When she heard this news, Su Yan froze.
It took her a while to get her emotions back under control. Finally, she smiled as if she didn’t want to burden anyone and asked casually, “how did you run into him? Isn’t he working for the demons now?”
As soon as she finished her sentence, she laughed self-deprecatingly. “That’s right, he works for the demons. You were just out fighting them, why wouldn’t you run into him?”
Her tone was indifferent as she asked and answered her own questions.
Ye Zichen watched as she forced herself to smile. For a long time, he said nothing.
“What’re you looking at me like that for?” Su Yan batted her eyes and smiled. “You don’t think I’d let him influence my state of mind, do you? Come on, I’m not as fragile as you think.”
It was that same smile as before: a smile unwilling to weigh others down. If you weren’t familiar with her, you perhaps couldn’t see through it but Ye Zichen could. He saw it in the angle of her lips and the way she narrowed her eyes.
It was as if she’d practiced it hundreds or thousands of times; it was a fixed pattern engraved into her mind.
He watched her a while longer. Finally, he couldn’t help but ask, “is that really what you’re thinking?”
“It is,” she said with a decisive nod. “It’s true: Su Yiyun was my brother back in the Modern Realm and he was always good to me. If we’d gone on living in the Modern Realm, he might have stayed that doting older brother forever. Unfortunately, this isn’t the Modern World. He’s no longer my loving big brother.”
“We’ll go back sooner or later.”
Deep within his heart, Ye Zichen had always seen returning to the Modern Realm as his goal. Regardless of whatever else was going on, this wasn’t the place they truly belonged.
“You don’t need to push yourself too hard.” Su Yan smiled and shook her head. “Being here feels quite good too. My friends and lover from the Modern Realm are here with me. Besides, if we really do go back, I don’t know how I’d explain it.”
“Explain what?” asked Ye Zichen in confusion.
“Where Su Yiyun went.” Su Yan cocked her head to the side and took a deep breath. “He’s my uncle’s beloved only son. If Uncle asks where he went, what should I tell him? I can’t just say ‘Yiyun went off to join the demons and is working as their formations grandmaster,’ nos can I? That wouldn’t work too well.”
Su Yan’s tried her best to keep her tone as facetious as possible. From time to time, she even stuck out her tongue and laughed. She didn’t want Ye Zichen to worry on her behalf.
She was timid.
She still wasn’t accustomed to this place or to her life here.
Although Su Liu’er and Su Zhu treated her well, like a princess, this still wasn’t her home.
But she didn’t want her weakness to influence Ye Zichen. She wasn’t stupid, and even if she was, she’d still know the person in her heart was already shouldering an enormous burden, a load heavy enough to crush just about anyone.
She didn’t want to become a burden to him or increase the weight on his shoulders, not even a little.
Sometimes, she truly envied Xia Keke. She was always smiling foolishly, no matter what was going on. It was as if she’d never worried about anything, nor had she ever made others worry on her behalf.
Little did she know, Ye Zichen knew her far too well. How could he not know what she was thinking?
“That’s true.” Ye Zichen decided not to expose Su Yan’s act. Instead, he smiled at her and said determinedly, “but I still want to go back.”
“Mm, no matter where you go, I’ll follow you.” Su Yan smiled sweetly at him, then fidgeted with the hem of her clothes. “My brother…. Su Yiyun. Has he really completely thrown his lot in with the demons?
“He has.” Ye Zichen responded to her tentative question decisively, leaving no room for doubt. “In the ambush earlier, we could have finished off a lot more of the demons, which would have been a great help in our future battles. Then he appeared and put an end to their losses. In the past, I couldn’t be certain but now I know for sure: he truly has sided with the demons.”
“Oh. That’s truly a pity,” Su Yan sighed.
Then she said gravely, “when the time comes, you absolutely must not be softhearted. Since you’re certain he’s allied with the demons, you have to put aside your former friendship.”
“I will.” Ye Zichen still sat on the ground. Now, he tightly clenched his fists and frowned into the sky. “When the time comes, I absolutely won’t show mercy. No one can stop me from taking hold of the future. No matter who gets in my way, I’ll handle them personally, even if it’s Ol’ Three himself.”
“That’s good. Now that you’ve said that, I can finally relax.” Su Yan smiled and nodded. She put her hand to her forehead and peered up into the clouds. “I won’t disturb you any longer then. I’ll go now, then?”
Then, just as she was on the verge of leaving, she stopped. Her beautiful face was tense as she repeated herself, seemingly afraid Ye Zichen had forgotten. “When the time comes, don’t show any mercy. Got it?”
When she saw Ye Zichen, she turned and left. However, the instant she turned away, her shoulders shook and her warm smile grew devastatingly bleak.
As Ye Zichen watched her leave, he muttered to himself, “I’m sorry.”
Then his gaze grew cold. “I can’t show mercy, not even if I wanted to, not even if you’re…. Su Yiyun.”
The vast and powerful demon army swept through the sky. By now, there was no longer any trace of sadness in their eyes.
A great battle was about to begin. Even if Black Dragon hadn’t warned them, they knew better than to let their emotions sway them.
Gu Li stood before the army, shoulder to shoulder with Black Dragon, yet he’d felt a cold chill down his spine the whole way here.
Suddenly, he spoke. “I never would have guessed that, after that first ambush in the canyon, we wouldn’t encounter anything at all on our way here.”
Black Dragon looked at him coldly and snorted, “what, you wanted another one?”
“Your Excellency, you’re too sensitive.” Gu Li shrugged helplessly. “Since they didn’t try to ambush us again, it seems they’ve decided to simply fight to the death.”
“I don’t need you to remind me of that,” replied Black Dragon coolly.
Then he arched his brows and asked, “we’re almost in their inner sanctum, yet I haven’t seen any of your subordinates even after all this time. Surely you’re not planning to make the demons fight the Beast Region on their own while you reap all the benefits?”
“How could I? Since we’re working together, I couldn’t possibly do something like that. You’ve led your entire army to battle. My subordinates will naturally participate as well.”
With that, a line of dark shadows came into Black Dragon’s line of sight. They approached from afar, led by three indistinct figures.
Before long, the three hurried to Gu Li’s side.
“Gu Li, Your Excellency.”
The three arrivals were none other than the Zombie Progenitors: Jiangchen, Hanba, and Houqing. An endless army of hungry, vicious blood zombies followed behind them.
Gu Li nodded at them, then smiled at Black Dragon. “Look, Your Excellency. My people are all here.”