269 A Promise to Piercer
“I’m curious, Li Shen. Why did you fall in love with Nie Zun?” Piercer asked after a long pause.
I looked at her, not answering.
She continued, “I just don’t understand. You loved Gaoqin Jiuye so much. That guilt you felt towards Gao Qi after killing him by accident might have led to you being confused and misled you into thinking that Gao Qi was the one you loved. But even so, your feelings towards him should still be strong. Why did you have a change of heart?”
Yes… Why did I have a change of heart?
If what they say is true, then the one I’ve loved and the one I’ve always been in love with is actually Gaoqin Jiuye. I only felt guilty towards Gao Qi because I killed him.
Behind that guilt, I was also in denial about my feelings for Gaoqin Jiuye. I had always thought it was Gaoqin Jiuye’s appearance which changed everything. I thought that I had been in love with Gao Qi from the very beginning. But I’ve actually fallen in love with Gaoqin Jiuye, someone who had passed through the cracks in space. In my heart, I thought it was wrong of me to do so, and I thought I was letting Gao Qi down, especially when I ended up killing him in the end.
I thought it was all my fault that everything went wrong. This is why I couldn’t forgive myself, and it led to my second personality being born, it led to me coming here to the Split Zone, and it led to me forgetting about Gaoqin Jiuye’s existence.
This was what everyone else was telling me, and even I thought it was true. This sounded exactly like something I would do, and it sounded exactly like how I would think.
However, that past they are talking about, I haven’t been able to recall it entirely. So who knew if that was really the truth?
Piercer is right too. No matter what the truth is, whether it was Gaoqin Jiuye or Gao Qi I loved, it had nothing to do with Nie Zun at all. No matter what it was, it didn’t make sense for me to have fallen in love with Nie Zun.
Why did I fall in love with him then?
“To be honest, as a weapon that has been by your side for quite a while now, I think that Nie Zun is definitely someone worth loving. I’m just skeptical about why you love him. You might say that you found similarities in him in that you’ve both been ostracized before. But if that’s so, it’s the same for Gaoqin Jiuye as well. He’s also someone who had been ostracized. So why is it that you’ve fallen in love with Nie Zun instead of Gaoqin Jiuye, who was the one you loved deeply before?”
I turned pale as I shook my head. “I don’t know. No one asked me this before. Maybe you’re right. Maybe I should take a proper look into my own heart. The ones I’ve loved, my memories, they all seem to be wrong and missing parts. All of this isn’t caused by anyone else but myself. I chose this. How weak am I that I’m choosing to avoid all of this? I should be taking a good look at myself instead…”
“It’s great that you’re able to open up to me like this. Haha, I’ve been in the Split Zone for too long and I’ve seen so much that I’ve lost all hope in humans and soul splitters. I didn’t like you at first, but I still ended up being your weapon. I don’t know what it was that attracted me, but a lot of time has passed just like this.”
I looked up at her. “Do you also think that Nie Zun is the one I love?”
Piercer turned serious. “You can’t doubt yourself at times like this. I know that whatever happened with Gaoqin Jiuye is a huge blow for you, and you’re a kind person who doesn’t want to let others down. But you have to understand that love is cruel. You’re bound to let his feelings down if you don’t love him. You love Nie Zun, and although I’m skeptical of the reason behind it, there’s no need to doubt that you definitely love him. Maybe for you, there’s no need for a reason to love somebody.”
I shook my head vigorously. “No, there’s nothing that is without reason, even love. I love him, and there has to be a reason behind it.”
“Have you found it then?”
I looked up at the darkness which reminded me of Nie Zun’s shadow. After a moment, I said, “I’ll tell you the day I leave the Split Zone.”
I had a huge smile on my face as I looked back at her. I felt that my head was much clearer now. This is life, where one would sometimes get a sudden epiphany.
Though Piercer was still filled with doubt, she simply nodded and said, “Okay, it’s a promise then. Remember to reveal it to me when you leave the Split Zone.”
“Okay, it’s a promise. You’ll assist me and lend me your power, and you’ll have to help me to leave the Split Zone as well. As for me, I’ll definitely help you save your lover.”
Piercer’s eyes glinted with a ray of hope. “Okay.”
“So, what do I do now?”
Piercer pulled me up as she stood. “You’re inside of Piercer now since I’ve pulled your consciousness in here. I’ll be loyal to you from now on as we’ve made a promise to each other. Though we stood on opposite sides before, I hope that you’ll be able to trust me. I’ll be loyal to you, and all you have to do is to keep your promise to me.”
I nodded firmly. “Yes, I promise.”
“Both our souls are in the weapon now, and because of the difficulty and grueling process of creating a living weapon, living weapons are extremely rare. But because of this, the space here is independent of anything else and it is a completely sealed and protected space. Put simply, no one else would be able to find you or hurt you if I pull your consciousness in here.”
I was surprised. “Wouldn’t that make me invincible? This is the best place to hide!”
Piercer shook her head. “Don’t get too excited. If that’s the case, everyone who has a living weapon, like Gaoqin Jiuye, would be invincible. You can escape from everything once you’re in here, but an ordinary body of consciousness cannot stay in here for an extended period of time, just like how we would never be able to leave this space ever.
“This means that even though I can pull you in here, it’s only temporary. It’s not easy to bring you in here either. It’s a difficult and tedious process. This means that you shouldn’t be hoping for me to be able to pull you in here at a moment’s notice if you’re ever in danger.”
“I get it. What are the criteria for coming in here then?”
“You don’t have to know that. All you have to know is that this is a suitable space for training.”
I was suddenly reminded of something when training was mentioned. “Oh, I still have some questions about Gaoqin Jiuye.”
“According to how you’ve described Gaoqin Jiuye and Du Yue, am I right to interpret that they both grew up in the Split Zone? Just what is the Split Zone? Is it just a separate space? Soul splitters are the living creatures in here? Why are they able to grow up, and why can they dream of me when I’m in a separate space?”
Piercer looked grim after hearing my questions. “This is the secret of the Split Zone, and I’m not planning to reveal this to you right now. Don’t blame me for this. Everything has a right time, and now isn’t the right time for you to know this.”
I would have continued probing in the past, but I wouldn’t do it now. I realized that things I’ve gotten through force might turn out different from how I’ve initially imagined it to be. So instead of forcing things, I’d rather let things take its natural course.
“What I can tell you though, is that soul splitters grow up just like you do. In here, a day for them is 60 hours, and even though it’s short if you calculate it via the time in your world, it’s long here. 20 years to them is a very long time, and they would’ve been through a lot more.”
Would they die of old age?
I didn’t ask the question eventually.
If it wasn’t to uncover the truth behind everything, I wouldn’t be interested in their world at all. I have never been curious about the Split Zone, unless it was to uncover hidden truths. I’ve been trying to live a peaceful life from the very day I arrived here. Though I seem to be a little more active now, I wasn’t really that curious about this place. I guess I’ve always been like this.
“Also, how should I address you in future?” I asked. I can’t keep addressing her as Piercer, can I?
“Just call me Piercer. Doesn’t Gaoqin Jiuye call his living weapon Shen Qi too?”
Should I really just address her as Piercer?
“Doesn’t that sound a little inhumane? That doesn’t sound too nice, does it?” I asked hesitantly.
Piercer laughed. “No, it’s totally fine. What’s in the past is over and done with, and the old me is already dead. I’m no longer her. Even though I still have a consciousness, I’m no longer human now. I’m a mere weapon. Just call me that. I don’t want others to recall the old me either.”
I pondered for a while before answering. “That works, but how about this. I hope you’ll be able to tell me your name the day I succeed in helping you save him, even if that means picking up the pieces from your past. How about that?”
Piercer did not expect me to make her a counter-offer like this. She seemed stunned.
She looked at me as her eyes began to water.
I smiled. “Okay?”
“Okay,” she said, returning my smile.
“Can I call you Ah Shen then?”
“Of course you can.”
“I’ve actually wanted to ask you this, Ah Shen. What do you plan to do regarding Gaoqin Jiuye? I hope you can take a stand on this before you make any decisions in future.”
Regarding Gaoqin Jiuye?
Yes, I shouldn’t be running away.
What should I do then?
Even if Nie Zun was the one I loved, can I really throw everything away and be with Nie Zun like this?
If everything they say is true, then Gaoqin Jiuye would’ve been the one who had done the most for me. On the other hand, I’ve always been letting him down and forgetting about him.
I’m an existence which brings nothing but pain to others…
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