They had to walk down this path.
Dong Linhai hesitated for a moment. He looked at the two strange guards and then at the forest that looked close to the castle, made up his mind, and said, “I’ll lead them away. Que’er, you follow the clown and continue on.”
The clown could lead the way to the Queen. At this moment, the clown was more important than him.
Wang Que instinctively stretched out her hand to hold him. She also knew that, right now, the clown was indispensable. But was she really going to be separated from Linhai now?
“Don’t worry. I’ll just lead them away, and I won’t be in danger. Trust me.” Dong Linhai held her hand, glanced at the clown, and quickly turned to press a kiss to Wang Que’s face. “Go ahead.”
Wang Que nodded and said, “Be careful.”
“You too.” Dong Linhai touched both hands to his wrists, and his wristband dissolved, materializing into two daggers. He took a deep breath, moved toward the guards, and then ran away.
The guards soon discovered Dong Linhai, an unexpected guest. They called out to him loudly, and when he ignored their warning and tried to break through the defense line into the forest, they immediately attacked. The black-clothed fat ball spit out black smoke and rushed towards Linhai, while the white-clothed fat ball took a deep breath, causing its whole body to swell. In the blink of an eye, it became a real bulging big ball and rushed toward Dong Linhai!
The two guards temporarily moved away from the entrance of the path, leaving it unguarded. The clown and Wang Que took the opportunity to rush in. The fat black ball guard saw them and immediately turned back to chase after them. But it was already too late; they had already succeeded in running to the forest.
Wang Que ran after the clown. The path was very narrow. Branches and bushes encroached on both sides, scratching her skin when she became inattentive. The clown ran for about two kilometers and made sure that the guards were thrown off before he finally slowed.
After three years of vigorous exercise, Wang Que’s physical strength far outpaced the weak girl she’d once been. But she was still slightly panting. After adjusting her breathing and heartbeat, she said, “About how far is it?”
“Almost there.” Before his voice fell, Wang Que heard the sound of gurgling water. The clown pushed aside the branches blocking their path and stepped forward. There was a small stream running across the path.
[The fifth square was full of water.]
The stream was quick-moving, and there were many gray floccules in the clear water, floating along with the water and making the water look less clear.
Wang Que asked, “What are those?”
“They’re despair, produced by various pilgrims in various boxes. After being collected, they float all the way along the water to the God’s Back Garden to become the Queen’s life nourishment.”
Wang Que was a little surprised. It was clear that emotions stem from people’s hearts. How could they become concrete?
“Do we have to cross it?”
“Cross,” the clown confirmed. “The water is thigh-high. You must pay attention. If you’re touched by despair, you will immediately feel it and it will swallow you emotionally.”
The clown took the lead, walking steadily. Although he was large, his body was surprisingly flexible. The stream was five meters wide, and so the distance wasn’t too long. For half a minute, he guarded himself very carefully. However, a mass of flocculent still managed to touch his body, submerging into his body in an instant.
Despair should have infected him, but the clown didn’t show any reaction at all. He still held firm and steady, stepping on the smooth stones at the bottom of the stream until he reached the bank.
When it was Wang Que’s turn to cross, she readily stepped into the water. The stream was cold, as if carrying water melted from snow-capped mountains. She carefully tried to avoid the gray flocculants, while paying attention to her feet. The bottom of the river was incredibly slippery after being washed all year round, and the turbulent water could easily sweep people away.
When she stepped forward, a flocculant rushed by quickly, knocking into Wang Que’s waist. Unprecedented despair swept over her in an instant.
She seemed to see a raging flame, and inside that flame was a human figure burnt black, struggling and screaming, wailing painfully in the stomach of that fire. He leaped and waved his limbs, as if engaged in a dance of death in some kind of supreme offering of his burning soul.
But no matter how hard he struggled, the flames stuck to his body like the claws of an insect, until he was burnt to ashes and fell silently to the ground,
What deep despair.
Wang Que’s chest was so heavy that she couldn’t breathe, as if the pain and the despair truly were birthed from inside her heart. Her figure became unsteady for a moment. It was because she’d experienced this pain firsthand on the day Allen died on that Snow Parasite Trail.
At that time, had her despair also turned into flocculants and were carried along running water all the way to the Queen’s Back Garden to become her nourishment?
Wang Que felt an unspeakable anger. She bit down hard on the tip of her tongue, and the ensuing pain lent her a moment of clarity. Taking advantage of this, she made large strides to the bank of the stream and grabbed the clown’s outstretched hand, allowing herself to be pulled up.
“Are you okay?”
The clown wasn’t too worried about Wang Que. Compared to the last time he’d seen her, this girl had progressed by leaps and bounds. They squeezed water from their pants and then proceeded along the path once more.
Soon after, Wang Que’s ears perked up. There were small insects living in the forest, giving her a message. A group of…what was approaching?
The clown also became aware of the fast approaching crisis. He stopped and whispered, “Not good!”
Through the eyes of a beetle, Wang Que saw the fast-moving figures, red in color. Paperman!
Paperman, burned as a sacrifice to the deceased! They wore crimson shrouds and had deathly pale faces with gorgeous, heavy makeup. Their faces were stiff, as if they were dead lonely ghouls, making them look even more sinister.
More and more papermen swept across the beetle’s vision. The stream of black, red, and white were nearly innumerable. Their bodies were delicate and extremely thin, allowing them to ride the wind and fly toward them at fast speed!
“We’ve been discovered,” the clown said quickly. “The Assassination Corps are the Queen’s hidden trump card.”
[The sixth square is the domain of the humpty.]
“What should we do? Look for a place to hide?” The papermen of the Assassination Corps were getting closer, frightening flocks of birds, which threw themselves into the sky. Wang Que couldn’t help wanting to rush away. Once these papermen reached them, how would it end?
“No. I’ll hold them off. You continue forward. Walk along the path all the way and it’ll end at the Queen’s castle. She’ll be waiting for the pilgrims at the front of the castle, wanting to reverse all hope. So you must move fast.”
The clown pulled an axe out from nowhere. The axe looked ancient, and although the edge was still very sharp and bright, one could see worn marks on the handle. With both hands, he solemnly handed the axe to Wang Que and said, “You must hold on to it. It is the only weapon that can really kill the Queen.”
Wang Que took the axe with both hands, gripping the handle tightly. She looked at the clown, not understanding, and he smiled and said, “Later down the path, you’ll need to go alone.”
Under the exaggerated red-painted lips, his smile seemed both bitter and guilty, as well as containing an indescribable warmth. At the time, she didn’t understand what the clown’s smile had meant. She simply nodded and said firmly, “I will. Please trust me.”
The papermen floated through the forest, the sound faintly ringing in their ears. The clown ran to meet them without hesitation, leaving the path, until his figure was nearly enveloped by the forest.
Back then, when he was the last remnant of the Red Queen’s party, he’d been hunted and attacked by the Assassination Corps for three full months. He’d escaped from the castle to the Corridor of Memory, travelled through the Loss of Revival, and walked across nearly the entirety of the Pure White Realm. Then, on a rainy night, he was rescued by the leader of the circus.
Dr. Strange sewed up his fatal wound with coarse stitches, leaving an ugly centipede-like scar that was still visible even now.
A dark figure suddenly swept across his vision, bringing with it the breath of death. The clown came to an abrupt stop. With his two blades gripped in his hands, he looked just like he’d stepped out of a blood night.
One paperman after another dropped silently around him, surrounding him tightly.
There was a sneer on the clown’s lips. Back then, they’d made him shed a great deal of blood, bringing great pain and shame to his heart, and he’d never forgotten.
Now, he was about to exact his revenge.
When the first dark paperman came at him, the clown moved incredibly fast. He was so fast that the two crescent scimitars left an afterglow. Just like the afterglow of the moonlight, blocking everything, he cut down all the papermen surrounding him.
Once, he’d been the most powerful slayer.
The white-robed man hovered between the door with the book held in both hands. He was intertwined in the power of illusion and space, which had turned the maze nearly endless. Even the book of prophecy Worm of Mystery also had a difficult time finding the exit.
But it wasn’t in a hurry.
It had already solved the problem of the woman. Meanwhile, the doctor that was favored by both the Goddess of Fate and the Goddess of Doom was in no way Tang Ji’s match. The remaining two children weren’t anything to fear. And although the man had destroyed Kether, he also suffered severe damage himself. As for the holder of time and body, Cui Zuojing and Victor would be handed over to the Queen to deal with.
Cerberus stepped out of the door behind the white-robed man. Before the man could turn around, the Persian scimitar accurately beheaded him.
The white-turbaned head hit the ground and rolled a few times, but no blood spurted out. The headless man turned toward Cerberus. His head stopped rolling, reversed, and returned on its original path back onto the man’s neck.
In that moment, Cerberus saw that on the page of the book that was spread out in front of the white-robed man, there was a single line of written words:
This was bad! He immediately slipped back through the door. The white-robed man immediately opened the door that Cerberus entered, only to find that behind the door lay endless emptiness.
Worm of Mystery wasn’t in a hurry. He stepped back and continued to slowly search for a way out. Anyway, it was impossible for “him” to be killed now.
Cerberus went through several doors one after another, temporarily putting some distance between himself and Worm of Mystery. The flute sounded faintly in his ears, pointing him in the right direction.
He remembered that Fu Zhe had said that he “couldn’t touch the book” and had urged that he find a way to separate the book from the person without making physical contact with the book itself.
What should he do?
It was simple, so simple that Cerberus thought of the method in less than a second.
Wouldn’t it be sufficient to simply chop his hands off?