Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Xie Quan was not good with interpersonal relations, so after running into this unexpected guest, he just stood there, not saying a word.
Finally, the other person broke the silence, Xie Quan looked at the man who smiled kindly and politely at him. “Hello, my name is Ji Ming, I’m a tenant of this building. You just moved in today? No one has lived here in a long time.”
“…” This person said so many words. Xie Quan returned a timid smile. “Yes, my name is Xie Quan, hello.”
The beta in front of him was good looking, but Ji Cheying couldn’t resist setting his gaze on the chaotic room behind him, and he couldn’t even resist asking, “Do you need help?”
Then he looked at Xie Quan for a second in silence, who said in a gentle tone, “No, thank you.”
Xie Quan’s voice was soft and clear, and the speed of his speech was never rushed, so it was very comfortable to listen to.
Ji Cheying saw this and did not force himself. “Then I won’t bother you, if you need anything in the future, you can talk to me.” Then, he carried his garbage through the hallway to the back door of the building.
Xie Quan breathed a sigh of relief as he slammed the door shut and locked it. He grabbed the shoulder strap of his shoulder bag with both hands and walked out the door, looking like a schoolboy in that posture.
Ji Cheying finished throwing out the garbage and stomped back to his upstairs with those worn out slippers. The apartment was so old that there was no elevator, and the Xie Dongye family was not going to invest in an elevator. After all, this location was good, even if there was no elevator, there were no worries about tenants, and there were not many floors, the highest being the sixth floor.
Ji Cheying lived on the third floor, not too high, not too low, the layout of his room was the same as Xie Quan’s, also an independent living room single room. Ji Cheying’s had floor-to-ceiling windows, was much more spacious, the furniture was simple but at least it was clean, and the living environment was quite comfortable especially compared to the basement.
The curtains were tightly drawn and the lights were on. Ji Cheying closed the door and locked it, he tugged the hem of his shirt upwards and took off the T-shirt that had been frayed. He was about to change his clothes and go out for a stroll when the terminal on his wrist buzzed with a new call.
After answering, his voice was not as kind as when he spoke with Xie Quan, it sounded low and lazy. “What’s up?”
“Major General, there is a new victim in Rock Street.”
Ji Cheying’s hand, which was bending down to grab his clothes, stalled in the air for half a second, then grabbed a shirt and put it on nimbly with a flip of his hand. His fingers buttoned it up nimbly, he frowned and asked, “What’s the situation?”
The subordinate on the other end reported the situation concisely and quickly, “The victim is a beta. Part of the brain was removed, the pheromone storm has reached L3 level, there are still vital signs, so they were sent to the hospital. According to the identity investigation, the victim is a migrant worker, without any relatives or friends. According to the company, in the last week, the victim has not gone clocked in.”
A pheromone storm represented a violent outbreak of pheromone in the human body, causing a disruption or even collapse of human functions. People who experience pheromone storms would experience soul-tearing pain, and even many of them were unable to endure and ended up committing suicide.
This was already the fifth case of pheromone storm in the last two months in Noel City.
All of the victims were betas.
However, betas had the lowest chance of pheromone storms because beta glands were largely undeveloped, the pheromone in their bodies was so weak, it was almost non-existent. These onset betas were obviously not likely to be coincidental events.
Ji Cheying finished changing, the somewhat yellowed white shirt was still slightly stained, and there was no telling how long it had been in the corner since it was so wrinkled that a surfer could ride the waves on the shirt.
“Is there surveillance? Where’s his terminal?”
“What the surveillance shows is that the victim walked to the place where he was found by himself and then fainted there. As for his terminal, it only shows that the last positioning was a week ago on the fifth commercial street, and all traces of this week were cleaned up.”
Ji Cheying raised his eyebrows, eyes filled with a harsh light, sneered, and said, “The surveillance where the incident occured shows nothing. Even if you investigated along the direction he appeared, there’s nothing. His terminal showed traces that were deleted after being repaired. I do not believe any Empire engineer can do this.”
The subordinate on the other end of the line was astonished, even though he knew Ji Cheying was invisible, he couldn’t help but straighten his back, stand up and stamp his feet, and shout back, “Yes! Sir!”
After running his fingers over the invisible gland patch on the back of his neck and confirming that it had blended well with his skin, Ji Cheying asked, “Any sign of Yan Bai?”
The subordinate gulped nervously. “Report sir, there is no trace of Yan Bai, but there is news that the underground black market in Airy City has a design of a gun made by Yan Bai. Many people have gathered in Airy City waiting for the opening of the market.”
Yan Bai was the most outstanding mecha engineer in the Empire, but also the most mysterious mecha engineer since no one knew who he was. A copy of Yan Bai’s designs could be sold on the black market for a sky-high price. Not to mention the weapons and mecha made by Yan Bai himself.
Those were even more priceless.
In addition to being a mecha engineer, he was also gifted in pharmacology, and today’s widely known third-generation pheromone inhibitor was developed on the basis of the second-generation inhibitor program he provided to the Imperial Research Institute.
Now there was gossip that these morbid betas were the victims of human experimentation by Yan Bai. With the things Yan Bai created, it was like a double edged sword, both good and bad, so it was not impossible.
Hearing the report from his subordinate, Ji Cheying quickly called up the map in his mind. The two cities were completely opposite and the most distant from each other. This was a bit too much of a diversion.
Ji Cheying sneered with the corners of his mouth, he gave the order, “Send two people to Airy to keep an eye on the city, the rest of you stay in Noel City to continue the investigation.” Just in case, it was better to keep an eye on that side. After a pause, he suddenly remembered one thing, he ordered again, “Someone moved in today, investigate them.”
After changing, Ji Cheying put on a pair of black-rimmed glasses and messed up his hair a bit. The man in the mirror lost his sharpness and looked much more approachable.
Rock Street was just fifteen minutes away from his apartment, and was the closest shopping street. It was a medium-sized city, and since it wasn’t a weekend, there were only a few scattered pedestrians on the slightly cramped streets between the steel buildings. Light and shade from the buildings and trees cast on the white stone road but because it was summer, this kind of coldness was also very comforting.
Xie Quan, carrying his shoulder bag, looked at the steel forest in front of him with some trepidation.
Cities always made him feel a little overwhelmed and confused.
If someone hadn’t suddenly started frantically besieging his various landing sites, he wouldn’t have been forced to live in a city, he would have just stayed in his own little suburb and lived in peace. Thinking about this, Xie Quan, who had always been indifferent, became a bit angry.
For good reason, he hadn’t provoked anyone, so how come he was suddenly targeted by the Imperial Army? He and the other side had never been in contact with each other.
A bunch of brain-dead guys!
While inwardly cursing the inexplicable Imperial Army, he walked expressionlessly into a much more down-to-earth looking store.
Ding dong’, a bell rang, ‘squeaky squeaky’ a tracked robot slid in front of him, a cute smiley face was shown on the display, the robot asked, “Hello customer, how can I help you? How do you do?”
Xie Quan subconsciously glanced at the track that was making a sound. It sounded like a part of the power unit under the track had come loose. As he thought about what the part might be, he replied, “I need a lifestyle kit.”
The robot display immediately showed several specifications of different lifestyle kits, from simple to luxury versions, with prices ranging from 100 to 5000 star coins, “Which one do you want?”
Xie Quan said without hesitation, “The cheapest one.”
The robot, unlike humans, would not have to look frustrated, and its display reverted to a smiling expression, “Okay, please follow me.”
Most of the reason why customers came to physical stores was to see products on the spot first, so the salesman robots working in physical stores would basically take the customers to see the products first.
Xie Quan followed behind it, watching it ‘squeak and squeak’, his obsessive-compulsive disorder was making him twitch.
Since he was a child, he had been very sensitive to mechanical problems, his ears could hear the sound of something running and know which place had a problem. Even the subtle sound of electricity, he could catch. Normal people would only be able to hear the sound knowing it obviously needed to be repaired.
It took less than two minutes to arrive at the place where the merchandise was located from the front door. Xie Quan had already spent that time taking apart the robot in front of him countless times in his own mind.
When he got the item he wanted, Xie Quan didn’t intend to look at it, he just stretched out his arm, paid with the smart portable terminal on his wrist, and turned around to leave. He wanted to fix this little robot, but he had to refrain.
The little robot didn’t know what was going on in Xie Quan’s head, it just obediently followed its own programming trying to get the customer outside the store and create a perfect shopping experience for the valued customer.
So it followed Xie Quan’s lead, ‘squeak, squeak, squeak’.
When Xie Quan reached the entrance, he turned his head and looked at the signboard which was obviously a bit old compared to other stores. He lowered his head again and looked at the little robot that was saying “ComeWelcome back next time” to him.
This store was not well run, so even their salesman robot was not regularly maintained and cared for.
The next time the boss comes over to inspect and sees the little robot’s problems, they may not even bother to send it back to the manufacturer for repair, and directly discard it.
After all, he just took a look. There were still two robots in the store.
Xie Quan, carrying a bag of household utensils he had bought and a shoulder bag with various tools on his back, bent down and asked in that conciliatory tone, “I’d like to ask you a favor, can you come with me to the alley for a moment?” He pointed to the narrow alley next to the store.
The author has something to say.
Xie Quan: I can put up with people scolding me. I can put up with someone forcing me to move. But if you make me look at a robot with a problem, I can’t stand it.
Robot: ∑ (°△°||||)