Chapter 148: Ruins
The Qin Jiu who had become an invigilator was still a troublesome existence. As far as the system was concerned, he probably was born with that rebellious streak —— He treated rule violations like he was having his usual meals, and he continued to do that even as an invigilator.
When he violated the rules for the fourth time, the system couldn’t stand it anymore. It added a clause under the rules requiring him to take another exam.
Since he had to take part in an exam, he would become equivalent to a temporary examinee. To be an examinee, one would need an admission ticket and the one who was responsible for preparing those at the time was Head Invigilator A.
What the others didn’t know was that Qin Jiu himself was also there on the day when his admission ticket was made and that it was Invigilator A who had called him over.
Admission tickets were made in the systems core; it’s main control centre. That was Qin Jiu’s first time officially standing in front of that metal door. But before he could get any closer, the system issued an alarm.
Qin Jiu raised a brow, “Is there a problem with this one?”
【Non-head invigilators are prohibited from entering the main control centre.】
The system said mechanically.
“Prohibited?” Invigilator A said, “Then how should I get his identity verified? Without identity verification, the admission ticket is basically useless.”
Qin Jiu looked over at him with a trace of surprise in his expression.
He had dealt with Invigilator A and he knew of his temper, but he didn’t expect the other party to actually speak to the system this way. It was completely unlike the style of Gentle Faction invigilators.
But the system seemed to be used to it. It just insisted stubbornly:
【Invigilator Gin’s authority is insufficient.】
“Are you punishing him or not?” Invigilator A was a little annoyed.
“Then give him authority.”
His tone was stern and cold. The system fell silent for a few seconds.
Qin Jiu could actually sense a hint of grievance from those few seconds of silence.
After a while, the system spoke again:
【Giving authority is okay, but it is prohibited to stay in the main control centre for too long.】
【No more than twenty minutes.】
Invigilator A nodded.
Immediately afterwards, red light scanned across Qin Jiu’s body. The system said: 【Invigilator Gin has been added to the list of authorities.】
The metal door opened with a beep. The system then said: 【The countdown begins. The remaining time is 19:59:59.】
It wasn’t often that one would encounter something so stingy. Qin Jiu laughed when he heard this.
Carrying his usual lazy smirk on his face, he went through the door behind Invigilator A. He had thought that he would see a sealed-off room like a laboratory and completely didn’t expect there to be a forest behind the metal door.
The branches were dried and brittle, and they pointed straight up to the sky. Dense branches intertwined so much, at first it looked like a cluster of grey-blue coloured smoke.
Invigilator A led Qin Jiu through the forest. A little further away was a flat-roofed building resembling those of a metal fortress or a heavily guarded experimental warehouse.
Some discarded instruments and materials laid piled up outside the building and there were also several cars parked there. Those cars were all painted with camouflage paint and there was a thick layer of dust accumulated on top.
A metal fence surrounded all of that. When Qin Jiu got closer, he saw several charred bird corpses hanging off it.
Off in the distance, at the horizon, tall buildings could vaguely be seen. It was foggy and unclear, like an afterimage of a city.
“This is the main control centre?” Qin Jiu stopped in place.
“Mhn.” Invigilator A said.
Please read this from kk translates
Qin Jiu glanced around before finally raising his head and looking at the building in front of him. The warehouse…..No, the main control centre had a large rusty gate for an entrance. The words NA7232 was sprayed on with white paint.
“What does that mean?” He pointed at that string of characters he couldn’t comprehend.
With Invigilator A’s usual temper during the meetings, he probably would not bother going out of his way to answer this kind of question, so Qin Jiu was prepared for a dismissive response. Contrary to his expectations however, he heard Invigilator A say: NA is an abbreviation. The full name is Noah’s Ark 7232. The former is the code name and the latter is the area number.”
Qin Jiu for some reason felt that this name seemed familiar, as if he had seen it in a certain book or document.
“7323…….” He read it again and asked, “Military area?”
Invigilator A paused and said, “Accommodation.”
Qin Jiu was puzzled.
Invigilator A said, “Chu Yue and I…..”
As he said this, he seemed to have thought of something and he changed his words, “That is, Invigilator Z. We stayed here a long time ago. It was an accommodation part of the research centre. The system brought it over and used it as the main control centre.”
Qin Jiu looked at him and suddenly remembered some rumours saying that Invigilator A and Invigilator Z had some connects with the system. He didn’t expect to hear this from Invigilator A.
The Invigilator A today was a little strange. Without the attention of others or the system’s nagging, he no longer seemed push others away.
To be precise, his edges and corners were still sharp, but they weren’t directed at Qin Jiu.
The exterior of the main control centre was old and rusted. It may have borrowed the research centre building, but the inside was cold and metallic and there was also a large screen.
Invigilator A didn’t move over to that and instead went straight to a control pad in the corner. He opened a small screen and started to go through the procedures.
Qin Jiu looked around, assessing the interior of the main control centre. He then finally returned to Invigilator A’s side.
With both hands leaning on the control pad, he watched Invigilator A quietly.
After a while, he suddenly asked, “Have you ever considered changing factions?”
Invigilator A’s finger’s paused. His first reaction wasn’t to look at Qin Jiu but around the room.
“No need to be so vigilant.” Qin Jiu’s voice was lazy, “I heard that the system core isn’t monitored.”
Invigilator A hummed but he still didn’t relax. He still maintained the appearance of dealing with important matters.
“Although you are the leader of the opposing group, sometimes I feel that it is more appropriate for you to come to our side.” Qin Jiu removed his eyes from the other party’s busy fingers and took in Invigilator A’s profile, “Would you consider changing?”
Invigilator A didn’t look at him. His eyes remained on the screen, as if he was too busy to look away.
He said: “Not considering.”
Qin Jiu lightly let out an ‘oh’. The final sound was deliberately dragged longer.
He didn’t speak for a while and just obediently watched Invigilator A enter various information.
“There are another two questions I’ve been wanting to ask all this time.”
“We’re obviously in opposing factions but why do you remember my information so clearly?” Qin Jiu raised his chin and pointed it at the screen.
Invigilator A’s finger didn’t stop but for a while, he didn’t answer.
After typing out a set of information, he finally said indifferently, “Because I am the main invigilator.”
“Ah yes, I almost forgot after being in opposition for so long. To some extent, you are still my superior.” Qin Jiu raised the corner of his lips, “Then last question.”
Invigilator A was in the middle of generating his admission ticket number.
As Qin Jiu watched the series of numbers appear, he asked unhurriedly, “Are you against having a romantic relationship with this enemy who is also half your subordinate?”
Invigilator A’s hands shook a little, causing him to hit the confirm button.
With a beep, the card generator nearby indicated that it was done. Qin Jiu picked up the completed card and his eyes fell onto the admission ticket number: There were two letters at the end of the string of numbers — Gi.
Qin Jiu stared at it for a few seconds before suddenly laughing, “What is this? A new nickname for your enemy?”
Invigilator A looked at him with pursed lips and for a moment appeared to have a complicated expression.
After a while, he slammed the control pad shut, brushed past Qin Jiu’s shoulder and went to the door. As he did this, he threw out a sentence without looking back, “Make do with it. Don’t expect it to be fixed.”
Since then, Qin Jiu still continued to test the system’s limits with constant rule violations.
The more unscrupulous the Forceful Faction were, the more ‘loyal’ the Gentle Faction led by Invigilator A appeared and, in turn, the authority of Invigilator A and Z also grew.
This contrasting position was in par to the difference between fire and water.
Strangely enough, the more ruthless it was at the meetings, the stronger the ambiguity between Qin Jiu and Invigilator A during their private moments. At times, Qin Jiu would even feel that something would happen between them the next second, but Invigilator A would always withdraw before it did.
It wasn’t playing around. On the contrary, Qin Jiu could sense deep restraint and struggle during those times.
For some reason, that feeling always made his heart ache a little, as if he knew the reason for this struggle and restraint.
Why was it……
Qin Jiu once thought that he would never want to figure this out, but this only continued until he was sent to the Special Sector to receive his punishment.
That was Invigilator Z Chu Yue’s place but somehow Chu Yue happened to be absent that day and the one who was responsible to take him there became Invigilator A.
After the identity verification was done and he was just about to enter the punishment channel, Qin Jiu caught a glimpse of the word “previous” on the screen. It meant that before him, someone had been here to be punished.
For reasons unknown, he reached out and changed the page. The punishment record appeared before both Qin Jiu and Invigilator A’s eyes. At that time, the records didn’t conceal any information, and everything was revealed:
Rule Violator: A
Violation: Overly intimate relationship with Examinee Qin Jiu.
Punishment: White light district (1 times)
Other: At the request of A, the punishment is postponed for 5 days.
It was just a few dozen words, so few that not even the entire space was filled, but when Qin Jiu saw Invigilator A suddenly freeze in place, he instantly understood.
Please read this from kk translates
He finally knew why he had those unexplained emotions and those moments which seemed to give him a sense of familiarity. All the things he couldn’t make sense of were now cleared up.
It was because he used to have this person beside him, but he had forgotten.
That was the moment when Qin Jiu was at his craziest. A punishment that should’ve lasted five days ended in just six hours. Completely silent, he came out bloodied and supporting a wounded right arm.
According to the rules, he was taken back to the confinement room in Invigilator A’s residence. As soon as A closed the door, Qin Jiu pushed him against the door and expressed all his emotions as they entangled and kissed. Impulsiveness, repression as well as intense and deep affection….
He, Invigilator A and Chu Yue were finally back in the same starting point. From there, they began to work secretly under the systems watch.
It really was an ideal time ——- Under the support of Qin Jiu’s group of Forceful Faction invigilators, the authority of A and Chu Yue grew to the highest level ever, the self-correction program was ready and the system’s state of function had fallen to 73%.
The main control centre wasn’t monitored by the system. In here, the system was practically blind.
Since it had no eyes here, it couldn’t make accurate judgements, particularly in regard to emotions and feelings. For example, when someone is doing something, was it with good or malicious intentions?
Without the ability the make accurate judgements, real-time orders could not be given and therefore the emergency procedures of the main control centre were mainly based on following rigid, pre-set rules.
Under normal circumstances, the internal attack and defence protocol would automatically be activated when the main control centre is damaged. For every 20% increase in damage, the protocol would increase by a level.
Once increased to level 4, this protocol was no different from an “annihilator”. Anyone in its path had no way out.
But there was one exception.
If the head invigilator was present, the system would naturally believe that the head invigilator is on the same side as itself and would help prevent damage and repair the system as soon as possible.
In order not to accidentally kill the head invigilator, the protocol would not be activated during the early stages and would only start if the damages reach 50% and the head invigilator still failed to rectify the issue.
This was what Qin Jiu and the others wanted to take advantage of.
They had already calculated it——
In the presence of Invigilator A, if the damage to the main control centre reaches 50%, the damned protocol would start. At that moment, it would be level 1. Once the damage reaches 70%, it becomes level 2 and at 90%, it would be level 3. This was the limit. Even if it reached 100%, it wouldn’t not increase to the most lethal level 4.
In addition, once 70% of the main control centre can no longer function, Team S would be sent out. They could borrow the lethality of this damned protocol to deal with that Team S.
Qin Jiu and Invigilator A planned to work separately, destroying from both ends and meeting in the middle. That was faster and more efficient.
As long as it reaches 100%, the master control authority would fall into Invigilator A’s hands.
And then, the nightmare will be over.
That was actually a safe plan, but something happened at a critical moment.
The moment the damages reached 30%, the system suddenly activated the protocol and it then increased its level crazily at a rate of every 10%. There was only one possibility for this —–
The system could suddenly see again. It had once again taken over Invigilator A’s eyes.
In fact, they had discussed the possibility of this a long time ago. The thing inside Invigilator A’s eyes had long been confirmed to have been disabled so it should be no different from it being completely destroyed because anything that is banned by the system can no longer be used again. This was the case unless someone with a higher authority than the head invigilator manually activated it again. But in this entire place, there was no invigilator with a higher authority than A or Z so who could it be?
This was something they never figured out.
Because before they could find the answer, they ran out of time.
As for that day, the most vivid memory began when gunfire ceased.
Qin Jiu sat down on a horizontal metal pipe with his elbows on his knees. He had his head bowed as he let out some dull coughs. Blood almost uncontrollably flowed out of his wounds, leaving large bright red patches on his shirt.
He lowered his eyes and used his fingers to sweep away the blood obscuring his vision, but his vision still didn’t clear up.
The attack had actually stopped but he could still hear a continuous roar in his ears, covering up everything he wanted to hear.
He wanted to hear how the situation was on the other side of the ruins, he wanted to hear if Invigilator A had come, he wanted to hear whether the other party’s footsteps were light or heavy, and how many injuries he had suffered…..
But it was too far, and his ears were too noisy. He couldn’t hear anything.
The smell of blood mixed with gunpower continued to attack his nose. He sat there for a while before reaching for his scarf. He tucked the blood-stained part of it inside and wound it neatly around his neck.
The pigeon-grey coloured scarf covered most of his blood stains, and at first glance he looked unscathed.
Only after doing this did Qin Jiu support himself against the pipe in attempt to stand up. Just as he raised his head, a figure appeared in his blurred vision.
He blinked twice to see a little more clearly, but it didn’t do anything. On the contrary, it only made it worse.
In the next few seconds, his memory was completely dark.
When he shook his head and looked up again, that person was already standing in front of him.
At that moment, he felt glad. Glad that he had acted fast and had hidden his pathetic side and those bloodstains in advance so as not to make that person sad.
He raised his head and looked at that person for a long time.
In fact, he couldn’t see clearly at all but that didn’t prevent him from looking.
His Big Invigilator’s eyes seemed to be very red and his lips opened and closed as if he was saying something. He leaned forward trying to hear more clearly, but there was still only the roar of gunfire in his ears.
And so, he could only laugh.
He twisted a small, hard object between his fingers and said to the other party: “Big Invigilator, please lower your head. I have something to say.”
That man almost knelt down before him.
Qin Jiu narrowed his eyes and rubbed his fingers across the side of the other party’s face.
The moment he felt that heat, he suddenly began to feel a little reluctant.
Before they proceeded with their plans, Qin Jiu had actually secretly entered the system’s core.
He had experienced losing his memories once so before they proceeded, he had gone to the “backup station” to get an authorisation key for revoking the order to erase memories and had spent a lot of effort hiding it in the earring. This also consequently resulted in the release of the human part of the system which later became 154.
On that day, he had found something hidden in the system’s core.
It was a very uncommonly used system rule ——
【If the system is damaged due to the fault of an invigilator, the head invigilator has immunity.】
According to their plans, Chu Yue worked in the background and didn’t directly participate so she shouldn’t be severely punished. But he and Invigilator A are different. If they fail, the consequences would be unimaginable.
And this rule was a life-saving talisman for Invigilator A.
The reason why this rule was hidden here was because he had long transferred that life-saving talisman to Qin Jiu.
That was also the reason why he had called Qin Jiu over to the systems core to generate the admission ticket. He could only do this if Qin Jiu’s name was added to the list of authorities in the main control centre.
After Qin Jiu saw this, he quietly moved the immunity back.
The dense forest in the distance appeared grey-ish blue.
The sky was far, and the wind carried the chill of early winter.
He could smell the gunpowder again. He didn’t know if it was from himself or from A, or maybe it was from both.
They were going to separate again and this time he didn’t know how long it would be or whether there would be a day where they can meet again.
If they met again, would he still remember that he once had a lover like him?
Look, even before parting he already misses him.
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KK has something to say:
Qin Jiu is such a romantic ahhhhhh