Rafinia's eyes were open as wide as possible, looking upwards towards the sky. However, she was not looking at anything in the real world. Instead, her mind and soul were trapped elsewhere, drowning in the aura from the sinister gate.

Even John had nearly become overwhelmed when first experiencing the sinister gates aura, and had only come to withstand it by building up a tolerance over time. Cultivating before the gate was now a boon to him, fortifying his will, strengthening his soul, although he still felt excruciating anguish every time he did so.

As for someone like Rafinia, who had no tolerance to the aura at all, and whose will was rather average, it was a nightmarish aura she had no hope of comprehending or withstanding. In fact, the only reason John had used this method was because Rafinia's soul was incredibly powerful, and would be able to withstand the aura without collapsing.

For those with weaker souls, they would have most likely perished already, their souls overwhelmed by the malevolent aura, breaking and shattering apart into a million splintered pieces.

Rafinia's screams echoed through the arena, ceaseless and shrill. The crowd grimaced from the sound, some shivering from the sheer terror, agony, and horror contained within Rafinia's screams. It was as if she was suffering the worst anguish imaginable.

"Your opponent is no longer able to fight back," the Yang-Dao Elder said from a short distance away. "Release her. This battle is over."

"She has yet to surrender or become unable to fight," John replied calmly, not even sparing the Elder a glance. "If she's strong enough, she can still break out of this nightmare and resume fighting."

While that was true, it was obvious to everyone that Rafinia's fate was sealed. Her face twisted and contorted in agony, and her screams were even more terrifying.

"Release her," the Yang-Dao Elder commanded, frowning with displeasure at being ignored by a Dao Transformation youth.

John completely ignored the Elder, as he had broken no rules at all. If the Elder wanted to stop him he could, but until then, he would continue to hold Rafinia's soul in his hand.

Atop the exclusive viewing platform, the powerhouses of the world looked down with various expressions. The Sword-Saint sneered with disgust, then turned to the Yang-Sovereign and the others, making sure to fix his gaze on the Prime Shadow the longest.

"See, this boy is nothing but a barbaric brute. He's no better than a Devil."

To his side, Ji'Han looked down at John with a blank expression, his thoughts impossible to read. He shifted his gaze to his left, locking eyes with Lilian who felt his gaze fall upon her. Both said nothing, but a small smile on Lilian's lips expressed her feelings on this matter.

It was as if she was saying to Ji'Han, 'this is what will happen to any who become John's enemy.' It was the same warning she had given him weeks ago, warning him not to push John too far. This fight of his was proof of her previous warning.

Ji'Han calmly returned his eyes to the arena below, unconcerned about Lilian's silent warning. Nearby, the Mage Sovereign's expression grew colder by the second, her narrowed eyes locked onto John. She turned her gaze to the Prime Shadow, who didn't turn to meet her eyes, as if it wasn't worth the effort.

"Rafinia is one of my most promising geniuses," the Mage-Sovereign said, her voice slightly cold. Had it been anyone else, she would have most likely had an even colder, more threatening tone. "If your successor permanently harms her with these actions of his, I…"

The Mage-Sovereign's words cut off immediately as the Prime Shadow finally looked towards her. His expression was calm, so calm that it was unnerving. The Mage-Sovereign felt as though she was being stared at by a god who didn't even consider her in his eyes.

"If he harms her, you'll do what, exactly?" the Prime Shadow asked.

The Mage-Sovereign's expression changed several times, from anger, to uncertainty, to everything in between. She didn't reply, and instead stood up from her seat and walked towards the edge of the platform.

"I'll allow you to stop this fight," the Prime Shadow said. "But just remember. If any harm befalls John now or in the future by your hand or those who serve you, the Mage-Dao Sect will cease to exist from that day on."

The Mage-Sovereign paused for several seconds, then vanished.


A figure appeared next to John like a ghost, her arrival so fast that John didn't even notice her appear until she was already there. John spotted her out of the corner of his eye some ten feet away, but didn't bother to avert his gaze. Rafinia was still held off the ground, her neck in his right hand, his left palm placed on her forehead. The Mage-Sovereign frowned as John continued to torment her disciple, unconcerned of her arrival. From up close, Rafinia's screams were even more gruesome, igniting the Mage-Sovereigns rage. On top of that, she was able to feel the aura John was pouring into Rafinia's soul, shocking and enraging her further. She had no idea how John was able to control and unleash such a hellish aura, but knew it would cripple Rafinia permanently if it went on too long.

She kept that rage in check, as the consequences of unleashing it was not something she was able to withstand.

"Release Rafinia," the Mage-Sovereign said as calmly as she could, but not without a tinge of anger.

"The battle isn't over," John replied, not even sparing the Mage-Sovereign a single glance.

"The battle is over because I say its over," the Mage-Sovereign said, more forceful this time as if there was no room for debate.

"You were fine with Rafinia using her Eternal Soulbind Art, which causes the one trapped in the illusion to suffer a thousand deaths and a million sufferings, and yet you draw the line here? Quite hypocritical, wouldn't you say?" John replied, finally shifting his gaze to meet the Mage-Sovereigns.

"Hypocrisy or not, I can draw this line because I am stronger than you," the Mage-Sovereign replied coldly. "Besides, the torment Rafinia is suffering right now is far greater than any sufferings her soul art caused others. I will not ask again. Release her."

John met her gaze with unflinching resolve. When he set his mind to get retribution, to get revenge, he cared not for anything else. The two stared daggers at each other for a short while before a sound transmission appeared in his mind.

"Release her John," the Prime Shadow said. "You have won, and you have had your retribution. The Mage-Sovereign and I have a rather decent relationship after all."

John released Rafinia's neck. She slumped to towards the ground, her mind still trapped in that nightmarish hell. Even without the aura assaulting her soul, she would be trapped in that nightmare for quite some time before breaking free of it.

The Mage-Sovereign waved her hand, catching Rafinia with her Qi before she hit the ground. She inspected Rafinia, then shot John one last glare.

"Be careful, boy," she said. "You may have protection now, but should that protection ever vanish, you will find yourself in a world surrounded by nothing but enemies. You should tread carefully, and make sure to not turn allies into enemies."

John smiled at her thinly veiled threat.

"If that time ever does come to pass, by then, this world will no longer be in my eyes, let alone a threat to me," John replied, still smiling lightly. "But I thank you for your concern."

The Mage-Dao Sovereign narrowed her eyes, then vanished. Silence filled the arena for some time before the Yang-Dao Sect Elder spoke, his voice filled with displeasure.

"The Victor…by forfeit…John Fenix."