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"Ahem, so…" Although she had many doubts in the combat power she displayed during her previous battle, the first question that escaped her mouth when she met up with Hei Zeji was not in the least bit related to her combat capability. "Why did you choose to play a female role?"
She knew that Hei Zeji had to be very embarra.s.sed, so she tried her best to keep her tone as normal as possible to avoid enraging him. Nevertheless, her empathy was not appreciated. Hei Zeji greeted her with a gloomy face.
"You waited for me for such a long time," Hei Zeji, who had just stepped out of the exit, grimaced and flashed Lin Sanjiu his set of eerie white teeth, the corner of his lips bereft of any smile, "Just to ask me that question?"
The entrance and exit of "Time Travel" was side by side. Once they were at the exit, they would find themselves at the place where the female staff member had greeted them when they entered "Time Travel." Suddenly, Lin Sanjiu's flesh crept as that female staff member emerged from the darkness. She whipped a pleasant smile on her face and walked up to Hei Zeji.
Waving a device over Hei Zeji's wrist, she commended, "Congratulations, mister. You have earned sixteen stamina points." Thanks to her, Hei Zeji's anger seemed to be smothered a bit.
Clear enough, both the characters Gabrielle and Queen Margaret walked on two different story-lines. In Gabrielle's story, Lin Sanjiu was caught in a trap designed by her "husband" in her chateau right after she killed King Henry. It took her an enormous amount of effort to free herself from the trap. In the end, she killed the player who took on the role of Gabrielle's "husband" and finished the story of Gabrielle.
With the two consecutive kill streak, Lin Sanjiu had gotten herself twelve stamina points. It was quite a lot, and she was satisfied. After she waited the minutes while resting outside the entrance, Hei Zeji finally emerged from the emptiness of the exit.
Of course, the graceful and alluring aura of Queen Margaret had left him without any trace.
"Why do you have to look at me like that?" When Hei Zeji felt Lin Sanjiu's fervent gaze, his fury knew no limit. He exploded and roared, "It was all because of you! If it weren't for you suddenly disappearing from my sight, why would I have selected a female role to go after you?! Who would have expected that all of the listed characters came from the same story!"
Lin Sanjiu did not expect this answer. Seeing that Hei Zeji was getting angrier, she forced down the urge to laugh at him. She comforted him and, at the same time, expressed her grat.i.tude.
"That's not necessary." Hei Zeji was feeling somewhat awkward. He turned his head, not wanting to engage Lin Sanjiu's gaze and said stiffly, "Just mind your own business and stop causing me troubles."
"Okay, okay." Lin Sanjiu was between laughter and tears. Since she had spent some time with him, she knew that Hei Zeji was a paper tiger. He looked fierce, but in reality, he was not difficult to interact as long as you knew the trick to deal with him.
She stretched her arm and asked a question related to the combat technique, "Oh yeah, I haven't had a chance to ask you when we were inside. Could you explain more to me about that combat technique you taught me just now?"
It was that combat technique that helped Lin Sanjiu to turn the tide of battle. During her struggle with King Henry, she followed Hei Zeji's instruction meticulously and entered a wonderous state where she amalgamated herself with the environment. Then, with her new-found power, she defeated and eventually killed King Henry. After she finished the fight, she couldn't help but felt surprised when she reviewed the whole process. She was clueless to how she achieved that state.
Hence, after she came out of "Time Travel," she tried to enter the state again. After a couple of attempts, however, she realized that she had lost the ability.
"I was surprised, to be honest. I never expected that you could grasp the information and comprehend it so quickly," Hei Zeji lounged against the door and said with a rather impatient tone, "Although you defeated a player with only a few bits of advice from me, in the end, you have not truly mastered this combat technique… Come over here."
A bad omen stirred Lin Sanjiu's heart when she saw the grin on Hei Zeji's lips. She knew very well that he was up to no good, but she followed his instruction and walked towards him anyhow.
She watched him fixing his hair and said slovenly, "It's pretty simple." At the moment she reached in front of him, he raised his foot and stomped on the ground, causing the ground to crack from the very heart of the collision to the outer edges until the area was filled with spider-web like cracks.
He was fast, and the onslaught of attack came too sudden. Lin Sanjiu wasn't prepared at all, and she flinched. Without sparing a second for her to regain her balance, Hei Zeji threw another attack in her face.
"The first thing to erase when you engage in a battle is your existence," Hei Zeji spoke as if he was unfazed by his violent movements. His voice was full of his usual calm and even tone, "In this world, people who can tap into and draw power from the hypersensory state can be more than just you and me."
As the first wave of attack accompanied by a sharp whiz came forth, Lin Sanjiu ducked and dodged the ambush at the critical moment, letting it narrowly whiz past her cheek. Her heart palpitated as she convinced her wild mind to stop making a scene in her brain. Then, she entered the hypersensory state. Once her body had "awakened," it began to send all sort of information to her—
Only then she realized that the barrage of attacks that gained strength each time were not coming from Hei Zeji but rather from the waves of air currents in the surroundings. She seemingly had seen Hei Zeji tear the air into a couple of smaller strips of air like a tailor cutting a big cloth and gave them tremendous force. However, what made the air current so deadly was not the force that they contained but their unpredictable attack trajectories. They would appear and attack without warning.
Nevertheless, Lin Sanjiu was no longer the same as she was. She could effectively evade the a.s.saulting air currents with ease when she entered her hypersensory state.
Just as she took a breath and bent down, Hei Zeji, who was standing not far away from her, smiled, "In the future, you might even encounter an opponent who can read your thoughts and counteract before you can enact whatever is in your mind. For example—"
It was already too late when Lin Sanjiu comprehended what his words meant. While she was airborne, she was. .h.i.t by an oncoming air current. Her bones rattled, and her eyes dulled as she fell back to the ground.
"Didn't I tell you to erase your existence?" Hei Zeji stopped his attack. He drew his eyebrows together deeply as he criticized Lin Sanjiu, "I'm not telling you to learn how to stay invisible; keeping only your body invisible will not do the job. Your pace of breath, the hot air you exhale, the s.p.a.ce you occupy: all these works like beacons to your enemy. They will draw them to you. For you to completely erase your existence, you must blend yourself into the environment. You have to learn how to conform to the air current without causing any extra airflow when you're moving, and control the amount of heat you exhale when you breathe so that it will not alter the temperature of your surrounding. For hypersensory state pract.i.tioners, these are their weapons to counter their opponent. It's like a radar. When you disappear from your opponent's radar, then it's the right time for you to strike."
"But they still can see me, right?" huffed Lin Sanjiu after she helped herself up from the ground.
"Our eyes are probably the easiest sensory organs deceive," Hei Zeji scoffed. "It isn't that hard to confuse your opponent's vision. By the time they notice you, you've already sealed their fate… Now, why don't you deactivate your hypersensory state and look at me with your eyes? I'll show you how it's done."
Lin Sanjiu was shocked. When she looked up, Hei Zeji was in front of him with his hand curled into a fist, casting a shadow over her face. Just as she yanked her arm to guard herself, he tapped her bony wings from her behind.
This time, she was genuinely stunned. With a blank look, she turned her head to look behind her.
"Do you understand now?" Hei Zeji caressed a bone spur that protruded from her wings, "No matter what way you use, be it a Special Item, an evolved ability, utilize the princ.i.p.al of light, or just the afterimages produced after an ultrfast movement… you have millions upon millions of ways to create an illusion to deceive your opponent."
" Indeed, he's right," Lin Sanjiu suddenly saw the light.
Currently, the two Special Items in her a.r.s.enal that could be used to create a visual illusion: [Cat Litter] and the book [How To Draw] that she obtained from the library. If she could include and link either Special Items in her attack combo, she might be able to outplay her opponent the next time she engaged in a battle.
"This is just the first step and also the foundation of the combat technique I'm teaching you now," Hei Zeji walked out from her back and peered into the entrance. He seemed to be looking for something, "Since you've learned how to attack, let's move on to the next issue: what you should use to attack.
"There are three types of people: the first prefers to attack with evolved ability, and the second is more inclined to use Special Items. For me, I'm of the third type: I settle my opponent with my hands. They are all the same, by the way. The difference is just a matter of preference. However, as a Growth-type, our main ability usually has weak attack power. That being said, the higher your potential, the weaker your main ability," Hei Zeji tucked his hands into his pockets and continued his lecture while turning his head, "For instance, I still can't use my main ability in a fight ."
So not only my [Planar World] is useless?
Lin Sanjiu's eyes bulged. The question "what is your main ability" swayed into her mind and stayed there for a moment before it vanished. It wasn't that she didn't dare to voice the question, it was just she knew Hei Zeji would not engage in any conversation that he found troublesome or unnecessary, so she thought she might just as well save the topic until the time Hei Zeji was willing to tell her his secret.
"Also, if you're fighting an opponent on which you have no intel about his evolved ability or what kind of Special Items he possesses, and if you did not equip yourself with a life-saving ability that n.o.body can take from you… let me tell you: you might as well go home and hide well because you won't be able to survive well outside."
Lin Sanjiu nodded. Suddenly, the attack he used to attack her when he was still Queen Margaret came into her mind. She asked, "So, was the vortex you used to attack an evolved ability, or…?"
"That is the result after you have full control over your strength and the air current," Hei Zeji replied without expression, "That is also the combat technique I'm going to teach you."
When Lin Sanjiu connected the fearsome vortex that flung her away to the "spike" she formed, she could not help but tremble with excitement, " If I can master this combat technique, would I be able to dish out an attack as powerful as that?"
"The way you describe your attack as a spike," Hei Zeji moved his gaze into the entrance of "Time Travel" before continuing, "Is wrong. From your description, it should be the power of your blow moving in the same pattern as the air current that enhances the wind. That explains why the "fist energy" was more powerful than usual and could injure that King Henry.
"That also means that you already understand this combat technique, albeit just a tip of the iceberg."
Before his voice died away, Hei Zeji moved a step forward and made a half turn. The intriguing feeling of both fast and slow came back to Lin Sanjiu again as Hei Zeji extended his arm forward and pushed the air.
It was a normal push, but when Lin Sanjiu saw this movement in her hypersensory state, it was as if a whole new world had unfolded before her eyes. When he pushed, the power he sent forward merged completely with the air current in front of him and formed into a menacing and strong force. The force then traveled fast, like a mighty beast, to the entrance.
"Aiya," the female staff member who kept lurking in the darkness was pushed out by this force. It was apparent that Hei Zeji had shown her mercy. Once she was outside, the air current disappeared into thin air along with the force.
"If you hold the force and keep it moving around you, then you'll have yourself a vortex of air. Of course, you still have a long way to go to reach that level. Anyway, you've learned the rudiment of this combat technique, so keep trying."
Lin Sanjiu nodded and fell silent. It was difficult to fathom what Hei Zeji had taught her. Also, with the information he sent to her through the paper crane earlier on, Lin Sanjiu felt she needed time—maybe lots of times—to digest the hefty amount of information.
While Hei Zeji waited for Lin Sanjiu to absorb the things he taught her, he sensed something. He furrowed his brows as he looked out at the entrance.
"Hey, I'm leaving."
Lin Sanjiu was startled. She stared at him and spoke hesitantly, "Why so sudden? Where are you going?"
"It's none of your business. I'll still be around," Hei Zeji replied impatiently. His expression was ugly, but it seemed to Lin Sanjiu that this time, he was trying to avoid something he really, really hated, "I don't like dealing with dummies. I've already made an exception for you. Two days is my limit. We'll part here; do whatever you want. Aren't you looking for somebody? Go now; you can still change your route if you retrace your steps."
Even though she knew Hei Zeji could not coach her forever, she did not expect their parting would arrive so soon. As Lin Sanjiu racked her brain for a reason to press him to stay longer, Hei Zeji had left nonchalantly.
Laying on the ground, the female staff member still carried out her job dutifully, "Player has left the attraction. Please purchase another ticket if you wish to enjoy our attraction again."
"Hey, wait for me," Lin Sanjiu shouted as she chased after Hei Zeji. When she arrived outside the entrance, Hei Zeji was no longer there. She did not even have a chance to say "we could keep in touch with the paper crane." Crestfallen, her shoulder slumped as she returned to the side of the female staff member.
"So, I have to clear "Time Travel" alone?"
When she was pondering whether she should continue "Time Travel" or change to another route, Lin Sanjiu finally saw the reason why Hei Zeji suddenly wanted to leave so badly.
"Ah, we finally found you."
A group of four to five men and women with weird appearances: Posthumans. These were the description Lin Sanjiu had when she saw the group of people. As she examined the group, they'd entered the "Time Travel" through the Frog Route. Then, a young man, who seemed to be their leader, craned his head into the entrance of "Time Travel" and gave Lin Sanjiu a confident smile.
"Good day to you, miss. I'm Aker, from the Progressor Alliance. You're Lin Sanjiu, am I right? Great, we've been looking for you!"