The power of Jiang Chen’s Evil Golden Eye had risen with his level of cultivation. The gaze he’d exchanged just now had almost unsettled his opponent’s mind entirely. However, he hadn’t counted on winning in a single look. He only wanted a moment’s hesitation. In that small window of opportunity that Zhuang Min offered, his eight statues leapt into the fray, thoroughly encircling his opponent.
Eight Trigram Assimilation Formation, Offensive Mode! With wind and lightning in their steps, the eight statues began their frenzied onslaught towards their master’s enemy once again. Fortunately for Zhuang Min, his defensive capabilities were above-average. Though he was being pressed in upon, there was no struggle. The statues’ dogged assault didn’t affect him very much. He opened both hands, slamming his palms down four times each. Four beads of water turned into four sprays of foam, draping towards the eight statues like a shower of glass.
Jiang Chen smirked at the effort. Zhuang Min was trying to use his Waterveil Prison to lock down the eight statues. However, water-attribute abilities had no effect whatsoever against him. He had been released from the Waterveil Prison prior not by his own hand, but by Long Xiaoxuan’s. The dragon was superbly stealthy, nesting himself away in Jiang Chen’s vicinity without even the seven emperors taking notice.
Sure, there was the faint scent of dragon’s blood, but there was plausible deniability. It made much more sense for the scent’s origin to be Jiang Chen himself. In several of his previous battles, Jiang Chen had used many draconic powers. The dragon’s roar was one of them, the ability of devourment was another… In actuality, though Jiang Chen had a grasp of the former, he wasn’t yet equipped in many respects to learn the latter.
All eight veils of water dissipated into nothingness, as if ripped apart by an invisible, giant hand. Zhuang Min began to panic a little. Water-attribute abilities were what he was most well-versed at. Moreover, they lacked an obvious weakness. They weren’t the strongest offensively, but opponents had a hard time piercing their line of defense in the heat of the moment. Well, in most cases anyway. Today was an exception.
This Pill King Zhen had some kind of natural advantage against his water-attribute abilities. Even using the power of his emperor realm domain did nothing to salvage that fact. Pill King Zhen… what kind of monster is he? I know my domain isn’t the strongest, but it gives a significant boost to my Waterveil Prison. Why is he able to counteract it so effortlessly? Is my domain actually unstable and weak?
It was clearly an anxious topic for Zhuang Min. During casual bouts with his fellow geniuses, his water-attribute domain had always proved to be quite useful. Many higher-ranked geniuses had a difficult time breaking through his reliable defense. How could Pill King Zhen crush his defenses so easily? He couldn’t let things go on like this. If he couldn’t get the appropriate usage out of his domain, then the outcome of the battle became much more uncertain. Zhuang Min simply couldn’t accept it. The entire affair was beyond strange.
This kid must have some kind of legendary treasure that naturally counters water-attribute abilities. How can he negate my domain power otherwise as a sage realm genius?
First level emperor realm geniuses didn’t necessarily have the most established domains, but having one at all allowed them to significantly surpass the geniuses that did not. Zhuang Min repeatedly called upon his water veils in defense, but they were torn apart by the same mysterious force each time. He was so distressed that his heart was on fire. There was a final card that he hadn’t played yet. His original intention had been to use it in order to challenge someone higher in the rankings, but it was possible that he’d lose here if he hid it any longer.
He didn’t have much more time to mull over the choice. The eight statues’ attacks became more and more impenetrable, the deployment of their formation’s might improving with each moment. After his rippling water veils were dispelled, Zhuang Min had only his physical evasiveness to rely on. But trying to combat a formation with his body alone was folly. There were eight statues, but only one of him.
The few always had trouble against the many. In the world of martial dao, that was one of the simplest rules. He was currently being hit over and over again by the statues. Because his body was much stronger compared to someone halfway to the emperor realm, he received no critical injuries. Still, he knew better than anyone else that continuing in this same manner would only lead to him wasting away.
I don’t care anymore. Let’s deal with the current crisis first. Zhuang Min hadn’t expected to be pushed to this point. His emperor realm domain was supposed to have steamrolled his opponent with ease. It turned out that he was the one being rolled into a pancake instead!
Offstage, Zhuang Jie watched the proceedings with wide-eyed amazement. He sneaked a glance at Emperor Vastsea. “Your Majesty, this Pill King Zhen… is he cheating with a treasure of some sort?” he couldn’t help but ask. “Not even my brother’s domain power can stop him.”
“In the world of martial dao, geniuses are given all sorts of opportunities all their own. No matter what kind of legendary treasure he has, only the result of the match matters in the end,” Emperor Vastsea replied coolly. There was a hint of dissatisfaction in his tone.
However, the emperor could see as plainly as anyone else that it was not Zhuang Min’s fault. The youth was capable and had exerted himself fully for the occasion. It was his opponent that was beyond the comprehension of mortal men. If this Pill King Zhen managed to defeat Zhuang Min as well, then he was a genius that few under Vastsea’s command could hope to match. Thankfully, the first-ranked genius in the faction was still undefeated. Even someone as strong as Zhuang Min had to bow down his head before him. The provisional heir of Emperor Vastsea, the young lord of young lords. His name was Ye Piaoling, ranked within the top five in the Ranking of Young Lords. One of the most elite in the list, a brilliant nova amongst a sea of stars.
“How do you think Zhuang Min’s doing in this battle, Piaoling?” Emperor Vastsea asked, a spontaneous test for his best pupil.
“He has thirty percent odds, at best.” Ye Piaoling’s voice was cold and aloof. There was no compassion in it, almost as if the subject of the conversation was a stranger rather than a peer.
“What? Thirty percent at most?” Zhuang Jie wasn’t happy to hear the conclusion. “Are you kidding, senior brother Ye?”
The senior brother in question didn’t even turn his head. The only answer Zhuang Jie received was a lukewarm smile. It was depressing being the target of such frivolous treatment. However, Ye Piaoling’s temperament was well-known to both Zhuang brothers, and Zhuang Jie didn’t dare act up in front of the senior disciple. The only thing he could do was close his mouth. He was filled with a thousand disagreements, though. In his heart, he considered his emperor realm brother to be a true top-notch genius.
How could someone who possessed so much fortune lose? Less than thirty percent? He couldn’t accept it at all. Ye Piaoling was just boosting the morale of others and lowering their own for no reason at all. This senior brother was probably scared that his older brother would beat him! Why not beat down his strongest competitor’s morale while he can, hmm! But Zhuang Jie felt bad nevertheless when he saw how passive his brother was being in the arena. He’d thought that it would have been easy for his brother to avenge him, a naïve sentiment in retrospect. His brother was embroiled in a tough fight as well, now.
“What kind of weirdo pill did this weirdo Pill King Zhen eat? A sky sage realm cultivator facing off evenly against an emperor realm… how can this be?” No matter how unhappy Zhuang Jie was with the situation, Jiang Chen had the upper hand in the duel.
Zhuang Min’s heart was resolved. He shook both arms. Tunes filled the air all around him, ripping open the clothing on his back. The muscles on his back bulged and expanded. A moment later, the flesh ruptured open to reveal two expansive, feathery wings.
“Windrider Wings?” There was a collection of gasps from the crowd.
“Zhuang Min has managed to develop Windrider Wings? Tsk. Looks like his wind constitution is of even higher caliber than his younger brother’s!”
“Both brothers have such special constitutions… it’s truly formidable. Zhuang Min seems a lot more talented than Zhuang Jie.”
“The Windrider Wings move as quickly as lightning. They can even cut open space itself, producing chaotic windstorms from the gaps.”
“Chaotic windstorms are fearsome indeed. The most powerful ones can even drag people into the darkness of voidstorms.”
Voidstorms were named as such because they were storms that occurred in the void between the folds of space and time. Though the fabric of space and time rarely had rifts between its threads, any that did form always had peculiar constructions. The most masterful of experts had an easy time upending mountains and draining oceans. Reaching the moon and the stars were trivial for them. They traveled by tearing apart the seams of space, entering different dimensions by surpassing the limitations of material existence. Space torn apart in such a way often created terrifying voidstorms in their wake.
Zhuang Ming’s Windrider Wings originated from an ancient, mysterious wind bloodline, specifically, a mythical divine beast of some sort. It was one of his secrets, one of his trump cards.
The cries of surprise all around clued Jiang Chen in to the Windrider Wings’ marvel. In truth, he had heard of these wings before, and knew their capabilities to an approximate extent. That didn’t mean he was scared of the wings. Dragons themselves rode the cloud and wind. Given his draconic bloodline, Jiang Chen had no fear of any kind of bad weather. He feared neither their speed nor might, confident that his own bloodline would surpass them in both aspects.
A trail of afterimages marked Zhuang Min’s escape from the eight statues’ encirclement. The Eight Trigram Assimilation Formation couldn’t entrap that kind of reality-warping speed.
Jiang Chen’s heart itched at the sight of it. He’d refined a pair of wings like that as well: Emperor Featherflight’s Featherflight Wings. It was a shame that he couldn’t use them openly in public. He still had his Cicada’s Wings, though. They weren’t as impressive in broad strokes, and didn’t possess a ridiculous elite speed either, but they excelled in maneuverability. Thus, he maintained perfect calm in the face of the Windrider Wings’ newly-posed threat.