After another three months of preparation, the Wonton Insurgency team voted to enter the Rose Church box to rescue Cheriyu Nana.
During this time, Luo Yan had not looked for Wang Que, and it could be said for certain that she also never appeared in other people’s dreams. Since they found out about the clues of the new heir, she seemed to have disappeared from their world.
In order to ensure that they could successfully cope with the challenges that may come, they entered five boxes with a difficulty of four or more stars, of which three were five-star boxes. They were indeed quite difficult. However, when it came to actual combat, they had Cui Zuojing as a powerful fighting force. They also had Dong Zheng, who was absolutely reliable in terms of resourcefulness. These two, combined with the aid of the rest of the team, ensured that things go smoothly without a hitch.
“Nana is bound to be guarded by one of the Queen’s people. You must certainly not take matters for granted. Once she’s rescued, you must find a way out immediately. Don’t delay time. Don’t fight. This box falls under Kether’s home court. Fighting definitely won’t be advantageous for us.” Before they left, Fu Zhe repeatedly urged them. If they were able to successfully retrieve Cheriyu Nana, the Afternoon Tea Party would be together once more. With the addition of the power of chaos, the possibility of them successfully confronting the Queen would increase another notch.
Cheriyu Nana had been trapped in the chaos for more than ten years. Whether it was her physical capability or her combat skills, she certainly won’t be like the Nana of the past. She would just be like when Cui Zuojing first returned to the Pure White Realm. It would take some time for the feelings to slowly come back.
“Don’t worry, I’ll pay attention.” Cui Zuojing nodded. He was one hundred percent ready. Due to Kether’s interference last time, they ended up losing Allen. This time, they would do their best to protect every companion.
After they ate their last meal, they double checked the things they’d prepared, took the box painted with roses and crosses, and left the castle. They entered the apartment, where they would enter the box. By the time they come back, it should be three to five days later.
The old castle became quiet. It was the quiet that Fu Zhe had become used to in those past eight years. But this time, there was a big difference. Every corner of the old castle was full of liveliness. Lillian was also able to be more idle. She drank tea at a table and read, waiting for meal time to make dinner for the two still left in the castle.
Fu Zhe wandered aimlessly in the old castle. The castle was very large, having been built in the Middle Ages. It was big enough for a large family and a plentiful number of servants to live in. Only one third of the castle was in use. The rest were sealed away or used for storage. It was unknown whether there would ever be a day they could see the sun.
Without realizing it, Fu Zhe walked onto the terrace. It was converted into a training ground and had many props. Cerberus was practicing his combat skills with the wooden stand. The amount of force he used was so large that every punch could make the stand shake unsteadily, and the banging sound seemed like it could be heard miles away.
Drops of sweat trailed down Cerberus’ forehead with every punch. Fu Zhe didn’t go over and stood far away, quietly watching him.
15 minutes later, Cerberus stopped. He calmed down and, breathing hard, raised his hand to wipe at the sweat on his forehead. He was removing the bandages that were used to protect the joints of his arms when he noticed Fu Zhe watching him.
He was stunned. He didn’t expect the other party to take the initiative to look for him. He wanted to get closer but didn’t dare. He could only look at Fu Zhe from where he was and said, “Master.”
“I’m not your master,” Fu Zhe patiently said. He didn’t know how many times he’d corrected Cerberus. “After Morality left me, he had his own consciousness. Can you understand that? Although he was a fragment of my soul and he had returned to me, I’m not the master you want to follow.”
“No, you are.” Cerberus was very firm on this question. “Before I found you, I had a lot of doubts and worries about this. I was afraid that I would see a completely different you. But when I saw you, I knew that you hadn’t disappeared.”
Fu Zhe was speechless. He didn’t know to discuss this problem with Cerberus in a way that he would understand. No matter what he said, Cerberus would insist that he was his master. It was during these moments that Fu Zhe understood what the phrase a fist hitting cotton meant.
“Then how am I like your master?” Fu Zhe was silent for a moment. “Apart from looking the same, our methods are completely different.”
“But many things on the inside are the same,” Cerberus said. “On the surface, you are more gentle and introverted, but I can feel that you are hiding many unbearable things underneath and seldom reveal them to other people, right?”
Really? Fu Zhe was unable to answer Cerberus immediately. He asked himself in his heart whether he had many unbearable thoughts, and indeed that answer was yes.
From time to time, he would be annoyed to death. He just wanted to kick the person who annoyed him away. When he was angry, he couldn’t wait to grab a knife and kill the person who angered him. If he met someone who did something stupid or who won’t listen to reason, he wanted to tell them to go back to the womb and grow a brain.
But these were only dark thoughts in his heart. The small impulses would quickly be annihilated, and the larger impulses would be constrained by the law of morality.
“These are human nature.” This was the first time Fu Zhe seriously talked to Cerberus about this problem. “You can’t judge a person based on these at all.”
“Then what is the criterion for distinguishing who a person is? The memory? The soul? Your soul has not changed from beginning to end, but to a certain extent, it is more complete.”
Fu Zhe was speechless. He raised his hand to support his forehead and turned around to leave.
Cerberus stepped forward and finally asked a question that had been pressing in his heart for months. “Master, you actually remember us, don’t you?”
Cerberus clenched his fists, waiting for Fu Zhen’s answer.
Fu Zhe paused. After a few seconds, he waved his hands without speaking and walked down the terrace.
When Cui Zuojing woke up, he saw a pink sky.
He sat up and realized that he was lying in a dark coffin. The shape of the coffin was very special. It was a European-stype Christian coffin, called a Latin Cross, but Cui Zuojing wasn’t sure. The sides of the coffin was covered with a golden cross.
[You have deep sins, and you are full of evil.]
The words came from his mind. Cui Zuojing looked up at the pink sky. Not far away, there was a large field of bright red roses. A white church stood amidst the roses, towering on a piece of soil.
[The Holy Son can wash your soul. Find him, confide your sins to him, and he will replace the will of God and determine whether you could be forgiven.]
[Before the final judgment, if you cannot wash away your sins, you will be nailed to a rose cross, and your soul will never be liberated.]
This was the end of the prompt. The box task was to explore the sins he’d committed and find the Son of God to wash him of his sins.
The clothes on his body weren’t the same as when he entered the box. Cui Zuojing touched his face to make sure that his appearance hadn’t changed. After turning over his pockets one by one, he found a driver’s license, a copy of the Bible, a promotional pamphlet, and a bunch of keys.
There were no electronic devices.
Cui Zuojing stood up, searched the coffin, and found a red ribbon. He stuffed the ribbon into his pocket and stepped out of the coffin.
He needed to find the place where Cheriyu Nana was trapped. From the moment he entered, Cui Zuojing could perceive the amount of chaos in this space, but he couldn’t determine its specific position. He needed to look around, and only then could he be certain.
The coffin was placed under a tree, pressing down the patch of neatly trimmed grass under it. The surrounding soil was leveled, as if there was no time to dig a hole and bury the coffin. Cui Zuojing turned over the entire coffin and when he saw that there was no clue to be had, he turned his eyes to the building not far away.
Rose Church referred to this church, right?
He walked toward the church. At the edge of the grass, there was a cobblestone path among the flower fields. Cui Zuojing bent down to observe the roses. The blooming flowers were beautiful and dripping bright red, as if dyed with blood.
He stood up and walked all the way to the gates of the church. There wasn’t a shadow of a person or an animal to be seen.
On the spire of the church, a white cross stood tall, reaching its highest point toward the sky. Cui Zuojing raised his head and looked at the church. Its style was reminiscent of the famous Milan Cathedral. It was fashioned with the same Gothic style, though it was far less gorgeous.
The door was opened, and Cui Zuojing entered. He found himself in a wide hall with a red carpet stretching out from the entrance to the forefront. On both sides of the nave were ten rows of empty seats. And the chancel—The front of the chancel stretched out tall, a perfect place for speaking. Cui Zuojing called this the preaching altar. It had a single, opened coffin that looked exactly like the one Cui Zuojing had woken up in, except that this one was white with a golden cross protruding from it.
The tall stained glass windows on both sides etched out illegible portraits, so that illiterate believers could better understand religious stories, while casting magnificent colors with the sun’s rays.
The entire nave and chancel formed a standard Latin cross. Cui Zuojing stepped onto the altar and saw that there was a thick bible spread flat on top of it. It was in Latin, so Cui Zuojing couldn’t understand a single sentence.
Cui Zuojing moved his gaze to the coffin. The four corners of the coffin’s lid were nailed securely in place. Cui Zuojing didn’t court disasters by trying to look inside. What if the brother inside the coffin rose up in anger?
On top of the coffin was a fresh rose that looked as if it had just been picked. The rose was red, the coffin was white, and the cross was gold. These three colors, placed together, created a thread of sorrow among the sacred.
Unable to find anything, Cui Zuojing left the middle hall and walked to the left corridor. He wanted to explore the approximate shape of the church.
The nave was deathly quiet, and the rows of chairs were completely empty. Who knew where the people who had once sat on them and prayed have gone?