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Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
When the balding man appeared in her vision, Lin Sanjiu did not even have time to blink her eyes before she was hit by his Special Item.
Everything in her vision appeared stagnant. In the tail of her vision, the river heaved slowly, and waves swelled up sluggishly. A filigree of froth was forming in a similar slow-moving fashion. It needed more time than usual before it began to dance around the crest of the waves.
She could see everything but the balding man.
[Humans’ Fantasy Collection, Specimen No.2: Does time really exist? And all inferences drawn therefrom.]
This special item is part of the Human Fantasy Collection: specimen number 02. This series has five specimens in total. All five items have different lengths of names. Even after completing the collection, it will not give you any surprise or sort.
Does time really exist?
A hundred and thirty billion years ago, the universe was born from a massive explosion, the Big Bang. 3.8 billion years ago, the first life forms began to appear. 70,000 years ago, a type of creature, known as the homo sapien, first walked on the surface of Earth. Before the appearance of homo sapiens, everything remained the same: the tide rose and fell, atoms continued to segregate and combine, old cells died and new cells were born. It was only after the emergence of homo sapiens that the concept of “time” entered the picture. From this point of view alone, time is basically one of the many illusions created by the human mind. In reality, time does not exist. It is a human’s invention used to define and measure the changes in oneself and the outside world, and to aid the human’s sense of temporal presence in the vast ocean of space.
If something is immutable, can we still use the concept of time to define it?
By the same token, turning back the clock does not, in essence, involve the reverse of time, but the development of certain events. This is because time does not exist. It is just a made-up concept that could easily be messed up.
This Special Item can inflict a random range of perception anomalies, disturbing its target’s (only one target) cognition towards the changes in the outside world by manifesting itself as the “loss of time.”
“Where—is—he?” Lin Sanjiu opened her mouth and the words tumbled out from her lips in a horribly slow manner, prompting both the young swimmer and the fatty to stare at her in shock. Both of them knew that she had been hit, but she herself did not know that. She still thought that she was talking and moving normally.
However, there was nothing they could do.
This was because after the balding man had rendered Lin Sanjiu harmless after messing with her perception of her surroundings, he changed his target and charged straight at the young swimmer. At the same time, the waves had also risen to a shocking degree and were about to fall on them.
Although everything appeared extremely slow to Lin Sanjiu, the speed of her movement remained the same. She did not know how long the feeling lasted, but the world suddenly sped up again. This time, she was the one who had slowed down. She, the surroundings, and her perceptions were all moving at different speeds. Everything in her eyes was overwhelmingly fast and appeared distorted. It was like watching a video playing at triple speed.
Just as she was busy looking for the balding man, the fatty’s cries wafted into her ears.
His scream was swift and low, nevertheless. Half of it dissipated into the air before it even reached Lin Sanjiu’s ears. Floating helplessly on the water, no matter how anxious she felt, there was nothing she could do as she could not control her body at her free will. She was being flung here and there by the waves. With her perception in disarray, sometimes she appeared like she was sleepwalking while at other times, it seemed like she was twitching.
The balding man shifted his gaze away from Lin Sanjiu to the young man, offering him a smile. “I’m sorry. Although I don’t know you, I have to do this anyway. Please don’t blame me.” As he apologized, he stretched his arm outward. “Farewell!”
Following his gesture, several waves hopped into the air and exploded into countless fine water droplets that looked like a haze of white mist. All of the water droplets then rained down on the young man and the fatty below, engulfing their faces like a sheet mask.
As Lin Sanjiu had fallen into confusion, the young man and the fatty were no longer protected by her Higher Consciousness barrier. Water mist quickly filtered into their body through every orifice they had. As both of them closed their eyes to blink the water away, they were squeezed into the water by something unseen.
The young man struggled for all he was worth, brandishing his limbs as he attempted to keep them afloat. However, his efforts were all for naught. The water droplets in their bodies kept pulling and dragging them down with an inexorable force into the black emptiness below.
As soon as both of them touched the bottom of the river, the balding man found that he could free himself from the game.
The bubbles were getting fewer and fewer. The balding man scoffed as he wiped the water off his face. Then, he turned to Lin Sanjiu. The reason he singled her out was not that he was lenient on her, but he wanted to take his time to deal with her and make her pay dearly for stealing his Special Items.
Lin Sanjiu was still in a confused state. She turned her head like a sloth and saw that the balding man was swimming towards her. With every stroke the man made, he would splash some water into the air. She slowly raised her head to drag out the words, “Let—him—go—”
However, the balding man did not have the patience to listen to her.
Seeing that Time was getting closer to them, the balding man knew he had to act fast. He whistled a little tune, commanding the froth to charge at Lin Sanjiu.
This time, the froth did not burst into a mist and go into Lin Sanjiu’s body. Instead, it formed a water ring that surrounded her. She thought she still had enough time to steer herself away from the attack, but little did she know that she had lost all her mobility in the next second.
The water ring was connected to the surface of the water, forming a wall of water and pinning her firmly to the surface of the river. Even if Lin Sanjiu wanted to do something, in her confused condition, she could not even control her limbs well, let alone put up any effective retaliation. All she could do was look on helplessly as the balding man grabbed her by her wrist. He tugged at the cable and reeled themselves towards the summit of the pillar.
The wind cut into Lin Sanjiu’s skin like blades. Her throat gurgled as she shivered in cold.
The balding man threw her a sidelong glance. His hand gripped her wrist tightly like a metal clamp.
Lin Sanjiu could not explain her current feeling now. Everything in her eyes seemed to be moving at their own speed. A gust of cold breeze hit her right in the face, causing a bead of icy-cold water to fall off her bangs onto her body, which made her shiver. As she muttered something under her breath, she raised her head and gazed up to see that the top of the pillar. It was still shrouded in a thick layer of mist..
They soon reached the platform, and the balding man threw Lin Sanjiu onto the ground. After taking a few breathers, he strode towards an iron pole in the center of the platform. There was a pulley and a cable installed on the iron pole, and as the man moved closer, the winch in the pulley reeled the cable in.
“What?” The balding man suddenly stopped when he heard something. With furrowed brows, he turned around, staring at Lin Sanjiu.
Lying on the platform, Lin Sanjiu continued to mumble on and on. Not only did she sound incoherent, but her rhythm was also a mess. A second earlier, the first few words were so fast it felt as if she would bite her own tongue, then seconds later, it slowed down again.
“Why don’t you just give up?” The balding man laughed at Lin Sanjiu’s futile attempt. He crouched down in front of her and said, “No matter what you say, I’ll never let you go…”
“Have… have you heard of—” Lin Sanjiu suddenly spoke very fast, then her speaking pace slowed down again, “—Route 300?”
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