209 Between A Rock and A Hard Place
Nie Zun was stepping on the body of Piercer's soul. The black fog surrounding his feet made it scream in pain. He laughed cruelly as he said, "Turn back into what you originally were. You should be acting like a weapon. You're mine in future."
I could no longer watch in silence.
"Nie Zun, what are you doing? Let her go." I looked at him coldly.
Nie Zun tilted his head with a crooked smile. The wispy bangs which fell across his eyes could not obscure the fiery emblem between his brows. "I want to have this. What, you're not willing to give it to me? I thought you liked this body. Now you're not even willing to give me a weapon?" He pointed a pale, slender finger at himself as he spoke.
I bit my lip, refusing to believe that he could have changed so much.
I knew he had lost his memories after exiting that demon cave, and I knew there was no way that someone who had lost their memories would treat me like they previously did and accept all my shortcomings immediately. Even though I knew this, when he reappeared before me, I stubbornly chose to believe that he would never hurt me even when his memories were gone.
Didn't he protect me just moments before?
Seeing me silent, Gaoqin Jiuye nudged me and said, "Wake up. No matter how you feel about him, leave it until he regains his memories. He's not his old self."
He's not his old self.
I bit my lip. "Why are you doing this? Because you want that weapon for yourself?"
Nie Zun seemed to smile. "Yes." He used more force on his feet as he said this.
Piercer's soul let out a bloodcurdling scream. With a blinding light, she turned back into a whip.
"You." I was rendered speechless at how he treated my Piercer.
With a hand in his pocket, he bent down to pick Piercer up with the other. He looked at the purple whip intently before finally smiling at me. "A very good weapon. I'm taking it."
I bit my lip again. While I was considering if I should attack, Laurel giggled. "Why is Nie Zun gege snatching something that I want?"
Nie Zun's shining eyes landed on Laurel. Lifting Piercer, he said, "Little lady, you'll have to fight for what you want. Now that it's mine, you'll have to get it from me if you want it for yourself."
Laurel pondered for a moment. "I don't think I can snatch it from Nie Zun gege. If Nie Zun gege likes it, you can have it."
That item belongs to me.
I told myself to stay calm. If Laurel said Nie Zun can take it, it means she doesn't have the confidence to take Piercer away from him. Demonic energy emanated from Nie Zun when he attacked earlier, and that was a power that I had never witnessed in the Split Zone. If Gaoqin Jiuye and I were both a little wary of this, Laurel would be too. She's probably thinking of backing away for a bit before planning her next move.
If that's the case…
I straightened up and smiled at Nie Zun. "Like what you said, I did like you before. If you like this weapon, I'll give it to you. But can you tell me what you're planning to do with it?"
Gaoqin Jiuye stared at me as he did not expect me to say this, much less admit my feelings for Nie Zun.
I tried to signal to him that it was more important to stabilize Nie Zun's emotions at this moment. He had extraordinary power, and he had lost his memories. Whoever gains his trust will be able to harness that great power he possessed. Even if I can't get him to remember who I was, I could prevent others from making use of him to go against me. There was no way I could win whether it was against his abilities or simply against him.
Nie Zun's eyes sparked with interest, as if curious about my sudden change in attitude. He answered simply, "The Huai Du you mentioned asked me to do something. Why? Are you interested to come with me?"
"What is it?" I raised my brows.
Nie Zun fiddled with Piercer in his hand. "He said there were a few ants who trespassed into his territory, and he wants me to locate them. First, I'll have to look for someone called Chou Yu. I don't know who that is, but since I've got nothing to do anyway, I'll just try looking for this person."
My heart sank. Chou Yu…
Seems like Chou Yu had survived with Jie Pa and the rest. But I got Chou Yu to stay by Jie Pa's side at all times, so did he get separated from Jie Pa when they arrived in the Northern District?
Even so, why would Huai Du be getting Nie Zun to look for Chou Yu?
Was it because Chou Yu was one of the few heirs who had survived? And among these, he was one of those in the Gate of Ghost?
But why would Huai Du know that Chou Yu was in the Gate of Ghost? If he knew Chou Yu was there, why didn't he have the ability to look for Chou Yu then? Nothing made sense.
I asked carefully. "How do you go about looking for this person if all you have is a name?"
Nie Zun smiled. "This Chou Yu will come looking for that lady you guys were addressing as Yuan Qian."
A sudden realization hit me.
This is why Nie Zun appeared here. He learnt about Yuan Qian's whereabouts from Huai Du!
I was reminded of that unknown figure who took Yuan Qian away earlier. It must have been Chou Yu.
It was not surprising that Yuan Qian and Chou Yu knew each other, since I was the one who asked Chou Yu and the Yuan siblings to protect Jie Pa at all times. Since they've worked together for quite some time, I'm sure they had some friendship there.
So this is why Huai Du wanted Nie Zun to track Yuan Qian, because he knew that Chou Yu would appear wherever Yuan Qian was.
Even after I've thought about all this, I still didn't understand why Huai Du wanted to look for Chou Yu.
There's still something that was not quite right.
I frowned at Nie Zun. "If you were here for Yuan Qian, then I'm sure you must have noticed when somebody took her away. Why didn't you chase after them?"
Nie Zun continued fiddling with Piercer. "Because I suddenly felt that this was a good item, and I wanted to take it for myself. They won't go far anyway, and it'll be easy to catch up with them."
Nie Zun the amnesiac was uncontrollable to the point that it could get dangerous. Huai Du did not have complete control over him, and they seemed to just be in a working relationship. I didn't know why Nie Zun was helping Huai Du, but it was obvious that Nie Zun still had a mind of his own. This was why he gave up on chasing after Yuan Qian temporarily when Piercer caught his eye.
This also proved how confident he was in his abilities. He believed that he could track Yuan Qian down no matter how far she went.
My palms were sweating now.
Everything seemed so complicated, but the goal was clear. Though there were three parties fighting for something, all of them had hurt others in their quest to obtain new power, and this included destroying heirs.
The scariest part about this is that they weren't willing to let go of the few heirs left in the Split Zone. They were forcefully entrapping us in their fight, turning us into tools and weapons.
How can I just sit and watch like this?
Laurel laughed out loud. "I see. So everyone has an agenda here. That makes it all the more interesting. What should we do next, huh? Ah Shen jiejie?" Her eyes shone with excitement.
Did she want to plunge the world into chaos?
We should be staying calm at this point, but how do I continue being calm like this?
I couldn't trust Gaoqin Jiuye fully either. Nie Zun was the only one I could rely on previously, but he's being controlled by somebody else now.
I was really stuck in this Split Zone now.
My hands balled into fists. There's no way I'd continue being treated like a fool now.
"You can go chase after them now that you have Piercer with you," I told Nie Zun.
He seemed to take an interest in what I've said as he asked calmly, "That girl named Yuan Qian seemed to have poisoned you. Are you planning to look for her with me now?"
Laurel interrupted with resentment in her eyes. "Hmph, forget about being poisoned. I think she actually helped you. You wouldn't have been able to escape so many leeches if it really was poison. Also, you should've lost your healing abilities when you were cut by the leech, but your leg healed so quickly. I thought it weird at the time but I get it now. Yuan Qian might have said she hated you, but she still helped you out in the end."
She's saying that I didn't lose my healing abilities because of Yuan Qian's pill?
I looked at Nie Zun again. "What do you plan to do when you find them? Where will you take them?"
Nie Zun shrugged. "To the demon cave. That place where you came out from."
There must be something going on here. What should I do? I looked at Gaoqin Jiuye, trying to get his thoughts on whether I should leave with Nie Zun.
Gaoqin Jiuye understood me right away, but he said, "In just a bit, Du Yue and Li Wen will realize that neither of us are in our rooms. Li Shen, you seem to keep forgetting that I exist, about my goals and about how I feel too. You probably might not have ever considered any of these, right?"
He came closer. "I want Si Luo to wake up, I can't wait anymore. I don't want him to continue sleeping in my air vortex. I want to go with Du Yue to look for Yu Liang. Your friend Yu Liang might have already woken up after undoing the split freeze. I can't be wasting more time here. What are you going to do, Li Shen?"