221 The Fear of Loneliness
Why did I keep falling? I seem to be tricked all the time and falling everywhere during battles.
But also because of this, I had a lot of experience in falling.
This time, I controlled my MF well as I fell. Nie Zun and I were able to achieve some sort of balance. Though he had lost his memories, there was still some muscle memory in him, since we did spend every single day and night together.
To prevent crashing into the ground too badly, we tried to keep ourselves from touching the ground.
As we stabilized ourselves, I realized it was that icy river right below us… The sky was above us, and around us… Nothing but glaciers surrounded us.
We returned to those glaciers just like this.
I thought big gold rooster would do something to that glacier as he ‘opened the door’. Little did I imagine he meant to drop us right here…
Big gold rooster was nowhere to be seen.
“Where did he go?” Nie Zun looked around.
“I don’t know. Anyway, let’s jump down. It’ll be the demon palace once we pass through the river.” I pointed at the icy river. There was a layer of ice on the river, but we might be able to break that.
Nie Zun frowned. “Why do you insist on going back there?”
I glanced at him. “Look around you. Would there be another way out if we don’t go back there?”
Nie Zun narrowed his eyes at me, as if he doubted my words. I smiled at him and took his hand in mine as I jumped down.
Both of us dropped into the river.
“Damn, it’s still this cold here.” I swam towards Nie Zun, hungry for some warmth.
Nie Zun stretched out a hand to stop me. “Are you going to molest me again?”
I smirked. “Not only do I want to do that, I want you to die with me.”
I pulled him into the water after that.
My red hair spread out in the water, but the cold did not make me suffer like before when I could see Nie Zun’s bright eyes in the icy river.
I focused my MF on improving my blood circulation as I pulled him deeper into the water.
However, I slowly realized that it wasn’t as simple as I thought it would be.
There was no light to be seen even when we’ve been swimming for quite some time now. It was getting darker and darker, and I felt like I was about to suffocate.
I looked at Nie Zun. He looked like a fish in the water as his hair floated around his face. I couldn’t spare any more MF to take a clearer look at him, and my vision was blurring slowly.
This feeling of suffocation brought with it a kind of fear.
It’s a reflex that we hold our breath when we enter water. Even though we can’t hold our breaths forever, bodies of consciousness in the Split Zone wouldn’t die like this. But the process was still a painful one.
Just imagine choking with water. It wouldn’t feel great.
Even if one manipulates MF well and obtains the skill of swimming like a fish in the water, the process of doing that would not be easy either.
Just as I was about to suffocate, the water around me disappeared.
I shut my eyes as a bright light flashed in front of me. I was back in that stone room as I opened them.
I looked around. Nie Zun was gone.
“What’s happening…” I muttered to myself. It was that stone room for sure, but there was nobody else here.
“Nie Zun.” I tried calling out.
There was no response.
I made my way to that room within.
Nie Zun was already standing there when I finally reached the stone platform.
“Hey, you…” I tapped him on the shoulder carefully. This place was full of surprises. I just might see another one of those creatures when he turned around.
Luckily, it was him this time.
Nie Zun turned to me before turning back to look at the tablet. “I think I might have forgotten about some of the things that have happened during my time here.”
I smirked. “You’ve forgotten more than that.”
Nie Zun looked at me earnestly for the first time since he had exited the cave. “I really knew you from before?”
I frowned. “You’re definitely careful, but I didn’t know you were this cautious. You definitely knew me from before. We were together every day for more than two years.”
A light flashed past Nie Zun’s eyes. “Together every day?”
I blushed. “It’s not like what you think. It’s because…”
If I told him that it was because we couldn’t be more than 500 meters apart, he’ll probably not believe it either.
Nobody told me the reason behind it, of why we had to stay so close to each other.
And nobody told me why we can stay apart now.
I used to hate that 500-meter restriction. I had to bring him along for everything, and I could see him everywhere.
I was annoyed, frustrated, and I even hated him for it. But now, I wished so hard for that to happen again.
Because of that, I had no need to fear that he might just disappear suddenly.
He’s always being taken away so easily by others now.
I really missed him.
There was nothing more to say to him now if he didn’t trust my words nor remember who I was anyway.
I answered, “You won’t believe it even if I told you. Think of it however you want to.”
Nie Zun laughed. I was a little taken aback at this.
It always looked like he remembered who I was when he laughed like this.
“Since you said you knew me from before, how about you help me get my memories back? I kind of want to know what happened now…” Nie Zun’s eyes brushed past that stone tablet as he smiled.
I followed his gaze. It was that exact stone tablet with a human-shaped depression in it on the very same stone platform.
“You might have to pay a price if you want to recall your past.”
Nie Zun raised a brow. “Oh? What price?”
…How should I say this.
You’ll have to get in bed with me…
You’ll have to sleep with me…
There was no way I could say this.
I scratched my head as I said awkwardly, “Let me take a look at this stone tablet first.”
“You’re referring to this?” Nie Zun pointed at the tablet.
“Yes. Didn’t you come out from there? How long do you think you’ve been there?”
Nie Zun’s eyes seemed to lose its focus for a moment. “It seemed to be a very, very long time. All I felt was loneliness. When you woke me up, it felt like I could finally be free of this solitude. All I knew was that I never wanted to come back here ever again.”
My heart hurt for him.
Why did I have a nagging feeling that the solitude wasn’t brought on by this stone tablet? He had lost his memories because his blood was taken, and whatever was left in his subconscious mind was nothing but solitude and loneliness.
The cause of his solitude was because he had always been lonely before, and the Nie Zun in my mind was exactly like that.
He was always dressed in black from head to toe, and even his hair and eyes were a jet black.
He was always behind me, like a tall shadow.
He gave others the impression that he didn’t have a care in the world, and he could also be sarcastic sometimes, but only sometimes. Most of the time, there was a hint of solitude in his eyes.
Even so, instead of distancing me from him, I felt like I had found someone similar to me. It was like something I wanted to approach, but something that I was afraid of at the same time.
Nie Zun had always given me the impression that he was lonely, but it wasn’t a loneliness that begged for sympathy.
I realized I was wrong now, and that I might have been wrong from the start.
Nie Zun did not need the sympathy of others, but he definitely needed somebody else’s company.
I felt myself tear up as I looked up at those slightly confused eyes of his.
Something between us made it so that I would always know how he felt. It wasn’t something as simple as merely understanding him, or knowing him. It was a total empathy for him.
He had always been lonely, and I had always thought he was used to it, that he didn’t need any consolation.
But now that he had lost his memories, everything he said came from deep within his heart. He was revealing how he felt in the past two years, or even in all his years of life.
That he was also afraid of being lonely. That he needed the company of others as well.
Why couldn’t I see that? Or should I say, why did I keep forgetting that? Why did I keep thinking that he could never be beaten?
I had been making use of him to protect me all this while, and I haven’t really given him any consolation. All I did was stay beside him in the past. I didn’t try, nor even think about lessening that loneliness he felt.
I was selfish.
That loneliness he felt now and his avoidance towards it wasn’t caused by that stone tablet. He felt that way because he had always been like this, except that he had always been suppressing that fear towards solitude.
Just like me.
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