Yang Qi was forcefully taking the faith of his opponents, a result of his majestic will. After conquering the knowledge-devils in his sea of consciousness, he was slowly developing the true will of a god-king.
It didn’t take long to completely subjugate the Five Hegemons, making them loyal believers who prostrated in front of him. “Oh mighty master, majestic and omnipotent Lord, what commands do you have for us? We are your most loyal servants, sir, and will carry out your wishes with the utmost reverence.”
“You will go into the Myriad Worlds Monarch Chart to join my army of Grand Emperors. Once there, send the power of your faith to my immortal-slaying clone.” He waved his sleeve and the God Legion Battle Robe sent out a stream of energy that wrapped around the five hegemons, who subsequently vanished.
The army of Grand Emperors in the Myriad Worlds Monarch Chart now numbered fifty in total, including Cipher Rite-Heaven. The combined faith of fifty such individuals was terrifying, especially considering that they were all people with power indexes in the dozens. The only downside was that their destiny was somewhat weaker than their faith.
Destiny and faith were different.
Faith was a pure convergence of psychic elements, the fullness of the heart, and the expression of the nascent divinity. It was all about the individual. As for destiny, that was about one’s connection to the dao of heaven.
The stronger someone was, the greater faith they could provide. But destiny wasn’t necessarily connected to strength. Even weak people with no martial arts at all could still provide immense destiny. And there were some top experts who were consummate hegemons, but had weak destiny and would eventually simply perish.
It was a very critical variable.
As the leader of the Dao Defense League, Yang Qi had been able to take the universal fortune of heaven and earth, which was the combination of the destiny of countless individuals.
Unfortunately, he had abandoned the Dao Defense League, albeit not very willingly. Eventually, he hoped to take it back. For now, though, the cultivation of his immortal-slaying clone would benefit greatly from this influx of five powerful experts, and in fact, it was the only way he could continue to achieve advancement. If the Joyflower Palace could force an army of experts to work for them, then Yang Qi could do the same thing to help his immortal-slaying clone. An army of Grand Emperors would have immense destiny; after all, the destiny on the Ancient Road to the Gods was vastly superior to that from the mortal world.
‘I may have had to abandon the Dao Defense League in the mortal world, but at least I'm starting to gather faith from the Ancient Road to the Gods and the Great Necropolis. Of course, on the Ancient Road to the Gods, there is no dao of heaven, but rather the dao of gods. And instead of ordinary destiny, what’s available from there is god destiny.’
Yang Qi had already dissolved the halos of restriction that the five hegemons had been affixed with. His Eternal Heavenly Aria had easily destroyed them. Outside, Eunuch Sunflower would simply assume that the five of them had been killed.
Given that they were mere god-general prisoners, no one would think twice about their loss.
At this point, Yang Qi quickly altered his physical appearance to make himself unrecognizable. Then, he began venturing further into the desert, simultaneously working on assimilating the knowledge-devils in his sea of consciousness.
The energy field which surrounded him continued expanding, transforming from several dozen meters to a few hundred, then a few thousand. Obviously, his own magical laws and will were able to subjugate the magical laws of the Exquisite Desert and create a pure land around him that conformed to the legion of gods.
At a certain point, he had vanquished all of the knowledge-devils, and his sea of consciousness became a mass of radiance and light, completely clear of anything other than his own majestic will. Now that the process was complete, his thinking felt clearer than ever and he could even get a vague sense of the overall structure of the Exquisite Desert. He suddenly realized that it was a lair of sandworms, almost like a labyrinth of sorts. It was connected to the power of the Great Necropolis, causing the labyrinth to constantly change and making it almost impossible to find its center.
That said, Yang Qi could sense that there was some convergence of incredible power in the middle of the lair, a high-level conglomeration of pure godliness.
‘Is that the godhood we’ve been sent after?’ Yang Qi thought.
He was about to continue onward when he suddenly sensed imminent danger. He quickly reined in the energy field, slipped into the Myriad Worlds Monarch Chart, and continued monitoring the situation in the desert.
At that exact moment, immense energy appeared, blazing with furious light that melted the nearby sand from its intensity.
At the same time, several beams of light descended.
Shockingly, these people were capable of flying within the Exquisite Desert! They could break the magical laws of the gods, and seemed completely unrestrained. Clearly, their cultivation bases were far beyond Yang Qi’s.
“Who are these people?” Yang Qi was fairly certain that whoever these newcomers were, they hadn’t been sent by Eunuch Sunflower. And he didn’t even need to use the power assessment systems to come to the conclusion that their indexes were over a thousand.
There were five of them, all exceedingly handsome young men. In fact, their leader was so extraordinarily good-looking that he defied description. He held a folding fan, and his delicate beauty would put anyone in his presence to shame. Yang Qi couldn’t even come close to comparing to his beauty.
“What was that just now?” the beautiful young man said. His voice was soft and gentle; it wasn’t feminine, but rather magnetically attractive. “I just sensed a particularly powerful aura fighting against the magical laws of the Exquisite Desert. Then it vanished. But how? Could some other powerful sect have sent experts here as well, hoping to probe its secrets and find that godhood? This is Joyflower Palace territory, and anyone who dares to intrude should die beyond the shadow of a doubt.”
“There’s no way top experts from other organizations could be here,” another of the beautiful young men said. “Perhaps it was some entity native to the desert. Eldest Brother Zilin, our Joyflower Palace sent a lot of god-generals to explore this place. There should at least be a few with the proper destiny to uncover the secrets of the desert. The godhood of the Exquisite Cathedral will definitely be found eventually, don’t you think? The best thing we can do is act quickly and beat them to it.” 
“That’s right, Eldest Brother Zilin,” another of the young men said. “You’re the consort of the empress herself, whereas the rest of us are consorts to mere eldresses. In terms of both energy arts and position, you surpass us by thousands of times. Although, I heard a rumor that the empress recently acquired a new consort that she’s been heavily doting on. She keeps him by her side day and night! If you don’t find that godhood, you might lose her favor, then all of us will be in for tough times.”
“Yeah. Who would’ve thought that the empress would actually take a liking to some punk from the immortal dao civilization? His cultivation base is so low that he might as well be an ant!”
“We just need to think of a good way to get rid of that brat.”
“Enough,” Zilin said. “Quiet down, all of you. Killing Leaf Dao-Denier is not an option. For one thing, she keeps a close eye on him. Second, even if we somehow conceal the matter from her, she’d definitely still find out the truth, eventually, and then we’d be in big trouble. She’s seen plenty of power struggles within the harem, and is no fool. Don’t forget that there are hundreds of thousands of consorts, with only a few top favorites. I'm foremost among them, and there’s good reason for that. You see, my main goal is to work hard and accomplish everything I can for the empress. And she understands that. If I spent my time competing with the other consorts, I would definitely lose favor eventually. The only reason the empress is doting on Leaf Dao-Denier is because he has a unique constitution. Believe it or not, he's an Eternal Fortuned One, meaning he has a combination of two powerful and unique constitutions. The empress wants to see how far he can develop, and determine whether or not she can absorb his blood into her own. Remember, the ancient King Immortal-Slayer was also a Fortuned One.”
“Fine. We’ll follow your lead, Eldest Brother. In any case, there doesn’t seem to be anything helpful here. We need to find the Exquisite Cathedral, take that godhood, and get it back to the empress. Then she’ll be able to defeat the other powerful organizations like the Cipher-Devil Sword Sect, the Gåma Basilica, and the Ancestral Wilds Basilica. If we can help her achieve her goals, then all of us will definitely become favored consorts.”
“Ai. Come on, let’s go.” Zilin shook his head and flew up into the air, becoming a beam of light that shot further into the depths of the Exquisite Desert.
Yang Qi had been privy to their entire conversation and was too surprised to even react, at first.
These developments were almost completely unbelievable.
Leaf Dao-Denier was a consort of the empress of the Joyflower Palace? Yang Qi could already tell that the consorts of the flower goddesses were completely arrogant and stuck up. How much worse would the consorts of the empress be?
Leaf Dao-Denier had obviously experienced a huge reversal in fortunes. Yang Qi almost laughed. The Joyflower Palace was an empire run by women, and its empress was like an emperor from the mortal world. In the mortal world, the harems were usually filled with beautiful women who viciously competed for the favor of the emperor. Here, it was the male consorts competing for the empress’ favor. Yet again the saying in the chiliocosm of worlds, there is no lack of strange things was proved true.
At first, Yang Qi shivered at the thought of hordes of beautiful men in the palace, all scheming and fighting against each other. But then he smiled.
“That Zilin is a rare beauty of a man,” Flower Mildcloud said, “and he’s the most favored consort of the empress. In fact, he might as well be her official husband. There are three other favored consorts who are just as good-looking as him, but he doesn’t compete with them. He focuses solely on working hard for the empress, which is why she trusts him so much. He’s obviously a top figure in the Joyflower Palace, someone I’ve heard about but have never laid eyes on personally. In fact, I don't even qualify to meet him in person. I have to say, he’s just as good looking as people say.”
From the way her eyes glistened, it was clear she was somewhat smitten.