Hua Fengfeng still wasn't done trying to convince Yang Qi not to go. “Little Bro Qi, maybe the chancellor is testing you, but you still need to think this through carefully. The Heavendawn Quarry is an extremely dangerous place. Even Legendaries get killed there. If you go, it’s highly likely that you’ll end up dead. Then what?”
“I’ll be fine. You know how the saying goes. You can’t catch tiger cubs without entering the tiger’s lair. Of all the things I fear in the world, monsters are at the bottom of the list. In fact, even if I didn’t have the mission from the chancellor, I would still go there to push myself toward becoming a Legendary. If I'm going to tangle with the Crown Prince, I need to temper myself. After he deals with Young Master Shroud-Heaven, he’ll come for me. I just hope that the young master can keep him occupied for long enough.”
This was Yang Qi’s final decision.
“If you’re dead set on doing it, Brother, let us go with you,” Zhao Wuhun said. “The more people there, the safer it will be.”
“No, we have to consider the bigger picture. Brothers and sisters, I have to request that you head back home to your sects and clans. Otherwise, the Crown Prince could theoretically take us all out at once. If I somehow get killed, at least the rest of you can lay low for a while before trying to avenge my death. And without you, who would take care of my clan?”
“Whatever happens, we’ll take care of your family,” Li Zhengdao said. Shaking his head, he continued, “Besides, you’re right, the Crown Prince is too arrogant to come after us or your family before killing you. If he did, and word got out, he would lose too much face. The best thing for you to do right now is keep safe and stay alive. Before, I assumed the rules of the institutes would keep the Crown Prince in check, but after that competition, it's obvious that he can do whatever he wants. It's really frightening. After we get back, we can discuss matters with our sects and clans. Perhaps the best thing to do is form an alliance with the Sage Ancestor Dynasty. After all, they're the only ones who will dare to defy the Crown Prince.”
“Many thanks, brothers and sisters,” Yang Qi said. “Well, since things are settled, I’ll head off now. There’s no time to lose. And you all do the same.”
With that, he prepared to leave.
“Slow down.” Holy Daughter Manyflowers said. “Yang Qi, although you didn’t end up winning the Gate of the Great Void, you still earned a huge amount of merit points. Why not go to the Hall of Feats and Virtue and see what you can purchase? The more prepared you are before heading to the Heavendawn Quarry, the better.”
Yang Qi had completely forgotten about the merit points, of which he had earned so much that he eventually lost track. After all, he had won over a hundred matches during the competition. He now had so many merit points that even most Legendaries in the institute would be shocked by the amount.
Having such wealth sitting around would be a waste when it could essentially be converted into real-world assets.
Of course, at the moment, Yang Qi didn’t really have a big need for magical treasures or weapons. Improving his Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth and advancing his cultivation would be much more effective.
However, according to the rumors, you could get just about anything possible with merit points, and Yang Qi was indeed curious about what might be available.
“Brother,” Jun Tianchou said, “you go make whatever preparations are appropriate. For now, the rest of us will leave. Contact us if you need anything. We all have various ways of keeping in touch. After I get back to the Sea God Institute, I’ll use all my connections to try to build an alliance against the Crown Prince. I refuse to believe that he controls the entire Rich-Lush Continent.”
“That’s right,” Hua Fengfeng said. “The Crown Prince pissed a lot of people off today. He essentially slapped the four institutes directly in the face. I definitely need to check in with my father, and get him to do something about it.”
Her father was in the ninth Legendary transformation, making him a Never-Dying Legendary. He was one of the few people who was on a similar level as the Crown Prince. Of course, the Crown Prince was rumored to be a god from heaven descended into the mortal world, whose mother gave birth to him after dreaming of the stars. Obviously, he was much more famous than Hua Fengfeng’s father.
“Go, Brothers and Sisters,” Yang Qi said, his eyes glittering. At the moment, he looked like a world-class assassin getting ready to go out and fight for his life. “Don’t waste time sitting around here.”
With that, his sworn siblings flew up into the air and headed off in various directions.
Of course, Li He and the others couldn’t leave the Demi-Immortal Institute. As the saying went, when a monk joins the temple, he can’t leave. They had to stick with Yang Qi and face the wrath of the Crown Prince with him.
“Come on, I’ll take you to the Hall of Feats and Virtue,” Holy Daughter Manyflowers said. Smiling coldly, she continued, “Word is already spreading far and wide about you, Yang Qi. Presumably, there will be people at the Hall of Feats and Virtue who will cause trouble in the hopes of getting on the Crown Prince’s good side. Brownnosers like that, like those Patriarchs Wind and Cloud, are going to do their best to see you dead. Remember, they fear you so much now that, if they make a move, it will be with deadly force.”
“Oh really? The Patriarchs Wind and Cloud?!” Yang Qi’s killing intent began to bubble. “If the Crown Prince can’t do anything about me right now, then what are those two old farts going to do? Just wait until I'm a Legendary too. The first thing I’ll do is kill both of them!”
The sight of the intense killing intent flickering in Yang Qi’s eyes caused Holy Daughter Manyflowers’ heart to turn cold. She knew that Yang Qi was no simple individual, and that he had immense hidden power at his disposal. However, as a mere Legendary, she couldn’t see deeply enough to uncover the truth. And she wouldn’t be so bold as to ask.
“Let’s go,” she said, heading down the mountain and toward the sprawling temple complexes that made up the institute.
Yang Qi and everyone else followed, and before long, they were nearing a large hall. It was an immense and imposing structure, which was adorned with a sign that read: Hall of Feats and Virtue.
The square outside of the building could fit hundreds of thousands of people if necessary, and the doors leading into it all emanated powerful auras. Clearly, there were plenty of magical treasures stored inside the building, as well as countless types of spirit medicine.
There were many students present, all of them here to exchange their merit points.
Anyone who saw Yang Qi and his group would immediately avoid him like the plague, not daring to even be seen near him. Not even people from the Crown Prince Society dared to cause problems for him, not after his performance in the competition.
Besides, most people assumed that, considering Yang Qi had defied the Crown Prince, he was a walking dead man. What was the point in provoking someone who had nothing to lose?
Therefore, any Crown Prince Society people who saw him quickly got out of his way.
Soon, they were in the Hall of Feats and Virtue.
Deep inside, several powerful elders sat on duty. One of them was a Legendary, who looked over at the group who had just walked in, eyes flashing as if with fire. “It's been a while, Holy Daughter Manyflowers. Congratulations on your breakthrough to the Legendary level. Are you here to purchase something in particular?”
“I've brought someone with me to do just that.” Giving the grand elder a level look, she continued, “Grand Elder Feat-Virtue, I'm sure you’re aware that Yang Qi is the champion of the martial arts competition. Although he suffered persecution at the hands of the Crown Prince, he was still summoned to a meeting with the chancellor, and was subsequently assigned a dangerous mission. He’s here to spend the merit points he earned on magical treasures and medicinal pills. Don’t make things hard for him, otherwise I’ll report the matter to the chancellor.”
Grand Elder Feat-Virtue flashed a broad smile. “Oh, come come. I would never do such a thing. I’ve presided over the Hall of Feats and Virtue for years now, always with complete fairness and honesty. As long as you've accumulated enough feats and virtue, you can get any magical treasures or medicinal pills you’d like. So, what will it be? Why don’t you hand me your identity medallion, young man?”
Yang Qi nodded. Waving his hand, he sent his identity medallion flying over to Grand Elder Feat-Virtue. After checking it, the man's expression flickered with shock at how many merit points were inside.
Considering how much Yang Qi had built up during his successive victories, it was a number that was rarely seen.
“Do you have any precious treasures that can pierce through space?” Holy Daughter Manyflowers asked, hoping to immediately identify the best item for Yang Qi. “Nothing so powerful as the Gate of the Great Void. What about Space-Piercing Divine Talismans? They’re nearly as good. Yang Qi will be on a very dangerous mission, so having a talisman like that to make a quick escape when necessary would be very beneficial.”
With a talisman like that, Yang Qi would be able to flee from even a Legendary.
“What? Space-Piercing Divine Talisman?” Grand Elder Feat-Virtue’s eyes glittered, and his smile twisted into something a bit more sly than before. “I'm sorry to say that we just recently ran out. If you want to wait for us to restock, that’s fine. We should have some in about two or three years.”
“That’s an outright lie, isn’t it Grand Elder Feat-Virtue!?” Holy Daughter Manyflowers said angrily. “You’re completely out of Space-Piercing Divine Talismans?”
“We’re really out,” Grand Elder Feat-Virtue replied with a cryptic smile. “Whether or not you believe me is your choice. What. Don’t tell me you want to go in and check our stock? You wouldn’t dare! That would be quite the crime. According to the rules of the institute, anyone who causes trouble in the Hall of Feats and Virtue, even a holy neophyte or a Legendary grand elder like yourself, will be imprisoned for a minimum of a thousand years.”
“Forget it then,” Yang Qi cut in. “If you’re out of Space-Piercing Divine Talismans, I’ll go with something else.” It was obvious that Grand Elder Feat-Virtue was doing this on purpose, and Yang Qi didn’t feel like wasting time.
“Oh? What would you like? Unfortunately, we’re out of most of the supreme-grade spirit pills as well. The best magical treasures are out of stock as well.” At this point, he wasn’t even hiding the fact that he was making things hard for Yang Qi.
“Anything which can increase life force quintessence?” Yang Qi asked.
“Well, as a matter of fact, we do,” Grand Elder Feat-Virtue said, his cheek twitching. “Life force springwater would be the best thing for that, but we’re out of stock. Luckily, we do have some godstones. To be specific, Euphoria Godstones. Even one is worth as much as your entire collection of merit points.”
“Are you insane?!” Holy Daughter Manyflowers snapped. “Euphoria Godstones have massive amounts of wretch energy, as well as the power of space. It's said they were created with wretch energy from the Hell of Euphoria, making them useless even to Legendaries. What’s he supposed to do with something like that? They would pollute his mind! In fact, stories tell of people in the distant past who tried to tap into the power of Euphoria Godstones and ended up experiencing cultivation deviation and turning into monsters.” 
Grand Elder Feat-Virtue snorted coldly. “You just don’t know what's good for you, do you? Euphoria Godstones contain incredible power that far surpasses that of life force springwater. Although they’re hard to work with, they're still considered priceless treasures. Do you want one, or not? If not, then you can just leave and come back in two or three years.”
“You!” Holy Daughter Manyflowers shouted.
“It's fine,” Yang Qi said. “If all you have are Euphoria Godstones, then I’ll take one.”
1. The author mixes and matches real life terms and fictional terms, even when naming the different hells. Some of the hells he mentions are from Buddhist cosmology or other sources, but I'm fairly certain the Hell of Euphoria is his own invention.