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Chapter 515: Nearby Godblades?

    Chapter 515: Nearby Godblades?

    Lan Jue left the Gothic Winery and took the elevator down to the Underground. His destination was the Hall of Supreme Harmony. When he entered, he encountered no resistance. The workers there were under instruction to allow him in without question previous notification.

    The Pharmacist sat in an eight-pointed pagoda, plucking at a guqin set before her. She was a vision of classical beauty, clad in a shimmering white qipao.

    "You're here." Her delicate fingers stopped, resting upon the strings and bring them to silence. She smiled at him.

    "Where's Jun'er?" Lan Jue asked.

    "The Wine Master came to pick her up a little while ago. He said the Clairvoyant wanted to see her," she replied.

    Lan Jue felt his heart flutter. "The Clairvoyant..."

    The Pharmacist cut him off. "The Clairvoyant is nearing the end of his life. I don't know what he could be giving my girl, but it can't be bad."

    Brows knit, Lan Jue fixed her with a serious gaze. "Is this the path you want for her?" The road laid out before her, even before taking up the mantle of the next Clairvoyant, was a difficult one for a child. Her life would be sacrificed for it, her childhood. She will have to face many things a little girl like her should not have to face.

    She sighed, clearly troubled by the idea. "My little girl is already doomed to a life without the ordinary. What reason do I have to stop this? She may be small, but she has her own idea. I asked her, and she said she agreed - she wanted to help."

    He hung his head, and spoke again after thinking for a moment. "She's made up her mind, our job should be to support her. But I'm also here to talk to you about something else, sister."

    "Why are you standing, sit!" she said, changing the subject. Her small hand reached out and picked up a beautiful red-enamel tea pot, and poured him a glass of steaming liquid.

    Lan Jue took upon a seat across from her. "Sis, I'll just go ahead and say it. The Wine Master has approached me, and asked that I turn the Star Alliance in to Skyfire's own army."

    He went on to tell her the rest of what the Wine Master had revealed. The Pharmacist listened patiently, with a faint smile on her face. "And you came here to ask me to help manage it."

    "Yes," he replied frankly, looking at her.

    "Alright!"

    "You agree?" Lan Jue had come fully expecting her to turn him down.

    She laughed. "Why shouldn't I? This exuvium sounds beneficial to me, too, not to mention Jun'er. Plus, I'm a woman! What woman doesn't want a few more years of youth and beauty?"

    He chuckled. "Thank you, sis. You can be sure exuvium is going to happen, we just need to wait for news of success. You'll be first in line."

    Smirking, and shaking her head, the Pharmacist replied. "There's no rush. Actually, there's something to discuss first. Fighting I can do, but commanding a unit is not something I'll be doing. Instead, I'll act more like your bodyguard. How's that?"

    Ugh," Lan Jue reacted. "Don't even say that, I can't handle it!"

    Her clear and pleasing laughter echoed through the temple interior. "There's nothing to handle. Relax, I'm perfectly pleased with the idea. Jun'er would be happy, too. I'm not much of a mecha pilot, though. I'll need to learn from the beginning. What do you think should I start studying?"

    Lan Jue shrugged. "As strong as you are, it doesn't make much of a difference if you learn or not. The advantage of a mecha suit is personal protection. It also makes deep-space combat easier. Even a Paragon would benefit with the right suit. But in terms of power, there's nothing a suit can offer you that you can't do better."

    Her nod said she understood. "There's truth in that. I'll have a suit made for me as well. A strong defense is also important. I'll rely on my own abilities in fighting, so the mecha won't need to focus on amplification."

    She'd never touched the controls of a mecha suit, but Lan Jue was confident she would learn quickly. People as strong as she was usually did. However, joining one's Discipline with their suit was something that took time and wasn't necessary in her case. She was a breath away from Paragon, and once that threshold was crossed even the defensive benefits of a mecha suit didn't mean much.

    Lan Jue's eyes lit up. "That's a thought." The beautiful fairy of destruction was so strong she didn't even need a mecha weapon! Occisus was strong, stronger than he could know.

    "Has there been any news from Jun Yongye or Xuanyuan Shishi?" Lan Jue asked. Things were busy, but he couldn't forget his interaction and possible future with the Banishing Blades.

    But she shook her head. "No word. I haven't heard anything since you left. However, I do have an inkling, in the back of my mind. It's possible they're already on Skyfire. There's a connection between them and Occisus, but I can't use it to tell where they are exactly. After all, I still can't even fully command the weapon."

    He nodded in understanding. "It is what it is, we'll let things take their natural course." He was anxious, but the only option was to wait for the right time. Lately he had improved a great deal, both in ability and comprehension. While the weapons would be a tremendous help, he still felt he would break through to Paragon in a couple years, if this current trend continued.

    The Clairvoyant had put a lot in to quietly arranging Lan Jue's path. At least it was a path aimed at helping him succeed.

    "That's all the important stuff that needed discussing, sis. After we send off the Clairvoyant, training will begin," Lan Jue announced.

    Alright." She nodded. "And if you need any money, I'm happy to help. Lately business has been quite good."

    He laughed in spite of himself. "Far more than 'quite good', I'd think. You have a line out the door."

    Medicine and power gems were different. Power gems were non-renewable resources, once you used one it was gone. Lately, gems were becoming invaluable military resources. Medicines, though, were easy to cultivate. Modern scientific technology made re-growing them even quicker. In a short time, exhausted supplied could be replenished. The rarity of a medicine lay in their combination and preparation, both things the Hall of Supreme Harmony specialized in. Making money was not a problem for this place!

    "Alright, but do you need money? How many power gems did you bring back from this last trip to the North?" She asked, a little irritated.

    Lan Jue answered. "It shouldn't cost us anything personally to build the Division. The Wine Master has assured me that all costs will be borne by the Avenue. Our target is going to be these animulae, and once we're all set up I imagine we'll be called on to be the tip of the sword for the East. No resting on the back lines for us. As you can imagine, those animulae are going to be exceedingly rare. However, they're also going to make all three Alliances much more dangerous. Right now, it's hard to say whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. Even if these invaders were headed elsewhere, we'd probably be coming after them for their Cores. In essence, I guess we're no different from them."

    She saw the light of disappointment in his eyes, and it made her frown. "It's not helpful for anyone to think like that. We are different species, with different needs. Remember that they were the aggressors. Whatever their purpose, our two species were meant to kill one another. Put the thoughts to rest. You have a good heart, but when it comes to survival of the species, sometimes we have to do bad for the ultimate good."

    The Pharmacist's voice became hard but resolved. It made him shiver.

    Yet, her resolve put his heart at ease. His eyes hardened. "Yes, I understand."

    What he didn't realize, was that Arrow of Compassion's effects where what he felt. Humans were good hearted by nature, but reacting to everything with empathy wasn't the right course. There was a time and place to be good.

    The Pharmacist watched his expression become sober. "Alright," she said, then, "I'm afraid you're going to be pretty busy for the near future. If you need anything, give my communicator a call. You don't need to always come here in person."

    "Alright," he answered. They were friends, he didn't need to be overly polite.

    ζ

    He stepped out onto the Underground Avenue after leaving the Hall of Supreme Harmony. For a moment, he just stood in front of the doors, lost in thought. Then, after a moment, he began to head toward Zeus' Jewelry Store. While things were going to get busy very quickly, right now he had the time to get his thoughts in order. He needed to figure out how he was going to train his new soldiers.

    As soon as he entered the store, though, the door chimes were joined by the buzz of his communicator.

    "Bro! Have you arrived at the Avenue?" The number belonged to Lan Qing. Lan Jue started their conversation with the question.

    His brother's low, even voice answered. "Come out and get us. We've at the entrance." He hung up.

    Here already? Lan Jue turned on his heels and walked out again. He was already heading toward the Avenue entrance when it hit him. We!

    It didn't take him long to get to the Avenue's gate. He saw three figures waiting patiently outside.

    Chu Cheng was as flashy as ever, wearing a dark red blazer and his collar popped up. His eyes were hidden behind dark glasses and his shock of red hair had been slicked back.

    Hua-Li kept a much lower profile. He was dressed in a dark blue blazer, sunglasses and a mask to hide his identity. He apparently felt safe enough to leave his hat at home.

    Lan Qing stood in the center. He was dressed entirely in black, underlining his severe countenance. Compared to the other two, he was much more stately and respectable looking.

    In front of them was a young woman. She was none other than the Captain of the Guard, An Liu.

    "An Liu," he called to her, "These are my friends." He hurried over to join them.

    She greeted him with a nod, but her eyes went right back to Lan Qing's stony face. It was then the younger Lan saw something strange in his brother's face. It lasted for only a fraction of an instant, but he'd caught it.
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