210 As Long As You Are Forever By My Side
"There's also Jiao S. We don't know how she's being tortured in Du Yue's Palace of Cold Blood right now. You sure you want to continue wasting your time here? Or is helping him regain his memories your top priority now?" Gaoqin Jiuye looked at me with a slightly judgmental gaze.
Nie Zun walked over with one hand in his pocket as he held Piercer in the other. His steps were light, but they resounded heavily in my heart.
He spoke in my ear as he reached me, "Are you coming with me?"
He then started making his way to the exit.
My heart twisted in a knot.
Would Yuan Qian and Chou Yu be in danger if I don't leave with him? Piercer has also been taken by him.
What would Du Yue do if I choose to leave with him? Would she take it out on Jiao S?
Gaoqin Jiuye's voice trembled slightly, like a soft petal in the breeze. "You're actually hesitating? I've never seen you hesitate in saving your friends, but you're actually hesitating now? Is this because of Nie Zun?"
I looked at him stubbornly. "Yuan Qian and Chou Yu are my friends too."
I felt Gaoqin Jiuye's breath on my face. "No, Jiao S is the one who's most important to you, but you're still choosing to leave with him. You want to help him regain his memories, you want him to remember you because you can't stand the fact that he has forgotten you.
"Admit it, Li Shen. Even if everything changes if you choose to leave with him, the path ahead will be fraught with danger. And you're still choosing to leave me because of him."
Leave you because of him?
A bitter smile escaped me. Where did that come from?
Gaoqin Jiuye, you have never been by my side…
I stared at him. "How about you? Aren't you this anxious because of Si Luo? Yes, I want him to regain his memories. I don't want him to be used by others when he doesn't remember a thing now. I cannot imagine what might happen to him if I'm not by his side."
I realized only after I said this that I couldn't leave without him.
Even if I hadn't met him here in this hotel, there's no way I would leave the Gate of Ghost without him.
I spent almost every single day with him ever since I've arrived in the Split Zone. It was hell for me during the time he was taken by Ta Lai. He's back now, but there's someone who took away his memories, and people who're trying to take him away.
I won't let that happen.
With a deep breath, I smacked Gaoqin Jiuye's hand away. "Sorry, you can leave with Du Yue and the rest first. Pass a message to Du Yue for me. If she wants me to come with her, wait for me to find Nie Zun first. I'll go to the Gate of Heaven to visit her personally after that. I have to leave with him now."
I turned to leave after this.
"Li Shen!" It was the first time Gaoqin Jiuye called my name so loudly, but I didn't turn back.
Laurel had already snuck out before Nie Zun left. She might have decided to retreat for now since she wasn't able to obtain Piercer.
I didn't stop her from leaving. I didn't have the time nor the energy to.
I chose to leave with Nie Zun, leaving Gaoqin Jiuye alone in that bloody place.
Nie Zun and I arrived at the ground floor of the hotel. It was still dark when we left.
"It's going to be daylight soon. Where do you plan to go?" I asked Nie Zun. A smile hung on his face as he looked at the darkness in front.
As I was wondering what he might say, he suddenly answered, "Let's go have some fun."
What… Before I could process this, he grabbed my hand and rushed forward.
The sky turned bright while we ran.
Here in the Split Zone, it took only a moment for night to become day. As I looked up at the sun and the sky, I still had that feeling that I was back in the real world.
Nie Zun grabbed my hand as he continued running across this space where different eras seemed to have merged with one another.
The wind blew across his hair and it ruffled my red dress. I became a little starry-eyed as I looked at that chiseled profile of his.
Visibility was greatly increased during the day, and I took a good look at the Gate of Ghost.
The townsfolk looked just like ordinary people, and the houses and buildings look like what could be seen in the real world. Though the faces of the people here lacked emotion, there was a sort of thirst for power in their eyes.
Many of them were fighting each other, and there were even some who were engaging in self-harm.
The darkness that accumulated in my heart started to dissipate as I was running alongside Nie Zun. Even when I'm witnessing the cruelty and violence here, for some reason, I felt quite at ease.
Probably because I haven't ran like this in such a long time. The wind might also have helped clear the darkness in my heart.
Nie Zun was smiling like a child as he ran. "The outside world is indeed interesting. I've been in that demon cave for a thousand years. It's really boring."
What he said brought me back to reality.
"Why do you feel that you've been there for a thousand years? You don't believe me that we knew each other from before? You've only been in there for three days."
I heard Nie Zun's voice in the wind. "You're right, I don't believe you. I don't know how long I've been in there either, but that feeling of ever-lasting solitude has stayed in my mind. That feeling when you woke me after I felt like I've been sleeping for a thousand years is also fresh in my head. So I won't believe you if you tell me that I've only been there for three days."
"Then why do you believe Huai Du? Why are you willing to help him?"
"Because he can let me see someone."
"Who is it?"
"My older sister."
My eyes widened. "Your sister? Nie Xuan?" How could that be? His sister isn't dead. Wasn't she saved? Why would he be able to see his sister here in the Split Zone?
No, the question I should be asking now is whether he even remembered her.
"You remember your older sister?"
He nodded. "Yes. She's the only thing I remember, but I don't remember the things that happened between us. I just know that there was somebody who was extremely important. I was looking for my memories with her, and Huai Du agreed that if I completed three tasks for him, he would return me the memories I had with her."
So he didn't have the memories with his older sister either. He simply remembered the emotions and the feelings, and the tie he had with his sister.
"Though I don't remember her, I know she was extremely important to me. I also felt that I had stayed too long in that demon cave, to the point that there was a hopeless solitude that surrounded me."
Isn't that just the lonely feeling of being trapped alone inside that cave… Or, is that the feeling of solitude that you were never able to talk about…?
All this happened because of those hands of yours… Should I really force you to remember the things that you've finally forgotten?
What saddened me most was that I wasn't present in his lost memories…
I felt a bitterness in my heart. Why wasn't I present…?
Haha, Li Shen, why do you have to be present?
"What're you thinking about?" Nie Zun nudged me, interrupting my thoughts.
I smiled at him. "Nothing much. I'm just a little sad that you weren't able to remember me."
An evil aura appeared in Nie Zun's eyes. "I wouldn't believe you even if you say this."
As I was about to argue, I spotted three familiar figures in front of us. "Wait."
Although he didn't know the reason, Nie Zun still stopped in his tracks.
I looked at the group in front. I was right. Even though individuals in the Gate of Ghost seemed to have passed through time, most of them were still dressed in modern garb. The three figures were dressed in white with bamboo hats, and they were rather prominent even among the crowd.
Weren't the three of them Jiao S's personal guards?
Right, they wouldn't go down that easily with those abilities. They were escorting Yu Liang back to the Western District. Did they end up here after getting separated?
It was normal to get separated, but why were the three of them so coincidentally still together?
I was suspicious of their identities from the get-go. I found their voices familiar, and they had some extraordinary abilities as well.
I nudged Nie Zun as I saw them moving somewhere. "It's fun to stalk others. Want to have some fun?"
The corner of Nie Zun's lips turned up. "Sure."
I got it now. Who said Huai Du could control Nie Zun? Whatever is fun would attract this amnesiac's attention now.
Hand in hand, Nie Zun and I began to trail Feng, Huo and Lei through the crowd.
Nie Zun did not avoid me when I took his hand in mine.
I learnt something new from this bout of amnesia.
I could make use of this opportunity to hold his hand more often. Even if Gaoqin Jiuye was right, that he was a danger to me now, even if he had turned into a demon, I still wanted him to stay by my side.
I still want you to stay, by my side. I stole a glance at Nie Zun. I loved those eyes that shone like the stars.
I've changed since losing you the last time. My heart had changed. It's now tied to you.
I had thought of this several times. About how I could survive the time here if I could never leave the Split Zone, if I was never able to return to the real world. If everything went back to being peaceful and quiet, how would I be able to survive such a long and lonely time?
The answer was you.
As long as you're by my side, I'm willing to stay here in Split Zone 13 forever.