Skyfire Avenue, Chapter 470

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Chapter 470: Jiang Yuan’s Secret

Hordes of the rich and powerful tore across the border or the Northern Alliance, racing for Luo City. Then trend now was to use tickets for the semi-finals as negotiating tools in business exchanges. This was to say nothing of seats for the finals. The end of the tournament was near, with just the semi-finals, the finals, and the Championship Battle remaining. Even the average citizen knew that they were watching future masters of protogenia. Being able to witness this with one’s own eyes was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to be treasured.

The Pharmacist was clad in a moon-white qipao, whose simple elegance was interrupted by an elaborate peony flower that had been etched upon it. Swaths of red, yellow and pink stretched across her figure and made her especially alluring. She certainly stood out, and in fact had been voted the most attractive competitor in the tournament by its authoritative body. While she was not as physically attractive as Yan Ningya, she was greatly superior in bearing, willpower, strength and nearly every other category. From the beginning, she’d been the center of a lot of attention.

She stood with her delicate hands folded before her abdomen, regarding her opponent calmly. Jiang Yuan stood at the far end, spewing an aura of caustic black power. His eyes were cold and dead. He was hardly visible beneath the cloak of shadow.

“Three, two, one. Begin!”

The most anticipated fight of the semi-finals was underway. Most people expected the Pharmacist to win – Northerners included – but everyone was hoping first and foremost for entertainment. They all dreamt of another dramatic, miraculous upset. Jiang Yuan’s earlier performance gave them fuel for speculation, like what was that beast he’d summoned? How strong was he really? His mystery was a sort of strength.

In a break from normal tactics, Jiang Yuan did not immediately begin casting his poison curses when the fight began. Instead, a guttural and uncomfortable chant rattled from his throat. The resonating notes birthed an area of black beneath Jiang Yuan’s feet. Each syllable spread it further out in all directions.

The Pharmacist sniffed. From her back, a beam of cyan light burst in to the air. It rose drastically then swelled, forming the shape of an enormous sword suspended in the heavens. Seven resplendent orbs of light twinkle along its length. She adapted her strategy as well, and instead of lashing out with the force of a thunderbolt, the weapon instead hung unmoving over the top of her head. An instant and shuddering sensation of sharpness swept through the ring. And yet, the black aura around the necromancer scattered the deadly gusts, like he was hardly present in this reality at all.

However, it was visible that – when their powers collided – the Pharmacist’s was more explosive. Jiang Yuan felt almost powerless, though he didn’t let any of that show. He instead took a brazen step forward to meet the aura. He extended his gnarled finger, and a silver light shot outward.

It started as a single point of light, but quickly grew to the diameter of a silver coin. It bulged larger, until lines of fresh blood could be made out upon its glittering surface. An uncomfortable and dangerous sensation preceded it.

The light power congealed in the air, first a mist of silver and red but quickly fusing in to the figure of a demonic beast. It flailed, hellish maw wide and ready to swallow the Pharmacist’s weapon. The sharp aura it passed through was dispersed like it had never existed at all, and the aura of black at Jiang Yuan’s feet began to rapidly spread.

This…

Lan Jue couldn’t shake the inkling that this power was familiar. It was a faint memory, somewhere in the back of his mind.

“Hmph!” The sound came from beside him. Lan Jue turned his head to spy the Pontiff’s High Inquisitor standing nearby. He glared at the field with a dark and accusatory look.

Now he put the pieces together. Seeing Constantine’s reaction immediately brought to mind the incredulous looks of the Dark Citadel when they’d come for their ‘friendly’ exchange with the Avenue. They’d dispatched someone who’d used this same power, or something close to it.

Judas? Was this one of the descendants of that man who’d betrayed the founder of their faith? Now, the bloodline seemed as malefic as it ever had been. He was stunned to discover that the inky shadow from before had been this man, Jiang Yuan. And yet, from what he could recall that Judas didn’t fight at all like Jiang Yuan, but was a close-combat fighter! He had been a peak-ranked Adept.

And didn’t they battle one another in the Avenue, too? It ultimately had been interrupted by an incensed Satan. This was Jiang Yuan’s ultimate secret, that he was holding himself back, and was in fact the future successor of the Dark Citadel. The Pharmacist knew it all along.

It appeared that Judas’ true specialty was the power of betrayal, his birthright. It meant he was good in close and far away. What looked like a straight-forward fight suddenly got a lot more complicated.

The blood-beast the necromancer had summoned was bearing down on the Pharmacist’s Seven-Star sword. She sniffed again, “Thunder in the Realm of the Big Dipper!”

A burst of light exploded from the sword, so powerful it threatened to destroy the shields again. Clouds gathered over the center of the arena – but not normal clouds. They were purple, and laden with a strange energy. Jiang Yuan’s dark creation paused.

Just then, a purple orb descended from on high. It passed through the shield like they were made of paper, and merged with the floating sword. The weapon answered by growing even larger. Bolts of purple lightning lashed out suddenly, striking the demon.

The dark vision dissipated in to a cloud of blood, and vanished. The silver coin that had seen its creation was struck away, flying toward Jiang Yuan. The necromancer himself had not moved, but swayed slightly back and forth. After a moment, he too vanished from sight.

Lan Jue was immersed in the action. As a lightning user himself, he recognize the Pharmacist’s lightning as yang-type. And it was a pure, natural form of lightning. It contained levels of pure elemental power that his own lightning lacked.

Was this… the Dharma of Heavenly Lightning? Designed to smite the evil things a monk passed on his path. Meanwhile, the Pharmacist’s sword was swiping dangerously. The aura of power around it flared, and then one became seven. Seven enormous swords came tearing through the air, descending so fast they were little more than beams of light. They arcs around and buries themselves in the alloy floor surrounding the Pharmacist. She was now surrounded by the cyan-purple light, and as if their own volition that beams exploded out every which way.

The radiating power clashed with the encroaching black filth. It receded in the face of the Pharmacist’s holy corona, like ice beside a flame. Clearly, the Pharmacist’s own abilities were well equipped to counter the necromancer’s, and the whole thing seemed pretty one-sided. But, where did he go?

Their answer was delivered in the form of a booming, devilish sermon that rag through the whole arena. A series of roars came from where Jiang Yuan had been standing. The floor was painted with an enormous, glowing hexagram. While the dark aura surrounding it was pressed back by the Pharmacist’s Heavenly Lightning, the hexagram itself appeared impervious.

A hint of shock passed across the Pharmacist’s face, but it lasted no more than a second before she was ready to react. With a cold and belittling laugh, she pointed a slender arm toward the far end of the arena. Her swords wrenched themselves free of the ground, and raced for their new target.

Another roar shook the ring’s foundations. The hexagram suddenly surged, expanding until it covered the whole floor. The frighteningly familiar sight of the evil vortex was again revealed to the audience. A massive skull started to heave itself out of the hellish dimension that had been opened.

The Pharmacist’s weapon’s retreated back to her location. Their flickering power swirled around her like a column of protective light. It lifted her high above the collapsing arena floor. She stood suspended near the apex of the upper shield.

Everyone watched as the great skull of the demon-beast, Yaduobaha, joined the fray! They were treated to a good, nightmare-inducing look. It was only bone, with no hair or skin, and teeth as large as broadswords. A toxic green fire blazed where its eyes should have been. Its great maw spread wide, and it reared skyward to try and swallow the Pharmacist up.

She could feel crushing waves of fear rushing out from that darkness, pushing the beast toward her like a tempest of fear. Her Dharma didn’t appear to slow it down at all.

The swords around her glowed even brighter, and she rose ever higher – but the shield was just overhead. If she left, it would count as a forfeit. Her swords answered the call, falling down toward the beast. The dissolves until they became seven glimmering points, falling in the shape of the Big Dipper. They landed upon the great skull, becoming drilling flares of light that melded in to the monstrous head. A bone-shaking explosion followed moments later.

But, with the Pharmacist occupied, she did not appear to see the dark figure silently creeping up behind her – Jiang Yuan!

His figure seemed larger and, arms folded across his chest, he seemed to float quickly through the air toward his unsuspecting victim. The beast below shook off the great blast that had stunned it, and began to rise for another try. There wasn’t a single mark on it, like that seven-star attack hadn’t done anything at all.


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