Chapter 2342: The Divine Beasts’ Temptation

For cultivators, great achievements weren’t born from innate gifts alone.

The heavenly planes were chock full of talented geniuses endowed with exceptional bloodlines, but few ultimately reached the pinnacle of the martial world.

Why? 

The climb was steep and slippery. No one was guaranteed a taste of the fruits atop the mountain.

The world of cultivation was a cruel, ruthless place, the road to success strewn with skeletons.

True, the sacred beasts’ pedigrees did provide them with tremendous advantages, but they wouldn’t have enjoyed as smooth a ride without the young lord.

For example, the Vermilion Bird wouldn’t have been reborn to begin with, to say nothing of reaching the divine realm.

As for Long Xiaoxuan, his odds of victory against the Walkabout Sect’s elder had been about fifty-fifty before running into Jiang Chen.

The White Astral Tiger might be lording it over the heavenly planes nowadays, but the sacred beast might not even have awakened his consciousness back then.

And the Black Tortoise lived like a recluse on his island, eating, sleeping and waiting for death. He’d sooner or later have become a slave after the demons’ invasion. Reach the top? What a joke!

But Jiang Chen had crossed their paths and given them hope, ushering them into a brand new world. For one thing, their potential wouldn’t have grown this far without the Amaranth Clouddew Fruit.

So the weight of the young lord in their lives far outstripped what little help they provided back. He was their benefactor. They were merely repaying their debts, nothing more.

Traveling through the planes had broadened their horizons. They’d seen outstanding talents fade into oblivion on many a greater world, perhaps dead before making a name for themselves.

The beasts had always felt beholden to Jiang Chen, but more than anything, they saw him as family.

In this fashion, life continued day after day.

The Four Symbols True Spirit Painting hung in the room as man and beasts cultivated together to further the young lord’s cognizance of his new bloodlines and perfect the assimilation. The assistance of the four sacred beasts halved the effort required.

As the blood in their veins resonated with the young lord, their cultivation also grew.

“My friends, your ancestors were always too proud to work together toward greater goals. Your lineages have always been at daggers drawn against each other. The four of you can be heralded as trailblazers. In fact, when you work as one, you could also create a plane of your own,” Jiang Chen mentioned with a chuckle.

The beasts’ breathes caught in their throats.

“Young lord, you mean that, just like you, we can one day rule over our own plane?” As the youngest one, the White Astral Tiger’s excitement got the better of him first.

“Correct.” Jiang Chen nodded with conviction.

However, there was a catch. Without him by their side, could they continue to cooperate in good faith without jealousy?

With their current strength, it was entirely possible on paper, although the process would be fraught with difficulty. The essential issue was whether they could harmonize their hearts and minds.

Without Jiang Chen as a chaperone, their friendship seemed unlikely to extend into the future, eliminating all possibilities about establishing their own realm.

The most senior and experienced of the lot, the Vermillion Bird shook his head after much deliberation. “Let’s not waste our time chasing after such a mirage. The pride ingrained in our very bones is a hurdle too tall to overcome. We all follow the young lord, but without him, would we be able to continue in the same fraternal vein?”

The divine bird cut straight to the heart of the matter.

They all paused for a moment, then smiled wryly, but the White Astral Tiger insisted, “You guys are overthinking it. Why couldn’t we? I’ll never be selfish, I swear.”

“Heh, Little White, who’d be the alpha of our world? Who would sit in the throne of the celestial emperor?” asked the Vermilion Bird.

“Why don’t you do it? You’re the most senior,” the tiger mumbled. 

“I’m fine with that, but are all of you so eager to serve as my minions? You, a noble White Astral Tiger? Little Long, a majestic true dragon? Or the peerless Black Tortoise? Each of you has a claim to the throne. Our strength will be around the same by then, and we might come to blows. It’d be the end of our comradeship, I fear.”

The Black Tortoise nodded in complete agreement. He was convinced they’d no longer be able to share weals and woes if it were to happen. 

Believing otherwise was to be delusional.

Power corrupted. They’d certainly hear its siren song, and their personalities would ultimately be twisted by their ambitions. They’d turn from bosom friends into bitter enemies.

“Let’s peacefully help young lord Chen instead. As long as he can create a new plane and become a celestial emperor, we’ll enjoy all the riches and fame we’ve ever dreamed of. Why go through the hassle ourselves?” Long Xiaoxuan suddenly proposed. “If you ask me, it’s safer and more reliable to follow him than to venture out on our own.” 

“Haha, let’s do that then. I’m his most loyal supporter.” The White Astral Tiger giggled. His eagerness had been little more than the impulsiveness of youth. He was too simple-minded to crave power.

The Vermilion Bird nodded. “Indeed. We’re already blessed to have come this far. There’s no need for us to always lust for more. I don’t think it’s what fate has in store for us.”

“You’re right. It’ll also be a wonderful experience to help the young lord build a powerful plane.” The Black Tortoise had never been one for grand aspirations.

All four of them ended up coming round to this point of view.

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etvolare's Thoughts

The Elite Four's gonna stay together after all!