Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Editor: Kiramekineko, SpringBreeze
It was close to ten o’clock at night, and the Hail Mary store on Rock Street was open 24 hours a day, but nowadays, with advanced technology and logistics, few people come to visit the physical store, and at this time there was often no one in sight.
However, tonight there was a customer.
The half-tall sales robot greeted him warmly at the first opportunity, and with a cute smile on the display, the robot asked, “Hello customer, how can I help you?”
Ji Cheying looked at the robot in front of him after work, his mind going back to the day he ran into Xie Quan here, and he pulled his ID card out of his pocket.
Holding it up in front of the robot, his voice was calm and competent. “The military requests your cooperation.”
The information in the ID card was quickly passed through the robot’s scanner to the intelligence center, at which point the devices in the store connected to the same intelligence network all acquired this information. “Identity information verification for Imperial Army Five Star Major General: enjoys control of civilian public equipment; Authority: in the case of not endangering public safety, needs to facilitate the passage of the person and render the necessary assistance.” The eyes on the robot screen flickered. “Major General, what are your instructions?”
Ji Cheying asked decisively, “Where is Salesman Robot #0386?”
No. 0386 was the robot that was with Xie Quan when he met him in the alley at that time.
The cameras in the alley had been tampered with, but each robot also possessed its own camera, so perhaps this 0386 had recorded something that would help him figure out what Xie Quan had actually done in the alley in the first place.
In fact, Ji Cheying had moved this idea since the discovery of the surveillance problems, but because of various things, it was temporarily shelved. After all, Xie Quan had been temporarily ruled out of the beta case. But today, Xie Quan’s actions brought it back to his mind.
Pulling up the surveillance screen on #0386, Ji Cheying rewrote the time to the afternoon of the day he met Xie Quan. After fast-forwarding, he finally saw Xie Quan’s figure.
At that time, 0386 was sorting merchandise, only to unintentionally swing to illuminate the figure of the youth, who was bending down to speak to another robot. The image shifted, and when it shifted back again, the youth was no longer there.
Ji Cheying expressionlessly fast-forwarded again, and about twenty minutes later, Xie Quan returned to the store and walked up to 0386.
Ji Cheying restored the screen to normal speed.
The young man on the screen stood in front of 0386, slightly bent over, as if he was talking to a small child. Although his face did not have much expression, the beautiful eyes revealed were kind and gentle. Even his voice sounded softer than usual. “I need you to do me a favor, can you please come out with me?”
0386 agreed, “Yes, honored guest.”
Immediately afterwards, Xie Quan led 0386 to the alley outside the store.
Ji Cheying frowned.
What the hell was Xie Quan doing bringing the robot here?
Then, Xie Quan looked at 0386, examined it up and down deliberately, and then murmured, “Hm, is this a joint of the arm? It sounds like a lot of wear and tear…” He muttered while taking out a screwdriver from his own pocket, then held out his hand to 0386, and after a few brief seconds, 0386’s surveillance screen flickered.
When the screen came on again, Xie Quan was standing in front of a man while 0386 asked again, “Hello, guest, how may I help you?”
0386’s camera hovered over the two men, the other being Ji Cheying, who broke in at the time.
Ji Cheying turned the screen back again before switching the screen.
Looking at Xie Quan’s hand to 0386 and the subsequent screen switch, Ji Cheying realized that it was Xie Quan who had taken a screwdriver and opened the robot’s main console, putting it to sleep.
Recalling Xie Quan’s previous self-talk, Ji Cheying’s eyes went to the arm of 0386 in front of him. He once again adjusted the screen to the time when 0386 was sorting out the merchandise before Xie Quan called 0386 out.
This time, he turned the sound up to the maximum.
Then he heard a few subtle, rough clicks coming from the screen as 0386’s arm swung up and down. He looked forward some more to the previous screen, and indeed, there was some strange sound when 0386’s arm was moving.
A guess came to Ji Cheying’s mind and he ordered, “0386, swing your arm.”
After receiving the command, 0386 immediately let his arm swing up and down.
Ji Cheying closed his eyes and listened carefully, the strange click sound in the picture disappeared. Not only that, Ji Cheying also turned the surveillance screen to the image of 0386 restoring the video recording at that time and returning to the store after working.
After carefully confirming several times to make sure he didn’t miss it, Ji Cheying opened his eyes and looked strangely at 0386 in front of him. He had various guesses: for example, Xie Quan was trying to steal something, or Xie Quan was plotting something.
But he never thought that the other party was, in fact, repairing robots here?
Ji Cheying turned his gaze to the other robots, recalling the scene of Xie Quan’s conversation with the other robots that 0386 had inadvertently filmed earlier, and a ridiculous guess rose in his mind.
Could it be that Xie Quan had repaired all the robots here?
As soon as this thought appeared in Ji Cheying’s mind, he clasped his hands and laughed absurdly to himself. Would anyone do such a thing? A snail girl 1 who follows the footsteps of the world? Oh no, it was the snail boy.
With a thought of disbelief, Ji Cheying confirmed the rest of the robot’s video recordings.
With the confirmation of the young man with the screwdriver in all these videos, Ji Cheying finally realized with a dead heart—there really was such a person in this world.
The real snail boy.
Ji Cheying rubbed his brow with some headache and sighed. The more he tried to figure out Xie Quan, the more he found Xie Quan confusing.
He rewound the screen again to the beginning and clicked play.
The screen ended, he clicked rewind again and continued.
As time passed, Ji Cheying sat on a lounge chair for customers in the store, still watching for the third time the image was placed in the air, showing the young man talking gently and patiently with the robot. The images were from the robot’s first view, and Ji Cheying suddenly had the illusion that the Xie Quan on the screen was talking to him.
The soft line of sight was also like a feather that floated through time and space, and fell directly into Ji Cheying’s eyes. This meant that Xie Quan must have been looking into the robot’s eyes and talking.
And yes, he would even bend down to look at the robot’s eyes.
Did this guy know that when he talked and looked at people like this, it was very much like he was abducting children? Ji Cheying thought that something had happened to him when he saw Xie Quan with stains on his face and clothes, but now it seemed that it was probably from working on the robots.
Ji Cheying’s back was stretched out against the back of the chair, deep eyes looking at the picture, the youth’s glittering eyes, like the morning after the rain. Unknowingly, Ji Cheying’s firm jawbone softened, his lips also holding a light but extremely gentle curvature.
This was the first time he had seen such a Xie Quan, like being injected with a soul, with a vividness different from the usual. Xie Quan was so fond of robots?
Watching, Ji Cheying’s brow suddenly knitted and his lips tightened. Because he suddenly realized something—Xie Quan did not even look at him like this. Was he no better than these dumb robots?
Not knowing the kind of purpose he had in mind, Ji Cheying watched the images a few more times, and as he watched, he suddenly noticed something. Pausing at the screen where Xie Quan put the robot to sleep, Ji Cheying looked at the time in the lower right corner at 15:35.21, and when the robot was activated again, the time in the lower right corner was 15:49.10.
The time between was not even 15 minutes.
This also had to exclude Xie Quan’s preparation time, which was already after the robot resumed operation after restarting. In other words, Xie Quan completed the disassembly and recovery of the robot in about ten minutes?
Ji Cheying was not a mecha engineer, but as a qualified mecha combatant, he still had some mechanical knowledge. When he was in military school, he also took a course in mechanical design. Even if he hadn’t, he knew that ten minutes to disassemble and recover a robot was a very inhuman task.
Ji Cheying suddenly recalled what Xie Quan said to himself here at the time. “I’m not very smart, my brain is not good. Every time, I don’t work for too long, and then I get fired.”
When Xie Quan had helped him fix the dishwasher in his apartment earlier, or when Xie Quan had diffused Xie Yi’s difficulties with a few words afterwards, he should have realized—this guy, where was the connection to him with the words “I’m not very smart, my brain is not bood”?
Thinking about his own answer at that time, Ji Cheying smiled sarcastically. No wonder Xie Quan’s answer was a little too similar to his own. It was similar, because these two people were acting like someone else.
However, at that moment, Ji Cheying’s communicator suddenly rang. Once connected, his subordinate’s voice came out, “Major General, I have a situation report! Xie Quan has been kidnapped.”
The time shifted back to a few hours ago, after Xie Quan was kidnapped by Márquez. The man next to him forcibly took away Xie Quan’s electronic devices such as the terminal, and also searched Xie Quan’s pockets. Then, the man pulled out a universal screwdriver and a utility knife, small pliers, and different types of screws from Xie Quan’s left and right pockets.
The man asked, “Hey, what’s with this kid?”
He tossed those things with some disgust.
Márquez looked at the search and frowned. “Never mind that, there’s nothing else, right?”
“Yeah, no.” Everything that could be used as a weapon or for communication had been taken out.
Xie Quan looked at the tools that were casually thrown aside and sighed in his heart, what a bunch of people who don’t know how to cherish things. Luckily, he didn’t carry his own shoulder bag today, otherwise he would have been in trouble if they saw what was inside.
The next second, Xie Quan was blindfolded.
After about an hour and a half of driving, the vehicle stopped and Xie Quan was roughly dragged out of the car, and as soon as he got out, he smelled a fishy and salty smell.
It was the harbor. However, no sound of ships sailing was heard. It was probably an abandoned harbor.
Xie Quan was half pushed and half shoved into a closed area. Immediately after, someone tied his hands behind his back. The man’s approach was very rough, and coarse rope embedded in his flesh, as if to strangle his wrists.
Then, the cloth over Xie Quan’s eyes was lifted.
The dimness caused Xie Quan’s eyes to adjust quickly, blinking for a moment before quickly surveying his current environment. At that moment, Márquez walked up to Xie Quan, he pinched Xie Quan’s chin with one hand, then sneered, followed by a hard slap.
The author has something to say:
Ji Cheying: I’m not as good as these robots?
Xie Quan: Yeah.
Ji Cheying: ？？？？
So JC no longer suspects XQ of being responsible for the beta’s attack, but is now more suspicious of his true identity.
XQ is in danger, it seems. That Màrquez is vile… I hope JC is able to track/find them before he is able to inflict too much harm. Then, I hope he’s made to regret his actions.
Thanks for translating, the T/N and editing.
Thank You for the new chapter (๑╹ڡ╹)╭ ～ ♡
I just realized – the really long sentences!
Thank you for the chapter!
Marquez feels sus — either he also has a mask and targets betas orrrr it’s just personal revenge and these means are not that professional level massacre 🤔
JC don’t compare yourself to a robot 😅