IWOL Chapter 320: Aboard the Cruise Ship

Cui Zuojing was completely pulled into the painting.

All the power of time that he could control at present had already been used up on Ding Zheng, even as he watched the man’s figure disappear in front of him. Now, surrounded by chaos, the second seal on the inner side of Cui Zuojing’s wrist glowed brightly into an unprecedented light. In overdrafting his current power, the power hidden deeper in his body broke out, and so the second seal that had long been unmoved finally loosened. Suddenly, pressed under the power of chaos, it completely shattered.

More power gushed out from Cui Zuojing, firmly protecting him, as he hit the ground. Were it not for the solid feeling underneath him, he would not have realized there was a ground in all this whiteness.

He slowly got up, no longer in pain due to Victor’s treatment earlier. He stared at Cheriyu Nana, who was sitting ten meters away from him. She was dressed in a red and black kimono, her black hair brushed the floor, and her kitana rested on her knees.

“Why?” Cui Zuojing asked. Thousands of words and countless disappointments were gathered in this one word.

“Why? Because I have stayed here for…maybe eight years, I don’t know.” Cheriyu Nana chuckled softly. “I didn’t completely lie to you. Loneliness can make people fall apart, loneliness can make people betray. At that time, I was almost on the verge of collapse, so when the Queen found me and I couldn’t even die, I could only choose to agree.”

“Why? Why couldn’t you find me earlier? Why couldn’t you try to rescue me earlier? Do you know how it felt to be trapped all alone, not knowing the passage of time, and having no contact with the world outside? Do you understand how terrible it was to not even be able to kill yourself? Have you ever experienced hope turning into despair as you waited day after day for rescue?” Cheriyu Nana stood up and slowly pulled her kitana from its scabbard. She said softly, “It’s a pity. Everything is too late now; there’s no turning back.”

“No.” Cui Zuojing touched the dark pattern on the back of his hand and said in a deep voice, “You have the power of the Master of Chaos, and the Queen is nothing. ‌You can leave once you control the five powers.”

“Wrong.” Cheriyu Nana lifted her hair from the side of her neck, revealing a blood-like mark that looked as if it was alive, constantly beating with her breathing.

“After becoming her heir, the moment you betray her, this thing will immediately kill you.”

“I have obtained the freedom I want, and I don’t want to die.”

Cui Zuojing nodded. He could understand the reason for Cheriyu Nana’s betrayal, but he would never forgive her for her actions.

“So what do you want to do now?”

“The queen wants your time power,” Cheriyu Nana said. “Tang Ji is already outside collecting Victor’s body power. By the way, you don’t know, right? The heir we called J is actually called Tang Ji.”

“If you want it, then come and grab it.”

With a flash, the Tang sword appeared in Cui Zuojing’s hands. Before entering Rose Church, he had commissioned a weapons dealer to transform the Tang sword, which had accompanied him since the Doll’s House, into a weapon that he could carry with him at any time and anywhere.

Cheriyu Nana smiled faintly. The good memories, the mutual support, and the gratification of her teaching Cui Zuojing to be a cold weapon master step by step were all turned into flying dust as the two of them met.

Yes, she could not go back anymore. When she agreed to the Queen’s invitation, she was already prepared to cut everything off. She was no longer the “Gray Wolf” of the Afternoon Tea Party but the Queen’s heir, Cheriyu Nana.

She smiled, a smile that was as beautiful as it was in the past. But what was missing from this smile was her former gentleness. “It had been about ten years since we last fought face to face. Come, let me see if you’ve improved.”

——

Dong Zheng—no, he should be called Domingo now—opened the closet and hurriedly changed into a suit. He wrapped his blood-soaked clothes into a ball and threw it into the sea. The dead pilgrim was lying quietly on the bed.

Dong Zheng stood by his bed in silence for a moment, mourning this sudden death, and then he opened the door and walked out of the room.

There were multiple surveillance cameras at the doors and hallways. With his kernel, there was no need for him to hide. The moment Dong Zheng sent out a thought, the surveillance cameras were all disrupted, so that there was no record of him walking past.

This was Dusk Island, one of the first few boxes they’d entered after coming to the Pure White Realm. After five days, the luxury cruise ship would be attacked by sea monsters, and so the pilgrims would end up marooned on an island where many legendary creatures walked.

As Dong Zheng walked in a hurry, he tried his best to recall everything about this box and everything about Domingo at the time.

He must never reveal that he was the future Dong Zheng. There are many paradoxes in time travel, and the prophet paradox was one of them. If the time traveler tells the people what will happen in the future, those people might try to change it, which could ultimately cause the time traveler to cease to exist.

He would not allow Cui Zuojing and his companions, the very people who he needed to go back through time and space to save, to disappear.

He turned a corner and almost collided head-on with someone coming from the other side.

The youth took two steps back politely and leaned to the side to allow him to pass first. “Sorry.”

The moment Dong Zheng saw him, his dead, silent heart suddenly throbbed back to life. The youth still looked 16 years old, wearing a suspender suit and holding a white cat in his arms. His cheeks were bulging, as if he was eating something.

This was…his Ah’Zuo.

“It’s okay.” Dong Zheng wanted to smile at him, but he couldn’t at all. In the end, his lips only twitched. He bitterly suppressed the intense emotions in his heart, glanced at Victor disguised as a cat, withdrew his gaze, and walked away from him without a second glance.

After he’d walked some distance away, Dong Zheng finally couldn’t help it anymore. He looked back in time to see Cui Zuojing reach the end of the corridor, and in an instant,his figure disappeared from sight.

Dong Zheng squeezed his eyes shut. His hands clenched into tight fists, his fingers digging deeply into his palm without any sense of pain.

After a long time, Dong Zheng took a step forward. His Ah’Zuo, his brother, and his companions were still waiting for him to save them. He mustn’t delay his actions for any reasons. Absolutely not!

A total of 30 pilgrims entered the Dusk Island Box, and one of them had already died in the room because of Dong Zheng. His corpse would be discovered once night fell. Until then, he would be the man’s temporary replacement, becoming the 30th person so as not to arouse suspicions.

Soon, another pilgrim would die under the claws of the gluttonous beast, Gulon, in the cruise ship’s power cabin. The corpse that was eaten up wouldn’t be discovered until two days later. And because of the number problem, doubts would arise.

After sorting out all the upcoming events, Dong Zheng hurried to the dining area. At this time, the pilgrims were listening to the director’s explanations on how the shooting would be arranged on the cruise ship.

By the time he arrived, the director had already finished speaking, and everyone was eating. Dong Zheng found a corner to sit down. The table was full of rich and delicate dishes, but he had no appetite so he ate very little.

From his position, he could see the Wonton Insurgency’s table, which was fairly close by. His past self had already finished eating and was chatting with Allen. Dong Zheng couldn’t remember what he’d spoken to Allen about, but they were both laughing together and Allen was gesturing with both hands as he talked. Wang Que wore a beautiful dress. Seeing that her glass was empty, Dong Linhai filled it up with a bottle of Coke first before sneaking what was left of the Coke into Lin Hangzhi’s glass of red wine.

Lin Hangzhi was grinning as he listened to Allen talk. He took a sip of red wine from the glass and nearly spit it out due to the strange taste.

Seeing that his trick had succeeded, Dong Linhai laughed out loud, and even Wang Que quirked her lips in amusement. At this time, Cui Zuojing returned with Victor. He sat next to the other Dong Zheng, poured a glass of white wine, and placed it in front of Victor. The white cat’s paws rested on the table as his pink tongue stretched out to lick at the wine.

Dong Zheng lowered his eyes. Their laughter reached his ears, but those happiness had nothing to do with him.

Soon, he left the restaurant. His kernel hacked into all the monitoring on the ship, and the ship’s entire structure became clear to his eyes. He even knew where the gluttonous beasts on the ship were hiding at this very moment. Those ravenous creatures were stealing food from the kitchen, and in two days, their behavior would be discovered, resulting in the captain initially treating them as simple stowaways.

Since even the program staff were not aware of the specific participants their sponsors had invited, Dong Zheng was able to very smoothly mix in among the pilgrims. He found an empty guest room to stay in; with his kernel, he didn’t need a room card.

Dong Zheng sat on the big bed and went through everything he knew about Cheriyu Nana. The legend about the Master of Oblivion in the Endless Sea was clearly something the Queen had deliberately released to act as bait, and she did indeed manage to hook them quite smoothly. When they discovered Cheriyua Nana, because Dong Zheng wasn’t familiar with her and because she still seemed quite weak, he never doubted the fact that she was still imprisoned.

When she said that the Queen had an heir, she pointed the finger at Luo Yan. As everyone was beginning to doubt Luo Yan, she also added that she herself might be the heir and she might be saying this to instigate their distrust.

On the surface, this may seem like she was putting herself in a dangerous position, but in fact, it helped her avoid heavy suspicion. Dong Zheng had to admit that Cheriyu Nana’s psychological tactics were indeed superb.

Later, she even borrowed Victor’s words to provide a reason why Luo Yan might betray them, which made everyone more convinced. From beginning to end, Cheriyu Nana only had to say one sentence to arouse everyone’s suspicion: “Have you seen Luo Yan?”

After that, she induced them to say everything.

Dong Zheng took a deep breath. Even if it was another person, regardless of whether it was him, Cui Zuojing, or Victor, neither of them were willing to be mistrustful without proof. Moreover, Cheriyu Nana and Cui Zuojing were once very close. As teammates, they trusted each other and once shared the ultimate goal of overthrowing the Queen and leaving the Pure White Realm. Who would have imagined…in the eight years since Cui Zuojing left, although some things remained the same, some people had changed?

The window was open. The afternoon sun was shining, casting down its warmth. The sound of other people playing on the deck could be faintly heard outside. Right now, what was Cui Zuojing’s situation like? He’d used all his time power to send Dong Zheng back in time, so how could he fight against Cheriyu Nana’s power of chaos?

His chest began to throbbing uncontrollably again, and Dong Zheng couldn’t bear to think about it anymore. The windows were open, the afternoon sun was shining, it was warm, and the sound of other people playing on the deck could be faintly heard outside. He got up and stood by the window. From this angle, he could see the younger Cui Zuojing, who was lying obliquely on the sun lounger on the balcony, basking in the sun.

His worry-free youth.


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Sev
Sev
3 years ago

Paradoxes just make everything better am I right? Thanks for the chapter, even though I’m quite late

yel
yel
2 years ago

now i can see how desperate domingo was back then. can’t even begin to imagine how he felt at that time, seeing his team in the past still alive, while he’s there so that he can save them

thatonecat
thatonecat
1 year ago

His physical appearance is a paradox, since Victor copied it from seeing Domingo in the past. Just like how the arrow design is another paradox.