When Holy Daughter Manyflowers saw that Yang Qi was about to spend all his merit points on a Euphoria Godstone, she immediately got very nervous.
“Why do you want a Euphoria Godstone, Yang Qi? They’re tainted by the baleful energy of the Hell of Euphoria, making them sordid to the extreme! Not even pure yang energy could cleanse them. They’re useless! Not even good as a doorstop.”
Grand Elder Feat-Virtue snorted coldly. “He said he wants one, Holy Daughter Manyflowers, so what are you interfering for? Euphoria Godstones are artifacts from the ancient past, and contain incredible power. Ordinary individuals would never even be able to get their hands on one. Thankfully, our Demi-Immortal Institute actually fought the forces of the Hell of Euphoria long ago, which was the only way we managed to get a batch of them. They were originally used as cultivation resources by the most powerful devil-gods of ancient times, and are so powerful that not even a Legendary could refine them. They’re true treasures.”
Grand Elder Feat-Virtue seemed worried Yang Qi might change his mind, so he waved his hand, causing a large, glittering door to open up out of nowhere, into which he threw Yang Qi’s identity medallion.
A moment later, intense, wretch energy wafted out from the door.
Then, Yang Qi watched as Grand Elder Feat-Virtue carefully pulled out a stone.
It was roughly the size of a fist, and was sealed with paper talismans that abounded with righteous energy, and were so powerful that it was impossible to tell what type of person had created them. At the very least, it had to be a Legendary.
In fact, the powerful nature of the talismans’ aura seemed to indicate that it wasn’t a single person who had sealed the stone, but rather, a group of experts working together. That was the only way that the wretch energy of the stone had been contained.
Deep within the Euphoria Godstone was what appeared to be tiny, wriggling masses of flesh and blood. It was as if this stone had once existed in the depths of hell in ancient times, as part of the body of some vicious monster.
Yang Qi could also sense that the wretch energy was laced with abundant life force, as though a devil embryo lurked within the stone. Of course, ordinary individuals could never absorb that life force; if they did, they would transform into a wretch-devil or some other being. They might even end up being possessed, and transformed into a monster.
“This is the largest and most powerful of the Euphoria Godstones in our collection. It’s said that this stone was soaked with the blood of a devil-god from hell. In ancient times, the top experts of the Demi-Immortal Institute led a campaign in an alternate dimension, which was where they acquired it. Nine teams of nine Legendary grand elders worked together to seal it. It’s only because of your sizeable collection of merit points that I’ll let you have it.”
A sinister smile spread out on Grand Elder Feat-Virtue's face. “I'm really giving you some preferential treatment here. Oh, by the way, the wretch energy in the stone has been slowly eating away at the seal. Be careful. Otherwise you might end up turning into a monster.” Suddenly, he burst out laughing, and at the same time, tossed the stone and the identity medallion back to Yang Qi.
As of this moment, Yang Qi had spent all of his merit points on what appeared to be a useless rock.
“You're pushing things too far, Grand Elder Feat-Virtue!” Holy Daughter Manyflowers said, clearly incensed. In fact, it seemed like she might actually be ready to start a fight.
“What. You might be a genius, Holy Daughter Manyflowers, a Legendary at forty and whatnot. But I’m not scared of you. If you keep stirring up trouble, I’ll have no choice but to put you in your place! There’s no place in the Hall of Feats and Virtue for your histrionics! You might be able to beat me in a fight in a hundred years, but right now, you’re no match for me. Back down before you lose all face.”
“Fine! You wanna see what I can do?” Eyes flashing, she prepared to attack. “Holy Daughter Manyflowers isn’t afraid of anybody!”
“Senior, forget about it,” Yang Qi said. “He’s just abiding by the wishes of the Crown Prince, and he’s too powerful. Let’s go. If we cause problems here, the Crown Prince Society will be able to use it against us later. We need to save our strength for when it really matters. And besides, nothing we do here will help us. Obviously, the Crown Prince controls the Hall of Feats and Virtue.”
“Fine,” Holy Daughter Manyflowers said, inwardly moved by how calm and collected Yang Qi was acting. “But I'm not going to just let the matter drop. I’ll report the matter to the chancellor. After all, he hasn’t retired yet, and the Crown Prince hasn’t taken over his position!”
With that, she turned and stalked out of the Hall of Feats and Virtue.
Turning to Li He and the others, Yang Qi said, “Brothers, let's go. Don't waste your merit points here.” Yang Qi knew that because of how everything was playing out, his sworn brothers were going to have a hard time in the coming days. Only if he managed to defeat the Crown Prince would they have hope of getting a fair shake.
“Let’s go!” With that, they all strode proudly out of the Hall of Feats and Virtue, not bothering to even glance over their shoulders as they did.
Grand Elder Feat-Virtue watched them leave. Chuckling coldly, he said, ‘Useless dogs. They still think they can defy the Crown Prince? Nothing but insufferable arrogance. The entire Demi-Immortal Institute is going to belong to him eventually. Once he finishes killing that monster Young Master Shroud-Heaven, Yang Qi and his buddies are dead.’
At some unknown point, someone new had arrived at the Hall of Feats and Virtue.
“I’m impressed,” said the person. He held a fancy folding fan, and looked like a prince from the mortal world. However, his aura was that of an individual who could fight against heaven itself.
“Master Wind Gentleman!?” Grand Elder Feat-Virtue said, visibly surprised. “The leader of the Gentlemen’s Society?!”
This man was indeed the leader of the second-largest society in the Demi-Immortal Institute, the Gentlemen’s Society. He was a holy neophyte, and someone of incredible renown. Other than the Crown Prince himself, there were few people who could match him. His father had been an influential member of the council of prime elders for years and years.
Yang Qi had been raised backward both economically and culturally, but Master Wind Gentleman was the opposite. He had grown up with substantial behind-the-scenes support.
The prime elders were Never-Dying Legendaries, all of whom hoped to eventually achieve breakthroughs to become Great Sages.
If the Crown Prince ultimately failed to achieve his own breakthrough, he would eventually be held in check by them.
“Impressive work, Grand Elder Feat-Virtue,” Master Wind Gentleman said, fanning himself. “You got him to spend all of his merit points on a measly Euphoria Godstone. Quite the profit margin.”
Without any warning, Master Wind Gentleman locked down the entire Hall of Feats and Virtue, making it impossible for anyone to enter.
“What’s that supposed to mean, Master Wind Gentleman? Euphoria Godstones were rare and marvelous even in primeval times.”
“Right, right, right. Rare and marvelous in primeval times. Except that nobody can actually use them. They’re essentially devil embryos. Furthermore, a group of Legendaries spent a huge amount of time and effort to seal the wretch energy of the thing. It’s too horrible to contemplate what would happen if it were to be unsealed.” Master Wind Gentleman calmly fanned himself as he continued to provide a very detailed analysis. Clearly, he had been listening to everything that just played out. “You got rid of a hot potato, and also did something for the Crown Prince. Killed two birds with one stone, right? Whatever miracle that country bumpkin Yang Qi came across, there’s no way he understands how terrifying a Euphoria Godstone is. Like I said, very impressive.”
“What are you getting at, Master Wind Gentleman? Are you going to interfere in the matter? Yang Qi was the one who said he wanted the Euphoria Godstone. And so what if I'm helping out the Crown Prince. Are you going to defy him?”
“The Crown Prince? You think he can do anything to me? Until the day he becomes a Great Sage, he’s no threat.” All of a sudden, Master Wind Gentleman unleashed an aura that caused Grand Elder Feat-Virtue to shiver. After all, Grand Elder Feat-Virtue was no match for him.
“What are you doing?” he said. “This is the Hall of Feats and Virtue! You’re not allowed to cause trouble here.”
“If the Crown Prince can cause trouble, why can’t I?” Master Wind Gentleman smiled. “He broke all the rules during the martial arts competition, and even went so far as to steal the main prize. The rest of us holy neophytes are not very happy with his flagrant violations. People either need to respect the rules, or be crushed by them. Let me tell you something. The Gentlemen’s Society, the Divine Ability Society, and the Five Lightnings Society have thirty holy neophytes between us. And we’ve been in touch with the holy neophytes from the other institutes. We’ll be having a meeting soon to decide what to do about the Crown Prince. He’s simply too ambitious, and if we let him get any stronger, I'm afraid all of us will be assimilated by the Crown Prince Society. And thus, I've come here today to give you a friendly ultimatum. Please, come with me. Join our meeting of holy neophytes. Or, you can simply sit around and wait to be killed!”
“What?” Grand Elder Feat-Virtue suddenly found himself between a rock and a hard place. “Er, um, but Yang Qi—”
“The Crown Prince is watching him like a hawk. Therefore, we can use him as bait. He’s going to die one way or another. The only question is whether it will be sooner or later.”
Unsure of how to extricate himself from the situation, Grand Elder Feat-Virtue said, “Er, I need to think about this a bit and—”
“Think about it? Sorry, but that’s not possible. I want your answer within the time it takes an incense stick to burn. And I’ll wait right here for it. Either come with me to the meeting, or become the enemy of everyone else who attends. And if that happens, we’ll do everything in our power to see you dead.”
Master Wind Gentleman waved his hand, causing a stick of incense to appear.
Around the time that Master Wind-Gentleman was talking with Grand Elder Feat-Virtue, Yang Qi and his four sworn brothers were outside of the Demi-Immortal Institute and in the distant mountains.
“Brother, what did you bring us out here for?” Li He asked.
Yang Qi burst out laughing. “That dolt Grand Elder Feat-Virtue actually gave me the Euphoria Godstone. To me, it’s more valuable than the Gate of the Great Void! Ah, Crown Prince, you’ve made a grave mistake here. You actually gave me access to energy that truly originated in hell, to the blood of a devil-god, and to a true expression of the Hell of Euphoria.”
With that, he pulled out the Euphoria Godstone, which began to pulse with a devil will that stained the sky black.Previous Chapter Next Chapter