IWOL Chapter 114: Growth

Cui Zuojing woke up after seven hours of sleep. The cup on the bedside table was empty so he had no choice but to take the empty cup downstairs for more water.

Fu Zhe wasn’t there, leaving the entire first floor with a strange, empty stillness. Cui Zuojing boiled a pot of water in the kitchen and mixed in a bottle of cold water.

After going downstairs, his sleepiness was completely gone by the time he went back up. He passed by Dong Zheng’s room and found that the man was still asleep.

He stood in front of the door for a while, holding a cup and staring at the closed door. After drinking most of the water in the cup, he let out a sigh like an old empress dowager. Knowing the Dong Zheng doesn’t usually lock his door, he gently pressed the handle and pushed the door open before silently slipping inside.

The room was wrapped in darkness, with no light coming in from outside the castle. Dong Zheng slept soundly with his back to the door. He only covered his chest with the comforter, exposing his well-developed arms and the slope of his back. His shoulder raised and fell with the frequency of his breathing.

Cui Zuojing stood by the bed and stared at him, motionless and silent. If Dong Zheng woke up and saw this scene, he might directly be scared into having a heart attack.

Cui Zuojing also didn’t understand why he suddenly sneaked into Dong Zheng’s room to look at him like a pervert. There was a complicated, inexplicable emotion in his heart, which made him a little flustered. He wanted to figure out what it was, but from beginning to end, he couldn’t seem to unearth it.

Could it be that he really came here just to see if Dong Zheng was sleeping well?

Cui Zuojing shook his head mockingly and rolled his eyes as he evaluated his psychopathic behavior. Then, he walked out with his cup.

After he returned to his room, he slept again, wanting to eliminate all his exhaustion. By the time he woke up naturally, everyone else was already awake and were sitting together in the living room, chatting.

Lin Hangzhi’s back felt sore after lying for too long, and he was twisting and stretching his body muscles. Victor had just left his litter box and was knocking it against the door frame.

Dong Zheng and Dong Linhai sat in front of each other with serious faces, as if displaying their newfound abilities to each other. Wang Que came out of the kitchen with a young, blond girl trailing behind her.

Cui Zuojing saw her and remembered that this was Lillian from Australia, the female prisoner they’d rescued from Dusk Island.

Wang Que said, “Lillian said she made some food while we were resting. Everyone must be hungry. Would you like to come for a meal?”

All the people in the room, who were so hungry that their chests and backs were practically stuck together, swiveled their head over to look at the two of them. Lillian was obviously still a little shy and dared not look up at her new comrades. With her head bowed, she nodded.

“That’s great. I’m almost starved to death.” Allen stood up immediately. “Go, go, go, everyone go and grab a bowl. Hurry up and eat something to cushion your stomach. Later, we’ll go and find a place to eat out.”

Cui Zuojing didn’t see Fu Zhe and asked, “Where’s Fu Zhe?”

Victor replied, “In the study. He seems to be feeling uncomfortable?”

“Feeling uncomfortable?” Cui Zuojing raised his eyebrows. “Why is he feeling uncomfortable?”

Victor said, “I don’t know. That’s what he told me. I asked him if he wanted purification, but he won’t let me help. Anyway, from the looks of him, he really does seem uncomfortable.”

“But why is he uncomfortable?”

Victor hesitated and finally said, “…Children shouldn’t ask too much.”

Cui Zuojing instantly became more interested. “How can I be a child when I am already 26?! Quickly tell me, in the end, why is he uncomfortable?”

Dong Zheng turned his head at this time and rescued Victor from possible embarrassment. He stared fixedly at Cui Zuojing for a few seconds, frowned, and said, “Did you grow a little taller?”

Cui Zuojing:?

He thought he had misheard. “What?”

Dong Zheng said, “It seems like you’ve grown a little bit taller.”

The youth suddenly became energetic. He immediately stopped questioning Victor and pulled Dong Zheng to his feet. Straightening his body, he put his hand flat on top of his head and moved it horizontally toward Dong Zheng.

Dong Zheng was more than 1.8 meters tall. Cui Zuojing’s time was frozen at 16 so he was barely 1.7 meters tall for eight years. Originally, the top of his head only went up to Dong Zheng’s shoulder.

Now, he compared again and found that he had gone up to Dong Zheng’s chin.

Cui Zuojing:? ! ? ! ? !

“I’ve grown taller?!” In disbelief, he patted Dong Zheng’s chest to make him straighten. Then, taking a deep breath, he puffed out his chest. With his whole body practically plastered to Dong Zheng’s body, he measured again.

It was still at Dong Zheng’s chin.

He really did grow taller!

Realizing this fact, Cui Zuojing almost went crazy. What did this show? His time was frozen for eight full years, and it was starting to move again!

After lifting the first seal and gaining the power of time, he was finally able to resist the queen’s vicious curse.

“It’s really true!” Dong Linhai also stood and looked at him. The two brothers were quite a bit taller than Cui Zuojing, and they could see more clearly from their higher position. “Why did you grow so much so suddenly?”

Dong Linhai and Lin Hangzhi already knew that Cui Zuojing was selected by the power of time and that he was also cursed. Just as Cui Zuojing was about to tell them about his first seal being unlocked on Dusk Island, he caught a glimpse of Lillian coming out of the kitchen with a bowl and stopped talking.

He signaled with his eyes and said, “I’ll tell you in detail later.”

Although the three men had rescued Lillian out of conscience and morality in a critical situation and the girl seemed to be an honest person, such confidential matters couldn’t be easily told in front of outsiders.

Dong Zheng said, “Let’s eat first, then we’ll call Fu Zhe down.”

A group of people sat at the table, full of liveliness. Lillian had considered the group of big men who’d been hungry for a long time and cooked a lot of food, but she still underestimated their combat ability.

They seemed to have no misgivings about eating and drinking unreasonably. Although everyone seemed to be taking it easy, Wang Que and Lillian were both still shocked by their amazing speed and appetite. When Allen and Dong Linhai simultaneously asked for their fourth bowl of rice, Lillian said with horror that she was out of rice.

“Then, I’ll eat this first,” Allen said and got up to serve himself a bowl of soup.

Lin Hangzhi, who was relatively more elegant in terms of eating, said with a smile, “You don’t know but our team has a special unit of measurement called Allen. If Linhai let go, his appetite will nearly amount to one Allen. Dong Zheng is 0.8 percent. Xiao Cui and I have 0.6 to 0.5 percent, and Que’er probably only has 0.2.”

Allen snorted and drank down a bowl of soup in the blink of an eye. After he freed his mouth, he said defensively, “When did you come up with this thing, ah? You’ve just not seen real eating before. My appetite is actually pretty good.”

Wang Que lowered her head to eat. She was also very hungry. Usually, she could eat one full bowl. Today, she also grabbed a bowl, but she only finished half of it before she didn’t feel like eating anymore.

Seeing this, Dong Linhai pointed to her bowl with his chopsticks and asked her if she minded. Wang Que shook her head, and Dong Linhai scooted half of her leftover food to him and ate it by himself.

After they all finished eating, Cui Zuojing continued to happily pester Dong Zheng about his growth. Meanwhile, the others gathered around Lin Hangzhi to inspect the Heart of Hydra.

The stitched-heart bear was soaked with water and mud. Wang Que picked it up and went to the bathroom to give it a good bath. Afterward, she left the castle for the apartment and dragged a lounge chair over to the sunniest spot on the balcony so the bear could dry.

Victor went upstairs to call Fu Zhe, and half an hour later, two people and one cat arrived late.

Fu Zhe’s cheeks were a little red, but based on his mental state, he didn’t seem the slightest bit uncomfortable anywhere. Cui Zuojing tilted his head and looked at him from head to toe. Puzzled, he muttered, “In the end, where was he uncomfortable….?”

Seeing that everyone had gathered for a meeting, Lillian knew that she was still an outsider so, after pouring them tea, she took the initiative to go upstairs.

Fu Zhe took a seat and placed the flute that never left his side on the table. He asked, “This time, you only brought out one prop, right?”

Cui Zuojing said, “Yes, there should have been a scepter and an amulet originally.”

“What does the scepter look like?”

“It’s about one meter long and was golden. The top is an endless flowing hourglass entwined with vines and has fine silver sands inside.”

Fu Zhe frowned. After thinking for a few seconds, he didn’t have any results and so he changed the subject, “Regarding the origin of that Domingo, I already have a little guess.”

Everyone perked up after hearing those words. The most mysterious thing about the entire Dusk Island box was definitely Domingo.

“In the Pure White Realm, a pilgrim organization is an alliance formed by different teams to obtain more information and make transactions more convenient. There are currently two largest, most systematic organizations. One is called “White Bird,” and the other is called “Valkyrie.”

Dong Zheng remembered that Cui Zuojing had mentioned it once when he talked about Cheriyu Nana and said, “I remember that you had joined Shiratori.”

Fu Zhe nodded and said, “After utilizing a connection from there, I learned that there is no such person in Shiratori. But that person told me that Valkyrie is collecting information and props from various boxes at a large scale, and this has been ongoing for a long time.”

Cui Zuojing said, “So you suspected that Valkyrie sent Domingo to Dusk Island to collect important props?”

“This is just a guess.”

Cui Zuojing shook his head. “I don’t think that’s right. How does that explain why he felt so familiar to Dong Zheng and I and why he knew my fighting style so well? And, if I remember correctly, the tickets to the areas near the core are all one-way tickets. If he entered those areas, there’s no way he can come back here.”

Fu Zhe said, “That’s true. There are many contradictions and loopholes in this statement. But, with the information we have so far, there’s no other explanation.”

Large organizations had a long history of collecting props. At least, this was true when the Afternoon Tea Party was still a member of Shiratori. However, no one believed that Domingo was a member of one of those organizations. If it was just to collect props, why did he help Cui Zuojing lift his seal? And how did he know so much?

Dong Linhai scratched his head and said, “Since this is the case, let’s not think about it too much. If he really does have ulterior motives, we’ll definitely meet him again in the future.”

Cui Zuojing didn’t think so. He clearly remembered Domingo’s last words to him, which was “Farewell.”

After mulling over this question, everyone mentioned their own gains from the box. Dong Zheng’s ability ushered in its first evolution; Cui Zuojing unlocked his first seal; Dong Linhai mastered the summoning beast contract with Victor; and Lin Hangzhi received a set of sacrificial divination cards…Looking at it this way, even though the last two props were taken away, the harvest from this trip was absolutely amazing.

The three ability points that they’d each obtained during the reward settlement were added according to the direction of growth they wanted. Dong Zheng still allocated his points to intelligence and strength. Meanwhile, Dong Linhai, Lin Hangzhi, Allen, and Wang Que all strengthened their bodies in various directions.

At this moment, aside from Dong Zheng, no one else in the team knew that Cui Zuojing was dealing with the supreme existence in the entire Pure White Realm: the queen. Cui Zuojing and Fu Zhe had discussed the matter, and they decided that after two more boxes, when they could confirm that they could trust the rest, they would tell them the truth.

Fu Zhe rarely spoke nonsense and so the meeting ended in less than twenty minutes. Domingo’s appearance made Fu Zhe aware of the box’s uniqueness. He recorded all the monsters that everyone had seen in the box, researched their details, and tried to speculate about the truths hidden under the surface.

Finally, they had free time. Allen grew antsy and went out to find the proprietress of the hot spring hotel. Meanwhile, Lin Hangzhi went to the third floor to study his divination cards. His bad luck hadn’t completely dissipated so he dared not stay too long near everyone.

Cui Zuojing took Dong Zheng out to find a place with an electronic height scale, and he finally found out his exact height: 173 cm. He was indeed three centimeters taller than before.

Cui Zuojing was exuberant. What did this mean? This meant he was finally growing up!

Although his mental age had continued to grow, he still had a youthful appearance. This made Cui Zuojing feel that he really was still a child. Anyway, with such a face, whenever he deliberately behaved childishly, no one could say that he was acting like a child.

Over time, he began to regard himself as a half-grown child.

But now! Now, he could finally grow up!

Dong Zheng was also very happy. In fact, his mood was quite complicated. On the one hand, he was genuinely happy that Cui Zuojing was starting to grow up. It also meant that he could finally make a move. On the other hand, he had become rather fond of Cui Zuojing in his youthful phase. Soon, the appearance of this legitimately cute youth would only appear in his memories. Thinking about all this, Dong Zheng’s guilt involuntarily rose.

He had a few somewhat sinful thoughts in his heart. This was understandable, right?



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Anonymous
Anonymous
3 years ago

Thank you for the chapter~

"…he let out a sigh like an old empress dowager." XD I'm curious, what does Cui Zuojing think of himself as? The Emperor Dong Zheng's mother worrying about his overworking son's health? And Dong Zheng had so many chances to touch Cui Zuojing this chapter~ I guess Cui Zuojing not realizing his emotions is because he has them still sealed. And it's so adorable how Cui Zuojing is so excited about his height >w< Dong Zheng really knows how to distract him XD I wonder what happened to make Fu Zhe uncomfortable in that way -w-; Is it related to a certain young man and his servant we saw before this arc? And poor Dong Zheng with his conflicted thoughts XD

Nabong_uwu
Nabong_uwu
3 years ago

I'm wondering how and when will Cui Zuojing get back his emotions. Maybe Dong Zheng can unseal them through his network, like when he used the Arabidopsis to give Cui Zuojing better eyesight or directions to kill the hydra.
And… Fu Zhe is feeling uncomfortable because of his naughty soul?

Anonymous
Anonymous
3 years ago

Fu Zhe ‘s fragment is scandalous. How can it be so different? CZ is oblivious heh.

Last edited 3 years ago by Anonymous
Dreamer
Dreamer
2 years ago

What I learned most about this chapter: Cui Zuojing grew taller

Yes, the title is “Growth” but it also meant the upgrades that the gang received after completing the box.

I honestly can’t imagine a grown up CZJ acting so childish. I just feel that my eyes was assaulted whenever I tried forming an image. Though, instead of childish, I bet CZJ will remain mischievous, a little playful, teasing, and quite demanding. Truly, the favored empress of the son of heaven.

Qi Qi
Qi Qi
2 years ago

Waiting for Dong Zheng to make his move, heh. Poor him, how long does he still need to wait? owo
So, Cui Zuojing is slowly falling too~ Maybe he can’t pinpoint what was that emotion because he needs to retrieve his feelings first? Or he’s just oblivious. o.O

Ketkai
Ketkai
2 years ago

Fu zhe oh Fu zhe ( -᷄ω-᷅)💨

Lmao mc so childlike even with less emotions makes me want to dote on him — doesn’t know how he feels around the ml as he watches the ml sleep, be excited about his time turning again because of the seal, and when he’s all confused on what’s up with Fu Zhe and Victor not telling him 😂🤧 makes me feel that Victor’s not treating him as a 26 year old hahahahha damn our mc feels so innocent and an adorable baby ❤️

Ketkai
Ketkai
2 years ago
Reply to  Ketkai

Fu Zhe’s questionable love life stirs my radar and soul up 🤧

yel
yel
2 years ago

hahaha cui zuojing being excited for the 3cm increase in height is just so adorable!!!