Outside Maple City.
The sky above the city was completely covered in a dense mass of dark shadows. Black Dragon stood majestically before his troops, clad in red armor, massive greatsword in hand.
“Why haven’t I seen your subordinates yet?”
Body enveloped in spiritual energy, Black Dragon hefted his greatsword and looked askance at Gu Li.
Gu Li’s presence was eerie and sinister. Black Dragon truly detested standing beside someone like him.
“Hee…. My subordinates?” Gu Li narrowed his eyes and grinned. “It’s not that you haven’t seen them, but they’re different from your subordinates. I don’t need to directly command them. “ Although he smiled, it seemed cold.
Spiritual energy slowly circulating around his body, Black Dragon said, “Then what you said about ‘paving our way in…..’”
“My Dear Black Dragon, no need to get all worked up. We’ll know the results before long,” said Gu Li with his usual grin.
“Then I’ll just have to wait and see,” said Black Dragon. He smiled calmly on the surface but inwardly, he disdained Gu Li’s hypocritical smile and hidden cruelty. He longed to simply end him, here and now.
It was just, they’d yet to settle things with the Three Realms. Although he was inwardly disgusted, he had to endure and continue cooperating with Gu Li.
Of course, he wasn’t overly concerned that working with Gu Li would get him into trouble. The way Black Dragon saw it, although Gu Li possessed all sorts of terrifying tricks, they simply weren’t on the same level. Gu Li would be no match for him.
Once they’d purged the Three Realms of their enemies, it would be time to settle the score with Gu Li.
He’d never once forgotten that it was Gu Li who’d stolen their former home.
Gu Li seemed to sense the enmity radiating off Black Dragon and smiled tightly.
“Right,” he said, “why haven’t I seen Brother Su around?” He scanned the demons’ ranks a few times but saw no trace of Su Yiyun.
“Brother Su’s health isn’t up to it. I had him stay in the city so he could rest. What, do I have to report this sort of thing to you too?”
“My dear Black Dragon, you’re hurting my feelings. Brother Su and I are both from the Modern Realm. Surely I’m allowed to be concerned for his well-being?”
Gu Li grinned, looking just like a petty profiteer. In particular, his eyes and body language in resembled the errand boys often seen in television dramas.
Black Dragon could be considered among the most valiant, heroic figures of his generation. He truly despised having to work with this sort of person.
Despite his efforts to restrain himself, his face twisted in contempt. “Didn’t Emperor Ye come from the Modern Realm as well?” he snorted, “Why aren’t you concerned for his well-being?”
“Emperor Ye and I walk different paths. He’s the Yellow Emperor and I’m Chiyou. Black Dragon, Your Excellency, surely you already know that?”
When he heard Ye Zichen’s name, Gu Li’s eyes frosted over. Black Dragon glanced at him coldly, then ignored him.
Meanwhile, Gu Li stealthily examined the demon troops’ military formation. A smirk tugged at the corners of his lips.
His attempts to sow discord had borne fruit after all; it seemed Black Dragon no longer fully trusted Su Yiyun.
Just then, a demon scout dashed towards them. He stopped about ten meters away from them, then knelt to the ground. He pointed behind him and said, “reporting to his Excellency Black Dragon, the entire Flying Serpent Clan has left the Beast Region.”
“Flying Serpents? Black Dragon arched his brows in surprise then said, “don’t intervene. Let them exit unimpeded.”
The scout departed. Black Dragon was silent for a while before turning to face Gu Li.
“This is the ‘petty scheme’ you were referring to? You got the Flying Serpent Clan, one of the Eight Divine Beast Clans, to brave their formations on our behalf? This is no mere ‘petty trick.”
Gu Li wasn’t at all surprised that Black Dragon saw through him. He simply smiled and said, “It’s not so impressive. With enough incentive, even the Eight Divine Beasts are corruptible.”
“Then do you mind telling me how you turned them?”
Although Black Dragon dared not compliment Gu Li’s character, he was extremely curious to hear how exactly he’d convinced the Flying Serpent Clan to betray the Beast Region.
Ten thousand years ago, Black Dragon was already eying the Three Realms Hungrily. At the time, he’d hoped to form an alliance with the Flying Serpent Clan. He offered them an extremely tempting inventive but in the end, he still failed to win them over.
“You’re really interested in that? That’s right, you offered them an olive branch all those years ago. It’s just, in the end, you had nothing to show for your efforts.” Gu Li smiled.
“You know about that?”
“Of course. The head of the Flying Serpent Clan told me all sorts of things. Back then, you offered to give him the entirety of the Beast Region. Even so, he still flat-out rejected your offer.”
Black Dragon’s smile vanished. Still grasping his greatsword, his hands trembled. After a moment, he got his emotions back under control and smiled, “it seems you two talked an awful lot. Then you ought to have discussed why he rejected my offer?”
“We did. The clan head’s reasons were actually rather simple. He said your offer was far too grand. He was afraid he’d bite off more than he could chew.”
“It’s that simple?”
All those years ago, he’d returned to the demons after failing to win over the Flying Serpent Clan. He even disdained them for being overly greedy; they stubbornly refused to help despite being offered the entire Beast Region!
Now, he finally understood. It wasn’t that their appetite was too large. Rather, it was too small!
“Larger incentives aren’t always better. Some people are ambitious and far-reaching. In that case, a larger piece of the pie is naturally excellent motivation. However, Black Dragon, your understanding of the Flying Serpent Clan Head was too shallow. He’s timid and suspicious by nature. You offered him too much; he assumed there had to be some kind of hidden catch.”
Gu Li responded to Black Dragon’s confusion with frank assurance.
As he listened to Gu Li’s response, Black Dragon nodded inwardly. It was true; at the time, he hadn’t analyzed the situation all that deeply. All he’d known was that the Flying Serpents’ relationship with the other seven Divine Beast Clans wasn’t particularly harmonious.
He’d chosen them as his way into the Beast Region based on that alone.
As for the rest, he truly hadn't considered it.
“Then what incentive did you offer them?”
The head of the White Tiger Clan killed the Flying Serpent Clan Head’s son.” Gu Li didn’t directly answer his question. Even so, it was enough. Black Dragon already understood what he’d offered the Flying Serpents.
“Ah, so that’s how it is. Lesson received.” Black Dragon nodded at Gu Li. He truly did admire Gu Li’s ability to persuade and manage others.
He’d convinced the Flying Serpent clan to betray the Beast Region and had even convinced the Zombie Progenitors to obey him.
He dimly recalled the moment Gu Li first arrived in demon territory. Based on his status as Chiyou’s reincarnation, Black Dragon had allowed him to stay.
Then, in less than two short years, that former youth had grown so much, he was already able to vie for power with Black Dragon.
Although Black Dragon was inwardly unwilling, he couldn’t help but admire Gu Li.
“Your Excellency Black Dragon, surely you’re exaggerating? There’s no need to discuss giving and receiving ‘lessons.’ Right now, the two of us are in an alliance. Isn’t turning the Flying Serpent Clan to our side to both of our advantages?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
I'm settled back in the United States. Expect updates as usual starting today. I'll make up the missing chapters before the end of the month. Thanks!