257 At a Loss
The wind ruffled my hair on the balcony. Looking at the buildings in the distance, I asked, "Are the both of you really leaving?"
Song Lu and Yu Liang looked at each other, not saying a thing. I turned around to face them. "Since Du Yue made such an offer, I don't have any right to ask either of you to stay."
Song Lu walked up, giving Piercer to me. "Ah Shen, I'll be frank with you. I'd be lying if I said I didn't harbor some sort of hatred towards you, but you should know that I've always treated you like a real sister. I'd never have thought that things would turn out this way, but if I don't leave with him now, I don't know how else I'm going to survive here."
Yu Liang also stepped forward. "There are some things that I might not be able to tell you, ever. As for those particular secrets of the Split Zone that I happen to know, let me bring them with me. It might be better for you this way. Apart from saying thank you, I don't know how else I can repay you for making the deal with Du Yue and agreeing to work with her against Huai Du in exchange for letting us leave.
"Ah Shen, to be honest, we are no longer our old selves. We might think that nothing has changed, but things have, and even if we thought things did change, that might not exactly be the case either. Well, anyway, take care of yourself."
I smiled. "Yu Liang was a man of few words in the past. I didn't know you could be so chatty now."
After that day, I promised to work with Du Yue to go against Huai Du. Firstly, because she promised me that she'd send Song Lu and Yu Liang back. Secondly, Du Yue also promised to tell me the secret of the Split Zone.
This particular condition enticed me, and I agreed with Du Yue without heeding Si Luo's objections.
Si Luo did not say much, seeing how resolute I was. Instead, he said that he'd stay as well.
Judging from his past attitude, he would never have worked with Du Yue. He must have had his reasons for doing so if he had decided to stay.
Song Lu and Yu Liang did not say much after learning that they could leave the Split Zone.
They did not tell me about what happened during this time even though I expected them to, nor did they share any useful information with me.
They had chosen to retreat in this way.
Many things have happened, and I had no right to expect everyone to treat me like they did before.
In fact, I've realized that there was no real evil here in the Split Zone ever since what happened to You Ji, and there was no real good here either.
The world would come to an end if humans weren't selfish.
I remembered the loyalty that Song Lu and Yu Liang had towards me, and I could only imagine all the pain and torture they had to go through during this time. There are some things which could change an individual forever, and that included destroying their loyalty to someone.
I didn't do anything to let them down. Though I wasn't able to protect them and save them in time, that couldn't be considered as letting them down.
Even though it wasn't a mistake on my part, I still hated myself for it. The distance between us widened just like this.
They've chosen to leave so abruptly because I know that they've had enough of being embroiled in these things in the Split Zone. The last bit of love that they might still be protecting might end up getting destroyed if they even stay for an extra second here.
When they met again, the both of them did not look at each other, nor did they express any wishes to be back with each other again. But when they realized that they were able to leave together, the both of them stood by each other automatically, as if nothing had happened. They chose to stay together on this path towards the future instead of dwelling on what happened in the past.
This is true love, and it was also self-love.
Maybe I cared less now that Nie Zun and Gaoqin Jiuye were gone. I just knew that I was fine with letting the people around me leave because I had no right to make them stay.
"Okay, no need for further explanation. I understand everything. Du Yue will bring your corresponding soul splitters here soon. Go back to the real world and live well. I hope you'll be able to find each other soon when you arrive back in the real world, so that you'll be able to spend the rest of your days together."
A strong wind blew past us and Song Lu's curly hair flew across her face, obscuring her features.
She took me in a gentle embrace, like that time when we were on the roof at the Western District's Residence.
"I'm sorry, Ah Shen."
I closed my eyes and I wanted to say something, but I remained silent in the end.
I forced myself to smile and slowly detached myself from her hug. I held her hand as I said, "Go on. I'll send you."
I grabbed the both of them and jumped off the building.
After Du Yue removed the spatial restrictions, the real Gate of Heaven was revealed. It looked just like any other second-tier city. It had everything, except that there were fewer people around.
Du Yue brought with her two individuals who were tied up.
I was stunned as I got a better look at the two.
They were very familiar…
One of them was a pale teenage boy who had an indifferent look on him, while the other was a young female who was wearing a pair of sexy black stockings.
These were the two soul splitters we met in the Gate of Ghost.
The woman was bullying that boy, and I wanted to help out, but the boy decided to swallow his pride and let the arrogant woman have her way.
This world was full of coincidences.
Both of them were thrown onto the ground. The boy seemed to have an inkling of what was going on, but he looked indifferent as usual. The female, however, looked terrified.
The boy recognized me with just one look. "Hi, we meet again."
That did not sound like what a young teenage child would have said at all.
Song Lu asked in shock, "The two of you know each other?"
I nodded. "We've met once."
Du Yue smirked. "How coincidental."
I looked at her. "It is. The world is just full of coincidences. Is this just a mere coincidence though? Or did you plan everything?"
Du Yue raised a brow. "I don't have such good foresight."
"Oh, is that so? You've found Song Lu and Yu Liang's soul splitters just so you can use this as a bargaining chip when making a deal with me. With that kind of foresight, you're telling me you couldn't have planned such a tiny occurrence?"
Du Yue glanced at the two individuals on the ground. "Why would I plan for these two to have a fight in front of you? That doesn't sound like it benefits me at all, does it?"
I smiled. "A person who's rotten to the bone might not do things that merely benefit her. She might have done it just to make somebody she hates unhappy, that's all. Actually, you didn't do anything. Part of it is definitely coincidence, because the both of them appeared at the same time. You just used a little MF to make that female hit the boy, and you knew that I would've stepped up to help.
"You did it to make me remember the two of them, because I won't be happy when they might face death because of me someday in future. Even though I've only met them once, it can still be seen as me bringing death upon them."
Du Yue nodded in appreciation. "You're right. I couldn't plan for the both of them to appear in the Gate of Ghost at the very same time. But I did make it so that they would have left an impression on you. You got it right too, because I thought you would save that boy, and that would have created some sort of relationship between the both of you from then on. I thought it'd be interesting to see you being anxious for him if Song Lu undid the split symbol contract with him and he wasn't able to find a new heir."
She looked at the boy as she paused for a short moment, disgust apparent in her eyes. "It's just that I didn't expect for him to be that strong. He didn't need your help at all. What an annoying brat. It's no wonder soul splitters with low MF are all merely trash."
"I see that your view of hierarchy hasn't changed at all. In your eyes, everyone who isn't strong enough is equivalent to trash, even if they were your soul splitter comrades. Are you that noble yourself, Du Yue? In my eyes, I think you're dirtier and lower than they are." My words were laced with sarcasm.
Du Yue wasn't angered. She lifted a leg and kicked the boy towards Song Lu. "Then let me see if it's me, a lowly soul splitter, or if it's this trash who's going to face impending death today."
Song Lu was being put in a rather difficult position as she looked at me.
I looked down at the boy and asked, "Do you fear death?"
The boy looked right back at me as he answered, "There's nothing more I wish for than death after having been here for so long. Do you think I'll fear it?"
Why did he have to answer like this?
This made me wish that he didn't have to die.
I turned to Song Lu and Yu Liang. "Go on now. Don't hesitate anymore."
Song Lu was in a dilemma, but Yu Liang took his splitting key and inserted it into the split symbol on the woman.
Seeing Yu Liang do that, Song Lu inserted her splitting key with trembling hands into the boy's split symbol.
Two rays of bright light appeared as Song Lu and Yu Liang's bodies began turning transparent.
I thought they would have some last words, but Song Lu only looked back at me with sorrowful eyes before she was gone.
I guess I might have that same urgency to leave when it was my turn too.
Didn't I always have a chance to leave since my soul splitter was Gaoqin Jiuye?
I realized that this parting was real only when Song Lu and Yu Liang's figures had totally disappeared. It didn't happen without any warning. It was just that one would still be at a loss even after spotting the tell-tale signs.