29 Falling Into a Trap
"What do you mean 'Yu Liang and Song Lu are missing'?" I asked with a frown. Jiao S had just finished washing up, and after overhearing our conversation, she walked over.
Nie Zun's eyes were slightly narrowed. "Come over and see." I followed him over to Yu Liang and Song Lu's room across the hall.
When we arrived, the door was open, and Guan Nie and Jie Pa were already inside. Guan Nie's red phoenix eyes (t/n: outer corners incline upwards) glanced over as he handed me a sheet of paper. On it was written: If you want to find them, come to the Northern District.
The furnishings in the room were undisturbed, and there was no sign of a struggle.
Jie Pa pushed his glasses up and said, "In the middle of the night, I suddenly had a question about medicine production that I wanted to discuss with Yu Liang. I knocked for a long time, but there was no response. When I walked into the room, nothing looked unusual, but for this piece of paper."
I frowned. "Wait. Let me go over the night's events. So, tonight, we all returned to our rooms. Jiao S ran into Gaoqin Jiuye outside, and then she returned to her room. Then I went out and also ran into Gaoqin Jiuye. When I returned, Jie Pa discovered that Yu Liang and Song Lu were missing. Correct?"
Guan Nie raised his brow and glanced at Jiao S. "You ran into Gaoqin Jiuye?"
Jiao S nodded. "Mmh. We didn't fight. He simply said he wouldn't let us meet Si Luo. It seemed like he was in a rush to do something, so he didn't speak to me long."
Guan Nie smirked. "Next time, don't move on your own. If something were to happen to you, I'm afraid those three may kill me."
Jiao S didn't respond.
Nie Xun's arms were crossed over his chest, black gloves on his hands. "One after the next, unusual things have been occurring. Now we have clear instructions to head to the Northern District. If we don't go, we won't be able to uncover what's going on, but if we do make the trip now, I'm afraid we can't guarantee our safety."
Jiao S' expression was determined. "I'm going. And I'll be seeing Si Luo before I go."
Nie Zun's lips curved into a slight smile. "You seem very resolute on meeting with Si Luo." Jiao S' inner thoughts had been revealed. She tried to hide this fleeting, strange look in her eyes, but I'd seen it very clearly.
After a moment, she continued, "Aside from seeking out Si Luo, what other plans do you guys have?"
I lowered my head and thought for a moment. With a nod, I said, "I agree with Jiao S. The Southern Commander seems to be the only person who can give us a reasonable explanation. It seemed that Gaoqin Jiuye wasn't acting with benevolence. After finding out about our arrival, he moved to block us from meeting Si Luo. There's a problem somewhere in there. Now that Yu Liang and Song Lu have gone missing, it's become very clear that our opponent is hiding in the shadows while we're sitting in plain sight. We can't act impulsively. All we can do now is to seek out Si Luo to clarify the situation. He's a district commander, so he wouldn't just block us; he wouldn't want strange things happening in his district either. Meeting with him is our best option."
Jie Pa also nodded. "Ms Ah Shen put it nicely."
Guan Nie glanced at me. "Ah, so the ugly girl has a brain after all."
I couldn't tolerate it any longer. My hand quickly passed by his head and grabbed a hold of his long white hair that nearly swept the floor. With a ferocious glare, I said, "Believe me when I say that I will chop Nie Zun up if you call me ugly one more time."
Guan Nie's beautiful face fell back as I grabbed at his hair, but his expression seemed to remain unchanged. In fact, his coquettish eyes swept over me. "Esteemed guest, don't be angry. Your (female) servent won't call you that way anymore~"
Gag... I couldn't help bending over to vomit, and naturally my grip on his hair loosened.
When he saw me let go, Guan Nie pulled his long hair away. "To sum it up, you want to find Si Luo. I heard he's a rarely-seen beautiful man. Looks like I'll be able to bear witness to his elegance. I will accompany you, reluctantly. But where exactly are we headed to find him?"
I turned to Jiao S. "Shall we find Ku Fei to lure out Mi Fu? Though, there's no guarantee that we're not walking into Huan Qing's trap."
Jiao S turned her neck, crack, crack. "You, Nie Zun, and Jie Pa should go to Ku Fei. Nie Guan and I will keep watch."
I looked at Jie Pa and Nie Zun, who both nodded.
The dark of night had yet to pass. When we arrived at the residence to find Ku Fei, there were still a few more hours before day came.
Knock, knock, knock.
The door opened and Ku Fei popped his head out, drowsiness in his eyes. It was clear that he'd just been woken from his slumber. When he saw the three of us standing there, he was taken aback. Along with his bright smile, he said, "You're here. Why did you come so late?"
I also smiled a bit. "We couldn't fall asleep, so we came to find you to chat. I hope you don't mind."
Ku Fei smiled enthusiastically. "Of course not. Come in, come in."
After we entered his room, Ku Fei closed the door behind us, and the three of us all subconsciously looked around the room. The light wasn't on, so we stood there in the darkness. When I heard the click of the door closing, for some reason, I felt ill at ease. Though Ku Fei had, up until then, appeared to be a bright youth, this night, I couldn't help turning back to look at him.
Coincidentally, I was met with Ku Fei's smiling face. He was indeed smiling, but it was unlike his familiar, bright smile. Instead, the smile was laced with a kind of cunning, a strangeness. Before I could even react, I suddenly felt the floor disappear beneath me, and I tumbled downwards.
When the floor suddenly falls out from under you, it's impossible to fall gracefully. That held true for us as well. As I fell, I screamed out, "Ahhh—!!" I saw that, at my side, Nie Zun and Jie Pa were tumbling down as well.
The fall seemed to continue on endlessly. The wind whistled in my ears. We'd fallen so far that I could no longer see Ku Fei. After some tens of seconds of falling, but before I could react, and especially before I was able to concern myself with my companions, we landed on the ground with a thud.
All the bones in my body felt like they'd broken to pieces. I lied on the ground in the darkness and rolled my eyes. It seriously f*cking hurt! After falling such a distance, I felt my body turn soft. I lied weak on the ground, and a pressure on my chest caused me to spit out blood.
I tried to get up and look at Nie Zun and Jie Pa, but because of my heavy injuries' slow healing time, I could hardly move. I was dizzy and my was vision blurred; blood seemed to be all around me. My whole body felt miserable.
As I struggled and struggled more, I couldn't help vomiting more blood. When I finished, I caught a glimpse of Nie Zun from the corner of my eye. Nie Zun was lying on the floor nearby, his body still. I knew that his split symbol had been activated, so he wouldn't have had enough MF to stop himself from falling. If he'd removed his splitting key, he would have been too weak, so he surely wouldn't do that.
Dressed entirely in black, he lied there, a pool of blood around his body. I struggled to pull myself to the side, but was f*cking startled by what I saw. Jie Pa had been decapitated, and his body stood at the side in darkness. His glasses had fallen somewhere as well.
His bloodied face was looking right at me. Right at me... The image was too damned terrifying! A head lying on the floor, staring at me! A raging fire entered my chest, and I was vomitting blood again. Jie Pa's bloody face shot me his gentleman's smile, but at the moment, it looked anything but gentlemanly.
"How did you end up breaking your head off?" I asked weakly, doing the best to resist the pain surging through my body.
Seemingly unconcerned, Jie Pa's head said, "Don't worry. I bent my neck while falling, and I just happened to have a knife in my backpack. So it was accidentally chopped off."
Lying there helplessly, I felt my bones and flesh gradually healing. After several minutes, I still wasn't strong enough to stand up, but Nie Zun looked to have already recovered completely. He got up slowly, and when he saw the pool of blood at his feet, he immediately jumped back, his face full of disgust.
What a germaphobe...
He looked at the blood on the ground and on his clothes, loathing muddying the carefree expression on his face. Though his black clothes were soaked with blood, it wasn't obviously visible. With his black-gloved hands, he lifted the corner of his coat to wring it out.
So, to summarize the scene before me: A somewhat bloodied yet decadent and handsome man, dressed in a black windbreaker and black gloves, was wringing the blood out of his clothes. Blood dripped from his clothes. A handsome man and fresh blood, inseperable, truly...
This sudden catastrophe must have affected my intelligence, causing my nonsensical thoughts.
After he finished deailng with his clothes, Nie Zun walked over towards me. One step, two steps... And he walked right past me, without a single glance my way. He helped Jie Pa put his head back on his body, to allow him to heal faster. Jie Pa told him, "Help find my glasses first."
Just great... The scene and the dialogue between three people who'd broken up into pieces really made you feel stuffy inside.
But why didn't he help me up?!
I glared at Nie Zun's back. Feeling that my body had healed halfway, I tried to sit up. "Ah..." I moaned from the pain. I kneaded my exhausted body and looked down at my originally red dress, now soaked in blood. I felt my back, checking for my bow, and then I checked for Piercer at my ankle. Good, they were still there.
As Nie Zun helped Jie Pa, I raised my head and looked up above and then around us. We were in a circular, basement-like place. I don't know how far we fell, for above us was just darkness. My night visibility allowed me to see ten meters ahead of me, but all I saw was what looked like a round tunnel. There was nothing else, just darkness beside us and above us.
I tried to recall. We had fallen down from Ku Fei's room, through a trap door in the floor. After the door opened, we fell down here.
But why did this kind of a place exist in the Split Zone? Though we've planted trees before, plants in the Split Zone are different from the real world. The seeds that Mr Blond gives to us don't require soil to grow. Beneath the Split Zone was not earth nor an empty void, but rather layer upon layer of stone. So, had this place been dug out?
The ground in the Split Zone was made from stone though, so how could it have been dug out? I've never seen Mr Blond provide any excavation tools to any of the shops in the marketplace.
I sympathize with Li Shen on some things, but mmh. Her turn-ons are weird.