There was an extremely bizarre expression on the Shepherd’s face, as if he had been possessed by some wretched spirit. And that was a terrifying thought.
The Shepherd was in the mid Terrifying level, and impervious to all kinds of assaults by wretched entities. He would likely be able to survive in the god world, yet now he was standing there trembling, his eyes flickering with a strange light. Everyone was shocked.
Yang Qi was just about to send some true energy into him to investigate when the Shepherd suddenly unleashed a terrifying howl.
All of a sudden, green hair sprouted out all over his body, as if he were turning into a green-furred zombie. 
Roaring, he suddenly curled his fingers into claws and rushed toward Yang Qi, Proud World, and Doom.
“What happened?” Yang Qi barked. It looked like the Shepherd’s energy arts were vastly above their previous level, and it forced Yang Qi to scramble to meet his attack.
He thrust out a palm, and when they clashed, he knew for certain that he wasn’t dealing with the Shepherd’s energy arts. It was as though he were fighting a boundless wretch-spirit who was using the Shepherd as a conduit, and simultaneously trying to take complete control of him. However, it only took a moment for the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth to vanquish that wretch-spirit’s energy.
“Attack him!” Doom shouted, preparing to attack. “He's been possessed by a wretch-spirit, or possibly a deceased god. He’s not himself, and that’s not his true energy!”
The three of them launched palm strikes, all of which slammed into the Shepherd.
Screaming, the Shepherd suddenly scrambled back toward one of the coffins, threw open the lid, and dove inside, disappearing without a trace.
“What just happened?” Proud World said.
Doom, a serious expression on his face, replied, “That’s what I'm wondering. Yang Qi, it seems like the Shepherd has been possessed. What do you think we should do?”
“I sense a boundlessly wretched and evil power,” Yang Qi replied coolly. “Unlike the three of us, the Shepherd doesn’t cultivate the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth, so he can't defend against the wretched, evil power. He has indeed been possessed, and is now turning into a wretch-spirit.”
“I think you’re right,” Proud World said. “Going forward, we need to be very careful. I wonder what all these coffins are here for. Should we continue inside and investigate? Look, they seem to be organized around one specific coffin!”
As they examined the cave further, they saw that Proud World was right. There were countless coffins that were all organized around a larger, red coffin. It almost looked like it was covered with blood, except that they were actually paper talismans. From what they could tell, it must contain a slumbering fiend-devil of some sort.
“Our goal,” Yang Qi said, “is to find the essence of the Great Necropolis, the origin of the godpower seeds. This obviously isn’t the place. My suggestion is that we don't waste time. Let’s leave and continue our search.”
“I don’t think we can,” Doom said dryly.
Yang Qi looked back and found that the entrance was nowhere to be seen. There was only a stone wall so tough that they couldn’t break through it.
“We need to get the Shepherd back and exorcise the wretched evil from him,” Doom said. “I think that’s the only way we’ll figure out what’s going on. Besides, what if this place is actually part of the essence of the Great Necropolis? What if it does have something to do with the godpower seeds?”
“That makes sense,” Proud World replied. “I refuse to believe that this place is really that frightening. You two both have pieces of the God Legion Seal, which the Sovereign Lord himself used to subjugate the many heavens. What do you have to be afraid of? As for me, I have the pure Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth that was given to me by Proud Heaven, so I’ll be fine as well.”
“Alright,” Yang Qi said. “Let’s save the Shepherd. He’s a friend, so we can’t just leave him to die. If he's possessed by a wretch-spirit, Brother Doom and I should be able to work together to exorcise it. It might be strong, but it definitely fears the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth.”
“Agreed,” Doom said. “We save the Shepherd. Which of these coffins did he just jump into?”
All of a sudden, they heard someone talking from behind them. “Are you crazy? I'm standing right here! What do you mean I've been possessed by a wretch-spirit?”
They spun in shock, and Yang Qi’s eyes nearly popped out of his skull. Standing right there behind them was a man in a black robe carrying a shepherd’s crook. If he wasn’t the Shepherd, who could he be?
“Who are you?” Proud World nearly shrieked.
“The Shepherd!” he replied, looking surprised. “What are you doing? We walked in here, then the three of you suddenly launched attacks at literally nothing. Then you started jabbering about me being possessed by a wretch-spirit and needing to be saved. What’s going on?”
“Are you really the Shepherd?” Doom said. He exchanged a glance with Yang Qi, then blurred forward and placed his hands on the Shepherd’s shoulders as he sent some true energy into him to inspect him.
“What are you doing, Doom?” the Shepherd shouted, shivering. “We swore oaths not to harm each other before killing Proud Heaven. What are you doing?” He even sent some true energy out to try to defend against Doom.
Doom quickly retracted his own true energy and flew back to stand next to Yang Qi, a look of surprise on his face. “He really is the Shepherd, not a fake. I used the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth, and I can guarantee he’s real!”
“He’s really the Shepherd?” Proud World said. “Then who was that before?”
He felt cold sweat dripping down his face as he wondered exactly what kind of terrifying situation they had stumbled into.
If he could, he would have fled this mysterious cave of coffins immediately.
Yang Qi’s heart was also pounding as he tried to make sense of everything that was happening.
After a moment, he forced himself to calm down. He knew that they were in a strange situation, and having a calm heart was important. It seemed to him like there was some sort of powerful defense of illusions in this cave, designed to confuse anyone who entered.
The Great Necropolis had come out of the god world, so it made sense that there were things in it that could mystify even gods.
“Come over here, Shepherd,” Yang Qi said. “None of us are really sure what’s going on, but the safest thing is for you to stay close to us. We have the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth, and that should keep you safe from whatever illusions might be occurring here.”
As the Shepherd walked over to them, he angrily said, “It’s obvious that you people are the ones getting confused. What makes you think it’s me? I was standing there the whole time while you three babbled nonsense and—”
Yang Qi suddenly moved so quickly it was impossible to see him move. Reaching out, he tapped the Shepherd’s forehead and sent some true energy into him, causing him to float up into the air as a golden sealing mark appeared in his sea of energy. Golden light shone out, which quickly enveloped his person.
“The Many Heavens God Seal!” Doom said in open shock.
He had cultivated the same energy art, but his version wasn’t nearly as powerful as Yang Qi’s. Doom had even been considering killing the Shepherd, but now Yang Qi had taken care of the situation smoothly and with no slipups.
Although the Shepherd sensed his true energy flowing just as briskly as ever, he had a very bad feeling about the situation. Fuming, he said, “Y-you... you planted some sort of seed inside of me? You’re trying to take control of me?”
“I didn’t plant any sort of seed,” Yang Qi replied coolly. “It’s just the Many Heavens God Seal. Consider it like a magical treasure or an energy art that you can cultivate to your benefit. Don’t worry, I'm not plotting against you. As for the details of the Many Heavens God Seal, Brother Doom can explain the details. Suffice it to say, if I had been trying to harm you, I would have used a Heaven-God Hell-Exterminating Devil Embryo instead.”
Doom nodded. “The Many Heavens God Seal is indeed a protection for you, Shepherd. Yang Qi only has good intentions here. And he didn’t leave any of his own will or true energy inside of you. He simply placed the seal in you for your own protection.”
“Oh?” The Shepherd checked himself and found that his true energy was still completely under his own control. Performing a few million circulations and finding no obstructions, he finally said, “Many thanks to you, Brother Yang Qi. Not only did you forget past grudges, but you actually helped me.”
“Consider it compensation for the Mahātmā Jade I took from you. I'm the kind of person who knows who to show gratitude to, and who to feel resentment against. And I don’t like owing things to my friends. What I just gave you was created by the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth, and it’s yours now. I can’t take it back. Now, on to more important things. Going forward, I don’t want anything to happen like what happened just now. You say that we were hallucinating, but are we sure it’s not you? Let’s talk this whole thing through. Shepherd, you now have part of the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth, so if we’re the ones hallucinating, the same should happen to you.”
Of course, while giving the Shepherd the Many Heavens God Seal, he had also done his own check to make sure that he wasn’t possessed by a wretch-spirit.
“Let’s head deeper into this cave of stone coffins,” Proud World said, “and figure out exactly what's going on!”
Yang Qi nodded. However, just when he was about to voice his agreement, Doom, Proud World, and the Shepherd all looked at him with wide eyes. “Brother Yang Qi, what’s happening?!”
1. Zombies with different colored fur or hair are a common trope of Chinese fantasy novels. For those of you who read A Will Eternal, you might remember a part in the early parts of story where the MC created zombies of a variety of different colors.