Demon Emperor Bloodmalva wasn't scared of anything in the world. In particular, he tended to hold human cultivators in contempt. But now, before this particular human, he felt the slightest sliver of fear. It was because of none other than Long Xiaoxuan.
"Just where did this human cultivator come from? How did he manage to contract a true dragon as his battle-beast? The true dragons are a proud race. Why would one of them serve a mere human?" The demon emperor was thoroughly confused. Unfortunately, it was a bad time to grapple with philosophical problems such as this.
Breaking free from the chase was a top priority. A great demon emperor was being hunted down by a brat still stinking of his mother's milk! The demon was even as frightened as a stray dog. The very thought of it pained Emperor Bloodmalva's heart. It was so frustrating that he almost wanted to cough up blood.
Shame, aversion, dejection. A multitude of emotions hung upon his chest, pressing against it uncomfortably. Thankfully, the demon emperor was no slouch in terms of quickness. He reached the altar in no time at all. Getting there gave him a much needed boost in confidence.
Turning from bloody cloud into a streak of red light, he darted towards the center of the altar. This was the place where the blood sacrifice had been completed. Apart from Wei Xing'er, the eighty-one female cultivator girls had been sucked dry of their blood and essence. Their corpse-like bodies were laid out on the altar's smaller satellites.
Sitting down upon the main altar, Emperor Bloodmalva activated the formation embedded within. The eighty-one smaller altars began to turn gradually, spinning into orbit around the main one.
The bright mark on the demon emperor's forehead suddenly lit up. An unnatural ray of red light shot out towards the eighty-one smaller altars, like a candle lending its flame to a mass of peers.
All of the bodies upon the smaller altars trembled in synchronicity. All at once, they began to slowly crawl back up. But these young girls' faces were bloodless, their expressions stiff and numb. They were like actual corpses that had been reanimated, and that actually wasn't far from the truth. It was an oddly chilling sight.
The demon emperor's light produced similar marks upon the girls' foreheads, though their versions were a tad fainter.
"O demonic soldiers, heed my command! Battle preparations, for an enemy comes!" As he spoke, bloody demonic clouds began to roil around the altar once more. Crimson wisps began to coalesce into the girls' bodies.
There was more than enough bloody clouds to go around here. Being charged with demonic energies gave the cultivator girls newfound strength, and they moved with renewed speed. They brimmed with terrifying demonic aura and were creepily eerie. The once-pretty girls now looked more like female demons, and soulless ones, at that.
"Here we are, Brother Long. Be careful!" Jiang Chen and Long Xiaoxuan arrived only a few moments later.
A bizarre scene jumped into focus as soon as he descended into the subterranean structure. Jiang Chen frowned at the corpse desecration. "Evil must be purged. What has caused this perversion must die also!"
It was patently clear to him that the cultivator girls were no longer among the living. They emanated the same aura as the blood demons' demonic clouds. They had unquestionably become not only Emperor Bloodmalva's sacrifices, but his soldiers as well. This made him quite upset.
"The blood demons are truly the worst of their kind!" Jiang Chen declared angrily.
Emperor Bloodmalva was still somewhat pale. He sat upon the main altar, a flock of his girl soldiers all around him. Bloody haze from demonic clouds permeated the air. Furthermore, he had a formation to protect him. He felt much safer now. He glanced coldly sidelong at Jiang Chen, as if wanting to burn an image of the youth into his mind.
"I don't care who you are, kid. The humiliation you brought me today will be visited tenfold upon you! Mark my words, that day will come."
"Why wait?" Jiang Chen snickered. "Victory and defeat, life and death; everything will be decided by the end of today."
"I admit that you have some skill," the demon emperor replied coolly. "But you achieved what you did purely through ambush. When I have but half my strength, I'll be able to kill you as easily as stepping on an ant."
Emperor Bloodmalva was exaggerating things a little, but his claims weren't entirely unfounded. He had suffered a loss today because of two reasons. One, he hadn't recovered the bulk of his strength yet, and two, he'd been snuck up on. In a full-on fight, he absolutely did not believe that he would be wounded.
Regardless of those contributing factors, however, the demon emperor took to heart the unprecedented humiliation of being hurt. Thus, he hated Jiang Chen to the bone.
"Brother Long, back me up. I'll try to break through the formation!"
Jiang Chen wasn't scared of the demonic clouds. Though Long Xiaoxuan was a true dragon, he wasn't necessarily immune to the corrosion from the same. It was better for Jiang Chen to do the work himself. A wounded demon emperor meant an even weaker opponent. He wanted to strike before Bloodmalva had a solid handle on anything.
Without hesitation, he drew his Pentecolor Divine Swords. The beginnings of his Divine Five Thunderclap Sword Technique began to form.
Torrent of Ten Thousand Swords! That was one of the most lethal techniques of the Thunderclap Sword. Will brought into being a myriad of blades. A single sword was enough to lead them, and ten thousand moved with the unity of one. The swords gushed forth like an incessant flood.
The demonic clouds were quite potent defensively. But the Torrent of Ten Thousand Swords, bolstered by the Imperial Advent Onslaught Talisman, was even more jaw-droppingly powerful. The swords became countless streaks of light, pouring down from the heavens like a shower of stars.
Boom, boom, boom.
The formation around the altar was beginning to crack under the pressure of the unrelenting sword-strikes. Jiang Chen escalated the force of his assault by producing his Vermilion Bird image once more. He pressed down on the formation with the momentum of a volcanic eruption.
Boom, boom, boom!
Despite the duress it was receiving from Jiang Chen's attacks, the formation just barely managed to maintain its integrity. Any crack that appeared was instantly filled by new haze. However, the speed of Jiang Chen's attacks was noticeably faster than that of the crimson mist filling in formation cracks. Therefore, the formation swayed and seemed even more tenuous.
On the main altar, the demon emperor became more and more restless as the formation was subjected to increasing stress. Without his recent wound, he would've long leapt into action.
"Demonic soldiers, marshal yourselves. Attack that fool with all haste!"
The cultivator girls had become Demon Emperor Bloodmalva's puppets. They jumped out at the demon emperor's words, wrapping themselves in demonic clouds without hesitation, then assailed Jiang Chen without hesitation.
Snorting, Jiang Chen formed another sword seal, delivering a decisive strike at the girls. Their blood and essence sucked out by Demon Emperor Bloodmalva, the girls were no longer human. At best, they were walking zombies. Even if he did rescue them, he wouldn't be able to restore their former selves.
In actuality, they were already dead. Their bodies had merely been taken advantage of by the blood demons' secret arts, transformed into soldier puppets by demonic energy. These demonic soldiers were not to be underestimated. The transformation enhanced their fighting prowess to three to five times what it'd been. A combined strike from eighty of them had remarkable power.
Thankfully, Jiang Chen was never one to shy away from a good brawl. The Torrent of Ten Thousand Swords, for example, excelled at fighting a multitude of targets. Mobilizing the torrent once more, he ordered innumerable sword auras to deliver relentless cuts across the demonic soldiers.
Tss, tss, tss… The demonic girl-soldiers were sliced up as easily as bread.
Appalled at the loss of his troops, Demon Emperor Bloodmalva hastily directed the remainder to withdraw. Each returned to her own satellite altar. One skirmish had been enough to cut down more than a dozen of the soldiers. Only sixty-odd remained.
Jiang Chen was a little suspicious of the instruction to retreat. The demon emperor was neither kind nor sympathetic. He definitely had other ideas for these demonic girl-soldiers. Though Jiang Chen presently had the advantage, he wasn't going to take the demon emperor so lightly.
He was perfectly aware that his opponent was a demon emperor. No matter that he had only twenty or thirty percent of his full power, Jiang Chen couldn't afford to dismiss him all the same. Given how long these demon emperors had lived for, none of them were lightweights.
A glimmer of hatred flashed through Demon Emperor Bloodmalva's eyes. He glared viciously at Jiang Chen. "You bastard whelp! Do you really intend on hounding me unto death?"
"You're the freak here, demon," Jiang Chen sneered. "Demons are like weeds. Any that are not completely uprooted will spiral into disaster for its surrounding environment."
The demon emperor broke into hideous laughter.
"How quaint! After a hundred thousand years, you humans are still as scared of us demons as ever, hahahaha. Kid, I haven't seen a human cultivator as talented as you even in ancient times. A man of your gifts should just join up with us, hmm? Don't you know that humans are a hopeless race? We demons, on the other hand, are exalted within the heavenly planes. The Divine Abyss Continent will fall into our hands sooner or later. Rather than futilely resisting, it's better for you to surrender outright. If you join our cause, then you'll be amply rewarded on the day of our dominance. I firmly believe that you're more suitable than the Resplendent Emerald Veranda master as one of us blood demons. Perhaps you'll even become our young lord one day, heir to the greatest dao…"
The demon emperor's speech was reasonably convincing. More remarkably, he resorted to solicitation without hesitation when he found that he was at a disadvantage.
However, giving Jiang Chen that spiel was like talking to a wall. Anyone on the Divine Abyss Continent could join up with the demons, but it was flat-out impossible for Jiang Chen. Doing so would be an enormous loss of face. He was the son of the Celestial Emperor! He wouldn't know how to face his father if one day they came face to face again.
"Bloodmalva, the demons do very well within the heavenly planes, but they are hardly the only dominant race. Put away your ridiculous superiority complex. Do you think that everyone wants a demon bloodline?" Jiang Chen's tone was filled with derision.