Jiang Chen's tone was taunting because he knew that these people would never commit suicide, even at death's door. They might say that they fought for the greater good of mankind, but that was just a meaningless motto . Some might not even resist temptation and would surrender to the demons when they were forced to choose between life or death.
Naturally, Jiang Chen's words resulted in much shock and hostility. The demon race might be detestable, but this young man and his provocative tone was completely unlikeable as well.
"Don't be stupid! Prince Zhao wants to recruit you because he thinks highly of your abilities. Do you really think we'll be dead just because you aren't on our side?"
"Yeah, your cultivation is weak and you don't look like a master. Why don't you take a look at yourself first before you run your mouth!"
Old Zhang let out a long sigh. His expression was both ugly and regretful, but he didn't try to persuade Jiang Chen any longer. He didn't know why the young man refused to join them despite the danger they were in. There had to be a reason behind the rejection, but Old Zhang wasn't equipped with the knowledge to guess it. Maybe this person was the same as the Veranda master. Maybe the Great Scarlet royal family had once offended him.
The Veranda master cackled oddly as he stared at Jiang Chen. "You have a sharp tongue alright, but do you really think you are different from them?"
Jiang Chen replied indifferently. "Even if I'm the same as them, it isn't beyond my ability to destroy your ritual sacrifice. The ritual hadn't begun when I left the altar. That means the demon emperor is still a ways from awakening. This is more than enough time for me to kill a lot of people."
The situation instantly turned into a standoff between three factions. The Veranda master and his demon backers represented one faction, Jiang Chen himself represented the second, and the rest of the people represented the third. However, those who represented the third faction might fall apart and flock to the Veranda master at any moment.
Surprisingly, the one thing the Veranda master was most afraid of was Jiang Chen taking too many lives before the ritual began. But on the other hand, he didn't believe that Jiang Chen was that capable, or that the others would let him slaughter them without resistance.
In addition, he had another trump card in the form of this bloody fog. The red colored mist was evaporated demonic clouds. Although it wasn't as corrosive as the demonic clouds, anyone exposed to the crimson mist for a prolonged period of time would eventually suffer the same effects. By the time they noticed it, it would already be too late.
This was why the Veranda master had dared show himself openly despite their numbers. He thought that victory was well within grasp already. He hadn't watched the battle between Jiang Chen and Sir Miao and naturally wasn't aware that Jiang Chen was an exception immune to the demonic clouds.
His mind flew rapidly through various thoughts. "Kid, I admit that you're devious, but you're nothing more but a piece of meat on the chopping block right now. Even if you succeed in causing some damage, you still won't be able to stop the demon emperor from rising. However… if you're sincere, I can consider giving you an opportunity to join us."
Expressions on Imperial Prince Zhao's side changed drastically when they heard this. They hadn't thought it possible for the two men to come to an agreement!
Old Zhang broke his silence and cried out, "Friend, even if you refuse to stand with the prince, you absolutely mustn't join hands with the demon race!"
But Jiang Chen ignored him and answered with a smile, "Oh no, it's not you giving me an opportunity. This is a fair trade. Get it?"
"Fair trade? Do you really believe you are in a position to trade fairly with me?" The Veranda master declared arrogantly.
Jiang Chen was impressed. The Veranda master was a master actor alright. He knew that the Veranda master would never compromise, but was still playing along anyways to buy time and lull Jiang Chen into lowering his guard.Jiang Chen didn't expose the plot. "You may think so now, but the truth will quickly change your mind."
In truth, he was also buying time for himself. He wasn't unaware that the Veranda master's short term goal was to delay things as much as possible. The Veranda master's trump card was without a doubt the red mist around them. The others might not recognize it, but he did.
The bloody fog was the demonic clouds, but in a different form. The difference between the two was that the mist appeared harmless at first glance, but was surely just as corrosive because it was just another form. If the demonic cloud was a murder weapon, then the red mist was the pot that slowly cooked its prey alive. By the time the prey realized it was being cooked, it would already be too late. The Veranda master was buying time for his scheme to work, but Jiang Chen was doing the exact same thing.
For a time, the atmosphere felt absolutely oppressive. At this point, Jiang Chen could not be bothered to warn these people about the danger they were literally breathing in because they would all die. The only difference was whether they were sacrificed by the Veranda master of killed by him.
Time passed slowly.
Someone on Prince Zhao's side finally lost his cool as the minutes ticked by little by little. Patently, the cultivator with the poorest mental fortitude was the first one to break.
"Your Highness, we can't just keep waiting like this." Someone suggested.
Prince Zhao wasn't a fool. He also knew that certain death awaited them if they continued to do nothing.
"What do you think, Old Zhang?" Prince Zhao asked the elder next to him.
Old Zhang pondered for a moment before answering. "The Veranda master is certainly buying time for something. In my opinion, there is nothing worse than waiting until the demon emperor awakens. None of us will be able to escape when the worst happens."
"So you're suggesting that we break through this formation?" Prince Zhao asked.
"We have to. Even if we are to die in the process, it is still a better fate than being devoured by the demon emperor."
Old Zhang was admittedly one of the few people in this group who hadn't lost his conscience completely. However, it was only because the human race and demon race held deep prejudices against one another. There was no telling if he would do the same thing in a wholly different matter.
The three great sects also spoke up. "Imperial Prince Zhao, we have come to a decision. We agree that we must get out of this formation. Please give us the order."
"Yeah, please give us the order, Your Highness!"
The Veranda master sneered sinisterly. "You want to break out of this formation, don't you? But do you really think that this formation of infinite boundary is so easy to escape?"
He wasn't underestimating his opponents, he just knew that this formation was unbelievably powerful. Even a great emperor would be hard pressed to find any clues in here, much less these people. Moreover, the master knew these people very well. None of them were even qualified to find a corner of the formation, much less break out of it.
The Boundless Fog Formation wasn't qualify as a top rank killing formation, but it was a top rank trap formation. The formation itself hardly had much offensive power, but its ability to entrap people ranked amongst the best. As its name might suggest, the Boundless Fog Formation was an infinite world. There were mist everywhere, and it seemed there was no end in sight.
Of course, the sea of mist wasn't nearly as boundless as its name might suggest. It was just a spatial effect of the formation that made those trapped inside feel like the formation had no end.
Many years ago, there had been a great cultivator of the three realms who'd managed to refine an spatial art centered around his palm. As a result, he was able to toy with a great demon sage and literally prevent it from escaping his palm, no matter what the great demon sage tried.
The truth behind the great cultivator's infinitely vast palm technique was an extremely high level spatial manipulation technique. He had created a boundless space within a formation that tricked its prey into thinking that the world had no end. Had the great demon sage been able to find a flaw in the formation, the effect would've failed instantly.
This Boundless Fog Formation was undoubtedly incomparable to that great cultivator's technique. However, it did utilize some similar concepts.
Imperial Prince Zhao's people didn't think that deeply about things. They only knew that this was a fight for their lives, and that the price of failure was death. If they couldn't escape before the demon emperor arrived, they wouldn't even be left with a corpse in the end.
The group split into four smaller groups under Prince Zhao's command. They set their sights in four different directions and did everything in their power to try and break through the formation. It was part of their agreement to work together no matter what obstacle they faced.
North, south, east and west were the four directions these four smaller groups charged towards wildly. A moment later, everyone suddenly sensed some enemies right ahead of them. They hurriedly raised their arms and attacked in full force.
Bang bang bang! Attacks clashed furiously against one another inside the crimson fog, followed by a series of dull groans.
"No, wait, I think they're our own people!"
"Ah? Is that Elder Gao?"
"Why did you attack without checking first, Elder Zhang?"
They yelled and hollered at each other. At this point, they'd all noticed that the 'enemies' were their own people. Somehow, the four groups had run into each other.
"How was this possible? We advanced down four different directions and moved in a straight line. None of us strayed off the right path either, so how on earth did we run into each other?"
Luckily for them, no one had died during the torrent of attacks. It was the best they could hope for in this situation. Prince Zhao's expression turned even uglier. Not only did this formation seemed to have no boundaries, they somehow ran into each other after progressing for some time. This was just too bizarre.
"Your Highness, this doesn't look good." Old Zhang looked very dejected. "This formation looks simple at first glance, but it employs a surprisingly high level spatial technique. If we can't find a flaw in this formation, then we will never be able to break out with brute force."
Prince Zhao looked like he had suddenly figured out something. He nodded once, and an earthen brown, ancient talisman suddenly appeared in his palm.
"Ai, I suppose I have no choice but to use this ancient talisman."
Old Zhang was stunned when he saw the talisman. "Your Highness, is that the famed Skyclearer Talisman gifted to you by the royal forefather himself?"
The Skyclearer Talisman? Jiang Chen was a bit moved when he heard this. To his knowledge, the Skyclearer Talisman was an incredibly useful item.
More specifically, the Skyclearer Talisman was wonderfully good at breaking formations. As long as the formation in question wasn't of the unparalleled kind, it could discover and attack the eye of a formation immediately, thus breaking it. This talisman was without a doubt an ancient talisman. No current talisman makers would be able to create it.