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Chapter 3: I might lose my life because of her

Today, Sam chose to take the bus to school, opting to get off 500 meters away from the school.

His plan was to grab breakfast at a familiar fast-food restaurant, starting his day with a burger.

[Ding]

As his phone chimed again, the screen flashed another encrypted message from an unknown sender:

[Sam will not be able to buy the burger he wants]

As he entered the fast-food restaurant, a mix of doubt and unease intertwined within him. The normalcy of the setting clashed with the strange warning from his phone.

"Hi, can I have a Cheeseburger, please?" he asked, trying to maintain a semblance of normalcy.

The cashier, with a sympathetic look, responded, "Sorry, we aren't selling Cheeseburgers today. Would you like to try another flavor?"

The coincidence struck Sam. No Cheeseburgers? Such a staple item, unexpectedly unavailable. 

He ordered a Classic Hamburger instead. But as he received his order, the earlier anticipation for a simple breakfast faded, replaced by a nagging contemplation of the strange messages.

As he walked towards the school, Sam could feel a subtle change in the air. The last ten days had been a careful dance of avoidance and normalcy, but now, it seemed, something was beginning to stir beneath the surface.

Arriving at the school gate, he was greeted by a vibrant scene of youthful energy.

Boys brimming with spirit, girls in summer school uniforms with black pleated skirts and white knee-high socks, all formed a beautiful landscape.

That's when Sam's peripheral vision caught an entirely different brilliance.

A tall girl with a cold and arrogant demeanor, her indifferent gaze rendered everyone around her as mere background characters. She carried herself with the grace and poise of a goddess.

True to her appearance, her name was Angel.

It seemed impossible not to glance at such a unique girl, yet no one dared approach such a presence.

Her dazzling aura was enough to scorch one's eyes; getting close only highlighted one's own mediocrity.

And Sam quickly lowered his head, trying to blend into the crowd, even wanting to stay far away.

No other reason than Angel being one of the game's female leads.

In Angel's storyline, She dismembered Sam with a chainsaw and then grotesquely sewed him back together. The mere thought of this fate was enough to send chills down Sam's spine.

Sam had been careful to avoid Angel, and any interaction with her was a risk he wasn't willing to take. He had managed to keep a safe distance so far, and he intended to keep it that way.

But his careful planning was interrupted by the sudden [Ding] of a message on his phone. With a sense of dread, he checked the screen. The message was disturbingly personal:

[Sam looks really handsome. I really want to kiss him.]

...

Back in his classroom seat, Sam found himself enveloped in a haze of confusion. His thoughts were a whirlpool of uncertainty and disbelief.

The legs of the female classmates were long, and their skirts short, to the point where even their cute underwear was faintly visible. However, none of this seemed to attract Sam's attention. His gaze was as if lost in darkness.

Who could want to kiss him? The tone of the message suggested it was from a classmate, but how could that be possible?

Even the events of the past two days - - receiving unexpected flowers yet failing to get his desired cheeseburger - seemed beyond the realms of normalcy.

Since his arrival in this strange world, he had deliberately avoided any interaction with the female leads. It was unthinkable that they would suddenly have a reason to approach him, let alone initiate a kiss.

Could it be one of those classic accidental scenarios, where a physical collision leads to an unintended kiss? Considering all possibilities, this seemed the most plausible, albeit still far-fetched.

Sam decided to minimize his movements for the day. Perhaps, he reasoned, this strange message was not a certainty but a warning. Maybe it was meant to alert him to potential danger rather than to predict an inevitable event. 

"Hey, Sam!" called a voice from the next seat. 

Turning, Sam saw the grinning face of his classmate Louis. Louis had an average, honest-looking face but was far from a fool. In fact, Sam thought he was quite smart and one of the few classmates he got along with well.

"You're here, my dear brother," Louis greeted.

Sam frowned. "I've told you, stop using that weird nickname... it's kind of gross."

"Can't men call each other 'dear'?" Louis teased.

"The relationships between men just get weirder with every conversation, don't you understand?" Sam retorted.

"Alright, alright, I won't call you that anymore, okay?" Louis said with a smile. "Did you see Angel this morning?"

Sam was momentarily puzzled, then shook his head, instinctively replying, "No, why?"

Angel was like a star at Kuhang High School. Her family's wealth and unforgettable beauty made her shine wherever she went. Naturally, the school was abuzz with discussions about her, and to Sam's astonishment, there was even a fan club for her on the school forum.

Louis looked wistful. "Angel looked really beautiful today..."

"As if she isn't always beautiful... But why are you so interested? Are you one of her fans?"

Louis stiffened, obviously hit by Sam's accurate guess. He argued, "I just like the sculptures she makes! Don't you think it's incredible that someone so rich and beautiful also has such artistic talent? It's not shameful to like Angel, right?"

Sam sighed and thought to himself, "I don't know if it's shameful or not, but I might lose my life because of her."

Seeing Sam sigh, Louis chuckled, "Do you want me to send you some pictures of the sculptures Angel made? I took them with my phone. Her work is excellent, and I guarantee you'll become a fan after seeing them."

"No thanks, I'm not looking to be anyone's fan right now. My life's purpose is to work hard for myself and become my own idol," Sam replied.

"That's quite inspiring, but wasn't your entrance score lower than mine?" Louis teased.

"Who said effort only applies to academics? That's superficial," Sam retorted.

These seemingly meaningless morning conversations were, in fact, a significant part of many people's youth. Sam, however, felt detached from all this. His sole focus was on preserving his own life.

The morning classes went by routinely. Unlike his classmates, Sam had no interest in the lectures. He remained seated, avoiding any interaction with the teacher. 

He firmly believed that if he could safely get through the day without the events of the text messages occurring, he might break the curse of the game and change his destiny.

As noon struck and lunchtime arrived, Sam was still seated. 

"Come on, let's go eat. What are you still sitting there for? You haven't even gone to the restroom all morning; your kidney function must be really strong," Louis said, inviting Sam for lunch. 

Sam had planned to skip lunch and stay in his seat, but he thought that being with Louis might prevent any mishaps. As long as he stayed close to Louis, everything should be fine. 

Besides, a rich girl like Angel probably wouldn't dine in the cafeteria, right?

Finally mustering up the courage, Sam said, "You're right, my kidneys have always been strong. Let's go eat."

On their way to the cafeteria, Sam stayed close to Louis, all the way down the stairs of the teaching building. This behavior seemed unusual to Louis.

"Sam, why are you sticking so close to me today? You're not gay, are you?" Louis asked, a bit uncomfortable.

"Don't overthink it. It's just that the corridor is narrow and crowded," Sam defended.

"Is that so? I hope it's just because of the crowd."

At this time, here was filled with students, and its delicious lunch offerings were an irresistible temptation for the hungry teenagers.

Behind Sam and Louis, more students continuously headed toward the cafeteria. 

Suddenly, Sam's gaze froze. He seemed to sense something unusual, and all at once, he couldn't hear any sound. 

Despite the crowd, there was complete silence, and Sam saw students in the hallway stop abruptly in their tracks, some even frozen mid-step, their feet not touching the ground.

What was happening? 

Sam tried to look around, but he found himself unable to move. 

He could see everything in front of him but couldn't do anything else, not even speak. He could even see a leaf suspended in mid-air, not falling.

Was time stopped?

Sam struggled to comprehend when he noticed a figure moving amidst the stillness. 

It was a beautiful silhouette gracefully navigating through the gaps between the students in the hallway, steadily approaching him. Tall, with long legs and an exquisitely beautiful face, her expression was cool and detached.

It was Angel.

But why could she move when no one else could? She seemed unaffected by the unusual stillness around her, walking calmly and elegantly towards Sam.

Sam's heart pounded as a realization dawned upon him, chilling and thrilling in equal measure. Angel, with her serene demeanor and unaffected poise, was she the architect of this temporal anomaly?

"Damn it," his thoughts raced, a mix of awe and disbelief. "Who would have ever imagined? A female lead in the game wielding the power to halt time itself!"


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