A demon emperor who'd just regained roughly thirty percent of his strength was theoretically inferior to a human great emperor, but really wasn't as far as behind as the numbers might imply. An average peak ninth level emperor would be lucky to escape Demon Emperor Bloodmalva with the demon's current state, much less fight him head on.
But Jiang Chen wasn't afraid of the palm seal bearing down on him at all. Instead, he blurred into a beam of light with increased speed and dived at the ground even more quickly than before. He passed right through the ground in an instant.
"Useless effort!" Demon Emperor Bloodmalva proclaimed in a cold, indifferent voice, raising the his blade and slashing at the ground repeatedly like he was tilling the fields.
Crash! The giant rocks on the ground split apart like tofu beneath the Bloodmalva Demon Blade's assault. Deep ravines crisscrossed the ground.
"Hmm? He can dive this deep?" Emperor Bloodmalva sounded a little surprised. At this point, he was forced to admit that the young man was more capable than he'd initially imagined. Although the demon emperor had only executed a few moves, they were all unique techniques that he was reknowned for.
Of course, their strength were incomparable to when he was at his peak, but Emperor Bloodmalva had thought that victory was all but certain since his opponent was just a mere half-step emperor youngster.
And yet, reality was a cruel mistress. He was unable to defeat the young man despite using many moves. While it was true that that young man had empowered himself with a strengthening talisman, his continued existence still was unbelievable to the demon emperor.
After all, he was an ancient demon emperor! According to the Veranda master, the cultivators of the human race had become much weaker and more cowardly compared to the ancient times. Barely any ancient human cultivator had left legacies behind at all. Emperor Bloodmalva had been emboldened by this information. In the ancient times, he had been just an average general. He was too weak to qualify as a commander, much less a demon forefather.
At first, he'd thought about hiding himself even after returning to peak strength, but then the Veranda master had told him that there hadn't been an empyrean expert in the human domain for many years. In fact, the general populace believed that empyrean experts no longer existed in the human domain. All powerful empyrean experts had either been forced to depart to another plane due to the heavenly laws or had left for other mysterious lands.
This had greatly boosted Emperor Bloodmalva's confidence. It even made him scorn the human cultivators of current times. However, after he'd broken free, he discovered that he was unable to take down the very first human youngster he encountered despite using nearly every powerful skill in his arsenal. He began to begrudge the Veranda master.
Emperor Bloodmalva's murderous nature was fully provoked by Jiang Chen at this point. His blade strokes and blade qi nearly turned every inch of the floor upside down. But no matter how powerful his slashes were, he wasn't able to dig out Jiang Chen.
"Boy, I'll catch you and skin you alive even if you escape into heaven or hell!"
Now incredibly enraged, Emperor Bloodmalva transformed into a bloody cloud and charged into the ground. It was obvious that the demon emperor hated Jiang Chen so much that he was willing to go through any trouble to find the human.
Jiang Chen was currently very deep underground thanks to the Bewitching Lotus of Fire and Ice. He knew that the demon emperor's consciousness was a high enough level that the demon could track Jiang Chen through lingering traces of presence. This was why Jiang Chen didn't plan on hiding. As for using the Bewitching Lotus of Fire and Ice to fight Emperor Bloodmalva, the idea never crossed his mind.
At this level, there was almost nothing that the Lotus could do against the demon emperor unless the spirit creature broke through to great emperor realm. While the Imperial Advent Defense and Onslaught Talismans had enhanced Jiang Chen greatly, the same couldn't be said for the Lotus.
Jiang Chen calculated the elapsed time before suddenly activating the Ancient Crimson formation disk in his hand. Out of the ten great formations it could simulate, he immediately chose the Major Artifice Formation without much thought.
He didn't expect the formation to be able to contain the demon emperor at all. All he wanted was to restrict Emperor Bloodmalva for an instant, just enough for him to launch a single attack. Chances of success aside, it was something he had to try.
"Brother Long, don't reveal yourself just yet. Attack together with me when I give you the signal to. Everything hinges on this one attack!"
Jiang Chen knew that he was incapable of beating Emperor Bloodmalva even in the demon's limited state. The talismans were just temporary enhancements. He wasn't actually a great emperor, and the rest of his equipment weren't up to par either. He was strong, but his fighting prowess was ultimately incomparable to that of a true great emperor. The sheer gap in power meant that his chances were few from the start. It was exactly because that his chances were few and far inbetween that Jiang Chen wished to attempt an attack using the underground terrain.
Emperor Bloodmalva chased after the human murderously. The demon emperor wasn't especially proficient at fighting underground, but he was powerful, angry, and confident in his abilities. That was why he chased Jiang Chen while throwing caution to the winds.
Jiang Chen activated the formation disk when he saw the rapidly approaching crimson cloud. The Major Artifice Formation instantly came to life. Emperor Bloodmalva's surroundings immediately changed.
"Hmm?" The demon emperor frowned slightly, but he quickly grasped what was going on. "A formation? Boy, you are but half-step emperor. Even if the talismans have enhanced you to the realm of great emperor, do you really think that you can trap me with a formation? You are far too naive!" The demon cackled gruesomely and swung the Bloodmalva Demon Blade. He was actually planning to slash through all obstacles with brute force.
His reputation was well deserved. His eyes were so keen that he was able to instantly discern that the formation was just an illusory formation used to confuse one's opponents.
The demon emperor waved his weapon and parted the air with terrifying blade qi, yelling, "These are all just fabricated lies! Destroy, destroy, destroy them all!"
The Major Artifice Formation was ten times stronger than the Minor Artifice Formation and more, but it was nothing more than a small trick in the ancient demon emperor's eyes. Of course, the formation was weak because Jiang Chen could only do so much with his current level of power. If it was commanded by a real great emperor expert, the effects would've been entirely different.
That being said, Jiang Chen had never planned to trap Emperor Bloodmalva with the formation in the first place.
The young man yelled when he saw the demon emperor waving his blade to cut through the formation. "Brother Long, now!"
Jiang Chen activated another formation, this time the Ancient Slaughter Formation of Seven. It was the same formation he'd used to ambush the Veranda master. He had arranged a formation within a formation. Everything had been set for this one attack, and now the time to do so had arrived.
Jiang Chen unleashed the golden body of demons and gods to the maximum and gathered countless flames of Prehistoric Flame Essence to summon the Vermillion Bird image. The attacks erupted towards the demon like a violent volcano.
Meanwhile, Long Xiaoxuan revealed himself in full draconic glory and brought his own domain to bear. He swiped repeatedly at the air and drew in the qi of five thunders to form a terrifying dragon seal of five thunders, sending it flying towards the demon emperor as well.
These two attacks were the strongest attacks Jiang Chen and Long Xiaoxuan could muster at their current level. Long Xiaoxuan had called upon his bloodline and entered a berserk mode, enhancing his attacks so that they rivaled that of a half-step great emperor's. Jiang Chen's Vermillion Bird image was also on par with a great emperor's attack as it was composed of Prehistoric Flame Essence and he himself was enhanced by the Imperial Advent Onslaught Talisman.Emperor Bloodmalva broke out in a in cold sweat as the combined attack hurtled at him. The Ancient Slaughter Formation of Seven had distracted him at the perfect moment, so by the time he reacted, the two attacks were already closing in on him. Panic finally dawned on the demon emperor's face as he swiftly summoned demonic clouds to form a line of defense around him.
However, the terrifying attack instantly tore through the makeshift defenses and barged straight at his chest. Emperor Bloodmalva raised his demonic blade defensively in front of him.
The powerful attack sent him flying backwards. The collision was so powerful that it ignited countless shockwaves and literally tore a hole several kilometers wide in the underground world. His qi and blood roiled as he spat repeated mouthfuls of blood.
Jiang Chen hurriedly cried out to Long Xiaoxuan. "He's hurt! Get him!"
Jiang Chen's decisiveness had allowed him to seize an opportunity to hurt Emperor Bloodmalva. If they didn't attack him now, they wouldn't get a second chance to kill him.
Emperor Bloodmalva had never suffered such a terrible loss except at the hands of empyrean experts. For a time, he could hardly believe this was happening.
The demon emperor finally snapped out of his shock when he saw Jiang Chen and Long Xiaoxuan pouncing towards him. He understood that his life was literally on the line now. The attack earlier had completely crushed his courage, so he shrieked with no trace of imperial dignity left, turned into a bloody cloud, and fled madly towards the surface. Obviously, Emperor Bloodmalva was sounding the gong of retreat.
"Don't let him escape!"
Jiang Chen and Long Xiaoxuan gave pursuit without hesitation, but the demon emperor's speed was barely affected even though he'd just suffered an injury.
The trio quickly returned to the surface and Emperor Bloodmalva turned around back to the altar. It was obviously that he was planning to escape back into his old haunt. Jiang Chen and Long Xiaoxuan chased after him relentlessly. Jiang Chen knew that they wouldn't be able to get another opportunity to kill the demon emperor if he was allowed to regain his full strength.
Forget Great Scarlet Mid Region, the entire human domain would be at risk if Emperor Bloodmalva managed to return to his peak form. Jiang Chen might dislike Great Scarlet Mid Region, but he also knew that Emperor Bloodmalva's ambitions didn't encompass that region alone.
Meanwhile, the demon emperor was feeling a mixture of anger and shock after Jiang Chen and Long Xiaoxuan dealt him an injury. He never imagined that he would be hurt by a human, much less a half-step emperor youngling. It was unprecedented humiliation to say the least. Moreover, the human boy was accompanied by a dragon! The demon hadn't had the chance to catch a clear glimpse, but it really did look like a true dragon.