It seemed like he had sensed what he was thinking. Slowly, Si Lan transformed his shape within the dark mist.
Si Lan intentionally cast a spell, allowing only Song Guang to see him. In Song Guang’s complex and shocked gaze, he calmly removed the seal on his forehead.
The ordinary cultivator’s seal couldn’t control him at all, and this decaying black mist was terrifying to mortals but meant very little to him, a demon lord who had lived for over a thousand years.
Previously, he had avoided the black mist out of fear that it might attract the attention of Lou Yu.
He didn’t want to stir up too much trouble.
Song Guang struggled, trying to crawl towards Si Lan. His eyes changed from shock to a plea, as if he wanted Si Lan to save him again. However, only cracking sounds were heard from his mouth, the sound of bones breaking.
Si Lan continued to watch him with an expressionless face. If Song Guang hadn’t betrayed him earlier, he might have considered saving him. But now, this man deserved his fate.
“So, it was you.”
Lou Yu’s figure slowly became clear in the pitch-black stone passage. His purple immortal robe was shrouded in black mist, flowing elegantly without any wind, and his gaze was stern and sharp, with a hint of a strange aura.
Upon hearing Lou Yu’s voice, a strange, despairing wail escaped from Song Guang’s throat. He stared fixedly in Si Lan’s direction and tried to crawl closer to him.
Seeing that Si Lan refused to lend a helping hand, Song Guang used his gaze to implore Lou Yu. There was someone else there, and he wanted to use them as a shield in his final moments.
Unfortunately, before he could reach Si Lan, his body was engulfed by the black mist. Initially, his limbs twitched, but they gradually fell still. After the mist dissipated, only a skeleton remained on the ground.
Lou Yuqing cast a cold gaze at the skeleton, which instantly turned to ashes. He then walked slowly, as if he had recalled Song Guang’s gaze just moments ago, and his eyes happened to look in Si Lan’s direction.
Si Lan’s heart leaped into his throat, and he involuntarily held his breath. He had used invisibility magic at the moment and was concealed above the tunnel’s ceiling. He wasn’t sure if Lou Yu, with his current cultivation level, could detect anything.
Fortunately, Lou Yuqing furrowed his brow, concentrated for a moment, but didn’t notice anything unusual. He then proceeded towards the round platform with the mist spirit.
Si Lan, however, fell into silence. He gazed at Lou Yu’s departing figure, his brows furrowed.
The little white dragon in his arms, seeing Lou Yuqing leave, couldn’t help but tug at Si Lan’s collar, urging him to leave quickly.
There were many traps in this tunnel, and they had already raised Lou Yu’s suspicions. If Lou Yuqing managed to extract any information from the snake spirit, escaping would become difficult.
But at this moment, Si Lan seemed to have lost his spirit, staring blankly and motionless.
The little white dragon had to bite Si Lan’s chest to get his attention. Si Lan snapped out of it, his form turning into a streak of blue light as he left the secret passage.
Once back on the surface, the little white dragon gave Si Lan an annoyed look and flicked his two dragon whiskers.
A procrastinating demon lord.
He couldn’t even understand its hints.
If they were too slow, who knew what might happen.
It couldn’t help but look at Si Lan with a sense of frustration. After observing Si Lan’s expression carefully, it suddenly froze.
Si Lan’s face was frozen, his eyes vacant, and he mechanically moved forward like an emotionless puppet.
The little white dragon felt something was wrong and tugged at Si Lan’s collar.
Si Lan lowered his gaze and looked at the little white dragon, and it noticed a glimmer of moisture in his eyes.
Suddenly, he smiled, but there was no hint of joy in his eyes.
Why did Lou Yuqing, who had always been focused on cultivation, suddenly get married? Why did the compassionate Lou Yuqing turn into an executioner who showed no mercy? And why had Lou Yu, whom he had known for years, always avoided him?
He finally understood now.
It was because Lou Yuqing was dead.
When the fake Lou Yuqing walked up to him, Si Lan realized that Lou Yu’s core was corrupted, his soul had left his body, and his flesh had long been dead.
The current Lou Yuqing was merely a puppet manipulated by dark magic. His internal organs had been hollowed out, and his scent was masked by a strange fragrance.
But Lou Yuqing was an Immortal at the Tribulation Crossing stage, and there were very few in the Six Realms who could easily take his life…
How could he have died?
Si Lan couldn’t comprehend it.
The grayish-white moonlight spread like a vast, all-encompassing net, piercing through to Si Lan’s core. The bone-chilling cold seeped into his flesh and bones along the lattice, freezing his boiling blood. The intense sorrow felt like a sharp sword deeply embedded in his back.
He stood on the mountaintop, facing the chilly wind, his face pale, eyes bloodshot. He wanted to control himself, but his fingers trembled uncontrollably.
He didn’t know how long he had been standing there, but by the time dawn approached and the crescent moon hung high in the sky.
He remembered that he had first met Lou Yuqing at a similar time.
Back then, because of the failure of his third marriage, he was depressed and withdrawn, finding solace in a secluded cave and sleeping all day.
One day, while he was soundly asleep, the cave suddenly collapsed, burying him under a pile of rubble.
Angrily, he brushed aside the dirt and rubble to reveal his head. He saw a menacing black eagle with spread wings attacking a cultivator on the ground. Each step the eagle took shook the earth, and the cave he had been sleeping in was crushed by the eagle’s talon.
He generally avoided getting involved in matters of other realms, especially when it concerned the mortal realm. But today, this eagle demon had overstepped its bounds, and it was asking for trouble!
He lashed the eagle demon’s back with his whip, causing it to screech in pain. The sharp-beaked eagle suddenly turned towards him and launched an attack. Its enormous wings flapped, stirring up dust in the air.
He refused to be outdone, revealing his own massive phoenix wings, and with a single stroke, he made the old eagle disappear without a trace.
He slowly retracted his wings, transforming back into human form, and descended gracefully in front of the wounded cultivator.
The cultivator was covered in blood, his features barely discernible, and his purple robe was soaked in crimson. However, he still tightly held onto his longsword, even in his near-death state, maintaining a fighting stance.
Si Lan silently sighed in his heart, feeling it was a shame. If this man weren’t a cultivator, he would have taken him to the demon realm.
He took out a medicinal fruit from his storage bag and gave it to the wounded man to eat, then paid him no further attention.
Several days later, the eagle demon came for revenge, using human children as bait to lure Si Lan into a trap. Si Lan was on the verge of death when a purple aura came from the east, slicing through the trap.
He turned around and saw a cultivator in a purple robe and a jade belt descending from the sky.
The cultivator had a handsome face and a cold expression. Though he wasn’t a god, he exuded an aura similar to one.
Si Lan took a glance at the cultivator and deduced that he was the wounded cultivator from that night. So what Xu Yi had said about him being Lou Yu’s savior wasn’t entirely accurate, because Lou Yuqing had also saved him.
Between the two of them, it didn’t matter who owed whom.
He knew that humans feared and despised the demon race, especially the vengeful cultivators. So, after he and Lou Yuqing had jointly defeated the eagle demon, he had prepared to fight Lou Yuqing again.
However, to his surprise, Lou Yuqing tossed him a spiritual fruit.
The fruit was from the hundred-year-old cypress tree on White Dragon Mountain, capable of extending one’s spiritual power by twenty years.
Si Lan looked at Lou Yuqing with confusion. Lou Yuqing calmly said, “Consider it a repayment for your fruit.”
As he turned to leave, Lou Yuqing added in a calm tone, “Thank you for that night.”
Si Lan held the fruit in his hand for a while, then smiled faintly.
This was the first time he had smiled since his third wife had passed away.
In the following years, whenever he encountered misbehaving demons in the mortal realm, he often crossed paths with this cultivator. They indirectly witnessed the cultivator’s transition from the Golden Core stage to the Tribulation Crossing stage.
Unknowingly, they had become friends.
Even though there were times when Si Lan and the cultivator didn’t see each other for years due to their seclusion in cultivation, their friendship remained strong.
But now, Lou Yuqing had suddenly died, in a gruesome and mysterious manner, without a word.
What was even more ironic was that he was supposed to attend Lou Yu’s wedding celebration tomorrow!
Thinking about this, Si Lan couldn’t help but clench his fists and stared fiercely at the massive and bizarre Teng Ying tree in front of him.
It looked like a wild beast, coiled on the Xuanling Mountain, showing off in the night wind. Its appearance seemed like a challenge to Si Lan, telling him that it was responsible for all of this, and he couldn’t escape it.
Si Lan couldn’t resist taking out his Xuanxin whip to discipline the creature, but as he lashed out at Teng Ying, his sleeve was suddenly grabbed.
He turned to see the little white dragon tugging at his clothes with both paws.
Though it didn’t say anything, its crimson eyes were filled with concern. Its two front paws clung to Si Lan’s sleeve, and it shook its head.
The enemy was hidden in the dark, while they were in the light. It wasn’t wise to startle the snake in the grass.
Si Lan’s lips moved, as if he wanted to say something to the little white dragon, but he felt a bitter lump in his throat and couldn’t speak.
He slowly closed his eyes, then opened them again. The raging flames in his eyes had dissipated, replaced by a calm demeanor.
He put away the Xuanxin whip, which coiled around his right arm like a vine, instantly transforming into an embroidery pattern on his clothing.
He embraced the little white dragon and whispered in its ear, taking a deep breath.
He needed to stay calm.
Right now, he had no idea how powerful the person behind all this was, and he didn’t know their intentions. Recklessly making a move now would only worsen the situation.
The cold wind blew, cooling his anger. After calming himself down, he returned to his chamber.
The enchanting snake he had captured yesterday still lay in the corner, looking weak.
Si Lan cast a spell to release the snake and heal its external injuries. “I saw your snake mother today. Go back and tell your people that she’s currently safe.”
With those words, he extinguished the oil lamp and went to sleep.
The snake hesitated for a moment and then, as if realizing something, quickly disappeared from the room.
In the darkness, Si Lan’s back gradually relaxed, as if it could ease some of the discomfort in his heart.
The little white dragon sat by the bed, coiled its tail, and watched silently.
At first, it didn’t know what had happened, but from his reaction, it began to guess what might be going on.
Poor Demon Lord.
His cultivator friend was now just a puppet supported by dark arts.
However, from that puppet, it had faintly sensed a familiar aura, suspecting that the person controlling the puppet was the same one who had disrupted its tribulation.
But why were they now targeting the friend of the Demon Lord? Was it ultimately to draw the attention to the Demon Lord?
Thinking about this, the little white dragon’s golden eyes grew solemn.
It didn’t take long for Si Lan to fall into a deep slumber, but he was awakened by eerie hissing sounds in his dream, with the overwhelming scent of blood filling his nostrils.
He opened his eyes and suddenly found himself in a dark dungeon, surrounded by invisible monsters that pressed against his skin. The intense smell of blood hung in the air, but he couldn’t see anything. All he could hear was the dripping of water, and rhythmic, echoing sounds in his ears.
A shiver ran down his spine, and he hastily turned around, only to see a massive serpent head materialize behind him.
The serpent head had a gaping maw, and it devoured him in one swift motion.
He jolted upright from his nightmare, fear in his eyes. Sweat drenched his hair, and a few strands stuck to his face.
It was just a bad dream.
Could it be that dealing with snakes these past few days had led to such strange nightmares?
He wiped the sweat from his face, took a deep breath, and sat in front of the bronze mirror. However, his mind couldn’t help but wander back to the recent series of events at the Xuanling Sect, making his head spin. He decided to pause for a moment, tidy up his hair, only to discover a row of bite marks on his neck.
These bite marks were in the same place as yesterday’s, but they were of different sizes.
He hadn’t realized that he had been so heartbroken last night, and even the spirits of this Xuanling Mountain didn’t forget to take a bite of him in the middle of the night.
They were truly pushing their luck.
Unable to contain his frustration, Si Lan tapped the table, and the vibration woke up the little white dragon in his bed. The dragon opened its eyes groggily and heard Si Lan’s angry muttering.
“If I find out who bit me, I will definitely squash that little bug.”
The little white dragon: …
It curled its tail, feeling guilty. Last night, it had been afraid for his safety, so it had silently guarded him. But while guarding, it suddenly found him somewhat enticing and couldn’t resist taking a bite.
However, after sating its hunger, it forgot to destroy the “evidence.”
Could it be true, as Yugan said, that its smaller form has made it a bit less intelligent?
Si Lan cast a soul-binding array on himself. If the little critter came to suck his blood again tonight, the array would capture it. He wanted to see which audacious creature dared to sneakily drink his blood.
He had initially wanted to ask the little white dragon if it noticed anything strange last night. But when the dragon met his gaze, it immediately turned its head away and buried it under its body.
Thinking it didn’t want to talk to him, Si Lan didn’t press the matter.
Little did he know that the dragon was feeling guilty.
He reached out to touch the dragon’s spiritual void and realized that it was even less vibrant than it had been during their time at the Seven-Stringed Cave. How could it deteriorate while being taken care of?
“Little one, what have you been up to recently?”
T/N: Hey there! There is plenty more where that came from, so stay tuned! And stay healthy! Straighten your posture, so some stretches and drink some water before continuing hehe~
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