“How heavy is that bag?”
Tang Meng made his way to Cheng Zhi, where those three sports students were. He pulled out a box of Soviet cigarettes, picked one out of the box and threw it in his general direction.
As long as schools had games or sports, Tang Meng would do gambling with the athletes such as Cheng Zhi. So every students, no matter their class or sport, recognized them, and everyone was in a good relationship with them.
Cheng Zhi immediately recognized Tang Meng. Ma Tianfeng, the teacher responsible for their physical education, was holding a high school class, and was not paying attention to all of that. Cheng Zhi was smoking his cigarette, calmly blowing out the smoke, and then he answered.
“It’s 50 pounds.”
Cheng Zhi was a practice runner, exercising to improve his lung capacity. So, smoking kind of defied the purpose.
“What? Such a heavy bag on this kid?”
Tang Meng reached the playground, and began to look at the people all around. He noticed this short guy, Lingyun, then said: “He began playing for fun, but that kid went overboard, and now he’s down by 5,000.”
“Want to make a bet？”
Tang Meng looked at Lingyun again, and then stared at Cheng Zhi.
“Tell me. If you carried a bag like his, how long could you run if you really tried?”
Cheng Zhi looked very serious. Tang Meng, smiling, said: “Have you seen my body? I can carry a sandbag heavier than 50 pounds and still run.”
Tang Meng looked at the skinny slim boy, amused: “If I gave you a 50-pound bag, and you wore it, how long could you possible run?”
Lingyun, understanding what Tang Meng meant, carefully thought for a moment, looked up and said: “In that case, if I really gave all I have, I should be able to run three time the circuit, or maybe four at the very most.”
Tang Meng thought about that, and he was not afraid of losing money. He was comfortable he could win quite a lot on that bet.
“You know what, I think this kid can run for quite a long distance after all!”, said Cheng Zhi. They agreed on the best spot to start, where Lingyun went, and he silently prayed: he could not believe he was playing for such a gamble, when he was almost about to graduate!
“Good luck on that lap!” Gasp!
“Pant… pant… pant…” Running with the sandbag on him, his clothes were all wet, and his body was starting to hurt.
As hard as he tried, Lingyun could not move any faster, and he was breathing heavily.
He felt the pressure of the sandbag on his right shoulder, and every step felt like he was running on cotton, his knees as stiff as a piece of lead.
He began to feel very sour in all of his muscles, bones and blood, and running was getting harder and harder.
His eyes were getting wet with the sweat, but his willpower was as strong as ever.
That was an inhuman resolve! Like a real-life Starsky and Hutch, he went on relentlessly as if he had to catch some imaginary criminal.
He knew that when his body became too tired, he would enter that strange state, that would allow him to keep running on and on!
When he reached his uttermost limit, Lingyun resorted to the energy from the Meridians, powering every last bit of muscle, and even his blood would leave his cells to wash his body, and keep him running.
There was no doubt that he was tired, his eyes covered with sweat more and more. He struggled to keep his back straight, but he was accelerating!
He smiled, and enjoyed the sense of tiredness.
“What? He already run 400 meters, and he’s accelerating?!” Tang Meng exlaimed, looking amazed. “Unbelievable… this guy…”
He thought to himself – even though he was the city long-distance running champion, if he had carried the same bag, he could have not run for 100, or even 50 meters!
But that guy had completed a lap, running for more than 400 meters in total, and now he was even picking up speed!
He completed the standard 400 meters of the playground circuit, which he had run with a trembling body for 10 minutes. But now, even though he was tired to the extreme, he was gradually adapting to the weight of the sandbag, and even though he had a strange rhythm, it was like his body and the bag were becoming one.
Lingyun lacked supernatural powers, or even a proper running method, but he had a very strong spirit! He felt just a little bit tired now, but his soul was devoid of all fear. Why should he fear anything at that point?
His eyes shut because of the sweat, he was now laughing and smirking. He waved his right tight fist, the bag stuck between his neck and his shoulder, and began the second lap!
He was not resorting to his full potential yet!
It was not just between Tang Meng and Cheng Zhi at this point, everybody was looking at what was happening.
“Come on! Come on!” Somebody from the physical education student group cried, and then everybody began cheering for Lingyun.
He felt really proud of himself, and he gave no sign of slowing down!
In Class 36’s classroom, Cao Shanshan heard all that cheering from the playground, and didn’t know what to think. But she knew one thing: that boy was making quite an impressive run!
Cao Shanshan smirked gently, putting up a Mona Lisa smile on her beautiful face. In three years, that was probably the only time she got distracted in class.
In Class 31 the teacher was holding a lesson, but Ning Ling was not paying attention. Her mind had flown to the playground, she wanted to stand up and run out right then, cheering for her brother along with those lower grade students.
Zhuang Meina heard those voices as well, and as she was not stupid, she realized that boy must had finished the first lap.
He almost finished the second lap, six or seven minutes later, and now the playground was crowded with people. He was certainly not done for yet!
Zhuang Meina almost disappeared among the crowd, and her amazed faced became hard to spot.
Seven minutes later, while the second lap was being finished, Lingyun began a third lap among the crowd’s cheering shouts. Although he began feeling dizzy, and his thoughts were getting confused, he mechanically kept moving his legs and went forward.
“If I keep running at this pace, this sensation of dizziness will diffuse to the whole body!”
When one is extremely tired, the body produced a sour sense of powerlessness, that really made you feel like sleeping. But, through his immense spirit, Lingyun wanted to overcome that sensation. To train, it was really to train the mind.
“The third lap! He is still up to speed, is this guy kidding me?! Where does he find such strength and endurance?” Tang Meng looked truly amazed, incapable of hiding his shock.
Seven or eight minutes more had passed.
His footsteps were as heavy as rocks.
“Pant… pant…” his breath was getting heavier and heavier, he was at three fourth of the third lap.
At this point, his body was completely depleted of energy, and he was keeping on running by willpower alone. But he knew he could still run for a little longer, still trying to increase his speed.
“He’s speeding up!”
“His spirit is at the breaking point…” A lot of girls in the playground began to feel compassion for him.
“Come on, you can do it!”
Sometimes, you just needed to do one thing to change everybody’s mind about you. Very few people knew of Lingyun, and most of those who did were either indifferent or resentful towards him. But now, in that playground, everybody looked at him in a different way! Even those physical education and sports students, even Tang Meng and Cheng Zi. Even two physical education teachers, especially Ma Tianfeng!
“This guy…” The tall and imposing Ma Tianfeng was thinking, looking at his crazy run. If he had seen such a scene two years before, or even just one, he would have certainly asked Lingyun to join the sports class!
Tang Meng suddenly remembered about his bet with Cao Shanshan.
“Maybe Cao Shanshan really knows how to gamble. As long as he doesn’t fall, this guy might indeed run four complete laps…”