Long Xiaoxuan's inherited memories were one step ahead of the tiger's. Because of how excellent his bloodline was, it cultivated even more quickly than Jiang Chen.
However, the Astral White Tiger was considered the equal of true dragons in the heavenly planes. Its gradual awakening of ancestral memories, Jiang Chen's assistive methods, and a bath in the wood spirit spring allowed the feline to swiftly climb the cultivation ladder and awaken more parts of its heritage.
The same was true with the Goldbiter Rats. After a dip in the wood spirit spring, the king of the Goldbiter Rats felt more of its own bloodline heritage. Because of this, his tribe received a similar power boost.
The strength of these ancient races fired up Jiang Chen's own blood.
"Among the ancient beast bloodlines, the four great divine beasts take the crown. The Azure Dragon, White Tiger, Vermilion Bird, and Black Tortoise… if all four can be gathered together, the heavenly planes would tremble at the combined strength."
Jiang Chen had researched a fair amount into these ancient divine beast bloodlines. These four in particular embodied the laws of heaven and nature. When they congregated, the combined might was enough to rise to the top of the heavenly planes.
He now had two out of the four. He was truly fortunate to be in his current situation.
"The Azure Dragon and the White Tiger… I'm missing the Vermilion Bird and Black Tortoise." Jiang Chen pondered to himself. "If I do get my hands on those, then I'll have all four divine beast bloodlines. I can assume the mantle of the heavenly dao then and reforge myself with the five elements. I will become the dao that surmounts the heavenly planes. The human domain will be of no issue, even the Divine Abyss Continent will no longer hold me back!"
Jiang Chen had exalted goals.
Rather than being limited to the human domain, his goal had always been clear and true. He needed to break through great emperor realm into empyrean or even higher. He needed to investigate why the cataclysm of the heavenly planes in his previous life had come to pass and find where his father was.
After hearing the Purple Smoke Sect forefather's proposition, Jiang Chen was also deeply curious about Phoenix Cry Lower Region's Agarwood Valley.
Anything that was so far out of the ordinary must hold something of great importance. If Agarwood Valley wasn't like any other secret realm, then the secrets it held within must share that characteristic. It was absolutely necessary for Jiang Chen to make his way there.
The Divine Abyss Continent was a wondrous place. Many things had changed after the ancient war. What counted as lower regions now may not have been so in the distant past.
For example, he'd been fortunate enough to obtain the Bewitching Lotus of Fire and Ice and magnetic golden mountain in a place as unimportant as the sixteen kingdoms alliance.
At Mt. Mirage in the Myriad Domain, he was the recipient of the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect's heritage. In the Paramount Realm, he inherited the legacy of both Emperor Featherflight and empyrean expert Guo Ran.
Therefore, though the Upper Eight Regions formed the human domain's core presently, more derelict places potentially held archaic, but nevertheless potent, heritages. Therefore, he had no intention of missing out on Agarwood Valley.
His trip to the Moon God Sect and ambush midway on his return made him realize that he wasn't powerful enough. Without the empyrean expert Guo Ran's residence and its corresponding restriction, he would've been done for.
Alas, he had only one use of the restriction remaining. Once that was spent, what then? What was he supposed to do against powerful great emperors? What about when he inevitably ventured into Myriad Abyss Island?
These considerations pressed down upon Veluriyam's young lord.
"In the end, personal prowess matters the most. Without great fortune and my previous life's memories, it would be much too difficult for me to maneuver around those millenniold monsters. The aces up my sleeve are an exhaustible resource. Aside from the restriction in the ancient residence, the other cards I have are completely useless against any top great emperor. My cultivation is the biggest culprit here."
Breaking through - ideally repeatedly - was at the top of his agenda.
It was impossible to build a city in a day, but cultivation required some sense of urgency. He needed to make some progress every day. Closing his doors to cultivate…
Having tied up the loose ends in the young lord residence, Jiang Chen entered closed door cultivation immediately. With his previous life's memories, he found it easy to see results during serious cultivation.
In the first month behind closed doors, he successfully broke through peak second level to third level. He wasn't satisfied with just that much progress though.
That was his initial goal. His final goal for this session was to break through to fourth level emperor realm. It was typically very difficult to do so because of the difference in rank between the two levels. Third level emperor realm was initial rank, while fourth was mid rank. It was more than just a level's difference: it was a large step up between the two.
Normal cultivators needed decades in order to possibly progress from one to the other. For geniuses, it might take three to five years.
Not so for Jiang Chen; he wasn't just the average genius. He had the Emperor Ascension Pill.
He'd managed to refine a huge batch of the stuff owing to the purchase of a tremendous number of Eight Treasure Cordyceps. That was what had given him the opportunity to attempt fourth level emperor realm in the first place.
The Emperor Ascension Pill allowed its user to unequivocally increase one's level by one in emperor realm, which was why he'd wanted to purchase the spirit herb during the Dragon and Tiger Summit. He didn't need any Emperor Supremacy Pills just yet, but Emperor Ascension Pills were absolutely appropriate for the current him.
Placing one of the pills into his mouth, Jiang Chen began to refine its medicinal properties into his body. Because he'd created it himself, he knew everything about its effects. His attempt to infuse its power into every fiber of his being was a resounding success.
The Emperor Ascension Pill's effects revealed themselves instantly. There was an explosive force within his body, like a volcano on the verge of erupting. The young man felt his entire body burning up.
It was an uncomfortable sensation, but it drove him to surge relentlessly towards fourth level emperor realm.
"Come on!" Jiang Chen gritted his teeth, extracting every ounce of energy from his meridians in order to push onward.
The pill's assistance and protection practically guaranteed the process a success. As long as one consumed the miracle pill, there was over a ninety percent chance of succeeding. Since Jiang Chen was the pill's refiner, he had an even larger assurance of making the pill work.
Another month passed.
During that time, he was drenched with sweat countless times. All kinds of impurities were expelled through his pores. After undergoing purification time and again, his body and bloodline transcended once more.
Suddenly, the ball of flame in Jiang Chen's chest swirled into his qi ocean with a bang. In the next moment, a flowing current of warmth washed over his entire body. All his organs, meridians, and blood were raised to a higher level!
"Amazing! So it's this kind of feeling! Going from third to fourth level… I didn't know it was going to be anything as pleasurable as this!"
Jiang Chen slowly opened his eyes. His lustrous eyes gleamed with wisdom like a pearl in the darkness, full of spirit and resolve. It had taken him two months for him to go from peak second level to fourth level emperor realm. He was finally a real mid emperor realm expert!
He had a lot to go compared to the great emperor monstrosities still, but it was a big breakthrough for him. The two-level increase wasn't particularly significant, but any increase in his level meant that his overall power increased multiplicatively. His martial methods, techniques, and treasures powered up accordingly.
"There are still three to four months remaining before my trip to Agarwood Valley. Just because I've reached fourth level emperor realm doesn't mean I can open my doors just yet."
Jiang Chen already had ideas for what he was going to do. It was very difficult for him to increase in level again in such a short time, and unrealistic to boot. But his martial methods, techniques, and equipment had plenty of room for improvement.
Refining the Bewitching Lotus of Fire and Ice was at the top of his to-do list. Treasures needed to be continually refined, developed, and communicated with in order to make full use of their capabilities. Any treasure that couldn't advance alongside its owner was subject to falling into eventual disuse.
The Bewitching Lotus wasn't that kind of treasure. Having accompanied the human for so long, the Lotus had undergone its own series of improvements, both to form and life.
It was a species worthy to rank in the heavenly planes. Jiang Chen hadn't excavated even a third of its true potential. Given its superiority of origin, its current form was definitely not its ultimate one.
As an ancient species, the Bewitching Lotus' claims to fame didn't only include its dual-attributes and able to constrict people. It had the power of transformation. The 'Bewitching' part of its name was sufficiently descriptive of a part of its characteristics.
Jiang Chen had delved into its transformative mysteries before, but his prior excursions had been very shallow. If he could dig deeply into this area, the results were certainly worth anticipating.
Additionally, it had incredible regenerative ability. Its vines could restore themselves even if sliced in half, as long as the plant proper was undamaged. This was one of its strongest features.
The stronger Jiang Chen got, the more he could access the Bewitching Lotus's latent abilities.
"Right now, the Bewitching Lotus can ensnare careless great emperors. Thousands of tendrils are more than enough to restrict movement for a time, at least." He had successfully used against Pillfire City's Emperor Heartcloud, back in the palace residence in Eternal Celestial Capital territory.