252 Returning a Real Love to You
Freedom… That seemed to have been something that has eluded me for a long time.
Taking my hand in his, he said, "I owe you a love, and I'd like to make it up to you now. Even if it's an illusion, I hope you can believe it just this once, and let me lead you in this."
I smiled. "Okay."
He pulled me with him like an excited child as we ran along the rocks on the shore.
My red dress and his black coat overlapped with each other at times when they billowed in the wind. It felt colorful, as it they weren't just black and red. It felt like they were a rainbow of color, the color of love.
I know I shouldn't be too immersed in this, but I could not help myself. I might have suppressed my feelings for too long, or it might be because I had been unhappy in my previous relationship, but I now felt that I could never let him go even if the world crumbled right in front of me.
"Let's go over there. There's a tiny beach where we can go look for crabs."
My eyes widened in surprise. Crabs exist here in this illusion?
My legs were already running after him.
We arrived at a beach which looked totally different from those rocks earlier.
He let go of me and started backing away as he turned around to face me.
The wind was blowing against his back, towards me, and it made his hair a beautiful mess.
A loving smile appeared on his face. This was the first time I've seen such a happy smile on him, not like that mock indifference that seemed to have always been forced out.
Looking at that adorable face, I ran towards him with a brilliant smile.
He turned to the sea and shouted, "I love Li Shen!"
Never would I have expected for him to confess so loudly like this.
This quiet, mysterious man was acting like a child who had just gotten a candy. He was announcing his happiness to the entire world.
I shouted, "I love Nie Zun!"
I even choked a little on the wind which blew right into my throat.
He grabbed me and we both squatted on the beach.
"Look, a crab!"
"Where where where?" I looked around in excitement, trying hard to find the crab which Nie Zun mentioned.
"Haha, you're an idiot. Can't you see that there's only a shell?"
"A shell is fine too!" I said as I snatched that shell he just picked up.
"You aren't going to be like those childish girls who'd put the shell against their ear to try and listen to sounds of the ocean, are you?"
"How'd you know?"
"My dear, you have to know that this is an illusion. My MF is nowhere near high enough to create a conch that would contain the sound of the ocean."
"It doesn't matter. I'm just going to listen for a bit." Putting it against my ear, I listened to it carefully.
Nothing was heard. It proved that this was in fact an illusion.
But it wasn't the time to find fault in things.
"Hey, are there other fun places on this island?" I took Nie Zun's hand as I asked.
"Want to go have a look?"
"You prepared a surprise for me?"
"Let's go. You'll find out then."
"Hmph. You've gone back to your annoying self."
"Let's go." Without further ado, Nie Zun took my hand and led me further in towards the island.
I couldn't believe that I ended up perspiring as we ran. It felt hot as the sun shone above us. It was almost as if I was alive again.
He led me into the forest in the middle of the island.
"I've prepared a surprise for you."
"Oh? What surprise?"
Pulling me with him, he started running through the forest.
Focusing MF on my feet, I ran at his speed. It felt as if I was flying.
The smell of the trees and flowers were fresh, and I could hear the sounds of insects and birds all around me.
I was stunned by the scene in front of me as we finally arrived at the destination.
I looked at the flower field in front of me.
It was a rare scene.
Yes, it literally was a sea of flowers. These were my favorite, roses.
Red, red roses.
I loved roses.
I loved them because everyone said they were old-fashioned.
Many others liked lilies as they found lilies elegant and pure.
But I liked roses.
I liked that bright red.
It was a sea of red, and waves of red appeared as the wind caressed it.
It was beautiful.
It was too beautiful.
"Surprised? A field of roses. I don't think you've ever seen this before."
"These, do these roses prick?" I asked, dumbfounded.
"Why not you try touching them?" Before I could answer, he grabbed me and led me into the flower field.
I stepped on many of the roses along the way, but these roses were rather interesting. They sprang back up a while later after being stepped on.
If Nie Zun specially designed this scene for me, I could only say that he knew me well.
His eyes met mine when we finally ended up right in the middle of the flower field.
Those starry eyes that seemed to reflect the light of the full moon were filled with emotion in the slight breeze. These eyes were those eyes that I could not pull myself out of from the very moment I saw them. They were coming closer to me now.
I felt the kiss very clearly this time.
It was not as passionate as before, and I could feel every single one of his minute movements.
I could feel those cold lips and his breath. I acted like those females in romance stories, holding onto him as his kiss slowly turned fiery.
Diamonds sparkled in his jet-black eyes as I fell backwards into the sea of flowers.
I embraced him tightly.
But a dream was still a dream, and even if it was a dream, one would still be able to feel that sense of danger.
He lay down in the flower field beside me and looked at me.
"Can you promise me something, Shen'er?"
I didn't like the sound of this at all. It sounded as if it was the beginning of an end, but I still responded as gently as I could. "Say it. I'll promise you."
My heart felt like it was slowly being twisted into a knot as I saw the sorrow in his eyes as he looked at me.
"If I'm not by your side in the future, you have to promise me that you'll accept her and continue living."
As expected. I felt shivers as I heard this.
I tried to answer as calmly as I could. "Don't leave me again, okay?"
Instead of responding immediately, he pointed at the sky above. "We haven't seen such a sky in a long time. The real sky. Don't you miss it, Shen'er?"
I miss it, of course I do.
But there are things we had to do here. There were still others we had to save.
We came to Split Zone 13 in order to pay for our sins, didn't we?
"Do you still remember how the sun looks like?"
I don't know why he asked that, but I answered, "Of course I do."
"Then you won't forget me." He then turned and smiled mischievously.
This made me more afraid.
I turned to face him, and I made him face me as well. There was nothing but a single red rose between us.
Pressing down on that rose, I asked, "Tell me, why were you being so cold and distant to me? And now that you've brought me here to this illusion, why are you telling me to forgive you if you end up leaving in future? Tell me what's happening. We have to wake up soon, and you can't keep me in the dark forever."
A bitter smile escaped Nie Zun's lips. "I really hoped to be able to keep you in the dark forever."
I answered softly, "You know that it's just wishful thinking. I'm begging you, Nie Zun. Don't lie to me. Tell me the truth."
Nie Zun brushed my red hair. "I'll be sending you back in a while. You have to overcome that drug when you go back. Stop being controlled by it. Stop letting your second personality out. They're all looking for her, and you'll be putting yourself in danger if she appears."
"I suddenly thought of something. That ring, Nie Zun. Who gave it to you?" I asked hastily as I happened to see that ring on his left hand when he lifted it.
This was an important question, and I had an instinct that this was a chance where I could get him to reveal something.
According to Du Yue and Gaoqin Jiuye, Gaoqin Jiuye was the one who gave me the ring. Why did it end up on Nie Zun then?
Nie Zun looked shaken by my question, and that look he gave me confirmed my suspicions that there was something more about this ring. It might hold some sort of secret.
He sighed after a moment of silence. "It was her who gave it to me. You might start hating me again if I say it like that."
I was stunned at this.
But I was no longer like before.
I wouldn't put the blame on anyone for not stopping me, since I did not know what exactly happened then. Secondly, the murderer should be the one at fault for killing anyone. I shouldn't be blaming others for not stopping her.
It's just that I didn't understand it. Why was she the one who gave the ring to him?