Even Yang Qi was completely surprised by the sudden turn of events.
He had been totally dead set on getting the distiller’s yeast, and had prepared in such a way that he was convinced not even the junior empress would be able to interfere and take it.
It was obvious that the distiller’s yeast would come with miraculous benefits; it had countless bits of psychic power stirring within it, and it was entirely possible that it could push him into the Terrifying level. But then a mysterious expert showed up, someone who could easily contend with mid Terrifying experts. And that meant that Yang Qi was out of options.
How could he ever have guessed that his patience and planning would be thwarted in the critical moment?
Without any hesitation, he lunged forward to unleash the deadliest attack possible on the newcomer.
Other experts joined him, howling furiously.
However, the newcomer dodged back and forth, easily evading all of the incoming attacks. Then he launched counterattacks, forcing everyone to back up and defend themselves. Who was this person, and how did he have such incredible energy arts?
As for Yang Qi, he allowed himself to be hit by a stream of sword energy, not bothering to defend himself at all. He simply let it shoot into him while he pressed his attack.
The sword energy felt itchy, but did no damage. In fact, it didn’t even damage his garments. After all, he was wearing the God Legion Battle Robe, which was no ordinary clothing.
It was only at this point that he finally laid eyes on the newcomer. It was a young man with sword-like eyebrows and eyes that glittered like stars. He wore garments of yellow and white, and had his hair bound in a topknot with a hairpin. He was handsome and relaxed, and almost looked like a well-studied confucian. However, at the same time, he bore the look of a lone swordsman, perhaps a former government official who had chosen to leave his post and wander the lands like a sage, hoping to bring enlightenment to the masses.
He was so young that, as he stood there with the distiller’s yeast, he looked around at everyone else as if they were old fogeys. His cultivation base didn’t emit any fluctuations of any sort, but it was obvious how strong he was. Although he wasn't quite at the level of the Shepherd, he was very close to reaching that level.
“Who are you?” the junior empress said, her eyes flickering with both shock and anger. “I don’t recall inviting you to this banquet. You’re not a latecomer, you’re an uninvited guest!”
“Oh?” the young man said. Even as everyone watched him, he flicked his wrist and the distiller’s yeast disappeared. Now it was more obvious than ever that taking the distiller’s yeast back from him would be incredibly difficult, if not impossible.
Yang Qi’s expression was very unsightly; he had really wanted that item, only to be beaten to it by this uninvited man. It was quite a blow.
Laughing, the man said, “I'm just an expert from the Ancient Road to the Gods. Don’t I deserve to attend this sect assembly? Besides, Junior Empress, you clearly said just a moment ago that in this session of heating alcohol and discussing heroism, whoever took the distiller’s yeast would be declared a true hero. Well, I took it. Don’t tell me you're going to go back on your word.”
“Who might you be, Sire?” the junior empress said. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone matching your description on the Ancient Road to the Gods. I'm going to have to ask you to return that distiller’s yeast, otherwise you won’t be leaving here today.”
“Considering I'm here, why would I want to leave?” The man chuckled derisively. “Besides, I heard that you’re planning to select a league-lord. Considering I took the distiller’s yeast, doesn’t that mean I qualify to compete for the position as well? Incidentally, I also heard that your Woodfern Couple Palace has been looking for a son-in-law amongst the young heroes. Considering what I just did, do you think I might fit the bill?”
Everyone was starting to get angry, yet nobody dared to make a move. After all, he had just been the subject of a big attack by numerous experts, yet hadn’t even been hurt. He obviously had some extremely powerful energy arts.
Secretly using the Civilization Founding Grand Magic, Yang Qi checked the man’s psychic scale and was instantly shocked. ‘It’s at ninety-nine,’ he thought. With one more step, this man would be able to reach the god world and survive there.
With a psychic scale of ninety-nine, he was just on the verge of being in the mid Terrifying level.
The junior empress snorted angrily. “You might have strong energy arts, Sire, but sadly, you don't know how to behave civilly. Considering how strong you are, you should be straightforward and upright. Taking the distiller’s yeast in an aboveboard fashion is one thing, but instead, you resorted to a sneak attack. You even crashed this banquet, which makes me wonder. Should I call you an uninvited guest... or a dead guest?”
With a cynical smile, the young man waved his sleeve and a head tumbled out onto the ground, splattering blood everywhere. The head’s eyes glared out angrily in death, and the blood was so dense that it almost looked like it was made of metal.
Immediately, expressions of shock filled the room.
“That’s one of the Executors of the Ancient Road! It’s Prince Nobledeath! He’s ferocious and vile, and has killed so many cultivators from the Ancient Road to the Gods that it’s impossible to count. And he’s enslaved countless sects. His cultivation is just a bit under their emperor! In fact, he was the most likely candidate to become the next emperor! How could this guy have killed him?”
“So, it's him! He was obviously killed with his eyes open and glaring in hatred.”
“Don’t tell me this kid killed him!”
“How is that even possible? Even if their emperor attacked him, he should have been able to escape.”
Considering that the severed head of Prince Nobledeath was right there in front of them, no one dared to do anything rash.
“The reason I was late,” said the young man, “is that I was dealing with this scoundrel. Presumably you all recognize him. He’s Prince Nobledeath, one of the most fiendish of the executors. No one even knows how many experts he's killed, to the point where numerous sects have been talking about forming an army to go after him. After I discovered his whereabouts, I tracked him down and fought him for three days and three nights before finally killing him. I brought his head here as a gift for your empress. Considering this, do I qualify to participate in this banquet?”
‘He fought him for three days and three nights?’ Everyone was actually quite moved. They were all famous experts from the Ancient Road to the Gods, and weren’t the type who could easily be won over. All of them would have fled in the face of Prince Nobledeath, yet this young man had killed him? It was nothing short of miraculous.
Furthermore, if they fought for three days and three nights, it was highly likely that Prince Nobledeath would have been able to call for help from other executors. This was like killing a general protected by a million troops, which went to even further impress upon everyone how strong this young man was.
Even the junior empress was thunderstruck.
Looking at the angry expression in the dead Prince Nobledeath’s eyes, she nodded and said, “Despite being dead, you can still sense some of the anger in his aura. It seems you’ve been touched by his karma, proving that you’re the one who killed him. You have my admiration for that. This scoundrel really did have a high cultivation base, and was likely to succeed as the next emperor. If that happened, it would have put a lot of pressure on our two major sects. Considering you killed him, Young Sir, you do deserve to attend this banquet. Might I ask where you’re from...?”
“I'm the junior houselord of the House of God Bastards,” he replied. “Bastard Seacliff!” 
“The House of God Bastards?” The junior empress shook her head. “I've never heard of this sect of yours. If it existed on the Ancient Road to the Gods, it would definitely be well-known.”
Bastard Seacliff chuckled. “The legion of gods considers the House of God Bastards to be filled with illegitimate children. And because the Executors of the Ancient Road are lackeys to the legion of gods, they’re diametrically opposed to us. The truth is that we've kept in the shadows on the ancient road, and normally don’t dabble in outside affairs. After all, we're called god bastards for a reason. I bet that your parents, the imperial couple, have heard of us.”
“So that's how it is,” the junior empress said. She knew full well that the Ancient Road to the Gods was mysterious and unpredictable. Although she was the junior empress of one of the most powerful sects in existence, and had assumed that she commanded the ultimate level of power, there was always the possibility of some even more powerful organization rising up. The Ancient Road to the Gods was the most expansive thing next to the god world, and as such it would be impossible for anyone to fully explore it, not even this junior empress.
Because Bastard Seacliff had taken the distiller’s yeast, she had lost control of the situation. However, it wasn’t all negative. He had killed Prince Nobledeath to prove how strong he was, and to impart the message that trifling with him would lead to death.
If he could kill Prince Nobledeath, it was obvious that he could kill any of the experts present. Compared to killing Prince Nobledeath, killing the Flower-Seizing Marauder was like playing a child’s game.
Earlier, Yang Qi had hoped to take control of the situation, but considering there was someone on the scene that he definitely couldn’t handle, he knew that such ideas were now pointless. For now, he would have to wait patiently and watch how the situation developed. After all, he had long since learned how to be patient. Planning before acting was the best way to maintain control and gain the upper hand.
Besides, he didn’t even have a specific plan for how to deal with Bastard Seacliff.
After a moment of thought, the junior empress said, “This banquet is about heating alcohol and discussing heroism. Since you’ve taken the distiller’s yeast, Young Sir, then you’re clearly a top hero. And yes, I’ll keep my word. The Woodfern Couple Palace will endorse you as a candidate for league-lord. Why don’t you have a seat so we can discuss matters?”
“That's exactly what I was hoping to do,” Bastard Seacliff said with a smile. “Being able to chat privately with a goddess like you would be nothing more than a blessing from heaven!”
1. This version of “bastard” is a word used to describe a “son born of a concubine”. It does have a negative connotation, but is a more proper word for “bastard” than the word commonly thrown around as “bastard” in cursing situations. I briefly considered trying to do something along the lines of the “Snow” surname from GoT, but in the end, I think that would be veering way too far from the original intent and feel. That said, the name is supposed to be an indication that he’s a literal bastard. Only one character of the proper two-character word is used, and that particular character could be interpreted in a variety of ways, but given the explanation in this very chapter, the intended meaning is very clear.