Chang Hui walked leisurely into the garden..
The two wolf guards at the door, one black and one white, recognized her. They raised their long guns and tapped them on the floor as they bowed to her.
The evil spirits that were always perpetually following her in the form of a never-ending cold rain was finally held back at the queen’s back garden. Chang Hui put away the paper umbrella and shook the rainwater off of it. As she did so, the silver bracelet on her wrist swayed, flashing the words “Longevity for Hundreds of Years.”
After passing through the numerous plants that composed the labyrinth-like promenade, Change Hui went to the center of the garden. On the neatly landscaped lawn rested a long table covered with a white lace tablecloth. Upon it was a delicate tea set and pine cone trays filled with various desserts.
A woman in a white, shoulder-less dress sat at the head of the table, elegantly drinking afternoon tea. She had long, dazzling blond hair and sea-blue eyes. Her face was exquisite, as if she’d walked right out of a painting. She saw Chang Hui approaching and put down her teacup. With a gentle and noble smile, she said, “You’ve arrived? Sit down and have a cup of tea.”
Chang Hui inclined her head in salutations, but her heart was not moved. She couldn’t be more clear that anyone who allowed themselves to be deceived by this woman’s gentle appearance would die a miserable death.
She obeyed the woman’s order cloaked in the form of an invitation and sat in the second position on the woman’s left. A servant immediately came forward and poured tea for her.
To her sides on the long table, three seats were already occupied.
A middle-aged man sat in the first position on the Queen’s right hand side. He was bloated, had a dull face, and was dressed in the costume of a medieval cardinal, with a tall hat covering the top of his half-bald head.
He was holding a book in his hand, spread open to a page enchanted with dense words.
The 17 to 18-year-old boy sitting across from Chang Hui placed his cheek in one hand and held a small spoon with the other hand. He carelessly stirred the black tea in front of him, even as a snake slithered out from under his collar. It flickered a red forked tongue and slide down along his arm to his wrist.
After Chang Hui took her seat, the young man raised his gaze and smiled wickedly at her. He said, “I thought you wouldn’t come.”
“I haven’t done anything wrong. Why wouldn’t I come?” Chang Hui reached out for a small biscuit, and the snake on the young man’s wrist stretched its head out, orange eyes opened, as if wanting to intimately get closer to her.
The young man patted its head and the black snake that was as thick as a child’s arm quickly pulled back and returned to his sleeve.
A Siamese cat with a black face squatted on a specially elevated chair, licking the tea in his cup. He couldn’t help saying, “Tang Ji, your snake has betrayed you.”
“Shut up,” the young man named Tang Ji berated unhappily. Midnight, who wasn’t afraid of him, merely snorted and continued to drink tea.
Chang Hui pretended that she hadn’t seen anything. The first position on the left hand side was still empty and so she looked at the Queen and softly asked, “Is Kether not here yet?”
The middle-aged man, whose eyes were dull and silent, pulled out a stiff smile and said, “She dared not come.”
“Who said I didn’t dare to come? Unlike some people, I didn’t lose what I’ve been looking at right under my nose.” The moment the man’s voice fell, a light-blue spot of light flashed on an empty chair, where it stretched out to reveal the image of a girl.
She looked only 16-years-old, with silver hair and red eyes. She was dressed in a pure black Gothic dress. She snapped open her fan, covered the bottom half of her face, and slowly sat in the chair left for her.
“I blame the administrator for being so stupid. He tried for half a day to repair the server but still hadn’t managed to fix it, which made me late.”
The middle-aged man’s stiff face didn’t change despite the girl’s words. He let out a short laugh and no longer spoke. Kether looked around and said, “Where is our new heir? Not planning to come this time?”
The Queen said, “The heir can’t leave for the time being.”
Everyone knew that person’s situation, and no longer pursued the topic. This new heir was unlikely to threaten their status nor be in much contact with them. Between them, there was no conflict.
Now that everyone had arrived, the meeting could begin.
The Queen put down the white porcelain teacup in her hand, patted the remnant of tea on her red lips with a napkin, and softly said, “Presumably, everyone already knows that my dearest little Dolly, who was selected by the power of time, had returned four months ago.”
Everyone was quite calm. The first to know about this was Worm of Mystery. Then, Kether, who was responsible for writing the box script and monitoring the pilgrims’ movements, also found out. Chang Hui herself smelled Cui Zuojing, particularly since she’d been chasing the scent of his desire for ten years. Midnight the Cat eavesdropped when Worm of Mystery reported it to the Queen. As for Tang Ji, he also had his own method.
“He also brought the bearer of the power of body, the Russian man who Midnight turned into a cat. Judging from the current situation, they have already joined the holder of the power of space, who was still trapped in the castle.”
The middle-aged man nodded and said, “Cui Zuojing took away a piece of Fu Zhe’s soul fragment. Through the energy fluctuations on it, he should be able to find easily find Fu Zhe’s location.”
Kether snorted softly and said in a low voice, “He just came back, but he managed to take away the thing you’ve been looking after right from under your nose. It’s really amazing.”
Even though she’d deliberately lowered her voice, it was still loud enough for everyone at the table to hear.
“That’s just a branch of my power,” the middle-aged man said without any hint of anger. “For example, even Kether, who is omniscient and omnipotent, cannot accurately know what is happening in each box. Otherwise, we won’t need to sit here now and waste our time discussing the matter.”
Kether took a deep breath. She couldn’t remember the number of times she’d wanted to create an explosion that would make the rotten book die horribly.
Worm of Mystery was right, though. As a supercomputer, she could only monitor the outline of the circumstances inside the box. Regarding the events outside the box, because the rule of the Pure White Realm didn’t require the usage of cameras, she lacks the “eyes” that would allow her to know everything.
Chang Hui observed everything with her head lowered, playing with the silver bracelet on her wrist and not making any comments.
Tang Ji tapped his index finger on the table. He was bored and yawned very presumptuously.
Before their argument could escalate, the Queen interrupted the two people’s mutual divulgence. “Enough. Now is not the time to quarrel and shift blames.”
“Back then, I could kill those five people directly, but I didn’t expect the five elements to directly choose them as masters. I could only use my last wish as the Queen to curse each of them with a triple seal.”
“Now, Cui Zuojing had smuggled himself back. From what I know of him, he’s bound to turn the Pure White Realm upside down. To prevent a crisis, we must act before he and his companions could break their seals and grasp the full power of the original elements.”
Tang Ji lazily said, “It’s just killing a person. What’s the difficulty?”
Back then, the strongest fighting force in the Afternoon Tea Party was Cheriyu Nana, who was easily defeated. It hadn’t been long since Cui Zuojing came back. His strength was definitely not as good as that of the past, and he most certainly was not Tang Ji’s opponent.
The Queen said patiently, “Don’t underestimate him. Now that he’d returned, he might have broken his first seal already. Even if it is only a small part of the original power, it is still definitely something we should not look down upon. If we rashly underestimate the enemy, we will only lose.”
Midnight said, “Last month, I met Cui Zuojing in Doll’s House. He seemed to have become someone else’s prisoner. If this is the case, as long as we fix his so-called master, everything will be fine.”
The Queen declined to comment. Her beautiful eyes shifted across everyone’s face before finally landing on Tang Ji.
“Tang Ji, this task is given to you.”
“Alright.” The young man raised his index finger and middle finger together in a salute on the side of his forehead. The corners of his mouth curved into an evil smile. “I’ve long looked forward to meeting him again.”
“Remember, bring him to me, alive.”
Tang Ji hummed in agreement. Chang Hui narrowed her eyes, immediately understanding the Queen’s meaning.
The power of the five elements were not static. After the death of the previous master, the power will automatically look for a successor. Based on past years, if it wasn’t deliberately manipulated by the previous master, the power would directly attach itself to the person who killed him or her.
The reason the Queen wanted Tang Ji to bring Cui Zuojing back alive was because she wanted to kill Cui Zuojing herself in order to take the power of time from him.
She was already so strong. Doesn’t this woman ever feel satisfied?
Chang Hui curled the corners of her lips, drank tea with her eyes down, and quietly behaved as the queen’s most favorite and most capable person, not causing trouble and not creating misdeeds.
Once the meeting was over, there was nothing else to do. The successors left the Queen’s back garden one after another.
Only the middle-aged man remained. He sat upright on the chair and told the young servant standing behind him, preparing to serve him at a moment’s notice. “Could you please help me get the book?”
The servant respectfully stepped forward. White-gloved hands gently picked up the book lying on the middle-aged man’s hand.
The moment he picked up the book, the waiter’s movements suddenly stiffened, and his eyes became pure white.
Immediately, he straightened up and adjusted his bowtie. Holding the red-covered book, he turned his head to glance at the senseless middle-aged man who had collapsed on the chair with his nose bleeding. Then, he turned and left.
When Kether returned to the computer room, Administrator 03 was still repairing the server.
The man dressed in a blue suit shirt stood in front of the huge server unit. His shirt sleeves were rolled up to his elbows and the two top buttons of his neckline were open. Only half of the hem of his shirt was tucked into the waist of his pants. He frowned, staring at the server’s complex dashboard and muttered to himself, “No, it shouldn’t be like this. How can it break down?”
Then, under Kether’s watchful gaze, Administrator 03 straightened up, looked at the server like it was an old-fashioned TV set and began to vigorously pound on the top of the server.
The virtual girl’s figure instantly flickered, and she screamed, “Hey! Can you treat me a bit more gently?!”
Maybe it was because Administrator 03 was using too much effort or maybe this commonly known Russian repair method was just too effective, but after the last hit, the numbers on the display suddenly jumped back to normal range.
Kether’s figure also restabilized.
Having succeeded, Administrator 03’s face lit up. He turned around, wiped off the nonexistent sweat on his forehead, and raised his hand to touch the top of Kether’s head. “Look, I’m still awesome.”
“Hard to believe.” Kether rolled her eyes. She tried to push the administrator’s hand aside, but her hand went right through his arm.
The administrator patted the air twice, and before Kether could pout and complain, he looked back at the server unit that was so large it covered the entire hall. He said, “It’s still not very stable. I’ll have to fix it another day.”
Kether was speechless. “The stability is poor only because you hit it, okay, big brother? Please promise me that you won’t touch it rashly.”
The administrator was unmoved and said to himself, “With my genius talent, I can make your operation more stable. Rest assured! I will make you the most powerful existence in this world.”
Forget it. As long as he’s happy.
Kether sighed, and a swing appeared in mid-air. She sat on it and rested her cheek against the rope, thinking:
How can we catch that Cui Zuojing alive?
How about…through his master?