177 You are the Key
There were three separate scenes playing on screen, showing the situation in the Eastern, Western and Southern District respectively.
The Southern District was a pile of rubble as monsters continued to prowl and look for ordinary residents to swallow or tear apart.
The entire S Clan in the Eastern District was battling a huge group of monsters, but it was obvious that they were grossly outnumbered.
As for the Western District…, Jie Pa and the floor managers were in the midst of battle. Chou Yu and the Yuan siblings never left Jie Pa's side, protecting him during the fight. Tao Lie and Mu Li were also in the Western District helping us out, but everyone looked exhausted. There was no way they could win if it was a long-drawn battle.
The last time I felt such fear and horror was when I saw the Western District turn into a pile of rubble. This time, I sat rooted to the ground as I took everything in.
I couldn't believe what I saw. A massacre was occurring in all three districts, and these places were supposed to be under the command of me, Jiao S and Si Luo. I wasn't able to do anything but watch as it went on.
With everything that had happened thus far, I thought I would be able to stay calm no matter what happened. But this was too horrific to bear.
Mr Blond gripped my shoulders, preventing me from turning around. I heard him say, "This is the truth, neither of us can stop it now. Du Yue's third experiment has succeeded in changing many heirs, and among those mutant heirs, some of them are able to cause permanent damage to the consciousness, and cause permanent wounds that will never heal…"
"Impossible!" I screamed. My nails scraped against the stone floor so hard that blood seeped out as they broke.
"There's nothing that's impossible… Du Yue is only helping that person destroy the Eastern, Western and Southern Districts… In order to save you, Laurel brought with her that spatial transference snake to swallow you up, bringing you to the Northern District - the only safe haven left now. All the others will die today…"
Mr Blond lifted a slender finger as he pointed at the people on screen.
"No!" I screamed till my voice was hoarse. Balling my hands up into fists, I stood up and turned to look at Mr Blond. "Tell me how to go back, I want to go back!"
Mr Blond was still crouched on the ground, and he looked at the floor as he said, "What's the use of going back? Are you able to save them with your abilities? This plan has been in place for a long time, even before you arrived here in the Split Zone. Even I'm being held in this cave within the Gate of Ghost now. Li Shen, how are you able to save all of them alone?"
Trembling, I turned to meet his eyes. Touching his face with my bloodied fingers, I said, "What did you say… Who can trap you? Don't lie to me, you're the leader here…"
My voice was trembling, and my eyes were already wet with tears.
Sorrow flashed past Mr Blond's sapphire eyes. "Ah Shen, what do you think a leader is? I'm just a puppet. Originally, there were only two areas in the Split Zone - the residential area and the area belonging to the soul splitters. I took more than a thousand years to create the Eastern, Western and Southern Districts to let these heirs live in a more dignified manner. But all this will come to naught…"
"No, it wouldn't! You're lying!" I continued screaming.
Mr Blond's gaze turned cold. "Ah Shen, don't cry. You have no right to cry. Both Nie Zun and your good friend, Jiao S, will survive this, so what are you upset about? If you're telling me that you're crying for these innocent residents, then you're wrong. Even in the real world, we don't have time to worry about the life and death of others, so you should be more selfish here in the Split Zone!"
My face was drenched in tears now. Looking at Mr Blond, I said, "What? Mr Blond, don't you love these residents? You said it yourself, that you were the one who created the Eastern, Western and Southern Districts to protect these powerless people. Why are you telling me to be selfish now?!"
Mr Blond shot a cold glance at me. "I'm doing it for you, Li Shen. Think, why are you here in the Split Zone?! Li Qing and I were wrong from the beginning. We let you become district commander not for you to protect these people, but for them to protect you! You think that Li Qing wasn't selfish? She liked you, and she saw her past self in you. This is why she was always being considerate, and she even gave you that bow!"
I was momentarily stunned. I then started laughing. "Mr Blond, are you kidding? For me? Who do you think you guys are?! Why do you always say it's all for me?! Like what you said, there's no one who isn't selfish here in the Split Zone, so why do all this for me? What right do I have to receive such honor?!"
Mr Blond took my chin in his hand, forcing me to look at those unsmiling eyes. "You have the right, because you're the key to everything. I know this is all very sudden and it's hard for you to take in everything at once, but Li Shen, this is the Split Zone, this is the truth. Even if it was someone I was protecting for years, as long as they're lowly heirs, their lives can be taken anytime by soul splitters!"
"What… did you say?" I looked at him with teary eyes.
His eyes were gleaming. "Ah Shen, this isn't heaven, it's hell. Don't forget that fact because you've been here for too long. You chose to come here because you couldn't accept the person who was in you; you arrived here because you gave up on your own life, just like the others. Soul splitters will never have any opportunity if you didn't first give up on yourselves in the first place. Since all of you have chosen this place, you'll have to go through the punishment here, unless you have the ability to leave."
He stood up slowly, looking down at me. "This wasn't what I wanted to tell you today, but if you're not able to be ruthless and remain impassive, you'll never be able to see what the real Split Zone is like, and you'll never be able to survive here. Li Shen, the Eastern, Western and Southern Districts are bound to be destroyed, and there might be the possibility that the only heirs left would be the ones who journeyed with you to the Northern District. Tell me, what will you do in such a situation?"
Kneeling on the floor like an abandoned puppet, I didn't know how to answer.
Mr Blond is right, what should I do…
"Think about it, Li Shen. Am I wrong? Why did you come to the Northern District? Do you still remember your initial goal? You wanted to save Laurel, then Yu Liang and Song Lu, and that brought you here. Though Laurel is being controlled now, her humanity is still intact and she brought all of you here to save you guys. Everyone you want to save is still alive, so what right do you have to cry? You guys are the lucky ones who were chosen to be alive."
Huh, chosen to be alive? If someone had to decide my life and death, then what's the point of being alive at all?
"Enough. Just what are you trying to say?" I heard my impassive voice ring through the empty Great Hall. I looked up at Mr Blond with a wintry gaze.
A smile then slowly appeared on Mr Blond's face. "Du Yue is working under the orders of somebody else. The aim of her experiment is to find a way to destroy all heirs. Once all heirs are gone, the soul splitters will not have any corresponding heirs left. Even with a split symbol, there'd be no way to undo the split symbol contract."
"Don't soul splitters wish for that? They trap heirs in the Split Zone so that their split symbol contract will not be undone?"
Mr Blond nodded. "That's right, and because of that, it only further proves the importance of heirs. Without any one party, the split symbol contract doesn't work. If a large number of heirs die, this would mean that there would also be a large number of soul splitters with split symbol contracts that can never be undone.
"Soul splitters can look for new heirs if the old heir returned to the real world. But since these heirs died in the Split Zone of unnatural causes, their corresponding soul splitters will lose half of their split symbol, and they'll definitely die in a limited time."
Though I was still upset at what I just saw, I knew how serious this was. I stood up, waiting for him to continue.
Seeing me calm down, he continued, "When a large number of heirs die, there will be a time limit placed on all the lives of their soul splitters. Apart from those who planned this, of course, because they've already trapped their corresponding heirs in the Northern District. You'll then have a chance to destroy the Split Zone and leave this place when the soul splitters are no longer immortal."
I looked him in the eye as I asked slowly, "Why do I feel that by telling me all this, you're actually trying to destroy the Split Zone, including the soul splitters?"
Mr Blond seemed to smile. "That isn't important. What's important is that you protect those who're left and take them away from this place."
"Do I even have the ability to do so?"
He smiled. "Not in the past. But now, soul splitters will no longer be immortal. So, what are you afraid of? Also, I haven't told you the most important thing."
I was a little uneasy at this. If he wanted to tell me something important, then it must be related to me in some way.
Mr Blond continued speaking even though I remained silent, since it was what he wanted to tell me in the first place.
"The most important thing is that, although soul splitters without their heirs would no longer be immortal, the splitting keys of their heirs would also be gone. Apart from natural deaths caused by the peeling of the split symbol after a certain period of time without a heir, you are the only person who can kill them."