39 Points of Doubt
As I held onto Song Lu, I turned my head. I felt an indescribable anger, and my eyes were cold as ice as I looked over all their faces. I sneered, “What are you all pretending to be noble and virtuous for? If we’re talking about motives, which of us here isn’t acting for their own selfish reasons? Attacking each other like this… Will you only know your place once we’ve all been sliced up and served to the enemy on a platter? You all may want to die, but I, Li Shen, do not want to join you!”
I rarely get angry, and I’ve never spoken such biting words. Everyone was silent from shock.
I turned back to Song Lu and made my voice as gentle as I could. “Song Lu, others don’t know this, but Nie Zun and I are linked together. When I arrived in the Split Zone, the blond man told me that Nie Zun had joined with my second identity, so Nie Zun and I must always remain within 500 meters of each other. That’s why it always seems like you see Nie Zun when you see me. That’s also why Nie Zun couldn’t have gone to the pit to attack you, without me. If he were to try traveling more than 500 meters from me, he wouldn’t be able to move.”
When I saw Song Lu’s disbelieving eyes, I added, “It’s true. If you don’t believe me, we can show you. We must always remain within 500 meters of the other. So, he couldn’t have been the murderer. If it had been him, then that means he would have had to plot together with me. You may not believe him, but do you not believe me either?”
Song Lu looked at me, and then she looked at Nie Zun.
I lowered my head, silent for a moment. Then I turned around again, looking over everyone’s faces, to see what they were thinking after my speech. “This is Nie Zun’s secret, as well as mine. I had to tell you about it to prove his innocence, but I hope that no one will use this information to harm Nie Zun in the future. If you dare to divulge this information to anyone else, or if you try to use it to threaten us, whether you’re a district commander or a high and lofty person, I swear that you will make an eternal enemy out of me!”
When Nie Zun saw my imposing manner, a sliver of warmth crossed his eyes. But still, he spoke in a cynical tone, as if things were completely unrelated to him. “Oh no, the secret’s out. But no worries. Come find me anytime you’d like.” He playfully glanced at Jiao S and Gaoqin Jiuye.
A devilish smile appeared on Gaoqin Jiuye’s face. “Does this count as a weakness? Isn’t it more like, if someone wants to attack one of you, they now have to face two people?”
“However,” he said, “if one of you were to suddenly decide to play guardian angel, then I’m afraid that this would truly be quite the weakness.”
My heart sunk.
Gaoqin Jiuye suddenly pointed a finger at me and looked over at Nie Zun with interest. “Nie Zun, this is the reason that you don’t attack others and have never joined any groups, isn’t it? You’d rather live this lazy life, because you’re worried that this woman, who can’t leave your side, will get hurt?”
I immediately raised my head and glared at Gaoqin Jiuye.
Gaoqin Jiuye looked a bit taken aback by my cold look. He gave a slight shrug of his shoulders.
Nie Zun slipped one hand into his pocket, while he used the other to flip up his coat collar. In his casual way, he said, “How could that be? I’m the one afraid of getting hurt, and I expect that she will protect me.” Then he mischievously fluttered his eyes at me.
I tried to maintain my cold, uncaring demeanor, but I quickly lost out and rolled my eyes.
Gaoqin Jiuye narrowed his eyes, but didn’t speak.
Jiao S looked around and said, “I have no interest in spreading this information.”
Guan Nie also complied, “Of couse I wouldn’t say anything detrimental about my pet.”
After everyone made clear their thoughts, I turned my attention back to Song Lu, lying in my arms. She’d already stopped crying. After looking at me a long while, she finally sighed and said, “I beleive you, Ah Shen.”
And then, as if all her exhaustion had finally caught up to her, her eyes drooped and she quietly mumbled, “Even if I can’t trust anyone else, I have to at least trust you. Ah Shen, I’ve always thought of you as my little sister, you know…”
I bit my lip, raising my hand to gently pet Song Lu’s hair.
Song Lu finally dropped the sword in her hand. Her eyelashes fluttered ever so slightly, and then she collapsed in my arms. With a loud, tearful cry, she wailed, “Ah Shen! Yu Liang… It was my blood! It was my blood that hurt him! The illusion I saw came true, and he really left me! Ah Shen! Is this really not a dream?! Split Zone… This damned place! Why does the Split Zone exist?! Ahh! Ah Shen, tell me!”
Her sobs felt like a thousand knives stabbing into my heart. It hurt, but I couldn’t escape it.
Jie Pa hurried over and crouched down. “Ms Song Lu, you said that you saw someone who looked like Nie Zun stab a blood-covered sword into Yu Liang’s heart. What happened after that?”
Song Lu sniffled, not quite sure what Jie Pa meant. “And then… And then, he stopped moving. Ever since I absorbed those bugs into my body, anyone who is harmed with my blood is unable to heal. He stopped moving, and then he was dragged off.”
Jie Pa pushed his glasses up. “That means that we can’t be certain that Yu Liang is dead. You didn’t see his body fade away, right?”
Song Lu seemed a bit skeptical, but she shook her head.
Jie Pa thought for a moment, and then picked up the blood-covered sword that Song Lu had dropped to the ground. He made a small cut on his palm.
Blood flowed out as Song Lu shouted, “Ahh!”
At once, I grew apprehensive. Though I didn’t shout out, my eyes were glued to Jie Pa’s hand. His expression was solemn as he watched his bleeding palm that didn’t immediately heal.
After awhile, he suddenly said, “As expected. Look. The wound doesn’t heal immediately, but the wound doesn’t continue bleeding either. That is, the body of my consciousness has become like a physical body. After being infected by Song Lu’s blood, my body seems unable to heal, but this inability to heal is more like a slowing in ability to heal, as if my body were made of the flesh and blood of the real world. That is to say, that if you want to use a blood-smeared weapon to kill someone, you must still deal a killing blow that would take out a real human body. Only then will that person die.”
It was clear that his explanation left me a bit confused, as the neurons fired off in my brain, trying to follow Jie Pa’s thought process.
But then, suddenly, I recalled the day I found Jiao S lying on the ground, bleeding out. Jiao S’ physical body had been harmed so her conscious body had similarly suffered. Ordinarily, when we’re harmed in the Split Zone, our physical bodies don’t end up injured, unless of course, we die from an attack on our split symbols.
So, Jie Pa was basically saying that Song Lu’s blood can now break this barrier, allowing injuries on the conscious body to be transferred to the physical body? So, would Jie Pa’s hand in the real world also be injured like this?
Song Lu was stilll leaning in my arms. Her eyeslashes quivered again. “Perhaps that’s the case. But Yu Liang was attacked at his heart! The sword went directly into his chest. If our physical bodies were injured like that, would there even be a chance of survival?”
Jie Pa pushed up his glasses. “But you didn’t see Yu Liang’s body disappear? From what we know, if your body in the real world dies, your body here will disappear. This is the only method of verifying a death. Though it seems the person behind everything wanted to use this sorcery to refine a method for harming the physical body, there appears to be a limit to its abilities. If Mr Yu Liang didn’t disappear, then there are two possibilities. One is that his body hadn’t been killed immediately. The other is that he may have been used in a different experiment, and his body has already been altered.”
A glimmer of hope slipped onto Song Lu’s eyes. “Yes, the bugs they used on his body were different than mine!”
But, I couldn’t help frowning. “They must have another laboratory space then. If they dragged Yu Liang away, they must have somewhere to take him to. And it wouldn’t be too far away, which means it should be in the Southern District still.”
Suddenly, my eyes flew over to Gaoqin Jiuye. He seemed to have come to the same conclusion, and he also frowned slightly.
Jie Pa agreed. “The faster we uncover the truth, the better. Our opponent remains hidden. If we are unable to discover their true motive, our three districts will not be safe.”
Guan Nie suddenly laughed. “Goodness, with such a big ordeal happening, are you sure you don’t want to contact the blond?”
Guan Nie spoke my thoughts out loud. I couldn’t help thinking about the fact that, if we hadn’t decided to travel to the Northern District to uncover the truth of the Split Zone, we might not have discovered these secret operations, and we would have certainly been in more danger.
Gaoqin Jiuye suddenly spoke up. “It’s no use. The blond’s gone missing. No one can contact him. Si Luo tried to call him out before, but he didn’t appear. If you don’t believe me, you can try calling for him.”
Although the method for contacting him was very dumb, as long as one of the district commanders called for him, he would certainly appear. If he didn’t… Could he truly have gone missing?
I still didn’t dare to believe it. I helped Song Lu up, and then I walked over to the window. I opened it and shouted outside, “The most handsome, invincible, cutest, strongest, and greatest leader, I’m your fan! Please meet with me!!!”
In the past, shouting this out had been embarrassing, but today, when Mr Blond didn’t appear from the sky, I finally seemed to feel the graveness of the situation.