“Congratulations, you have successfully passed [Other: Gambling Abyss]. Your points are being settled. Please wait a moment.”
“Settlement complete. Successfully passed [Gambling Abyss], 240 points received. Abnormal energy usage was detected. After deducting 700 points, your team’s current points are 134.”
“700 points deduction?” Dong Linhai was speechless. He still remembered that they were only deducted 30 points after Cui Zuojing took Goodwill from Hamelin. At that time, it was already enough to make him angry. But now, they were deducted a full 700 points.
They had already spent some points for Dong Zheng’s weapon, and Cui Zuojing also spent a lot of points to fix his Tang sword. Before they could earn more points to offset this, they suddenly suffered such heavy losses, turning the team completely impoverished.
“We were probably targeted.” Cui Zuojing was certain that Kether had played an indispensable trick on them. It was absolutely impossible for this much points to be deducted, even if they did use Fu Zhe’s keys in the box. He looked at Dong Zheng, and his tight nerves finally relaxed. “Go back?”
Dong Zheng’s expression was a grimace. It was a little ugly. He kept staring at the window covered by curtains. In the tiny slit, a faint dark red light showed through, and it was very obvious.
He walked forward quickly and pulled the curtains open. The entire scene outside became clear to everyone. Outside the window, the night was quietly falling, and the setting sun was about to sink below the horizon. In the fading light, the full moon loomed in the middle of the night sky. It was a dazzling blood-red and cracks were gradually spreading and deepening on its surface.
“Oh no,” Dong Zheng murmured.
“A Blood Night?!”
The living room had no mechanical clock. Cui Zuojing turned his head and walked into the next bedroom. The digital watch on the wall clearly showed the time—December 8, 24th White Year, 17:12.
Today was the night clearing.
They had been in the box for only three days, but a full ten days had passed without them knowing it.
On the 8th of each month, when the bloody full moon hangs high in the night sky and shatters into pieces, the night clearing will begin, and the pilgrims with points less than 30 will be cleared.
After the blood contract was lifted, Cui Zuojing officially joined the Wonton Insurgency as a pilgrim. There were now six people in the team, but their score was only 134.
—Only enough for four people.
Cui Zuojing couldn’t help but let out a particularly ugly curse. He took a deep breath and said, “No more talking. I wish Kether an early death.”
They came out at a bad time. The night clearing had already officially begun, and the entire Pure White Realm was closed. No one was allowed to enter a box. Otherwise, if pilgrims with insufficient points could enter a box to hide, there would be no point in having a Blood Night.
Xia Qiongyun used Fu Zhe’s key to open the door, but even though the door opened, it only showed the scene outside and not the castle as expected.
The area was completely “locked up” and turned into the hunting ground for the executioner.
“What should we do?” Wang Que asked. “Who is the executioner in this area?”
“It’s Midnight.” The last touch of light disappeared under the horizon, and the world became completely shrouded by the bloody moonlight. Cui Zuojing took out his mobile phone to log into the Pure White Realm app and applied to leave the team.
Dong Zheng tacitly agreed to Cui Zuojing’s application for resignation. Then he transferred the position of team leader to Dong Linhai, opted not to take any properties or points with him, and applied to leave to the team as well.
“Hey brother, what are you doing?!” Dong Linhai’s eyes widened at suddenly turning into the team leader. “What does this mean?!”
There were four people left in the team. Cui Zuojing and Dong Zheng left the team empty-handed, so the 134 points was just enough for the rest of the team to spend the night. After putting their mobile phones in their pockets, Cui Zuojing and Dong Zheng looked at each other, and Cui Zuojing said, “This is the only way. It’s better for a few individuals to be targeted than the whole team. Don’t worry. Midnight shouldn’t be mine and Dong Zheng’s opponent.”
“I’ll follow you.” Victor changed back into a cat and jumped on the sofa.
“No. Uncle, you should stay here with them. Although the executioner isn’t allowed to hurt pilgrims with enough points, we can’t be sure that Midnight won’t try something bad. With you here, I’ll feel more at ease.”
Dong Zheng said, “Tonight, A’Zuo and I will hide outside and come back early in the morning. Don’t take things lightly and stay in the apartment. With Uncle here, Midnight won’t dare to do too much.”
Victor nodded and said, “If I have to face Midnight now, it absolutely won’t be like how it was back then.”
Lin Hangzhi was worried. “Can it really work? In my impression…I’ve never heard of anyone who had successfully escaped the punishment.”
“I’m different from the others. I was once a legend in the Pure White Realm.” Cui Zuojing smiled, full of confidence. His reassuring smile managed to calm everyone’s anxiety. “Don’t worry. Midnight is not my opponent, let alone now, when I can control the power of time. And there’s still Dong Zheng’s abilities too.”
“Xiao Xia, lend me your lantern. The cat can communicate with the spirits. If we have a spiritual prop, it’ll be a bit safer.”
Xia Qiongyun did not hesitate to press the lantern symbol on the back of her hand. The lantern appeared in her hand, and she handed it over to Cui Zuojing.
This was a prop she’d chosen from the clown’s shop. After thinking that the team didn’t have many decent spiritual props, she chose the lantern.
“Communicate with spirits?” Although this wasn’t their first Blood Night on the Top of the Giant Tree, everyone had spent them in the castle. As a powerful team, the clearing wasn’t a matter of concern. As a result, they didn’t have much understanding of the specifics. Dong Linhai asked in surprise, “You mean, there will be real ghosts?”
“Yes, Midnight can summon real ghosts.” Cui Zuojing let out an evil chuckle. “Why? Do you want to provide us with some boy urine?
Dong Linhai said, “Huh?”
He was startled for a moment, and then he rubbed his face helplessly as everyone cast joking gazes over at him. Afterward, he quickly reacted and, pretending to be shy, placed his hand on his belt. “Then do you really want it? If you don’t dislike it, I can pour out a little for you.”
As Dong Linhai said this, he made as if to unbuckle his belt. Cui Zuojing was counter attacked and quickly waved his hand. “Forget it, forget it. You should keep it for yourself. Just in case you end up meeting a ghost, you can scare it away by drizzling all over it. How good would that be!”
Everyone laughed, and the atmosphere relaxed.
A faint meow came from outside the window and rose into a sharp yowl, the sound both mournful and eerie.
“No more talking. It’s getting late.” Cui Zuojing tugged Dong Zheng’s arm. “We’ll go first. You guys pay attention to safety.”
There were no parting hugs, no show of reluctant farewells or tears. Cui Zuojing and Dong Zheng walked out the door as if they were simply heading out to buy something.
It was because no words of parting were needed. Everyone believed that once the Blood Night passed and the first ray of sunlight broke through, those two people would return to this apartment safe and sound as they had promised.
When they got downstairs, Cui Zuojing finally let out the breath he’d been holding. The bloody moonlight was reflected on his face, which revealed some imperceptible fatigue. He looked at Dong Zheng and asked, “Are you afraid?”
“A little bit.” It was impossible to say that he wasn’t afraid. After all, Midnight was one of the Queen’s heirs, and with his current strength, Dong Zheng wasn’t certain whether he could withstand Midnight’s pursuit. He took a breath and smiled. “But I am not alone, after all.”
Cui Zuojing hummed lightly, and the corners of his lips couldn’t help but rise. He raised his head and quickly kissed Dong Zheng’s lips, before turning his head to look at the black cat on the opposite flowerbed.
Under the bloody moonlight, the black cat looked back at him, as if wanting to start something.
But the cat seemed to be just an ordinary cat. It’s black pupils were narrowed into slits, and it lightly meowed at them.
Dong Zheng looked thoughtful. “Midnight knows where we are, right?”
“Mmn, so it’s just a matter of time before we face him…Should we go to Heimdall first? We need more spiritual props. With only the lantern and your bell, it’s still not very safe.”
The little bell could only sense the presence of ghosts and warn people. It had no attack power. Although the lantern has the effect of expelling and forcing ghosts to manifest themselves, it wouldn’t work too well on particularly tyrannical ghosts. At that time, Xia Qiongyun chose it due to its unextinguishable property and banishment capability, combined with the fact that the entire team had no similar kind of props.
The spiritual props they had were quite scarce. No one in the team had obtained any props with lethality against spirits. But they also weren’t in a hurry to do so. They were usually able to obtain information about a prospective box in advance. Once they knew what type of box they would enter, they would make preparations. Because the team wasn’t brave enough when it came to supernatural matters, every time they hit a ghost, it would take a long time for them to get over it. As a result, they would choose less supernatural-type boxes.
There were also some spiritual props stored in Heimdall. When they needed them, they could rent them in advance, similar to how Dong Zheng had rented the bell for self-defense.
“Okay.” Dong Zheng also agreed with Cui Zuojing’s thinking. Under normal circumstances, in order to ensure the personal safety of the pilgrims, the Pure White Realm had a rule that restricted the tyrannical power of management. Aside from inside the box and in restricted areas, the power of the so-called supervisors, which included the Queen’s heirs and those with the same rank as the clown, would be restricted.
Therefore, even though the Queen regarded Cui Zuojing and his party as thorns in her eyes, she and her heirs opted not to directly confront Cui Zuojing outside and instead kept looking for them in the boxes.
But when the Blood Night arrived and the conditions were met, this rule no longer applied to the executioner of the area.
They were about to face Midnight in his full state.
Cui Zuojing had already experienced Midnight’s strength back then, and he had enough confidence in his own ability, so he wasn’t too nervous. But Dong Zheng was different. This was the first time he had to face an enemy that was also an heir.
He must be very careful.
Since they’d confirmed their relationship, Dong Zheng had often taken Cui Zuojing around for fun. Constantly borrowing Beverly’s small eDonkey would only delay her business, so he saved up money and bought his own electric motorbike, which was parked downstairs in front of the apartment.
As Dong Zheng went to get the car, Cui Zuojing squatted on the side of the road and waited. He didn’t take the Tang sword with him when he entered the Gambling Abyss, and so now he was empty-handed. But it didn’t matter because weapons would have little effect.
More and more cats came out of the bushes and watched him silently. Cui Zuojing didn’t know that there were so many stray cats nearby.
He pulled out a piece of grass to tease the big orange tabby closest to him. The orange tabby looked at him warily and retreated into the bush.
Cui Zuojing sighed silently. It seemed that if he wanted to play happily with a cat, he would still have to rely on Victor.