189 The Hand in My Heart
"Come and kill me." I took a big step towards Nie Zun, pointing at my own heart.
Nie Zun looked at me like he was looking at a stranger.
That gaze enraged me. I whipped Piercer out and charged forward, using it as a lasso to circle his neck.
I pulled Piercer tight as I said, "Come on, aren't you going to kill me? I'm going to attack if you don't kill me now."
I kept my eyes on Nie Zun, unwilling to believe that he'd hurt me. Would feelings for another disappear if one had lost their memories? I refused to believe this.
Confusion flashed in Nie Zun's eyes.
Hope grew in me, but I realized I was wrong in the very next second.
Lifting a hand shrouded in black mist, Nie Zun stabbed that hand right through my chest. Just like the demon which devours human hearts in the Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio, he attempted to take my heart. (T/n: Known as Liaozhai Zhiyi in Chinese, Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio is a collection of classical Chinese tales with a supernatural spin in most of them. Here's the Wikipedia page on it for some further information.)
Blood bubbled out of my mouth.
Gaoqin Jiuye rushed forward, looking anxious. Nie Zun still had his hand embedded in my chest, and not knowing what to do, he could only say, "Nie Zun, you've gone mad…"
Nie Zun had this dashing smile on his face. It wasn't cruel. It wasn't the kind of merciless smile one had after doing something ruthless. It was a casual kind of smile, the kind one had after completing a personal goal.
He was just like a newborn child now, doing anything and everything he wanted to without giving any thought to its consequences.
I might have gone mad as well. I actually felt relieved when Nie Zun stuck his hand through my chest. I suddenly felt that the Nie Zun of the past lived in such a suppressed manner.
Nie Zun was actually a kind person. He was always so lonely, but so kind. He doesn't hate the world for ostracizing him. Even in the Split Zone, he had never blamed me no matter how cold I was to him.
I was like a porcupine, wrapping myself up to protect myself. But in the end, I ended up hurting everyone around me.
Nie Zun was like a snail. He meant no harm to anyone at all even when he looked like he had an extremely tough shell. He had been suppressing his real self all this time, being indifferent to the world.
Being indifferent to others wasn't cruel. It was because he wasn't qualified to join in.
But it was different now. I felt it and I was absolutely sure that this person in front of me was Nie Zun. He did not change, he simply lost his memories.
He forgot that everyone saw him as a bad omen, he forgot that countless people have said he was the harbinger of death, that he was disaster itself. He forgot how I blamed him for things, he forgot he had been captured here to the Split Zone because he caused the death of his sister. He forgot everything.
All the cold looks from others, he had forgotten them all. This is why he could live as he pleased now.
Are humans born good or evil?
At this point, there's no good and evil to him. The only thing he's aware of is that Gaoqin Jiuye and I disturbed his sleep, and this is why he hurt us. This was what he wanted to do, and he doesn't think about his actions in terms of being good or evil. He is simply living for himself.
I don't know why I was suddenly filled with so much emotion. To anyone else, even to Gaoqin Jiuye and I, those hands shrouded in black mist looked absolutely demonic. However, when that hand plunged itself into my heart, all I felt was his loneliness.
It was a burning warmth that spread from my chest, as if it could burn me to ashes anytime.
Tears escaped my eyes. I blinked twice, and the tears kept on flowing.
Gaoqin Jiuye was stunned at this. Nie Zun still had his hand in my chest, and he looked confused when he saw me crying.
An innocent fury appeared in his eyes. He was furious because he couldn't understand my tears.
I felt the fingers in my chest open and close tightly as he grabbed my heart. Though my brows knitted in pain, I kept my eyes on Nie Zun.
There was an immense pain in my chest. I could feel all my nerves and blood vessels throb every single time my heart beats. It was really painful… The heart hurt, but my heart hurt even more.
Just when I thought my heart would be crushed, he let go of it suddenly, taking his hand out of my chest.
He looked at me for a moment before slapping Gaoqin Jiuye's hand on his shoulder away and walking back to the platform. He casually sat on the ground against the platform, elbow resting on his knees. Resting his chin on his palm, he looked at Gaoqin Jiuye and I with disinterest.
A piercing wind blew right through me when he took his hand out. I felt as if my heart was instantly frozen. From behind, Gaoqin Jiuye grabbed me by the shoulders as I was unsteady on my feet.
Though my red dress was already drenched in blood, it simply looked a darker red. The fabric had torn in some places, but the blood had coagulated and what was left was just a dark red mess.
I felt my heart spasm as the flesh and tendons regenerated. I could almost hear the sound of the flesh healing itself. Pain wrecked my entire body as my heart healed.
I panted as I asked Gaoqin Jiuye, "What do we do now? He's just like a kid who doesn't know anything, and we don't know how to escape from here either."
Gaoqin Jiuye said, "Like a kid? Even so, he's an extremely dangerous one."
I continued taking deep breaths to deal with the immense pain. Turning to Nie Zun, I said, "What're you so happy about?"
Nie Zun raised a brow in response, not answering my question. I continued, "Do you find that you've been asleep here for very long?"
Nie Zun continued ignoring me. The corner of my lips started to twitch with irritation. "If you've been here for that long, you should know how we can get out of this place, right?"
A light seemed to shine in Nie Zun's eyes. "Leave this place and go outside? What's there outside?"
Gaoqin Jiuye and I looked at each other. We spoke at the same time. "There're many things that you haven't seen outside."
Nie Zun looked jubilant. But that happiness turned into a smirk as he looked at me and Gaoqin Jiuye. "Why should I believe you guys?"
Well, seems like doubt is a natural defense mechanism in all humans. I raised my brows. "Then we have no choice but to continue staying in here if you don't believe us. There's no place else for us to go anyway."
I pushed Gaoqin Jiuye away gently and sat on the ground, not minding it even if I looked nothing like a lady. (Passerby B: Looking like a lady… Don't make me laugh. Me: I really want to kill you.)
Though Gaoqin Jiuye did not quite understand what I was trying to do, he followed my lead and sat cross-legged on the ground. My brows furrowed in pain as I put pressure on my chest. Damn it, this hurt so much.
Nie Zun looked surprised at my actions. But in the next moment, he shut his eyes and seemed to go to sleep with his chin still resting on his palm.
I was angered as I looked at how lazy he was. He was lazy right down to his bones, even when he had lost his memories. Nie Zun, Nie Zun, I don't think you'll ever change this habit of yours.
Was it because you were too lazy to escape from a fire and you ended up falling asleep that you arrived here? I really wanted to ask you this.
I felt like hitting that lazy face of his. I decided to lie on the ground as well. Since I can't escape, I'll just take a nap.
I stole a glance at Gaoqin Jiuye as I lay down. He had a befuddled expression on him, obviously confused by what we were doing.
That's understandable. Anyone who saw this would think that Nie Zun and I were mad. One almost had her heart ripped out just seconds before, while the other was the one who was about to rip the other person's heart out. But now, we're both falling asleep. This is the beautiful combination of identity disorder and an incomplete personality.
I heard a familiar voice just when my thoughts were everywhere.
"Hehe, why're you here? It's boring here…"
My head snapped up. She was floating in mid-air, her face right in front of mine. Her red hair fell down gently, caressing my neck with a piercing cold. This was quite terrifying. I wasn't a scaredy-cat, but think about it, if there was a floating face talking right in front of you in mid-air when you opened your eyes, how would you feel about that?
And it was a face that looked exactly like yours.
I cannot scream now. I've seen her too many times to be scared.
And also, I knew I had to keep this a secret right now. I cannot let anyone else know that I can see her with my split symbol activated, especially after what happened with Du Yue and Li Wen.
I simply looked at her in silence as she descended a little. The tip of her nose was almost touching mine now. She blew cold air into my face. With what sounded like a slight chuckle, she said, "Nie Zun has forgotten you. Are you sad…"
I turned to the side, not wanting to look her in the eye. I happened to meet Nie Zun's eyes as I turned. He seemed to be looking at me, but he seemed to be looking elsewhere at the same time. His gaze was inscrutable.
I heard her again. "I can bring you out. Do you want to just tell them about my existence… Do you want my help…"