Many people looked shocked as they stared at Nine Nether. They found it hard to believe. They had heard that Lord Nine Nether was only a Grade Six or Grade Seven Sovereign, but she had now become so powerful!
Lord Asura, Lord Mountain Cracker, and the rest of the lords were shocked as well. Nine Nether had great strength, but she could only be ranked third or fourth among the lords before she had left them. However, she had now advanced to Grade Nine Sovereign before Lord Asura!
Someone in the crowd asked, "Has she used some temporary means to bring up her level?"
"This is impossible! If she has done that, she will have difficulty controlling her spiritual energy. However, her spiritual energy is not chaotic, and it indeed belongs to her!"
"This is incredible! How could she possibly do it in less than a year!?"
The crowd whispered among themselves, and even the lords were taken by surprise. They shook their heads, as they did not know what Nine Nether had gone through in order to advance to such an amazing level.
Withered Old Man stood on the stone platform and looked at Nine Nether with disbelief. However, as he was experienced and knowledgeable, he quickly collected himself and no longer looked down on Nine Nether. He looked grave now. He could feel the intimidating aura that Nine Nether exuded.
He had heard that Lord Nine Nether was from the Netherbird Clan, and she had the Divine Beast's Constitution. She had such a strong combat force, and even Withered Old Man, who was also a Grade Nine Sovereign, no longer had confidence in defeating her.
They now knew why Mu Chen was so confident. Lord Nine Nether had reached Grade Nine Sovereign, and she had the capability to fight for the kingship.
"It was my fault earlier. Let me have a taste of your skills." Withered Old Man looked at Nine Nether, and then put his palms together. Bright light seemed to burst out from his eyes.
The moment Withered Old Man finished his sentence, majestic spiritual energy burst out from his skinny body. It was gray in color, and as the spiritual energy swept out, even the land dried up. Withered Old Man indeed possessed special power.
These people who had advanced to Grade Nine Sovereign and created a name for themselves in the North Territory were indeed powerful. Vast spiritual energy burst out in the area, and even before the two of them struck, the strong oppression had caused fear among the top powers.
Withered Old Man's dull eyes suddenly brightened up. He stepped out, and vast spiritual energy surged. It then turned into a gray light and whizzed out toward Nine Nether. The spiritual energy light rainbow was withered and wherever it passed, the space would wane.
"That is Withered Old Man's Withered Spiritual Energy. Anyone who is struck by it will be dried up, and even spiritual energy will be contaminated and wane." Many top powers looked at the gray light rainbow and were fearful. They would be severely injured if they were hit by it, and their bodies would weaken.
Nine Nether looked flatly at the powerful attack. She stretched forth her hand and pressed down telekinetically.
Vast spiritual energy whizzed out like a tidal wave at a high temperature, causing even the air to be aflame.
The two vast spiritual energies clashed against each other, but surprisingly, there was no explosion. They continued to attack each other and created dark cracks in the space. The gray light rainbow whizzed down like a meteorite, but no matter how strong the rotten force was, it could not get near Nine Nether.
Although Withered Old Man's spiritual energy was weird and horrifying, Nine Nether's spiritual energy was special as well. She had cultivated the genuine Undying Flame under the guidance of the Undying Bird Beast, and that brought about a tremendous change to her spiritual energy.
The Undying Flame was unperishable, and it was more overbearing than the Withered Spiritual Energy. Although Withered Old Man's spiritual energy could encroach on the other top powers' spiritual energy, it could not do so with Nine Nether's.
The top powers turned grave when they saw that no matter how hard Withered Old Man tried, he could not attack Nine Nether.
"Withered Old Man, if this is what you are capable of, I am afraid that it will be tough for you to secure the kingship," Nine Nether said with a smile. Although it looked as though Withered Old Man had attacked her with great force, he was merely testing her out.
Withered Old Man started to look serious. He then nodded and formed a seal with his hands. Majestic spiritual energy swirled out like a windstorm, and a humongous spiritual energy shadow appeared behind him.
The spiritual energy shadow was unique. It took the form of a human, but branches were growing out of it. From afar, it looked like a towering old tree that was swaying. However, this old tree exuded a withering force that weakened the spiritual energy in the area.
"That is the Withered Celestial Body that Withered Old Man has cultivated!" The top powers shouted out in shock when they saw the towering old tree behind him.
The Withered Celestial Body was intriguing and ranked number 61 on the List of 99 Sovereign Celestial Bodies. In order to cultivate it, one had to absorb the different withering forces in the heavens and earth. Withered Old Man had spent years in the desolated land to cultivate it before he could possess this Celestial Body.
Every single move carried a withering force. If it invaded one's body, the flesh would dry up. This Celestial Body was overbearing and vicious, and it was Withered Old Man's trump card. However, no one expected him to use it right from the beginning. It was apparent he knew that he could not use ordinary means to deal with Nine Nether after testing her out earlier.
Withered Old Man rose up slowly and landed on the towering old tree. He looked down at Nine Nether and said in a hoarse voice, "If Lord Nine Nether can counter my withering power, I will admit defeat."
Nine Nether looked up and stared at the towering old tree to feel the withering power. She was not alarmed by it, but instead, she smiled and said, "If you can counter my fire with your Withered Celestial Body, I will admit defeat, too."
Having said that, the spiritual energy above Nine Nether gathered together to form a giant black bird. As it spread out its wings, it looked like clouds. As the giant bird cried out, fire spurted out from its mouth. The flames were transparent, and they looked amazing.
Undying Fire God's Shield! Nine Nether called out in her heart, and the fire instantly swirled out. Space warps were formed, and the fire turned into a huge Fire Shield that engulfed the Withered Celestial Body.
As the transparent Fire Shield came down on the Withered Old Man, his face twitched. He said, "Lord Nine Nether is over-confident. Do you think that you can trap me with this Fire Shield?" He sneered within himself and immediately looked stern. He changed his seal at lightning speed, and the towering old tree started to sway. Gray light whizzed out and covered the area.
"Hand of the Withered Willow Whisking the Heavens!" As the gray light gathered together, it formed a gigantic, withered gray hand. It caused the sky to darken as the withering power emitted from it.
Many top powers were shocked when they saw it. Withered Old Man was well-known for using this means. Even a Grade Eight Sovereign who was struck by this vicious attack would have his flesh weakened and die instantly.
Although Withered Old Man refused to admit it, he was wary of Nine Nether. He was afraid of being overthrown by her if he was too careless.
The Withered Gigantic Hand brushed casually across the horizon. It looked light, but its power inflicted fear among the top powers.
As the Gigantic Hand dashed toward the Fire Shield, ripples started to form above the Fire Shield. Fire twirled around it, and transparent flames spurted out and hit hard against the Withered Hand.
High temperature raged out as the two collided. Withered Old Man turned pale, as his Withered Hand seemed to have met its nemesis. As the transparent flame swirled toward his Withered Hand, his Withered Hand started to burn up like dead wood.
"What an overbearing fire!" Many top powers shouted as they were taken aback.
Condor King and Spiritual Pupil King were amazed as well. Even they felt threatened by the transparent flame.
"This, this, is this the genuine Undying Flame!" Withered Old Man was dumbstruck by the transparent flame, and his voice suddenly became sharp. His Withered Celestial Body was vicious and strange, but it was afraid of power that was filled with vitality. The Undying Flame was a nemesis to his withering power no matter how hard he tried to encroach upon it.
Nine Nether smiled as she looked at Withered Old Man, who had turned ghastly pale. This Undying Fire God's Shield was passed down to her by the Undying Bird Sovereign Beast. Although she could not cause severe injury to him, she could use it to entrap him.
"Withered Old Man, you can go on trying," Nine Nether said.
After a while, Withered Old Man smiled wryly and shook his head. He said, "Lord Nine Nether is indeed talented. I have lost to you."
There was an uproar in the square, as no one had expected Withered Old Man to admit defeat so easily. Withered Old Man knew that he was totally restricted by the Fire Shield. He could have given his all to break out of the array, but he would need to spend much time to do so. This would give Nine Nether an advantage over him, as he would have exhausted his energy. Even if he managed to break out, he might not be able to defeat Nine Nether afterward.
He would rather admit defeat than waste his effort.
"Thank you for letting me win." Nine Nether smiled and waved her hand. The giant Fire Shield then turned into transparent flame as Nine Nether gulped it into her mouth. In an instant, the temperature in the area went back to normal.
Withered Old Man darted out of the stone platform and landed beside Dragon-Arm Sovereign, who looked pale. He looked at Dragon-Arm Sovereign and said in a low voice, "Lord Nine Nether is powerful. I don't think Lord Mu is easy to deal with, either."
"This is a load of crap!" Light flickered in Dragon-Arm Sovereign's eyes as he looked sharply as Mu Chen, who was smiling from afar. He rebuked Withered Old Man and said in a cold voice, "It is tough to deal with Nine Nether, as she is a Divine Beast and possesses the Undying Flame. Mu Chen is a human being, and I don't believe that he can have the power of a Grade Nine Sovereign within only a year!"
Having said that, he snorted. He stamped his feet and appeared on one of the stone platforms. He looked fiercely at Mu Chen and said in a flat voice, "Lord Mu, if you wish to take away the kingship from me, you have to prove to me that you are capable of doing so!"