“Of course I accept, Patriarch Sprite Desolation,” Buddhist Lord Sumeru said, sounding very honored. “It’s a grand occasion involving both the monumental House of the Invincible and the royal Spritefolk. How could I possibly refuse? Unfortunately, my cultivation base is a bit weak. I worry I might make a fool of myself.”
The truth was that the Sumeru Temple was pitiful when compared to the House of the Invincible or the Spritefolk. The Spritefolk patriarch was giving a lot of face to the old monk by inviting him to an event held by those two groups.
“Forget about that,” Sprite Desolation replied. “Just come and offer your respects. Maybe bring a nice gift. Don’t worry, you’ll be paid back handsomely. Dugu Yunkong is a boundless expert from ancient times, how could he not be incredibly rich? That said, if you don’t have any appropriate gift, then just don’t worry about that aspect.
“Either way, here’s the invitation card. Now that I’ve delivered it to you, I need to make my way to the other top organizations and deliver their cards. When the date arrives, simply bring the invitation to the House of the Invincible, and you’ll be escorted in with full fanfare.” 
“Er, Patriarch Sprite Desolation... where exactly is the House of the Invincible? I've never been there.”
“Oh. Don’t worry about that. When the date comes, the invitation card will create a teleportation portal that leads directly to the entrance of the House of the Invincible. So keep track of that card. It's a valuable magical treasure created by a peak Paramount God, a person dozens of times stronger than either of us. Maybe a hundred times stronger.”
With that, Patriarch Sprite Desolation flew up into the air.
“Another thing, Buddhist Lord Sumeru. That invitation card will allow you to bring a guest with you. Perhaps your favorite apprentice? It will be an amazing experience, to say the least.”
“Many thanks. Many thanks! I look forward to this incredible event. Patriarch Sprite Desolation, are you sure you don’t want to stay for a bit? I’d love to entertain you.”
“There’s no need for that. I have more invitation cards to deliver, and some need to be taken to very distant places. Oh, I almost forgot. I need to go to the Deva Dynasty and the Nine Dragons Court.”
“Oh? Well, okay, I understand.” Buddhist Lord Sumeru obviously wasn’t particularly pleased, but didn’t want to show it.
Patriarch Sprite Desolation nodded, then turned and vanished into thin air.
‘He’s giving an invitation to Patriarch Deva? And Buddha First-King? It’s a good thing I found out about this.’ He quickly sent the two of them a message alerting them of what was to come. That way there wouldn’t be any accidents.
Meanwhile, Buddhist Lord Sumeru looked at the invitation card and let out a long sigh. “The House of the Invincible…? The House of the Invincible.... What a pity the Ancient House of Buddha is all but dispersed. Without a Buddhist Monarch to take the lead, things have really declined. Years ago, when the Ancient House of Buddha was still around, those bastards at the House of the Invincible never would’ve dared to speak to me like that. Sadly, ever since the boundless Buddhist Tribulation came, our most ultimate technique, the Secret-Ensconcing All-World Anything-Everything Fundamental-Law Magic, was lost for all time.”
“You’re wrong about that, Buddhist Lord Sumeru,” Yang Qi said, stepping out of the shadows. “It isn't lost. And if you want to bring your buddhist school back to glory, all you have to do is join me.”
Spinning, Buddhist Lord Sumeru blurted out, “Who are you?”
Anyone would react with similar surprise when someone popped out of nowhere like Yang Qi had just done.
“It doesn’t matter who I am. I'm here to save you. The Deva Dynasty and Nine Dragons Court have already acknowledged allegiance to me. The Sumeru Temple is the only one who hasn't. Incidentally, your successor Dibarra is already working for me. I'm Mister Second from the Deva Dynasty. Presumably you’ve heard of me.”
Buddhist Lord Sumeru seemed to relax upon hearing that. “Mister Second? The one who went missing in the Bastille of the One God? You sure know how to talk big. Trying to pull a fast one, huh? Tell me exactly what you're trying to accomplish here. It’s not exactly easy to get this deep into the Sumeru Temple undetected.”
“Did you not understand what I just said? Dibarra. Come out here, please.”
Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh...!
In response to his command, the door slammed open and Dibarra walked in, flanked by a handful of other monks.
A look of alarm flashed across Buddhist Lord Sumeru’s face. “What do you people think you’re doing? How dare you enter this hall without my permission! That’s going to earn you the death penalty! In fact, blasphemy like this will get you thrown into the Blood Cistern, cutting you off from rebirth for all time!”
“Buddhist Lord,” Dibarra said, “we've already acknowledged allegiance to Mister Second. His divine abilities are incomprehensible, and his magical power is boundless. If you submit to him, the benefits will be astounding.”
“Evil creature!” Buddhist Lord Sumeru shouted, thrusting his palm out with deadly force and causing the golden image of a buddha to appear behind him.
Unfortunately, while this technique was impressive, it was weak as far as Yang Qi was concerned.
Yang Qi struck back and the palm technique shattered. “If you refuse to give in, Buddhist Lord Sumeru, I’ll have to force you. Time is of the essence here, and I don’t have time for chit-chat. Sage monarch magistrates, come forth!”
He was actually itching to see how his sage monarch magistrates would perform, now that they had Unbounded will convergence. He only had ten thousand left, but they had been significantly upgraded and were now pulsing with the battle aura of a horde of dragons.
As the sage monarch magistrates appeared, Yang Qi began chanting the Sovereign Lord’s Holy and Far-Reaching Consummate Omnicurse.
Immediately, dramatic things began happening in the temple hall. The majesty of the ten thousand sage monarch magistrates easily crushed the buddhist light coming from Buddhist Lord Sumeru.
“Myriad Buddhas Enter the World!”
Buddhist Lord Sumeru knew it was a moment of life or death, yet he wasn’t crestfallen. Drawing on the preheaven vital energy he’d cultivated over countless years, he used a consummate technique that caused a host of buddha-like infants to appear behind him.
However, Yang Qi simply strode forward and waved his finger, causing all of the buddhas to vanish. Emptiness. The lack of self. Such were the highest mysteries of the buddhist schools.
However, Buddhist Lord Sumeru simply burst out laughing. “You fell right for it! One Buddha Ascends to Heaven!”
As it turned out, it had all been a trick. The move Myriad Buddhas Enter the world could be turned into One Buddha Ascends to Heaven, which was a very powerful escape technique. In the blink of an eye, Buddhist Lord Sumeru turned into a golden streak of light and shot upward.
Unfortunately, before that golden streak could escape, a host of golden chains wrapped around it. It was a given that Yang Qi had set up a safety net to make sure Buddhist Lord Sumeru couldn't flee.
A stentorian boom rang out and Buddhist Lord Sumeru slammed back down to the ground, his face deathly pale. Quickly placing his palms together as if in prayer, he said, “I'm willing to acknowledge allegiance, Mister Second.”
“Oh?” Yang Qi had been prepared for Buddhist Lord Sumeru to pull the same trick as the Dragonfolk and die rather than submit. Surprisingly, he hadn’t even needed to inflict a serious injury and the man was ready to give in. “You can't seriously be ready to surrender already, Buddhist Lord Sumeru.”
“I've already lost the initiative, Mister Second. Your abilities are obviously unparalleled, and you’ve prepared well for this moment. What would be the point of struggling? It’d just be just begging for humiliation. You've obviously played things well, ensuring that the Sumeru Temple is alone and outnumbered. So why fight? It makes more sense to surrender and follow your lead. Go ahead and place whatever warding spells you feel necessary into this mortal flesh of mine.”
With that, he sat there unmoving.
“Excellent,” Yang Qi said, glad that things were finally going smoothly again.
He waved his finger and a stream of fire shot out, entering the top of the monk’s head and piercing directly into his soul and sea of consciousness. The monk let loose a long sigh, almost as if he had just died. But an hour later, he opened his eyes, and they shone with surprise. “You... you bear the God Legion Seal?”
“Yes, yes. No need to go on about it. I'm tired of hearing people say the same thing.” Waving Buddhist Lord Sumeru into silence, Yang Qi reached out and took the invitation card from the House of the Invincible.
It was incredibly heavy, almost as weighty as a mountain, which came as a surprise. Opening the invitation, Yan could see the immense flows of power within it, including violent energy that came from before the time the god world existed.
‘Incredible workmanship. And sure enough, there’s a teleportation portal in here. It can't be activated right now, though. Wait, hold on. This is an invitation to the wedding of Sprite Susu to Dugu Yunkong?’
The name shook his heart. ‘Don’t tell me things are really going to work out this fortuitously! Is this Sprite Susu the same as my Aunt Susu? It seems very likely. My Master, the Invincible Dugu, is from the Dugu Clan. I wonder what cultivation level he's reached by now. Aunt Susu’s cultivation base must be incredible as well. She’s a princess of the Spritefolk? She’s obviously very important. How did all this happen? Wait a second. Could this be part of some plot worked out by Proud Heaven? Is he trying to lure me out into the open?’
All of a sudden, he started wondering if he should go to this wedding at all. Although it seemed dangerous, he couldn’t bear the thought of staying away. Perhaps the best thing to do would be to go to the House of the Invincible in disguise.
1. Gift-giving operates in a unique way in Chinese culture. When you attend a wedding, you’ll often provide a gift (oftentimes simply cash). The person receiving the gift is then expected to give you a gift in return at a later date. Normally speaking, they would “pay you back” at your own wedding, or if you're already married, some other important occasion, such as the birth or wedding of your child. This is a serious custom, and people are expected to keep track of the gifts they've received in order to pay them back. (It’s something Madam Deathblade doesn’t particularly like dealing with. In many ways, a Chinese wedding is an occasion where you get a big loan that you have to slowly pay back over years). In most cases, the return gift will be of equal value. But if the person returning a gift is extremely rich, it wouldn’t be unheard of for them to provide a return gift that surpasses the value of the original gift. So in this line of dialogue, the man delivering the invitation is basically saying, “they're super rich, so you’ll get a good return gift. But they’re also so rich that if you don’t give a gift, they won’t care”.