Chapter 113: Poseidon, the Sparring Partner
Lan Jue muttered inaudibly to himself, then a resolution came over him as though a decision had been made. His voice came low. “These last few days I’ve been thinking on your problem. Mika, frankly speaking your capacity is the greatest among you four. However, it is also the most dangerous – the most likely to bring catastrophe. The blood in your veins, that of the Prince of Devils, can spiral out of control quicker than you know. If that were to happen, you’d lose yourself. Little by little, it would eat you up until you no longer existed as Mika. Your kindheartedness would vanish, and all that would be left is death. None of us wish to see this happen, so as always I must beg your restraint.”
“However, this isn’t the long term plan. In these last few years your control over the dark blood has been excellent. However this has been due to the fact you haven’t had to get in to a fight. Now, your identity and whereabouts are revealed – although you’re safe in the Avenue, I can’t suggest you remain here forever. So, in my view, letting it out is better than keeping it in. Escape isn’t an option. The Dark Blood is full of evil, yes, but there’s a pattern of manifestation. It can be controlled. For this month, continue of the path of cultivation we’ve already laid out. When I’ve recovered, then we’ll attempt to keep that dark blood under control. Eventually your mastery will be complete… and then you’ll be a Paragon.”
“Alright.” Mika watched her protector with somber eyes.
Lan Jue took a moment to look at the four beautiful young women in turn. Smiling, he went on. “The women of Zeus’ Jewelry Store 1 are without compare. No matter what, and no matter when, I’m honored to know you. Next, I would like to introduce your sparring partner for the next month – Mr. Hua Li. Lili, would you come on stage, please.”
“Eh? Sparring partner?” Hua Li jabbed a finger at his own nose.
Lan Jue nodded sagely. “Don’t you think it’s wonderful to have these four beautiful women to train with? Let me introduce you to them.”
“This, is Hua Li. I imagine you all have heard of his nickname, Poseidon. He’s my good friend, as close as a brother. We were two of what were called the Four Young Divine Monarchs. He is the successor of the Gobi Collective, Diva of Gobi Entertainment. The most famous entertainer of our time. Heart-throb of a good ninety percent of the girls in the universe. Ninth ranked, sixth-degree Talent in the Discipline of water control. His family, the Gobi Collective, is the most mysterious in all the three Alliances, and their influence is seen everywhere. Here, is the lord of that illustrious family.”
“A-Jue, with such an introduction you’re embarrassing me! It’s nice to meet you, lovely young ladies.” Hua Li bowed in a fluid and gentlemanly fashion to the gathered Amazons.
Lan Jue interjected. “You? Shy? I thought that was an emotion you were born without. Xiuxiu you’ve met, but let’s go through proper introductions. This is Xiuxiu, whose discipline is sharpness. Her handle; the Asura Blade-Maiden.”
“Next is Ke’er, with a Discipline of metalmorphosis, energy explosiveness. She is an Acquired Talent. Her nickname is the Baleful Tempest.”
An Acquired Talent? And two disciplines? Hua Li was clearly surprised at the revelation. And yet it struck something in him, something familiar like he’d heard of these two disciplines being used together before.
“Lin Guoguo, Discipline psychokinesis. Called the Psychic Tide.”
“And last but not least, Mika. Her Discipline is Hellfire. They call her the Stygian Succubus.”
Hua Li took them all in; Zeus’ Amazons! The Asura Blade-Maiden Xiuxiu; the Baleful Tempest Ke’er; the Psychic Tide, Lin Guoguo; and the Stygian Succubus, Mika. Just as Zeus described. One look and he could see the potent energies exuding from them.
Lan Juue grinned at the lot. “Next, the time is yours. Ladies, today’s lesson is simple – beat the crap out of him. Begin!”
“A-Jue! Don’t you have a heart?!” Hua LI shouted agitatedly at the grinning Lan Jue.
“You can only defend and evade. No striking back!”
The ladies’ reactions were quick as lightning. As soon as the call to begin rang out, they were in motion. First was the Psychic Tide, Lin Guoguo.
Her eyes flashed a dazzling gold, and suddenly a formless power smashed in to Hua Li’s body.
“Eh?” Surprised thrilled through those clear eyes, but he quickly recovered. His eyes changed in color, shifting from the color of calm shores to tumultuous deep seas. Two golden points shimmered in their depths. Suddenly they began to twist and rotate like a whirlpool, and the golden spurs were swallowed within.
The change was quick, but still Hua Li stood rooted in place. The three other women wasted no time and spread out. Xiuxiu moved laterally, and Ke’er sprang in to the air. There floating in the air, a strange blue light began to expand from Ke’er’s chest. It was a blue unlike Hua Li’s, and burst forth with no trace of gentleness. Instead it seemed almost metallic.
Her body imploded above, dissolving and expanding out as a photosphere. Following the transformation a series of metallic gun barrels pushed forth from the light. Each issued a dazzling salvo of blue energy beams that raced towards Hua Li. Such was the power of Ke’er, the Baleful Tempest.
Mika vanished, appearing again chasing Xiuxiu at full speed. Roiling hellfires had already covered her body. Her red hair flowed free from constraints, and fluttered behind her like a hood of fire. Even the black-rimmed glasses she always wore couldn’t diminish her intimidating appearance. On the contrary, she was like a wildfire.
She drew closer to Xiuxiu, but suddenly the Blade-Maiden disappeared, seen again instantly at Hua Li’s side. Her two hands raised, and jabbed viciously at Poseidon’s waist. As they rapidly drew closer they were no normal hands – they glowed silver, and adopted a strange texture. They screeched as they tore through the air.
Lin Guoguo grunted, and her eyes dimmed, but it was only temporary. Xiuxiu’s hands found their mark. Her hands like razors tore through Hua Li’s figure… and the latter began to ripple like a mirage.
Under stress from Xiuxiu’s attack it’s ripples increased. Hua Li’s image undulated within a halo of gentle blue light. Though the Blade-Maiden’s attack had landed she felt nothing but air. That is, until the image began to congeal. Something thick and confining gripped her hands and started to snake it’s way up her body.
Xiuxiu felt the temperature rise, and suddenly two fiery orbs raced past her on either side. They collided violently with the melting image of Poseidon. Fire and water, polar opposites. As the diametrically opposed elements collided an ear-piercing sound filled the arena. Xiuxiu just managed to get out of the way.
Ke’er energy blasts also landed in the same moment, and Hua Li’s form shuddered drastically under the assault. From somewhere Hua Li’s cries arose. “A-Jue! This is cruel! If they keep this up I can’t hold them off!”
Lan Jue chuckled. “Fine, but be careful not to hurt them.”
“Oh fine, fine. Me, a lover of all women kind, how could I bring them any harm! You worry too much!” It was then the gentle halo that surrounded him began to brighten. It grew and expanded until it was full with an overwhelming energy. When it burst, spears of dazzling light shot in all directions.
After her first assault Lin Guoguo had shut her eyes. Their golden light was gone, but in it’s place her entire body had begun to emit a golden light. Suddenly and without warning a golden figure separated itself from Guoguo’s aura and launched itself in to the distance.
“Ahh!” Hua Li’s surprised cried erupted, and in the next instant he appeared before them. The shimmering golden projection was racing directly at him.
But that golden Lin Guoguo was as soft as a shadow, and she penetrated that blue shadow like she herself was little more than a dream.
Ke’er, already a glimmering ball of gun barrels underwent another change in the same instant. The bristling barrels melted and bonded in to one, reforming in the shape of a 300 milimeter canon. Closer inspection would reveal that the mouth of the barrel bore thousands of streaking blue threads that raced along it’s length. The body of the surreal artillery weapon glowed with a pale blue light. It hadn’t released it’s payload yet, but even so Hua Li felt the threat bearing down on him.
With Hua Li revealed by Lin Guoguo’s psychic doppelganger, Mika and Xiuxiu were instantly on the move. Xiuxiu was first, and leapt in to the air. A blinding white light surrounded her enticing frame before suddenly, she vanished. In her place, within that halo of glimmering light appeared a longsword.
The meter and a half long blade was simple in design, though strangely a series of waves like wood grain were imprinted on the weapon’s surface. They looked like countless snarling faces. The hilt of the weapon was nearly a meter long itself. A distinct chill emanated from the sharp edges of the slender blade, and with the blade’s arrival miniscule tears appeared in the space around it. It was like even the air couldn’t bear the weapon’s sharpness.
Mika lifted a hand, and took hold of the surreal blade that was Xiuxiu. Almost lazily, she swept the sword towards the distant Hua Li. The simple motion called from within the sword a burst of white energy that rushed out like a sonic boom.
But it wasn’t the first time Hua LI had encountered the Asura Blade.
In the early years of his time with Lan Jue, he’d met Xiuxiu. At that point Xiuxiu had still called Lan Jue Sir, having been raised at his side – his maidservant, and his secret weapon. Anyone who knew Zeus also understood that when he held the Asura Blade in his hand, he was at his most dangerous. A god and a god-blade, this was a true warlord.
Were Xiuxiu at his side that day against Michael, things would have turned out very differently. Now, it wasn’t Zeus who held the blade, but that didn’t diminish it’s sharpness.
Hua Li had become entangled by Li Guoguo’s doppelganger. Already he felt himself held fast, and even if he could dodge it was too late. Instead he simply raised his right hand, waving it in a circle before him. He executed a strange gesture, and gently pushed out with his palm. A swirling, cobalt blue vortex appeared at his side.
- Dibs on playboy cover story ↩