In the arena, Gui Hao was in full-on combat mode. His body was overflowing with Soul Power, making him feel great. In front of him, Wang Zhong was like an ant that he was looking down on. He would let him know how it felt to be dominated by violent power. Ordinary people could never get to experience this superior feeling brought about by an increase in one's level of power!
Gui Hao could sense Wang Zhong's breathing and every beat of his pulse clearly. The Soul Power current that he controlled could even snap one's neck instantly! This sense of having absolute control over the situation made him feel that Wang Zhong was just a mouse trapped in a cage after being captured or rather, a lamb waiting to be slaughtered!
A dagger appeared in Gui Hao's hand, gleaming brightly.
An overwhelming killing intent could be seen in Gui Hao's eyes. Without any hesitation, he burst forward immediately, and his speed was greatly enhanced by his Soul Power that reached the Peak Heroic Soul Stage; he seemingly traveled at the speed of light. Nonetheless, although he was fast, another figure was faster than him. Fire sparks that ignited from thin air suddenly appeared in front of Gui Hao, just like what happened to Richard Han previously. A flaming palm condensed and headed directly towards Gui Hao.
Gui Hao's eyes were full of killing intent and exuded a vicious aura. He didn't try to avoid the attack at all. He adjusted the grip of the dagger in his hand and took the attack head-on. How dare a mere Dharma Idol challenge him!
There was an explosion of Soul Power as the two figures, one gray and one red, collided in mid-air, forming a turbulent force field. Subsequently, they were sent flying backwards by each other's power. Gui Hao was forced to retreat dozens of meters while Salamander was sent flying into the air as well. Although he was still expressionless, Gui Hao was rather frightened. He didn't think anything of it when he saw Salamander, but who knew a Dharma Idol could resist so strongly?!
Obviously, this useless trash, Wang Zhong, was extremely lucky. Although Gui Hao didn't know how he was able to cast such a strong Dharma Idol, Wang Zhong was still no match for him!
Whoosh whoosh whoosh whoosh whoosh…
Power fluctuations appeared around Gui Hao as a few shadows appeared consecutively and materialized into physical forms. Suddenly, there were five Gui Haos at the Peak Heroic Soul Stage. This was an assassin combat technique that only people who had a Firmament Soul Sea could accomplish — Spiritual Doppelganger!
Every doppelganger had a combat power of 10,000 Grassos and was as equally skilled as the others. Gui Hao and two of the doppelgangers dashed towards Salamander while the other two headed for Wang Zhong; these two attacked Wang Zhong from two directions simultaneously. He wanted to see what sort of heaven-defying ability Wang Zhong could possess to be able to deal with this attack!
The Flaming Spirit King roared and spread his arms out, as chains extended from his hands swiftly and formed a grid-like web of flaming chains, blocking the doppelgangers. No matter how the doppelgangers struggled, the flaming chains that could extend infinitely were able to block their way and chase them endlessly.
Both parties kept clashing. The collision of the power of the doppelgangers with the chains of the Flaming Spirit King caused violent explosions. Blazing flames were everywhere, and Soul Power was being depleted to a large extent. Gui Hao didn't look too good. How the f*ck could this Dharma Idol possess such a high-level independent decision-making ability? Wang Zhong should have depleted more Soul Power than him, yet the Flaming Spirit King didn't seem to become any weaker after numerous attacks. It was Gui Hao's doppelgangers which were growing weaker continually like a deflating balloon and becoming more vulnerable. On the other hand, Gui Hao's own attack was blocked by Salamander's flaming blade. Salamander appeared to be able to locate his summoner with precision.
Salamander's flaming chains that could extend infinitely spoiled Gui Hao's plan. Gui Hao didn't want to waste too much time in front of everyone. The longer the battle dragged on, the more disadvantageous it was for him. He condensed his Dharma Idol, which was a shadow in black robes. The moment his Dharma Idol appeared, Gui Hao's own body appeared to be in a bizarre state where the line between reality and illusion was blurred.
The God of Assassins — Shadow Kill!
Even if you were extremely skilled, what harm would you be able to do to a shadow?
Once Gui Hao entered this shadow state, his four doppelgangers became weaker, and he had less control over them. Nevertheless, that wasn't important. Even as the flaming chains defeated his doppelgangers, it would give him a chance to get close to Wang Zhong. He was going to dig out Wang Zhong's heart with his own hands!
In a split second, Gui Hao was less than a meter away from Wang Zhong. Once he thrust his Soul Eater Dagger into Wang Zhong's body, everything would come to an end.
At this moment, Wang Zhong glanced at the seemingly empty air in front of him with a slight smile on his face. He was staring right at Gui Hao, who felt like he had been seen through. It was impossible! Wang Zhong shouldn't be able to sense him while he was in the shadow state!
Gui Hao was in the middle of thrusting the dagger towards Wang Zhong, but just when it was about to pierce through Wang Zhong, it was forced to come to a halt. The next moment, the path that the flaming chains traced formed a huge runic array, just like a gigantic web, and Gui Hao was the moth flying into the web of flames.
The chains wrapped around Gui Hao. Evidently, Salamander's chains could tear across spaces, and they trapped Gui Hao and his Dharma Idol in an instant.
So close yet so far. Gui Hao was so exasperated that his eyeballs almost popped out of their sockets. He wanted so badly to plunge that dagger into Wang Zhong's body. Wang Zhong shook his head. With a snap of his fingers, Gui Hao turned into a ball of fire instantly.
Let it burn. Only flames could purify this body. The arena was filled with Gui Hao's hysterical screaming. Salamander's power had improved significantly after he entered the Peak Heroic Soul Stage. He was a Flaming Bodyguard that mainly used runic arrays. His flame power was further enhanced as well, which helped to increase the overall impact of his Soul Power. When used on people like Gui Hao who weren't very skilled, the flames wouldn't rest until he was burnt to ashes. The ability to tear across spaces was considered basic for Salamander.
Gui Hao's blood-curdling screams signified the end of this battle. Many of the spectators had gone through the CHF or knew about the power struggles in the Federation. Death might have been a relief for Gui Hao as his power definitely wasn't enough to support him throughout this battle. On the other hand, Wang Zhong had exceeded everyone's expectations. He didn't have to lift a finger throughout the entire battle, and his Dharma Idol was able to take care of everything. The overall power that his Dharma Idol demonstrated was beyond everyone's expectation.
Meanwhile, on the platform, Solomon seemed to be deep in thought while Carolyn's suspicions were fully confirmed. If they hadn't thought much of Wang Zhong's Dharma Idol before since it was a 'concretized' one, they finally realized something from the absurd chains that his Dharma Idol used.
This wasn't a Dharma Idol! It knew various battle techniques, had a battle consciousness that helped it react to enemy attacks, and had an independent ability to think. Also, its chains were weapons that seemed to have the power of the natural laws and could be used in reality and in illusionary spaces. Only one thing could possess all these abilities at the same time.
A Soul Guard!
One couldn't help but mention the Golden Stone Slabs when talking about Soul Guards. This was in the highest level of information that was available to the Federation on Earth. The Golden Stone Slabs were considered special dimensional treasures, even in the Holy City.
The Golden Stone Slabs had been passed on since ancient times. It wasn't created by anyone, and it existed way before humans ever existed. Legend said that there were 12 Golden Stone Slabs which possessed a magical and mysterious power of the natural laws. Even Adalia the Holy Saint Teacher was amazed at the power that the Golden Stone Slabs held, causing them to become a target that many top experts in the Holy City had pursued at one point in time. However, it was proven time and again that humans weren't capable of harnessing that power. Although many generations of top experts tried to figure out the mystery of the Golden Stone Slabs, mankind's knowledge of those slabs had always been limited to a superficial understanding of Soul Guard summonings. Even the Holy Saint Teacher wasn't able to delve deeper into their secrets, which caused the experts in the Holy City to lose their passion toward the Golden Stone Slabs, allowing the lower-tier Federation families to get their hands on the slabs.
As of now, the Kaiser Empire seemed to own two Golden Stone Slabs. The Stuart Clan only owned one originally, but they managed to gain another one through an auction in Tianjing. The Mo Family had two Golden Stone Slabs as well. The remaining were probably in the hands of some researchers in the Holy City who refused to give up on learning their secrets, while other sources said that some Golden Stone Slabs were somewhere in the Empire. However, no one knew their exact locations.
Based on the current knowledge that humans had on them, the 12 Golden Stone Slabs represented 12 different dimensions that had various powers of the natural law. They were like 12 gates. If you could use a Golden Stone Slab in a way that allowed it to resonate with the host, you could open a dimensional channel and summon a symbiotic soul entity that was somewhere in between a Dharma Idol and a Soul Beast — Soul Guards. They had strong combat power, were sharper in terms of combat skills compared to concretized Dharma Idols, and would possess an ability to think independently.
Naturally, the summoning part wasn't an easy task. Even if normal people were able to get their hands on a Golden Stone Slab, it would be useless to them since only destined people could use it. That was just the first requirement. You needed at least three Heavenly Soul Stage soldiers to support you with Soul Power and a ward array in order to open the dimensional channel to another world so that you could summon a Soul Guard and form a summoning contract with it.
Generally speaking, families that possessed Golden Stone Slabs used them this way. Of course, the creatures that one could summon still depended on one's talent. It all depended on your fate. This was how Carolyn had gotten her trump card.
Wang Zhong's Dharma Idol was definitely summoned by the Golden Stone Slab that represented fire from the auction. However, he didn't possess that Golden Stone Slab. Could it be that he had managed to solve the mystery of the runes on the Golden Stone Slab?
No one was able to understand this mystery for the past hundreds of years, but Wang Zhong could?
Carolyn was extremely shocked, not knowing what to make of this new information. Was it just a coincidence, or did it mean something else?
Even if he deciphered the runes to summon creatures from another dimension, where did he find the three or more Heavenly Soul Stage soldiers to help him?
The flames finally came to a stop on the ground as Gui Hao was completely swallowed up by the flames. This time, Wang Zhong didn't hold back. It was such a rare opportunity in the Holy Land. As for the fact that he would become an enemy of the Gui Family… hadn't they been enemies all long?
This was just the first step of his counterattack, which would become more and more unpleasant in the future. Wang Zhong had become more confident upon reaching the Peak Heroic Soul Stage and being more familiar with the Holy Land's rules and the situation there.
As usual, the Wanderlust Team's cheers rang across the quiet arena. They were really happy. They would be rich if Wang Zhong won another match!
"I mean… Daier, your little employee is a little too powerful…" Marie Ji's little mouth was slightly open. She only came back to her senses after a while. "That is… a flaming Soul Guard from a Golden Stone Slab?"
As a wards master at the Great Master level, Marie Ji had a certain degree of understanding of the Golden Stone Slabs even if she had never seen one before. The Golden Stone Slabs had attracted a lot of attention previously, but the Holy Saint Teacher only managed to discover a summoning effect that could be used solely by Heroic Soul soldiers. Of course, if you were talented enough, the Soul Guard that you summoned would be more powerful. However, it was very difficult for these Soul Guards to pass the Heavenly Calamity and reach the Heavenly Soul Stage. The Golden Stone Slabs were secret treasures that seemed strong and weak at the same time. Nothing good happened to those people who delved too deep into researching the Golden Stone Slabs previously. As time passed, powerful people stayed away from them instead. It was unexpected that this mystery would resurface after such a long time.
"Soul Guards?" Lan Daier just came back to her senses too. This domain was not her specialty.
"I'll tell you more when we have the time. The fact that this guy can summon a Soul Guard means that he has the potential to become a wards master. Want me to help your little lover?" Marie Ji smiled.
"What little lover. Take him if you want. I have to remind you that he has a crush on someone else though."
"Tsk. You can still score when there's a goalkeeper!" Marie Ji teased.
No one dared to challenge any defending champion for a while after witnessing Gui Hao's death. Dying right after he became a Holy Disciple, was he really the so-called unprecedented number one Heroic Soul who broke the record? The super talented guy who possessed 12,000 Grassos of Soul Power?
Everyone had to consider if they had the ability to challenge the defending champions. It would be good if you could make a name for yourself, but you had to pay a price for it as well.
Looking at this outcome, several people from the Gui Family felt like they couldn't breathe. Gui Xinying witnessed everything and was having mixed feelings. She and Gui Hao had parted ways long ago, so this outcome was considered to be rather desirable. Out of the two, one had to die. However, she and Wang Zhong had drifted apart too. Perhaps they had nothing in common from the beginning. The Gui Family might have to adjust their strategy from today onwards. Nothing good happened to anyone who underestimated Wang Zhong.
Wang Zhong looked around the arena. One more person could challenge him. It was highly unlikely that Carolyn would challenge him. He knew how intense the fight was between the Empire and the Federation, a tense atmosphere that the higher-ups in the Holy Land created intentionally. Carolyn wouldn't waste her efforts on him.
Meanwhile on Earth, Katchirda had proved that they were strong enough to gain a foothold in the desert through their victories in several wars. Without the desert thieves to interrupt them, the construction of Katchirda City was finally progressing according to plan, with merchants trading already in Katchirda. At the same time, Gong Yi's recruitment plan was launched quietly too. It targeted both the Empire and the Federation. The Empire had a strict hierarchy, whereas Katchirda introduced a brand new one with more equality. To the Federation, Katchirda was full of opportunities and secrets. Gong Yi came to realize that the Federation didn't have such a huge impact on Tutankhamun as he had previously thought.
Gong Yi definitely valued the importance of talented people much more than the Empire did.
At the moment, Gong Yi was busy at his desk sorting out information. The three of them had their own duties, complementing each other very well. Katchirda's post-war life was becoming better bit by bit. The entire oasis was filled with laughter and happiness, especially the Blissful Oasis managed by Sister Hong. It was the most popular money-squandering establishment among the aristocrats in the desert. The aristocrats who went there brought wealth and useful information with them. Men were not tight-lipped in front of alcohol and women, and with Sister Hong's tricks, they couldn't wait to impress the women, making it easy to obtain information from them.
A piece of intel was placed in front of Gong Yi. Apparently, Nayir Saalehkurt, the Desert Emperor, was coming to get something from them and was going to massacre Katchirda.
In fact, Gong Yi had always been keeping tabs on Caslort's movements. The Golden Stone Slab came too easily, and Caslort's attitude during the negotiation was too good, absolutely not how a feudal lord aristocrat should react in this situation. Even if Caslort was defeated, he still had the Tutankhamun royal family to back him up. He could have just laid low for a while, and there was no need for him to give up precious things like the Golden Stone Slab.
Now, it seemed pretty obvious that Nayir Saalehkurt, the Desert Emperor, was the trap that Caslort had set for them. By merely possessing the Golden Stone Slab, it would incite the jealousy and wrath of others.
Gong Yi stood up and walked toward the window. Glancing outside, the night was still young, and he could see a lush oasis thriving. Katchirda was as enchanting as a rising star in the night sky. This was the dream town they had built with their own hands. To Sister Hong, this was a new beginning; to Reynolds, this was his home; to him, this was a starting point in his dream of reaching a higher level.
This time, their enemy was the Desert Emperor, a true Heavenly Soul Stage expert. This wasn't someone who had failed to pass the Heavenly Calamity and who had lost confidence and part of his power. He was among the top 10 most terrifying masters of Tutankhamun. He was someone who started massacres, and a real expert who dared to call himself the 'Desert Emperor' in front of the Tutankhamun royal family.
Gong Yi looked at the lights outside. The Desert Emperor brought immense pressure on him, but the lucky thing was that he didn't need to face this alone. Mu Zi was in the oasis now. Gong Yi turned and took the piece of intel on the Desert Emperor with him, walking towards Mu Zi's place.
Mu Zi's room was very simple. There was nothing other than the four walls. When Mu Zi was in the oasis, he didn't go out of his room much. Unless there were special circumstances, he didn't really interact much with others.
Hearing Gong Yi's knocking, Mu Zi, sitting cross-legged on the floor, opened his eyes. "Come in."
Gong Yi opened the door and walked inside, bowing slightly. "Mr. Mu Zi, what are your thoughts on this? Should we inform Wang Zhong?" He passed the piece of intel to Mu Zi.
Gong Yi was very respectful toward Mu Zi. Although Mu Zi asked him to address him by his name, Gong Yi insisted on adding honorifics. Mu Zi's judgment of the enemy's level of power was definitely more accurate than his. He couldn't find Wang Zhong for help every single time he met with difficulty; that would disrupt Wang Zhong's cultivation in the Holy Land.
Mu Zi took the intel and glanced at it. Gong Yi didn't expect Mu Zi to not look troubled at all. Mu Zi merely smiled and said, "His power is ranked eighth among Tutankhamun's Heavenly Soul Stage experts. I'll have a little trouble dealing with him now, but I still have a way to deal with him. Let's stay in contact through our Skylinks. If he comes, call me. Remember not to face him head-on. Delay him until I arrive."
Mu Zi stood up after speaking, spinning the Life and Death Coffin from his back so that it was in front of him. A dark glow could be seen before Mu Zi disappeared. Although Gong Yi had seen many things, he was still flabbergasted. He thought that he was rather talented, but he definitely couldn't compare to Mu Zi and Wang Zhong. Although all of them were at the Heroic Soul Stage, these two monsters' growth was too fast to be human.
As for how Mu Zi was planning to deal with this, he didn't need to worry about it. Wang Zhong and Mu Zi were certainly reliable, so he just needed to deal with other things. However… How was Mu Zi going to deal with such an expert?
Wang Zhong's victory had caused many people to clench and grit their teeth. It wasn't that they really cared about Wang Zhong, but they had all bet that Wang Zhong was going to lose previously. They had originally thought that Wang Zhong was going to lose for sure and wanted to get some money out of it, no matter how little it was. However, if they lost the bet, they would suffer tremendous losses. Was there really no one who could deal with this dude?
With the flash of a shadow, a short figure appeared in the middle of the platform, looking prim and proper in a small-sized Sparta Clan uniform. This person had a thin sword without a scabbard tied to his waist and a gentle and cute smile on his face. Of course, to have such a cute smile, he had to be a young boy.
Someone dared to challenge Wang Zhong in this situation?
"I'll give it a try," he said with a grin. There was no fighting intent on his face, and there wasn't any strong aura coming from him at all. He even looked a little slow-witted.
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