I wanted to cover my mouth, but now wasn't the time to be weak. My eyes moistened and my heart suddenly throbbed with pain. I quickly stepped forward.
Jie Pa, Nie Zun, and Gaoqin Jiuye had already entered the room. Jie Pa rushed over to examine the woman under the barrel.
When I made my way over to Laurel, I tried to reach for her, but my hands trembled, as if unsure how to retrieve her. Tears streamed from my eyes and I heard myself croak, "Lau...rel..." At my call, Laurel's bloodied eyelashes twitched, and then she opened her eyes.
Before I could exchange a glance with her, I heard Jie Pa cry out, "A-Ah Shen! Th-th-this is Song Lu!"
My eyes widened and I turned my head slowly. My body was as stiff as a marionette's, and my lips started to tremble.
When I turned around, I saw Jie Pa carefully sliding aside the sticky hair covering the woman's face. Her lips opened as she gasped for air, and although her lips were already black, her eyes like two abandoned glass spheres, unmoving and sunken into her face, I still recognized her.
It was really Song Lu.
But how could it be Song Lu?! If it was Song Lu, then why hadn't I immediately charged in to save her? How could I have let Song Lu suffer such brutal abuse, right in front of my eyes?
I was unable to deal with such a sudden blow. My hands wrapped around my head, my nails digging into my scalp, as I painfully cried out. A hoarse shriek came from throat, and my heart pounded furiously. My toes curled and my legs shuddered feebly. Finally, I dropped to the ground on my knees.
"Ahh!!! Ahh!!!" I howled as I burst into tears. "Song... Lu jiejie... How could it be you..." I cried like my heart and lungs were being ripped out. Gaoqin Jiuye also looked surprised.
The two monstrous women on the ground hadn't been able to remove the arrows from their eyes yet, but they started to cackle with a strange laughter.
I tried my best not to cry; this wasn't the time to cry. But trying to suppress my tears made my head start buzzing. My nose and my mouth were leaking as I gasped for breath.
Jie Pa glanced at me kneeling on the ground, grief in his eyes, but he quickly returned his attention to trying to remove Song Lu from beneath the barrel.
Nie Zun's eyes sparked with an indescribable kind of greyness. His eyes locked onto me and he quickly walked over. My body shook uncontrollably as I tried to control the anguish inside of me. I extended my hand for Nie Zun to help me up. This wasn't the time to grieve; I still had to save Laurel.
Yes, there was still Laurel!
Nie Zun had arrived behind me. Kneeling on the ground, I turned my head, which was at nearly the same level as Laurel's head, her body still suspended in the air. Her eyes were already open, a strange expression on her face. Unlike her beaten, dirtied body, there was a look of triumph on her face. It was strange, displaying a childish naughtiness but also a ruthlessness that only came with old age.
Before I could react, the upside down Laurel extended her arms and wrapped her hands around my neck. Her grip had an exceptional strength to them! My eyes instantly widened as my breathing became obstructed. As she strangled my neck with her unordinary strength, a tremoring force pushed its way into my head, and my entire body became immobile!
Hanging upside down, she strangled me mercilessly. Her dirty little face was grinning as it looked at me. Her once incomparably beautiful eyes were now filled with malice and viciousness.
Nie Zun immediately rushed over and grabbed Laurel's arms, pulling them off of me mercilessly. But Laurel's hands didn't move an inch; they were still clasped tightly to my neck!
Not only did it feel like I couldn't breathe, it also felt like a moist, 500 kg stone pressing down on my head. My mind grew fuzzy.
A look of surprise crossed Nie Zun's face. He clearly hadn't expected Laurel's grip to be so strong.
Gaoqin Jiuye seemed to have realized something wasn't right. He walked over to help, his air blades crackling in the air. But when he neared us, another of the hanging kids, the girl with the mole, looked like she'd just been resurrected. She swung over with great force, and latched onto Gaoqin Jiuye's back.
And then, I felt Nie Zun's eyes tremble. His hands slipped off of Laurel, and he stepped back. It seemed that the third, bald boy had grabbed onto his back. But my vision was already a bit blurred, so I wasn't quite sure what exactly happened.
My neck felt like it was on the verge of snapping off. And in that moment, the blond man's words suddenly echoed in my head. "Don't die in the Split Zone, Ah Shen."
Despite my body having gone stiff for some reason, I clutched onto the tail of Piercer, which had been wrapped around my waist, with all their strength. The spines dug into my palm, intensifying the dizzying pain in my head.
I wrapped the whip around Laurel's neck.
Jie Pa had previously made it very clear to me how much damage the spines on the end of Piercer could deal. Even a lightly made cut wouldn't heal for an hour's time. The spines were also coated with a pain intensifier that increased pain one hundred fold. Jie Pa warned me to be very careful when I used it.
I couldn't be bothered to worry about that now though. Blood dripped from my hands after they were stung by the spines, and I immediately felt the pain shoot through my arms and even spread towards my heart. My heart felt like it was being wrapped with thorns, and the pain quickly rose to an intolerable level. My lips trembled violently, the pain layering onto my purple, bruised neck like, acting like a fast-spreading venom, corroding my body.
The moment I wrapped Piercer around Laurel's neck, the sharp spines on the whip dug deep into her neck. A sinister look suddenly appeared in her large, bright eyes, and she screamed, finally releasing me.
When I saw her let go, I quickly pulled my right hand away. I wanted to grab the bow on my back, but because I'd held so tightly onto Piercer, I found that my palm had been mutilated! My entire right hand shook, the blood rolling off of it. I was able to grab an arrow from my back, and I forcefully stabbed it into Laurel's eye.
From the force I added, Laurel's hanging body swung back as she screamed. I hurried to get up, but my actions were hindered from holding Piercer in my left hand. I pulled the rest of the whip out and flung it.
My left hand was also dripping with blood, and both of my hands shook very violently. My right hand didn't even have the strength to hold onto Piercer. I stood up and stepped forward, Laurel's pained screams still echoing. To my left, the air around Gaoqin Jiuye crackled loudly. He tried to grab the girl on his back, and then multiple vortexes started spinning behind him, moving like gears. The girl's blood burst onto his back, but she didn't seem to be letting go. A dreadful light radiated from Gaoqin Jiuye's eyes.
On the other side, Nie Zun had been caught by the bald boy. The boy laughed as he covered Nie Zun's eyes with his hands. The boy had removed his legs from the shackles that held him in the air, and he had his legs wrapped around Nie Zun's neck, while he sat on his shoulders.
Nie Zun's gloved hands weren't trying to remove the boy from his shoulders, but instead, he was flailing at me, as if wanting to grab hold of me.
My heart felt heavy.
Then I heard the evil laughter of those two women, and I immediately turned my head. They'd already removed the arrows from their eyes, which had now healed about halfway. They had a death grip on Jie Pa! One of the women had her arms wrapped around Jie Pa's leg, and the other around his waist. Jie Pa tried to walk to me, but he couldn't get rid of his captors.
I clenched my teeth and tried to raise Piercer with my right hand to attack, but the pain increased in my palm. My hands were already crippled at that point. An unbearable pain coarsed through them, and I dropped Piercer to the ground. My hands continued to shake as I tried to reach for Nie Zun.
He stopped swinging his arms and quickly removed his gloves. Then he grabbed onto the boy's legs that were wrapped around him. As if his hands were covered in something, the once grinning boy now looked dumbfounded. Then a look of terror and suspicion crossed the boy's eyes. He looked broken, the same way Mi Fu had looked the other day.
With a loud wailing cry, the boy removed his hands from Nie Zun and tried to grab the hands on his legs.
Now that his eyes were uncovered, Nie Zun quickly looked around for me. His eyes finally landed on my body.
Laurel shrieked in pain as I reached out with trembling, bloody hands toward Nie Zun.
The wounds on my palms weren't healing, but were, in fact, festering. Dark blood bubbled out from the wounds, and the pain continued to spread from my palms to my heart. I couldn't stand firmly, so as I swayed there, I reached out two crippled hands, trying to reach Nie Zun.
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