Ye Zichen stepped into the sky. Then, before he could even finish his sentence, he disappeared, just like that, right before everyone's eyes.
Gone without a trace.
The moment he disappeared, Black Dragon spread out his spiritual awareness to investigate.
The two of them had found so many times, he subconsciously assumed that this could be just another of Ye Zichen's schemes. As a result, for the first fifteen minutes following Ye Zichen's disappearance, Black Dragon didn't dare make a single move.
At the same time, he warned his clansmen to be cautious.
His spiritual awareness scanned the area repeatedly. To avoid careless errors, he didn't skip so much as a single withered leaf.
Even so, he truly had found nothing.
He hadn't the slightest clue what was going on, so he glanced significantly at the grey-haired man sitting next to him, Su Yiyun.
He now looked even older than he had before, a worn and weathered look in his turbid eyes, just like an old man who'd experienced all the world had to offer, good and bad, and saw through its cruel hypocrisy.
His body shook subtly, and even though it wasn't particularly hot out, he was sweating profusely. Whenever a breeze blew past, you could detect a subtle, yet vile stench.
These were among the five signs of decay; he was approaching his limit!
"Ye Zichen suddenly... cough, hack..." Su Yiyun started to speak, but before he finished his sentence, he started coughing violently. His hands shook as he covered his mouth with a handkerchief, then wiped away the saliva pooling at the corners of his lips.
"He.... he's always been full of schemes," he laughed weakly. "We can't take his sudden disappearance lightly."
This resonated with Black Dragon, who had actually been thinking the same thing.
"Brother Su, you're absolutely right," he said. "I agree. His sudden disappearance is definitely a trick, which is why I haven't ordered my clansmen to attack. I also immediately investigated with my spiritual awareness, but...."
From his expression, Su Yiyun could see that he hadn't discovered anything. He trembled again and wiped the sweat from his neck and forehead before continuing.
"Then all I can say is you didn't investigate carefully enough," he said slowly. "Let's think of it this way; given his position, he'll definitely fight to the bitter end. There's only one possible explanation for why he vanished like that: he must be hiding somewhere we can't find him, watching and waiting for the moment we let our guards down... to deal us a fatal blow."
"Then if that's what you think...."
"We'll wait a while longer," said Si Yiyun without any hesitation.
Black Dragon grit his teeth and frowned as he examined Maple City, Luo Wei, and the others. They seemed alert but not flustered after Ye Zichen's sudden disappearance....
"Alright, we'll do as you say," said Black Dragon. Then he noticed Su Yiyun's incessant sweating and turned to the demons by his side.
"Block the sun for me!" he called out. "Give Grandmaster Su some shade."
Immediately, two teams of horsemen approached, then stood in a line and thoroughly blotted out the sun's rays.
Su Yiyin sat weakly on his chair. Li Min'e stood behind him, tears rolling down her face.
Black Dragon, too, sighed in response and said dejectedly, "Brother Su, for the demon race, you've.... At this point, this sort of trifle is all I can offer you."
“This is enough," Su Yiyun said faintly, then closed his eyes.
The demons who'd emerged from the teleportation formation stood motionlessly in the sky, but Luo Wei and the others down in Maple City were the same way.
To tell the truth, they were rather baffled by Ye Zichen's sudden disappearance.
During their prior discussions, Ye Zichen hadn't told them about any other plans. He'd seemed poised to fiercely defend the city while they waited for reinforcements....
But now he'd suddenly disappeared.
"Father," called out Luo Yang, the city lord's son. He frowned at the demons in the sky, then transmitted to Luo Wei, "why did Emperor Ye just up and vanish like that?"
“No idea," transmitted Luo Wei as he stared intently at the demons. "That said, either way, our strategy won't change. In the current situation, the demons are at an advantage. If they don't move, we won't move either. We have to wait for reinforcements."
Luo Yang nodded gently. By now, Lin Ru had already sent out the signal.
"How could he just vanish?"
As the Master of the Laws, she was naturally able to confirm that Ye Zichen was no longer within the Three Realms. She frowned in surprise but soon nodded in understanding.
"How clever of him. No wonder he insisted that I come. Jeez, you went to the Struggle for the Three Realms, so why'd you have to leave me here with this mess?"
As Lin Ru disparaged him, a group of demons ran to Black Dragon's side.
"Boss," they said, "the enemy troops sent out a signal flare."
"This is undoubtedly a signal for the other members of the alliance to rush over," frowned Black Dragon. "Brother Su, should we really keep waiting? Right now, Maple City's defenses are weak. How about we take advantage of this opportunity and take the city in one fell swoop? If we wait for reinforcements to arrive, we'll be at a disadvantage."
"Ignorant!" berated Su Yiyun without so much as pausing to think, his voice still weak. "Ye Zichen might very well have suddenly disappeared precisely because he predicted you'd react like this after seeing the signal flare. He could be lying in ambush, just waiting for us to make our move. What would we do then? Black Dragon, this is our only chance. We have to be extremely careful. You can not be negligent!"
As Su Yiyun's rebukes turned into earnest appeals, Black Dragon repressed his desire to send out the troops.
He pursed his lips and nodded, then said through gritted teeth, "Brother Su, you've really thought of everything. Hmph, even if their reinforcements arrive, so what? I'll still have nothing to worry about it.
"It would be better if you could think that way too," said Si Yiyun breathlessly. "In general, you need to think things through more. You can't always be so reckless. You're in charge of the entire demon race and your every word and deed has a profound impact on them. I.... I don't have much time left, so you...."
"Brother Su, say no more," said Black Dragon, taking Su Yiyun's hand. "Just wait until I attack the Three Realms. I'll definitely find some famous herb or medicine that can extend your life."
As he grasped Su Yiyun's hand in his, Black Dragon realized how intensely they'd been shaking.
"Brother Su, you have to hold on."
"What do you mean, 'hold on?' Forget it. I'm almost at my limit. There's nothing worth hanging on to." Su Yiyun shook his head and laughed. "I know my own body better than anyone. I followed you here for fear you'd be overly reckless. I can still keep you in check. In addition, I wanted to watch with my own eyes as you took over the Three Realms, and I wanted..... to leave my remains here, on the battlefield."
With that, he relaxed his hands, knit his brows, and sighed lightly. "Bro, In the future, I.... I can't be by your side anymore."