22 Unexpected Guest
As we put more distance between us and the border, I started to calm down.
Several times, I snuck glances at Nie Zun. His demeanor was carefree and unhurried as ever, and his eyes glistened like they were filled with diamonds. A casual turn of the eye, and starlight seemed to shoot out from them.
I looked down at myself, dressed in black robes with long, dark hair, and I couldn’t help pouting unhappily. With a flick of MF, my long, blood-red dress returned. I looked at the shadow on the ground with satisfaction. A tall figure with a head of curly hair. I twisted left and right, my red dress swaying to and fro. Then I grabbed a lock of bright red, curly hair and took a sniff.
Song Lu suddenly turned back and caught me in my moment of vanity. With a loving smile, she reached out and pat my head. “You really like being dressed in red. Like a burning inferno.” Her eyes swept over my ankle, revealed under my dress. “But this dress reveals your split symbol.”
I looked down once more. She was right. But I didn’t like wearing black. And I didn’t like having long, black, straight hair. What was there to be done?
When she saw my frown, Song Lu smiled and bent down. From her black robes, she pulled out a piece of red silk. “I asked Jie Pa to get this for me previously.” As she spoke, she wrapped the red silk around my left ankle, covering my split symbol. She also tightly wrapped up my purple thorned whip. Not only was my split symbol now covered, I could also easily draw my weapon.
I giggled. “I knew you were the best, my awesome jiejie.”
Once Song Lu was done, I grabbed her hand and hurried to catch up with the rest of our group who had walked ahead.
Several hours later, we finally made it out of the the Southern Forest. We’d met no strange characters on the remainder journey, and we didn’t come across the 99 border guardians of legend. The endless marketplace in the Southern District greeted us as we stepped out of the forest.
“Ah, the marketplace is here?” I asked with curiosity.
In front of the the marketplace, there were numerous colorful trees, creating the image of an old building that had suddenly appeared in the depths of a jungle, carrying a certain faroff beauty.
Covered with a layer of pale yellow paint, the building was different from the Western and Eastern District ones. From its appearance, it seemed that the the Southern District residents had worked together to cover the building. It must have been quite a bit of work. But the result was pretty good. It evoked a sense of compliance and obedience.
We walked into the building from the closest entrance to us, and the various stores gave my eyes and ears a pleasant surprise. There were all forms of stores in every direction. Perhaps because the residents here all had low MFs, there weren’t any strange looking creatures to be seen. Everyone looked like common, ordinary humans.
As Jie Pa looked around, he admired, “From everyone’s expressions, you can tell that they live peacefully and happily.” I couldn’t help but nod in agreement.
Jie Pa pointed at a tea shop to our right. “Let’s sit awhile and observe the people here. It’s been a long journey after all.”
Guan Nie had no objections. In fact, he led the group into the shop. We followed behind, one after another.
A young man, likely the receptionist, quickly moved to welcome us. He wore a white sweatshirt, black pants, and had a coat tied around his waist. His sleeves were rolled up, revealing a healthy pair of wheat-colored forearms. He also had high cheekbones and somewhat sharp, yet welcoming, eyebrows. Overall, he gave off a healthy and energetic aura.
He chuckled at us, revealing a mouth of white teeth. “From the looks of you all, you must be visitors. Since you were able to make your way here, you must be good people. Have a seat. I’ll bring you some specialty Southern tea. I guarantee that you’ll enjoy it.”
Hands stuffed in his pockets, Nie Zun smiled at the man. “Thank you. But I wonder, if we sit here awhile, is there anything we can pay with?”
The lively young man led us to a table in the corner of the shop. With a bright smile, he replied to Nie Zun, “No, no. We don’t have anything like that here. Sit and rest easy, and when you’d like to leave, feel free to just get up and go. We don’t need anything.”
“What’s your name?” I asked the young man. It had been a long time since I’d met someone as bright and optimistic as him.
“I’m called Ku Fei. Fei, like flying.” As he introduced himself, he made a flying motion with his arm. The sight of his manly arm waving through the air made me laugh.
Our group sat down with easy hearts as Ku Fei walked over to the counter to brew tea.
Jiao S sat across from me, her face expressionless, stiff as a doll’s. But I’d rather look at Jiao S’ face than have to look at the face of that vile Guan Nie, whose own eyes were locked on Nie Zun. Still, it couldn’t be denied that Guan Nie was beautiful, with picturesque features, and skin pale as snow.
While I inwardly grumbled about Guan Nie, two figures walked through the entrance. I turned and saw that there was a man and a girl. The man was dressed in a white suit. With light brown hair and a pair of amber eyes on a fair and delicate face, he was tall and slender, and looked like a hero out of storybooks. I couldn’t help thinking that he looked very handsome.
The girl beside him was an entire head shorter, and she seemed rather young, 17 or 18 at most. She must have been around the same age as Ku Fei. She had elfish ears, likely conjured with mental force. Her skin was also very fair, with two apple red spots brightening up her cheeks. Like the man, her hair was maroon brown. Together with her delicate, elfish ears and a pink lady-like dress, she was the splitting image of a cute elf.
I quickly regretted calling her “cute.” As soon as she walked in, she glared at Ku Fei, who was at the counter. In a shrill voice, she called out, “Ku Fei!” At her call, Ku Fei stopped brewing the tea and looked over to the door.
After seeing the two people who’d just entered, Ku Fei’s once energetic eyes darkened. He put down the tools he held and pat off his hands. Then he walked out from behind the counter. He walked up to the fair and delicate young girl and bowed. “Lady Mi Fu.”
At his bow, the girl’s brows tensed and she pouted. From her waist, she pulled out a whip. It was shorter than Piercer and pink in color. She quickly and fiercely attacked Ku Fei’s partially exposed back. As my eyes followed the scene in front of me, I silently drew in a breath. A gash immediately appeared on Ku Fei’s back. His skin appeared to have been split off from the force of the attack. His white sweatshirt had also been torn, turning red as it seeped up his blood.
More importantly, the wound didn’t appear to heal immediately. Had her whip been coated with inhibitors?
Ku Fei stood up. Once he straightened his body, the large height difference between him and the girl named named Mi Fu grew prominent. When I saw the pain in Ku Fei’s eyes, I confirmed that the girl’s pink whip had indeed been covered with something. I frowned.
Ku Fei suppressed the pain in his eyes and smiled at the two persons. “If Lord Huan Qing and Lady Mi Fu had called ahead about your visit, we would have prepared Lady Mi Fu’s favorite tea and snacks.”
My frown deepened. Lord Huan Qing? If someone in the Split Zone was being called Lord, they must surely have a lofty position.
As I thought about this, the young girl, Mi Fu, suddenly smiled naughtily. She fluttered her eyes at Ku Fei, and I let out a breath. But then, a second later, I saw her hand turn, lifting her whip, aiming for Ku Fei’s face.
Ku Fei didn’t seem like he would dodge her attack, and Lord Huan Qing didn’t look like he had any intention of stopping the girl at his side. Anxious, I saw the whip move towards Ku Fei’s face. An hour and a half before it would be able to heal. A naturally unbearable pain. From the girl’s previous display of power, his eyes were also likely to be injured.
But at the time, I hadn’t thought about it too deeply. Subconsiously, my hand reached for the purple Piercer at my leg. Because I’d been sitting, it had been very easy to reach. In an instant, my whip flew at the girl. No more than two centimeters in front of Ku Fei, my accurately aimed Piercer wrapped around young Mi Fu’s pink whip. I pulled aggressively.
At that moment, she looked at me with bright, round eyes. After looking me over, she pulled on her whip. But her strength was no match for mine. After a few tugs, she whined to me, “Who are you? Where did a crazy woman like you come from?”
A surge of fire rose inside me. A little girl like her was attacking someone for no reason at all, and she was calling me a crazy woman?
I stood up in my high heels and pulled on my whip. Standing up, with a tight grip on Piercer, I flicked the whip, and the girl fell backwards. The handsome Huan Qing, dressed in a white suit, rushed forward to catch her.
Huan Qing looked at me coldly, giving me a fright. In that moment, a burst of light suddenly spilled out from his eyes. Even his endlessly deep pupils started releasing a dizzying light. My eyes were drawn to it. In fact, my entire person seemed as if it were being pulled in by this primordial light. It felt like I was being pulled into a warm whirlpool, falling in, deeper and deeper.
Suddenly, I heard Nie Zun’s voice in my ears, “Li Shen.” This time, his voice sounded different. It reminded me of the warm voice I’d heard in the forest that morning. The voice was warm and gentle, like water. It seemed to have the power to heal all wounds. That voice called to me, “Shen’er.”
My mind was in a trace, but with Nie Zun’s call, my thoughts suddenly cleared. Before I realized it, Nie Zun had walked over to me. He leaned in and whispered with moist lips into my ear. “Don’t look into his eyes.”
I dropped my eyes and pulled back Piercer. Without realizing it, my feet had retreated and I ended up behind Nie Zun.