The craftsman was taken aback by the thing that suddenly fell on him. The transparent insect had a breathing hole on its back, and a cluster of tiny tentacles stretched out from the hole, swaying. It was a creature he’d never seen before. He immediately pulled back, wanting to throw the insect off.
Wang Que suddenly rushed out from the corner. She scrambled between the craftsman, as dexterous as a mud loach in a pit. In the blink of an eye, she ran past the men with bugs falling on them.
“Grab him!” The official was anxious. If Wang Que ran away, where would he get the antidote?
The craftsmen were about to chase her, but after two steps, they saw a mass of black things coming toward them. Screaming at the crowd of flies and mosquitoes, they retreated.
At this time, the dragon ship had risen to a height of about one thousand meters and had begun to fly steadily. The speed of the dragon ship wasn’t fast, and the huge golden dragon head looked extremely majestic. Once the ship began to fly smoothly, there was no longer so much wind on deck.
The city below became smaller as the ship flew away from the imperial city.
Wang Que rushed to the deck. She wasn’t sure how long the bug could delay them and she needed to find a place to hide fast.
When the dragon ship moved beyond the city walls, her challenge task was finally updated as completed.
Breathing a sigh of relief, Wang Que ran into the nearest palace. She leaned to one side, running fast through an alley. Unexpectedly, after a few steps, she ran into someone.
The brawny man in black appeared so silently from the corner that Wang Que could not stop at all and could only collide into him head on.
Her pupils shrank abruptly, and she shouted in a hurry, “Come!”
In an instant, dozens of transparent insects appeared on the narrow walls on both sides, jumping towards the big man—
Wang Que turned her head and ran in the opposite direction.
The man only said a word.
At the moment his voice fell, the insects that jumped into the air seemed to have paused for a moment.
What was this?!
By the time Wang Que came out of her shock, it was too late. The back of her shirt was caught, her feet lifted off the ground, and her whole body hung in midair!
She let out a scream and twisted around to bite the other person but to no avail; he managed to easily avoid her every time.
It seemed that the ship met with a particularly strong air current, causing the ship to become unstable and turbulent. Damp water vapor was brewing in the air, and even the clouds in the distance darkened. A cumulonimbus cloud seemed to be surging in the distance.
A scream sounded in the distance, as if the person had seen something terrifying enough to make their courage tremble.
[Hunting Target 1/4]
Xia Qiongyun glanced at the mission task. The transparent insects stagnated for a moment under the use of language, allowing her to dodge so that none of them managed to land on her body. She was now certain that this little boy in her hand was Wang Que. However, Xia Qiongyun couldn’t tell Wang Que her identity, and so she lifted her up and jumped onto the wall.
The moment she saw the sky ahead, her breathing caught in her throat.
The roiling gray clouds were spreading out, and the most central location had already thickened into an unpleasant black. The winds gathered in it, and lavender electric lights flashed from time to time. An earth-shaking thunderstorm was brewing.
More and more people discovered that the dragon ship was heading towards the eye of the storm, and they began yelling for the ship to be turned around. Xia Qiongyun carried the similarly frightened Wang Que off the wall.
The eye of the storm was getting closer and closer, and the fan blades were spinning more and more frantically. Even so, the airship couldn’t withstand the interference of the hurricane, and it began to shake violently, nearly throwing people out.
Just as she was thinking about going into the steering house to see if she could do anything, a loud rumble broke away from the sky on one side, and the sound waves shook the ship’s hull sideways.
After working so hard to climb up the robe ladder, Dong Zheng was directly slammed into the wall by the sound wave. For a long time, he couldn’t dreg up the strength to get up; this small body was completely exhausted. The thick, wet and congealing wind pulled at his hair and the corners of his clothes. Dong Zheng panted violently, but before he could move to a place that could shelter him from the wind, a loud noise resounded, almost stunning him.
Afterward, he saw a scene that he would never forget in his life.
The nearest green hill had collapsed completely. Among the gravel and soil, a mechanical giant made of countless joined woods and gears stretched out its hand straight toward the airship. The giant was already 500 meters tall, and its height kept increasing as it continued to pull itself out from the ground. Its face was covered in white paint, and its vermillion eyeshadows and peach-colored lips looked exactly the same as those wooden palace ladies in the Bureau of Heavenly Studies!
Sometimes disasters only took a moment.
Lightning danced wildly like silver snakes, and a bolt nearly broke the sky as it shot down to the wooden giant. In an instant, silver lights flashed over its entire body, like a god of thunder!
The giant grabbed the airship and tore off the oar and two main blades in its left side.
The airship was like a bird with its wings broken. Wooden boards cracked, and the airship tumbled out the sky without a sound.
Dong Zheng slowly opened his eyes in the chaos and quickly adapted to the dim light. The rushing rain poured down from the eaves in a curtain of rain, blurring the distant woods and hills into a dull block of color.
His memory had stopped at the moment when the airship went out of control and fell from the sky. Dong Zheng lay on the ground, half of his two calves exposed and drenched by the rain and wind. He dragged his body back with his arms and hid completely under the eaves. When he lowered his head, he realized that he was no longer a child.
Where was this? No one could answer his question.
He was wearing a dark brown vest with a blue and black plaid shirt underneath, blue jeans, and high riding boots. A leather case hung on his waist, and there was a cowboy hat by his hand.
The tightly fastened cowhide pouch seemed to have fallen next to him, holding some lumpy things.
Had he become a cowboy…?
Dong Zheng got up, moved his body to make sure it was intact, grabbed the hat, and looked around.
He was in a stable, and from the looks of his outfit, Dong Zheng was certain that he was no longer in the curious world of ancient steampunk.
The series of things that happened at the end were all so absurd and nonsensical. Not to mention that it was impossible for the eye of a thunderstorm to be only a kilometer high from ground, but just the likelihood of a giant wooden robot breaking through a mountain was enough to turn Dong Zheng’s logical thinking into ruthless mockery.
Absurd and incredible.
Cui Zuojing appeared next to him. He was no longer a little girl. He looked at Dong Zheng and smiled. “You look so fierce now.”
Dong Zheng raised his hand and touched his moustache.
“What do I look like?”
“Like a cowboy. It can’t really see your original appearance,” Cui Zuojing said simply and concisely. He held out his hand, caught two drops of rain, and then threw away the cold water. “What’s the new task?”
Dong Zheng glanced at the upper left corner. “Go to Ms. Lois’ hotel.”
Cui Zuojing wondered, “Will the rain stop?”
“Wait. It’s too much now. The task doesn’t seem to be in a hurry.” Dong Zheng turned around in the small stables. A tall brown horse was tied to a pole and was eating hay and flicking its tail. He found a short-barreled hunting gun in the corner, just perfect for the leather buckle around his waist.
The ground was soaked by the flooding rain, and so Dong Zheng sat casually on a relatively clean manger. Cui Zuojing stood between his naturally stretched-out legs, facing him. Looking curiously at Dong Zheng, he stretched out his hand to pull at his beard.
When his beard was being pulled, there was a little pain, but Dong Zheng let Cui Zuojing make trouble. Cui Zuojing looked at the slightly curly brown hair. His mouth hooked and he said, “You look like an uncle who is almost fifty years old now.”
“Maybe if I shave it off, you might not think so,” Dong Zheng wondered out loud. With a smile, he pulled on Cui Zuojing’s waist, bringing him closer. He wanted to kiss him, but Cui Zuojing pushed his face away.
“You looking like this always gave me the feeling that I’m planting you with a green hat.” As he said this, he held Dong Zheng’s chin and moved him from left to right. But in the end, his desire to be with Dong Zheng overrode everything else.
He was very clever and raised his hand to cover his own eyes so he wouldn’t see anything. Then he lowered his head and lightly kissed Dong Zheng’s lips.
Dong Zheng laughed. He abruptly pulled the young man onto his lap, kissed him, and said, “Come rest with me for a while.”
“How to rest?” Cui Zuojing’s tone was full of subtleties.
Dong Zheng knew that he was deliberately teasing him and wasn’t fooled. “Talk about it?”
“No, I have to save money to support you.”
Cui Zuojing snorted dismissively and peacefully sat on Dong Zheng’s lap. He had one hand around Dong Zheng’s shoulder, his fingertips intimately touching the skin at the nape of Dong Zheng’s neck and twisting the slightly curly hair there.
As the rain came down, the horse snorted from time to time. Dong Zheng buried his head in Cui Zuojing’s shoulder, breathing in the fresh scent of a recent shower that lingered on his skin.
“Just took a shower?”
“Yes, after I returned to the prisoner’s space, I swam in the pool for a while and washed up.” Cui Zuojing stroke Dong Zheng’s head and neck, and finally got off his legs. “Do you want to sleep first? The rain seems to be taking a while to stop.”
“Okay.” Dong Zheng was indeed tired. While in a little girl’s body, he’d drilled through a dog hole, swam in the waterway, escaped the chase of a shadow guard, was thrown out of the restaurant, and climbed up a rope ladder to the deck of an airship in flight, while swaying in the wind. Although the body had changed, his mental exhaustion had not subsided.
Cui Zuojing found some dry grass in the middle of the stables, spread them together and barely made a place to lie down. He sat on the side, patted his legs, raised his head, and invited, “Come here?”
Dong Zheng lay down on the haystack with Cui Zuojing’s thigh as his pillow. Although the young man looked thin, his muscles were dense, and Dong Zheng was very comfortable.
As usual, Cui Zuojing gently covered Dong Zheng’s eyes with his hands, blocking out the light.
He had also asked Dong Zheng to rest on his body in the karst cave at the bottom of Dusk Island and in the safe house of Snow Parasite Trail. But this time the emotions were completely different. Cui Zuojing leaned over and dropped a kiss on Dong Zheng’s forehead.
He said, “Go to sleep, I’ll call you when the rain stops.”
With Cui Zuojing there, Dong Zheng went to sleep with peace of mind.
The young man lowered his head.
He wasn’t very familiar with Dong Zheng’s new face, and he really couldn’t muster up any enchanting thoughts when looking at this unfamiliar face with a beard and eyes lined with the vicissitudes of life.
He sighed silently. If Dong Zheng looked as good as his original appearance, he would stare at his lover resting on his lap in the continuous rain and traced every inch of his face with his eyes. Tracing the lines of his face, with a horse by his side. How romantic.
Cui Zuojing silently looked into the distance, analyzing the context of the previous events.
Both he and Dong Zheng became little girls, so their teammates might also become people they didn’t recognize. He didn’t know whether everyone’s tasks were interrelated or independent of each other.
The rain lasted for three hours and finally slowly decreased.
After waking up Dong Zheng, Cui Zuojing untied the rope and they walked out of the table.
Dong Zheng got on the horse and sat down at the end of the saddle. He patted in front of him and said, “Get on?”
Once Cui Zuojing sat in front of Dong Zheng, he wrapped an arm around him and pulled on the reign with his other hand. Wrapped in Dong Zheng’s embrace, Cui Zuojing lay back on his warm chest.
Dong Zheng didn’t know where the so-called Ms. Lois hotel was located, but once the two of them settled in, the horse ran in a certain direction.
It was early in the morning and the sky was dim. The mountains and forests in the distance seemed to stretch on endlessly. All around them was a large swatch of green land. There was no one on the dirt road, and it felt as if they were the only two people left under the large sky.
Ten minutes later.
“Wait! I’m going to sit in the back. The wind is blowing in my face!”
Dong Zheng stopped and changed positions with Cui Zuojing, letting him sit in the back. Cui Zuojing hugged Ding Zheng, leaned his head on his broad back, and enjoyed the ride.
Half an hour later.
Dong Zheng reined in the horse and asked back, “What’s the matter?”
“Ah.” Cui Zuojing turned over from the horse’s back, shook his legs unnaturally, and whispered, “That… slightly rubs my crotch.”