At another spot on the battlefield, Qiu Ling tumbled, unable to evade the attack from the demon in front. His arm was struck but at this moment, he couldn’t care less. He simply clutched his chest.
“Your Majesty!” Fu Heng threw off the demon he had been entangled with, rushing to Qiu Ling’s side, and taking over battling the demon in front.
Xiang Yong who had been right behind them had also noticed the commotion. He cursed and hurried over as well. He grabbed Qiu Ling though, instead of paying attention to the demons. “Your Majesty, what’s the matter?” Taking one look at his face which had suddenly lost all color, he knew that it had to be dire.
He checked the wound on his arm but it didn’t seem that deep. In fact, for a dragon, this could be considered a mere superficial wound, a scratch if the dragon was somebody as strong as Qiu Ling. Also, it seemed he had lost his balance before even being struck?
He looked at his chest that Qiu Ling was still clutching but he couldn’t see any wound there either. His brows furrowed and he looked back at Qiu Ling’s face, realizing that his gaze was somewhat unfocused. “Your Majesty, what’s the matter? Speak to me!”
Qiu Ling forcefully blinked his eyes, his fingers grasping at the fabric of his robe. “I don’t know. I … I suddenly felt my heart squeeze.” He stared ahead blankly, a foreboding feeling in his chest that seemed to cut off the air.
Xiang Yong stared at him, trying to make sense of this. Unless there was some kind of hidden attack, something like this shouldn’t be happening. Could it be the seal around the memories of the attack on the Son of Heaven was loosening? Maybe hastened by the energy he was expanding to fight this battle?
He wanted to ask but then froze. While it may be true that the seal could be weakened by constant fighting, the battle hadn’t gone on for that long. Not to mention that the result shouldn’t be instantaneous so His Majesty should have noticed. Rather than that …
He turned around, trying to make sense of the chaos around them. Finally, between the figures of the dragons and demons, he spotted two people. Seeing the blood pouring out of a wound in the chest of the smaller one, his whole body turned rigid.
No. This couldn’t be. They had hardly managed to contain the consequences of a failed attack on the Son of Heaven. How would their king manage if this really happened? But no matter how he tried, he couldn’t find another explanation. Zhong Jing Yi had been mortally wounded and their king’s soul was already reacting to this.
Xiang Yong closed his eyes and held onto Qiu Ling. Since the very first war with the demons, it had been a ploy to attack the weaker partner of an especially strong dragon to weaken them or make them go insane right there on the battlefield. If this happened to their king … he wasn’t sure if the dragon race could recover from this.
Unfortunately, Qiu Ling had also caught on to the fact that this had to do something with Jing Yi. He blinked his eyes and then looked for the mark of the dragon, only to realize that it was very close by. He turned his head and found exactly what he had feared.
Jing Yi’s eyes widened and he stared at the man next to him in confusion, still not understanding what had just happened.
“Oh. Did I forget to mention who I am? My name is Yong Hai and I am the new king of the demon race. As for you …” He rubbed Jing Yi’s cheek with the brightest of smiles before leaning in closer. “You’re the perfect pawn. I would have thought the dragon king’s lover was a bit smarter though.” He laughed and then vanished in a cloud of back smoke, reappearing somewhere else on the battlefield to sweep in when the time was ripe.
Jing Yi stood there for a moment longer before he fell down, clutching his chest. How … had it turned out like this?
A few steps away, Qiu Ling fought himself back to his feet and stumbled over, collapsing next to Jing Yi and pulling him into his arms. “Jing’er, Jing’er!”
Jing Yi looked up. He moved his lips but no sound came out. He simply stared at Qiu Ling with wide eyes, unable to explain what had happened or ask how things would turn out.
Qiu Ling stared back at him, his heart beating out of rhythm. “Jing’er?” He clutched his body, his tight embrace scrunching up the fabric of the bright red wedding robe.
Unfortunately, Jing Yi didn’t respond. His lips quivered for a moment and then stilled. He continued to stare at Qiu Ling but his vision started to blur. The sounds around him receded as if the battle had moved far, far away, or had only been a figment from the very beginning, a realistic but scary dream he had had.
He tried to reach out but his hands seemed too heavy. In the end, he didn’t even know if he had moved them a single hair’s breadth when his body finally gave out and he took his last breath.
“No!” Qiu Ling screamed and tried to shake him awake but there was nothing to be done any longer.
Zhong Jing Yi, the one born for what should have been the mere duration of a human life, lost his life in that battle between the dragons and the demons while in a palace in the Nine Heavens, crown prince Jing He slowly opened his eyes, blinking twice before he regained clarity and turned to look to the side to search for the person who had promised to guard him for the duration of his trial.
Unfortunately, not even a trace could be seen of that man.