As soon as the word entropy came out, Cui Zuojing was stunned. Although he hadn’t attended school in ten years, he still vaguely remembered that it was something he’d learned in science class.
Entropy, in thermodynamics, was the measurement of the degree of chaos in a system. The concept was central to the second law of thermodynamics, wherein an isolated system will always increase toward entropy. In spontaneous evolution, everything will only become more chaotic. Therefore, the second law of thermodynamics was also known as the Increase in Entropy Principle.
Dong Zheng’s brows furrowed as he thought about [Good Neighbor], where the NPC Ficks, who briefly restored his consciousness, said to him–
“I found that the worlds I’ve lived in often have invaders like you. After they left, no matter what the end result was, these worlds will begin to develop in a more chaotic direction.”
In Hamelin, when the Pied Piper’s moat was broken, rats gushed in frantically and gnawed at everything; Agatha, in Doll’s House, curled up in the closet and died of suffocation; the demon god in Dusk Island, descending to destroy the world; in Snow Parasite Trail that was overrun with the Zerg race, the last human survivors sent out a signal for rescue and waited for those drifting out in the universe to respond; and in Gambling Abyss, when the world began to collapse without Morality.
No matter what the pilgrims did, whether to help the characters in the box or to destroy them, there would never be a good ending.
With the intrusion of pilgrims, each box will begin to move in the direction of increasing entropy. But this time, the yardstick was the movement of the universe. What exactly did this sentence from Cheriyu Nana mean?
“What does this mean?” Cui Zuojing asked.
Nana shook her head and said, “I don’t know. This is only something I found in the dark, but there is one thing that can be confirmed. This sentence is related to our previous failure. Understanding the truth of this world and the meaning of this sentence can help us better fight the Queen.”
This was a crucial clue, so everyone kept it in mind. Having met an old friend after a long time, there was a lot to say. Although Cheriyu Nana could detect some measure of news about the outside world, she still didn’t know much. Cui Zuojing and Victor told her about the changes in the Pure White Realm over the years. She earnestly listened to gain a better understanding of this world that she had been out of touch with for a long time.
“Right now, everything is going well. I recently had a face-to-face encounter with Midnight and he wasn’t my opponent at all. Though it’s possible that he was hiding his true strength.”
“If we can control the powers in our body, the heirs definitely won’t be our opponent,” Cheriyu Nana said. Unconsciously, they had been talking for nearly three hours.
“We should go back.” Words of farewell were so hard to say. Leaving meant that Cheriyu Nana would be subject to enduring loneliness with no clear end in sight. But they couldn’t stay for too long. Cui Zuojing added, “We will find you as soon as possible.”
Cheriyu Nana let out a small smile. “I am used to this kind of life. Now that I know you haven’t given up looking for me and that you have the intention to keep going, I really…I am really happy to see you again.”
“Us too,” Victor whispered. Before leaving, he turned into a white cat and jumped into Nana’s boat. Nana bent over to hug him. Victor could clearly feel her weakness. Trapped in oblivion for a full ten years, the current Nana had lost her past strength and reaction speed.
Victor’s soft and fluffy hair felt very good. Nana buried her face in Victor’s back, and her tears flowed silently, not seen by anyone else.
“Okay, Uncle, you go back quickly.” Cheriyu Nana put Victor down gently and looked at the fishing boat waiting nearby. “Now that there is hope, everything won’t be so difficult to bear. Be safe, and I will wait for your good news.”
The lifeboat returned to the fishing boat, and everyone was pulled up on deck one after another. The engine came to life, and amid its rumbling sound, Cui Zuojing and Victor stood on the side of the boat, looking at Cheriyu Nana and waving farewell to her.
Standing alone by herself, Nana carried her katana and waved back at them. As the fishing boat drifted further away, it’s shape became smaller and smaller, until finally, it’s silhouette disappeared altogether. In this empty and lonely Endless Sea, there was only a lone lamp to accompany her.
The fishing boat entered the fog once more, so Nana’s figure gradually disappeared, leaving only the light that had guided them previously. But now, they were leaving the light.
Cui Zuojing held on to the railing and waited until they could no longer see anyone through the fog before he sighed lightly and patted Victor on the shoulder. “Let’s go inside, Uncle.”
Wang Que finally couldn’t hold herself back anymore. “Brother Cui, do you really believe that Luo Yan is the new heir?”
“No, I don’t believe it,” Cui Zuojing said, shaking his head. “First of all, there’s the possibility that the Queen deliberately released false information. Besides…we haven’t seen Nana in ten years. Whatever happened in these past ten years, no one knows except for her.”
Wang Que secretly breathed out a sigh of relief. Although there was still a trace of suspicion toward Luo Yan in her heart, she was a sensible and reasonable person. She didn’t want to believe that Luo Yan was a traitor.
“But this is also a wake-up call. Que’er, if you see Luo Yan again in the future, no matter what the content of the conversation between the two of you is, please tell me?”
Wang Que agreed. Between her team and Luo Yan, she would naturally choose her team without hesitation.
Now that they had found the last member of the Afternoon Tea Party, Cui Zuojing finally accomplished one goal. From coming to the Pure White Realm to receiving a letter from Fu Zhe at the station, to joining him, to today with Cheriyu Nana, nearly ten years had passed without them realizing it.
Although Nana’s information made the situation more confusing, their end goal was still very clear–continue to clear boxes to gain experience and accumulate points. They need to improve their abilities as much as possible before facing the Queen.
Once they find the box where Cheriyu Nana was imprisoned, they would rescue her.
After another boring sea voyage, everyone finally set foot on land. The fog that had lasted for an entire week miraculously disappeared when they reached the shore.
Seeing them come back safe and sound, the owner of the fishing boat was very happy. This meant that not only did he get a lot in rent, but he also had his boat back in one piece. In his view, these pilgrims who wanted to find the Master of Oblivion had gone in vain. If they really did see that legendary person, how could they to come back?
Back in the old castle, the fishy smell on everyone’s body made Fu Zhe stay some distance away from them. After soaking in the sea for so long, they no longer smelled the stench on their body. Seeing that Fu Zhe was maintaining a polite distance from them, Cui Zuojing let out a “Hey,” raised his arms, smelled himself, and then rushed to hug Fu Zhe in a forceful manner.
Fu Zhe: ……
“Go away. You get away from me!” Fu Zhe tried to push Cui Zuojing away, but he was like spring water that lived all year round. How could he move Cui Zuojing? All the struggling only made him look even more pitiful.
“What are you hiding for? Do you regret not going out to sea with us?” Cui Zuojing didn’t let it go. He rubbed around Fu Zhe unceremoniously, rubbing his smell onto him. “But it doesn’t matter. You can also smell like us. Good brothers should share joyful things together.”
With an unbearable face, Fu Zhe finally managed to run back to his room to take a bath. Cui Zuojing’s smile relaxed. He looked up and saw Cerberus watching from upstairs. Cui Zuojing raised his eyebrows in greeting, but Cerberus frowned slightly, took a step back, and turned around and left.
Dong Zheng hooked Cui Zuojing’s back collar and no longer tolerated him playing around. “Let’s go and take a shower. We smell rotten.”
“I still like you even when you smell bad.” Cui Zuojing let Dong Zheng drag him upstairs.
The living room became quiet. Lillian collected their shoes and coats, washed the ones that could be washed, and threw away the ones that could not.
Usually, she washed the clothes with a washing machine and then hung them to dry on the balcony. However, due to the constant rain in this area all year round, the clothes wouldn’t dry at all, so she had to turn on the fireplace and use its fire to dry the clothes.
Despite the fact that she was Wang Que’s prisoner, Lillian never had to follow them in and out of boxes. Even if she acted as the housekeeper of such a big castle, and took care of the whole team’s food and living conditions, she still wasn’t very busy. Especially when the others were away. She was young enough to take good care of herself. At most, she only needed to cook and clean up.
Lillian was very satisfied with this kind of life. This was her hard-won second life, which was more comfortable than before.
Two hours later, everyone was cleaned from head to toes. They gathered at the long table, all of them smelling like shampoo.
“In short, it’s like this.” Cui Zuojing told Fu Zhe everything Cheriyu Nana had said. Fu Zhe tapped his index finger on the table and frowned slightly. “She suspected Luo Yan, did she?”
“It seems like it,” Cui Zuojing said. “But I don’t believe everything she said. You can’t easily draw conclusions when it comes to accusing someone of betrayal.”
Fu Zhe hummed in agreement. He pondered the sentence, “The world’s time has long grown unchecked, and you and I are believers of entropy. I can vaguely sense something, but when I try to look more into it, I can’t get anything.”
“No matter what, we need to save Nana first,” Cui Zuojing said. “This place is very close to Kether’s management area. The probability of meeting an heir is very high. To stay safe, everyone must try not to go out alone. Most of my time is still sealed. I have to hurry up and find a way to unseal it. You all must also hurry up and improve yourself. When we face the Queen in the end, we can’t hold back.”
Everyone nodded. Dong Zheng looked at Fu Zhe and said, “If we want Fu Zhe to be fully recovered, we can only look for Chang Hui.”
Fu Zhe nodded. “It won’t be easy to get back the spatial power from her. But no matter what, we have to try.”
“It definitely won’t be easy. We can take it one step at a time.” Cui Zuojing stretched his hand out and patted Dong Linhai’s shoulder next to him. He said with full sincerity, “I really envy a simple-minded person like you. You don’t have to think about anything. You just needed to wait for a plan to be made and implement it step by step. So lucky.”
Dong Linhai, who was suddenly cueed: ???
He had long become accustomed to Cui Zuojing teasing him. After all these years of getting along, this tit-for-tat between them had since changed into innocent jokes traded between good buddies.
“In that case, you can be a paramecium(1) in your next life. You can swim every day and eat.
Victor stopped the topic from shifting away. “Would we be able to find a way with Chang Hui?”
“Right now, it’s a little difficult. We needed to wait for her to take the initiative to come to us,” Cui Zuojing said. “At one time, she really wanted to make a translation with me. Now that she managed to attain a bit of Fu Zhe’s spatial power, she might no longer be willing. Only, I think that since she wants these types of power, she might be willing to trade for more.”
“Are you going to use yourself as bait?” Dong Zheng was surprised.
“I won’t be a child used to catch the wolf. Rest assured, I merely want to draw her out.” Cui Zuojing touched his chin thoughtfully. “Let me think about how to use desire as bait to fool her into coming out.”
At the beginning, what attracted Chang Hui and made her insist on trading with Cui Zuojing was his desire to kill the Queen for revenge. Cerberus also managed to attract her by his overwhelming longing for Fu Zhe’s fragment.
Chang Hui had always been aware of his determination. Now, it wouldn’t work to use hatred, so what could he use?
The rain was pattering down.
The stone road in Chang’an City was wet, and the entertainment girls on Pingkang Street all hid under the eaves. The rain was extremely cold, and it brought a bitter chill to their bodies.
The girl holding a paper umbrella strolled on the empty street. In the shadowy rain, she walked forward leisurely. There was a silver bracelet on her wrist engraved with the words “Long Life.” A little white beast followed at her feet, careful not to become drenched by the rain.
Luo Yan stood behind the carved railings on the second floor of the restaurant and quietly looked at this dream world. Chang Hui stopped, leaned her umbrella on her shoulder, looked up, and said to Luo Yan, “They are beginning to suspect you.”
“It’s okay.” Luo Yan lifted her hand and broke off a branch of cherry blossoms. The deep blue color of dream power flickered across her fingertips. She smiled down at Chang Hui and said softly, “Everything is in place.”
—Volume 13: Night Sail [Ends]—
Xixi: So now we know that Luo Yan and Chang Hui are on the same team. But the question is, are they on the same team as the Queen? And since Luo Yan can freely use her dream power, this means that at least one or more of her seals have already been unlocked.
We’re nearing the end, with only about 60 chapters left.
(1) Paramecium – a single-cell, microscopic, freshwater animal, typically oblong or slipper-shaped and covered in short, hairy structures called cilia.