27th Floor Elevator
We finally reached the district border after running for nine hours.
While Westside and Eastside were located to the west and east respectively, that wasn’t all there was to it.
Beside Westside was a boundary forest. After passing through the forest, you would reach the district borerline, and on the other side of it, there was Eastside’s forest. Only after passing through that forest would you finally reach Eastside’s residential building.
Southside also bordered Eastside, by its merchandise market. I wasn’t very certain about the distribution of Northside and Southside though, as I’d never been to Southside, and the only times I went to Northside was when I went to the Split Zone center. And each of those times, Mr Blond had brought me there in a flash of light.
The darkness of night would hit in less than an hour. After passing through the forest, we soon came across the long, white borderline that divided the two districts. The line was already starting to glow now.
The moment that the dark of night came, the bordeline would give off a bright glow, which would form a barrier that people couldn’t pass through.
I looked towards the Eastside Forest. Since it was still day, everything looked pretty clear.
But forests at the borderlines were always very thick, so you usually couldn’t actually see through it.
I turned my head to look at Nie Zun, and the two of us made our way to other side of the boundary line.
With light steps, we stepped across into the Eastern Forest.
I bent over and reached inside my boot to touch my split symbol. I still had 47 MF remaining.
After I straightened up, I grabbed my bow and arranged my arrows on my back. My bow wasn’t very large, and it was very light. The arrows were also thin and slender, so my bag could hold more than a hundred of them. I held the bow with my left hand and used my right hand to sweep aside the hair in my face.
Nie Zun stood with his hands in his pockets, unconcerned as usual.
I’d rarely seen him engage in hand to hand combat with anyone, and of course, I didn’t understand what types of weapons he could use.
I didn’t much care for his life, and in fact, I sometimes found myself looking forward to his death.
I coldly glanced at him once more.
Feeling my gaze land on him, Nie Zun smiled. He looked at me with a pair of bright eyes, before motioning for me to look ahead.
We’d already passed throught the forest.
The residential building, along with the streets in front of it, appeared in my line of sight.
There were a lot of people on the street, but they weren’t as I’d imagined. I’d thought that strange monsters would be rampant in Eastside. And although there were many fantastic creatures, a lot of people kept a human appearance.
The people here didn’t look much different from the ones residing in Westside. Only, after seeing Nie Zun and me walk out from the forest, they cast unfriendly eyes our way.
The two of us didn’t stare much longer, lest we attract even more attention to the fact that we were outsiders. So, we passed through street after street, and we soon blended into the crowd and arrived at the residential building.
As long as we didn’t look like newbies with with no experience in the world, others wouldn’t pay much attention to us. Moreover, I wasn’t wearing my blood-red dress today, and everyone’s understanding of the Westside commander was simply a body dressed in red, and nothing more.
The residential building had an entrance every few meters, but I had no understanding of Eastide at all. Fortunately, You Ji had mentioned that Sly S should be l
iving in the first room on the 30th floor.
I exchanged a glance with Nie Zun, and then we walked into the Eastside Residence.
There were a ton of people inside the building, so a few unfamiliar faces wasn’t really unusual. As long as we weren’t glowing like a new arrival, no one cared about us.
Still, Nie Zun and I received several strange looks.
I didn’t quite understand why. In any case, Nie Zun and I successfully made it into an elevator. There were also two others that got onto the elevator with us. One was a large and tall man, wearing a gray tank top and gray sports pants. His strong and muscular build made him look quite formiddable. The other had the appearance of a mummy, but he didn’t look gross. Instead, he was kind of handsome. His face was bandaged, revealing only a pair of piercing, bright eyes. The only thing that made him look relatively strange was that green glow in his eyes. The bandages on his face also appeared to be stained with dried blood.
All together, there were four of us in the elevator. After the door closed, the elevator started to move slowly.
The elevator itself was as ordinary as could be. As the elvator traveled upwards, a few people got on and off, but otherwise it was just the four of us, so it wasn’t very crowded.
After we passed the 20th floor, the elevator seemed to stop less frequently. When we reached the 24th floor, the people who got on at the 20th floor got off.
The last one to get off turned back and gave me a pensive look.
I found it a bit curious, so I turned to the two guys who had gotten on the elevator on the first floor with us.
Before I looked at them, I wasn’t concerned, but after I looked them over, I started to feeling uneasy.
Because at some point, the two of them had started looking at me.
When I glanced at them, they both continued to stare me down, without batting an eyelash.
I didn’t know what to do, and then the elevator suddenly stopped with a crunch.
What was going on? This didn’t seem to be an ordinary stop.
I frowned as I checked the display. It was the 27th floor.
The elevator had suddenly stopped, but the doors didn’t open.
I knew something wasn’t right, so I quietly grabbed my bow.
The muscular man standing closest to the elevator buttons suddenly said, “You guys aren’t from here.”
My hand tightened on my bow, and I responded calmly, “How can you tell?”
The muscular man chuckled. His face twisted a bit and it looked both like he was and wasn’t laughing. “Because everyone in Eastside knows that floors 27 to 29 are reserved for S Clan officials ranked C and higher. Most of the elevators will stop at the 27th floor, but even at the 26th floor, the two of you didn’t look like you planned on getting off. You’re not wearing anything that indicates that you’re an S Clan official, which means that you must be from a different district with no understanding of our rules.”
“Since you two also haven’t gotten off yet, that must mean that you live on the 27th floor or higher. So, why don’t you guys have any ID that suggests you’re part of S Clan?” I didn’t panic.
The mummy suddenly laughed. “Every member of S Clan wears contact lens made from a special material. We have an S mark on the left side of our face that only someone wearing the contacts can see.”
No wonder people were looking at Nie Zun and me so strangely. Perhaps those people were part of S Clan? But how did they know that I wasn’t just another resident of Eastside?
I was aware of S Clan though. They were a group formed by and named for that strange woman, Sly S. The group was comprised of those who were loyal to her, and perhaps you might call them her fans. They say that S Clan has seven ranks, A through G. The closer to the start of the alphabet, the higher your ranking and ability. I didn’t know all the specifics about the number of people in their clan. I just knew that there were only three people ranked A and seven ranked B.
Eastside’s Sly S was the most famous woman in all of the Split Zone. When I first arrived, I’d heard about her.
I thought back to the first time I saw her. She wore a high school uniform and her hair was shoulder length with bangs. She looked like an obedient and good student, but she couldn’t hide that strange atmosphere that emanated from her—Sly S.
Every time I thought of her, the air around me grew cold.
She rarely made appearances and she rarely spoke to anyone. Anywhere she went, there was always a group of people protecting her. It’s said that those people swore loyalty to her. Before I arrived in the Split Zone, her power was already unquestionable. It’s also rumored by some that the last commander of Westside died by Sly S’s hands.
A lot of people followed her blindly, but no one really knew why. And she always wore that high school uniform, fashioned rather like Japanese school uniforms. Her face was always white as snow, and her eyes looked empty and lifeless.
Some say that she simply maintained the appearance she had when she died.
As for the type of schizophrenia that sent her here, no one seemed to know about it.
All I knew was that the first time I saw her and accidentally exchanged glances with her, those emotionless, lifeless, stagnant eyes sent a cold chill all across my body.
I didn’t have too much time to think because the mummy suddenly pulled off a piece of his bandaging and turned to me for an attack!
I didn’t move because Nie Zun had already extended his left hand from his pocket and stopped the attack.
Nie Zun was wearing a black glove on his hand.
Well, he was wearing black gloves on both of his hands. He’d always been like that, never exposing any skin. He was always wrapped up from head to toe, like a dark zongzi. (t/n: a zongzi is like a big “rice dumpling”—Wiki article)
I’d always thought it was because he was scared of dying, so he wrapped himself up as to not expose his split symbol.
I was the only one who knew about his split symbol, since I saw it when we first met. Mr Blond had made him expose the crescent moon symbol on his neck to explain split symbols to me.
Even as Nie Zun’s left hand stopped right in front of my face, his lips carried an unfazed smile. “If she dies, things will be hard on me. So, good sirs, if you must attack, please attack me first.”
His voice sounded clearly in the elevator.
The muscular man extended a hand to stop the mummy. He gave a nod to Nie Zun. “Apologies. It’s not that we must use violence against you. It’s just that even members of my family who are not part of S Clan cannot travel past the 26th floor. And well, the two of you are uninvited guests whose purpose we do not know.”
After the muscular man stopped him, the mummy also retracted his bandages.
The musular man nodded to me. “Pretty lady, the two of you should head back. If you’d like to stay for a visit, we welcome you, but you cannot travel past this point.”
“I’m here to see the district commander.” Without loosening my grip on my bow, I looked at the muscular man.
Glancing at the bow in my left hand, he finally nodded. “It’s a rare occasion that Westside Commander Li Zhen would pay a visit to Eastside. It’s obvious that you’re here to see our commander, but without the commander’s agreement, I still cannot allow you to travel any further. Apologies, Ms Li Zhen.”
It wasn’t strange that he could identify me. After all, not everyone was as oblivious to the world around them as I was. As a member of S Clan, with at least a C ranking, he’d likely already learned about my appearance and choice of weapons.
Suddenly, I couldn’t help being annoyed at myself for recklessly running here without first learning more about Eastside’s rules and customs.
I looked at the elevator door. The muscular man held a hand against the gap in the doors.
This was the 27th floor, a place where only officers ranked C or higher could go. It was clear that the muscular man’s intent was that, unless Nie Zun and I returned to a lower floor, we wouldn’t be able to leave this elevator at all. What? Were the corridors of the 27th floor and above filled with unspeakable secrets?