‘I have to get my hands on this Engine of the One God!’
Yang Qi could immediately see how important it was, and how much it would benefit him. With the Engine of the One God in play, his pieces of the Cruiser of Civilization would be virtually useless.
Unfortunately, there were leaders from all of the Eight Tribes present, as well as five experts who were on the same level as the Four Emperors of the Heavenly Court. It was a terrifying force.
Yang Qi decided to take a closer look at the five experts from the past.
Tall and rugged, they had shaved heads, and bulged with muscle. It was obvious that their flesh and blood were made from pure magical laws, and in fact, they were the rare and secretive lokapālas of ancient times. They seemed fierce enough to conquer every obstacle in their path. According to the stories, the lokapālas were guardians of the ancient buddhas, and would use preheaven power with explosive effectiveness. 
“Exalted Lokapālas Milā, Sudhā, Hebu, Hasā, and Kushe, it is a profound honor for us Dragonfolk to welcome you, the Five Great Lokapāla god-kings, here to our world. Unfortunately, we have little to entertain you with. I hope you can forgive us.”
“It's fine,” one of the ruddy-faced lokapālas replied, his voice rumbling like a thunder. “We are the god-kings, arhats of the Vajrayāna, they who enshrine joss flame for the many heavens. Any living being who wishes to make offerings to the buddhas must first offer sacrifices to us. How could we possibly be interested in personal pleasure? We have only come here to promote our teachings and save an era that is without the dharma.” 
“Exactly,” said another of the lokapālas. “We didn’t come here for pleasure. This is clearly an era devoid of religion and lacking in the dharma, a place of grief and bitterness that needs to be cleansed of heretics and blasphemers. The faith of all people must be directed to us.”
Pulsing with enough killing aura to make himself seem like a god of death, another of the lokapālas said, “Establish faith, execute the blasphemers. That is our goal. Heretics do not deserve to live in any age, this one included. That is our creed. Kill. Kill. And keep killing!”
“Five Great Lokapālas, please, just take the lead,” said Chief Buddha Dragon. “There’s no need for explanations. Our first task at hand is to activate the Engine of the One God to its fullest level. The engine can unleash the might of the One God and gather together the fragments of the Cruiser of Civilization. With an intact cruiser, the Eight Tribes Heaven will definitely be able to rise to a higher level.”
“That’s fine,” another lokapāla said, his voice booming so loudly that it could kill ordinary people who listened to it. “That said, the Cruiser of Civilization was created by the ancient Lord of Civilization, and he was a heretical god who was sentenced to die. We can use the products of his hands, but only temporarily. Once we have enough faith, we will craft our own magical devices based on true religion and never again rely on the work of heretical hands.”
“Yes, sir!” the other Dragonfolk chiefs said. Truth be told, they didn’t look particularly pleased, but they knew they couldn’t afford to offend the lokapālas.
The lokapālas were very stubborn and inflexible, and their only interests were slaughtering wretch-devils, establishing faith, and executing anyone who didn’t believe in their religion. They were the incarnation of the rage of the multitudinous buddhas. Their cultivation made them weapons of war who were widely feared in the Primeval Age. For all intents and purposes, they were now weapons in the hands of the Dragonfolk, although they were like double-edged swords that could harm the wielder as much as the enemy.
Around this time, Chief God Dragon sent a message to Chief Buddha Dragon via divine will.
“Chief Buddha Dragon, the Five Great Lokapālas are completely terrifying! Summoning them here is basically inviting the wolf into one’s house.”
“Don’t worry,” Chief Buddha Dragon replied. “I already have everything planned out. The lokapālas have incomparable fighting prowess, but one-track minds. They’ll never reach godly ascension and will always be tools of their Vajrayāna. Even their bodies are simply manifestations of rage. So we’ll use them like the tools they are. They’re roughly as strong as the Four Emperors of the Heavenly Court, and they can summon armies of lesser lokapālas. That army alone should be more than enough to bring the fight to the Dao Defense League and the future world. Then we Dragonfolk will just hide in the shadows and wait for everyone to wear each other down. That’s when we’ll rise to prominence. If we can't control mindless fools like these, we’re nothing but big jokes.”
“Fine. The Eight Tribes have always viewed you as our leader, so do you mind telling us exactly how strong you are now? Could you take out Grand Emperor Ragefire Broilheaven?”
“Don’t worry, I made a breakthrough recently. With the power of these foolish lokapālas, I’ll soon reach the next cultivation level. And once we have the Engine of the One God under our control, defeating Grand Emperor Ragefire Broilheaven will be a simple task. Our top priority is to use the lokapālas to activate the Engine of the One God. For the moment, we’re currently only capable of opening a passageway to transmit power, not corporeal objects. The Five Great Lokapālas are only here because the experts of the Primeval Age made great sacrifices to send them through. The Primeval Age is under a lot of pressure, thanks to the ferocious incursions made there by the future world.”
“It’s no wonder. The future world has countless experts in their forces. And although the Primeval Age does, too, the difference is that the forces of the past aren’t united. In contrast, the fighters from the future world are highly disciplined.”
The discussion continued among the chiefs of the Dragonfolk, who were using a secret channel of communication that the Five Great Lokapālas weren’t even aware of.
Yang Qi was already getting a sense that these lokapālas were powerful, but not particularly bright. They didn’t seem capable of complex planning and were slow to react. They were expressions of rage, focused solely on faith. In the end, they would be terrifying opponents to fight.
As far as Yang Qi was concerned, they seemed like an opportunity for him to take advantage of.
“Enough!” one of the lokapālas said. “The five of us can draw on the remarkable abilities that we have as dharmic guards of the Vajrayāna. We can use the karma of myriad buddhas to activate the Engine of the One God, then use it to open a passageway to the past and summon our Vajrayāna Army. For now, you will stand guard for us. Understand? Once the passageway is open, immense power will flood out and the Eight Tribes Heaven will be transformed into a pure land, a place of porcelain, radiance, and light, free from all blemish!”
When the Five Great Lokapālas said they would do something, they did it. Flames erupted from all of them, entering the Engine of the One God. At the same time, power from primeval times poured into the engine.
The engine trembled, then began pulsing with an aura that could transform the dao of heaven. Slowly, that energy began to seep out into the Eight Tribes Heaven.
Yang Qi sent his divine will out, and soon saw that all of the Dragonfolk in the Eight Tribes Heaven were pushing toward breakthroughs, and there wasn’t a trace of a sign of heavenly tribulation. At the same time, the greyspace of the Eight Tribes Heaven began expanding, pushing out into the primal-chaos paleo-energy. Yang Qi even felt himself being blessed with power.
“This is incredible!” Patriarch Annalist exclaimed. “This power is from gods, not humans! Even an immortal who practiced the most incredible cultivation could never have godpower like this.”
Deep in the Myriad Worlds Monarch Chart, the photonic computers of the Cruiser of Civilization whirred to life.
[Power reserves at one ten-thousandth. One one-thousandth…. Power reserves full. Systems coming online. Receiving summons from Engine of the One—]
‘Be suppressed!’ Yang Qi said urgently, and pushed down on the Cruiser of Civilization with incredible force. At the same time, he prepared to make a move.
Joining forces with Patriarch Annalist, he suddenly shot forward through numerous aspects of space-time.
In the blink of an eye, he was above the Engine of the One God.
‘Aeon Portal. Myriad Worlds Monarch Chart. Aeonic God Destroyer. Heaven Beyond Heaven. Come to me!’ Drawing on all the power he could muster, including the God Legion Seal, he launched an assault on the Five Great Lokapālas, cutting them off from their source of power. Then he used the Aeon Portal to control the power of the Heaven Beyond Heaven, plus the godpower of the Myriad Worlds Monarch Chart.
‘Imperial snakecharms, devour the Engine of the One God!’
The talismans flew out. In fact, even the talismans connected to the passageway to the future world shivered, then passed through the Myriad Worlds Monarch Chart to Yang Qi.
In the blink of an eye, all three thousand of the talismans were fully connected.
In that moment, his power reached a peak level and the will of King Heaven-Devourer appeared again. It was a level of power that could devour the entire Eight Tribes Heaven, and it combined with the Myriad Worlds Monarch Chart and the Aeon Portal to tug at the Engine of the One God.
‘It’s so heavy!’ Yang Qi struggled, much like a mortal human would struggle to move a mountain.
The Five Great Lokapālas quickly realized what was happening.
“Who’s that!? What gall! How dare you try to steal the Engine of the One God. Are you looking to die?”
Furious, they joined forces to unleash a devastating palm strike.
“Great Lokapāla God-King Fist!” Golden light shone out like zen chants in the form of dragons, a primeval will that filled the entire area.
“First Palm: Rock Heaven and Earth. Second Palm: Crush the Cosmos. Third Palm: Destroy the Three Worlds. Fourth Palm: Assimilate Primal-Chaos. Fifth Palm: Eradicate the Legion of Gods!”
Each of the five palm strikes they unleashed was a killing move meant to wipe Yang Qi out of existence.
1. The term lokapāla has come up before, but this is the first time we have characters who are actually described as being such entities. They exist in both Hinduism and Buddhism, and are generally guardian gods in both. That said, I find it interesting that the “aegis” from before included a mention of the ten directions, and in Hinduism, lokapālas are the guardians of the ten cardinal directions, among other things. More info here.
2. Vajrayāna refers to certain specific Buddhist traditions. In Chinese it is literally the “hidden” or “esoteric” sect.