Chapter 33: A Heavy Thrust
Nyoi-Bo Studio Nyoi-Bo Studio
Xiao Luo ignored the crowd’s taunting, waved the cue stick, and said to Ye Yingying, “Can you let me practice for three minutes? It’s been a while. I’m rusty.”
Ye Yingying sneered, “Three minutes? I can give you ten or thirty minutes if you want.”
“Nah, three minutes will do. And please brief me on the scoring rules in snooker in the meantime.”
Xiao Luo bent over to hit the ball, trying to get the feel of the game even though the system already prompted that he had successfully redeemed the talent of playing snooker.
Seeing him slip nine out of ten times, Ye Yingying could hardly wait to do her victory dance. She wanted to laugh so badly, but she still explained the scoring rules to Xiao Luo unhurriedly, “Each red ball is worth a point, and the yellow ball two points, the brown ball, four; the blue ball, five; the pink ball, six, and the black ball, seven. When pocketing the balls, you must follow the ‘one red one-color’ sequence. That means you can only pocket a colored ball after a red one. When all the red balls are pocketed, you have to pocket the colored balls in the sequence of their respective point value from low to high. When you’re supposed to strike a red ball, if the white cue ball doesn’t come in contact with any red ball, you will be penalized four points. If you accidentally hit a colored ball, the penalty depends on the point value of the ball, but the minimum will be four nonetheless.”
“The rules seem a little complicated!” Xiao Luo scratched his head.
“As an international sport, snooker will, of course, have many restrictive rules. It is because of these rules that snooker is challenging and fun.” Ye Yingying lifted her head as her eyes radiated contempt and condescension.
Xiao Luo nodded noncommittally. “Well, that makes sense!”
“Three minutes have passed. Got your ‘feel’ back yet?” Fang Shulan asked.
Xiao Luo waved his hands and said, “Almost. Let’s begin. Who’ll go first?”
“As you like!”
Ye Yingying casually took a cue ball from the cue bag.
“Ladies first,” Xiao Luo said with a gesture and a smile.
Idiot. Let me see you bark like a dog later!
Ye Yingying snorted faintly. Without saying anything more to Xiao Luo, she went to the break-off position, bent her body down, made a groove with her left hand and held the butt cap of the cue with her right. Then she laid her upper body down and aimed in the direction of the cue ball.
Her right hand, which was gripping the cue stick, remained stagnant. She stood upright, took a small step with her left foot, which corresponded to her shoulder-length, and rotated the tip of her right foot at about 70 degrees, thus positioning herself firmly.
Then she aligned her chin with the center axis of the cue and leveled her eyes to look forward. Her nose, mouth, and chin were on the same vertical plane with the cue ball and her right arm. She exuded a calm temperament and supreme confidence.
You can tell if someone’s good at something once they get into action!
It was not necessary to see Ye Yingying striking the cue ball. From her posture, the crowd could tell she was a pro in snooker. Otherwise, she wouldn’t be emitting such a lofty and cold temperament. It formed a sharp contrast with the stiff and rusty movements Xiao Luo displayed earlier on. The disparity was that of heaven and earth.
Once Ye Yingying thrust her cue, the white ball rolled with a soft impulse toward the red balls gathered in a triangular formation.
This move was a gentle strike to defend. A match between veterans would typically start in this way. It all depended on who revealed their flaws before the other. Ye Yingying naturally did this out of habit. After all, the people who usually played with her were all pros.
After the white ball mildly scattered the red balls, it slowly rolled to the short edge of the table and stopped right behind a brown ball. It was both a flawless defensive and an offensive move. As long as Xiao Luo didn’t hit a red or colored ball, his turn would end, and she could even score a few points, buttering both sides of the bread.
Fang Shulan and Ye Yingying’s friends applauded.
The others also nodded as their eyes blazed in praise. From that strike, they could tell that Ye Yingying had an excellent grasp over the white ball’s movements. With skills of this caliber, she meagrely possessed the style of an international-level snooker grandmaster. As a hobby, it was rare and commendable for her to have practiced her skills to this extent.
“It’s your turn, Xiao Luo. Don’t touch the colored balls!” Fu Jiawei said, smiling with his eyes squinted.
“Relax, I’m not that bad!”
Xiao Luo rubbed the cue tip with chalk to enhance the leather tip’s friction.
Chu Yue from far away couldn’t bear to watch him. She mocked, “That friggin’ poser, acting cool by rubbing the cue tip with chalk? Isn’t he ashamed of himself?”
Bai Ling kept quiet. She thought Chu Yue was way too critical of Xiao Luo anyway.
Ye Yingying left her position and stood to the side. Similar to Fang Shulan, she crossed her hands in front of her chest and looked at Xiao Luo with disdain.
“Girls will be girls, powerless even to thrust the cue. Let me scatter all those red balls!” Xiao Luo bent down, preparing to strike.
When the people around her heard that, they were all holding back their laughter. This attitude was the difference between an amateur and a professional. He doesn’t know a thing and thought she couldn’t exert enough strength because she’s a girl. He knows nothing about snooker.
“You scatter the red balls then!”
“Yeah, hurry up and strike the red balls apart. Let’s see your skills.”
“Be careful, don’t slip again, haha…”
Fang Shulan and Ye Yingying smiled as if they were looking at an idiot as they spouted words of mockery.
Xiao Luo smiled with them, and then forcefully thrust the cue.
The while ball gushed out like a thundering beast, hitting the long side of the table, and then rushed toward the clumped red balls with unstoppable impetus. With a clatter, the fifteen red balls scattered outward without any art of composition. But none of them pocketed while many of the red balls stopped at positions not far away from the pocket holes.
Xiao Luo frowned. “Well, I thought I could pocket at least one. What bad luck!”
It’s you who was stupid, all right. You thought that snooker is the same as pool, where you can get the balls pocketed by just randomly hitting?
Fang Shulan and Ye Yingying’s friends scoffed, thinking Xiao Luo was way too funny.
“Xiao Luo, you can recede now!”
Ye Yingying moved forward as she revealed a confident smile at the corner of her mouth.
“Very confident of you, Ms. Ye. But although I’ve scattered the red balls, it wouldn’t be easy for you as well, right?” Xiao Luo said disapprovingly.
Ye Yingying looked at the black balls clumped together and the white cue nearby that was surrounded by a chain of red balls. She said with a smile, “Open your eyes and watch. Let’s see if this will be easy for me.”
Upon finishing, she bent down and hit the white ball without much aiming.
The white ball hit a nearby red ball, and the red ball rolled toward the bottom hole and coincidently knocked another red ball that was near the bottom hole, into the hole. A beautiful demonstration of beating the cattle across the mountain!
When Fang Shulan and Ye Yingying’s friends were applauding, Xiao Luo joined them. “Not bad, you’re quite good at this, Ms. Ye.”
Why would a nitwit in snooker hold on to himself so shamelessly?
Ye Yingying wanted to yell at him; however, courtesy had been drummed into her since she was a tyke. She simply glanced at Xiao Luo with disdain and continued to strike the balls.
The blue ball pocketed. Ye Yingying attained six points in an instant.
Seeing the distribution of the red balls on the table, she intensified her smile, as she felt she could clear the table in one turn, denying Xiao Luo even a single point.