Chapter 161: Fusion of the Amazons
Zrrggt! There was a flash of lightning, and suddenly Hua Li felt his body go numb. In the length of time it took for the light to flash, Lan Jue had moved behind him, and was slamming his fists in to the entertainer’s back.
Hua Li’s defensive capabilities warded the first six strikes, but the seventh and final snuck through. With his water Discipline nearly exhausted, the strike sent arcs of lightning coiling up his body.
He suddenly felt the ice-cold kiss of a blade at his throat, which lead him to quickly declare surrender. “You got me,” he said matter-of-factly.
Lan Jue was on the move instantly. The electric cage that surrounded them parted just as the Jewelry Master dissolved in to a stream of light. The glimmering pillar raced through the cage’s small opening, stopping before Chu Cheng who stood alone in the distance.
Mika was close behind. With a grunt, she was off again racing towards Chu Cheng and Lan Jue. Her speed made her look like nothing more than a streak of crimson.
Then gold, then blue as Lin Guoguo and Ke’er took their cue from the Stygian Succubus. The three were vicious streams of violent energy, racing to their boss’ side.
Chu Cheng shot his hands forward, whipping through the air. In response, the air shimmered as a vortex of raging flame appeared in front of him. It’s swirling depths brought with it a powerful suctioning force, which brought Lan Jue to a stop.
Chu Cheng took advantage of the slight reprieve to grope out his right hand. Empty space parted, and plumes of smoke preceded the arrival of a flaming sword which fit perfectly in his palm. It was a similar blade to the one he’d revealed while channeling the Spirit of Hades, with the only difference being the color.
He feinted towards Lan Jue and the three streaks of energy rapidly approaching his direction. In response, the trembling weapon belched a curtain of fire at his enemies.
Hua Li may have lost, but he’d set up Chu Cheng with a chance. That was good enough.
Lan Jue was tumbling through the air to avoid Chu Cheng’s strike. Sufficiently free from danger, he stopped mid-air, just long enough to swipe his own strange shimmering blade of light.
The weapon he gripped was a little over a meter long, the blade and pommel making a cross shape. It’s long and narrow blade was white as snow, indented down the middle with a blood funnel.
He hung in the air, hovering above the field of battle with blade in hand. A strange, dark figure was indistinctly visible near the sword. It was black, and writhing like it was composed of black lightning.
But it wasn’t. In fact, closer inspection would reveal they were fissures, where the blades stupendous sharpness had cloven reality around it. If Lan Jue released it, one feared the blade might slice through space and simply vanish as it fell.
Hua Li’s quick and no-nonsense surrender was largely due to the presence of that sword in Lan Jue’s hand, for that was no ordinary weapon – it was Xiuxiu, become the Asura Godblade!
Xiuxiu was not new to Zeus’ Amazons, not even close. Her work for him had spanned years, ever since she first entered the mercenary world. From the onset she was at his side, which earned her the name Blade-maiden.
Both Hua Li and Chu Cheng were both well aware; with Xiuxiu at his side, Zeus was at least three times as powerful.
Lan Jue flicked his wrist. The godblade flashed, and released a torrent of energy all its own. The power raced outward as Chu Cheng’s own energies were converging on his position. Two different, opposing energies, and as they clashed in mid-air both the energy and Chu Cheng’s sword were knocked aside.
In the same instant Mika, Lin Guoguo and Ke’er appeared at their boss’ back.
Mika was the first to arrive. She had transformed in to a ball of molten fire during transit, and landed unto Lan Jue’s back. As she did, a glorious flaming cloak wiped out behind her boss. It flowed where there was no wind, and anything that came near was instantly assailed by a suffocating demonic aura.
Next was Ke’er. The blue light that was her raced to Lan Jue’s side and settled on his left arm. When the shimmer light abated, a gun barrel with a caliber the size of a chicken egg glinted against the tan skin of his arm. A heavy sapphire aura surrounded the weapon, and it seemed ready to launch its attack with the slightest provocation.
The golden beam of light was the final one to show up, and settled itself atop Lan Jue’s head. It shone brilliantly like a crown or halo.
It was gorgeous beyond compare, more than any normal crown certainly. Resplendent beams of light shone forth from it in all directions. Still the most striking aspect was the oval stone set in the center. It was almost like a single golden eye that watched all with its unblinking stare.
“This is somehow acceptable?” Chu Cheng glowered at the sight before him. The burning flames that covered him like a coat dimmed visibly, with a hint of gray light swirling through them. The atmosphere of the entire arena chilled.
A single plume of fire launched outward from him. In a few short seconds is was hanging over Lan Jue, its temperatures so hot that the floor below started to melt in to magma. With the fire above and the lava below, Lan Jue was in clear danger of being swallowed in to one or the other.
The golden eye set within Lan Jue’s crown flashed. Suddenly Chu Cheng felt a dizziness rise up within him. It was enough of a distraction that the power of his attacks were diminished.
In the same instant the burning cloak at Lan Jue’s back released a wave of fire. It was a strange flame, with black and red racing through it like veins. As it spread forth, it kept the encroaching flows of magma at bay.
The Jewelry Master then hoisted the godblade, and his body fractured in to a host of lightning bolts. His figure reconstituted inches before Chu Cheng, with the godblade tracing a deadly arc towards him.
The ear-splitting sound of reality being rent asunder filled the air. Where the godblade passed, a thin vacuous line of darkness followed.
Chu Cheng’s body dimmed, just as the deadly sword cut him in two. But as they began to crumple to the floor, both disintegrated in to pillars of flame that shot high above. Once they towered out of reach, they joined once again to form the red haired youth.
Chu Cheng’s flaming blade was once more in hand. He stared chillingly down at Lan Jue, with all his fancy toys. With an intimidating yell, he became a claw of flames that reached inexorably for his golden crown.
Lan Jue’s godblade hung in the air, in the middle of its follow-through. Only his left hand was available, and so it was with that that he reached towards the sky. The action spawned a massive hand composed of lightning. The two elemental appendages clashed.
The subsequent blast of errant energy whipped madly in all directions.
Lan Jue’s crown flashed once again. Chu Cheng was valiantly pressing the attack, his fiery power in contest below with Lan Jue’s electricity. However, he was visibly weakening.
“Erupt!” Chu Cheng’s voice rang through the arena. The column of energy he commanded exploded at his command, destroying Lan Jue’s summoned claw with it. The air cleared, the dust settled, with neither of the powerhouses’ Disciplines in evidence.
However, even though he’d managed to halt Lan Jue’s riposte, it wasn’t over. Chu Cheng’s pupils contracted as he saw the dark barrel of the gun flash, and a dazzling blue orb hurtle his way.
His impressive display in fending off Lan Jue had drained him. He was in a weakened position, and as such did not possess the ability to dodge the oncoming assault. All he could do was bolster his defenses, and hold. He grit his teeth as Ke’er’s attack hit him smack in the chest.
Chu Cheng went sailing in to the distance. He tumbled head over heels, caught in a tempest of energy.
This was the true might of Ke’er’s attacks. She was an eight level Talent, but with her power fully stored before use she was as frightening as any average ninth level. Chu Cheng hadn’t taken that in to account – and he was feeling the results of his mistake.
Lan Jue – mercenary and Skyfire Avenue – knew an opportunity when he saw one. He also knew how to exploit it.
As Chu Cheng went barreling through the sky, Lan Jue was on the move. In a flash he was above the unfortunate mercenary, with the godblade in his hand. Only now, the blade’s body was a shimmering violet. An infinitely sharp bolt of lightning, cutting a bloodthirsty arc towards its target.
Chu Cheng’s energies had only just managed to deflect the main force of Ke’er’s blast, and so when the godblade came tumbling his only recourse was to raise his hands in defense. Xiuxiu’s impossibly sharp attack landed directly in the palm of his hand.
CRACK! The deafening peal of a thunderstrike accompanied the blow. Paralyzing bolts of lightning raced along Chu Cheng’s body. As they did, reality split before the red haired young man’s chest, spreading open in to a void.
But before Chu Cheng could react or employ the opportunity, Lan Jue was there. The godblade had reverted to its normal white hue, with it arriving a beam of pure light. That beam struck Chu Cheng, pinning him viciously to the ground.
“I give…” Chu Cheng hissed, and those words stopped any further abuse from Lan Jue.
Five minutes later.
“Godamnit, A-Cheng. When’d you become such a dunce?” Hua Li shook his head at his companion, whose face was slowly swelling. “That was an embarrassing display.”
“A-Jue, you and I will never recover from this.” Chu Cheng’s angry voice was somewhat obscured by his unnaturally puffy face.
Lan Jue looked down on him, arms crossed over his chest and a smirk on his face. “Interested in another go?”
“Only a damn moron’d agree to that. No class – so many people against just me! You all should be ashamed. A-Li, help me out here man, otherwise how am I supposed to eat later?”
Hua Li summoned a gentle ball of blue light, whereupon he then unceremoniously smashed it in to Chu Cheng’s face. The water splashed in all directions, and when it dripped away Chu Cheng’s features were already markedly better.
Lan Jue turned then, looking down at the four ladies who had reverted to their natural states. “Is this what you girls have been practicing?”
Lin Guoguo tittered. “Like you said boss, we’ve been focusing in our cooperation. We were listening to Xiuxiu, talking about how she can turn in to your weapon. That got us thinking. See, we’re all the boss’ bodyguards, right? And if Xiuxiu can do it, so can we. Mika and I are already ninth level, so we have the ability to become our Discipline, like your Fulmination. A token aspect of being a ninth level, unless you have a Discipline like fatty Tang who can change at will. So Mika and I got to talking; what can we change in to that would most benefit the boss? I chose the crown. Mika chose the cloak. Cool right?!”
Ke’er blew a raspberry. “Although I can’t change in to my Discipline yet, it already possesses the ability to change shape. Any sort of energy weapon, I can do. I figured I could give the boss another long-ranged attack at his disposal! The three of us, with Xiuxiu as your sword, and we become your super suit!” 1
Lan Jue smiled at them. “I was definitely pleasantly surprised. I can see all the hard work you put in to this. Keep it up. Once we get your cooperation up to snuff, mecha combat will be next. For that you should all study from Xiuxiu. Her piloting skills are already excellent.”
“Got it,” Mika replied.
Tang Xiao had lumbered over to Lan Jue’s side by this point, though he was careful to choose a spot out of Chu Cheng’s direct line of sight.
“And what are you cowering for,” Lan Jue said, narrowing his eyes at his pupil.
The young man replied in a whisper. “Professor… do you think he’s mad at me?”
Lan Jue shook his head. “Don’t worry about it. With me here he won’t be doing anything. But if you see him when I’m not around… hide further away.”
- Power rangers! ↩