Dong Zheng only felt that the person sounded familiar, but he couldn’t remember who it was.
“Help ahhhh—!” The sound changed in a completely opposite direction from where it’d been before, directly creating a three-dimensional surround sound effect.
Dong Zheng: ?
He was planning to immediately return to the path he’d been on, but now he didn’t know where to go.
He hesitated for a few seconds. The sound approached at an unimaginable speed, falling like a meteor from above his head, and immediately reaching him.
Dong Zheng raised his head and saw at a glance that a human figure was fast approaching him. His pupils shrank, and he retreated sideways to avoid a direct collision.
The expected heavy fall did not occur. The figure suddenly stopped moving against the law of physics one meter from the ground.
The man was face down, and his red hair was muss by the wind into something resembling a chicken coop. He stared down at the ground, thought he would fall and smashed into mush, and his heart almost jump out of his throat. He took a deep breath and, as he continued to float in the air, raised his trembling head.
He and Dong Zheng stared at each other for two seconds.
The two called each other’s name at the same time. Having met an acquaintance, Allen nearly burst into tears. Struggling to reach out with two hands, he said, “Quick! Quickly give me a hand!”
Dong Zheng immediately stepped forward to pull him, but at the moment when their hands were about to touch, Allen disappeared again.
Dong Zheng caught nothing but air.
“Help! Brother, save me–”
Dong Zheng raised his head at the sound of his voice, only to see Allen flipping up and down in the air, his red hair drawing a beautiful arc. He shouted desperately, teary-eyed from the wind.
Dong Zheng ran two steps in his direction. He didn’t understand what was happening. Allen’s voice rose and fell, “Bug! That bug can change the law of physics around it! God, I’m going to throw up–”
Bug? Dong Zheng furrowed his eyebrows and looked around, but he found no traces of bugs or monsters nearby. He lowered his head, only to see a small caterpillar crawling by his feet. The emerald green body slowly inched forward, looking extremely harmless.
“Is it this caterpillar?” Dong Zheng asked, taking two steps back.
“Yes! Don’t let it touch you! Blaarf–”
“Then how do I get you down?”
Dong Zheng was at a loss. Even if he knew the cause, it wasn’t clear what mode of action would provide a solution. Allen was still flying in the air and vomiting. The vomit was thrown back and forth, and Dong Zheng hid by the base of the wall to prevent himself from being vomited on.
Allen’s shouts became more and more messy, and he almost fainted. He felt as if he was on a parachute and was simultaneously being swung back and forth like a pendulum. Everything was completely out of his control, making him really want to just hit the wall and die.
Allowing no delay, Dong Zheng quickly took off his jacket, spread it out completely, and gently used it to cover the caterpillar underneath.
Whether it would work or not, it wouldn’t hurt to try.
Three to four second after Dong Zheng covered the caterpillar with his jacket, Allen gradually stopped his uncontrolled flight across the sky. He felt that the inexplicable force exerted on his body had suddenly been cut off, and he began to fall under the force of normal gravity.
Allen shouted happily. Dong Zheng split his attention on observing whether the caterpillar would crawl out from under his jacket and on Allen’s situation. He shouted, “Are you okay? Will you fall?”
“No problem!” Although the force exerted by the caterpillar was blocked by the jacket, it still retained some control. It wanted to fight against gravity and make Allen fly high again. In doing so, it fulfilled both their intentions. If Allen should fall directly from the height he was at now, he would be disabled even if he didn’t die.
Dong Zheng glanced at the little thing from under the slit of his jacket and carefully moved the jacket in the direction the caterpillar was crawling. The caterpillar could not understand what was happening or why its control over the toy it’d easily obtained had suddenly become weak. Now matter how it changed Newton’s Law of Motion or the Law of Thermodynamics, it could not longer continue to manipulate the toy indiscriminately.
If Cui Zuojing was here, he would recognize that this caterpillar was a high-risk creature that had escaped from an invalid box. It was a quantum butterfly that could change the physical rules around all the objects it came into contact with.
Currently, this caterpillar hadn’t yet turned into it’s terrible adult form, and its strength was still lacking. With Dong Zheng’s jacket blocking it, it could no longer accurately control the rules around Allen.
After about a minute or so, Allen’s feet finally touched the ground again. His legs were soft and he nearly fell to his knees.
“How is it?” Dong Zheng went over to support him. Allen waved his hands weakly and vomited twice more until there was really nothing left in his stomach that could be vomited out.
“Leave here first.” The caterpillar was still searching for a way out under the jacket. Dong Zheng didn’t want to take his jacket back and helped Allen to leave this dangerous area.
This crisis in the Labyrinth of Time was fraught with danger, and the two hadn’t expected to meet each other in a box again. They ran to a corner that seemed relatively safe. Dong Zheng stopped and asked, “What happened?”
Allen’s body was strong, but he barely managed to walk over with help. He randomly dragged his fingers through his messy red hair a few times, panting heavily. “It fell from a vine onto my arm and I subconsciously threw it to the grass. Who would think that I would have such bad luck? God, I think my fear of heights has been cured by it. What the hell was that?”
No one could answer this question for him. After a few moments of silence, Dong Zheng said, “Anything can happen in this place. Be careful. No matter what you encounter, you can’t take it lightly.”
“I’ve learned my lesson,” Allen said with a sigh. Although he was still in shock, there was an acquaintance with him and it made him feel a lot better psychologically. “Hey, what about your brother? Didn’t he come?”
“We were separated when the space field got too disorderly. We’re not careful, and he disappeared.” Dong Zheng took a bottle of water from his bag and gave it to Allen to rinse. “Let’s go and find the fragments.”
They briefly exchanged information and experiences. Allen was still working alone and had found four fragments so far. Apart from the quantum caterpillar, he’d encountered no fatal danger.
Dong Zheng’s perception of Allen King was pretty good. Although Allen can sometimes go offline in unexpected ways, it could be seen from their interactions in Hamelin that Allen was definitely a good teammate, regardless of whether it was speed of response, coping strategies, or courage and ingenuity.
“If you want, you can enter our team after we get out. We can take care of each other and enter boxes together.”
Allen’s eyes lit up and he immediately agreed. “Okay, I think so too!”
Two people who wouldn’t drag each other’s kind legs were more efficient. After collecting three fragments in succession, Dong Zheng found the trace of an entrance.
This entrance was hidden between extremely dense vines, making it very difficult to detect. If Dong Zheng wasn’t careful and hadn’t noticed the difference in the texture of the wall tiles, he would have completely missed it.
“Go in and see?” Although it came out as a question, there wasn’t much uncertainty in Dong Zheng’s voice.
Allen said, “Of course. We came to this box specially for treasure hunting.”
So Dong Zheng brushed aside layers of vines and pushed the distinctive stone brick into the wall. With a series of muffled clicks, the plants and thorns withdrew from the two sides like the Sea of Moses, revealing the left hand side that was completely blocked.
On the other side of the entrance were still various plants in shades of green.
Dong Zheng and Allen walked in one after another.
At the same time, Dong Linhai held You Yuetong and walked along the path of the dark forest with Victor.
Everything around him reminded him of the box, Hamelin, that he’d just experienced a few days ago. The shadow of the trees hung over them, the forest was dark, and the only moonlight above his head barely illuminated the road ahead.
They’d found this entrance about five minutes ago. Although there was a child with him, he still had Victor. Dong Linhai weighed the pros and cons and decided to enter and explore.
In coming to this random box, he needed to get tickets as soon as possible. His brother had Cui Zuojing’s help and it would surely be a lot easier for him. He couldn’t drag their hind legs too much.
Victor was still at the forefront. The figure of the white cat was in front of his eyes. The woods were dark and gloomy, and there seemed to be a white shadow quietly flashing. You Yuetong was terrified so Dong Linhai told her to lie on his shoulders, close her eyes, and refrain from looking no matter what she heard.
The biggest difference between this place and Hamelin was probably…that there was an eerie sense of existence in the shadows.
That translucent silhouette would appear at the corner of his eyes, and when he turned his head to look, it would disappear without a trace. However, Dong Linhai knew that this wasn’t an illusion. He could clearly feel that there were many eyes staring silently at him from within the dense shadows.
Victor trotted ahead, stopping from time to time to wait for him to follow. Dong Linhai held You Yuetong on his arm, while the other hand was pressed on the girl’s head so she wouldn’t inadvertently look up.
A faint light came from not far away. Dong Linhai was surprised and accelerated his pace.
Suddenly, a cold hand silently touched his neck.
The biting chill made Dong Linhai froze for a moment. He swallowed hard and wanted to stop Victor at the front. But, in the end, he refrained from making a sound and forced his stiff legs to continue moving.
The hand seemed to belong to a woman, with slender fingers and sharp nails. The tips slowly traced along the large artery on the side of Dong Linhai’s neck. It seemed as if the teenager’s fragile throat would be cut in the next second.
The nails gently pressed harder into the flesh, and a cold breath sprayed on the back of Dong Linhai’s neck and on You Yuetong’s forehead. The little girl was sitting tightly in Dong Linhai’s arms, her teeth clenched in fear. But, she still remembered Linhai’s instructions and didn’t make a sound.
The skin was cut open, and blood and pain flowed out together. The slender, cold body was now completely attached to his back. A cold chill emerged from the bottom of his heart and spread out to submerge his limbs and bones. Dong Linhai couldn’t move at all and could only watched the white cat move further and further away.
He shouted loudly with his mouth open but failed to make a sound at all.
The thing clinging to his back had long hair like wet, tangled seaweed. It wrapped around the teen’s arm, and blood trickled down his neck into his collar.
Dong Linhai’s breathing was very fast. He smelled his blood, mixed with rotten odor. He could no longer bear the fear in his heart. He shouted hysterically and grabbed the hand that was trying to cut out his aorta and threw it to the side with all his strength. He turned his head–
“Don’t look back!””