The extent of McDuck's wealth was perhaps too overwhelming for Lin Sanjiu, so she momentarily forgot Duck's other role.
Lin Sanjiu started sputtering for air uncontrollably while her face turned red almost instantaneously. Instinctively, she grabbed her own neck with one hand. She tried her very best to breathe. Each time she heaved her chest, it took her an extraordinary amount of effort. However, the pitiful amount of oxygen she received was disappearing at an alarming rate.
Reactively, Lin Sanjiu sprinted some distance toward Scrooge McDuck. Just as the large white duck backed away from her in dismay, Lin Sanjiu finally realized that the air around was dispersing away as if dodging her. The sensation was not only strange but very difficult to describe or even comprehend. Despite being the person experiencing this peculiar phenomenon, she took at least half a second to make sense of it.
Though it was only half a second, she found out then that she couldn't get any more oxygen from her surroundings. It was as if she had been suddenly tossed into the atmosphereless outer space. Lin Sanjiu gasped for air as desperately as she could, but she couldn't get any air into the airway, neither could she make any sound.
There was a sphere of air around her head. Even though there wasn't any kind of barrier, it created a sort of vacuum around her head. No matter what sort of maneuver Lin Sanjiu tried, the "vacuum helmet" remained firmly around her head, following her every movement. After that short sprint toward Scrooge McDuck, Lin Sanjiu, who was already oxygen-deprived, instantly felt light-headed.
Scrooge McDuck opened his mouth and looked like he was speaking. However, as there weren't any air molecules to transfer the sound waves to Lin Sanjiu's ears, she couldn't hear what he said. In fact, Lin Sanjiu could only hear the sound of her grinding teeth and her blood coursing through her body. There was just a death-like silence around her.
"Hey, don't just stand there and do nothing."
Just when Lin Sanjiu was supporting herself with her knees and trying to calm her racing heart, a head peeked from a dilapidated house behind her, "What are you doing? He is just there. Just whack him!"
Snow White, with her full head of black hair and her fair elfin face was yelling at Lin Sanjiu.
"Whack me?" Scrooge McDuck guffawed and patted his tummy, hidden under his black frock coat. "I think she can't even defend herself right now… Besides, as the president, I have already established a new law: all air molecules must immediately move away from the player's head and this must be maintained. To compensate all affected air molecules for this relocation, each unit of air would be given the incredible amount of 25 Stamina Points… Right now, your little helper's life is on countdown."
Apparently, Snow White did not understand Scrooge McDuck's words. She stared at the duck in a daze. Even though she wasn't sure how the situation reached the current circumstances, she knew that Lin Sanjiu was in quite a dire state. Snow White threw an idiotic glance at the tall woman in the middle of the battle. With quivering lips, she turned to her own father and suggested, "Father, why don't we run away first?"
Even though Lin Sanjiu could not hear their conversation, she could more or less understand the situation: this was definitely a new effect of Scrooge McDuck's ability.
Even if it wasn't difficult for posthumans to hold their breath for a few minutes, the "vacuum" effect occurred too suddenly so Lin Sanjiu didn't manage to save even the smallest bit of air in her lungs. She felt her blood rushing to her brain due to the oxygen deprivation. Biting her lips, Lin Sanjiu lowered her head and flashed a sinister grin despite her reddened face.
"If I can't breathe, I just have to defeat Scrooge McDuck before I totally run out of oxygen—"
Before that thought even fully formed in her mind, Lin Sanjiu's body reacted. She charged forward. This time she did not even dare to hold back a fraction of her true strength so she reached her maximum speed in an instant. In just a split second, her body vanished in the air leaving faint afterimages as she moved.
"Protect—" Scrooge McDuck only managed to say one word before countless white shadows descended upon him like a torrential rain. Countless sharp and unrelenting white bones showered down on the exact spot where he stood. It came at such an intense frequency that there was no chance for him to escape.
However, when all the tips of her skeletal wings converged at that targeted spot, Lin Sanjiu knew that she had missed.
Based on Scrooge McDuck's capabilities, logically, he should never have been able to evade her attack. Yet, a second before Lin Sanjiu could touch him, the soil under his feet suddenly collapse as if he was standing on sand or quicksand. Scrooge McDuck fell into the large hole beneath him.
Needless to say, this time, he must have made a deal with the earth beneath his feet.
As she could not breathe, Lin Sanjiu didn't waste a single second. Just as she raised her wings and decided to jump into the hole to finish off that duck, the ground beneath her feet suddenly moved. There was no warning sign. The ground did not even tremble a little. It simply cracked into pieces. When Lin Sanjiu stepped on one of those pieces, it was as if she triggered a mechanism. She found herself quickly sliding into the ground.
"Wow," Scrooge McDuck jumped out of the hole hurriedly, "That was scary… It has already been more than one minute… Why is she still so energetic?"
Still startled by that sudden attack, the duck ran quite some distance away from Lin Sanjiu with his butt bouncing behind him because he was afraid that Lin Sanjiu would chase after him. However, his deal with the earth was exceptionally successful. The crumbling pieces of soil nearly buried half of Lin Sanjiu's body. It took her quite some effort before she managed to climb out of the other hole she was in. When she was done, her face had turned red from suffocation. After this laborious feat, Lin Sanjiu felt spent. Her every action and thought was becoming harder and harder by the second.
Scrooge McDuck crossed his wings around himself and observed Lin Sanjiu cautiously from afar. After two seconds, a smile slowly lit up on his face.
"Ah," he exhaled before commenting quietly, "I guess you only have a few minutes left."
Lin Sanjiu might not know what he had said but she knew inwardly that things were not going well. This battle was not the first time Lin Sanjiu had found herself oxygen-deprived, but this was her first time facing a thorny opponent like Scrooge McDuck. Just think about it, if the entire world is your opponent's ally, and you can't even get close, how the hell was one supposed to fight?
Yet, under such circumstance, Lin Sanjiu would die of suffocation if she didn't defeat Scrooge McDuck.
"I still have three to four minutes," Lin Sanjiu guessed that was the maximum amount of time she could still hold her breath. However, she knew that the last half minute would be unbearable so she probably couldn't fight. In other words, she only had slightly over two minutes.
Her mind raced. Unfortunately, she could not think of any Special Item that could help her. They won't be of help and furthermore, they could even be bribed just like her [Vibroblade].
Almost as if he knew that Lin Sanjiu was out of options, Scrooge Mcduck's eyes lit up. He flapped his wings and even took a few brazen steps toward her.
"I already warned you," Scrooge McDuck couldn't help grinning widely as he spoke, though he knew that his opponent couldn't hear him. "You look like a young person with a brimming potential to me. You shouldn't have gone against me. What a pity… After you die, your body, your ability, and everything you have will become part of the resources in this world. I will get them all so I guess I have to thank you properly…"
Lin Sanjiu knitted her eyebrows as her face turned from red to green. All her veins started popping up like twisted tree roots over her skin. She yearned for air but she couldn't think of any way she could approach the duck.
She turned around and looked at the dilapidated row of old houses. Snow White had disappeared from sight. Lin Sanjiu did not know if the princess had run away knowing that things were not going well or whether the princess was hiding behind a wall.
Lin Sanjiu gritted her teeth as if she had made a big decision. After Scrooge McDuck cautiously took a few steps back, Lin Sanjiu suddenly brought out her [Vibroblade]. She waved her hand and tossed the blade over to Scrooge McDuck. It fell at his feet with a clank.
Scrooge McDuck looked down at the blade and then at Lin Sanjiu. Then, he raised his brow.
The woman in front of him did not stop. After she made a few more gestures with her finger, all sort of strange items started appearing out of nowhere. There were a few rectangular items, a hairdryer, an alarm clock, a cumbersome-looking brass gun… In a blink of an eye, a small pile of items appeared near Scrooge Mcduck's feet.
He looked up from his glasses and saw the woman gesturing at him. She drew a circle around her head area very quickly.
After giving it some careful thought, Scrooge McDuck had a slight idea of what she wanted. He showed her a thin, broad smile, "Oh, so you plan to surrender."
He stared at Lin Sanjiu with his glimmering gaze and back at the small pile of items by his feet. His smile grew even wider. Without air molecules around her head, Lin Sanjiu did not hear the duck's quiet utterance to himself.
"Once she dies, everything will be mine and perhaps more— " Scrooge McDuck thought to himself gleefully as he patted his belly. He already thought of a better delaying tactic.
"That's not enough," he waved his wings at the items and pretended as if he wanted to negotiate. He shaped his mouth so that they matched a human's articulation of words, "Exchange your best item for your life."
As expected, Lin Sanjiu's face wrinkled slightly this time.
"The items that she tossed out at the start were probably worth much less. She probably doesn't feel much pain discarding them…" Scrooge McDuck watched Lin Sanjiu contentedly as the woman flung a book on the ground with a very reluctant expression.
Scrooge McDuck looked down and shook his head.
With the owner's "voluntary" help, he could already guess the ranking of these items based on their worth. He certainly did not expect that this woman, with a poverty-stricken appearance, could actually have such a high number of items.
Whether it was because of her oxygen-deprivation or the pain from her loss, Lin Sanjiu's expression grew even more menacing. After hesitating a few times, a murderous glint flashed in her eyes a few times. In the end, she finally took out her last item.
The item seemed unremarkable. It was just a normal-looking flat box. However, once Lin Sanjiu placed in on the ground, it immediately drew Scrooge McDuck's attention and he sniffed the air.
Dealing with many rare and precious items for years, Scrooge McDuck had already cultivated a very sensitive instinct for these things. Even though he did not know what it was exactly, he immediately recognized the extraordinary value of that the small wooden box.
"Good. This is good. I want it," Scrooge McDuck stared at the box fixedly. He wanted to cradle it in his arms right that instant. He craved for it so much that he didn't even care to wait patiently till Lin Sanjiu ran out of breath. "Alright. If you immediately run 5km in the opposite direction, you will exit my ability's area of effect… You can naturally breathe then."
Lin Sanjiu narrowed her eyes and read his mouth. After understanding what he was saying, she shot out toward the east without any delay. She disappeared from Scrooge McDuck's vision in a second.
"This is a good item. This is good," Scrooge McDuck ignored the pile of Special Items of various sizes and started stroking the box with the tip of his wings. He was so enthralled that both his eyes centered on the box, "Come to papa."
There wasn't any lock on the box. He flipped the cover open with the tip of his wings. It was empty.
"Huh? Empty?" Scrooge McDuck crouched on the floor as he touched the box with care, "How do I use this precious box…"
Before the sound of his voice faded, the feathers around his cheeks started fluttering.
Scrooge McDuck seemed unaware of what was happening as he started muttering something. The second he reached towards the interior of the box with his wings, a strong force hit his back. As his body fell forward, he couldn't even make a gasp. Shortly after, the wooden box was slammed shut by someone. It caught the tip of his wings.
"Gah!" he only cried out reactively then. As he was afraid of squashing the box, he supported his body with his bulging tummy so that there was a small space between him and the box. Sadly, a hand came out from nowhere and swiped the wooden box off the ground.
"I want to thank you for treating it with care," a familiar female voice sounded above him. She had a gloating yet furious tone. "I will keep it then."
"How can her voice travel through the air?" Scrooge McDuck turned his neck around slowly as his glasses slid down.
Lin Sanjiu was still red from the aftereffects of her hypoxia. She flashed a sinister smile at the elderly duck as she reached into the box.
"Let me introduce this item to you. This is my [Rob the Poor to feed the Rich box]. But this isn't the right name for this item when I use it on you."
As Scrooge McDuck looked at the wooden box, stunned, a bright light flashed from the gap of the box. A bright light of ball was quickly being absorbed into Lin Sanjiu's skin. It was so fast that he was in a daze.
"[Scrooge McDuck Power]..." Lin Sanjiu took a deep breath as an enigmatic glint flashed over her eyes. "I will gladly accept this."