Skyfire Avenue, Chapter 764

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Chapter 764: Predicted and Unexpected

The space above the planet was still without any alien defenders. It appeared as though they were all focused on the front-facing side. Now that Lan Jue was through the atmosphere his sights were unobstructed, he could see the violet artery stretch into the distance and disappear.

Incredible!

Lan Jue had guessed it, but seeing this umbilicus disappear into the distance with his own eyes was another matter entirely. He was filled with dread. What was it? If it connected to the alien home worlds that would explain a lot. But why, on Monteux, was vital energy siphoned into a single creature while here it flowed through the artery directly? What did it mean? The energies from a planet were enormous, it seemed obvious what they were being used for.

This was only one of seven planets. If conditions were the same on the others, Lan Jue was confident in his analysis. But what about Europa?

Lan Jue fought the urge to follow the artery to its source. Now wasn’t the time, and stealing into the tiger’s den had an uncomfortably high possibility of never coming out. What they had learned here was enough to call their mission a success, but he wasn’t happy with it. It wasn’t that the information was insufficient. On the contrary, it proved how dangerous their situation had become.

Thor turned around and began to head back. Lan Jue’s eyes flashed and his breath quickened. They had to move in for the final assault soon, otherwise their alien aggressors would be triumphant. Humanity would be lost.

He retraced his steps, following the same path he’d taken. Radar was unnecessary, he just needed to follow the bursts of energy from the distance battle. He could see violet, silver and white clashes in the horizon. From what he could see the violet was getting stronger, and the white was fading.

The Pharmacist had expended a lot of energy before this fight, yet still threw herself into it without restraint. Her will was indomitable but she was still just a Paragon of the Realm of Protogenia. Once the limits of her energy was reached she would no longer be able to summon the deadly power of Occisus.

Comparatively the Wine Master was faring better. He was a Reflection of Heaven and Earth and thus had more potency to draw upon. He was the primary threat to the doppelganger and the Pharmacist served as his weapon. Her aid helped even the playing field.

There was a flash, and a brilliant rainbow burst into existence.

The Wine Master and Pharmacist sensed it, and together their attention went to the rainbow. What they saw was a smear of color that seemed to split the sky. It cleansed everything in its path, wiping away the foul power of the alien horde.

The Monarch’s doppelganger stared wide eyed at the phenomenon. It felt its body grow sluggish and an ineffable fear gripped its chest. It frightening it so completely that it made the immediately decision to flee, dissolving into a purple light and vanishing. Whatever that light was, it contained enough power to end its life.

The light did not chase the monster but rather swept up the two humans on its trek through the atmosphere. In a flash they were out in space and any aliens not fast enough to move out of the way were obliterated in the rainbow’s passage.

The beam of light flew on far into the distance before eventually slowing.

“Go!” Lan Jue’s weak voice urged.

The Wine Master didn’t need to be told twice. Two humans vanished from alien territory in a spark of silver light.

The power of the Harmonious Swords was a real danger to the Monarch’s doppelganger. It had the potential to wound it grievously, but to kill the beast would be very difficult. After all, neither Lan Jue nor Qianlin yet had the strength to summon the power of their swords. Instead Lan Jue chose to use the technique to abscond with his friends and bring them to safety. Their mission was complete and the information had to be brought back as soon as possible.

Three quick successive teleports took the scouting party out of the enemy’s reach. The Wine Master called Zeus-1 for exfiltration and after a few moments they were safely back on board.

Lan Jue and Qianlin both were completely drained. The Harmonious Swords had taken more than they could handle. The Pharmacist gave them pills to shore up their yuan qi 1 and stabilize their condition.

Zeus-1 pushed its engines to their limit, heading back to where the human armada waited.

Lan Jue’s faculties were returning, though he looked pale and exhausted. He grinned to himself and his expectations. Being so close to Paragon, he assumed he would have some energy left over after employing the Harmonious Swords, but he was wrong. The moment Lan Jue and Qianlin’s hearts joined, Captus drank him dry. Not a drop was left.

Of course he could sense the strength of their technique had increased as well. In fact he’d hesitated, wondering for a moment whether it was a good idea to chase after the Monarch’s copy and try to put it down. In the end he didn’t want to risk it.

“What did you discover?” Jue Di looked his son over before asking.

Lan Jue had simply overtaxed himself, there was no harm done. Jue Di had watched them the whole time, but hadn’t gotten involved because he knew the doppelganger didn’t threaten their lives. Certainly the crystal that monster carried would be a grand prize, but Jue Di’s presence would have captured a lot of attention. It wasn’t certain he would be able to quickly slay the monster, either, so safety had to be their first concern.

“Predicted and unexpected.” Lan Jue enigmatically replied.

“Huh?” Jue Di looked at him, confused. The others had gathered round.

With Xiuxiu’s help he sat up. He then shared everything they discovered on the far side of the planet.

“So the world has stopped rotating and it funneling energy somewhere?” Jue Di scowled as he thought of the implications.

The Wine Master was stern and irritated. “What are these creatures planning? What’s their purpose?”

Lan Jue explained. “Our guess was right, it’s plain as day. The alien planet have decided to begin the process of evolution. That’s the only reason they would need so much energy all at once. These arteries must be piping vital energy directly to the planets themselves so they couldn’t dare leave them undefended. This is the most important goal of their species, so they won’t delay in completing the process.”

“They will want to evolve in the shortest amount of time possible and would be willing to sacrifice a lot to make it happen. All the humans they took from these planets would give them the DNA required as well. We need to attack right away before they have a chance to succeed.”

The Wine Master nodded. “I agree with Lan Jue. They can’t afford to feign an attack. By destroying the planets and two bastions they put the fear of death in everyone’s heart, giving them an advantage. They fled the North because it is the strongest Alliance, but not before striking a blow at its confidence and thirst for war. It bought them time, and then they chose the West because these eight planets are in such close proximity. Eastern systems are more spread out.”

Everyone felt a sort of guilt-ridden relief. If the aliens had chosen the East instead, would it have survived where the West fell? The answer was unsettling.

“We need to bring what we’ve learned to Admiral Lan as quickly as we can. Everything needs to be prepared.” The Driver said.

The success of their mission filled everyone with a sense of dire urgency. Their next fight could very well decide the fate of their species! There was no convincing the North after the horror they experienced, otherwise they would have sent their forces already. All they had were the troops at their disposal for a final, life-or-death struggle against the enemy.

But would it be enough against a foe that had bested them at every turn? Their only chance was now, while their strength and attention was focused on evolving. But if this was a ruse and the alien home worlds were laying in wait, even Lan Qing’s brilliance could not save them. Their chances of surviving would be close to zero.

 

ζ

 

Tyrannosaurus-Class Bastion.

“Your Majesty.” Kang Hui respectfully saluted the Terminator.

The North’s mightiest Paragon regarded him with a small smile. “Kang Hui. Things have been difficult for you.”

He smiled. “The choices have all been mine. I’ve made them, and I’m ready to bear the consequences of my decision.”

Part of his decision had been to rashly steal away from the North with its mightiest bastion, defying direct orders. It was a tremendous risk, which would invariably end with him standing before a military tribunal.


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  1. Remember that ‘yuan qi’, or pre-heaven essence is the energy we are all born with – a well of power we consume through the course of our life that typically can’t be recovered. There is some debate over whether that’s true and there are medicines and techniques that purport to have the ability to enhance yuan-qi, but from a clinical standpoint I’ve seen nothing that does that. We can ‘shore up’ and support yuan qi, make it more effective or guide it, but not restore it.

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