Even as the god formations thrummed, those who were inside operating them began discussing how events were playing out.
“These women are all from the Ancient Road to the Gods. You have to be a Grand Emperor, at a minimum, to step onto that road, which means that everyone from there is an invincible expert.”
“We've been waiting for this day. The league-lord has spent day and night making preparations, having us cultivate daoist techniques and build spell formations. It looks like the god formations we set up are actually working! That woman can’t break through them, only make tiny incursions.”
“People say that experts from the Ancient Road to the Gods are all terrifying. And it looks like we’re facing just such a person today.”
“Bah! Don’t take the situation lightly. With all of us powering these god formations, we should be able to easily kill a Grand Emperor. But this woman still managed to penetrate the outer defenses. Isn’t that fear-inspiring?”
Originally, the sight of Ancient Road experts had caused all of them to tremble with fear at the thought of the disasters to come. After all, rumors stretched back to ancient times regarding how powerful the people from the Ancient Road to the Gods were. Even the most casual action on their part could devastate everything under heaven.
But now, their god formations were rebuffing these ancient experts, and it caused Yang Qi to seem even more powerful and mysterious to them. Of course, their confidence in him surged.
As followers of Yang Qi, they felt more secure than ever.
“League-Lord! What do we do now?”
In the Heaven-Dao Operation God-Temple, the dharmarajas, god-generals, Emissary of Radiance and Light, and four heavenly kings had all assembled, along with millions and millions of other old-timers and elder kings. These were the highest leaders in the Dao Defense League, and their attention was all focused on Yang Qi and the young woman standing next to him, who was none other than Holy Daughter Joyflower.
Truth be told, Yang Qi had been paying very close attention to the primal-chaos around the Great Necropolis.
As soon as the women from the Joyflower Palace showed up, he called a meeting of his top leaders to discuss what to do. And of course, he included Holy Daughter Joyflower. She was from the Joyflower Palace and knew exactly what the organization was capable of. It was clear that they wanted to take over the Dao Defense League, and they were not a force to be taken lightly.
“So, who exactly are all these Joyflower Palace people?” Yang Qi asked. “Do you recognize any of them? The one surrounded by the endless streams of flower petals has a cultivation level so high I can’t assess it. I’m not even sure I could defeat her in battle.”
“She’s one of our ten flower goddesses,” Holy Daughter Joyflower replied. “Her name is Orchid Purity, and her cultivation base is extremely high. You see, I'm only a holy daughter, whereas she's a flower goddess. The two ranks are completely different. Considering that she's taking the lead here, it's going to be difficult to keep control of the situation.” 
“What’s your name?” Yang Qi asked. “It can’t be Holy Daughter Joyflower.”
“We holy daughters all use the same sobriquet when we go on missions. In other words, we all call ourselves ‘Holy Daughter Joyflower’. My real name is Flower Mildcloud. Anyway, Orchid Purity’s cultivation base is truly incredible. The ten flower goddesses are similar to the dharmarajas of your Dao Defense League in terms of rank, with us holy daughters being akin to your elder kings. As for Orchid Purity, she cultivates an energy art in which one thought can cause boundless will to blossom. She can form a resonance with heaven and earth wherever she goes and is one of a select few of the most powerful experts in the Joyflower Palace.”
“I get the point,” Yang Qi said. “Besides, I’ve already confirmed that her power index is over four hundred.” He frowned. ‘If she gets violent, not even the god formations I've set up will hold against her. That said, her will convergence level is only at the Stupendous level, which evens the playing field to a certain extent. Unfortunately, if I got in a fight with her, and the other flower goddesses showed up, I would definitely end up dead.’
A moment later, the power assessment systems provided a more detailed explanation of Orchid Purity’s cultivation level.
[Beep-beep-beep. Beep-beep-beep. Cultivation level: third stair of the Deathless Heavenly Stairway.]
She wasn’t even a Grand Emperor, yet her incredible potential only made her more terrifying. She was obviously on the path to becoming an indescribably powerful person, the kind that no one would ever dare to trifle with. And it was clear that she would be more difficult to tangle with than God-Noble Goldensword’s god soul.
That wasn't to mention that she was flanked by dozens of other experts from the Joyflower Palace, and if fighting broke out, they could call for even more reinforcements from within the Great Necropolis. If a force like that wanted, they could easily wipe out the ten billion immortal worlds of the Dao Defense League without expending any effort.
Obviously, the current situation required a long-term plan. So Yang Qi’s first inclination was to exercise patience.
“How strong is the Joyflower Palace overall?” Yang Qi asked. “From what I learned from Cipher Rite-Heaven and the others, I only know that it’s a very big organization with an incredibly powerful leader. Can you give me any more details?”
“Of course. It is indeed one of the largest organizations on the Ancient Road to the Gods. However, the further you go along on the road, the more mysterious and enigmatic it becomes. Nobody really knows for sure what other powerful organizations might exist in its deepest depths. And that’s not to mention certain superpower sects who are rumored to have long since begun exploring the true depths of the Great Necropolis. In any case, our empress is close to being a god. I suppose that if you described her according to that power index you use, she would be in the thousands. If she could acquire godhood, she would be like a tiger that had grown wings and would most likely reach godly ascension.”
“Oh really?” Yang Qi was truly shocked; after all, someone with a power index in the thousands could easily kill him. He had a power index of two hundred twenty, and although it might make sense to assume that someone with a power index of two thousand two hundred was ten times stronger than him, that actually wasn’t the case. It would be more like thousands of times stronger.
Someone like that could kill Yang Qi and slaughter the entire Dao Defense League as easily as taking a sip of water. His only hope would be to hide in the Myriad Worlds Monarch Chart for the rest of his life and never come out. Unfortunately, he didn’t have all nine of King Immortal-Slayer's legacy medallions, which meant that if Empress Joyflower succeeded in reaching godly ascension, then perhaps she would eventually manage to break into the Myriad Worlds Monarch Chart.
Without the full collection of legacy medallions, it was always possible that a god could find a chink in its defenses and somehow get inside.
Thankfully, Yang Qi had considered that possibility ahead of time, and because of that, he knew he couldn’t just blithely defy top experts from the Ancient Road to the Gods. On the other hand, he also couldn’t allow himself to seem weak. Instead, he needed to be clever. Manipulative, even. Then, when he got strong enough, he could make a comeback. It was a strategy he had used many times in life, and he was therefore very familiar with the process.
For the time being, he told Holy Daughter Joyflower to stay hidden while he flew through the god formations to speak directly with Orchid Purity and the other women from the Joyflower Palace.
When they saw him out in the open, they were visibly shocked at how strong he seemed. Instantly, they sent flower petals swirling out to form a huge spell formation around him.
This was only to be expected from elite entities from the Ancient Road to the Gods. They were always incomparably vicious, the kind of people who had survived up to this point by slaughtering countless enemies.
‘Interesting,’ Orchid Purity thought. ‘This guy’s aura is so strong! He’s hundreds of times stronger than an ordinary Grand Emperor. There’s obviously more to his cultivation base than meets the eye.’ Eyes flickering, she stood up a bit taller, looking down her nose at him as she said, “So you’re the league-lord of this Dao Defense League?”
He nodded. “That’s right. I'm League-Lord Yang Qi.” Of course, he was maintaining absolute vigilance, fully aware that these women were the most powerful adversaries he had encountered to date. Obviously, he couldn’t just resort to fighting and killing. “Ladies, thank you so much for coming to pay a visit, and please forgive me for not receiving you properly from the moment you arrived.”
Even as the words left his mouth, he clasped hands and bowed.
“Cut the crap,” said Junior Sister Fragrant. “We come from the Joyflower Palace, the most powerful organization on the Ancient Road to the Gods. We've come to collect universal fortune here, and subjugate all of the immortal worlds. The puny Dao Defense League that you've established has a lot of potential, and we've come here to recruit you. Acknowledge allegiance to the Joyflower Palace and serve us well as slaves, and you’ll profit greatly. Refuse to cooperate, and you will die.”
Yang Qi frowned, then suddenly twitched. Cracking sounds rang out as he subsequently grew several times larger than before, simultaneously flicking his sleeve to send a gentle wind out toward Junior Sister Fragrant.
Face falling, she thrust her hands out in front of her, sending out streams of flower petals toward the wind. However, they all shattered, and she was struck, causing her to stagger back several paces.
In the blink of an eye, she was defeated, causing her face to flicker with indescribable rage and viciousness.
“Looking to get killed!?” she shouted, her killing intent surging. Suddenly, an incomparably powerful rose-colored sword appeared above her head, surrounded by thistles and thorns. 
“I built the Dao Defense League, and will not allow it to be a slave for anyone,” Yang Qi said. “You Joyflower Palace people are really pushing things too far. It wasn’t long ago that Cipher Rite-Heaven from the Cipher-Devil Sword Sect came here and treated me rudely, but after I showed him a thing or two, he joined me. Lately, I’ve been thinking of throwing my lot in with a powerful faction, and considering how rudely you people have treated me, it seems the right decision will be to pick the Cipher-Devil Sword Sect.”
“What?” Orchid Purity said. “Back down this instant, Junior Sister Fragrant!”
Junior Sister Fragrant begrudgingly retracted her holy sword of roses, although the hatred in her eyes didn't diminish at all. Yang Qi could tell that she was a narrow-minded and petty individual who would stop at nothing to kill him.
Of course, he wouldn’t let her live. He hadn’t survived his years of brutal campaigning by chance, and had long since realized that, when it came to enemies, it was vitally important to cut the weeds and eliminate the roots. The alternative was to end up dead.
“The Cipher-Devil Sword Sect tried to recruit you?” Orchid Purity said.
“That’s right,” Yang Qi replied. “Look, I have a Cipher-Devil Sword Sect command medallion right here!” He pulled out a pitch-black command medallion, which Orchid Purity instantly recognized as belonging to the Cipher-Devil Sword Sect. Of course, the truth was that Yang Qi had taken it from Cipher Rite-Heaven, and was using the two classic ruses of making a feint to the east and attacking in the west, and getting the tiger and the wolf to kill each other.
1. English readers get a minor spoiler here in that the Chinese character for “god” is technically gender neutral. Most of the time it’s assumed to be male, with a separate character added when a female divine being is involved. However, in this case, this group of ten is made up only of females. That point isn’t made absolutely clear until later, although the fact that the Chinese character is paired with the one for “flower” heavily implies that they are female.
2. The specific rose described here is rosa multiflora, often called Japanese rose, although it goes by many other names. It doesn’t resemble the flower that we commonly call a “rose” in English. Check the link for a picture.