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The Keeper and Bookworm were helping the Pharmacist, working hard to keep enemy reinforcements at bay.
Chu Cheng had returned to Tyrannosaurus, because each bastion required a Paragon commander. Hua Li had left to gather the Tears of Neptune, as requested by Li Ke. Other than them, all the rest of mankind’s Paragons were here, at war [1. Alright, but where is the damn Astral Phantom?!]. However, not all of the alien leadership had come.
Including the Prince and the other three Infinite-level attackers, only seven alien elite were here. Perhaps that was the limit they could teleport with their abilities. Still, it was more than enough to destroy Middle Heaven. Losing the East’s last hope was unacceptable, so this fight had to quickly be moved elsewhere.
Ka-cha! For a moment everything froze, went silent, and was overlaid with a pink light. Then everything began to quake and ripple.
Lan Jue’s pain and rage came crashing down on the Prince. Monster though he was, he was still a living thing and the fear that gripped him was real. His defense stuttered from the Photographer’s intervention.
His hesitation lasted only a moment before everything returned to normal. In that moment Luo Xianni cast her hand toward Jun’er, emitting a beam of light that hung over the small girl. She disappeared, and with her the shell of protective power she’d created. The Photographer’s Domain shattered as well.
But as the tides of protogenia burst out, obliterating everything in the room, the aliens were shocked to find what lay behind the metal walls. They weren’t in Middle Heaven any longer. They were out in space, separate from the armada.
Luo Xianni’s reaction had been a clever one. She didn’t try to teleport everyone directly for she knew it was likely to be blocked by the aliens’ power. After all, their enemy had the power advantage.
Instead she called upon the Wine Master to conceal their plans, releasing his Domain as though he were there to support their defenses. While he did so she spread her power out and carved a pocket of reality around the whole room. She moved them, and in fact that whole cabin out into space.
Since the Violet Prince was distracted by Lan Jue’s attack, he hadn’t noticed nor had time to prevent it. Thus Luo Xianni was able to succeed with her ploy. In fact even Luo Xianni was surprised it worked.
A harsh roar bellowed from the Prince. He was calling for others.
“Grab A-Jue, get him to snap out of it.” Luo Xianni grunted, and a pink light surrounded Lan Jue and Zhou Qianlin. Both were pulled back from the Prince, and Luo Xianni took their place.
He had a healthy fear of the Photographer as well. Though she was not as powerful as that human with the staff, she was the only other creature who could stand toe to toe with him. Aside from her only Lan Jue and Qianlin’s Harmonious Swords could defeat him.
Lan Jue swiped with Captus but struck empty space. His red, angry eyes were cast all around to search for something to kill but were met with only the twinkling stars.
It was him. He killed Xiuxiu - he killed her!
The only thought running through his addled mind was vengeance for Xiuxiu. His rage, his need for blood, had thrust him into a berserker frenzy.
“A-Jue, you have to calm down!” Zhou Qianlin hugged him tightly from behind to try and stop him from racing off. He was not himself, and the torrent of emotion he felt was preventing him from summoning his full power. The only way they might defeat these creatures is through the Harmonious Swords.
As she held onto him Qianlin released her Domain. The Light of Guanyin fell over the battlefield and the two of them. Its calming nature soothed the erratic flows of protogenia radiating from Lan Jue.
One of the most dangerous situations for a Paragon was to lose control of their protogenia. These powers belonged to the universe, and were borrowed by the Paragon. They were conduits, and if they lost control of this flow the power of the universe could backfire. A rebound like that could destroy the Paragon.
The Queen of Heaven’s powers were magnificent for just this situation. Almost instantly the dangerously regular pulses of protogenia were calmed. To Lan Jue it felt like a gust of warm wind blowing through him, soothing his heart and easing his pain.
He stopped, struck dumb in the moment of his anger. He began to shake as tears rolled down his face.
“Xiuxiu… Xiuxiu’s dead. She’s dead!” He lifted is left hand, and held tightly in his palm was a small storage device she’d given him just before she died. Somehow she’d managed to protect it from being destroyed by the Violet Prince’s attack.
He didn’t know what it was she gave him. He almost didn’t want to know, but it was the only thing of hers he had left. He felt the sorrow and guilt growing in his heart.
Lan Jue slowly turned and faced Zhou Qianlin. She looked hazy through his tears. “Xiuxiu is dead. The Violet Prince killed her.”
Qianlin didn’t answer him. With pain in her own eyes she flung her arms around his neck and kissed him deeply.
Her lips were warm. The essence of her - of her compassion and her love - was conveyed through that kiss into his body. It nourished him, nourished his soul. No words were needed now. Through that kiss Zhou Qianlin told him that he still had her. She was still here.
The blood-shot color drained from his eyes. Gradually the haze of rage and anguish drained away.
Qianlin put her hands on his shoulders and gently pushed him away. She looked depply into his eyes. “We can’t be sad now. We have to kill our enemies, and make them sacrifices to the memory of Xiuxiu.”
He nodded firmly, causing the tears to be cast from his face. They floated in the nothingness around them. He took her hand in one of his gripped tightly to Captus with the other.
Zhou Qianlin’s kiss had calmed enough to where he didn’t rush back into the fight. He stood at a distance, surveying what was going on.
Seven enemies. Among them were the Violet Prince and three other Infinite-level aliens. On his side, other than his brothers all other Paragons were in combat.
Luo Xianni was trading blows with the Prince. Luckily she didn’t have to worry about universal protogenia while under the protection of Qianlin’s Domain. The Terminator also had one of the elite locked down, and for the time being he needn’t worry for his life.
But the situation was more precarious for the Gods of Wine. It was four on one, but the four humans were only part of the Realm of Protogenia. Luckily for them the Pontiff’s abilities were opposed to the monster’s, and the Gods of Wine were expertly keeping her on her back feet. If any of them slip up, however, it could mean their death.
Things also looked dire for the Pharmacist. She was strong enough to handle a Nirvana-level foe on her own, but she was currently facing three. The Keeper and Bookworm could only help from the sidelines, and their powerful attacks were barely able to penetrate the enemy’s Domain. None of the three aliens focused on them, because doing so might expose the other two to the Harbinger Faerie’s deadly abilities.
Clearly these beasts’ target was the Pharmacist herself. Under their fierce onslaught Occisus’ light was squeezed into the area just around her, the only thing standing between her and disaster. Things weren’t good anywhere Lan Jue looked.
His observation lasted only a moment, then he made his decision. He threw back his head and let loose a booming cry toward the heavens. His deep, booming shout shuddered through the battlefield, summoned from the depths of his soul, and everyone could feel it. He released his Domain and let it flow from him at full force.
In the distance at least six more Nirvana-level aliens were quickly approaching. Once they arrived, even if Chu Cheng and Hua Li joined the fight, all hope was lost.
If they wanted to survive, they would have to punish the alien attackers dearly right this moment.
His crystal-clear eyes reflected the light of Captus as Lan Jue held the legendary sword aloft. His Boundless Starlight Domain surged forth.
However it did not spread out far. In fact it expanded only three meters around Lan Jue and Qianlin before stopping. Stars in the distance dimmed once his Domain emerged, as though his power drank their light into itself. He and Qianlin let their powers flow, and they amplified each other to a shocking degree.
The Violet Prince narrowed his eyes as he glared their way. Monarch had ordered them to spare nothing to bring that sword back, but the sword wasn’t here. It was back on Middle Heaven.
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