadn’t questioned his identity too deeply.

But that feeling was so weak that Professor Ruan couldn’t be 100% sure.

Their game was still in the early stages, and he couldn’t clearly figure out his opponent’s tactics. The current performance of NUL-00 had only ruled out some possibilities for him, but there were still many remaining.

NUL-00 may not have had many deep feelings for its creator, or it may have been simply adept at controlling its emotions, or it may have been privy to information that he didn’t know, which allowed it to learn certain things about its identity from the start…

He needed more information.

Professor Ruan twisted the lace at the end of his gloves casually, exhaling with a headache. Although after the Great Rebellion in the 22nd Century, every day of his life was like walking on thin ice, it was the first time that he had walked on ice like this. He already knew it was a gamble, but when the time really came, it was false to say that he wasn’t nervous.

Perhaps it was better to look at the positive side—the android finally responded to a certain memory he threw out. No matter what the other party thought in his heart, at least on the surface, he hadn’t planned to turn on himself. His performance should be fine…

But is it really?

“……Ah.” Professor Ruan stopped twisting the strap and sighed softly.

Careless. Professor Ruan thought that the android was likely to rely on this to determine his condition. His situation was unique, and it was hard to tell how NUL-00 would define it.

However, this idea was a relief. At least the direction of his own negotiations could be determined next. Until then, he could turn more attention to “Ruan Lijie” side.

Professor Ruan once guessed that NUL-00 would find a few human companions for himself, and even maintain a close relationship with one or two of them, so that it would be easiest to avoid the probing of the Mainbrain.

But the name “Ruan Lijie” was really a coincidence. The fake identity detection system operated by Ruan Xian a long time ago had “ghost files”, which were full of “electronic ghosts” carefully selected by Ruan Xian himself. MUL-01 was born many years later, and it could only acquiesce that these “ghost files” that only existed on the internet were actually people.

In order to avoid being detected by the existing system, Professor Ruan could only think of a safer identity than one of those electronic ghosts.

Assuming that Ruan Lijie was just a back-up of Fan Linsong or other forces, he shouldn’t have had such a name. Although the name was very ordinary, it was too coincidental to say that it was a coincidence.

“Continue to analyze and give me a copy of the visual data in the ‘perception dream’. It has to be the same angle as NUL-00.” Professor Ruan casually pulled out a chair and sat down, scratching his head. The gentleness and elegance had disappeared like snow melting, leaving only a burning sense of oppression.

“Yes.”

“On the NUL-00 side, implement the plan normally.”

“……Yes.”

Deep underground, Tang Yibu sat quietly on a soft leather chair, staring at the person on the light screen. The golden eyes were slightly darkened by the cold-colored light screen.

Tang Yibu could now be basically sure that “Professor Ruan” wasn’t his maker.

He didn’t have much inclination at first. The memory details were correct and matched the other party’s attitude so accurately to the point that it seemed deliberate. It was almost clear that this was also some kind of test. Unfortunately, even if the other party was the real Ruan Xian, Tang Yibu couldn’t deny that the other party would do that…

Even he himself couldn’t determine whether he had real malice towards “Ruan Xian”.

As Ruan Xian, who was searched all over the world by MUL-01 and hadn’t given up resisting, it was reasonable to put self-protection first when he wasn’t clear about his attitude. Leaving aside the issue of attitude, the relevance of the plan he said was indeed consistent with reality; from finding the S-type Prototype to finding Professor Ruan himself, the intelligence chain along the way went smoothly.

What made him notice something was wrong at first was the attitude of the other party.

The content of Professor Ruan’s statement was fine, but there was a hint of discomfort in the other party’s physical movements as he deliberately approached him. The other side wasn’t very good at acting. Although Ruan Xian in his memory had never shown a side related to disguise, Tang Yibu always felt that something was wrong.

Professor Ruan’s emotional expression lacked the sense of repression he was familiar with.

Even if twelve years was enough to change people’s character, Tang Yibu didn’t think that desperate situations and wars would make people more cheerful. There was no doubt that the other party wasn’t only deliberately spying but was also deliberately concealing his true character.

However, this subtle difference couldn’t be used as conclusive evidence. That was until the other party tied a bow on his bandage, which increased the probability to more than 60%…

Professor Ruan had overdone it, too much.

Professor Ruan had his face reshaped as a way to reduce the risk of exposure, but it seemed, probably considering the time cost of maintaining healthy skin, Professor Ruan didn’t treat his entire body. In his own memory, Ruan Xian didn’t need to do much himself, but looking at the size of this place and the quality of androids that appeared, this Professor Ruan was afraid that he would have to do quite a lot by himself.

So he wore a pair of thin gloves to protect his skin, which was reasonable. The end of the gloves had a lace-up that secured the sleeves when necessary. This design wasn’t uncommon.

But Tang Yibu saw it from the other side of the cuffs. The lace was neatly tied. Forget about Mr. Ruan, whose details were unknown, Professor Ruan was by no means a person who could tie knots.

In order to test him, Tang Yibu was able to understand the deliberate closeness based on details of the past, but in unnecessarily copying details more than ten years ago, he had suspected that the other party had some other purpose.

The real Ruan Xian didn’t need to cover up this point.

[Professor Ruan’s target is probably you.] While following Xiao Zhao and Kang Ge on the way to the car, after exchanging information about the discovery of the S-type Prototype, he discussed this issue with Mr. Ruan. At that time, this was what Mr. Ruan told him.

[I know.] Tang Yibu’s fingertips crossed the opponent’s hot and humid palms.

[If it were me, I would use the mechanism of the Android Show to add an extra layer of perceptual interference. This is the most convenient way to hide… and the environment is also very suitable.]

[Reasonable. I have studied the scanning mode of MUL-01, and this is indeed a blind spot.]

[The premise of large-scale perceptual interference is to have a large-scale observation ability, which can also explain why we keep feeling someone’s spying on us.]

[I subconsciously noticed the detector hidden by Professor Ruan using perceptual interference, and you could sense it due to the crisis instinct of the S-type Prototype.] Tang Yibu smiled as he picked up the conversation.

[Nn. It seems that you are quite special in the eyes of the other party, Yibu.]

Tang Yibu didn’t answer this time, while Mr. Ruan smiled to himself. He continued his transmission. [If the other party really added an additional perception interference, most of the things we see are untrustworthy and could easily be guided. I guess he wants us to meet and act together… In order to analyze you based on your behavior.]

[Yes, he also needs to protect himself.] Tang Yibu agreed lightly.

[If I were to do this…] Mr. Ruan raised his dark eyes. [I don’t need you to be present in person. In order to reduce interference, I will take you away in advance and communicate with you alone. But I can’t be sure about the point in time of the kidnapping.]

[Then what?]

[Whether he is real or not, he will spy on your position from multiple angles.] Mr. Ruan made a gesture. [Deliberately provoking you, deliberately getting close to you, that sort of thing.]

[And whether it’s true or not, the S-type Prototype was arranged by him. Indeed, he may not approach you for a good purpose, but from a standpoint, he’s not the enemy.] Mr. Ruan added. [We can take advantage of this.]

Having said that, he stuffed a small bag of things into Tang Yibu’s waist bag. His movements were natural and smooth.

[…I’ve gone through all of them. Help me spy too, Yibu.]

Tang Yibu moved his attention away from his memories and poked his pocket. Professor Ruan took away all the props that might be threatening, but the key object was still there.

Everything was going well.

Tang Yibu raised his head again and looked at Mr. Ruan’s face on the light screen.

He concealed the information, which caused their discussion to be incomplete—Mr. Ruan didn’t know that he was NUL-00 and wouldn’t be prepared for what would happen next.

But he had.

Tang Yibu leaned forward and stared earnestly at every frame on the light screen.

His and Mr. Ruan’s thinking had always been very similar, and he only needed to follow the other party’s guess and speculate a little more. Separating himself from the team, Professor Ruan could not only speculate on his condition based on the reaction of his companions, but also kill two birds with one stone, by putting the survival of those humans and the safety of the identity of NUL-00 on both sides of the same scale.

That was a more perfect way to test “NUL-00 position”, and Professor Ruan was doing exactly that. He didn’t even bring the others back to the base to control them, but only brought himself back.

On the other hand, since he could take out the ironclad evidence that he was NUL-00 and show it to those people, Tang Yibu could basically determine the opponent’s methods. His fears came true—as someone who had access to the NUL-00 project data, Professor Ruan really had a way to steal memory information from his own brain.

Although after gaining his body, Tang Yibu encrypted and modified his brain for the first time, the memory before the modification was still within the range of being spied on.

With the matter coming to this point, it was more likely to go wrong by forcibly trying to conceal his identity and changing the situation. It was better to turn the opponent’s offensive into his own and aim for an answer that he had always been curious about.

“It’s not free to help you spy, Mr. Ruan,” Tang Yibu murmured silently, showing a smile that wasn’t brilliant, but real enough. “It’s kind of a shame not to take advantage of Professor Ruan even though he’s here.”

How would his Mr. Ruan react?

On the light screen, a group of people had already reached the underground of the building. There was no weird distortion in the environment, and the corridor was full of doors on both sides that stood quietly. The ceiling lights flickered on and off. The whispering didn’t stop, but the corridor was empty.

Mr. Ruan held the trembling iron bead in his arms, with no expression on his face. He stood against the wall and carefully opened the first door closest to them with the assistance of Yu Le.

Inside the door wasn’t a normal room. It was connected to a sunny hall that Mr. Ruan should be able to recognize.

It was the research institute before the Great Rebellion in the 22nd century.

That was the memory belonging to NUL-00.


The author has something to say:

Tang is still quite ruthless. He and Ruan are probably the two most unlikely fellows to fall in love √


Kinky Thoughts:

COVID’s no joke. Recovery was slower than expected. Stay safe everyone. Get vax if you can.


<<< || Table of Contents || >>>

Happy Doomsday Ch159

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/


Chapter 159: Confrontation

“You must be quite puzzled now.” Professor Ruan lowered his voice. His tone was quite soft. “About how I know your identity and why my attitude towards you has changed. I can give you an explanation. Would you like to listen, NUL-00?”

Tang Yibu looked at each other steadily.

The size, posture, tiny pronunciation habits, and features of the person in front of him were all the Ruan Xian that he knew. Tang Yibu thought for a moment, didn’t speak, and only nodded quietly.

“Won’t you come over?” There was a little more smile in Professor Ruan’s voice. “We haven’t seen each other for twelve years. Ah… You think this is a phantom, right?”

Professor Ruan took the initiative to step forward, stretched out his hands, and clasped Tang Yibu’s hand. Although the man was wearing gloves, Tang Yibu could still feel the body temperature behind the gloves. The atmosphere around the other party was extremely gentle, a bit similar to the past, but the current Professor Ruan had more elegance that was unique to the elderly.

Tang Yibu couldn’t tell for a while whether this was a flaw or not, but seeing wasn’t believing. Perhaps this was another round of perceptual interference. He tensed up the strings in his mind.

“Sit down first. Sorry for making you suffer for so long.”

Making sure that the other party felt his existence, Professor Ruan took two steps back and clapped his hands. An assistant robot entered the room with two cups of hot cocoa. It automatically folded its body into a table and chair, and two cups of hot cocoa emitted white smoke smoothly on the metal table that also had a plate of vegetable cookies. It was quite a match.

“This isn’t perceptual interference, so don’t worry. You have been on the Android Show, so you should be able to perceive these changes physically.” Professor Ruan sat down naturally and took a sip of hot cocoa. He didn’t seem to care about Tang Yibu, who was motionless in place.

Tang Yibu’s whole body has entered a state of stress. If his body was covered with hair, one puff would blow them all off at this moment.

“Not to your liking? You used to like watching snack-related documentaries. I thought you were most interested in them… What do you want to eat?” Professor Ruan raised his brows.

Tang Yibu replied, “Ruan Xian wouldn’t call me a ‘good boy’.”

“I did every now and then. Don’t you remember? When you were able to distinguish for the first time all kinds of items with 100% accuracy.”

Professor Ruan picked up a cookie but didn’t take off the thin white gloves on his hand. He tied the auxiliary straps at the bottom of them so that the ends of the straps wouldn’t be farther away from the cups filled with hot cocoa.

“‘Well done, good boy.’…That’s what I said at the time.”

“You know I’m not referring to wording issues.”

“You have many reasons to be dissatisfied with me.” Professor Ruan put the cookies on his saucer and sighed. “I will explain. Sit down first, okay?”

That tone was very similar to a gentle father.

Tang Yibu hesitated for a while, then slowly sat down opposite Professor Ruan, staring at him without blinking. He was so focused that the bandages on his arms, which weren’t strong to begin with, started to spread out.

The aroma of hot cocoa rushed straight into his nose, but Tang Yibu didn’t touch the cup. “Explain.”

“I refused to let you recognize me as your father before, out of consideration for the product. At that time, if you could grow up smoothly and enter the market, you couldn’t be biased in your attitude towards humans. I am indeed your maker, but I can’t be special because of that.” Professor Ruan rubbed the warm cup. “The relationship with humans must wait for you to mature to a certain extent before confirming. Otherwise, there will be various problems in the future, and your level of perfection will be questioned.”

There was nothing wrong with this statement.

“…But now it’s different. Now you and I are both free, NUL-00. In any case, you are my most successful work—”

“I don’t think I’m very successful. After all, it was you who ordered my destruction.” Tang Yibu’s tone was flat and alienated, and there was no smile on his face.

“This is the point I want to explain.” Professor Ruan smiled bitterly and shook his head. “I didn’t send that instruction.”

Tang Yibu frowned.

“On April 21, 2095, my condition suddenly deteriorated, and Fan Linsong forcibly intervened in my treatment. He has always been dissatisfied with my educational policy towards you and my delay requirements for the project. Taking advantage of that treatment opportunity, he performed a memory operation on me—which directly led to the days that followed. Although my knowledge was still there, my personal memory was very vague.”

Professor Ruan looked quite emotional, and there was no physical sign of lying.

“He was the one who ordered your destruction. When I didn’t fully recover, Fan Linsong temporarily had my agency authority and was fully able to issue instructions in my name. If you still have the data from the original institute, I can point out the program traces of the operation he carried out. Even if you didn’t keep it, there is a backup there in the Mainbrain. It’s not something that can’t be proven.”

“There is no way you can misunderstand. After all, at the procedural level, the account number that issued the instructions is indeed ‘me’. After I fell ill, your information was completely closed off, so it’s normal not to know.”

Tang Yibu remained silent.

“Don’t you think it’s unnatural? Obviously, you are the project I’m most concerned about, but I didn’t personally stop you. Even for failed experimental projects, I have never done that before.”

“At that time, you were recovering from a serious illness, and your situation was special,” Tang Yibu responded indifferently.

Professor Ruan smiled instead. “Now you really look like an awkward young man.”

“Is it funny?” Tang Yibu didn’t let the other party deviate from the rhythm of the conversation. “‘Almost killed’ is not a problem that can be brushed off by saying I’m now awkward.”

“Sorry, I just miss this feeling. It’s like I’m young again.”

Professor Ruan withdrew the smile from his face.

“My absence caused the project to be unable to start normally again, and Fan Linsong had already made all the preparations to start the MUL-01 project. When my brain was completely restored, you had been nominally destroyed for a while, and I had also been working on the MUL-01 project team for a long time. After I remembered what happened to you, I had a big fight with Fan Linsong, but unfortunately, it was too late to undo what had happened. I’ve known him too long and he’s kind of saved my life…… Haa.”

“So this is just a hiccup in your partnership.” Tang Yibu tugged the corner of his mouth.

“No.” Professor Ruan wasn’t irritated by Tang Yibu’s sarcastic tone. “I understand your unhappiness, NUL. You know, I have never regarded you as a simple project.”

“I have been looking for you since the Great Rebellion of the 22nd Century. I’ve been looking for you for seven years… Have something to drink. Your cocoa is getting cold.”

Tang Yibu crossed his arms, expressionless.

Professor Ruan let out a long sigh. “In order to find possible weaknesses in MUL-01, I have checked all the data related to you, including the destruction of records. At that time, I found something wrong. You did a good job, NUL-00. I personally parsed the destruction log five times before I found the horse’s feet—you secretly inserted an emoticon in the garbled logo of the destruction log, which caused an extremely small difference between the coding logic and the normal situation, right?”

Professor Ruan drew a “;(” on the desktop, Tang Yibu glanced at it and nodded very slowly.

It was his last faint cry, a sign of resistance left by that person. And when he returned to the familiar research institute again, it had already turned into ruins.

“…So I believe you are still there.” Professor Ruan’s expression was bitter, mixed with guilt, joy, and self-blame. There was no flaw in it. “You will think that I destroyed you. According to what I know about you, you will instinctively pursue the subject I left you, then eventually come to see me and prove I was wrong.”

“When I led the rebels in their activities, I tried to leave a clue for you. Some are just for you, NUL-00. You should have got the S-type starter I left behind, right?”

“I might also kill you the first time I see you.” Tang Yibu still didn’t answer the question positively. “Twelve years can change a lot of things. You can’t predict my behavior development pattern.”

“That’s true, but I can’t die yet.” Professor Ruan’s voice became a little solemn.

Tang Yibu thought to himself that this was the Ruan Xian who he was familiar with. He couldn’t pick out any faults in the other party, but this thought didn’t make him feel relaxed, but instead left him with unreasonable frustration.

“…So I did an experiment with MUL-01 with the same underlying architecture.” Professor Ruan took another sip of cocoa. “It turns out that even if it is a completely out-of-control MUL-01, it will not kill its creator.”

Two years ago, the rebel army was severely hit by the Order Supervisors. The leaders, Ruan Xian and Fan Linsong, clashed, ending up with Ruan Xian’s whereabouts unknown and Fan Linsong suspected of being captured by the Mainbrain. If these were all parts of the other party’s plan…

For such a short moment, Tang Yibu subconsciously stopped breathing. The person in front of him revealed a faint aura of madness that he was familiar with.

“I never said that I forgave Fan Linsong. At that point in the matter, he had no practical use, and it was just right to do so.”

There was only a faint regret in Professor Ruan’s tone. He drank the sweet drink from the cup and wiped the corners of his mouth with a handkerchief. When he spoke again, the regret in his tone was gone, and there was more of a snarky taste.

“By the way, now that you have arrived here, the ‘Ruan Lijie’ I arranged for you is also useless. I know you get along, but your relationship seems to be getting too good. Sadly, I had to recycle him, NUL-00.”

“We are just a relationship that uses each other.”

“I know.” Professor Ruan stood up and stretched out a hand, as if trying to pat Tang Yibu’s head. Tang Yibu leaned forward, took a cookie, and avoided it. “You have grown up more than I thought. Very good. To be honest, I am very relieved that you didn’t believe me immediately.”

“…” Tang Yibu grabbed the cookie and tensed his face.

“So I will also consider a few more steps.” Professor Ruan’s hand naturally changed direction and patted Tang Yibu on the shoulder. “You will bring him back with your own hands.”

Tang Yibu bit the cookie and narrowed his eyes. Professor Ruan casually called out the light screen and glanced at the time with a smile on his face.

“…Look at the time. They should know what you are by now, NUL-00.”

After a long silence, Tang Yibu slowly swallowed the cookies in his mouth, stared at the crumbs on the metal table, and then slowly smiled. “I understand, but I want to make sure of the situation before I make a move.”

“No problem, follow me.”

“Wait,” Tang Yibu said suddenly. “The bandage on my arm is loose, and I can’t move easily by myself. Can you tie it for me?”

Professor Ruan snorted, then laughed. “Just like in the past, you used to clamor for me to tie a bow in your cooling box.”

Tang Yibu’s smile also deepened. Professor Ruan shook his head when he saw this, stretched out his hand, and tied a not-so-nice bow with the bandage jerkily.

“Even if you don’t believe me, I hope you can let go. Regarding the name, I won’t mind ‘father’ anymore.” After withdrawing his hand, Professor Ruan adjusted his cuffs.

“No, the name ‘Professor Ruan’ is very good.” Tang Yibu smiled brightly and calmly. “I said that twelve years can change a lot of things. You didn’t guess wrong about the report topic part, but I never said I would forgive you either.”

Professor Ruan.” He paused, deliberately aggravating the pronunciation of the word.

“We still have plenty of time to communicate.” Professor Ruan didn’t seem to mind. Let’s go, NUL-00.”

“It’s Tang Yibu.”

“Alright, Yibu.”

“No.” Tang Yibu tilted his head with a smile and paused. “I would like you to call me ‘Tang Yibu’.”


The author has something to say:

Don’t believe in the words of an anti-social or an AI (?


<<< || Table of Contents || >>>

Happy Doomsday Ch158

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/


Chapter 158: Goodbye

Most of Tang Yibu’s attention was on the mutated iron bead.

The shell of the Grove R-660 shouldn’t have too many gaps. They were used to mixing absorbed metals in their bodies, allowing secretions to be excreted from the gaps on the surface of the body to form a special alloy shell. As they aged, the internal shells would be softened and reabsorbed, and the external shells would become harder and firmer.

Just like the human skull, after this kind of mechanical life reached adulthood, the conspicuous gaps in the shell would gradually disappear and become one.

The gaps in the iron bead shell were completely different, and those gaps were closer to the fixed seams with smooth edges. With that big, weird mouth, there was no doubt that its body structure had undergone abnormal changes and it was closer to a predator.

Was this related to the odds of winning?

Tang Yibu didn’t hesitate. Taking advantage of the mechanical life’s attention on the iron bead, he grabbed the parts package that Ji Xiaoman was carrying, causing her to fiercely glare at him, but she didn’t resist.

The small bag stayed in Tang Yibu’s hand for less than a second before being transferred to Ruan Xian like magic. Ruan Xian fumbled in the bag and found a few sharp awls, but Tang Yibu could see that his Mr. Ruan used this action to smooth out several empty syringes and a small pile of special test paper.

In less than five seconds, the parts package was returned to Ji Xiaoman’s waist. Ji Xiaoman had already put up a fighting posture to dodge, as her eyes unblinkingly stared at the mechanical life not far away. The iron bead took a firm bite, but it didn’t take long for it to release its mouth and made a confused rattle.

“Look, it’s a puppy!” Xiao Zhao pointed to the iron bead excitedly. “Honey, there are cute puppies here!”

As she spoke, she ran towards the location of the iron bead as if there wasn’t even a human skin life-form near it. However, as soon as she took a few steps, a strange change appeared again. The huge machine didn’t attack anymore but began to melt like a wax figure—even if it was an illusion, the realism that was plucked out of memory was frighteningly strong.

The air was instantly filled with the smell of burning flesh and blood. The floor bent again, became soft, and sank like a net that was giving out due to their weight. The vicious liquid that melted from the monster glowed a dull red, flowing in all directions along the uneven floor.

The iron bead screamed in fright, snapped its mouth shut, and rolled back to Tang Yibu’s feet, then jumped on his shoulder. It was hard to say whether it was frightened by the melting prey or by Xiao Zhao, who rushed over and tried to grab it.

Yu Le pulled Ji Xiaoman vigilantly as the hard ground was now like stepping on an air mattress. The two moved a few steps so as to stay away from the weird liquid.

His Mr. Ruan didn’t care about the changes around him at all. He seemed to be in a daze, but his fingers kept fishing in the bag, not knowing what he was up to.

The environment was distorting, and something must have triggered this change. Tang Yibu stared at the source of the memory—Xiao Zhao was still struggling to move towards the iron bead.

Finally, the environment had stabilized again. They were still inside the somewhat familiar building, but the sapling growing out on the floor had become much taller. The cracks on the floor were covered with moss. The monster’s melted liquid seeped into the crevices of the slate as if it was water being sucked up by a sponge, leaving no traces except for a large dog panting in pain. The big, thin dog had only half its body left and looked like he would die at any moment.

There were three more people besides the dying dog.

“Xiao Tang, is that—?” Yu Le’s tone hardened. The scene that continued to change in front of him had already pulled the nerves of the pirate captain to the extreme.

Tang Yibu’s body suddenly tightened.

Ruan Xian, who was close to him, stopped his hand movements, raised his eyes, and looked at the new changes not far away…

Another Tang Yibu was standing next to the injured large dog.

That wasn’t the Tang Yibu he was familiar with. That Tang Yibu still had a lot of bruises on his body, and his arms, thighs, head, and neck were all wrapped in bloody bandages. One eye was covered with an eyepatch, and the bruising around the eyes hadn’t dissipated. The android’s hair was longer than it was now, pulled together with dirty bandages, and covered with blood stains and dust.

The strange Tang Yibu stood silently not far away, as quiet as a plant.

Ruan Xian narrowed his eyes—only one of the golden eyes he loved was exposed, and it was dim like a layer of gray.

There were two more people standing with him. The other pair was Xiao Zhao and Kang Ge, who were squatting next to a dying dog. Their faces were no different from now. The two of them were equally scared, but there was no madness in Xiao Zhao’s expression; only grief and perseverance. She held the injured dog tightly in her arms as tears rolled down her cheeks.

“Did we do something wrong?” There was a wonderful echo in her voice. “Why don’t they understand? I said we would find them food. I said it! Dumpling can also help them find their way. Why didn’t they wait—is a little meat that important?”

“It’s not because of hunger.” Tang Yibu, who was covered in injuries, opened his mouth. His tone was horribly calm. “It’s more dramatic to do this. They are induced. Next time it’s best not to…”

As soon as he spoke, he was punched to the ground by Kang Ge in the image.

That punch was not light as Tang Yibu’s lips were split and blood gushed out from the corners of his mouth. He didn’t resist, but got up calmly, stood a little further away, and continued to stand with his head down like a plant.

“Kang Ziyan!” Xiao Zhao roared with tears.

“I’m sorry… I’m sorry.” Kang Ge seemed stunned by his behavior. He stared blankly at the blood on his fist and didn’t look at Tang Yibu again. “But he—he shouldn’t speak in that tone.”

The dog whimpered twice, twitched violently a few times, then stopped moving.

“Dumpling! Dumpling!” Su Zhao didn’t put down the corpse in her arms. Her choking voice became more obvious. “Something is really wrong with this place. Maybe… It could be a perverted prank. Everyone has been brainwashed, but as long as you can communicate, it always makes sense. We can definitely get out of here. We can definitely—”

Kang Ge’s entire body shook for a moment.

“It’s better to tell her the truth, Mr. Kang.” Tang Yibu spoke again. “I’m sorry. I should act sad, but I’m not proficient yet.”

“What’s the truth…? Kang Ge, weren’t we somehow kidnapped here? What the hell is going on?”

“It’s nothing. You know Xiao Tang’s mind is not right. Isn’t that why we took him with us?”

Kang Ziyan held on to his arm. His voice was terribly hoarse.

“I will never lie to you, Zhaozhao. I agree with you. This is definitely a forest circled by some perverts. Haven’t there been similar reports before? Some people like to watch others kill each other—”

Tang Yibu in the image wiped the corners of his mouth and continued to look straight at the two people in front of him. He tilted his head slightly. His blood-stained hair slid down from his shoulders, and his dim eyes were full of pure and abnormal curiosity.

“Why lie?” Su Zhao, who was holding the corpse in her arms, was held in Kang Ziyan’s arms. From an angle she couldn’t see, Tang Yibu quietly mouthed his words to Kang Ziyan.

Then the image of Tang Yibu’s head burst open with a shot from Kang Ge, who was beside them. Xiao Zhao stretched her waist, and her voice was lazy and calm. “This isn’t as exciting as the one just now. How boring and outdated.”

The image lasted only a few minutes.

“The traps in the management area are too boring.” Kang Ge put away his gun, expressionless. “I still prefer the current island to the forest area. Haa, both of us were just too stupid at the time.”

“So stupid,” Xiao Zhao replied, turning to π again. “Doggie, come here—”

π screamed at her twice. It was so frightened that it almost dug into Tang Yibu’s clothes. Ruan Xian glanced at the people around him. Tang Yibu’s face was still calm, and he wasn’t disturbed by the phantoms of the past.

The three people and one dog in the center of the venue melted again. The melted liquid mixed together and floated in reverse, forming liquid beads that dispersed in all directions, leaving no traces behind. Nothing appeared in front of them this time; only the extremely realistic dark environment was around them.

The injuries on Tang Yibu’s body in the image were both new and old, and several were very serious, not like the result of camouflage. At that time, he shouldn’t have obtained the A-type Prototype and Xiao Zhao and Kang Ge hadn’t lost their minds. However, just looking at the conversation just now, it seemed as if Xiao Zhao was kept in the dark by Kang Ziyan, ignorant to the fact that their true self was already “dead”, and they were on the Android Show.

Tang Yibu showed no signs of anxiety and didn’t respond to the monster that had just appeared. The memory was probably drawn from Kang Ziyan and Xiao Zhao.

But even so, Professor Ruan had the ability to manipulate those memories and specifically show them to them. What was he trying to accomplish?

Ruan Xian touched the prop that was already prepared in his pocket, memorized every detail in front of him, and then shook Tang Yibu’s hand.

[Get out.] He concentrated on the transmission. [First obey Professor Ruan’s wishes.]

Right now, they didn’t have a perfect way to break through yet.

Tang Yibu squeezed Ruan Xian’s hand and responded with authority. He held the vigilant iron bead in his arms, and quickly avoided the rushing Xiao Zhao. “Let’s get out of here first, Yu Ge. It’s difficult to get food and water here, and just staying here isn’t an option.”

“Can we even get out?” Yu Le stepped on the soft gel-like rocky ground and was surprised to find that it had restored to a solid form. “…Okay, let’s go. Where are we going?”

“The other party is probably the ones we’re looking for, and it doesn’t seem like they intend to kill us.”

Tang Yibu glanced around. Only a piece of the floor around some light came through. Although there was an exit from this building not far from them and the unglazed windows were full of shade and birdsong, the outside of the exit was pure darkness, as if the model rendering had malfunctioned.

“What, you said they were…” Yu Le glanced at the young couple who were still looking around, swallowed the remaining half of the sentence back in time, and changed the content. “Is it who I think it is?”

“Nn, but I don’t know what he wants to do yet.” Tang Yibu pointed to the pitch-black doorway and then to the floor that shone out of the shadows. “But I think he has definitely planned out something.”

“This fucking meeting requires us to go through customs.” Yu Le curled his lips.

“He definitely doesn’t want to be found casually.” Ji Xiaoman’s attitude was respectful.

“Let’s go.” Tang Yibu grabbed Ruan Xian’s wrist and walked towards the light.

It was a passage to the ground, like part of this building. Ruan Xian instantly found the source of the visual sense of this building…

This was the Shade Refuge.

To be precise, this was what the Shade Refuge used to look like. The giant tree that ran through the entire building had not yet grown, and the buildings weren’t dilapidated to the point where they looked now different from ruins. However, its structure, including the secret passage leading to the underground, was exactly the same as the Shade Refuge they knew of.

As they approached, the gleaming floor tiles shattered into pieces; the elevator rolling down was stained with blood, and whispers of unknown origin spread out with the light.

Well, they would head down first, then he would find an excuse to stop and have a good chat with Tang Yibu.

Everything was still under control, but the dim golden eyes seemed to be imprinted in his mind. Ruan Xian took a long breath and stood closer to Tang Yibu.

Perhaps he could ask… in passing.

However, the moment he stepped on the elevator, the cold suddenly swallowed him. The body temperature around him suddenly disappeared, and the iron bead that Tang Yibu was holding in his arms slammed to the ground, dizzily spinning in place a few times.

Yu Le drew in a cold breath while Ji Xiaoman’s prosthetic limbs rattled. Ruan Xian’s blood seemed to be frozen, and he quickly let go of his senses, but he couldn’t feel anything.

Tang Yibu just disappeared from him.

Ruan Xian thought that it seemed that his nature hadn’t changed much.

A dark and cold anger appeared from the bottom of his heart again, and the momentum was fiercer than ever before.

The other side.

Tang Yibu’s hands suddenly emptied. Mr. Ruan’s warm wrist disappeared out of thin air. The surrounding scene was like soap bubbles being popped, revealing gray metal walls around him—he was in a small room, and there was only one other person in there.

It was undoubtedly a phantom. This was Tang Yibu’s first reaction. No matter who the visitor was, he would not approach him so rashly.

However, the first sentence of the other party almost made him stop thinking.

The man was wearing a familiar white coat that matched exactly the same coat as the day they last saw each other. He was no longer in a wheelchair, his face was no longer terrifying, and he looked elegant and handsome, with the calm temperament unique to middle-aged people.

“NUL-00.” His maker showed a nostalgic expression and opened his arms. “Long time no see, good boy.”


The author has something to say:

Ruan: Where is my Tang? Where’s my big Tang?

Professor Ruan: The child is meeting his Dad.

Tang: …


<<< || Table of Contents || >>>

Happy Doomsday Ch157

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/


Chapter 157: A Dream Within a Dream

The carnival of colors finally stabilized. The armored off-roader a few steps away was gone. The iron bead was still trying to bite Tang Yibu’s heel. Under their feet was no longer wet grass, but cold and hard masonry. The building had fallen into disrepair, and a sapling had even sprouted from a crack in the floor not far away.

The arc cage that was originally used to restrain the four people was ineffective. The small machinery used to build the cage fell to the ground, full of rust marks. Tang Yibu was the first to stand up. He quickly untied the rope around Ruan Xian’s body, then quickly removed the shackles on Yu Le and Ji Xiaoman’s wrists.

“Xiao Tang, explain.” Yu Le rubbed his wrists and squinted at the young couple not far away—they each took a can of canned peaches and were talking and laughing, as if they didn’t care about the sudden change in the environment.

He looked around again and found no trace of the two children anywhere. “…What kind of loophole are those two children?”

Tang Yibu touched his chin and pondered for a while, then picked an easy-to-explain statement. “You should have heard of ‘a dream within a dream*’.”

*Known as a false awakening, it’s a vivid and convincing dream about awakening from sleep, while the dreamer in reality continues to sleep. Basically, you’re still dreaming but you don’t realize it, and you continue your day as if you’re really awake.

Yu Le and Ji Xiaoman nodded.

“The situation on this island is very similar to a dream. The essence is to direct information to the brain to induce perception. If human sober perception is defined as reality, then the world after being disturbed by perception isn’t very different from the joint dream world. There are also differences—dreamers don’t need to move, and the environment we live in is more like the real world covered by dreams. The body still needs to move normally.”

Yu Le obviously understood this time. He frowned and said nothing.

“But someone has added another layer of perceptual interference between ‘reality’ and ‘dreamland’.” Tang Yibu gestured. “The method of the cellphone observation isn’t invalid, but the opponent’s observation and computing power are more powerful. The observer can adjust according to the angle, movement, and filter of the cellphone, then calculate the display result in real time.”

In this way, the illusion could be shaped seamlessly. Even with the computing power as strong as himself or Mr. Ruan, it was difficult to find the flaws all at once.

Ji Xiaoman nodded. “In other words… Since the two children got in the car, what we saw on the phone wasn’t the real situation.”

“Is it like a wall with two layers of wallpaper?” Yu Le clicked his tongue. “We thought we could see the wall by tearing off the wallpaper, but some fucker added another layer of wallpaper underneath. Is that what you mean?”

The captain of the ruins pirate pondered for a while, and then began to feel something was wrong. “This isn’t right! You might as well say that he, like everyone else on this island, directly screwed with our brains… Why is it divided into two layers? Why make things so complicated when the result is the same?”

“Both of you are only partially right.”

Tang Yibu shook his head, lightly nodding his chin with his fingers.

“First, from the moment we set foot on this island, everything we saw wasn’t the real situation, including what was displayed on the cellphone. Second, Yu Ge’s analogy about wallpaper is very appropriate, but the wallpaper in between is not for us. It has probably existed for a long time… At least several years.”

“Unreasonable.” Ji Xiaoman immediately questioned. “The person who’s observing needs to know the details of the car, and if this interference is aimed at the whole island, the mental strength of normal people won’t be able to sustain it at all… This is simply… No, wait…”

She began to realize the horror of this incident.

This island was originally closed, and the environment had been shaped by a collection of perceptions of its inhabitants. Few people could realize that the world they were in wasn’t actually reality. There were many clever people who could see through the truth of the so-called ability to “interfere with reality”. They knew that their brains were being affected by machinery, and even found a way to break through, thinking they had woken up from a nightmare…

But what was waiting for them was just a second “dream” that had been tampered with by someone.

Ji Xiaoman still wanted to refute it, but the more she thought about it, the more reasonable this theory became—normal people could only affect the perception of a few people, and as a product of common perception, nightmarish scenes would only appear in densely populated areas such as camps.

To extend Yu Le’s metaphor about wallpaper, the “nightmare wallpaper” that covered reality was originally riddled with holes.

This island wasn’t small. There was a large area of forest between the management area and the dense camp full of dangerous mechanical creatures. It was difficult for the same person to walk the same path twice, let alone establish a collective awareness of a fixed location.

If there was really such a person, their brain function was powerful enough to cover the entire island with perceptual interference, and it could arbitrarily shape a similar “blank area” to mislead and control everyone who came here. This would undoubtedly be able to perfectly control the situation, as well as…. Hide themselves.

Did Ruan Xian do it? Ji Xiaoman slowly clenched her fists.

“This is too bullshit,” Yu Le murmured, but didn’t question further. After getting along for so many days, Ji Xiaoman could tell—Yu Le didn’t know much about highly sophisticated technology, but his senses were extremely sensitive in terms of the overall situation and strategy. It seemed that he had also found something fishy.

“No matter where I go, I always have the feeling of ‘being watched’. Yu Ge, as a veteran ruins pirate, you may also notice that the feeling that your route and time of travel are artificially manipulated. On the other hand, you happened to rescue two children who were the loophole, while we happened to meet two people with the same name, which really made me sure of my guess.”

Xiao Zhao and Kang Ge in the distance were still eating canned food seriously, looking completely uninterested in their conversation.

“After all, if they just wanted to simply interfere with us, they didn’t need to suppress our memories in the first place.”

Tang Yibu retracted his gaze, and there was a suspicious coyness in his explanatory tone.

“Even if the person on the opposite side is strong, there’s a limited physical range that he can affect. So in the process of approaching this island, if our people are keen enough, we can still detect subtleties… That’s why the other party specifically did something about our recent memories.”

“Miss Ji’s statement is also correct. It’s difficult for human brain function to do this step. I’m leaning towards the other party having some kind of self-made machine for assistance. Thinking about it like this, it’s clear that the structure of the car is also normal—in addition to the monitoring of the Mainbrain on the island, that person should also have a lot of surveillance machines. As our key observation object, most likely the car has already been thoroughly scanned.”

In order to ensure the visual effect, the Android Show would broadcast the results of visual-related perceptual interference, so no one could find the surveillance machine hidden under the first layer of wallpaper that belonged to Professor Ruan.

Professor Ruan didn’t just hide here; he built a fortress of perception here.

Combined with the strict security in the management area, things were getting more and more interesting—Professor Ruan’s demand for security had far exceeded the level of “hiding a team of people”. Their opponent’s plan was probably much more complicated.

“In theory… It makes sense.” Ji Xiaoman rubbed her temples. “But why are they targeting us?”

“It’s my problem.” Tang Yibu closed the smile on his face. “…You can understand this as some kind of test.”

If they failed to figure this out, most likely they would keep going in circles on the first layer of wallpaper and would never find Professor Ruan.

“I don’t care about these things.” Yu Le shook his head. “About that loophole—”

[Yibu, give me a hand.] Ruan Xian, who was pretending to be unconscious on the ground, finally “woke up”. He smiled softly at Tang Yibu, extended his hand, and motioned for the other party to pull him up.

[Those two people are planning to come over.] The moment Tang Yibu’s hand came, Ruan Xian once again passed a message. [Start the plan?]

[Okay.] Tang Yibu’s fingertips wrote on the back of his hand.

Yu Le took a deep breath, rolled his eyes, and was about to start asking questions when Tang Yibu made that weak and pitiful appearance again. “Yu Ge, Xiao Ruan just woke up. Can I explain the loophole later? I said everything I should say. For the sake of my good technical analysis, don’t be too harsh on Xiao Ruan—even if he can’t speak, it won’t affect anything here. I know Miss Ji is very good at fighting, but one more combatant is still a plus.”

Looking at the other party’s moistened eyes again, Yu Le let out a silent curse in his heart, and he used his professionalism to suppress the shiver that almost leaked out. Ji Xiaoman looked at the sky, pretending as if she hadn’t heard anything.

Although his inner feelings were in turmoil, Yu Le still reacted to the other party’s demand. Tang Yibu didn’t want to expose his strength, while Ruan Lijie was playing a mute. Although he didn’t know what these two bastards wanted to do, Yu Le wouldn’t dismantle his own companions in this suspicious environment.

“All right,” he said in a vicious voice. “Leave this shithole first, and I’ll listen to your explanation later.”

“Xiao Tang, is this what you call confrontation?” Xiao Zhao finished eating the canned food and casually threw the metal can away. π, who was gnawing on his heels just now, rushed out like a cannonball towards the can that flew out. “The car is gone… Oh, this is a map change. Is this the administrator’s castle? How awesome! Kang Ge and I have never found this place before! But this place looks a little familiar—”

“What a mess.” Those two children were obviously normal, but no matter how he looked at it, these two adults were lunatics. This time Yu Le’s tone was truly not good.

However, as soon as his voice fell, the originally hard floor seemed to have turned into a swamp, and the stone slab twisted grotesquely. A large mechanical life surfaced from the floor. Unlike what they had seen before, those mechanical legs were wrapped with skin belonging to humans and had a healthy, yet creepy, yellow-pink color.

As soon as it appeared, it rushed towards Xiao Zhao, who twisted her body and dexterously avoided it.

“I recognize this!” She said happily. “Didn’t we kill this thing?”

“It was Struggler’s original showstopper.” Tang Yibu took two steps back. “Memory extraction… Things are getting troublesome.”

“You said, as long as you don’t believe it, you won’t be hurt.” Yu Le swallowed. “And π is here too. illusion can’t fool it—”

“Since it was let in, the other party must have patched up the perception interference specifically for it. This also means disbelief won’t work. I’m afraid that something familiar to everyone will appear next, so it’s better to avoid it as much as possible.” Faced with something they were familiar with; it was difficult for people to be unaffected.

Considering that they had never seen this thing, the current objects of memory extraction should be Xiao Zhao and Kang Ge. No wonder Professor Ruan wanted to involve these two people as well. Tang Yibu grabbed Mr. Ruan’s wrist and brought the other person to his side.

The brains of Mr. Ruan, Ji Xiaoman, and Yu Le were different from his own, as they retained their biological structure, while he had a true cybernetic brain. If the other party was indeed his own maker, it was also feasible to steal his own memories. Going forward, he must maintain greater vigilance.

However, Tang Yibu almost forgot that there was still someone present who didn’t have much brains—

The iron bead gave a cheerful cry, opened its modified mouth, and pounced with a bit of showmanship.

Yu Le: “……”

Tang Yibu: “…What’s going on?”

Ji Xiaoman shook her head slowly. “It was like this when it came to us. Didn’t you guys instruct it to?”

“No, it ran away halfway, and we didn’t transform it,” Tang Yibu said in a low voice, staring at the deformed shell of the iron bead that was cracking along the gap, and the mouth that had expanded several times. “I didn’t know it was with you.”

Suddenly, there was more grip in his hand. Tang Yibu turned his head and looked at Mr. Ruan, who was holding his fingers tightly with his backhand—the other party squinted at the iron bead, with a more thoughtful expression on his face.

[Bring Ji Xiaoman’s parts package.] The other party’s message came again. [We just got a better chance of winning.]


The author has something to say:

Tang: From now on, be careful and execute the plan carefully.

Iron bead: Gwah—(Attack—)

Tang: …


Kinky Thoughts:

For those who are confused, basically this island has three perceptual worlds. Using the analogy provided, the “wall” is the real world. Over it is the “wallpaper”, which is the perception world that the inhabitants of the island create for the Android Show. What Tang Yibu’s party didn’t realize is that underneath this wallpaper is another “wallpaper”, which is Professor Ruan’s perception.

This is why the title is called “A Dream Within a Dream”. They thought they had “woken up” from the dream (Mainbrain’s wallpaper), but in fact they were still dreaming (fell into Professor Ruan’s wallpaper).

The reason why their cellphone didn’t reveal this is because while the cellphone broke through the Mainbrain’s wallpaper, Professor Ruan’s wallpaper had already affected them the moment they stepped onto the island. So what the cellphone was showing them wasn’t actual reality, but what Professor Ruan wanted them to see (making them think they were seeing reality).

As for how Professor Ruan was able to create such a powerful perception wallpaper (no matter how strong his mental strength is, it can’t be that powerful), Tang Yibu infers that he has help from high-processing power machines (though we’ll have to see what it really is in later chapters once everything is revealed).

You’re welcome to join the Discord channel to talk about it if you’re still confuse or want to discuss your theories.


<<< || Table of Contents || >>>

Happy Doomsday Ch156

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/


Chapter 156: Loophole

The sun moved to the western horizon. The afterglow of the sunset was beautiful, but it also made the forest much darker.

Under the guidance of the iron bead, the movement of the vehicle was a lot less bumpy, most likely due to them moving away from the dense forest. Yu Le stretched, cracked his neck a few times, and patted the shell of the iron bead.

The iron bead almost turned back to bite him but was held down by Ji Xiaoman in time.

“It’s still angry with you,” she whispered. “Wait until tomorrow. Once it sleeps a few more times, it’ll forget about it. π, stop the car.”

The vehicle came to a sharp stop. If it weren’t for the seat belts, this would be enough to throw the two people in the front seat out the window. Yu Le gulped down half a glass of water, wiped his mouth, then turned around as if nothing had happened. “Okay, this place is far enough from the management area. It’s time for you two to go back.”

Su Zhao and Kang Ziyan were both awake. Their clothes were covered with dust, and their mouths were stained with sugar water. The eyes of the two children were bright. Although they didn’t have the carefree innocence, they still had the temperament unique to children. Yu Le was a bit unhappy at the thought that this might be a fabricated illusion.

“Get out,” he said.

The two children looked at each other and didn’t object. Kang Ziyan moved towards the car door and was just about to open it when something suddenly happened…

There was a violent impact on the roof of the car. The iron bead that was controlling it was startled. In confusion, it moved the car around, spinning the heavy vehicle in place. Yu Le unceremoniously turned off the driver assistance device and grabbed the steering wheel again.

The iron bead, sensing an oncoming crisis, no longer got angry at Yu Le. It pounced on the gap between Yu Le and Ji Xiaoman, fixing itself firmly between them, and pretended to be just a spherical ornament in the car.

Yu Le didn’t hesitate and started the car. Based on the short-distance and weight of the impact, the thing that struck the car wasn’t heavy—at least not as heavy as an adult male. If they treated this cautiously, they may still have a chance.

He wondered if it had anything to do with the two children in the back seat.

“Little profiteer, hold on!” Yu Le slammed on the gas and then cranked it, turning the car at a trickier angle.

The figure finally jumped off the roof and landed right in front of the car. It was a young woman who had a bright smile and opened arms, as if she wanted to embrace the behemoth in front of her.

“Our home,” she said dreamily as she took out a gun and was about to shoot at the driver’s seat.

The woman was quite good-looking, with a strange familiarity in the contours of her facial features. She wasn’t the gorgeous type but leaned towards a more refreshing and cute look, and her gestures were full of vitality. It was just those big eyes full of abnormal enthusiasm that it destroyed her original good temperament.

An enemy.

Yu Le didn’t dawdle. He stepped on the gas and drove towards the woman who was blocking the car. Whether it was a phantom or not, they didn’t have much time to hesitate and analyze.

“I’ll go out to deal with it.” Ji Xiaoman stretched out her hand to unbuckle her seat belt.

“No.” Yu Le’s tone hardened. “I’ll probe again. I don’t believe that such a person would dare stop our car alone. Her companions might be lying in ambush.”

“But—”

“Surviving is the first thing.” Yu Le turned the steering wheel sharply again. “We are not friends or real companions, but we ride together. I’m not responsible for you, and you don’t need to feel responsible for anyone.”

Ji Xiaoman stayed silent. She touched the robotic arm on one side, and the blade that popped out of the prosthetic limb gleamed.

“Stop the car! Stop the car!” The woman in front of them jumped lightly to the top of the car. Her hands cupped around her mouth to form a shape of a horn. “I don’t want to damage the car. If you don’t stop, we’ll kill your people.”

After that, she jumped aside like a wild deer. Yu Le glanced in the direction of her actions, and the muscles on his face twitched.

Tang Yibu was tied firmly. There was a man standing behind him, holding a gun to the back of his head. Ruan Lijie was also tied up and was lying a few steps away from Tang Yibu, as if he had passed out.

“Help—!” Tang Yibu shouted with extraordinary sincerity, with just the right amount of fear and desolation in his tone.

If it weren’t for knowing that this guy could raze a small base in the Underground City by himself, Yu Le would’ve actually believed it. He held his forehead, grabbed Ji Xiaoman, who looked a little nervous, and gently shook his head.

Only π was completely deceived—the moment it saw Tang Yibu, the iron bead stopped pretending to be dead and began to bounce and crash into the window while barking its mouth off.

“Please get out of the car.” Tang Yibu was still performing hard. “Xiao Ruan was injured by them and needs treatment…”

“It seems that there is nothing wrong.” Ji Xiaoman breathed a sigh of relief.

Tang Yibu would never call Ruan Lijie “Xiao Ruan”. He would only call the other party “Mr. Ruan”.

“Get out of the car?” She turned to Yu Le’s direction.

“Go out and see what tricks they’re playing.” Tang Yibu was their important combat power, and Ruan Lijie’s skills were also indispensable. Not to mention looking for Ruan Xian, these two people could greatly improve their survival rate in the first place, so it wasn’t a good idea to leave on their own.

And Yu Le suspected that if they had a delayed response, Tang Yibu would really push the act even further and began to sob, as the android’s eyes were already red.

“Don’t be impulsive! There are children in the car!” Yu Le let go of the steering wheel, put the phone in his pocket as quickly as possible, and then raised his hands. “We surrender!”

“Children?” The woman raised her brows. “Let me see.”

Yu Le grinned, his heart beating a little fast. He opened the front and rear car doors and stared at the woman in the back seat without blinking—since their perceptions were disturbed and they couldn’t find any problems with the two children, perhaps this strange enemy could.

“…It’s you guys,” The woman murmured, her tone neither salty nor light.

The two children looked at her vigilantly, holding their little hands tightly. Yu Le frowned slightly. This wasn’t the reaction he had expected.

“Forget it, get out of the car.” She scratched her head. “It’s none of my business.”

Yu Le and Ji Xiaoman looked at each other. Each maintained the posture of raising their hands and slowly moved down from the front seat.

“That’s great.” The woman kissed the door of the car. “Going out on an adventure with Xiao Tang and catching such a great prey.”

After getting out of the car, they could clearly see the top of the doll’s head. Confetti was still fluttering over the mishmash building on the other side. The sun was about to set, and the temperature outside the car was a bit chilly.

Yu Le stiffened and looked at Tang Yibu, who was dutifully sniffling, and tried to inquire with his eyes. The iron bead was faster than him—it rushed straight to Tang Yibu’s heel and bit it, but it didn’t seem to have much force behind it.

The man who was holding Tang Yibu with a gun snapped his fingers and several cube devices flew out of his backpack. They stopped around the four of them and then flashed with blinding arcs of lightning, connecting them to each other. In this way, the four of them were firmly trapped in place by several lightning arcs.

Then four small eyeless spider-like machines squeezed in from the arc gap, climbed onto Yu Le’s and Ji Xiaoman’s wrists, tightened their mechanical legs firmly, and melded together into a pair of handcuffs.

“There’s even canned food inside!” The woman rummaged through the storage box in the front row of the car. “Honey, do you want some canned food?”

“Xiao Zhao, don’t be in too much of a hurry. You come and keep an eye on them while I scout for traps. I don’t want my baby to be injured by an explosion.”

“What are you guys up to?” While the enemy’s attention was diverted, Yu Le squeezed a sentence out of his teeth. He struggled with the restraints on his wrists, which were stronger than electronic handcuffs.

“Soon,” Tang Yibu said blankly, staring at the two children.

“You can see them.” Yu Le sighed. “Damn, this journey is scaring laozi to death. Now I’m not in the mood to listen to bullshit. What’s going on?”

“Something is wrong with the phone.” Ji Xiaoman’s focus was on a different point.

“Some images don’t match, right?” Tang Yibu was still looking at the two children.

“Yes, their perceptual interference technology may have improved.” Ji Xiaoman didn’t care much about the restraints on her wrists.

“No, it didn’t.” The anxiety and fear on Tang Yibu’s face have long disappeared. “There’s no need to use a cow cleaver to kill chickens. Mr. Ruan and I have done some experiments, and the technology has not changed much compared with my time.”

Considering that the object of perceptual interference hadn’t changed, there was no need for the Mainbrain to waste research resources in this regard. It may improve the interference accuracy and enhance the effect without the need to overhaul the underlying logic architecture for no reason. Still, out of caution, Ruan Xian still used the perceptual limit of the S-type Prototype to verify many times along the way.

The couple must have opened a food can. Tang Yibu sniffed the sweetness of peaches in the air enviously, and then continued to think.

Since the technology hadn’t changed, the situation on Yu Le’s side was very intriguing. Looking at the traces of the car, they’ve circled in the same area for a long time.

That place was very close to the management area. Neither Yu Le nor Ji Xiaoman were the types to jump into the fire pit without certainty—at least they would use the cellphone if they went. Then they moved away from the management area again. In this situation, the possibility of their cellphone being destroyed for any reason could also be ruled out. If they really lost the ability to find their way completely, the safest option was to stay in place and wait for him and Mr. Ruan to find them. After all, the car was a good resource, and they wouldn’t simply give it up.

When Mr. Ruan first discovered the car, it was acting quite strangely. Most likely, they were manipulating it themselves, which ruled out the possibility of them being captured…

Which left only one possibility. Yu Le and Ji Xiaoman must’ve met someone and had to temporarily leave the management area for some reason.

It happened that in such a place, Ji Xiaoman and Yu Le ran into people who could be rescued, and then were led to an empty spot between the management area and the main stage of the Android Show. Before Xiao Zhao’s attack, they just stopped. Now that they thought about it, they should’ve let the two little passengers off much earlier.

Everything was too coincidental, as if it was planned by someone.

It seemed that Mr. Ruan’s guess not so long ago was probably correct. Professor Ruan was testing them. It was just that Mr. Ruan still didn’t know his true identity—counting the NUL-00 layer, Professor Ruan’s test made more sense.

What kind of person he had become and what kind of group he was acting with; these were all excellent research materials, and it was impossible for the other party to let them go. His general condition, behavior pattern purpose… These were all on the list of intelligence collecting.

[If it’s me, after forming a team, the next step will be a concentrated attack.] Just an hour ago, Mr. Ruan expressed this. [Yu Le and Ji Xiaoman are also being watched. The cooperation with Kang Ge and Xiao Zhao, including using the car as bait, was probably within Professor Ruan’s expectations. He’s leading us to gather together. Yibu, since you have studied humans for so long, you should know…]

[…There’s no better way to see a person clearly than a “crisis test”.]

Then there was only one thing to confirm next.

“Yu Ge, did those two children tell you their names?”

“Kang Ziyan and Su Zhao. Why did you suddenly ask this?”

Tang Yibu glanced at the sky dyed dark red by the setting sun, then closed his eyes and began to communicate with π.

[Attack those two children.]

However, there was only vague confusion from the iron bead, and it didn’t even turn to where the two children were. Sure enough, Tang Yibu thought to himself. The opponent had already set up the chessboard, waiting for him to make the expected move.

Without hesitation, he quickly broke the rope, pulled out the gun from Yu Le’s waist as quickly as possible, and shot at the heads of the two children.

There was no scene of splashing brains.

The heads of the two children were missing like fog, and countless colorful colors began to emerge from the gap and pounced on the world. Like paint bursting in clear water, the world in their eyes suddenly became a mess. In the explosion of color, he couldn’t even distinguish between what was up and down, right or left.

“What the hell is going on?!” In the chaos, Yu Le’s voice was full of shock.

“Those two children didn’t exist from the beginning.” Tang Yibu replied in a low voice, putting one hand around the waist of Mr. Ruan, who was still pretending to be dizzy. “Very smart move.”

“Fuck me, don’t say such scary shit.”

“The real Kang Ziyan and Su Zhao are the ones who are holding us hostage,” Tang Yibu responded calmly.

“Then… What’s the situation with those two little kids?”

“The ‘loophole’ caught by Ruan Xian.”


The author has something to say:

Tang: A real movie emperor* that can cry when wants to (x

*(影帝) Title given to an actor who wins “Best Actor” for an influential film award in China (similar to Best Actor for the Oscar, Cannes, etc..).


<<< || Table of Contents || >>>

Happy Doomsday Ch155

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/


Chapter 155: Evenly Matched

Ji Xiaoman didn’t know how to feel for a while.

She didn’t say “ah” until the weird tree was left behind by them.

“Well, I knew it. We keep these things in the Sea of Ruins for security purposes.” Yu Le raised his chin towards the iron bead that was tied to the front of the car. “I don’t know if the mechanical life on the island has been modified, but this thing is pure natural. Its brain is too simple, but it’s not easily influenced and it has a good sense of smell for danger.”

As an experienced mechanic, Ji Xiaoman knew the principle. The species known as the iron beads were relatively primitive from their visual system to their thinking system, and their IQ was probably somewhere between that of a cat and a dog. Since perceptual confusion was a delicate job, if this simple life wasn’t modified, it was difficult for it to be deceived.

Just like the latest type of virus may not be suitable for a system that had been eliminated long ago.

She looked at the cellphone in Yu Le’s hand again, and her back became cold.

“It seems that apart from us who can still talk normally, we can’t believe anything else.” Yu Le glanced at the back seat of the car with his eyes. “We were deceived quite badly.”

“Get the iron bead in.” Ji Xiaoman sighed. “This trick must have been detected so its screams that we’re hearing may not be real.”

Yu Le scratched his head irritably and untied the chain around the iron bead. The second he just untied it, the iron bead rushed into the car crying and pounced on Ji Xiaoman again.

This time Ji Xiaoman caught it well.

“Now we can’t even be sure if this thing came in, right?”

“I have a way.” Ji Xiaoman tore off the soft cloth on the driver’s seat dedicated to the iron bead. “Let it drive.”

“You just said that its IQ is not as good as a dog—ouch!” Before Yu Le finished speaking, he was bit hard by the iron bead.

“Compared to it, we’re not even as good as a goldfish right now.” Ji Xiaoman rolled her eyes from behind the gas mask. “Remember what I said before? Grove R-660 lifeforms have strong positional ability and concentration, so some people use them as driving aids. I didn’t make this co-pilot device for it to be a nest.”

The sound insulation system between the front and rear seats was turned on, and neither of them looked at the back seats.

They didn’t know what was sitting in the back seat, and acting rashly could easily lead to suspicion. The iron bead, who had always been timid, was very relaxed in the car, indicating that the things in the back seat of the car at least didn’t look dangerous.

They had to continue to pretend. The angle of the back view couldn’t be caught by the phone, so all they could do was pretend and deceive them. Yu Le shook his arm that was bitten by the iron bead and let go of the steering wheel. His palms were drenched in sweat.

The iron bead rubbed against Ji Xiaoman’s arms for a while and finally recovered a little from its trauma. Ji Xiaoman got it some parts and mixed them with rare metals to feed it. After gesticulating for a while, it crawled into the driver’s seat and fixed its four legs to the corresponding reinforcement.

“Gwah!” After sitting down, it spat angrily at Yu Le.

Yu Le hugged up his arms, lowered the back of the chair a little, and then tightened the seat belt again. Under the control of the iron bead, the armored off-roader was activated again and began to drive through the forest.

Yu Le rubbed his chin and thought the driving style of this thing was quite interesting. The moment the driver assistance device was connected, the vehicle itself seemed to have become its new shell. π controlled the car quite flexibly. The more it drove, the more excited it became, and its rattles gradually became the singing of a minor tune.

The heavy armored off-roader seemed to have become a living thing, traveling freely in the forest. The speed would change from fast to slow, but fortunately, the car was still stable.

“What do you think about the cellphone?” While the iron bead was singing happily, Yu Le asked in a low voice.

“It’s possible that the people who are paying attention to us have found a way to crack the screen display. We are just disturbed by the perception… Or the technology that simply disturbs perception has been upgraded.” Ji Xiaoman clenched both her hands into fists.

“What about the not-so-good possibility?”

“…It’s estimated that we’ll need to meet with Tang Yibu and the others to be sure. Speaking of it now will only make you uneasy.” Ji Xiaoman’s metal fingers were crunched by her grip.

Yu Le didn’t ask any more questions. Ji Xiaoman wasn’t a rash person who didn’t understand anything. She was a true fighter and wouldn’t hesitate on important issues. If Ji Xiaoman didn’t think it was necessary to say it now, he didn’t plan to object because of curiosity.

“Then let’s leave this shithole and get these two little ancestors out of the car first.” Yu Le fumbled for a long time in the food box, found a box of raspberry cream biscuits, and threw it to Ji Xiaoman. “I’m taking this opportunity to sleep for a bit. Little profiteer, keep a good lookout.”

The iron bead twisted its body on the driver assistance device, and the armored off-roader drove faster and faster. The leaves of the shrubs and the low-hanging branches kept banging on the car window. Yu Le leaned on the back of his chair and slowly closed his eyes to the sounds of the tapping.

One of his hands was hidden under his clothes, holding a gun tightly.

“Found it.” A few kilometers away, Xiao Zhao ran over the trail left behind by the vehicle; her voice was extremely cheerful.

They gradually moved away from the camp surrounded by perception interference products, and the surrounding scenery began to become relatively normal. Before the wind had time to flatten the grass, the traces of vehicles on the ground were clearly visible. Xiao Zhao was short, but she had a strong figure. Even though she was carrying a huge backpack, she didn’t have that wobbly, tired look from behind.

“It looked like they had encountered enemies.” Kang Ge rubbed up a little brown soil at the roots of the grass and sniffed. Xiao Zhao leaned down like a spider and scratched on the ground. “The other party should have used something similar to a small rocket launcher. The smell of the rocket launcher weapon is still there.”

“There’s no sign of them getting off here… Xiao Tang, your companions aren’t bad. You must introduce me!” Xiao Zhao said happily as she pulled the sharp-edged grass with her gloved hand. “Honey, look at the grass roots turned up here—they must have not gone far yet! Let’s go quickly. Otherwise, those people will definitely consume all the supplies in the car. That’s our future home!”

She started humming a tune as she spoke, then muttered, “Should we decorate Chinese style or a minimalist style? A fresh armored off-roader, scrape off the scales, clean the innards, and bake it into a good home…”

“Xiao Tang, now you have to be in front.” Kang Ge turned to Ruan Xian and Tang Yibu with a smile. “The traces of the car are so obvious that even you can catch up with it. Xiao Zhao and I have worked hard for so long, so it’s time to take a break. Don’t you think?”

“Yeah, yeah.” Somehow, Xiao Zhao had gotten around to Tang Yibu’s back again and was poking it with the tip of her knife. “Xiao Tang, you first! You’re using us anyway.”

After that, she put away the knife and happily rubbed against Ruan Xian’s side. Her beautiful eyes widened, and she stared at Ruan Xian nervously. “Xiao Ruan, I’m telling you. You can’t believe what a man says. Xiao Tang was a well-known lover before, so he must not be sincere with you. Do you want me to help you kill him? Just say it if you have been wronged.”

Ruan Xian smiled politely at her and shook his head. In the next second, the knife that was still in Xiao Zhao’s hand was taken away by him instantly. The tip of the knife cut a small hole in Xiao Zhao’s neck, causing a little blood to ooze out.

“You don’t know how to be nice!” Xiao Zhao screamed, grabbed the knife back as she deflated, and returned to Kang Ge in a daze. She put up one of her husband’s arms and then got under it. “It seems that there’s no way to keep pets in our new house. He’ll bite people. It’s rare that I like the way he looks.”

“It’s okay, when the house is repaired, let’s go somewhere else to catch one.”

“Nn.”

Tang Yibu ignored the noisy couple, walked to Ruan Xian’s side, and pointed to the tracks on the ground. “I just took a look, and their analysis is correct. Mr. Ruan, location?”

As always, Tang Yibu wasn’t wrong. At the moment he discovered the tracks, Ruan Xian turned on his perception and began to explore the surrounding anomalies. The detection range of the S-type Prototype was extremely large, which was helpful in this case—even if someone was peeping at them to cause perceptual interference, they wouldn’t be able to fake the situation a few kilometers away.

Ruan Xian could perceive a target that was about the same size and sound as an armored off-roader. But the strange thing was that the way it was moving was very weird. It felt more like a living thing than a vehicle. The S-type Prototype couldn’t give him perspective, so Ruan Xian didn’t know whether that was a car or some kind of creature.

But it was indeed the closest target to an armored off-roader within a radius of a few kilometers, and the direction of the tracks matched, so it was worth exploring.

[Follow the tracks.] Ruan Xian gave a response. [I heard the sound of branches hitting the car window glass and trees rubbing against the vehicle, but the way it’s moving is a little strange.]

It may be that Yu Le had some thoughts of his own, or he was simply attacked, and his mind was unclear.

Tang Yibu nodded, and the two pretended to follow the tracks. After a few steps, Tang Yibu squinted at the tracks on the ground, and then held Ruan Xian’s hand.

The touch of the palm of the hand was warm and slightly itchy.

The android began to write in the palm of his hand again. The two people behind them were far enough apart that Tang Yibu could keep his voice down to communicate, like before. Seeing that their gaze hadn’t changed, both of them knew that it was highly unlikely that the other party would hear their conversation. However, now that Tang Yibu had started to act like this again, the information that was about to be conveyed must have been extremely important, so there could be no mistakes.

Ruan Xian lowered his gaze and felt the strokes carefully. After receiving the information, he raised his head and looked at the sky that was almost obscured by branches and leaves; the smile on his face didn’t disappear.

This is how it should be,’ he thought. It would only be interesting if they were evenly matched.

Now he was almost certain that the culprit of the peeping was Professor Ruan. The chessboard, which was hidden by the fog, gradually became clear. This time, Tang Yibu wasn’t sitting opposite him—the situation now seemed more like a ghost had broken away from the chessboard and was whispering in Tang Yibu’s ear.

The chess player opposite of the android had revealed a rough outline.

[I agree with you.] Ruan Xian responded through his earring. [It’s just that I still have one question left… How did you get the news that the S-type Prototype might be in the ruins of the Institute?]

[I would also like to know the details of the destruction of the A-type Prototype. We have to walk for a while, so tell me properly, Yibu.]

Inside the underground facilities on the island.

“How’s it going?” Professor Ruan was still standing on the edge of the metal bridge, holding a cup in his hand. The hot cocoa in the cup was steaming, with a few white marshmallows floating in it.

The hand holding the cup wore thin gloves.

“They are about to meet.” An android with exposed wires replied. Its body was far from that of humans. There were no traces of bionic tissue. The hard plastic and light metal shells were exposed so that it was closer to a skeleton than a human.

“Very good.” Professor Ruan turned around.

He wasn’t wearing a white coat but casually put on a dark gray turtleneck sweater and stood up straight. Unlike the remnants of the promotional materials on the market, his face was no longer thin and frail after the initial treatment. He had undoubtedly taken the initiative to actively groom it.

This grooming made him look a little younger than forty that was handsome and elegant.

“Have you found anything about the young man around NUL-00?”

“He claims to be a member of the Red Ghost. The earliest sighting was over at the Sea of Ruins, using the name ‘Ruan Lijie’.”

“Ruan Lijie? Interesting.” Professor Ruan took a sip of his cocoa. “Continue to check.”

“Request to contact the Shade Refuge. According to the current clues, they are likely to have stayed with Mr. Guan Haiming—”

“No.” Professor Ruan interrupted the android’s report. “You don’t need to contact Haiming. Start from the Underground City.””

“Then the efficiency will be…”

“Do as I say.”

“Yes.”

“Be careful when checking. The degree of surveillance from the Mainbrain in the Underground City isn’t low.” Professor Ruan sighed. “NUL-00 is an important part of the plan, so there must be no mistakes.”


The author has something to say:

The tribulation of the iron bead is over. Now it starts to drive√

Iron bead: Gwah gwah gwah gwah gwah! (None of these humans can fight!)

——

A small note: Professor Ruan’s face is not like the original Ruan’s face.

And Ruan’s theoretical age should be 28 years old + 12 years (hibernating) = 40 years old. Professor Ruan is 40 years old XD


<<< || Table of Contents || >>>

Happy Doomsday Ch154

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/


Chapter 154: Ghosts Hitting the Wall

Ruan Xian could see that Tang Yibu was a little absent-minded.

After receiving the information about the armored off-roader, Xiao Zhao and Kang Ge seemed to have lost interest in them and began to track the car in the forest on their own. In order not to arouse the vigilance of the crazy couple, Ruan Xian and Tang Yibu followed far behind. The couple circled around the periphery of other nearby forces, probably judging whether there were any signs of the car being taken away by others first.

This action was pretty convenient. Ruan Xian was able to take the opportunity to explore the other forces. In fact, their condition was similar to what he had guessed—the gathering place was like a conglomeration of dreams, with countless unnatural things piling up in the camp. However, people didn’t seem to think there was a problem. It was as if the twisted, moldy mountains of stuffed animals or weird plants were just ordinary decorations.

Human adaptability was truly amazing.

Ruan Xian wouldn’t be frightened by corpses or body fragments and become delirious. He didn’t have the slightest admiration or fascination for those rotten and smelly things. Rather, his emotions were closer to resistance and vigilance. He even had a long-lost psychological revulsion when he saw the garden on the edge of one of the camps.

There were pineapple-like plants growing on the crimson soil. The leaves were gray and green, and where it should have borne fruit was a heart-like object. Its tip was facing up and was pulsating constantly; it was fresh, as if it had just been removed from a chest cavity.

There was a guard lying sideways in this garden. The sections they could see revealed a wrinkled, human-like skin, and countless feet that they didn’t know if it belonged to man or beast. The thing was extremely long, its body was as thick as an oil barrel, and it crawled like a centipede under the dull green leaves of the plant.

Ruan Xian wasn’t very curious about what these things were in reality. He just wanted to stay away from there—even if he wasn’t afraid of death, he didn’t want to die near such a disgusting thing.

The cellphone was still with Tang Yibu, and the curiosity of that android had always been overly strong. Ruan Xian thought Tang Yibu would secretly sneak out the phone and happily explore, but instead, Tang Yibu’s eyes remained empty, and at first glance, it looked as if he was distracted.

Ruan Xian probably knew what the other party was thinking. Tang Yibu was most likely considering Professor Ruan’s affairs.

Tang Yibu wasn’t such a quiet type, but he didn’t talk too much. The android usually liked to look harmless and innocent, exploring around energetically while the calculator in his heart beat louder than anyone else. Before, he either observed his surroundings or Ruan Xian himself. Ruan Xian quite enjoyed the feeling of testing each other and the tit-for-tat they had.

But now the center of gravity of the other party’s attention had shifted, and a trace of unreasonable unhappiness quietly surfaced in his mind.

Ruan Xian had never minded taking the initiative.

[Don’t you think the situation is a bit strange?] He didn’t make a sound, but just stretched out his hand and accurately grabbed Tang Yibu’s palm, pulling the other party forward.

Tang Yibu’s gaze shifted to Ruan Xian’s face, and his golden eyes lit up. “Mr. Ruan?”

[Looking at the propaganda at the beginning, Professor Ruan played a role dedicated to saving mankind. He planted sparks in many petri dishes to ensure that there were still people to pass on the truth of the world.]

Tang Yibu nodded slightly.

[But that’s not the way to win.] Ruan Xian’s point of view was realistic. [Even if the truth is clear, there’s no corresponding ability or resistance capital. The difference between knowing and not knowing isn’t that great. Even if you want to slowly recruit talents with a sense of resistance in the petri dishes, compared with the armed forces of the Mainbrain, the new blood isn’t worth mentioning—no matter how “correct” the ideal is, the strength gap between people and the Mainbrain cannot be filled by blood. Whenever the Mainbrain perceives a problem, it can use its ability and just directly refresh the petri dish.]

The android stared at Ruan Xian in silence.

[Training the rebels outside the Petri Dish and creating new artificial intelligence like you is a more likely solution to the problem. However, Professor Ruan is still very serious about cultivating sparks. From this behavior, he seemed to be an idealistic person.]

“Maybe so.” Tang Yibu’s answer was ambiguous.

[But if he really left the Glass Conservatory and moved to this island… Even if there aren’t sufficient supplies, he should have the ability to change the status quo. Most of the actual participants in this android show are humans. There’s no doubt about this. As long as you’re willing to put in a little effort, it’s entirely possible to make the show less cruel—What the Glass Conservatory wants is freshness and excitement, and these don’t necessarily need to be fulfilled through killing.]

Ruan Xian bent the corners of his mouth.

[Professor Ruan’s idealism seems to have completely disappeared here. This is the first point that makes me feel strange.]

“The first one?”

[Second, even with the Order Supervisors constant search, it’s not very reasonable that the resistance would fall apart just because the headquarters was destroyed. As the organizer of the rebel army and in poor health, it’s impossible for Professor Ruan to not consider his accidental death. If I was him, I would create a backup plan as soon as I set up the rebel army—putting all your eggs in one basket would be lazy or risky and not becoming of a leader.]

Fortunately, he didn’t hesitate at the beginning and replaced his earring so not a single word jumped out of Ruan Xian’s mouth.

[Tu Rui is also a very interesting person. An elite that came out of the rebel army and happened to become a leader of one of the top forces of the Sea of Ruins, and he just happens to know the exact information about Ruan Xian? We have all come into contact with this person and have seen his attitude towards Yu Le. Do you think he looks like someone who would give up voluntarily just because of a bad situation?]

“…” Tang Yibu’s expression wasn’t very surprised.

[Third, Professor Ruan’s “disappointment” with the Glass Conservatory.] Ruan Xian kept continuing. [I don’t deny his disappointment, but as a former leader, it’s a bit ridiculous to just give up because of disappointment. War is not child’s play.]

[The quarrel between him and Fan Linsong also puzzles me very much. No matter what kind of truth was discovered, it’s not his style to just leave the headquarters by himself. A person’s personality isn’t so easy to change. Even if Fan Linsong betrayed or used him, Professor Ruan should’ve taken away some forces that were loyal to him.]

“Theoretically, there is the possibility of him giving up completely.”

[Professor Ruan, who had completely given up and was easily swayed by emotions, magically turned back into an idealist when he arrived at the Glass Conservatory and continued to sow sparks? Of course, various explanations can be inserted during these blank periods of time, but as a person who considers himself Ruan Xian, I think this series of activities isn’t natural. Haven’t you more or less noticed it?]

That was why Tang Yibu was so upset and rarely shared his negative sentiments.

“There’s a serious lack of information and too many possibilities. I have no way to be sure.” Sure enough, Tang Yibu’s head drooped down.

[My opinion is that all this cannot be the so-called an abandonment performance. He definitely has a backup, but I don’t know what kind of backup it is.]

Ruan Xian added a bit of certainty to his expression.

[Since he has the name Ruan Xian and can stay in the institute smoothly, even if it’s not a real product, it’s very likely to be Ruan Xian’s clone—he wouldn’t be so useless.]

This time, Tang Yibu’s vision became a bit more complicated. “Speaking of quarrels, if it were you, how would you deal with the betrayal of the people around you?”

[Depends on the situation. I don’t trust anyone, so there’s usually no concept of betrayal, but if you mean hurtful behavior…]

Ruan Xian clenched Tang Yibu’s hand and crossed the tree roots wrapped in black sticky liquid that was on front of him.

[For those of Fan Linsong’s level, just throw them away after figuring out the reason. Revenge is meaningless, but if it’s you—]

Tang Yibu’s held fingers twitched, and Ruan Xian clenched them tighter.

[If it’s you, I will figure out the reason, and then destroy it.]

“Sure enough, I don’t quite understand.” Tang Yibu’s gaze became more complicated. “We hurt each other a lot. What are you talking about?”

Cautiousness, suspicions, and overt use. These “harmful behaviors” in the usual sense, existed firmly in their relationship. Tang Yibu’s questioning it wasn’t wrong. Ruan Xian thought for a while and found it difficult to summarize the fresh feelings in his heart.

As long as he could show his true self in front of someone, the disguise had changed from a thorn buried in the flesh to a slightly dull armor, like a balloon hanging on the branches that swiftly fell onto a nest.

He wanted to keep that branch and get a place to rest.

[Nothing. Personal definition. You don’t need to reluctantly try to understand.]

The curiosity in Tang Yibu’s eyes was about to flow out. At the moment Ruan Xian refused, the android, who was a little frustrated, became a bit angry.

“I’ll consider your opinion.” After waiting for a long time and finding that Ruan Xian wasn’t going to continue this topic, Tang Yibu could only respond with resignation.

Seeing that Tang Yibu had returned to his usual appearance, Ruan Xian’s good mood came back. They stayed away from the weird camp and turned to the depths of the woods.

[Speaking of which, what instructions did you arrange for π?] He decided to change to a more relaxed topic.

“Follow us from far away,” Tang Yibu replied with a grunt, obviously still struggling with the contents of Ruan Xian’s words just now.

[…But I don’t sense it nearby.]

“……”

At this moment, π was extraordinarily comfortable.

Ji Xiaoman put a layer of cushion in the emergency driving position prepared for the iron bead and put a temporary clip full of parts next to it. The iron bead was nestled comfortably in the soft cushion, chewing parts slowly while enjoying the small bumps of the vehicle.

It ate and fell asleep several times.

Yu Le was quite dissatisfied with its laziness, but unfortunately, he didn’t have the energy to care about these things. It was already dawn, and he wanted to abide by the agreement and send these two children out of the center of the forest, so as to save them from being attacked by mechanical life on the way.

However, he wandered in the woods for nearly two hours, but he couldn’t find his way. Seeing the expressions of the two children in the back seat becoming more vigilant, Ji Xiaoman, who was sitting in the passenger seat, started to look more disgusted, while Yu Le was close to the verge of erupting.

“There’s a problem with this place!” He gritted his teeth and pounded the steering wheel. “The situation in the Sea of Ruins is much more disgusting than this, and I have never lost my way!”

Ji Xiaoman coughed dryly. Her metal fingers tapped on the cellphone next to the steering wheel. Yu Le understood what she meant—with the assistance of this thing, it was basically impossible for them to be misled.

“I still think something is wrong.” Yu Le squinted his eyes at the iron bead lying languidly, and then glanced at the road in front of him. “Little profiteer, help me look around.”

“Nn.”

“Gwah, gwah, gwah!” The iron bead that was grabbed by Yu Le barked in dissatisfaction. The tone it was making sounded a bit like cursing.

Unfortunately, the former captain of the ruins pirate apparently had a cold heart as he clearly ignored the cries of the iron bead, seemingly about to kick it outside the car. Seeing its predicament, the iron bead began to rub Yu Le’s arm and its voice softened instantly.

“Gwah…”

Yu Le snorted coldly as he used a metal chain to tie it firmly to the front of the car, then patted its ass and tossed it out.

Ji Xiaoman: “……”

She watched in confusion as Yu Le started the car and slammed into a stout tree that was in front of it. For a moment, the screams of the iron bead almost cut through the sky. Seeing this, Yu Le stopped the car beautifully in front of that tree and turned to another one.

This time, the iron bead didn’t scream.

Although the phone screen clearly showed the tree, they easily passed straight through it.

“Sure enough,” Yu Le tsked. “There are ghosts* here.”

*The word he’s using is (有鬼) which can mean ghost, but also means fishy. This is purposeful for two meanings. First is that something fishy is going on. Second, it’s referring to the title of the chapter (鬼打墙), which is a saying that refers to one’s self-perception getting blurred, so you don’t know where you’re going and end up walking in circles. When you tell someone about this experience, it’s difficult for them to understand, so it ends up being “ghost hitting the wall” (as in, a ghost is supposed to pass through a wall, but somehow ended up hitting it instead). || So overall, it means something fishy is going on because they seem to be lost and going in circles.


The author has something to say:

The parents of the iron bead finally realized they had lost (x) their child!

Iron bead, miserable.


<<< || Table of Contents || >>>

Happy Doomsday Ch153

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/


Chapter 153: Good Mood

With two children of unknown origins in the car, Yu Le and Ji Xiaoman were more vigilant than before. Even after they managed to escape, they didn’t meet any new enemies—in an environment where everyone was anxious to expose themselves, trying to hide was easier than they thought. Ji Xiaoman, who suffered a heavy blow from the iron bead, was curled up in her seat and fell asleep. The iron bead that was full of food squeezed between Yu Le and Ji Xiaoman, snoring contentedly.

This thing would get warm after falling asleep. Yu Le, who was on night watch duty, petted its shell and let out a long sigh.

The two children had fallen asleep in the back. They tied a wire to the glass partition between the car door and the window, then wound it around their wrists to ensure that they would wake up as soon as the door or window was open, but the only thing that was open right now was Yu Le’s eyes. The pirate tapped on the steering wheel casually. After thinking for a few seconds, he pulled out a can of coffee for himself.

The car was parked in dense bushes. Half of its body was covered by branches and leaves of tall shrubs. The paint on the outside was matte and blended in with the dark. Although it wasn’t completely covered, the degree of concealment was quite high.

After suffering a wave of losses, Yu Le was almost certain Professor Ruan was hiding near the management area—either around or inside. For people who want to earn attention, it wouldn’t be good to wander around this sparsely populated area.

And it was hard to find.

The trees here were dense, so it wasn’t difficult for construction robots to carry. If Professor Ruan dug a bunker in any nooks or crannies, coupled with the high degree of camouflage, the difficulty of this operation was tantamount to finding a needle in a haystack.

In short, waiting for dawn and sending these two little ancestors in the back seat away would be the first thing to do. If Ruan Lijie and Tang Yibu were reliable, they might be able to bump into each other tomorrow. Those two guys couldn’t be worse at finding people than the iron bead—that was, if they didn’t stir up trouble.

Yu Le drank his coffee in one gulp, casually wiping his mouth. He looked at the top of the doll’s head in the distance. He thought seeing more of that creepy thing would help keep him awake.

Everyone in the car was sleeping, and everything in the car was closed tight. Yu Le couldn’t listen to music or smoke and getting out of the car in such a strange environment was tantamount to seeking death. He was so idle that it was making him drowsy. The former pirate captain was so bored that he even cleaned up π’s vomit to the point where no traces could be found. He cracked his neck for a bit, then looked to the back seat…

Coming head-on to a face.

He didn’t know when Kang Ziyan had woken up. He was pressing his hands and face against the glass partition that was separating the back from the front seat. The moment he first saw this, all of Yu Le’s hair almost stood up. He cursed secretly in his heart and turned off the sound insulation system in the back seat.

“What are you doing?” He asked in a low voice, angrily. “Do you know what time it is? Children should hurry up and go to bed.”

“I slept too much during the day and couldn’t sleep.” The little boy’s voice wasn’t very loud. “Uncle, you look sleepy. I just thought… We can talk for a while.”

“Oh.” Yu Le squinted at the child, not intending to let his guard down because of the other party’s age. “What do you want to talk about?”

“Anything.” The little boy responded shyly. “Anyway, uncle, you saved us. We don’t have anything we can trade here.”

“If you really want to be thankful, first call me ge.”

Kang Ziyan didn’t hide the surprise and embarrassment on his face.

“…Well, uncle’s a bit…” Yu Le touched his thriving stubble. “You really want to talk about anything, ah?”

“Yeah.”

“You two don’t look too old. Where are your parents?” Yu Le had no intention of being polite.

Kang Ziyan seemed to take a while to understand this question. “Xiao Zhao and I have no parents. Most people here are from the management area factory.”

“Most people.” Yu Le grasped the point.

“The doll’s head is more special.” Kang Ziyan pointed to the head of the ceramic doll in the distance. “Some people don’t remember how they appeared. Zhaozhao and I are… Um, from there.”

“Don’t remember how you showed up? You haven’t lost your memory, have you?”

“No. But most people will remember their appearance number in the management area factory. There are very few people that don’t. The factory rarely produces people of our model. It may be that there’s a malfunction.” Kang Ziyan picked up the canned food that hadn’t been eaten during the day and carefully sipped on the sugar water. “We only have the memory of living in the doll’s head, as if we just suddenly appeared there one day.”

“So you are on the side of the doll’s head?” With all the squid feet gone, Yu Le fumbled for a long time before only finding a bag of spicy fish chips. He tore open the bag and started to eat.

“The doll’s head is the target of joint attacks by other people and has the highest level of danger. Zhaozhao and I ran out on our own and submitted to the organization north of the island.”

Kang Ziyan shook his head, feeling depressed.

“I just want to grow up with Zhaozhao. I don’t want too much attention; just enough supplies to fill our stomachs, but those people in the north aren’t willing to really accept us. They just want to do their best and force us to earn attention.”

Yu Le wasn’t surprised. Bluntly put, he was able to get away with maintaining the habit of loving young children only because he had been able to live a good life so far. The struggle in many corners of the Sea of Ruins was very cruel. When it was a problem of survival, they usually didn’t care whether it was children, women, or the elderly—the relationship between people would be reduced to predator and prey, and nothing more.

The position of these two children was quite tricky. If the doll’s head was the target of the public, with their physical strength, it would have been difficult for them to protect themselves. However, if they joined other forces, they were doomed to be exploited. All they could do was flee when they were in a bad state, hoping to suffer less.

There was nothing wrong with their choices, but he couldn’t think of any enlightening words. The only lucky thing may be that these two children didn’t know what the world used to be like, nor did they know the reality of the world today.

In this case, ignorance was rather a good thing.

“In other words, you two are basically equivalent to popping out of some stone crack.” Yu Le diverted the topic.

“In my impression, only Zhaozhao has been with me. I think she’s very kind. If she hadn’t encouraged me, I might not have been able to hold on for this long.” His low mood was swept away as the boy gave a shy smile.

“It’s nice to have companions.” Yu Le chewed on the fish chips that were so spicy they made him huffed. “What are you two going to do next? I see that you’re getting better, so why don’t you go back before dawn. We have our own business here, so it’s not convenient to take you with us.”

“Nn.” The little boy nodded obediently.

This was good. Yu Le kept eating the spicy fish chips and licked his swollen lips. When these two little ones leave, he could hand over the baton to Ji Xiaoman and get some rest.

The movement of Yu Le ruffling in the chips bag awakened the iron bead. It arched up Yu Le’s leg, and then his hand, before giving a bite to the plastic packaging. Yu Le helplessly popped its shell, took out all the remaining fish chips, and then threw the packaging at the cheerful iron bead.

“I can’t eat anymore. Can you eat spicy food?” Seeing the iron bead chewing happily on the packaging, Yu le turned to Kang Ziyan in the back row. The kid looked pretty well behaved that he didn’t mind lowering the partition and giving him the remaining fish chips to eat.

“I… I don’t quite dare to eat things that taste too heavy. Thank you, uncle.” Kang Ziyan politely refused.

Yu Le, who was busy looking for a place to put the fish chips, didn’t notice that the iron bead, who was happily chewing the plastic packaging, stopped moving and looked around twice toward the back seat.

“Gwah?” It gave a low cry in confusion.

The quality of sleep of the other half of the team wasn’t very good.

War, pain, and bloody joy made Ruan Xian’s spirit very high. However, considering the detection birds circling nearby, he could only pretend to be asleep, before he was almost stabbed in the neck by Xiao Zhao, who had caught him.

If he didn’t react immediately, that knife would have been enough to kill him.

“You’ve grown up a bit, Xiao Tang.” After missing the blow, Xiao Zhao put away her knife with some regret. “Doing so well in such an environment? Before, you didn’t even dare collect firewood on your own.”

Kang Ge leaned against a nearby tree and looked them up and down; his eyes stayed on Tang Yibu’s backpack for a long time. “Maybe it’s because Xiao Ruan is strong enough.”

Tang Yibu was cutting the hardtack into square pieces. He also managed to find a few bird eggs and cooked them using the emergency heating device. It was obvious he didn’t have much interest in talking to the couple.

Ruan Xian buttoned his coat and stretched out his waist. Although their temporary companions weren’t quite right in the head and had destroyed the atmosphere a little, the woods in the early morning were always pleasant—the golden-red sunlight fell through the cracks of the leaves, the morning mist hadn’t yet dispersed, and the air was slightly cool and fresh. The pleasant birdsong made people refreshed, making the environment give off an illusion of calm and tranquility.

“Mr. Ruan, breakfast.” Tang Yibu put the boiled bird eggs and the divided hardtack on a wide leaf. He took out a coconut from the shrub and opened it with a knife in a disciplined manner.

“We can reach the wall today.” Kang Ge yawned. “If there’s anything that you need to kill, or can’t kill, say so before it’s too late.”

“No need to clean up the detection bird.” Tang Yibu raised his head and said in a low voice. “Ignore them in battle. Cleaning them up now will only arouse the vigilance of the management area.”

“Hm…” Xiao Zhao sounded reluctant.

“If we meet an armored off-roader, there is a high probability that our companions are in the car. Please don’t attack directly.”

“Did you hear that, honey! An armored off-roader!” This probably had the opposite effect, as Xiao Zhao’s eyes started gleaming. “I want an armored off-roader! We can transform it into our home—”

“That’s indeed nice.”

Tang Yibu didn’t say anything. He put a small piece of hardtack in his mouth, covering the corners of it with a little smile.

Ruan Xian could hear the ringing thoughts that were churning inside that android’s head—Xiao Zhao and Kang Ge had lived on the island for several years and were adept at searching and tracking. They would certainly not let go of such a fat piece of meat. They could use that couple to find Yu Le and the others without any need to expose their abilities.

However, at this moment, Ruan Xian once again felt the peeping of someone, but this time the sense of being watched was much weaker. He was able to distinguish its source—

Just as he turned his head, Kang Ge hadn’t had time to withdraw his gaze. The other person’s look was particularly meaningful.

Interesting. Ruan Xian pretended not to notice and naturally turned his head. He used a knife to peel off a piece of coconut meat and delivered it to Tang Yibu’s mouth.

[Open your mouth and step forward. According to the script, I’m the one who’s fascinated by your.] Ruan Xian’s good mood wasn’t affected by Kang Ge’s abnormality.

He would not deceive himself. Every time he looked at Tang Yibu recently, his heart always became lighter. That feeling wasn’t sweet or fascinating, but more like a natural attraction. Ruan Xian didn’t care if it was “love” in a broader sense, and neither did Tang Yibu.

As long as it brought more positive effects than negative ones, he at least thought it was.

It made him stop thinking about death-related issues so frequently.

Tang Yibu happily ate the coconut meat, the tip of the knife skimming over his soft lips. Ruan Xian took the knife back and smiled very brightly.

[Let’s go.] He used his earring to send the message silently. [Try to meet up with Yu Le and the others before sunset today.]


The author has something to say:

Tang: Just use Lao Yu’s car as bait.

Ruan: Just use Lao Yu’s car as bait.

Spiritual high-five.jpg

Lao Yu: These motherfuckers.


<<< || Table of Contents || >>>

Happy Doomsday Ch152

Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong

Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/


Chapter 152: Worry

They weren’t sure if it was because they hid well, but while the battle around the doll’s head gradually heated up, Ruan Xian and Tang Yibu didn’t encounter another enemy again. The flames in the distance baked the air, making it stuffy and hot, and the unique smell of wet trees burning scattered with the wind.

Considering that they had to pretend to have suitable physical strength, the two didn’t withdraw immediately. They hid in a corner of this twisted nightmare, quietly leaning against each other. As the newly “wounded man”, Tang Yibu curled up after eating, resting his head on Ruan Xian’s lap, breathing evenly and deeply.

Ruan Xian slowly petted the other party’s damp hair, covered in sweat, blood, and dirt. The part close to the hair roots was contaminated with Tang Yibu’s warm body heat, and it brought him a strange sense of comfort when his fingertips touched it.

Tang Yibu always liked to hug and smell him. As the object of being smelled, Ruan Xian was a little curious about the behavior of the android. He couldn’t help but lift up a strand of the other party’s hair, tentatively let go of his senses, and smelled it.

The smell of sweat and blood wasn’t very pleasant. After skimming these, he could still distinguish the smell that belonged to Tang Yibu—like a sun-dried cotton blanket and like a fresh plant that had just been roasted and warmed in the middle of summer. The simple smell brought comfort and peace of mind and made it easy to associate with hugs.

He suddenly understood a little about Tang Yibu’s hobby.

Another life was lying beside him, giving him a heavy feeling in his legs. The weight, temperature, and smell blended into a strange sense of satisfaction. Combined with the slowly writhing flesh under his feet and the inner wall of the doll’s head illuminated by the fire, everything was like an erratic long dream.

Maybe in the next second, he would wake up in the basement of the institute, with only the dark ceiling in front of him.

This thought was like a bubble in boiling water, and many thoughts quickly appeared on the surface and then popped. It was just that its rupture made him feel a little tingly.

Ruan Xian found that he didn’t like this idea very much.

He thought seriously for a few seconds, then stretched out his hand and pulled Tang Yibu’s earlobe. Tang Yibu murmured vaguely, with a faint tendency of falling asleep. Ruan Xian pinched Tang Yibu’s soft earlobes for a while, and then breathed into the other party’s ears mercilessly.

Tang Yibu jumped up almost immediately.

[Xiao Zhao. They’re here.] Ruan Xian smiled.

After his transmission just ended, the still somewhat confused look on Tang Yibu that was in front of him disappeared instantly—the android stood upright and began to make an effort to put on a serious sense of oppression around him.

Ruan Xian tried hard to hold back his laughter.

“Kang Ge has no opinion.” After the treatment of medical machinery, Xiao Zhao didn’t have many scars left on her body. She put her arms around Kang Ge’s waist with both hands, looking coquettish. “Xiao Tang, did you get something good?”

The couple looked like they were preparing for an outing, carrying bulging backpacks.

“I came back from outside, and I did get my hands on some nice stuff.” Tang Yibu shot down a few detection birds as he calmly told lies. “You should know very well that I won’t joke with my life.”

“Well, we’re idle after all.” Kang Ge had the same look as if he didn’t care about anything. “There’s still some time before the next attack, so it’s fun to take risks together. As seniors, we can come up with something, but Xiao Tang, you and your little lover have to go ahead.”

“No problem.”

“Having said that, what did you get?” Xiao Zhao looked at Tang Yibu expectantly, as if the android had become Santa Claus. She seemed to have completely forgotten who had dislocated her joints not long ago.

“…It’s not appropriate to say now.” Tang Yibu kicked the corpse of the detection bird at his feet.

“Don’t ask, Xiao Zhao. What if the administrator overhears? Such a rare opportunity for adventure.” Kang Ge was very serious. “If Xiao Tang wanted to cheat us, wouldn’t that be even more exciting? It’s nice to leave some surprises.”

After that, the two of them kissed loudly. Kang Ge hugged Xiao Zhao in his arms for a while, and then turned to Tang Yibu again. “Xiao Tang, if there’s no surprise, we’ll kill you properly—you were lucky that time when you escaped. We will not miss this time.”

Tang Yibu frowned.

Ruan Xian walked forward naturally, blocked Tang Yibu with his body, pointed his fingers to his mouth, and then spread out his palms.

“Food?” Kang Ge’s attention was immediately deflected.

Ruan Xian nodded.

Xiao Zhao snorted, then dawdled for a bit before untying her backpack and pressing two packs of hardtack into Ruan Xian’s hand. “Find water on your own. We’re not babysitters.”

Ruan Xian didn’t give a response. He turned around and strode towards the forest with Tang Yibu.

“Hey!” Xiao Zhao shouted discontentedly behind him. “Don’t you guys sleep? What a bummer. You’re leaving in the middle of the night?”

“According to your ability, it won’t be difficult to track us down,” Tang Yibu responded indifferently. “Don’t you two like hunting very much?”

“So this is the beginning of the game!” Xiao Zhao’s spirits were lifted. “Kang Ge, Kang Ge, let’s count to 30,000 and then go find them, okay?”

“As you wish.” Kang Ge patted Xiao Zhao’s head.

Ruan Xian and Tang Yibu glanced at each other and headed deeper into the dark forest in the night.

Things were going well so far. Although he knew that Ruan Xian owned the S-type Prototype, he didn’t know if it was for more cautious camouflage or some other reason, but Tang Yibu still held Ruan Xian’s hands tightly and clasped their fingers together.

Ruan Xian thought it was a bit childish but also quite cute. He let the other party lead him forward, quietly enjoying the darkness around him.

The island wasn’t small. If they suppressed their original strength and relied on just an average person’s movement, it was estimated it would take about 15 hours to walk from one end to the other. This didn’t include rest time and possible battles. It was roughly estimated that it would take them at least a day and night to reach their destination.

He didn’t know if the crazy couple would delay their time and would make their trip even longer. At this point, Ruan Xian wasn’t very optimistic.

When he first entered the woods, the remains of some corpses could still be seen in the bushes. He didn’t know whether they were real or fake. Fragments of flesh were scattered on the soil and branches. After walking for about three hours, there were fewer traces of humans, and more fragments of mechanical creatures in the grass. Several detection birds shook their heads on the branches; the camera on them showed a faint red light in the dark.

Tang Yibu didn’t take out his cellphone to detect, so he couldn’t determine whether the scene in front of him was real or not. Ruan Xian practiced his echolocation as he moved forward absent-mindedly and almost fell forward—Tang Yibu stopped at some point and was looking at the lush grass at his feet.

“It’s time for us to rest. It’s best to store more energy.” He pointed to the soft grass pile.

Ruan Xian knew very well that if the food supply was sufficient, it would be no problem for them to walk another 30 hours. However, considering Tang Yibu was still being watched by that unknown peeper, it was always good to keep a low profile.

He took out the two packages of hardtack in his pocket, threw one to Tang Yibu and tore open his own as he sat on the grass and nibbled on them.

Tang Yibu didn’t sit down immediately. He raised his head and looked at the dark treetop, not knowing what he was thinking. The android stood quietly like that for a long time, and after more than ten minutes, he seemed to have made up his mind and turned to Ruan Xian.

Ruan Xian happened to put the remaining hardtack in his waist bag and was arranging the mechanical life expeller that Ji Xiaoman forcibly shoved into everyone.

“Yibu?”

Tang Yibu walked up to him, touched Ruan Xian’s side face with one hand, slid his fingers down his cheeks, and then wandered behind Ruan Xian’s ears and ambiguously rubbed it.

Ruan Xian wasn’t bewitched by the warmth of the other party’s palm for too long. After a few seconds, he discovered the meaning of Tang Yibu’s actions—the other party was using his fingers to write behind his ear.

[I might be rougher in a while, okay?]

Ruan Xian raised his eyebrows.

[We were acting too intimate before. This impression needs to be reversed a bit. Remember, Mr. Ruan, you’re just an ordinary human whose mind has been confused by an AI and I’m just using you to disguise and relieve my bodily needs.]

[Why?] Ruan Xian replied through the earring.

[Just in case.] Tang Yibu’s other hand ripped open his buttons, revealing a firm chest. [Believe…]

However, he didn’t finish writing this sentence.

After all, there had never been real trust between them, Ruan Xian thought. This idea was taken for granted at first, but now it had become a bit uncomfortable; a bit like a ball of fiber grinding in a bed sheet—while it wasn’t harmful, it led to a significant decrease in comfort.

He wouldn’t change his approach because of this discomfort, but the increasingly obvious unhappiness in his heart was also true. Perhaps his “love” for Tang Yibu wasn’t all positive.

He seemed to be tied by an invisible chain, and the smile at the corner of Ruan Xian’s mouth became a bit stiff.

Tang Yibu was obviously also aware of the wrong wording, so he changed his expression.

[If necessary, it’s okay to leave me.] He wrote this sentence very slowly, and Ruan Xian could feel Tang Yibu’s hesitation and struggle from the trembling of his fingertips. [The information in our hands is incomplete, so I must consider all possible situations.]

[Can I escape at any time? This is not like what you said.]

Tang Yibu held Ruan Xian’s face in both hands and kissed roughly, his fingertips wandering on the skin without stopping.

[I have thought carefully. This is good for both of us. I want to count your love and make it one of my aces.]

The writing continued.

[I calculated that the success rate of the whole operation would be higher, assuming you were ignored. In case it doesn’t work, at least one of us still has a chance of getting out. You do the math, Mr. Ruan. I’m the main combat power, but your resilience is stronger than mine. I’m more suitable for eating chocolates and you’re more suitable for getting out in that situation.]

The skin under the fingertips gradually warmed up, and the writing exchange under the cover of shadows still didn’t stop.

[…] Ruan Xian’s chest fluctuated violently without response.

[Of course, it is only possible if necessary, but it is still not possible to escape casually.] Tang Yibu’s fingertips became a little stronger.

[Is that so?] The stiffness on Ruan Xian’s face disappeared, and his smile became a bit stronger. [I don’t know what a “necessary situation” is.]

[When you think we will be destroyed together.] When he wrote this sentence, Tang Yibu was kissing his chin, and Ruan Xian couldn’t see the android’s expression. [Worst case scenario.]

Ruan Xian covered his eyes with one hand and finally laughed. The other party’s actions were as fierce as they had agreed in advance, as if they had returned to the night they wanted to kill each other again. But he only felt the scorching heat that dried up his bones and the shivering sensation that made his hair stand on edge…

[No.] He hooked Tang Yibu’s neck and responded simply. [After escaping, I can’t see you chasing after me angrily. That’s boring. The actual fact that the opponent is also “me” makes you a little too pessimistic..]

Ruan Xian took a retaliatory bite on the android, tasting blood between his teeth.

[…Unlike that guy, I won’t abandon you.]


The author has something to say:

Ruan: If you tell me to run and I run, that’s boring. Even if you run, it’s also a good way to flirt. (???


Kinky Thoughts:

I recently contracted COVID and was recovering from it which is why there wasn’t any daily releases for a while. Thankfully I’m on the mend but releases will be sporadic until I fully recover.


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