IWOL Chapter 32: Route Planning

The blood and dirt that the teenager had collected in the Labyrinth of Time was cleaned away in the prisoner’s space. The tips of his black hair were still wet with moisture. Looking down at Dong Zheng sleeping on the sofa, Cui Zuojing shrugged his shoulders, crossed over the clothes on the floor, and quietly entered the bedroom.

Victor was sitting by the window sill and watching the full moon outside, his figure under the moonlight casting a cat-shaped silhouette on the curtain. From the direction where Dong Linhai was sleeping came faint snores.

Noticing the Cui Zuojing had entered, Victor leaned out of the gap in the curtains, jumped off the window sill, and followed him silently on to the rooftop.

Cui Zuojing sat cross-legged. The night wind blew at the corners of his clothes, outlining the youth’s slightly thin figure.

“I found Chang Hui’s shadow in a secret copy in the Labyrinth of Time. She made a deal with the main character in the secret realm, and while Dong Zheng was collecting a fragment, she attached something to him.”

Victor sat beside him and raised his head, asking, “Do you think she made specific preparations after learning that we’re back?”

“‘Worm of Mystery’s’ relationship with Chang Hui isn’t good. Even if it did say something, it wouldn’t just tell her alone.” Cui Zuojing said in a low voice, “Could it be that she learned of our whereabouts through other channels? The thing in the secret realm was highly targeted. It’s impossible for her to conceive such a plan so hastily.”

Victor was silent for a moment, then he comforted, “Don’t think about it so much. You’ve just returned for less than a week. Even if you found a clue, it would still be difficult to string it all together. Instead of thinking about it, it’s better to wait patiently for some other prograss.”

Cui Zuojing sighed. “Mmn, I really am somewhat anxious. Now that the tickets were obtained, things will go smoother. But, the thing that Chang Hui attached to Dong Zheng was because of us. If I can’t figure it out, once we find Fu Zhe, he might know what to do.”

“Everything will be fine,” Victor whispered, his paw resting gently on Cui Zuojing’s back.

Early the next morning, Dong Zheng was awakened by the smell of breakfast.

After running through so many passageways in the Labyrinth of Time, he’d slept all through the night. He was so hungry that his stomach felt like it was practically sticking to his back. Dong Zheng sat up and the cover slipped off his body, exposing his strong and muscular chest and the slanted arcs of his collarbones.

He squinted and looked toward the kitchen. He happened to see Cui Zuojing fling away the water in his hands, his face impatient.

Seeing that Dong Zheng was awake, Cui Zuojing paused and immediately pretended that nothing had happened. “I was afraid you would starve to death so I made a little breakfast in the kitchen.”

Dong Linhai had also woken up. He casually threw on some clothes and ran out barefoot to look at what was in the kitchen. Victor reminded him, “Linhai, I suggest you wash up first before eating.”

Dong Linhai directly wore his clothes to sleep last night. He was awakened by his belt in the middle of the night, and feeling uncomfortable, he stripped himself naked in a half-asleep fashion. However, the sheets and the cover were already completely soiled by his clothes.

“Okay…” Dong Linhai withdrew the hand that was about to serve himself noodles. He rubbed his hair, sized the time to rush into the bathroom before Dong Zheng could, and took a quick shower.

Dong Zheng glanced at the kitchen. Two large bowls of boiled noodles were placed on the stove, along with minced meat sauce. He asked in surprise, “You made this?”

“If it’s not me, could it be Victor?” Cui Zuojing opened the balcony window, and the morning breeze drifted in. He turned back to Dong Zheng, who was already holding the bowl out. “Since neither of you look like the cooking type, I just put something together.”

“Thanks.” Dong Zheng put the noodles on the dining table, picked up his clothes from the ground, and threw them into the washing machine. Cui Zuojing was right. Dong Linhai had never entered the kitchen since childhood, and Dong Zheng himself could only make the simplest food.

Just then, Dong Linhai ran out of the bathroom, still wet from his shower. He only had on a pair of big pants and sat at the table.

Dong Zheng went and took a shower. By the time he got out, Dong Linhai was already propped up in his chair, stroking his stomach. His face was full of satisfaction, and he looked like he couldn’t even muster up the wherewithal to get up.

Cui Zuojing made the meal, but he wasn’t at the dining table. Dong Zheng finished putting away the tableware and returned to the living room. Cui Zuojing was listening to Dong Linhai and Victor describe what had happened to them after they were separated.

“At that time in the forest, I suddenly felt something lying on my back, wanting to bite off my neck. I turned around and found that Tongtong also became a ghost. I was scared to death.” Remembering the illusion in the forest, Dong Linhai was still in shock. He tried to brush over it as briefly as possible and said, “Then, Victor turned into a huge white tiger and roared. All of the ghosts disappeared, as if by they’ve been purified.”

Hearing this, Cui Zuojing and Victor both raised their head, looked at each other, and frowned slightly. However, they didn’t interrupt Dong Linhai.

“Later, Victor woke me up. I opened my eyes and found that it was all fake. Then, Victor told me to go to the hut in front as soon as possible. He and I spoke a few words, and I suddenly realized that it was just another layer of illusion. It wasn’t Victor at all. Just like a dream, where illusions are nested layer by layer.”

“After I saw through it, the fake Victor became a Cheshire cat, just like that Cheshire cat in the Alice in Wonderland movie. Do you know what I mean?” Dong Linhai asked, gestuculating.

Cui Zuojing said, “Yes, continue. And then?”

“Then, the Cheshire cat asked me a sentence from the Alice in Wonderland book, and it dissapeared. I woke up again and found myself in Miss Deer’s cabin. There’s nothing more to say. Victor knows what happened after that.” Dong Linhai saw that Cui  Zuojing looked uneasy, and he tentatively asked, “What’s wrong? Is there something wrong?”

Cui Zuojing shook his head. “Right now, it’s hard to say.”

He turned to Dong Zheng, who was sitting next to him, and asked, “What about you? Did you encounter anything strange with Allen after I returned to the prisoner’s space?”

Dong Zheng thought carefully and replied, “No, the only strange thing was the light that entered my body, but you already knew about that.”

Cui Zuojing said, “Okay. Then this box would be the last one for the time being. The points and rewards you’d obtained were good, and you also retrieved tickets. There’s no need to explore any more in this novice area. After two days of rest, we’ll go to the next area.”

Dong Linhai said, “So? After listening to us, did you have any conclusions?”

“The conclusion is that the enemies have begun to appear one after another.” Cui Zuojing turned his head to look out the sunny window. Narrowing his eyes, he softly said, “Tonight is the blood night.”

Dong Zheng gave him a definitive reply. “Mmn, today is the eight day.”

Cui Zuojing tucked his hand into the drawer under the table and pulled out a piece of blank paper. “It’s okay. You just need to remember not to go out tonight.”

Dong Linhai was full of doubts, but he unexpectedly didn’t comment on Cui Zuojing’s inauspicious words. In the end, he didn’t ask anything and went back to the bedroom to make up for his lost sleep.

Dong Zheng watched Cui Zuojing draw a few irregular shapes on the paper. After seeing Cui Zuojing drew a solid circle in the lower left corner, he asked, “What are you doing?”

“We’re here on the map.” Using the pen’s tip, Cui Zuojing pointed to the small circle that marked their current location and then drew a five-pointed star in the center of the map. “And the final pilgrimage destination is here.”

“The ideal plan is to first use the ticket to enter District XII, then travel to the top of the giant tree, which is District V. After that, go through the Corridor of Memory to reach the area managed by Kether. From there, we can quickly reach God’s Back Garden and find the queen.”

As he spoke, Cui Zuojing drew corresponding lines, illustrating the slight twist and turns that eventually connected the circle and the star.

Dong Zheng was completely ignorant. The novice handbook didn’t cover the Pure White Realm’s geographical layout at all. The only sentence related to it was: For more information, please go to the next area as soon as possible.

Dong Zheng could only say, “It’s up to you to decide for now.”

“Of course, this is just the most ideal situation. It’ll probably take about…three to four years to reach the end of the pilgrimage.” Cui Zuojing put the pen down, folded the map in two, and put it into Dong Zheng’s jacket pocket.

The youth stood up, walked to the door, opened it, and turned to Dong Zheng. “I’m going out and will come back at night.”

Before Dong Zheng could express his opinion, the sound of the door closing blocked all of his words.

Dong Zheng: …….

Well, he should probably get used to it as soon as possible.

But this temperament…was indeed a bit too bad.

Like this, the day passed in a very ordinary way. The two brothers had just experienced a thrilling box and stayed inside to recuperate.

In the evening, Cui Zuojing returned from outside. Instead of entering the house, he walked up to the highest level of the tube building and climbed the vertical ladder up to the roof.

The sun was slanting west, and the silhouette of the moon glowed faintly in the east. Cui Zuojing dropped the case in his arms, which made a loud noise as it hit the ground. It obviously wasn’t light.

He sat in the middle of the rooftop, took a playing card from his pocket, silently cut the tape from the box, and pulled out a beer.

At the same time, Dong Zheng was looking up information on the Pure White Realm’s app about the prisoner contract and the blood contract. After the blood contract with Cui Zuojing was completed, the original prisoner card became a coat of arms and directly attached to Dong Zheng’s hand.

This was only unique to prisoners with a blood contract. Ordinary prisoners would remain inside the owner’s prisoner card, making it very easy for people to snatch away. Whoever held the card would become the owner and would qualify to command the prisoner.

The App had a forum dedicated solely to pilgrims and the user’s level was divided according to the area that pilgrim was staying. Dong Zheng searched the forum for information about prisoner’s cards obtained in the novice box and discovered that, without exception, these prisoner cards were atrociously weak.

Elderly people with mobility issues, mischievous children, and middle-aged women who nagged like mothers…Some people even summoned delicate slippers. One could imagine that the only use for a slipper was to beat cockroaches.

How was it even possible for slippers to become prisoners?

Dong Zheng thought about it and was certain that it would be impossible for novices to summon prisoners with Cui Zuojing’s level of strength. The boy had too many secrets, and his existence itself seemed to have broken many of the Pure White Realm’s rules.

But, all these questions could be explored slowly and with a deeper understanding.

At the moment, what Dong Zheng cared about the most was learning the various methods to manipulate prisoners, including summoning, recalls, precise location sharing, sensory sharing, and what was most important to him at present….

The sun completely sank under the city’s horizon, and a huge, full moon hung quietly in the sky. However, on closer inspection, one could see web-like cracks slowly emerge on the moon’s surface, gradually growing and spreading, as if the moon was shattering piece by piece.

Cui Zuojing threw the third beer can down and suddenly discovered that the two-way connection between him and Dong Zheng had suddenly disappeared.


The teen let out a short laugh.

Cui Zuojing mumbled under his breath, and still hadn’t mustered up any decent complaints when he heard the door to the roof opened behind him and someone climbed up.


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3 years ago

Eyyyy CZJ unexpectedly is the cook between him and DZ. Honestly I thought neither would know how to cook. Or that both can cook but would taste horrible

Woooooah DZ is learning fast how to control CZJ asdfghjkl