After clearing Dusk Island, everyone rested for three days before they started to gradually train again in preparation for the next box.
Because Lillian had no substantive combat ability, Wang Que gave her prisoner card to Fu Zhe for safekeeping, with no intention of taking her into another box. Lillian began to serve as the cook and housekeeper in the old castle, doing some cleaning for everyone every day before going out to buy ingredients. After several days of observation, Fu Zhe was sure that there was no issue with Lillian and gave her a key for easy access.
This saved them a lot of trouble, and they no longer had to throw the responsibility of cooking to each other.
Dong Zheng consistently entered his program kernel every night before going to bed, trying with every means to familiarize himself with this change in his ability.
Judging from the two previous battles, Naive Bayes’ precise decision-making ability was extremely powerful. At his current level, the quality and accuracy of his strategic decisions were still rather low. However, if he practiced more to develop his ability further…the role it could play in the box would be immeasurable.
He didn’t forcibly enter the palace in the sky but only explored outside. He also looked up information about the half-god and half-devil statues on both sides of the temple’s entrance and learned that it was the fallen angel Abrams in Christian religion, who had once been a supreme existence that was both divine and both demonic.
Dong Zheng didn’t quite understand what this meant. Perhaps these two statues were warning him that if he didn’t make good use of his abilities, he would risk becoming crazy.
Cui Zuojing was immersed in the excitement of his newfound growth and took the initiative to come to him every day, either to ask him if he felt his own changes or to simply talk about something insignificant. This made Dong Zheng feel extremely happy but also torturous, even though he didn’t show it in the slightest.
And, the other person didn’t even realize that he seemed to have an unusual dependence on Dong Zheng.
This evening, the two of them sat on the rooftop of the apartment building and chatted about the story of Dusk Island. They thought that everything would be fine if the demon seed was destroyed.
Of course, no matter what happened in the box after the door closed, it had nothing to do with them.
It was just that Cui Zuojing sometimes couldn’t help but think about Domingo. He was pushed out the door at the last second, and Domingo, who was unable to leave, faced the Demon God alone, carrying the broken scepter and amulet he’d snatched.
He looked like he was sure to win. There must be another way to leave the box, right?
The two sat side by side, each holding a bottle of liquor. The crescent moon in the distance hung high in the sky, obscured by clouds and mist and only showing a gleam of light.
The wind blew the ends of their hair and stroked against Cui Zuojing’s face, which had grown increasingly more handsome in the past few days. His baby face had gradually changed into that of a young man.
Cui Zuojing said, “The Demon God probably deliberately sent Ibris and Gulon to the ship to cause a disturbance and guide us to the island. After we boarded the ship, the demonic energy on the island infected the powerful monsters living there. This made it possible for the pilgrims to kill them in order to acquire the gems and complete the tasks according to the condex. It was all very deliberate.”
“If they deliberately weakened themselves in order to allow us to enter the Sealed Land and use the broken scepter to help them break the seal, then everything made sense. Now that I think about it, it’s pretty sinister and cruel.”
Dong Zheng said, “No need to think about everything in that direction. Maybe the final seal breaking was just a coincidence.”
Cui Zuojing pondered a moment, nodded and said, “You’re right. All these years, I’ve been through too many boxes and have been habitually leaning toward thinking in a bad direction.”
They randomly searched for a topic and chatted for a while, until they suddenly heard the door of the rooftop open. When they turned around, they saw Allen coming over with Wang Que.
“You’re here secretly drinking again.” Allen bent over, extended his long arm, and pulled out a bottle of beer from the box. He squeezed off the metal bottle cap with his bare hands and said, “I’ve been looking for you two for a long time, until Que’er said that you might be on the rooftop.”
Wang Que silently followed Allen. Seeing Dong Zheng and Cui Zuojing sitting so close, pressed shoulder to shoulder, a kind of “minor women’s interest” flamed in her eyes. She shook her head and quickly suppressed the idea, think that it was not respectful to both parties.
Dong Zheng said, “What’s wrong?”
Allen said, “Eri said she wanted to treat us and told me to invite everyone to her shop to have a meal. Do you want to go?”
Kazama Eri was the proprietress of the hot spring hotel and Allen’s girlfriend. After hearing this, Cui Zuojing got up, patted the dirt off his butt and said, “Why not go? But since she invited us to dinner, isn’t she afraid that we would bankrupt her in one go?”
Allen let out a sigh and said, “If I haven’t eaten her into bankruptcy, then you’re all trivial in comparison. Go and bring Victor too.”
Everyone except Fu Zhe went to eat a big meal. Wang Que wanted to take Lillian along to keep her company, but she refused with a smile.
When a small group of people go out to dinner, they may talk about some private things. How could she go and join the fun?
The proprietress prepared a good meal and served a lot of wine. The Pure White Realm made the people in it fully understand that they must enjoy the present. That night, everyone laughed and drank to their heart’s content, allowing the alcohol to go to their head. Soon, they fell asleep in a disorderly manner in the private room, sleeping haphazardly on the sofa, the floor, and under the table.
Dong Zheng was more restrained and didn’t attempt to drink himself to death. He was the first to wake up among the group of people. He raised his leg and stepped over Lin Hangzhi, who was lying under the table with two legs stretched out. Rubbing his forehead, he pushed open the door of the private room and walked outside.
Dong Zeng passed through the Japanese-style garden with white sand and went to the front hall. Kazama Eri was cleaning the cabinets. She only drank a little last night and spent the majority of it taking care of the few drunk men. But, as a woman, she couldn’t stop them from over-drinking. She could only send Wang Que to another room to rest and let the rest of them wake up themselves.
Kazama Eri smiled at Dong Zheng and asked him in English if he wanted to drink some sobering tea. He didn’t refuse, and after sipping a few cups of tea, his stomach and his throat felt much better.
After taking a short break, he’ll go back to the private room to pack up his drunk teammates and take them home. As he walked back into the garden, Dong Zheng raised his eyes and saw the door of the private room being pulled open with a loud clatter. Cui Zuojing stepped out hastily, his face excited.
Seeing that Dong Zheng was outside, the young man hurriedly turned around to face him. He held a branch with blooming cherry blossoms in his left hand. His right hand was rudely pulling out cherry blossoms after cherry blossoms, until there was only a bare, dead branch left. Before Dong Zheng could react, he raised his hand and threw the blossoms into the air over his head.
The pink petals fluttered up in succession, then began to float down at an incredibly slow speed. It was as if the air was some kind of viscous medium that was preventing them from falling. In a split second, Dong Zheng’s entire body was bathed in a shower of slow-moving petals.
The frequency of the bamboo forest swaying to the wind, the birds chirping in the distance, the full dew of morning rolling down trembling leaves…Everything slowed, like a film played in slow motion. All of these details filled Dong Zheng’s eyes.
Pieces of brilliant pink and white softly floated on top of Dong Zheng’s head and on his shoulders. The breeze carried with it the scent of pond and grass in the distance. Dong Zheng remembered this cherry blossom branch. It was placed in a vase on the table last night, and the petals still carried crystal drops of water, reflecting the youthful faces at the table under the light.
Through the slow-moving shower of pink flowers, the youth that was gradually growing into a young man faced him with a honeyed smile. The redness of his cheeks hadn’t completely faded. His eyes were hazy due to drunkenness, but they were as bright as heavenly stars.
He stretched out his left hand to show Dong Zheng the bare branch and said excitedly, “Look! I can control the power of time!”
Dong Zheng did not look at the branch; he stared at Cui Zuojing’s dark eyes, as if they themselves were cherry blossoms.
At this moment, Dong Zheng clearly felt that his fingertips were trembling slightly and his heart was pounding frantically.
There was a voice in his heart, telling him very clearly–
I’m done for.
Seeing that Dong Zheng was just standing there without responding, Cui Zuojing’s face became less excited. He jumped off the wooden platform that was three steps high and waved his hand in front of Dong Zheng’s eyes. “Are you still drunk?”
“No.” Dong Zheng barely pulled himself out from the quagmire of peach blossom. (1) He took the bare branch from Cui Zuojing’s hand, his palm brushing against his fingertips. “You already have complete control of it?”
“Almost!” Cui Zuojing snapped his fingers, and the delayed time returned to normal. The petals that were still floating in the air immediately fell at normal speed and soon landed on the ground.
Reason told Dong Zheng that he should just congratulate Cui Zuojing, but sentiment made him want to do more. He nodded, lifted the corners of his lips, and raised his hand to pat the top of Cui Zuojing’s head. He wholeheartedly exclaimed, “Very powerful.”
“Yes, I also think that I am super powerful.” Cui Zuojing was still immersed in the intoxication of thoroughly mastering the power of time in such a short period of time. He didn’t notice how ambiguous their movements were, nor did he realize that Dong Zheng didn’t seem to be congratulating him as a companion but more like he was giving him some kind of intimate reward.
“It’s a little bit more difficult to control another person’s time, but I can now delay my own time to achieve the effect of slowing down other people’s actions to my eyes.” Just like Cui Zuojing’s presentation to Dong Zheng.
The bamboo tube that contained dripping water on one side was filled with enough water, and it fell heavily toward the other side, hitting the stone slab with a thud.