225 I Have Never Loved Her
As I was bawling my eyes out, I heard the sound of a punch being thrown.
Looking up, I saw Gaoqin Jiuye's fist land on Nie Zun's face. He looked angry and defeated, as if something precious that belonged to him had been hurt. I could feel his emotions run high and he looked as if he was about to take revenge.
I stood up immediately.
Nie Zun's bangs fell across his eyes as his face went to the side from the force of the punch.
Gaoqin Jiuye sounded angry as he said, "Didn't you love her? Weren't you always protecting her? Then keep loving her and protecting her. How could you say that you're leaving her at this time?"
Nie Zun turned back slowly to look at Gaoqin Jiuye. His eyes still carried that undecipherable, cold but sorrowful gaze. "So what?"
My blood seemed to freeze at that.
Gaoqin Jiuye threw a second punch, but Nie Zun blocked it this time. He stared at me as he addressed Gaoqin Jiuye, "Don't think that I wouldn't know. Gaoqin Jiuye, you're the one that she has been in love with all this while. You've been living in the Split Zone for so long and accompanying her in her dreams for so long. You've even brought her here to save her. Are you not planning to tell her how much you've done for her?"
My head snapped up as I heard this. I looked at Gaoqin Jiuye, but all I could see was his back.
I looked at Nie Zun. He held Gaoqin Jiuye's fist in one hand and looked at me with those cold and emotionless eyes. A trickle of blood ran down the corner of his lips.
"What do you mean… by that…" I muttered.
Nie Zun pushed Gaoqin Jiuye's hand away, and Gaoqin Jiuye simply let him do so like someone with no more strength left in him. His hair was in a mess, and his eyes looked like they were staring into an empty abyss.
Nie Zun wiped the corner of his mouth and answered, "You ask him yourself."
I looked at Gaoqin Jiuye, but he looked like he was avoiding something.
"What did he mean by all that?" I asked slowly.
Gaoqin Jiuye opened his mouth as if to speak, but he didn't say anything in the end.
Nie Zun smirked. "Don't you have the guts to tell her? Do you need me to help you say it?"
Gaoqin Jiuye turned to him. "How do you know this?"
I interrupted him. "Gaoqin Jiuye, what did he mean by that? Is it true? Tell me."
Gaoqin Jiuye kept his eyes on me.
After a moment, I heard that exhausted but still enchanting voice of his.
My hands started trembling again. "What do you mean?" I was at a loss for words. The only thing I could do now was to get to the bottom of this matter.
I killed the one I loved and ended up here to pay for my crimes. I've been here for two years now and you're telling me that I've been loving the wrong person all this time?
Gaoqin Jiuye looked at me with sorrow in his eyes. "Gao Qi and I are doppelgangers, and you fell in love with me, not him.
"I'm not able to explain about doppelgangers fully now, since you've lost too much of your memories about the time spent with Gao Qi, even about the process of falling in love with him. You only remember loving him after arriving here, but that wasn't the case. Actually, you and him, or rather, you and I, we had been together before.
"Since Gao Qi and I are doppelgangers, we share one soul. Because he's incomplete, he might end up doing certain things that normal people wouldn't, and some of those things might have hurt you. To protect you, I've been going over to help you out. I was able to save you once or twice, but there's no way I can do that forever. The only way to help you stay alive is to bring you here."
Was this a joke? I looked at Gaoqin Jiuye with tears in my eyes, unwilling to believe what I've just heard.
Broken images flashed through my brain. Though these were just fragments, I was still able to see Gao Qi's face clearly in them.
He was smiling maniacally in that lab as he slashed my skin with a knife.
He wanted me to drink the liquid in the jar as he brought me that jar with the head of a cat in it.
More and more images like this popped into my head.
"Ah… What's this. No way… Ahhhhhhh!" I screamed as I clutched my own head, still in disbelief over the images that continued appearing in my mind.
Gao Qi was a devil in them.
"Ah…!" I continued screaming as tears drenched my face.
Gaoqin Jiuye could no longer watch as he walked over and tried to calm me down by taking me in an embrace.
I grabbed his arm and bit him hard.
"Ugh…" I tasted blood in my mouth as I saw it drip down his arm.
Gaoqin Jiuye said, "I know it's painful, and I know it's hard to believe. But it's the truth. He and I are doppelgangers. I live in the Split Zone while he lives in your world. I can only see him and you in the other world when I'm dreaming. I had never thought of meddling into his affairs, but slowly, I found myself falling in love with you. I've always known that he loved you, but with a part of his soul missing, he was incomplete.
"That caused him to turn a little demonic, and you always ended up hurt when he goes crazy. I've overtaken his consciousness many times in order to save you. I pretended to be him, to make you think that he was someone gentle.
"Actually, Ah Shen, Nie Zun might be wrong. He might be the one you've fallen in love with, instead of me. You already know what he's like as a person. It's just that you refuse to come to terms with it."
"Enough!" I shouted. The blood trickled down my mouth, making me look like a crazed vampire.
Nie Zun interrupted, "She loves him? She doesn't even know who she loves. As a doppelganger, you're a unique existence both in the Split Zone and in the real world. You've been ostracized since young because you had been powerful since then; you were seen as a weirdo. Gao Qi had too little power, and he was being devoured by demonic energy, turning him into a crazy person.
"Both of you are similar like this. Li Shen has double identity disorder, and the consciousness of her soul would be about four times stronger than that of yours. You and Gao Qi keep saying that you love her, but is it really love, or is it a mere attraction between souls?"
Though I didn't understand a single word Nie Zun said, Gaoqin Jiuye responded almost immediately. "How about you, Nie Zun? You mean to say that you don't love her? Though I'm not sure how you became aware of doppelgangers in the Split Zone, I want to know what kind of existence you are in the Split Zone. If my sources are accurate, you don't have a soul splitter here. Why would there be an heir without a corresponding soul splitter in the Split Zone? Who exactly are you?"
This just made me more confused. I took deep breaths to calm myself down at this turn of events.
Li Shen, forget everything that happened. Forget that Nie Zun said he wanted to leave you. None of this is important now. Right now, you had to figure out what exactly is happening. There might be something else going on here.
Don't be afraid, Li Shen, everything will turn out fine.
I looked at the two of them as I tried to piece together all the information in my head. At the same time, I tried to match what they said with all the clues I currently had.
Though I couldn't tell how the Split Zone was connected to the real world, I knew now that Gaoqin Jiuye and Gao Qi are technically the same person. They shared one soul, but they had two different consciousness and two different minds.
According to Nie Zun, Gaoqin Jiuye was more powerful. Could that be interpreted as Gaoqin Jiuye being the more dominant party if he and Gao Qi were sharing one soul? Gao Qi was the less dominant one, and thus not complete. Was this why he could attract demonic energy easily, causing a change in his personality? Did this lead to him hurting me?
This looked like a case of opposites. He naturally absorbed the demonic energy in the world because he was an incomplete soul.
Since Gaoqin Jiuye had too much power within him, he also ended up a target in the Split Zone.
But why did it come to this?
Did this mean that all the bodies of consciousness in the Split Zone shared a soul with a corresponding body of consciousness in the real world?
No, that's not right. If Gaoqin Jiuye is the exception, then there must be some other rule to this.
Also, why did Nie Zun not have a soul splitter? According to Mr Blond, Nie Zun's personality had resonated with mine and we completed each other. If so, his soul would be incomplete as well. Was this the reason he could absorb demonic energy?
I spoke abruptly. "Nie Zun, are you like Gaoqin Jiuye? Are you a 'soul splitter' in the real world?"
Nie Zun's eyes squinted in a mocking smile. "What amazing imagination. Sadly, both of you are wrong. First, I'm not like him." He pointed at Gaoqin Jiuye and turned to him. "Second, you're wrong. I don't love her. The one who loves her and the one who's willing to sacrifice his life for her had been you all this while, and also that incomplete doppelganger of yours. I've never loved her.
"In order to achieve my goal, I've been forced to stay with her all this while after arriving here. There's no need for me to continue pretending since that restriction is gone now."
After hearing this, I felt my heart drop into a bottomless pit where no redemption would be found.