Sir Miao's strength was fit to bursting after transforming into a demon. He thought he'd be able to easily dispatch this mysterious half-step emperor cultivator, but things didn't go as expected. Not only did he fail to trick the enemy, he was the one being controlled like trapped prey, unable to struggle free.
The fatal attack arrived as he was still panicking. A terrible Vermillion Bird image descended from the sky in dominating fashion and headed straight for his face.
"No!" Sir Miao barely had enough time to emit a bloodcurdling scream. The powerful image enveloped him in a sea of flames a second later. By the time it passed through the corrupted human, the man was no longer anywhere to be seen. The sea of flames was so hot that the image dyed the sky red when it surged upwards!
Even Old Man Clearcloud and Silversand Cavalier had to retreat a couple of kilometers before they barely dodged out of the way of the terrifying attack.
"Damn, that is too scary. It's completely comparable to an attack of sixth or seventh level emperor realm. Who is this young man?" The Silversand Cavalier muttered in shock.
Even if discounting the unnaturally powerful treasures Jiang Chen possessed, this was still one of his most powerful arts. The True Dragon image and Vermillion Bird image were the two most forceful attacks that he cultivated. The only other attack comparable to the two images was the Divine Five Thunderclap Sword Technique.
Old Man Clearcloud's forehead was covered in sweat. He was very glad he hadn't obstinately tried to get in this young man's way. Theoretically, he, the Silversand Cavalier, Sir Miao and the deceased Granny Goldneedle might not be able to gain the upper hand against this young man even if they were to combine forces. In fact, they might still end up dead in the end.
Even if Jiang Chen's deadly attacks were excluded from the equation, the golden mountain's incredible restriction power alone was something none of them could deal with. To put it bluntly, the emperor's domain that these cultivators prided themselves on was nothing before this golden mountain. This was without mentioning that the young man's domain power was ahead of theirs, even though he was just a half-step emperor realm cultivator.
They had no idea how Jiang Chen had honed his powers, but one thing they knew for sure, it was that his martial dao level and horizons completely exceeded theirs. Third or fourth realm emperor realm experts they might be, but their level was completely inferior to this young man's.
Again, Old Man Clearcloud was glad that he hadn't attacked Jiang Chen recklessly, and that the Silversand Cavalier kept a cool head on his shoulders.
The Silversand Cavalier couldn't say anything for a long time as he stared at the Vermillion Bird image that had devoured Sir Miao whole. It was only after the image disappeared into thin air that he walked forward to speak with Jiang Chen. He cupped his fists together in a salute.
"Your techniques are wondrous! The Silversand Cavalier thanks you for your chivalry. If it wasn't for you, we would've been sacrificed by the demon race already."
Jiang Chen's impression of the Silversand Cavalier was good enough, so he smiled faintly and waved his hands. "You can thank me later. We're still in danger right now."
Old Man Clearcloud had also come over. Doing his best not to show his embarrassment, he clasped his fists together. "I've lived for a long time, but it is only today that I understand what 'promising youth' and 'always someone better' truly means. Ai! To think that we would be foolish enough to…"
"Gentlemen, I'm going to get straight to the point." Jiang Chen cut off Old Man Clearcloud. "The Veranda master has surrendered to the demons, and there's even a demon base in Cloudshatter Mountain. Perhaps it was left here since the ancient times. But how did no one in the entire Great Scarlet Mid Region miss this?"
The Silversand Cavalier smiled wryly. "Great Scarlet Mid Region hasn't been doing so well in recent years."
"I guess they were so busy invading others that they forgot to take care of their own domain," Jiang Chen responded indifferently.
Neither the Silversand Cavalier nor Old Man Clearcloud were Great Scarlet locals. They were wandering cultivators used to drifting in and out of many different regions. Therefore, they didn't feel much of a sense of belonging to Great Scarlet and didn't mind Jiang Chen's insult.
Jiang Chen didn't continue his mocking. "The two of you were supposed to escort another fake Veranda master to a different location, weren't you? Why did you show up here instead?"
"Ai!" Silversand Cavalier sighed painfully. "The escorts who escorted the fake Veranda master are actually also fakes. The twelve of us disguised ourselves as normal cultivators and followed the group here. You can say that we are the first group to enter Cloudshatter Mountain. However, the Veranda master didn't tell us to guard the formation. Instead, he arranged us at various locations and told us to stand by for orders…"
Jiang Chen nodded thoughtfully. Everything made sense now. He could guess that the Veranda master was planning something nefarious for the four wandering cultivators, most likely as a sacrifice to his demon emperor. Everything around the entire Cloudshatter Mountain had been prepared long ago. No one could enter or exit anymore because the formation surrounding the mountain had been shut down.
Jiang Chen thanked his lucky stars at this point. Thank goodness he'd been one step ahead of his enemies and had managed to send Wei Xing'er away before they shut down the formation. Otherwise, she wouldn't be able to leave even though he'd rescued her from the Veranda master!
Old Man Clearcloud couldn't help but ask when he saw the stern look on Jiang Chen's face. "Young friend, has the entire Cloudshatter Mountain come under the demon race's control?"
Silversand Cavalier also looked inquisitive. It was obvious that the question interested him greatly.
Jiang Chen shook his head. "I'm not entirely certain of the details myself. I only know that the Veranda master is the mastermind, or at least one of the masterminds involved in this scheme. Do you know how many have entered?"
"We were arranged at a secluded spot and told to wait for the Veranda master's orders. We don't know how many have entered either." The Silversand Cavalier shook his head blankly.
Jiang Chen thought that was the case. Still, he could guess that a great number of cultivators had entered Cloudshatter Mountain. Nearly half of Great Scarlet's elites were here. That being said, he didn't pity the region's experts at all. He had no plans to become their savior and rescue them from their fates. There were only two objectives for him right now. One, to claim the enemy's precious earth attribute treasure for himself and two, prevent the demon emperor from resurrecting.
Jiang Chen might not know the ins and outs of the situation completely, but Sir Miao's words had revealed some information. For example, this mountain was likely a base of the ancient demons. However, it was so well hidden that it hadn't been discovered even to this day. Obviously, the Veranda master was planning to sacrifice many lives to that strange altar and awaken a demon emperor slumbering inside the ancient seal.
If the demon emperor were to awaken, Jiang Chen had no doubt that the enemy would be powerful enough to take down Great Scarlet Mid Region and its surrounding regions. Even if the ancient demon emperor was just a great emperor, he would still be stronger than most of the existing great emperors. Most importantly, it was highly improbable that great emperors were present in a mid region like Great Scarlet at all.
Most of the strongest great emperors were in the Upper Eight Regions. Even if Jiang Chen assumed that a great emperor secluded from the world happened to be somewhere in Great Scarlet, he doubted that they would stand a chance against the demon emperor. All ancient demon emperors had lived through the great war of races and were baptized by many life-and-death experiences. This was without mentioning that the demon race was an incredibly powerful race.
One demon great emperor might be powerful enough to take on two human great emperors. Of course, a demon might not necessarily be able to regain peak strength immediately after it awoke from slumber. That was why the sacrificial ritual was necessary.
The more and the stronger the sacrifices, the faster the demon emperor would regain his strength. This was likely why the Veranda master had lured so many emperor realm cultivators here. There was no better level of sacrifices than this.
Even if the Veranda master could lure over a great emperor, the demon emperor might not be able to deal with that caliber of cultivator due to his weakened state. If unlucky, he would even be eliminated by the human instead. And most importantly, this was Great Scarlet Mid Region. The Veranda master's network wasn't good enough to lure a human great emperor here.
Old Man Clearcloud was very worried when he considered that all the exits were sealed off within Cloudshatter Mountain.
"Young friend, the exits are all sealed. Doesn't that mean that it's only a matter of time before we become the demon emperor's food?"
Silversand Cavalier asked, "That Sir Miao was originally a nobody, but because he cultivated the demonic arts, he rose to fame within the wandering cultivator community in just a few years. Are demons really that scary?"
Old Man Clearcloud also sighed. "If they truly are as scary as they seem, the demon race would not need to expand their territories. Countless mediocre people would automatically want to serve them at all costs."
That wasn't random alarmist talk.
In actuality, the demon race had poor reproductive abilities. The number of pure demons in the demon race were pitifully few. Every time that race attempted to conquer a plane, the number of troops they sent out was actually quite modest. However, the demon race was good at enslaving other races and converting them into demons.
Moreover, the demon race possessed certain characteristics that made them highly attractive to worshippers. For example, those such as Sir Miao desired strength, the ability to do whatever they wanted in the martial dao world and to be superior to others. He wanted to be so powerful that he could ignore all rules and conventions of the world. A person like this could cast aside faith at any given moment and join the demon race to acquire strength that no one else possessed.
"The demon race wasn't scary and they don't just accept anyone into their midst. On the contrary, the demon race actually demands a lot from their worshippers. Only those who have the right talent and mental state are chosen. While it's true that demonic arts can be cultivated very quickly, the side effects are just as enormous. For example, the demonic clouds Sir Miao conjured may seem incredibly dominating, but he has to spend an extremely long time recovering afterwards. And if he runs into a true expert, his half-assed demonic art isn't all that scary." Jiang Chen didn't purposely belittle the demon race, but he didn't exaggerate their abilities either.