192 When It All Comes to an End
"Look, his skin is aging as well." I pointed at Ku Fei while Mi Fu was in my other arm.
Gaoqin Jiuye pointed at Mi Fu as he said, "But she still looks young. She originally looked like a child, and now she looks even younger."
I frowned as I looked at Ku Fei's wrinkled face. What caused this?
"No matter the reason, let's just bring them back to where Nie Zun is. I'm a bit concerned if Huan Qing's alone with Nie Zun," Gaoqin Jiuye said.
I raised a brow. "You actually worry about Huan Qing? You don't seem to be that kind."
Gaoqin Jiuye smirked. "I'm definitely no saint, but I don't wish for Nie Zun to go crazy and kill them all either. If that happens, we'll be the only three left here. How boring would that be?"
I rolled my eyes at him. Ignoring him, I walked back towards Nie Zun with Mi Fu in my arms. My speed was cut down greatly when I had to carry someone else. I only caught up with Gaoqin Jiuye when I focused MF on my feet.
Huan Qing had woken up when we returned. He was sitting on the ground with a hand pressing against his chest. I placed Mi Fu beside him, and Gaoqin Jiuye placed Ku Fei on his other side.
"How're you feeling Huan Qing? What happened here?" I asked as I bent down to look at him.
Huan Qing looked like he was in his sixties now. After coughing a bit, he spoke slowly, "I don't know. I thought it was Mr Blond when that golden light appeared that day in the Southern District, but we ended up being frozen in that glacier. The cold here can devour someone's heart and mind, and before long, I lost all feeling in my five senses."
Huan Qing nodded with effort. "Yes, that's it. I have no idea what happened, or who brought the three of us here. It was terrifying being under that ice. The cold was a piercing cold that shot right through your bones, and it felt as if that cold was picking at you bit by bit, that it was taking away my MF slowly. I thought I was going crazy as my MF slowly drained out of me, but there was nothing here in this glacier except for cold and silence, so how do I even go mad here?"
He then touched his face and heaved a sigh. "I seem to have aged a lot."
I felt upset about this, but I had to ask. "Yes, you feel it too? Is this caused by draining of your MF or the draining of one's life force?"
Huan Qing pondered before speaking. "It could be caused by both. I suspect that someone attempted to drain my MF and life force, but I can't figure out who had the ability to do such a thing here in the Split Zone."
"But why didn't she get older? She looks even younger now. Only you and Ku Fei had signs of aging after getting out of that glacier." I asked as I pointed at Mi Fu.
Huan Qing glanced at Mi Fu. "I don't know either. This is all too weird. And, I'm not praising myself here, but with my abilities, it's not that easy to take me somewhere and trap me."
He was right. He shouldn't be underestimated as the top illusionist in the Southern District. If there was someone who could control him, I probably wouldn't be able to win that individual easily either.
"Right, what happened to you guys after that?" Huan Qing asked with concern.
How should I explain this to him…
Should I say that two of my friends have died after you left?
Should I say that I tried all ways and means to reach the Northern District, only to find out that I have the power to kill soul splitters and that I've become an in-demand weapon in the war amongst soul splitters?
Or should I say that the Eastern, Western and Southern Districts have all turned into piles of rubble?
I didn't know where to start.
"We arrived here after you left, and the Eastern, Western and Southern Districts have all been destroyed by the soul splitters," Gaoqin Jiuye explained evenly without the slightest hint of hesitation.
He easily completed a task I found extremely difficult.
A look of disbelief was on Huan Qing. "What did you say? You're not lying?" He then looked at me, waiting for either an affirmation or a denial.
I could only nod.
"How could that be…" he muttered. That's right, how could that be? I wanted to know why it happened too.
"Ugh…" Ku Fei made a sound, and I rushed over to support him.
"Where's this place…" Ku Fei asked after looking around him for quite some time.
"This is the Northern District." It was Gaoqin Jiuye who spoke.
Ku Fei's eyes widened. "North, North, North, Northern District?"
I laughed. "Yes, the Northern District. Do you have to stutter this much?"
Ku Fei looked around him again, looking doubtful as he took in the icy scene. When he happened to glance at his own reflection on the icy ground, he was absolutely stunned.
I sighed as I touched his shoulder. "I know questions must be swimming in your head. We have the same questions you have, and we're not able to give you any answers now. But now that everyone is back together, we can work together to find a solution."
"What big talk for an heir. I wonder what kind of solution you'd find to save him?"
A disembodied voice came from somewhere above the glacier, from somewhere in the sky. The voice was steady as it spoke, making me feel slightly afraid.
It was an extremely unique voice. I snapped my head up to look at the sky. "Who is it?"
The voice continued from above, "The life force of two of your friends have been absorbed by me, and they will die within three hours. I'd like to see how you'd save them."
I don't want to lose any more people. I hate hearing this word. I stared at the sky with gritted teeth. "Show yourself if you dare. How cowardly of you to hide…"
Gaoqin Jiuye was extremely calm in this situation. He spoke in an even tone, "May I ask, if you say this glacier here belongs to you, that this means you're able to control it as well?"
The mysterious voice laughed. "As expected of Gaoqin Jiuye, the best among Si Luo's subordinates. That's right, I'm the creator of this demon cave."
Gaoqin Jiuye smirked. "The demon cave has long been a mystery. It's a place that not even Cang Ming from the Gate of Ghost or Ta Lai from the Gate of Heaven would enter in haste. It has been a restricted zone in the Northern District for years, and a coward like you from nowhere is claiming to be its creator now? Do you think I would believe you?
"Since you know me, you should also know that although I've left the Gate of Heaven for a long time, my abilities are still top-notch amongst the soul splitters. So, why haven't I heard the slightest bit of news about a skilled master living secretly in the Gate of Ghost all these years?"
As expected of Gaoqin Jiuye. Only he would dare be this audacious.
The voice answered calmly, "There just so happens to be this ghost living secretly here in the Gate of Ghost. You don't know this because you're ignorant, Gaoqin Jiuye. You're too arrogant, too audacious. It's also because of this that you lost that other soul at that time…"
Gaoqin Jiuye interrupted the voice coldly, "Who are you… How do you know this?"
The voice sounded like it was smiling as it spoke. "I've already told you, I'm a ghost living secretly here in the Gate of Ghost."
Gaoqin Jiuye's eyes darkened as he shot a look at me, causing me to be stunned momentarily. I furrowed my brows, meaning to say, What're you looking at me for? Have I offended you? It's this dude in the sky who just offended you!
But Gaoqin Jiuye kept his eyes on me, looking like he was agonizing over something…
I felt uneasy at this. Why was he looking at me like this?
A dark shadow flashed past me all of a sudden.
Nie Zun appeared right in front of me. The mark resembling a flame on his forehead was burning a bright red. It seemed to be a bright fire that was sucking me in.
His eyes were red as well. This was different. This gaze… It was unfamiliar and foreign…
"You…" I muttered, not knowing what to say. Something's wrong here, but what was wrong?
A hoarse voice boomed from above. "Play with them for a while. Let me see if you're really loyal to me."
I was dazed. Who was he speaking to?
I looked at Gaoqin Jiuye, but he looked as confused as I was at this. However, he realized quickly what was happening as an anxious fog rose in his eyes. "Ah Shen, get away from him quickly."
He rushed towards me. But he spoke a little too late as Nie Zun already had my neck in his right hand.
Nie Zun's eyes were open wide, a bloodthirsty gleam shining through them. A dark pressure emanated from his left hand, as if it could devour my soul anytime.
Darkness started seeping into my vision. I thought to myself, Damn it, he's turning demon again.