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After her human transformation had been complete, she met Lan Jue for the first time. He’d ‘saved’ her from the other humans. That was what made him stand out. Starting then and several times after she had had several opportunities to kill him. Yet she had not, and instead the desire to claim him as her own grew.
Now she was more human than ever. The potential of their DNA coursed through her, but it also made her yearn for sensations these humans immersed themselves in. Monarch and the others saw no use for them, but they made the Violet Princess more curious about how these lesser life forms lived.
She was not alone in these sensations. The Violet Prince also felt the tug of these emotions, though his were different.
To her, Lan Jue was special. She held no interest in the other of his kind. In fact, she’d lost count of how many she’d killed by this point. Now it was finally time to take what she desired.
She rested her hand upon Lan Jue and traced the muscles of his chest. The look in her eyes was anything but human, absent human desire and replaced with a strange curiosity. She searched the secrets of the DNA she’d consumed, and her body grew flush. She looked more beautiful than ever from this internal glow.
Suddenly the Violet Prince’s eyes narrowed. He turned and peered into the distance. Whatever he felt, the Princess also sensed.
Anger filled the air, so thick it could choke a man. “These humans… so reckless! They dare to attack directly. They need to be destroyed!” The Princess hissed.
The Prince answered with a grunt. “Let’s go. We can’t allow them to get close, they might have something planned we’re not aware of.”
They left, leaving the strange cavern in silence. Its walls undulated sickeningly like the intestines of some awful creature.
Lan Jue lay upon the ground. From the top he seemed fine, but he was still connected to the floor of the cavern through the black veins extending from his back.
He remained there for a long time. Then, he started to shake. A white light radiated outward from his chest.
It spread out in wispy tendrils like a fog until gathering into the shape of a woman. Zhou Qianlin.
She was covered in a thin gown of pure white gauze fabric. When she looked down at Lan Jue she couldn’t stop a tinge of red from rising in her cheeks.
A moment ago she truly was at a loss for what to do. If the Princess had had the time to… would she have tried to stop her?
More painful was the realization that she couldn’t have done anything anyway. Attacking the alien would have any served to get her caught as well.
She wiped the cold sweat that had accumulated on her brow. Thankfully it had not happened, otherwise she would have had to helplessly watch…
She shut her eyes and extended her perception outward, trying to sense everything at once. Her Queen of Heaven Domain quietly manifested itself as a shield around her.
She looked around, and after a quick moment spied the corrupted godblades discarded nearby. They pulsed with the Birth and Destruction domain of the enemy.
She took a deep breath. So far everything was going according to plan.
“A-Jue, I have a plan. But it’s dangerous, and will require you to risk your life. The payoff is that if you succeed - even if the main force is destroyed - there’s a chance we can destroy the aliens outright.” Lan Qing fixed his younger brother with a solemn stare.
He had mulled over this suggestions for a long time before making it. But as the chances for a human victory became more remote, he realized he had to bring it up.
Lan Jue searched his face. “Go on, what’s the plan? Danger doesn’t matter if it can help us win this war.”
Lan Qing continued, his voice low and even. “I want you to try and infiltrate the enemy lines. Specifically, I need you to bring Ultus back.”
Lan Jue’s heart began to quicken. It wasn’t the first time the thought had crossed his mind. In fact the Pharmacist’s husband had urged them to do just that. The Banishing Strategy was locked in Ultus’ memory, and if they could recover the weapon it could be used to destroy the aliens.
The Banishing Strategy - one of the most deadly relics of the ancient days. Even mightiest denizens of the immortal realm would flee before it in terror.
“I understand. But getting to the surface of the alien planets is all but impossible. We won’t be able to approach unnoticed.”
Lan Qing explained his thought process. “Have you noticed that the aliens are very interested in the elite of humanity? On Angel, the victims they chose to mutate were all professionals and higher class citizens. Put another way, the more unique you are the better your chances of survival. This is due to their interest in our genetic code. In theory, then, if we give the aliens and opportunity to capture a Paragon alive, I believe there is a sixty percent chance they’ll take it. Once captured they would have to take the Paragon to one of the home worlds.”
Lan Jue followed where his brother was going. “So you want me to go on a scouting mission, but get caught?”
Lan Qing nodded. “And that’s where this mission gets dangerous. There’s a forty percent chance you’ll be killed from the onset. Then, you’ll need to recover your strength and find Ultus in hostile territory. Once you find it, you then have to flee with the godblade and make it back to us.”
“I’ve thought about this for a long time, ever since you brought back the information from the Pharmacist’s husband. Originally I had decided against it, but after seeing how quickly you’ve grown it has proven how much potential these swords bear. With the four weapons together and the Banishing Strategy laid out against our enemies, even if they complete their transformation we have a good shot at victory.”
“You and Qianlin would begin joined. You will be captured, chained, maybe even sealed. However Qianlin’s powers should be capable of restoring you to full strength as quickly as possible. From there you can proceed with the rest of your mission. I believe you are the only person who can do this. No one else can get in and recover that weapon, and I can’t ask any of the others even if they could. It’s just a rough thought, so I’ll need you to tell me if you think it’s possible.”
A wry grin spread across Lan Jue’s face. “Are you really my brother? Asking me to do something so dangerous. I’m guessing the chance of success doesn’t even break thirty percent.”
Lan Qing was typically indifferent to his teasing. “Humanity’s looking at no more than ten percent, but we have to try. That’s ten percent chance of winning in a direct confrontation against the alien horde. If you’re telling me thirty percent, then we have a chance if we work together from both angles. But the bulk of it will rest on your shoulders.”
He paused for a moment, fixing Lan Jue with fervent eyes. “A-Jue, in all the universe you’re my only blood kin. I know that I might be asking you to head out to your death. If you sacrifice yourself, then I want you to know that no matter the result of this war I will accompany you to the other side.”
Lan Qing said it calmly, but Lan Jue knew his brother. If Lan Qing said it, he meant it.
Qianlin was cautious, carefully searching the area with her protogenia. To her surprise this cavern seemed like a universe all its own. Try as she might she could sense what was happening outside.
This had to be the interior of Monarch, she surmised. She thought - or at least she hoped - that the alien ruler was too busy with its evolution to notice their presence.
This whole plan was rife with danger and uncertainty. Luck would have to be on their side if they wanted a chance at success.
At least so far, luck seemed to favor them.
She supported Lan Jue’s body as it lay prostrate. As she prepared, she pondered the possibility of death. Her deliverance Discipline prepared her for this, and if her death meant that others would live she was happy with the result. Of course, so long as she and Lan Jue were together.
As for the Pharmacist, Lan Qing approached her himself. Even Lan Jue had not known she was going to participate in the mission. It was important that they got these weapons, whatever the cost. Even if they weren’t able to employ the Banishing Stance, simply having the Banishing Blades together would boost their strength.
Only Lan Qing, Lan Jue, Qianlin, the Pharmacist, and Jue Di knew this plan in its entirety. Even the likes of Luo Xianni weren’t privy to all the details. As far as she knew Lan Jue was just going for a scouting sortie.
Sending the scouting data back was actually Lan Jue sending his brother a signal. He was ready for the Prince and Princess. Lan Qing and his soldiers were ready to begin the final engagement.
Lan Qing’s part of the plan was simple. He had to keep the enemy busy, so that they didn’t have time to ‘experiment’ on Lan Jue and the Pharmacist. Thankfully Lan Qing had the foresight to plan for this. If not, Lan Jue may very well have been subjected to the depraved desires of the Violet Princess. Qianlin would have been powerless to stop it.
Both Lan Jue and the Pharmacist, in order to trick the aliens into a false sense of security, did not hide their weapons. They also had to fight as hard as they could and subject themselves to unconsciousness in order to sell the ruse. Otherwise, how would they trick two creatures with Infinite power?
With no danger evident, Qianlin set about her work. She placed her hands against Lan Jue’s chest and channeled the light of Guanyin through him. She constrained the Queen of Heaven powers so that they remained just around her charge in order to avoid detection.
As she directed her consciousness into him with her energy, she ran into a problem.
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