Dong Zheng and Allen quietly sneaked up to explore the second floor of the castle.
There were not many people in the whole castle. Dong Zheng wanted to go to the kitchen to see Dong Linhai’s situation. But from the storage room to the kitchen, he had to go through the whole hall. The risk factor was much too high.
After weighing the pros and cons, he went straight to the second floor with some hesitation to find and deal with the Pied Piper.
The castle was too big, and it was particularly easy to get lost. Fortunately, the second floor seemed to be the exclusive territory of the flute player, and there were no servants.
Behind the third door in the hallway on the right was the bathroom. When the two passed by, they heard the sound of water inside, indicating that the flute player, who had just returned from outside, was taking a bath.
According to the setting in almost all literary and artistic works, the magician will always keep his own magical instruments with him. Therefore, the flute player will certainly not allow the flute to leave him easily. After all, it was the most important thing to him.
As a script for novices, the difficulty of the box was astonishingly low. Under normal circumstances, how could a magician with high mana not be able to lay down heavy formations and prohibitions in his old nest; allow Dong Linhai to kill the worker and the chef; enable the rest of the people to wake up one after another and began to design how to escape from the dungeon; and finally, let Dong Zheng and Allen explore the second floor, wanting to steal something?
If the flute player wanted to, with his ability, it would take but a mere blink of an eye to make these people die.
While holding their breath, the two listened outside for a while and decided to take advantage of this excellent opportunity to quickly search the flute player’s bedroom.
They searched the entire second floor. All the doors were pushed and tried. Most of them could not be opened. Finally, the master bedroom was found at the far left end of the corridor.
“Oh my god, will the owner live so remotely? Is he crazy?” Allen pushed the door carefully and ridiculed.
Although it’d only been two hours since he’d met Allen, there was a friendship between birth and death. Dong Zheng also relaxed a little bit in front of him. “The flute player would definitely return to you and say: this is my home, I live where I want to live.”
The bedroom was a person’s most intimate space, and the decoration in it could infer the character of the owner to a certain extent. The bedroom had a large space. At the center was a typical medieval bed, with layers of drapes tied to the bed posts. Silk embroidered quilts were spread out and on the bedside table were silver candlesticks and drinking glasses. Above, the windows on the wall were all opened.
The wall on the right side had a large closet. Other than that, all the remaining area of this bedroom was occupied by various books. These books were piled up on the floor and in the corners, so that the two people who entered the bedroom have no place to wander for a while.
“It’s too scary, so many books.” Allen took a copy with “Advanced Alchemy III” written on the cover. The content… well, he couldn’t understand it.
He opened another book: “The Mystery of the Brain and Alchemy: The Origin of Black Magic.”
…These were what and what?
“The castle is so big. He should have a special study room. These books may just be what he wants to read before going to bed.” Dong Zheng crossed several stacks of books and reached the bedside. There was a sheepskin paper under the cup on the bedside table, and the pattern on it was very familiar to him–
It was the same formation he’d seen on the sheepskin roller in the cellar.
It was just that this was an unfinished formation. Compared with the sheepskin roll, there were several more complicated places that were blank.
Dong Zheng had felt that the information on the sheepskin roll might be useful when he was in the cellar. As a result, he’d memorized the patterns and still remembered them now.
There was a feather pen next to it, which conveniently allowed the formation to be completed at any time. But, Dong Zheng did not immediately write. Instead, he asked in his heart: [Do you know what the effect of this formation is?]
The notes on the sheepskin roll were written in Latin, and he really couldn’t understand it. If completing the formation had any negative effects, it would be bad.
He couldn’t act rashly.
The youth in the prisoner’s space was silent for a moment: [This formation can borrow power from the Master of Time, and if he wishes, you can temporarily gain the ability to manipulate time in the palm of your hand.]
Dong Zheng didn’t expect Cui Zuojing to really answer it. After all, this was just a low-level box. Cui Zuojing couldn’t know how to form a small formation no matter how powerful he was.
But he really knew.
In this case, Dong Zheng was also glad and asked: [What if he doesn’t want to?]
[The person who activates the formation will normally be repulsed. The stronger the formation is, the more severe the repulsion. ] Cui Zuojing added: [But now you can use it casually. The Master of Time in the Pure White Realm is still imprisoned in chaos, and now no matter who borrows power from him, he could only agree.]
This being the case, Dong Zheng completely accepted what Cui Zuojing said. He dipped the quill pen in ink and completed the array stroke by stroke in accordance with the pattern in his memory.
In the eerie environment of the cellar, the complex patterns could be remembered for a short period of time, which showed that Dong Zheng’s memory was good and reflected his strength.
Cui Zuojing, who was originally passively bound to him by blood contract, became more satisfied.
This was the first time this person officially entered the box and already had such a performance, much better than he himself had originally done.
Of course, there may be issues of age and real-world experience. However, it was undeniable that Dong Zheng was definitely a good seed.
Allen came to see. Because it was impossible to change, Dong Zheng had to carefully think about it every time he made a stroke, making sure that it was indeed painted this way. It took almost five minutes before the last line of the formation finally connected everything.
A faint yellow light emerged from the pattern and slowly rose. After a few seconds of stagnation in the air, it flew to Dong Zheng’s palm, leaving the outline of the formation on it.
The moment when the formation was attached to his palm, Dong Zheng knew how to use it correctly.
Function: It can suspend all time (including but not limited to objects and spirits) except the user for ten seconds. It can only be used once and cannot be taken out of the box.
How to use: Mind urge.
Note: Who stole a fingerprint that Kronos accidentally left behind?
Time was one of the five basic elements of the Pure White Realm.
The power of time that was firmly sealed in the sea of consciousness was taken away. Although it was very tiny compared to the earth and gravel, as the nominal master of this power, Cui Zuojing still felt it clearly.
The teenager sat on the edge of the bed, raised his hand to caress the wrist of his right hand, and three seals vaguely appeared.
At the last moment of the pilgrimage, the five members of his team were selected by the five elements, time, space, body, dream, and chaos, and they gained the ability to control them.
But the queen set a curse, so that instead of using it freely, they became prisoners of these elements under these seals.
It was this curse that left Cui Zuojing, the “Prison of Time,” forever frozen at the age of sixteen the moment he left the Pure White Realm and returned to the real world. As the “Prisoner of the Body,” Victor was trapped in the cat’s body forever.
In the past eight years, no trace of time had been left on Cui Zuojing. He’d watched his sister, who was five years younger than him, grow a little bigger than him. His parents’ hair slowly grayed and the wrinkles at the corners of their eyes deepened. It was only him, who was still sixteen years old.
Because of this, the family had to move every two years to a place where no one knew them, and Cui Zuojing also changed from “older brother” to “younger brother” when introduced to new neighbors.
Finally, Cui Zuojing no longer wanted his family to run around and hide because of himself. With Victor’s aging, he returned to this nightmare, intent on getting rid of the fate that shouldn’t have befallen them, and to end everything.
Also…to look at the situation of his old friends, Fu Zhe, Luo Yan, and Cheriyu Nana (1), who were still stuck here.
He found the fragment of the soul that Fu Zhe lost, and the situation wasn’t good. If he read it correctly, this fragment was likely Fu Zhe’s “goodwill.”
Cui Zuojing couldn’t imagine what Fu Zhe would be like after having lost his conscience, morality, and goodwill.
After obtaining the formation, the two searched the next bedroom and found nothing valuable except for a bunch of books about novel things.
There was a translation of Latin, Hebrew and English in the book on the ground. According to the script, if the participant wants to know the Latin content on the sheepskin roll, he should find the book and translate it a little before the flute player returns.
This must require the visitor to find the sheepskin roll in the cellar and write down the content above. It was a test of memory and provides the easiest path to stealing the flute. Regardless of the negative effects, it wouldn’t be impossible to directly and rashly complete the formation method, but the consequences of that would largely depend on luck.
If this formation wasn’t obtained, participants could also use other methods, such as amulets to ensure that they are not controlled by the magic flute.
But with Cui Zuojing as a cheat, everything was smoother.
It was estimated that the flute player would come back soon after washing. Dong Zheng and Allen hurriedly left the bedroom, preparing to find a suitable time to urge the formation and steal the flute using the suspension of time. They waited for a while at the corner of the promenade on the second floor and saw the bathed flute player came out of the bathroom and walked slowly to the bedroom.
The flute player had taken off the outermost colored robe and, despite the hat he was wearing, they were still able to see his face more clearly.
This was an elegant and graceful young man with a very restrained appearance, but a slightly ordinary face. However, because of the two tear moles, he’d become a bit strange, allowing people to remember him at once. On his waist must be the flute that was used to cast spells.
Before entering this box, Dong Zheng skimmed the “The Pure White Realm’s Survival Guide for Newcomers” sent to him by the clown guide. It said that if a pilgrim died in the Pure White Realm, he or she is likely to become a prisoner, an npc, or a monster inside the box.
Just like Henry.
But, if the monster dies in the box, then it would really be a true death.
Therefore, whether it was the clown, Cui Zuojing, or the flute player in front of him, they should all have started out as pilgrims.
The only difference was that prisoners were the only ones who had the ability to retain memories of their lifetime. Those who became bosses or npcs would, after death, forget everything they used to be.
At this time, Dong Zheng didn’t know that Cui Zuojing was an alien among all prisoners.
As the two hid in the corner and were discussing how to steal the flute, they heard the raucous sounds of soldiers joining together in the hall downstairs. There was the muffled noises of sharp weapons piercing flesh, followed by screams one after another. Downstairs, the once peaceful castle was boiling over.
“Quickly grab its sword and spear!”
“Chop its tail!”
“There are more coming–Fuck! Why are they all lizards?! What is this place?!”
What’s going on?!
Glancing at Allan with a full face of “WTF”, Dong Zheng frowned and quietly poked his head out from behind the railing.
Chronos: the second-generation king of ancient Greek mythology, one of the twelve Titan gods, in charge of time.
(1) I’m pretty certain I butchered Nana’s last name. The script is 池鲤鲋 (Chi li fu, in Pinyin), so I just went with Cheriyu because it sounds the most similar. I tried to convert it into Japanese but couldn’t figure out how to do it accurately or sensibly. I didn’t know if I should convert using meaning or sounds. If anyone has any idea, please let me know.