“Take that final step…” Ye Zichen fell silent as he pondered the matter. Han Nan could tell he was thinking, and didn’t interrupt him.
This conversation had opened a brand new door for Ye Zichen. He’d entirely revised his understanding of transcendence.
He stared at Han Nan in astonishment, replaying the image the mayor had painted for him. He retraced that simple step to the side, off the metaphorical ladder, with his gaze.
Ye Zichen would never have guessed that was transcendence.
Based on Han Nan’s drawing, transcendence was simple and easy.
Just one step to the side, and you could succeed.
But there was absolutely no way it was that simple. Every living thing existed within the constraints of the Laws. Transcendence meant breaking through those shackles. Rather than simply jumping off the metaphorical ladder of cultivation, it was more apt to compare it to breaking through the ladder, shattering it into pieces before leaping to freedom.
But how could it possibly be so easy to break through the Laws?
“Wa, this is really….” Ye Zichen leaned back into his chair and sighed.
When Han Nan saw this, he smiled. “Actually, I’m just explaining the process simply for you. I can’t say for sure, as I haven’t transcended before. But what I do know with absolute certainty is that becoming a ruler first isn’t strictly necessary.”
“Then the question is, how exactly can I take that step? It’s just one step, but it’s obviously not so easy to take, huh?”
“You could say it’s simple, but you could also say it’s difficult,” said Han Nan.
“You must seize celestial fate!”
Meanwhile, in the Yao Realm’s Nine-Tailed Heavenly Fox Clan’s territory...
Countless young foxes who’d yet to take human form lived in a secluded forest filled with birdsong and the fragrance of flowers. They frolicked through the woods to their hearts’ content, with no need to fear predators. There was nothing there that could harm them.
In here, they could enjoy the safest, most worry-free childhoods imaginable….
Because this was the home of the Fox Empress.
Su Qingyan sat in a tower of bamboo, smiling as she watched the young foxes frolic about. This was her life’s only pleasure.
She’d long since reached the peak of the ruler level, but in tens of thousands of years, she hadn’t progressed in the slightest.
After countless years of effort, she understood: she’d never be able to take that final step.
All she could do with her life now was intimidate other clans to the point that they dared not even consider acting against the foxes. Other than that, she whiled away her days watching newborn foxes scamper about. Her clan’s increasing prosperity left her deeply gratified.
“Little Wan, it’s about time. Go on, then.” Su Qingyan whispered a command, and a beautiful woman who looked almost exactly like her left the tower. This was none other than the current head of the Fox Clan, Su Wan.
“Big Sister, if I go, we’ll shed all pretenses of cordiality irrevocably. It’ll be tantamount to announcing that we plan to stand with Zhou Wu. Are you sure we should do this?”
Su Wan knit her brows at Su Qingyan, her eyes filled with hesitation.
The Nine-Tailed Foxes had always maintained their neutrality, just like the Four Saint Beast Clans. If she carried out her sister’s orders now, it would mean taking a side.
“Hah? Who said we were going to side with Zhou Wu? If I asked you to do that, would you really?” Su Qingyan’s eyes flashed with sharp light, and Su Wan’s fists clenched.
Side with Zhou Wu? She would never, not even if it killed her. If not for Zhou Wu, Five Elements would never have died.
When Five Elements died, Su Qingyan abdicated to Su Wan.
At the time, Su Wan swore that her Nine-Tailed Heavenly Fox Clan could not coexist with Zhou Wu.
“Then Big Sister, what are you planning? Isn’t Xiao Hu from the Xiao Family? The Xiao Family are Zhou Wu’s dogs. If we save him, how is that any different from helping Zhou Wu?” Su Wan asked in confusion.
“Xuan Ji is Zhou Wu’s subordinate too, but does that make her his dog?” asked Su Qingyan.
“Of course not, but Xuan Ji is different from the Xiao Family,” affirmed Su Wan.
“Well, it was Xuan Ji who sent me a transmission to tell you to go rescue Xiao Hu. She didn’t say why. All she said was that she’ll be busy for a few days, but once she’s finished, she’ll pay us a visit.”
“Understood.” Su Wan nodded, then disappeared from the bamboo tower as a streak of white light.
Su Qingyan was now all alone. She gazed at the distant stone walls.
“Five Elements, you looked down on all of creation, yet you died a pitiful death. Don’t worry though; my sister and I will soon avenge you. As for your celestial fate, let’s leave it for that kid. Mei’er likes him, so as his future father-in-law, think of it as a greeting gift.”
As she spoke, fire blazed in Su Qingyan’s eyes, then faded.
Gu Li’s spiritual body disappeared from the cave once more, but those still present were unable to disguise their shock.
Any cultivation could transcend. It required just a single step.
Kui Lin sat by the campfire and sighed despite himself. He was still hesitating. Should I release An Lu? Or shouldn’t I?
If I can obtain both her heavenly demon soul body and the God Emperor’s celestial fate, I might really have the chance to….
After an internal struggle, the Demon Emperor seemed to age dozens of years in an instinct, and his dark purple hair had a few new streaks of silver.
He’d best give up on that idea.
Compared to chasing such a fleeting hope, he was better off choosing a more reliable option.
When he made his choice, he smiled bitterly. He’d hesitated, but in the end, he wasn’t willing to risk it.
Had he really gotten old?
The flames illuminated his bleak grin. Finally, he rose to his feet. Everyone instantly turned to look at him. When he saw their expressions he let out a dull laugh. “You don’t have to look at me like that. I’ll… let her go.”
“You are righteous indeed, Demon Emperor!” The others couldn’t help but praise him. The emperor had made his choice, which meant they could ally themselves with the Master of the Stars as well. All they had to do now was help Gu Li transcend.
The Demon Emperor couldn’t bring himself to smile despite their praise.
What a selfish bunch.
He grimaced, then seized control of emotions and recovered his usual imposing, dignified demeanor.
“Everyone, return to your clans. Since Gu Li could appear here without our help or alerting anyone, he can naturally come find me in my palace three days from now. Once we’ve discussed things thoroughly, I’ll be sure to notify you all. When the time comes, we’ll fight for transcendence.”
Everyone nodded. Next, their gazes landed on Xiao Hu, who was still lying on the cave’s floor. Next, they glanced at Xiao Ting. “Emperor Xiao, this is your clansmen. How do you propose we handle him?”
“He’s heard far too much, and from the look of things, he isn’t on our side. I suggest you kill him. Of course, he’s your subordinate, Xiao Ting, not mine. We’ll leave the decision up to you,” said Kui Lin.
Xiao Hu quivered on the ground, then looked up to meet Xiao Ting’s gaze.
He’d devoted his entire life to the Xiao Family. Were they really going to….
“Xiao Hu, the Xiao Family will take good care of your wife and children.” Xiao Ting didn’t so much as hesitate. A miniature lightning dragon appeared in the palm of his hand, but before he could attack, a burst of white light appeared beside him.
Everyone in the cave took action at once, but that white light simply flashed by.
When it faded, Xiao Hu had disappeared from the cave’s floor as well.
“Su Wan!” Kui Lin’s eyes bulged. He stared at the spot where Xiao Hu had disappeared and knit his brows. “Everyone, hurry back to your homes without delay. It seems we’ll have to move our plans up a little.”
“Tell us then, Demon Emperor, what exactly is our goal?”
“Stealing celestial fate!”
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