Split Zone 13
18 Abrupt Assassination
When I heard the shouting, I immediately opened my eyes and sat up. Jie Pa had already opened the door and Nie Zun had gotten out of bed. I stood up and saw an anxious Song Lu before me.
“Yu Liang’s been poisoned. Come quickly.”
We hurried to follow Song Lu next door. When she opened the door, I saw Yu Liang lying on the ground in the middle of the room. His whole body was emitting some kind of dark essence. It did look like he’d been poisoned.
Jie Pa quickly knelt down beside Yu Liang. He pulled out the handkerchief from his suit pocket and wrapped up his hand. Then, he checked the tongue and eyes of the already unconscious Yu Liang.
“I recognize this poison. It’s a neurotoxin that can also have an effect in the Split Zone,” Jie Pa said cautiously.
Song Lu’s eyes were filled with worry. “It’s been tiring recently, so after we lied down, we fell asleep. I thought I heard a sound, so I turned over and looked down. That’s when I saw him lying on the ground, with this black stuff coming off his body.”
I was completely astonished. Song Lu was very sensitive, so who could have entered their room, without her noticing, to poison Yu Liang?
“Did you see anything else that was strange?” Jie Pa questioned.
“There seemed to be a dark shadow at the window, just briefly. They must have escaped out the window.”
“This poison can be cured, but the antitoxin requires the juice of leaves from the border forest. We have to acquire that as fast as possible. Fortunately, the forest isn’t far from the School. Traveling to and back from the South-East Forest will probably take ten hours. The poison will have a dulling effect on his mind, so if he’s not cured in 13 hours, his mental force will likely suffer a major blow,” Jie Pa said.
Nie Zun immediately stepped forward. “We’ll go. Song Lu and Li Shen can stay here to protect Yu Liang.”
Jie Pa calmly reasoned, “It’s best if someone tracks down Jiao S. You agreed to meet up and set out at daybreak, but that seems unlikely at this point. And since this happened in her territory, it’s best to ask her about it.”
“Then, I’ll go,” Song Lu volunteered. “Ah Shen, your MF is higher, so you stay and watch over Yu Liang.” I was too overwhelmed, so I simply nodded my head.
“Make sure not to touch his skin directly.” After leaving him in my care, the others left out the window, one after another.
I looked at Yu Liang, his eyes closed, face dark, lying on the ground. Anxiety coursed through me. After an hour, I still remained motionless, sitting on the ground beside Yu Liang.
When the others left, they’d forgotten to close the window. It was pitch black outside, no hint of light to be seen. Despite the visual restrictions in the night, I could still feel the endless darkness.
“Finally, there’s just one remaining,” a low voice suddenly sounded from behind me.
I quickly turned around to see a masked figure inside the room. The masked figure was a head taller than me, and from his build, looked to be a sturdy man. He was dressed in a grey hoodie, and his face was covered up, revealing only his eyes and mouth.
“Who are you? How did you get in here?” I frowned. The door hadn’t opened and the window was right in front of me. Though the window was opened, I hadn’t seen anyone enter through it. Moreover, he’d appeared from behind me.
“Haha. I’m the person who will kill you, and I came from below!” As he spoke, he suddenly raised a gun and aimed it at me.
I moved to dodge his attack and pulled out the new weapon secured to my calf. A whip, Piercer.
Although I’d only had a bit of simple training, I’m still someone who’s been to battle before. I’ve also learnt ribbon dance, so I easily flicked my whip at him. As he ducked out of the way, Piercer flashed with a violet light as it snapped against the wall behind him, leaving a hole in its wake.
While I inwardly marveled at how destructive the whip was, I flicked Piercer once more, attacking the approaching figure. Instead of moving to avoid the attack this time, he stood still and quietly recited what sounded like an incantation before he vanished right in front of my eyes!
My whip slashed through the air, and I staggered forward a bit from the force I’d exerted. I looked around me for a trace of the man after he disappeared, but the room was suddenly very still and calm, occupied by only Yu Liang and me. Alert, I searched the room again.
The room was silent. I tried to strengthen my senses, but all I found was still silence. I frowned and then glanced back over to Yu Liang on the ground. Suddenly, I felt a sharp stinging in my back! It was extremely painful, and then my body seemed to lose all of its strength. Piercer also fell to the ground as I fell forward.
I used all my strength to steady my steps as I inwardly panicked. I must have been pricked by something coated with a mental inhibitor. I felt the strength draining from my body as I collapsed on the ground.
The masked man appeared in front of me again. With a sneer, he said, “Didn’t expect powers of invisibility in the Split Zone, did you? Even if you’re the Western Commander, you can’t beat me, not when I can turn invisible!”
I tried my best to glare at him as I responded quietly, “Who sent you here? What do you want?”
Another sneer. “You don’t need to know that. All you need to know is that you’re not living past tonight!” He knelt down to pull off my left shoe, aiming for my split symbol. But when he touched my foot, a shadow appeared at his back.
In a second, a bullet coasted into his shoulder from behind. A bullet coated with the same mental inhibitor I’d been hit with. A surprised expression on his face, he fell backwards. That’s when I saw, standing behind him, there was Nie Zun with a charming smile.
Lying on the floor, I tried to move but found that I was still rendered unable. Then I saw Song Lu and Jie Pa come in through the window.
“You still haven’t left?” I finally asked, now that the danger was gone.
Song Lu walked over and helped me up. “No. Yu Liang usually sends out his projection out before sleeping, just in case. The projection usually stays near the ceiling, to watch over us. Fortunately his projection was able to see a needle being inserted into his skin while we slept. He suspected that the opponent may have been using stealth techniques. In order to prevent the assassin from escaping, he arranged this performance. Since it was likely that the assassin came for you, we left you alone to lure him in.”
Song Lu was helping to hold me up, but my body still felt very weak because of the mental inhibitor. I feebly leaned against her. “What about Yu Liang?”
Jie Pa walked over to Yu Liang. He pulled out a syringe from inside his suit jacket and injected its contents into Yu Liang’s body. “He was really poisoned, but this type of neurotoxin is very common, and I had packed the antitoxin for it. When Yu Liang’s projection came over to our room and told me and Nie Zun about this, I already prepared the medicine.”
I helplessly shook my head. These people. Even though they hadn’t disclosed this plan to me, I’d already known that something wasn’t quite right. Though I didn’t know about the poison, I did know that Nie Zun couldn’t possibly travel to the border forest, as he and I had to remain 500 meters from each other. This was a secret only we two knew, so I didn’t bother to stop him when he’d suggested the plan earlier. After such a long time with him, I knew that he had a reason for his words.
Still, now that my body had lost its strength, I couldn’t help getting angry. “Why didn’t anyone let me know about this? Even if I was bait, I didn’t have to get stabbed by a needle! This mental inhibitor is going to take at least an hour to wear off.”
Nie Zun laughed. “Yu Liang’s projection did call to you, but you were sleeping like a dead pig. He called you several times but you didn’t hear. It’s not our fault.” Leaning against Song Lu, I gave an embarrassed laugh.
Jie Pa helped a recovering Yu Liang stand up. As he got up, he extended his arm and unmasked the now fallen enemy. He was a middle-aged man with a very ordinary appearance.
“Who sent you? And why did you attempt to assinate our commander?” Yu Liang asked.
The man laughed. “You saw through me, but that simply means I lacked the ability. You should give up the idea of gaining any information from me. If you can, use your life to kill me.”
Nie Zun smiled as he looked down at the man with glimmering eyes. “No problem. We’ve already notified this district’s commander and she’ll be here soon. The Eastern District’s death squad is the most famous in the Split Zone. If you were sent by them, they will naturally destroy you to keep you from talking. And if you weren’t sent by them, in order to rid themselves of suspicion, they will certainly force some information out of you. Do you think that you can resist the Eastern District’s death squad?” The man’s expression tensed at the mention of the death squad.
Just then, the room door flew open. I was still too weak to turn my head, so I could only use my peripheral vision. Tao Lie and Mu Li followed Jiao S into the room. “After receiving Mr Nie’s call, we hurried over. What’s this situation, Ms Li Shen?” Tao Lie looked over with surprise while I leaned against Song Lu, motionless.
I gave a bitter laugh. “Nothing much. Someone just snuck in to cause some trouble.”
Jiao S’ empty eyes stared down at the middle-aged man on the floor. “Who sent you to my district to act with such unruliness?” Her voice was rough, and hearing it in the night, I couldn’t help shivering.
The man didn’t answer. Then, I saw a sparkle in Jiao S’ eyes. Her lips curved, revealing a ruthless smile. “Looks like he wants to experience our welcome. Tao Lie, let him know what it feels like.” Tao Li nodded. He charged forward, picked up the man, and headed toward the window.
Jie Pa quickly grabbed onto him. “I’m sorry, we cannot allow you to take him away. We’ve yet to determine whether or not he was sent by your side.” Tao Lie looked at Jie Pa coldly.
Jiao S gave a strange laugh. “Li Shen, if I were to kill you, would I really need to go through such measures? Moreover, since you’ve decided to work together with me to travel to the Northern District, shouldn’t you have some faith in me?”
I was silent a moment. Then I glanced over at Nie Zun, who nodded lightly in reply. So, I said, “Okay, take him away. I trust that you’ll be able to provide me an explanation.”
Hearing my words, Jie Pa released Tao Lie’s arm. Carrying the middle-aged man, he and Mu Li left the room. As they left, I caught a glimpse of the man. He was staring at me. Perhaps I was reading too much into things, but his eyes seemed to glow with satisfaction, like he’d accomplished his task.
Jiao S looked at me. “It’s not just anyone who can act this way in the Eastern District. Of course I will proceed quickly to determine who tried to assassinate you, and at the same time, make an enemy out of me.”
I wanted to nod, but I didn’t even have the strength for that. I could only say, “Okay.”
She turned to leave, but then she paused. Turning back to look at me, she said, “From the looks of it, you should be fine after an hour, and there are ten hours until daybreak. You should remain here, and I’ll send some people to keep watch. After you recover, you should still be able to make it to the border forest in time. As we agreed, I’ll be waiting at the district line when the sky lights.” After she spoke, she left the room.