130 Jiao S's Heart
Nie Zun was gone.
After I woke up, when everything came to a temporary stop, he was gone.
More accurately, he was gone from the moment I activated my split symbol and saw her in battle.
Not only was he gone, I could not find him anywhere. After I activated my split symbol, that restriction where we could not be more than 500 meters apart was also undone.
I used to hate it, since I could never be more than 500 meters away from him from the first day I arrived in the Split Zone. It was a restriction that had no apparent reason, and it was gone so suddenly.
Did I try to look for him?
Maybe I just couldn't believe that he'd just go missing and leave me like this.
You couldn't wait to leave me once that restriction was lifted, Nie Zun?
"As for Nie Zun's disappearance…" Huan Qing seemed to hesitate.
You seem to be able to read my mind.
I looked at him, encouraging him to continue.
Huan Qing looked worried. "After you passed out, we looked at Guan Nie's injuries. They were more serious than we thought, and it caused some permanent damage to his MF. I don't know what Nie Zun did to cause such damage. Though I might not be able to accurately estimate Guan Nie's abilities, as a fellow illusionist, I know he isn't an ordinary one. One can escape from that physical illusion he created with MF, and it can also be undone, but it cannot be forcefully broken. However, Nie Zun was able to do just that."
His eyes darkened. "I don't know what you saw in the physical illusion, since it's meant to bring out the darkness in your hearts. No matter what you saw, Nie Zun probably broke the illusion by force because he was trying to prevent that darkness from devouring you. He accomplished something which isn't usually possible. Because of that, I have reason to believe that he is gravely injured."
I opened my eyes wide.
"Li Shen, bodies of consciousness in the Split Zone don't die easily, but we can still get hurt. I'm not talking about those injuries which can heal themselves, I'm referring to the permanent damage that can affect MF. To us, MF represents our ability and it forms the foundation of life here. It's difficult to go on if our MF is damaged. If you really care about him, it's best to look for him as soon as possible.
"I'm leaving now. You've been daydreaming here on the rooftop almost every day since you woke up. What I'm trying to tell you is that, some things cannot be solved by simply daydreaming."
Huan Qing left after that.
I remained silent when he spoke.
I'm just daydreaming, not avoiding things.
Jiao S and Si Luo are still here in the Western District. All of you are still here.
Why are the lot of you here, why are you still here, what are your aims - all of this isn't important right now, and I couldn't care less about it. I didn't want to think about anything, and I didn't want to do anything.
I'm not running away.
For some reason, I had no energy to do anything. It was as if half of my soul was lost.
Why did he leave when all of you are still here?
I heard footsteps behind me.
I knew immediately who it was. Nobody walks as stiffly as she does.
"Are you guys taking turns? Why, you're afraid that I'd jump off from here? Don't worry, I won't die from it even if I do." Although I didn't want to do anything and my emotions were in a mess, I regained a lively nature in front of Jiao S.
Jiao S sat beside me. "You've been sitting here without sleeping or resting for two days."
I shook my head. "I did rest."
"You're waiting for him?" Jiao S asked in her hoarse voice.
I remained silent, shaking my head.
Jiao S and I both looked into the distance.
"I was finally able to see him in this Western District of yours, after that huge battle, after you passed out from activating your split symbol," Jiao S said.
I nodded. "How do you feel when you could finally see him? You've admired him for a long time."
Jiao S continued, "How do you feel about Nie Zun's disappearance? He has always been by your side."
My head shot up. She did not look angry, but why did she have to say something like this to break my heart?
She stared into my eyes. "Others don't know you, but I know you. You'll never come clean if I don't force you to. Ah Shen, tell me, you're really totally fine with Nie Zun disappearing?"
I held her gaze. "No, I'm not fine at all.
"This is why I'm here." I gave her a wry smile as I pointed at the rooftop I was sitting on.
For a long moment, Jiao S looked at me with those empty eyes. She then did something unexpected.
Slowly, she leaned her head close, and rested it against my shoulder.
This was so familiar. There was only one other person who did this to me when I was alive.
She used to be my best friend, and she was also the one who betrayed me.
My heart hurt as I thought of Pomelo.
I could not get used to Jiao S's breath on my shoulder.
I haven't been in such close proximity to anyone for a long time. Just like a contagious patient, I kept my distance from everyone.
Though I was not used to this, it felt nice.
A slight smile formed on my lips, and there was fatigue in her voice.
"What good does it do for me to ask you these. I'm also an idiot when it comes to love."
I suddenly thought that I should ask her about what she said to Si Luo, and what happened after seeing him after such a long time.
But, could I really ask something like this?
"I saw him, and he was just as gentle to me. A gentleness that had this distance to it, a distance which can never be overcome." She spoke even before I could formulate my question.
I was silent.
"Ah Shen, I've always known that he had countless admirers and loyal followers. He has this angelic aura, and he is always so wise. How could I be worthy of standing beside him, even if I was just a subordinate? I'm someone peculiar, and I know I'm known as the queen of annihilation here in the Split Zone, a cruel, ruthless, emotionless person. I'll just be spoiling the picture if a person like me were to stay beside him.
"But, why did I still want to be by his side? I knew it was impossible, I knew I wasn't worthy. Why chase such a faraway dream?
"Though I wasn't worthy, there were many other things I wasn't worthy for, there were far too many things that I lacked. So can't I just dream about it?" She heaved a sigh, but I could hear her helplessness.
I did not dare move, and I let her continue leaning against me. I was afraid to move because I was afraid to see the tears in her eyes. I did not want to see her cry. She was always so strong, as if nothing could beat her.
"They all loved him and they would protect him, but why did it feel like it was me who understood him best? They were all thinking of how to save him when he was dying, but it was only me who wanted to help him accomplish what he wished for. Even though I didn't even know what his wish was.
"I simply wanted to help him achieve what he wished for. There were so many who loved him, but none could provide him with the life he wanted. Ah Shen, I still don't know what he wants. But I know that it is not something easy, and it is definitely non-violent. I know he wants peace, so how could he accept sacrificing Mi Fu's life to save his own? I would never do anything he doesn't wish for. Instead of dying in peace, they all want him to stay alive, when all I want is just for him to have a happy life. I don't want him to die, and I know he won't die. I want him to be the happiest person in this world."
I want him to be the happiest person in this world.
Such promises were usually made by one male to another female.
But you carry such wishes for Si Luo?
How are you not worthy of being by his side?
Tell me, apart from you, Jiao S, who else is worthy of being by Si Luo's side?
The loyal but naïve Gaoqin Jiuye and Rong Jin?
Or somebody else?
"Ah Shen, he was just as distant as ever when I saw him again. I know I should give up, but I just can't change my heart. Ah Shen, I'm acting just like a teenage girl. I can't even bear to leave him even for just a while. Haha, how can someone like this lead the Eastern District?
"Ah Shen, I wasn't well-liked nor accepted by others when I was alive, and I'm not about to hope for something nice here in this world. Maybe this was the reason why I lost my will to live and ended up here in the Split Zone. I didn't expect that I would meet him here. I know being this emotional isn't like my usual self at all, but Ah Shen, do you know that when I met him, I finally learnt that there was still something in this world that made me gravitate towards it. I realized I could be like an ordinary person, someone who wanted things, and not be a monster."
Silent tears rolled down my cheeks. I started crying even before she did.
The listener was the one who cried.
Jiao S, would there be anyone apart from me who knows exactly how you feel?
For someone who had grappled with years of identity disorder, who was always treated like a terrorist and shunned by others, Gao Qi was that dream of mine, the only thing that was good in this world.
Si Luo pushed you away, Si Luo rejected you, Si Luo left you.
Don't be afraid, don't cry. At least you didn't dirty your hands killing him…
Droplets of tears hung on my chin, before dripping onto my palm.
Jiao S was also crying silent tears, and her tears met mine as they landed on my palm.