When the black-robed man saw the light barrier appear around them, he put his hands together in an incantation gesture and began to utter an ancient and obscure incantation. A sinister Devilish Qi erupted from his body and transformed into an inky black tentacle that continuously waved itself around.
Han Li's eyes narrowed as he stared at the black-robed man. However, faint sounds of thunder rang from the cuff of his sleeve along with a flicker of golden light. Han Li had once before killed a devil cultivator of a similar cultivation in an instant. So long as he took advantage of the opening when the devil cultivator attacks, he would be able to deal with him with ease.
But in that next moment, the black-robed man's eyes glowed scarlet, and a beastly, savage roar left his mouth. Soon after, the devilish Qi surrounding his body disappeared. Instead, it expanded, doubling in size in the blink of an eye.
"Yi!" Han Li yelped in surprise. His astonishment wasn't due to his opponent's sudden transformation, but the complete disappearance of his devilish Qi. A strange, unstable aura had replaced it.
The black-robed man's crimson eyes revealed a trace of madness. His inflated body then shrank into the size of a three-foot-tall dwarf before shooting back towards the wall of the barrier in a blur.
In his alarm, Han Li's mind began to churn. He felt a faint sense of dread.
He raised his hand and shot two dense bolts of lightning from his hands, forming a huge net of lightning in the air to capture the black-robed man. Soon after, he shook his sleeve, summoning a small blue shield in front of him. It quickly enlarged and blocked his front. He then slapped his storage pouch with his other hand, summoning the Restriction Breaking Bead into his grasp.
If matters turned for the worse, he would immediately make use of the bead and break the restriction. Since he knew his opponent was up to no good, he wasn't about to stay still and subject himself to harm.
Just as Han Li's thoughts fluttered about, the black-robed man let out a miserable scream when the net of golden lightning enveloped him. Then with a huge explosion, every inch of his body scattering through the air as a bloody pulp.
Han Li found himself in complete amazement. He originally believed his opponent had performed some ferocious self-detonation technique. However, the entirety of his flesh was scattered all over the light barrier. The explosion itself didn't contain an iota of power.
During Han Li's bewilderment, he discovered something odd. His opponent's flesh remains stuck onto the light barrier, rather than dropping to the ground. As Han Li stared at the flesh, he saw that they began to squirm.
He was dumbstruck by the sight.
With several pops, the flesh remains sputtered into crimson mist and began to spread around the light barrier. In the blink of an eye, it had painted a majority of the light barrier crimson, and a bloody, pungent scent filled the air.
Han Li was aghast, and he hastily threw the Restriction Breaking Bead behind him. With a bang, a black light ruptured as soon as the Restriction Breaking Bead struck the barrier. Soon after, the affected portion of the barrier flashed with light, causing the entire barrier to tremble.
Han Li was overjoyed by the sight and he hastily flicked his fingers, launching successive attacks of azure light at the affected area in an attempt to break it. But during that moment, a crimson light flashed before him, enveloping the weakened portion of the barrier in mist.
Han Li felt his heart sank and he glanced around, discovering that the entire light barrier had turned crimson and roiled with crimson mist on its surface. Drops of blood seemed to be forming out of nowhere, further condensing the putrid scent of blood in the air.
Without another thought, he opened his mouth and shot a bowl-thick, dense bolt of lightning at the crimson wall in front of him. In a burst of golden light, the crimson mist scattered, but it soon restored itself to its original form, as if it hadn't suffered any damage in the first place.
In his shock, he ceased his plan of releasing his Bamboo Cloudswarm Swords and wore a grave expression.
At that same moment, the other nine wagered battles had experienced the same scene. With self-detonation, the barriers turned crimson with blood. The ten Heavenly South cultivators in the wagered battles were all trapped by the light barriers, seized by a technique they couldn't defend against.
The ten Heavenly South Core Formation cultivators that were controlling the spell formation from the outside knew things were far from good. They vigilantly glanced at the spell warriors across from them as they hurriedly formed the hand incantations to halt the spell formation. To their surprise, the spell warriors immediately flew back to their armies without a word once they saw the barriers turn crimson.
The ten Core Formation cultivators weren't relieved in the slightest. Rather, they all knew that matters were grim. It seemed the change in the light barrier was certainly the Moulan's doing.
They managed to dissolve the spell formation barrier as they expected, but strangely enough, a crimson mist had appeared in its place. The mist began to spin and condensed into a thick crimson layer, forming a complete barrier around it. It appeared as if were made of the blood of several hundred people.
When Master Sunreach and the others saw the blood barrier appear and that the ten cultivators down below were unable to stop it, they managed to keep calm as they suddenly flew down in streaks of dazzling light.
Once Master Sunreach arrived down below, he examined the barrier with astonishment and gloomily said, "Go back! This isn't something that you're capable of dealing with."
When the cultivators heard this, they were greatly relieved and hastily withdrew. Before Cultivator Song left, she glanced at Han Li's blood barrier with a trace of worry.
On the other side, the shriveled old man and the other spell warriors grew excited upon seeing the Heavenly South Nascent Soul cultivators trapped. They also appeared calm as they watched the three late-Nascent Soul cultivators fly down to the spell formations as if they weren't afraid of the barrier being broken.
The shriveled old man turned around and smiled at the black-robed man standing behind him. "Sect Master Fang, it is a success! I hope this Bloodcatching Barrier is as formidable as you say and is capable of trapping these ten cultivators for half a day. With ten fewer Nascent Soul cultivators, their strength will be greatly decreased. We'll be able to strike a decisive blow against the Heavenly South during this time."
The black-robed man glanced at the shriveled old man and coldly smiled. "Don't worry. This Bloodcatching Barrier is one of my sect's six grand techniques. Not only was each blood corpse nurtured for a hundred years, but we particularly had the blood corpses consume a Devilspirit Pill. I also personally controlled the blood corpses with a thread of my spiritual sense in order to conceal their true identity. With such care taken, I was completely confident of its success. Even if those late Nascent Soul cultivators wished to eliminate the barrier, they wouldn't be able to accomplish it in a short amount of time without consuming a large amount of magic power. Will you be giving them the opportunity to do so?"
As if proving the black-robed man's words, Master Sunreach had arrived before the blood barrier and swiped at it with a blinding cut of sword Qi. With a series of fierce echoes, the blood barrier merely shook for a second before turning to normal.
Master Sunreach wore a gloomy expression upon seeing this. When Wei Wuya and Devil Concord saw this, they didn't bother to attack the barrier. With their experience, they were able to immediately see just how powerful the blood barrier was.
This blood barrier was extremely durable and there were other peculiarities about it. But from that single strike, the three were able to tell that this barrier solely meant to trap and isolate rather than to harm enemies.
The three glanced at each other and wryly smiled. They originally believed that the wagered battles were an opportunity to heavily injure the strength of the Moulan. They hadn't expected that the enemy planned to trap ten of their most powerful from the very beginning. This miscalculation had caught the three eccentrics off guard, causing most of their preparations to be in vain.
Wei Wuya sighed and slowly asked, "Brother Yi, what kind of Devil Dao technique is this? Does your Six Devil Dao Sects have techniques of this nature? Those people self-detonated to employ them. It's unfathomable."
Devil Concord replied with a frown, "We have no such techniques. This is the first time I've seen such a strange secret technique. It seems the cultivators of the Jin Empire cannot be underestimated."
In their annoyance, they didn't have the mind to question their enemies. Drumbeats were already pounding from the spell warrior armies and divisions of spell warriors began to take to the air. As for the spell warriors that remained on the ground, they began to chant a series of incantations and assumed a position to attack.
The three great cultivators were unshaken by the sight of this. The formations of their own army began to move in response, varied color lights began to shine from it.
Master Sunreach thoughtfully said, "We've suffered quite the loss, but it is fortunate that they are only temporarily trapped rather than dead. So long as they can stall, they will have the opportunity to emerge. We originally had more high-grade cultivators to start with. Even if we have ten fewer, we won't be that much weaker."
Devil Concord and Wei Wuya knew that these were only self-comforting words. With matters having come to this point, there was nothing they could do despite the fury in their hearts.
"We aren't needed to direct the battle as it unfolds. We only need to deal with the three Moulan Divine Sages!" An ominous glint flickered from Devil Concord's eyes as he spoke. He then paid no further notice to the two at his side and raised his head to shout at the spell warrior army, "I've long heard of the three Moulan Divine Sages possessing unfathomably profound spirit techniques. Might I ask to experience them and invite you to battle?"
With the use of a secret technique, Devil Concord's yell caused the air within several kilometers to tremble and leave echoes in its wake. For a time, the incantation being uttered from both armies were interrupted. Even a few of the spell warriors in the air swayed; those with weaker cultivation had also momentarily fallen from the sky.