169 The Third Kind of Existence
"Issues of the heart? Huh, you mean I'll just have to tell him to wake up and his split symbol will stop peeling? Just tell me, are you going to heal him or not?" Gaoqin Jiuye questioned Cang Ming as he pointed at Guan Nie, who was lying on the ground now, no longer in that vortex.
These two were really insane. If he had asked me in that tone of voice, even I would have declined to help! I then started to think of other possible ways to save Guan Nie in case this opportunity was ruined by Gaoqin Jiuye.
I did not expect Cang Ming to actually nod and say, "Alright, I'll heal him."
I almost choked on the air. Why were these people always doing unexpected things?
I looked at Cang Ming with suspicion, and I noticed that Jiao S was being extremely quiet beside Nie Zun.
Jiao S had those bleak, empty eyes, as if she had been petrified by someone triggering an acupoint. She looked like she was thinking about something.
She had to be planning something. I've gotten quite used to her habits now, and she usually did not have that expressionless face on her. This was just her front when she's in deep thought and there are other things on her mind.
There was this clean separation between her expressions and how she actually felt. She puts on that mask when in front of people she doesn't really care about, and even her gaze could be faked. Nobody would be able to tell what she was thinking and how she was really feeling inside from just looking at her face. She takes that mask off only when she's with us, when she meets us with liveliness and the utmost sincerity.
"You and you, you guys stay here first." Cang Ming suddenly pointed at me and Jiao S.
"You and you, follow me." He then pointed at Nie Zun and Gaoqin Jiuye.
I sulked inwardly. Does he think he's the emperor? Going around pointing at everyone like this. But who cares how audacious he is if he could really heal Nie Zun's face?
Cang Ming walked towards the forest on the opposite side of the river bank after he spoke.
Without taking another look at any of us, Gaoqin Jiuye carried Guan Nie and followed behind Cang Ming. Guan Nie looked like a sleeping beauty wrapped in white in Gaoqin Jiuye's embrace.
Before Nie Zun left, he said, "Wait for me to be back."
Cang Ming paused momentarily as he passed that huge rock by the river where Bian Ying was. She was still crouched on the rock and she did not move an inch.
"Stay here and don't think of him, or else I'll kill every single person here."
The three of them left for the forest behind the river after Cang Ming said that to Bian Ying.
A light wind blew past, making my eyes feel dry, but that made me feel as if I've really returned to the real world.
After Cang Ming left, Bian Ying struggled to get up. She continued hugging her knees as she resumed her sitting position. Jiao S and I looked at each other, wondering what we should do next.
It was Bian Ying who spoke first. "You're Li Shen?"
She seemed to hesitate before asking her next question. With eyes that looked adrift, she glanced at the quiet water below the rock with melancholy, sighing as she did so. She then walked over to me and Jiao S.
"How did you get to know Ta Lai?" Her voice and her eyes were as clear as spring water.
Smiling, I told her about how I met Ta Lai and everything that happened in between, including how he disfigured Nie Zun. Jiao S glanced at me quite a few times with looks of worry, but I simply shook my head gently, signaling that it was fine.
Like what I've said before, I've had enough of these secrets. I don't care if doing this is dangerous anymore or if I'm actually walking into a trap, because I've had enough of it.
As I spoke, I saw Bian Ying's expression change several times, and I wasn't sure what she thought of it after I finished my story.
But the one thing I can be sure of is that she definitely did not leave Ta Lai for someone else. I believe that there's something else that we don't know about her, Ta Lai, and that presumptuous Cang Ming.
I walked over to the river after I finished my story, squatting down as I ran my hands in the water.
"Anyway, I wouldn't say I hate Ta Lai, but I don't know why he changed so suddenly either, and why he was so cruel to Nie Zun. I know he approached me initially with personal reasons, but I want to believe that Ta Lai is a good man," I said as I played with the water. These words were meant for Bian Ying.
I chided myself inwardly as I thought, Oh, Li Shen, since when did you learn to lie?
It was true that I do not hate Ta Lai, and I knew he had his aims, but no matter what those aims were, he cannot be a good man if he had hurt Nie Zun. At least I wouldn't think that way even if he really was one.
It was always difficult to separate the good and the bad. For me, whoever went against me were the bad ones.
The water felt cold and icy, and I felt a peculiar feeling spread through my palm as my hands were in the river. I looked at the river with curiosity, but I wasn't able to see any reflection of myself because of the ripples I created in the water. With a faint smile, I continued observing my palm as I quietly waited for a response.
I heard a sigh from behind me after a short while. A victorious smile escaped from the corner of my lips as I stood up and turned to face Bian Ying.
Bian Ying looked at me with hesitation in her eyes. Even so, she did not avoid me as I took her hand in mine.
"Could you share your story with me? What happened between you and Ta Lai? Since you're the only other person in the Split Zone with double identity disorder, I figured I could do with some suggestions from you."
Though Bian Ying looked woefully weak and pensive, I knew from that obstinate gleam in her eyes that she was not a woman easily persuaded.
"What's your goal?" She asked.
I took a deep breath. "I want to save my friend. To be honest, I don't look too kindly upon soul splitters, and there's this particular one called Du Yue who keeps hurting my friend. If it was possible, I'd rather not have to come to the Northern District ever so that there's no need for me to meet any soul splitters. But I know that I'll have to meet you guys in order to save my friend.
"Like what I told you earlier, I promised Ta Lai that I'd never leave the Split Zone ever, and that was why he agreed to help me. But he did that to Nie Zun since he thinks I have an intention to break that promise. In my eyes, you soul splitters are an unreasonable bunch - you guys are extremely cruel and have no humanity whatsoever."
As I spoke, my tone was increasingly uncongenial, and I realized afterwards that I was squeezing her hand rather tightly.
Her pupils dilated slowly and she finally said, "No, it's not like that. Ta Lai isn't like this."
That's right, say it. Continue talking. I want you to tell me the truth. Why did Ta Lai suddenly treat me and Nie Zun this way? As his lover, you'd definitely know why, right?
A faint smile appeared on Jiao S's lips as she understood what I was trying to do.
The passive Bian Ying suddenly grabbed my arm, clear agony reflected in her eyes. "Trust me, Ta Lai isn't a bad person. Everything he did, he did it for me."
I smirked. "For you? If I remember right, I've never seen you before today. Since we don't know each other, and I'm an heir while you're a soul splitter, how are we connected? If we're not related in any way, why did he have to hurt me and my friends for you?"
She then smiled dejectedly. "Who says that we aren't connected?"
The smile on my face froze. I was about to discover the truth, but why did I feel scared all of a sudden?
Indeed, the unknown is what's scariest. There's no way to resist especially when you know it's about to be revealed, and you can’t help but be fearful when you have absolutely no idea what it is.
Bian Ying sighed again before slowly taking her hand away from mine.
"You’re wrong, Li Shen. It's not that an heir like you and a soul splitter like me have no connection, it's that both of us are neither heirs nor soul splitters."
Bian Ying had a calm and steady gaze that was different from before, when it looked like she did not have a single care in the world. Right now, she was capable of instilling fear with that eerily calm gaze.
"There aren't only heirs and soul splitters here in the Split Zone. We are both examples of the third kind of existence here, different from heirs or soul splitters."
I tried to make myself look as calm and composed as I could. "What do you mean by a third kind of existence?"
Bian Ying glanced at me before walking over to the river. Her back was facing Jiao S and I as she sat by the river bank. "Come over and have a seat, I'll tell you all you want to know."
Jiao S and I looked at each other again, but this time, it was me who hesitated.
"Come over, don't you want to know the truth? Are you afraid now that you're about to discover it?"
I looked up at that gloomy sun.
It was Jiao S who answered, "The truth is definitely terrifying, but it is still the truth. Go ahead, we're listening."
She then walked over and sat to Bian Ying's left, dipping a leg into the cold river, while her other leg remained propped up against the river bank. That pose made her look so much like the dashing Li Qing when she used to accompany me on the roof.
I took a deep breath before walking over quickly and taking a seat on Bian Ying's right.
I dipped both feet into the river and looked in front as I answered Bian Ying, "Tell us. I'll make sure to listen very carefully."