226 Gaoqin Jiuye's Heart
"So you've never loved me…" I said bitterly as I squatted on the floor.
Nie Zun responded coldly, "Yes, I've never loved you."
I shut my eyes and sucked in a breath, wiping the tears off my face. Standing up, I saw her again as I looked towards Nie Zun.
She was standing behind him. Nie Zun was half a head taller than her, and she looked so tiny and frail in that red dress. They looked like a perfect couple.
She smiled faintly. She looked a little lonely like this.
She continued looking at me as she stood behind Nie Zun. Her gaze seemed to be asking if I thought he was speaking the truth, whether it was really true that he didn't love me anymore.
I slowly made my way towards her; towards him.
I reached out for his hand as I reached him, putting it on my chest. "Rip my heart out and tell her that you've never loved her."
Nie Zun's beautiful eyelashes fluttered slightly. I couldn't tell what he was thinking behind those unfathomable eyes.
His hand was cold like before, and I felt no warmth from him even when it was on my chest. He did not move an inch.
I looked at him. "Someone who only thinks about protecting me and who had never thought about saving himself in times of danger, he's telling me now that he had never loved me."
I pressed harder on his hand as I spoke with certainty. "Nie Zun, do you think I'm that dumb? That I'll believe you if you say this?"
Nie Zun spoke calmly, but he did not sound as cold as before. "Think of it however you want to. I can't do anything about your thoughts anyway." He pulled his hand away from me and looked away.
I laughed in self-mockery. "It's fine if you really don't love me. I'm just afraid that you're really treating me like an idiot who'll believe whatever you've said."
After taking a breath, I continued. "There's no use talking about all this now. I've achieved my goal since you've remembered everything. Since you don't love me, let's go on our separate paths from now on, as you have wished."
I turned around and pulled Gaoqin Jiuye towards that vat of water he had originally come from.
I spoke as calmly as I could as I passed Nie Zun. "Nie Zun, I'll only say I love you just this once. I don't know why you're doing this, but if you're really letting me go today, I'll never be coming back. From now on, let's go on our own paths and never turn back."
I teared up after this.
Once again, I've confirmed that I had fallen in love with him for real.
My heart was racing as I hoped he would extend a hand to stop me from leaving.
I could forget everything if he did this. I would run into his arms in tears. I would tell him that no matter who I loved in the past, be it Gao Qi or Gaoqin Jiuye or whoever it might have been, the one I loved now was you, Nie Zun.
But, nothing of that sort happened.
He remained silent as he stood behind me, letting me leave with Gaoqin Jiuye.
I lost all hope as I reached that vat of water.
A pair of hands stopped me just as I was about to pull Gaoqin Jiuye with me into the water.
She disappeared earlier but she appeared again right before me.
Her slender hands blocked my path. "Are you really leaving him? He had just regained his memories and he needs you by his side right now. Have you also forgotten what Huai Du said? How would you know that he really isn't affected by this blood-changing process? What if he still has demonic energy in him? Are you really leaving him like this? Just because he says he doesn't love you?
"Didn't he still stay by your side for so long even when you didn't show your affection for him in the past? And you're deciding to give up on him so easily now?"
I let go of Gaoqin Jiuye's hand slightly.
Am I going to give up like this…
Am I really going to abandon him like this…
No. I have to get to the bottom of this no matter how he treats me.
Just when I made my decision, I felt something pull on my arm. Gaoqin Jiuye was pulling me towards the water vat with him.
Before I could even react, Gaoqin Jiuye was already pulling me somewhere else through the water.
"Pch…" I spat out a mouthful of water as we finally surfaced.
Instead of glaciers, we were in another stone room.
Before I could speak, Gaoqin Jiuye pulled me out of the water by the collar.
I stared at him as I pushed him away. "Why did you grab me? I haven't finished talking."
Gaoqin Jiuye looked at me with fiery eyes. "What else do you have to say? He already said he doesn't love you. Why stay when he didn't even stop you from leaving?"
"I…" I was rendered speechless. Right. What else was I… hoping for?
"Li Shen, you might want to take a look at me. I'm right here beside you. It's not only Nie Zun who had been by your side. I, Gaoqin Jiuye, had been here too. I've known you for a longer time even. I've been protecting you all this while. Why did you fall in love with Gao Qi previously, Li Shen? And you've also fallen in love with somebody else when I finally thought you'd be by my side. Tell me why."
He took me by the shoulders as he looked at me like a helpless child.
I have never seen Gaoqin Jiuye like this.
I turned pale. "I'm sorry. I just don't understand. If everything is like what you described it to be, then why didn't you just tell me everything? Gaoqin Jiuye, why did you have to do all this behind my back? You even pretended to be Gao Qi. If I remember right, you've never even acted like you knew me from the very moment I met you here in the Split Zone."
Gaoqin Jiuye let go of me slowly. "Honestly, I've never thought of meeting you again. I just wanted you to live a peaceful life in the Western District. Life here can be good too. You even have people protecting you here."
I smirked. "What right do you have to decide for others? If you really loved me, why did you bring me here but refuse to meet me?"
Gaoqin Jiuye's gaze wavered. "Because… You'd be sad… if you learnt the truth…"
My heart hurt at this.
So it's like this…
Because if I learnt that you were the one I liked instead of Gao Qi, then that guilt I felt towards Gao Qi would turn into a worse sorrow. Is this the reason you chose to hide the truth?
So, you chose to save me but keep me in the dark about your existence?
I cried. "You. Why are you such an idiot…"
An exhausted smile appeared on Gaoqin Jiuye. "Idiot? Not really, since I didn't treat you very well anyway. I wasn't able to give you a happy life even after bringing you here. I wasn't able to protect you all the time either, because there's someone else who needs my protection here, and I cannot betray him."
My tears fell. "You're referring to Si Luo?"
Gaoqin Jiuye looked into the distance. "Yes. I've always been living in darkness in this world, but Si Luo lit the way for me. Li Shen, I never should've liked you. You and Gao Qi were the perfect couple. Gao Qi's flaws were caused by me, and your happiness was destroyed by me. Everything happened because of me. What right do I have to be by your side like this?
"I just didn't expect that someone like Nie Zun would appear by your side."
He continued after a short pause. "I was initially happy for you when I saw him protecting you. I thought there was finally someone who existed solely for you. Since he was able to protect you, I kept telling myself that I should be retreating now. I could retreat with peace of mind.
"But, haha, it's really difficult. There's also Si Luo. You might find that I'm always hot and cold towards you, probably because of these reasons. I envy Nie Zun, but I can't help but be jealous of him at the same time."
My tears continued flowing as I saw Gaoqin Jiuye's vulnerable side.
He had never been like this. He had always been proud, noble and cold, like a mighty god of death.
But now, he looked so vulnerable.
This was all because of me.
Fate teases us in strange ways. If only I didn't kill Gao Qi, if only I didn't misunderstand Gaoqin Jiuye. If only, I didn't meet Nie Zun.
Sadly, we cannot turn back time.
I started weeping quietly.
I knew exactly how I felt now, and because of this certainty, I knew that I could never go back.
There was no way I could go back now.
I have fallen in love with Nie Zun for real. I have fallen too deeply for him.
"Because I know that you've fallen for Nie Zun, there's no way I could tell you all this. You'd just be more upset if you learn about this after falling in love with him."
Gaoqin Jiuye smiled bitterly. "I guess there are some selfish reasons behind my actions too, because I'd rather not talk about love, ever. I hoped that I would never have to hear you say that you love him.
"Sadly, all of it was a mere pipe dream."
The corners of his eyes were wet now.