Cui Zuojing immediately took a step back. He watched the priest’s rotting neck from a distance. Although the priest was stabbed in the throat, he didn’t die immediately. After he was trapped in the coffin, his wound ulcerated and he gradually lost his life.
If it was the plague, it would be troublesome. Cui Zuojing put the lid back on the coffin to prevent the virus from spreading and picked the child back up. He’d touched the priest’s body when he turned the priest over. He didn’t know if he would catch the plague. In any case, he needed to find Victor as soon as possible.
It was just that he hadn’t seen traces of his teammates at all. Hadn’t they entered the building yet? Cui Zuojing frowned and pondered for a moment before deciding to retrace his steps. Maybe they just happened to miss each other?
After leaving the nave and passing through the corridor with stained glass windows, Cui Zuojing quickly reached the stairwell again. But suddenly, the child in his arms burst into tears.
“Don’t cry.” Cui Zuojing was taken aback, and hurriedly coaxed him. He opened his jacket and saw that the child hadn’t peed. Perhaps the baby was hungry?
But was there milk here?… Cui Zuojing was worried. It wouldn’t matter if he went hungry for a day, but this was a newborn baby. He needed to consider the issue of food and clothing.
There should be something in the kitchen. Otherwise, how would the priests eat? Cui Zuojing temporarily changed his objective and went to the kitchen first. When the child was hungry, he couldn’t be coaxed at all. He kept crying, his cries echoing the empty hall like a living target. Cui Zuojing covered his mouth and could only search for the kitchen with the fastest speed.
Fortunately, the hall wasn’t too big. Cui Zuojing was lucky enough to find a small kitchen on the first floor. The kitchen was quite tidy, which meant that there had been no fighting here. He temporarily placed the child on the stove and began digging through the cabinets to find a pot he could borrow to boil water.
Cui Zuojing hoped to find some milk powder, but otherwise, if he could locate some eggs to make a bowl of egg tea for the child. The child should be able to drink it, right.
The child was so hungry that he didn’t even have the strength to cry as loudly anymore. He could only wrinkle his little face and sob miserably as he put his fingers in his mouth and drooled on his hand.
With the water in the kitchen, Cui Zuojing first carefully washed his hands before proceeding to wipe the child’s drool.
As the fire boiled the water, the empty space gradually became warm. Cui Zuojing opened the window a little to ventilate the room before he continued to search for something for the child to eat. A black crow flew up with flapping wings and landed on the window sill to look with red eyes at the baby boy bundled up on the stovetop.
“What’s all this?” Cui Zuojing didn’t know the English words written on the many packages. He was good at English, but he didn’t know much about the many ingredients that would only appear in the kitchen. He studied the word “cumin” and opened the lid. Powder particles flew up, and he sneezed at the smell of the cumin.
The crow glanced at Cui Zuojing and didn’t bother with him. Instead, it flapped its wings and rushed straight at the baby on the stove!
A pan flew over, and the crow let out a scream as it was slapped to the side. Cui Zuojing stood up and strode forward with the pan in hand. He grabbed the crow’s wings just as it was about to rise again. No matter how much it struggled, it could not escape.
“Do you want to kill him?” Cui Zuojing looked back at the child, clicked his tongue, and said, “Although you have eaten before, would you be able to eat a bird if I pluck it?”
The crow struggled desperately, until Cui Zuojing finally decided to let it go. He wasn’t so kind, but now he didn’t know where the corpses of the church people were. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that their rotting bodies might be infected with the plague. Who knew how many corpses this crow had eaten? Thinking about it now, Cui Zuojing felt a little dirty after touching it.
Cui Zuojing walked to the window, threw the crow out, and immediately closed the window.
The child didn’t know that he’d just escaped death and was still crying. Cui Zuojing was annoyed by the noise. Luckily, by this time, the water had finally boiled. He hurriedly turned off the fire, took the pot down, and poured it into a bowl he’d prepared in advance.
Finally, Cui Zuojing successfully found the eggs he was thinking of. Regardless of whether the child could eat it, he first made a bowl of egg tea and drank it himself.
Afterward, he found a carton of milk and put it in the bowl of boiling hot water to warm it up. Then he poured two drops onto the back of his hand to check its temperature and began to feed the child little by little.
Babies instinctively liked to suck, and Cui Zuojing couldn’t very well pour the milk into his mouth. Therefore, he could only feed him little by little with a small spoon. After five to six minutes of slowly feeding the baby, he became annoyed. But alas, he could only sigh and patiently serve this little baby that didn’t understand anything.
He truly wasn’t gifted with children nor was he very patient. He couldn’t help but think that, if Dong Zheng was here, he would definitely do a much better job.
After being fed half a carton of milk, the child finally became quiet. Cui Zuojing let out a breath of relief. He put the small spoon and a new box of milk into his pocket so that he could feed the child later.
Cui Zuojing started going through the few cabinets he hadn’t checked, looking for clues or things he could use. However, when he opened the cabinet nearest to the corner, he saw a pair of eyes in front of him.
With a shout, the man rushed out. Cui Zuojing jerked sideways and the man fell to the ground, dropping his knife in the process. Cui Zuojing immediately stepped on his shoulder blade and kicked the knife under the cabinet with one foot.
The man was very thin and was wearing a black robe soaked with blood. His complexion was very pale due to excessive blood loss. Cui Zuojing bent down to look at his face and found that he had a dark green ulcer on the side of his neck, similar to the priest’s corpse.
He frowned and asked, “Are you an infidel?”
The man spit out a string of words. Although Cui Zuojing couldn’t understand him, he understood the hatred in his eyes. Cui Zuojing speculated that after the fight, his companions must have abandoned him due to his injuries and infection.
Seeing that this person was in no condition to hurt him, Cui Zuojing loosened his foot and pointed his finger to the ulcer on the man’s neck. The person shook his head frantically. He could barely sit up with his hands in the air, and he kept drawing a cross. But he made a cross that was obviously longer at the top, looking more like an upside-down cross.
When Cui Zuojing crossed his index fingers into an inverted cross to confirm, the man’s eyes looked even horrified. He looked at the baby on the stove, let out a scream, struggled twice to get up from the ground and his head ended up slamming into the wall.
This collision seemed to have caused something to happen inside the man’s body. He stiffened for a few seconds, then vomited a large mouthful of blood before his head soon dropped to one side, and he stopped moving.
Cui Zuojing’s hair stood up with horror. Without saying anything, he picked up the child and hurried out of the kitchen.
He thought of the inverted cross, the priest’s widow, the infidel, the strange disease that caused people to die, the five-star difficulty level of the box, and the child in his arms.
The crow wanted to kill the child, and the infidel became very excited after seeing the child. But Cui Zuojing had already experimented and this child wasn’t the Son of God, so what role did he play?
No matter what, the child couldn’t be thrown away. Cui Zuojing looked for marks that his companions might have left behind and continued to explore.
Dong Zheng was on the third floor.
The blood stains in the hall revealed what had happened in the past. He followed the bloodstains and saw several bloodied footprints in the corner. There was a sculpture of Jesus Christ nailed to the cross on the wall, and behind it was obviously a secret door.
Dong Zheng studied for a while and twisted the cross 180 degrees. The moment the cross was turned upside down, the secret door opened in front of him.
The scent of blood filled his nose. Dong Zheng immediately improved his vision so that he could better see in the dark room. There was a woman’s body crumpled on the ground. Her face was pale and her abdomen bulged high. A pool of blood rested underneath her, as if all the blood in her body had been drained out. What’s more, there was a placenta and an umbilical cord discarded in the corner.
Upon seeing this miserable scene, Dong Zheng subconsciously took a step back. He couldn’t help but think of another person: his mother, who’d died of dystocia.
More than twenty years ago, when his mother gave birth to him…did she look like this too?
Dong Zheng clenched his fists to prevent his hands from shaking. After taking a deep breath, he forced himself not to think too much and looked away from the woman. If a child was born, then the child must have been taken away by another person, who was likely the owner of the footprints.
He silently closed the door of the hidden room. Looking at the woman’s tragic corpse for even another second more was like torture for him.
It was at this time that Dong Zheng saw Cui Zuojing’s mark next to the secret door, and he knew that he must have taken the child away. As a result, Dong Zheng sped up his pace and chased after the marks.
In the moment the arrow shot toward him, Cui Zuojing sensed the stir in the air. He abruptly lowered his head to dodge and the arrow brushed against his hair as it flew past. It slammed into the pillar behind him, lodging in the hard stone.
Cui Zuojing hugged the child and pivoted in time to see a dark shadow flashed past the corner of the hallway. He narrowed his eyes and gave chase.
This was the fourth attack since he left the kitchen. There were still many infidels left in the church, most of whom probably stayed behind for the child of hope.
The attacker ran fast, but Cui Zuojing was faster, despite carrying a baby. The distance between himself and the attacker shortened more and more. Seeing that he could not outrun Cui Zuojing, the black-robed man turned around and shot another arrow at him, which he dodged.
Cui Zuojing took out a card from his pocket and threw it at the infidel. The card’s blade-like edge brushed past the man’s shoulder and hit the wall in front of him. Because of the force, nearly the entirety of the card was embedded into the wall.
After running around another corner, the figure suddenly disappeared. When he saw that there was no one in front of him, Cui Zuojing stopped suspiciously. The child in his arms woke up, opened his mouth, and began to cry once more.
Cui Zuojing didn’t have time to try to quiet him down. He carefully focused on all the subtle noises around him, and suddenly raised his head!
A black shadow dropped down from the ceiling, with an arrow aimed straight at the crying child. Cui Zuojig hurriedly rolled on the spot, firmly guarding the child in front of his chest.
The black-robed man landed and took the opportunity to swing his knife at Cui Zuojing, who had not yet had time to adjust his body posture. However, a card flew past and embedded into the man’s throat at a speed too fast for his naked eye to catch.
The man’s movements froze, his eyes widened, and a few seconds later, blood dripped onto the ground.
Bang. The knife fell.
As the warm body collapsed, Cui Zuojing slowly got up. He stared at the dying person for a few seconds, then looked down at the child in his arms and gently shook him to coax him.
Therefore, Cui Zuojing did not notice that when the man on the ground finally took his last breath, a blood-colored pattern appeared on his cheek, as if to declare his sins.