IWOL Chapter 55: Phantom Dream

Dong Zheng flipped out five or six cards from Cui Zuojing’s sleeve.

“How did I expose myself?” Cui Zuojing turned over slowly, propping himself up backward by his hands on the bed full of cards, not understanding why.

His techniques were personally taught by Cheriyu Nana. Although he wasn’t as good as her, his skills shouldn’t have been exposed to Dong Zheng, whose vision and other senses had yet to upgrade.

“You don’t want me to ask questions at all, so you’ve been trying to win. If I can’t even see this, then there must be something wrong with me.” Dong Zheng pulled the chair and sat directly opposite Cui Zuojing. In his eyes, there was a trace of amusement. “You fooled me with so many questions, but I won’t pursue them one by one. I’ll just let you answer two of my questions.”

The time still came. Cui Zuojing sighed helplessly and said, “All right. Ask.”

“In the Labyrinth of Time, who is the person who left that light in my body?”

Seeing Cui Zuojing open his mouth, Dong Zheng added, “Don’t lie to me. I know you, Victor, and Fu Zhe must know who that person is.”

Cui Zuojing: “….”

Cui Zuojing said, “I thought you would ask who the old friend I met was.”

Dong Zheng said, “That’s the second question.”

The youth was silent for a while, exhaled helplessly, and said, “Okay. Then I’ll answer those two questions together. I do know the person who did that to you. Her name is Chang Hui. Do you remember the girl that Wen Baoshan mentioned in the secret realm? The one who gave him two pots of flowers at the end of his life? That’s her.”

“She claimed to be a devil from another realm. She followed the taste of desire, walking around the Pure White Realm and making deals with those who have the eager desire in their hearts to maintain their own lives. Every time she appears, she will be accompanied by cold rain.”

“Except for the ability to trade, Chang Hui herself is very weak, so she has a beast around her all the time to protect her. The beast has seven eyes and three tails, and its named is Duo Fei.”

No wonder Cui Zuojing was so cold after coming back from the rain. Dong Zheng silently digested this information. Cui Zuojing shared his thoughts, feeling that there was nothing to hide. Anyway, Dong Zheng would know sooner or later, and so he simply said all the rest.

“She is the queen’s subordinate. As the Master of the Pure White Realm, the queen has five heirs, namely Worm of Mystery, Midnight the Cat, Chang Hui, Kether, and Tang Ji.”

When Dong Zheng heard the name Kether, he felt that it was slightly familiar. “When you were in Hamelin, didn’t you say that all the box scripts were created and calculated by Kether in real time?”

Cui Zuojing didn’t expect that Dong Zheng would remember something he’d said casually. He said, “She is a supercomputer. The word kether means the crown on the top of the tree of life in Kabbalah. You will come into contact with her during the pilgrimage.”

The amount of information was too large. Knowing that Dong Zheng would need some time to digest it, Cui Zuojing patted him on the shoulder and added, “Don’t worry. You’ve only been here for a month and experienced three formal boxes. As the pilgrimage deepens, the truth of this world will be revealed little by little. After personally exploring, you will find it much more shocking than what I have told you now.”

“I just don’t like the feeling of being kept in the dark.”

“No one likes this feeling. I was slow back then and had to find things out gradually.”

Cui Zuojing jumped off the bed. “I’ve finished answering your question. Do you have anything else? If not, I’ll go and rest for a while.”

“It’s all right.” Dong Zheng paused, but still said the words in his heart. “After you go back, take a hot shower. I think you might catch a cold.”

“I know.”

The door closed and, without the youth’s voice, the room once again calmed. Dong Zheng closed his eyes and pinched the center of his brows, feeling as if the touch and temperature of Cui Zuojing’s skin still remained on his fingers.

Don’t think about it anymore.

Not everyone is like you.

He gave himself a mocking smile. Instead of focusing on those idle thoughts, it was better to think about how to deal with the next thing.

Cui Zuojing didn’t know how Dong Zheng was struggling. He returned to his room and wanted to go to bed immediately, but thinking of Dong Zheng’s last instructions, he felt that he really might get sick. With a sigh, he obediently went to take a hot shower.

Although Chang Hui didn’t have any means of attack, the rain was really terrible.

The time for recuperation was so precious and short that Cui Zuojing didn’t want to waste it at all, so he wiped his hair half dry, threw himself onto the soft bed, and fell asleep.

He had a dream again.

In his dream, he returned to eight years ago. In the apartment his team had applied for, Luo Yan and Cheriyu Nana were wearing aprons to prepare dinner. The two girls were cooking and secretly eating. Their laughter continued. Meanwhile, Victor was trying to find wine but Fu Zhe had already hidden the wine in the cabinet in advance.

Fu Zhe walked out of the study, wearing a pair of glasses for his mild myopia and holding the list of the boxes to be selected next. And he himself was leaning on the sofa, his eyes fixed on the TV, frowning and protesting when Victor walked around, blocking the screen.

The stars outside the window were shining brightly, while the dim lights from the road reflected through the glass window, like a pair of eyes shining with hope.

The images shattered silently, and he was suddenly looking inside Fu Zhe’s castle. Allen had slept in a daze and his head full of red hair was messy as he walked downstairs. Lin Hangzhi crouched on the ground, brushing Victor’s hair with a shell comb. Dong Linhai apathetically tormented the spoons and himself.

Fu Zhe was studying the curse in his bedroom. Dong Zheng had borrowed his books and was relearning algorithms. He had a carbon pen in his well-shaped hand and was writing abbreviations of English terms that Cui Zuojing couldn’t understand.

—Be careful of your friends.

Chang Hui’s words echoed in his heart. With Cui Zuojing’s understanding of her as a devil who maintained the culture of honoring contractual obligations, she was unlikely to lie to him.

So who was the problem?

In the dream, time flew at a weird pace. When Cui Zuojing woke up, he could only squint for a while. Then, he looked out the window and found that it was almost dark.

The window was not closed tightly. A crow stood on the window sill with closed wings and blood-red eyes, staring at him.

This perching bird was very large at half a meter long, with a faint blue-purple halo on its black feathers. Seeing that Cui Zuojing was awake, it fluttered its wing and opened its peak to issue out a hoarse cry. Then it turned and flew out the window.

Cui Zuojing immediately got out of bed and walked quickly to the window. Holding the window sill with both hands, he looked out. The crow was circling in the darkening sky and soon its huge body merged into a colony of hundreds of black crows. They circled like a whirlpool, seeming to swallow the entire town.

Had it begun?

Cui Zuojing casually washed his face with clean water and walked out of the room, just in time to see Dong Zheng coming out from the opposite room.

“Is it starting?”

“Should be. What about the others?”

“Victor is with Agatha, and Allen is exploring the terrain.” Dong Zheng knocked on Dong Linhai and Lin Hangzhi’s respective doors, saying, “It’s time to work.”

Unexpectedly, Wang Que was not in her room. A maid guided the four of them through various rooms and out the small chamber. They found her by the door.

The girl was sitting by the flower beds, looking up at the dark sky. Her long, curly flaxen-dyed hair was pulled up high into a ponytail, revealing her bright face. She looked like most girls of her age, clamoring for weight loss. Under her sportswear, her body looked very slender and frail.

“Something is coming here, I can feel it. There are a lot of them.” Hearing Cui Zuojing’s approach, Wang Que turned her head and told him. On her lap was a white puppy doll.

“Just looking at this, it’s also clear that something bad will happen…” The number of crows gathering in the sky had reached the unfriendly point of inducing intense fear. Lin Hanzhi gathered his coat, feeling a little cold.

The five people looked at the sky silently, listening as the screams of crows sounded from time to time. The world was completely dark, devoid of stars and moon. Only the lights of distant towns and streets were faintly reflected in the sky.

The maid came over and whispered, “Several guests, the host invites you to dinner.”

Dong Zheng heard this and knew that Agatha had made a decision. They followed the maid doll into the dining hall. Agatha was sitting at one end of the long table, waiting for them. Victor squatted on the nearest chair to her left.

Allen hadn’t returned yet. Wang Que sat on Agatha’s right hand side, but everyone else was careful to keep a certain distance from this sensitive little master, so as not to make her overly nervous.

Agatha leaned on the chair, both hands on the armrest. Her fingers were tightly squeezing the lace cloth cover. Her eyes swept across everyone’s face, but in the end, she still didn’t dare to look directly at others. She whispered to Wang Que, “I just talked to the astrologer. After that, she said that the situation is very bad, so…If you brothers and sisters have the ability, please help us protect this place and everyone, okay?”

“We will.” Wang Que gave her a soothing smile. “I can feel that something is coming here. They are very fast. I guess they’ll arrive in town in two to three hours. So hurry up and eat. Let’s prepare.”

Agatha did not expect a response so quickly. With a surprised “Ah”, she nodded and hurriedly let the maid serve the dishes.

The dinner was served one by one, all covered with silver plate covers. Even after the dishes were ready, no one moved their silverware; everyone was waiting for Agatha to begin.

As if serving the most delicate little princess, the maid wrapped a napkin and poured milk for her. After everything was arranged, she lifted the cover of the plate in front of her.

“Ah—!”

Lying on that exquisite meal was the body of a rotting rat, it’s body full of maggots.

A white maggot crawled out of the eye socket, still carrying an unidentified content from the eyeball. It wiggled along the rat’s already ugly body.

Agatha covered her face and screamed. Frantically backing away, she tripped over her chair in a panic. Wang Que immediately stood up and grabbed Agatha’s wrist, nearly pulling down the hands that were covering her eyes.

Cui Zuojing quickly replaced the lid of the dinner plate, moving the rat far away from Agatha. Lin Hangzhi and Dong Zheng looked at each other, and immediately opened the other lids one by one.

Almost all the plates contained the carcass of a decomposing animal, a mouse or a sparrow. In addition to that, the food gave off a strong smell, as if it had been left for three days in scorching heat.

Unprepared, Dong Linhai couldn’t help but retched and nearly vomited. Meanwhile, Lin Hangzhi had learned medicine for many years; he was already used to it. He quickly closed the lid and was the most calm person in the dining all except for Cui Zuojing.

 


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Aurel Gavey
Aurel Gavey
3 years ago

Ohh, we see a glimpse of how DZ felt in his heart~

Dreamer
Dreamer
3 years ago

Ah?! So… Does this mean… DZ is… Gay from the start??? Hoh!

Then… Gosh damn it CZJ! Highly likely he’s not delved deep in romantic feelings because he’s been emotionless for the first 3 years in the Pure White Realm, and after escaping with his forever 16 curse I bet he didn’t have the luxury to think about love as well. With DZ developing feelings and CZJ being mostly unfeeling… QAQ There will definitely be relationship challenges, misunderstandings, angst, and drama.

Qi Qi
Qi Qi
3 years ago

So Dong Zheng is gay! I thought so, he seemed ankward when Cui Zuojing was very close to him or revealing a part of his skin. But Cui Zuojing is still without emotions, he needs to retrieve his feelings first. When will Dong Zheng know about it or at least suspect something’s up… QAQ

Haruki Natsuyu
Haruki Natsuyu
2 years ago

Now we found out that Dong Zheng is gay. So, the ‘be careful of your friends’ that Chang Hui said, could it ve referring to Dong Zheng who wants to do Cui Zuojing? 🤣

Ok kidding aside but it might also be true that it is Dong Zheng since he might affect CZJ emotionally later which might make CZL waver in something else… I suspect Fu Zhe, sincd back in Hamelin when he awakened by CZJ, in the flashback he saw CZJ ans Victor leaving the realm so, I might think, he secretly resents them… I already find him sus, during that scene, and now here Chang Hui’s warning. The second one i suspect is Allen. He is just sus suddenly appearing wherever ML is. And yes, after I read one of readers’ comment, I was enlightened with his surname. I mean, yeah foreigners’ surname sometimes sounds common like Hawk etc. But ‘King’? This is coincidental since the leader of the realm is called ‘Queen’.

yel
yel
2 years ago

i’m pretty sure dong zheng was already aware of his sexual orientation even before cui zuojing that’s why he told himself that ‘not everyone is like you’ when he was feeling something after his interaction with czj. and czj was just awakening his ‘desire’

Amicia
Amicia
2 years ago

Wait… She is attracted to people’s desire. Did she realize the desire DZ had for CZJ beforehand or did she help amplify it? 🤔

Brazilian cheese cake using google translator
Brazilian cheese cake using google translator
1 year ago

I wanted to be like the comments that use their heads and create countless theories about who the possible traitor is..But my head can’t take it since my IQ is lower than my EQ (which isn’t even high)