Survivorship Bias Chapter 8
To win, he had to lose
“Why do you think I’m lying?” An Wujiu asked.
“No reason.” Zhong Yirou changed the topic. “Fortunately, there’s this mechanical skeleton made of hard synthetic metal. Otherwise, your wrist would be a wreck.” Zhong Yirou craned her head, grabbed An Wujiu’s intact hand, and shook his wrist and his five fingers.
She muttered, “It would be great if I could cut open your hand…”
A dazzling light blinded Zhong Yirou as soon as she finished speaking. She covered her eyes with her hands. “Why, mask man?! I didn’t say I needed to cut it right away!”
Only then did Shen Ti point the flashlight back at An Wujiu’s wrist.
Zhong Yirou rolled her eyes. “I was just thinking his bones weren’t exactly alright. I want to see what’s wrong, but I can’t scan it right now.”
Although Zhong Yirou didn’t say it clearly, An Wujiu understood her implication to some extent. His wrist bones were composed of synthetic metal. What about his other bones?
“My memories were probably artificially erased as well.” An Wujiu confessed his suspicions to her.
Zhong Yirou cocked an eyebrow, expression seemingly dubious. “The neurons in your hippocampus have been tampered with?”
She was, after all, a prosthetist and had seen all kinds of strange surgeries, so after thinking about it, she stated another possibility, “Maybe it was selectively removed and then inserted with a new code.”
After hearing this, Shen Ti started to shine the flashlight on the back of An Wujiu’s head, but Zhong Yirou called him back, closing the ends, cutting the thread with scissors, wiping away the blood on An Wujiu’s skin, and applying medication.
“Does it hurt?” Zhong Yirou asked, “Want me to give you a shot of endorphins?”
“No, it’s okay.” An Wujiu replied truthfully, speaking slowly, but he seemed very calm.
“Alright. That stuff is so expensive, and I’m still reluctant to part with it.” Zhong Yirou didn’t know what to say. The individual in front of her didn’t react after experiencing this amount of harm. Even the deep sutures performed without anesthetic were only slightly painful.
Observing Zhong Yirou calmly, An Wujiu realized that the virtual machine interface in her brain was exposed. Behind the ear, a black carbon arc ring extending from the interface went around the right earlobe as if she were wearing some unique jewelry.
Subconsciously, An Wujiu looked at Shen Ti again, but he was wearing a helmet, so An Wujiu found nothing.
Zhong Yirou discovered his intentions and told him directly, “Ours were all installed before entering Altar. If someone had drilled through your head and implanted a device, it would’ve been removed before coming in, no matter how good the money was. Outside Altar, they’re all virtual experience machines.”
She turned her head to look at the side of An Wujiu’s ear, but it wasn’t the same as hers. His ear had no sensory hub ring.
“Let me see. Where’s your interface?” She mumbled. After putting away the tools, she turned and held An Wujiu’s hair gently. “Your hair is longer than mine.” She twirled his hair, a little surprised. “It’s surprisingly true.” After speaking, she seemed to remember something. “Right, I wanted to check it.”
Zhong Yirou turned around, pinched An Wujiu’s face with her hands, tugged at it, and carefully observed the pores and tiny light-colored hairs on his face.
“Your face is also real. Not bought.” She couldn’t help but sigh. “Nowadays, there are too few purely natural handsome guys, so many have changed their faces before adulthood.”
“Is the face important?” An Wujiu asked.
Zhong Yirou raised her eyebrows. “Of course, what are you thinking?” She shook her head. “Nowadays, in this world, violence, hallucinogens, and sex are all hard currency, and frankly, isn’t beauty a form of sexual power? Especially natural beauty. Those rich people hate squeezing out uniform cellular faces. Do you know what a cellular face is? It’s the epidermis cultivated from human skin tissue. It sounds okay, but the skin in the Petri dish is weird and rubber-like…”
When talking about her profession, Zhong Yirou spoke a lot. But An Wujiu didn’t feel much about his appearance and didn’t think it was a rare feature.
Zhong Yirou supported An Wujiu’s chin, scrutinized his face, and concluded, “However, it appears that current technology can’t make a face of your level. This skull and the shape of the eyes, really not bad…”
Shen Ti’s flashlight frantically swept over An Wujiu’s head, reminding Zhong Yirou that it was time to do the main task. But Zhong Yirou glanced at him. “Mask man, why are you wearing a mask? It couldn’t be disfigurement, right?”
An Wujiu also turned to look at him, only to see Shen Ti shrugging his shoulders as if acquiescing. A bit of insincere pity appeared on Zhong Yirou’s face. “I have good plastic surgery skills, and I guarantee you’ll have a good face. Although you can’t become an incredibly handsome guy, you won’t need to wear a mask.”
“And the price is fair, cheating neither the old nor the young. How about it? Consider giving it a go?” Zhong Yirou’s beautiful eyes began to shine as soon as money was mentioned.
However, Shen Ti just shook his head and pointed the flashlight at An Wujiu’s head.
“Forget it.” Zhong Yirou’s mouth twitched. She stopped promoting her plastic surgery technology and lowered her head to concentrate on examining the back of An Wujiu’s head.
“I touched it.”
The two interfaces were located an inch above An Wujiu’s two ear tips at an angle of 45 degrees, hidden in his hair. A small square protrusion was the sealing threshold of the liquid metal electrodes. “Your virtual machine is not the same as ours. The electrodes are also different. Why?”
She was puzzled and tried to open the closed threshold but found that the entire virtual machine was currently in a terminated program state.
“I can’t open it.” Zhong Yirou tried using several tools, including a force-open code but failed. “Not working. This startup program has a built-in encryption program, and I can’t do anything about it.”
An Wujiu understood. “It doesn’t matter. The fact that I’m in Altar right now means it’s working internally. Maybe part of the program has been suspended.”
Being unable to fix it completely, Zhong Yirou was a bit dissatisfied. After all, she regarded herself as a prosthetic doctor with excellent professional ability. After some thought, Zhong Yirou clapped her hands. “Right, I can help you install a sensory hub ring. Your analgesia might have something to do with that.”
She retrieved a space-gray streamlined ring with a metallic luster from her tool bag. One end was attached to An Wujiu’s outer ear, and the magnetic reaction device on the other end was linked to the outside of his hidden interface.
“This is the latest generation of outer space silicon carbide. It’s much easier to use than the ones installed in our heads. I originally reserved it for myself. It won’t take effect on Altar with this sort of installation. If you can leave this round alive, I’ll load it for you in the real world and scan your bones again.”
An Wujiu also expressed his gratitude to Zhong Yirou.
“I will help you.” His voice was gentle and sincere. Zhong Yirou still wasn’t used to it, so she just smiled. “There’s no need. Just give me money, ten thousand holy coins.”
Zhong Yirou just casually spoke and stretched out a hand. After all, 10,000 holy coins were enough to smuggle half a box of space silicon carbide materials into the real world.
Unexpectedly, An Wujiu silently retrieved the panel after hearing this, entered Zhong Yirou’s name on the transfer interface, and transferred the money without hesitation after confirming the personal information.
It was only when Zhong Yirou heard the immediate reminder that she, a miser, was speechless for a moment.
What kind of wedding day was this, encountering a pair of squanderers at once?
As she was lamenting, a fourth person barged into the lounge porch. It was Wu You.
“You… why are you all here?” He held the door with his hands, hesitating on whether to enter.
“To see what the lounge looks like, ah.” Zhong Yirou fixed the tool bag on her back again, holding the strap with both hands, and tied a knot.
Wu You’s eyes swept around somewhat defensively, and he suddenly asked bluntly, bringing up a topic several people had not consulted and even avoided discussing.
“Will you be in an alliance with Yang Ming?”
Zhong Yirou froze for a moment, then laughed. “Children are so direct.”
I am not a child.” Wu You stood upright and frowned slightly. “I’m sixteen years old.”
“Pfft, okay.” She had to raise both hands in surrender. “You’re not, you’re not.”
But the look of someone revealing their wishes to a stranger didn’t appear mature.
“At the very least, he won’t ally with me.” An Wujiu said slowly, “No matter the stance.”
“That’s true.” Zhong Yirou nodded. “Yang Ming is probably scheming in desperation right now, thinking about how he can kill you.”
Wu You looked at Zhong Yirou and asked, “What about you? Why are you so ingratiating yourself with An Wujiu? It can’t be your red line is connected to him, right?”
Zhong Yirou showed a puzzled expression. “What are you talking about?”
Wu You pointed to the toolkit she was carrying. “I saw it all. You sewed up the wound on his hand. You have a crush on An Wujiu.”
“I have a crush on him?” Zhong Yirou sneered. “I also have a crush on you.”
Seeing their little fight, An Wujiu had the illusion that this wasn’t a survival game, but only for a second. Although he, at first, wasn’t used to it, he also understood the laws of this game now.
Zhong Yirou patted his shoulder. “I told you, you can’t just give up so easily. If you did lose your memory, you’re a novice in this game. I’ll be merciful and tell you that you can’t be soft-hearted when participating in any game in Altar. Otherwise, you will definitely lose.”
The corners of An Wujiu’s mouth lifted slightly. “But you can’t be reckless either.”
Zhong Yirou froze. “…that’s true. But whatever the game, if you get the worst card and still don’t resist, the situation will get worse. How can you survive as a worthless person?”
An Wujiu didn’t reply.
It is indeed difficult for worthless people to survive.
But worthless people could hide from intrigues. Especially the legendary invincible and dangerous person; once they lose and retreat repeatedly, their opponent will relax as pride inflates and turn a blind eye to them, a worthless person.
It was the only way for the current An Wujiu to retreat in one piece.
He was severely wounded, lacked supplies, and didn’t have many health bars, while everyone regarded him as the strongest person and the biggest obstacle to victory.
To win, he had to lose.
“Why aren’t you saying anything?” Zhong Yirou sighed. “I’ve never seen a guy like you in Altar who can’t analyze people. Don’t look at Yang Ming’s health bars. He won’t duel you directly, but he’ll definitely use others…”
Before she could finish speaking, a piercing alarm sounded in the room, followed by the familiar divine voice.
“Player initiates a duel.”
Shen Ti, standing aside, blew a whistle, but it didn’t sound, which was a bit embarrassing.
No one expected peace to be so short-lived.
“Initiating party: Robber — Liu Chengwei.”
“Responding party: Intern — An Wujiu.”
“The duel will start in three minutes. Requesting both parties to come to the dueling room on the right side of the living room. The responding party may not refuse the duel, or else the health bar of the current round will be deducted.”
Sure enough, it came.