The air trembled, and countless black feathers split apart the void like sharp arrows, shooting out furiously toward an alligator-like figure. The figure was standing with his feet in the void, emitting an overwhelming murderous aura.
This figure was obviously Xu Ba, the Lord Heavenly Alligator. He glared ferociously at the incoming assault, without the slightest trace of fear on his face. Although Mu Chen managed to use the Nine Nether Troop's fighting spirit to materialize a spirit of fighting intent, this power was not boundless.
"Heavenly Alligator Divine Art, Sky Swallowing Mouth!"
Xu Ba stomped his foot viciously, giving a ferocious glare, while the vast spiritual energy was immediately swept away. In its place, the massive jaws of a huge fierce alligator appeared. The huge black jaws, which looked like they could swallow the whole world, opened, releasing a powerful magnetic force. With just one mouthful, the black feathers that were shooting downwards ferociously were swallowed whole.
A loud explosion was heard from within the massive jaws of the alligator, and the horrific attack from the violent spiritual energy immediately distorted the massive jaws. Then, finally, with a loud boom, it exploded.
The violent spiritual energy rushed toward Xu Ba, causing him to disperse a shock wave, with just a vibration of his torso. Levelling Mu Chen with a dark look, he mocked him, "Brat, don't think that you have free reign, just because you are relying on the Nine Nether Fighting Spirit. After all, that fighting spirit is just an external object! It can't make you invincible."
"Obviously, it's impossible to become invincible. I'm content just using this against you," sneered Mu Chen.
Under normal circumstances, with his level of skill, he wouldn't even have a fighting chance against Xu Ba, who was a master of the Sovereign Sixth Rank. However, with the power of the Nine Nether Fighting Spirit, he did not fear the latter at all.
"You arrogant thing!"
Xu Ba was so angry, he let out a hysterical laugh. Twirling, he then transformed himself into a flash of light, then shot toward Mu Chen. At the same time, he clenched his fist, and a blood-red scimitar, which was engraved with scarlet battle runes, appeared in his hand, its murderous energy overflowing. It was clearly a very powerful weapon!
Xu Ba, still airborne, slashed down with his scimitar, causing the air ahead of him to split open. Hundreds of huge blood-red scimitar tips swept out from the crack, then immediately slashed downward towards the Nine Nether Troop.
This move of Xu Ba's clearly demonstrated the great power of a Sovereign Sixth Rank. Even Fang Yi, who was top among the Sovereign Fifth Rank, could not defeat the might of this scimitar! Mu Chen watched Xu Ba's swift attack with a cold gaze, not shaken in the least. He then altered his seal, sending out a vast fighting spirit, which transformed into a fighting spirit ribbon to grapple with the scimitar tip.
A shocking attack of spiritual energy rolled out, immediately smashing both the fighting spirit ribbon and the scimitar tip to pieces. Somehow, they were both evenly matched!
Xu Ba's expression darkened. He attacked without pause, his body flitting across the space violently. Suddenly, countless sharp scimitar tips filled the sky, raining down toward Mu Chen and the Nine Nether Troop like a thunderstorm.
Mu Chen was not afraid in the slightest, despite facing Xu Ba's attacks alone. Instead, he controlled the immense Nine Nether Fighting Spirit to meet Xu Ba head-on. The two sides collided with a terrifying intensity that shook the air. However, this kind of conflict, where neither party had the upper hand, rapidly devolved into a stalemate.
The people watching this stalemate couldn't help but be stunned speechless, inwardly impressed by Mu Chen, the dark horse. Previously, when he had been battling Fang Yi on the basis of his own strength, both sides had come out of it with huge losses. But now, relying on the Nine Nether Troop's strength, he had come to a stalemate with Xu Ba, who was a veteran master.
This level of military accomplishment was truly shocking. By the end of this huge hunting war, provided the Daluo Territory had not been razed to the ground, Mu Chen would have surpassed Fang Yi to become the new overlord among the younger generation of the North Territory!
While the stalemate was ongoing, Nine Nether was pursuing the retreating Heavenly Alligator Troop. At the same time, the Blood Hawk Troop, which was being led by Lord Blood Hawk, also rushed over, starting to manically attack the Heavenly Alligator Troop.
While there were many commanders among the Heavenly Alligator Troop, who were directing the troops in defense, the two Sovereign Sixth Ranks and the Blood Hawk Troop were hard to contend with, because none among the Heavenly Alligator Troop had the ability to form the spirit of fighting intent like Mu Chen. Hence, the attacks of spiritual energy caused many figures to drop from the sky, clearly being killed directly by the vibrations from the spiritual energy's attack. In just a short while, many among the Heavenly Alligator Troop were killed or injured.
In the opposite direction, the two Divine Pavilion Troops, which were sent to provide aid, were also starting to have trouble resisting the attacks by the Lord Mountain Cracker's three troops. However, they at least had Lord Flaming Wolves and Lord Celestial Bear holding the fort down, so that they could retreat.
Witnessing the chaotic battle scene and the defeated retreat of the Divine Pavilion Troop, the forces of the world couldn't resist exclaiming that, as of today, the Divine Pavilion had passed its prime! Xu Ba finally had no choice but to back out of his battle with Mu Chen, especially after figuring out that the latter had no intention of fighting to the death, but only wanted to detain him in order to give Nine Nether and Lord Blood Hawk time to massacre the Heavenly Alligator Troop. Having lost the Heavenly Alligator Troop that was under his command, he clearly would not be a match for both Nine Nether and Lord Blood Hawk.
"Mark my words, brat, I'll hack you to pieces one day!" Xu Ba roared furiously, quickly escaping Mu Chen's clutches.
He then returned to the Heavenly Alligator Troop with a few flashes of light, readying to lead their speedy retreat. He couldn't afford even the slightest delay! Nine Nether and Lord Blood Hawk seized this opportunity to attack the Heavenly Alligator Troop, causing even more casualties and injuries.
"I never would have thought that the mighty Heavenly Alligator Lord would actually turn out to be a cowardly mouse," Mu Chen's laughter rang out in the sky, as he immediately deployed the Nine Nether Troop to pursue the Heavenly Alligator Troop.
Hearing Mu Chen's voice ringing out in the sky made Xu Ba so furious, he vomited blood, then glared at Mu Chen with bloodshot eyes, barely able to resist hacking the latter into tiny pieces. However, he was no idiot, and he knew Mu Chen was just trying to provoke him. So, swallowing down his anger and humiliation, he focused on leading the speedy retreat of the entire Heavenly Alligator Troop.
This game of cat and mouse, which took place between the heaven and the earth, lasted approximately an hour and spanned across a thousand miles. The Heavenly Alligator Troop suffered major losses, which made Xu Ba so angry, he almost went mad.
Whenever the thousand mile pursuit passed any masters along the way, those masters all gaped at each other disbelievingly, especially after they got a good look at those being pursued, realizing that it was the troops of the Divine Pavilion! Among the top forces of the Northern Territory, the Divine Pavilion was acknowledged to be of immensely strong heritage, possessing numerous strong fighters. Nobody would have thought that the Divine Pavilion, which in their eyes was as fierce as a tiger, would fall to such a sorry state. After getting over their initial shocks, they all had much to say about the matter...
"Heavens, that was Lord Heavenly Alligator of the the Divine Pavilion! How could he end up in such a pathetic state?!"
"The one chasing them… was it Mu Chen of the Daluo Territory?! I've seen him before in the Dragon-Phoenix Rift!"
"Mu Chen, that dark horse? How is that possible? He couldn't even defeat the Prince of the Netherworld in the Dragon-Phoenix Rift."
"Trust me. It seems the Heavenly Alligator Lord even had Fang Yi on his side. Tsk tsk, how could they have suffered such a pathetic defeat, with such a brilliant battle array? There must have been an earth-shattering, big fight! Seeing the outcome, the Daluo Territory clearly won!"
"What a pity, I missed the big fight."
Xu Ba and Fang Yi listened to the shocked comments along the way, with ashen faces. However, they could only roar furiously in their hearts, as they dared not risk even the slightest delay.
Finally, Mu Chen chose to retreat, knowing that there would not be any benefit in continuing to give chase, as they couldn't really exterminate the Heavenly Alligator Troop. Furthermore, if they backed Xu Ba into a corner, he might recklessly decide to sacrifice the entire Heavenly Alligator Troop in a final showdown.
In that case, the Nine Nether Troop would definitely pay a huge price. Moreover, they would be in trouble, if other troops were deployed by the Divine Pavilion, so they'd better stop while they were ahead.
Thus, after a thousand miles, Mu Chen firmly ordered a retreat. Although Lord Blood Hawk wanted to exterminate the troop, he no longer dared treat Mu Chen as he had before. That, added with the fact that Mu Chen had saved his life, caused him to not protest Mu Chen's decision.
The Nine Nether Troop and the Blood Hawk Troop regrouped, then started to retreat, transforming into an overpowering bright light that disappeared across the horizon. After realizing that Mu Chen and the rest had retreated, Xu Ba and Fang Yi, who were in a panic, finally heaved sighs of relief, feeling as if a huge burden had just fallen off of their shoulders. Taking great care, they then led the Heavenly Alligator Troop to set up camp on a mountain top.
The Heavenly Alligator Troop were dispirited and low on morale. All the commanders were dejected and depressed. Upon counting their losses, they turned white as sheets. In this pursuit, they had lost almost one-third of their skilled warriors.
After listening to the commander's report, Xu Ba contorted his face, then glared in the direction of Mu Chen's departure. He roared out uncontrollably, "Mu Chen, I will never let you get away with this!"
He had spent many years cultivating the Heavenly Alligator Troop, and that one-third had taken him so much time and resources to train! They had just died at Mu Chen's hands in an instant...
Fang Yi interrupted his thoughts, "Lord Xu, once we rejoin the rest of the Divine Pavilion troops, exterminating Mu Chen will be a breeze."
Xu Ba glared fiercely at Fang Yi, his fury about to explode, but he finally controlled himself and stated coldly, "This fellow has some skill, to be able to materialize a spirit of fighting intent at such a tender age."
Speaking thus, Xu Ba suddenly squinted his eyes, as if he was recalling something. As he did so, the edges of his mouth lifted into a cold sneer.
"Well, well, spirit of fighting intent is it?"