It was unknown when the ash grey clouds had occupied the entire sky. It just seemed that the sun was still shining in one second, and in the next second, the sky drooped with heavy rain clouds.
As if a rainstorm was coming.
When the first drops fell, leaving dark, circular marks on the stone road, the dolls on the streets rushed into the nearest shop to take shelter from the rain.
Most of them were terrified of water. After all, it would take a lot of work to get dry after becoming wet.
The drizzle soon became a heavy downpour. When the rain fell to the ground, it seemed to stir up a hazy fog. A black cat squatted on the rooftop, tail curled and blue eyes looking at the empty street below.
Hearing the footsteps behind him, the black cat turned his head and meowed. “I knew that once it started raining, you would come.”
“Where there is business, how can I not come?”
The voice was very light, as if the sounds would dissipate in the wind and rain before leaving her mouth. The girl, wearing a dress from the Republic of China and holding a paper umbrella, walked silently to the black cat. The seven-eyed and three-tailed beast rested on her shoulders, starting vigilantly at the black cat with scarlet eyes.
“Speaking of which, why are you here, Midnight?”
The cat called Midnight leisurely said, “Of course, it was because of the little black goat that we hadn’t seen for a long time and the crow with its wings broken.”
“Worm of Mystery told you?”
Midnight scoffed disdainfully. “How could that broken book share information with others? Of course, it was from Kether. Administrator 03 told the queen about it, and I overheard them. But…how did you find out?”
Chang Hui smiled very gently and said in a soft voice, “I go where there is desire. The taste of desire in our little black goat is a rare treasure in the world. I can’t miss it.”
“Except for him, there is no one else who can make you wait for ten years without making a successful transaction.”
“Good things are always worth waiting for.”
One person and one cat were silent for a long time, while dull thunder sounded from the distance. Under the roof, the dolls chatted or drank alone, looking at the street, waiting for the rain to pass.
Midnight stood. His pure black fur gradually turned orange and white and his blue eyes shifted to amber. He murmured, “Although the final heir is unlikely to be me, I can always make trouble for the two guys and watch them struggle. How can I let you have all the fun?”
“Then feel free. Do as you wish and satisfy all your desires, for it is the essence of life.”
“How can I not listen to the words of the devil.” Midnight stared at her with a large smile. As his body melted and disappeared, only the smile hung in the air before quietly shattering.
Chang Hui tucked a lock of short hair behind her ear. The little beast affectionately brushed against the side of her pale face. Her weak heart expended great effort to circulate blood through her whole body. Holding the umbrella, she cautiously and solemnly walked off the roof.
“The devil also pays attention to contracts when doing business. I’m not being too excessive, right, Duo Fei?”
The little beast praised her with a loud cry.
“Iron door, iron window, iron chair–Hand gripping on to the iron window bars while I gaze out–How wonderful life outside was…”
Allen sat on the ground, leaning against the wall of the cell, and singing a song of grief. Dong Linhai held back a yawn, then immediately lay directly on the ground and fell asleep. Lin Hangzhi was in a daze in the corner. Cui Zuojing sat next to Dong Zheng, playing with a straw in a bored manner.
Allen had rescued the little duckling out of reflex, exposing their identities as human beings. They had no room to make a defense and were directly sent to prison.
No one cared what good deeds they had done. In the eyes of the dolls, men were high-risk creatures capable of destroying anything.
The only good thing in the cell was that there was a barred window set high on the wall, allowing them to see a small piece of the sky outside. Right now, the sky was covered with clouds, and rain was falling in a drizzle, until the pittering pattering gradually grew heavier and heavier.
The atmosphere in the cell became damp, and Cui Zuojing stared up at the gloomy sky, frowning slightly.
He stood up, patted off the straws on his pants, and said to Dong Zheng, “I’ll go out for a while.”
Allen suddenly became energetic and stopped poisoning everyone’s ears with his singing. “Hey, I knew you have a way to escape.”
“Only myself. You should stay here.” Cui Zuojing pointed to the bars and said to Dong Zheng, “Lend me your shoulder.”
Dong Zheng asked, “What are you going to do?”
“It’s too boring so I wanted to go out and take a stroll.”
Dong Zheng didn’t believe this answer, but he kept silent and didn’t ask any more. He faced the wall and squatted down below the window. Cui Zuojing stepped on his shoulders, and Dong Zheng’s sank slightly under his weight.
Dong Zheng didn’t expect Cui Zuojing to be so heavy. He was 170 centimeters in height and weighed at least 130 kilograms.
Although Cui Zuojing remained sixteen years old and looked very thin, his many years of life and death struggles in the Pure White Realm had given him a lot of lean muscles. Unlike the bulky muscles that many people deliberately cultivated through intense training, his muscles were strong and well-proportioned, clinging to his bones and invisible when wearing clothes.
Dong Zheng took a deep breath, supported Cui Zuojing’s calves with both hands, and slowly stood up, allowing the boy to reach the height of the bars.
Cui Zuojing took a blank page torn from the diary and easily cut open the entire iron bars. He crawled out using his small stature to advantage and didn’t forget to put the iron bars back in place, so that the patrolling dolls would not find any abnormality.
“I’ll come back as soon as I can.” Dong Zheng saw the youth wave one hand to him, then stood up and disappeared in one step.
“What is this, so disorganized and undisciplined.” Allen sighed and fell back into the pile of rice straws.
Lin Hangzhi comforted him. “Don’t worry. Wait for Wang Que and Victor to finish negotiating and see if we can be released. If we can’t find another way, it just so happens that we can treat this place as somewhere to take a good rest.”
Dong Zheng returned back to his original position. He wasn’t too worried. He believed that Cui Zuojing had propriety.
Two minutes later, Dong Zheng, who had his eyes closed and was meditating, suddenly opened his eyes and doubtfully touched the dull grass-shaped coat of arms on the back of his left hand.
Cui Zuojing had unilaterally severed the connection between them.
Thus, even with the existence of the blood contract, he still had no way to sense the situation over there.
What exactly did he want to do?
Cui Zuojing, who was being missed by Dong Zheng, was already on the street. The prison that held them was in the middle of town. Not far away was a small castle, where Agatha lived.
Even though it was raining heavily, Cui Zuojing didn’t carry an umbrella or wear a hat. The rain fell on his hair and shoulders, bringing with it an unusually biting chill.
Cui Zuojing stuck his hands in his pockets and walked aimlessly.
A drop of rain fell into his eyes. As if feeling something, he stopped. Without turning his head, he said, “Since you’re here, don’t hide.”
“I’m not hiding.” Chang Hui walked out from behind the column of a shop not far away from him. She was only 13 to 14 years old, just within the age of innocence. But, these things had never appeared in her eyes.
“I’ve been waiting to see you before it’s too late. Why would I hide?”
Her words were subtle, but both she and Cui Zuojing were tacitly aware of her true meaning. Cuo Zuojing turned around and stared for a few seconds at the beast at Chang Hui’s feet. He saw his figure reflected in the seven red eyes before finally turning to Chang Hui.
“But you’re still going to be disappointed again. I won’t make a deal with you.”
“I can kill the queen for you.”
“No need. When it comes to revenge, what’s the point of letting others do it?” Cuo Zuojing raised his hand and pushed back the wet hair sticking to his face, revealing a smooth forehead. The corners of his lips lifted in a mocking smile. “If the queen knew that her respected heir took the initiative to offer to kill her for a deal, what would she think?”
Chang Hui just smiled gently and didn’t answer. She knew that business couldn’t be done today, but she didn’t feel very upset.
Cui Zuojing didn’t have the time to waste with her and asked straightforwardly, “In the secret realm inside the Labyrinth of Time, what did you put in Dong Zheng’s body?”
“A small gift.” This was equivalent to Chang Hui admitting that she was the one who’d done it. She added with a smile, “After all these years, when seeing an old friend again, is it not too much to give a gift?”
Cui Zuojing was silent. A few seconds later, his tone became chilly. “If I find that something is wrong with Dong Zheng, I will definitely kill you.”
The beast immediately raised its ears vigilantly. Claws extended from the pads of its paws, and its back arched. It growled, showing a mouth full of sharp fangs, indicating that it was ready to pounce on Cui Zuojing’s throat at any time.
“Duo Fei,” Chang Hui rebuked softly. The little beast whimpered and reluctantly retracted its claws, but it still stared at Cui Zuojing unblinkingly.
Facing Cui Zuojing’s unkind gaze, Chang Hui seemed tired. She changed the umbrella from her right hand to her left hand, revealing the silver bracelet on her left wrist that her parents had made to prevent her from dying prematurely. “Don’t worry, I’ve always kept my promise to people. Based on our many years of acquaintanceship, I will give you a piece of advice—”
“Be careful of your friends.”
The rain stopped abruptly. There was no trace of Chang Hui anywhere, as if the girl and the beast had disappeared with the rain. The sun came out from behind the clouds. But Cui Zuojing’s completely drenched body and the rain on the ground proved that everything was real.
Be careful of his friends?
Cui Zuojing’s brows furrowed. Unbeknownst to him, his hands at his sides were clenched tight. Seeing that the rain had stopped, the dolls hiding in the shop stood up and came out.
The youth took a deep breath and his figure slowly blurred and finally disappeared altogether.
In the next instant, he appeared beside Dong Zheng.
Cui Zuojing was dripping wet. His clothes and the tips of his hair were still dripping with rainwater. The prisoner link was once again restored, and seeing Cui Zuojing looking so pitiful, Dong Zheng raised his eyebrows in surprise and asked, “What did you do?”
“I met an old friend.” Cuo Zuojing took off his damp jacket and shook it out. Then, he took off his T-shirt, wringed it out, and wiped his hair with it. With his head lowered, his neck and his spine arched smoothly. A drop of water dripped from the tip of his hair and trailed along the curved depression of his spine, rolling all the way down to the back of his waist and disappearing into waistband of his pants.
Dong Zheng looked away uncomfortably. He took off his coat and handed it to Cui Zuojing. “Use this to wipe it.”
“Thanks.” Cui Zuojing didn’t think much about it and took Dong Zheng’s clothes. He used it to wipe his body dry. Chang Hui’s rain seemed to carry the deep chill of the underworld, penetrating his bones and making him shiver uncontrollably.
Cui Zuojing was really cold. He put on his twisted, still damp shirt. The cell was dark, and the wind was still blowing in from the window above his head. It was so cold that he sat down next to Dong Zheng without hesitation and burrowed his body into Dong Zheng.
Dong Zheng was caught off guard. He almost fell to the ground and had to use one hand to steady himself. He could clearly feel the chill on Cui Zuojing’s body through his clothes.
“Crowd in for warmth.” Cui Zuojing shrank into a ball and pressed against Dong Zheng’s body. He gestured for Allen and Lin Hangzhi to come and said, “Come, come and squeeze in. It’s unbearably cold.”
As he walked over, Allen said, “Is the rain so cold?”
He sat next to Cui Zuojing and immediately felt an unstoppable chill. He let out a “Fuck!” and was about to shrink away. But, at this moment, Lin Hangzhi sat down and immediately trapped him in the middle, making him unable to run away.
“Why are you so cold?!” Allen sucked in a cold breath and began to shiver.
Dong Linhai was awakened by them. He opened his eyes in a daze and saw four people huddled together in a corner. He said loudly, “What are you doing?!”
“I want to join in too.” Dong Linhai didn’t hesitate to make the situation even more chaotic.
Dong Zheng, who was trapped in the middle, leaned against the wall with Cui Zuojing practically in his arms, which were pressed against the youth’s soft waist.
“You’re squeezing me to death!” Cui Zuojing smiled and pushed Allen away, as if he hadn’t noticed anything. Dong Zheng calmly let out a breath of relief, and his stiff muscles slowly relaxed.
It likely…hadn’t been discovered.
The four people, except for Dong Zheng, were creating an uproar. Until, the monkey jailer came over and opened their prison cell door.
All five mouths snapped shut, and they stared at it quietly.
In the silence, Cui Zuojing sneezed loudly.
He rubbed his nose and easily wiped it across Dong Zheng’s arm.
The jailer turned sideways, revealing the white cat looking at them with his head tilted behind him, and said reluctantly, “The master wants to see you.”