“I’ve lived long enough,” Chen Jianguo said with a laugh. “I was born with my country, spent the most difficult period with her, witnessed her wrong path, experienced her disasters, and accompanied her as she broke from the shackles of coldness to become more and more beautiful. I’d eaten bark and honeycombs, abalone and black truffles, and I had been poor and had become rich. When I died, I was 71 years old and was lying in the VIP ward of a private hospital with my five children and their respective children at my side. My son held my hand and helped me unplug the oxygen tube.”
“I don’t have any regrets. And yet the Pure White Realm still gave me a second chance at life. My body is no longer suitable for entering the boxes, and so staying in the library is my best choice.”
Dong Zheng couldn’t help feeling that he had seen Chen Jianguo’s heart in the mirror. The fear, the guilt, the ups and downs experienced by this old man was difficult for him to truly understand at his young age.
After chatting for a bit, Mr. Deeds wanted to take Chen Jianguo to register, and Karls said, “Mr. Dong Zheng, please come with me first. Your friend is probably getting impatient.”
Indeed, after leaving the auditorium, the blood contract was restored, and Dong Zheng could feel the uneasiness coming from Cui Zuojing. The young man was probably worried about him.
As he said goodbye to Chen Jianguo and Mr. Deeds, they all knew that if there was no accident, they would never have a chance to meet again.
Karls took Dong Zheng back to the reading room where he and Cui Zuojing were in at the beginning.
The young man was originally lying on the sofa and reading a book, bored. But he heard Dong Zheng’s familiar footsteps at the door, and he raised his head quickly, eyes lighting up.
He hurriedly sat up and quickly put on the shoes that he’d kicked off to one side. “How was it?”
Dong Zheng made a gesture of victory and smiled. “Settled.”
“As expected of you.” Cui Zuojing looked over Dong Zheng’s shoulders, and his gaze fell on Karls. “We would very much like to release our blood contract. Previously, we went to the circus to find the clown and he told us to come to the library to ask.”
“The blood contract reflects the rules of the Pure White Realm. Naturally, it won’t be so easy to solve, let alone in a situation where you became a prisoner through illegal means. But the clown thought correctly. The library does have a way.” Karls pointed to the sofa and motioned for Dong Zheng to sit down. “Every administrator is given an extraordinary amount of power called chaos.
it is not so unsolvable, let alone you became a prisoner through illegal means. But the clown thought well, books The library does have a way.” Karls pointed to the sofa and motioned to Dong Zheng to sit down, “The library will give every administrator an extraordinary amount of power called ‘Chaos’ to guard the precious things in this world. I will help you lift the blood contract as a reward for Mr. Dong Zheng winning the final assessment.”
Karls continued, “This process is irreversible. Once the blood contract is lifted, there is no way to restore it. Mr. Cui will become a pilgrim in the Pure white Realm, and Mr. Dong Zheng will no longer be able to obtain any more prisoners. Have you both thought about it clearly?”
“We have already thought about it clearly,” Cui Zuojing said. “Although it is very convenient for us to be tied together, the rules of the blood contract will make it too easy for others to take advantage of us. We still have to face the queen and her heirs, and we must avoid weaknesses that can be exploited.”
“Since the two of you have made up your minds, then let’s start.” Karls stretched out two hands from his black robe and placed eached on Dong Zheng and Cui Zuojing’s forehead, his cold hands reminiscent of cold-blooded snakes.
Cui Zuojing closed his eyes, and his heartbeat became fierce at this moment as an unprecedented tension wrapped around him. Even when he returned to the Pure White Realm and decided to become a prisoner, he had not been so nervous.
His hand at his side moved and held Dong Zheng’s hand tightly.
Dong Zheng squeezed his hand back, as if they could draw strength from each other’s body.
A cool sensation poured from Karl’s fingertips into the center of his eyebrows, passing the flesh and bones to reach his deepest soul, where it wandered to find its target. This was a completely novel feeling. The sense of the outside world was so strong that it could easily destroy a person’s soul, but it was harmless and peaceful, making people unable to resist.
Was this the power of the library?
Karls finally found the contract buried in the depths of Cui Zuojing’s soul, a blood contract of blood as an oath and life as an alliance. For the first time, Cui Zuojing saw the image of the blood bond in the world of his consciousness—the wheel of fortune suspended in the sea of consciousness, with transparent thin threads entwined into a complex network, extending a thread that penetrated time and space to tightly wind around the root system of the Arabidopsis plant in Dong Zheng’s inner core.
Cui Zuojing hesitated a little at this moment. He wanted to see the mapping of the blood contract in his soul, and he wondered, if he touched the wheel in the same way Dong Zheng touched Arabidopsis, would Dong Zheng feel the corresponding sense of comfort from his side?
But, it was too late. Karls’s power slowly tightened, and the thin thread connecting Dong Zheng and Cui Zuojing melted in an instant.
The wheel of fortune spun quickly, rolling the broken threads all over. At this moment, an unprecedented sense of loss rushed from the depths of Cui Zuojing’s soul, just like a healthy person who lost a hand. He couldn’t feel the presence of that hand anymore—that was, the man who was sitting close at hand beside him.
This intense loss caused Cui Zuojing’s breathing to become shaky and rushed, and his closed eyelashes trembled. He only held Dong Zheng’s hand more tightly, gritted his teeth, and silently endured the unprecedented emptiness.
When he first formed the blood contract, it took awhile for him to become used to the feelings of Dong Zheng presence, but he did gradually get used to it. Cui Zuojing had long thought that it would be the same once the contract was dissolved, but he didn’t expect…it would be so uncomfortable.
At this moment, Dong Zheng’s other hand wrapped around his waist, pulling him into an embrace.
After the thin line was cut off by Karls, Dong Zheng immediately did the aftermath work on his own. He closed the internal feedback port to forcibly reduce the negative feedback from the disappearance of the blood contract. Although he suffered from a sense of bitter loss, it currently wasn’t as strong as Cui Zuojing.
Karls retracted his hand from Dong Zheng’s forehead and concentrated on helping Cui Zuojing. He was not a brain developer. It stood to reason that he wouldn’t have enough precision to enter his consciousness and help sooth his mind.
Dong Zheng’s warm embrace comforted Cui Zuojing. He wrapped his arms around Dong Zheng’s back, clutching the clothes behind him tightly, with half of his face buried on his shoulder, and every breath brought an enthralling taste of comfort.
A few minutes later, Karls retracted his hand. With a sigh of relief, he said in a low voice. “It’s done.”
Cui Zuojing opened his eyes and slowly pulled back from Dong Zheng’s arms to look at the person in front of him. It dawned on him with a finality that they could no longer open their hearts to each other like in the past.
The blood contract that lasted for one year, six months and three days was completely dissolved at this moment.
But Cui Zuojing was not the kind of sentimental person who would persist in lingering in sadness. He had lost some, but he had also acquired something more important.
Dong Zheng pressed a kiss to his forehead and whispered, “You are free.”
“But you have tamed me.” The young man smiled, looking up with dark eyes so brilliant and shiny that it looked like water would flow out at any moment. “I am not a rose¹, but the fox that you tamed, and you are the little prince that I recognize at a glance in the crowd, and so every time I look at the wheat field, I will think of the little prince.”
“Did I come at the wrong time?” A childish voice rang out from the door, and Cui Zuojing looked there. A seven or eight-year-old boy entered. He was wearing the unique black robe of the librarian, and he said to Karls, “The information has been sorted out and sent to the Supreme Council.”
Seeing the boy, Dong Zheng immediately realized who he was: he was the one who defeated Fu Zhe, becoming the winner among all brain developers. It was the child with hyperthymesia.
He seemed to have lived very well in the library. Seeing that Dong Zheng and Cui Zuojing were both watching him, the boy smiled at them and said, “Unless my memory has been erased, we don’t seem to know each other?”
Cui Zuojing said, “My friend used to be your opponent. His name is Fu Zhe.”
The boy’s brows smooth out. “I remember him. He is the captain of the Afternoon Tea Party. But not long after, he was trapped by the Queen so we haven’t had an opportunity to meet again. How is he now?”
“Not bad.” Judging from the boy’s words, Cui Zuojing confirmed that the library really did know everything that was happening on the Pure White Realm.”
The boy just came over to inform Karls and soon left.
Finally, another matter was solved. Karls sent Dong Zheng and Cui Zuojing were sent out of the library. Before leaving, Dong Zheng asked, “Will the pilgrims who choose to become administrators work here for a lifetime?”
“Yes. They are selected based on knowledge, and so they will always become the most loyal believers of knowledge.”
This was the last time Cui Zuojing saw Karls.
When they walked out of the library door, they saw a familiar street again. Everything was the same as before Dong Zheng had entered the library. The morning sun shone softly, the leaves of the trees on the sides of the street rustled with the wind, pilgrims with strange faces walked along the street, and electric motorcars ran past from time to time, bringing wind from the distance.
The shops on the sides of the street hung up their opening signs one after another. Cui Zuojing and Dong Zheng stood in the middle of the street. He raised his hand and the sunlight poured down between his fingers. The strange baroque building with 365 steps had disappeared without a trace, like it had never been there.
“Do you still feel uncomfortable?” Dong Zheng asked.
“Still uncomfortable. I have to get used to it slowly.” Cui Zuojing stretched out, and the two of them left the middle of the road and walked toward the alley. “After spending a week on the sofa, I’ve almost gone rusty. I need to exercise.”
Dong Zheng laughed. He took advantage of when no one was looking, leaned in, and left a quick kiss on Cui Zuojing’s lips. “Come on. Let’s go home, and I’ll accompany you to practice with both hands.”
“Practice with two hands?” Cui Zuojing said with a sly smile. “Where to practice? Is the 1.8-meter bed in my bedroom enough to practice?”
“You pick the place.” Dong Zheng took out his key and opened a random door in the alley. The door opened to the castle. The living room was empty, as if no one was home.
Where did everyone go?
“Shit.” Looking at the empty living room, Dong Zheng suddenly slapped his leg, whispering regretfully.
Cui Zuojing immediately looked at him. “What’s wrong?”
He watched as Dong Zheng slowly said with a face full of seriousness:
“I forgot to go to the supermarket.”
—Volume 10: Chaos Library [Ends]—
(1) I am a rose — CZJ is probably making references from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.