I Was Once a Legend, Chapter 17: The Executioner

At this time, Victor didn’t realize what was about to happen. He turned his head and saw a little girl about six or seven years old excitedly running toward him. Seeing him turn back, she crouched down, reached out, and softly shouted, “Kitty—“

“Tongtong!” A young man and a young woman immediately caught up. The young man hugged the girl with an indignant face, scolding, “How can you run around? Do you know how dangerous this place is?!”

The girl named Tongtong completely ignored him, reached out to Victor, and happily said, “Look, kitty.”

The young woman apologized to Dong Zheng, who looked like the leader. “Sorry, the child is too young and is a little troublesome. I hope it doesn’t bother you.”

“It’s okay,” Dong Zheng said, surprised at seeing such a small child inside the box. He couldn’t help asking more, “Are you all participants?”

“Yes.” The young woman nodded. When she looked back, Victor had already taken the initiative to walk in front of the little girl and let her touch him.

Most cats are afraid of small children. No matter what kind of children they are, cats see them as scary little devils.

But Victor was different. He accepted Tongtong’s caresses and gentle strokes. Just like a real cat, he lifted his chin happily and rubbed against the girl’s palm.

“Good.” Tongtong took the young man’s hand and said loudly, “I want to go with the kitty!”

The young woman hesitated. She also had this idea. Looking at the young man, she said, “May I ask…if you don’t mind, can we temporarily form a group? The administrator said that the maze may have monsters. Since there’s no competition between us, it’s probably better to team up.”

Looking at them, it was clear that the team leader was Dong Zheng, a man with two teenagers. Dong Linhai was tall and strong, which wasn’t bad. However, Cui Zuojing looked like a standard fifteen to sixteen year old. Anyone would think of him as a child at first sight.

Just like their team.

“Okay.” Dong Zheng nodded and did not refuse.

So the team got stronger. They briefly introduced themselves to each other. The young man was named You Chenglei, who was a second-year university student; the little girl was his sister, You Yuetong; and the young woman was his girlfriend, Zhai Juan.

The three of them encountered a car accident on the way to the zoo. The driver who was driving with them had recently died in the last box.

“It just so happened that we also died in a car accident.” Dong Linhai smiled bitterly. “Later, let’s not talk directly about our hometown, but we can treat the cause of death as something that makes us related, okay?”

“How old is Tongtong?” Cui Zuojing, who had been silent up until now, spoke.

“Six and a half years old.” You Chenglei held the girl’s hand and there was a heavy, imperceptible tone in his voice.

Cui Zuojing nodded. Victor laid on his shoulder, patiently teasing the girl.

When a child as young as this entered, the only outcome was a fatal ending. Anyone who entered the Pure White Realm would stop aging at the time of death. Just like Cui Zuojing, who’d died on his sixteenth birthday. Even after struggling for three years in the Pure White Realm, he remained sixteen years old.

Then, despite managing to escape, his time was frozen due to the queen’s curse.

It was a very long sixteenth birthday.

So even if Tongtong was fortunate enough to survive under the care of You Chenglei and Zhai Juan, she would never grow up at all. Her intelligence and strength may be improved by an ability, but her body would always maintain the appearance of a child. Unless she was lucky enough to gain a very powerful ability later, it would be difficult to clear many boxes with a child’s body.

Despite having lost his emotions, Cui Zuojing still felt a dull ache in his chest. In fact, he had always been a sentimental person. Allowing the clown to remove his excess emotions was simply because he didn’t want empathy to interfere with his judgement.

“We’re lucky. We’ve already collected two pieces.” As You Chenglei and Dong Zheng talked, they still had to care for the child in the team so the speed of travel inevitably slowed.

Dong Linhai and Zhai Juan carefully observed whether there were any doors around them, and suddenly Tongtong pointed to the corner and said, “There, there is a door!”

“Where?” Everyone looked in the direction she pointed at but didn’t see anything.

“It’s here.” Tongtong broke away from You Chenglei’s hand, ran to the wall, and pointed into the void.

Centering on the place where her finger touched, the outline of a door gradually appeared. In a few seconds, the pattern of a castle emerged. But, only half of it was exposed, while the remaining half was embedded in the wall. The size of the main entrance was just large enough for a small child like Tongtong to enter.

“Focused doors only for specific targets,” Cui Zuojing whispered.

Dong Zheng leaned over and tried to look in through the window, only to see a dark place. You Yuetong gently pushed, and the closed castle door opened slowly in front of her, as if welcoming the girl.

Tongtong raised her head and asked You Chenglei, “Are you going inside to look for a book fragment?”

You Chenglei squatted down and hugged her. “”No, only you can get in. It’s too dangerous.”

Victor suddenly said, “It’s okay. I’ll go in with her.”

Although they had long suspected that Victor was a summoning beast, You Chenglei and Zhai Juan were still surprised to find the cat suddenly talking. Tongtong’s eyes widened and she cheered, “The kitty can talk!”

“Yes, I can talk.” Victor smiled, raised his head to accept You Yuetong’s touch, and said to You Chenglei, “I will protect her.”

Cui Zuojing sighed softly and turned his face away so no one would see the light smile on his face.

After so many years, his uncle’s personality in liking children hadn’t changed at all.

“This…” You Chenglei hesitated and finally nodded with clenched teeth. “Okay, please.”

The points received after leaving the box most likely correlated to the number of fragments collected. Their team’s accumulated points won’t go up if they don’t act. But, it’s also very dangerous and they must spare no efforts in doing their best.

You Chenglei said, “Be sure to pay attention to safety. Once you find something wrong, hide immediately.”

Tongtong nodded cleverly, took a deep breath in fear, kissed her brother’s face, and bowed into the small door of the toy house.

Victor entered right behind her, and the door of the small castle closed under everyone’s gaze.

The castle floor was made of children’s foam cushion. An unusually tall, stuffed pirate bear sat on the floor, sewing its own leg back on with needles and thread. It noticed the intruders and stood up with vigilance.

It stood nearly two meters tall. But, seeing only Tongtong and a cat, it kicked a long knife with fresh blood still on it into the corner. It smiled with a mouth sewn with black thread. “Welcome. This is a doll’s house. Can I help you?”

A talking teddy bear! So big!

“I’m looking for something.” Resisting the urge to hug the bear, Tongtong asked, “The uncle of the library said he had lost a book fragment here. Have you seen it?”

The pirate bear thought for a moment. “Book fragment? Something fell in here just now. Duck and Mickey went to investigate and haven’t come back yet. I don’t know if it’s the book you mentioned. I’ll show you.”

Victor smelled the thick, bloody smell on the bear, saw the pool of blood that hadn’t dried up staining its legs, and quietly stepped forward to stand in front of Tongtong.

The pirate bear seemed to be unaware of this. The girl and the cat were no threat in its eyes. It took You Yuetong and Victor on a walk through a magnificent hall made of toy building blocks, greeted a blonde haired and blue eyed Barbie, and quickly reached a terrace on the second floor.

“This?” asked the pirate bear.

Victor could see a slightly glowing translucent piece that looked like a toy castle. Tongtong’s eyes lit up and she said, “Yes, it’s uncle’s lost library book. Can I take it away?”

Although the pirate bear wasn’t clear about the uncle and the library book the girl was speaking of, it could still sense the unknown power of the fragment and was worried that the paradise they had worked so hard to create might be destroyed.

It nodded and said, “Okay, you take it back to its owner.”

Tongtong stepped forward and touched the fragment gently.

A girl’s voice said very softly, “Did I do something wrong?”

“……”

“Then why did they treat me like this?”

The pirate bear’s face suddenly changed. The hand on its side clenched into a fist.

Then, came a bark of crazy laughter and chaotic weeping.

“Tell me, bitch! Who allowed you to look at me like this?”

“Do you know how much effort I’d spent to get this dead mouse? How dare you not accept my gift? Do you want to suffer again? Want a beating?”

Victor’s originally swishing tail hung down, and he frowned.

Tongtong was only six years old and did not understand the meaning behind the words. The boys and girls’ laughter ended the moment Tongtong completely collected the fragment in her hands. In the silence, she and Victor heard a voice said:

[Creating her own paradise. ——Doll’s House]

“Okay, I will go back and return the book to the uncle of the library. Thank you, Big Bear.” The feeling of being able to help her brother and sister made You Yuetong show a bright and happy smile. She hurried to the pirate bear’s side, gave it a big hug, and said goodbye. “Then I’m gone, goodbye!”

“Goodbye.” Big Bear quickly smiled reluctantly and waved at her.

You Yuetong turned around and randomly pushed open a side door. Her figure disappeared instantly.

Before leaving, Victor looked back.

A pirate bear covered in blood unknown hung its head, and a drop of crystal tear leaked from its dark plastic eyes.

Dong Zheng and You Chenglei had only waited for less than five minutes before they saw You Yuetong and Victor appear in front of them out of thin air. Behind them, the toy castle slowly disappeared.

“Got it!” Tongtong excitedly asked her brother for credit.

You Chenglei breathed a sigh of relief, hugged Tongtong, lifted her up to sit on his arm, and praised her quite willingly. “Awesome!”

They continued to move forward, collecting two to three fragments along the way, and accidentally entered a ruin. When they came out, each person carried a crucifix amulet, but they did not meet the monster wandering in the maze that Karls had spoken of.

“Something is wrong,” Zhai Juan said softly.

Dong Zheng agreed. “It’s too smooth. There are so many fragments in this place, and there are also relics. It doesn’t make sense that it’s so quiet.”

Cui Zuojing, who was leisurely following at the end of the group, said, “It may be that this area has something more powerful and scary, and other creatures dared not come over.”

Dong Linhai immediately turned back. “Shoot! Stop that crow’s mouth, okay? Can’t you say something good?”

“What crow’s mouth?” Cui Zuojing stopped, raised his head, and looked over Dong Zheng’s shoulder. At the next moment, with the brief fluctuation of space, a team of people rushed out of the wall at the end of the passage. All six or seven people, ranging between male and female, were all frightened.

“What the hell was that?”

“Brother Li blew up just after being touched by the monster’s knife! This fucking box is not good for newcomers at all!

They ran awkwardly past the group, as if a ghost was fast on their heels. A woman in the group saw Dong Zheng still standing in place and hurriedly shouted, “Run!”

At the moment her words fell, the wall was ripped open, and a huge, strange head came out. It was followed by a muscular upper body and a leg wearing a barbed iron boot.

You Chenglei immediately covered Tongtong’s eyes, but the girl still saw it and screamed, scared to tears.

The monster completely squeezed out the rift in the space. It straightened up, and the huge body of seven or eight meters tall almost blocked the entire passageway. This thing had a naked upper body and it’s arms, chest, and abdomen were layered with pieces of flesh that didn’t belong to it. It wore high iron boots and iron gloves, and two red tentacles protruded from its eyes, just like two worms, twisting and wiggling.

In its hand was a huge chainsaw with bits of flesh still stuck to the serrated edges and the belt was completely stained with blood.

It lowered its head, looked at the seven tiny creatures in front of it, and smiled with its mouth open.

The second half of the sentence that Cui Zuojing didn’t have the chance to finish earlier now fell lightly into everyone’s ears.

“I’m just talking about facts.”

 


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Dreamer
Dreamer
2 years ago

If other novels are descriptive on gore then this one is more on the grotesque side of things. I like it!

Ah damn. I wonder if Tongtong’s group is just a one time thing? Hopefully we get to see them again after this arc. Though kids die easily in this world and don’t live long, I kinda wish to see Tongtong to be the exception to that.

yel
yel
2 years ago

does that mean cui zuojing is actually one year older than dong zheng? i didn’t consider the years he stayed at the realm at all so i thought he’s 24 years old. since he entered the real when he was 16, struggled inside for 3 years then lived in the real world for 8 years before coming back to the realm again. so he’s 27 while dong zheng is 26.

Inari
Inari
2 years ago
Reply to  yel

You are totally right, I didn’t take his time in the Pure White Realm in account so it should be 16 + 3 yrs in realm + 8 yrs out of realm = 27 yrs old. Interesting.

Classic_Glass_Bead
Classic_Glass_Bead
1 year ago
Reply to  yel

He’s mentally 27 but physically 24 so I think he’s technically younger but mentally older