120 Keeping Company, that's Love?
After Huan Qing, Mi Fu and Ku Fei left, Jiao S and I did not immediately go over to Nie Zun and Guan Nie, who were now in a conversation.
"Why bring him here?" I tilted my chin in the direction where Guan Nie stood.
"He wanted to come. I can't force him to do anything that he doesn't wish to." Jiao S glanced.
I sighed. "Though I don't know how he's connected to Gaoqin Jiuye, I guess he's probably wishing for Si Luo not to survive."
Jiao S nodded. "There's a selfish side to any kind of relationship. Guan Nie tried all ways and means to pry Gaoqin Jiuye away from Si Luo, and I know that even though he doesn't look kindly upon those who wish for Si Luo's death, he probably wishes that they don't succeed in finding a way to save Si Luo either, since this matter creates some sort of rift between Si Luo and Gaoqin Jiuye. I totally empathize with him on this."
"You're really understanding." I smiled at her teasingly.
There was a sparkle in Jiao S's eyes. "That's rare. Didn't you always think I was cruel, ruthless and unfeeling?"
I pretended to be shocked. "You actually knew that?"
Jiao S laughed.
Seeing her laughter, I took a deep breath and put a hand on her shoulder.
She glanced at me.
I looked at her. "You, are really alright with all this? I know it's hard for you, since you know Mi Fu's life can save Si Luo. Isn't it difficult for you not to go to Gaoqin Jiuye's side for this?"
Jiao S smiled gently. "Ah Shen, even if I find it difficult, this is something I have to do. Si Luo doesn't wish to sacrifice Mi Fu, and the best thing I can do right now is to assist him in finishing what he wishes to complete, without harming innocent lives in the process."
I felt a little melancholy. She really loves him.
Jiao S gazed into the distance. "I didn't know Si Luo was a soul splitter initially, and even though I did suspect it, before I could confirm this, I simply wanted to uncover the truth of the Split Zone and take him away with me. After I learnt he was a soul splitter, others thought I should give up. So, I decided to change my goal. Since he's a soul splitter, I'm going to find out the reason behind the existence of soul splitters, and I'll think of a way to bring him, a soul splitter, back to my world."
Jiao S looked at me again. "Our world might not be that great, but it's still worth living in. I want to bring him back."
There was a dim fire in her eyes, and I felt uncharacteristically sympathetic for her.
"You will definitely succeed in this. We all will," I said resolutely. "We'll unravel all the mysteries and leave this place together."
For some reason, I glanced at Nie Zun as I said this.
I thought about what he said, Do you really wish to go back?
"I left to investigate Si Luo's matters earlier, and my subordinates informed me that Huan Qing passed through the heavily-guarded Eastern District to reach your place, so I guessed that he was probably bringing Mi Fu to you. I then contacted Guan Nie and arrived here with him. I'll be heading for the Northern District with Huan Qing tomorrow, and while we're looking for a way to save Si Luo, I can snoop around for news there. You just try to locate Si Luo as soon as possible."
"Wouldn't Si Luo definitely know that Gaoqin Jiuye and Rong Jin are trying to capture Mi Fu? Since he's not interfering, would it be of any help if I were to look for him on this?" I frowned.
"It's not that he doesn't want to interfere, it's that he can't. Si Luo knows Gaoqin Jiuye well, and he won't interfere in whatever that Gaoqin Jiuye wants to do for him. Si Luo is like this, he respects how others choose to live their lives. In fact, I've wanted you to meet Si Luo, not only for you to persuade him in convincing Gaoqin Jiuye, but also to see what he has to say about how you chose to live your life."
I looked at Jiao S, confused. "I don't get it."
Jiao S met my eyes. "Ah Shen, I don't know if you know this, but you're different from the rest. I can't place it, but you're just different. You'll understand why I want you to meet him once you see Si Luo. I'm also curious to see what he'll do upon seeing you, whether he'll change or remain as he was."
I did not fully understand Jiao S, but I just nodded.
"To be honest, I don't know where Si Luo is either. However, my instinct tells me that since Li Qing chose you to be the next District Commander, even though he's dying, Si Luo would definitely meet you on account of his friendship with Li Qing. You don't actually have to look for him. He'll probably come looking for you once we leave."
I looked at Jiao S's steadfast gaze. "You're sure about that?"
Jiao S replied, "I'm not sure. I still don't fully understand him even after so many years, but we can always try."
"I really envy you. Those guts and that passion of yours, you're not afraid of anything," I said, smiling at Jiao S.
Jiao S answered in surprise, "I actually envy you."
I raised my brows, asking, "Oh? Why?"
Jiao S's huge eyes moved to where Nie Zun was standing, saying, "Don't you think he likes you a lot?"
My heart skipped a beat. Why did I react this way?
I was a little befuddled. "He, he, he likes me?"
Jiao S gaze carried a hint of envy. "I'm always chasing after Si Luo, but Nie Zun is always beside you. No matter what ties the both of you together, such a fate is rare. Ah Shen, how do you feel about him?"
I was speechless at this.
Jiao S continued without waiting for my response, "How do you feel about Gaoqin Jiuye? Though I don't know why, but I can tell you look at Gaoqin Jiuye differently."
I was pretty stunned. Jiao S, you've been taking notice of me all this time?
I was moved by this. At least there's someone here who cares about me.
I glanced at Nie Zun, who just so happened to look over at us. I addressed Jiao S while looking at Nie Zun, "I ended up here because I killed someone, and that person was someone I loved. He looked exactly identical to Gaoqin Jiuye."
I looked back at Jiao S, and as expected, she was shocked when she heard this.
Her look of surprise faded quickly. "So it's like this. Though we still don't know what kind of place this is, do you remember what I told you previously? I suspected that soul splitters were just another form of ourselves. Although this conclusion can almost be invalidated, there has got to be some sort of correlation between these two worlds. Maybe what you hope for isn't to leave this place, but to find out what this correlation is. If that's your goal, then it's understandable that you keep thinking about Gaoqin Jiuye."
"But Ah Shen, you have to be clear that he is Gaoqin Jiuye, not your lover."
I remained silent.
Jiao S continued, "Gaoqin Jiuye is quite the legendary figure in the Split Zone. He can pass through any border at any time he pleases, nothing can stop him and nobody knows his whereabouts.
"The only legendary fearsome soul splitter that had often appeared in the Split Zone's history, Satan Cang Ming, was someone nobody dared to oppose. From what I heard, Gaoqin Jiuye saved the lives of this couple from Cang Ming, all on his own. Nobody knows what happened on that day. I don't know why Gaoqin Jiuye would do that, but I know that Gaoqin Jiuye is probably the only person who can stand up to Cang Ming.
"Gaoqin Jiuye is naturally suited to live in this place. Nobody would be able to oppose such a mysterious and godly figure, and he's not your lover. But I'm willing to help you unravel all this, to find out if there really is any correlation between them."
Jiao S looked like she was going to continue, but I interrupted her with a smile. "I know all that. I know very well that he is not him. But just like how you persevere, to me, I'm already contented to be able to see someone like him, as if he received a chance to live after his life was taken away by me."
"Jiao S, Gaoqin Jiuye isn't my lover. I'll definitely let it go some day."
I kept smiling as I said this.
Jiao S gazed at me like she was looking at a poor and defenseless creature.
"As for Nie Zun," as I spoke, I subconsciously looked over at him. "You say he likes me. I guess there's some sort of like there, since we're always together. We're no longer little girls, so there's no need to avoid such things. But what I can't tell is that if he loves me, or he merely thinks that we're both lonely people and make good company for each other."
"Keeping company, that's love…" Jiao S said in her rough voice.
I was stunned by her words.
I looked at Nie Zun, who looked like he was looking at me as well.
Nie Zun, are you keeping me company because of love?
"Love is like the truth, it'll definitely be revealed some day," Jiao S said quietly.
"I've brought some people from the S Clan to help you protect the Western District. Let's draw up a perfect plan to protect Mi Fu tomorrow before we split up."
Jiao S then signaled for Guan Nie and Nie Zun to come over.
A smile hung on Nie Zun's lips as he walked towards me.