While Mu Chen's laughter echoed clearly in the air above Demonic Python City, the atmosphere between the heavens and the earth slowly tensed. Many stared at each other, and they could faintly sense the sparks flying in the air.
"Heh, such bloodthirstiness."
Wu Tian was not surprised by Mu Chen's reply. His smile turned more sinister, and as he clenched his fist, the overwhelming surge of fighting spirit suddenly exuded a monstrous bloody aura like a sea of blood.
Wu Tian smirked at Mu Chen and said, "Seeing that Nine Nether Palace has decided to invade us, you will have to pay for the consequences. As for now, don't even expect Lord Nine Nether to rescue you."
Though he was all smiles, his extremely intense killing intent was evident.
"That should be my line to you, commander Wu Tian! When Lord Blood Hawk arrives, the only thing he will see is the heavy loss incurred by the Blood Hawk Troop!" Mu Chen exclaimed with a laugh.
"Haha! You have guts!"
Wu Tian leaned back and gave a loud roar of laughter. The next moment, his laughter immediately turned menacing as he waved his hands. Then he spoke with a jeer, "We shall see who will be destroyed today!"
As Wu Tian's palm descended, the Blood Hawk Troop clad in red armor yelled abruptly. Their voices were like thunder, and their blood-red fighting spirit swirled up toward the skies. At that moment, the skies were dyed in the tint of blood red.
The bloody sea beneath Wu Tian's feet grew to be even more enormous. An immense pressure spread through the heavens and the earth, rousing a devastating storm.
When she saw this, Tang Bing's face changed slightly. Wu Tian had commanded the Blood Hawk Troop for many years. He was deeply familiar with their materialized fighting spirit. When he was wielding the fighting spirit, its power was unbelievably fearsome and valiant.
"Mu Chen..." Tang Bing gazed at Mu Chen, her eyes full of worry.
Mu Chen gave her a gentle smile. He said softly, "Don't worry, Miss Tang Bing. The Nine Nether Troop is the fruit of your labor all these years. They are not weaker than any other army. As Miss Tang Bing has entrusted them to me, I will not allow anyone to defeat them."
Although Nine Nether's disappearance had weakened the position of the Nine Nether Palace, Tang Bing had never stopped training the Nine Nether Troop. She even sacrificed her share of Sovereign Spiritual Liquid to the training of the troop for the sake of their final drop of power. It was not exaggerating to say that she had put her heart and soul into the army.
It was precisely due to Tang Bing's effort that the Nine Nether Troop was able to stand strong without leaving Nine Nether Palace at its lowest point.
While in numbers they were no match for the Blood Hawk Troop, in terms of quality, they were every bit as competent.
Tang Bing looked at Mu Chen's gentle smile. Her heart couldn't help but soar, and the skin around her eyes reddened slightly. Her perseverance all these years was looked down upon as stupidity by others, but still she fought on. Now that her hard work and determination were finally acknowledged, she was evidently touched.
Tang Bing opened her red lips slightly, and her pleasing voice sounded even more gentle than usual. "Be careful, then."
Mu Chen nodded. He looked down at the Nine Nether Troop clad in black armor. There was no longer any fear in their eyes but a will to battle long suppressed. Perhaps they, too, had been waiting for this moment all this time.
As long as you harbor no fear, I can lead you to face any foe, Mu Chen stated in his heart. His black pupils focused at once, and he signaled with his arm.
"Nine Nether's Fighting Spirit!"
All of the Nine Nether Troop's halberds stomped at once, and a low-pitched bellow echoed in unison through the skies like thunder. A dark fighting spirit rose majestically, shrouding the skies like black clouds.
The two fighting spirits filled the heavens and the earth, seemingly splitting the sky into two.
The crowd slowly evacuated the area occupied by the fighting spirits of the two troops. They clearly understood that the scale of devastation when the battle started this time would be incomparable to the one before. Furthermore, the city might even be destroyed in the process, as the two armies seemed like they were holding nothing back.
The entire city was silent. In the sky, the two fighting spirits howled like a flood, ravaging the heavens and the earth like two gargantuan beasts preparing to savagely face off.
In that tense atmosphere, both Mu Chen and Wu Tian focused their gazes.
The two overwhelming fighting spirits rushed out at the same time, gushing like a million waves, sweeping towards each other in a rampage.
All eyes were on the sky. The crowd braced themselves to witness a battle between two great troops in Daluo Territory. The space where the two fighting spirits clashed twisted all of a sudden. A silhouette of light burst out of nowhere. The silhouette turned his palm downwards and slammed on the two colliding fighting spirits, casually extinguishing the immense mass of energy.
The sudden plot twist caused an uproar in the city. All eyes were on the individual who had appeared, and then the whole city was boiling with surprise and awe.
"Isn't that… one of the Three Kings of Daluo Territory — the Sleeping King?"
"Who would've thought... even the big shots are alarmed now."
In the sky, Mu Chen and Wu Tian were both stunned by the sight of the silhouette. They both clasped their hands in a fist and said, "Master!"
The bright silhouette waved his hands. It seemed like the actual body of the Sleeping King himself was not present, but only a manifestation of his spiritual energy. However, he suppressed the fighting spirits of both Blood Hawk Troop and Nine Nether Troop by his spiritual body alone. The scale of his strength was immeasurable.
"While your battle is lawful, Demonic Python City is an important city. If it were to be destroyed, it would cause a huge loss," the Sleeping King explained plainly.
"This was not the intention of Blood Hawk Palace. However, this Mu Chen is overbearing, not knowing his limits. I beg you, Master, revoke his right as a commander!" Wu Tian accused in a deep voice.
"Nine Nether Palace only seeks to regain our lost city, but the Blood Hawk Palace obstructed us time and again. It is only fair to pay the price." Mu Chen defended in an equally aggressive tone.
The Sleeping King gestured again to stop their argument. "This is not a battleground for you to start a war, and you should moderate yourselves. Furthermore, Daluo Territory is embarking on a conquest soon. You are free to conquer the vast territory beyond, so why bother with a city?"
Wu Tian frowned. The Sleeping King was one of the most prominent persons in Daluo Territory, and Wu Tian did not dare to go against his words. Nevertheless, it was of no benefit to the Blood Hawk Palace to leave matters as they currently were.
"Haha, Master Meng, your words are indeed reasonable. However, the Blood Hawk Palace has operated in these cities for year. Don't you think it's too easy for the Nine Nether Palace to just take back the cities like this?" Just when Wu Tian fell silent, laughter rang in the skies, and an indistinct figure appeared in the air above the Blood Hawk Troop. It was the leader of the Blood Hawk Palace, Lord Blood Hawk.
Wu Tian exhaled in relief as he saw Lord Blood Hawk.
"Oh? So what does the Blood Hawk Palace demand?"
Unexpectedly, when Lord Blood Hawk showed himself, a cold and sarcastic laugh resonated in the air. The blurred figure of Nine Nether had emerged as well.
It was obvious that both of them valued the moment greatly, since they only appeared once the Sleeping King graced them with his presence.
Seeing this, the city became noisy with discussions from the crowd. No one would have imagined that both Lord Nine Nether and Lord Blood Hawk would appear simultaneously. These two forces were as incompatible as fire and water.
"What do you want?"
Lord Blood Hawk's eyes shone for a moment, then he said, "You can retake the cities, but with the condition of defeating my Blood Hawk Troop. Since Master Meng has declared this region unfit for battle, why don't we do it on the battlefield? If you win, I will not only return the 50 cities we have conquered, but I will also give up another 50 of my cites and five Heavenly Pills."
The words of Lord Blood Hawk created a commotion among the crowd. They were in shock and awe upon hearing his drastic offer. Suddenly, the ownership of 100 cities was being bet upon. Not to mention, the five Heavenly Pills had an immeasurable value. It was rumored that any Sovereign Masters below Grade Four could raise a single grade by consuming one of those pills during training. Countless Sovereign Masters strove to get their hands on a single Heavenly Pill.
Lord Nine Nether was shocked for a moment, as she did not expect the charisma of Lord Blood Hawk to be this intense. It seemed like he had pulled out all the stops to deal with Nine Nether Palace.
"But… if Nine Nether Palace loses, I will want nothing in return, other than your submission to the Blood Hawk Palace. We will certainly not interfere with your internal affairs," Lord Blood Hawk spoke again with a cold smile.
"You!" Tang Bing's brows tightened, her face white with anger. The voracity of Lord Blood Hawk's ambition was evident. He would do anything to humiliate Nine Nether Palace. As soon as the Nine Nether Palace bowed to Blood Hawk Palace, even merely in formality, Nine Nether Palace would completely lose its morale, destined to never rise again.
Standing beside her, Mu Chen also squinted, his eyes shining with determination.
The Sleeping King scowled, but he did not utter a word. Daluo Territory was a competitive region, after all. It was thanks to competition that the vitality of the vast power was preserved.
"What shall it be, then? If you plan to chicken out, we will not laugh at you. But do not ever think about retaking these cities." Lord Blood Hawk sneered at Nine Nether.
Nine Nether's face turned cold. Of course she understood the cruel ideas in Lord Blood Hawk's mind. She turned her face toward a lone figure below. Lord Blood Hawk obviously lusted for a battle between the two troops, but now, the commander of Nine Nether Troop was Mu Chen.
Mu Chen had the final say on this challenge.
All eyes were focused upon Mu Chen. Wu Tian crossed his arms, looking at Mu Chen with a eerie smile. Lord Blood Hawk wanted to force Nine Nether Palace into a corner.
Under the gazes of countless onlookers, Mu Chen's lips twisted into a smile as sharp as a knife. He then looked up and nodded to Nine Nether.
Nine Nether was startled by his nod. Without delay, she clenched her silver teeth, and then her icy voice resonated throughout the heavens and the earth.
"Very well, my Nine Nether Palace accepts your challenge!
"Three days hence on the battlefield, be prepared to hand over everything, Blood Hawk Palace!"