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172 Underwater Stone Cave
Other than Gaoqin Jiuye, I also thought of somebody else.
If it was because of somebody's sacrifice that Bian Ying could live like this now, then it was clear that Cang Ming had given up much more than Ta Lai did. Though I was sympathetic to Ta Lai, it was heartbreaking to hear Cang Ming's story.
How about Nie Zun? If we couldn't be more than five hundred meters apart, and this was a binding restriction, what could that possibly mean?
But Nie Zun is different from Cang Ming, he isn't a soul splitter. So what exactly happened between Nie Zun, Gaoqin Jiuye and I?
On this, Bian Ying wasn't able to provide me with an answer. I stood up, looking at water disappearing slowly into the soil as it dripped from the ends of my red dress.
When was the last time I've looked at soil like this?
I said quietly, "After all this time, you still haven't told me what exactly are soul splitters, the truth behind them, and why the environment in the Northern District looks so much like the real world."
Bian Ying looked up at me as she said, "I can't tell you any more than what I've said. You'll have to look for the answers on your own. My only suggestion for you is to find out how your split symbol came about, and to give up on Piercer as soon as you can. Don't follow in my footsteps. Also, don't go against Du Yue."
"Don't go against Du Yue? Do you know how many of my friends had been hurt by her? I'm definitely going against her."
"Bian Ying, I've heard others say that Du Yue's eventual aim is to kill you in order to obtain Ta Lai's love. What do you make of this?" Jiao S asked an important question.
Bian Ying smiled bitterly. "Du Yue is definitely very much in love with Lai, and I don't know how deep her hatred is for me. But I know that she has always been headstrong, n.o.body can stop her in whatever she wants to do, and n.o.body would be able to escape if she wanted to kill them."
I smirked. "Ta Lai doesn't love her, so she's still sadly at the losing end."
Bian Ying shook her head. "In recent years, even I have no idea what Lai is thinking. He has almost gone insane in trying to save me. I've heard some things about what happened at your living quarters. Li Shen, whatever happened between Lai and Du Yue isn't that simple, since feelings are always complicated like this. Anyway, my advice is not to approach Lai anymore, because his goal is to take your second personality away. On that, he's rather similar to Du Yue as he wouldn't give up until he achieves his goal."
Ha, my second personality? To take my second personality away? I don't even mind giving it to him for free!
Looking down at Bian Ying, I said, "I'm sorry but I'm not able to take your advice on this. I'm different from you. I don't really like my second personality anyway, so if Ta Lai is doing all this for that other person in me, then I'm more than welcoming of him. I can't get rid of her no matter what I do, so I should be thanking Ta Lai if he really can take her away from me."
I saw Bian Ying frown for the first time, worry apparent in her eyes. "Li Shen, though you might not like your second personality, you have to know that she is a part of you too. No matter what, she'll always be on your side. If you approach Lai because of this little pettiness, you're not the only one who'd get hurt. Nie Zun, your lover, might get hurt too. Even so, are you still not going to take my advice?"
I bent down to meet her eyes. "I'm grateful for whatever you've shared with me today, but I've learnt something in the Split Zone from all that had already happened. Whether you run away to protect yourself or simply in avoidance, you'll never be able to escape your fate. If I want to survive here, I should be fighting back instead of running away."
Bian Ying's eyes shone for a second before dimming.
She sighed. "Things might not have turned out this way if only I had been as brave as you are."
I laughed, reaching out to her with a hand. "It's never too late. There's nothing difficult about this, Bian Ying. You'd have to make a choice between Ta Lai and Cang Ming. I understand that you're in love with two people, but you have to know that no matter how many people you've fallen in love with, you have to make one final choice. It's better for you to make that choice sooner rather than later, because the longer you take, the worse it'll hurt for all three of you.
"Come on, let's go. Let's see how Cang Ming and the rest are doing."
I grabbed Bian Ying as she stretched out a hesitant hand, pulling her out of the water. I looked at Jiao S, who was already up and ready to go. She was always this in sync with me.
Bian Ying's hand felt cold, just like mine. I wanted to say something as the three of us were standing on the riverbank, but a dark green tentacle suddenly rose up from the river!
I got a rude shock and I backed away a couple of steps, pulling Bian Ying with me.
Jiao S turned back to look at what was it that terrified me so, her black hair sweeping in a beautiful arc as she turned.
The three of us were now standing in a row as we looked towards the tentacle that appeared in the river. It was long and thick, with a dark green spotted surface resembling the skin of a toad. There were soft protrusions all over the tentacle, and there were five dark green claws at the end of it. It was coming for us right at this moment!
Bian Ying's brows furrowed. "I don't think this is something that belongs here in the Gate of Ghost. Why is such a thing here?"
That tentacle was approaching us fast, and without putting much thought into it, I felt around my waist with my right hand as I prepared to wield Piercer.
Bian Ying stopped me quickly. Shaking her head, she said, "Don't use Piercer. From now on, try not to use it at all."
Jiao S had already leapt into the air with her large sword in hand! She roared as she swung her sword with her right hand, producing a ray of light which flew towards those claws!
The tentacle was slashed into two as those five claws were cut, splas.h.i.+ng into the water as they dropped into the river.
We kept our eyes on the surface of the river as Jiao S retreated to my left. There seemed to be more coming our way since we defeated this monster rather easily.
As expected, the entire river started quaking after the tentacle was cut.
Why were there earthquakes everywhere I went? I wonder if it was someone causing this, or did the Split Zone just have a weak ground foundation?
The earthquake did not last long, but the ground below us suddenly collapsed!
At the same time, there was a great force pulling us into the river. As we weren't able to steady ourselves on the collapsing ground, we were sucked into the river in mere seconds.
I tried to activate my MF once I was immersed in the cold river, but once we were in the water, I felt like my MF had been frozen solid.
I started sinking into the river.
As I opened my eyes in the water, I saw two blobs of black hair floating in the water, looking like two jellyfish.
Right, this looks like all three of us are sinking.
Everything looked so similar to the real world that I actually held my breath while in the water.
I tried swimming towards Jiao S and Bian Ying, but it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. I wasn't able to use my MF properly, and I just kept sinking. There seemed to be no bottom in sight and it felt like we were in the middle of a huge ocean.
I finally decided to give up on using my MF and use my physical strength to swim towards them. However, something held onto my leg and pulled me down towards the bottom of the river!
The force was so sudden that I spit out all the air I was holding and choked on a mouthful of water I just gulped. As I wasn't able to use MF, my vision blurred momentarily and I felt like my throat was on fire.
It felt horrible as I continued gulping down mouthfuls of water as I tried to fight against the water pressure.
As I was struggling in the water, that force which pulled me down suddenly disappeared.
I felt my feet touch the ground.
I tried moving around in the water as I steadied myself. We were probably at the bottom now.
The water pressure surrounding me was gone once both my feet were on the floor. The feeling of choking and suffocating was gone too.
I rubbed my eyes.
Jiao S and Bian Ying were opposite me, looking as bewildered as I was. Looking around, I realized we were in a sort of underwater palace. Well, it wasn't exactly a palace. It was more like an underwater cave.
This place looked to be about a hundred square meters wide, and I saw the transparent waters of the river above us. The water simply floated above us without any gla.s.s ceiling. Everything in this place was made of stone - stone desk, stone chair.
As I took in the sights, I saw a familiar figure in the middle of the cave sitting on a stone chair behind a stone table.