Dong Zheng didn’t hear the end of Fu Zhe’s instructions; he could no longer hear clearly. His nose was still constantly bleeding and now his whole head felt groggy. His hands and feet were cold, and his temple throbbed with every heartbeat. In fact, he was having a hard time remaining standing.
He pinched his waist hard, letting the pain sharpen his consciousness.
After explaining the rules, Fu Zhe said, “That’s it. If the two of you are ready, we can start.”
Dong Zheng nodded, “I’m ready.”
Wang Que, who was standing across from him, looked at him with eyes swollen from crying. Even so, she was still a pretty girl.
She raised her hand and said in a clear voice. “I abstain.”
Fu Zhe was silent for a moment.
“Okay. Since Wang Que abstained, then the winner of this test is Dong Zheng.”
Without any nonsense, Fu Zhe directly announced the result. The color of the floor tiles under the two people’s feet dimmed. Dong Zheng only felt that his vision became dark, and when they cleared, he was already standing in the living room.
Fu Zhe still sat at the table in his iconic solemn posture, while Cui Zuojing sat cross-legged on the table. Fu Zhe had provided him and Victor with a certain spiritual connection, allowing them to see the situation inside the test site .
—It really was Fu Zhe’s style.
Once someone chooses to give up, he won’t bother asking whether that person really wants to give up. In Fu Zhe’s view, the moment someone mentions giving up, it already means that there is no chance to go back.
Dong Zheng could no longer stand. He staggered back and sat down on the sofa. Victor hurriedly jumped onto the sofa and placed his paw on Dong Zheng’s nose to stop the bleeding.
His wounded nose quickly stopped bleeding. Lin Hangzhi and Allen were frightened by Dong Zheng’s tragic appearance. Allen took out a wet tissue and asked him to wipe his face.
Dong Zheng felt much better after the pain was relieved. However, no one could do anything about the side effects caused by excessive blood loss. As a result, he could only recuperate slowly.
Everyone gathered around Dong Zheng to take care of him, but Wang Que stood far away in the outer circle. She was unable to insert her hands, and could only watch them.
“Thank you.” Dong Zheng was still dizzy, but he didn’t forget to say thank you to Wang Que.
If it weren’t for Wang Que’s decision to abstain and finish the game as quickly as possible, with his character, he would definitely hold on until one side wins, or until he lost too much blood and fainted.
Wang Que shook her head and whispered, “It’s okay.”
The girl raised her eyes and met Fu Zhe’s gaze. The young man frowned slightly, and there seemed to be some kind of reproach in his eyes.
Wang Que pressed her lips together and lowered her head in silence.
Due to Dong Zheng’s good fortune, Cui Zuojing’s state was also not very good and his whole body exuded a low air pressure. The youth swayed and sat down beside Dong Zheng, saying, “Congratulations to our final winner. You get a reward.”
Dong Zheng’s head had been resting on the back of the sofa, but now he raised his head, and asked, “What is it?”
Cui Zuojing touched his chin for a moment, and suddenly had an idea. He said, “You can make a request to me. As long as it’s not too much, I will agree to it. How about it?”
This reward was just something you thought of at the last minute.
Cui Zuojing said, “This is what I just thought of. What’s wrong with it? Do any of you have an opinion?”
Allen laughed. “It wasn’t me who won. What can I say?”
Lin Hangzhi agreed.
The award winner finally spoke, “Is there a deadline?”
“No, if you never ask, it will be even better.”
Dong Zheng looked up again, and said, “Then I will use it when I think of something.”
After saying this, he caught a glimpse of Dong Linhai, who’d been standing to the side with a small grievance on his face.
When Dong Zheng was a teenager, this expression was often seen on Linhai’s face. At that time, Linhai was only seven or eight years old. He was the young master with a golden spoon whose every wish would be satisfied. Everyday, he had all kinds of whims and requests. At the time, Dong Zheng was going through a particularly rebellious phase. He would refuse on purpose, just to see the aggrieved and unhappy expression on Linhai’s face. And, every time he saw this expression, he would secretly feel that it was rather refreshing.
This was a dirty emotion that could not be placed out under the sun and could not be seen.
But Linhai never noticed that Dong Zheng was being deliberate. Or, perhaps, it was something he couldn’t even conceive of.
Because, to the young master who was loved by countless people and who had never had a gloom in his heart, Dong Zheng was his dearest brother. As such, Dong Zheng would never take away anything that should have belonged to him.
The young Dong Zheng had been very wary of Linhai.
Thinking back to ten years ago, Dong Zheng closed his eyes. He knew that the boy was waiting for him to call his name, waiting for an explanation.
But Dong Zheng didn’t want to do that anymore.
It’s time for Linhai to grow up.
The two brothers briefly looked at each other. Dong Linhai waited for Dong Zheng to give him a soothing smile.
But instead, Dong Zheng looked away and began talking to Cui Zuojing.
The discomfort in Dong Linhai’s heart reached its peak at this moment, and his whole person almost collapsed.
He wanted to ask Dong Zheng what was going on, but in front of so many people, he couldn’t speak.
Dong Zheng felt really uncomfortable so he went unsteadily back to his room to rest. Fu Zhe and everyone else stayed in the living room to summarize their performance in the assessment.
Fu Zhe emphatically praised Dong Linhai for his brave performance in the sewers, and also emphatically criticized his brainlessness at the last moment.
The boy, who was normally very energetic, seemed muted at this time. He didn’t say a word, accepting Fu Zhe’s evaluation entirely.
Allen and Lin Hangzhi‘s performances were also very good. The only exception was Wang Que. Whether it was her emotional breakdown in the sewer or her final abstention, her performance wasn’t very good and she had the lowest score of all. Correspondingly, in the next week of training, she would be punished.
Wang Que had no objection to this result and didn’t seem very upset. Only Fu Zhe knew that she had fallen into an illusion, one that specifically reflected the most fearful situation in her heart.
Everyone was free to do as they pleased for the rest of the day. Allen hadn’t gratified his craving for play yet and so he asked Lin Hangzhi to accompany him to the training room to practice shooting. Born in a country where guns were legal, Allen was the only person in the team with a gun license in the real world, and his shooting skills were better than Dong Zheng.
He also invited Dong Linhai along, but the teen rejected him with the excuse of fatigue.
After watching Allen hold Lin Hangzhi’s shoulders and humming “America the Free, Shootings Everyday,” Dong Linhai sighed in frustration and walked upstairs to his room.
The first American-Soviet competition for supremacy ended smoothly, and Dong Zheng gave Cui Zuojing a big surprise as always.
Cui Zuojing went to check on Dong Zheng. Victor had inadvertently fallen asleep on his cat climbing post. After a while, only Fu Zhe and Wang Que were left in the living room.
Wang Que silently headed upstairs. She had just climbed the first step when Fu Zhe stopped her.
When Cui Zuojing entered the house, Dong Zheng had fallen into a light sleep.
The youth’s movements were very light, but it still woke him up. After experiencing so many life-and-death crises in the Pure White Realm, Dong Zheng had become extremely alert, and even a tiny, unusual sound could awaken him from a deep sleep.
During the competition, they’d severed the connection between the prisoner and the owner. Until now, they still hadn’t reconnected. Cui Zuojing walked lightly to the bed and saw that Dong Zheng was turning around, unexpectedly awake.
“How do you feel?” He stopped trying to keep quiet.
“Don’t you already know?”
Maybe it was because the competition had tired him out, or maybe it was the weakness that came with too much blood loss, but Dong Zheng’s voice was very soft, and he seemed particularly gentle.
Cui Zuojing shrugged. “The impact on my body is a little bit different from yours.”
“I’m okay. I just need a good night’s rest, then I can proceed with tomorrow’s training as usual,” Dong Zheng said. “Victor said that he won’t have much therapeutic effect on blood loss, but he is too modest.”
Cui Zuojing smiled and said, “Uncle’s strength hasn’t fully recovered. Naturally, he dare not be too boastful.”
He paused, and said, “Your performance today was very good.”
A smile lifted the corners of Dong Zheng’s lips. “Thank you. I also think so.”
This reply wasn’t what Cui Zuojing had expected. He sucked in a breath, wanting to hit Dong Zheng. But, after taking into consideration the fact that Dong Zheng was still wounded, he didn’t do anything and instead blurted out in a low voice, “I rarely praise people.”
“Then I will answer in a different way.” Dong Zheng immediately changed his words. “Thank you. It was an honor.”
Cui Zuojing smiled. Neither of them spoke again for a long time, but the silence wasn’t awkward.
Because the scene outside the castle’s window was always monotonous, Dong Zheng’s bedroom curtains remained drawn.
Seeing that Cui Zuojing didn’t intend to leave for a while, Dong Zheng closed his eyes again, wanting to rest.
After a while, he seemed to think of something. His eyelashes trembled, then he opened his eyes and looked at the youth sitting on the bedside chair. He said quite solemnly, “Luo Yan came to me during the competition.”
“Luo Yan?” Cui Zuojing was taken aback. Thinking he had heard it wrong, he said, “Which one did you say?”
“Your former teammate, Kingfisher, the girl chosen by the power of dream.”
Cui Zuojing was no longer so calm. “She took the initiative to look for you?!”
“Yes, I saw her in Fu Zhe’s infinite hallway. She was in a painting and took the initiative to speak to me. In the end, she said…..that she’ll give me the power to dream again.”
Aware of the subtle changes in Cui Zuojing’s expression, Dong Zheng asked, “Has she looked for you before?”
“Mmn, she found me when we were in Doll’s House.”
At that time, Luo Yan used a card game to reproduce their tragic ending that year.
In the very end, she told him—he was their last hope.
Dong Zheng nodded. If Luo Yan had ignored the more familiar Cui Zuojing and Fu Zhe and only came directly to him, then it would be really fishy.
Cui Zuojing frowned and murmured, “Strange. It stands to reason that the use of dream power requires a certain medium. I haven’t seen you come into contact with anything special.”
Dong Zheng had a different view. “Do you remember when I was still in the small city of Doll’s House and I had a dream about my mother’s deal with Chang Hui?”
“You mean…Luo Yan also gave you that dream?”
“This is the greatest possibility. Otherwise, why would I dream of such a secret past for no reason?”
Cui Zuojing agreed. “Also, the power of dreams will give her more opportunities to discover secrets. If she wants to help us, this is probably the only feasible way. Come on. Tell me in detail about what happened, where you met her, and what she said to you. Maybe…..we can quickly find her.”
Half an hour later, Cui Zuojing came out of Dong Zheng’s room. He directly turned to the study and found Fu Zhe among the books.
Fu Zhe raised his eyes and glanced at him, then turned his focus back on the words in his book. “What’s wrong?”
“Luo Yan spoke to Dong Zheng. She was in the illusion you created. Did you notice that something was wrong?”
Fu Zhe wasn’t surprised and merely closed the book in his hand. Seeing his reaction, Cui Zuojing’s heart dropped.