259 Swallowing Pride
A young male lay on the ground. He did not look like himself with all those injuries on his body.
His dry lips moved as he spoke in a trembling voice, "Si. I can still… continue… I want to save her…"
As if electrocuted, I retracted my hand from Si Luo's chest. I looked at Si Luo as I tried to swallow non-existent spit. "This is all. It's real…"
Si Luo said, "Yes, you've seen it. These are my memories."
"That girl he was talking about. It's me?"
So it's real. We met such a long, long time ago.
I really did love you. You really did love me too.
"Do you still remember the three things you promised?" Si Luo looked at me with those silvery eyes which looked like they were filled with white fog.
I nodded slowly. "I remember. You want me to listen to Gaoqin's wishes, that I should kill him if he wants me to. You want me to take Jiao S away, and you want me to kill you.
"But there's something I still don't understand." I turned serious.
"What is it?"
"We're all straightforward people, and we all know this in our hearts. Right now, just like how you guys have proven to me time and again, Gaoqin Jiuye has feelings for me, and you care a lot about Gaoqin Jiuye as well. But this is where the dilemma lies. If Gaoqin Jiuye is more important to you than Jiao S is, instead of getting me to stay here so that I can be by his side forever, why do you want me to kill him?"
Si Luo's eyes wavered. "You're right. I pamper him. This is why I don't want him to end up like me. I don't want you to kill him. What I'm saying is that if he chooses to be killed by you, you should heed his wishes. I don't want him to live like me, it's tiring. I hope that he'll be able to let it go once he thinks it through someday. And that you'll also be able to let him put things behind him if that happens."
Si Luo looked at me with ripples in his eyes. "Li Shen, Gaoqin's life is fated to be a tragedy. Even if I don't buy into fate, I'm not able to change the course of what's going to happen in his life. All I can do for him is to make it easier for him in the very last moment."
I didn't really get this, but I answered, "You mean, you think that I'd never be together with him? That his life is fated to be a tragedy and that you can't do anything about that, right?"
Si Luo smiled gently, but his eyes were still like deep water. "Will you be together with him?"
I did not know what to say to this.
"You're no ordinary individual. You don't know how resolute you actually are. You met Nie Zun in the time that you've forgotten Gaoqin, and everyone can see how much you love Nie Zun. You might be the only one who's trying to hide it from yourself. Even if you remember Gaoqin, you won't let Nie Zun down. Although the guilt you might feel towards Gaoqin might lead you onto varied paths, you'll realize eventually that it's easy for a change of heart, but it's not easy to take your feelings back."
For some reason, that lonely figure of Nie Zun when he left and that loneliness in his eyes flashed past my mind.
I said with indifference, "Not easy to take my feelings back? But it's a fact that I've been in love with Gaoqin Jiuye once. Since I've remembered what I had previously forgotten, how do you know that I won't get tired of Nie Zun in this case?"
Si Luo smiled. "You're the only one who knows this. We won't be able to tell what you're thinking no matter how clearly we're able to look at things.
"Let's go. Jiao S is still waiting for us."
I stopped Si Luo just as he began to leave. "Why would Jiao S appear in your memories? Judging from her age at the time, Jiao S hadn't arrived in the Split Zone yet."
Si Luo's gaze darkened. "She was my dream…"
But he seemed to suddenly jerk awake from a daydream. He made his way towards the Palace of Cold Blood speedily, as if he was being chased by others.
I guess he's not going to tell me what happened between Jiao S and him so easily.
"Where do you think Gaoqin Jiuye and the others would have gone?"
Si Luo shook his head. "I'm no god. I wouldn't know that. Why? You want to get the both of them here and show me how you'd make your choice?"
What is he even saying…
Love isn't the only thing I think about all day, mind you.
A trace of a smile seemed to hang on Si Luo's lips. "I don't know about the rest, but if it's Gaoqin, there's one person who'd definitely be able to find him."
I raised a brow. "I don't think that's you, is it? But apart from you, who else would be aware of his actions?"
A face appeared in my head right after I said this.
Si Luo smiled. "I'm sure you would've guessed by now."
I nodded in surprise. "Yes, I've guessed it. The one you're talking about, it should be Guan Nie… But I've never seen him again ever since he regained consciousness after getting hurt that time. I don't even know if he's fully recovered, much less where he is now."
"It's not important where he is. He'd definitely be protecting Gaoqin in the shadows."
I sighed. "What difference does it make if Gaoqin Jiuye doesn't wish for me to see him again? And even if Guan Nie can find Gaoqin Jiuye, I'm not able to find Guan Nie anyway.
"Oh, right." I turned serious as I suddenly thought of something else. If I don't ask now, I might forget it again.
"What Du Yue said before, what does it mean that Ta Lai and Rong Jin are the same person?"
Si Luo gave a bitter smile. "Rong Jin's shadow is merely a tactic he uses to hide from others. He is actually Ta Lai. It's just that I wasn't aware of this before."
Seems as if Ta Lai had duped his way into Si Luo's circle. Why did he do that though?
He didn't have anything against Si Luo, so it was unlikely that he was trying to take revenge. Even though he wasn't friends with Si Luo, they weren't enemies either. They were both soul splitters from the Gate of Heaven, equivalent somewhat to colleagues in the modern world. Though they might do things which end up hurting each other, who would actually conduct espionage just to listen in on random things?
"It's possible that he did it just because he was wary of me."
For the first time, a look of slight frustration appeared on Si Luo.
There seemed to be no plausible explanation for this.
I didn't like the feeling of this, so I quickened my pace. "If Rong Jin is gone now, I guess Mr Ta Lai doesn't want to play anymore. Go on, what should I do next?"
Si Luo caught up with me. "If Du Yue wants you to work with her, you can observe her for the time being and see what she's planning. I'll help you analyze things as well."
"Why didn't you leave with Gaoqin Jiuye?"
Si Luo laughed. "I thought you wouldn't be asking a lame question like this. What use would it be if I had left with him? Can he leave the Split Zone for real? If he can't, he'll still end up by my side eventually."
I frowned. "But you sound like you're contradicting yourself. If he'll return to you eventually, why are you still trying to get me to replace him?"
"I'm not trying to get you to replace him. I want you to help find out what Du Yue's real goal is. Now that I think about it, it might have already been fated long ago that this would be some sort of conspiracy. Gaoqin might just be a sacrificial lamb in this conspiracy. Though I've said that his life might be fated to be a tragedy, if I'm able to turn the tables to change that, then there's no way I would let his life turn into a tragedy."
"What should I do?"
"Don't do anything for now. We'll see what Du Yue has up her sleeve. We'll pretend to follow her for now and see what she's planning."
"She's suspicious of everything. Would she believe that the both of us are agreeable to working with her?" I asked with furrowed brows.
"That's right. Since we're not able to prove our loyalty, we shouldn't be doing anything right now. Let her stew in her suspicion, keep her guessing."
"Do you plan on staying with her here in the Gate of Heaven? Are you serious about that? She's so powerful here. If she finds us annoying one day, we might have nobody else to depend on when that happens."
"Yes. This is why to go against Du Yue, we'll need to have her jump into a huge trap on her own instead of inviting her aboard."
"How about Jiao S? Is she aware of this? Have you told her about all this?"
"She's intelligent and she'll understand even if I don't tell her some things. Even if she doesn't, she'll definitely find a way to understand it. What we should do now is to stay in our places at the Palace of Cold Blood and see what Du Yue has up her sleeve."
"Let's go then." I pointed at the Palace of Cold Blood which was right in front of us.
The Palace of Cold Blood was totally different when we stepped into it again.
It was a big hall previously, but I could see an entire palace this time. The huge palace was made up of many great halls, as if it was an entire city on its own. They were like Russian dolls, palaces within palaces. It looked elegant and luxurious.
Stepping back into the hall that I was in before, I saw Du Yue lazing on the golden throne with that ice phoenix resting on her shoulder.
My eyes might have been fooling me, but I felt fear and helplessness in the eyes of that ice phoenix when I looked at it.
I wanted to ask about the ice phoenix, but I decided not to in the end.
Since the ice phoenix had regained its freedom, Du Yue might have reinstated its position. I would only be harming the ice phoenix if I wasn't able to beat Du Yue at this point.
Please swallow your pride for now, just like how I am doing. I'll take you away from here no matter what.
My eyes had been glued to that ice phoenix since I stepped into the great hall. Though it could not hear my thoughts, I looked at it with a resolute gaze, intent on telling it that it had to wait for me, that I'll take it away from here someday.