Book 7, Chapter 45: Solo Challenge (2)

Hidden Cloud was in immense pain.

It hadn’t been in this much pain in thousands of years.

The immortal energy infused sword strike had completely bypassed its ethereal physique and deeply penetrated into its psyche, dealing huge damage to its already frail vitality.

After letting out an instinctive hiss of pain, Hidden Cloud’s fog’s corrosiveness suddenly multiplied as it rushed forward with renewed determination.

But Su Chen hadn’t stuck around to watch the fireworks. As soon as he felt his strike connect, he turned around and ran away again. By now, he had already teleported tens of thousands of feet away, putting him solidly behind the wall of mountain giants.

Bang, bang, bang, bang!

Hidden Cloud transformed its body into a number of illusory palms that tried to smash Su Chen into a meat paste.

Then, Hidden Cloud charged forward with its main body.

As it did so, the fog around its body condensed, causing Hidden Cloud to shrink in size significantly. This greatly increased its agility.

“Did I finally get your attention?” Su Chen chuckled as he continued to retreat at top speed.

But even if he was fast, Hidden Cloud was faster.

Assassins were not exactly slow, after all.

And Hidden Cloud was no exception.

It had two primary means by which it moved. The first was that it could teleport anywhere within the cloud of fog surrounding it.

When the fog was spread out, Hidden Cloud’s main body could travel freely throughout the smoke, making it incredibly hard to pin down.

Its movement speed was practically unrivalled in this state.

If it wanted to move quickly outside of the range of the cloud of fog, it relied on another method.

It howled!

The main body opened its mouth wide as it unleashed formless waves of sounds in front of it.

These sound waves did no damage, but they could travel extremely far.

And wherever the sound waves traveled to, Hidden Cloud could also teleport to.

“Ah!”

Hidden Cloud’s shrill cry quickly caught up to Su Chen. An instant later, Hidden Cloud appeared right on top of Su Chen, immediately enshrouding him in a cloud of corrosive smoke.

“Damn!” Su Chen cursed as he hurriedly teleported out of the fog.

At that same moment, however, Hidden Cloud shrieked again. Another wave of sound surged forwards, followed closely by the giant cloud of fog.

There was nothing that Su Chen could do besides continue to retreat even as Hidden Cloud doggedly refused to give up on its prey.

A strange scene arose, where a cloud seemed to be playing a game of cat-and-mouse with a human, punctuated here and there with strange howls.

Eventually, Su Chen no longer had the time to create more mountain giants. All he could do was retreat. By the same token, Hidden Cloud didn’t have any time to unleash attacks after teleporting to Su Chen. Thus, neither of them did anything besides run and chase.

Both sides were trying their hardest, so neither side was able to gain any significant advantage.

Hidden Cloud was obviously much stronger than Su Chen.

But in terms of pure maneuverability, even Hidden Cloud, who could theoretically travel at the speed of sound, could not catch up to Su Chen.

They circled around the mountain range a number of times, causing both sides to burn through their reserves of energy. It seemed that this deadlock would not break until one of them ran out of energy.

“You really are an annoying bastard!” Su Chen muttered as he felt a headache coming on. “Luckily, I was prepared for this.”

Su Chen pulled out a transmission box and barked, “Qingluo, can you go and find out where those Demonic Beasts are hiding? I need to know their position as soon as possible.”

“Got it!” Gu Qingluo replied as she immediately pulled out from the battle.

At the same time, Su Chen’s figure flickered and disappeared once again.

But this time, he had completely disappeared from Hidden Cloud’s sight.

Hidden Cloud glanced around in surprise, but it found that Su Chen had completely disappeared from its sight.

Back in Sky City:

The battle against the Desolate Beasts was still unfolding.

Iron Cliff, however, was not participating in this battle. Instead, he was sitting on the city’s walls and silently watching the battle unfold.

Beside him was a crystalline coffin, inside of which lay Su Chen.

This was actually one of Su Chen’s blood clones.

After Su Chen’s clone had been killed at a critical moment during their Abyss expedition, he had constructed this defensive crystal coffin to store his blood clone in. Only Iron Cliff was allowed to guard it, so that no one could even have an opportunity to launch a surprise attack.

The Su Chen in the coffin suddenly opened his eyes and stepped out of the coffin.

Iron Cliff greeted him. “Welcome back, Master.”

“Mm.” As Su Chen stepped out of the coffin, he scattered a few droplets of blood on the ground, forming a number of new clones. One of these stepped back into the coffin while the others charged out of Perpetual Daylight Palace, scattering in different directions.

Su Chen himself quickly strode over to his research workstation. “I led Hidden Cloud off on a wild goose chase, but it is incredibly fast. I imagine that it will return very soon. Come help me with this. We don’t have much time.”

As Su Chen spoke, he began to set up the workbench in front of him.

“What are we refining?” Iron Cliff asked as he stepped closer.

“Consciousness-Reviving Pills.”

Iron Cliff was taken aback. “Aren’t those a failed product?”

“I want them to fail. Hurry. It’ll take more than one or two to affect such a large Beast. We’ll refine it in batches of ten. Bring me some Heart-Intoxicating Grass as well.”

“Understood!” Iron Cliff immediately ran off to fetch the needed materials.

Hidden Cloud let out a roar of rage when it failed to locate Su Chen and began charging back towards Sky City.

Of course, it was not using its soundwave teleportation method to do so.

Even though time was of the essence, Su Chen calmly and steadily refined the herbs in front of him.

The collected, serious expression on Su Chen’s face was illuminated by the dancing flames heating the cauldron.

Then, he formed a seal with his hands and placed them onto the cauldron, which let out a muffled thump, like the sound of corn popping.

Iron Cliff leaned in and listened attentively before saying, “They’re done.”

Su Chen tapped the lid of the cauldron, revealing a few hundred pills sitting neatly inside.

At that moment, the clone of Su Chen standing outside the palace spotted Hidden Cloud’s figure off in the horizon.

Su Chen picked up the pills and was just about to leave when a voice suddenly came out of his transmission box. “Su Chen!”

It was Gu Qingluo.

“Qingluo?”

“I’ve found where those Demonic Beasts are hiding.”

Upon hearing this good news, Su Chen’s eyes lit up. “Where?”

“A canyon three hundred kilometers northwest of here.”

“Understood.”

Su Chen’s figure flickered before disappearing along with the pills.

He had barely finished swapping places with the clone when Hidden Cloud came bearing down on that position.

“I missed you for a while there. Why don’t we continue our little game from before?” Su Chen immediately whirled around and booked it northwest.

“Hiss!”

Hidden Cloud let out a furious hiss and once again gave chase.

The cat-and-mouse game had begun once again.

This time, Su Chen wasn’t just running around in circles. Instead, he was heading directly towards the location that Gu Qingluo had pointed out to him.

A large group of Demonic Beasts was lying in wait there.

They were waiting for a prime opportunity to strike. Specifically, when the three Desolate Beasts completely destroyed Sky City.

Not even in their wildest dreams would they imagine that Su Chen would show up before they even had a chance to attack.

As soon as he arrived, Su Chen saw an ocean of Beasts below him in the exact location that Gu Qingluo had given him.

He chuckled and sprinted directly into the canyon.

“Who is that?” Some of the Demonic Beasts with keener eyesight managed to spot a tiny, human-like figure rushing in their direction. And closely behind it was a large cloud of fog.

“That’s......” The Demonic Beasts were still trying to wrap their heads around what they were seeing happening, but Kucha immediately panicked when he noticed the two of them. “Not good!”

But Su Chen had already reached them.

At that exact moment, the soundwaves from Hidden Cloud’s hisses arrived in the canyon as well.

The soundwaves were so intense that all of the Demonic Beasts around Su Chen were sent flying, as if they had been struck by an area-of-effect attack that was centered around Su Chen.

Of course, the real cause for terror had yet to come.

As soon as Hidden Cloud appeared, a dense fog filled the canyon.

The corrosive fog immediately caused all of the Demonic Beasts to roar and howl in pain.

Thankfully, Su Chen left the canyon immediately after, still closely followed by Hidden Cloud. The fog quickly dissipated from the canyon.

Since the fog had only lingered there for a brief period of time, most of the Demonic Beasts were only slightly hurt by its corrosive effects. Some of the weaker ones had sustained some wounds, but not fatal ones.

The Beasts all let out a collective sigh of relief, but then, they noticed that Su Chen had doubled back around and was heading towards the canyon once more.

With the soundwaves closely following behind.

The previous scene repeated itself. Su Chen appeared in the midst of the Beasts, immediately followed by Hidden Cloud. The corrosive fog once again swept over all the Beasts present, eroding away at their flesh before departing in the next moment.

A few seconds later, this happened yet again.

Su Chen jumped in and out of the canyon like a child playing hopscotch. One moment, he was in; the next, he was out; the next, he was in, and so on and so forth.

The same went for Hidden Cloud and the corrosive fog surrounding it.

The Beasts realized that they were in trouble.

The corrosive power of Hidden Cloud’s fog was extremely strong, and as it repeatedly ate away at the Beasts’ hides, causing them to suffer an unbearable amount of pain and torment.

They all began to desperately run out of the canyon, unable to bear the pain any longer.

Unfortunately for them, Su Chen chased after them wherever they ran. Many of the weaker Demonic Beasts died like this before they even had a chance to fight against the humans.

“Elder, please restrain your fog a little bit!” Kucha cried out in terror.

Only his voice would be able to elicit a response from Hidden Cloud.

Hidden Cloud rumbled in assent, and the corrosive fog’s radius was greatly reduced. An expression of rage and anger could still be seen faintly through the fog.

When Su Chen saw this change, he immediately scattered a few droplets of blood, which sprouted into a number of blood clones.

These clones did nothing more than pull out handfuls of Consciousness-Reviving Pills and stuff them down their throats.

Ten batches of pills meant that there were quite a few of them, which allowed the clones to gulp them down by the handful.

The clones, now filled with Consciousness-Reviving Pills, suddenly charged towards Hidden Cloud.

Hidden Cloud’s hatred towards Su Chen had long since reached a fever pitch. Even if it were only clones, it would still swat them apart with its fog hands. Just as it was about to crush one of them, however, Su Chen imbued it with a streak of immortal energy, preventing Hidden Cloud from squeezing it to death.

In response, Hidden Cloud opened its mouth wide and forcefully tossed the clone inside.

“That’s more like it.” Su Chen let out a delighted chuckle.

Kucha seemed to sense that something was wrong and immediately cried out, “Hurry and spit those out! Don’t eat them, my lord!”

This time, however, Hidden Cloud ignored him.

Its contorted face suddenly began to glow with a bright red color, and the fog that Hidden Cloud had restrained earlier suddenly surged forwards once again. This time, it expanded its territory over ten times, and its area of influence completely enveloped Kucha, Su Chen, and the other Beasts.

Su Chen made no attempt to teleport away this time. Instead, he raised a barrier and coolly observed Hidden Cloud’s next actions.

The contorted face began to exude a shockingly powerful aura as it roared and thrashed repeatedly, its bloodlust surging.

These Consciousness-Reviving Pills had been developed by Su Chen in an attempt to further strengthen a cultivator’s consciousness. Even though the Spirit-Sobering Medicines could already achieve such an effect, they were too costly to produce. One of Su Chen’s minor goals had always been to develop a cheaper consciousness-strengthening medicine, which would allow all humans to increase the strengths of their consciousnesses for a reasonable price. This would also allow more people to use the consciousness conversion instrument to step into the Ultimate Emperor Realm.

In other words, Consciousness-Reviving Pills could have become a necessary component in the series of bloodline-less cultivation techniques.

Unfortunately, even though Su Chen had eventually managed to develop the medicine, it had a major detrimental side effect: the user would lose all sense of rationality, and their mindset would become extremely chaotic.

The Consciousness-Reviving Pills might not have had much of an effect on other Desolate Beasts, but Su Chen had been able to determine that Hidden Cloud’s consciousness defenses were incredibly weak through their earlier exchanges. This was why he was confident these pills would affect it. Even so, Su Chen had still made sure to refine ten batches.

Ten batches of Consciousness-Reviving Pills was more than enough to send this Desolate Beast into an uncontrollable frenzy.

At this point, it could no longer distinguish between friend and foe. Its bloodthirst had been completely unleashed, and all it could think about was killing.

However, Su Chen was too quick and nimble for it to catch and kill.

The Demonic Beasts around him, however, were not nearly as quick. They were perfect targets to slake its bloodthirst with.

A bloody slaughter immediately commenced.

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