149 Bamboo Hat People
I grabbed Gaoqin Jiuye's hand, smiling at him as I held onto his palm tightly. "Gaoqin, bring me to Zou An, now."
Gaoqin Jiuye's gaze narrowed.
Jiao S tried to stop me. "Ah Shen, we left Guan Nie in the building to chase after you. I'll need to go back to make sure he's being well settled. You shouldn't be rushing now either, you need rest."
I shook my head. "No, there'd be a higher chance of Nie Zun leaving me the longer I wait. I need to head for the Northern District as quickly as I can."
"How can you be sure that he's also headed for the Northern District? You saw him here today, so he's definitely still here now!" Jiao S's voice was getting higher-pitched, and she sounded rather strict, as if she was upset that I did not want to rest.
Jiao S's words reminded me of something else.
"Jiao S, get people to guard the border between the Eastern and Southern Districts, don't give Nie Zun any chance of leaving!"
Jiao S took a deep breath. "I'll definitely do that. But, Ah Shen, you have to know that Nie Zun, Yu Liang, and that weird octopus monster were all able to enter the Eastern District without the knowledge of my subordinates. So I'm afraid such security will not have any effect on them."
I tried to suppress the anxiety and frustration I felt, trying to think of the most efficient way I could find Nie Zun.
The more I thought about it, the more tired I got. I didn't think too much about the tie between us before this, and I took it for granted that we would always be less than 500 meters away from each other. It was only now that I felt useless. It was so difficult for me to find him and to even take one look at him.
But I knew I had to remain calm in such situations.
I hugged my legs, slowing sitting down onto the floor, staring at it blankly.
I didn't realize that I was doing something so similar to what she did that day when she was drawing circles on the floor.
I spoke softly after looking at the floor for a while. "Jiao S, go take a look at Guan Nie first, he's probably really badly injured this time. Give me some time to think about this, I'll go look for you after."
Jiao S looked at me with worry. "But…"
All of a sudden, three figures appeared behind Jiao S.
I looked up, squinting at our visitors. They were in bamboo hats. Jiao S's expression changed slightly as she felt their presence, but I could not see her face as she turned around to face them.
Her voice was hoarse and low-pitched. "Why're the lot of you here instead of protecting the Eastern District?"
The me now was no longer as lazy as I was before Nie Zun's disappearance, and I started to put more thought into things recently. Even though I did not meet these three individuals very often, I do not remember hearing any of them speak.
But these figures were uncannily familiar. I narrowed my eyes as I observed the three of them. The funny thing is, no one spoke even after Jiao S asked the question.
Something was odd, and I slowly stood up. Those three did not move an inch.
Jiao S seemed to turn back a little, as if she felt my movement. She spoke in a low tone, "It's okay, just say what you have to."
The one in the middle of the bamboo hat trio then spoke up.
It belonged to a male, and his voice sounded steady and dependable. "Our mission is to protect you. You've been too willful recently. We can't let that happen from now on."
I narrowed my eyes at them again. This voice was so familiar, but I just could not recall who it belonged to.
Jiao S waved a hand. "No. I'll definitely make this trip to the Northern District. Tao Lie and Mu Li are both stationed in the Western District now, and Guan Nie is badly injured. If the three of you leave with me, wouldn't the Eastern District be left unprotected?"
The one in the middle continued, "Tao Lie and Mu Li are your top subordinates. Since you've already moved the most powerful people away from the Eastern District to protect the Western District, why are you worried about the Eastern District being unprotected?"
Jiao S seemed to be slightly annoyed at this, and her tone turned a little colder as she answered, "Huo, you know I wouldn't let anyone in the Western District get hurt."
Though I was touched by her words, something was weird about it. It seemed as if it was not because of me that she said it?
Since she called the middle one Huo, looking at it now, they should be Feng, Huo and Lei, from left to right.
Three elements huh?
"Guan Nie's injury is not that simple. He was already gravely hurt when he returned from the Western District, and after forcefully using his MF, his consciousness has almost crumbled. For some reason, he has also lost the will to live. Looking at the situation now, it might lead to his MF dissipating, and his split symbol might also peel off, leading to his death. You didn't even inform us that you were back in the Eastern District, and if it were not for Guan Nie who felt your presence, we might still be kept in the dark about this."
Peeling of the split symbol?
I heard about this before. In the Split Zone, it is usually only through split symbols that one can die. However, if one's MF is greatly damaged to the point that even the body of consciousness itself gives up on life, then the split symbol will peel off, and this ends the tie between their body of consciousness and their body in the real world, causing death. I've heard that this process is called the peeling of the split symbol, but I have never witnessed it.
This is rare in the Split Zone, as there are many who wish to die here, but most of them would want to drag somebody else together with them, and use the method of inserting their splitting key into another to achieve death. It was rare that someone just wanted to die without affecting any others, so I have never witnessed anyone whose split symbol peeled.
For one's split symbol to peel, one has to lose all heart and will to survive before that process can even start. Even if they did not care much for the world, it was still very rare for anyone to have that mindset of giving up everything they have.
Was Guan Nie at such a stage?
I glanced at Gaoqin Jiuye, and I saw an infinite darkness in his eyes. I couldn't tell what he was thinking about at this moment.
"There're already signs of his split symbol peeling?" Jiao S asked immediately. She knew this was something serious.
Huo said, "Yes, his split symbol has already started to float up, and his MF is simply swimming around him, without a regular pattern. Who did he go up against back in the Western District? Why is his consciousness being invaded by a kind of dark emotion?"
I thought of something immediately.
Guan Nie's original injury was inflicted by Nie Zun. At that time, Nie Zun was going for Gaoqin Jiuye in order to protect me, but Guan Nie wanted to protect Gaoqin Jiuye so badly that he probably didn't think about defending himself. And Nie Zun…
Nie Zun used that pinky ring in his attack! That black skull ring!
Yes, I found that ring familiar, but I don't recall where I had seen it!
Nie Zun's hands had the ability to invade the consciousness of others, and anyone in contact with his hands would feel a menacing pressure upon their consciousness. How about that ring? From what I remembered on that day, that ring produced a black and red ray which made everyone cringe in fear. Guan Nie was stabbed through the chest with that ray.
Was that darkness inflicted upon Guan Nie through the ring?
Though I always knew Nie Zun had monstrous power, I did not know how far he could go. From Guan Nie's condition, it was definitely terrifying.
Because of this, I definitely had to look for him. I had to find out what exactly happened to him!
I spoke abruptly, "He's injured by someone under me, and I'm willing to take responsibility for that. There's someone good at healing in our district, so how about bringing him to the Western District?"
The bamboo hat trio did not move, but the one on the left, who was most likely Feng, spoke. "Miss Li Shen is referring to Jie Pa?"
I was slightly stunned. Why did his voice sound exactly the same as that of Huo's?
Suspicion began to grow in me.
Huo spoke, "If it's Jie Pa that Miss Li Shen is referring to, there's no need. Jie Pa will not be able to save Guan Nie. Right now, there's only one person who can save Guan Nie, and that person is a soul splitter who is currently in the Northern District."
I remained silent, waiting for them to continue.
Jiao S interrupted Huo, "Though Guan Nie's injuries are major, the most serious injury is psychological. If his heart is not well, what use would it be if we bring him to the Northern District?"
She looked at Gaoqin Jiuye clearly as she spoke, as if she was placing the blame on him.
I could not make out Gaoqin Jiuye's expression clearly in the dark, and he had been rather quiet after the bamboo hat trio made their appearance.
I looked at him standing there in the dark silently, and for some reason, I thought of Nie Zun again.
My heart hurt at such a thought, it was just too painful to bear.
Gaoqin Jiuye finally spoke after hearing the sarcasm in Jiao S's words, "How long does Guan Nie have?"
Huo answered, "Seven days at the maximum, unless we find that person in the Northern District. I'm sure no further explanation is needed from us as for who that person is. Mr Gaoqin Jiuye should know it very well."
Oh? This is starting to get interesting. Why did it seem like I was the only one who did not have the slightest idea about the Northern District and the people there?
Jiao S might not know either, but seeing that these subordinates of hers are no ordinary individuals, she would've probably got all her intel from them.
Just who are these three individuals? Why did I find their voices so familiar?
"Then we'll go to the Northern District and find him to save Guan Nie in seven days."
Gaoqin Jiuye sounded so sure when he spoke, as if there was nothing that could change this decision of his.
I did not have much to disagree with, since I wanted to go to the Northern District as quickly as possible.
"You guys can't come with us," Jiao S told the three suddenly.