Doomsday Wonderland 619 Beyond The Finish Line
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She was not the only one who lay on the floor like a corpse. Since everybody was running at a different pace and had scattered out along the running tracks during the game, Lin Sanjiu did not know how many of them had survived. It was only when all the surviving runners congregated in this small and compact area that she realized quite a number of them had managed to pull through the ordeal. Looking ahead, they all looked like a bunch of dead bodies.
The contenders were so exhausted that even the very act of aspiring had become a difficult task for them. There was only sharp and shallow puffing and panting that sounded like the wind hissing through an arrow slit echoing in the air.
Lin Sanjiu's eyelashes fluttered as she gazed into the foggy sky that filled her entire vision. Her mind was blank. There were no concrete thoughts in there, only some fuzzy images, and her body felt so heavy that she could not lift herself up.
n.o.body spoke as everybody had exhausted their energy to finis.h.i.+ng the race and was too tired even to utter a single syllable.
Well, at least, that was the case for the majority of the runners. There were, however, two contenders who had gotten a free ride throughout the game.
"Who won the first place?" asked Soulsqn as she slithered through the ma.s.s of people. She did not have any qualms about showing her worm-like fleshy body in public. As she snaked in between the crowd of contenders, she studied their faces one after another. "Where's the guy who scolded me just now?"
The fatty hastily went forward and reminded Soulsqn, "What are you trying to do? Have you forgotten that we are strictly prohibited from attacking other contenders when we're not in a game?"
He was terrified by Soulsqn's current wormy form, so he stopped a few steps away from her. He placed one of his feet in the front while the other was firmly rooted at the back, a.s.suming a position in which he was ready to flee. It appeared that he would immediately take to heels if he saw that something was not right.
"It's just the afternoon, isn't it?" Soulsqn turned her head to the fatty and asked.
Hearing this, Lin Sanjiu's vision turned blank for a second. 'No wonder I feel so exhausted!'
The race started at 7 a.m. Since it was already noon by now, it indicated that she had been running at her top speed for the entire morning, crossing at least half of the continent before finally reaching the finish line.
"No, the rule is in effect the moment the game ends," Polva said urgently, "Unless you've got another game coming up, why do you think they all are so calm and just lying around here? Without the rules, if someone with malicious intentions shows up, all of them would be dead within a second."
Although she was still skeptical about what the fatty told her, the flesh worm did drop her intention of finding a new human pouch, as she did not welcome any complications that might arise. She sniffed at a contender next to her before turning around. When she saw Lin Sanjiu, who was still on the ground, she snapped, "Why are you still lying on the ground like deadwood? Chop-chop and get up!"
'I should've just let you die there!' Lin Sanjiu cursed inwardly, as she was too worn out to even open her mouth.
Staring into the fog above, Lin Sanjiu tried to rise, but she could not move her limbs. It felt as though her body was as heavy as lead, or as though she was sinking into the sea. She did not know how long she had been on the ground, but when she finally mustered enough strength to pull herself up, the sky had turned darker.
They were back in the Salvation of G.o.d zone. Occasionally, they would hear screams and shouts in the distance, but more often, there was only the howling of the wind and footfalls in the air. One after another, the contenders began to leave the area after they had gotten enough rest until there was no one left. If it were not for Polva and Soulsqn remaining by her side, Lin Sanjiu would have thought that she was the only person alive in the world.
"Erm… If you don't mind, I have to put my bodies back on," the fatty said to them softly.
"Go ahead, then!" Soulsqn replied, wriggling her worm-like body. "n.o.body is stopping you."
"So…" the fatty lowered his voice as if he was having difficulty saying the next word, "Can we return to the resting zone now?"
"Why? You can do it here."
"Because… there are cubicles in there where I can wear my bodies back…"
"Oh, now I get it. You're embarra.s.sed to put your bodies on in front of everybody!" Soulsqn saw the light, then she giggled mockingly. "You dare to take your body off in public, but you don't have the guts to wear it back?"
"N-no, that's different," Polva stammered. Lin Sanjiu sighed inside her heart.
"Stop making fun of him," she barked at Soulsqn, reprimanding her for her thoughtless action as she struggled to rise from the ground. Every movement she made felt like there was a blade sc.r.a.ping at her bones. When she finally s.h.i.+fted into a sitting position, all the color had drained from her face. She was experiencing an awful lot of pain, and she felt beaten. "We'll return to the resting zone, but first let… let me rest for a while."
"How long do you need?" A cold and gloomy voice that she would never forget erupted from her back.
Lin Sanjiu bristled at the voice, and her blood flow sped up. However, her overexerted body prevented her from making any response. Through half-closed lids, she peered at the source of the sound, asking weakly, "Why?"
Puppeteer stood with his arms folded in front of his chest. He was tall, and his slender physique coupled up with his black attire made him look like a stick figure. As always, his lips were pale white just like his fair skin complexion. The only thing that contained color on his face was the glitter around his eyes that flickered iridescently according to his mood.
Behind him was a sea of puppets. They all stood stock-still as they waited for their master's command.
"Why not? Since you're so d.a.m.n hard to kill, I might as well take advantage of this opportunity to test whether you have the tenacity of a roach or not," said Puppeteer while inspecting his nails. Then, he raised his head and looked at Soulsqn, who had been frozen stiff the moment he appeared. When their gazes met, Soulsqn immediately dropped her previous haughty att.i.tude and greeted him politely, "Good to see you, Lord Puppeteer! I'm glad to see you in such fine fettle."
Puppeteer paid no mind to her as he was more interested in Polva.
"A test? What if you killed me?" Angered by his laid-back demeanor, Lin Sanjiu forcibly pushed herself up from the ground. Her legs were shaking, and her soles were aching. Even her voice was trembling with pain.
"You? Dead? That's the most hilarious thing I ever heard in my entire life!" Puppeteer sneered, his voice thick with disdain. "If I could really kill you, that would be a dream come true! I would even smile in my dream!"
The fatty had never encountered such an occasion before. Using Soulsqn as his s.h.i.+eld, he looked to and fro between Lin Sanjiu and Puppeteer, hardly daring to breathe.
"Where is Gra—Graham?" Lin Sanjiu knew that there was no way for her to catch up to Puppeteer in terms of being snarky. Besides, continuing with this useless verbal exchange would not do them any good either. As such, she quickly changed to another topic to sidetrack his attention.
"He's in a compet.i.tion," Puppeteer wrinkled half of his face in a scowl. "He insisted that I bring you a message. He wants to meet up in the center of the resting zone tonight."
Lin Sanjiu did not know what the grand prize had done to get Puppeteer to come here and send her a message personally. As if the fog in her mind had finally dissipated, all sorts of questions emerged and filled her brain. 'What kind of compet.i.tion did he partic.i.p.ate in? He's so weak. How can he possibly fare for himself? Besides, why are they in the Red Nautilus zone?'
Just as she raised her eyes to pry more information from Puppeteer, she found that the latter was staring fixedly at Polva.
"Interesting," he drawled slowly. Although his tone was soothing and soft, he still sent a chill down everybody's spines. "He'll be quite a special specimen after I turn him into a puppet."
The fatty gave a little start. His curly hair bristled up. Lin Sanjiu quickly dragged herself to the fatty and s.h.i.+elded him behind her. Then, she protested, "No! You cannot turn him into a puppet! He is my friend."
"It seems like not everyone you have picked is useless. This one is particularly useful." Puppeteer smirked. Just as Lin Sanjiu was going to say something to make him abandon the thought of turning Polva into his puppet, he opened his mouth and queried again, "Then, what about this birdcage? Is that a man inside the cage?"
Lin Sanjiu was getting a headache just answering all the questions. Her brows furrowed in a tight knot as she rummaged through her brain for something witty to come back with. In the end, she settled on an answer that would not only avoid suspicion but would also irritate him, "Oh, this thing belongs to a friend of mine. He asked me to help him take care of this man."
She dared not say this man was her leverage as she did not know how would Puppeteer react to that answer. On the contrary, if she managed to make Puppeteer's hackles rise by telling him that she was protecting this man on behalf of someone, things might get a little easier to deal with.
There was this saying that went like this: it is not your best friend who knows you best, but your enemy.
As Lin Sanjiu expected, the veins on Puppeteer's forehead twitched as the corners of his mouth turned down.
To him, Lin Sanjiu was no better than a pool of filthy water on the road. He did not even want to waste a second on her. "Well, I'm looking forward to meeting your so-called friend." He gave her a sinister smile. Then, he turned away without leaving any messages about the whereabouts of her grand prize.
The moment he turned around, all the puppets followed suit and slowly disappeared from Lin Sanjiu's vision.
Sighing, Lin Sanjiu dropped back to the ground, staring at the troop of puppets that was disappearing into the horizon with bitter regret.
However, she soon relieved herself of such a feeling. Since her grand prize had been following Puppeteer around in the Red Nautilus zone, there must be plenty of people who knew him. All she needed to do was go to the Red Nautilus zone, ask the people around, and she would know which compet.i.tion her grand prize was partic.i.p.ating in.
"Why did Lord Puppeteer leave so soon?" Soulsqn asked, as she still had not gotten around the sudden change in the situation. "Why he didn't bring me along?"
Lin Sanjiu gave her a sidelong glance but said nothing.
"What should we do now? There's still a couple of hours before the arena is closed," the flesh worm asked. It seemed that she had forgotten about the fatty's request to return to the resting zone.
"Right now, just let me rest for a long while." Rubbing her calves, Lin Sanjiu sighed wearily.
Doomsday Wonderland 619 Beyond The Finish Line
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Doomsday Wonderland 619 Beyond The Finish Line summary
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