A giant crater had opened up from where the Cataclysmic Seal pushed open the mountain. Trees and leftover rubble littered the crater where the mountain once stood, but now that the peak was 'pushed' away, all that was left was a large expanse of black stone as flat as a platform.
This 'platform' had a hole in it about ten meters in length, but because of the surrounding black stones, it was hard to tell there was even a hole here without taking a good look.
But Bai Yunfei had seen it. His eyes made contact with the cave.
About four emotions rippled across Bai Yunfei's face. A third of those emotions was shock, the second was suspicion, the third hesitation, and the last ten percent was of joy.
Who knew what kind of things was going on here?
Xiao Qi and Long Lan changed directions when they saw Bai Yunfei head for Zheng Kai. They flew off towards where the corpse was, Long Lan looking quite excited to have yet another item to boost his strength (the soulgem of the black-scaled serpent), and Xiao Qi feeling a little distracted with him thinking about just how much of a boost he'd get from killing the serpent.
So because of their distraction, neither of the two soulbeasts noticed Bai Yunfei stopping. He stared at the place for a moment and then changed direction to head for the area.
"Was I imagining things? But that feeling definitely felt more real than not. What is it…."
Bai Yunfei was muttering to himself, his right hand touching at the Soul Sentinel Scarf on his forehead.
When he was flying on over to Zheng Kai, Bai Yunfei felt a strange pulse of energy come from the scarf on his head. It was just for a moment, but Bai Yunfei felt it. Something was guiding him, and it was because of that feeling that he turned that direction and found out the cave that had been hiding there.
It was unfortunate that the feeling was only for a split-second. It was just short enough that Bai Yunfei was left doubting himself over if what he felt was real or if it was just his Soul Sentinel Scarf using up soulforce for something.
Soon, Bai Yunfei was at the center of the platform where the hole was.
There wasn't a reaction coming from the Soul Sentinel Scarf now. Bai Yunfei lowered his right hand and stretched his waist. Sizing up the hole, he sent his soulsense forward and started to probe it out.
It was a rather ordinary-looking hole that went for several hundred meters into the ground this way and that.
This was very clearly once a hidey-hole of the black-scaled serpent.
"It's a good thing we stopped the serpent when we did. Otherwise it would've gone down this hole and be completely out our reach." Bai Yunfei sighed to himself with a shake of his head. His curiosity now fully satisfied, he prepared to head to where Zheng Kai was.
It would appear that his senses were wrong. There was nothing special about this hole in particular.
A voice spoke into his ears as he turned.
This was no voice, something was speaking into his mind!
Bai Yunfei froze in the air. He remained still for just half a second before he turned around.
This time, there was a highly suspicious look on his face.
There was nothing to be seen or felt from this hole still.
But Bai Yunfei didn't leave straight away this time. He hovered around the hole as if waiting for something, staying still to listen intently.
It was another few seconds later, but Bai Yunfei heard it. He really did 'hear' a voice speak to him!
He couldn't put his finger on just what this was, or if the speaker was a boy or girl. The only thing he knew was that the voice was very weak and short as if it was coming from far away. His eyes were staring intently at the hole though. His mind was telling him one thing and just one thing alone:
The strange feeling he was having was coming from the hole!
"What's….what is this…..?" Bai Yunfei narrowed his eyes. His soulsense was already probing the hole and was about half a kilometer deep already, but he couldn't find anything out yet. The summons from his mind was gone now, and everything seemed like he was just imagining things again.
"Forget it, perhaps this is some sort of mysterious energy wave from Black Cloud Valley. I just need to get the snake gall and bring it back to the Underworld School…."
Again, Bai Yunfei decided to give up on whatever this hole was about. He hadn't really the time or inspiration to wonder about this cave and reminded himself of him needing to help save the life of the girl back in the school.
As he prepared to leave, Bai Yunfei slowly gave one last look at the hole.
But in that one last look, something strange took place without anyone realizing it….
"The snake gall should be here, doesn't look like we have anything to worry about. I'd wager it's completely safe and can be taken home, what do you thi—Yunfei? Eh?"
Zheng Kai had been observing the carcass of the black-scaled serpent and speaking to Bai Yunfei when he turned around at last to look at him.
That was when he realized Bai Yunfei was absolutely nowhere to be seen.
That was when a startled cry erupted from overhead as well.
It was Xiao Qi!
Zheng Kai looked up in concern, "What's wrong, Xiao Qi?"
Xiao Qi was circling around the area now, his eyes searching frantically throughout the area. In his panic as he combed the area through, he spoke, "Yunfei….Yunfei's gone!!"
"What do you mean gone? Wasn't he just right the—"
He pointed a finger off to the right, but then he froze when there was absolutely nothing in that direction to point at.
He looked around again.
"F*ck! He really is gone!" Zheng Kai swore.
As they were both saying, Bai Yunfei was….gone from sight!
It wasn't just in the visible sense either. Bai Yunfei's aura couldn't even be detected!
"That can't be, there's no way Bai Yunfei would play a joke like that at this time…." Zheng Kai muttered to himself. Taking off to the skies, he flew to where Xiao Qi and Long Lan were now to look around. Scouring the skies and ground, none of them could see even a trace of Bai Yunfei.
"Ah, Xiao Qi! Don't you have a bond with Yunfei?" Zheng Kai's eyes lit up with that suggestion, "You should be able to sense where he is with that, right?"
But Xiao Qi only shook his head in abject despair. "I can't…..I can't even sense his aura through our bond!"
"What?!" This time, Zheng Kai was well and truly startled. "Are you joking with me?! How can he disappear from even your soul bond?!" He cried out in exasperation.
A bond made between soul cultivator and soulbeast was a connection that allowed one to sense one another no matter how far the distance. If one couldn't sense the other, that usually meant one of two things.
Either one of the two parties was making the connection faulty between them through an enigmatic method of some kind, or……one of the two parties was already a very empty shell devoid of life.
The first option was clearly not possible.
Bai Yunfei would never sever the connection and neither did he know of a way to do so.
And there was also no way he could've died so quickly like that. Xiao Qi would've felt Bai Yunfei dying and be hurt by the damage to his soul.
So then….where in the world did Bai Yunfei disappear to?!