Xia Tianze was none too pleased about the attitude the others were giving him.
“Do you really think the great divine had a bone to pick with all of you? Don’t you understand that it would have been a waste for you to throw away your lives in the demon-sealing war?
“That past struggle didn’t require your contribution. You have an opportunity to join a new campaign just as important as the one back then, one designed to eradicate demons from Divine Abyss entirely. The menace that was once sealed away will emerge into the world a second time, and you may serve a much more instrumental role in our present era than you would have back then. What is the reason for your affectations here?”
“Even if you’re right, Daoist Xia, the great divine was hardly forthright in keeping us from our wills,” sighed Master P’eng.
“Hmph, you cling too tightly to your principles. Why should everything be done in an orderly fashion before the greater good? If virtue was given precedence at every turn, the human domain would have been destroyed ten times over. Only those with great fortune and vision can bend for the sake of the bigger picture.”
Xia Tianze wasn’t done chastising. “The great divine didn’t expect you to understand him back then,” he continued, “but I can’t believe that you’re the same way two hundred thousand years later. What does that say about you? That you’re slower than him by more than that much?”
Jiang Chen smiled. “Good seniors, where would you go upon departing from here? Would you cast your lives away in a mad heroic stand against the demons? Valiant, I grant you, but what’s the point?”
The five guardians glanced at each other.
They had hemmed and hawed earlier not out of any dislike for Jiang Chen, but rather a lingering frustration from ancient events.
They really didn’t have a better place to be in this modern world. The realm they were familiar with was no more. There was no way they could integrate into current society.
Jiang Chen laughed with understanding. “Seniors…”
“You shouldn’t call us that anymore, young friend,” Venerated Skysoarer interrupted hurriedly. “You are the new lord of the Veluriyam Palace. Your station is higher than ours. Moreover, you are the head of the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect as well. Why should you exalt me beyond my due?”
The others nodded as well. They weren’t quite comfortable to hear that appellative anymore. Moreover, Xia Tianze was positively bristling with anger.
If Jiang Chen called them senior, and Xia Tianze called him young lord, wouldn’t Xia Tianze have to call them senior as well?
They were a hair inferior to the servant of Great Divine Veluriyam in terms of ancient prominence, so they couldn’t aggrandize themselves before their old acquaintance.
Jiang Chen grinned smoothly. “If that’s the case, let me venture to call you my old brothers. Old brothers, all of you are ancient experts, but the world nowadays is topsy-turvy. Your time shut up in the Six Palaces of Heritage has been a long one, so I’m sure you’d appreciate some fresh air. I certainly won’t stop you! Veluriyam Palace’s doors are always open to you. Feel free to celebrate your freedom for as long as you like.”
The five were somewhat embarrassed by Jiang Chen’s politeness.
“Young lord Jiang Chen,” Venerated Skysoarer cupped a fist. “You are the new leader of the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect, so I have no reason not to defer to you. Give me some time to relax and recover. I will surely return here.”
“I have only the highest opinion of young lord Jiang Chen,” Master P’eng sighed as well. “Nevertheless, I need to wash off my accumulated bad luck for a bit. When I feel at ease once more, I will return to assist you.”
“The Grand Marquis never breaks his promises.”
The Mad Fiend nodded as well. “Gotta take a look out there while I still can, eh? I’d like to see how the human domain is doing nowadays. Visit some old haunts to see how they’ve changed.”
Old Pill Rune exhaled. “Come on, then. We will not scorn your kindness, young lord Jiang.”
All five guardians stepped forward to bow to the young man, who returned the courtesy in kind with a smile before watching them file out.
Xia Tianze couldn’t understand it.
“Young lord, these people promised Great Divine Veluriyam that they would aid his new successor for a very long time. There’s no need to be so carefully polite. Ancient experts treat their own promises with the greatest of importance.”
Jiang Chen smiled. “If I used their promises to weigh them down, their grievances would linger without recourse. By setting them free into the world, I have received assurance of their return in three or five years. Don’t worry, they won’t get far or have too much fun.”
“Not necessarily. What if they intentionally abandon you in favor of their own pleasures?” Xia Tianze seemed to disagree.
“Don’t call me that,” Xia Tianze hurriedly waved a hand. “Call me Old Xia, or Tianze. I am your deputy, young lord, not your senior.”
The man’s solemnity showed he was the opposite of joking. Jiang Chen sighed softly. “Alright, then. I will call you Old Brother Xia.”
“I suppose that’s fine. Your excessive kindness isn’t a good thing, young lord,” Xia Tianze remarked.
“Haha, I wouldn’t expect the same out of me as the Great Divine, if I were you. Our personalities are vastly different from one another in many ways. Nothing wrong with a little consideration! It depends on the individual.
“The five guardians have been locked up in the Six Palaces of Heritage for so long that they’re sure to be depressed. Forcing them to stay would’ve only further dishearten them. I wouldn’t win their sincere loyalty, even if I was to receive their begrudging aid. Let them grow bored and uncomfortable with the outside world, and they’ll come back of their own volition. When they discover what meaning I can give their lives in turn, they will give me their allegiances.”
“Bored and uncomfortable?” Xia Tianze looked quite perplexed.
“You’ve been here for too long, Old Brother Xia, so you don’t know how much the outside has changed. I can guarantee that they will feel like strangers in a strange land. The human domain of today is a different world from the human domain of eld. They will not find solace in seeing what remains of their past.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Yeah honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if these guys came back even earlier. Nothing more depressing to visit old haunts and realize that while the place might look the same (probably not even that after two hundred thousand years), everything they knew and loved about it is gone.