180 Astute Manipulation
I didn't see Yu Liang on that screen in the Great Hall! I wanted to take a deep breath to calm myself, but I wasn't supposed to move.
I wonder if Jie Pa and the rest are still alive? Nie Zun, Si Luo and Guan Nie are with Cang Ming, and Cang Ming has been trapped in some cave. Everything seemed to be in a mess right now.
Would I really be able to uncover the secrets of the Split Zone without Si Luo's help? If all heirs are killed, the soul splitters would be going to war very soon. And I'm an important tool in that war.
What should I do then? Why did they need that person in me?
Hah, seems like you bring me the worst luck. Because of you, I've become the target once again.
"How does it feel, sitting like this?"
I opened my eyes and saw Li Wen back in the cave holding a huge gunny sack. Li Wen placed that heavy-looking sack in front of me. She caressed the sack and said, "I'm going to let you enjoy something. Don't forget, you can't move and you can't talk. Sit there quietly if you want to save Jiao S."
As she undid the sack, I saw a head pop out.
My eyes grew wide.
It was Yuan Shen!
Crouched in the sack, Yuan Shen looked surprised to see me as well. His face and neck were covered in bruises, and his eyes no longer had the shine they had when I first met him.
Why is he here?!
When I met Mr Blond previously, I saw Yuan Shen fighting alongside Jie Pa in the Western District, and there's no way he would be here in the Northern District. Why is he here now?!
And why is he covered in bruises?! Does this mean that his constitution had been altered to that of a normal human being as well?
I couldn't move an inch even when there were so many questions in my head.
How could he be here?!
When Li Wen removed the gunny sack, I realized that Yuan Shen had lost both his arms! The bloody pits on his shoulders seemed to have dried up, but his arms had not regenerated!
It's no wonder he looked so haggard. His constitution is probably that of a normal human being right now, and the pain of losing a limb would be unimaginable.
"Ah Shen, I'm sure you're wondering why he's here, right?"
Stop bullshitting me. I felt uneasy. Would Li Wen torture Yuan Shen in front of me? I would definitely move to stop her in that case.
Li Wen suddenly smiled just as my thoughts were running wild.
In the span of a mere second, a slender rapier appeared in her hand and she cut Yuan Shen's head off before I could react!
I was absolutely stunned as his head rolled towards me.
She wouldn't have did it so quickly if her aim was to get me to move. At that speed, I wasn't able to react quickly enough even if I wanted to.
I sat motionless, rooted to the spot as I took in Yuan Shen's death. There was no need for me to move either, since he's already dead.
Li Wen was so quick that there weren't any bloodstains on her rapier.
She cleaned her rapier gently with a corner of her pale yellow dress and said, "You must be wondering why I killed him so quickly right in front of you.
"You're wrong if you think that I wanted to force you to move by making use of him. I know you'd stop me if I tortured him in front of you, so that game wouldn't be any fun. Furthermore, all I want is for your second personality to show herself and not for you to lose to me.
"First, let me tell you why Yuan Shen is here.
"I heard that the killings in the Eastern, Western and Southern Districts have ended. Damn, those who weren't supposed to die have all died, and there're a few missing ones. Coincidentally, these missing ones are all from the Western District.
"Jie Pa and his team seemed to have mysteriously disappeared from the Western District. That's very interesting. Just how did they pull it off? Laurel wasn't there to bring them elsewhere, so there's no way they could've escaped from the Western District."
I breathed an inward sigh of relief when I heard this. At least Jie Pa's still alive.
"Because of this, I wanted to look into what actually happened, and I was lucky enough to meet him on the way." Li Wen pointed at the severed head with her rapier.
"There's not many that I still recognize in the Western District after having left the place for so long, but I still remember this pair of siblings. There're not many who are skilled in using poison in the Split Zone, and his sister, Yuan Qian, is a real expert at it. I heard that she's naturally gifted.
"Ah Shen, you know I hate it when I'm being kept in the dark about things, or when things are not under my control. I couldn't understand how Jie Pa and the rest can arrive in the Northern District, and it seems that everyone else is missing. I hate this."
A mad gleam appeared in Li Wen's eyes. She looked like she was insane.
She was absolutely crazy, but I didn't realize it until now.
"So I asked Yuan Shen about it. He had gotten separated from the rest, and he unluckily met me on the way. However, he didn't show me the least bit of respect. I was a resident of the Western District in the past too, so how could he treat me that way just because you're now the District Commander?
"Because of that, I cut both his arms off."
I gritted my teeth as I tried my best to remain still. Yuan Shen is already dead, and nothing can undo it.
"I wanted to let him taste the pain of losing both arms, since wounds caused by my rapier would definitely hurt. But something more interesting happened. His arms did not regenerate. I guess he was injured by an experimental subject during that fight and his constitution altered.
"I haven't seen that kind of agony in a long time. Most people in the Split Zone are either able to regenerate or have an amazing threshold for pain, so I was really excited when I saw that expression on his face…
"I started kicking him around like a rubber ball, but he just wouldn't tell me how he arrived here."
I closed my eyes slowly, not wanting to look at Li Wen any longer. I never wanted to look at her ever again.
"Ah Shen, I know that these people in the Western District were all trained personally by Li Qing. Since Li Qing has given you the role of District Commander, no matter how horribly you perform, they'd still be loyal to you. On this, it's not only You Ji who was jealous of you, I'm jealous too…
"But I know I'd never be able to get any information even if I cut him open alive. I'm someone extraordinary, and I'll definitely get the information I want. This is why I brought him back here and killed him right in front of you."
Li Wen started laughing. "Can you guess why I did this?"
How can I possibly understand the actions of a lunatic like you?
I had my questions too. How did Jie Pa and the rest escape? Looking at the situation, Du Yue had planned this massacre very early on, so how did they escape so easily? And if they had escaped, why did they have to get separated?
"Seems like you don't know." Li Wen lost her smile and a cruel gleam shone through her eyes. "I'll find his sister, Yuan Qian, very soon.
"I'll tell Yuan Qian exactly how her brother died, but I'll tell her that you had the chance to stop it and you didn't. You gave up on saving Yuan Shen because you chose to save your friend."
I suddenly realized what she was trying to do.
"Li Shen, I know you too well. That unique kindness Li Qing and Mr Blond said they saw in you - that's simply a weaker kind of cruelty in my eyes. I've always looked down on you. You're always trying to take responsibility for everything, throwing your sympathy everywhere. Yes, we're all villains compared to you, the kind Li Shen.
"Since you're that kind, I know you'd blame yourself for Yuan Shen's death, even though you didn't have the chance to stop it at all. You'd be blaming yourself for his death, because that's just who you are. Aren't you such a person, someone who wants to take responsibility for every single thing? Take responsibility for Yuan Shen's death then, let his sister hate you, and let me watch as I emerge victorious.
"If you don't want me to make use of Yuan Qian, tell me everything I want to know. This way, there's no need for you to take responsibility for Yuan Shen's death." Li Wen looked at me with a determined gaze.
She knew I would never do that. Though I wasn't the one who caused Yuan Shen's death, I was still indirectly responsible for it. I still felt responsible for his death, and I found it perfectly understandable for Yuan Qian to hate me because of that.
Li Wen made a good move, because she knew me too well.
She knew I didn't like to explain myself, and I definitely didn't like to explain myself to my friends. Even if Yuan Qian pointed a sword at my neck, I'd still remain silent because I blamed myself.
Li Wen also knew how close the Yuan siblings were to each other, and Yuan Qian will go insane if she hears the news. If I don't explain myself on this, Yuan Qian will resent me.
To Li Wen, anyone who hates me can become a useful tool to her.
Furthermore, that's someone who's a genius in using poisons.