Yang Qi had never laid eyes on the intact corpse of even a single god, but now he was looking at seven.
Although they were clearly not alive, they still emanated a faint deathless aura that caused Yang Qi’s heart to go chill. He hurried forward and respectfully saluted them, not daring to do anything they might find profane. Another person might have tried to greedily assimilate them, but Yang Qi knew not even the successor of the Aeonic God Temple would be allowed to treat them blasphemously.
It was true that assimilating them would provide a massive boost to his energy arts, making him a Revisionist or Measureless God at the very least. Even though that would put him in the position to be able to absolutely crush Grand Emperor Ragefire Broilheaven, he wouldn’t do it. There were other benefits that he would be receiving.
The energy pulsing within the Aeon Portal seemed like the kind that could destroy the dao of heaven, and Yang Qi knew that there must be something inside that could rival the Cruiser of Civilization.
“Seniors,” Yang Qi said, addressing the seven corpses in Godtongue, “I bear the legacy of the God Legion Seal. The past world is about to invade our immortal dao civilization, and bring immense tribulation. The future world has already done so, and their forces are virtually unstoppable. We are in a truly terrible situation. It's hard to say how this will affect the future. Perhaps they wish to destroy both past, present, and future. Perhaps they wish to make an eternal civilization that exists outside of time. In any case, I have to stop them. And the fact that you left behind this Aeonic God Temple seems to be evidence that you will support my efforts.”
As he spoke, Yang Qi allowed some of the aura of the God Legion Seal to seep out.
As soon as the fluctuations of the God Legion Seal touched the corpses, they opened their eyes, which shone with killing intent. Then, a voice spoke into Yang Qi’s mind.
“God Legion Seal? So, you bear the God Legion Seal. As a true successor, you must have wisdom, valor, perseverance, and tenacity; only the strongest individual can take the Aeonic God Temple. We’ll give you one chance, boy. Use the Aeon Portal to take complete control of the Heaven Beyond Heaven. This place is not an immortal world, but rather a magical treasure in the form of a spacecraft, created long ago by the Lord of Aeons. It’s called the Aeonic God Destroyer, and is equally as famous as the Cruiser of Civilization.
“But there is a test. The seven of us perished long ago, but we left behind scraps of will in our corpses. If you can assimilate those expressions of will, you will reach an unimaginable level. We will send our wills into your sea of consciousness to take control of your soul, and possess your physical husk. If you are unable to survive the process, you will die, and your power will remain here for some other destined individual, along with the God Legion Seal. If you survive, then all of our power will become yours.
“The decision is yours. If you choose not to take the test, you may leave. However, if you leave, you will never control the Heaven Beyond Heaven and another destined successor will be located.”
Yang Qi shivered.
If he wanted to control the Aeon Portal, and by extension the Heaven Beyond Heaven, he had to allow the wills of these seven dead gods to possess him. Then he had to subjugate them, lest he perish. If he succeeded, he would acquire their godliness, but if he failed, he would be destroyed.
It was obviously a very dangerous situation.
However, as the bearer of the God Legion Seal, he knew that he couldn’t be indecisive. He needed to act with bravery and valor, and use his own will to conquer anything and everything.
After a moment of thought, he said, “Fine. This seems to be the only way I can eventually reach the Deathless Throne. Bring it on. This little test of yours is just going to be another session of cultivation for me.”
And that it was. A session of cultivation in which life and death were on the line.
The corpses nodded, and another voice echoed into his mind. “You’re quite bold, young man. Just be aware that we will not hold back. Show no fear, and don’t be merciful. This will be a life or death battle in which you must remain strong of will, and have a deathless spirit. Only then will you be able to destroy us. If you don’t vanquish us, we will vanquish you. It’s war. A war for your life.”
The seven corpses dissolved into seven beams of godlight that shot into Yang Qi, causing him to shiver as seven streams of god will appeared in his sea of consciousness. At the same time, his body collapsed into countless hells and he became nothing but a swath of darkness filled with glittering, fiery light.
Without any hesitation, the seven shining expressions of will rushed to attack Yang Qi’s will.
These expressions of will were from fallen gods, so they weren’t even one ten-thousandth as strong as they had been in life. But that still made them incredibly strong, compared to Yang Qi, who was only a fifth division Godmyth.
The initial blow nearly wiped Yang Qi’s will out of existence, causing it to flicker as dimly as a firefly compared to a host of burning suns. It almost seemed like a foregone conclusion that he would lose the fight.
But he wasn’t discouraged, and forced his will into action. With every barrage, he grew stronger and more determined, and the tide of battle soon began shifting. His soul was in great danger of falling apart, making this fight much more deadly than any contest of energy arts.
The fight itself was beneficial. As Yang Qi’s will clashed with the seven gods’ will, he could sense their experiences and their killing intent. And it only served to strengthen his own will.
The mind and the body were very different. When engaging in physical training, one needed time to recover. But one’s mind and will could be strengthened in a moment. As a Fateless One, Yang Qi was much more in tune with such matters. 
All of a sudden, the will of one of the gods flared like a burning torch, assailing Yang Qi with more force than ever before. Sparks flew from the impact, and Yang Qi felt as though an actual god were battering him. The pain was severe.
He shouted in agony as he returned to his original state and sat down in front of the Aeon Portal. At the same time, he shone with bright, flame-like light from the seven god-spirits. His face twisted and distorted almost as if with madness, making it seem like he was in the middle of cultivation deviation.
“This is our chance! Batter his mind away!”
The seven god-spirits could sense that he was about to crumble and redoubled their efforts.
“Deadly Twisted Snake Art!”
“Great-Earth Despairing-Mother Origin-Destruction Technique!”
“Nine-Troubles Three-Calamities World Breaking!”
“Despotic Tyranny Three Thousand Transformations!”
“Netherstalking Eight-Extremities-Fist Paragon Barrage!”
“Ten Directions Tripitaka Dhāraṇī Touch!”
“God-Death Grief-Joy True-Void Crushing!”
Seven godly-class energy arts hit Yang Qi with the force to topple mountains and drain seas. Even someone like Grand Emperor Ragefire Broilheaven who faced a series of attacks like this would be completely overwhelmed. The wills of seven god-spirits were something that few people could contend with. Anyone below the level of the legion of gods would likely be wiped out.
However, as the seven gods continued attacking him and Yang Qi’s own will began crumbling, the power of fate rose up within him and his Wheel of Fate appeared overhead, emanating the aura of the Sovereign Lord.
And visible on the wheel was a sutra that was related to the nirvanic rebirth of gods.
“Like the millions upon millions of worlds that exist… the true-spirits are eternal. A new civilization, born from the void, the nirvanic rebirth of the gods. The past never changes, the present is eternal, the future is unfathomable…. For me, every moment is like the present. Three worlds. Three lives. My fate….” In that moment, grand wills from the past, the present, and the future appeared within Yang Qi’s mind, and the Wheel of Fate transformed, moving closer toward its ultimate core.
In that moment, Yang Qi’s mind and will were tempered and the energy arts of the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth rose to a higher level. His will suddenly became dozens of times stronger and entered a state that could exist within all three worlds of past, present, and future.
His eyes snapped open and, looking at the seven gods, he said, “Sorry about this.”
1. There is a play on words here that doesn't really come across very well in English. Suffice to say, the author uses one of the characters in “Fateless One” to describe how one’s mind/will/psychic abilities work. The point is that his Fateless constitution is giving him an advantage here.
For those of you out there interesting in the wuxia TTRPG that I co-authored, we started a podcast to discuss elements of the game, and how they were inspired by the wuxia genre. In the first episode, we talk about the game's Grudge mechanic, Maiming mechanic, and how GMs can use specialized weapons and techniques to deal with OP player characters. It's all on the backdrop of two classic wuxia films, One-Armed Swordsman and Crippled Avengers. Check out the podcast here.