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The battle had just begun. Neither Emperor Coiling Dragon nor Emperor Void could easily come to a conclusion. However, Jiang Chen's formation was a surefire shot of faith in everyone. At least it wasn't likely to be one-sided, like everyone had first expected. Young lord Zhen hadn't folded like paper to Emperor Shura. In fact, it didn't like he was planning on giving up any time soon.

Shura Retreat and its affiliates had a drastically different reaction to the affair. There was widespread surprise and consternation at the sight of the emperor's punch being stopped cold. This turn of events was difficult for many to accept.

Even Emperor Pillzenith in the guest area displayed an intense frown. He found the events that were occurring to be completely incomprehensible. "Is this Zhen kid really related to Myriad Abyss Island after all? How can the human domain produce a genius as monstrous as him otherwise?"

Pillfire's ruling emperor was thoroughly unnerved. Veluriyam's young lord had stunned him one too many times. His heart had been unsettled beyond its limits. During their bout for the Longevity Pill, it was this youth that had struck a decisive blow against Pillfire City. Pill King Ji Lang's legendary invincibility had been shattered on that day.

His flair at the Moon God Sect and rescue of their Precious Tree only added insult to injury, though perhaps not intentionally.

Finally, there were the rumors of the Pinecrane Pill, a miracle pill by any stretch of one's imagination. More seriously, the rumors had been verified!

His pill dao aside, the kid also had a true dragon as his contracted spirit creature. His skill in formations made him a force to be reckoned with there as well. Furthermore, he had tied with Emperor Shura in talismans!

That the kid was holding his own against the current strongest man in Veluriyam Capital, Emperor Shura, in a martial arena… He wasn't using his true cultivation, of course. A formation and various potent items were bolstering his abilities. Still, a young genius who was less than thirty years old was fighting against a three-thousand-year great emperor on nearly equal terms. That itself was legendary!

Most importantly, Emperor Shura's fully charged fist hadn't even managed to break through his opponent's defenses. The punch hadn't contained the emperor's most masterful work. It had possibly been a sounding kind of punch. However, it had also been anything but ordinary. 

If the attack had landed on any emperor realm cultivator, they would die on the spot if they didn't have any defenses activated. His experiences recently had informed him well enough. Emperor Pillzenith couldn't contain his tinge of fear.

This kid is so talented, and yet he's not even thirty. If he's allowed to have another three or five decades, won't he take over the entire human domain?

I can't let him grow unhindered any more. I can't allow him to rule Veluriyam Capital. Otherwise, given enough time, this city will become Pillfire's greatest threat. He will consume the fortunes of my great city!

Emperor Pillzenith's concern wasn't baseless. He could foresee it quite clearly. Once young lord Zhen was allowed to mature, the frigid relationship between Pillfire City and Veluriyam Capital would make the former his first goal of conquest. Who was worthy to stand in his way?

A threat as grave as he had to be snuffed out in the cradle.

Not too far from Emperor Pillzenith, Han Qianzhan from the Great Yu Skysword Sect slapped his thigh. "Good, good, good!" he roared with hearty laughter. "I've always thought that young lord Zhen was a pill dao genius, but he has the martial dao talent to match. Among the younger generation of the Upper Eight Regions, he is surely the most excellent!"

Han Qiansui nodded in agreement. "Brother, it was wise for us to make friends with young lord Zhen. From what I've seen here, his meteoric rise is both astonishing and unstoppable. Whether or not he can weather this particular storm in the end, Shura Retreat will be the loser regardless. How can anyone from Veluriyam Capital ignore such a young lord as him?"

"You're exactly right," laughed Han Qianzhan. "I don't think it'll be easy for Emperor Shura."

Sect Head Su Huanzhen suddenly cut in from the side. "Emperor Shura won't win this one."

"Oh? Why do you think that's the case?" Han Qianzhan smiled cheerfully at the female sect head. Being in the same generation, he knew that this woman and Emperor Peafowl were old paramours. Perhaps the sect head was just offering her personal support?

Emperor PIllzenith cocked an ear. He wanted to know why Su Huanzhen was so certain about it. How could Emperor Shura fail to crush a young genius? That was patently ridiculous.

"Young lord Zhen's formation is superbly masterful," said Su Huanzhen coolly. "It is very well composed, and its components interlock together perfectly. Even I as an observer can't divine its secrets. Emperor Shura is face to face with it now, so it'll be even more difficult for him."

The round had a four-hour time limit. If Emperor Shura failed to break through the formation in that time, then he would be forced to draw with his opponent.

All on Shura Retreat's side looked quite serious. The eyes of its supporters spun around in their sockets, intently following every move on the stage.

You have to win, Daoist Shura. Emperor Vastsea prayed silently. Given the current circumstances, Emperor Shura was completely done for if he failed to win this round.

Emperor Vastsea couldn't lose because he couldn't afford to. All of his machinations would be for naught. The Shura Retreat would lose the right to challenge Sacred Peafowl Mountain for eternity. If it couldn't beat its loftier rival without Emperor Peafowl around, what claim could it have to the ruling power's seat any longer?

"Master will definitely win." Li Jiancheng glared daggers at the arena, both eyes radiating a fierce light. He almost wanted to step up and help; he wanted to rend young lord Zhen limb from limb.

If one had to pick out someone present who hated Jiang Chen the most, Li Jiancheng would probably be at the top of the list. His embarrassing defeat at Huang'er's hands had ingrained itself into him as an eternal shame. Naturally, he hated Huang'er quite a bit, but he despised Jiang Chen all the more.

If not for the contemptible young lord Zhen in his way, Shura Retreat would have long taken over from Sacred Peafowl Mountain! The present problems would be nonexistent. He was angry and envious. He was absolutely jealous of young lord Zhen, and how an impossibly beautiful girl like Huang'er had given him her heart unreservedly.

He was jealous of the fact that young lord Zhen was an expert in every field. It seemed like he could do everything.

He was jealous that a kid who was half-step emperor realm-or just past its doorstep, at most-could fight on even terms with his master. These thoughts became demons in Li Jiancheng's heart, driving him to the edge of madness.

Onstage, Emperor Shura was equally as mad as his disciple. He'd followed up his initial punch with a full combo of his Monstrous Spirit Fist. He had moved with the destructiveness of a demon breaking out from hell, raining a tempest of flurries upon his foe.

But the formation had repaired each and every one of the small cracks in its fabric. No matter how quickly Emperor Shura struck, he could not shatter the formation's defense. The most annoying part of all this was the eight-statue system. The statues behaved as real guardians, improving their rapport with each passing moment.

Emperor Shura wanted to charge in himself, but was stopped cold by the outer ring before he could try. His boxing aura left scars on the statues, but they were minor injuries at most. The constructs seemed unaffected. Moreover, his damage to them regenerated over time. Any wound on them immediately began to grow smaller and fainter until it disappeared.

"What the hell are these abominable things?" Emperor Shura was driven into a frenzy.

The eight statues weren't very quick, but the arena was only so big. They locked down all cardinal directions. Young lord Zhen was well-protected despite their comparative sluggishness.

Emperor Shura's attacks were very destructive, but he couldn't deliver a lethal blow to any the eight statues. The fight being dragged out so much hurt morale quite a bit.

In this moment, Emperor Shura wanted to feast on Jiang Chen's flesh. The Monstrous Spirit Fist couldn't substantially threaten the defenses. The great emperor's face swelled with rage.

"You, brat Zhen, you over there. Did Emperor Peafowl teach you how to hide inside a turtle shell?" The ambitious emperor was almost at his boiling point and couldn't resist a taunt.

Jiang Chen broke out into laughter when he heard it.

"You can't tell me that you only have this little skill, Shura! Aren't you a great emperor?"

"I'm just warming up!" retorted Emperor Shura angrily. "Don't think that you can stop my path towards victory with just a formation. Today, I will teach you that Sacred Peafowl Mountain is worthless without Emperor Peafowl. You! You are worthless."

The emperor was grasping at straws a little. 

Even Emperor Peafowl hadn't made Emperor Shura lose his composure so. The absent emperor was a courteous man and never forced his lesser peers into situations of discomfort.

Jiang Chen was done with niceties. "If Sacred Peafowl Mountain isn't worth anything, then I suppose Shura Retreat, that can't beat us, has negative value." 

There was widespread glee in the audience at those words. That's right. The current score favored Sacred Peafowl Mountain. They had won five rounds so far, but Shura Retreat had only won four. How could Emperor Shura call Sacred Peafowl Mountain worthless when Shura Retreat showed worse performance? Didn't that make them worse than worthless?

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