Allen did not come back that night.
Everyone tacitly accepted Allen’s romantic happiness and did their own thing. Dong Linhai seized the time to fiddle with spoons in the kitchen, hoping to rediscover that peculiar feeling he’d felt when fighting against Pan Chuangen. He wanted to improve his ability to control metal.
Lin Hangzhi was scrolling through the Pure White Realm’s APP store on his mobile phone, looking for his favorite weapon. He wasn’t like Dong Zheng, who had Cui Zuojing, and he wasn’t like Dong Linhai, who had Victor. Nor was he like Allen, who had a useful ability. Right now, he had no life-saving means, making him the weakest point in the entire team. What’s more, he was also prone to accidents.
Victor was still asleep and was nestled like a limp and fluffy ball in the cat den that Fu Zhe had prepared for him. Pastoral cats were different from cats who were bred as house pets. The latter was more prone to weight gains. In addition, Cui Zuojing had paid close attention to Victor’s feeding over the years. As a result, the white cat was very slim, which made moving him extremely easy.
Cui Zuojing leaned on the sofa, reached into the cat’s nest, and began to unscrupulously touch the tip of Victor’s tail. Fu Zhe was sitting in front of the huge video screen and was playing games. He’d been imprisoned in this castle for eight years, was unable to contact the outside world, and had no effective means of social activities. Fortunately, there was the little kingfisher, who could bring him things from the outside world.
Therefore, in addition to reading books and studying everything in the Pure White Realm as well as the seals on his body, he also played stand-alone games as a means of killing time. This completely transformed Fu Zhe, a self-disciplined mathematics teacher, into a real dead house.
Many entertainment products in the Pure White Realm were the same as the real world. It was unknown what the principle theory was. And, in fact, no one knew how or why this place even existed.
How could people use the dreams of newborn babies to sneak into the trains that rove endlessly through the Pure White Realm? Why did the flow of time that corresponded to reality always changing? How can people come back to life after successfully passing their pilgrimage? …Everything was a mystery.
Dong Zheng came downstairs, frowning and rubbing his temples. The illusion encountered in [Doll’s House] had inspired him. As a result, Fu Zhe gave him a certain degree of illusion hypnosis, so that he could re-enter the kernel’s world.
At this moment he had just broken free from the illusion and was a little dizzy.
“How was it?” Cui Zuojing asked.
“It was okay.” Dong Zheng sat down beside him and poured himself a cup of tea, seemingly reluctant to say more.
Fu Zhe spared him a quick glance and then went back to staring at the screen. His lips curved into a smile. “I gave you the illusion that reflected your worst fear. Surely, it was a good experience.”
Cui Zuojing was curious and immediately released Victor’s tail. He jumped next to Dong Zheng on the sofa and asked, “What did you see? Tell me?”
Dong Zheng took a sip of tea and pondered for a moment before he finally said, “I dreamed about back when I was in third grade in elementary school. The teacher was holding a parent-teacher conference, and I waited for a long time for my father at the school gate. It was my new mother who’d attended the previous parent-teacher conference, but she’d just given birth to Linhai and so it wasn’t convenient for her to come.”
“Because the whole school was holding a parent-teacher conference, many people came and left. I stood at the gate alone and waited for so long but my father never came. After the teacher began asking when my father was going to arrive, I became very anxious and walked some distance toward the direction of his company. I wanted to see if I could find his car on the road.”
“But, I met an old and crooked woman on the road. Over her shoulder was a small vegetable basket, covered with a cloth. I didn’t know what was inside.”
‘She saw that I was in a hurry so she asked if I was looking for someone. Her voice was very hoarse. After I said yes, she told me that she’ll take me to go and find my father. I knew I shouldn’t follow a stranger, but I couldn’t control my body and followed her away.”
“She took me to an old residential complex. I was familiar with the neighborhood around the school, but I never knew such a complex existed. It was getting dark, and the time for the parent-teacher meeting was long over. I became scared. When I was about to turn my head and run away, she suddenly turned around, smiled, and lifted the cloth that covered the basket.”
“I was horrified. I found out that what was in the basket turned out to be—“
Cui Zuojing was listening with full attention, preparing to meet the next horrible content. Suddenly, someone slapped his shoulder, and at the same time, someone let out a particularly loud shout in his ear, “Ah!”
Cui Zuojing screamed, “Ah!”
He was so startled that his whole body shook and jumped up, nearly causing him to fall off the sofa. Fortunately, Dong Zheng quickly reached out and steady him. Cui Zuojing tightly held on to Dong Zheng’s arm in a reverse grip and turned his head to see that Dong Linhai had somehow sneaked up behind him. At this moment, he was patting the back of the sofa and laughing wildly.
Fu Zhe had already seen Dong Linhai getting ready to scare him, but he merely sat there calmly, prepared to watch a show. There was no thought to warn him at all.
Dong Zheng couldn’t help laughing. Cui Zuojing looked at him in shock, only to realize that he’d been played by the brothers and Fu Zhe.
He took a deep breath and recalled his own reaction. After a few seconds of silence, he was also amused. He smiled, leaned over, and said, “Are you crazy? Was it fun to scare me?!”
Fu Zhe calmed down and continued to play the game. “It was fun.”
Dong Linhai said, “So you can get scared too?”
“Of course I can.” Cui Zuojing leaned again. His index finger pointed at Dong Zheng and then at Dong Linhai, as he threatened, “Just wait. If I don’t torture you two to death in this special upcoming training session, then I’ll use your surname.”
Dong Zheng patted Cui Zuojing on the shoulder in comfort. He didn’t know why but when he saw that Cui Zuojing’s eyes were curious, he couldn’t help but want to see him show other expressions besides confidence.
“I’m going to the trading market to see if there are suitable weapons. Do you want to join me?” he asked.
“Let’s go.” Cui Zuojing got up and stretched. “I’ve been bored for almost a whole day. It’s good to go out for a breath of fresh air.”
Dong Linhai and Lin Hangzhi also wanted to follow, so a group of people went to the trading market. As something fashioned after SCP-005, Fu Zhe’s key could theoretically open to any place with a door, so long as the user thinks about the destination in his heart.
A few seconds later, they appeared in a small alley near the market. During this time in the day, there weren’t many people in the trading market. Next to it was the Awakening Hall. From time to time, people who looked like they’ve lost their souls would walk out, and judging from their reactions, their awakening result could be seen at a glance.
Upon walking into the hall, one could see display cabinets everywhere, filled with various weapons and props, all with different functions and in different shapes. Everyone scattered and went to look at their own thing. Cui Zuojing took special care at the counter selling magical artifacts. Not surprisingly, he discovered that even an ordinary dagger was very expensive.
In the Pure White Realm, all excellent weapon manufacturers gathered in the central area, while most of the weapons in the outer area were brought out of the box. Usually, very few people were willing to sell their props, which resulted in low quality goods being sold at a high price.
Cui Zuojing looked at a set of knuckle rings, but when he saw the price, he lost interest.
It would be better to wait until the next district. Right now, he still had the Tang sword, which fulfilled his basic combat needs.
After seeing the markets at the center of the Pure White Realm and the works of the top weapon manufacturers, Cui Zuojing didn’t have much interest in the things here. During the previous pilgrimage, because of his special ability, may weapons had been destroyed at his hands, many of which were treasures he’d owned.
He strolled around with interest and saw Lin Hangzhi standing in front of a counter without moving for a long time. He walked over and asked, “What are you looking at?”
Inside the counter was a black vest, neatly folded. Lin Hangzhi scratched his head in embarrassment and said, “I want to buy this. As far as my ability is concerned, it’s better to have more defensive props.”
Cui Zuojing looked carefully at the small sign next to the vest.
[Name] It is an iron cloth vest, not a golden cover.
[Type] Armor [Can be enhanced]
[Function] Reduces the damage received by the user by 10%, and can be damaged if overloaded.
“It’s good. Buy it if you want,” Cui Zuojing said. He’d also looked at some armors, and the price-performance ratio for this one was comparatively good.
“Forty-five points.” Lin Hangzhi was reluctant. For forty-five points, he could live in the Pure White Realm for a month and a half and survive a Blood Night. These 45 points, he’d only just gained after passing [Doll’s House].
“What are you afraid of? It counts as an investment. Only by increasing your survival rate can you get points through more boxes. Besides, this thing can be strengthened, which is very cost-effective,” Cui Zuojing persuaded. “If it is really impossible, I’ll lend you a little bit.”
“Eh? Cui’er, do you also have points? I thought prisoners don’t have their own points system.”
“Of course, I’m different from a normal prisoner.” Cui Zuojing waved his hand and said, “Buy it. I’ll lend it to you if you don’t have enough points.”
Lin Hangzhi really wanted this armor, so he made up his mind to buy it under Cui Zuojing’s urging.
The points after forming a team were shared. Soon, Dong Zheng received the alert of points being deducted on his mobile phone. After reading about Lin Hangzhi’s armor, he also felt that it was quite good.
Cui Zuojing said, “If you have something you really want to buy, just buy it. Survival is the most important thing. If I don’t have enough points, I can sell the cross. I don’t need it for the time being anyway.”
He’d obtained the cross in the Labyrinth of Time. At that time, You Chenglei didn’t know that he was a prisoner and gave Cui Zuojing a copy when sharing the spoils.
This was a special item related to the content of the secret realm at that time. Its function was to double the damage the wearer could inflict on blood creatures. However, he didn’t needed it now, and Dong Zheng and Linhai also had one. So, even if Cui Zuojing didn’t sell his, it would still be wasted.
At the beginning, Cui Zuojing used his feelings to exchange 500 points from the clown, but these points were left at the bottom of the box, which was equivalent to a back hand. Cui Zuojing would only touch them as a last resort.
“No, you can use the team’s points directly.” Dong Zheng also shared his thoughts. Lin Hangzhi had no means to save his life, and he had to worry about the side effects of his ability at all times. He was indeed the most vulnerable person in the team.
No one else fancied any other equipment. Dong Zheng remembered that he saw in the forum that there should be an information center in the trading market. He looked around and finally led the team there.
The intelligence agent was a young man wearing a peaked cap. Sitting in a corner, he didn’t even bother looking at people and just focused on playing with his mobile phone; he didn’t seem to be worried about business at all.
Dong Zheng stood still and knocked on the table. The intelligence agent put away his phone and raised his head to look at Dong Zheng. Words flowed out of his mouth in a proficient stream. “All of you looked unfamiliar. It must be your first time coming to District XII. The newcomer gift package is only 5 points. It provides coordinates to all the boxes in District XII and a general introduction to the district. It also provides information on merchandise shops and places of entertainment, the abilities spectrum, introductions on many famous teams in the area, and the situations of the three railway stations to the east and south. Basically, you’ll all find it very useful, and it is also very affordable. How about it?”
Dong Zheng didn’t hesitate to buy it.
The two people swiped their mobile phones, The intelligence agent clicked on the screen a few times and looked at Dong Zheng, this happy buyer, with a smile on his face. “The information has been sent to your mobile phone. As a present, I’ll add in a legend of the Pure White Realm. You’re welcome to come again next time.”
The harvest for this trip wasn’t small. Everyone wandered around for a bit before they went back to the castle. Dong Linhai continued to practice his abilities, and Lin Hangzhi couldn’t wait to try out his new equipment. Allen hadn’t returned yet. Meanwhile, Dong Zheng sat in the living room, looking over the materials one by one.
He was very curious about the content of this special gift. Could it possibly be theories on how the Pure White Realm was formed and such?
Dong Zheng clicked on the document and a bold, black title came into view.
“Afternoon Tea Party — The only team to have ever successfully escaped from the Pure White Realm.”
Xixi: Speaking of Cui Zuojing’s ability to feel emotions, or lack thereof…
Also, I might not be able to post as much, though I’ll try my best to post at minimum 5 chapters per week. But, basically, my daughters started distance education, and I’ll have to focus more on helping them with their lessons. As a result, I’ll only be able to spare an hour or two to edit and re-translate once I get off work. When time permits, I’ll also try to work on this project during slow periods at work.