Chapter 589: Swallowing the Planet

    Chapter 589: Swallowing the Planet

    As the Star Division leadership watched, the largest central alien planet split apart like a giant mouth. They'd witnessed these planets before after the Great Adept Tournament, when the North shared it' footage of their first encounter. At the time the video didn't have any frame of reference and they couldn't tell how gargantuan these planets actually were. Juxtaposed against the Shattered Starfields' primary planets, there was no more confusion. The planet descended like the maw of a hungry beast.

    The planet had been moving slowing, but seemed to pick up speed. The surface of Moonfiend went dark as the alien planet blotted out the sun. Its atmosphere buzzed with yellow light as defense systems were dialed up to eleven, but as beams of light were siphoned from Moonfiend and disappeared into the depths of the alien planet, that darkness grew until it was absolute.

    Worse than the darkness was what it heralded. It was simply an absence of light. Wherever the darkness touched, the earth was turned into a churned wasteland. Buildings collapsed as the crust of the planet heaved. Whole skyscrapers disappeared into impossibly deep fissures.

    It took no time at all for the darkness and stillness to consume Moonfiend. Not a single light twinkled on its surface. Safely on the bridge of Zeus-1, the only sounds were the ship's crew manipulating controls. Aside from them, it was as though everyone's heart had stopped.

    "It.... It ate it?" The Accountant's stunned voice broke the silence. It shook the others from their stunned disbelief.

    Yes! Moonfiend had been eaten. That was the only way they could describe what they'd seen. But it wasn't a slab of meat they were talking about. Moonfiend wasn't a head of cabbage. It was a giant, fully formed planet that supported life! Regardless, it was swallowed up like an hors d'oeuvre.

    The aliens were terrifying before this fact. This only solidified their reputation as the stuff of nightmares. Eating an entire planet? How were they supposed to contest against that? They couldn't even begin to think of an answer.

    They had been first hand witnesses to what these invading planetary bodies could do. Although they had no feed to witness the end of the other two planets, they could guess their fate. Three planets... three whole planets, gobbles up! The aliens had effectively taken the Shattered Starfields.

    Lan Jue had been blessed with circumstances that rapidly improved his Discipline, culminating in joining with the Banishing Blade. He could clearly sense his proximity to the realm of Paragon. His Star Division had swept away their enemies with legendary efficiency. It filled him with pride.

    However, all of that fled like a candle flame in a hurricane when they witnessed this scene. After what he'd seen, Lan Jue wasn't even sure his father could stop them!

    "A-Jue, come here." Luo Xianni's voice sounded like it was right by his ear though she was in her room. Lan Jue regained his composure and hurried to where she was waiting.

    When she returned from her fight with the Violet Princess, she'd immediately sunk into a meditative state. She had to recover the energy she'd expended. She was awake now, but her face was still sallow and tired.

    Lan Jue rushed to her side. "Ma, are you alright?" He asked.

    She shook her head. "I'm fine. That woman was very strong, but she seems unable to fully control her powers. I waited for an opportunity and locked her down before making my escape. I can tell you that the power I felt coming from her was no less potent than your father's. If he were here, he would be able to put her down."

    No one knew Jue Di better than Luo Xianni. He'd been her hobby for years, she knew all about him.

    Luo Xianni seemed to know Lan Jue's heart. She fixed him with an earnest stare. "Do not despair. Given enough time humans are capable of overcoming anything the universe can throw at us. There is no other species with more intelligence or potential than us. I watched the creature carefully while we fought. I suspect she designed that body she wears. You're right in that she's definitely not human, you can feel the differences in her aura. Everything seems to point to alien, and one of their leaders if they can be said to have such roles. She devours life force to empower herself, that's why she sees us as food.

    "An Adept's vitality is higher than an average human's. Our kind must be particularly scrumptious to her. While I watched her, I wondered why she would choose a human body like hers. If she wanted to, she could have destroyed Moonfiend and no one would've been able to stop her. The form puts some constraints on what she can do, as well. It constricts her power, and it's probably why she seemed so clueless all the time.

    "According to evolution, every species develops and enhances the most beneficial traits. There's no reason to believe the Violet Princess and those or her kind are any different. She didn't adopt a disguise to immerse herself in human culture - that's not what these aliens do. They're invaders, and learning about what your food likes isn't helpful. I think she must have chosen her body because it was advantageous. It was more than skin deep, too. Her body systems and organs - everything was the same as you or I. Similar, actually, to a Paragon, but not completely. What this proves is that we humans are admired by these beasts. There's something about us that they want to emulate. Something that makes us better than them."

    Lan Jue was an intelligent man. He knew that Luo Xianni's was earnest, but intended to keep him from losing faith. If her adopted child lost confidence, the outcome would be catastrophic.

    "She's right." A light shimmered in the middle of Lan Jue's forehead, projecting out into the room. The semi-transparent image of Jun Yongye appeared among them.

    The Photographer was taken by surprise, she hadn't expected a man to pop out of her son's head. She recovered quickly, though. "A sword spirit?"

    Jun Yongye turned his attention to Luo Xianni. His expression was crestfallen. "In ages long past, the demons of highest ability would take on human form. 1 They did so because their natural bodies couldn't survive the process of breaking through to new levels of power. The creature you fought can be considered a Greater Demon, is they styled them in the old days. They are not the same species as those monsters which roamed the old world, but their essence is the same. If we were to use the measures your ancestors created, I would determine that the Violet Princess strives for immortality. She has not reached the threshold, but she is close. She has likely chosen a human form for this purpose. When feeding on humans she must have sensed their potency.

    "It is impossible for me to tell what her naturally body looks like. All I can say is it must have some benefit for her development. Her true power is likely much more awesome than what we witnessed. We know this simply because only the most powerful of these creatures take human form."

    Upon hearing this, Lan Jue couldn't help but interject. "What do I have to do to defeat her?"

    Jun Yongye was silent for a moment. "At her current strength, you would need to command at least five percent of Captus' potency to oppose her. If and when she comes to understand the nuances of her new body, you will need ten percent. This I so that you might stand a chance."

    Lan Jue heaved a heavy sigh, because he recalled Jun Yongye's earlier words. When he broke through to Paragon, he would only be capable of handling one percent of what the Banishing Blade contained.

    How strong, then, would he need to be to call on five percent? Ten percent?

    "Except..." Jun Yongye suddenly added.

    "Yes?" Lan Jue fixed him with a curious look.

    "When you become a paragon, you shall be able to manipulate the sword. Your mastery of a sword style and your comprehension of the essence of the sword, will sharply enhance your combat prowess. You may not need to draw so much on what the sword can offer, which changes our calculations. When you have learned the secrets of the focused flow 2 then your demands of the blade will reduce. If your lover awakens and you master the Harmonious Swords, then you both will have command of a tenth of your respective weapons. Together, you might be able to contend with her. If you ever witness the Harmonious Swords, you will understand."

    The Harmonious Swords?

    Lan Jue's eyes lit up when he heard it, but it was short lived. Directly afterward a depression set in his face. Zhou Qianlin was still in her coma, and he didn't know when she would awaken much less learn the Harmonious Swords with him!

    Jun Yongye looked at him with a steady gaze. "Do everything in your power to improve yourself. Take no shortcuts in your cultivation. The Greater Demon is strong, but she is not perfect. Her energies are muddled. She has found some way to separate herself from the dangers of it, but the dangers are still there. When you have absorbed all of the thunder essence, with its righteous lightning and immortal essence, you will be able to constrain the impure powers of the Violet Princess."

    The most urgent task ahead of Lan Jue was becoming a Paragon. Otherwise, the next time he met the Violet Princess he might not survive. However, even with as much potential as he had, becoming a Paragon was no easy feat. At any rate, he had to wait for Qianlin so that they could cross the threshold together.

    Jun Yongye vanished in a flicker of red light. The spirit returned to its silent vigil within Lan Jue.

    1. Veeeery common in Eastern mythology. 'Demons' are a catchphrase for all many of mythical creatures, not necessarily 'evil' either. Normal critters can get magical powers, cultivate them and adopt a human body. The White Snake is probably one of the most famous - a snake demon who became a beautiful woman. Foxes and birds are also fairly prevalent in fiction. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they usually prefer the body of a beautiful young woman.

    2. This is the name of Lan Jue's chosen sword style. It translates at 'ten thousand floods surge toward the sea.' I believe this is meant to evoke an image of overwhelming power, converging on a single point from many directions.
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