“Yes.” Dong Zheng didn’t seem shaken by the earth-shattering truth, and he also didn’t forget to raise an issue. “Since this is the case, then your real purpose is not simply to lift the curse on your body.”
“Yes.” Cui Zuojing nodded, his expression unavoidably solemn. He said in a low voice, “My real purpose is to kill the queen.”
Dong Zheng didn’t question Cui Zuojing’s decision, but asked, “Can the queen… be killed?”
“No one has tried it yet, but I believe that it’s possible. Strictly speaking, she is just the manager of the Pure White Realm. Moreover, since she was able to kill the previous Red Queen, then this means she can also die.”
Dong Zheng pondered for a moment and said, “Since she can be killed, then there should be no problem. After all, I’ve already said before that I’ll help you achieve your goal.”
Cui Zuojing didn’t expect Dong Zheng to be so frank and straightforward. After all, in order to kill the queen, he would have to face the entire Pure White Realm.
Seeing the youth’s doubts, Dong Zheng smiled lightly and said, “Back then, you clearly made a wish to go back in front of her, but she still cursed you anyway. This showed that the queen didn’t want anyone to leave at all. If she continues to rule here, even if we did make a successful pilgrimage one day, we will inevitably share the same fate as your team.”
“So, in order to truly return to our original world, we must kill her.”
Cui Zuojing hummed approvingly and said, “It’s great that you can realize this. I originally planned to use a long story to convince you.”
“A long story?” Dong Zheng looked at him in amusement and said, “Let’s talk about it?”
“Since you are already fully enlightened, why should I waste my breath?” Cui Zuojing lay back on Dong Zheng’s bed and muttered, “But you should be more anxious now. The queen already knows about my return. She will never let me, you, or anyone in the team develop and grow smoothly. Because of this, the boxes we’ll face in the future will be more difficult and dangerous than what others would normally experience.”
“You should also notice that, although the Doll’s House is marked with three stars for difficulty, it shouldn’t be something that you can’t pass at this early stage in the journey. Someone deliberately increased the difficulty to make us suffer a little loss.”
“Normally, the level of boxes at this stage should be similar to the hospital secret realm in the Labyrinth of Time. After all, the Pure White Realm also needs to ensure the survival rate of newcomers. Otherwise, many people will die if the boxes are too difficult from the very beginning. In which case, how can they guarantee that the queen will receive enough despair to nourish her?”
“In Hamelin, a part of Worm of Mystery’s consciousness was monitoring Fu Zhe’s [Goodwill]. Since I’m your prisoner, it must have noticed you too. That thing isn’t easy to deal with.”
Dong Zheng took a deep breath, then slowly released it and said, “Very well, I really feel the pressure now.”
“So you have to become stronger as soon as possible.” Cui Zuojing stretched out his hand. The light streamed out between his spread fingers and fell into his eyes.
After a few seconds, the youth suddenly clenched his fist, as if to catch the light in the palm of his hand. Then, he propped himself up and cheerfully told Dong Zheng, “Then, from tomorrow on, we will begin the special training!”
Cui Zuojing’s energetic appearance truly resembled the youths of his age, and this trait emanating from him seemed to be able to infect everyone around him. Dong Zheng couldn’t help smiling, but then he very quickly reduced his smile and said, “One more thing, is there any way to release the blood contract?”
“How to release it?” Cui Zuojing raised his eyebrows, “Why are you asking this? With a powerful prisoner like me, isn’t a blood contract a harmless thing for you?”
“Now that I know what happened to you back then and part of the truth about this world, then this journey is no longer just a pilgrimage to return home. We’ve reached an agreement to stand as a united front against the queen. At present, I still lack a lot of abilities. If I get injured in the box, it will only result in unnecessary losses for you. Also, due to the constraints of my mental abilities, you won’t be able to use your strength to its fullest capability. Therefore, releasing the blood contract is the best choice.”
Dong Zheng paused and added, “This won’t be the end. Even if there is no prisoner contract, you, Victor, and Fu Zhe will still be with us, right?”
Cui Zuojing nodded. “That’s true. It truly isn’t necessary. And, because of the spiritual connection between us, the negative emotions you feel can also affect me. I don’t know how to release the blood contract. I don’t even know if it is possible. The prisoner contract is one of the laws of the Pure White Realm and has existed for a long time. There are many things that we still don’t know about it.”
“Is there really no way?”
“The supervisors of the Pure White Realm might have some clues. I have an old friend who might know something, but we’re no longer within the scope of his management.”
So far, the only places they’d been to were the Novice District and this District XII area. Dong Zheng immediately reacted. “The executioner in the Novice District—the clown?”
During the last Blood Night, they sat on the roof of the tube building and looked down from the fifth floor, which was about fifteen or sixteen-meter-high. Dong Zheng had glimpsed the man wearing a black suit and holding two moon-shaped scimitars, and he’d recognized the tall clown at a glance.
It was him who helped Cui Zuojing become a prisoner after he’d returned to the Pure White Realm.
“Yes, he is very special and knows a lot of things.” Cui Zuojing sighed and murmured, “It’s a pity that the clown’s circus is as special as Chaos Library and will change locations according to its performance schedule. Even Fu Zhe’s key cannot pass through there. This makes it a bit difficult to find him.”
“Since he’s responsible for the Blood Night clearing in the Novice District, can’t you just go back to look for him during the next Blood Night?”
“Those who’d already left the Novice District can’t return. This is a means of protection for the newcomers. We can only wait. Maybe we might be lucky enough to run into the circus tour in one of the areas.”
Dong Zheng knew that, regarding the dissolution of the blood contract, Cui Zuojing must be more anxious than him and would pay more attention to it. Since it couldn’t be done now, the only thing to do was to wait patiently.
That evening, Allen finally returned from outside.
This tall, red-haired American youth had a faint smell of alcohol on his body. His face was red, and every freckle seemed to be jumping for joy. Dong Linhai was hanging out with his spoons, as if he couldn’t go one day without them. He was sitting with Lin Hangzhi on the sofa, and they were exchanging experiences and insights about their abilities. They were hoping to use this pretext of sharing their thoughts and feelings as they waited. Therefore, the moment Allen returned, they immediately began to make a fuss.
Allen laughed mischievously. “He he.”
“How did the battle go?” Lin Hangzhi was also full of the tacit smiles between men.
“Perfect!” Allen gave a thumbs up and sat beside them in high spirit. Then, he hugged the cushion tightly, fell into Lin Hangzhi’s arms, and shouted, “I’m in love—”
“Oh, I am glad you’re willing to come back.” Cui Zuojing came out of the room and stood in front of the railing on the second floor. He’d just slept and his hair was still a bit messy. “The special training starts tomorrow. Do you still have the strength to participate?”
“Of course there’s energy left!” Allen immediately answered loudly to show his glory. Then, he paused, thought about it, and asked, “Eh? What special training?”
“On knowledge, physical techniques, skills and shooting.” Cui Zuojing walked downstairs and said, “You all received two ability points, right? Add them tonight.”
Ability points, as the name suggested, were points that could be added to improve certain abilities. There were five aspects: strength, endurance, agility, spirit, and luck.
If they were to rely solely on the physical fitness of ordinary people, no matter how superb their skills were or how great their weapons, it would still be difficult for them to handle the boxes inside the central area of the Pure White Realm. Therefore, after leaving the Novice District, they would be rewarded with corresponding points and physical fitness upgrades with every box cleared.
Everyone deliberated for a long time. Under Fu Zhe’s guidance, they were able to determine what aspect they wanted to focus on. Dong Zheng added a bit to endurance and spirit. Endurance could help him improve his physical strength and increase his resistance to attacks. Meanwhile, spirit would help his ability evolve.
Lin Hangzhi added all his points to endurance. In fact, he also considered luck. But, when he thought about the powerful side effects of his ability, he realized that he’ll probably need to add at least a hundred points in order to barely neutralize it. So, it was better not to waste his points.
Allen added a little bit to agility and endurance, and Dong Linhai increased his strength and endurance. The choices they made were exactly as Cui Zuojing had expected.
Adding points was a very unusual process. It wasn’t like in online games, where improvements could be added with a single mouse click. They had to place an order in the APP’s point store. After a few seconds of loading, a coordinate appeared on the page, telling them where they needed to go to collect the required materials.
With Fu Zhe’s key, the group went out and quickly collected their things.
“Will my ability really improve after eating this?” Dong Linhai sat at the table. In front of him was a fruit candy and a dark green drink, each corresponding to strength and endurance.
Cui Zuojing said, “Yes, go ahead and eat it.”
The desire to improve his ability overcame Dong Linhai’s doubts regarding how safe these things were. He unwrapped the candy from its wrapper and stuffed it into his mouth. A sweet and sour taste bloomed in his mouth, and his eyes lit up. “It’s delicious.”
Allen ate the chocolate bar to improve his agility, and Dong Zheng opened the wrapper to his sourdough bun and took a bite.
Meanwhile, Lin Hangzhi got two bottles of dark green drinks. Seeing that everyone was eating happily, he also put down his precautions and unscrewed the bottle cap.
A strange smell drifted out.
Lin Hangzhi’s hand gave a sharp jerk.
He frowned suspiciously, put the opening under his nose, and sniffed carefully.
Lin Hangzhi gagged. “Ergh–!”
It smelled like canned herring that had been left open for a month in summer!
It took just a few seconds for the scent to spread out. Everyone smelled the unpleasant stench and their faces became solemn.
They each also had a bottle of endurance-enhancing drink.
Cui Zuojing finally couldn’t help but laugh. The ability formula of each area was different, and District XII’s endurance potion was famous throughout the Pure White Realm for its indescribable taste.
Cui Zuojing was waiting for a good show. But, at this moment, Fu Zhe came out of the room and stood in the hallway, calling him. “Victor is awake.”
“Uncle is awake?” Cui Zuojing immediately said. Throwing all other thoughts behind him, he turned and hurried up the stairs, impatient to see Victor.
When Dong Linhai heard Fu Zhe’s words, he stood up in concern and wanted to take a look. Then, he realized that, to Victor, Cui Zuojing seemed to be more important.
Although Victor was his summoning beast, he probably wanted to see Cui Zuojing first.
Dong Linhai bit his lower lip and sat back down in silence.
Dong Zheng noticed the fluctuations in his younger brother’s thoughts. Dong Linhai had never been able to conceal his emotions since he was a child. He was used to writing everything on his face, and his thoughts and emotions could be seen at a glance.
But, Dong Zheng didn’t speak and simply patted the boy’s thick shoulders. Then, he raised the foul-smelling drink, clinked glasses with Lin Hangzhi, took a deep breath, wrinkled his brows, tipped his head back, and drained the bottle in one gulp.