“Brother, how did you get captured? From your power fluctuations, it seems you’re no weakling!”
There were five burly men, all of whom had power indexes from as weak as seventy to well over a hundred. Their cultivation bases were powerful, and they were obviously the kind of individuals who wouldn’t hesitate to slaughter their enemies.
That said, Yang Qi could sense that they didn’t have ill intentions. Nodding, he said, “I founded a large organization that the Joyflower Palace wanted. They said that if I joined them, it would be to my benefit and I would become an important god-general. Obviously, they lied. How could I ever have guessed that I would end up a prisoner?”
The strongest among the group of five said, “Sorry, Brother, but you really were a bit foolish. You see, you can’t trust anyone from the Joyflower Palace. Those damned women are better than anyone at lying and cheating. And no one could be more despicable and contemptible. Even worse, they’re all complete perverts!”
“Eldest Brother, keep your voice down,” one of the other men said. “If word spreads that we’re insulting the Joyflower Palace, we’ll definitely suffer because of it.”
“If we suffer, we suffer,” the leader said, shaking his head grimly. However, he did lower his voice. “We're the Five Hegemons of the Heavenly Kingdom,” he continued. “The women from the Joyflower Palace invaded our headquarters, killed our wives and children, and enslaved us. Trust me, we would have fled already if we could have. There are only two possible fates in store for us: either we die, or we become court eunuchs. And we’d rather die than become genderless freaks like them. On the Ancient Road to the Gods, we were domineering hegemons who ruled for a hundred million years. Now here we are.”
Yang Qi nodded. The hatred emanating from these five men was nearly palpable. ‘So these five are called the Five Hegemons of the Heavenly Kingdom, and they hate the Joyflower Palace down to their bones.’
The five of them obviously longed to see the Joyflower Palace destroyed, but were so powerless that they didn’t dare to say anything about it out loud.
‘They were once powerful figures on the Ancient Road to the Gods,’ he thought. ‘I wonder if there are any others like them here in the prison. If so, I might be able to manipulate them into rising up in revolt.’ All of a sudden, an idea occurred to him. ‘The main way the Joyflower Palace controls them is with those Myriad Transformations Energy Pearls. But if I negate the heterogeneous true energy for them…. Well, in any case, I can’t cause too much of a scene right now.’
Yang Qi knew that he had to be very careful, and that the best course of action would be to lay low, find their treasure storehouses, and learn more about the secrets of their organization.
“Brother, why don't we work together?” one of the five said. “It’s dangerous being a slave of the Joyflower Palace, but you seem pretty strong. Next time we get assigned a mission out in the Great Necropolis, we can stick together and watch each other’s backs. A lot of our old friends have already died, so sticking together is more important than ever.”
Yang Qi nodded, but gave a rather noncommittal response. “Sure. Next time there’s a mission, we should think about working together.”
All of a sudden, the main gates of the prison slammed open and a wave of power surged inside. Several god-generals entered, and the mere sight of them caused everyone present to edge backward. Some even shrank down into the shadows. Obviously, these new arrivals were famous people.
“The Three Ruthless Fiends!” murmured one of the Five Hegemons of the Heavenly Kingdom. He and the rest of his brethren were all visibly fearful.
‘Such incredible power!’ Yang Qi thought. From what he could tell, all three of these individuals had power indexes over two hundred, as well as vicious, evil auras that could shake heaven and earth, and strike fear into the hearts of ordinary Grand Emperors. Almost immediately, all three of them noticed Yang Qi.
“Who's the new god-general?” one of them said, a skinny, emaciated fellow who looked almost like a terrifying skeleton. “Are you that guy named Yang Qi?”
Leaning over quietly, the leader of the five hegemons said, “Brother, these are the Three Ruthless Fiends, deputy wardens among the god-generals in this prison. They’re unusually cruel and ruthless, so be careful. That skin-and-bones fellow is called Ruthless Heaven-Fiend, and the other two are Ruthless Earth-Fiend and Ruthless Man-Fiend. They were famous back on the Ancient Road to the Gods, where they were known as spectacular villains. Nobody has any idea how they ended up getting captured by the Joyflower Palace.”
“Thanks for the information!” Yang Qi replied. From the way the Five Hegemons of the Heavenly Kingdom were clustering around him, it seemed they were trying to get on his good side by resolving the situation for him.
Meanwhile, the emaciated Ruthless Heaven-Fiend said, “Get the hell out of the way, you five. What do you think you’re going to do, fight us? If you want to recruit allies, do it somewhere else. Everybody already knows everybody else in this prison, didn’t you know that? Everyone here follows our rules, that’s how things have always worked. If you get in our way, we won't hesitate to use our Ruthless Vein-Shattering Palm.”
“Do we really need to do things this way, Big Bro Ruthless Heaven-Fiend?” one of the five hegemons said. “We’re all down on our luck here, and should be working together. The Joyflower Palace will eventually pay for tricking all of us, so why should we fight amongst ourselves?”
“You should mind your own business!” Ruthless Earth-Fiend growled, taking a step forward. He was a tall, burly man with bulging muscles, who thrummed with explosive power. “You five pieces of trash ought to just drop dead. We three are about to become cultivation vessels for one of the holy daughters. After we practice yin-yang dual cultivation, we’ll become far more important than those damned eunuchs. As consorts of one of the holy daughters, we're going to advance the interests of the Joyflower Palace!” 
Before Ruthless Earth-Fiend even finished speaking, he unleashed a fist strike, causing ruthless energy to flow out like a river, instantly splitting into five parts that headed toward each of the Five Hegemons of the Heavenly Kingdom.
Without any hesitation, the five hegemons unleashed counter attacks.
Bam. Bam. Bam. Bam. Bam.
All five of them were sent flying backward, blood spraying out of their mouths. They had been defeated with a single move!
They slammed into the ground, looks of shock filling their faces. “You… Ruthless Earth-Fiend, how did your energy arts advance so much!? You beat us with one move?”
Ruthless Earth-Fiend burst out laughing. “You scummy slaves think you're our equals? You’re god-general prisoners! We’ve already been selected by Flower Goddess Lotus Shadow to be consorts, to serve at her beck and call as cultivation vessels, helping harmonize her yin and yang energies! There’s no way we’ll ever be eunuchs, and in fact, we’ll have more future prospects than ever!”
Laughing heartily, he continued, “Slaves. Eunuchs. Consorts. We outrank you so much that we could kill you, if we wanted. So do you really dare to compare yourself to us, much less defy us?”
“Myriad Ruthless Savage Bone Claws!” he thrust his palm out, and it became a savage claw that multiplied into the thousands, all of which headed directly toward Yang Qi.
“Agggghhhhh!” Yang Qi screamed as if in agony.
The truth was that his true self had already slipped into the Myriad Worlds Monarch Chart, leaving behind a power double created by the Cruiser of Civilization. However, it was an extremely realistic power double that even had veins filled with real power.
The power double not only absorbed all of the torment from the Three Ruthless Fiends, but it was also able to probe at their true energy to learn about them. In fact, he could brand them with some of Yang Qi’s true energy and nascent divinity, using a new ability from the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth, something called the Heaven-God Hell-Exterminating Devil Embryo.
During the months leading up to joining the Joyflower Palace, Yang Qi had worked very hard on his cultivation and had gained a lot of enlightenment into the transformations of the dao of heaven. And he had pushed his Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth to new heights, gaining enlightenment of quite a few new energy arts, the Heaven-God Hell-Exterminating Devil Embryo among them.
It involved taking his own vital energy and using it to create a devil embryo, which he would then insert into his enemy’s true energy. Although his enemy would have no idea it was present, it would absorb that person’s animadestiny quintessence vitality, doing so so slowly and surreptitiously that they would be completely drained before they realized what was happening.
It could be likened to a tree planted in the middle of a fertile field, which would eventually drain the field of all nutrients.
Although the Three Ruthless Fiends thought that they were inflicting torturous punishment on Yang Qi, the truth was that it was just a power double, and their every move was actually further infecting them.
A final fist strike from Ruthless Earth-Fiend caused Yang Qi’s power double to cough up blood, his meridians apparently shattered. Ruthless Earth-Fiend grinned viciously and finally let his fist drop to his side. Looking at Yang Qi gasping for breath, he felt quite pleased. “Don’t blame us, boy. We're just following orders. Newcomers all need to get a beat-down. Just remember that you need to be completely loyal to the Joyflower Palace. If you do, you might end up getting picked to be a consort.”
With that, the three fiends turned and left.
Back in the Myriad Worlds Monarch Chart, Yang Qi glanced out at his power double, then turned to Flower Mildcloud and said, “Where is the Joyflower Palace’s treasure storehouse located?”
“What?” she replied. “You want to rob the Joyflower Palace’s storehouse? Is that even possible? Hey, I'm from the Joyflower Palace, too. Are you really going to betray my sect?”
Yang Qi smiled coldly. “Sorry to say that, yes, I am going to destroy that sect of yours, or die in the attempt. Your Joyflower Palace lied to me, telling me some story about becoming a god-general. But I'm really nothing more than a slave. They stole from me and harmed me, and you still expect me to treat them kindly? No. In the end, the Joyflower Palace is going to be razed to the ground.”
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