Chapter 1 – The Tortoise And The Hare
In May 2119, humans started to turn into dolls.
Humans were walking on the streets, having a meal in the restaurant, and in the midst of changing their clothes in the mall’s fitting room, when the change overcame them and these pitiful people were frozen in their last state of movement.
They all transformed into a static human doll before even having the time to put off the smiles on their faces.
Without any warning, and with no reason whatsoever.
Everyone was filled with confusion, fear, madness, and desperation.
The masses erected bright red banners and marched with them to demonstrate, suspecting that this was a terror attack by a mysterious organization, while others took to the internet to announce that it was an invasion of extraterrestrial beings.
Some even took their whole family to the countryside to seek refuge… They did whatever they could but people around them continually turned into dolls.
Gradually people grew accustomed to it.
Those who were supposed to go to school continued to go to school; those who were supposed to go to work just went to work.
Life went on as it was supposed to.
However, the daily news telecast had a new segment.
Once the press release concluded, the broadcaster would use a standard broadcasting tone to inform the audience, “If you notice someone around you has turned into a doll, please contact the Emergency Hotline at 123.
The relevant departments will promptly deal with the situation for you…”
The so-called dealing with the situation was in reality packaging the dolls and having them transported to scientific institutions.
It would be a blessing if the scientists were able to discover anything through their research, but if they could not find anything, they would wait for the families to come and claim the doll.
The final decision of whether to bury or leave it at home as a decoration was left completely in the hands of their family members.
Bai Youwei watched the news for a while.
Seeing that it was almost time, she picked up the remote control and turned off the TV.
Then she pressed the button on her wheelchair and headed to the dining room.
Both of her legs are disabled plus her parents divorced when she was young.
Perhaps it was a feeling of guilt towards their daughter, but both husband and wife had never been sparing in spending money on Bai Youwei.
They let her live in the most luxurious villa, hired the most expensive caregiver, but they never had any spare time to spend with their daughter.
However, Bai Youwei was fine with this.
She had long gotten used to being alone.
The clock in the dining room was ticking, its hands indicated that it was currently 12:10.
At exactly 12 pm every day, Bai Youwei would have her lunch, the timing could only get earlier but never later.
However the table was completely empty, and there wasn’t any dish on the dining table.
It was extremely quiet.
The ticking sound of the clock made this magnificent villa seem a little more peaceful.
After waiting for a while, Bai Youwei smelt a burnt odor coming from the kitchen.
She adjusted her direction and moved her wheelchair to the kitchen.
The caregiver was standing with her back facing her, body frozen stiff beside the gas stove.
Her hands were still in a vegetable-frying position but she showed no signs of movement.
The housekeeper had transformed into a doll, and it had happened just a while ago.
It was still the same face but the material was completely different—her actual flesh and blood had turned into rubbery plastic skin, glass-like eyes, synthetic fiber hair…
The original housekeeper of this villa had left to seek refuge in her hometown, and this housekeeper standing in front of her now had just arrived two days ago.
Bai Youwei had not even managed to remember her name properly yet and this happened.
She stared blankly for a while and then pushed her wheelchair forward to turn off the stove.
Then, as recommended by the news, she dialed the Emergency Hotline 123.
The line was busy.
After thinking about it, Bai Youwei decided to call her mother.
The housekeeper had been hired by her mother, so she would probably be able to contact the housekeeper’s family.
When the call connected, she could hear the sound of voices, laughter, and music all jumbled together…all of which further emphasized her loneliness.
She gave a succinct description of the incident and immediately hung up the phone.
The interior of the house was very quiet as was the outside.
The blistering sun scorched the earth; the pond in the garden glistened shimmeringly as it reflected rays of light; a blossom of hibiscus with purplish flower petals and leaves drooped under the hot sun.
Everything seemed relaxed and ordinary, but deep down Bai Youwei knew, the world was no longer the same.
At 2 o’clock in the afternoon, the sound of a car engine from outside the villa could be heard.
Bai Youwei looked through the window and saw a tall man pressing the doorbell.
After a moment’s hesitation, she went to the kitchen to fetch a folding fruit knife and maneuvered her wheelchair out.
Even with a metal grill door between them, she could still see the man’s towering figure, his cold clean-cut features as well as those deep dark unreadable eyes under a pair of thick eyebrows.
He looked vaguely familiar but she failed to recall where they had met before.
“Are you Weiwei?” His voice slightly paused and continued awkwardly as it was their first meeting, “I’m Shen Mo.
Your mother sent me here to pick you up after she heard about the incident.”
Bai Youwei was startled.
Shen Mo… So he’s Uncle Shen’s son, no wonder he looks familiar.
He does somewhat resemble Uncle Shen.
Forgot to mention, Uncle Shen was actually her mother’s best friend and also a business partner.
But honestly, Bai Youwei thought the term “back-up partner” suited him better.
Bai Youwei silently kept the fruit knife back in her pocket and opened the grill door.
Shen Mo sized up the girl in front of him.
A pale complexion, long fluffy hair, and a pale blue shirtdress that covered her from neck to toe.
Like her name1, one look at her and anyone would immediately associate her with terms such as fair, delicate and feeble.
She looked well-behaved.
She did not seem hard to get along with like what Aunt Wang said.
“Pack your things, I’m sending you to Yangzhou,” Shen Mo concisely said.
Bai Youwei shook her head.
“I’m not going.”
Shen Mo was a little surprised.
He raised his eyebrow and said, “It’s not safe in the city now.
Those who can leave have already evacuated.
You will be left unattended here and sooner or later you will die.”
Bai Youwei lowered her head and looked at the exquisite patterns on her dress.
“I’m not going.
With my current state, going anywhere doesn’t make a big difference.”
Shen Mo did not expect her to be so stubborn.
He was bad at persuading people, let alone coaxing a child.
Thus, he started walking towards the house.
“Which room are you staying in?”
Bai Youwei stared at him suspiciously, her eyes glimmering.
“What are you trying to do?”
Shen Mo ignored her.
After entering her house, he walked around and accurately found her bedroom.
Then, he started to pack her clothes and the everyday items she used.
The girl followed him in, looking a little aggrieved.
After he finished packing the clothes, Shen Mo stood up.
He looked around and asked, “Where’s your medicine?”
As Bai Youwei lived in a wheelchair all year round, medicines were a necessity to her.
She remained silent.
He simply stopped questioning her.
Soon, the room became a mess.
Watching him rummage through her cabinets, Bai Youwei clenched her hands tightly, her voice was low.
“Do you… Do you think that saving a lonely and helpless girl is cool and heroic? …But do you know you are actually harming me?”
Shen Mo stopped his actions, his expression was as calm as a millpond.
Bai Youwei took a deep breath and continued, “Did you consider the consequences of forcibly taking me away? …As a lady and a cripple, how do you expect me to survive when we reach Yangzhou? Don’t you know that I need assistance just to eat or go to the toilet? I even need to wear diapers during a long trip! You don’t…”
She breathed in.
“You don’t understand at all! I’m not going with you!”
By the end of her dialogue, her voice was hoarse with a forlorn sobbing tone.
Shen Mo looked at her and remained silent for a moment.
He then lowered his voice, “Indeed, I don’t understand but there’s one thing I’m certain of—staying here will only lead to a faster demise, if you leave, perhaps there’s still hope.”
Bai Youwei’s heart was cold.
Her biological parents did not even want to meet her, her life was no different from death.
Even if the world remained as it normally was, she did not intend to continue living.
She’s a hopeless cripple!
Shen Mo walked up to Bai Youwei, his dark eyes looked at her with oppression.
His tone was gentle and firm, “Rest assured, I will safely send you to Yangzhou.”
Bai Youwei bit her lips.
She had no choice.
Shen Mo pushed Bai Youwei out of the villa to the SUV2 by the road.
He carried Bai Youwei from her wheelchair, feeling that she was extremely light.
Although she was emaciated, it did not hurt when he carried her.
The girl in his arms was soft.
Her face rested on his chest, and a faint fragrance lingered.
The scent of rose milk shampoo and the smell of medicine mixed together, forming a strange fragrance.
It was indescribable.
Looking at the taut little face, he felt softhearted and comforted her again, “I’ll drive faster, that way it won’t take us more than an hour and a half.
There will be people over there to take care of you, don’t worry.”
Bai Youwei obviously hated his assertive actions as she ignored him, maintaining a straight face.
Shen Mo smiled.
He closed the rear door, sat in the driver’s seat and turned the key.
Before long, he realized that he had miscalculated.
The situation was more serious than expected as there were dolls on almost every road.
Although the reason why people became dolls was not clear, it was known to all that places that were abundant in dolls, were high-risk areas.
Hence, people would try to avoid such a road when they travel.
Shen Mo began to make a detour.
After more than an hour, they finally arrived at the highway.
The highway was not peaceful either.
It was full of cars ahead, about 60 or 70 of them, randomly parked in the middle of the road.
Some cars had collided into a group, the state of the people in those cars were unknown.
At the end of the motorcade, there were lots of people who had just arrived at the highway.
Those people stood outside their cars, looking around, wondering if they should proceed forward.
Shen Mo got out of the car to inquire about the situation.
Bai Youwei leaned by the window, listening to their discussion.
“What should we do? Are we still going?”
“Go? It’s full of dolls ahead.
How can we get through?”
“Then are we supposed to wait for death here? In the nearest cities, only Yangzhou and Taizhou have no one turning into dolls!”
“What about other roads? Do other roads have dolls too?”
“If this continues, we will die trapped here…”
“Hubby, what should we do?” A long-haired lady sobbed.
“It must be the end of the world…We’ll all die…”
Her husband seemed to have no idea too.
He irritatedly smoked a cigarette, unable to utter a single word of comfort.
Bai Youwei listened for a while and felt that it was meaningless.
Therefore, she closed the window to have a quiet moment of her own.
When Shen Mo returned to the car, Bai Youwei asked him, “Will we turn into a doll if we go from here?”
Shen Mo thought about it and replied, “Let’s check out the situation first.
If this isn’t safe, we’ll find another path.”
Bai Youwei did not really trust him and mumbled, “There are dolls on other roads too.”
At that moment, there was movement up ahead.
Everyone was surprised.
Glancing in front, a blue pickup truck was slowly driving forward, probing if it was alright.
Another few cars saw it and followed behind them, keeping a safe distance.
It seemed like someone could not wait any longer.
After all, there was no safe place in the city and there were dolls on almost every road.
To leave the city, one must take risks.
The driver of the blue pickup truck was a strong bald man.
Holding the steering wheel, he carefully drove past several cars with dolls in them.
As nothing unusual happened, he subconsciously accelerated his speed.
When he got to a safe open space, he leaned out of the car and waved to the people behind him.
“This road is passable!”
The atmosphere was lightened by this sentence, and the cars in the back consecutively followed.
Someone smiled and exchanged greetings with the bald man in front, “Bro, it’s thanks to you this time!”
Others also showed a relaxed smile.
“Looks like it’s fine.” Shen Mo started the car and kept up with the fleet.
Bai Youwei reacted indifferently with an “Oh”.
On the highway, cars were driven at a slow speed.
Everyone was extremely cautious.
Bai Youwei quietly laid by the window.
As the car moved forward, she saw one human doll after another.
They were like the mannequins in the boutiques, with empty eyes and rigid postures…
Turning around, there were two dolls sitting in the red car opposite them.
The driver was a man whereas a woman was sitting in the passenger seat.
The woman’s stomach was greatly bulged, she was obviously pregnant.
Bai Youwei could not help but think, Did the baby in her stomach turn into a little doll? Did he or she too has plastic skin, glass-like eyes, synthetic fiber hair? What happens when they transform into dolls? Is it possible that their body was immobile but their consciousness is awake?
This thought made her shudder.
She withdrew her gaze and stopped looking.
“Ding! Welcome to The Dolls’ Game! The theme of this game is “The Tortoise And The Hare, and the rules are as follows:
If you refuse the game, you will become a doll!If you lose the game, you will become a doll!If you clear the game, you will be rewarded! …”
A strange voice sounded in her ears.
The sound quality was pleasant but Bai Youwei was dumbfounded by it.
“Hey, did you hear…” She was just about to ask Shen Mo in front of her, but a layer of misty light appeared in her vision.
The next moment, it became blue skies, white clouds, and an endless green meadow!
What’s going on?!
Bai Youwei was astounded by the sight.
Just a moment ago, she was still sitting in Shen Mo’s car, now she was sitting on the green meadows instead!
The same goes for the others who were traveling along with them by car! Dumbstruck, everyone stared at the track outside the meadow.
There was a huge screen banner prominently hanging there with five extremely big words—
The Tortoise And The Hare!
Here some TMI (you can skip it if you want):
In case you’re wondering why isn’t the setting futuristic when it’s 2119, the original year was 2019.
The author changed it to 2119 to prevent deleted chapters.
China wants to achieve the Chinese dream, so there shouldn’t be any apocalypse during this period.
In China, the chapters will get deleted if it’s too vulgar, erotic or violent.
(Which is why some novels have missing chapters).
I think they cannot write about politics too.
And no immoral stuff allowed.
Another original setting was that the ML’s father and the MC’s mother married and that makes them siblings.
This way the setting is technically incest so the author changed it due to the above reasons.
(I only know parts of it.
There’s a lot of don’ts when it comes to writing webnovels—there’s a whole freaking list of it)
Bai = fair, You Neng = delicate, Wei Rou = feeble.
Thus, Bai Youwei’s name is formed heheSport Utility Vehicle
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