293 The Path of No Return
Do you want to know why Nie Zun left you?
That was really tempting.
I had to remind myself time again that everything I saw and heard here was a mere illusion. I should not believe in any of this. She wouldn’t be able to give me the truth even if I turned back.
Gritting my teeth, I continued without turning back.
I thought the Jiao S behind me might do something else to stop me, but nothing happened after a while of walking.
Curiosity didn’t kill the cat, it killed people.
Since nothing happened, I wanted to turn around to check if that figure of Jiao S was still behind me, wondering what she would be doing if she was still there.
Such a thought made me hate myself a little.
I quickened my pace as I tried to shake the thought from out of my head, telling myself not to think about whatever might be happening behind me.
That curiosity was tamped down successfully after walking for quite some distance, and though I wanted to rest, I decided that it was best to continue on the path.
“Aye. It’s really inconvenient without MF,” I mumbled to myself. I had almost forgotten all that had happened earlier, and I was feeling quite relaxed. Time was a great healer. It can help lessen fear and uneasiness, and with the passing of time, these feelings and emotions can disappear altogether.
As wise men said, time is money. Time is really the most valuable commodity.
I seemed to have forgotten the value of time after arriving in the Split Zone. Time passed way too slowly there, and the same amount of numerical years there was a long time in the real world. Whatever that seemed precious to me turned into something without value in the Split Zone. It was rather terrifying that our values could change just like that.
This was also the reason why I spent most of my time lazing around on my bed or simply practicing the bow and arrow on my own when I had just assumed the role of Western District Commander right after Li Qing went missing.
Nothing else mattered to me at that time.
Nothing was valuable in the Split Zone; not time, not even lives.
It was a place that overturned all your beliefs, and once you’ve been there for a while without a cause to live, you’ll realize that the only thing you can do is to do nothing.
To me, the existence of the Split Zone is not just a mystery. To me, it was as if everything that did not follow logical sense happened there. There were no rules and no values in there.
This was a place which simply messed people up.
I felt a hand on my shoulder as I was deep in thought.
My very first instinct was to turn around.
Humans were prone to making errors when nervous, but when we were relaxed, we would usually be able to assess the situation in a much calmer manner. At least I was like that.
Just when I was about to turn back, something in my brain told me not to continue. Li Qing’s voice entered my head at that very moment.
Don’t turn around no matter what happens.
However, it was extremely difficult not to feel fear in such a situation when somebody had tapped you on the shoulder and you weren’t able to turn and look.
Although I’ve been in the Split Zone for a while now, my heart seemed to skip a beat at this. Even though I had no heart.
“Who is it…” I froze while looking in front.
“Ah Shen, it’s me…”
I wanted to laugh out loud.
Why did this illusion come up with someone that I really didn’t want to see? Wasn’t the aim to make me turn around? This felt like an idiotic thing to do.
Even if I could turn around, I wouldn’t even want to.
I spoke coldly. “What are you doing here.”
“I’m here to tell you something.”
This was the first time she spoke to me in such a serious tone. She was exactly like me, everything from how she spoke and her tone of voice. So this was how I sounded like when I was being serious.
It didn’t sound cute at all.
“Say it. Leave after that. You don’t even need to try and make me turn around.”
I heard her voice coming closer, and it felt as if her face was right beside me. The unfortunate thing was that I couldn’t avoid her in this situation.
There was no actual use in avoiding her anyway. I couldn’t see her, but she’d still be able to see me.
“Ah Shen, remember that it’s the dimensional illusion here… You can’t turn back no matter what you see, or else you’ll not be able to return to any of the two worlds…”
I didn’t expect her to say the same things as Li Qing did.
“Also Ah Shen… Somebody is trying to kill you… You have to leave that illusion after breaking out of this dimensional one. It’s also best that you keep your distance from Nie Zun…”
I almost wanted to turn around when she mentioned Nie Zun.
She wasn’t here to make me turn around. She was here to prevent me from doing that and to tell me that somebody wanted to kill me.
But why did she add that I had to keep my distance from Nie Zun?
I would never believe it if she said that Nie Zun was the one who wanted to take my life.
This might be a trick, so I didn’t turn back. I continued on the path without asking any questions even though I was curious.
Before long, I was met with Gaoqin Jiuye.
I was sure it was an illusion.
This particular illusion was choosing to make certain people I care about appear. It was trying to rub salt in my wound.
Gaoqin Jiuye was not his usual self as he stood silently looking moody and sorrowful.
I walked over.
Running away was not the solution. I just had to face this.
I was going to get the ball rolling this time. “You’re waiting for me? You have something to say too?”
Just when I was going through the countless scenarios in my head, Gaoqin Jiuye said something that stunned me.
“Indeed, there’s something I want to say. But there’s no need for you to dwell too much upon what I’m going to say, since I’m not real. I’m just a shadow that exists in your heart.”
Have you seen illusions busting themselves like this? Have you seen an illusion telling you that it was an illusion? Have you experienced anything like this where a hallucination tells you that you’re actually hallucinating?
I bet no one would have experienced such a thing.
I thought Gaoqin Jiuye would have some tricks up his sleeve instead of just saying that he was an illusion and telling me that I didn’t have to believe or dwell upon anything he said.
“If this is one of your tricks, then I take my hat off to you…” I said to Gaoqin Jiuye.
I was speaking nothing but the truth. If they were trying to hurt me, then this was the application of reverse psychology at its epitome.
“Ah Shen, I know everything that Li Qing told you. I also know that you are in a dimensional illusion. Whether you believe it or not, when you enter a dimensional illusion, you’ll simply look like you’re in a deep coma in the Split Zone. I’m right beside you now, and what I’ve done is to bring my consciousness in here to look for you.
“However, I’m not able to take you away from this dimensional illusion, so this is the only method I could think of. There’s also another way you can escape all of this. You won’t have to go back to the Gate of Heaven to face those battles, and you don’t have to worry about the future in the Split Zone. All your worries will disappear, including this never-ending path.”
I had to admit that this was rather tempting. He was saying all this right in front of me.
“What should I do?” I asked, expressing my interest.
“Simple. Take this, and insert it in here.” Gaoqin Jiuye pointed at the splitting key hanging from my neck before pointing at his left ankle.
I shook my head immediately. “No. You should know me, Gaoqin Jiuye. I’ll never let you do something like that. To be honest, I owe you too much. Now that I’m aware of what happened in the past, I feel like I’d owe you forever. Don’t do such things for me anymore. It’ll only make me extra guilty. If there really is danger on this path, or if there’s nothing but danger waiting for me when I break out of this dimension, then all I can say is I’m ready to face it.”
Gaoqin Jiuye shook his head in response. “It’s not only such danger I’m referring to. I’m talking about the possibility that another catastrophe might befall you and your friends.”
I found this funny. It almost felt as if we’ve finally found the exit and we could save ourselves really soon.
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