IWOL Chapters 370: Wishful Thinking

From then on, a letter from Cerberus would arrive every week.

The letters were limited in description, merely summarizing Cerberus’ travel with difficulties. Due to Cerberus’ slightly miserable writing ability and reading level, Fu Zhe was able to extract very limited information from those letters. Sometimes it took less than a minute to read those letters, and Fu Zhe could only speculate from the clues within about what happened to Cerberus.

There was a soft pink cherry blossom in this letter, and the letter mentioned that Cerberus met Allen and the proprietress. They took him in and he stayed in the hot spring hotel for some time.

It seemed that this letter was a bit more damp than previous letters, and it made his writings somewhat smudged. If Fu Zhe smelled it carefully, he could sniff out the faint scent of the sea. Cerberus should be in District VII when he wrote this letter. It was a city that was on the verge of being submerged by the sea, and the fogs and clouds lingered all year round, with the sun barely to be seen. When Cerberus took out the paper to write his letter, he probably accidentally left a smudge of his fingerprint.

Fu Zhe could even imagine the scene at that time: the heavy rain outside the window; the thick and sticky water vapor in the air, mixed with the smell of the ocean, so dense it made it difficult to breathe; Cerberus sitting in a narrow cabin, the kerosene lamp beside him glowing dimly. He would repeatedly write many drafts with many alterations, until he got it just right. Then he would take out a newly bought paper to write the final draft. The rain was really too great. When he pulled out the paper from inside his clothes, it was damp.

He moved a finger, picked up the pen again, and carefully dropped the first word.

The “Fu” in Mr. Fu was faintly smudged, and so it became like this.

They haven’t seen each other for a long time, but Fu Zhe still remembered his appearance so clearly. It was not only from the memories he got from Morality, but also from his own.

After leaving the castle, Cerberus finally had the opportunity to truly explore the Pure White Realm. Fu Zhe also hoped that he would use this opportunity to realize that there was a world beyond the casino and the arena that was splattered with his blood. And beyond his castle too. There were so many people to know and so many places waiting to be explored. He didn’t want Cerberus to treat him as his whole life. A normal person should never be like this.

Three months passed in a flash. Fu Zhe, Victor, Luo Yan, and Wang Que entered several boxes together. Cui Zuojing and the others often visited in their dreams. No matter what, Lillian and the little bear were always present. He was no longer alone, but even so, Fu Zhe still felt unspeakably lonely for some reason.

After meeting that man, who provided him with a different kind of company, he could no longer bear his original loneliness.

From time to time, he would dream, dreaming about things related to Cerberus. Fu Zhe checked with Luo Yan, and from her reaction, it appeared that she truly wasn’t interfering in his dreams. It was also true that he was the Master of Space, and if another power had interfered, he would have been aware of it.

Fu Zhe dreamed that he was still in the Afternoon Tea Party. In fact, at first, he didn’t even realize that he was dreaming. After some careful considerations, the Afternoon Tea Party selected a box to enter.

The box had a medieval background, and this small world was centered around an arena. Their task was to destroy the arena.

Destroying the arena didn’t necessarily mean physical destruction. With some effort, they were able to enter the arena. Cui Zuojing and Cheriyu Nana pretended to be slaves so they were taken into the arena to become gladiators.

Victor’s task was to provide logistical support at all times. Luo Yan’s task was to sit in the audience and analyze the opponents. As long as one of them becomes the top gladiator, they would be able to meet the arena’s big boss.

As the commander, Fu Zhe secretly sneaked in to explore the arena. He needed to know where Cui Zuojing and Nana were, and his ability to cast illusion was a great help in this endeavor. In this era that lacked modern electronic equipment, he could directly use illusions to confuse the guards. To reach this goal, he entered the arena’s backstage, and it was like entering no man’s land.

The thick curtain closed, and Fu Zhe smelled an unspeakable odor. The guard by the side was immersed in an illusion, allowing him to quietly walk in. In the dim shack, the slaves and beasts were locked in separate iron cages. The height of the cages was so short that it was impossible for anyone to stand at all. Only when they were taken into the arena would they get a short opportunity to stand.

Pained groans came from every direction. Slaves who were wounded in battle were simply carelessly bandaged and thrown into the cages to fend for themselves. This dirt and humid environment was a breeding ground for infection, and this was partly the source of the smell. The arena did not care about them at all. In its opinion, dead slaves lacked strength and deserved no pity.

There were nearly a hundred slaves and a hundred wild beasts contained in this place. Most of these animals were strangely shaped. In order to make them more blood-thirsty and more vigorous when fighting, these animals were starved early on. Therefore, many creatures were drooling as they gnawed at their iron cage, roaring with hunger.

The illusion came quietly, and so no one noticed Fu Zhe, an uninvited guest. Only a few monsters smelled him and they roared restlessly. Fu Zhe ignored them and paid attention to his steps. There was a lot of debris underfoot, and if he wasn’t careful, he might stumble.

The smell of feces, blood, and rotting limbs mixed together into an unbearable stench. Fu Zhe focused on not breathing through his nose and walked between the rows of cages, trying to silently reach the other side so he could observe the slaves in the cages. After all, Cui Zuojing and Nana would soon experience this.

“Who are you?”

As he walked by a certain cage, the man in the cage suddenly asked. His voice was rusty, as if he hadn’t spoken in a long time, but his words were still clear enough.

Fu Zhe looked over in surprise. The man in the cage was so tall that his head nearly touched the top of the cage, and his legs could only be curled up. He had Middle Eastern features, and in the dim light, his dark honey eyes seemed cat-like.

Fu Zhe recognized him. He was the ultimate winner of today’s gladiatorial fight. Winning slaves may be rewarded, and so his head and beard were recently trimmed, so that he didn’t look so dirty nor so terrible.

It turned out to be him. Fu Zhe thoughts spun, and he finally chose to say, “You can see me?”

The man nodded. He shifted a little so that he was kneeling down in the cage, closer to Fu Zhe now. Staring at him, he said, “I saw you in the audience.”

Fu Zhe pointed to the place where he had been heading toward. “Do you know what is behind this place?”

“The rescue room,” the man said, not even bothering to look away from Fu Zhe. He stared at the young man in front of him. The clothes on the young man’s body were so neat and tidy. Even in this dirty place, he had a certain calm, unhurried temperament. And unlike other nobles who’d been here, there was no disgust on his face.

He was consciously aware that Fu Zhe was a nobleman, but he soon realized that would a nobleman pass by quietly like this?

“Are you here to select a slave?” He was unwilling to let go of even the slightest possible opportunity. “I am the slave with the most wins here. Can you take me with you?”

Fu Zhe was surprised. He completely didn’t expect to receive such a request, and the illusion would last for a while, so he was not in a hurry to continue exploring. But he told the man, “I’m not here for a slave.”

Seeing the man’s obvious disappointment, Fu Zhe felt a tingling pain in his heart. He pursed his lips and continued, “But I can help you…Do you want to leave this place?”

The man nodded vigorously. He grabbed the cage and leaned closed to the bar. The yearning in his eyes nearly made Fu Zhe breath catch in his throat. The man’s voice trembled as he said, “If I can leave, I will do anything for you and be your most loyal slave.”

“I don’t need a slave.” Fu Zhe lowered himself down in front of him and asked, “What is your name?”

“I don’t have a name. I’ve been a slave since I was a child.” The man paused, and then his voice lightened, as if he was afraid of offending Fu Zhe. “Can you give me a name?”

That look of expectations made Fu Zhe silent for a moment. The man never had a name? The names of the students he’d taught in school flashed across his mind, but in the end, a name came into his mind like lightning, making him say, “Cerberus.”

He paused, and then explained, “Cerberus is an immortal hound that guards the gates of the underworld. I saw you fighting earlier and, like that immortal hound, you were powerful and brave and fierce.”

“Cerberus,” the man murmured, keeping this name that now belonged to him firmly in his heart. His deep honey eyes stared at Fu Zhe through the cage, like he was looking at the redemption that had descended on him.

“Master, can I know your name?”

“It’s Fu Zhe, and you don’t need to call me Master.” Fu Zhe took out a piece of bread from his pocket. In this era, there were very few foods that were convenient to carry, and the taste was very common. The more picky Luo Yan would hardly eat it, but to people like Cerberus, this was probably something good.

“I bought it at noon. I haven’t done anything to it. Don’t dislike it.”

Cerberus’ eyes lit up, and his arm stretched out through the gap in the cage. The thick, rough calloused fingers touched Fu Zhe’s hands as he took the bread.

The food delivery person often forgets to bring them food for various reasons. This piece of bread was definitely enough to last him two days and he would no longer be so hungry that even his cage was starting to look edible.

“Thank you.” He held the piece of bread tightly, and said very seriously, “I will do anything for you.”

“Then wait for the news.” Fu Zhe smiled. His illusion was about to end, and his current ability would not allow him to support another large-scale illusion. He whispered softly, “It’s time for me to go. The new boy and the woman with the knife in the arena are both my companions. When you meet, can you please let them win?”

“Okay.” Cerberus knelt in the cage. Although he knew exactly what losing a fight meant, he still said firmly, “I will let them win.”

Fu Zhe stood up and felt a sudden dizziness, like a hypoglycemic patient squatting for too long and then suddenly getting up. He stretched out his hands to stabilize his figure and ended up touching Cerberus. Then he staggered and fell down.

A second later, before opening his eyes, Fu Zhe realized that it was just a dream.

He had never met Cerberus in a box and had not rescued him. All of this was just a fantasy that he’d dreamed up in a secret place in his mind.

How much he wished it was him who pulled that man out of the abyss instead.

 


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