239 Endless Stairs
I snatched Piercer from Nie Zun immediately.
Nie Zun did not resist this time.
He glanced at me. "I guess you're never going to give up if this item is with me. Take it back if that's the case, and stop following me from now on. Also, I'd suggest for you to leave it. It brings nothing but misfortune."
Holding Piercer, I said, "Thank you for the reminder. When did you start talking so much?"
Song Lu smiled as she interrupted, "How about this, Li Shen, I'll do something else for you. If you leave Piercer with me, not only can I bring Nie Zun to Jie Pa, I can bring you to Jiao S as well. What do you think?"
Bring me to Jiao S?
I knew nothing about the Gate of Heaven, and it was best if I could save them before Du Yue returns.
That seems fine too. It was Nie Zun who suppressed the female soul in Piercer previously, and I might not be able to use it well in such a short time. I can just give it to her first.
And… no matter what Song Lu had become, she's still a friend to me. I'd rather give it to her than give it to anybody else.
I threw Piercer at Song Lu after I made my decision.
Song Lu caught it and said, "You're really nice to Jiao S. You compromised really quickly when you just said you wouldn't give it away just moments ago."
I looked her in the eye. "I won't hesitate if I could get you back in exchange for Piercer either. But there was no one who made an offer like this when you were missing."
There was exhaustion in Song Lu's eyes as she hung Piercer on her waist. "Let's go. I'll keep my word.
"But, this phoenix…" She turned to take a look at Bing'er, which was perched on a lamp.
Song Lu waved a hand at Bing'er as it called out with a chirp.
I was focused on Song Lu's hand since I wanted to stop her attack, but there was no indication of an oncoming one. In the next moment, I heard Bing'er call out again.
Bing'er struggled as it was trapped in a ball of water in midair.
"What did you do to it?" This was definitely caused by Song Lu.
Song Lu continued towards the exit as she said, "It won't die. You can choose to either stay here or come with me to see Jiao S. Decide."
Nie Zun shot me a cold look before catching up to Song Lu.
Gritting my teeth, I turned back to Bing'er and said softly, "Bing'er, I'll be back. Wait for me."
I ran up to Song Lu after that.
Song Lu blinked as she saw me. "It's difficult, isn't it? You're always like this, trying to save everyone. But Li Shen, you aren't the messiah. Choices have to be made sometimes, and if you've acted like today, who knows, I might not have ended up like this."
A familiar image popped up in my mind, but it was something I did not want to recall.
Though I felt bitter, I calmed myself down before answering Song Lu. "You're right. But you got one thing wrong. I've always known what I was doing, from the very beginning. It's just that you might not be aware of this."
It was obvious Song Lu did not understand what I was getting at.
I looked her in the eye as I decided to tell her what exactly happened. "I had to make a choice, causing you to be taken away by Li Wen. I didn't hesitate at that time. You were unconscious, and Jiao S's life was in Li Wen's hands. She wanted me to choose between the two of you. At that time, I chose Jiao S because her MF was already depleted, and I let Li Wen take you away."
Song Lu turned pale.
I bit my lip. "I wouldn't say I regretted it, because I might do the same thing if I'm faced with the same situation today, since it was more critical to save Jiao S at that time. Just like today, Jiao S is in a more dangerous situation now, and like what you said, I didn't hesitate to make a decision.
"Song Lu, I'm grateful that you're telling me I have to make difficult decisions, because if no one thinks like this, there might be nobody else who can empathize with me. I don't know what you've been through in this time, but I know that I was the one who let you down since I made that choice. You can blame me for that, but you can't say that I didn't make a choice."
A bitter smile appeared on Song Lu's pale face. "I get it now. You're trying to say that you simply didn't choose me, and it's not that you didn't know how to make a choice."
I nodded and said, "Yes."
But, why did I feel so heartbroken after I said so?
I didn't want Song Lu to feel upset about this, and although it did sound like Jiao S was the only one I cared about and that I didn't care about her at all, I had no choice but to put it this way.
And I did choose Jiao S in that situation.
"After we got separated, have you seen Yu Liang again?"
I brought this up in a feeble attempt to change the subject.
Song Lu turned away from me to look in front. I couldn't see her expression from where I was.
"No, I haven't seen him at all. I haven't heard any news about him being in the Gate of Heaven either, so I was rather surprised when you mentioned it earlier. But I've said so previously, that I don't love him anymore."
I remained silent.
I have already decided that I had to bring Yu Liang back to Song Lu.
All of this happened because of me, and I'll be the one to end it all.
The door of the palace hall opened easily.
A blinding white light flooded the hall. It was so bright that I had to shield my eyes from it.
I looked outside as I got used to the brightness. It was different from how I imagined it to be. Instead of a street, we were met with stairs that led underground.
It was like a bottomless pit that was welcoming us, and we were walking into that abyss voluntarily.
"Didn't expect the layout outside of the Palace of Cold Blood to be this unique." Nie Zun spoke after being silent for quite some time.
Song Lu smiled enchantingly. "Is that so? Actually, the outside of the Palace of Cold Blood doesn't look like this, and the two ladies didn't come in from here either."
"You mean you created these stairs?" I looked at the steps. It was a spiral staircase, and we weren't able to see more than a few steps ahead of us.
"Please, go on ahead." Instead of answering me, Song Lu directed me towards the stairs.
As I was about to step forward, Nie Zun said, "We're not familiar with this place. How about you lead the way?" My foot crept back slowly at this.
Song Lu shrugged and said, "Sure." She stepped onto those stairs in her boots shortly after.
I glanced at Nie Zun, but he did not return my gaze. We then continued on the path without looking at each other.
The door to the palace hall closed behind us. I thought it sounded a little different from when it opened.
Click, click, click.
Song Lu's boots clicked against the floor with crisp sounds.
Though I was in kitten heels, my sandals were light and they rarely made a sound even when I hopped or jumped around.
The spiral staircase seemed to continue on forever.
The three of us were silent as we walked, and this made me more anxious. I have never liked such silent atmospheres. Therefore, I decided to start a conversation.
What should I talk about?
Should I tell Song Lu about Yu Liang?
Wait, why did I even think of that?
Am I supposed to tell her that yes, I have seen Yu Liang just once in this time when he engaged us in a three versus one battle in order to force me to look for you, and that he's also turned into a monster where his hand can turn into a tentacle?
What a dumb idea it was.
I can't say this.
What should I say then?
What if I talk about how to use Piercer?
Forget it. That might sound like I'm going back on my word.
Just when I was cracking my head thinking about possible topics to talk about, I happened to catch a glimpse of Nie Zun.
He seemed to be stealing glances at me from time to time.
He turned away just as I looked at him, as if he had never been taking notice of me at all with that indifferent expression of his.
For some reason, I felt joy at being able to look at his side profile like this. I didn't care what he turned into as long as he was right here beside me.
In my heart, he was still Nie Zun.
I didn't notice Song Lu turning to me as I was being too focused on Nie Zun. "I guess you no longer hide your feelings now. But this makes me more confused. Li Shen, if you can stare at Nie Zun like this, why aren't the both of you together already?"