Zhuang Min was very cautious. He kept his guard up even as he admired his handiwork. He knew about the Cicada's Disappearance ability that Pill King Zhen possessed. Many previous opponents had made the mistake of assuming that the pill king was already in their clutches, only to be deceived by a mirage. He was worried that this was more of the same. Thus, he was perfectly wary even as he observed his enemy’s movements. But the sight of Jiang Chen struggling beyond the veil was extremely reassuring. His opponent looked soundly trapped this time.
“Pill King Zhen, how do you like this living coffin?” Zhuang Min’s faint sneer barely contained his obvious derision. To the victor went the spoils. He could do as he liked.
Within his aquatic prison, Jiang Chen could barely contain his surprise. It was extraordinary to be able to perform such a feat with a water-attribute art. Zhuang Min was a force to be reckoned with. No wonder why he was ranked 11th. His prominence and fame were well-earned. The Waterveil Prison could not be struggled against nor could it be cut by steel. It was entirely supple, constructed out of a mysterious force. Both qualities made it almost indestructible. Water-attribute arts typically had specific characteristics. Pervasiveness and elasticity were two such qualities chief amongst them. Jiang Chen tried a variety of methods to pry open his jail, but all were fruitless. He held back an internal sigh when he saw Zhuang Min’s half-smile through the watery bars.
As expected of an emperor realm cultivator. The Waterveil Prison has an emperor realm domain behind it. That, coupled with how impenetrable his ability is in its own right, makes it difficult for me to try to break it open.
If the person using the ability had been a sage realm cultivator, Jiang Chen could easily force it open via his body alone, tempered by the Nine Transformations of Demons and Gods. There would have been no need for these pointless attempts. Alas, that was not the case. As an emperor realm cultivator, Zhuang Min’s Waterveil Prison was at least ten times as strong as one that a sage realm genius could set up. The domain and aura of the emperor realm were truly exceptional. Feeling the aquatic cell pressing in all around him, Jiang Chen sensed the water-attribute energy crushing him in its tightening grip. He would be smashed to a pulp any moment now.
“If you forfeit now, Pill King Zhen, maybe I’ll show you some mercy. But if you intend on resisting, then enjoy the agonizing fate of being slowly sucked dry!” Zhuang Min cackled. As the clear winner, he was not obliged to show compassion. Rather, the achievement of defeating the pill king cheered him up greatly. No one else had been able to stop the man’s advance but him! He felt motivated enough to make it into the ranking’s top ten now. However, his expression froze in the next moment. His jaw was slack in absolute disbelief.
“How can this be possible?” Zhuang Min’s eyes were glued to his prison. The Waterveil Prison’s water energy was turning into water vapor, evaporating into thin air! His opponent seemed to be completely unharmed. He moved as languidly as if he’d just woken up from an afternoon nap.
Jiang Chen stretched. “Is this all that you can do, Zhuang Min? I seem to remember you being very proud of your abilities. You’re very brave to have said what you did, given… this. Am I supposed to be unable to counterattack now?”
His smile was extremely wily. Zhuang Min’s hairs stood on end.
“Eat my blade!” Not allowing his opponent a moment’s notice or thought, Jiang Chen took advantage of his opponent’s momentary sluggishness. His sword surged forth in offense. The Pentecolor Divine Swords stirred up the air. A strike that rent heaven and earth asunder swept towards Zhuang Min, leaving faint afterimages behind it. The haste and ferocity of the attack allowed its target no time to react.
Though his rhythm had been disrupted, Zhuang Min was still a very competent cultivator. Seeing the incoming sword strike, he rubbed his hands in self-defense. In the next instant, a rippling curtain of water filled the air about him with indistinct ripples. Pfft! Sword connected with curtain, leaving a deep gash in the defensive veil. The curtain was pushed to its breaking point, persisting only after wavering for a long period of time. Leaving no rest for his opponent between attacks, Jiang Chen stormed forth once more.
“Yin Yang Divide!” Once more, it was a technique derived from the marvels in nature. As a poet once wrote of a mountain, ‘Ethereal beauty springs from creation distills. There, yin and yang split dusk and dawn.’ so too, did the sword technique aim to slice existence itself. On one side of the edge was yin, the other yang. The mystery contained within the cut was almost incomprehensible.
The light of the sword rushed through the air, creating two swathes of color. The contrast of endless night and brilliant day sent onlookers back to the genesis of the universe, viewing the moment in which earth and sky first came to be. Bringing the power of yin and yang in its wake, Jiang Chen’s sword was almost at his enemy’s throat once more.
This time though, Zhuang Min was prepared for it. Despite scrambling a little to do so, he managed to activate two Skywater Talismans at once. Two series of rippling waves blocked the terrifying attack—just barely, but it was enough. However, the defenses mounted by the watery ripples were soon ripped open. At the same time, Zhuang Min leapt out of Jiang Chen’s range of attack with a small bounce.
What a pity. The two attacks Jiang Chen had delivered were a progressive series, but he hadn’t expected his opponent to react so quickly or use such powerful Skywater Talismans. He had seen Wei Wudao use the same kind of talisman earlier. In fact, he had firsthand experience of them. They hadn’t been much to write home about at the time. But Zhuang Min’s Skywater Talismans were more than ten times stronger than Wei Wudao’s. His yin-yang dual assault was barely able to do more than break open its defenses.
This Zhuang Min is a lot more difficult to deal with than Zhuang Jie. He has real expertise in the use of elemental water. Zhuang Jie, on the other hand, only has unexcavated talent. No wonder why this one’s number eleven while Zhuang Jie is only twenty. As a true expert, Jiang Chen could see the difference between the two very easily. His inability to take down Zhuang Min in two swings made him a little annoyed. Allowing Zhuang Min to escape meant his opponent was going to use stronger abilities than the Waterveil Prison he’d used before.
Jiang Chen was on his guard. Belittling his opponent at any point could be fatal. He’d had a leisurely time fighting cultivators who were at the half-step emperor realm. Nothing they did could really threaten him. Cultivators who were at the true emperor realm, on the other hand, were entirely different. There was no room for error against such opponents. Any slight blunder was an invitation for them to launch a lethal counter strike. Though Jiang Chen was capable and possessed numerous trump cards, emperor realm cultivators did indeed have the raw strength to surprise him. Merely someone at the first level emperor realm was enough. As he thought things through, he felt something strange on his face. The backs of his hand and neck both felt the same thing.
“Is it raining?” Jiang Chen raised his head. The space all around him was covered in a dense drizzle, watery needles pattering onto the ground below. When had the weather changed? The timing of the rain was very strange. A blazing sun still hung overhead in the skies over the arena. Suddenly, Jiang Chen realized something. His eyebrows moved in anticipation and he hurriedly called his golden body to action.
In the twinkle of an eye, the countless needles of rainwater began to glow with a despairing brilliance. Tss, tss, tss, tss, tss! The threads of rain became a deluge of sword auras, inundating and fine. They enveloped the entire arena in their coverage.
Swords of Rain Mist! The sword auras could cut the very air like invisible needles. They slashed against Jiang Chen’s tempered body in a frenzy. He’d steeled himself just in time. Even so, the raindrop sword auras permeated into his skin with ubiquitous force. Thankfully, the durability of his golden body shielded him from the majority of the damage. The effect that the sword auras had was minimized. That aside, it was still a harrowing experience.
Jiang Chen’s formation disk moved into action. The Prince of Shangping’s eight statues emerged one by one from thin air. He held nothing back this time. His hands skillfully manipulated the eight statues via the disk. He had them to assume the Eight Trigram Assimilation Formation, a battle formation that he’d taught to Xue Tong and company a long time ago. Back then, his personal guard had only grasped some rudiments of the formation. With only average cultivators manning it, the formation itself was just ordinary. Since the eight statues had a strong innate martial will, they could move as one unit in either an offensive or defensive stance. Though Jiang Chen wasn’t able to scratch past the surface of their full potential, their value had nevertheless been greatly improved in the formation.
In the Prince of Shangping’s hands, the eight statues had been largely useless. With a formation disk in hand, Jiang Chen was able to control them with significantly better fluidity and efficiency. He had needed to expend considerable effort in its creation, of course, but that was the way of the world. The Eight Trigram Assimilation Formation allowed the eight statues to absorb the brunt of the raindrops’ offense.
It relieved a lot of pressure off of Jiang Chen himself. His God’s Eye and Evil Golden Eye both deployed to their maximum, Jiang Chen began to scan his surroundings for his opponent with eyes ablaze. Although Zhuang Min could not be seen, he was definitely concealing himself using a water-attribute method. He’d made himself as transparent as water energy itself, completely translucent in the air, and was waiting in ambush somewhere. Zhuang Min was getting more and more on his nerves. Even so, his Evil Golden Eye had never failed to find any of his enemies before.
Jiang Chen’s eyes came to a still. “Why are you so busy smuggling yourself away, Zhuang Min? You’re worse than your younger brother.” His tone was unkind and unrelenting.
Zhuang Min did indeed have a technique called Waterveil Illusion, which used water energy to hide his figure within the space behind the veil. He had wanted to use two sword auras to attack Jiang Chen before attempting a more covert approach. After he was in position, he could then humiliate Pill King Zhen with a powerful ability in one fell swoop. The pill king’s proficiency was entirely unexpected. His Swords of Rain Mist had been unable to break through his opponent’s defense. On top of that, his own presence had been detected.
Locking eyes with Jiang Chen’s own, Zhuang Min felt his body slow down. There was a vague excitement in his heart, like his soul was being tugged on by an indescribable power. For a moment, his mind had been on the edge of disarray. He was secretly shocked. This Pill King Zhen is a freak! The average sage realm cultivator would lose instantly to my Waterveil Prison and Swords of Rain Mist. I could say the same for the majority of cultivators who were halfway to the emperor realm. But he’s only, what, at the seventh or eighth level sage realm? The power he holds doesn’t match up to his age.