Book 13: Chapter 63
Instead of getting annoyed at my staunchness, Zero chuckled under her breath so softly that you’d think she was raised to be a gentle woman. “I know you despise me. Frankly, the feeling is mutual. Right now, though, I need your cooperation, and you need my help. The only way we’ll survive is if we combine our strength. I assume you aren’t the type to seek death.”
“You despise me?” I widened my eyes. “Ha, haha, hahaha. I’m too tough for your hands? Have I done anything wrong since that day? You’re the ones who’ve been heckling me and trying to kill me. Even though there were people around, you kicked me around as if I was your ball. That’s not despising me; that’s manufacturing conflict. How can we cooperate if our grudge remains?”
“I concede that I chose my words poorly. I apologise first and foremost.”
This… isn’t supposed to be how it goes? She has looked down twice since entering. What does it take for this lass to be sensible?
“I wronged you. Whatever it is that you want as compensation, I shall accede.”
Does she owe Wu Ping money or something? This is not the Zero I know for sure.
I decided to shake my head after thinking it through and then replied, “I will pass. We are on different levels. It’s simple for you to kill me. I can’t trust you when you can squash me whenever you choose.”
“It sounds like I have wronged you badly. You’re right. A team without trust is a team without a foundation. I shall show my sincerity. I hope this will make you feel somewhat better.” Zero did the last thing I expected her to do – remove her silver mask.
Nothing you said could convince me she was from the Central Plain once I saw her face. Her round eyes were a distinct feature of gentle maidens in Jiangnan. She should’ve been around Young Shiyi’s age, but there was no way she looked even twenty.
Um… Who are you?
She lifted the corners of her lips to her ears and flashed her white pearls, giving a totally different vibe to her masked character. “As everyone knows, Mr. Zero is the Western Region’s Lord San Shen’s proxy, the highest ranked leader under Lord San Shen’s banner. A number of people have seen him. He is a man, not a woman… Judging from your reaction, it seems you suspected I’m not Zero.”
I didn’t suspect. I knew. I knew from the moment I was here.
Zero worked under me for several years. As if Zero would stoop down to working for Jiang Chen. Heck, if Zero heard I was held here, I’d have been taken out on a palanquin with flags all around.
Back to my initiail question: who are you?
“I am a member of Divine Moon Cult, indeed, and I’m not some low-ranked member, either. My Skywind Nine Forms is a secret part of a secret discipline of Divine Moon Cult that isn’t taught to outsiders. That is solid proof of my membership.”
Yeah, even the cleaners of Divine Moon Cult know Lawless Twelve Forms, lady.
With that said, I could’ve counted on two hands the number of people who mastered the second form, so being able to master up to the ninth form would make her on par with a Guardian.
“I’m an important member of Lord San Shen’s faction. I’m posing as Zero to lure some people out, and… it seems I failed after my initial success.”
You talking about me? But you weren’t the one who lured me out? I used my true skills to make Jiang Chen capture me. Where’d you learn your credit-stealing skills from?
And, I still don’t know who you are.
She whispered to me how we fought side by side, counted chickens and stars whilst lying on the lawn, and a whole bunch of other stuff that sounded convincingly real. Still, I couldn’t identify her to save my life.
“Do you know who the dungeon escapee is?”
“Uh, a handsome guy?”
Zero chortled. “You may not believe me, but that was Divine Moon Cult’s Lord San Shen.”
“Ah, so Lord San Shen is a handsome guy.”
Zero grumbled, “You don’t seem surprised.”
“How the hell do I not seem surprised? My shock has surpassed my anger. I’m just… using silence to neutralise sorrow. More pertinently, why did you capture Lord San Shen? Aren’t you on the same team?”
“I didn’t capture him. He fell for a trap. Jiang Chen doesn’t know his identity. Either way, none of this is important right now.” Zero gave me a smirk. “You know all the secrets now. Sorry, but we’re in the same boat now. It’s too late for you to leave now even if you want to.”
I blinked twice. “Hmm?”
Secrets? What secrets?
“You know my secret and have seen Lord San Shen’s true appearance, so… you get it, right?”
So what secrets are we talking about?
“… You know… Forget it.”
Let’s not forget it. What secrets do I know now? It’s a secret that I am myself now?
“Danger lurks around us as we speak. Unfortunately, I don’t have many men at my disposal. If I have to choose among the strangers to seek help from, you are my only choice.”
“Lord San Shen has been rescued but is trapped here, so they will seek revenge on us. That’s why I chose you.”
“The first person they want to kill is me. You’re next.”
“And why is that?!”
Why would I want to kill myself?
“Simple: you saw them and are the loudest advocate of there being intruders.”
“And what happened to Yan Jiangnan?” I grouched.
“Given how dimwitted he is, he’s unlikely to be a threat. You could send him away with his tail between his legs if you made up a story. Dead or alive, he’s irrelevant.”
I don’t know who you are, but you have discerning eyes. I’ll give you that. How’d you know I scared him off?
“So why choose me?”
“You’re different. You’re the only doctor in the base right now, and you have a good head. You understand my arrangements and actions. I’m not used to working with idiots. Speaking to smart people saves a lot of time. Considering you defeated Elder Lianhua, you will be a helpful ally once you’ve recovered. Furthermore, you didn’t cower when I could’ve killed you. I like your determined kind. Therefore, I removed my disguise and told you the truth.”
Don’t make it sound like I stripped you! I’m a gentleman! You str-, removed your mask on your own accord!
With a corner of her lips tugged up, she stretched a hand out to me. “If you agree, we will be ironclad allies. What say you?”
I took her hand and asked, “Uh, is food provided for allies?”