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Under the light of the Queen of Heaven, the soldiers felt their Disciplines change. Their Cores were unlocked, their potential released. That unexplainable carefree sensation made their confidence soar, and when the aliens came crashing down on them it was like colliding with a dam. The human soldiers didn’t give them an inch of ground.
Of course, the Paragons were not idle.
A small, quaint clock appeared in the Epochrion’s hand. Its top and bottom halves separated, revealing a universe of stars within. The twinkling globes danced in strange patterns. In response, time became a lazy river that forced the encroaching aliens to a near-standstill. Once they got close to Star Division’s line the Paragon’s Domain made them sitting sucks.
Control over the flow of time! Easy for someone of the Clockmaker’s strength.
There were powerful beasts among the alien invaders as well, but since they were all borne from the same source their powers were all drawn from a singular well. Humans though - and especially Paragons - were all unique in their abilities. Each one was possessed of their own strengths.
The Epochrion and the Cosmagus worked together to bring their foes low. While the Epochrion took away the advantage of their speed, Skyfire Avenue’s Wine Master was responsible for helping Star Division’s fighters. When a soldier began to tire or was in mortal danger, a flash of silver conveyed them behind the front line. This prevented their unified defense from being broken. The Wine Master handily controlled the battlefield, eliminating the creatures he deemed too much for Star Division and expertly extracting their vital crystals. With the help of the two Paragons, Skyfire Avenue’s private army was having no trouble stemming the purple tide of gnashing teeth and swiping claws.
For now. The enemy was many, numbering in the tens of thousands. How long could they continue at this pace before their energy ran out? Eventually they would run out, and be drowned.
Angel’s new planetary defenses delivered its second salvo. The enemy had charged at the humans in a group, which strengthened their charge. However, it also made avoiding the railguns more difficult. The largest creature leaned on its doughty defenses again, but couldn’t protect all of its smaller compatriots. Many were felled by the hail of fire.
All the while, the Violet Prince’s eyes were fixed on Lan Jue with a burning hatred. This clash between Star Division and the alien force was only the overture. The true battle would be the contest between both sides’ generals. Lan Jue had proven himself a foe to be feared after cutting the life from Monarch’s avatar. The impression his victory left was deep, especially within the heart of the Prince. He was no longer so sure of his supremacy.
The Prince also sensed another, stronger power hidden somewhere in the wings. From time to time he could feel the enigmatic aura, but only for a moment before it would vanish again. Whatever human commanded that strength was a real threat to his life. He watched from his vantage atop the enormous monster he rode in on, watching and biding his time.
He would wait for the most opportune moment, when his forces broke the human defensive line. Their Paragons would be forced to engage and weakness would be revealed. That was the time to strike.
Lan Jue was also measured in action. On the one hand the situation was under control, and on the other this was good experience for his people. This would not be the last time Star Division would need to fight against overwhelming odds. It was important they grew accustomed to space combat, to Qianlin’s augmentative powers. So long as the danger wasn’t too great, allowing them to cut their teeth on these enemies was the best sort of training.
The human defenders felt more courageous and powerful the more they fought beneath Qianlin’s soothing light. Their enemies were strong, but so were they. Within the protective confines of their mechas beams of light fired out at their enemies, some over a hundred meters long. Under their combined fire the aliens fell like flies, and the leaders of each unit led their soldiers into the fray.
The stronger aliens were still to come, but for now the situation was well in hand.
The Pharmacist cast a glance toward Lan Jue. He, in turn, shook his head. Now wasn’t the time to reveal their full strength. They had to find the right time not just to stall these monsters, but to slay as many as they could.
Time ticked by, minute by minute, as the battle raged. Signs of exhaustion were beginning to show, in the pilots as well as their suits. But the soldiers’ training and battle experience served them well. Already more than three thousand of these monstrosities had been killed, many relinquishing their vital crystals.
Quite the showing, considering this was Star Division’s first battle in space.
The Wine Master continued to recall soldiers too tired to continue. As their numbers dwindled Star Division began to be pushed back. The mass of creatures that had been waiting for this moment began to writhe anxiously.
Lan Jue’s eyes sparkled, and when he spoke his voice was low and even. “Driver, Pharmacist. You’re up.”
The Pharmacist had started to feel impatient. The hatred she felt for these monsters seeped down into her bones. Lan Jue’s order was hardly out of his mouth before a hail of stabbing white light erupted from her.
The sword-swipes moved with remarkable speed, plowing into the enemy force in a matter of moments. Lan Jue cast his attention toward the ground and shouted another order.
The railguns below were commanded to fire at will, turning Angel’s surface into a bristling field of light. The mighty weapons fired again and again, maintaining pressure against the enemy.
The Violet Prince surveyed his own warriors and saw that they were beginning to fracture. If this continued he wouldn’t be able to keep control of their formation.
The first two rounds from the railguns had been at reduced power - one-third of their capabilities. Lan Jue had been holding back. He knew the alien understood humans, their weapons and tactics. He used their confidence against them by appearing weak while waiting for the perfect moment to strike back.
This salvo punished the aliens for their hubris. With the sudden, explosive arrival of the Driver and Pharmacist on the field, their losses were great. The tightly-bound clusters the aliens were in was just what the Pharmacist wanted. The more of these fiends she killed, the stronger Domain became.
Meanwhile the Driver was also wreaking havoc. He shot into the midst of the aliens as a bolt of lightning then released his Domain like a bomb. He was on the cusp of becoming a Reflection of Heaven and Earth, and his understanding of primordial lightning helped him tremendously. He had come to call his Domain Primal, in honor of this power that had transformed him. As it spread out, his pocket of the cosmos became a dazzling display of thunderbolts.
This manifestation of his protogenia was mighty indeed, and any aliens caught within range was devoured by the burning light. Although primordial lightning was not as strong as All-Heaven lightning, the difference was small. Each bolt disintegrate scores of aliens as it streaked through space.
The Paragons and railgun fire stabilized the front line and halted their gradual retreat. The steady slaughter of the monsters continued.
Their Prince had begun to feel a nagging sense of unease. He had fought many battles against the humans, including their strongest. He felt he understood them. As far as he had seen there were only a handful of these pink creatures that could cause him harm. Even these so-called Paragons, by and large, did not possess the power needed to cause him fear.
However as he watched the Pharmacist and Driver eliminate his soldiers, the Prince had to admit that there were some among his prey who were worthy adversaries. The force at their fingertips was devastating to the aliens, and inhibited their vital energy.
He stamped his feet, and the beast upon which he rode screeched a terrible roar. However, roar was not the proper word for there was no sound. Instead a wave of gut-wrenching turbulence ripped through space and toward the human line.
The aliens that were caught in the shockwave rode it forward, their bodies rippling grotesquely but otherwise were unaffected. The humans would not meet it so easily. It first was met by the Clockmaker’s Domain and rush through without stopping. The Epochrion felt it shatter beneath the force of the wave before roaring passed toward Star Division. It looks like a collision was inevitable.
Suddenly, an impenetrable wall appeared between the shockwave and Star Division. A wall of flesh. Scores of people, each one a thousand meters high, stood with their hands linked and facing down the blast. A golden light and awe-inspiring aura surrounded them all.
The acoustic attack crested against them like a storm surge, but went no further. The figures stood with their feet planted and didn’t move an inch. The two forces were separated by the enormous golden silhouettes, with whatever forces remaining behind them quickly put down by the Pharmacist and Driver.
“Titans!” The giants roared in one voice. Then, in a single fluid movement, they all lashed out with a punch toward the enemy.
The power they unleashed took away the breath of the human onlookers. Aliens several times their size were thrust away like they were made of paper. The aliens’ murderous advance was abruptly turned back on them. Now it was the Prince’s camp that was beginning to lose ground.
There were only a few among the humans who had the power to single-handedly turn the tide of battle. This time it had been the Terminator.
Nirvana, ubiquitous power! After rising to the next level his transformations became myriad. This new ability, Titan, was what they witnessed now. Once again he emerged in the midst of battle, putting himself between his people and danger. Without him the seven Paragons on Heaven’s Light would never have survived.
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