Don’t Close Your Eyes At Me
Chapter 79: The Duke’s Wishes
Zhou Qi barely touched the food in front of her.
She took a sip of wine, but it was only very small amount.
It was because when she picked up her glass, the Duke sitting at the head of the table gave her a very strange look.
As for how it was strange?
It was as if he didn’t want to look over, but his eyes didn’t listen to him and insisted on turning this way…..
There was a strange sense of mismatch.
After a quick glance, he continued to smile and chat with the two examinees next to him.
But this terrified Zhou Qi enough.
As soon as her lips were stained with wine, she hurriedly placed the glass aside.
Dinner ended at 10 o’clock in the evening.
The male servants led the guests back to their rooms. Along the way, Zhou Qi was a little absentminded.
“Xiao Zhou, are you okay? Your expression doesn’t look good.” Zhao Jiatong asked worriedly.
“The mask is covering it, yet you can see that her expression doesn’t look good?” Gao Qi had once again drunk until his tongue was loose.
“Can’t you see the pale lips?” Zhao Jiatong pushed him aside, “You move over.”
You Huo and Qin Jiu who walked in front turned around when they heard this.
Zhou Qi hesitated for a few seconds.
A ridiculous thought appeared in her mind ——- The Duke’s look earlier seemed to be warning her not to drink the wine.
But it really was a ridiculous thought.
As the exam subject NPC, the Duke who shouldn’t be a good person would give her a warning like that? Even if he was to give a warning, why would he only warn her?
It didn’t make sense.
Moreover, the two great masters ahead ate and drank without a worry. Perhaps it was because they were experienced and powerful, they didn’t appear to be concerned.
Gao Qi in particular drank a lot.
If she told them now that the wine might be problematic, wasn’t that too late?
Zhou Qi swallowed the words back down and shook her head: “It’s nothing. I just don’t like it here. I don’t feel comfortable staying here for too long. I’m a little scared.”
Yang Shu said lukewarmly: “Didn’t eat or drink. Probably hungry.”
Zhou Qi internally said: I’m really not hungry……
But she didn’t want to mess with this domineering big sister and just nodded: “Probably.”
Zhao Jiatong kicked Gao Qi: “Didn’t you go to the rest stop before you came? Did you buy food?”
“No.” Gao Qi dug out a pack of cigarettes from his pocket and said innocently, “Just bought this.”
“……..You’re useless.” Zhao Jiatong said: “It’s either alcohol or cigarettes. Can’t you have a good habit?”
Gao Qi was used to her nagging and wasn’t angry. He just raised his hand and surrendered: “Alright, alright, I won’t smoke. You happy now?”
As he said that, he stuffed the cigarettes into You Huo’s pocket.
“Here, my gift.”
You Huo: “I don’t smoke.”
Gao Qi then dug out a lighter and passed it over: “I haven’t seen you smoke either but don’t you always have a habit of bringing a pack whenever you supervise an exam?”
“Why?” Zhao Jiatong was curious.
Although they were all people who had followed Invigilator A in the past, it didn’t mean that they were close.
In any case, Zhao Jiatong used to be a little afraid of him. Curious, but afraid.
Gao Qi next to her answered: “How should I know?”
As he said that, he secretly glanced at Invigilator A himself.
You Huo didn’t even raise his head.
Gao Qi looked at Zhao Jiatong and spread his hands. He mouthed: Don’t ask anymore. Probably forgot.
Gao Qi and Zhao Jiatong sighed.
As You Huo was about to store the lighter away, two slender fingers suddenly reached over and took it away.
He knew it was Qin Jiu just by looking at the hand.
“What are you doing?”
“A little curious. Borrowing to take a look.”
Qin Jiu walked next to him and spun the lighter between his fingers. He suddenly asked: “In the past, was there someone who would always borrow the lighter from you?”
Perhaps it was because his voice was too low, or perhaps it was because he was very close, You Huo’s heart trembled.
It was as if something he had long forgotten was brought up. He suddenly had a faint impression of it.
He looked at the object in Qin Jiu’s hand: “How did you know?”
“Because you asked me if I smoked.”
As Qin Jiu said this, he looked up at him.
You Huo remained silent for a moment. He took the lighter back and stored it in his pocket: “You said you don’t smoke.”
Qin Jiu stopped. You Huo didn’t stop. In a blink of an eye, he had walked ahead.
Gao Qi and Zhao Jiatong who were bickering looked up and wondered: “What’s wrong? Why did you suddenly stop?”
Qin Jiu rubbed his empty fingertips together and looked up: “It’s nothing. Just thinking about something.”
“What is it?” Gao Qi looked around: “Did you find something?”
“Has nothing to do with the exam.” Qin Jiu paused and added: “A private matter.”
The Duke’s wine worked very well.
As soon as everyone returned and quietly changed rooms, they soon began to feel sleepy.
In the middle of the night, the castle was silent.
Holding a lamp, Butler Douglas stood before a room on the second floor and knocked a few times.
After a while, the door opened.
The man scratched his head and asked sleepily: “Who is it——-”
The old head butler was old and his skin sagged. The light from the oil lamp illuminated his face from the bottom, startling the person who opened the door.
It wasn’t anyone else. It was Zhang Pengyi who was late for dinner.
Douglas nodded and said: “I’m sorry sir for disturbing your sleep.”
Zhang Pengyi rubbed his face. His fingers trembled slightly.
He didn’t want to sleep.
The Duke’s question during the dinner banquet scared him. He and Jiajia were extremely afraid and didn’t plan on sleeping but they somehow fell asleep and now he had somehow woken up.
“Do…..Do you need something?” Zhang Pengyi glanced into the room.
Strangely, he had woken but Jiajia was still sleeping deeply.
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It wasn’t like this before. Jiajia would wake up as soon as he rolls over.
Douglas said slowly: “I don’t know if sir still remembers, the Duke said he would like to see you tonight.”
Just this sentence made Zhang Pengyi’s heart fall.
“Can’t it be tomorrow during the day?”
“I’m sorry, I think it’s better that you go now.”
Zhang Pengyi glanced down the corridor.
There were clearly many people in this castle but right now it was extremely quiet.
There were no sounds of human voices nor any sounds of snoring.
He remembered the Duke’s reminder during dinner. It was as if everyone here would automatically fall into deep sleep at night.
Not only that, the servants who were standing outside during the day were also gone.
The fireplace in the corridor was almost completely extinguished. Only the flickering light from the lamp in the old butler’s hand was left.
Zhang Pengyi felt cold sweat roll down his back.
Anxious, he opened his mouth and shouted: “HEL——”
Before he could finish that word, the slow butler suddenly lashed out and smashed his head with an iron rod.
Zhang Pengyi’s call for help abruptly stopped and he crumbled to the ground.
On the big bed in the room, He Jiajia continued to sleep. It was as if she was deaf. She was completely unaware of what was happening.
The old housekeeper returned to his expressionless look. He reached out and grabbed Zhang Pengyi’s collar.
The back of his hand was covered in wrinkles. Purple and green veins could be seen on his pale skin.
He was clearly old and frail, but he dragged Zhang Pengyi along with no changes to his expression.
In the corridor, only the rustling of clothing fabric rubbing against the ground could be heard. This continued from the second floor to the first floor before finally stopping before a bedroom in the west tower.
The old butler knocked on the door.
The Duke’s voice came from inside. It was very soft and very hoarse: “Is it Douglas?”
“Who else could it be, Master?”
“You’re a little slow today.”
The door creaked open. Two male servants held the door open expressionlessly. It was as if they didn’t see the old head butler drag a person in.
The Duke stood there with his mask.
It was clearly the middle of summer, but he rubbed his hands like he was cold.
“It’s okay. I have all the patience in the world for you.” The Duke said softly, “What can I do without you?”
“I’ll always be there.”
Douglas dragged Zhang Pengyi into the large bedroom.
The Duke followed behind him, still warming his hands by rubbing them together. A smile rested at his lips. It was a little like the person in the oil painting, but it was also………not exactly the same.
He said to the other servants without looking back: “Leave.”
The two servants moved as directed. After leaving, they closed the bedroom door behind them.
Douglas threw Zhang Pengyi into an armchair. He slowly brought over a pile of candles and lit them one by one.
The Duke stood in front of the armchair. He took off Zhang Pengyi’s mask, pinched his chin and assessed him.
He snorted and said: “I don’t really like this face. You even damaged it.”
“It’s okay. We don’t need to use it. But I also don’t like his figure.” The Duke then unbuttoned the other party’s shirt.
He coughed a few times. His lips were stained with blood. He said regretfully: “But never mind. My heart can’t last any longer.”
Zhang Pengyi suddenly felt a chill. Soon afterwards, it was a splitting headache.
He vaguely heard some voices and was then startled awake.
He found himself sitting in an unfamiliar room surrounded by a ring of white candles and some dry branches.
He had watched his fair share of TV dramas so the first thing that came to mind was something along the lines of medieval witchcraft.
But the next second, those thoughts were gone.
Because fear had prevailed ——- He found himself unable to move.
The old butler Douglas stood outside the circle while the Duke stood in front of him inside the circle.
The other party leaned down and stared at him through the holes in the mask.
Zhang Pengyi smelled something strange.
It was rotten and cold……
The Duke smiled.
If you looked at it from a close distance, you would see that his smile was very stiff and not very well controlled. He could only move the corners of his lips.
“Look at me.” The Duke said.
His eyes seemed to have the power to bewitch. Zhang Pengyi inexplicably became a little dazed.
“Kind-hearted guest, would you do me a favour?” The Duke asked softly.
Zhang Pengyi opened his mouth.
His mouth and brain seemed to be separated. He wanted to say “no” but his lips instead said “yes”.
He struggled with himself. His eyes rolled up as he struggled, making him look both pathetic and pitiful.
The Duke clicked his tongue and murmured: “It’s even uglier.”
Zhang Pengyi didn’t hear it.
He felt pressure around his chin again. When his eyes once again met with the other person’s eyes, he gradually stopped struggling.
After a moment, he said with a blank expression: “I will.”
The Duke smiled: “Many thanks.”
There were muffled noises in the bedroom. It sounded like something was plunged into flesh.
It only stopped after a while.
And then it was the sound of something heavy being dragged.
A mirror with intricate patterns sat in the corner of the room. The Duke stood in front of the mirror wiping his fingers and carefully examining the person inside.
He changed into Zhang Pengyi’s clothes. The shirt was unbuttoned, revealing his upper body. Thin blood-red lines travelled around his waist and neck like uniform stitches.
Douglas helped button his shirt.
The Duke said, “I thought about it. I’m not going to use his face.”
“Then what about this gentleman’s wife?” Douglas asked, “They seem very loving.”
“Loving……..That’s good.” Said the Duke. “We can give it a try later.”
The Duke touched his chin: “This face should be replaced soon. It hasn’t been very obedient the past few days.”
As he said this, he rolled his eyes like a madman and his neck twitched a few times.
It was as if…..his head was struggling.
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The butler said: “Understood, Master.”
“Piecing it together like this is too troublesome. If would be nice if there was a perfect guest.” The Duke thought for a moment and continued: “The dinner this time was good. I saw two such guests. If one of them does not abide by my requests and makes a small mistake, that would be best.”
“Hopefully they are people who don’t follow the rules.” The butler answered, “I will pray for you.”
The Duke raised his chin and indicated to the butler to button up his shirt.
He glanced at the butler and said: “Douglas, your body is too old this time. When can it be changed?”
Douglas: “After you and madam reunite.”
The Duke’s eyes softened a little: “It’ll be soon. Didn’t you say that this guest and his wife are very loving? My Alisa will be back soon.”
He turned to Douglas again and continued: “When you change to a young face, I want to find a painter to add a few strokes to those oil paintings and add you in too.”
The night got darker. The sky was overcast again.
Several thunders rolled by and the rain that had only just stopped started again.
The stone railing outside dampened from the rain. Beads of water slid down leaving behind long trails.
Douglas held a lamp and returned back to Zhang Pengyi’s room.
He said to the person behind him: “Go ahead.”
The Duke wearing Zhang Pengyi’s formal clothes walked into the room and went straight into the bedroom.
On the crimson red bed, He Jiajia was curled up under the blankets, sleeping deeply.
The Duke sat down by the bed and took off the other person’s mask. He examined her sleeping face.
In his chest, his heart started racing faster. He closed his eyes and took in this sensation.
He said to Douglas: “Good……..Very good. I can feel it…….”
There was another ring of white candles around the bed.
The Duke’s eyes had become a lot gentler.
He gently patted He Jiajia’s face and said: “My dear, wake up.”
The next moment, the person who was in deep sleep actually woke up.
She said mumbled in her confused state: “Pengyi? Why are you up?”
The Duke stroked her face and looked down into her eyes: “Wake up. Open your eyes and look at me.”
“That’s right………Just like that.”
“Kind-hearted lady, would you do me a favour?”
The thunder suddenly got louder.
On the third floor in a room directly above that bedroom, Zhou Qi suddenly jolted awake. Her heart pounded in her chest.
She had suddenly dreamt of her boyfriend. The other person was standing before a large dressing mirror wearing formal clothes from this castle and, in his hand, he held a mask he had just taken off.
With a pale face, he said to her: “Qiqi, I’m a little cold……..”
She wanted to go over, but the other party moved away: “Don’t come here. Don’t look at my eyes. Just sleep. This place is so cold……”
She then jolted awake.
Zhao Jiatong next to her still carried the faint scent of wine. She slept soundly.
Zhou Qi sat there for a while. Her body went through sudden cycles of hot and cold.
She recalled her boyfriend’s words from her dream before laying back down.
They didn’t use the bed and was sleeping on the carpet.
She opened her eyes and watched the water droplets roll down the wall.
It looked like someone crying……..
She huddled closer to Zhao Jiatong and closed her eyes again.
3am in the morning.
A phone alarm suddenly went off in a room on the third floor closest to the east tower.
After ringing, it was snoozed.
Several minutes later, it started again but it was again snoozed.
You Huo finally moved his arm away and opened his eyes.
He woke up in a bad mood and looked over to the side with a frown.
Qin Jiu was next to him looking down at him: “If you don’t wake up, I’ll have to take some drastic measures.”
You Huo closed his eyes for a moment and finally sat up.
In a poor mood, he asked, “Why are you waking me? I set an alarm.”
Qin Jiu waved his phone and pointed at the screen: “Are you referring to this alarm that went off eight times?”
You Huo: “…..”
He expressionlessly touched his empty trouser pockets and stared at Qin Jiu for a moment before asking: “Why is my phone in your possession?”
“It was too noisy. I stole it.”
Qin Jiu bent down: “Since you’re awake, I’ll return it to the owner.”
They naturally didn’t sleep with those constricting formal clothes and only wore white shirts and trousers with pockets close to their hips.
You Huo watched the other person retract their hand. A corner of the phone peeked out from his pocket.
After Gao Qi grabbed his coat from the bedroom and came out, he saw You Huo stand up from his seat and readjust the position of the phone in his pocket.
The formal clothing here also consisted of boots. At first glance, he resembled how he looked when he was an invigilator.
Gao Qi froze for a moment and said, “The boots are all the same but why do they make your legs look long and straight and mine look so bad……”
You Huo looked up at him.
Gao Qi felt that he probably wouldn’t say anything nice, so he quickly interrupted: “Forget it, treat it as if I hadn’t said that. That…….We’re really going to harass the Duke now? I don’t think it’s a good idea….”
“You can choose not to go.” You Huo said.
Gao Qi felt that there was a crack in this friendship.
Just as he wanted to say a few more words to persuade them, someone suddenly appeared on the balcony.
Zhao Jiatong said to them: “Don’t rush over to harass the Duke. Let’s save our companion’s life first.”
You Huo stopped.
Zhao Jiatong pointed next door: “Xiao Zhou is a little strange. Come and take a look?”
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KK has something to say:
Zhou Qi…. 💔