Despite the momentary hesitation, he still raised his hand just in time to catch Dong Zheng’s fist. Cui Zuojing closed his eyes to avoid looking at Dong Zheng, thinking that this would prevent the other party from influencing him.
Dong Zheng took advantage of Cui Zuojing’s lack of vision and kick him, but the youth seemed to have expected what he was going to do. He raised his knees to block him and threw his fist at Dong Zheng’s cheek.
Dong Zheng abruptly leaned backward to dodge. Then, he held his breath and stared with fixedly at the youth who had his eyes closed. An image of an inner core appeared in his mind.
A towering firewall stood firmly forever, isolating the core from the perilous outside world.
Not only him, but everyone’s spiritual consciousness was like this.
People with great mental strength had more resistance to hallucinations and a more powerful firewall. They just couldn’t see it.
If one were to use an excessively large amount of data to attack, there was a possibility of overloading the node traffic and causing a breach in the firewall.
A large group of meaningless data streamed across the information highway, gliding through the ports of invisible network formed by Dong Zheng’s mental thought and rushed toward the spiritual core that belonged to Cui Zuojing. The data slammed hard into the firewall.
Cui Zuojing’s head became dizzy again.
But he didn’t panic. After experiencing so many unexpected emergencies in the box, the youth wasn’t surprised for long. At this moment, he was more puzzled, and he wondered how Dong Zheng’s ability could improve so fast.
Was it through eye contact?
In the constant dizziness, Cui Zuojing opened his eyes and faced Dong Zheng’s serious and quiet gaze. Looking at those eyes, he couldn’t find any clues at all that Dong Zheng was using his ability.
The window on the wall slowly began to rotate to the roof, and everything seemed to fade, gradually turning to shades of black and white. From the corners of Cui Zuojing’s eyes, Dong Linhai and Allen’s figures began to distort, elongating into waves. Only Dong Zheng, who stood in front of him, looked completely normal.
Cui Zuojing frowned. He lost the desire to continue to explore Dong Zheng’s abilities. Turning his fist into an open palm, he abruptly grabbed Dong Zheng’s wrist, gave a low shout, and threw the man’s whole body down.
Dong Zheng only felt a huge force pushing him out. Before he could react, he’d already fallen to the ground.
His hands jerked out behind him, propping himself upright so that he wouldn’t fall on his back. He released a slow breath and his temples began to throb painfully.
Cui Zuojing’s vision abruptly returned to normal.
“Did you just use your abilities on me?”
The youth rubbed his eyes, walked up to Dong Zheng, and stretched out his hand. He could feel that Dong Zheng was currently a bit weak.
“Yes.” Dong Zheng took the youth’s proffered hand and allowed himself to be pulled up. “I’ve had this idea before, but this was the first time I’d used it on a person. Do you feel uncomfortable?”
“So, I was your guinea pig,” Cui Zuojing pretended to complain. He said, “There’s not discomfort right now, but earlier, it was really uncomfortable.”
“Can you elaborate?” Cui Zuojing was his first experimental test subject during combat. It was naturally impossible for Dong Zheng to ignore his feedback.
“At first, I felt dizzy. I thought I might be affected because of the eye contact, so I closed my eyes. But, I didn’t expect to continue to feel dizzy. Then, when I opened my eyes, all I saw were distorted images.”
Dong Zheng thoughtfully nodded his head and said, “I used the data in my kernel to attack your firewall. In terms of mental power, you’re very strong. Otherwise, you would be more than dizzy.”
“Naturally. Although I’m not a brain developer with a mental system, I’ve also added a lot of points to my spiritual consciousness.” Cui Zuojing saw that Dong Linhai, Allen, and Lin Hangzhi wore dazed expressions, and said, “We’ll talk about it some more later when there’s time. For now, let’s train.”
After resting for more than an hour and being purified by Victor, Lin Hangzhi no longer had a sore waist and legs were no longer so painful due to excessive exercise. When he eased over, Cui Zuojing also pulled him up to fight.
Of course, just like with the others, it was more like a unilateral beating.
Despite having defeated all four of them in a row, Cui Zuojing didn’t even break out in a sweat. For him, this wasn’t even a warm-up.
Everyone’s poor skills gave him no sense of accomplishment. In fighting them just now, he was able to gauge their physical conditions so that he could help them advance according to their individual needs.
It seemed that the task before him would be quite arduous indeed. Although Dong Linhai had a foundation, Allen and Lin Hangzhi were simply laughable, particularly for such tall people.
It was Dong Zheng who gave him an unexpected surprise. But in terms of physical skills alone, the latter three…each had their own merits.
The combat training lasted until dinner time. By that point, Cui Zuojing had beaten everyone many times already. They now sat at the dinner table, gritting their teeth and slowly moving their arms.
This was the first day of training.
Cui Zuojing… Cui Zuojing was very happy. After all, there were so many people to serve as human punching bags. If one wasn’t enough, there were two. If two weren’t enough, there were three.
Due to the blood contract, he didn’t take a heavy hand with Dong Zheng, for fear that any injuries would be shared with him. However, with others, he ruthlessly sorted them all out, especially Dong Linhai. Frankly, Cui Zuojing hadn’t forgotten that Dong Linhai had forced him to sign a blood contract with Dong Zheng. Although he was very satisfied with everyone in the team, he also wasn’t sure if they could truly succeed. The two don’t necessarily correlate.
Therefore, he used the training to publicly avenge himself against Dong Linhai, making his training particularly miserable. Fortunately, the teen had thick skin. After experiencing the Doll’s House, he didn’t care so much about these trifling matters and nonsense. He suffered silently and only scolded a few words from time to time.
After dinner, Cui Zuojing hadn’t forgotten the result of the 10,000-meter-long race that morning. He told everyone, who’d just rushed to the sofa and chairs, “By the way, who was the last one to come back this morning? Wasn’t it Hangzhi?”
Lin Hangzhi immediately raised his head vigilantly, an alarm bell blaring in his heart. He swallowed and said weakly, “Yes, it’s me.”
“Since we’d agreed that there will be a penalty, then I have to keep my promise.” Cui Zuojing smiled and shouted upstairs, “Fu Zhe, are you ready?!”
“Yes.” Fu Zhe came out of a room upstairs and nodded to Lin Hangzhi from the hallway. “Come on.”
Lin Hangzhi: ?!?!?!
What’s going to happen?
He hesitated and watched as Cui Zuojing slowly stood up, with eyes full of “please tell me what is going to happen to me.”
Cui Zuojing smiled and said, “Fu Zhe is the one who arranged the punishment. It’s useless to ask me. You’ll know once you go up.”
Lin Hangzhi took a deep breath, stopped lingering, let out a low grumble and limped upstairs.
Seeing Lin Hangzhi go upstairs, everyone felt as if they’d witness the tragic heroics of the Five Heroes of Langya Mountain. Cui Zuojing stretched his body, feeling a little tired.
Bringing up disciples was harder than he’d expected…
But, fortunately, his job was done, and he could finally go and take a break.
Victor jumped on the coffee table, sat down gracefully, and said, “You should have read the information from yesterday. Now that you’re done resting, it’s time for a test.”
Cui Zuojing held a sofa cushion and sat next to Dong Zheng. He watched as Dong Zheng wrote down the answer to Victor’s question. The man’s handwriting was very beautiful; this was something he’d already discovered when he first came out of Hamelin and saw Dong Zheng’s notes. When compared to Dong Linhai and Allen’s chicken scratch, it looked even more pleasing to the eyes.
Allen’s characters were different, primarily because he wasn’t Chinese. This guy from the United States had been in Beijing for four years. He spoke Mandarin very well with hardly an accent. It was just that his handwriting was a bit bad. In contrast, Victor had lived in the northeast for nearly ten years and yet he still spoke with a Russian accent.
The knowledge test didn’t disappoint Cui Zuojing. Everyone answered very well, especially Dong Linhai, who displayed his knowledge of scp and Cthulhu.
“Then, today’s training is almost over. The day after tomorrow, you must read about the next 100 scp and more Norse mythology. Everyone has worked hard. Now, go wash up and rest.”
With Victor’s permission, the three of them breathed a sigh of relief and hurriedly went back to their room. As he passed by the room where Lin Hangzhi and Fi Zhe had entered, Dong Zheng heard faint screams coming from within.
Dong Zheng: ?
Cui Zuojing laughed and said, “Curious? If you’re curious, don’t run so fast tomorrow so that you can experience it.”
Dong Zheng said, “…..Or, not.”
Cui Zuojing returned to the prisoner space to rest. When he came out again, Dong Zheng had just finished taking a shower and was wiping his hair as he sat on the bed, reading the study materials.
Cui Zuojing took a closer look at the screen and found that Dong Zheng must have been stuck on the same page for a long time. The screen had gradually dimmed due to a long period of inactivity.
He raised his eyebrows. “What’s wrong?”
“Hmm?” Dong Zheng recovered and looked up at him. After a moment of silence, he said, “I was thinking about Agatha.”
It finally came. This was the first time Dong Zheng had talked about his feelings since they’d cleared Doll’s House. Cui Zuojing still remembered that when discussing the division of labor with Fu Zhe, he’d offered to be the one to enlighten Dong Zheng. “Haven’t forgotten about that box yet?”
“It’s very unforgettable.” Dong Zheng shook his head. “Because of her physical defects, family background, appearance, personality, and accent, she was discriminated against and was met with constant violence. No matter whether it was Wen Baoshan or Agatha, what they experienced are things that many people experienced in real life. Stories that actually happen in reality are more likely to arouse empathy. The queen seems to know this and is using human empathy to milk nourishment.
Cui Zuojing thought for a moment and said, “That is part of it. In my opinion, there is another more logical reason why the box script is like this.”
“I told you before that all the box scripts are created by Kether using a supercomputer that made assessments and adjustments in real time. The machine has no emotions. The story it created by itself couldn’t have possibly move people’s hearts.”
Dong Zheng said, “So, it uses stories from the real world? But, how can it know what is happening in reality?”
Cui Zuojing smiled. “I don’t know, but I think that these stories are extracted from the memories of pilgrims. Pilgrims who die in the box will become either prisoners or npc. Once prisoners die, they will become monsters. This gives Kether many channels from which to work with.”
Dong Zheng murmured thoughtfully, “The person who understands the human heart the most is always the person himself.”
Cui Zuojing patted him on the shoulder. “Since you know everything about the queen’s conspiracy, then don’t get into the drama too deeply. You have to know that, whether or not I, Fu Zhe and Victor can break away from our current situation, it depends entirely on you.”
“Mmn.” Dong Zheng clicked on the flat screen and said, “Patiently give me time. We won’t let you down.”
“By the way, tell me about your ability. Your interference mechanism is completely different from Fu Zhe’s. It’s interesting.”
The training continued for half a month.
Fu Zhe arranged a comprehensive training plan for everyone, including physical fitness, fighting skills, knowledge reserve, logical thinking, shooting, and intelligence collection.
The things in many novels, like the players quickly becoming godly sharpshooters after entering a different world, certainly won’t happen here. In the Pure White Realm, aside from the five major aspects that can be increased via points, mastering all other skills required diligent practice. At first, Cui Zuojing taught them how to shoot with a rifle that was relatively easy to use. After they became proficient at it, he upgraded them to a more portable pistol.
Although it was like this, on the first day, Lin Hangzhi couldn’t even load the gun with his hands. The doctor remained miserably at the bottom in terms of physical fitness and combat training. His hands were used to holding scalpels, and he seemed more accustomed to saving people rather than killing people.
But, there was a little accident during this morning’s physical training.
Dong Linhai, who was always the first to arrive, was nowhere to be seen. He still hadn’t arrived even after Allen, Dong Zheng, and Lin Hangzhi had returned.
“It couldn’t be that something happened on the road?” Allen said.
Cui Zuojing was also starting to have doubts. It’d been an hour and a half. Even if he was running two 10,000 meters laps, Dong Linhai should have finished by now. “He’s a big man. He couldn’t have gotten lost. Let’s wait.”
A while later, the castle door opened.
But, Dong Linhai wasn’t the only one who entered. A young girl with curly, flaxen-colored hair cautiously followed behind him. Seeing the castle, her eyes widened in surprise.