Wang Kui’s antics amused Jiang Chen to no end. The more the man puffed himself up, the more Jiang Chen suspected the man was a weakling. An expert who was truly strong inside and out didn’t need to employ such methods of intimidating his opponent. His aura and poise upon the arena alone would display his strength for the world to see.
Bullying in the stands was pathetic behavior and the furthest thing from frightening. How could someone who’d made it to the final sixty-four be scared by a look?
Jiang Chen certainly wouldn’t, and he doubted anyone would.
Wang Kui treated the young man’s scorn as a kind of fear. He was rather pleased with himself; this opponent of his didn’t have the courage even to lock eyes with him!
In actuality, Jiang Chen calmly observing the battles in the ring. This was a fight between great emperors, but the spectacle was remarkably impressive. The great emperors of Winterdraw were unquestionably a cut above the human domain’s, whether it came to cultivation, combat ability, or martial dao understanding.
Since Winterdraw is a place for exiles, those who survive here are likely to make even more thorough use of their potential, no? It’s a harsh environment.
Though the island induced despair with concerning regularity, to a certain extent, it also energized cultivators with a burning need to grow to their fullest potential.
No one dared succumb to laziness given the tough conditions here. They didn’t have the luxury to.
Of course, great emperors were limited by their cultivation in the end. Especially under such limited conditions, Jiang Chen didn’t consider it much of a challenge to handle opponents of this caliber.
After all, he had fought great emperors when he was still emperor realm – and peak great emperors, at that. Now that he was himself a great emperor, he had the confidence to beat every other person on his level in the human domain.
Though the great emperors here showed power and finesse that were a shocking cut above, Jiang Chen felt confident that he was at a different height. His real opponents now were empyrean experts.
Even if he didn’t make use of contracted spirit creatures or potent treasures, he was unthreatened by any mere great emperor.
Each battle played out in its own fierce way. There were rarely one-sided fights; every bout became a struggle between neck-and-neck contestants. Evidently, the sixty-four finalists were all approximately as strong as each other.
The parties that won overwhelmingly decisive victories were considered the hottest candidates for the top eight. Finally, it was Jiang Chen’s turn to take the arena.
Wang Kui was champing at the bit. He charged into the ring with huge strides, glaring at Jiang Chen below with self-sure majesty.
“Are you going to forfeit yourself? Or are you going to come up, only to be smacked back down?” His tone put him solidly in the position of the victor already.
Jiang Chen snickered quietly before slowly stepping onstage. He looked across with coolness at Wang Kui’s overconfident demeanor. “I don’t know where you’re getting your arrogance from, but your rudeness means that you’ll be sent off in the quickest way possible!”
As he spoke, a ray of aureate light shot out from his pupils. The Evil Golden Eye struck like a bolt of malevolent lightning.
Jiang Chen’s gradual refinement of the technique meant that it was now extremely potent. Almost no one in the same realm could defend against it.
Wang Kui was presumptuous enough not to have paid any attention to Jiang Chen at all. He was only focused on landing a critical blow. The light made him tremble. In the next moment, his fierce eyes glazed over. His soul was bound by some invisible force, falling into a stupor.
“Off with you!”
Though killing was permitted in the arena, Jiang Chen didn’t want to leave a murderous impression on his audience. Thus, he used his Kunpeng Meteoric Escape to dash across on insubstantial wings. Within seconds, he was right up to Wang Kui.
A hand seal created a bigger copy of itself, palm slamming into Wang Kui’s face.
Wang Kui seemed to have been paralyzed in place. He couldn’t move at all. A single push from the giant palm was enough to send him flying off the stage like a broken kite.
A cloud of dust kicked up from where he lay. Wang Kui’s broad body had made close contact with the earth and he wasn’t in a pretty state.
Jiang Chen retracted his arts, freeing his opponent’s mind from its bindings. Wang Kui braced himself, but found that he had already fallen and couldn’t get up. His entire appearance was worse than sorry.
“I... lost?” The big man blinked, trying to recover his wits and a bit perplexed by what had just occurred. How come he had lost in the span of a single breath? He didn’t even know how things had played out. This was far too pathetic!
Anger flared up in his heart. Shame hitherto unexperienced caused him to roar, “No, you used a some kind of devilish spell on me!”
He had no better explanation. What else could it have been?
“Honorable judge, he used some kind of devilish spell!” Wang Kui raised a report of dissatisfaction. He found his experience odder and odder. How could he have lost control of his consciousness otherwise? His defeat had been far too easy. It made no sense.
“Enough with the rambling. You lost.” The judge ignored Wang Kui’s plea, coldly stating the conclusion of the fight.
Wang Kui was furious. “How could I lose?” he howled. “Couldn’t you see how he used a devilish spell? Are you taking his side?”
Though the man was quite sizable, his cranial capacity was less than stellar. He was outright questioning the judge’s fairness.
As expected, the judge’s face darkened. “Your ignorance is no fault of yours, but talking in ignorance is. You don’t even know how you lost. Even if there were another hundred bouts more, you wouldn’t be able to win against him.”
The words were a bucket of icy water, extinguishing Wang Kui’s defiance altogether.
“How can this be? How can this be?” Lost and listless, he couldn’t accept his defeat.
“What wonderful ocular skill!” The city lord’s advisors uttered uniform praise from within a secret observation room.
“The city lord’s eyes are keen indeed. This youth is nothing short of extraordinary. He must have concealed his strength earlier. He smashed his competitor to smithereens.”
“His ocular skill is impressive, but so is his luck. His opponent was such an ignorant fool!”
“Indeed, that big guy couldn’t wrap his head around it. Winning against someone like that isn’t very telling at all. We’ll see how the next two rounds pan out.”
“It’s hard to say. He hasn’t shown the full extent of his abilities at any point thus far. This bout is the same as an instant knockout. I have no doubt he will be one of the quarterfinalists, at least. I’m sure everyone else agrees?”
The advisors were all tremendously interested in Jiang Chen’s performance. Some considered a factor of randomness to be at play, but more realized that this young man had a lot of potential – just as the city lord had said. There were some amazing fights after Jiang Chen’s as well.
Finally, all thirty-two bouts were completed. The winners advanced to round two. Only two steps remained until the top eight could be decided.
All the geniuses fortunate enough to win in the first round were serious, their fighting spirits high. They knew that they were about to become the city lord’s important retainers, thus entering the executive layer of society. This was an opportunity that they’d never had before!
“After the end of the first round, the winners may rest for four hours. The second round will be held after the intermission.”
The shortness of the break illustrated how time was clearly of the essence. Those who’d triumphed after a difficult round were especially bitter. After all, it would take a lot of time for them to recover their strength and stamina. Four hours were far from enough.
Thankfully, all of these were top tier geniuses. This meant they possessed pills that could rapidly restore vitality. It was necessary for them to consume the pills at this crucial time, given the hard requirement to recoup their strength as quickly as possible.
The second battle would only get harder, not easier. In light of that, pills were downed generously.
In the first round, Jiang Chen was among the minority who’d had an easy fight. It could be said that he hadn’t even warmed up. One look had been enough to end the fight, costing him no energy whatsoever.
He didn’t waste away the four hours given. He closed his eyes, meditating on the sight of every battle he’d witnessed. His mind processed them many times over.
Though Jiang Chen was very confident, he knew that knowing one’s enemy was the most sure way to victory. After watching fight after fight, he was able to find the winners’ various advantages. Doing so gave him a preliminary overview of his potential opponents’ strengths.
Four hours passed in no time at all.
“Alright, time’s up. Next is the drawing for the second elimination round. Just like last time, you’ll get new numbers.”
Jiang Chen was number nine this time, another auspicious number. His opponent was number seventeen.
“Number seventeen?” He immediately called up the images of this candidate.
Wasn’t that person a little fatty? He had won in the first round, but not through overwhelming means. He seemed a flexible and capricious combatant.
His memory hadn’t betrayed him. A pale-skinned fatty was sneaking furtive looks at him from not far off.
This fatty was unquestionably different from Wang Kui. His heart was much clearer about the truth. In fact, he was a bit disappointed after seeing that Jiang Chen was to be his opponent. This wasn’t an attractive candidate by any stretch of the imagination!