Chapter 38: The Sticky Candy Strategy
Translator: Noodletown Translated Editor: Noodletown Translated
The eight contestants including Hao Ren shot off almost at the same time.
Hao Ren’s starting point looked to be the foremost, but he was, in fact, farthest from the inner track. Since runners would cut into the inner track as soon as they start in the 1500-meter races, Hao Ren had to do so. When he cut into the inner track, he was the second last while the runners who started from the tracks closer to the inner track were all running ahead of him.
As for Huang Xujie, due to his superior explosiveness, he had successfully grabbed the leading position even though his starting point in the seventh track. The situation was such that Hao Ren had to overtake six of the seven runners before he could run against Huang Xujie and win the race. During the process, he had to make sure that he wouldn’t be overtaken by those who he passed.
On the spectator stand, Xie Yujia frowned slightly when she saw the disadvantageous starting point Hao Ren had taken. Zhao Yanzi was also staring at the race track anxiously as if she was concerned about Hao Ren’s performance as well.
Meanwhile, the eight runners had lined up on the inner track with Hao Ren close to the tail. He didn’t look eager to overtake any runners, and the others were also content with their current positions as they reserved their strength and tried to pass others at the right time.
Now, Huang Xujie was leading the race while the others followed closely. Just by looking at them, it seemed like they were training for a long-distance marathon.
“Go! Go! Huang Xujie! Go! Go! Huang Xujie!”
The girls’ cheers got louder.
Some of them even rushed down from the stands and got into the field to cheer for Huang Xujie.
Due to their large numbers, the volunteers responsible for maintaining order couldn’t keep them all out and thus tolerated them as long as they didn’t interfere with the race.
As if they were watching a race car event, they formed a circle around the tracks as they cheered Huang Xujie on up close.
After some consideration, Xie Yujia also got down from the stand and walked into the field to cheer for Hao Ren.
By now, the runners had finished one lap which was 400 meters. They began to show some fatigue as their steps were not as swift as they had been at the beginning of the race.
The competition for stamina had begun.
Hao Ren was the first to start overtaking his competitors.
From his original seventh position, he overtook two runners in one go.
“Keep it up!” Standing by the field, Xie Yujia raised both of her hands to cheer for him.
Hao Ren’s overtaking didn’t attract much attention since he was still at the rear end of the line. More attention was focused on the repeated passing between the second-place and the third-place runners.
Huang Xujie, on the other hand, was now so far ahead of everyone that no one could threaten his leading position.
After overtaking two runners, Hao Ren steadied his pace and adjusted his breathing before speeding up and passing another runner.
The former fourth-place runner purposefully stepped to the right as he tried to block Hao Ren’s path. However, Hao Ren easily dodged his blocking and successfully overtook him!
Xie Yujia was amazed at his smooth movements.
Sitting on the stand, Zhao Yanzi’s eyes lit up as well since Hao Ren’s movement contained the steps of life and death originating from the Eight Trigrams. It was not a movement that he had learned and copied; it was natural.
“Is it possible that he had unintentionally reached the first level of the Spirit Concentration Scroll and understood the makeup of the world?” Zhao Yanzi wondered.
She wanted to go down to the field and take a closer look, but she gave up on the idea knowing that she wouldn’t see much due to her small size. Resigned, she stayed on the stand.
After taking the fourth place, Hao Ren gradually gained speed and moved closer to the second-place and third-place runners who had been repeatedly overtaking each other.
Now people’s attention finally turned to Hao Ren.
On the stand, Zhao Jiayi and the guys had been concerned with the race since the beginning. They were actually worried because of the bets they made.
Seeing Hao Ren overtook runners before him one by one, Zhao Jiayi grinned with joy since most of the guys in the class had bet on Hao Ren ending with either the last place, the second last place, or the sixth-place. If Hao Ren won the fourth place, he the banker would be rich with all the gains.
“It’s no use. He is running fast now, but he will be passed later,” Yu Rong who had bet 100-yuan on Hao Ren getting the second last place said firmly.
“Yeah, if he doesn’t save his energy, he won’t keep his place on the last lap.” The others agreed with him.
“Hao Ren, good boy! You could take the fourth place in this highly competitive Athletic Games. Even though you are only temporarily fourth, it is a great achievement,” Zhao Jiayi thought to himself.
Zhao Jiayi knew how great the runners competing on the tracks were. He was even familiar with some of them as he had played basketball with them; they were either local municipal champions or got placed first or second in provincial races. If the gamblers on the stands had been on the track racing against them, they would have been left behind by at least more than half a lap now. That was why Hao Ren’s fourth position was a great feat.
Zhao Jiayi caught a glimpse of Xie Yujia who had been rooting for Hao Ren while jogging along with him. Gazing at Xie Yujia’s vibrant and young figure, Zhao Jiayi lamented silently at Hao Ren’s luck for having such the support and encouragement of such a beauty.
Hao Ren’s feet stepped firmly on the synthetic tracks while his arms swung rhythmically.
His steps looked heavy, but a fresh breeze went with him when he passed by the speculators. After Hao Ren took the fourth position, the students both on the stands and around the field began to notice the normal number eight runner. With a red face, he had been advancing steadily without showing too much fatigue.
“Who is this guy…”
“Is he from the Mechatronic Engineering Major?”
“He was taking the rear at the beginning of the race…”
People began to talk about Hao Ren because they found that this runner with the number eight tag on his chest was running steadily and even speeding up slowly while others began to slow down.
Xie Yujia watched Hao Ren as he passed the curve in front of her and saw the drops of sweat on Hao Ren’s face clearly. She was touched by his decisive expression.
He looked at the ground ahead of him and was oblivious to the fact that many pretty girls were cheering on Huang Xujie.
Xie Yujia felt an extraordinary attraction while she looked at his earnest and persistent expression. Just a moment ago when the girls were competing, Hao Ren looked like every other guy around as he watched the performance of the pretty girls on the tracks enthusiastically.
However, when real responsibility fell on his shoulders…
Sweat dripped down from his chin. Some of it soaked his shirt while the rest dropped onto the track and shattered in pieces before sinking into the ground.
While the other girls were still cheering for Huang Xujie due to his handsome face and dashing figure, Xie Yujia was attracted to Hao Ren.
On the spectator stand, Zhao Yanzi had her eyes locked on Hao Ren and gradually understood his movement. Each of Hao Ren’s steps seemed to contain Daoist principles and thus were extraordinarily steady and firm. A unique aura seemed to have surrounded him while nature’s essence flowed through him; his aura was gradually transforming because of all this.
Zhao Yanzi couldn’t get to the bottom of it. She wished Su Han had been here since she would have been able to tell her what level Hao Ren was on.
She didn’t realize that the most important thing for cultivation was the one-mindedness between one’s mind and one’s spirit; Hao Ren did much better than her in this field.
On the rooftop of the stadium nearby, Su Han in a blue dress stood against the blue sky and watched the race intently. She nodded with appreciation and soon disappeared with a flash.
While the second-place and the third-place runners were still trying to overtake each other, like a floating ghost, Hao Ren passed both of them with ease.
They were astonished and tried to overtake him, but Hao Ren just left them in the dust!
In their panic, they didn’t notice Hao Ren’s light steps. His steps were silent, and his breathing was quiet. It felt like he was talking a walk! It was impossible for the other runners to race against him. It seemed like he was flying!
“No way!” In the spectator stand designated to Hao Ren’s class, all the guys stood up as they were stunned.
In the blink of an eye, Hao Ren’s ranking had turned from the original seventh to second!
No one knew how it happened even though Hao Ren had overtaken his rivals one after another before their eyes!
Hearing the crowd’s gasps of astonishment, Huang Xujie who had been leading with ease turned his head. He found in shock that the second-placed runner was gaining on him!
This second-placed runner was no other than the “sophomore” whom he regarded with disdain.
Distracted, he stumbled and almost fell. This precarious movement caused a wave of alarming shrieks among the girls.
Huang Xujie didn’t regard the shrieks as the girls’ concern for him. Instead, he was humiliated by the sound. He gritted his teeth and was determined to not allow Hao Ren to go near him.
Huang Xujie sped up abruptly, and the girls’ cheering got louder with his acceleration.
“Go! Go! Huang Xujie!” A crisp voice appeared among the others.
Hao Ren turned his head slightly and saw the so-called most popular girl of the university Lin Li cheering for Huang Xujie beside the track.
“Damn it! The woman is so blatant!” Zhao Jiayi stood up in fury when he saw Lin Li cheering for Huang Xujie.
Even though Lin Li was not in their class, she was in the same major and as Zhao Jiayi and Hao Ren. Zhao Jiayi would understand if Lin Li didn’t cheer Hao Ren on since they weren’t in the same class, but Lin Li was now cheering for Huang Xujie who was Hao Ren’s competitor from another major! This was unacceptable to Zhao Jiayi.
In fact, the other guys from Hao Ren’s class and some of the guys from Class Three were also enraged. After all, it was ok for one to not participate in the events, but one must guard one’s major’s honor.
On the track, Huang Xujie thought he had pulled away from Hao Ren and relaxed a bit. However, when he looked back, he found that Hao Ren was catching up again steadily.
He sped up again. When he looked back, Hao Ren was still gaining on him at a steady pace.
“This guys is like a sticky candy… Last time when I watched him practice at night, he didn’t look like he could be my rival…”
Huang Xujie felt threatened for the first time. He turned his head around to glance at Hao Ren, and he found his rival looking calm and breathing evenly. His rival was running with perfect form!
“Is it possible that he doesn’t even regard me as his rival? Is he just trying to surpass himself? Is it possible that in his eyes, I’m nothing?”
These thoughts suddenly occurred to Huang Xujie.
Seeing Hao Ren making gains on him step by step, Huang Xujie who had his eye on the first-place immediately regulated his breathing and sped up.
Seeing the distance between Huang Xujie and Hao Ren gradually got shorter, Lin Li who was wearing a miniskirt cheered for Huang Xujie again.
Xie Yujia happened to be standing near her, and she got angrier while she watched. She bumped the excited Lin Li in the waist with her elbow intentionally.
“Ouch!” Lin Li frowned as she put her hand on her waist and turned angrily to the person beside her.
When she saw it was Xie Yujia, the Class President of Class Two, her arrogance abated a bit instantly. She glared at Xie Yujia unpleasantly.
“Sorry.” Xie Yujia apologized insincerely before bringing her palms around her mouth to form the shape of a trumpet, “Go! Go! Hao Ren!” She shouted.
Lin Li gritted her white teeth while she glared at Xie Yujia. However, she didn’t dare to release her anger. She knew about Xie Yujia’s great reputation at the university; Xie Yujia was even on good terms with those tough figures.
Since Xie Yujia was cheering loudly for Hao Ren, Lin Li was ashamed of herself and didn’t continue cheering for Huang Xujie anymore.
As the race went on, the distances between the runners were getting bigger. The last-place runner lagged behind the first-place runner by about half a lap, and competition for higher placements was still fierce.
Hao Ren and Huang Xujie were in the lead; the third-place runner was well behind them while the fourth-place runner could overtake the third-place runner at any minute.
As to the rest of the contestants, they couldn’t engage the audience’s attention.
On the spectator stand, Ling turned to Zhao Yanzi abruptly and complemented, “Zi, your ‘uncle’ is quite amazing at long-distance races.”
“Of course.” Zhao Yanzi pursed her lips with pride.