90 Meeting You Ji Again
I watched with satisfaction as a plot of trees collapsed with just a single-handed stroke of Violet Blade.
"Such meagre improvement after this many days of practice; you're practically a pig." Nie Zun's lazy voice sounded from behind me.
Turning back, I rolled my eyes towards Nie Zun who had just returned from his solo training with Ta Lai.
Ta Lai was right behind him, an arm behind his back. His smile was calm. "It's good news as long as there's an inkling of improvement. It means that your hard work wasn't for nothing; you've finally learned to control your MF."
"Oh, that's right, Ta Lai. I remembered something. I've seen Jiao S and Gaoqin Jiuye manipulating airflow; is that the same as this precise usage of MF?"
Ta Lai shook his head. "No, that's not the case. To use abilities involving natural elements, you have to have an even more meticulous control over MF and on top of that, have extrasensory about these elements. For someone who hadn't sealed their split symbol, this would be a difficult feat.
"What you need to do now is to strengthen your control over MF, then combine that with the Piercer in your hand. That would be enough. Piercer is a living weapon; if you view and treat him as you would to a person, as a helper, you'd eventually understand its abilities."
"Ehehe… Ah, I was just wondering what happened to Western District. So it seems that you've found someone to help you, Li Shen." A familiar voice trailed from behind us.
Before I could even turn back to have a look, my eyes had already turned cold.
Turning back slowly, the Piercer in my hand swayed lightly with my movements. In the face of this unexpected intruder, I sneered. "You're pretty quick, You Ji. Were you done being another's lapdog this early, enough to be able to check up on the condition of this little place you have robbed?"
You Ji who had slithered into the forest without our knowledge, squinted her eyes at me. "Ah, how can you put it that way? I'm here to check if you're still alive. Aren't I just concerned about your well-being? After all, I've placed the Seven Demons here to welcome you, haven’t I?"
There was an aching in my heart at her words. You Ji, did you hate me this much? To the extent where you would place your most elite subordinates to kill me?
You Ji's eyes swept from me to Nie Zun, before landing on Ta Lai who remained behind.
You Ji flashed a malicious smile. "Ta Lai… Li Shen, are you really relying on this insignificant Floor Manager to back you? Is he the reason you are able to speak this savagely?"
Ta Lai smiled gracefully and snapped his fingers with the hand behind his back.
A roar reverberated from all around us; a huge, five-metres tall giant appeared right by You Ji, charging towards her as it snarled!
There was a shift in You Ji's expression and a glint in her eyes. "It seems I’ve underestimated you all this while, Ta Lai.
"But are you really trying to scare me with a party trick like this? Aren’t you belittling me?!" The moment her words sounded, she snickered. Following the twist of her waist, the serpent-like tail of hers grew several-fold thicker without warning! The tip of it spiralled as she flung it towards the bellowing giant!
Despite the gigantic size of her tail, her movement was swift. Without much time, it coiled itself around the giant. As her gaze steeled, she crushed the giant into smithereens with just another twist.
"How dirty." Lifting a jade hand, she swiped it across her bloodied face, emotionless.
Ta Lai maintained his smile, reaching out his other hand as it rotated the jade ring on his pinky. "You Ji, you’ve been allowed to run wild with your impertinence for far too long. I truly don’t understand why you’d entangle yourself with a soul splitter."
You Ji rolled her eyes. "Oh? What are you talking about? I don’t understand? Who are you talking about?"
Ta Lai's gaze wandered. "You’re doing this for Mr Blond?"
You Ji's eyes widened abruptly. "Nonsense!"
I furrowed my brows ever so slightly. Why did You Ji react this strongly at the mention of Mr Blond?
You Ji shot a vicious glare at me. "I’m not doing this for anyone. I’m doing it simply because I think she’s unworthy!"
"Worthy or not, I’m afraid you’re not one to judge!" I gritted my teeth but a hint of sorrow swept across my heart. We had been sisters for a long time after all; the difference in her attitude towards me was too drastic. I really couldn’t bring myself to accept it.
You Ji sneered. "Li Shen, you’re ridiculous indeed. How did you treat the people who were nothing but nice to you since your arrival to split zone? You're holding a grudge against me just because I wasn’t willing to be part of those who protected you foolishly? But do you even have a right to? What right do you have to expect that we’d always protect you? Who have you even regarded important in your eyes?"
"You claimed that there were many who protected me, but haven't there been others who stayed by your side too?" I countered.
A scornful smile tugged at the corner of You Ji's lips. "Many favored you despite how strongly you’ve always came across. Li Qing had been blind to have favored such a useless person like you."
"No matter how useless she is, at least she wouldn’t conspire with an outsider to plunge Western District into the state it is today." Night Zun sounded indifferent when he interjected.
You Ji scoffed again. "Nie Zun, clarify yourself; who are you trying to imply as the cause of Western District's plight? The reason I’m back here was precisely because I’ve lost contact with Seven Demons. Never had I ever thought that I would return to the sight of this horrifying ruins. Did you think I was the culprit? It’s true that I hate Li Shen, but did that mean that I didn’t wish for a good life for the residents of Western District?
"In fact, this was something I had wanted to ask. How is it that Western District was reduced to this state the moment you returned?" You Ji pointed a finger towards the district which laid behind her. "Old Man Fan was turned into a statue, the entire district is now in ruins. Li Shen, how long more are you going to curse this place?"
"This wasn’t my doing, so how am I the one who cursed it? I heard you had planted various forms of ambush in waiting of my return and yet Western District was reduced to this. How do I know if you’re not behind this in order to frame me?"
"Li Shen, I’m not someone who would deny my own doings. I was the one who plotted for someone to replace Laurel in order for you to believe in her death. The death of those B ranking officers in Eastern District was also executed by my Seven Demons. I’m also the one who sent someone to kill Ah Wen, in order for Zou An to bear a grudge against you. I was the one who sent someone to assassinate you while you were in the dormitory at Eastern District too. I admit I have done all those things but this—the state of Western District—is not on me."
My frown deepened. "You did all of that just because of your hatred towards me?"
You Ji flashed a cruel smile. "That’s right. I wanted to sow discord between you and Jiao S, wanted everyone to leave you. Li Qing is no longer here to witness your incompetence so I should at least make Mr Blond understand that you, Li Shen, do not have the right to be a district commander! Even so, I had not once expected you to collude with someone like Jiao S! Yet, I guess it’s true that birds of the same feather flock together!"
I sneered. "Birds of the same feather? You are able to collude and conduct experiments with soul splitters, take Song Lu and Yu Liang away from us, and hurt everyone who used to be your friend in Western District—and you dare regard yourself as a good person?"
You Ji brows furrowed in that second. "Take Song Lu away? There was a little accident when Song Lu and Yu Liang were chosen; I had wanted to teach you a lesson, and demonstrate the consequences of your negligence over those who protected you. But, didn’t you take Song Lu away? She’s a failed experiment, yet you had forcefully taken her away. Now, you’re blaming it on me the moment she's showing signs of trouble? How truly expected from you!"
Furious, I took a long stride forward. "What are you talking about? Taken away by me? You had that soul splitter Du Yue on your side, and eventually sent Li Wen to snatch Song Lu away from us! Both you and Li Wen had been my best friends but both of you betrayed me; do you have a conscience then? Li Wen had been Li Qing's soul splitter, and there's a possibility that Li Qing disappeared because of her—did you know about that? If you had colluded with her despite knowing that, then have you done right by Li Qing?"
A flicker of surprise flashed across You Ji's eyes. "When did Du Yue send Li Wen after Song Lu? After soul snatcher, Rong Jin, and I separated from you, we went to look for Laurel, and Du Yue took Mi Fu to see Si Luo. How would she send Li Wen after you? Besides, wasn’t Li Wen missing? I’ve never seen her since her disappearance!"
Just as I froze at her words, Ta Lai frowned and posed his own question to me. "You’ve met Li Wen?"
I nodded my head blankly. "I met her in Southern District and she took Song Lu away. Her blood composition was distorted in the same way as Song Lu, with the ability to harm the body of consciousness. She said she was forced to follow the orders of Du Yue whom you spoke of."
A sharp glint flickered in Ta Lai's eyes. "Her blood?"
You Ji seemed to have exclaimed at the exact same time. "Her blood?"
Dazed, I took turns to look at both of them. "Why are you both so shocked?"
You Ji frowned. "Do you really need me to repeat myself? I’ve never seen Li Wen, and it’s impossible that she was sent by Du Yue!"
Ta Lai lowered his head in deep ponder before speaking to me once more. "There's something fishy about this. Li Wen wouldn’t form an alliance with Du Yue."
My frown deepened. "She claimed that she was taken away by Du Yue to become an experiment subject; Du Yue had wanted to see the effects of these experiments on a soul splitter. As a soul splitter, didn’t you know about Li Wen?"
You Ji exclaimed in shock once more, "Ta Lai, you’re a soul splitter?"
My hand flew up to cover my mouth. Crap, I had forgotten that You Ji wasn’t aware of this.
Ta Lai waved his hand at me, indicating that all was well. "That’s right. I’m a soul splitter. But… How did I not know that Li Wen was a soul splitter too?"
I stilled from shock at his words.
You Ji continued after him, "And didn’t you just say that Li Wen was Li Qing’s soul splitter? How could that be? Wasn’t Li Qing murdered by Jiao S?"
I furrowed my brows at her. "Jiao S murdered Li Qing? You would believe such a statement?"
"At the very least, Jiao S must have had a part to play about Li Qing's deteriorating health and eventual disappearance. Li Wen had gone missing during at that time. How could you be so sure that Jiao S had nothing to do with it?"
Nie Zun, who remained quiet thus far, chuckled lightly. "Even if all of it had something to do with her, do you even care? You Ji, do you even care about the life or death of Li Qing and Li Wen?"