IWOL Chapter 322: Exploring the Cave Again

Dong Zheng lay down, gradually falling asleep. Groggily, he saw Luo Yan sitting on the cross of the church. The area at her feet was full of corpses with black pus. Crows hovered overhead. With eyes full of tears, she yelled to him, “There’s no time. Go and save Ah’Zuo!”

The scenery suddenly changed, and he was standing in the hallway. Cui Zuojing was out of reach, constantly coughing. Blood spilled from his lips, and the fiery red-brand on his face pulsed with each breath. Cui Zuojing, who had broken free from the constraints of time, gritted his teeth and resisted the suction from the picture frame behind him. Dong Zheng ran towards him with all his strength, but the distance between them seemed to be getting longer and longer instead. In the end, Dong Zheng could only watch helplessly as Cui Zuojing was sucked into the painting.

“Ah’Zuo!” Dong Zheng shouted and suddenly opened his eyes. What he saw was the ceiling shrouded in darkness. He squeezed his eyes tight, turned his face to the side, and pressed his nose into the pillow.

He silently swallowed the bitterness down and warm liquid slid sideways down his eyes, penetrated into the pillowcase, and left behind dark spots.

Before dawn, the lights on the deck kept the room from being completely dark. On a calm night, Dong Zheng turned over with the sound of silence, and his sense of loneliness was an overwhelming flood.

It turned out that shouldering the burden of everything alone was so heavy.

And this kind of feeling, Ah’Zuo had felt all the time.

The comfortable days on the ship didn’t continue. When the island’s outline appeared in the distant horizon, the crew yelled and tried to turn the ship off course to avoid it. Dong Zheng collected the food and necessities that he had prepared in his room long ago, and waited for the right time to jump ship.

In about ten minutes, the sea monster would launch an attack, and the terrifying tentacles would directly break the cruise ship in half.

Dong Zheng waited until the ship suddenly shook violently, and people began to scream.

He quickly descended to the first floor. Countless tentacles stretched out from under the sea and swept across the deck, breaking everything. The ship fell into chaos as everyone tried to escape.

The cruise ship approached the island under the coercion of the sea monster, and the rear power cabin exploded. The raging flames made the less optimistic situation more dangerous, tuning this luxurious cruise ship into a Shura field.

Knowing that the Wonton Insurgency team wouldn’t need his help, Dong Zheng picked the right time and jumped into the sea.

The sea water was already stained with blood. The direction and speed of the water flow allowed the kernel to accurately calculate any possible danger and plan an absolutely safe route. Dong Zheng moved his arms and swam towards the island not far away.

It took him forty minutes to swim to shore. He was completely drenched but with the power of body, Dong Zheng didn’t feel tired at all. He should be the first person to reach the island. Before the others arrived, Dong Zheng quickly packed up his wet clothes, moved away from the shore, and headed towards the mountains and forests.

During their previous time on Dusk Island, the team was restricted by their lack of strength and so the amount of land they explored was very limited. Now, he needed to figure out the situation of the entire island as soon as possible.

It was dusk, and Ziz was setting out from the sealed land in the center of the island, conducting its evening patrol. The huge wings swept the air into hurricanes and made the forest tops rustled. Dong Zheng hurriedly walked into the dense forest. Although the kernel allowed him to see things in the dark, it was safer to find a place to spend the night before the sky completely got dark.

There were a lot of mosquitoes in the forest, but Dong Zheng wasn’t as troubled as when he first came. He had the power of body and could heal in an instant even if he was bitten.

A beast with a lion face and intestine-like patterns on its head jumped out from behind the tree and roared at Dong Zheng in a low voice, releasing hallucinations. The firewall in his kernel stood firm and resisted it. Dong Zheng just glanced at it and continued to march through the dense forest.

The illusion created by this monster couldn’t even deceive him at that time, let alone now.

The monster leaned forward reluctantly, its hind legs tightened, as if it was about to attack. Dong Zheng was annoyed. A ray of mental power stretched out from his kernel and severely slapped the monster’s face.

The monster let out a scream. Realizing that this person wouldn’t be suitable for food, it slipped away.

The sun set quickly, and the last rays of sunlight sank into the sea. At this time, the Wonton Insurgency team should be waking up on the beach one after another and looking for a cave to spend the night.

Dong Zheng went all the way to the east of the island, where the trees gradually became more sparse and the waves hit the rugged reefs on the shore. If he remembered correctly, the island was connected by a series of caves, which meant that there should be a cave nearby.

The cave where they stayed overnight in the past was part of an underground passageway. At that time, they saw the goat head on the cave wall, feared that it was a sign of Satanism, and didn’t risk going deeper.

Ten minutes later, Dong Zheng found a hole scoured by the water nearby. He followed the cave for more than 30 meters, and the passage gradually descended, inclining deep into the island.

Finally, Dong Zheng stopped. He sat down on a flat place ten meters away from the cave. Leaning against the cave wall, he looked at the shimmering crystal ores. Because of these, no bats inhabited this place.

If he looked out in this direction, he could just make out the moonlight reflecting on the sea surface, and he could hear the sound of the waves. The clothes on his body were almost completely dried now. With Victor’s power, Dong Zheng didn’t have to worry about getting sick.

What was his past self doing at this moment?

Did they find firewood nearby, lit a bonfire, and surrounded each other under warm flames, snuggling into sleep?

Dong Zheng closed his eyes. He was sitting alone in a cold and humid cave. Scenes after scenes flashed in his mind, and every scene was about that figure.

After coming out of the Corridor of Memory, he had thought several times about what would happen after leaving the Pure White Realm. He would return to his job and continue his previous life. Cui Zuojing may stay at home and play for a period of time, but he will be dragged out to work in the end. Cui Zuojing didn’t finish his high school and didn’t have enough education, but he could arrange for him to work at his own company, so that they would have more opportunities to meet.

Maybe they would quarrel about the trivial matters of life from time to time, and they may inadvertently create some surprises for each other, but no matter what, everything about the future would be full of warmth.

But now, Dong Zheng was beginning to fear that such a scene would never happen.

He thought back to what he knew about Domingo. Just before the Dusk Island box closed, Domingo pushed Cui Zuojing out and stayed in the box where the demon god was descending. In Snow Parasite Trail, he called them to the underground research Institute. At that time, he was amazed at how Domingo managed to come out of the closed Dusk Island box and entered the Snow Parasite Trail box where only their team was present. Now, everything was clear.

Because Domingo had Fu Zhe’s key.

Dong Zheng checked his pocket and found Fu Zhe’s key quietly lying there.

He had the information provided by Luo Yan, was sent back by Cui Zuojing, protected by Victor, and helped by Fu Zhe. He’d gathered the power of dreams, time, body, and space.

As Luo Yan said, he was their last hope.

One night later, Dong Zheng awakened from a dark dream, opened his eyes, and saw that the horizon was being tinted with the first ray of white dawn.

Dong Zheng slowly got up. His physical strength allowed him to sleep against the hard rock wall all night without any discomfort. At this time, everyone on another area of the beach should be about to find the bones of the fish-form sages.

Dong Zheng went outside to find materials and made a simple torch, then he knocked off some of the crystals on the wall of the cave and carried them on his body. The night vision of the kernel was similar to the eyes of cats, and it was better to collect and use the light.

After preparing, Dong Zheng moved deeper into the cave. At this time, pilgrims scattered across the islands should have found out that they had to explore the area above ground and obtained fragments stipulated in the Gospel from the east, west, south, and north. The underground caves were pitched-black, filled with hidden dangers.

As he explored deeper, the air became more humid. After walking for nearly forty minutes, Dong Zheng finally heard the sound of gurgling water from the cold groundwater flowing in from the river. This was also a passage for Leviathan to enter and exit the island into the sea.

While exploring, Dong Zheng surveyed and mapped the underground cavity through his kernel. The cave radiated out like spider webs. According to Dong Zheng’s experience, there should be something worthwhile in the middle.

Unknown creatures swam in the cold water, their bodies mostly transparent. The smooth rocks under Dong Zheng’s feet were incredibly slippery, so he had to move forward carefully.

Back then, he took the young man’s hand and acted as his eyes. They supported each other and met Leviathan, the giant beast of the sea. He was injured and rested in the cavity for several hours. The blood bond connected their two souls, and because he was hurt and tired, Ah’Zuo let him rest on his lap. They were both bedraggled and the worst for wear, but they didn’t feel fear or loneliness at all.

In a blink of an eye, these memories became the past.

At this time, he had gone deep into the island. Dong Zheng turned at a fork in the road. The cave on this side was wider and the surrounding stone walls were smooth. From the look of friction against the wall, he knew that this was the way for Leviathan to enter and exit.

Leviathan’s habitat should be at the center of this system of caves. In the past, they didn’t encounter Leviathan until late at night. Since it was still morning now, there was a high probability that there would be no danger from it.

Moreover, with Leviathan often passing by, there should definitely be no dangers from other creatures. Therefore, Dong Zheng didn’t worry very much. He continued to move deeper until he was about 100 meters underground. The top of the cave gradually became taller, and when he turned the last corner, his vision suddenly widened.

This cavity was three to four times larger than what they’d encountered in the past. The bottomless pool was the best habitat. The smooth back of the huge sea monster was exposed on the surface, moving up and down as it breathed.

Dong Zheng knocked against a rock, and the monster Leviathan awoke. It made a low noise as it slowly and awkwardly turned over, creating large splashes of water. It was probably ‌changing its resting place because it twisted its huge body and swam into the waterway leading in a certain direction. The iron hard scales all over its body rubbed along the smooth walls of the cave, and its figure gradually disappeared.

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