Lingering slivers of fragmented thoughts flickered into Elder Peng's brain before his body broke into a million pieces.
The stone golem brothers who'd looked like they were on death's door were full of vigor again. Their gargantuan forms prowled all over the place, reaping the lives of those around like them like sheaves of wheat. These men were elite experts from Myriad Abyss Island, but the golems were at a decisive advantage.
The maddened slaughter cut down great emperors left and right.
Though Elder Mo had escaped in a relatively safe direction, the pressure behind him hadn't abated. Suddenly, the hurtling elder freezed in his tracks. Panic flashed through his eyes. A giant like the ones he'd just fled from had leaped right into his way, an oversized weapon in his hefty hands. The golem smashed his weapon down with intimidating, world-shaking force.
"An ambush!" Elder Mo drew a sharp breath, making to turn once more. In his brief moment of hesitation, however, several more figures came from every direction.
"Where are you going, old man?" A mocking voice came from the side.
Whoosh whoosh whoosh whoosh!
Four shadows appeared in midair. It was the four other stone golem brothers, Big Stone leading the charge. Elder Mo was trapped!
The four brothers had thoroughly locked down the area. The elder felt four veritable mountains bearing down on him, blocking exit through any means. Blanching, he tried to dash away. Unfortunately for him, it was far too late.
The four brothers left no openings. They were walls of tough solid stone, and there was no crack for him to escape through.
"How can this be?" Elder Mo was thoroughly shocked. How were all eight stone golem brothers be at Veluriyam Capital. None of them had gone to the Ninesuns Sky Sect with Jiang Chen?
Was Jiang Chen so arrogant as to not bring both the Vermilion Bird and the eight stone golem brothers? Wasn't he afraid of a confrontation with the supreme lord?
Or had he predicted that the Order's main force wasn't at Ninesuns in the first place? But, if that was really the case, why had he gone to Ninesuns at all?
Elder Mo felt pain shoot through his heart when he thought of this. A terrifying thought flickered through his mind. "Did Jiang Chen calculate all this? Is he not at the Ninesuns Sky Sect at all, maybe? Was his expedition there a smokescreen? A smoke bomb to deceive us with?"
A chill ran down Elder Mo's spine. If that was the case, then Jiang Chen was a fearsome foe indeed. The Order had distracted from their actual goal in order to launch a sneak attack on Veluriyam Capital, but its opponent had guessed everything beforehand! Jiang Chen had been lying in wait for them all along!
The elder's heartbeat raced with unspeakable horror.
It was at this time that the four stone golem brothers approached. "Where are you going, old man?" Big Stone cackled.
Elder Mo's face colored again. He pushed his consciousness to its limits in order to find a ray of hope.
"Don't bother, there's no way out." It wasn't one of the golem brothers, but a different voice from afar.
The elder's pupils contracted violently once more. He glanced toward the source of the sound to see a perfectly relaxed Jiang Chen sitting atop a slope not far from here.
"You… you're Jiang Chen?" Elder Mo suddenly recalled something.
"You're a keen one. I heard that other old fart boast earlier that you were from Myriad Abyss Island, hmm?" Jiang Chen looked back at the old man with a half-smile.
Elder Mo was utterly exasperated. He'd already felt Elder Peng self-reporting their origin was unwise. He simply hadn't considered it too much, given that victory seemed to be within their grasp.
But exposing that information was much more likely to draw trouble now. After all, there was a taboo over the entire island that its cultivators weren't supposed to arbitrarily enter the human domain without permission.
This time, more than a handful of people had trespassed illegally. The sheer number of experts who'd come amounted to essentially a personal army. If Myriad Abyss Island got wind of this, House Xiahou was sure to be censured, or worse.
Though he was unnerved, Elder Mo outwardly harrumphed. "What Myriad Abyss Island? You're talking nonsense! I'm a hermit of the Upper Eight Regions. Jiang Chen, if you want to lead the human race, you must give us older cultivators sufficient respect!"
Jiang Chen burst out into laughter. The old man was lying through his teeth.
"If you really were seniors of the human domain, I would respect you. Unfortunately, you aren't, and neither is anyone in the Order of Wind and Cloud. Tell me, which faction are you from?" His tone was even-handed.
Elder Mo was unwilling to admit to anything. "Jiang Chen, your disrespect to us hermit seniors alone is enough. What is with the 'Myriad Abyss Island' excuse? Who doesn't know about the lack of communication between Myriad Abyss and the human domain?" He appeared to be defiant unto death.
Jiang Chen smiled faintly. "I was planning to give you a chance to live if you admitted to it. Given that you refuse to talk even when your life is on the line, you can go to hell with the other old fart!"
"Kill him!" Jiang Chen's command was cold and cruel. He had been provoked to the point of no return. The actions of the Order of Wind and Cloud had put one foot too many over the line. Without information from Emperor Peerless and the Veluriyam Pagoda as a relay point, both he and his city would've suffered a catastrophic loss.
If he really had rushed back from Ninesuns and fallen into the midst of this ambush, the eight stone golem brothers and his other subordinates would have all succumbed to the trap.
Without the Stone Golems, Jiang Chen would've had only one choice under the encirclement of two empyrean experts and a couple dozen great emperors: to use his spacetime seal to flee into the Veluriyam Pagoda.
But even if he had managed to escape with his life intact, the others wouldn't have had that kind of luck. What chance of victory did he have against a powerful Order by himself, even if he'd managed to return to Veluriyam Capital?
He was thoroughly alarmed by the extent of the sect's conspiracy. Moreover, he had a natural hostility towards Myriad Abyss Island. Huang'er's suffering at being taken away and Elder Xi's pride had frustrated him to no end. Especially against those hostile to him in the first place, Jiang Chen had no compassion to spare for anyone from the island whatsoever.
Elder Mo knew well that his only choice today was to fight to the death.
Jiang Chen's execution order was countered by the elder's wholehearted effort to match the four golem brothers in frenzied battle. His objective wasn't to win, but find an opportunity to flee.
However, Jiang Chen had already settled on the battle plan. He knew that Big Stone and his brothers were recovering comparatively slowly. They weren't even a fifth of their peak strength yet.
In one on one combat, no single brother was Elder Mo's equal. Things became more even when it was two on one.
Four on one? Clear advantage for the numbered side. This was the kind of tactic Jiang Chen enjoyed.
Of course, Elder Mo was able to hang on to a reasonable degree. Elder Peng had died so quickly because of an ambush. The suddenness of the strikes had grievously wounded him.
Elder Mo was perfectly healthy and at his prime. Even four golems united would have some trouble taking him down quickly.
Thankfully, the four other golems were able to shift some of their attention over after mowing down a group of the great emperors.
In no time at all, six stone golems were involved in the assault on Elder Mo. The remaining two continued their pursuit of the scattered great emperors under Jiang Chen's orders.
Jiang Chen's Holy Dragon Bow didn't lie idle, either. His closed door cultivation had yielded a significant increase in cultivation level, but he'd also developed the crowning treasure of the Primosanct Sect a fair bit.
Currently, he was pairing the power of the bow with his Evil Golden Eye's lock-on ability to snipe great emperors who were being hunted down by the stone golem brothers. The experts in question fled every which way in impotent panic.
Each person Jiang Chen confirmed in his sights meant that someone died to an arrow from the Holy Dragon Bow. As the most prized treasure of the ancient Primosanct Sect, the bow was powerful indeed!
He didn't need to take any breaks in his firing. Eight elites from Myriad Abyss Island were dead in no time at all. Of course, Jiang Chen had enough self-awareness to know that he would have very little success in facing these experts head on.
He was having such an easy time because of the immense pressure the stone golem braves were exerting. The great emperors were too preoccupied with running to perceive the other threats to their lives. This gave Jiang Chen plenty of opportunities to take pot shots.
Under the scope of the Holy Dragon Bow, the great emperors fell one by one. He was revitalized upon each kill. It was the first time he was able to kill so many great emperors so quickly and easily.
The surrounding area was filled with corpses in the blink of an eye.
If any cultivator from the human domain had borne witness to this, they would've been chilled to the bone. After all, the people that had died were all great emperors!
Experts like that in the human domain were fearsome anywhere, guaranteed to be at the top of their class.
"Third Stone, don't overdo it. Leave a couple alive!" Jiang Chen was perfectly happy to kill indiscriminately, but he didn't forget himself. The old man was evidently of no use when it came to information. He could only hope to capture a couple alive in order to extract it from them instead. He wasn't interested in being targeted without knowing who the mastermind was.