118 Huan Qing's Request
"Without a human soul as a counterpart to his split symbol, it is now eating away at Si Luo's life force. His symptoms are identical to that of Mi Fu's older brother at that time, and without an opportunity to find a new body of consciousness, the best and quickest way to save his life is to let him engrave a split symbol onto Mi Fu. Gaoqin Jiuye and Rong Jin are aware of this, and they're both looking for Mi Fu now."
My brows furrowed. "You don't want them to find Mi Fu and let Si Luo engrave a split symbol onto her? But if Si Luo does so, Mi Fu will not die, this just means that she'll have to leave later. If Si Luo doesn't do it, then he might die. You're willing to take such a risk?"
Huan Qing looked pained. "No, it's not like that. Mi Fu's older brother made me swear to protect Mi Fu before he died, because she cannot be engraved with a split symbol. Once that happens, she'll die. He didn't tell me why, but by his expression and tone when he said it, I know it definitely wasn't a lie."
"Mi Fu will die if she gets engraved with a split symbol? So what you're doing now is simply to protect her and prevent that from happening, until she decides to leave the Split Zone of her own accord?"
I could not believe this.
Mi Fu, why are you so stubborn? This man protected you all this time because of a single promise, giving up on going back to the real world to see his loved ones just for you. But you just refuse to leave the Split Zone because of love?
Love is selfish. But if so many people end up being sacrificial lambs for such a love, can you still choose love?
"Don't blame Mi Fu for this, she doesn't have any idea. She doesn't even know there was a soul splitter who treated her like a younger sister. All she knows is that she loves Ku Fei, and we can't do anything about it if she doesn't want to leave the Split Zone. These things aren't important now. What's important is that Rong Jin and Gaoqin Jiuye now know the secret and they are trying all ways and means to get to Mi Fu."
"Is this under Si Luo's orders?"
"No, Si Luo doesn't want to sacrifice Mi Fu. He'd rather die. But Gaoqin Jiuye and Rong Jin are adamant on this, and they want me to hand Mi Fu over."
I felt a rush of sympathy for this handsome man, who now just looked like he was exhausted.
Agony flashed across Huan Qing's eyes. "Li Shen, I care about Si Luo as much as Gaoqin Jiuye and Rong Jin. But sacrificing Mi Fu isn't what Si Luo wants. I know he will not use someone else's life to save his own, and also, there's no way I would go back on my promise to Mi Fu's older brother. This is why I'm going to look for a new body of consciousness. Although the chances of finding one that's suitable for Si Luo is low, I still have to try. Gaoqin Jiuye and Rong Jin can't wait any longer - they'll definitely be looking for Mi Fu, so I need someone reliable to help me take care of her."
So this was it. He thought I was the reliable person.
Although I should be pleased that I was being trusted, there was now a heavy burden in my heart.
"Li Shen, I don't know why I looked for you either. I knew from the first time I saw you that you were different from the others in the Split Zone. I'm not saying this because I want your help, it's the truth. I can't pinpoint the exact difference, but I just thought of you, and so I came looking for you. If Jiao S knew the reason behind Si Luo's weakening life force, I'm not sure if she'd go after Mi Fu too. Would you be able to help protect Mi Fu before I return?"
I remained silent.
I cannot agree to this so easily. This was not a question of being cold-hearted, but this to me, was an extremely difficult task.
I already have so many things on my plate, how do I protect somebody else? Furthermore, Gaoqin Jiuye and Rong Jin already had their eyes on her. But, can I really turn my back on this?
"I know this request is a little too much, but I have no other choice. If you can protect Mi Fu until I return, I can promise you one thing."
Although I do not wish to take advantage of others in such situations, I definitely need to hear what he had to say.
Huan Qing's eyes shone. "Although I don't know what you're thinking and what you plan to do, whether it's to save your friends or to go against the soul splitters, I know you want to unravel this mystery, and you'll need to go to the Northern District. Remember that you couldn't find the blood-red border when you were in the Southern District previously? That's because I hid that border with an illusion. Even if you found it, you'll not be able to go through it anyway. I'm no saint, but I won't go back on my word. If you agree to my request, I promise to take you to the Northern District. Without my help, you'll never be able to step foot into the Northern District. I'm not lying about that."
This was attractive, but there were other factors to consider.
If I agreed, I will be fighting against Gaoqin Jiuye and Rong Jin.
To fight against Gaoqin Jiuye…
I felt ashamed at myself for such thoughts, but we are all human… My first thought was that I did not want to be on opposing sides with him…
Why did it feel like I understood Mi Fu a little more now…
Even without my feelings, looking at this purely from the angle of my abilities, it might not be something I can do. How am I able to go against Gaoqin Jiuye and Rong Jin? Furthermore, right now, I can't even wield Piercer well.
As I was in the middle of my thoughts, Huan Qing grabbed my hand.
Never have I seen such a humble and sincere expression from this classy man. "Si Luo will be in agony if Mi Fu was forced to die for him. Trust me, I will spare no effort in finding a way to save Si Luo. Gaoqin Jiuye and Rong Jin don't know I've brought Mi Fu to you, and I've applied an extremely complex illusion, and they'll not be able to undo it that quickly. But it's only a matter of time before it's undone, and they'll start looking for Mi Fu once they escape the illusion. Without your help, I can't be at ease if I leave Mi Fu and Ku Fei alone."
Huan Qing, you're not confident in being able to find a way to save Si Luo, right? Since Gaoqin Jiuye and Rong Jin are so adamant in looking for Mi Fu, this means the method of looking for another body of consciousness doesn't work. You want me to believe something that even the two of them don't think can be done?
In all honesty, it might not be a wise decision to trust you. But this doesn't affect my decision to help you. If everything you said was true, then you'd be the one in the most pain right now.
The eyes won't lie, and I can see that deep anguish in you. You're worried that Si Luo can't be saved, but you can't sacrifice Mi Fu for this either. There're also people waiting for you back in the real world, right?
Hah, such a place like the Split Zone should never have existed. Soul splitters, even if you feel sympathetic towards others sometimes, how could you capture us and dictate our lives?
I haven't seen Mi Fu's older brother, but I'm not Huan Qing, and I don't believe that you let Huan Qing go simply because you sympathized with him. You even sacrificed your life in exchange for Huan Qing's promise and loyalty. What exactly is your goal?
I, Li Shen, will definitely uncover these secrets!
I then smiled at Huan Qing. "I'll help you. I'll protect Mi Fu before you return."
Huan Qing's eyes sparkled. "You're serious?"
I nodded. "There's something else. Although this seems like it has to be kept a secret, I'll still have to check in with Jiao S on this. You said Jiao S might go after Mi Fu for Si Luo, but I disagree. When Mi Fu disappeared, Jiao S looked as worried about her as you did. I suspect she already knew this, and it's hard to believe that there's anything she doesn't already know when it comes to Si Luo. If she wanted Mi Fu to be sacrificed, I think she might already have went ahead to confront the lot of you."
I continued after a short pause, "I don't really know what she thinks, but I believe she's different from Gaoqin Jiuye and the rest. Even if she loves Si Luo, she isn't somebody who would selfishly take away the lives of others. I want to know her choice, and I hope you can trust her this time, just like how you trust me. With her on my side, it'll be a great help. You know that it'll be difficult if I go against Gaoqin Jiuye and Rong Jin alone."
It was obvious Huan Qing was now in a dilemma. "I found it weird too. Jiao S should've known all this even before Gaoqin Jiuye did, but she didn't look for Mi Fu, which I expected her to. But I'm not able to trust her fully even if she didn't do so, since she loves Si Luo deeply. It's hard to believe that she would not sacrifice Mi Fu for Si Luo."
Yes, it seems love reigns over all logic.
I smiled. "You mentioned Si Luo doesn't wish to sacrifice Mi Fu either. Maybe Jiao S isn't on Gaoqin Jiuye's side because she doesn't want to do the things that Si Luo doesn't wish for? Or, because of her love for Si Luo, she wants to fulfil his wishes instead of saving his life in such a manner?"