Surprisingly, Xiahou Zong was a bit slow on the uptake. His status as the foremost genius of his generation had given him an inborn superiority when facing cultivators around his age.
This pride helped nurture a robust self-confidence in normal situations. But when it flared up in a situation that didn’t warrant it, the disadvantage it offered was equally fatal.
When the arrogant genius did react, it was already too late. His four demons were completely locked down by the Confounding Puppets, while more and more magnetic soldiers and golden monsters rushed into the field to assist.
The four demons couldn’t deal with a situation like this despite their raw power.
A magnetic storm was an impeding force to be reckoned with. Under normal conditions, the soldiers and monsters wouldn’t last a single sortie from the demons.
Even the four puppets would have a hard time preventing them from retreating. Perhaps the projections wouldn’t be able to destroy the puppets right away—or completely at all, really—but withdrawing should’ve been no problem.
However, the conditions right now were far from normal.
The intensification of the storms and the addition of more monsters and soldiers meant that it was almost impossible to find an opportunity to break free. Everything was according to Jiang Chen’s calculations.
Without the assistance of the four demons, Xiahou Zong was a tiger who had been defanged and declawed. Now was the best chance for Jiang Chen to kill him.
“Xiahou Zong, know your place!” Suddenly, the countless images of Jiang Chen soared into the air in unison, all of them nocking and aiming at their common enemy.
“I’m not scared of your illusions, kid!” Xiahou Zong roared through bloodshot eyes. “Come at me if you dare!” His throat was hoarse from the shouting.
Clearly, being backed into a corner had caused his pent-up frustration to explode.
Jiang Chen glanced at his opponent with pitying eyes, then sent another wave of monsters and soldiers with a hand seal. Xiahou Zong was weakened, but far from being unable to deal with a few measly golden monsters.
Unfortunately for him, both the monsters and the soldiers were endless and unafraid of destruction. A swarm of ants sizable enough could take down an elephant.
Group after group rushed at Xiahou Zong without fail. Regardless of his abilities, he couldn’t fend off their ferocious attacks forever. He hadn’t crumbled, but he was harried and distressed.
Jiang Chen locked onto Xiahou Zong with his Evil Golden Eye, then focused his consciousness.
“The time is now!”
He poured the energy of his true dragon bloodline into the Holy Dragon Bow. The air resounded with dragon roars, making for a superb spectacle.
Everyone watching the fight paled. Had they finally come to the moment of truth?
Duke Xiaoyao stood up suddenly, his cheeks flushing.
The first prime squinted a little, her consciousness monitoring the duke’s movements. Any interference from the latter was going to be interrupted by the former without question. She radiated an aura of pressure all around the arena stands, daunting everyone present.
“The battle in the ring belongs to the young geniuses, Duke Xiaoyao. Us older folk should stay put.” Her words were directed at Duke Xiaoyao, but they were intimidation for everyone else as well. Deceit wasn’t going to be tolerated by the leader of the sacred land today.
It was obvious to even Xiahou Ying that her brother was in grave danger.
“Patriarch, Elder Zhen, what should we do? Is there anything we can do?” She was anxious. Her brother and protector was in trouble, and she couldn’t imagine what would happen to her own status in the house should he be gone. Xiahou Zong was almost entirely the reason for her relative importance.
Without him, she would be nothing!
Yan Qingsang widened his eyes. He glared at the arena with a ferocious grimace. “Kill him, brother! Kill him now! It’s time to pay back all the dishonor that Huang’er has suffered over these years!”
He left his own grievances unsaid; at this moment, he was more excited than any other.
House Yan collectively dimmed when they saw Yan Qingsang’s excited gesticulations. Once upon a time, Shao Yuan had belonged to them. It had been only two years since then, and he was already on the verge of smashing Xiahou Zong into smithereens.
Xiahou Zong’s legend was about to be broken!
Misery was written all over the Yan patriarch’s face. He suddenly felt an indescribable sense of defeatism and regret. It seemed that his choice had been wrong in the end. Perhaps Shao Yuan really was going to change the landscape of the nation? The future no longer seemed quite the same. Regardless, House Yan had missed out forever.
Yan Zhenhuai’s feelings were similarly mixed on the subject. He was reasonably acquainted with Jiang Chen, though not particularly deeply. He was both pleased at and mildly envious of the youth’s dazzling performance. Far from being a narrow-minded man, on many topics, he was more accepting than the majority of his house’s executives.
He had been of the opinion that Jiang Chen and Yan Qingsang’s entrance into the sacred land was an opportunity for them. In fact, he had fancied such an opportunity for himself. Unfortunately, his status as the foremost genius of his house meant that he couldn’t abandon it to join another faction.
Still, Yan Zhenhuai wanted to see Jiang Chen crush Xiahou Zong. He would rather see a genius who had come out of House Yan dethrone the tyrannical genius and sit in his place. He had no love for the party currently losing in this fight.
Upon the stage, Xiahou Zong was in his last struggles. He tried once more to burn his consciousness in order to summon another demon god.
Alas, the golden monsters and magnetic soldiers didn’t allow him the distraction. They piled upon him in an unstoppable herd.
At the same time, Jiang Chen’s Bewitching Lotus of Fire and Ice transformed into countless images of him in order to threaten him from afar.
Draconic roaring filled the firmament.
Jiang Chen’s Holy Dragon Bow finally moved.
A lethal missile sailed into Xiahou Zong’s vicinity amid a hail of illusory copies.
The young man’s exceptional combat instincts kicked in. He opened his eyes, sensing where the real arrow was. He shook both arms, slamming the true arrow aside.
However, the Holy Dragon Bow wouldn’t shoot just one arrow once deployed. Jiang Chen typically used the first shot as a test. The repeating fire he deployed afterwards was the real killing blow.
Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh!
Three more arrows sailed at Xiahou Zong from three separate sides, each targeting a different vital spot. They covered a much greater area and took much odder trajectories than the previous attack.
Xiahou Zong only had two hands. He noticed the arrow heading straight for his face, but couldn’t evade the two more at his back and scalp.
Dismayed, he roared despairingly. His evasive maneuver was hampered by the magnetic storms and the labyrinth around him; he could barely reach a third of his normal speed.
The Holy Dragon Bow, on the other hand, moved with alarming alacrity.
In the next instant, Xiahou Zong slapped aside the arrows at his head, only for the one aimed at his back to pierce him entirely.
Jiang Chen’s aim was true. It had scored a direct hit upon the heart, erupting back out the front.
A bloody hole appeared on Xiahou Zong’s body. Arrows of blood shot out of it. He seemed to be frozen still.
“Stop!” House Xiahou’s collective scream of panic came from the stands.
Jiang Chen ignored it totally. A sword seal guided his Heavenly Chalice Sword Formation’s blades to descend upon his foe like a swarm of locusts. The harsh sword lights sliced Xiahou Zong into tiny bits. Blood and gore flew everywhere.
His soul didn’t have a chance to escape before being obliterated by the swords. Neither did anyone in the audience have time to intervene, so quick were the weapons’ work.
When Duke Xiaoyao’s angry shout reached him, Jiang Chen had already finished dismembering his opponent.
Xiahou Zong had been erased from existence. Without the guidance of his consciousness, the four demon gods collapsed and turned into mist.
Performing a hand seal, Jiang Chen withdrew both his Nine Labyrinth Formation and his Confounding Puppets. The arena turned calm once more. Only grisly bits and pieces remained as a reminder of the other genius who had been there moments before.
“Shao Yuan!” Duke Xiaoyao shrieked into the sky. He glared at Jiang Chen viciously, as savage as an angry beast who wanted to pounce at any minute.
The first prime smiled coolly. “Duke Xiaoyao, I advised you awhile back that you shouldn’t be too saddened by Xiahou Zong’s loss. Did you not take it to heart?”
This was insult to injury.
Duke Xiaoyao shook with rage. Xiahou Zhen was completely ashen. Xiahou Ying wept bitterly. “Brother, brother! Shao Yuan, you’re too cruel! How could you kill your opponent in the arena!”
Barely anyone sympathised with her. After all, the brother and sister had been far too pretentious and rude in their interactions with others. Many were shocked that Xiahou Zong was dead, but most were quite pleased!
Jiang Chen was as impassive as ever, as if he’d done something insignificant. “I’m hardly cruel. You should blame Xiahou Zong for being weak and useless. If he and I switched positions, do you think he would show mercy?”
To the victor went the right of explanation. There was no justice for the losing party in a deathmatch. Like Jiang Chen said, it had come down to personal ability.