“Congratulations! You have successfully passed the [Single-Person Box: Good Neighbor]. Your points are being evaluated. Please wait a moment.”
Back at the lounge in Heimdall, Dong Zheng put down the box in his hand. He took a deep breath and sat back on the sofa, slowly thinking about what Ficks had told him.
Everything was moving in a more chaotic direction…
Cui Zuojing immediately came out of the prisoner’s space and stretched his waist. With his entire body stretched out, the hem of his shirt naturally rode up, revealing the small of his lower back with its two dimples and the hollow of his spine. He looked outside the window at the dense trees under the setting sun, and wanted to run out to play.
He’d been bored in the box for more than a week and felt as if he was about to suffocate since long ago.
“You know what’s going on, right?” Dong Zheng asked.
“What?” Cui Zuojing looked back at him. After realizing what he was referring to, he said, “Mmn, I know a little bit.”
Seeing that Cui Zuojing didn’t seem to want to say anything, Dong Zheng said, “Is this something that isn’t suitable for me to know now?”
Cui Zuojing thought for a moment. “That’s also not it. It’s just that it’s merely a guess of mine. I think that rather than me telling you everything, it’s better for you to discover it yourself.”
Dong Zheng admitted to himself that what Cui Zuojing said made sense. He’d been with him for so long. No only did he know Cui Zuojing, but Cui Zuojing also knew him very well. He knew that Dong Zheng would prefer to carefully investigate it and personally figure out the truth of the matter himself.
The truth of this world seemed to be firmly covered by a thick curtain, and Ficks words seemed to have opened a secret corner for him.
Cui Zuojing couldn’t wait for too long. He glazed at the date and time displayed on the digital clock on the wall and dropped a sentence, “I’m going to go out for a stroll. You go find Heinrich by yourself,” and then ran out of sight.
Dong Zheng couldn’t stop him and didn’t want to stop him, allowing Cui Zuojing to go as he pleased. Although the blood contract connected them, he’d never treated Cui Zuojing like other pilgrims treated their prisoners, as if they belonged to them.
He never did.
Maybe, when they’d met for the first time and he hadn’t figured out the status of prisoners in this world, or maybe it was just that Cui Zuojing was just too powerful from the very beginning. In his heart, Cui Zuojing was a very capable person, unlike those damsel in distress in the stories.
After staying in the box for more than a week, with nothing much to do from morning to evening, Dong Zheng temporarily put Ficks’ revelations aside and went to find Heinrich.
As Heinrich had expected, the Wonton Insurgency team successfully acquired the highest-level team assessment.
Needless to say, Dong Zheng directly got the ending of [The Truth is True] in the [Good Neighbor] box, which meant that he’d resolved all the clues and had handled everything properly. As for who really killed Goerge, whether it was Mons, who insisted that he hadn’t killed George, or not, this should be reflected in Chen Jianguo’s ending assessment, and had nothing to do with him.
When Dong Zheng found Heinrich, Dong Linhai was already there. The always simple-minded youth was a little quiet and was frowning. His box was a horror box. In the box, he was a middle school student who woke up late at night in the school utility room. He’d lost all of his memories, and as he wandered through the school, he had friendly and unfriendly interactions with the ghosts that were also wandering in the school. His task was to figure out what happened to this middle school student and how the tremendous pressure of school, the tyranny of his parents, the indifference of his teacher, and the incomprehension of his classmates drove him step by step into commiting suicide.
Yes, from the very beginning, his identity was this middle school student’s unwilling ghost after he’d died, which was something he’d only discovered at the very end.
Although Cui Zuojing repeatedly warned him not to be affected by the plot in the box, Dong Linhai had little control over it. Carefree young people like him could react this way, let alone those with more sensitive minds.
No wonder the queen could get the desperate emotions she most needed.
Wang Que’s task in the box was to escape from a lighthouse on an isolated island in the sea. She was imprisoned on the top of the tower like fairy tale Princess Rapunzel. Unfortunately, there was no prince in the box to rescue her.
She finally escaped by relying on her own strength, and judging from her grade, she did a good job.
Lin Hangzhi’s box was more interesting. The box required him to do one hundred good things and one hundred bad things in a week, and it could not be repeated.
Therefore, after helping an old lady cross the street, he turned around and rushed into the opposite bank, robbed the cash transport truck single-handedly, and gave the police a lot of hardship. On the way, he didn’t forget to pick up cans and throw them into the recycling bin. He followed this by using the blood from his gunshot wound to paint graffiti on the wall….Finally, after succeeding, Lin Hangzhi found himself in a chaotic mess. He listened dumbly to Heinrich as he congratulated their team for getting an S-rank assessment. Afterward, he asked, “That thing, was it really alright?”
“Yes, it’s all right. You guys performed very well in the box.” Heinrich entered the team’s information on the computer. “What is your team’s name?”
When Heinrich heard the name, he thought they were joking. “Won…Wonton? Are you serious?”
Heinrich said, “It won’t be easy to change this name on the registration. Or else, do you want to consider changing it now? At least use a nicer one.”
Dong Zheng said, “No, this is the name Allen gave us.”
Heinrich immediately understood and didn’t say anymore. He input their grade and then turned the computer in Dong Zheng’s direction, saying, “You can enter the member information yourself. After confirming that the information is correct, go ahead and submit it. Hey, where’s Xiao Cui?”
“He ran out to play.” Dong Zheng entered his name, gender, age, nationality, and the specific date he entered the Pure White Realm into the captain column.
After doing this, he didn’t immediately move over for Dong Linhai and instead entered Cui Zuojing’s name and basic information into the member column.
Cui Zuojing once casually told him this information, but it finally came in handy today. In this team, Cui Zuojing wasn’t his prisoner; he was everyone’s teammate.
Everyone took turns entering their information. After the form was submitted, Heinrich took out a fingerprint device and said, “Come and register your fingerprints. After you’re issued your ID card, you will officially be a part of Heimdall.”
Just Dong Zheng pressed his right index finger into the fingerprint reader, he heard the sound of someone running in the hallway. Soon, the sound reached the door. With a bang, the registration room’s door slammed open from the outside.
Everyone swiveled their heads to look.
Cui Zuojing was still in the middle of pushing the door open. Seeing that everyone was staring at him, he blinked innocently with “?” on his face.
The door he’d pushed open slammed into the wall and then bounced back, almost slapping him in the face.
Cui Zuojing hurriedly pushed the door open. He trotted over to Dong Zheng’s side and, realizing that everyone was inputting their fingerprints, he asked, “Are you finished?”
“Then follow me.” Cui Zuojing pulled Dong Zheng toward the door.
“Wait.” Dong Zheng grabbed his shoulders and patiently pulled him back. “Come and register your fingerprint.”
“Why do even prisoners have to register their fingerprints? Your organization is so troublesome.” Cui Zuojing muttered as he pressed his fingerprint into the reader. After hearing “Entry successful,” he was finally able to pull Dong Zheng away.
Heinrich rubbed his chin and looked at their backs disappearing from the doorway. He squinted suspiciously. “Are these two people usually like this?”
Lin Hangzhi also frowned. “Not usually. But just a few days ago, their relationship seems to have become particularly good.”
Wang Que cleared her throat forcefully and secretly stepped on Lin Hangzhi’s foot, warning him not to speak anymore.
Only Dong Linhai didn’t realize anything. He was still stupidly concentrating on recording his fingerprint.
The sun was about to set. It hung in the west sky, looking particularly close. Magnificent and brilliant, the gorgeously warm, orange-yellow light illuminated the hallways of these European-style buildings, casting it in shadows.
Dong Zheng and Cui Zuojing ran across the hallway, and the shadows and warm lights repeatedly reflected in their eyes, making Dong Zheng suddenly feel like he was back in his youth.
They ran out of Heimdall, out of the gate, and onto the street.
Dong Zheng originally thought that Cui Zuojing must have an important reason to pull him out in such a hurry. So, when he found himself standing in front of a chiming ice cream truck with Cui Zuojing enthusiastically asking the boss for two vanilla flavored ice cream cones, he stared at the “Second at half price” posted on the truck and a rare blank expression appeared on his face.
The boss handed two ice cream cones to Cui Zuojing. Cui Zuojing held one in each hand and gently kicked Dong Zheng’s calf. “Quickly pay.”
Dong Zheng said “Oh” and could only twitch the corners of his lips as he fished out the money in his pockets. He paid nine dollars for the two ice creams.
After entering the Top of the Giant Tree, Dong Zheng only found out that the Pure White Realm also had currency in circulation. Points could be exchanged for currency at the bank at a ratio of 1:500.
Cui Zuojing took a bite from the tip of the cone of his left hand and another bite from the tip of the cone in his right hand. Feeling that it wouldn’t be polite to eat them all by himself, he passed the one on the left to Dong Zheng and said, “Do you want to eat it?”
Dong Zheng didn’t really want to eat it, but Cui Zuojing rarely showed his favor. Without saying a word, he took the ice cream with a bite taken out of it and tasted it. It was really delicious.
“Did you bring me here just to buy an ice cream cone?”
Cui Zuojing took his good humor for granted. “Yes, I don’t have money, and it’s not one, but two. The second one is at half the price.”
Dong Zheng didn’t expect that one day he would fall into the “second half price” sales trap. He felt as if he was the patriarch of a group of children. Although Dong Linhai and Wang Que were technically grown-ups at the age of 18, they still hadn’t really entered into society. If anything happened, he was the one who was the most worried about it. Cui Zuojing…not to mention Cui Zuojing, although his age was about the same as Dong Zheng, he still acted like a fifteen year old when it came to certain things.
But in Dong Zheng’s heart, there was also a subtle satisfaction.
They ate ice cream as they slowly walked back. Cui Zuojing quickly finished his. Crushing the last bite of ice cream with dissatisfaction, he began to stare at the remaining half in Dong Zheng’s hand.
Dong Zheng laughed and gave him the remaining ice cream that was about to melt.
Cui Zuojing was very satisfied and ate slower. They walked along the street under the sunset. There were many shops and vendors along the way, and the street was crowded with more people than expected. It seemed that many people had settled here.
There was a vibration in Dong Zheng’s pocket. He took out his cell phone and opened the group chat to look at Lin Hangzhi’s message.
“What’s the matter?” Cui Zuojing asked.
Dong Zheng put the phone back. “Hangzhi took our ID cards and told us to directly go home after we’re finished.”
“Ours?” Cui Zuojing frowned.
“I also made one for you.” Dong Zheng stretched out his hand, used his thumb to wipe away the white ice cream residue on the corner of Cui Zuojing’s lips, and whispered, “From now on, you will no longer be my prisoner but our teammate, fighting side by side.”