“Is it alright?”
As she stood in front of the magician, Wang Que opened her eyes and looked down at her hands, not feeling any strangeness at all.
“Yes, it’s alright.” Now that the magician had helped her lift the curse of Busby’s Chair, he was about to put his top hat back on when he suddenly heard something. He turned his head and listened carefully.
“Two ladies, I think the gentleman named Victor needs you.”
“Uncle?” Wang Que was startled. Didn’t Uncle go to get the gift that the clown had especially prepared for him? Could it be…that something happened?
“Where is he?” Unlike Wang Que’s momentary panic, Xia Qiongyun was much calmer.
At this moment, a dwarf ran into the shop. He looked around and saw Wang Que and Xia Qiongyun standing between the shelves. “Two young ladies, please come with me.”
Wang Que turned to look at the magician. He shot her a charming smile and shrugged, indicating that it wasn’t anything related to him.
“Let’s go.” Xia Qiongyun carried a lantern that had a rather retro style. With a thought, the lamp morphed into a symbol on the back of her hand. Wang Que also put away the humanoid doll made of linen in the same way.
This was a function that high-level props had. They could be with their owners at all times in the form of ornamentation, which saved their owners a lot of trouble in carrying them around.
Without talking, they hurried out. Wang Que couldn’t help asking the dwarf what had happened to Victor, but the dwarf couldn’t answer and could only say that he was just a guide.
The backstage of the circus was much larger than expected. They went through countless curtains and passed through different rooms. Finally, the dwarf stopped in front of an unusual door. “Please go in.”
Xia Qiongyun looked over sharply. In the corner of the corridor was a flash of white clothes that looked an awful lot like a white coat.
Wang Que pushed the door and went in. The operating room was in a mess. Expensive electronic equipment had fallen to the floor, sparks still flying. Other medical equipment and debris were scattered everywhere.
There was a naked man lying on the operating table and the body of a horse without its head on the floor.
But where was Victor?
Wang Que’s platform shoes knocked against a metal tray, making a clanging sound, as she cautiously walked around to the other side and saw the man who had fallen onto the ground. The operating table had blocked him earlier and so she hadn’t seen him right away.
He had platinum-blonde hair and a very tall and sturdy figure. He wore a simple shirt and black plants, and his three-dimensional and profound face revealed his pure Yugoslavian descent. He was no longer young, but the charm that time had left on him was all the more powerful.
Wang Que paused and couldn’t believe what she saw.
The man’s eyes were tightly closed and motionless, as if he’d fainted. A small antler symbol flashed between his eyebrows.
Wang Que heard her own choked, surprised voice.
Xia Qiongyun’s eyes snapped over to her in unconcealed surprise. Her knowledge of Victor was limited to knowing that he was Dong Linhai’s summoned beast. Therefore, she hadn’t connected the middle-aged man in front of her to the white cat at all. When she heard Wang Que call him Uncle, she thought she’d heard wrong.
What happened? This was Victor?
Could a summoned beast shift into a human form? Then why had she never heard of it before?
Wang Que hurried over to the man and kneeled down. She stretched out her finger and held it over his nose.
His breathing was long and relaxed.
Before Midnight had cursed him into a cat, Uncle was a Russian man in his forties. Although his ability couldn’t be used directly for combat and he was positioned as a doctor in the Afternoon Tea Party, his strong body made him a very powerful combat unit nonetheless.
Although the appearance of the man in front of her was exactly the same as the Victor she knew, Wang Que still held a trace of uncertainty in her heart, and she gently pushed his shoulder.
Victor opened his eyes.
The operating room’s ceiling was the first thing he saw. He moved his fingers and they bumped into the pair of surgical forceps that had fallen nearby.
“I’m fine.” Hearing Wang Que calling himself and thinking that he was lying with his belly up and his four paws upright, he subconsciously wanted to turn over.
As soon as Victor moved, he felt that something was wrong. His body wasn’t as flexible as usual, and he couldn’t feel his tail for balance.
Where was his tail?
Victor raised his paws and gazed in disbelief at a pair of human hands.
He immediately raised his body and lowered his head. His rare, violent eyes reflected an adult man’s body. The steel watch was still on his wrist, and he was wearing that same blue shirt, black pants, and well-fitting sneakers, everything that he’d been wearing when he met Midnight in the hallway of the palace.
He’d changed back!
“Uncle.” Victor heard Wang Que’s voice tremble slightly. “Is that you?”
“It’s me.” He turned to look at Wang Que and Xia Qiongyun, who was also kneeling next to him. They were no longer in the perspective of a cat, and so everything looked so…strange and unfamiliar.
It’d been nine years since he’d last observed the world from the perspective of a human.
There was only one of three seals on the inside of his wrist left, and at this moment, Victor finally understood that this was the gift the clown had prepared for him.
He slowly stood up against the operating table and took a step.
He couldn’t remember the last time he’d walked upright.
“Did I scare you?” Victor smiled. “Xiao Xia doesn’t know yet, but before I became a summoned beast, I was a man.”
“Now I know.” No matter how magical, it had already happened. Now, Xia Qiongyun finally saw the shadow of the white cat in Victor’s gentle eyes. She asked softly, “How are you?”
“I’ve never been better,” he whispered.
Victor had a hard time walking, and Wang Que wanted to reach out to help him but was stopped by Xia Qiongyun. Unlike Wang Que, who wasn’t as worldly, she could see that what Victor wanted most now was to do it himself.
Now that the person on the operating table was intact and would soon wake up from the anesthesia, Victor was no longer worried.
He’d managed to save this person from the doctor.
Victor did a few basic exercises and made sure that his physical condition was healthy and that his muscles hadn’t atrophied. Soon, he became completely used to it and speculated that he might be able to return directly to his peak state.
Victor was very unaccustomed to the sudden elevation of his vision, the fact that he no longer had a light and dexterous body, and having fingers that required more precise control. He looked around as if seething things for the first time, trying to adapt to his current height.
Victor was taller than Dong Zheng and was about the same size as Allen. The two girls stood silently, struggling to connect the white cat with a sense of cuteness in every movement with the tall Russian man in front of them.
This was definitely the biggest contrast they’d ever seen.
“Where are Dong Zheng and A’Zuo?”
Victor’s voice was still that low bass with a strong Russian accent, and so there was no sense of disobedience at all. He gazed with the same kind of eyes, making people feel as if they were being gazed at by a gentle elder. Suddenly, the awkwardness of “the cat that was often held in my arms suddenly turned into an uncle” in Wang Que’s heart disappeared without a trace.
Wang Que said, “Brother Dong went to the warehouse to fetch something, and Brother Cui hasn’t come back yet.”
Victor nodded and took a careful step forward, feeling everything with a sense of newness. “Let’s go and find them.”
It took them more than a minute to take the dozen steps from the operating table to the door, and just as Victor was about to open the door, it was suddenly pushed open from the outside.
He hurriedly moved backward so as not to be hit by the door.
Cui Zuojing stepped in and was stunned when he saw the familiar figure blocking the door.
It was Victor, who after practicing every day, would sit at his bedside to help him purify his sore muscles; Victor, kneeling in the box beside seriously injured pilgrims; Victor, who operated on him under the most primitive of conditions; Victor, who hugged him when things got bad; and Victor, who often rummaged for alcohol in the living room…Scenes after scenes appeared in front of him, and finally overlapped with the man standing in front of him.
The young man rushed into Victor’s arms, knocking him backward before he quickly stabilized himself. He raised his hand and gently hugged Cui Zuojing back, replying with a smile, “Mmn, it’s me.”
Cui Zuojing gripped Victor’s clothes and raised his head. Seeing tears in the young man’s eyes, Victor touched the top of his head very naturally, just like a parent caring for their beloved children. “Are you back?”
After he said this, he looked up and met Dong Zheng’s gaze. He smiled, feeling that things were quite simple.
In the blink of an eye, A’Zuo had grown up.
Victor’s physical strength instinctively made him want to get closer, and it seemed that his Uncle had already unlocked the second seal. Cui Zuojing sniffed, and when he saw Wang Que and Xia Qiongyun standing behind Victor, he felt a momentary embarrassment.
He took two steps back until his hand brushed against Dong Zheng’s, and he quietly hooked their index fingers. For a long time, he couldn’t calm his excitement.
What a wonderful day this was.
“Let’s go home.”
In the end, Cui Zuojing and Victor went to look for the clown.
The three of them reunited in the small bar again, but this time, Victor didn’t need the canned cat food the clown had especially prepared for him.
“I’ve been studying the five elements these past years, trying to find ways to break through the Queen’s seals. Each power cannot do without the others.” The clown poured vodka for Victor, mixing it into a Deep Blue Sea, and added, “As the bearer of physical strength, Victor had became a cat for so many years, but he’d always been a doctor who’d become accustomed to life and death. It was enough for him to remember what he’d realized long ago, and so this was precisely the requirement that will open the opportunity for him to unlock a seal.”
“But your current state may not be too stable. This human state might not last too long and you’ll likely turn into a cat again.”
“This is enough.” Victor shook the glass, carefully feeling the liquid shaking inside. “Thank you. If it weren’t for your help, it might take me a long time to unlock the second seal.”
“We are all working hard for the same goal, there’s no need to be polite.” The clown thought of how it’d felt to touch the soft fur on Victor’s head and couldn’t help but smile. He looked at Cui Zuojing with a bit of teasing in his eyes. “Things also seemed to be going very smoothly for A’Zuo too.”
Now that he’d taken back his feelings, Cui Zuojing’s sense of shame also reappeared. His ears turned scarlet, and he pretended to be calm as he said, “Yes, after all, someone wanted to chase me. I just decided to agree.”
To a certain extent, these two men could be counted as his elders and so talking about emotional problems was somewhat uncomfortable. Cui Zuojing hurriedly changed the topic. As he stroked the remaining two seals on his wrist, he said, “The Queen could anticipate what is happening, but no matter what they do, it’s hard for them to risk being punished by the rules of the world and directly enter a box to intervene. Even if they’re being cautious, the odds of winning are still quite large.”
The rules of the world were controlled by a higher-level existence. As per the rules, the Queen and her people were prohibited from forcibly entering a box to interfere with the development of the plot. Except for lunatics like Tang Ji, who would ignore the rules, even if they do end up entering a box, they weren’t allowed to attack pilgrims.
Just like Chang Hui and Midnight the Cat, when they had entered Doll’s House previously but hadn’t done anything to Cui Zuojing.
Only Kether had permission to change part of the plot within a box, but she couldn’t go too far.
The death room that she’d designed for Cui Zuojing in the Factory Box was the most she was allowed to do.
After talking for a long time, they all fell silent.
The three of them had drunk a lot, with empty bottles lining up on the bar.
After the sweetness of love and the joy of having Victor back again, Cui Zuojing was about to endure the sadness of separation again.
“I’ll see you next time, though I don’t know when that’ll be.” The clown filled their cups with tequila and said in a low voice, “You must take care.”
When Victor laughed, even his wrinkles were gentle. “Take care.”
After they clinked their glasses together, Cui Zuojing tipped his head back and downed the liquid. There was moisture in his eyes. What lay before him was an unfinished journey and an unknown future, but his expression was determined.
Fu Zhe drew the last stroke of the huge formation on the floor of the study, got up, and stood in the center. The light slowly rose to envelope him. The expression between his eyebrows was very pale, and the two light-colored tear moles under his eyes seemed to hang in the air, like falling drops of tears. It was unknown whether they was from morality or conscience, but under the blessing of the formation, the emotions that came were bright and sweet as never before, pointing in a certain direction.
Luo Yan stood on top of the spire of a castle. All kinds of dreams surrounded her, intertwining into a stream of colorful glaze. Her fingertips flicked across them and finally clicked on one of them. The sky in the dream world suddenly turned a fairy-tale pink.
In the endless void, the woman kneeling in a kimono with her long, black hair hanging down to the ground suddenly raised her head. She gripped a samurai sword across her legs, and her eyes slowly opened.
——Volume Eight: Hell’s Circus [End]——
Xixi: I guess the author did forget about poor Rabbit.