|Author: The Sole Survivor||Original Source: SFACG|
|Translator: CatatoPatch||English Source: Re:Library|
In front of us right now was a gigantic food processor that was producing a decidedly human voice. And this human voice said it forgot who it was…
Combining that with the fact that Floater found evidence of people being dragged here… it was clear to anyone with a brain what this machine was actually meant for…
What a horrific way to murder a person… assuming the above was correct…
Lixiang quickly picked up on this possibility as well. She covered her mouth and gasped in horror, eyes filled with disbelief. “The way humans treat each other is truly the worst!”
“Do you recognise this item?” I opened up my palms to reveal the USB stick. “Did you drop this?”
“That… looks familiar… but I can’t remember…” The mysterious voice seemed to be able to perceive the outside world through some unknown means. His voice almost quivered as he said with a pause, “I feel I should know it… but I just can’t remember…”
“Should I open it up?”
“Please… please do…”
“Alright, I’ll open the USB.”
By employing my electronic AI, I didn’t even need to insert the USB before opening up its data storage.
Within it was a lone video file, which I played on my holographic display.
Like an old cinema, a video of an average-looking youth in casual clothing appeared on screen.
“Greetings everyone, I’m your reporter for the Federation Broadcasting Station (FBS), Zuoqiu Shanming. Behind me is the underground munitions factory and storage facility, hidden within an abandoned warehouse, which I mentioned before. Do not be fooled by its decrepit exterior, but here in the most remote regions of the 12th District, where no one frequents without reason, lies a den of criminal activity…”
“Zuoqiu Shanming?!” Floater barely held a gasp back as she stared at the reporter on screen. “You’re THE Zuoqiu Shanming?”
“Who is Zuoqiu Shanming?”
Based on her reaction, Floater clearly knew the man, or at least she knew the name.
“You know him?” Is he some celebrity? Or is there another reason why he’s famous?
“You can say that.” Floater answered with a dark look on her face. “Zuoqiu Shanming is known for being a brave reporter who has dedicated his entire life to chasing the truth and righting the wrongs in society. Unfortunately, he disappeared a few years back, without a trace…”
“Zuoqiu Shanming… another familiar sounding name…”
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“Still can’t remember?”
“I can’t… but why do I feel pain when I look at him… even though I’m already dead…”
Already dead… so he is at least aware of his own state.
Despite the voice in that machine and the voice in that video sounding different, my gut instincts told me that this mysterious voice was most likely the voice of the deceased Zuoqiu Shanming. Why else would he react to that USB?
The video continued, Zuoqiu Shanming put on some makeup, a fake wig, and a fake beard. Even his voice was changed using a device.
Disguised as a buyer, Zuoqiu Shanming stepped into the warehouse, and after exchanging the secret codes, he successfully infiltrated the underground munitions factory. Yet the moment he stepped out of the elevator, he was pinned down by two burly, bald men…
“What the heck are you doing? Is this how you treat your guests? I’m here to make a purchase, you can’t treat me like this…”
He tried to talk his way out of his predicament, but little did he know that he had already fallen into someone else’s scheme.
“Your acting is… commendable.”
A round of clapping preceded an ominous set of footsteps, set against a deafening silence. A weaselly looking man, sporting a oily center parting, and dressed in a tuxedo walked up to Zuoqiu Shanming.
Hands on his hips, the man bent down to look at Shanming. He then reached out and tugged off the wig and fake beard on his head. Smiling, he straightened his back and threw a disdainful look at his prey. “If you can’t figure out what’s going on by now, you truly deserve to die for your stupidity, mister great reporter.”
The man clearly had some history with Shanming.
“That’s right, it’s me. I bet you never expected that this day would arrive when you exposed me, did you?”
“You psychopathic scumbag merchant! Why are you still alive? Weren’t you already…”
Xue Guode kicked the reporter’s side before he could even finish his sentence, cutting him off right at the crucial moment.
“Cough, cough…” Zuoqiu Shanming tried to double over in pain, however the burly men’s hands kept him pinned down.
“I bet you still don’t know that it was Committee Member Li who saved me right at the last moment. Or should I call him, cousin-in-law?” His smile grew even wider at that point. “I knew you won’t give up after exposing me like that, but just when I was considering whether or not to escape to another planet, my good old cousin got hitched to Committee Member Li… what a fortuitous turn of events, even the heavens are protecting me!”
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“Committee Member Li?”
“That’s right, Committee Member Li.”
“Impossible… how can it be him… he clearly…” Zuoqiu Shanming shook his head in disbelief, completely unable to accept the reality of the situation.
“Why not? He was the one who gave you the address. Even the secret codes were given by him. Yet here you are, pinned to the ground. Isn’t that proof enough?”
Zuoqiu Shanming was left speechless by the momentous betrayal.
“Really, how old do you have to be before you grow out of your little justice make-believe?” Xue Guode smiled derisively. “Anyway, I need to check on the surprise I prepared for you. Wouldn’t want it to mess up at the best moment. You two, teach him a lesson first, then burn him… but don’t burn him to death, I want him to be barely alive for the last part. I did swear to rip you to shreds and turn you into mincemeat. I might not be the best person ever, but I keep my promises.”
Barely a second after the man left, the two burly men started beating up the poor reporter. And as instructed, they set him on fire.
Wreathed in flames, Zuoqiu Shanming desperately tried to put out the flames by tossing and turning. Unfortunately, that wasn’t going to cut it at all…
From that point, the video proceeded as expected. Severely injured but still alive, the two burly men put out the fire before dragging the half-dead Zuoqiu Shanming towards the kitchen…
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