“We’re going to select a league-lord….”
Everyone was surprised by Daoist Great Void’s announcement; people had been expecting something like this to happen, just not so soon.
The Dao Defense League had been around for several years now, and so far it had no official rules, hierarchy, or structure. It was simply a loose collection of sects and worlds that had banded together to fight the future world. Without them, the immortal worlds would have long since been crushed out of existence.
However, if there was a league-lord with official authority, everything would be different. The Dao Defense League would become stable and united, and of course, the league-lord would become an extremely powerful person.
Many of the Measureless, Buddha, and Chaos Gods present didn’t look very happy at all, as they knew that they had absolutely no chance of becoming the league-lord.
It was only the half-Deathless old-timers who had a chance, people who’d begun climbing the Deathless Heavenly Stairway. All such experts were already itching to become the new league-lord, fully aware of the immense power they would have: the ability to command the host of immortals.
Yang Qi looked around at the packed temple, and it was impossible for him to determine how many people qualified to compete for the position.
No one had any idea where this expert among experts would come from, so he simply sat back and waited to see how things would play out.
He had no interest in becoming the new league-lord. Although he was definitely strong enough to crush any of the old-timers present, it would take a lot of time and effort to exert authority and maintain power. As far as he was concerned, it would be wisest to not show the mountain and not reveal the water, to keep his true strength hidden and remain an ordinary but powerful patriarch.
The tallest tree attracts the most wind, and despite how strong he was, he wasn’t in the position to dominate all creation. He needed to further his cultivation, continue assimilating the true godhood within him, and advance through the divisions of the Godmyth level. He wanted to climb the Deathless Heavenly Stairway and become a Lesser God, the kind of person no one could ever boss around.
Keeping a low profile was the best thing to do for now.
“Everyone quiet down!” Daoist Great Void said. “The first part of the process is to nominate candidates. We need someone with invincible, top-rate energy arts, a person of virtue and prestige who can convince everyone of their authority. Of course, we won’t just be selecting a league-lord. There are other positions to fill. We old-timers have already decided that we’ll structure the Dao Defense League according to the ancient ways. Therefore, serving under the league-lord will be two emissaries, one for radiance and light, the other for darkness and gloom. Beneath them will be nine dharmarajas. Further down will be twenty-four god-generals, and of course, plenty of ordinary patriarchs.”
‘So that's how they’re going to do it,’ thought Yang Qi. ‘A league-lord, two emissaries, nine dharmarajas, and twenty-four god-generals. A very military structure. Presumably, they’re going to appoint people based on how strong they are. If I throw my hat in the ring, I should be able to get a spot as a god-general. The competition's definitely going to be fierce, though.’
Counting the league-lord, the emissaries, the dharmarajas, and the god-generals, there were a total of thirty-six people who would make up the core power structure.
At the moment, there were hundreds of millions of patriarchs present, and the fact that many of them would be competing for only thirty-six positions meant there would definitely be a blood-soaked struggle.
Although not everyone was thinking of aiming for the position of league-lord, quite a few people were hoping to at least snag a spot as a god-general. Yang Qi was convinced that if he didn’t get one of the positions, he would quickly be lost in the crowd and his opportunities for growth and advancement would be significantly hindered.
Almost as soon as the words left Daoist Great Void’s mouth, destiny began gathering in the Heaven-Dao Operation God-Temple.
It was the destiny of the countless immortal worlds, and whoever took control of it would become an individual of immense power. They would be able to execute anyone they wanted, any clan, any people. Their orders would be strictly enforced and they would gain immense benefits in their cultivation.
‘No wonder all of the old-timers want this position. As the league-lord, one could benefit from all the destiny in heaven and earth, and would probably achieve a whole succession of breakthroughs. In fact, it might even lead directly to the Deathless Throne.’ Yang Qi was stunned. ‘Being the league-lord of the Dao Defense League would provide much more true godhood than the Live Forever God Tree from the Tusita Heaven could. The Tusita Heaven is only one heaven, whereas the Dao Defense League is filled with as many heavens as the eternal sands. Just look at how many patriarchs there are here. Together, they could easily wipe a thirty-third ranked immortal world out of existence.’
Yang Qi had never seen so many powerful experts gathered in one place.
With such thoughts on his mind, he suddenly realized that he was actually inclined to compete for the position, even though he wasn’t really interested in being the league-lord. Daoist Great Void had just said they wanted someone with invincible, top-rate energy arts who was also a person of virtue and prestige.
When it came to having invincible, top-rate energy arts, Yang Qi knew that he met the qualifications, and he could definitely defeat any of the old-timers here. As for being a person of virtue and prestige, well, that was another story….
All of a sudden, a beam of sword light appeared and shot toward the central area in the middle of the temple. A young man appeared who was bursting with energy and was clearly an expert with sword techniques. He was none other than the famous August Patriarch Sword-Burier who had made a grand entrance earlier.
“There’s no need for you to waste your breath, Daoist Great Void,” he said. “We all know that we have to elect a leader for our Dao Defense League. But let’s be frank here. The purpose of our alliance is to fight the future world. Who cares if the leader is a person of virtue and prestige? We need a genius who can shed rivers of blood. We need someone with unbeatable energy arts. And as it happens, your humble servant happens to know a few sword techniques that I would like to demonstrate right here and now. If any patriarch here can stand up to them, I’d be happy to name them league-lord! But if no one here can do so, then I will take the title. Presumably, no one has any objections, right? It’s a given that our ‘election’ process will involve a big martial contest. Whoever has the best cultivation base, and is strongest, will become our leader. We don’t need to bother discussing anything else. I'm nominating myself for the position of league-lord. Does anyone else dare to step forward and fight me for it?”
August Patriarch Sword-Burier held no sword in his hand, yet he seemed capable of slicing apart the dome of heaven and carving up primal-chaos itself. He had a seemingly invincible cultivation base, and even the other Chaos Gods present flinched when looking at him. His gaze was so sharp that no one could meet it without feeling like their eyes were being sliced apart.
Although many of the patriarchs were eyeing the empty platform, none of them said a single word in response to his challenge.
The truth was that everyone knew full well how this meeting was going to play out. The ‘election’ of the league-lord would come down to a martial contest. Whoever lasted until the end, proving that their energy arts and cultivation level were invincible, would be the league-lord.
Discussions and debates were pointless.
August Patriarch Sword-Burier had a reputation for being very fierce and tough. He’d made his name a hundred million years in the past by slaughtering countless fiend-devils, then disappearing to wander in primal-chaos. The patriarchs who were in the know were all convinced that he must have picked up countless godrelics during his wanderings and was clearly the best choice for a leader. In fact, it seemed like—at the moment, at least—nobody was willing to go up against him.
“Nobody’s willing to challenge me?” August Patriarch Sword-Burier chuckled. “Well then, I guess I'm the league-lord.”
However, that was when another voice echoed out. “I'm not convinced you’re the one who should take the lead, August Patriarch Sword-Burier! I'm a sword cultivator too, so why don’t the two of us exchange some pointers and see whose technique is superior?”
A shadowy blur flew over to the open area, resolving into the form of a tall man in a black sackcloth garment. He had a long sword strapped to his back, and even without unsheathing it he emanated a sense of boundless might. 
“That’s Patriarch Grand Darkness, another top-level august patriarch. I heard that he's one of the founders of the Grand Darkness Heaven, and that in his journeys in primal-chaos, he came across a god item called the Abyssal Sword. It's impossible to say how many people he’s killed with that sword over the years.”
Patriarch Grand Darkness was another deadly and fiendish old-timer who would be welcomed with the utmost respect even in thirty-third ranked immortal worlds.
“Cut the crap and show me a move!” August Patriarch Sword-Burier said, flicking his sleeve as he prepared for combat.
“As a cultivator of the dao of the sword, are you going to draw your weapon or not?” Patriarch Grand Darkness said coolly.
August Patriarch Sword-Burier laughed heartily. “You think I need a sword to deal with you? If I did, how could I qualify to be the league-lord?” He stood there, shining with a golden light that made him look like a heaven-god, surrounded by an illusory sword crypt. In fact, because of it all, he looked like a god of swords standing in a tomb of weapons.
“What incredible gall!” Patriarch Grand Darkness shouted angrily. “If you don’t want to use your sword, then don’t blame me for killing you. You really think you can become the league-lord just by standing up here? Since you've chosen to stick your head out first, I’m more than happy to slice it off!”
A black sword appeared, a glow of godliness surrounding it that made it seem like an abyss of darkness. It was the Abyssal Sword, and it was clear that Patriarch Grand Darkness’ mastery of it had reached the point of perfection.
In response, August Patriarch Sword-Burier flicked his finger, sending a stream of sword energy out that hit the dark blade, resulting in a booming sound like a bell.
The Abyssal Sword trembled and Patriarch Grand Darkness staggered backward a few steps. In contrast, August Patriarch Sword-Burier didn’t move an inch. It was instantly clear who was in the superior position.
“You're obviously no match for me,” August Patriarch Sword-Burier said. “Back down. Otherwise, I’ll be forced to take your life.”
1. The narrative is somewhat vague about this garment, but I’m fairly certain it’s supposed to be the type commonly worn for official mourning purposes in ancient times, like this. Usually such garments would be white, which is the color associated with death in Chinese culture, but in this case the guy is wearing black.