“By the way, remember to tell A’ Zuo what you saw today. He has too few dreams these days. It’s not convenient for me to go to him so I can only ask you to let him know,” Luo Yan said. “Sure enough, Peter Pan was right. When people grow up, they will gradually lose the ability to dream.”
Wang Que said, “Okay.”
It was refreshing to see Wang Que promise so agreeably. Luo Yan looked away and said, “Aren’t you afraid that I might harm you?”
“I believe you.” Wang Que paused and added, “You’re also Brother Cui’s teammate.”
Luo Yan laughed. “What does being teammates have to do with friendship? In times of great danger, friends may harm you and even the enemies may also help you. I don’t need to tell you this, right?”
“…..” Wang Que recalled the cruelly retracted hand on the rooftop, and she became silent.
“Okay, don’t worry about these things. Time is running out. Let’s go back.” Luo Yan stood up. Overhead, the blue sky had gradually darkened, and a huge dial looked down at Wang Que in the distance, the hand pointed at the six o’clock position.
The second hand quivered hard and finally broke free from the twelfth position, ticking forward once again.
Wang Que’s eyes began to gradually blur and dim.
“By the way, I’ll give you something. Don’t lose it.”
Luo Yan’s voice was the last thing Wang Que heard, and it was soon drowned out by the rumbling of the audience.
Wang Que opened her eyes. The colorful dazzling light blinded her, making her instinctively squint.
Her blank expression made the audience applaud with more enthusiasm for the magician. He kept bowing toward the auditorium. Wang Que didn’t know if, in the time she’d met with Luo Yan, the magician had used hypnosis to make her do a series of things. But then she saw Cui Zuojing in the audience and felt relieved.
Under the resounding applause, she accepted the magician’s thanks, left the stage under his invitation, and returned to her seat.
“Are you okay?” Xia Qiongyun asked.
“I’m fine.” Wang Que shook her head. She had no mind to watch the show anymore. There seemed to be something resting against her chest. Stretching out her hand, she touched it and realized that at some point in time, a pendant had appeared around her neck.
The pendant was the horse knight in chess. Wang Que rubbed the top of the white chess piece and asked softly, “Was this something the magician gave me?”
“No.” Cui Zuojing sank back against his chair. “Nothing went wrong, right?”
This must be something Luo Yan gave me, Wang Que thought. She lowered her voice and whispered into Cui Zuojing’s ear, “I saw Luo Yan. She asked me to tell you something.”
Cui Zuojing’s expression changed. He patted Dong Zheng and said, “Go, let’s go out and talk.”
The four people and one cat left the booth. Cui Zuojing took them directly to the preparation room where he’d sat with the clown before. He pulled the curtain and sat. “Let’s talk. What about Luo Yan?”
Wang Que told Cui Zuojing what she’d seen and heard.
She didn’t think Cui Zuojing that this wasn’t the first time she’d seen Luo Yan. She’d already promised to keep the first time they’d met under the rooftop a secret.
“Because I often don’t dream, it’s hard for her to find me?” Cui Zuojing was surprised for a moment, but then he realized that it was true. These days, when the sky grew dark and he closed his eyes, he hadn’t dreamed.
No wonder Luo Yan had only looked for him once.
Xia Qiongyun was shocked. She didn’t understand Cui Zuojing’s past or the Wonton Insurgency’s true purpose. Hearing things that were absolutely impossible for ordinary pilgrims, she was full of uncertainties, but she didn’t ask a single word.
Her thinking was very clear. She was still a probationary team member and so she hadn’t been fully integrated with the team. After a while, even if she didn’t ask, everyone would take the initiative to tell her.
After hearing Wang Que said, “The thing the clown was after was temporarily summoned by a girl, occupied her body, and escaped,” Dong Zheng sucked on a breath. He finally realized what must have happened that year.
Cui Zuojing asked, “Murphy?”
“It should be.”
Cui Zuojing touched his chin thoughtfully. The former Queen had ordered that Murphy be hunted down. During her escape, she was summoned by the real Murphy before she died. She ended up occupying her body and becoming “Murphy.” The clown then rushed over and arrested her, locking her up in the Space Box. They utilized amnestics to cure the previously infected people. Even now, although the clown knew that there was a meme locked in the Space Box, he wasn’t too clear about its appearance.
After the Red Queen died, the circus took the clown in and he took the box the imprisoned Murphy with him. He kept it in the circus, treating it as his trump card, and waiting for the right time.
So why did the Red Queen pursue Murphy? Did she simply not want it to spread on a mass scale and infect the entire Pure White Realm?
No one knew.
“What does the book look like?” Cui Zuojing was still paying more attention to the book called the Dead Sea Scrolls. In reality, this was an ancient document discovered inside the Qumran Caves in the Judaean Desert near the Dead Sea. However, this was the first time he’d heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls inside the Pure White Realm.
Wang Que tried her best to remember. “The hard, black cover was like animal skin. It was very thick and had no title. The cover only had a pattern that looked very old and glowed when touched.”
“What did the pattern look like?” Cui Zuojing had a general idea.
Wang Que looked around and took out an eyebrow pencil from the small table in the corner. Her art student’s memory allowed her to quickly draw the exact same pattern.
Seeing the familiar pattern on the wooden board, Victor suddenly stiffened. Cui Zuojing murmured, “It’s Worm of Mystery.”
Dong Zheng said, “Is that the current queen’s heir?”
He suddenly remembered what Murphy had said: “Worm of Mystery? That’s just a thief.”
In other words, in the process of hunting Murphy, the original Dead Sea Scrolls stole some of Murphy’s abilities and became the current Worm of Mystery?
It also explained why the Dead Sea Scrolls could be used as a prophetic text, and why the Worm of Mystery could not only control other creatures but had the ability to separate Fu Zhe’s soul.
What the Dead Sea Scrolls could do was likely “stealing” and “copying.”
Dong Zheng didn’t say it out loud but passed his thoughts to Cui Zuojing through Arabidopsis. Cui Zuojing looked at him and tacitly didn’t say anything about the book.
Wang Que didn’t know about Murphy or memes and couldn’t say more on it. She pulled out the pendant and asked, “What is this for?”
“Since Luo Yan gave it to you, just put it away.” Cui Zuojing thought that after he returned, he would discuss matters with Fu Zhe. Seeing that the circus performance was coming to an end, he said, “Since you managed to successfully get admission tickets, you’ll be taken to the clown’s shop, where you can choose something and take it out with you. You must make a good decision and choose the most suitable item for you.”
Xia Qiongyun said, “Aren’t you going too?”
“I’m not one of the 24th pilgrims, and I have other things I need to do with the clown. Uncle will go with you.” Cui Zuojing looked at Dong Zheng, and Dong Zheng realized that the thing he’d spoken of was to get his feelings back.
Seeing the narrow look in his eyes, Dong Zheng suddenly felt the nerves that came before a trial. It was time for Cui Zuojing to give him an answer.
Although the two of them often stayed together and did some intimate things, to Cui Zuojing, it was more like a close friendship; he was simply allowing Dong Zheng to vent his desires. In all of Cui Zuojing’s reactions, there was none of the things that Dong Zheng wanted most, always making him feel as if there was something missing.
What he wanted was not just hugs, kisses, nor further intimacies, but the emotions contained within these behaviors.
“Go ahead.” Cui Zuojing stepped down from the box and suddenly remembered something. “By the way, is the curse still on Que’er?”
“Ah?” So much had happened that Wang Que nearly forgot that she’d sat on Busby’s Chair. She immediately became nervous. “It seems that the magician said he would help me remove the curse.”
“I’ll take you to find him.” Victor turned a lap around Wang Que’s feet. “A’Zuo can go and do his own thing/”
The performance ended to great cheers. Victor led the others out, with Wang Que and Xia Qiongyun following, but Dong Zheng didn’t move.
Xia Qiongyun turned back. “?”
Dong Zheng raised his hand and motioned for them to go ahead first.
Xia Qiongyun glanced at Cui Zuojing and left with subtle eyes.
There were only the two of them left in the preparation room. Cui Zuojing crossed his arms over his chest and looked up at him. “What is it?”
Dong Zheng had been standing next to Cui Zuojing, but now he stepped forward and pressed Cui Zuojing between himself and the box so that they were almost pressed up against each other.
“So slow.” Cui Zuojing glanced down, placed his hands on the edge of the box behind him, and raised one knee to nudge Dong Zheng. “Since today is a special occasion, I won’t hold you accountable.”
Dong Zheng still didn’t move. He gazed at Cui Zuojing, and the look in his eyes was a kind of obsession.
Dong Zheng had very good bone structure and a deep profile. This might have made him appear aggressive, but it was dulled by his introverted and low-key temperament. However, in recent months, he’d integrated into the Pure White Realm, and this hidden aggressiveness was now more prominent. Particularly now, when he’d trapped Cui Zuojing in a small corner and was looking at him up and down.
“Oh, all right.” Cui Zuojing decided to take the lead. He glanced at the tightly closed curtains and coughed awkwardly. Then he rose on tiptoes, tilted his head back, and kissed Dong Zheng’s firm lips.
This was the first time he’d taken the initiative. In fact, there wasn’t too much psychological pressure on Cui Zuojing. The both of them had kissed so many times. To say that he was embarrassed now would be hypocritical. He was very calm, but Dong Zheng was different.
Even if this was false, it was still difficult for Dong Zheng to hold himself back.
He grabbed Cui Zuojing’s waist and eagerly deepened the kiss. Cui Zuojing’s hands cupped the back of his head, pulling a little so that he wouldn’t be pressing so tightly against him, but it was no use.
In the end, Cui Zuojing gave up and dropped his hands to Dong Zheng’s shoulders as he focused on kissing him back.
In fact, he didn’t want to disappoint Dong Zheng.
To Cui Zuojing, Dong Zheng was like a child, showing all his efforts in front of his eyes. Although he wasn’t sure if he could provide Dong Zheng with a good result in the end, he couldn’t bear to let him down completely. He always wanted to give him rewards that were within his capacity to give.
When the clown opened the curtain and came in, this was what he saw.
The clown had never seen such big winds and waves, and so he was stunned on the spot.
He could see that Cui Zuojing cared about Dong Zheng very much. But he always thought that it was because of the blood contract, the fact that they were teammates, and because he liked his talents–
Cui Zuojing caught a glimpse of someone coming in. He patted Dong Zheng on the back and easily pulled away from him. He raised his hand, wiped his mouth, and lightly kicked Dong Zheng.
Dong Zheng hummed a sound of agreement, even though he was reluctant to part with him. He could only caress Cui Zuojing’s face, before turning around and leaving to chase after Victor and the others.
The clown turned sideways to make room for him. When Dong Zheng finally disappeared from behind the curtains, the shocked clown finally said, “You guys…this….”
“That’s why I am anxious to get my feelings back.” Cui Zuojing closed his eyes and rubbed his temples. “Neither of us can stand this kind of uncertainties.”
The clown was silent for a moment. He wasn’t qualified to interfere in Cui Zuojing’s private affairs. These emotional matters were too complicated and incredible.
To the clown, Cui Zuojing had always been that same childish youth from many years ago. In the blink of an eye, this most promising child fell in love…Having placed himself as the parent, the clown found it difficult to accept all at once.
“I’ve always kept it well.” The clown came over to get Cui Zuojing and hadn’t had time to change his clothes. He unbuttoned the collar of his clown suit, turned, and took the young man backstage. “Come on.”