16 Pretty Boy, Guan Nie
With seven people stuffed into the elevator, not to mention Muscle Man’s tall stature, it was a bit crowded. As the elevator stopped on its way up, most of the residents who saw Muscle Man and Bandages decided to wait for the next lift.
When we reached the 27th floor, the elevator stopped and everyone exited. “We’ll have to move by foot above the 27th floor. The Commander is on the 30th floor, so I’ll have to trouble Ms Li Shen and your companions to walk the rest of the way.”
I quickly nodded my head. Taking the stairs was good. Delaying our meeting with that demon woman was good!
A line of people headed toward the 28th floor, and I took up the rear. I turned back and glanced at the 27th floor corridor. It looked just the same as in the Western District, an endless corridor with numbered rooms on either side of the hall. Only, there wasn’t a single soul walking around.
“Does the 27th floor house S Clan’s G to C-rank members?” I asked Tao Lie curiously.
An answer came, unexpectedly. “No, the 27th floor only houses C-rank members.”
A suspicion formed in my mind. According to that logic, the 28th floor would then be home to the B-rank members. While I didn’t know how many C-rank members there were, the number wouldn’t be that high. Additionally, there were only seven B-rank members—less even, since five had now died.
They used one floor to house seven people? What about the 29th floor then? Just for the three A-rank members? Wasn’t that too much of a waste of space? Each level of the residence could house tens of thousands, but they were only using them for a handful of people? Was it simply to emphasize the importance of S Clan?
I was about to open my mouth to ask again, but after seeing Bandages’ hateful glare, I could only resentfully shut my mouth.
We quickly arrived on the 29th floor, and then Tao Lie and Mu Li stopped before the stairs to the 30th floor. I immediately grew wary.
Tao Lie turned to me. “Apologies, Ms Li Shen. There is an enchantment between the 29th and 30th floors, and I’m afraid that we cannot allow you to see the method for unlocking it. I hope you can understand. Please wait in the hallway, and we will continue shortly.”
What? An enchantment? Was this some kind of online game? Why hadn’t I ever heard of people in the Split Zone using enchantments? This wasn’t a skill that humans ought to have, was it.
Of course, after living in the Split Zone for some time, my surprise for things never lasted more than three seconds. After seeing those around me agree, we walked over into the hallway to wait. We walked forward, more than ten meters, before we stopped.
“This floor seems to house just three people. Aside from Tao Lie and Mu Li, there would also be the third A-rank member. I wonder where their rooms would be…” I spoke quietly as I looked around the empty corridor.
“My instincts tell me that there are more than three people living on this floor,” Yu Liang responded quietly.
I trusted Yu Liang’s instincts, so my guard quickly went up. If there were more than three people, then who else lived here? And why were the floors from the 27th up so quiet? Could this be a trap…
Just as I came up with another possibility, Jie Pa shut off my train of thought. “Ms Ah Shen, look at the protective measures for the the Eastern Commander. When we return, you should also set up some security for your room.”
“I don’t know how to make enchantments. Which, by the way, why do enchantments exist in the Split Zone?”
Song Lu suddenly spoke up. “That is the purpose of our trip. It looks like there are certain people outside of the Western District who appear to have harnessed abilities that were once only things of fantasy. We have to learn about these methods, otherwise, the Western District will be at a disadvantage in the future.”
I nodded. “True. Many things that exist here have already undermined what we can imagine. Any and everything has the possibility of happening. If we can attain these abilities, we’ll be able to adapt and to search out the truth of our soul splitters.”
Click… As we were discussing, I suddenly heard the sound of a door opening behind us. I turned around and saw a room door slowly open. And then, an enchanting and bewitching face appeared in front of me. It was that white haired man dressed in white robes. He shot a charming smile towards a startled me. He placed a finger over his lips, as if saying to be quiet, and then a blast of wind blew past.
Before any of us could react, our bodies were carried away by a blast of wind. In an instant, the scene around us changed.
We looked around, and we definitely were no longer in a hallway in the the Eastern Residence. Instead, we were in a forest filled with birds and flowers. This forest was just like a forest in the real world, filled with lush trees, birds and insects flying. When looking up, you saw a blue sky and a bright sun. The warm sunlight scattered down onto our bodies.
A chuckle came from the side. I turned and saw White Robes leaning against a tree, smiling over at us. For some reason, his smile made my hair stand on end. Seeing his enchanting face against the natural backdrop, rays of light streaming onto his face, a girl’s heart couldn’t help beating faster.
Hands stuffed in his windbreaker, Nie Zun stepped forward and said to the white robed man, “Hi. We meet again.”
When he saw Nie Zun, the man’s eyes lit up. “Hi, my pet.” Gag… A familiar feeling of disgust rushed at me…
“Why did you bring us here? And where exactly is here?” Nie Zun actually had a charming smile on his face.
White Robe’s eyes remained fixed on Nie Zun. “This is my room. When I opened my door and saw all of you there, I decided to bring you inside.”
What? His room? Which meant, the hallway was just outside of this place? Why was this kind of scene appearing inside of a room?
Jie Pa calmly extended a hand to adjust his glasses. “If we’re inside a room, it’s likely that what we’re seeing is just an illusion.”
After hearing Jie Pa’s assessment, White Robes happily clapped his hands. “Correct! Ey, this young man doesn’t look too bad either. I must have missed you this morning.” Having taken note of Jie Pa’s gentlemanly appearance, he slowly approached us.
I subconsciously stepped back and warily watched his approaching figure. “Why did you bring us in here? What do you want?”
White Robes finally turned to me. “When I saw that those two guys were going to take you up to the 30th floor, I decided to wreak a bit of havoc.”
“What we’re seeing now is just an illusion?” Jie Pa stepped forward, as if humoring the man.
“That’s right,” White Robes said, standing a meter’s distance away. “I don’t like all these questions,” he suddenly said, a smile on his face.
Nie Zun spoke up, as if coaxing a child. “We’re here to see your commander, so release us. I promise that we’ll come back to visit after our meeting with her.”
And White Robes actually cooperated. He pouted his lips and asked Nie Zun, “Are you really going to come back to see me?”
I inhaled a cold breath. Was this guy really a man? Wasn’t he acting too submissively?!
“Of course. But, if you also tell me who you are and what you’re doing here, not only will I come visit, I’ll play with you,” Nie Zun enticed.
The white robed man’s eyes wandered. “Ey, trying to learn my secrets. What a bad boy.” As he spoke, he extended a hand and tapped Nie Zun’s shoulder. He blinked his eyes at Nie Zun and spoke mischievously. “Me? My name is Guan Nie. I’m here now because I’ve always lived here.”
Hearing a male voice come out of the mouth of such a pretty face, speaking so coquettishly, my mind felt like it was being ripped apart.
Suddenly, a loud knocking came down from the sky. Several people turned their heads up. The sky was still blue, and the origin of the knocking was unclear.
White Robes smiled. “Aiya, those two brutes are here. Alright, I’ll let you all go. Remember to come visit, my little pet.”
I really couldn’t stand it anymore. I held my hands against my head, wanting to never again hear those two disgusting men’s flirting. When I lifted my head, we were already standing in the middle of the hallway. Tao Lie and Mu Li were standing in front of me, and the door to that room was already closed.
Tao Lie’s expression revealed some surprise. He glanced at the room and then looked back at us. “Ms Li Shen, were all of you just taken into Mr Guan Nie’s room?” I nodded.
Tao Lie and Mu Li exchanged glances. Then Tao Lie said, “The enchantment has been unlocked, but the commander’s orders are that she will only meet with Ms Li Shen, alone.”
“No.” Song Lu immediately stepped forward and blocked my path.
Yu Liang also stepped forward and pushed me behind him. “We’re sorry, but we cannot allow our commander to meet yours on her own. Forgive the inconvenience.”
Tao Lie was silent a moment, and then he said, “At most, we can allow one other person to accompany Ms Li Shen. We apologize, but the 30th floor is an important place in the Eastern District, so we cannot allow just anyone to enter.”
Song Lu and Yu Liang turned to check my expression. I glanced at Jie Pa, and he nodded to me. Then I turned to Nie Zun, who smiled and also gave a slight nod. So, I said, “Okay. Then Nie Zun and I will go together.”
Tao Lie looked long and hard at Nie Zun, and then he motioned for us to move along.
I turned back to Song Lu and said to everyone, “Wait for us downstairs, on the 1st floor. Don’t stay here.” I pointed my chin over to the room we just exited, and Song Lu understood my meaning.
“Okay, we’ll wait downstairs. Don’t worry and go ahead.”
When I saw them walk over to the elevator, I also walked, with an easy heart, with Nie Zun and Tao Lie over to the staircase to head to the 30th floor. It was an ordinary staircase, but on the last step, I felt a very strong, attractive power.
After arriving on the 30th floor, I took a look around. Indeed, it looked different to the floors below. Despite it being daytime, our visibility on the 30th floor was akin to what it would be during the nighttime. The hallway, though, did seem to be like other hallways. Only, with our decreased visibility, it looked like we were walking into a great big black hole.
I cast a suspecting look, and a figure slowly walked out from the darkness. I struggled to increase my sight, and then I finally saw the figure clearly. Jiao S.
What’s that now? Guan Nie said that he’s always been here. Was he just speaking cryptically, or was he genuinely saying that he’d always been in the Split Zone? Was he part of the world when it ‘spawned’ then? Am I reading too much into this?