166 Meeting Bian Ying
We could see nothing but thick fog through that 'Ghost' gate.
"It kind of feels like we're entering the gate to hell," Jiao S joked.
"If this is the gate leading to hell, then I hope the grim reaper's handsome," I said as I tried to look further into the fog.
"There's nothing but handsome guys on your mind." Gaoqin Jiuye scoffed.
"You're definitely not on my mind." I rolled my eyes at him.
As we spoke, we heard a singing voice nearby.
"Seems like there's somebody singing." I quickened my pace.
"Yes, it sounds like a woman."
We were met with a different scene after passing through all the layers of fog.
"This…" I looked up in surprise at the sky. It was something that should not belong here.
The sky was blue with white clouds and there was also a sun.
Apart from the blue sky which looked exactly like how it looked like in the real world, there was a dense green forest right in front of us. That forest looked exactly like what we'd see in the real world, and it was not made up of those fake trees from growing agents used here in the Split Zone.
"What're these? Do these gates lead to the real world?" Jiao S sounded extremely surprised.
"No, take a closer look at the sky, it's different," Nie Zun said calmly.
Upon closer observation, I realized there really was something different about this place.
The sun was shining peacefully in the azure sky, and there were bits and pieces of white cloud all around. Though nothing seemed special about this, there was an unnatural quality to it. It was way too serene.
The sky was blue and the clouds were white, but nothing moved.
The sky in the real world did not move either, but it was not like what we were witnessing here. The sky here was like a painting, as if the real sky above was covered with a huge painting of a blue sky. And although the sun was bright and round, it seemed to look like it was embedded there on purpose.
"This… Why does the sky seem man-made?" Jiao S took the words right out of my mouth.
That's right, this was what it felt like - man-made. Everything looked man-made and everything was eerily still.
We heard that singing voice again, and it seemed like it was coming from that dense forest right in front of us.
"Let's go over and have a look."
We found the source of the voice as we walked into the forest.
There was a ring-shaped river with water clear as crystal, but it did not seem to be flowing. There was a lady sitting on a huge rock beside the river. Hugging her knees, she had this thin white shirt on her. Her face looked thin, and her eyes seemed adrift with a tinge of melancholy in them. The faint singing voice was coming from her, but her lips did not seem to be moving at all.
"What a unique lady…" I muttered.
This lady was not as dashing as Li Qing nor did she have that gentle beauty of Li Wen, but as I took a closer look, she had very refined features, except that she seemed a little too thin, and it made her look a little tired. Though ordinary women cannot surpass beauty the likes of Si Luo and Guan Nie, this lady had a very unique aura about her. There was a modest charm about her that made her seem tough but gentle, as if she was quite a willful individual.
But that willfulness seemed to feel more endearing than annoying.
The soft singing voice stopped as the lady turned towards us slowly, as if she could hear my thoughts.
Her gaze swept past me and she looked at every single one of us before her eyes finally landed on Gaoqin Jiuye.
She looked surprised at first, then she looked like she was about to burst into tears of joy, but these were all replaced by a look of suspicion very quickly.
She floated over with a light tap of her feet.
What amazing speed, I thought to myself.
"Gaoqin, why are you here? You're finally willing to come back…"
"It's been a long time," Gaoqin Jiuye interrupted her. She looked a little stunned, and she looked around at Jiao S, Nie Zun and I.
"They're from the Gate of Heaven?"
Gaoqin Jiuye shook his head.
"Is this your soul splitter friend? Aren't you going to introduce us?" I asked Gaoqin Jiuye with raised brows.
The lady then stretched a hand towards me. "Hello, I'm Bian Ying."
I was hit by surprise.
Bian Ying?? Ta Lai's lover, Bian Ying?
"Ta Lai's lover?" Jiao S spoke before I could say anything.
Bian Ying's face instantly turned white, and her pale lips looked even paler. "You guys… You know Ta Lai?"
After a brief moment, she nodded to herself, as if everything began to make sense now. "Of course, you guys will know him…"
"We aren't soul splitters, and we didn't know Ta Lai originally. We met him along the way," I explained.
That look of melancholy in her eyes was instantly replaced with shock. "You, you guys aren't soul splitters? You're heirs? Why would heirs be here in the Northern District?"
Before anyone could say anything, she turned to Gaoqin Jiuye and continued, "Are you mad, Gaoqin? You brought heirs here to the Gate of Ghost?"
Gaoqin Jiuye shrugged. "I didn't bring them here. If it was me, I wouldn't have brought them to this 'Ghost' gate that even I haven't been to myself. This isn't even the original entrance of the Gate of Ghost anyway."
He pointed at the direction in which we came from.
"Then how did you enter? And why do you have heirs following you?"
"I don't know. I'm here because I got swallowed by a python."
"Python?" Bian Ying asked with knitted brows.
"From what I'm hearing, it seems that we aren't that welcome here in the Northern District if we don't originally belong here, calling us 'heirs' and all." Jiao S spoke suddenly.
Bian Ying glanced at Jiao S and I. It seemed as if she was very curious about me, as her gaze seemed to linger on me.
Although she addressed us as 'heirs', I could tell she was not hostile towards us, and that she wasn't a cruel soul splitter. Now that I think about it, all the soul splitters I know had unique personalities; there was Li Wen, who looked gentle but was in fact cruel, Gaoqin Jiuye who was just cold and evil, and Si Luo who was mysterious and secretive.
Bian Ying also had a unique aura, but compared to the other soul splitters I know, there was no hostility to it. She didn't appear weak, but she didn't look like she would attack us either.
However, once she caught sight of Piercer hanging on my waist, she had this look of disbelief and incredulity. She looked surprised, but at the same time, there was abhorrence in her eyes.
"Why do you have Piercer?" Nie Zun stepped forward to shield me as Bian Ying took one step closer towards me. I had to pull at his hand to indicate that it was fine before he turned slightly, so that I could face Bian Ying properly.
"It's actually a long story. Simply put, I accidentally offended the couple who created Piercer, so they…" Before I could finish, I realized that something wasn't quite right.
I didn't offend Zou An and his wife earlier, so why did they give me this cursed living weapon?
They could've been used by You Ji too, but now that I see Bian Ying, something just wasn't quite right about this. Though You Ji might've been jealous and hated me, I'd believe it if she decided to work with Du Yue, but I don't think she would stoop to doing such a thing.
Was there another reason that didn't cross my mind?
"Forget it, I can't really explain it either. Anyway, Zou An and his wife gave me this Piercer, and Zou An's wife, Ah Wen, she's dead."
Bian Ying looked even more shocked at this. "Ah Wen… died? How did she die?"
Gaoqin Jiuye interrupted me, "It's a complicated story, and we have a more important mission right now, which is why we're here in the Northern District's Gate of Ghost. It's great that we met you, since it helps save me a load of time. Tell us, where's Cang Ming? We've brought with us someone who needs his help."
Jiao S and I looked at Gaoqin Jiuye in shock, doubt apparent in our gazes.
He was actually referring to Satan Cang Ming when he talked about that healing expert who could save Guan Nie? Why didn't he say so earlier?
More and more questions continued to pop into my head. Gaoqin Jiuye simply smiled mysteriously as he saw the looks on our faces. Is there some sort of conspiracy going on here?
I didn't want to suspect Gaoqin Jiuye, but his actions are always this unexpected, and it didn't help that there were always people around me who advised me to be wary of him.
"You're looking for Cang Ming…" Bian Ying had that melancholic look on her again, and her eyes looked lost.
"Yes. I'm not familiar with what's here in the Gate of Ghost, and if it weren't for you, I might not be able to find him in the limited time that we have. If that's the case, I might have to create some huge trouble to lure him over as quickly as possible." Gaoqin Jiuye looked at Bian Ying with an unfathomable expression.
Bian Ying smiled. "How could that be the fastest way to look for him. You should know how he is. Nobody knows where he's going and where he's gone. We don't even know how to begin to look for him, much less the fastest way to get to him."
Gaoqin Jiuye shook his head slowly. "No, I'm not sure about other methods, and I was obviously kidding about creating huge trouble here in the Gate of Ghost. But, there's one method that I'm sure is effective, and that's also the only method that we can use to find him."
Bian Ying's expression seemed to darken as she remained silent.
Gaoqin Jiuye smirked. "I think I got that right. Even when nobody else can find Cang Ming, you're the only one who can. If there was only one person in this world who can find him, that would definitely be you, and if there was only one method to find him, then that would be through you."