“Have House Xiahou and the imperial family not made their move yet?” Jiang Chen didn’t think that likely. The men from the Cloudwave Sect had said they were going to act in a few days.
A couple of months had passed since then. If there was an uprising, news should have gotten out. He would’ve heard something.
Befuddled, he visited several other bustling locations on the island and lingered to gather intel, but still didn’t hear anything about an uprising.
His train of thought was abruptly interrupted by approaching footsteps. A man called out in a bright voice, “Excuse me, brother.”
Jiang Chen turned and saw a young man with gentle features approaching, hands cupped and lips curved. He had a feminine air to him.
“Do I know you?” Jiang Chen frowned slightly.
The man looked harmless, but Jiang Chen’s instincts told him to stay alert. There was something wrong with this overly effeminate man.
“I am Zhou Yue. I saw you standing tall and alone, looking troubled, so I came to ask if I may have the privilege to buy you a drink?”
“I don’t know you. I’m not interested in a drink.” Jiang Chen hadn’t come to make friends. Besides, he didn’t even like the man.
Zhou Yue responded politely, “We’ve met now. It doesn’t matter if we knew each other beforehand. We’re no longer strangers. Why don’t you set your bias aside and enjoy our time together?”
“Not interested. Leave me alone.” Jiang Chen put great importance on first impressions and he’d taken an instant dislike to Zhou Yue. He wasn’t going to spare the man even a glance, no matter how hard the latter tried to get his attention.
Noting Jiang Chen’s annoyed expression, Zhou Yue’s face clouded. Instead of getting angry, he gave Jiang Chen a meaningful glance and an odd smile before walking away, shaking his head.
The strange encounter took Jiang Chen’s mood further down a notch. He paid for the wine and rose to leave.
The clerk of the tavern snuck a glance at Jiang Chen. He didn’t dare meet Jiang Chen’s gaze, but there was a flash of pity in his eyes.
Within Jiang Chen’s line of sight, even the most minute of changes in patron expressions within hundreds of meters couldn’t escape his powerful consciousness. He could easily read the undercurrents in the clerk’s eyes.
He kept his observations to himself. Perhaps the clerk meant well. He wasn’t going to broach it openly and put the clerk in danger.
Jiang Chen stayed on guard as he exited the tavern. As soon as he turned the street corner, a group of men with an intimidating air rushed him and fanned out to surround him.
“Gu, you’ve disappeared for years after owing our young master millions of spirit stones. Now that you’ve finally fallen into our hands, we won’t let you run off again!”
“It’s right and proper for one to pay their debts. How dare you hide from us? You can’t run forever!”
The thugs cursed out Jiang Chen with abandon. He frowned. He’d thought the men had just mistook him for someone else, but then realized they weren’t actually here to collect debts. They were most likely the local gangsters, and Zhou Yue likely one of them.
If his guess was right, it was their modus operandi to wander around every day looking for easy prey - namely, newcomers who traveled alone. Perhaps they saw him as an easy, fat target.
He was in a bad enough mood already and flew into rage at their attempt of extortion. His frigid gaze swept over the foolish men who clearly had a death wish.
“This is your last warning,” he said in a voice more icy than his gaze. “Get lost, and I might you live.”
“Hahaha, he’s lost his mind. He’s not going to pay up. Let’s get him, boys!”
Most of them were great emperors. Even the strongest one had only reached half-step empyrean. They had nothing in their favor but numbers.
Jiang Chen had been keeping his aura within himself, masking his cultivation. That was why the thugs had targeted him.
He didn’t know how long it’d been since he was last subjected to such provocation. How dare a few great emperors taunt and holler about taking him down? Were they so confident in themselves that they knew no fear?
Jiang Chen crossed his arms, a frigid smile tugging his lips. He stood as steady and motionless as a mountain, like he was meditating.
“Arrogant prick! Let’s get this fucker!”
“Get him together!”
The eight men charged at Jiang Chen in unison. They were obviously trained and knew how to fight as a team. Instead of coming at him in disarray, they arranged themselves into an appropriate formation and fought like a well-oiled machine.
Even though they were well-coordinated, there was still a large gap in might between them and Jiang Chen.
He flicked his eyes toward the group, shooting a faintly yellow ray of light through the air. The men froze like they’d been paralyzed by a spell. This was far from the full power of the Evil Golden Eye.
Jiang Chen huffed softly and swept with his eyes. The men toppled over and hit the ground like statues, making loud thuds. People like them more than deserved death. Jiang Chen walked away without sparing them a glance.
A few figures leapt out of their hiding spots and circled him again. This group kept a greater distance from him than the last.
Jiang Chen swept his eyes over every one of them and laughed. “Is Warmspring Island home to robbers? You sure are bold to make a move in broad daylight.”
These were stronger than the last group and were all empyrean experts. One of them was the man who had struck up a conversation with him, Zhou Yue.
Zhou Yue’s feminine and sinister eyes turned venomous, like those of a serpent, as he considered Jiang Chen.
“You are skilled to decapacitate so many people without even lifting a finger. However, you should learn to restrain yourself on the Warmspring Island. We - ”
Jiang Chen didn’t want to waste further breath. “So noisy. Hold your tongue and out with it! Are you here to extort me through trickery or force?”
He bludgeoned through the fancy words that Zhou Yue wanted to bandy about. He must’ve been identified as a target since the very beginning. All these tricks were just the bandits trying to make themselves look better.
Zhou Yue laughed after a pause. “Good. You’re direct. My demand is the same. You took out a loan of a couple million spirit stones from the Silversword Gang. Many years have passed...”
“That same excuse again?” Jiang Chen gave him a feral grin. “I’m not interested in your nonsense, but if you’re talking about loans... I’d like to take a lease out on your head.”
He had no respect for people like Zhou Yue, who tried to justify robbery as collecting debts. That was a terrible excuse no one would buy.
“My head?” Zhou Yue smiled lazily. “You can certainly try.”
“I will.” Jiang Chen blurred into motion. At the same time, he deployed the Evil Golden Eye, aiming at Zhou Yue’s eyes.
Over the years, Zhou Yue had committed many atrocities in Warmspring with the Silversword Gang backing him up. He’d almost never encountered any challenges, and he’d never failed.
The gang was essentially the local mafia, specializing in extortion, kidnapping, and murder. There was nothing they wouldn’t do.
Their strength, on top of friends in high places, prompted them to target civilians with abandon. They’d never encountered any setbacks, which was why Zhou Yue was so bold.
They were smart about picking their targets, going after loners who were obviously wandering cultivators. The rule ensured the gang’s success over the long years they ran rampant on the island.
They’d targeted Jiang Chen because he was traveling on his own with no servants, and he didn’t possess the strong presence of a genius from a major faction.
Unfortunately, they’d misjudged this time.
Jiang Chen’s Evil Golden Eye emerged as a flash of gold light. He held his fingers together like a sword and, with a flick of his wrist, directed the light at Zhou Yue’s eyes.
His powerful consciousness locked down on Zhou Yue, sending a shudder down the latter’s spine and depriving him of all strength. He stood rooted to the spot, unable to move a muscle.
Jiang Chen used his hand like a blade and, with a chop of his hand, decapitated Zhou Yue. Formerly attached to his body, Zhou Ye’s eyes were still widened in disbelief as he shot up into the sky.
Never had Zhou Yue anticipated such terrifying power from an unassuming prey. His life had been reaped in the blink of an eye. Only once he died did his companions recover from their shock. Their face contorted as they charged at Jiang Chen, howling in anger.
Jiang Chen’s ire burned hotter.
He tapped into his full speed, cutting the air with the Galaxy Slash move from the Supernova Point technique.
The others were close to Zhou Yue’s level of cultivation, but as soon as they drew close to Jiang Chen, they realized that the area was completely under the young man’s command. Their bodies grew as heavy as lead.
Before they could react, Jiang Chen had relieved them all of their heads. They hit the ground one after another.