Even someone as steady a mindset as Emperor Shura was affected by the sudden contrasting mood. Prior to the two final rounds, he'd been so certain of his victory that he'd nearly celebrated in advance. But with Li Jiancheng's loss, the advantage that he held was now gone. He was now suddenly on the losing side.
Even though he was certain of his victory in the final round, what was the point when the win wouldn't serve no purpose? The Shura Retreat was in possession of four victories, three draws and five losses. Even if he won the final round, all it would do was make things even. Would he have the right to issue any more challenges when there were no conclusive results after thirteen rounds?
Many of the vassals had already begun to lean towards Sacred Peafowl Mountain. The constant surprises had won over many vassals, while Shura Retreat was inching towards their own doom.
Emperor Shura was burning with rage inside. However, there wasn't much he could do to fix the situation. He could only focus on winning the final round. His thoughts quickly shifted towards evil. For him to really make any gains out of this final round, he'd have to make the best out of a bad situation. He wanted to not just win against young lord Zhen, but the entire competition.
If I kill young lord Zhen, Sacred Peafowl Mountain will be without a leader again. As a foreign wanderer, Emperor Peerless will not be able to consolidate power once the brat is dead. Emperor Shura couldn't be bothered to worry about the Huang'er. Without young lord Zhen's presence, what were chances that the lass would work herself to the bones for Sacred Peafowl Mountain?
Emperor Shura was aware that young lord Zhen was the only reason Sacred Peafowl Mountain hadn't crumbled yet. The monkeys would naturally scatter once the tree had fallen. To get rid of Sacred Peafowl Mountain, all he needed to do was kill young lord Zhen. Emperor Shura was clear of any doubts once he arrived at this conclusion and walked gallantly towards the arena.
"Young lord Zhen, I shall await you in the arena. Don't show the world how much of a coward you are by not showing up. If you wish to prove that Sacred Peafowl Mountain's fortunes still exist, come up and duel me! Otherwise, no one in this capital will ever truly respect you!" Emperor Shura issued the challenge as he moved towards the stage.
He was worried that Jiang Chen would admit defeat without a fight and end the competition with a draw. Sacred Peafowl Mountain would definitely end up on top if that happened. Thus, the great emperor issued the challenge to agitate Jiang Chen from taking the easy way out.
The crowd from Shura Retreat immediately understood Emperor Shura's motives for saying such things and were deeply impressed. Sacred Peafowl Mountain was in a festive mood after Huang'er had clinched the victory. Their side only returned back to their senses when Emperor Shura issued the challenge.
"Young lord, the competition will end in a draw even if we don't entertain their challenge. They won't have the gall to challenge us again." Cloudsoar Monarch advised.
"Young lord, you needn't fight him. The world won't ridicule you even if you chose not to. A three-thousand-years old fart like him is issuing a challenge to a young man who isn't even thirty yet. He's the one who should be ashamed, not us!" Plumscore Monarch was deeply vexed by Emperor Shura's provocation.
"There's killing intent emanating from Emperor Shura. I believe he wants to kill you on stage." Emperor Peerless murmured as he assessed Emperor Shura.
"Young lord, we should give this round up."
"Let's give up. The people will understand. They won't blame you for not showing up." Almost everyone advised Jiang Chen to give up.
Jiang Chen raised his head slightly. There was a determined glint in his eyes as he watched Emperor Shura gloat on stage. He understood that challenging the great emperor with his current cultivation level was a little too reckless and that his opponent would certainly attempt to take his life.
Truth be told, he wasn't ready to face Emperor Shura head on yet, but it didn't mean that he would avoid the duel. He wasn't being stubborn. He'd long since laid down that he had to take this fight!
"Emperor Peafowl already foresaw these events when I was chosen as heir. Since the battle between Sacred Peafowl Mountain and Shura Retreat is unavoidable, I shall face him and put an end to this. We mustn't avoid this fight or else Shura Retreat will one day rise from the ashes again!"
If the thirteen round competition ended without a conclusion, Shura Retreat would definitely stir up trouble again in a future date. Jiang Chen didn't want Veluriyam Capital to fall into yet another internal conflict. This issue had to be settled today.
"Young lord! You're walking into Emperor Shura's trap!"
"Right! He's clearly trying to lure you onstage so that he can kill you! Young lord, your existence is vital to Sacred Peafowl Mountain! Losing you would spell the end of us!"
"Young lord, is it really worth it to take such a big risk?" The crowd panicked when they realized Jiang Chen's intentions. They didn't believe there was a need for the young lord to face Emperor Shura head on.
How could a youth less than thirty years old possibly compete against a seasoned great emperor who'd ascended for over three thousand years? They were clearly not on equal levels!
Unfortunately, Jiang Chen's mind was already set.
"Everyone, your advice is well-heeded, but an inner demon will surely manifest if I don't fight him. Don't worry, I have ways to escape if I'm truly no match for him. I won't let him take my life." Jiang Chen comforted the crowd.
"Young lord, Emperor Shura's cultivation is deep beyond measure. Even Emperor Peafowl was barely able to suppress him back in the day."
"Right! A great emperor's strength is beyond imagination. Young lord, you're still a youth after all…"
Jiang Chen burst into laughter. "And I'm hot-blooded precisely because of my youth! A shadow will be cast over my heart if I don't answer this call. Moreover, I wish to see just how powerful Emperor Shura is for myself!" He flew towards the arena after he was done speaking. He seemed as light as a soaring bird.
"This is the competition's thirteenth and final deciding round! Young lord Zhen will be facing against Emperor Shura!" Emperor Petalpluck announced after Jiang Chen set foot on the arena.
Emperor Shura was slightly surprised by Jiang Chen's acceptance. He'd initially thought that the brat would come up with excuses to turn down the fight. However, his opponent had accepted without any hesitation. A shadow of doubt crept over the great emperor's heart, even though he was completely certain of his victory just seconds ago.
Throughout the years, Emperor Peafowl was the only person in Veluriyam Capital who could cast a shadow in his dao heart. Now that Emperor Peafowl was no longer alive, he didn't think that anybody else could ever make his heart waver again.
However, the young lord had caused cracks to appear in his dao heart time and time again. Even though they were engaging in a martial duel, cracks were still appearing.
What on earth is going on? Am I really afraid of that brat? When Emperor Shura realized that a shadow had been cast on his heart, he immediately denied its existence. No! I merely lost in disciplines that don't truly matter! Those irrelevant tricks are the only things that he knows! In the end, martial dao is the discipline that speaks the loudest in our world!
Emperor Shura kept consoling himself. He couldn't believe that a young brat had caused him so much turmoil. He was a great emperor who had ascended for more than three thousand years, while his opponent was a youth that was still wet behind the ears, a toddler who'd just started walking! There was no reason for him to think that he'd lose in a duel like this.
Emperor Shura immediately silenced his mind and set his gaze on Jiang Chen. His incredibly imposing aura bore down on Jiang Chen the moment the young lord stepped onto the arena.
"As expected of a great emperor who has ascended for three thousand years. The pressure that you exude is truly impressive!" The weight of a mountain bore down on Jiang Chen's shoulders. However, he'd been mentally prepared the moment he walked onto the arena.
He would do whatever it took to face Emperor Shura head on. He wasn't pursuing a victory, but a draw. If Emperor Shura couldn't defeat him within four hours, Sacred Peafowl Mountain would be the winner in the competition. He'd accepted the duel just for the sake of achieving that goal.
"Young lord Zhen, I'm impressed by your courage. You have the resolve to die, don't you, after setting foot into this arena?" Emperor Shura's voice was filled with killing intent.
Jiang Chen reacted indifferently, as though he'd paid no heed to Emperor Shura.
Whoosh! Eight statues appeared around him when he stretched his arms, shielding him from eight different directions. He'd acquired these statues from the Prince of Shangping and had sensed a powerful will and aura from these statues back then.
The prince had only unearthed a sliver of their potential. After Jiang Chen acquired them, he'd created a formation to control these statues and unearth more of their potential. Even though he had yet to fully utilize the eight statues' potential, their defensive capabilities had improved immensely under the command of the formation. By taking out the statues, he was clearly putting up a defensive stance.
Emperor Shura's eyes brimmed with mockery. Defense? Do you really think that you can withstand my attacks?