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Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
It was already too late when Puppeteer and Lin Sanjiu saw each other. The game had already begun.
Hundreds of shot-putters hurled lead balls skyward with great force, blackening the sky. For a moment, Lin Sanjiu could not see the contender running in front of her. Just as her heart gave a little leap, Soulsqn yelled, slapping her on her back, “Fall back! Fall back! Fall back!”
Lin Sanjiu stopped before the third “fall back” tumbled past Soulsqn’s lips. A lead ball zoomed right in front of her, the wind that followed so strong that she could hardly open her eyes. Then, the mini fatty yelled, his voice laced with desperation, “You can’t go back now! Time is coming!”
Not just Time was coming.
The first wave of attacks was fast and relentless. The lead balls fell and poured upon the contenders on the running tracks with deadly accuracy. Before Lin Sanjiu could check on the condition of the other contenders, the shot-putters in the distance had assumed a throwing position, ready to launch the deadly weapons in their hands while Time gained fast behind them. Overwhelmed by desperation, Soulsqn wriggled out of her skin and yelled as loud as she could at Puppeteer, “Lord Puppeteer! It’s us!”
Her scream had diminished to nothing but a mere muffled sound by the time it reached Puppeteer’s ears, who was sitting amongst the shot-putters. The muscle on his face convulsed. He turned to the emaciated woman standing next to him and gave out his order, “Tell them to aim at contender no. 39.”
“Wait, wait, wait, wait!” The grand prize jumped out from the back, shouting at the bony woman. Then, he said, “Don’t attack her! She is my sister!” before turning over to Puppeteer. An awkward smile dawned on his face as he said, “I thought you had settled the score with my sister…”
For various reasons, the grand prize did not participate in shot-put but chose to join the chess competition instead. Since the chess competition was scheduled after the shot-put match, he stayed behind to watch the game. When the grand prize had realized that the Olympics included all sorts of board games, he decided to play board games until he left this world.
Puppeteer’s face clouded. Without meeting the grand prize’s eyes, he smiled mirthlessly, “She still wants to save other people when she can’t even fend for herself. As her friend, if she has a death wish, I shall help her fulfill her dream.”
As they were talking, the shot-putters had begun throwing the balls.
It was evident that Puppeteer wasn’t kidding. Even though the bony woman hesitated, his puppets didn’t. This time, dozens of lead balls charged headlong at Lin Sanjiu and soon covered the tall woman in a blanket of grey. The grand prize jumped around like a cat on hot bricks. He took a few quick steps to the front, took a large gulp of air, and yelled at the top of his lungs, “Sis! Get out of the trajectory of the lead balls!”
Nevertheless, the grand prize’s effort was in vain, as the whistling noises from the lead balls hurling through the air drowned out his voice. Be that as it may, Lin Sanjiu would not be able to do anything even if she heard his shout. There were so many lead balls targeting her that it left her zero room for retaliation. Just when Time was about to touch her, she was hit by a lead ball on her shoulder.
Lin Sanjiu felt that the impact would not have been greater even if she were hit by a high-speed train. She heard her bone crack, and before she could feel the pain, the world flipped upside down and she was sent flying into the sky. Far behind in the shot-put area, Ji Shanqing heaved a sigh of relief.
“Phew, that was so close.” Ji Shanqing wiped off the cold sweat on his forehead. He spun around to look at Puppeteer, but the latter did not spare him a glance. He was staring at the rank of puppets with a deep frown, seemingly preparing to give his order for the next wave of attacks.
When the third wave of lead balls came down onto the running tracks in buckets, Lin Sanjiu had just landed on the ground.
As she hit the ground with a meaty smack, her vision turned black. The blackness remained there in her eyes for several seconds before it slowly ebbed away. Then, a sharp pain spread across her shoulder, causing her to forgo any attempt to lift her arm.
Huffing, Lin Sanjiu jerked her head skyward.
“Damn it!” She cursed out loud the moment she took in her surroundings. Pushing herself up from the ground, she tugged at Soulsqn and called out to the fatty, “Hold on tight! I’m going to speed up now!”
The lead ball had packed a lot of punch. Lin Sanjiu was sent off the track and fell straight into the gymnastics competition area. Lin Sanjiu did not want to know about the rules of the gymnastic competition since she wanted nothing to do with it. The only thing she wanted to do right now was to return to the running track as soon as possible, for there was a digit “10” on the ground, and she had an ominous feeling about it.
She had no idea what would happen if she failed to return to the running track before the countdown reached zero, but she did not plan to find out. The rules on the wall were ambiguous. It just stated that they would be punished.
The number had reached five when Lin Sanjiu got out of the gymnastic competition area. She did not know what the rules of the gymnastics competition were, nor did she turn around to check on them. She activated her [Hypersensory], and with her sharpened senses and maximized agility, she darted at full tilt towards the running track, hoping that she would reach the track before Time did.
“Quick! The countdown has reached four!” Soulsqn shouted.
The pain around her shoulder was intense as if somebody had dug his or her hand into her shoulder and pulled the bones out of her body. She could barely lift her arm. Lin Sanjiu raised her head to see that the running track was merely a few more steps away. After a small moment of hesitation, she gritted her teeth and turned the rocket to medium speed. Then, the wind suddenly became stronger.
Just as she was about to reach the running track, a lead ball appeared in front of her. Her heart gave a little start, but she was soon relieved of her apprehension when she realized the ball was far away and could not reach her. However, there was a man “dangling” on the lead ball. His Afro hairstyle swayed in the air as he flew through the sky.
Lin Sanjiu was stunned.
Even an experienced contender such as no. 17 was hit by the lead balls; this could only mean that the next wave of attack would become even more intense. Fortunately, Lin Sanjiu found that aside from inflicting severe pain, the lead ball had not caused much damage to her. It was safer than what she initially thought. The thing that she could not believe was why she was seeing no.17 here. Where were those contenders in between them?
“Yo, did you realize that, too?”
A wheezing voice came from behind her, snapping her back into reality. Then, the owner of the voice ran diagonally towards the running track in front. The second Lin Sanjiu stepped onto the track, she raised her head and was shocked. “How come you are so fast?”
No. 17 turned his head and smiled, his tanned skin glistening with sweat. “Easy, apply some force to the ball to slow it down, then… Woah! Damn it!”
Before he could finish his sentence, another lead ball came straight in their direction. Just as Lin Sanjiu wanted to warn him of the incoming attack, she saw the tanned-skin youth stop his pace. He positioned himself straight towards the incoming lead ball and raised his arm. Then, the moment his hand caught the ball, he flew away.
It occurred to Lin Sanjiu that he had walked straight into the lead ball.
Even though she knew Time was not far away, and more and more lead balls were coming, Lin Sanjiu could not help standing still on the running track as she watched in awe as contender no. 17’s figure flew through the sky.
What the youth said was right. The force carried by the lead ball was indeed much smaller than the one that hit Lin Sanjiu. The youth landed with feline grace as the lead ball hit the ground. Judging from the deftness of his action, Lin Sanjiu was confident that he was uninjured. The youth turned around and looked at her, yelling, “What are you still doing there? Time is coming!” Then he turned his head back and began sprinting again.
When no. 17 stepped onto the running track, the digit beneath his feet had just reached 5.
Lin Sanjiu did not have time to figure out the reason behind his action, for another wave of grey-colored spheres had once again filled the sky, soon to drop on her.
Right now, she had two options. One was to follow her instinct and do her best to evade the lead balls, whereas the second option was to catch a lead ball and utilized its force to bring her out of the running track. Then, from there, she would make a detour and return to the running track.
While she was locked in her thoughts, caught in between the two options, Soulsqn urged, “Hurry up!”
Turning her head to meet the blanket of lead balls, Lin Sanjiu gritted her teeth and made her decision. She moved her body directly towards an incoming lead ball.
Unlike last time, she was well prepared when the lead ball hit her.
White light erupted around her shoulder as the [Defense Forcefield] flashed into existence. Mrs. Manas would not speak much when somebody else was around, but she never dropped her duty in managing the flow and circulation of Lin Sanjiu’s Higher Consciousness. The second the lead ball touched her, a blast of Higher Consciousness burst forth to slow down the lead ball’s momentum. Even though she still landed very far away, this time, she managed to land on her feet instead of sprawling on the ground.
Thud. The lead ball dropped to the ground with a loud thump. Seeing that the numerical digit “10” had appeared below her feet, Lin Sanjiu hastened her steps to return to the running track. Then, it was at this moment that something caught her attention. To the right side of her vision, the lead ball blinked and vanished into thin air like a popping bubble. As the lead ball disappeared, a glowing arc, as if it were the lead ball’s trajectory, appeared in its place. Before she could take a close look, the bright, shimmering arc furled towards the center of its two ends like an ignited fuse before disappearing into the ether.
“What the hell was that?” Lin Sanjiu asked, unable to believe what she had just seen.
“Go, go, go! Don’t mind that first!” Soulsqn urged again, to which the fatty nodded in assent. Since Lin Sanjiu saved him even though both of them were strangers, the fatty did not have the face to say anything to push Lin Sanjiu. He just nodded every time Soulsqn said something. After a few times, the flesh worm had changed her view of him, and it seemed that she had dropped the thought of wearing him as her human pouch.
Staring at Time, Lin Sanjiu turned the rocket to medium speed and sped towards the running track. Then, she heard Puppeteer talking in the same soft, cold voice.
“I have had enough of this game,” he said, “I’ve already won the game. You all finish the lead balls. How long do we have before the game ends?”
Then he paused. After a few seconds had passed, he began speaking in the same gentle manner again, “Three minutes? That’s too long. I’ll give you all at most one minute. Finish throwing all the lead balls in one minute. I’m tired of watching these idiots running.”
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