The demon emperor's solicitation was just another tactic to stall for time. His eminence among his fellows came with uncanny astuteness and experience. The momentum of Jiang Chen's pursuit indicated that the young man hated demons' guts. There was zero chance that he would join up with any demon race.
Given the young man's breadth and depth of methods and tools, he had to be one of the humans' best geniuses. Though Emperor Bloodmalva didn't know Jiang Chen's particulars or any exact details about his background, there was no doubt that someone who had a true dragon as a companion was one of the luckiest few, even amongst geniuses.
A genius of his caliber had to die. Regardless of cost, regardless of price!
Jiang Chen wasn't aware of the demon emperor's two-faced behavior, that an evil heart was hidden behind the offer of allegiance.
Emperor Bloodmalva smiled sinisterly. "A demon bloodline reigns supreme above all. You dare to belittle us, puny human?"
"Reigns supreme?" Jiang Chen snickered. "Demons are just the heavenly planes' locusts. They bring destruction wherever they go. How many divine emperors are of the demon race, hmm?"
"You're just a mortal, kid! Don't make things up about the heavenly planes. So, you look down on our race's bloodline, hmm? Good, good, good! I'm going to teach you a lesson today, so that before you die, you'll know how powerful a demon bloodline truly is! You'll learn why it's unquestionably invincible!"
Jiang Chen's expression froze. He didn't know what the demon emperor was plotting, which made it all the more necessary to exercise caution. "Brother Long," he said to the dragon, "Hide yourself first."
Long Xiaoxuan obeyed the advice wordlessly, turning into a mote of dust that clung to his friend. Counting the time, Jiang Chen noted that his two hours from the Defense and Onslaught Talismans were almost up. He needed to engage in the next few minutes. No matter what conspiracy the demon emperor was cooking up, he needed to deliver a lethal strike. He produced his magnetic golden mountain once more.
"Fall!" Jiang Chen smashed the hundred-yard-tall mountain into the formation.
Boom! Once, twice, thrice!
The mountain grew in might and stature with each consecutive smash. After fifteen or sixteen, the formation finally split open with a resounding crack. All of the demonic miasma was forced aside. Putting away the golden mountain, Jiang Chen produced his Pentecolor Divine Swords once more. He slashed towards Demon Emperor Bloodmalva in an arc of lightning. "Die!"
There was no fear on the demon emperor's face. Instead, he looked decidedly pleased. In the next instant, he pushed both hands outwards. A burst of bloodline presence shot out from each palm, inundating the space with frightening power.
The sixty-odd remaining demonic soldiers shook at the aura, as if they had truly come alive. In the next moment, they galvanized into frenzied action. Like human bombs, they charged at Jiang Chen with wanton disregard.
"Prepare to meet your demise, kid! Bloodline reversion, explode!"
Bang! Bang! Bang! The demonic soldiers cannonballed towards the youth, detonating their bodies as soon as they reached their target. The blast caused Jiang Chen's own blood to roil.
"Bloodline reversion?" Astonished, Jiang Chen suddenly remembered something. The blood demons had a devastating secret art known as bloodline reversion. This was the action of returning the blood and essence they'd consumed and refined back to the original owners.
It sounded simple,, but the amount of power in the returned blood was ten or twenty times what the bodies could bear. The overflow naturally led to the puppets' detonation.
Of course, this was a painful process for the demon user as well. Especially on a large scale, it was tantamount to an almost suicidal attack. Emperor Bloodmalva had only done this because he was at his wit's end. He had been ambushed at thirty percent strength, and thus could only use a fraction of his cultivation.
If Jiang Chen was allowed to pierce his defenses unhindered, he would surely die. That was why he was willing to use bloodline reversion in an attempt to blow Jiang Chen to smithereens. The cost of a hundred years of cultivation barely mattered considering the gravity of the situation.
One or two detonations didn't have a lot of destructive power, but sixty-plus in tandem could wound even an empyrean cultivator. Receiving the brunt of the damage was mortal for a great emperor realm cultivator, not to mention anyone below that. Thus, the demon emperor adopted a victor's stance after deploying the technique. He knew that his victory was assured.
The brat was dead without a doubt!
Alas, his plan to return to the world was foiled with this development. Using bloodline reversion to detonate his puppets cost him more than a few decades of cultivation. He needed to turtle up and hide again for approximately the same. The prospect of being found out and hunted down by more human experts in his weakness was disastrous.
Bang, bang, bang, bang. The blast waves pressed inward, the ripples set on besieging Jiang Chen. The simultaneous discharge of sixty-odd girl puppets made the available window of reaction very small.
The destructive energy swelled upon their target in an instant. Jiang Chen felt an unprecedented sense of danger because of it.
"This isn't good! The collective energies of the blasts have gathered together and I'm their only outlet. If I take this hit, there won't be much more left of me than a few particles of dust."
There was no time to delay. Jiang Chen hastily grabbed his spacetime seal. It activated in a hair's width of light, pulling him through the fabric of reality into nonexistence.
The blast waves finally congregated at a single point, a space where the youth had been just a second prior. The aftershocks of the explosion shook the air for miles around, and the altar complex was instantly upended. A crater a few hundred yards deep was left where it had been. The subterranean levels, every building, and all the altars within had been annihilated by the blowout.
A crestfallen Emperor Bloodmalva crawled out from the crater, scanning the ruins. In theory, the blast should have eradicated all traces of the young man's physical form, including any leftover limbs. The demon emperor licked away the blood at the corner of his mouth. He frowned as he continued to survey the wreckage, his heart doubtful.
"So… did that kid die or not?" He was unsure whether theory had transferred perfectly to reality. There wasn't a good reason for the kid to not have died from his bloodline reversion technique…
But there hadn't even been a scream. Moreover, there'd been a hair of light where the kid had been. However minuscule it had been… however imperceptible to physical eyes...
it induced in the demon emperor a sliver of uncertainty and discontent.
"If he didn't die after that, then he is an opponent to be feared." The demon emperor muttered under his breath. Despite his past glory as a ruler of demons, he didn't have enough experience to say whether the young man was dead for sure. He'd left no traces behind in the crater. Oddly enough, not even his aura lingered.
"Very strange. Did he… maybe… did he really escape?" The more he thought about it, the more it discomfited him. He was the wrathful emperor of the blood demons, and fear and discomfort were emotions foreign to him. Indeed, any demon would find it unnatural to feel these. And yet, that didn't change the fact that he did feel them at the moment.
"Impossible, impossible… even if that kid had two more heads and four more arms, he wouldn't have been able to flee from such a deadly situation. If he fled in that thread of light, then I would have seen him. I didn't see any light escaping from the blast. Maybe I'm just overthinking things…" Demon Emperor Bloodmalva tried to convince himself.
After walking around the crater a long while, he finally shook his head in exasperation. "Never mind, this place has been totally destroyed. It seems that I must find a new lair elsewhere. If strong human cultivators showed up right now, I will surely die."
The demon emperor had been further weakened as a result of bloodline reversion. Even a high-level emperor realm cultivator could kill the current him. As long as they had a way to deal with his demonic clouds, of course.
The demon emperor knew that some had escaped from Cloudshatter Mountain. Those who had would surely spread the news about him. Therefore, this place was no longer safe. Demons were a tyrannical bunch, but they also exercised caution when necessary. Though the demon emperor was displeased about having to do so, he left without hesitation anyway.
As for Jiang Chen, he'd been been swept away by the spacetime seal he'd activated. The thread of light took him across space to arrive at a new place. When he recovered from the shock of displacement, he noticed that his trip was already over.
"Young man, welcome to the second palace of the Six Palaces of Heritage, the Crimson Heavens Palace!"
Jiang Chen had scarcely steadied his step before a clear notification rang at his ear.
The Crimson Heavens Palace? The name shook him to the core. That was the name of the second palace? Back at the first palace, Master P'eng had spoken of a revered senior from the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect who resided within another of the six palaces.
Was this second palace where that senior was? He had an interesting relationship with this place, then. Most of brain was still stuck in the combat with Demon Emperor Bloodmalva. Only after hearing the message did he completely snap awake.
"Hmph, absent-mindedness is a sign of discourtesy. Is this the level of humans' culture of martial dao these days? It's been a long time since anyone has come to the Six Palaces of Heritage. That a person who does is so stupid is… disappointing." The voice spoke with a serious, almost dark tone.
"Please do not misunderstand, senior," Jiang Chen smiled wryly. "I was embroiled in a fierce battle with demons in which I was forced to use my spacetime seal to escape. I'm still trying to recover from the shock of that battle. Forgive my inattentiveness."
"Demons? Has the demon race reappeared in the world once again?" The voice was surprised.
"Not on a large scale," Jiang Chen sighed softly, "but demons everywhere are reawakening. Traces of their activities are becoming much more commonplace."