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Chapter 615: Commander of the Eastern Forces

    Chapter 615: Commander of the Eastern Forces

    Even Lan Jue and Lan Qing, as Jue Di's children, didn't know what their father's dharma was. A strange look overcame the younger Lan. It would explain why his father had been so happy a moment ago. Wasn't the warrior Monk that one who was so long oppressed by the Buddhas? If that was Jue Di's dharma than his son's name and protogenic image was a sort of spite.

    All signs pointed to this being the case. Jue Di was a master in the ways of Buddhism and the Dao. He was good at everything.

    Luo Xianni thought for a moment. "Vairocana is the image of the Buddha's true self. We can call him the Emperor of Middle Heaven. It's more aggressive."

    "No good! I still like the Peerless Light!" Jue Di grumbled.

    Luo Xianni didn't care. "Emperor of Middle Heaven! What do you think A-Qing?"

    "It's..." He was caught between a rock and a hard place. He didn't want to offend either.

    Lan Jue was struck by inspiration. "There aren't any rules for a Paragon's name. How about this - we use both. His name will be: The Peerless Light Emperor of Middle Heaven. Pretty good! It shows how strong my brother is."

    Lan Qing looked at his brother as though betrayed. "Brat," he whined, "is this you helping me?"

    "It's got an aggressive sound to it," the Pauper said approvingly.

    Jue Di and Luo Xianni exchanged a sideways glance. Neither one wanted to give ground to the other.

    Jue Di eventually broke down. "Fine! So it is."

    Another sniff was earned from Luo Xianni. "It'll serve. At least my half of the name makes up for your lack of creativity."

    Jue Di looked to Lan Qing. "Little Qing, what's with that face? You don't like the name we picked for you?"

    "No, it's great." Lan Qing forced a smile but they could almost hear his teeth grinding.

    It was true there weren't any rules for Paragons names, but they at least tried to keep to brevity; Cosmagus, Terminator, Jue Di. Meanwhile, his name...

    Thanks to the unreliable decision making of his parents, the mighty new Paragon was given a name - the Peerless Light Emperor of Middle Heaven. Lan Jue quietly affirmed to himself that it was integral he had his own name ready when the time came. He absolutely did not want to go poking around in his parents' brains.

    Lan Qing then broke into a smile as he thought of something. "Father, mother, I really think this lengthy name is exceptional. When A-Jue breaks through I think he needs something along the same lines. Something to designate us as brothers, strong and unified."

    Lan Jue's eyes nearly rolled out of his head. When did his brother get so good at scheming?!

    Jue Di chortled darkly. "Oh I've already thought of his. I agreed with yours because his name is just as long!"

    Kill me! Lan Jue's heart lamented. He was going to side like a moron.

    Lan Qing never took his eyes from his brother, and never let the smile slip from his face. "I should go cultivate, honored Paragons. I take my leave." He bid farewell to them all and left.

    When Jue Di say Lan Jue's beleaguered face he spoke up. "Come with me, brat. Did you see how well your brother did? Relax, your dad's thought up a good dharma for you as well. In the future you'll fare just as well."

    Lan Jue's eye sparkled. "You've thought of one for me? It can't be any worse than Lan Qing's!"

    "Of course not," Jue Di replied proudly. "You think I'd be cheap with my own son? I figured it out last night."

    Lan Jue's excited face suddenly seized. Last night? Are dharmas just picked out of the air like that?

    Jue Di saw his face, reached out, and gave him a firm smack on the back of the head. "You dare doubt your father? Once I knew you had the thunder essence I was able to pick out your most suitable path. But if you want to succeed with this dharma, you need to start absorbing it now. That's the only way to get the most out of the thunder essence. Come with me."

    Jue Di took Lan Jue from the field, and others also went their separate ways. The wine Master and Pauper were especially quick to return to their quarters. They were eager to meditate on what they'd learned from watching Lan Qing. The soldiers from both companies were meditating quietly, reaping the tremendous benefits from the light of Vairocana and the creation of a dharma. Overall, much more helpful for them all than the Pauper's breakthrough.

    There were only a few soldiers who were granted epiphanies. All of them, though, had their souls washed clean by the purifying light. Their body's energies were cleansed by it, preparing them for future advancement.

    ζ

    "What? A change on An Lun?" The Terminator's face drew tight when he got the news from his subordinates.

    "That golden light didn't release any form of energy we could read. For a light like that to appear without any sort of readable signature is very strange. So congress wanted your assurances. They wanted to know if you could determine what that was, and if it had to do with Adepts in some way."

    "Let me look at the data," he replied.

    The holographic projectors hummed as they came online. The barren rock that was An Lun appeared in the air before him. After a moment the whole planet was covered in a soothing golden glow. It's peaceful bearing was evident even through the video.

    "Protogenia!" The Terminator gasped. Surprise was clear in his face. "This is the protogenia released by a Paragon, and if it can cover a whole planet it means they've reached Reflection of Heaven and Earth. There are two known Paragons of that level - me and the Epochrion, and the Epochrion's dharma does not look like that. It wouldn't be that color. Could it mean one of the Skyfire Paragons has risen a degree? That's the only determination I can make without more information. We can assume one of the Paragons has assumed personal command of An Lun. We must be careful. Bring them my recommendations."

    "Yes, sir." The subordinate snapped to attention then rushed off to deliver the message.

    The Terminator glowered at the slowly turning holograph. The Clockmaker's departure had been a deeply wounding blow for the Great Conclave. However, she had always warned him that the day may come when she would leave. Now she was gone, and how could he have stopped her? He couldn't have. Although he commanded more destructive power, her specialty was time. If she wanted to leave, he was powerless to stop her.

    The unprecedented rise of Skyfire Avenue continued. Now they were welcoming another Paragon to new heights of power, though he didn't know the specifics. They had also been the ones to provide the worlds of humanity with integral information on the aliens. The North was constantly sending patrols to gather what they could, but they always failed to return. Their disappearances only proved the Avenue's information true. The three alien planets were on their doorstep.

    Planets that could move through space at will and swallow whole worlds. The concept was almost more terrifying than he could put into words. As the leader of the North, all of that fear and pressure landed squarely on his shoulders.

    ζ

    Lan Qing's prestigious ascension made confidential by the East. Only the highest members of government were away of the details. They had prepared to make him Fleet Admiral, but in a break from tradition they canceled that ceremony.

    Now, Lan Qing bore the title of standing member of the War Committee, Four-Star General and Commander of the Eastern Armed Forces. There was no higher military rank.

    There were relatively few Adepts who promised their lives in military service. These men and women were blessed with abilities that outstripped their normal human counterparts, and the military imposed restrictions on that. Thus, the stronger the Adept the less likely they were to suffer someone else's commands. The thousand or so Adepts of the Bloodiron Khans were painstakingly sought out from the entire Eastern army.  Even for all this, though, they still didn't have the individual strength of Star Division's fighters.

    'Happy' didn't even begin to describe how Lan Qing's breakthrough made the Eastern military feel. Lan Qing had already been their God of Wisdom, their super soldier. Now as a Paragon, his prestige and subsequently his followers were sure to grow. It was impossible to say how much this would ultimately benefit the Eastern Alliance. Moreover, he skipped the beginning stage of Paragon. What could this mean for them?

    Few Adepts chose a life of politics, but lawmakers were well-versed in their world. They knew that if Lan Qing was a Reflection of Heaven and Earth, he rivaled the Great Conclave's leader, the Terminator. Perhaps not quite as strong, but at least on the same level.

    Just as the golden light spread all over An Lun, the implications of it sent shockwaves through the Eastern government. Lan Qing's meteoric rise to military dominance was quickly decided by the government once word got to them.

    However whether it was Lan Qing's breakthrough or his new title, all of it was kept a strict military secret. They would only reveal it at the perfect moment, when the truth was for their benefit.

    Three days and three nights after Jue Di took Lan Jue away, the boy's father emerged. He told them Lan Jue would be sequestered away for cultivation, though it would not be for long. Jue Di estimated another three days.

    Lan Qing also shut himself away in order to solidify the foundation of his power. He would need time to make sure he was on stable footing.

    The Pauper found time to get instruction from Jue Di, along with the Driver. The mighty Paragon was not prudent with his knowledge, and the two benefited greatly from his help.

    As for the Clockmaker and Wine Master, Luo Xianni served as their instructor. As the strongest Dimensional Adept in human history, she was better suited to teach them the mysteries of space-time.
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