"Hahaha! You've been caught like a rat in a cage! Now suffer!" Kaynen's wild laughter snapped John out of his trance. John's divine sense spread out in all directions, noticing that the thousand swords had fully encircled him, with not a single inch of escape possible. In his trance-like state, he had failed to notice this encirclement of swords.

Like a puppeteer, Kaynen had moved John into this inescapable net, at which all the swords could be guaranteed to land at once. The swords were upon him so fast that even if the space of this realm wasn't restricted, his spatial arts would be fast enough to dodge in time.

When faced with a dangerous attack, his instincts would have flared with warning, alerting him to the danger regardless of his state of mind. However, it had not done so this time, and for a single reason; his instincts didn't consider the attack worth warning against.

"Hahahah!" Kaynen's wild laughter intensified, as did the roar of the crowd as the thousand swords all pierced down onto John, drowning him in a storm of swords. The land trembled from the power of the attack, which continued for several seconds before finally coming to an end.

Kaynen's smile widened as he steadied his sword at his side, the thousand sword images returning to his position. A cloud of dust and smoke had appeared at John's location, enveloping him within.

"Hahaha, nothing but a fraud!" Kaynen roared loudly, which the crowd took and ran with.

"Nothing but a fraud! Nothing but a fraud! Nothing but a fraud!"

The chant filled every inch of the arena as millions felt elation and relief upon seeing the journey of the fraud end so swiftly and so embarrassingly.

The cloud of dust and smoke started to fade away, followed shortly after by the crowd's chant. Both faded into nothingness as John was revealed to all, still standing tall. His robe was cut up in countless places and blood dripped from his body to the ground below, making him look quite miserable.

However, despite his rather miserable image, John stood tall and unwavering. Although his aura was still contained within himself, it was easy for everyone to tell that his combat prowess had not been affected. The thousand swords had landed directly without guarding against, and yet John still stood tall.


That was the word almost everyone was thinking. Even if the swords didn't damage John that much due to him being a body cultivator, the pain should have overwhelmed him. Everyone knew Kaynen's sword art, and knew it was one of the most painful arts to withstand from any of the Dao Transformation geniuses. A thousand landing all at once? Even someone like Ji'Han would have trouble ignoring that much pain, and his willpower was famed across the land. John should have been a crumpled mess on the ground writhing in pain. Not standing tall as if the sword art had done nothing to him.

What they didn't know was that Kaynen's sword art was a horrible match-up against John, who had already suffered pain and agony more times than they could possibly imagine.

"How…" Kaynen said, eyes wide with disbelief. "You…you can't be standing."

"Hahaha," John looked up at the sky and started laughing loudly, arms stretched out to the side. His maniacal laughter was the only audible thing for a short while, as almost everyone looked at him in disbelief. He had taken the full force of Kaynen's attack head on, which was something almost no one could do and still be standing.

"Wha…what's so funny?" Kaynen asked, teeth gritted with growing embarrassment.

John's laughter died down as he lowered his gaze, locking onto Kaynen's eyes.

"I figured if I'm going to play the villain this tournament, then I might as well lean into it fully," John said, a smile appearing on his face as he started to walk towards Kaynen, his aura finally starting to leak out.

Kaynen instinctively took a step backwards, his instincts warning him that a dangerous entity was approaching. John's aura, revealed for the first time to Kaynen, filled him with dread. It wasn't the quantity or power of the aura that made him feel this way, but the quality and nature of it.

The quality of John's Qi was unlike anything Kaynen had felt before, as was it's innate feeling. A feeling of dormant malevolence, as if a demon was slumbering within John, ready to appear at a moment's notice. John's smile widened as he saw Kaynen take a step back.

"I've learned as much as I can from your sword art," John said, his aura slowly but surely climbing. "Oh, before I do what I'm about to do to you, I want to let you know something. The only reason I was caught in that net of yours was because it was never a danger to me in the first place. The full might of your sword art or nothing at all; To me, there is no difference."

Lightning suddenly erupted in the arena, like a heavenly tribulation had arrived to bring calamity. A solid cage of lightning formed around John and Kaynen, obscuring the crowd's vision of what was happening within. Explosions, thunderclaps, dragon-like roars and cries of pain came from the lightning cage, which vanished less than thirty seconds later.

All eyes fell on John, who stood tall, holding a human shaped object wrapped in lightning in his hands, the tip of the 'weapon' pointed directly towards the Yang-Dao Sect member who had challenged him who still stood to the side.

"So, are you going to do the smart thing and run, or will I have to add another weapon to my growing collection?" John asked. Since he had a good opinion of the Yang-Sovereign, he wanted to give this opponent one last opportunity to do the smart thing and run.

The Yang-Dao Sect member gritted his teeth, an uncertain expression on his face as he stared at John. His eyes shifted from John to the crowd, then back to John. Then he pointed his saber at John, his body and saber igniting with powerful flames.

John sighed, then nodded his head approvingly.

'With the crowd watching, him backing down would become a permanent mark of shame,' John realized, although he had hoped for this opponent to have a bit more brains than the other.

John took a step towards his opponent as lightning erupted all around him, drowning the battlefield in his power.

Whistling drifted through the silent arena, accompanied only by footsteps crunching on the barren earth beneath John's feet. He held two human-shaped objects that rested on each of his shoulders, both wrapped completely in lightning, a look of satisfaction on his smiling face.

A narrow valley stretched out before him, sheer face cliffs rising high on both sides of him.

He suddenly stopped as a beast appeared before him, blocking his path forward. The beast, appearing like a hulking bear made of powerful flames snarled at him, teeth bared. John smiled then steadied both 'weapons' before him.

"Rejoice," he said loudly for all to hear as the beast surged towards him. "It's time for both of you to prove your worthiness. Do well, and you might earn the honor of becoming my permanent weapon."

Muffled cries of protest turned to muffled cries of pain as 'weapons' and beast collided.