The immense trees in the jungle were leafless and seemingly made of metal, blanketing what was otherwise a completely barren landscape. What was worse, the trees were dripping with viscous blood, making them seem like they were made from red jade. And the intense heat weighing down only intensified the aroma of gore.
Metal and blood.
Metal trees, dripping with blood.
This was the location in which the Bloodgore Trials were held.
Yang Qi looked around and wondered if the blood here had been left behind after the Bloodgore Trials of years past. How many Quasi-Gods had died during the trials throughout the years?
The god world was huge, so what did a few billions of trial-takers count for? A group such as that was like one hair from a collection of nine googol oxen. That was why there was never any shortage of people willing to join the trials. 
A horrifying atmosphere filled this area of bloody trees, to the point where no one dared to start fighting at first. Everyone knew that whoever took the initiative would be ganged up on by others; therefore, no one wanted to be the first in line.
Furthermore, the jungle was more than large enough to accommodate ten thousand people.
Some of the people began fanning out into the trees, in order to hide and prepare to launch sneak attacks. No one was forming groups. After all, even if the best of friends entered the Bloodgore Trials together, only one would come out alive in the end. Therefore, no one wanted to have their back to anyone, be they friend, sibling, or parent.
Only one person would survive.
It wasn’t a good feeling, even for Yang Qi. But he needed to get into the House of God Ordainment, so he wouldn’t hesitate to kill anyone who tried to kill him.
Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh.
As the trial-takers disappeared into the trees, one of them attracted Yang Qi’s attention, a burly looking man who seemed to sense his gaze, and glanced back. The man’s face fell and he scurried into the forked branches of the nearest tree, giving him an excellent defensive position.
The man was a mass of muscle that looked ready to explode with unending power, yet he was as limber as a monkey as he slipped among the branches.
The trees were huge, with their branches easily filling a sixty-square-meter area. And the branches were so sharp that few people would be willing to hide within them.
But this burly man was using the area as a defensive position.
“Hey,” the man said. “Who are you, kid? Interested in joining forces?”
“Join forces?” Yang Qi said. Inside, he was chuckling coldly. There was no way this man really wanted to team up. What would be the point, considering that only one person would survive the trial? Teaming up would be nothing but courting an early death. Asking a tiger for its skin. “How exactly do you envision that working?”
“We agree to a temporary truce between the two of us, and work to defend each other. Then, when everyone else is dead, we duel it out between the two of us. It’s the safest way to make sure we last to the end.”
“Sorry, not interested,” Yang Qi said coolly. “Truces in the Bloodgore Trials are complete hogwash. Did you really think I would trust you like that?”
The burly man shrugged. “Well then, I guess you’ll have to die. But you could have a fifty percent chance of surviving, considering all of the untold hardships I suffered to get some behind-the-scenes information. You see, I spent ten years cultivating the Iron-Blood Grand Divine Ability, which gives me profound enlightenment regarding these trees. If you work with me, we can hide in the branches and use them to attack unsuspecting opponents.”
The more Yang Qi heard from this man, the less he trusted him. “Well, congratulations. Maybe you really will pass the trial and become an official disciple of the House of God Ordainment.”
“You moron!” the man growled, furious that Yang Qi wasn’t falling for any of his tricks.
All of a sudden, a sword pierced through the air right toward Yang Qi, except no one had been standing there a moment before!
“An invisibility talisman?” Yang Qi said. Chuckling, he reached out and clamped his index and middle finger onto the sword, which shivered for a moment before snapping. Then a young woman appeared, who scrambled backward in shock and fear at the realization that Yang Qi was obviously far stronger than her.
“Leave. I'm not interested in killing women.” Flicking his finger, he summoned a translucent bubble of defensive empyrean energy around himself, then waved his sleeve to send the woman flying in the opposite direction.
After snorting coldly, she exhaled, sending out a stream of green energy that surrounded her and caused her to turn invisible. Of course, it did nothing to conceal the footprints she left in the ground.
Yang Qi’s Lord's Eye had revealed her to him despite the profundities of her ability.
As she crept away, invisible, the ground beneath her feet suddenly shone with silver light, causing blood to spray out of her as she toppled over.
A pit appeared, within which was a shadowy figure that grabbed the woman and sent fire out to envelop her. She screamed, but it didn't do any good, and she was quickly assimilated, leaving nothing behind except her clothing.
‘What a powerful devil technique,’ Yang Qi thought, watching in pity but doing nothing to save her.
Bam. Bam. Bam. Bam!
All of a sudden, a host of swords, sabers, spears, and lances appeared, stabbing into his defensive empyrean energy. Of course, his defenses were the product of the Purrfect God Art and couldn't be vanquished by a random ambush.
As the weapons shattered, eight figures appeared, all of whom had been using invisibility talismans. Such talismans were extremely expensive in the god world, but the people participating in the Bloodgore Trials didn't hesitate to use them. Remaining invisible was one of the primary ways people tried to stay alive. As for Yang Qi, he was instead surrounding himself with a defensive barrier that would waste a lot of godpower. What person that came along wouldn’t try to kill him?
After all, anyone who killed him could then absorb his godpower.
Many of the trial-takers would use such tactics, trying to kill their competitors and absorb their godpower before unleashing their truly dangerous techniques.
“How can this guy be so strong?” said one of the members of the group. There were men and women, a few of them being older, but all of them were shocked that he had stood up to their attack. One of the old men suddenly exhaled, causing a thunderclap to echo out. The others in the group were caught completely unprepared. Some were dismembered by the sudden attack, and others were blasted out of existence.
“That was the Cosmic Righteous-Noble Lightning Blaster!” cried one of the men who had been dismembered. “Where did you get it? It’s a precious treasure from the Confucian Academy! It releases immense power that can slaughter demons and devils in the blink of an eye.”
“You really know what’s what,” the old man said. “But did you really think I'm going to tell you about where I got this treasure?” He inhaled, then released more lightning energy, using it to create a white ball of lightning in front of his chest. Then he produced a jade bottle and crushed it, releasing a red mist that shot out and killed all of the survivors of his original attack, transforming them into blood that he then sucked back into the bottle.
“Blood Conglomeration Mist: Blood-Devil Refinement! Boundless Clone Creation!” Seven streams of blood energy swirled out, then formed into a huge blood-devil with razor-sharp claws. Clearly, it was an out-of-body incarnation, and that bottle was a precious treasure among blood-devils.
Meanwhile, Yang Qi was shaking his head. This group had not only failed to kill him with a sneak attack, but they had also left themselves open for this old man to kill them all.
After finishing with his grisly work, the old man looked over at Yang Qi and was visibly surprised. “Y-y-you... you didn't die from my lightning attack?”
“Your lightning is powerful, but it can't do anything to me. That was pretty ruthless to kill those other seven people and use them to create a blood-devil incarnation. Very impressive.”
The man grinned cruelly. “Since you realize how impressive I am, you might as well just get on your knees and prepare to die! My Blood Conglomeration Mist, coupled with my Blood-Hell God-Bottle, are enough to kill anyone who stands in my way, and then take their quintessence energy to get stronger. Do you really think you can stand up to the combined energy of the seven people I just killed? My blood-devil incarnation will only function for about two hours, but that’s more than enough time to use the combined power of those seven to kill all the other trial-takers!”
1. I used the number “googol” here because in Chinese it combines the characters for ten thousand, one hundred million, and trillion, to create a number that I'm not even sure how to parse. The point is that it's insanely large. And incidentally, this is a play on the common phrase one hair from nine oxen.