Data.78 – Old Bowman, The Aries Trial

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There were 8 sheep in front of me.
Red, blue, yellow, fat, clear, armed with guns, burning, mecha…
And if you selected a sheep, then their status window would open up.
I chose the sheep with red wool because it had the kind of sharp face you’d expect from a protagonist.
And then more information was displayed.

-Red Star Sheep
Skill: Dash
Charge Attack: Super Dash
Disturbance Resistance: Low
Characteristic: Very fast
While smart use of its dash will allow you to dodge obstructions, it will require expert steering and the instincts to read an enemy’s attacks.

…Was all of this detail necessary?
There were explanations like this for all 8 of them?
Matching had already finished and the race would start in less than half a minute.
I didn’t have time to read all of them, so I would just have to use this one for my first race…!

I selected the Red Star Sheep and climbed onto its back.
And then I grabbed the horns like they were handlebars.
It was actually quite comfortable to sit on.
Unlike the horse, they were not going for realism here.
This was good for my butt, as I had a feeling I would be racing many times.

—Goggles on!

I put on the goggles that had suddenly appeared in my hand.
There were three gauges that appeared on the lenses.
‘Disturbance Resistance’ ‘S Gauge,’ ‘SS Gauge.’

—You will be moved to the course!

And so the sheep and I were warped to the starting point in a grassy field.
Aside from me, there were 11 rivals, and they were all waiting in a straight line.

I didn’t know how skilled they were, but they were all looking up ahead and nowhere else.
Unlike me, who was looking around everywhere.
That suggested they had already experienced this race a few times.

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This might be harder than I thought.
In any case, I would go around once and try to get used to the steering.

There was a light floating in the sky, and it suddenly turned green.
The race had started…!


But my Red Star Sheep…did not budge.
It wasn’t engine trouble.
Sheep didn’t have engines.

“Uh, like this…?”

I tried turning the horns like a handle.
Then my sheep started to accelerate.
The right horn was to accelerate while the left horn was the brakes.
The sheep didn’t seem to mind when its horns turned, so at least it didn’t hurt.

There was also a rear view monitor between the horns.
I guess I was supposed to keep track of what was behind me.
Though, there was no one behind me now.
After all, I was dead last.

But then again, there were three laps in this race.
And the distance was long.
So it should still be possible for me to catch up with my rivals.
Especially since this Red Star Sheep was supposed to be so fast.

“I think I’m getting used to this…!”

I was able to maintain a high speed without going off course.
Though, this wasn’t a real circuit, as we were completely surrounded in nature.
The course was surrounded by a wall of light.
If you went out of bounds, then you would slow down.
And if you went too far out, you would be teleported back into the course by a mysterious power.
In any case, getting into the top would be a pipe dream unless you could run without going off course.


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I saw a… ‘Roll of Hay’ floating in the air.
It was dried pasture grass that was rolled up and kept for food in the winter…
A small version of that was floating in the air up ahead!

When I touched it, it was absorbed by the sheep.
And then the ‘S Gauge’ and ‘SS Gauge’ rose a little.
These 2 gauges were likely for the ‘skill’ and ‘charge attack.’

Which were Dash and Super Dash respectively.
After getting a few more rolls, the gauge filled up, and so I decided to try and use Dash.
This was done by pushing a button on the left horn.


Fire blasted out of the sheep’s buttocks, and for a few seconds, it accelerated so fast that I nearly fell off.
While I only barely managed to stay within the course, the effect itself was what I had expected.
It was a simple acceleration… Maybe not the best item for this kind of race, but it was still pretty great to get a boost.
It was just a matter of using it well.
Experienced players knew how to use acceleration effectively.

But the charge attack…can’t be used yet.
The S Gauge didn’t need to be filled to use the skill, but the SS Gauge was different.
And so I had to maintain the highest speed while also making sure to gather all of the hay.

The sheep dashed through the field and entered the forest.
You had to avoid the trees here.
While you wouldn’t be thrown into the air if you crashed, you would still stop.
Thankfully, there weren’t too many trees in the course.
With a little more practice, I should be able to dodge them without slowing down.

We then exited the forest and reached the mountain and climbed up the slope towards the top.
Round boulders would roll down towards you, so I had to dodge them while accelerating.
At this point, I had no trouble with steering.
It was just a matter of finding my rivals and unleashing the SS Gauge at the right timing in order to catch up with them!

At the top of the mountain, the course turned into a rainbow bridge that stretched out.
And then I saw the others at the halfway point on the bridge.

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It was time to use it…!
I pushed the button on the right horn and activated Super Dash.

In order to brave the rocket-like acceleration, I leaned forward and held the horns tightly.
The sheep looked as composed as ever.
It would definitely look surreal to someone who didn’t know what was going on.

However, for me, it was the most heated moment of the race.
You really couldn’t do any steering while using Super Dash.
Perhaps you could manage to make a gentle curve, but not any sharp turns.
But the rainbow bridge was a straight line.
And so I just needed to keep it steady and accelerate.

The back of my rival on the yellow sheep was closer and closer and then…I passed it!
Yes! I was no longer dead last!
I would continue like this and enter the top 6, so I can get the medal!

The sheep then moved onto their homeground, which was the clouds.
Most players might be a little scared of the extreme height, but the clouds were practically my home away from home now.
If anything, it filled me with excitement…!
Besides, speed tends to change people.
I now felt like I could get 1st place!

“Faster! Fast…?”

I was losing speed in spite of not touching the brakes.
At the same time, something popped up on the goggles.
What’s ‘Magnet Power’…?

I found out soon enough.
On the back monitor, I could see that the yellow sheep was shining.
It was likely their charge attack!
It seemed to have the ability to pull others towards them like a magnet…!

Now the yellow sheep was gaining on me.

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But there was no need to panic.
As soon as the effect ended, I could move away again.
After all, the Red Star Sheep had superior default speed.
I could save the gauge and use it to get past my other rivals…

But I had underestimated it.
The yellow sheep activated its skill.
It unleashed sparks all around it.

The Red Star Sheep could withstand it for a while, but once the Disturbance Resistance gauge was empty, we spun around and then stopped.
The yellow sheep dashed past us.

It’s still…not over.
The Red Star Sheep got back up and started to accelerate once again.
We weren’t that far apart…!
The race had only just begun…!

◆ ◆ ◆

Ultimately, I finished in 10th place.
I did learn some techniques, like how after passing the yellow sheep, I used Dash just as the sparks flew in order to avoid it.
However, there were other sheep.
Some would shoot at me with vulcan cannons, while others dropped boulders to make the road narrower…
I would have to learn all their characteristics in order to make progress.
That was the only way to improve.

We were long past the time where people believed that playing games for so long would make you stupid, but I did think that playing without thinking at all could have that effect.
However, it wasn’t the case if you played to improve in order to beat your friends or defeat a powerful boss.

Because you were studying.
Maybe you weren’t making calculations and memorising, so it wouldn’t help with your grades, but you wouldn’t become dumber… That’s what I believed.

And so I entered the next race and waited to be matched.
Once I was able to select a sheep, I would try and learn their features.
This race was not easy enough to win if you just played without thinking.
There was enough depth that I wondered if they were thinking of selling it as a standalone game…!

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