Chapter 8.2 - The Black Plains

Astrolabe Rebirth


"This gunshot that shook the entire city caused one person to die and another person to wake upon hearing it."


Translator(s): moon
Editor(s): namio, jelly

Content Warning:
some minor gun violence

A-Ka and Percy were eating breakfast when they heard people starting to sing outside, their voices turning into a flow.

“Oh wayward souls, we have finally returned to our homeland…”

“Our destined hero leads us forward…”

“The future is at our feet…”

The city had been lit by the fires of passion, and though A-Ka was not interested in the Rebellion and their matters, he couldn't escape being affected by these emotions as well. Percy piped up, “Can I go outside and look?”

“No,” A-Ka responded, without even thinking about it.

An instant later, someone else knocked on the door, before it was thrown open and Huixiong appeared in the doorway.

“Mackenzie’s come,” Huixiong said. “Don’t you want to go out and look?”

Shahuang drawled, “Eh, nah. There’s two little ones in the house though, you can take them with you.”

Huixiong smiled and asked, “Are you guys going?”

Percy looked at A-Ka. A-Ka didn’t really want to go; his mechanical arm hadn’t been fully outfitted yet. Shahuang said, “Percy, you can go with Huixiong, he’ll make sure you’re safe.”

A-Ka looked consideringly at Huixiong. In the end, he said, “You can go, come back soon.”

Huixiong then picked up Percy’s hand in his own and led him out the door. Shahuang said, “Huixiong once destroyed a military base with just his two bare fists, so no need to worry about your little brother.”

“Instead of worrying if he can protect Percy,” A-Ka said, “I’m more afraid that he might do something to Percy.”

Shahuang began to smile. He said, “He doesn’t like little kids, you don’t need to worry there. Now that your guys’ bodyguard has come, no one needs to be afraid anymore.”

“What?” A-Ka asked, confused.

Shahuang finished his breakfast. Without answering A-Ka’s question, he went back to his room and sat down, slumped in his chair as usual, using his cap to cover his face. He turned on the radio, which was broadcasting nothing but the news of General Mackenzie’s tour.

A-Ka returned to his spot behind the counter, adjusting his mechanical limb. He had used the scrap parts in Shahuang’s store to put together a robot’s arm and hand, and he held in it in his hand. When it moved, it let out ga ga noises as he added a light slingshot to it.

What was the visitor upstairs doing? He had gone onto the rooftop in the morning, and he hadn’t come down since.

A-Ka pushed open the window and peered outside, only to see the square that was swarming with people. The crowd seemed endless; A-Ka had never seen so many people before, and they kept rushing in from all sides, as if they all wanted to bear witness to such an important moment in history. In the center of the square was the steam coach station that led to the south, and the railroad tracks stopped at this point, as if they could not extend even an inch further into the hitherto unknown, uninhabited part of the world.

The hands of the large clock pointed at 9:50 as a steam coach pulled into the Shakespeare Town station. When the doors of the car opened, the crowd went wild.

“Mackenzie --”

“Mackenzie, you’ve come!”

Countless people shouted Mackenzie’s name, and several Rebellion officers left the carriage, followed by a squat middle-aged man.

A-Ka couldn’t help but walk outside, clambering along the ladder outside up to the roof. Not far away was the rooftop, where he saw that man’s long black windbreaker. His two hands were stuck deep in his pockets as he stood still in the corner, looking into the distance.

“Hey!” A-Ka shouted to him.

That man was about as tall as Heishi, and he wore a pair of earmuffs. A-Ka bet that he heard, he just didn’t turn his head. A-Ka went up on tiptoes, staring towards the square. He knew that many people in Phoenix City had been eagerly anticipating Mackenzie’s arrival, since Mackenzie’s actions in the Rebellion had become the stuff of urban legends. The news on the radio said that he had also participated in that battle, and had single-handedly destroyed two large-scale Exterminators.

He had come with orders from the deceased General Libre to gather up the Rebellion troops in the north and lead them in setting up their frontlines, but now, he had returned to Phoenix City. Humanity was going to lift up the banner of revolution here and regain their stolen homeland.

The sound of “The Black Plains” song was so loud it echoed in his ears, but it slowly died down, and Mackenzie began to speak.

“Today is a moment that history will be made,” Mackenzie said. 

Mackenzie’s voice was solid and vigorous. He took off his cap and said, “We’ve fallen victim to the cruelest blows in all of history, and with the lives of countless soldiers as the price, we’ve whittled away at ‘Father’’s menacing power, but this is nowhere near enough! We will gather together…”

The sunlight was stark white but thin, and it silently landed on every single structure in Phoenix City. On the rooftop of the repair shop, Heishi clenched his teeth around a bullet, set the rifle in place, and pointed it at the center of the square, at the platform where Mackenzie stood.

He put on a laser sight, observing Mackenzie from over four hundred meters away; he was gesticulating as he spoke. He was currently waving around a marshal’s military cap, rousing the enthusiasm of the crowd.

A few seconds later, the killer pulled the trigger.

“Peng!”

As if a giant had swung a hammer down into the ground, the entire world seemed to shake from this.

In that instant, time seemed to slow down drastically as Mackenzie’s grandiose forehead burst open, a blossom of blood flowering on it. Under the sunlight, Mackenzie’s brain matter glittered as it reflected the light.

The entire square of people was struck dumb with surprise. This shock was far too much. For almost five whole seconds, no one could speak as they dumbly watched Mackenzie’s headless body topple over onto the ground and roll off the platform.

This gunshot that shook the entire city caused one person to die and another person to wake upon hearing it.

In the repair shop, Shahuang was jolted awake by the report of the gun, and he sat up vigorously.

Outside of the shop, A-Ka immediately felt a spike of panic. He hurried to hop down and rush into the shop -- just to run right into the arms of Shahuang who was rushing out!

“What did that bastard do!” Shahuang yanked A-Ka’s collar and bellowed.

“I don’t know!” A-Ka pushed aside Shahuang, speaking loudly. “I also just heard the report!”

“Damn!” Shahuang rushed up onto the rooftop, kicking the door furiously as he bellowed, “Open the door! You damned fucker! What did you do!”

But no matter what, that metal door stayed firmly shut, and no matter how hard Shahuang tried he had no way to open it. Just then, A-Ka grabbed him and shoved him to one side, before resting the mechanical limb on his shoulder and sending a blast at the door.

With a huge hong, that blast caused the door to the entire rooftop to fly out. Shahuang and A-Ka rushed in only to see the corner of that windbreaker fluttering away, and the shadow of the sniper flipping over the railings and leaping into the alleyway below. He then lifted a hand, his index and middle finger pressed together, as he made a slight gesture at A-Ka.

In that instant, all the blood in A-Ka’s veins congealed.

“Heishi --” A-Ka pounced to the front of the railings, shouting.

At that moment, Heishi leapt into the small alleyway behind the repair shop. When he landed, he lifted his head and glanced at A-Ka, before turning and sprinting away, disappearing into one end of the alley.

A-Ka also vaulted over, falling onto an oil can before landing on the ground and rolling around for a bit, his head spinning. He then rose to chase after Heishi, shouting, “Wait!”

Mackenzie’s death caused a chaotic panic. As the nearly hundred thousand people in the square came back to their senses, they, as one, let out shouts and cries of unclear meaning. Rage and grief, and even despair, mixed together in the tumult. Many people wanted to rush onto the platform to see his corpse, but the guard squadron leveled their guns in warning. The humans caused a riot as a hundred thousand people trampled over each other and overturned the spectators’ platform.

A-Ka would never have expected for something like this to happen. Pursuing him out of the small alleyway, he finally caught sight of Heishi’s silhouette. Everywhere was in chaos, and Heishi really ran too fast. The sky was filled with patrol aircraft, and when he finally saw Heishi, the clone police had already begun to circle around and trap the escaping Heishi in.

From his shirt pocket, A-Ka pulled out a monocular positioning device that he put on over his left eye, and he dragged the mechanical arm behind him as he sprinted through the main street. The place was crawling with soldiers that were trying to capture Heishi and disperse the residents, and Phoenix City had exploded into a riot that the rebel troops were beginning to suppress.

What was going on? Where A-Ka passed, he found that there were quite a few people who were starting a gunfight with the rebel troops, and most of them were actually the mercenaries!

This desire for destruction swept through the crowd, and people began to pick up rocks and smash the windows, destroying the buildings. In this short half an hour, A-Ka personally witnessed how history would, in vital moments, complete its revolution, and how destiny would forcefully change the courses of hundreds of thousands, or even millions or tens of millions of lives at once.

With a loud roar, two security mechas controlled by clones chased after Heishi, and the defensive equipment spinning in the air began to let out a warning.

“Disperse quickly. In ten seconds, the sixth block will enter lockdown…”

“Ten, nine…”

Heishi raced ahead on the path. Sensing the danger, he quickly turned to the side as with a loud hong, two annihilation mechas blocked his way forward. He tossed the rifle in his hand to one side, and in a short moment, the rifle disassembled on its own before aggregating together again, changing into a magnetic cannon that sent a blast towards the mechas.

In the flash of lightning, the mechas lost their ability to move. But just as they dawdled for those few seconds, A-Ka had already raced up from behind. Just then, the encirclement around the entire section of the street was complete, and thousands of clone soldiers held firearms in their hands as they rushed towards Heishi.

Heishi turned and swept his gaze in a circle. The defensive satellite in the sky had already reached “one” on its countdown. Right after, a laser beam shot towards him. In a flash, A-Ka rushed to the intersection of the two roads, and with a bow of his body and one knee to the ground, he lifted the mechanical limb with his left hand. His right hand reached behind his back, pulling out a rocket he kept in the heel of his boot. Stuffing it into the limb, he kicked off the ground and rushed forwards.

In a few seconds, A-Ka flew towards Heishi, activating all the firepower of the mechanical limb at once and clearing them a path! Heishi immediately reached out a hand, and they linked arms as Heishi leapt up from the ground, executing a beautiful flip in midair. Catching A-Ka in a mutual embrace in the air, the two of them smashed into a skyscraper like a cannonball!

There were several loud peng peng pengs, and A-Ka and Heishi tightly clutched each other. A-Ka used the mechanical arm to protect their heads as they rushed into the tall glass skyscraper. He didn’t know how much they wrecked before they rushed out from the other side, his head spinning as he tried to make out directions. Heishi, however, hugged him and rushed into an underground structure.

“I can walk on my own..” A-Ka said.

Heishi took A-Ka’s hand in his own, and the two of them sprinted through the underground parking lot before they found the next passageway and scrambled in.

Half an hour later, they finally shook off all of their pursuers. A-Ka laid in the sewer panting non-stop. He felt that he had taken a bullet, which had embedded itself in the side of his abdomen, and he knew that he needed to get it out as soon as possible.

When he reached out and felt his side, his hand came back wet, covered in blood. But since Heishi didn’t know yet, he pulled on his jacket and covered up the wound.

Heishi rose to his feet and stood at the intersection of the sewers, his brow furrowed deeply.

“How much longer do you need to rest?” Heishi asked impatiently.

“Can you be a little considerate!” A-Ka instantly bristled in anger.

Heishi looked at A-Ka, and A-Ka asked, confused, “What? Am I acting very strange?”

“Why did you chase after me?” Heishi asked.

A-Ka said bad-temperedly, “Because I’m afraid for you. Why didn’t you greet me at all even after you came back? Yesterday, were the fruits that Percy and I ate brought by you? I was wondering who would give us good food to eat.”

Heishi carelessly en-ed in agreement, but his expression seemed to be a little anxious. A-Ka turned over and rose with great difficulty, leaning against the sewer wall, before taking tentative step after tentative step. Alerted by this, Heishi immediately asked, “Where are you going?”

“You go on your own.” A-Ka held back his anger and heartache. “No need to worry about me anymore.”

“It’s dangerous outside!” Heishi rushed after him.

A-Ka finally exploded. He turned around and pressed the mechanical arm against Heishi’s chest, roaring angrily, “Why did you stay! Why did you come back! You don’t tell me anything! I treated you like a friend, which is why I rushed out without a thought for myself to save you! What do you take me for!”

Heishi froze. A-Ka was like an angry cock, staring at him as he panted.

“It’s like that?” Heishi seemed to think this was immensely amusing. “You’re angry?”

“Stop with the 'you don’t understand human emotions” to bluff me!” A-Ka said angrily. “Fuck off!”

“Wait.” Heishi walked behind A-Ka, and after contemplating for a while, he finally said, “I don’t want to drag you into this matter.”

A-Ka said, “Fuck off! I don’t want to hear it!”


Translator's Note:

happy new year from the astrolabe tl team! may this coming year bring more heishi and a-ka shenanigans for us all to feast upon, huehuehue


This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), moon.

Contributors

moon

Translator, writer, avid reader. 吃刀群众.

princess qinghe enthusiast

namio

gege simp

jelly

yolk heathen

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments