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"Wait for me here," Lin Sanjiu ordered her grand prize hastily and quickly chased after the duoluozhong.
Soon, she was inwardly baffled by the turn of events.
She had already been chasing it for two minutes. However, that ma.s.s of dried skin was still keeping ahead of Lin Sanjiu. She had not managed to close the distance even by an inch. Lin Sanjiu's speed was exceptionally fast. She could certainly outrun any of the thousands of duoluozhongs in the City of Ant by far.
Considering the situation, she didn't wish to waste any more time.
A thought flashed in her mind and her higher consciousness struck forth like a ma.s.sive sea wave. It hit a row of trees. The tall trees in the row fell consecutively. The countless branches that came cras.h.i.+ng and the multiple tree crowns nearly hit the duoluozhong. The duoluozhong paused for a moment. Stealing that opportunity, Lin Sanjiu leaped upward. She aimed for the duoluozhong and released a tornado from her [Tornado whip] mid-air.
Much to her surprise, the old duoluozhong didn't have much fighting strength despite its speed.
The tornado had barely grazed him, but it was immediately sucked into the tornado and tossed around like a broken plastic bag. Its limbs flailed helplessly in the air. It was almost as if the tornado could tear it into shreds. Lin Sanjiu watched for the right time and grabbed one of the duoluozhong's stringy arms. Then, she threw him hard to the ground.
The duoluozhong hit the ground violently and let out a painful wail.
Its eyes, stuck deep in its green skin, fell upon the pair of boots in front of it. It immediately gasped and started pleading, "Don't-- don't kill me! I didn't do anything. I'm not planning to harm you. Please let me go!"
"How did you come to know this slow-witted bloke?" Lin Sanjiu stepped on it with one foot and examined the creature. However, she was unwilling to grab any part of it with her hands again. When she looked at the blackish-green wrinkly skin of the duoluozhong, Lin Sanjiu couldn't shake that disgusting feeling that her hand would sink into the layers of skin immediately if she reached for him. "Why did you run when you saw us?"
"You posthumans kill us on sight. Do you think I should just wait for you to kill me?" the old duoluozhong hissed back. "I didn't do anything to you, but you are already so eager to get rid of me… You think that us, duoluozhong, don't deserve to live? "
"Shut your trap," Lin Sanjiu interrupted in agitation. She suddenly recalled the last time she saw Zhu Mei. Zhu Mei said exactly the same words. She pushed away that memory that emerged from nowhere and frowned, "What's with that dimwit?"
"Nothing," the old duoluozhong turned over and sat down on the ground. Its layers of skin slid downward. "My ability is enhanced speed. I would go out of this village every now and then to bring some supplies back for him. This time, I was unnerved when I saw you posthumans, so I ran immediately.
"This is why that dimwit took this duoluozhong as his father?"
"Why would you care if a human lives or die?" Lin Sanjiu narrowed her eyes.
"Humans have different personalities," the old duoluozhong muttered, "Similarly, not all duoluozhongs are the same! I don't care what those other duoluozhongs think, but I have taken care of this child since he was young…"
It probably noticed Lin Sanjiu's skepticism so it sighed through a black hole within it layers of skin. A putrid stench instantly filled the air. "You don't believe me, do you? I was the one who brought this child into this valley. There are too many G.o.ds outside. There is a constant war out there, people can die at any time… Even though we might not always have food, at least he can survive here."
"He told us that his father went out to look for other G.o.ds," Lin Sanjiu stated coldly.
The old duoluozhong slouched on the ground as if it was remembering something. It sighed again after a few seconds. Lin Sanjiu wanted to tell him to stop sighing. "Oh, is that so? I would make up some random excuses each time I leave so he wouldn't follow. I have no idea which excuses he remembers. If you don't believe me, I can go back with you to the village. You'll naturally understand in the end."
Lin Sanjiu contemplated for a moment and accepted its proposition.
Regardless of whether or not the old duoluozhong was telling the truth, at least, it could help her unravel some of the mysteries here. As Lin Sanjiu did not have anything to bind the old duoluozhong, she restrained one of its legs with her higher consciousness— if that thing could be considered its leg. Even though she had been only away for less than five minutes, she was already beginning to get worried about her grand prize. Consequently, she dragged the duoluozhong behind her and sprinted back. She was only relieved when she saw the village in the distance.
Ji Shanqing stood at the entrance of the village like an overcautious cat. He made sure he kept a large distance between himself and the dimwit. He surveyed his surroundings every now and then. Though he looked a little uneasy, he seemed fine.
"Sis'," he ran up to meet Lin Sanjiu once he saw her. "What's with this duoluozhong? I tried to question that dimwit, but I can't get anything out of him."
"It said that he raised the dimwit here." The moment Lin Sanjiu drew back her higher consciousness, the old duoluozhong stumbled forward and nearly fell. The dimwit hurried over and gripped the duoluozhong with a bewildered face. He sniffled.
After Lin Sanjiu briefed Ji Shanqing about what happened, he frowned with a skeptical expression.
"Why don't you believe me?" the old duoluozhong seemed overanxious. It raised a scrawny arm and pointed at the dimwit. It did not have any hands instead he had three dried twig-like appendages that which extended from its skin. "Look at him. Look at his size. Even though he is a little slow-witted, I raised him pretty well, right? What did I do to him? What did I do to you?"
"I've been to many worlds, and I've never seen a kind duoluozhong," Lin Sanjiu stared at it icily. Ultimately, she didn't do anything to the old duoluozhong, and she allowed him to sit in front of the dimwit's house.
"I'm not kind," the old duoluozhong's voice suddenly deepened. "I'm not going to deny that I've done a number of… questionable things. But, I did it under a G.o.d's decree… Besides, he is different."
"A G.o.d's decree? What do you mean?" Lin Sanjiu asked immediately.
"If you came from the outside, you should have seen the G.o.ds?" the old duoluozhong s.h.i.+fted its eyes. It suddenly scrunched its face together until it became tubular. The hole at the end of the tube was obviously its mouth. It stuck its mouth into the dimwit's cup. "In this world, there are G.o.ds everywhere. There are even more G.o.ds than posthumans. Every single G.o.d makes the same a.s.sertion to their believers that they are the one and only True G.o.d—"
"Believers?" Lin Sanjiu interjected, "Are you talking about the inhumans that Mother G.o.ddess created?"
The skin of the old duoluozhong pulsated as if it was recalling something when it heard the term Mother G.o.ddess.
"Mother G.o.ddess…" it mumbled, "I've heard of her… Oh, isn't her territory far away from here?"
Noticing that Lin Sanjiu and Ji Shanqing did not show any sign that they would explain after it paused, the old duoluozhong continued, "I've heard that Mother G.o.ddess is called Mother G.o.ddess because she makes her female believers get pregnant and give birth non-stop. But, I think that is just one of the ways to gain believers. Many other G.o.ds do not possess this level of power."
"How long has this apocalyptic world existed? Why are there this many so-called G.o.ds? Where do these G.o.ds come from?"
Lin Sanjiu asked a few consecutive questions, but she did not get an answer. The old duoluozhong moved the tip of his twig-like appendage expressing that it did not know the answers. Lin Sanjiu asked a few more questions but she still couldn't make any sense of it. In the end, the grand prize concluded, "Perhaps, they are some form of extraterrestrial being? I mean some humans do believe that G.o.ds in human religions are just beings from a more advanced society, no? Maybe, it is the same in this world— except these beings came with ill intentions."
Lin Sanjiu pursed her lips and fell silent for a moment.
While they conversed, the dimwit pacing around them nervously as if he was waiting impatiently for something but couldn't express what it was. The duoluozhong was the first to notice and it sighed at him, "Wait for a while. It will be mealtime soon!"
The dimwit finally stopped pacing.
"Nevermind, you can eat first," Lin Sanjiu wasn't willing to interrogate the old duoluozhong in front of the dimwit right now. She took out a hard bread and handed it to the dimwit so that he would leave them to make a cup of bread paste.
"Didn't it bring supplies back?" the grand prize promptly became a little upset. Ever since they saw the old duoluozhong, he loathed the 'father-and-son' pair. He didn't want to share anything with them. Ji Shanqing stood up and pulled open the door curtain to the house, "What did you bring—" He fell silent before he finished his sentence.
The old duoluozhong certainly brought back supplies. They were placed neatly in the house but there was no food.
There were logs of wood and each of them was the size of a human. They occupied half of that small house. Apart from the wood, there were also a few wood carving knives, razor blades, dyes, and paint—
Ji Shanqing spun his head around. His face was pale. Even though he didn't say a word, Lin Sanjiu had already leaped into action. Holding her [Tornado Whip] with a grave expression, she asked, "What's wrong?"
"Sis'," the grand prize called to her. Almost as if he suddenly thought of something, he moved away from the duoluozhong immediately. "Those are… tools and materials to carve idols."
"You went out to look for a G.o.d!" Lin Sanjiu quivered as she glared at the duoluozhong. The latter was lying flaccid as it wobbled on the spot.
"No, it didn't," a voice came from behind. Just as before, his voice sounded m.u.f.fled and nasally. "Didn't it say that it went out to get supplies?"
Lin Sanjiu and Ji Shanqing turned around with puzzled faces as they found themselves looking at the dimwit.
On his flat face, his wide-set eyes now crawled closer to the middle of his face like two worms. Soon, his two eyes which were once far apart grew so close that they barely left any s.p.a.ce for a nose bridge.
"It got those materials for me," the dimwit sniffled as usual, "I didn't want to reveal this to you so early but I'm a G.o.d."
Lin Sanjiu's face stiffened. Her heart fell to the pit of her stomach. The dimwit stood still holding the hard bread she had given him. His wide-set eyes fell on the two people in front of him.
The two people stared unanimously at him while they waited for him to regain his enormous size.
Based on their previous experiences, the size of a G.o.d corresponded with its strength. A G.o.d like Puella who could transform at will from the size of a human to the size of a t.i.tan was even more formidable.
"I didn't think we'd see another powerful G.o.d that soon…" Lin Sanjiu thought in near despair.
"Eh?" Ji Shanqing uttered after two seconds pa.s.sed.
"You don't have to wait," the old duoluozhong said bitterly, "This is Deun's original size. This is his body."