The fuming Shu Wanqing snickered cruelly. "Kid, is this you giving up all hope and saying to hell with everything? Are you trying to make me mad enough to kill you outright and spare you further torture? How naive! Do you think I'll let you off so easily?"
He bristled with vicious venom. There should've been no irreconcilable hatred between them, but he just hated the young man. The mere sight of Jiang Chen prompted unspeakable disgust.
For that reason, he'd lowered himself and assisted the supreme lord of the Order, even risking an ambush on the Gunuo village's prince to incite an invasion.
In fact, though he'd never admit it, he was simply jealous of a brat becoming mankind's leader and shining brighter than him. An empyrean master like him ought to be the one acclaimed as humanity's leader!
He was indifferent to mankind's fortunes, but since he'd come out of seclusion, the domain ought to naturally have revolved around him. He didn't want to shoulder humanity's future, but Jiang Chen wasn't allowed to either.
A youngster taking on the role when an empyrean master wasn't? What would the whole world think? It was simply a slap to the face for empyrean powerhouses everywhere.
One had to say, the empyrean expert was truly a twisted state of mind. He himself refused the responsibility, but no one else could steal his thunder and stand in the limelight.
Jiang Chen stayed indifferent, but his lips curved in a small contemptuous smile. This so-called hidden human expert was a thorough disappointment.
He'd been hopeful. A domain so vast ought to have a few hidden masters. But Shu Wanqing had instantly doused all of his hopes. If every hidden master was like him, then Jiang Chen hoped for all of them to quickly enter the cycle of reincarnation.
Xiahou Jing stepped forward and fixed the young lord with a deep stare.
"Jiang Chen, you defeated me last time. Today, it's my turn to defeat you in my own territory. That makes us even, but you owe me the lives of many close aides. We need to carefully settle this account."
When it came to hatred for Jiang Chen, he felt much more strongly than Shu Wanqing. Rather than simple loathing and ostracism, his was a true blood feud.
"And how exactly do you plan on doing that?" Jiang Chen was the picture of serenity.
"How about I put your head on a pike and parade it in front of your army?" Xiahou Jing snickered.
"You wouldn't dare." Jiang Chen shook his head. "How is your mob going to contend with the Embittered Savages with me gone?"
Xiahou Jing laughed out loud. "The Savages? Who says I have to face them?"
Jiang Chen's eyes slowly narrowed into slits. "So you've come from Myriad Abyss Island simply to destroy the human domain without a care for mankind's survival."
"Right on the money. As a descendant of glorious forebears, I represent mankind's true lineage. You're just sons of ancient rejects. How will humanity right itself and flourish once more if you don't die off?" Xiahou Jing flushed with excitement.
"True lineage? Is that what you call a bunch of cowards and deserters? What a joke." Jiang Chen shook his head. "Drop the nonsense. Show me what you've got." The young lord's eyelids drooped as if his situation wasn't all that precarious.
Xiahou Jing almost exploded at the sight.
"Brat, looks like you don't know to repent even when at death's doorstep!" In fact, he hadn't intended on bickering. His goal was to capture Jiang Chen. It would have been child's play to kill him, but he was far more valuable alive.
Xiahou Jing threw Shu Wanqing a glance. The latter immediately caught his drift and stepped forward. With a slight shake of the foot, his figure blurred into eight Shu Wanqings in the blink of an eye.
"Brutal Mirror Image?" Jiang Chen saw straight through the old man's tricks with the Evil Golden Eye. Even so, the mighty aura of an empyrean master suddenly pressed on him with the weight of a mountain. He could barely breathe.
"Kid, time to learn how weak you are!" Shu Wanqing's voice seemed to echo from every direction. An empyrean aura was as if a profound force of heaven and earth in full control of all matter.
Strands of consciousness shot at Jiang Chen's mind. Shu Wanqing clearly wanted to assault both his target's body and his soul, destroying the junior without a fight.
But would Jiang Chen succumb so easily?
He was fully prepared. When Shu Wanqing launched his mirror images, he'd raised his hands and spewed forth odd beams of light from his palms that became the unrolling of magnificent painting scrolls the next moment.
The mysterious scrolls opened in the air, growing boundlessly, infinitely, creating layer upon layer of intersecting space.
"What's going on?"
The scene blurred. When the Order's men came to their senses, they found themselves in a strange nothingness. They'd been drawn into a staggered space formed by the scrolls and built into the superposition of many labyrinths. The alien space had become a dimension of its own with no entrance or exit, seeming to extend to the end of the universe.
Like lost lambs, the crowd paled, their eyes flashing with inexplicable fear.
Shu Wanqing had been no exception, but he'd quickly quashed his alarm thanks to his experience. Now calm once again, he shouted in warning, "Don't panic! This is a space formation, an illusion that confuses our senses!"
Xiahou Jing remained collected as well. He ordered, "Stay calm, all of you. Don't wander off on your own or you might be ambushed by the kid!"
In an entirely unfamiliar dimension, what other outcomes could there be if they were to run all over the place? He was too clever to give in to fear and play into his opponent's hands.
Everyone gathered together around Xiahou Jing and Shu Wanqing as if by tacit accord, forming a protective ring around them.
His eyes sharp, Shu Wanqing spread his consciousness outwards, searching for the slightest flaw that could offer an escape road.
"Daoist Shu, what's with this formation? Can you figure anything out?" Xiahou Jing was at his wits' end despite his vast knowledge.
Shu Wanqing responded lowly, "The scrolls create dimensional labyrinths. They all seem identical and it's impossible to tell them apart. Tut if we don't, we'll be trapped inside forever."
"Is there no other way? For example, can we break out by force?" Xiahou Jiang champed at the bit. He'd planned on capturing Jiang Chen moments ago, but the situation had been overturned faster than he could blink. The hunters had become the prey. This sudden reversal was impossible for him to endure.
Standing outside the formation, Jiang Chen didn't allow them any respite.
Holy Dragon Bow in hand, he deployed his own consciousness. A ray of light surged from the chain seal in his mind, guiding his arrow as it whistled through the air like the roar of a dragon and punctured a Celestial Star's head in a geyser of blood!
The man died before he could react.
Several elders nearby paled with fright as the body toppled down with a thump. The elder's death was an enormous psychological blow, making them realize in despair just how fragile human life was, and how easily it could be snuffed away.
"Next!" Jiang Chen's voice rumbled in the air. The Holy Dragon Bow fired again.
Arrows shot forward like meteors. Whoosh whoosh whoosh!
Three of them flew in succession this time, like waves propelling each other forward with increasing momentum and tremendous firepower.
The Order had been prepared, but the premises was truly too narrow for all them crowded together. Those caught in the middle had no leeway to move out of the way!
A protector king dodged an arrow out of pure luck, but the two elders at his side were struck at almost the same time. Just like the previous elder, one arrow was all it'd taken to reap their lives!
Four arrows had harvested three lives. Seeing such a terrifying development, the elders scattered in every direction like frightened birds.
Even Shu Wanqing shouted, "Everyone spread out. Create some space! The closer you clump, the more targets you're giving him and the more likely you are to be hit!"
With so many gathered together, even a blind shot would easily find a mark. The logic was easy enough to understand.
Even without his warning, the elders had already begun to scatter outwards on their own initiative. Clever people sought shelter with their neighbors to use as meat shields, while fools ran into each other like headless chickens.
Panic and chaos engulfed the scene.
Xiahou Jing seethed while Shu Wanqing's face darkened. How could either of them endure being made fools of by a young man?
"Supreme Lord, this can't go on or the kid will pick them off one by one!" Shu Wanqing cared little about these people's survival, but the arrows seemed powerful enough to threaten his own life. The specter of death might close in on him if this were to go on.
He wouldn't have been afraid of a few arrows under normal circumstances. But they were now trapped like caged beasts. The conditions and terrain were both to their disadvantage.
They would truly be done for if they didn't find a way to escape, and fast!