The four of them flew for a while. Gravis had to drag them behind him in the sky since they couldn't fly by themselves since they first needed to become Lords. This would take a while since they had to travel for a very great distance to continue their tempering.
The Empire had a lot of tempering programs for all levels of strength. Right now, the three of them were still too weak to partake in an invasion. That would have to wait until they became level three Lords. Until then, they would take part in another program.
Subsidiary Tribes was the name of the program.
Level one to level three Lords would be sent to the edges of the continent where they would create a Tribe to help the Empire get more members. Starting at the Lord Realm, beasts were able to contribute to the Empire. Due to that, none of the tempering for these beasts would take part inside the Empire.
The Empire might be able to bear the cost of sacrificing and refining their beasts up to the Lord Realm, but if they continued that practice to the King Realm, they would use up way too many of their own members. Additionally, these Kings wouldn't have seen the outside world yet, decreasing their quality.
By sending the new Lords to the edges of the continent to make a Tribe, they could recruit a lot more Spirit Beasts. If those Spirit Beasts then became Lords, they would be introduced to the Empire and continue their own tempering. Every couple of months, a King would appear in the Subsidiary Tribes to collect the new recruits. With that, the three of them would be able to contribute to the Empire that had raised them.
But first, Gravis wanted to make a stop somewhere else.
The four of them arrived at the foot of the Mountain of Pride. Just like Gravis, his three kids were impressed by the imposingness of the mountain. They all fell into thought as they simply took the mountain in. Aris, specifically, seemed to have quite an affinity for the Law of Pride.
Pride was like a double-edged sword. If used incorrectly, it might blind someone to growth, but if used correctly, it gave people confidence in their own power when things looked bleak. Due to Aris' personality, he had had a lot of dealings with pride in the past. Now, it was up to him to understand and use it correctly.
Gravis wanted the three of them to meet their mother for the first time, but just when he wanted to climb the mountain, the Grand Elder appeared in front of them.
"The three of them are not qualified enough to see the Empress," the Grand Elder said with a serious voice.
The three of them looked at the white ape in confusion. This white ape was only around one-and-a-half meters tall, and they felt no power from him. To them, he felt exactly like a Demonic Beast.
Gravis furrowed his brows, but before he decided to argue, he first needed to introduce his children to him. Otherwise, one of them might say something disrespectful.
"Aris, Cera, Yersi, this is the Grand Elder. He is a level two Emperor and the strongest member of the Empire besides the Empress," Gravis said.
The eyes of the three of them widened in shock. They were standing in front of a level two Emperor? This was one of the most powerful beasts in the world? The contrast of his weak appearance and what they had heard about him clashed inside their heads.
The Grand Elder looked at the three children with narrowed eyes.
Instantly, the three of them felt like they stood before the world itself. In their minds, the harmless white ape had transformed into a godlike existence. They had never felt anything as powerful as this!
"Do you see, Gravis?" the Grand Elder said as he turned to him. "They have had no experiences in the outside world, which makes them unable to truly appreciate and notice power. Their eyes have shown skepticism and even a little bit of hidden disdain towards me. If they weren't your children, they would already be dead."
Gravis closed his eyes and took a deep breath. In his eagerness to introduce his children to their mother, he had forgotten how beasts looked at their offspring. To the Empress, these three were not even worth as much as a common soldier of the Empire.
Gravis had also noticed that the Grand Elder said "your children" and not "the Empress' children". The Empress wouldn't mind their deaths. In her mind, since they weren't able to notice power, they should deal with the consequences of offending a more powerful beast. There was no love among beasts.
"Thank you, Grand Elder," Gravis said. Most humans would have acted in a hostile manner if someone so powerful displayed their power on their children like this, but not Gravis. Even though he had made a mistake, Gravis saw that this situation would teach his children a valuable lesson. By feeling the power of an Emperor, they would finally truly feel the power of the real world.
After all, there was a difference between hearing something and feeling something for themselves.
The Grand Elder nodded and then transmitted a map to Gravis. "This is where the level one Lords need to gather. The next escort will depart from there in 23 days. You can tell her everything regarding their future. They can meet the Empress when they become level three Kings."
Gravis nodded. "Thank you," he said and then left with his three children.
Gravis was a bit nervous about how his children felt when they heard that they wouldn't meet their mother for a long while. Yet, surprisingly to him, they weren't that hung up about the fact. It almost looked like all of this only felt natural to them.
"You don't mind that you won't meet your mother for a while?" Gravis asked.
"Why would we?" Aris answered evenly. "It's not important where our blood comes from. Only the companionships built upon perils are worth anything."
The other two nodded at Aris' words.
Gravis sighed when he heard that. To him, it was rather ironic. Didn't Gravis have the same outlook regarding his own siblings? He didn't care that they were family. He only cared about their emotions and conduct towards him.
Yet, there was still a difference between them. Gravis still felt a little bad about the fact that most of his siblings were egotistical and never cared for him until he eventually becomes powerful. Meanwhile, this hidden, bad feeling didn't exist in his children's minds. They truly didn't care about not meeting their mother.
'I should keep the fact in mind that my three kids are beasts, and beasts think differently to humans. The things I want emotionally might not be what they want,' Gravis thought with furrowed brows.
They continued traveling for a couple of days. During the travel, they talked a lot with each other. Maybe it was Gravis' friendly and warm aura, maybe it was their mindset which resembled a human's more than other beasts, but a warm and harmonious feeling could be felt between them.
For the first time in a long while, Gravis felt like he was back home with his parents and Orpheus, and he enjoyed every second of it!