The others took advantage of the time when Dong Zheng and Cui Zuojing were in the library and entered a box three days later.
This box they entered seemed more daunting than it actually was. Having come all the way to the Top of the Giant Tree, each member’s strength was already enough to allow them to take care of themselves. Even in terms of abilities, Lin Hangzhi, the member who made the least amount of progress, was already excellent enough in physical skills and resourcefulness.
Everyone had just come back from the box and while they were resting, Cui Zuojing and Dong Zeng made a trip to the weapon dealer’s shop. Mr. Hades should have already prepared the actual weapon according to the agreed-upon time.
They left early in the morning, and so there were no other customers in the store when they arrived. Mr. Hades knew in advance that they were coming and was ready for them.
The weaponsmith carefully took the silver-white crossbow out from the workshop and held it in front of Dong Zheng.
Dong Zheng and Cui Zuojing looked at each other. The young man didn’t understand Dong Zheng’s worries and nudged him with his elbow, softly encouraging, “Try it.”
Dong Zheng took a deep breath and stretched out his hand. He held this crossbow that he had seen many times before in his hand.
This crossbow was lighter than he had anticipated. The sleek crossbow body flashed with a unique silver metallic light. Even with the patterns and grooves carved on it, it didn’t have a single spot of difference from the one in his memory.
Dong Zheng grabbed the string with two fingers and pulled hard. He didn’t know what material was used to make the string, but it was full of strength. It was hard to imagine what kind of amazing power an arrow will have when ejected from this string.
The whole crossbow, no matter its size or shape, was perfect, as if…as if it was meant just for Dong Zheng, given as a gift from the Goddess of Destiny.
“The forging of the body of the crossbow was very successful. When this metal is actually used in manufacturing, its characteristics become more obvious. If the user of this crossbow is well-trained, it certainly won’t lose to other melee weapons.”
Mr. Hades added, “It’s just that I have a little trouble. Because of the special nature of this metal, I thought the arrows made with it would have special effects, but it didn’t turn out as good as I’d imagined. I tried many plans and forging methods, but none of them worked as expected.”
He couldn’t make the arrows? Cui Zuojing asked. “Can you show us the experimental items?”
“Yes.” Mr. Hades entered the workshop and took out more than 20 arrows, none of them with the same length, thickness, shape, or tail feathers. Not even the blood troughs carved on them were the same. Dong Zheng took them and tested each one. Mr. Hades was right. The result wasn’t very good.
There was no difference between a crossbow with no arrows and an iron block. Dong Zheng frowned. He placed the arrows on the table and said, “I believe you have the ability to make an arrow that will provide the expected effect.”
Mr. Hades nodded. He also believed that if he was given enough time, he could test out the most perfect structure. Before Dong Zheng and Cui Zuojing left, he sighed. “If only you can give me a sample for reference.”
When Dong Zheng left the weapon shop, he didn’t take the newly made crossbow away with him. Mr. Hades needed it to continue testing the efficiency of the arrows.
Cui Zuojing’s mood was a little depressed. Although he didn’t have the blood bond, he could still perceive that Dong Zheng’s mood was heavier than his, because all this might well indicate a certain kind of fate that was beyond his control.
Destiny, does this thing really exist in this world?
Dong Zheng didn’t believe in fate at first, until he was in a car accident and was guided to a clown in this post-death world. In his most desperate time, he signed a blood contract, and he came to know a love that uses life as a matchmaker, connecting their emotions together and pushing them forward with persistence.
It was at this time that he received Heinrich’s text message.
[The system shows that your safe has expired today. Please come and get your things as soon as possible.]
Cui Zuojing wondered, “A safe? When are you going to tell me that you’re secretly saving your own private money?”
Dong Zheng couldn’t help laughing. “Do I still have a need for private money?”
Cui Zuojing knew that he was right. Right now, all their assets were accumulated in the form of points, and so there was really no need for private money. But one day, they will go out. He would end up being raised by Dong Zheng as one of the three nos, which was no education, no job, and no income. Therefore, it would be quite possible for him to start saving a secret stash of money.
Cui Zuojing couldn’t help but shed a drop of invisible cold sweat. Fortunately, Dong Zheng didn’t think in any other direction. He wondered, “When did I open a safe?”
Cui Zuojing said, “Let’s take a look first.”
When they arrived in Heimdall, they didn’t look for Heinrich and instead went directly to the vault. Dong Zheng entered his fingerprint on the system panel, and the relevant information popped up automatically.
[The safe A385467 that you rented on September 12, 23rd White Calendar Year has now expired on October 23, 24th White Calendar Year. Please take away the stored items as soon as possible.]
In the Pure White Realm, the calendar age was determined according to the name of the current ruler, just like when the Red Queen reigned, it was the XX Heart Calendar Year. However, neither Cui Zuojing nor Dong Zheng liked this so they insisted on using the year 2019 and 2020, when they entered the Pure White Realm.
Cui Zuojing was surprised. “September of the 23rd White Calendar Year?”
If he remembered correctly, that was around the time they came out from the Dusk Island box. Not long after, they arrived in Top of the Giant Tree. Although Heinrich had invited them to contact him, at the time, they didn’t even know that name of the organization he’d established. So how could Dong Zheng put something in a safe in Heimdall?
Dong Zheng frowned. He checked the registration information on the safe, and it was indeed his fingerprint.
As for other information, there was none.
There was no team number, not even a name.
It was fortunate that Dong Zheng ended up joining Heimdall and registering his fingerprints; otherwise, this thing would become unclaimed.
Did the system make a mistake? Or…did someone make an effort to leave something in this safe from the very beginning?
It was useless to think too much. Dong Zheng memorized the safe number and located it in the depths of a row of safes. The safe was medium-sized, and it required a fingerprint and a six-digit password in order to unlock.
After he passed through the fingerprint recognition, Dong Zheng hesitated when facing the numeric keypad.
He didn’t know what the password could be, since most of his frequently used passwords, including computer passwords, were not six-digit numbers.
Cui Zuojing reminded him, “Give it a try. Pick the most memorable number that came to you?”
Dong Zheng pondered for a moment and then pressed one button after another.
1, 9, 0, 4, 0, 3.
With a soft beep, the lock opened and the safe was completely unlocked.
Dong Zheng wasn’t too eager to see what was inside. Instead, he stared at the numeric keypad and said in a low voice, “This was the day I had the car accident.”
Cui Zuojing knew the second half of the sentence that Dong Zheng didn’t finish–This was also the day they met, the day everything started and the wheel of fortune began to spin.
He put his hand on Dong Zheng’s shoulder and said, “Open it and take a look. Don’t worry. I’ll be by your side no matter what.”
Dong Zheng let out a sound of assent and opened the safe. The bright lights in the room flooded the small hidden space and illuminated it.
Inside was a silver arrow.
When a knock came at the door of his studio, Mr. Hades was surprised to see the two of them returned so soon and was even more surprised by the silver arrow in Dong Zheng’s hand.
“Where did you find this?” Mr. Hades stroke the straight arrow shaft and couldn’t help but ask several times.
“….” Dong Zheng didn’t know how to answer. What could he say? That this was something his future self left for him?
Cui Zuojing asked with concern, “How about it? Can it be used?”
“Yes, this is exactly what I want.” Mr. Hades handed the crossbow and arrow to Dong Zheng. He pointed to the lush tree outside the window and said, “Test it out first.”
Dong Zheng tightened his fingers one by one. With his fingertips tightly clasping the cold metal, he firmly held the crossbow and positioned the arrow on the string. Then he pulled it backwards to the slot and propped the body over his right wrist to stabilize his aim.
Cui Zuojing looked at him and seemed to travel back in time to Dusk Island, when he saw the man pierce the gluttonous beast with an arrow.
Dong Zheng pulled the trigger.
The silver arrow shot out like a bullet, seeming to penetrate time and space, penetrating the end of fate.
Boom! With a muffled thud, the arrow hit the target, plunging into the bark and squeezing out some translucent sap.
Dong Zheng put down his hand and gently placed the crossbow on the table. “That’s it.”
This was what he wanted, the most perfect weapon.
The second winter that Dong Zheng spent in the Pure White Realm came silently.
On the Top of the Giant Tree, even when snow fell in copious amounts, the plants were still verdant and lush. The white snow weighted down the dark green branches, giving it a certain distinctive style.
Dong Linhai and Wang Que probably officially confirmed their relationship as boyfriend and girlfriend, and they would often go out together after training. Lin Hangzhi lived in the old castle all day, exchanging academics with Victor. Usually, Xia Qionguin would sit not far away, doing her own thing, but also listening to their exchanges.
After using some parts of the huge piece of metal to make the crossbow, the remaining metal was enough to make about three to four hundred arrows. Dong Zheng ordered the first batch of 150. After seeing Dong Zheng’s tailor-made weapon, everyone except Xia Qiongyun, who had joined the team later, were shocked.
“This, I…What is this?!” Dong Linhai’s expression could even be considered as frightened. After such a long time had passed, Domingo’s exact appearance had blurred in his mind, but Dong Linhai still couldn’t forget the man’s “showy actions.”
Wasn’t this Domingo’s crossbow? How did it become his brother’s weapon?
“I don’t know. I am sure that, from the very beginning, Domingo had not harmed us.” Dong Zheng didn’t tell him about the arrow in the safe.
Wang Que said, “At the end, when Domingo took away the amulet and the broken scepter of time, could it be for us?”
Cui Zuojing shook his head. “He should need those for something important.”
As he said this, Cui Zuojing felt an inexplicable throb in his heart. He remembered the last time he saw Domingo. The man had pushed him through the door, even as the Demon God crawled out from the ground behind him with a loud roar and spread its massive bat wings full of spurs.
It wasn’t until now that he understood. Suppressed underneath the man’s cold and calm eyes was an endless indulgence and sorrow.