145 Yu Liang's Intelligence
As I opened my eyes, all I could see was a pile of rubble.
That dream felt long, but not much time seemed to have passed.
I looked up to see the room we were originally in, and Jiao S and I were now able to see Gaoqin Jiuye and Si Luo through a huge hole in the wall. Gaoqin Jiuye was beside Si Luo, who looked very peaceful with his eyes shut.
Jiao S was still lying on the floor, and Guan Nie was crouched near Gaoqin Jiuye, spitting out mouthfuls of blood.
I struggled to get up, and I saw Yu Liang leaning against the wall below the window. It looked as if he was also gravely injured.
If I remember right, the last attack Guan Nie and I used on him did not inflict so much damage, so why was he hurt so badly?
I staggered over, squatting in front of him.
He looked up at me with an unfathomable smile, blood stains still visible on the corners of his lips. "Li… Li Shen, in the end, you'll still lose what you're most afraid of losing. No, actually, you're already losing it now…"
A light appeared around him after he spoke.
Following that light, something like a layer of ice appeared above him, slowly encasing him and finally freezing him entirely.
He was just like a human frozen and encapsulated in amber. I touched that ice, but instead of feeling chilly, it felt like something at room temperature.
His eyes were still open.
"This, this is the split freeze. This is when one focuses all the remaining MF into the split symbol, using that energy to freeze everything around one's body. It's a defensive method where one encapsulates oneself within a protective layer."
Guan Nie explained with difficulty.
There was a look of hopelessness in those upturned eyes of his.
I was rather worried about him, and I rushed over to his side, trying to support the wobbly Guan Nie. "Are you okay? You look seriously hurt."
Guan Nie leaned on my shoulder, like a sickly female, but I could see the burning passion in his eyes, which were looking in Gaoqin Jiuye's direction.
But he only managed a look before he fainted in my arms.
"Hey, Guan Nie!" I called out.
Gaoqin Jiuye was crouched beside Si Luo, and hearing me cry out, he forced himself to turn and look back at Guan Nie.
"Ugh…" Jiao S suddenly made a sound, but it looked like she was still paralyzed.
I took another look at Guan Nie. He had lost all consciousness and I could not do much for him right now. I lay him on the floor and ran over to Jiao S to help her up.
Gaoqin Jiuye seemed to be regaining mobility as well.
"The split freeze huh… Seems like that MF he used to paralyze us has also been frozen." As he said this, Gaoqin Jiuye shot a cold look at Yu Liang, who looked like he was fossilized in amber. He tried to support Si Luo up, but Si Luo still had that calm and peaceful expression on his face, like a toddler who was in deep sleep, he did not look like he was about to wake up anytime soon.
Jiao S moved her neck stiffly. It seems as if they are recovering their mobility very quickly.
"Doesn't that slime on the tentacle cause paralysis? How can you guys move so quickly?" I looked at Gaoqin Jiuye, while helping Jiao S to loosen her joints.
Gaoqin Jiuye gave me a sideways look. "Because that wasn't caused by any drug, the slime was MF itself. You can look at it like it's a kind of filthy MF, once that MF is sullied, it can become something that can directly inflict a huge amount of damage. But if the body of consciousness can no longer use that MF, just like how he is now, or if they die, then such MF will lose its effectiveness as well."
"What's wrong with Si Luo?" These were Jiao S's first words after regaining her mobility.
Gaoqin Jiuye's eyes darkened. "Yu Liang's splitting key was inserted into his split symbol."
Shocked, I asked, "Yu Liang's splitting key? But Si Luo isn't Yu Liang's soul splitter, would that key have any effect on Si Luo?"
Gaoqin Jiuye nodded gravely. "That is usually the case, but it's different with Si Luo's current condition. Let me explain it like this. To soul splitters, all the souls captured by us are called 'heirs', and once we engrave a split symbol onto the heirs, we'll be able to obtain the power granted to us by the split symbol, and at the same time receive the curse of the split symbol. If the heir is able to find us and insert their splitting key into our split symbol, they're effectively ending that curse by locking the split symbol, and they can then leave the Split Zone.
"As for us, since we're only left with half a split symbol, we'll have to find a new heir. Now that Si Luo is without an heir and there's currently no new heir for him, any splitting key will be able to freeze his split symbol and his consciousness. He will also continue to be in this state until the splitting key is taken out by that particular heir who inserted it."
Jiao S stood up after cracking her neck. "But now that Yu Liang froze himself with that split freeze, how do we help Si Luo recover?"
I understood what Gaoqin Jiuye was trying to get at from what he said, and that was also why he had such a grave expression.
"This means, Yu Liang has to personally do it for Si Luo to recover right? But now that Yu Liang is like this, how do we solve it?"
Gaoqin Jiuye looked at me. "From what I know, the split freeze is the final line of defense of any body of consciousness. So if the consciousness itself is not willing to undo it, there's nothing we can do."
… Nothing we can do.
"If the consciousness is willing? You mean Yu Liang can hear our conversation even in such a state?" I frowned.
Gaoqin Jiuye shook his head, saying, "I don't know. But he might be willing to do it if we can find Song Lu."
Song Lu was taken away by Li Wen, and Li Wen seemed to be in cahoots with Du Yue. Where do I begin looking for Li Wen when I cannot even seem to find any traces of Du Yue!
Seems like the first thing we should do is to make a trip to the Northern District!
To be honest, I was making a selfish decision here. I did not know Si Luo that well, so it will be a lie if I said I wanted to help him recover because we were friends. In reality, my goals would be easier to fulfill with Si Luo helping me. Now that he had already agreed to help me out, it would be a huge loss if he could not do so.
I looked at Gaoqin Jiuye squarely. "Gaoqin Jiuye, only you can bring us to the Northern District now. How about you lead the way? Song Lu is with Li Wen, so we as long as we know where Li Wen is, we can definitely find Song Lu. And since Li Wen is Li Qing's soul splitter, she's definitely in the Northern District now."
Jiao S interrupted me, "Don't you remember what Jie Pa said? You have to bring Yu Liang back to Jie Pa."
Yes, this was too complicated.
"There'd be no use bringing Yu Liang back to Jie Pa in this state. Since Si Luo is also not awake now, he won't be able to bring us to the experimental grounds either. You're the only one left. How about you work with us, go with us to the Southern District to look for the experimental grounds and bring back an experimental subject, and we can head for the Northern District after that to look for Song Lu."
Gaoqin Jiuye smirked. "Li Shen, everything is how you wish for it to be right now. You're using this opportunity to get my help in saving that friend of yours, and you're also able to borrow Jiao S's and my abilities to help break into the Southern District's experimental grounds."
I smiled. "That's right. I have to say things have turned for the better. However, since this is for someone you want to protect." I pointed at Si Luo as I continued, "Even if you're being used by me, I guess you don't really mind it?"
Gaoqin Jiuye then narrowed his eyes at me. "Have you ever thought about why this friend of yours would suddenly appear?"
He pointed at Yu Liang, now encased in amber, as he spoke.
"Could it be…" Jiao S and I looked at each other.
That's right, why did Yu Liang suddenly appear?
Logically, if we were setting out to look for Yu Liang with a team led by Si Luo, Yu Liang should have been avoiding us instead. Furthermore, out of Jiao S, Gaoqin Jiuye, Si Luo and I, three of us were District Commanders, and Gaoqin Jiuye's abilities were not to be trifled with. An ordinary individual would likely not be able to do any great harm to us, and if Yu Liang was alone, it would be almost equivalent to using an egg to fight with someone who had rocks. So why did he do that?
However, from that previous battle, Yu Liang did seem to be gaining the upper hand before Guan Nie appeared.
I looked towards the blood-stained Guan Nie, who was lying beautifully on the floor.
Gaoqin Jiuye followed my gaze, and he looked pained. "He's gravely injured. We'll need to go to the Northern District to find a healing expert among the soul splitters to save him.
"The slime on the tentacles is only one part of Yu Liang's sullied MF. If Jiao S and I forcefully focused our MF, there was no way he could have gained the upper hand. Guan Nie's appearance just made it all the more chaotic. But that's not the point, the point is, why did Yu Liang still appear even though he would know this was a battle he cannot win?"
Gaoqin Jiuye looked at me as if he already knew the answer, but he still wanted me to say the words.
I took a deep breath. "Seems like his aim was to force us to look for Song Lu. This situation was probably what he had already anticipated. He came into the lion's den and froze himself. In this way, he wouldn't reveal where the experimental grounds were, but at the same time, he'd be able to force us into a position where we had to look for Song Lu in order to save Si Luo."
I marveled at Yu Liang's equanimity and intelligence. This was probably all planned beforehand.
"Even someone as intelligent as him couldn't find his lover on his own and had to resort to such methods to force us to find her instead. This will not be an easy task," Gaoqin Jiuye said calmly.