In the hall of the Primosanct Sect, Cloudbillow's figure floated out like a wraith. He pounced in Jiang Chen's direction with lightning speed.
Seeing this, the Vermilion Bird unceremoniously swept both wings forward. Each wingbeat caused streaks of celestial fire to descend like a meteor, shooting furiously towards Cloudbillow.
Cloudbillow's acceleration had suddenly increased a great deal. He was able to shake free of the dense firestorm and escape to its outer-left.
"Brat! You can keep turtling here. I'm going to kill Newsun and that piece of trash from the Purple Smoke Sect." Cloudbillow seemed to have his target elsewhere. He hurtled towards the mountain range across from the palace.
This move angered Jiang Chen a great deal. "Senior Vermilion Bird," he shouted, "that man is very rude! Please kill him in my stead."
The bird shrugged its shoulders. "Are you sure?"
"Certainly," Jiang Chen nodded resolutely.
Cloudbillow's speed and aura had both grown exponentially, likely due to the celestial demon lord's imparted wisdom.
If he was allowed to reach Emperor Newsun's position, the great emperor from the Ninesuns Sky Sect could potentially fend him off. However, the forefather of the Purple Smoke Sect would die in an instant.
Jiang Chen had no wish for someone who'd proven so loyal to be the first casualty of Cloudbillow's betrayal.
With a shriek and a wing flap, the Vermilion Bird expanded several times in size. It blotted out the sky, uncannily swift despite its gargantuan size. Two fiery blades sliced into the air behind Cloudbillow, like oppressively grinding walls.
The emperor had grown much stronger, but most of that was a superficial increase. It was unrealistic to expect him to suddenly rival the Vermilion Bird in combat. Thankfully, he knew that more clearly than anybody. The Celestial Demon Goldscale Talisman was activated without so much as taking a breath.
In a flash of strange golden light, a suit of aureate armor flickered into being around Cloudbillow. He felt that he was invincible. The talisman hadn't just increased his defense, but his speed twice over as well. The extraordinary change reassured the emperor significantly.
"Hmph, animals will be animals. Even a sacred bird from the ancient times is just a chicken in the end. You want to catch up to me? In your dreams!" Cloudbillow went one step further and provoked the bird.
The Vermilion Bird didn't know how to speak human language, but it understood it perfectly well.
It flew into a rage when it heard what Cloudbillow had said. The kindled fury of an ancient divine creature was a force to be reckoned with. If not for the fact that it neared the end of its lifespan, it would destroy an entire world in its anger.
The Vermilion Bird's rising anger made Cloudbillow slightly regret the severity of his provocation. But simply remembering the power of his talisman reassured him.
Man and bird chased each other into the distance in the blink of an eye.
Jiang Chen had anticipated such a thing for a long while. "Senior Vermilion Bird really is old," he muttered. "Otherwise, it would handily defeat Cloudbillow within seconds at its peak, even considering any help from the celestial demon lord."
As he questioned his fundamental assumptions, his consciousness contorted once more. In the next moment, Jiang Chen's attention moved.
Whoosh whoosh whoosh!
Roughly thirty figures rushed out of the palace. Jiang Chen knew all of them well. Past a certain point, most cultivators had photographic memories.
He hadn't clearly seen their appearances, but already he was relatively sure that these figures were the cultivators who'd fled into the demon lord's domain. They had different identities now - slaves under the demon lord's control.
Having come to this conclusion, Jiang Chen suddenly realized something. His face darkened. "An excellent plan to separate us!" His reactions were lightning-fast. He saw what the demon lord was interested in instantly. The Vermilion Bird and Cloudbillow's increase in distance meant that those remaining were here for him.
Their malice was almost palpable.
"What's this, brat? Heaven gave you an out, but you just had to wander into hell instead!" Even though the great emperor from the Eternal Celestial Capital had changed allegiances, his hatred inherited from his faction hadn't lessened for it.
The two great emperors from the Empyrean River Palace and the Sublime Chord Temple joined in on the terrorization as well.
"Jiang Chen, we're here at the behest of the demon lord to end your miserable existence. Prepare to die!"
The cultivators moved as quick gusts of wind, landing like cannonballs in a hundred yards near Jiang Chen. They surrounded him in a circle.
"Enough with the small talk. Let's gang up and kill this kid!"
"That's right. Daoist Cloudbillow told us do so. Why talk when we can fight?"
These men were uninterested in wasting any words. They'd gathered in an aggressive encirclement before their voices faded away. These famous cultivators in the human domain were swarming Jiang Chen many-to-one!
The young lord of Veluriyam wasn't about to take this lightly. Even without the celestial demon lord's teachings, he would have trouble dealing with a coordinated attack from so many great emperors.
He couldn't meet it head on. The only thing he could possibly do was to use the speed of the Kunpeng Meteoric Escape to break free of the encirclement.
Borrowing the power of the spacetime seal to abscond directly into the Veluriyam Pagoda and leave everything behind was another solution.
However, Jiang Chen was much calmer than he had any right to be. He was perfectly settled without the Vermilion Bird's protection.
"Big Stone, Second Stone. If you don't act now and something happens to me, I reckon you won't find anyone else in the world who can revive your brothers." He transmitted to the two golems. Their body and soul had reunited by this point, but the two brothers were still meditating.
Meditating helped improve the fusion between their consciousnesses and forms. What Jiang Chen had done was only the first step in bridging their bodies and their consciousnesses. It wouldn't be easy to return to their level of strength in the primordial age.
Of course, these tribesmen could be called geniuses if they got even a tenth of their original strength back.
Big and Second Stone were mentally simple, but they did listen devotedly to Jiang Chen's instructions. Thankfully, he was easily understood in this instance.
It was a clear declaration that someone was interested in causing their benefactor harm. If they didn't do something about it, then he was going to be done for. They were really worried about their brothers, and not having someone to revive them sounded terrible.
The older brother opened his eyes in a glare. His gigantic body was a silent mountain that had just awakened, reigniting the strength within. Big Stone stretched out both arms, letting out a long roar.
Heaven and earth shook at this deafening sound, the sun and moon dimmed as well.
Second Stone followed his brother's example. The incessant roaring of the two brothers was simply fearsome to listen to.
"Second, take the right. I will stay on the left. Let's protect our savior!" Big Stone called out, making a grabbing motion with his powerful arms.
The air rippled in his wake, as if space itself was being cut by the currents in his wake.
An emperor realm cultivator who had clearly been a hundred yards from Big Stone was seized by the dimension-rending technique. Said cultivator was scared witless. "Don't kill me, please!" he begged.
Big Stone was a stone golem. His tribe was simple-minded people and could very much deaden themselves to the feelings of those they didn't care about.
The golem didn't so much as bat an eyelash, despite the begging. He raised his arm high and slammed the cultivator into the ground. Then raised it again, and slammed it down, then up, and down...
The rotund man was now a pancake of flesh. It was quite a tragic sight. The ferocity of the race was perfectly evoked by this brutal gesture. Such giants were frightening once they were warmed up.
Second Stone saw no reason to hold back, either. He murdered several cultivators in quick succession.
The mountainous size and dangerous expressions the two brothers featured awed these demonic servants into speechlessness. The golems' strides were ten times the size of an ordinary cultivator. More concerningly, their elephantine thighs moved like spring-loaded mechanisms, jumping with unparalleled athleticism.
The great emperor from the Eternal Celestial Capital did a visible double take. "What kind of monster is this? Are they afflicted with extreme gigantism?"
"Be careful, everyone! These two giants are horrifying!"
"Aren't these two giants the stone statues we saw at the palace's entrance? How… how can stone statues become flesh and blood?" Everyone felt their minds collectively blank. What they were witnessing defied their understanding. They'd never heard of statues being revived into living things.
These demonic servants were all human cultivators, but they were largely from divergent sects. Therefore, it was impossible to expect them to cooperate. When terror spread through this crowd, it could not be stemmed.
Big Stone was ferocious, and Second Stone, merciless.
The two brothers' colossal girths, tremendous steps, and shocking velocities granted them an insurmountable advantage. They were immense tigers or panthers charging into a herd of grazing animals.
The demon servants originally intent on killing Jiang Chen lost all their fighting spirit.
Big Stone's large hands grabbed at them as rapidly as lightning. The cultivator from the Eternal Celestial Capital felt his body stiffen. In the next moment, he felt himself locked into place by a powerful force, unable to move any longer.