The sleek and powerful body, the smooth lines, the retention spring…the structure, the shape, the size, everything were all so familiar.
Because Dong Zheng and Cui Zuojing had seen the physical object that matched this drawing before.
This was Domingo’s crossbow.
Cui Zuojing would never forget that moment on the ship in Dusk Island, when he saw Domingo used this crossbow for the first time. The blond-haired, gray-eyed man stood tall and straight as a cedar tree as he lifted his hand and aimed. The metal arrow shot out like a stream of light, piercing the head of the gluttonous beast Gulon.
Later, he used the crossbow to kill the Heavenly Bull and cooperated with them to kill Ziz. Finally, that sharp arrow cut the string around Cui Zuojing’s neck. When the omega-shaped pendant fell into Domingo’s hand, he pushed Cui Zuojing out empty-handed.
“Domingo,” Cui Zuojing murmured.
He grabbed Dong Zheng’s arm and tightened his hand. They looked at each other and saw the irrepressible doubts and surprise in each other’s eyes.
There was a voice reverberating in their hearts. This extremely dangerous thought was difficult to believe, but it would explain many things.
Several times on Dusk Island, he gave them a lot of helping hands, displaying his profound knowledge and unparalleled judgement. He also helped Cui Zuojing lift his seal for the first time. In the end, he took away the pendant and the broken scepter and stayed behind in that world where the devil was rising.
But Dong Zheng knew more than Cui Zuojing. There was J in Snow Parasite Trail. He hunted after them, only to appear with pitiful wounds all over his body. There was the mysterious phone call in the underground research institute and the voice that said, “Take good care of Cui Zuojing, and do what you want to do.” There was that figure that flashed across a distant mountain peak, watching over them as they left.
“What is wrong? Are you dissatisfied?” Hades asked aloud when he saw that Dong Zheng’s expression wasn’t good.
“No, I’m very satisfied.” Dong Zheng once again carefully looked at each aspect of the design. He confirmed that it was indeed not much different from what he’d remembered of Domingo’s crossbow and arrows. Except for some slight design differences, everything else was exactly the same.
And these differences were precisely what needed to be adjusted in the process of turning the design into a physical weapon.
Dong Zheng took a deep breath. He returned the drawing to Hades and asked, “Why did you think of designing such a weapon?”
Hades said, “When it comes to combat, brain developers aren’t usually as proficient as those with other abilities. Even so, cold weapons such as swords aren’t suitable, and carrying bullets for a gun might become a problem because it provides no assistance in close combat. If you use a bow, the crossbow and arrows can both be useful, and the arrows can also be recycled. They can also be used simultaneously for long range combat and for close combat. Therefore, this weapon, when combined with your physical data, is the most suitable for you.”
Dong Zheng knew that Hades was correct because Domingo fully demonstrated these advantages.
He was silent for a moment, and finally under Cui Zuojing’s gaze, he whispered, “Okay, I have no opinion.”
The muscles in Cui Zuojing’s forehead suddenly jumped, and he bit his lower lip, not saying a word.
It was undeniable that Hades’s design was indeed the most suitable for Dong Zheng. After the drawing was confirmed, it would take some time for Hades to make the actual weapon. They left behind the ring where the metal was stored, thanked Hades, and left the weapon shop.
They didn’t go back to the castle immediately. They walked aimlessly along the street, not speaking for a long time.
Even if there was no blood contract and they weren’t connected, they knew that they both were thinking about the same thing.
After a while, Dong Zheng took the lead to break the silence. “I—”
Cui Zuojing placed his index finger on Dong Zheng’s lips, signaling for him not to talk. He stared into Dong Zheng’s eyes and saw his own figure in them.
“There’s no need to say anything,” Cui Zuojing said quietly. “I may not believe in Domingo, but I definitely believe in you.”
This sentence was like an agreement that belonged exclusively to them. After returning home, they tacitly didn’t speak about the matter regarding the weapon.
Cui Zuojing called Xia Qiongyun, who was still recuperating, to Fu Zhe’s study and told her about the truth that ordinary pilgrims didn’t know.
Initially, she had a hard time accepting this truth, but after thinking about how Victor could transform from a cat into a human and how Cui Zuojing’s ability seemed so different from normal pilgrims, she no longer had any difficulties accepting the truth.
“Our former teammate, Allen, died in an accident on Snow Parasite Trail because Kether was targeting us. If you joined us, the level of difficulties in the boxes might increase. This is something that you have already experienced in the Bald Soprano box.”
Cui Zuojing leveled his gaze at Xia Qiongyun and asked solemnly, “After taking all this into consideration, are you sure you still want to join is?”
Xia Qiongyun didn’t spend too much time thinking about it; she had already considered it clearly. “If this is true, even if there’s only a glimmer of hope, I’ll try my best to leave this world.”
“Ok, then you can live in the castle.” Cui Zuojing gave Xia Qiongyun Fu Zhe’s key. “Choose a room on the second floor. Lillian can help you sort things out. This key has a trace of Fu Zhe’s space power. No matter where you are, as long as you can open a door with this key, you can return to this old castle.”
After setting matters with Xia Qiongyun, Cui Zuojing found Fu Zhe in his bedroom.
He was sitting in the center of a complicated formation. The lavender light that glowed from the formation lines illuminated his face and the light-colored mole under his closed eyes. Cui Zuojing gently closed the door, sat on Fu Zhe’s bed, and waited for him to wake up.
Five to six minutes later, the light gradually dimmed. Spatial energy fluctuated inside the bedroom and circled around Fu Zhe, reflecting Cui Zuojing’s power of time.
Fu Zhe opened his eyes. He let out a deep exhale and stood up with some slight difficulties.
Cui Zuojing asked, “How was it?
“I could perceive a specific location.” Fu Zhe frowned slightly in confusion. “But no matter how much I inject force into it, I could only feel one fragment’s location. I don’t know whether it is morality or conscience, but the fragment is very strong and seemed to be purposefully hiding. Meanwhile, I couldn’t sense the other fragment at all, as if it doesn’t even exist.”
“But you were indeed separated into three soul fragments,” Cui Zuojing said doubtfully. “Goodwill, morality, and conscience were all indispensable components of the soul. It is really possible for one of them to disappear?”
Fu Zhe silent for a long time. Finally, he shook his head and said, “I don’t know. Maybe, we’ll have to wait until after we have recovered the other fragment in order to find out.”
“Cerberus!” The young man with tear moles under his eyes raised his voice and shouted. He lifted his forehead from the luxurious and soft leather chair, feeling unspeakably dizzy.
The man named Cerberus pushed in from outside and walked quickly toward him. He was very tall, with deep honey eyes; ebony hair; thick, dark eyebrows; and a deeply-contoured face. Every inch of sleek muscles on his body brimmed with unparalleled fitness. The man walked up to the young man, wrapped one arm around his waist so that the other party could lean his weight against him, and asked in a low voice, “Master, what is wrong?”
The young man shook his head as he grabbed Cerberus’ sturdy arm, which still had slight scratches from last night’s unbearable entanglements. He couldn’t help himself and had inexorably answered the calls of the penetrating power of space. It bursted out from the bottom of his heart, calling him, calling him home.
He thought for a moment, took off the key-shaped pendant around his neck, and said, “Lower your head.”
Cerberus obediently followed his instructions and allowed the young man to put the pendant around his neck.
Cerberus naturally knew that this item was the young man’s personal possession, and he said in amazement, “Master, this…”
“For you.” The young man stuffed the key that still carried the warmth of his own body temperature under Cerberus’s shirt and gently pushed him away. He looked up at those honey eyes reflecting his own appearance and said, “No matter what happens later, you can’t give it to other people.”
“Yes.” Cerberus didn’t understand what this meant, and it gave him a bad premonition. “I will help Master keep it well.”
The young man made a sound of assent and moved toward the open space in the distance. “Let’s go and see what fun we can find today.”
“Ok.” Cerberus followed closely behind him, looking like a heartfelt knight who had pledged his life.
Or, the most loyal guard dog, the bravest wolf.
Long ago, he’d been selected from the bloody arena. The bloodstained man covered in wounds from waist to chest had knelt at the young man’s feet. He desperately wanted to raise his head to look at the master that had saved him from hell. But he was too afraid that any untoward behavior on his part might push him right back to that hell.
With his head lowered and dripping dark blood onto the carved floor, he heard the young man casually asked the red-bearded old man next to him, “What is your dog’s name?”
The old man was impatient. “I’ve told you many times already. Cerberus! Can you be a little more serious!”
The three-headed prison dog heard his name and immediately roared in a low voice, with a fishy smell coming out of his mouth full of sharp teeth. The red-bearded old man pulled hard on the chain in his hand, and the three-headed dog had to quietly and reluctantly lay back down.
“Why should I remember your dog’s name?” The young man let out a short laugh and replied unceremoniously. Then he extended his foot and lifted the man’s chin with the toe of his shoe.
The man raised his head and saw the appearance of his master for the first time.
To this day, he still clearly remembers the smell of rosin on the master’s shoes, the cool temperature of the leather, the casual laziness in his lowered eyebrows, and the light-colored moles like tears under his eyes.
“From today onward, your name is Cerberus.”
Cerberus was Hades’ hell hound that guarded the River Styx, the great gate of the Underworld.
The red-bearded old man protested loudly, drowning out the young man’s laughter. The man named Cerberus rolled the name on the tip of his tongue and silently said it several times, remembering it forever.
Maybe this was just his master and the old man’s momentary joke, and it could even be considered an insult, but it was also his first name.
The pendant on his chest rested closely to his skin, still wrapped in the warmth of his master’s body temperature. Cerberus raised his hand and gently pressed down on it. He followed half a step behind the young man. Even though they had been obsessed with each other’s body temperature day and night, when in front of other people, they still didn’t display any intimacy.
Becoming only the noble master and his most loyal dog.
He gave him a name, a chance to crawl out of the mud, and he will use his humble life as a worm to offer his most pious sincerity.
——Volume Nine: Bald Soprano [End]——
Xixi: Sigh. What will happen when Cui Zuojing and the gang show up to take back this fragment of Fu Zhe’s soul?