1624 A Player Behind the Scenes
A cloth was draped over the cave entrance. Nikai acted like a kindly elder sister, tenderly lifting up Le Jiajia’s legs, currently ridden with cuts from walking all over sharp rocks, to help her spray clotting medicine over it.
The cold medication made Le Jiajia feel as if she had submerged her calves into a bucket of ice water, but a refreshing sensation soon washed over her.
As her wounds rapidly healed, it was a pity that light scars remained behind, contrasting against her alabaster white skin.
“There shouldn’t be any problems now.” Nikai took out a change of clothes from her spatial ring and compared the spare combat suit against Le Jiajia’s frame.
“Huh, we share a similar build. Aside from you being a bit shorter than me, and with a more curvy figure. I’m so jealous. You developed well, I’m sure you are very popular with many boys,” Nikai commented off-handedly.
Popular with many boys?
Le Jiajia did not dare say a word. She was a descendant of a Demon King, an ominous figure in Subduing Demon City. Ever since she was a child, all she had received was the scorn of others!
“Quick change your clothes. I’ll help look out for you, just in case Xia Fan suddenly gets some ideas and wants to take a peek,” Nikai said. That was the reason why she had draped the cloth over the cave entrance.
“You… Why are you being so nice to me?” Le Jiajia looked up and looked into Nikai’s eyes. “After all, you’re a descendent of the Demon Slayer Clan, while I’m…”
Nikai was startled, as she softly placed a hand on Le Jiajia’s pretty cheek.
“Don’t talk such nonsense, sister. So what if I’m a descendant of the Demon Slayer Clan? I don’t understand the big stuff, but what I do know is that both Xia Fan and I would have died in that terrifying Demi-dragon lair were it not for you today.
“You were like an angel descending from the heavens, radiating a magical light that saved me and Xia Fan.
“From this day onwards, we shall be sworn sisters. If anyone dares bully you, Xia Fan and I will be the first to stand up for you!” Nikai tossed her hip bossily, as if she had made the decision on Le Jiajia’s behalf.
Le Jiajia found what she said somewhat peculiar. ‘Xia Fan and I’? Nikai seemed to think that she already had some sort of connection with Xia Fan.
Le Jiajia changed into her new attire, a rather expensive new combat suit that even Nikai was reluctant to wear. It was as thin as a cicada’s wings, yet it possessed great elasticity and defense. It was quite valuable.
“Little sister, give me a twirl,” Nikai asked with a twinkle in her eye.
Le Jiajia did as she was asked, doing a spin where she stood. With her charming figure and pretty features, she was definitely a true beauty.
Nikai took down the cloth, poked her head out of the cave and called out, “Xia Fan, come look. Le Jiajia looks as pretty as a fairy!”
But it was just darkness outside. No one answered back. Neither of them had any idea where Xia Fan had run off to, and the two could not help but hold hands and feel slightly afraid.
“How strange. We’re all warriors, but why is it that when Xia Fan isn’t around, we would react like that,” Nikai muttered in annoyance.
“Perhaps it is because big brother Xia Fan has a unique aura about him. Even despite how bad the situation the two of you were in just now, he did not even leave you behind and run off on his own,” Le Jiajia said.
When she entered the lair, Le Jiajia could clearly see Xia Fan was protecting Nikai with his life, having her strapped to his back.
Nikai smiled, a lingering sweetness in her gaze, “True. How could I not have seen just how great a man Xia Fan was. We’re both women, so if we were to ever have to commit ourselves to someone, it would be great if it was to someone who would protect us no matter the cost, like Xia Fan.”
Nikai’s eyes slightly glazed over as she said this. As the inheritor of a Demon Slayer Clan, it was too bad that she had no control over her marriage.
“‘Commit ourselves’ to who?” Xia Fan’s voice came from the darkness.
“Nothing. Commit to no one,” Nikai hastily changed the subject. “Where did you run off to, Xia Fan?”
A figure blurred, and Xia Fan appeared beside the two women like a ghost. He was not alone, but had brought along a scrawny and short youngster as well.
Nikai locked her eyes onto this newcomer. It was actually Light!
She could barely control the rage she felt in her heart, wrestling with the very real desire to kill this child who had tried to get Xia Fan and her killed.
Xia Fan could tell Nikai was infuriated, so he quickly pulled Light to his side and waved his hand dismissively, “Forget about it. He was forced.”
“Forced?” Nikai was suspicious.
Xia Fan nodded, “That’s right. I had caught Light’s scent, which was how I followed it and located him. He was hugging his legs and crying in the darkness, and he was even muttering your name under his breath.”
“My name?” Nikai was stunned.
Xia Fan shrugged, “I reckon he must have felt that you were very nice to him, and he was feeling very guilty for having tricked you. In any case, he was forced to do what he did, otherwise he would not dare be so bold.”
He turned his gaze toward Le Jiajia and gasped, “Wow, you’ve become really pretty, Jiajia.”
Le Jiajia was silent, but she was feeling very happy inside after hearing his praise.
“Everyone, have a seat,” Xia Fan said.
He tossed a pack of biscuits and a bottle of energy drink to Light, who caught them, and like a ravenous beast, tore open the packaging and swallowed big bites of the food and drink.
For some unknown reason, Nikai felt Light was very pitiful when she saw this scene. The hatred in her heart disappeared quietly, since Light was ultimately still just a child.
“Jiajia, the more I think about it, the more troubled I am,” Xia Fan began. “You’re saying that you crossed into the buffer zone while sleepwalking, and arrived here from Subduing Demon City. Such a long distance, and you arrived even before the rescue army could rush over. Something’s off here… Are there still some things you’re not telling me?”
Le Jiajia really wanted to lie, but she found herself incapable of doing so while staring straight into Xia Fan’s eyes. It was like he could see through everything, and if she attempted to do so, that would just make him hate her even more, right?
“Yes, there are some things I’ve kept from you,” Le Jiajia confessed in a soft voice. “This isn’t my first time sleepwalking. I’d often leave the dormitories and end up in random places in the city. I’d realize how far I’d walked only after waking up.
“But this time, never would I have imagined I would end up in the buffer zone. By the time I opened my eyes, I just so happened to see you and Nikai attempting to escape from the Demi-dragon’s encirclement.”
Xia Fan nodded slightly, expectantly waiting for Le Jiajia to continue.
“On top of that, from what I can recall, the reason why I managed to locate you two is because I took a very specific path that seems to originate from Subduing Demon City. It was like a seemingly endless slide, where I found myself sliding down into darkness upon entering, for a very, very long time. I’m afraid it might have gone on for as long as a full day and night.”
With that said, Le Jiajia no longer added anything else, while Xia Fan’s mind raced.
‘Old Demonic Dragon, are you the one behind getting Le Jiajia to come save me?’
Xia Fan tried to question that old dragon he had a mental connection with, but got no response.
Xia Fan thought to himself, ‘That old demonic dragon broke contact again. The last time this happened, it was because the Scarlet Blaze Demon King Stanley was near. It seems that old dragon is mortal enemies with the Demon Kings. The moment one appears, that old dragon will hide himself away.
‘This means Stanley must be nearby now!’
“Xia Fan, quick spill the beans,” Nikai asked, anxious.
Xia Fan shrugged, “We seem to be in a maze.”
“A maze?” Le Jiajia and Nikai gasped in unison.
“Yes. Subduing Demon City has a passageway that leads directly to the buffer zone, and the Scarlet Blaze Demon King Stanley also came to the buffer zone on a secret mission. This is far too suspicious. Given my experience as an investigator with the Special Bureau, I’m afraid there must be some mysterious force working behind the scenes, pulling the strings,” Xia Fan stated.
“What’s a Special Bureau? Or Investigator?” Nikai asked, confused. She did not understand Xia Fan’s past, much less the job Xia Fan had in Ashen Moon.
Xia Fan knew he had spoken too much, so he coughed, “It’s a type of training. That’s not what’s important. The crux of the matter is that I think there are two completely different sets of powers vying in the dark.”
“One has led us to the Demi-dragon lair, intent on getting us killed. The other has manipulated Le Jiajia to come save us.
“This is like a game of chess between experts, and we have become pawns in their game.”
Nikai was stunned, while Le Jiajia found it hard to believe what she was hearing, “I was manipulated by someone to save you and Nikai?”
Xia Fan nodded, “Everything has a cause and effect, and your arrival is just too much of a coincidence. To appear right at the moment when we were just about to fall? I’m not someone who believes in coincidences too much.
“Meanwhile, it is just as you had said. Your sleepwalking in the past has always been confined to Subduing Demon City, but this time you’ve ended up so far away, even going down some secret slide that no one knew about. If there’s nothing to this, then that would be a serious problem.”
“So you mean to say that the mysterious force that manipulated Le Jiajia is our…” Nikai’s voice trailed off.
Xia Fan confirmed in a low voice, “That’s right. No matter who this person was, he should be our friend, an enemy of the Thirteen Demon Kings. It is just that for some specific reason, it’s not convenient for him to reveal his true identity.”