Yang Qi and his companions entered the teleportation portal and were whisked through space-time to a location deep in the Great Necropolis, a pathway as broad and spacious as any other, except filled with endless sand. It was impossible to say how many planes of existence filled those sands, or what they contained.
Those who entered the desert fearfully looked around. After all, the first thing that met their senses were violent tempests and the weeping of ghosts and wailing of gods. An aura of malignancy, death, despair, terror, and suffocation immediately weighed down on all of them, giving them the urge to flee immediately.
Of course, no one fled.
Most of the people present were veterans of many missions, and knew that they had no choice but to try to finish the assigned task once they had reached their destination. If they tried to escape, they would lose any chance at life.
“Let’s go. This is the Exquisite Desert!”
“Don’t even think of trying to run away. No one has ever succeeded at that. Besides, you never know what good fortune we might come across in the desert. If we get the right destiny, we can turn it in for a reward, and maybe even earn the favor of the higher-ups. If we could become consorts, we would have lives of endless blessings, including incredible energy arts. Best of all, we wouldn’t have to become damned eunuchs.”
“That’s right. Once you’re in the Joyflower Palace, you can never escape. However, you can rise through the ranks.”
“Let’s head out. You know, I used to be an important person on the Ancient Road to the Gods, and I've been in the Great Necropolis for hundreds of thousands of years. I've heard of this Exquisite Desert before. It’s a dangerous place, but the upside is that strength doesn’t matter here, only destiny and fate. That’s all you need to get the good fortune that exists here.”
“Exactly. Even a strong person who lacked the proper destiny wouldn’t be able to do squat here in the Exquisite Desert.”
Most of the god-generals kept together in groups of three to five, although some formed teams of dozens. Shouting battle cries, they scattered into the depths of the Exquisite Desert.
Some of the teams simply vanished, while others screamed in misery as they were apparently killed. Unfortunately, the desert was so immense and clouded with sand that not even Yang Qi’s Lord's Eye could penetrate it fully.
“Brother, let’s head in. Make sure to stick together! Keep a fix on each other’s auras and make sure not to get separated!”
“Got it,” Yang Qi said, sending out a stream of energy that connected with those of the Five Hegemons of the Heavenly Kingdom. Then, they flew into the desert.
Almost immediately, they were assailed by screaming winds, causing trouble for the Five Hegemons. These godly winds and sands were virtually impossible to defend against personally. In response, the Five Hegemons howled, causing a god pearl to rise up above them that sent out a shimmering shield of light. Almost immediately, the sand and wind were blocked, and they dropped down to the ground and looked around to gain their bearings. They were in the middle of the desert, with a burning sun overhead that was so hot it seemed as if it might bake them to death where they stood. In fact, they were already steaming as a result.
Yang Qi sent out some divine will, but it couldn’t reach the sun or block its heat. It was definitely strange. His cultivation base was so powerful that he could control an entire universe, and even the countless god formations in the treasure storehouse, yet he was now having trouble with a tiny desert?
That said, he wasn’t worried. He always had the Myriad Worlds Monarch Chart to rely on if necessary.
Squatting down, he picked up a handful of sand, and as it flowed through his fingers he could tell that it was definitely not ordinary in nature. It was more solid than ordinary sand and contained tiny magical symbols filled with immense power in each grain.
A sudden gust of sandy wind obscured the sun overhead, but did nothing to lessen the incredible heat.
Within the screaming of the winds, they suddenly heard a sound that resembled swords hitting defensive empyrean energy, as though a group of nearby Grand Emperors were engaged in combat.
Yang Qi tried to fly high into the air, but there was a powerful gravitational force that made it impossible. He also unleashed a fist strike to try to pierce through space, but all it did was cause some ripples to spread out in the air.
‘This place really is a danger zone,’ he thought. ‘I can’t even pierce through space here, and it seems to be suppressing my cultivation base. I feel like a mortal in a real desert in the mortal world. I can almost sense death hovering over us.’ It was quite a shock. He never could have guessed that the Exquisite Desert would be so terrifying and freakish.
“Brother,” one of the five hegemons said, “The only way to explore the desert is on foot. The power here is such that our true energy and magical laws are being harshly suppressed. Do you mind taking the lead? We’ll follow right behind you.”
“Do you really think I’ll just waltz ahead as cannon fodder?” Yang Qi replied. He smiled coyly. “Unfortunately, I'm not so easily manipulated.”
The Five Hegemons reacted with open shock. However, they quickly recovered. Then their leader viciously smiled and said, “It's good you know the situation, boy, although you shouldn’t have said that out loud. It's only going to make things more difficult for you.”
“Exactly,” another of them said. “We're the Five Hegemons of the Heavenly Kingdom! Why do you think we recruited you instead of someone else? The truth is that we knew all along how incredibly dangerous the Exquisite Desert is. We also know that only people with the proper destiny and fate can turn misfortune into a blessing here. Thankfully, we cultivate a godly class energy art called the Son of Heaven’s Horoscopy, which allows us to assess a person’s overall luck, destiny, and fate. From the moment you entered the prison, we could see that you have immense fate, and could therefore be of good use.”
“And how exactly do you plan to ‘use’ me?” Yang Qi said with a grin.
“That depends on how smart you are. If you follow our orders and lead us to our goal, then we’re willing to let you share some of the glory with us. However, if you go off on your own, you’ll definitely end up dead. We already have a general sense of how strong you are, and you aren’t even close to being a match for us. Furthermore, during the past days of healing, we actually inserted true energy seeds into you, which put your life directly in our hands.”
“Oh, you mean these five seeds?” Yang Qi said. He extended his hand to reveal five glistening seeds that twitched and trembled as if they might fly away at any moment. Unfortunately for them, the magical laws of the surrounding desert made that impossible.
“You!” The Five Hegemons of the Heavenly Kingdom were all completely taken aback.
Face flickering with fury, the leader suddenly lunged forward and tried to strike Yang Qi with his fist.
“Survey of the Hegemon!”
Outside this desert, a fist strike like this would have been completely devastating. However, inside the desert, it was almost like an ordinary martial arts move. Everyone in the desert was restrained and could only unleash a smattering of their full potential.
The other four hegemons quickly fanned out to surround Yang Qi, then unleashed the most devastating attacks they could think of.
“Five Hegemons United!”
“Hegemons Reign True!”
“Hegemons Crush Space!”
“Hegemons Found a Dynasty!”
Completely unfazed, Yang Qi simply murmured, “Destabilize!”
A mighty sound wave rolled out, causing dramatic transformations to fill the desert in all directions. Water flowed, vegetation flourished, and mountains rose up. Magical laws flowed out from Yang Qi, causing thunderous rumblings as they slammed into the magical laws of the desert.
Yang Qi’s cultivation base was already so strong that he could last for a short time in a conflict with a god. Although he was still only on the Stair of Valor, which was the first stair on the Deathless Heavenly Stairway, he was intentionally keeping himself there. Later, after he couldn’t build up any more power at all, he would attempt to rise to a higher level. Considering he was at the Destabilizing level, once he began pushing his cultivation base higher, nothing would be able to stand in its way.
He knew that cultivation level wasn’t everything. Even with a low cultivation level, one could have high levels of power, incredible fighting prowess, and a strong will convergence.
Bam. Bam. Bam. Bam. Bam.
The five hegemons were sent stumbling back. Meanwhile, Yang Qi’s surroundings continued transforming, giving him ultimate command over life and death.
The Five Hegemons’ eyes nearly popped out of their skulls. “You… you can unleash magical laws within the Exquisite Desert? You can transform the surroundings here? My god, with a cultivation base like that, why are you a god-general in the Joyflower Palace?”
“You’ve been concealing your true level? We… we really screwed up! We’re obviously inferior to you. Please, spare us, and we’ll be cannon fodder for you!”
Yang Qi snorted coldly. “The last thing I want is for you to have free will. Give me your faith. All of it. Become my believers, and I’ll spare you.”
“What? You want our faith?” The hegemons’ faces fell. They knew the implications of giving their faith, and would rather die than hand over their souls.
“You think refusing my offer will cause problems for me? Watch and see what a real energy art can do!” He splayed his fingers, causing five streams of energy to shoot out and bore into the five of them, piercing all the way into their seas of consciousness. As the holy light filled them, it forced them to give their faith to Yang Qi!Previous Chapter Next Chapter
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