Cui Zuojing was slightly taken aback. Eye widening, he moved to the side so that he wasn’t directly facing the door. “I locked the door. How did you…”
Then, he saw that Dong Zheng held a small hairpin in his hand.
Cui Zuojing: “…..”
He had to admit that Dong Zheng’s skill in picking locks and opening the door was perfect. Sitting on the edge of the bed, he looked at Dong Zheng still covered in dust and asked, “Weren’t you afraid that there might be someone else staying in this room?”
“I felt that there was someone I wanted to see in this room, so I came in.” Dong Zheng closed the door. The sound of the lock turning reached their ears, silently giving birth to an inexplicable ambiguity.
Cui Zuojing felt a little flustered, especially now that he was only covered by a bath towel. He shrank his neck back so that half of his face was hidden behind the towel on his head. He said, “Is it only you?”
“The other arenas probably hadn’t concluded yet. Right now, only us and three other selected people came in.” Dong Zheng walked over and reached out to gently touch Cui Zuojing’s face. Maybe it was because he’d just taken a shower, but the young man’s skin was unusually hot. The warm temperature seemed to soak through the palm of his hand directly into his heart.
There was a breath of blood and dust between his fingers.
Cui Zuojing could feel that Dong Zheng wanted to do something more intimate and his ears were erected most vigilantly. But in the end, the man just affectionately rubbed his face a few times and then withdrew his hand. He unbuttoned his jacket, put his dirty clothes in the empty hamper by the wall, and walked toward the bathroom. “I’ll take a shower first.”
The white glow in the bathroom hadn’t yet dissipated, and the floor was slightly pink. It was clear that the person who’d just taken a shower hadn’t thoroughly cleaned it all away. Dong Zheng picked up the dirty clothes that Cui Zuojing had casually thrown into the corner of the floor. The clothes were completely wet, dripping with blood-red water.
He shook his head helplessly. He couldn’t handle the clothes for the time being, so he could only fold it and put it in place. When he undid his belt, it made a “ping ling” sound, and with his backhand, he closed the door behind him.
When the sound of water running came out, Cui Zuojing glanced at the bathroom and quickly took off the towel on his head. He opened the closet and found a piece of clothing to put on. Now that he wasn’t naked anymore, he felt that he was finally safe.
Since the prisoner link wasn’t restored yet, Cui Zuojing speculated that they’re still inside an arena. He walked to the window and opened the heavy curtains. The outside was pitch black, but he could still vaguely see the outlines of the forest under the crescent moon and the shadows on the trees.
With the sound of running water coming through the door, Cui Zuojing couldn’t concentrate. He had to admit that he did miss Dong Zheng. Since they’d met, this was the first time they’d been separated in the truest sense. There was no prisoner link and no way of contacting each other. They each went through three days of life and death alone.
He’d become accustomed to having Dong Zheng in his life.
It doesn’t look very good….Cui Zuojing silently thought to himself. Since there wasn’t anything good outside, he sat back on the bed and picked up the Tang Sword leaning on the corner of the wall. He’d even taken the sword with him when he took a shower, and now it was still coated with dripping beads of water.
Cui Zuojing randomly found a piece of cloth, sat cross-legged on the bed, and lowered his head to wipe down the surface of the sword. Only then could he finally calm down and think about other things.
Look at the blood grooves on this sword, how fierce it looked. Look at this embossed pattern. How beautiful this blade was, how sharp!
The sound of running water finally stopped. Cui Zuojing’s ears immediately perked up and he no longer had any mind to continue his work.
But nothing happened.
Cui Zuojing frowned and placed the sword he’d polished to the point of being reflective back against the wall. Then, seeing a book on the bedside table, he lay down on the bed, grabbed the book, opened it to a page at random, and stared at the lines of words. All the while, he forced himself not to listen.
After two minutes of silence, Don Zheng’s voice came from behind the door. “A’zuo, can you get me some clothes?”
Cui Zuojing inadvertently loosened his grip on the book, and it directly fell onto his face.
He rubbed his nose and tossed the book on the bed. Resolutely clenching his teeth, he recorded this mark against Dong Zheng.
With Dong Zheng’s meticulousness, how could he forget his clothes when taking a shower? He definitely did it on purpose! Absolutely!
I won’t get it for you. Cui Zuojing wouldn’t let him succeed, and he shouted, “I won’t.”
Dong Zheng didn’t answer. Cui Zuojing stared blindly at the book, and a few seconds later, he heard the bathroom door opened.
He quietly glanced over from the top of the book. Dong Zheng came out just like he’d done before, with only a bath towel around his waist. Due to Cui Zuojing’s hellish training, his current figure was absolutely outstanding. His muscles were strong but not as exaggerated as those who eat protein powder. This kind of strength was downright explosive.
Cui Zuojing’s eyes wandered up to Dong Zheng’s face, and he discovered that he’d shaved his beard and cut his hair short. He looked very spirited, as if he was a male model about to take a group photo.
Despite being rejected by Cui Zuojing, Dong Zheng wasn’t annoyed at all. He found some suitable clothes from the closet, turned around to face Cui Zuojing and dropped the towel around his waist.
Cui Zuojing withdrew his gaze sullenly. How good to grow tall. Dong Zheng looked very manly. Even his height hadn’t stopped there….Ahhhhh!
Dong Zheng saw the Tang Sword by the wall and asked, “Did you get it back?”
The Tang Sword was originally with Dong Zheng, but after entering the arena, all large weapons had disappeared. Similarly, the Tang Sword had also gone missing.
Cui Zuojing humped, pretended to be cold, and said, “The clown gave it to me. He was here a bit ago.”
Dong Zheng put on the sportswear, tied the rope around his lean waist into a loose knot, and sat on the bed. He gazed sideways at the young man who was purposefully not looking at him, leaned forward, and pressed a restrained and gentle kiss on Cui Zuojing’s cheek.
“Did you miss me?”
Cui Zuojing scanned the text and said stiffly, “No.”
That no was a lie. This was the first time they’d been separate for such a long time. As he rested on the steel frame in the factory late at night, he would listen to the chaotic fighting sounds down below. It was at this time that an empty sense of loneliness would descend, making him miss other people.
….Most especially Dong Zheng.
Dong Zheng smiled. He reached out and pinched the center of Cui Zuojing’s cheek. His mouth opened and he whispered, “I missed you.”
Obviously, it was only a factual statement, but when Cui Zuojing heard this, his heart jumped. Even his breath couldn’t help but speed up. He tightened the corners of his mouth, not wanting to reveal his emotions on his face. But then Dong Zheng leaned over and pressed a kiss on his mouth.
The book that he hadn’t read at all fell to his chest. Cui Zuojing felt as if he’d been scalded by Dong Zheng’s hot breath. He raised his head slightly, and then one of Dong Zheng’s hands caught the back of his neck and he deepened the kiss.
There was no resistance but there was also no catering. Just like many times before, he silently gave Dong Zheng the opportunity to let him go when he was ready.
Dong Zheng reached out with his other hand, and when he touched Cui Zuojing’s fingertips, he grabbed his hand. His fingertips passed through the gaps between Cui Zuojing’s five fingers and tightened his hold, interlocking their ten fingers.
Cui Zuojing and Dong Zheng’s body were still slightly damp, and Dong Zheng raised their interlocked hands and placed them on his chest.
Through the thin layer of clothing, Cui Zuojing could clearly feel the beating of his heart.
Dong Zheng smelled and tasted like mint toothpaste. Last time, it was pineapple candy. No matter what, he could always dominate Cui Zuojing’s tastebuds.
He felt somewhat suffocated.
Even so, Cui Zuojing didn’t hide. His eyes were closed tightly, and his eyelashes trembled slightly, betraying his inner tension.
Dong Zheng was the first to separate from him. He gazed at the young man in front of him, pressed on his ruddy lower lip with his thumb, and asked, “Why are you so well-behaved today?”
Cui Zuojing raised his hand to wipe his mouth. He said in a whisper, “Who told you to save my life?”
Dong Zheng was startled. Then he remembered that when he was engaged in the final card battle, he suddenly discovered that the Arabidopsis thaliana in his inner core looked very bad. He immediately focused on two tasks at once. He went to the side of the weed that was about to curl up, infused it with mental power, and stayed in fear until the weed’s condition improved.
Cui Zuojing really seemed to have encountered danger at that time.
Cui Zuojing leaned back on the bed, and Dong Zheng followed him. He had one hand on the bed with Cui Zuojing while the other supported his head, nearly enclosing Cui Zuojing’s body in his arms. But Cui Zuojing didn’t like this kind of oppressive position and stretched out his hand to push Dong Zheng back a bit.
“By the way, how was your performance there?”
If Dong Zheng really did hide in a safe room for three days like the clown had said, but still managed to get one of the top spots and appear there, this only meant one thing—the difficulty of his arena must be beyond imagination, so that other pilgrims also had very little chance at all.
Dong Zheng roughly told him what happened in the space prison. However, because Murphy was still in his kernel, he deliberately hid Murphy’s existence and temporarily didn’t tell Cui Zuojing about her for the time being.
He was certain that Murphy spread through visual contact, and now Cui Zuojing was probably also infected, but this was something that couldn’t be prevented and couldn’t be reversed.
Cui Zuojing was quite surprised. He didn’t expect Dong Zheng’s situation to be so difficult. If the factory’s difficulty level was normal, then Dong Zheng’s experience was probably in nightmare mode.
“Why do I feel that the clown did it on purpose?” he muttered softly.
“But fortunately, I didn’t get any injuries, and I managed to get here.” Dong Zheng brushed against the back of Cui Zuojing’s hand, placed his fingers under the cuffs of his sleeve, and rubbed at the small piece of skin on the inside of his wrist.
The Queen’s three seals were engraved there, with the bottom now unlocked.
Cui Zuojing ignored Dong Zheng’s dishonest actions. They were silent for a moment, and he suddenly said, “Oh, that’s right. Do you have other ways of contacting me?”
“Yes, do you want to see it?” Dong Zheng glanced at the retro-shaped clock on the wall, and said, “Close your eyes, relax, and I’ll take you into the kernel.”
When Dong Zheng was practicing his ability, he’d intruded into Cui Zuojing’s mental space many times with Cui Zuojing’s consent. They both knew a lot about each other’s consciousness. Cui Zuojing listened to his words, closed his eyes, and slowly relaxed the spirit that had grown tense due to the kiss.
A strange feeling gradually enveloped him. It was gentle, steady, and calm, just like Dong Zheng.
Suddenly, Cui Zuojing felt that his hand was being held. In truth, Dong Zheng had always held his hand and hadn’t let go. But how could there be the feeling that he was being held?
His eyelashes moved, but despite his curiosity, he didn’t take the initiative to open his eyes.
An indescribable sound entered his ears, and the sensation of wind blew across his cheeks. It seemed as if something was passing by at an extremely fast speed.
“Okay.” The moment Dong Zheng’s voice sounded, Cui zuojing finally eagerly opened his eyes. He saw the towering temple in the sky, the information superhighway going in all directions, the huge security bacteriophages, and the towering firewall in the distance. They were all reflected in his dark eyes.
—This was Dong Zheng’s world.