194 Ghost King Huai Du
Ku Fei walked over to Mi Fu and took her in an embrace.
He was no longer as lively as when I first saw him. He looked older and filled with sorrow. "Return with Lord Huan Qing. You can't stay here for me forever."
Mi Fu buried her head in his arms. "Have you ever loved me?"
Ku Fei answered, "No."
Mi Fu froze at this.
Mi Fu finally let go of Ku Fei and wiped the tears off her face. She looked resolute as she walked towards Huan Qing.
"Huan Qing gege, take me with you." Mi Fu reached out a hand to him.
Huan Qing looked at me.
I smiled and nodded at him. His eyes were shining brightly.
He said one last thing to Gaoqin Jiuye as he inserted his splitting key into the corresponding split symbol on his soul splitter. "There's nothing else for me here if the Southern District has been destroyed. I'm only worried about Si Luo, but I know you'd protect him. There's something else you must not forget. Guan Nie…"
A sudden harsh wind that blew across the ice buried Huan Qing's last words. I didn't hear him, but I saw the change in Gaoqin Jiuye's eyes.
Huan Qing and Mi Fu's bodies started to turn transparent.
This was the first time I've seen someone leave the Split Zone by undoing their split symbol contract. Their bodies did not dissipate into light, in the case of deaths. It turned translucent first, then they slowly became totally transparent.
Mi Fu looked at Ku Fei with tearful eyes.
A miracle seemed to happen as Mi Fu and Huan Qing's bodies were turning transparent - Ku Fei's youth was returning.
However, Ku Fei was expressionless. He remained absolutely still where he was standing, up until the point when Mi Fu was about to disappear totally. He then ran towards Mi Fu at full speed.
I felt a gust of wind as he passed me. This is why he had the title of the fastest feet in the Southern District. It was difficult for anyone to keep up with that speed.
But no matter how fast he could be, Mi Fu disappeared just as his hand was about to reach her.
A drop of her tear dropped onto his middle finger, leaving nothing but a trace of sorrow.
When his tears started falling, Ku Fei had already regained his youthful appearance. His brows regained their thickness and his skin its healthy radiance. But even so, he lacked a certain joy and liveliness.
The voice in the sky spoke. "I've done my part. It's your turn now. Give me the Scorpion Ray."
There was still a chance for me to bargain, so I asked, "Where did Nie Zun go?"
The voice seemed to be smiling as it said, "Nie Zun is in the glacier. I didn't make him leave earlier. I got him to help me look for something in there. It's not impossible for you to meet him, but he's a free man now. He's no longer controlled by you."
I smirked. "Free man? Aren't you the one controlling him right now? Who are you? What's your goal? What did you do to Nie Zun?"
"Hehe, I didn't do anything to him. It's his own fault for coming here to the demon cave and stepping onto that demon cultivating platform. Ta Lai placed that puppet curse on him, and Ta Lai might not know this, but Nie Zun has a demonic aura within him. Not only would that curse fail in controlling him, it would backfire, causing Nie Zun's demonic aura to devour his own consciousness, turning him into a real demon."
I recalled how he almost killed Ta Lai the last time… Is that why Du Yue took Ta Lai with her? I thought it weird at first. Logically, Du Yue wouldn't be afraid of us. Does this mean that Nie Zun had the power to kill Ta Lai at that time? That he could kill soul splitters?
Nie Zun, just what is that power hidden within you…
The mysterious voice continued.
"Though the demonic power is strong, it has a greater probability of devouring its host as well. He should have died that time, but I realized he was under the protection of that old man. I guess he's trying to go against me recently. But that doesn't matter. Anyway, it'll be harmful to Nie Zun if that demonic aura isn't removed. If he doesn't learn how to control it, he'd be a demon, not a human being. The demon cultivating tablet changed his blood, this is why he doesn't remember you. Now that he has been reborn, he'll slowly become one with that demonic power. You'll only be hurting him if you force him to regain his memories."
"Enough of that talk. Don't you want this? I'll give it to you. Don't get Nie Zun to do anything else that he isn't willing to do." I lifted my left hand and attempted to grab Scorpion Ray with my right.
However, the imprint of the Scorpion Ray was stuck to my hand and it seemed stuck to my nerves and tendons. It wasn't an easy task to remove it.
I heard a voice behind me. "That was a gift from Li Qing. Who dares take Li Qing's belongings?"
My heart sank. I recognized this voice. She had entered the demon cave as well.
As expected, I was met with an infuriated Li Wen when I turned around.
"I didn't run away this time. It's the demon cave's structure," I explained to Li Wen.
Li Wen looked at me and Gaoqin Jiuye. "I know. I couldn't open that stone door after the both of you went missing. I could only wait until the next day when its structure changed again before arriving here."
Li Wen looked up at the sky after speaking. "The king in the Gate of Ghost, Ghost King Huai Du, is there a need for you to be sneaking around like this? All this effort just to take back an item that serves as an affirmation of the love between you and Li Qing?"
I was momentarily speechless. What?
King in the Gate of Ghost. Ghost King. Affirmation of love, with Li Qing… I glanced at the Scorpion Ray imprint on my left wrist. It was glowing faintly like a phosphorus bracelet in the night.
Li Qing was still alive. This was good news to me. But why did everything feel more complex now?
An eerie silence ensued. Li Wen's appearance and whatever she said seemed to have turned the tide in our favor.
"There's no one but you who dares to come alone to my Gate of Ghost and speak to me this audaciously, Li Wen."
The voice was hoarse but steady, and it sounded like it was praising an excellent junior. It did not sound angry.
Li Wen covered her mouth as she laughed gently. "I don't deserve such praise. Ah Shen is someone important to Li Qing. I'm sure the Ghost King would know this too. I hope you wouldn't make things difficult for her."
She looked at me gently as she said this, as if she was the one who cared about me the most.
Sadly, when I saw her face, the only thing that came to my mind was how she cut Yuan Shen's corpse into pieces. I felt disgusted by the thought.
"Make things difficult for her? I'm afraid that wouldn't be me, it'd be you, isn't it?"
Li Wen was smiling, but her eyes had a cruel gleam in them. "The Eastern, Western and Southern Districts have all been destroyed. Do you think Li Qing will forgive you for being in cahoots with Du Yue?"
The mysterious voice laughed. "Me being in cahoots with Du Yue? I don't think I need to be in cahoots with anyone. Nothing can stay alive if I, Huai Du, wish to destroy it. The end of the Eastern, Western and Southern Districts is caused by Du Yue's ambition, but I'm actually quite content to see it happen."
I stepped up to Li Wen. "What else do you know?"
Li Wen looked at me with a gentle gaze. "Ah Shen, I can answer all of your questions as long as you don't leave me and do whatever I tell you to."
Laughter descended upon us from above. "Li Shen, you'd really die if you follow her. Even though Nie Zun is being controlled by me now, I still give him his freedom. I'm sure you know how Li Wen is, considering that you've been by her side for so long. As a third party, my advice for you is to reconsider your decisions."
Li Wen smirked.
I stole a glance at Gaoqin Jiuye. He was standing in a corner and looking elsewhere. I wasn't able to get a good look at his face. Ku Fei was kneeling at his feet, just where Mi Fu had left.
"I have no interest in being on anybody's side. Li Wen, what do you want before you can let Song Lu go?" I looked her in the eye as I asked.
Li Wen's gaze turned cold when I mentioned Song Lu. "Do what I tell you to. I'll give you whatever you want only when I get what I want."
"How about you, this ghost king? What do you have in exchange for my Scorpion Ray?" I looked at Li Wen while I addressed the mysterious voice.
"Since Li Wen is here, there's not much point in taking the Scorpion Ray now. Leave my demon cave and never come back."
The glacier started quaking violently before I could even attempt to get further details about where Nie Zun went.
Cracks appeared in the ice below our feet, and an overwhelming feeling of destruction surrounded us.
Gaoqin Jiuye grabbed me in the windy snow.
I blacked out.
We were back at the entrance of the cave when I opened my eyes.
"What's with this ghost king? Not only can he control everything in the demon cave, he's able to control the life force of heirs too?" I asked with a frown.
Li Wen smiled. "Ghost King, Ghost King. He's a demon. Not only can he control heirs, he can destroy this entire Split Zone if he wishes to. But he's extremely unpredictable and no one understands him. If he wasn't this volatile, there wouldn't be the need for the Gate of Ghost, Gate of Heaven and Gate of Exit to go against one another because he'd easily be king."
Oh, there actually exists such a powerful figure in the Split Zone.