A few hours later, the rain that lasted for two days and two nights finally stopped.
The thick, dark clouds floated slowly in the sky, hanging so low that it seemed as if people reached out, they could touch them. Now that everything was settled, Cui Zuojing went to check the hallway outside Agatha’s bedroom.
The corpse of the half-goat man was still lying on the ground, his two eyeballs protruding as if they would burst out at any moment. Blood and internal organs spilled out from his mouth, indicating that he was obviously crushed to death.
He looked familiar.
Cui Zuojing thought for a while and finally recognized him as the dead teacher he and Dong Zheng had seen in the hidden classroom.
Looking at the goat’s horns, hind legs, fine tail, and long, gray hair, Cui Zuojing was certain that this wasn’t the god Pan in the truest sense. In fact, no one had seen the appearance of a true god. Most of the monsters in the Pure White Realm were all manifestations of people’s fears, added with one tenth of “manufactured” inspirations.
From Dong Linhai’s description, this thing must be very powerful. Otherwise, Uncle wouldn’t have the opportunity to forcibly lift one of his seals, even overdrawing himself so much that he fell into a coma.
Although they were masters of the five elemental powers, the conditions and opportunities for them to release their seals were different. To resolve Fu Zhe’s seal, he would need to take back his three soul fragments that Worm of Mystery had divided and cast out. This time, Victor was able to unlock one of his seals after nearly dying. This indicated that the conditions for unlocking his seals lay in his physical condition.
As for Cui Zuojing himself…it was still unclear.
But, regardless, his seals would eventually be unlocked sooner or later, so he wasn’t in a hurry.
The entire castle was still in a state of turmoil. Soon, someone would come to take away the dead half-goat man.
In the third hour after the rain stopped, the long-lost sunlight finally broke through the clouds, silently nourishing the earth filled with urine.
Dong Zheng, Allen and Wang Que also rushed back from the frontline. Before the rain stopped and right at the moment when Victor killed Pan Chuangen, the crows that were circling and constantly interfering with the doll soldiers wailed in unison. As if their wings were broken, they began to fall from the sky. The endless stream of caterpillars and decayed rats receded like the tide and soon disappeared without a trace, leaving only blood and corpses scattered all over the ground.
Dong Zheng had some very slight scratches on his body, which he accidentally got when he personally went to repel the monsters on the city wall. The number of sick dolls had increased more and more. Even with Wang Que’s herbal drink, it would take a while for the dolls to fully recover. As a result, Dong Zheng had to shoulder many things by himself.
Such small injuries weren’t enough for Cui Zuojing to share, but it was indeed embarrassing. Dong Zheng’s left cheek, which can fascinate thousands of young girls, had a long scratch that ran all the way to his chin. He had no time to take care of it, nor did he bother with shaving away the stubble that had grown on his face.
But he didn’t care. This wasn’t the real world, where people will get certain advantages due to good looks. In this Pure White Realm, being good-looking had nothing to do with survival.
For some reason, Cui Zuojing couldn’t help laughing when he saw Dong Zheng looking so pitiful. The two of them were now linked together. Cui Zuojing’s initial dissatisfaction with Dong Zheng for forcing a blood contract on him and trying to order him around had mostly faded. But, seeing Dong Zheng like this, he couldn’t help but feel secretly delighted.
Dong Zheng noticed Cui Zuojing’s little emotions almost immediately. He raised his hand and gently rubbed the wound with the back of his hand. “Am I that funny?”
“Ah no.” Cui Zuojing said in a perfunctory manner. “I was just smiling. Don’t mind me.”
Dong Zheng teased him very seriously and deliberately, “But you are so dazzling when you smile, as if you are the only person shining in the crowd. So how can people not care about it?”
Cui Zuojing was stunned. “…Are you joking with me?”
“Ha ha ha. Very funny.”
But, his face was indifferent.
Under the stitched-heart bear’s treatment, Allen was basically fine and soon returned to his originally lively appearance. But, recalling his own experience facing Pan Chuangen, he still had some lingering fears.
However, this made him clearly realize that, in the face of absolute strength, all his abilities, skills, and props were completely useless.
It was almost as if their enemy was Cui Zuojing. If they were to seriously face the youth, none of them would be able to defeat him.
Although Wang Que was still quiet, she was no longer as nervous as she’d been at the beginning. The best way to bring people closer together was to depend on each other in a life or death crisis. During the time when Allen was in a coma, both Dong Zheng and Cui Zuojing had to fight and so Wang Que took over the responsibility of taking care of Allen.
It must be said that the little girl was very attentive, even using cotton gauze soaked in water to feed Allen water little by little. She always paid attention to whether he might develop a fever due to infection. The group of men was not comparable to her.
Once the last haze finally faded, everyone’s task interface popped open in front of them. After the words [Defend Paradise], a single word “Completed” slowly emerged.
It was finally over.
During this time period, Agatha’s face completely returned to normal. It once again became flush with life. The slight purple tint on the top of her nose disappeared without a trace, and her eyes changed back to becoming two pools of clear water that was normal for girls of her age, full of innocence and docility.
They bid farewell to Agatha in the castle hall. Mickey and General Bear were still cleaning up the mess at the frontline. But, all the dolls that were still in the castle gathered around the girl like stars surrounding their master, the moon. Everyone waved.
The sun finally completely revealed itself, chasing away all that was dark and dirty.
They will continue to guard Paradise, forever.
Everything in the city will change for the better.
Under Agatha and the dolls’ gazes, the group opened the heavy castle gate and walked out one after another.
In an instant, the scenery changed.
They unexpectedly found themselves inside a house, as if the gate had connected the castle and the living room. The house was small, and the living room only had a sofa, a coffee table, and a large, ancient TV.
Two common daisies were placed in a plastic bottle on the coffee table. It was unknown how many days they’d been left there because they were now dried and withered, leaving barely a stem left.
Cui Zuojing looked around for a long time, taking in the small details that indicated that this house’s family situation was not very optimistic.
On the wall, where the skin was slightly peeling off, was a child’s graffiti painted with colored crayons. There was a small photo on the wall, showing Agatha smiling shyly at the camera. She was in the arms of a woman, who was smiling tenderly.
She was probably Agatha’s adoptive mother.
Dong Zheng frowned, noting the discouraging atmosphere.
Task update: [Find Agatha]
Looking at the line of words, everyone was surprised. Dong Linhai scratched his head and asked, “Didn’t we just saw Agatha?”
Dong Zheng said, “Let’s take a look first.”
The house was really small. Aside from the living room, there was only a bathroom, a kitchen, and two small bedrooms. The master bedroom was faced away from the sun. Judging from the decoration, it was obviously occupied by an adult. The bedding was rumpled, and it was unclear whether the person didn’t fold the comforter before leaving or if she did but someone else messed it up again.
The other bedroom was a child’s room. Although they were poor, traces of careful decorations could be seen. Stuck on the bedside were beautiful stickers, many of which seemed to be cut out from various places. The curtains were old but clean and tightly drawn, allowing no ray of sunlight to penetrate the room.
There were not many places in the house to search, making it easy to find hidden things. So, when Dong Zheng opened the large closet door in the master bedroom, he naturally saw a little figure hidden inside. It was a thin girl curled up in the corner of the closet. Most of her body was covered with clothes, and she held a teddy bear tightly in her arms.
Her eyes were quietly closed, her lips were blue, and her blond hair scattered loosely over her shoulders, covering a portion of her small face. But, it couldn’t hide the obvious cyanosis on the tip of her nose and across her cheeks.
She looked like she’d merely fallen asleep.
Amidst suffocation and restlessness, she ushered in a deep sleep with no tomorrow in sight.
Wang Que sucked in a breath, her eyes widening. Then, she raised her hands to cover her mouth.
“Oh my Jesus…” Allen blurted out, taking a step back.
Dong Linhai: ?????
Lin Hangzhi immediately pushed Dong Zheng and Dong Linhai aside. He knelt on the ground and stretched out his hand to press a finger against the side of Agatha’s neck.
There was no pulse under the skin that had long lost its warmth and elasticity.
But he stubbornly maintained a tentative posture, seeming to expect a reversal.
Looking forward to the girl, who had smiled and said goodbye to them not long ago, to open her eyes once again.
For a long time, no one spoke. The task [Find Agatha] was marked as completed, but no new task appeared, indicating that they had finally passed this box.
A countdown was initiated, reminding them to leave as soon as possible.
Cui Zuojing pressed his lips together into a thin line and lowered his gaze. He didn’t have his own sadness, but he could somewhat sense Dong Zheng’s emotions passing through the blood contract.
Finally, Dong Zheng knelt on the ground, stretched out his arms, and carried out the curled up Agatha.
She was very light, much lighter than the weight of a normal child her age. Her body was completely cold and stiff. Dong Zheng maintained her curled up position as he gently placed her on the bed that belonged to her mother.
Lin Hangzhi silently stepped forward and, using the professional technique of a surgeon, arranged Agatha on her back in a resting position.
After suffering her teacher’s brutality at school, the girl finally no longer wanted to go to school. Her adoptive mother patiently accompanied her at home, told her bedtime stories, and comforted her suffering over and over again.
Their family’s economic condition wasn’t very good. Their income consisted of only one woman earning money. So, when she wanted to take the third day off to stay home with her daughter, Agatha sensibly said that it was okay, thus allowing her mother to return to work with peace of mind.
But the world never gave mercy to the poor. Her mother will always remain in that cold and dark mine.
Agatha waited for a long time but could no longer wait until her mother returned home. Everything she knew at home became frightening in the dark. Finally, she hugged her favorite teddy bear tightly and hid in the closet.
Compared to the comforter, this place had more of her mother’s smell and gave her a sense of safety.
She fell asleep without realizing it and suffocated to death inside the closet.
This was the final truth of everything.
Dong Zheng felt mixed emotions in his heart. He looked at the girl’s face that was still frowning slightly in her sleep and couldn’t help imagining the kind of suffering she’d endured.
After the death of the only person who’d loved her, perhaps…this was also a kind of relief?
Wang Que couldn’t help but cry quietly. She roughly wiped away her tears and stepped forward to tidy up Agatha’s blonde hair with her fingers.
Allen turned his face away and tightly pressed his lips together. Up to now, Dong Linhai still couldn’t believe that the box would give them such a malicious ending. Obviously, they all tried their best to protect Agatha and her paradise!
How could this happen?
Time passed by minute by minute, as the countdown continued to indifferently remind everyone. Finally Dong Zheng closed his eyes. Then, he took a deep breath and whispered, “Let’s go.”
Saying this, he turned around, seeming no longer so nostalgic.
Only Cui Zuojing could sense the sadness in his heart.
Just like when they first came, they walked out the bedroom one by one. The living room door was illuminated with a warm, white light, telling them that this was the exit.
Dong Zheng used the key the school security guard had given him and opened the door. He was the first to leave.
Cui Zuojing, who fell to the back of the group, looked back. On that bed, the worn-out teddy bear with brown stitches on its arm suddenly moved.
It stretched out its stubby arms and hugged Agatha hard and tight, as if it was holding its most precious princess. Two lines of tears slowly trickled down from its black bean-like plastic eyes.
[Let’s create a paradise that belongs to her alone. From now on, there will be no more pain, despair, loneliness or sadness.]
——-Volume 3: Doll’s House [Ends] ——-