I leapt towards the two of them in the instant I retrieved Piercer!
As I moved, I noticed a difference in Ta Lai's gaze as he made a last-ditch effort to escape from that black fog!
Our surroundings turned pitch black once again! I stopped focusing my MF and tried to remain steady with both feet on the ground.
I contemplated this, realizing that there had to be a reason Ta Lai could not sustain this dark space for too long, since he ended it rather abruptly before. There had to be some weakness, or there should be something which could cancel its effect!
He might not be using his ability to attack us this time. It was likely that he was trying to escape!
As I realized his intentions, the surroundings lit up again!
"Gawrr—!" A fiery qilin appeared in the air! The jaws of the fiery qilin was producing fireballs, dissipating the black fog around Nie Zun!
There was no humanity in Nie Zun's eyes, only a bloodthirsty ruthlessness. Both he and Gaoqin Jiuye retreated quickly in my direction!
Riding that fiery qilin was a striking woman dressed in purple, with a high-waisted pair of trousers that showed off the silhouette of her long, slender legs!
It was Du Yue!
Du Yue had a cold and arrogant look about her. With one hand controlling the fiery qilin, she flicked her other wrist in a motion that pulled Ta Lai out of that black fog!
Ta Lai was charred. Everything was burnt from his neck down!
A look of suppressed pain appeared on Ta Lai's usually elegant face, but he looked more shocked at the appearance of Du Yue!
Du Yue looked around and stared at me. I felt an immense killing intent!
"Ta Lai, I've told you this before. You shouldn't have spared her life!" As she spoke, I was overcome with an impending sense of doom!
At that moment, I heard a voice of a middle-aged man behind me!
"Amitabha— Be good."
That draggy, low-pitched middle-aged voice seemed to come from somewhere around us. Du Yue's eyes widened in shock as she heard it!
I wanted to turn back to look, but a pillar of golden light appeared from the sky! The golden light was dazzling, and it shone directly onto Nie Zun, who was still surrounded by the black fog!
Nie Zun's eyes narrowed as he was encased in that golden light!
An incredulous look appeared on Gaoqin Jiuye's face!
The sense of doom I felt coming from Du Yue was also dissipated by this golden light!
As I looked back, I saw a middle-aged monk in a kasaya walking towards us slowly with prayer beads in hand! (T/n: A kasaya is a term that refers to the robes worn by Buddhist monks.)
Though his pace seemed slow, he was able to reach us in just a few steps!
He had a slightly chubby face which had a very calm expression, looking like he had seen everything and had had enough of this world. His prayer beads shone with a bright light as he moved!
The light shot in Du Yue's direction, and Du Yue waved a hand!
The fiery qilin roared. With the injured Ta Lai and Du Yue on its back, it turned and left in a haste!
All of this happened within a split second. As air currents continued to explode and collapse around us, Du Yue and the fiery qilin were already gone!
The monk looked like he was able to bring calm into any storm. He had a smile on his face that was gentle, but at the same time, it seemed to bear down on people with an unknown pressure!
"Amitabha." With that Buddhist greeting, the monk passed by slowly without looking at me, and he disappeared in front of my eyes!
What sorcery was this!
In another second, everything went back to normal. Ta Lai was gone, Du Yue was gone, and the monk was also gone!
Nie Zun was now lying unconscious on the ground, and Jiao S had re-appeared! She was also laying on the ground, unconscious.
Shen Qi was already back at Gaoqin Jiuye's waist. He was very pale, and he looked exhausted as he stood beside Nie Zun with a hand on his abdomen!
Two figures suddenly dropped from air currents that appeared out of nowhere.
Like discarded toys, Si Luo and Guan Nie dropped onto the ground beside Gaoqin Jiuye and Jiao S.
Gaoqin Jiuye looked like he could no longer bear with his injury as he sat down on the stone ground.
The sudden calm made me slightly anxious, and I looked around, my gaze finally landing on the prone forms of Si Luo and Guan Nie.
One had long, silvery-white hair, while the other had white hair spread out messily across the blood-stained ground. They looked like a gift from heaven, two beautiful individuals sleeping peacefully in this quiet and spooky forest.
Exhaustion overcame me, and I fell backwards. All I could see was my red dress as I closed my eyes.
Two years ago.
"I heard Mr Blond say the value of your MF is 52?" Li Qing was beside me. I had been daydreaming on the rooftop for quite a while now.
"Yes," I answered calmly as I continued looking into the distance.
"You don't like the Western District?"
I looked at Li Qing who had a dashing smile on her face.
"Why do you say that?" I gave a slight smile.
"So this means you're admitting that you like this place." Li Qing gave me a charming smile.
"Since you like it here, you have to learn how to protect yourself so that you can continue living, and surviving here." She put more emphasis on the last three words 'and surviving here'.
"We won't die here anyway." I laughed casually, though I did not feel light-hearted about this at all.
"No." She looked me in the eye as she continued, "There're many places to die here in the Split Zone. Don't think that you won't be able to die as long as you keep your split symbol well-protected."
"Is that so. So what…" I sighed and looked into the distance once again.
Li Qing was someone who was sure of everything she did, and she looked especially charming in fights. She was just like a genius.
But there were also times when she was just like a child.
Just like now.
Under that silver armor, she lifted a sculpted arm to adjust her hair, and she had this slightly distressed expression.
"Mr Blond entrusted you to me, and it seems like I'm not able to take care of you well. I always see you daydreaming here. Well, the Western District is a nice place. Stay here and I'll protect you."
As if she found the root of her problems and solved it on her own, she laughed loudly and draped a hand over my shoulder.
As I looked at the gray sky and the forest in the distance, the refreshing scent of Li Qing's hair wafted into my nose as a wind blew past us.
"Hey." She used her chin to point in the direction behind me.
"Does it feel nice that he's always with you?" Li Qing laughed.
I frowned a little, a look of irritation in my eyes. "No, it doesn't."
Li Qing's hand which was on my shoulder pinched it hard, and I looked at her in annoyance.
Her gaze was clear like spring water.
"No matter what world we're in, company is always precious. It's your luck that you have it now. No matter how unlucky you were when you were alive, whatever you have now will always be the best you can get."
Though I didn't understand what she meant nor was I touched by what she said, I did not react very strongly to it.
I made a non-committal sound, trying to end this.
"You don't know how to protect yourself, and you want to drive away the one who can protect you. What a façade."
She was criticizing me, but she sounded so full of love as she said it.
"I'll be teaching you how to fight soon. But before that, you'll need a weapon."
Though I was uninterested in everything since arriving in the Split Zone, I still respected and relied on Li Qing greatly.
I was not very interested in getting into fights or having weapons, but because Li Qing said it, I tried to make myself look slightly more interested as I looked towards her.
Li Qing took a sideways look at me and it felt as if she already knew what I was thinking. She grabbed something from behind and threw it into my arms.
I looked at it as I picked it up.
It was a bow.
It was silvery-white, the same color as her armor. No wonder I did not realize she was carrying it when she walked over before.
The bow was not large either, it was small and portable.
There were not many designs on that silvery-white bow, and it did not seem to be exquisitely decorated either. Though it looked like an ordinary bow, nothing extremely beautiful, it felt right in my hands.
For some reason, I already fell in love with this ordinary bow as I lay eyes on it.
"This is a… bow?" I looked at Li Qing with a rare curiosity.
Li Qing's hair was blowing in the wind, and she squinted in a smile.
"That's right, it's a bow. It's for you. Use it to practice defensive moves next time."
"How about the arrows?" I asked casually as I played around with the tiny bow.
"I'll get someone to create the arrows for you, they'll be dipped in a suppressant. It's lucky that this dress of yours is pretty thick and it isn't too revealing either. I'll attach the quiver on the dress, and you can bring them with you wherever you go."
"What's the story behind this bow? I'm sure you wouldn't be giving me any ordinary bow." I asked jokingly, not being too serious about it. It did not matter whether the bow was a good weapon or not, since what was important to me was that I liked it on first sight, and I would definitely want to use it in future.
"Sadly, this bow is really just an ordinary bow. There's nothing special about it," Li Qing answered with a smile.