The three Grand Emperors screamed as Leaf Dao-Denier trampled them viciously, breaking their bones and severing their tendons. Of course, they could heal themselves with simple energy arts, but Leaf Dao-Denier ensured that they experienced intense pain as his true energy stabbed into them. Although it couldn’t come close to the methods of torment Yang Qi was capable of, it was still nothing to scoff at.
Eventually, Leaf Dao-Denier grew tired of beating them, and landed a mighty kick on each of their bodies, sending them flying out of the door to flop on the ground like dead dogs. Only after a long moment had passed did they finally manage to circulate their true energy, heal themselves, then struggle to their feet, exchanging glances filled with both hopelessness and deadly venom. Then they scurried back to their quarters, where they began discussing the situation in hushed tones.
“Damnation. We’re the Grand Emperors who founded the illustrious Heavenly Court hundreds of millions of years ago. I can't believe we’re in such a sorry state now.”
“Ai. The situation is truly out of hand. Ever since Yang Qi stole the position of league-lord, our luck has been abysmal. I can’t believe we’re little more than pageboys now. Punching bags that can be beaten with impunity.”
“How did we end up in such a bad situation?”
“Did you see how pissed off Leaf Dao-Denier was? He must have fallen for another of Yang Qi’s schemes. All he can do with Yang Qi is end up being humiliated over and over again, with no hope of ever coming out on top.”
“From the look of it, that was only a power double of Yang Qi. He was intentionally messing with Leaf Dao-Denier! And that just goes to show that Yang Qi is far, far stronger.”
“Is Yang Qi really that incredible?” Grand Emperor Myriadmagic Heavenspan gasped. “Is he even human? Leaf Dao-Denier was remolded by Empress Joyflower, and even received a godly-class energy art. Furthermore, he was given a portion of godhood! Even with all that, he still couldn’t deal with Yang Qi. Doesn't that mean that if we keep working for Leaf Dao-Denier, we’ll eventually end up getting killed by Yang Qi?”
“So what do we do?”
“We’ve started down this path, so we have to walk it to the end.” Grand Emperor Myriadmagic Heavenspan’s eyes suddenly glittered. “It's simple. We have to betray Leaf Dao-Denier and shift loyalties to Yang Qi.”
“It would be dangerous,” said Grand Emperor Heavenearth Vastocean, whose heart was beginning to pound a bit. “Once Leaf Dao-Denier realized the truth, he would definitely try to kill us.”
“He’s going to try to kill us eventually anyway,” replied Grand Emperor Myriadmagic Heavenspan. “You know how cruel and merciless he is, and furthermore, he treats us like dogs. Look at what happened to Eldest Brother Secundus, who helped Leaf Dao-Denier, and even saved his life. But as soon as the balance of power shifted, he ended up devoured and assimilated. There’s no question that Leaf Dao-Denier will kill us eventually. Yang Qi is different, though. True, he’s also vicious and merciless, but as long as we don’t plot against him, he’ll tolerate us. Look at what happened with the Dao Defense League. When he left, he made sure all of his most loyal followers were safe in the Myriad Worlds Monarch Chart. And although Joyflower Palace technically did take over the Dao Defense League, Yang Qi hasn’t just abandoned it. It’s a given that he'll eventually take down Joyflower Palace.”
“But…” said Grand Emperor Ninelimits Paragon hesitantly, “there’s no guarantee that Yang Qi will take us in. What if he refuses, and Leaf Dao-Denier finds out? In that case, we’ll definitely end up dead.”
“That’s why we need to bring a blood tribute,” Grand Emperor Myriadmagic Heavenspan said, a sinister smile playing out on his face. “Let’s dig up some of Leaf Dao-Denier’s secrets. Perhaps some information about Empress Joyflower. Then we can make our case to Yang Qi. Remember, Yang Qi has a good reputation and keeps his word. He’s not a shameless backstabber like Leaf Dao-Denier. Once we get on Yang Qi’s good side, he won’t cause problems for us.”
“Fine. Let’s go forward with this plan.”
All three of the Grand Emperors were now smiling treacherously.
Back in the meeting hall with Jade Nightqueen and Snowlotus, Yang Qi was discussing matters.
‘I really screwed Leaf Dao-Denier over this time,’ he thought. One thing was for certain: it didn’t matter if Leaf Dao-Denier improved his cultivation base in the future, he definitely wouldn’t be a threat.
In terms of raw cultivation base power, Leaf Dao-Denier truly was terrifying. Although Yang Qi might be able to keep the upper hand in a fight with him, he couldn’t kill him. And if Empress Joyflower got involved, it would be a losing battle. With the Taiji Indestructible Chaos-Magic World-Terrorizing Profound Art in play, he couldn’t even rely on being able to escape to the Myriad Worlds Monarch Chart.
In other words, he couldn’t allow his true self to participate, at least not without first improving his cultivation.
Thankfully, he was slowly but surely drawing on that fragment of godhood. The main thing he wanted to do now was increase the speed with which he could use it to improve his cultivation base.
Furthermore, after Leaf Dao-Denier had some time to digest their encounter, it was highly likely he would agree to cooperate in the effort to oppose Empress Joyflower. Of course, it was a given that Leaf Dao-Denier’s ultimate intentions were evil. He would do everything in his power to assure that Yang Qi was hurt just as badly as Empress Joyflower, giving him a chance to swoop in at the last minute and be the ultimate victor.
Yang Qi could easily see through Leaf Dao-Denier’s deceptions.
As they continued discussing matters, Eunuch Blackheart kept a close eye on Yang Qi and continued planning a way to assess his true self.
Meanwhile, Yang Qi did his best to learn a bit about the Joyflower Palace from them.
In the depths of the Joyflower Palace, Leaf Dao-Denier was walking through flowery corridors guarded by a host of genderless warriors. They wielded long sabers and emanated terrifying auras. However, from the look in their eyes, they were either corpses or puppets, and simply stood there unmoving.
As he walked along, Leaf Dao-Denier didn’t dare to act bossy or arrogant. These genderless guards were the most secret weapon of the Joyflower Palace, the yin yang warriors. Over the countless years spent on the Ancient Road to the Gods, Empress Joyflower had captured numerous experts, then used the cyclical dao of yin and yang to infuse them with the baleful energy of the god world. The result was an astonishing fighting prowess, especially when they worked together in formation. In fact, they were strong enough that they could kill Leaf Dao-Denier in the blink of an eye, right down to the level of his soul.
Of course, he was in a restricted area of the palace.
This was the location where the empress herself spent time in seclusion. Anyone who tried to enter this location without permission would be killed on the spot, but of course, Leaf Dao-Denier had a talisman given him by the empress, which ensured that the yin yang warriors would allow him free passage.
That said, the baleful energy from the god world that they pulsed with caused Leaf Dao-Denier to shiver deeply.
Some of the oldest of the yin yang warriors had been stockpiling power within them for upwards of three billion six hundred million years, to the point where it terrified Leaf Dao-Denier to even be in their presence. Thankfully, they had no minds of their own, thus, no psychic abilities. Otherwise, mere contact with them would have destroyed him. 
Raw power and psychic abilities were connected, insofar as one’s capacity for power was linked to one's psyche. If one didn’t have the will to control large quantities of power, their mind could end up overloaded and destroyed. One’s will was a dam keeping a river of power in check. Obviously, if the dam wasn’t strong enough to hold back the water, it would break. Thus, the leveling system of Normal, Stupendous, Destabilizing and so forth appeared. The stronger one's will, the more power they could handle.
The corridors twisted and turned, heading through countless folds of space-time. There were intersections that would lead to deadly locations out in the Great Necropolis; if one made a single wrong turn, they would end up in extreme crisis.
Thankfully, Leaf Dao-Denier’s talisman also served as a directional device, leading him safely through the corridors.
Eventually, he reached a place that was a complete void. There was no primal-chaos, no space, and no vital energy. There was nothing. It was a completely empty area that made Leaf Dao-Denier feel as if he didn’t exist at all.
Kneeling, he said, “My respects, Empress.”
“Leaf Dao-Denier? It's you…. Why have you come? Didn’t I instruct you to stay in seclusion and assimilate that godhood?”
“Something extremely important came up that I need to report, Empress,” he replied, trying to look as pitiful as possible, just like one would expect of a consort who had been wronged in some way.
“Oh? What happened? Don’t tell me others in Joyflower Palace have been bullying you. I already sent down orders to leave you alone. Nobody should be causing any problems for you.” When the empress spoke, it was obvious she was a woman, yet her voice thrummed with something that didn't seem to come from the dao of immortals, but rather from the god world.
“An arch-enemy of mine has joined the Joyflower Palace and is working with some of the flower goddesses to cause major problems. I think he wants to kill me! Although you gave me an incredible energy art, Empress, it’s not enough to deal with this arch-enemy. He has some mysterious magical treasures that let him defeat me at every turn.”
Leaf Dao-Denier went on to weave a story that was only about a third true.
When he was done, the empress said, “I gave you the Taiji Indestructible Chaos-Magic World-Terrorizing Profound Art, and even blessed you with a fifth of the power in that godhood. You’re already strong enough to be the sect leader of a first-rate organization on the Ancient Road to the Gods. Few people should be a match for you. This arch-enemy of yours is a Grand Emperor, but is that much stronger than you? How is that possible?”
Bowing his head, Leaf Dao-Denier spoke in a voice so absent of arrogance that he almost sounded like a woman. “Empress, the truth is that he has a fragment of the Cruiser of Civilization and access to the Aeonic God Temple….”
“The Cruiser of Civilization?! Don’t tell me he has the Engine of the One God! If he does, and he's powered up the engine, then he would definitely be a match for you. And the Aeonic God Temple is formidable, too, although one would need to be a god to unlock its secrets.
“I'd say it’s highly likely he has other powerful magical treasures. I remember you asking me what to do if you faced an enemy with a god item that you couldn’t handle. That was why I gave you my Taiji Indestructible Chaos-Magic World-Terrorizing Profound Art to begin with! It’s to prevent this enemy’s god item from allowing him to pierce through space and escape. And now you’re coming to me with this problem? Could it be that he also has some of King Immortal-Slayer's legacy medallions?”
“Yes, that’s exactly it,” Leaf Dao-Denier said, sweat dripping down his back. Never could he have guessed that Empress Joyflower would immediately guess the truth. “Empress, I used to have those legacy medallions. Three of them. But then Yang Qi took them, added them to his collection, and then he even got a piece or two from some people from the future world. At the moment, I think he has seven in total.”