84 His Past
"Oh right. There was something else I wanted to ask." I fixed my gaze on him.
“When I was caught in an illusion at Southern District, it was a voice that summoned me back with a simple 'Shen'er'. From then on, this voice would pull me back whenever my consciousness dipped in chaos. Like a mechanism that was set, I managed to regain my consciousness when I hear it.
“That voice… sounded a lot like you. Was it you, Nie Zun?”
"It's me." Nie Zun lowered his head and tugged his gloves back on.
“I used my sight to plant an enchantment into the depths of your eyes. This enchantment will activate when your consciousness begins to grow unstable. When your consciousness is affected and you become irrational, your eyes will likewise turn spiritless; that’s when the enchantment begin its work. The voice was also a mechanism I’ve placed. There is no other use for it besides bringing you back to your senses."
I froze. I had never expected to hear such a thing.
“Jie Pa had hypnotized you once. Your mental state wasn’t stable enough, even Mr Blond had informed me about this before. Although double identity disorder consisted of two independent consciousness, they both arrived here in your case but your present state of identity isn’t complete. There wasn’t an exception like yourself in the split zone before—you’re aware of that as well. All the forms which you maintained here, including your life, was only allowed to happen because your consciousness exists in this dimension."
He paused for moment, then continued. "And your situation is special. Just like how water vapor and droplets are essentially the same thing, but the composition of water vapor isn’t as stable as droplets. Mr Blond and Jie Pa were worried about the remnant of your identity after the split between your two consciousness. They were worried that fluctuations in this dimension would cause instability, yet, they were unable to predict the consequences of that. Therefore, some preventive measures were established."
Regardless of how you put it, didn’t all that just mean that they were trying to protect me…?
Li Shen, what did you have to grumble about…? Had you ever been worthy of their concern…? Almost everyone had been by your side, taking you into consideration on their own about the innumerable possibilities that might happen to you…
Watching the creasing of my brows, he spoke again. “To be honest, due to your unique situation, your condition hadn’t been that well from the get-go. It was precisely because of that that Mr Blond made sure to emphasize this to Li Qing and I, to remind us that we have to pay special attention to your emotions in case you run into any trouble.
“You know this too—Even if Mr Blond couldn’t give us an answer to the countless secrets to the split zone, nor was he able to help us find our soul splitters, but he had always hoped that our bodies of consciousness could reside here in peace.”
Indeed, Mr Blond was strict but kind. I can’t deny that as a guide, he was able to calm the emotions of every new person who had just arrived into the split zone, and let them live here in peace. Mr Blond once said to me that he couldn’t promise our return to the previous life, but he could promise a new beginning here in this dimension.
For someone with a smirch in both their life and mental state, the words “a new beginning” was enough to bring tears to their eyes.
I suppose that was also why the common folks in these districts didn’t possess a particularly strong desire to search for their soul splitters; maybe they just wanted to live here in peace forevermore.
Those who arrived here with a vulnerable mental condition and were likewise weaker, would be assigned to Southern District by Mr Blond. That promised land was an easier option to accept in comparison to the cruel world of their previous life.
Those with a distorted state of mind, who weren’t sound or who held a hint of malicious intent were assigned to the Eastern District, where they could they unleash their malice.
This dimension could satisfy certain desires that we hold, and it was how it could continue in stable existence. Yet, there were people who are attempting this disrupt this serenity now.
“When did you plant the enchantment into my eyes?”
Nie Zun met my gaze. “It was during that time, half a year after our arrival…”
I interjected, “Got it.”
Reading my reluctance to be reminded of the incident, Nie Zun didn’t insist either.
“Oh, that’s right. Why do you have such a close relationship with Jie Pa?” Are you two…” I hesitated, unsure of whether I should pose the question.
Nie Zun laughed weakly. “Just as I’ve told you before, he was my doctor from my previous life.”
He shrugged with both palms facing up. “I don’t know if it’s due to my cursed life but both my parents passed away. Growing up, my sister and I always depended on each other. Jie Pa has had a crush on my sister for years, while my sister had sent me to treatment with him out of fear that I’d be psychologically affected by all the incidents that occurred.”
Ah… So Nie Zun has a sister…
Nie Zun let out a bitter laugh. “Eventually, my sister got into an accident too. I thought that perhaps I cursed her to death too. My mental state must had been severely affected by the accident which caused my arrival into split zone. For some reason, Jie Pa appeared after me as well and I never knew why. He always joked that a doctor like him was driven crazy by a patient like me, but I don’t think that’s the case.”
“And your sister…”
“I saw her when I watched the snippet of reality from the lounge. They managed to save her. I suppose she’s doing well now.” I couldn’t read the profound expression in his eyes.
I bit my lip. “Then… I’m sure you must really want to go back to accompany her… And Jie Pa too…”
“I don’t know either. Who knows if I’ll bring her more misfortune by going back. Maybe my presence here will be a good cause for anyone.”
A good cause for anyone…
Must you always take others into consideration…?
How can such a person be branded with that horrible label of a cursed life… This world truly isn’t fair…
If we’re going into this topic, then aren’t I the one bringing misfortune to people instead? He had been unlucky enough to be fused with my second personality; as long as I don’t find my soul splitter, he won’t be able to return either. To be bound in this way is still a form of harm no matter how you try to spin it; by taking him away from his sister was a form of harm inflicted on him.
No longer willing to watch as he drowned in his sorrow, I waved my hand in front of his eyes. “Alright, let’s not dwell on the past since we’re already here. We should find a solution to our current predicament.”
Nie Zun nodded. “I always thought that the incidents weren’t as easy as it seemed. The disappearance of Mr Blond had almost never happened within the split zone. Now that I think about it, there was also a problem when Li Qing sliced your arm off.”
I asked dumbly, “What problem?”
“Do you remember that I had once asked her about the basiliscampus? About why it didn’t heal after it was diced by Li Qing? She avoided my question then. In retrospect, the basiliscampus should have been a human like us, or at least a human with a disguised form. If so, why didn’t it heal? Unless it’s not a human? But it isn’t, then how did such a monster get into the split zone?”
As it dawned on me, I exclaimed, “Do you mean to say that regardless of those strange monsters which were concocted from souls brought in by the soul snatcher, or composition from the experiments, they had long appeared on the day Li Qing sliced me?”
Nie Zun nodded. “I’m afraid Li Qing had been concealing information from us.”
“In that case, was there something wrong with Li Qing’s death as well? Just like how Li Wen reappeared after such a long time, could Li Qing still be alive too?” If we could establish such a possibility, then the conspiracy that was lurking behind the scenes just became scarier. Even so, the probability of Li Qing’s survival still filled me with excitement.
“We can’t bear such an optimistic view. Whatever the case, our current situation doesn’t look good. Western District has been reduced into ruins, Old Man Fan was transformed into a statue, Song Lu and Yu Liang have both fallen into enemy’s hands, and we still don’t know where Laurel is.
“I don’t mean to infuriate you but you must face the reality of this—the reality that didn’t allow any trace of optimism.” Nie Zun watched me.
I nodded. He was right. Avoidance and fear wouldn’t solve anything; right now, only danger and the unknown await us.
“So, as Ta Lai mentioned, we’re doing an equal trade off. If that’s the case, then why don’t we believe in him for the time being. If he can increase both our abilities and help us bring back Song Lu and the others, then maybe the truth will slowly float to the surface through this process.” I said to Nie Zun.
“That’s right. Since this is so, we should accept it. It just so happens that your fighting ability isn’t something I can bear to witness.” Nie Zun blinked at me, returning back to that annoying demeanor of his.
I rolled my eyes at him. “I’m brilliant, okay? Didn’t you hear Ta Lai’s compliment? About how great my tactic was in using my sense of touch to swiftly avoid the attack!”
With his pretence at being serious, Nie Zun nodded. “Yes, yes. You did great! It was indeed great to have an arm yanked off, and speak to yourself in this empty stone room for several days… It’s great indeed.”
I really want to aim a good kick at him…
“Oh, Ta Lai said you made use of your sense of touch too, but instead of evading, you attacked. What did he mean by that?” With my mind drifting back to the topic at hand, I asked in haste.
“It means that I made use of my touch to sense the moment of attack, but I didn’t move to dodge it. Instead, at the moment of contact, I used it to determine the perpetrator’s condition by analyzing their location and strength of attack. From there, I retaliated.
“In summary, you’re passive and I’m aggressive. The time he gave us to communicate is also for us to concoct the best strategy that could combine our attack and defence tactics.”
At the mention of that, a glimmer of appreciation flickered across Nie Zun’s eyes. “Ta Lai’s highly intelligent. He didn’t see the 500 meters restriction between us as a weakness but an opportunity to use it to our advantage. Since we can’t be separated, then we should collaborate our efforts; the perfect combination is the key to being successful on the battleground.”
I regarded him from the corner of my eyes. “How exceptional; you have so much to say at the topic of combat. A demon indeed, to be this interested in fighting and bloodshed.”
He merely blinked at me again. “Aren’t I doing all this to protect you?”
Even though I still held disdain over his unruly behavior, but his words still caused a surge of warmth to spread through my heart.
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