Shu Wanqing was undeniably powerful, but Jiang Chen was no slouch either. He had noticed an inkling of the expert's intent very early on.
The four stone golem brothers swarmed up, not giving the old man another chance to do anything else. The other Confounding Puppet was sent to deal with Xiahou Jing.
The Order's supreme lord found it reasonably easy to deal with a single puppet, but two was much more difficult.
No, I can't be kept here like this. I must retreat to fight another day! Shu Wanqing's agitation demonstrated the hopelessness of today's situation to Xiahou Jing. He had to make a run for it!
Now was the perfect time since Jiang Chen's Nine Labyrinth Formation was inactive.
Just as that thought came into his head however, the formation whirred back to life. The annoying pocket maze dimension appeared before their eyes once more.
Xiahou Jing regretted his indecisiveness a great deal. He had very likely missed the only chance at escape just now.
Shu Wanqing also despaired at the reappearance of the formation. He had many secret methods that gave him a reasonable probability of fleeing. Now that the space was locked down though, he would need another ability to break the formation itself before he could escape.
His raw strength was useless here.
The din of battle sounded from outside.
Jiang Chen probed outward with his consciousness, then grinned. Veluriyam's armies had effortlessly broken past the Order's defense.The city's main force had completely occupied the Order's territory!
Experts filled in one by one.
"Young lord!" Peerless and Wellspring came in ahead of the pack.
The other great emperors followed closely behind as quickly as they could. They were very excited to see Jiang Chen again. Truthfully, they'd been a bit concerned about the plan for Jiang Chen to sneak into the Order solo.
Only when they saw the young lord once more did they realize that all their worries had been for naught. Jiang Chen wasn't only unharmed - he was very much at ease.
When Veluriyam's armies arrived and the Order's headquarters was fully secured, the only objective that remained was to exterminate all resistance.
"These are the young lord's orders. The heavens look favorably upon life. Anyone currently a member of the Order who wishes to redeem themselves need not die. However, an oath must be sworn to refrain from betraying humanity or fighting against Veluriyam Capital forevermore! Betraying one's own race for an alien one is especially forbidden. May heaven and earth take those that break their vow!"
Jiang Chen wasn't some kind of cold-blooded murderer. He had killed enough to intimidate the rest. Moreover, he firmly believed that the inhabitants of the human domain would no longer dare be hostile to Veluriyam after this battle. After all, there were no longer any worthy opponents in the entire domain.
His orders averted a bloody slaughter. However, he did execute a small group of die-hard fanatics without hesitation. Meanwhile, the battle in the Nine Labyrinth Formation waged on.
Shu Wanqing was at the end of his rope.
"Jiang Chen, you'll regret this! You'll regret this for sure. If you kill me, there will be other secluded experts who will take revenge for me upon Veluriyam!" Shu Wanqing's resentful voice lingered in the air above the battlefield.
Jiang Chen smiled coolly. "Other experts? It's been many years and more dangers than I can bother counting for the human domain, but not a single one of these supposed secluded experts have shown up. Isn't it a good thing that your death will draw more of them into the open? I always appreciate an eye-opening experience."
Jiang Chen's words took away Shu Wanqing's last breath. He collapsed to the ground, unable to gasp for more air. Animosity combined with his severe injuries caused him to die on the spot.
Jiang Chen immediately summoned Long Xiaoxuan and Little White.
"Here's your chance!" The corpse of an empyrean expert was a sumptuous feast for the two sacred beast cubs.
Xiahou Jing was frightened to death by Shu Wanqing's collapse. "Jiang Chen, Brother Jiang Chen!" he clamored incessantly. "I have something to say!"
"Take your time with it. No need to take your last words to hell, hmm?" Jiang Chen replied impassively.
Xiahou Jing became distressed. "Brother Jiang Chen, I opposed you out of utter foolishness. I didn't know how great you were. I fully admit my naivete now. It was completely stupid of me to struggle against a genius that occurs only once every ten thousand years!
"I know where I went wrong. Please, let me live. Don't worry, if you allow me to leave, I'll go back to Myriad Abyss Island straightaway. Plus, I'll intercede with my third brother on your behalf!
"You know, your cultivation partner Miss Huang'er will become my third brother's cultivation vessel soon. You don't want her to die so pathetically like that, do you?" Xiahou Jing talked a pretty convincing talk.
However, Jiang Chen heard only the ugly barks of a loser in his death throes.
Intercede with his third brother?
If Xiahou Jing was important enough to be able to succeed on that front, why would he have left Myriad Abyss Island in the first place? Clearly, he wasn't having a good time back home, especially in the competition against his third brother.
Xiahou Zong wasn't necessarily going to take note of a single word from Xiahou Jing, regardless of topic.
Thus, Jiang Chen was unswayed by his offer. Such promises made for the sake of living had little meaning or surety.
"Listen up, Xiahou Jing. I can forgive the others, but your actions have crossed over my bottom line again and again. Even if you promise that I'll become king of Myriad Abyss Island tomorrow, I would still kill you today every time!" Jiang Chen's judgment was cold and emotionless.
Xiahou Jing roared in frustration. However, the four golems, done with Shu Wanqing, were there to surround and attack him. Xiahou Jing had to fight one against six.
None of the six combatants was noticeably weaker than him. Most importantly, he was within Jiang Chen's formation. His previous exertions had weakened his combat ability by several degrees.
After all, even the strongest human genius had a body of flesh. Mortal men weren't invincible.
Desperate fury filled Xiahou Jing when he heard this. He wanted more than anything to duke it out with Jiang Chen face to face with all he had. His shrieks were suppressed time and again.
The Order of Wind and Cloud's prestige was peeled away layer by layer. Under the assault of four stone golems and two puppets, Xiahou Jing didn't even have the chance to self-detonate before being slain.
"This is Xiahou Jing's storage ring, young lord." Big Stone was a clever boy. He grabbed the ring off of the dead body, delivering it to Jiang Chen.
At the same time, Long Xiaoxuan transformed into human shape and delivered a different storage ring. This one belonged to Shu Wanqing.
Jiang Chen unceremoniously took the rings from his companions.
"My friends from Veluriyam!" he shouted. "The wealth of the Order's executives will be confiscated, whether their owners are dead or alive. The great emperors may divide up that portion of the spoils. The others who came today will receive the general resources we collected. I hope you understand that we came here to mete out justice, not commit banditry. The loot we've obtained today was the fruit of the Order's underhanded machinations. I hope none of you will forget this fact."
It was very wise for Jiang Chen to give a portion of the Order's ill-gotten gains to the others.
He didn't want to leave the wrong impression though. In general, robbery was not to be encouraged.
The Order was hardly comparable to most factions, and Veluriyam wasn't a city of thieves.
After Xiahou Jing's death, the Order was finally no more.
"Young master Chen, Xiahou Jing's body…" Long Xiaoxuan licked his lips.
"I have another use for it. That's enough, now. You'll get indigestion if you eat too much at once." Long Xiaoxuan and Little White had consumed plenty of nutrition today.
Jiang Chen wanted to give Xiahou Jing's body and bloodline to the Goldbiter Rats. They were arguably one of the biggest contributors to today's victory.
Appropriate rewards was beneficial to garnering increased devotion from the Goldbiter Rats. Just like the sacred beasts, the rats were also his indispensable allies. They were even more important, perhaps, than Long Xiaoxuan, and obviously much more so than the almost infantile Little White.
Jiang Chen's decisive maneuvers had finally removed the thorns in his side. The young man knew that his dispatch of these two empyrean experts would create a problem in his future.
After all, slaying two cultivators of such high level was no laughing matter. Shu Wanqing was a pinnacle of wandering cultivation, but Xiahou Jing's background was too prominent to ignore.
A senior expert who'd once reigned supreme and a descendant of a great house of Myriad Abyss Island…
Their deaths would no doubt cause greater waves later on.
"Don't worry, young lord. Maybe Shu Wanqing's threats were entirely baseless. Plus, we don't know whether Myriad Abyss Island actually cares about Xiahou Jing or not. Why hadn't they sent more people otherwise, given how strong his house is?"
"I don't regret my choices, regardless of how much trouble they cause later on," Jiang Chen smiled faintly. "If I hadn't killed them, we might not even be able to weather this oncoming storm."
He was unexpectedly broad-minded.
In actuality, Jiang Chen looked down on both the secluded experts in the human domain and Myriad Abyss Island's descendants. Neither party had the responsibility mandated to an expert.
"My orders are as follows: the army embarks on the morrow back to Veluriyam Capital. No former Order members will be accepted into our ranks!"
The fact that he had spared their lives was more than merciful enough. He had no interest in taking in these unprincipled people. It would be personally irresponsible to do so.
A battle that hadn't been particularly difficult was finally concluded. Veluriyam Capital had swept the Order's ragtag troops clean.
Jiang Chen summoned the king of the Goldbiter Rats. "Ole Gold, do you want this empyrean expert's body? This is guaranteed to be the best of the best!"
The rat king was overjoyed. This wasn't the first time he had received this kind of gift, but this particular instance wasn nonetheless.