243 Ingesting Poison
"That was quick." I stood up, looking at Song Lu as I said so.
Song Lu blinked. "Aren't you going to ask me where I took your Nie Zun?"
"With his abilities, you aren't able to do anything to him right now. If he isn't back, this just means that there might be some issues over at Jie Pa's side."
Song Lu shook her head in response. "Jie Pa has been saved. He didn't return because he got me to pass you a message - that we should go on our separate ways from now on."
Go on our separate ways.
Nie Zun, when have you begun to have such a wild imagination? Do you think that I can't locate you simply because you're avoiding me like this?
"Let's not talk about this. Tell me how to save Jiao S."
Song Lu glanced at Jiao S. "The only thing I can tell you is how to get her eyes back."
"How do I get them back?"
"Her eyes are in your memories. As long as you are able to find them in your memories, she'll be able to regain her sight."
A look of confusion appeared on me. "Her eyes are in my memories? What does that even mean?"
Song Lu stared at me. "Somebody had set something in motion in those lost memories of yours, and it had led to the result of today. You'll have to remember the particular part that involves her eyes in those memories of yours if you want to save her."
"But I didn't know Jiao S when I was alive."
Song Lu smiled. "Do you think that all the bodies of consciousness in the Split Zone don't have anything to do with one another at all? I know that the both of you didn't know each other before, but she lost her eyes because there was someone who set that in motion somewhere in your consciousness, causing this to happen. You'll have to find it.
"It's difficult for me to explain everything plainly. But you'll just have to find the part in your memories that has to do with this pair of eyes. Think, there must be a pair of eyes you've forgotten."
I was getting more and more confused.
But I understood one thing. She was telling me that I had to recall a particular moment in my memories that involved those eyes, and only by doing that can I get Jiao S's eyes back.
"But how do I get those lost memories back?"
A tiny bottle appeared in Song Lu's hands. It was a white bottle which looked like it contained medicine. I caught it hastily as she threw it towards me.
"Eat it. This is a type of drug that causes you to lose control over your consciousness by stimulating it. You might be able to recall what happened in those buried memories through this."
I looked down at that tiny white bottle in my hands. Losing control over my consciousness… Was this a hallucinogen?
"Is this given to you by Du Yue too?" I waved the bottle at her.
"Yes. This is only one of the many interesting drugs in her possession. You can choose not to believe me on this, but I'll tell you this first. I'm not sure about the damage this can cause to one's consciousness.
"What I've heard is that most of them who've ingested it end up having a really hard time, and some of them were not able to regain their consciousness. These individuals end up in a second coma in the Split Zone where they will forever be tortured in their subconscious minds."
"What a horrifying drug. Who'd dare take it after hearing that?"
Song Lu shrugged. "I'm just warning you first, and the decision whether to take it or not still lies with you. But I know one thing. If you are able to overcome this, you'll definitely be able to find those memories.
"I know it's difficult to come across such an opportunity for you to be able to dive back into those memories again, but now that I've given you a chance, and I've also told you its possible side effects, you can make a decision on this. If you want to save Jiao S, you'll have to get those memories back."
"Is this all part of Du Yue's scheme?" I suddenly felt as if I had walked right into her trap.
To my surprise, Song Lu admitted it frankly. "That's right, it is. Though Du Yue doesn't know that you've already arrived here in the Gate of Heaven, she told me to find a way to get you to eat this if you ever come here."
"Do you think I'd still dare to eat it after all you've said? Du Yue would never help me out like this," I said with a frown.
Song Lu spoke in a low tone this time. "According to what I've heard, somebody in the Gate of Heaven called Ta Lai once ate this, and he was able to wake up after that. There are some who say that it's Du Yue who got him to eat it. If Du Yue is willing to make him do such a thing even when she likes him so much, I guess it's because she trusts in his abilities. It might be the same for you too.
"Though I don't know what Du Yue's eventual goal is, there's really no need for her to go through all this trouble if she's trying to harm you. This is why I think that there might really be some truths which can be uncovered through this."
I pondered with that tiny white bottle in my hands as I recalled something else.
Ta Lai had a nightmare once within that exclusive space he had created. He looked really weird then.
That nightmare was him falling into a second coma. I remembered that clear as day.
Was that a side effect of this drug that Du Yue got him to ingest?
That might have been possible. Bian Ying has always been on Ta Lai's mind, and Du Yue hates it because Ta Lai doesn't love her. A woman's jealousy was terrifying. Hatred that emerges from love is something that was even more terrifying. There might be horrible side effects after ingesting this, but it might really be of some use after all.
But no matter what, I should still be able to trust Song Lu on this right…?
"Fine, I'll eat it." I opened the bottle, only to see a single pill inside it.
"Ah Shen, are you really going to believe her and eat it?" Jiao S asked with worry.
I answered without turning to look at her. "Don't worry. I'll definitely be able to save you." Right after that, I popped the pill into my mouth.
It had no taste at all, but the feeling of the pill going down my gullet was still a little uncomfortable. It was not a small pill.
Song Lu looked surprised at this.
"You look surprised. Why is that? You didn't expect me to swallow it so quickly?" I waved the empty bottle in front of me.
Song Lu's eyes flashed as she asked, "Do you feel anything?"
I didn't feel any different except for a little warmth in my chest, but that warmth was getting hotter by the second.
"Nothing much except for a little hotness here," I said as I pointed to my chest where my heart was.
Song Lu suddenly walked over to a corner of the room, folding her arms across her chest as she leaned back against the wall. "I'll be waiting for you here. You'll feel it after a short while, and you'll be rolling around on the ground in pain shortly. It's better for me to stand back and wait while you battle with its effects."
Rolling on the ground.
Wouldn't that be embarrassing…
Since I've already eaten it, I had no choice but to bear with all its side effects. I'll just have to bear with all the pain that comes with it. It's a small price to pay if I could get my memories back. I've always wanted to recall them, and I know it definitely wasn't going to be easy.
A dark veil seemed to have fallen over Song Lu after she settled against the wall. To be able to make out her expression, I had to place more focus on my vision.
But I didn't do that, since there was no need for me to do so anyway.
That pose of hers made me think of Nie Zun.
My lips turned up in a bittersweet smile. I guess I really can't leave him even for a moment. I'm already missing him.
Nothing can save me now.
I laughed at myself. "Should I be sitting down to wait for this to take effect? It might be painful if I end up falling over onto the ground. I'd better find myself a comfortable position."
Song Lu waved a hand at me, signaling for me to do as I pleased. "It might be better if you're seated. It's not that extreme actually. You'll lose consciousness in a short while, but to us, you'll just look like you've fallen asleep. All the pain and torture happens in your subconscious mind. If you lie down, it might just be a little more comfortable. I'll be right here waiting for you to wake up. Whether you can overcome the drug depends solely on you."
I sat down after picking a spot that was closer to Jiao S's cell. "How do I look for Jiao S's eyes then? Du Yue told you that as long as I ate this and found my memories, I'll naturally know how?"
Nodding, I said, "Fine. Let's wait for it then."
I turned around, putting my hands on those iron bars again. "Don't worry, Jiao S. I'll definitely think of a way to get you out."
Jiao S's lips turned up at a slight angle. "You've said this countless times, Ah Shen. I trust you. But remember what I told you. If you arrive at crossroads, you have to place yourself first. Understand?"
"Right," I answered.
Idiot, I'll definitely be placing you first.
But it's okay, because there won't be any situations like that. I won't let anything happen to you, and nothing will happen to me either.
I'll bring you out. I'll take those surviving heirs with me and we'll all escape this forsaken place that is the Split Zone.
My vision began to blur at this very moment, as if whatever was in front of me was merely a mirage. Jiao S's face and those iron bars began to blur right in front of my eyes.
The drug seemed to be taking effect now.
Before I lost my grip on my consciousness, I wondered if Nie Zun would regret not coming back to me if I ended up not being able to wake up.
Will he be sad?
No, don't regret it, and do not be sad either. With all the pain that I've already brought you, I shouldn't be harassing you anymore.
You may have been right. I've always taken you for granted, but that has evolved into something that I refuse to let go of now.
That hotness in my chest receded, replaced with a chilling cold.
This cold felt familiar… When have I experienced this before?
I then felt myself falling backwards. All I could see was nothing but a sea of white.