Emperor Shura wasn't blindly arrogant. He was a great emperor of three thousand years! In his eyes, Jiang Chen was only a young genius at half-step emperor realm. Given the tremendous difference between them, he didn't think it was possible his opponent could defend himself, even if the young lord dug his heels in.
Jiang Chen himself knew how difficult his task was. He took out and activated one of his Imperial Advent Defense Talismans without hesitation. Immense power from the talisman surged into his body. Blinding radiance from tadpole-like glyphs surrounded the space around him.
This wasn't his first time using the Imperial Advent Defense Talisman.
One talisman could be used three to five times in total. The one in Jiang Chen's hand had been gifted to him by Emperor Peafowl. He'd last used it in his fight against Demon Emperor Bloodmalva. The conflict ahead of him was arguably even more difficult than his last.
At the time, the demon emperor had only twenty to thirty percent of his original strength. Though Emperor Shura could not compare to Bloodmalva at his peak, he was perhaps at sixty-five percent the equivalent. This would be a hard fight.
However, the current Jiang Chen had a tremendous advantage compared to the previous him. In his skirmish with Demon Emperor Bloodmalva, he had only been half-step emperor realm. He was a solid emperor realm cultivator now.
After entering the second palace of the Six Palaces of the Heritage, he had broken through to a completely new realm. Furthermore, his acquisition of the Earth Bodhisattva Orb amplified his prowess for formations. Both of these factors bolstered Jiang Chen's confidence for the battle ahead.
With the talisman in place, his defensive abilities equaled to that of a quasi-great emperor. He only had two hours or so for this use, but there was no problem in activating his talisman back to back. There were still three uses of his Imperial Advent Defense Talisman remaining, after all.
His tempered golden body meant that his flesh was resilient enough to endure the repeated uses of the talisman without any drawbacks, which was what made him different from other regular users of the talisman.
The Imperial Advent Defense Talisman wasn't a particularly rare one among emperor realm cultivators, but it tested the limits of one's physical body. Typically, a cultivator could only use it once before fatiguing. But twice wasn't necessarily even Jiang Chen's limit.
When he'd fought against Demon Emperor Bloodmalva, he'd used two Imperial Advent talismans in tandem-one Defense, one Onslaught. There was no chance he would've been able to fight on the demon emperor's level without them.
Emperor Shura frowned when he saw the talisman Jiang Chen had used. He swore internally at the absent Emperor Peafowl. Why had the emperor given him something so valuable?
"Do you really think that you can match a great emperor just because you've used an Imperial Advent Defense Talisman?" The ambitious emperor's tone was scornful. "You're merely a half-step emperor realm. Using that talisman will only hasten your demise. If this is the only card you have to play, then I'm rather disappointed."
This was a psychological attack. Jiang Chen didn't dignify him with a reply. He was very happy to keep Emperor Shura talking. The more the man prattled on for, the better. The young lord took advantage of this lull to covertly set up preparations.
The eight stone statues were his first line of defense. The Imperial Advent Defense Talisman, his second. His third was underway. A few hand seals was enough to activate his Crimson Heavens formation disk, causing lines of energy to rapidly surge underfoot.
"Hmm?" Emperor Shura frowned, sensing the shift in his surroundings.
The formation was fully in place!
The formation disk was able to imitate all ten great formations of the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect. The one currently active was the Eight Trigram Boulder Formation. It was a formation purely focused on defense and protected everything within from all cardinal directions with impenetrable stone.
The lack of offensive power was a reasonable trade-off for its incredible durability. Opponents several times stronger than the user would be hard-pressed to break through such a formation. But also due to its potency, the formation was very costly in terms of spirit stone expenditure.
Jiang Chen had simulated the formation in his consciousness several times before he deploying it in the field. The Eight Trigram Boulder Formation wasn't the most lethal of the formation disk's ten, but it was definitely the most expensive.
It was an earth-attribute formation, and thus consumed earth-attribute spirit stones in massive quantities. Jiang Chen's stores were equally massive, but mindless expenditure in the heat of battle was nevertheless painful. His Nine Sparks Petalstorm Formation had cost him a fortune already. Still, he wasn't actually worried about the number of spirit stones he had.
He had chosen the Eight Trigram Boulder Formation for another more important reason. His newfound treasure, the Earth Bodhisattva Orb, was an earth-attribute treasure from the ancient era. It held a terrifying amount of energy within. It was one of the reasons why Jiang Chen dared challenge Emperor Shura.
The formation was mobilized at the movement of the disk. Faint light barriers rose all around Jiang Chen, translucent and half-visible. Stony formation-walls flickered into place, displaying the youth's determination.
The Eight Trigram Boulder Formation was connected to the stone statues on the outer ring, unifying with them into a single defense formation. The statues were backed up by the formation, and the formation directed the statues.
Jiang Chen stood fearlessly at the core of the formation, glancing at Emperor Shura coolly. He was afraid of nothing. The emperor hadn't yet moved because he was brewing up a storm. He needed a thunderclap to strike down his opponent in a single blow. In the same instant as the formation's completion, Emperor Shura's attack came.
His fists whipped up wind, ripping space asunder. The boxing aura from the fists smashed into the air in front of Jiang Chen in the next moment. The space around the arena was in flux. Countless spirit energy vortices roiled about, their noises ear-piercingly shrill. All of the observers felt their ears ring.
Strangely, the boxing aura seemed to have gone no further. An indistinct barrier of air absorbed all of the delivered force. Aside from a momentary wavering in the ocher light surrounding it, the wall was practically undamaged. There wasn't a single crack on it.
Despite it being only one punch, its momentum had shaken everyone's hearts. But what followed was even more shocking: the powerful attack hadn't done a thing to young lord Zhen's defensive bastion! Eyes were widened and breaths became ragged.
"How can this be?"
"He didn't break through young lord Zhen's defenses?"
"Is Emperor Shura just warming up? Is he being polite?"
"Ridiculous. Young lord Zhen's defensive formation is what's remarkable here."
"The formation? That can't be right. When did young lord Zhen set up a formation? I didn't see him do it."
"Way to show off your ignorance. You don't always need to set up a formation. There's a little something called a formation disk that can simulate one out of nothing. Though the simulated version isn't as strong as the real thing, it's still very powerful."
"A formation disk? Does young lord Zhen have something that amazing?"
"That has to be the case. Even the best formation masters wouldn't be able to set up a formation in so short a time under everyone's noses otherwise."
"Tsk tsk, what formation is this? It blocked Emperor Shura's punch! No wonder young lord Zhen was so confident. He was fine with this fight because he has an ace up his sleeve!"
Emperor Shura had thrown his punch with astonishing force. None of the observing great emperors would have wanted to take a similar attack head on.
Emperor Peerless knotted his eyebrows. "Emperor Shura's strength more than matches his name. He's a vicious one, alright, and hard to beat."
Geng Qianzhang gulped. "Old Brother Mo, does young lord Zhen have a chance?"
It was the same question the four monarchs wanted to ask. However, they'd considered it too idiotic to actually do so. They had to keep up appearances, after all.
Emperor Peerless shook his head. "Looks like young lord Zhen is taking a defensive approach. He's not looking to win, but rather to tie."
"A draw is fine," Cloudsoar Monarch suddenly interjected. "If it's a draw, then Sacred Peafowl Mountain will be declared the winner of these thirteen rounds."
"That's right." Wildfox Monarch's eyes lit up. "No wonder the young lord has remained so calm all this time. He's already taken all thirteen rounds into account. Did he… stake everything on this final draw?"
This comment piqued everyone's collective curiosity.
Plumscore Monarch looked pleased. "If that's the case, then young lord Zhen is a cunning strategist. It was wise of Emperor Peafowl to have made him young lord."
Though Emperor Coiling Dragon was ordinarily verbose and chatty, he was oddly silent for the present. Both his eyes were fixated upon the stage.
"Daoist Void, do you think that young lord Zhen will be able to end this round in a draw?" In the end, the emperor couldn't resist asking his fellow.
Emperor Void was equally attentive to the proceedings. He looked thoughtful at the question. "Young lord Zhen only executes plans that have an almost certain likelihood of success. Honestly, I can't begin to guess at how many trump cards he has. However, Emperor Shura's punch is definitely only an appetizer. He hasn't used any of his signature moves yet."
"Yes, but I'd wager that to be the case for young lord Zhen as well. The young man's formation looks quite extraordinary. How can it be this resilient?" Emperor Coiling Dragon tried to pump up Sacred Peafowl Mountain's other supporters through his analysis.