Shen Fan’s speed of attack increased even further. He didn’t believe that Shao Yuan could overcome the limitations of the arena. He firmly believed that if he waved his whip more quickly, he would eventually catch up.
Furthermore, he had created powerful turbulence in the entire area. How could his opponent move around freely under these tempestuous circumstances?
He made all attempts to push his own limits. As long as he could cover the field with attacks, where would his enemy hide?
“What good will hiding do you, kid? Come out and fight!” Shen Fan grumbled loudly, his voice agitated. Clearly, the minimal effectiveness of his attempts upset him somewhat. Rather than genuine anger though, his pride was wounded.
He’d already brought out his Raging Serpent’s Whip – shouldn’t he have won easily after that? Why couldn’t he just kill his opponent already?
Fighting in the other arenas had largely concluded. Gentleman Sui Chen had surrendered to Xiahou Zong without actually fighting.
Yan Qingsang was wise to back out after a quick probe and sensing his opponent’s intense killing intent. Just as Jiang Chen had instructed, he didn’t give his opponent a chance to kill him.
He was also discovering an insidious hidden force that was targeting the Eternal Sacred Ground. It seemed that every competitor from the sacred ground faced a deathmatch in the ring.
Another genius from the sacred ground managed to win against his opponent after a vicious bout, but it was a pyrrhic victory: it was unlikely he would be able to do much in the next round.
Jiang Chen was the Eternal Sacred Ground’s lone hope and even he was in a dangerous position.
No one had expected something like this to happen before the competition. This was only the third round! The top sixteen were still being decided, yet the sacred ground was almost completely eliminated.
Over in House Xiahou’s area, Xiahou Ying clenched her fists and yelled. “Shen Fan, you bastard, you boast everyday about how skilled you are! If you can’t handle an outsider kid, don’t bother visiting House Xiahou ever again!”
Xiahou Zhen smiled slightly. “Ying’er, don’t be so anxious. Shao Yuan is at his wit’s end. The Raging Serpent’s Whip increases in power with the fury of its master. Since Shao Yuan has riled Shen Fan up, he will fall as soon as whip and wielder reach an accordance to summon the Raging Serpent spirit within.”
“Really?” Xiahou Ying brightened. “So Shen Fan isn’t worthless after all!”
“Yes. Shen Fan is one of the few in the nation that can cause a bit of trouble for your brother. ‘A bit of trouble’ is all he can do, of course.”
Xiahou Ying puffed out her chest, proud on her brother’s behalf. “Of course. The genius who can challenge my brother in Eternal Divine Nation hasn’t been born yet!”
Xiahou Zhen chuckled. He very much agreed with that analysis.
In the area designated for the imperial family and its retainers, the emperor watched the fighting with great enjoyment. “I didn’t think much of Shao Yuan during his fight with Wu You,” he remarked, “but it looks like he’s much more capable than he seemed earlier. Does he match his strength to his opponent?”
“A reasonable statement, Your Majesty. Still, I don’t think it’s wise for him to anger Shen Fan like this. Sticking to evasion will prove futile in the end. If I were him, I would defeat Shen Fan before he has a chance to gather his rage. If he doesn’t take this opportunity now, he might not get another.”
The emperor quite agreed with his servant. “Indeed. With the Raging Serpent’s Whip in hand, Shen Fan is sure to stand at the forefront of the divine nation’s future.”
“Astutely said, Your Majesty.”
“Haha, let’s keep watching the battle. Maybe Shao Yuan has a plan after all?”
“I’m sure he does. It’s obvious that he doesn’t understand the weapon well enough though. The summoning of the spirit inside will spell his doom.”
The flames of Shen Fan’s anger were being stoked ever higher. His endless failures to hit his opponent caused his temper to burn with an unsustainable heat.
“Come out, come out Shao Yuan! Do you think you can run away from my judgment forever? You’re too young, too simple!” Shen Fan cackled. An incantation lengthened the whip once more. The weapon was sheathed in a golden light even as black runes multiplied on its surface. Bestial roaring filled the air, as if the monster trapped within would break free at any second.
“Come out, spirit of the Raging Serpent, all-powerful and all-consuming!” Shen Fan’s eyes burned with furious fire.
The manic light interweaved with the Raging Serpent’s Whip, making a golden shadow erupt from the weapon. Roughly serpentine in shape, it bellowed as it twisted to and fro in the air.
The Raging Serpent!
Its spirit had finally been summoned. There was mass silence in the stands. The first prime lowered her head, not willing to bear seeing what would come next.
She regretted not having given Shao Yuan some defensive treasures. Perhaps she’d been too miserly. A cultivator without powerful treasures was at a disadvantage in arena fights.
The ferocious serpent spirit became more and more substantial as it rose higher into the air. Similarly, the increasing volume of its thrum made the weather change and the sky color.
Shen Fan was strangely calm now and no longer brandished his Raging Serpent’s Whip about. “All-powerful Raging Serpent, pursue that evil soul to world’s end! Go, go, go!” he muttered.
As he did so, Jiang Chen alighted on the arena ground opposite to him. He sat cross-legged on its edge, his expression entirely relaxed.
“That was enough time for me to take several naps. Is that all you can do? I suppose some light exercise helps me sleep.” Derision suffused his tone.
Shen Fan bristled with irritation. He knew his opponent was trying to get a rise out of him, but he couldn’t help wanting to cough up blood at the insult nevertheless.
“Don’t you know yet that you’re going to die, kid?!”
His tone grew sinister. The serpent spirit had gathered enough energy to peak in form and strength. It was dozens of yards long as it spiraled the skies, exuding grandeur and lust for carnage. It was a perfect embodiment of its race’s inherent bloodthirst.
Jiang Chen raised his head back up to the sky, still perfectly calm. “An insignificant spirit of a mere Raging Serpent. Is this your ultimate attack, Shen Fan?”
There was undisguised contempt in his voice.
“I’ve had enough of your empty words, kid!” Shen Fan retorted angrily. “The spirit of the Raging Spirit will eat you alive! Your body, blood, and spirit will be food for its evolution!”
“Really?” Jiang Chen sneered.
Suddenly, golden air currents whipped up around him. Overwhelming energy manifested itself as an aureate ocean, suppressing the encroaching waters that were pressing in.
The young man’s lips moved, muttering something. Trails of runes, ancient and mysterious, surged around his entire body.
In the next moment, Jiang Chen roared into the sky, emitting a long and piercing croon. The weather changed once more; dust and debris kicked up everywhere, and the firmament swelled with clouds.
A, a dragon’s roar!
The spirit of the Raging Spirit was antagonized by the sound. It roared to match, then surged down with its claw outstretched.
“Know your place, beast!” Jiang Chen cackled.
His draconic bloodline was pushed to its zenith. At the same time, a draconic image flickered into existence behind him, rippling upward like a waterfall reversing its flow.
Countless rays of golden light gathered into a draconic geyser. The dragon image rushed toward the serpent spirit with devastating might and savagery.
A strange phenomenon occurred. The seething Raging Serpent spirit was brought to a sudden halt, as if something was at its throat. Like it had seen the scariest thing in the world, the golden image trembled with fear, its predatory aura all but lost.
Every member of the audience was astounded by the sight. Even the most optimistic among them hadn’t expected such a dramatic turnaround.
The first prime brightened once more. She was experienced enough to understand what had occurred. A true dragon’s image and roar was sufficiently intimidating to every Raging Serpent that had ever existed.
The nobility and purity of its origin ancestor naturally subdued a serpent, who was powerless before a being of a higher order. It wasn’t surprising that the Raging Serpent spirit would have such a drastic reaction in light of this.
But those far more ignorant than the first prime were left in the dark still. Exactly what was going on here?