291 Real Solitude
I shook my head vigorously as I tried to push Pomelo away from me.
I didn’t want her hug. I didn’t want it.
Something out of the ordinary happened at this moment.
My hands weren’t able to touch her. They simply went through her.
In my surprise, I had forgotten that I had no MF left in me right now. Losing my balance, I passed through Pomelo and fell face-down into the sea.
I choked on the salty seawater before I felt the collar of my dress being dragged upwards.
Piercer grabbed me as she said, “Have you forgotten what Guan Nie said, Ah Shen? These are merely illusions. Don’t be confused by them.”
Sister, it’s not a matter of being confused or not. I knew these were illusions, and everyone else could see the very person they were most afraid to face. The visual stimuli would definitely distract them and slow them down.
I wondered if this was Guan Nie’s real goal. Everyone seemed to be scanning their surroundings for something during their fights. Being distracted will only give your opponents more opportunities to attack and this might possibly end with both sides getting gravely hurt.
Somebody appeared behind me just as I was about to ask Guan Nie what he was playing at.
I pulled at Piercer, signaling for her to stop running. I turned around to look at the individual behind me.
Piercer did the same.
It was Gao Qi. He was looking at me with a complex expression. Though he looked exactly like Gaoqin Jiuye, I realized I could actually tell them apart.
“Gao Qi…” I was a little taken aback when I saw him appear a while ago, and even though I was still a little uneasy about it, I was much calmer now.
Gao Qi looked pitiful drenched in blood, but there was this gentle light in his eyes.
As I set my eyes upon him again, it felt like I was a bystander looking at myself. Even if he had a psychological disorder, couldn’t I have just talked to him about it? Why did we have to end up in this place?
Everything was a mess. Illusions were everywhere, and everyone was being distracted. I guess Guan Nie did this because he simply wanted to see our reactions when we see these people.
Piercer gave me a reminder. “Ah Shen, you have to be careful of whoever you’re able to see. I’m not able to see them.”
I shook my head. “It’s no use running away from things. I owe him one anyway. I know you have my interests at heart, but let me handle it on my own this time, Piercer. If Guan Nie’s creations are really just illusions, then what I’m seeing now is simply whatever that has been buried in my heart. No one would be able to help me on this if I can’t overcome it on my own.”
I let go of Piercer as I finished.
Taking a deep breath, I walked towards Gao Qi. I could feel my eyelid twitching as I asked, “Gao Qi, are you… from my heart, or from that world?”
The question just escaped me even when I didn’t plan on saying anything like it.
Gao Qi looked at me gently, making me feel as if I was trapped in those eyes.
He grabbed me in a sudden embrace when I was trying to think of responses to possible answers he would give.
My train of thought was cut off abruptly. Everything seemed to be spinning around me.
The last thing I remembered was us falling on our sides into the icy water.
This time, instead of floating on the surface, we sank continuously.
It was cold and dark as I sunk into the ocean.
Gao Qi had me in a tight embrace, but for some reason, his presence seemed to diminish the longer I was in the water.
Light was sparse in this illusion, and falling into the dark water made it all the more darker.
Without MF, I struggled in the water.
Just continue sinking. I can’t do this anymore. Just let me die here… That was all I could think of.
I was tired of life in the Split Zone.
I felt exhausted.
There used to be people around me when I felt tired, but I was all alone now.
Pessimistic thoughts were like seaweed which grew non-stop. They would get larger and messier once we start thinking about them.
Imagine if a good person was crossing the bridge over a river infested with monsters and demons. Even if that individual did not want to look down, there would definitely be something or someone trying to drag that individual into the river. This was how it felt like.
Pessimistic thoughts were like a pair of hands that had the ability to drag people down.
I heard a familiar voice out of nowhere.
Is it her?
“Ah Shen. Ah Shen.”
No, it isn’t her.
But this sounded so familiar. Did I become retarded after being in the water? Why couldn’t I recall who the voice belonged to?
“Wake up, Ah Shen.”
When I tried to open my eyes, I realized that I hadn’t even closed them at all. It was the darkness in the water that made it feel as if I had my eyes closed.
I simply couldn’t see anything in here.
“Wake up, Ah Shen,” that overly-familiar voice continued.
What do I do? I just don’t recall it. I can’t react to it either.
“Ah Shen, listen well. You’re in Guan Nie’s dark illusion right now. This is different from his previous illusions, because there is demonic energy in here. Because of his suppressed feelings, Guan Nie might have been used by others. Those without demonic energy cannot create such an illusion. This is considered a banned technique in the field of illusions.”
That voice continued talking to me even when I did not respond.
“It’s difficult to break such an illusion, and even if I can help you out from the outside right now, you’re not able to work with me in saving everyone since you don’t have an ounce of MF in you right now.”
Save everyone… Who’d be saving me then?
“Listen to my words carefully now. I gave you the Scorpion Ray on your left hand. Do you remember that?”
I finally realized who it was.
Joy filled me for about half a minute before a frown appeared on my face.
I thought that Li Qing was in the Gate of Ghost, and the last time we met, I could tell she still had some errands to run there. The Gate of Ghost and the Gate of Heaven were very far from each other, and it wouldn’t be easy to travel to and fro even if she was a soul splitter. Why would she be here in the Gate of Heaven right now?
Even if she did travel to the Gate of Heaven, how is it so coincidental that she knew where I was? How did she manage to rush here just in time to save me?
“Ah Shen, listen to me carefully.
“It’s not about whether I can save you guys right now. You’ve already been infested with the demonic energy from this dark illusion. It isn’t much of a problem usually, but you don’t have MF and you don’t have your heart. Nie Zun might have wanted to protect you, but this was a misstep. I don’t think anyone here is aware that Guan Nie had been affected by demonic energy, and this is why nobody knows that it can hurt you.
“Guan Nie would be able to find you soon now that you’re in the water, since he created this entire ocean. All of you were originally on the surface of the water and he’d be able to sense everything that happens on the surface through his MF. I dragged you into the water to tell you this, and the weird sound you heard earlier, that was actually me trying to signal to you.
“But from how things are looking, I suspect that Guan Nie had already sensed my presence in the Gate of Heaven. If he’s already wary of me, I might not be able to help much. You’ll have to depend on yourself in that case.
“Your consciousness is being controlled right now, and it’s absolutely trapped in this illusion since you are without a heart and also infested with demonic energy. You won’t be able to escape even if Guan Nie undid the illusion and everyone leaves. There’s only one way to save you now, and you have to listen and believe in this. There is zero room for error here. If anything goes wrong, your consciousness will end up in that crack in space between the real world and Split Zone 13.”
‘Where is that crack in space between the real world and Split Zone 13?’ The question popped up in my head as I wondered if she could hear my thoughts.
To my surprise, she actually responded to the question in my head. “That’s not important. The thing is, once your consciousness ends up there, you won’t be able to reincarnate or return to the Split Zone nor the real world. You’ll turn into a homeless wandering soul. Apart from that, no one else will be able to see or talk to you. You’ll learn what real, perpetual solitude is when that happens.”
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