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Chapter 663: Thunderstruck

    Chapter 663: Thunderstruck

    Lan Jue looked toward the Driver, hovering not far away. He'd reported a similar feeling of kinship to his mecha, Thunderclap. The similarity suggested it was the immortal qi that gave them this feeling, not their Disciplines. Thunderbolt energy wouldn't cause such changes in metal, but the old tales said immortal qi could impart life.

    In more than one sense it was possible their mechas could become equivalent to Astrums. Of course, this was a great and pleasant surprise for the Driver. Lan Jue was also pleased, for although he had Captus Thor could bear the sword as well.

    As they soared over the water a strange light flickered in Lan Jue's eyes. Probing waves of protogenia fluctuated around him and penetrated into the sea, searching for signs of life. It was the same method he'd used on Taihua to find the progenitor. He had been ninth level six rank at the time, and although by rank he was twice as strong, his true power was much greater.

    "I think I feel something." The Driver's voice called to him through the main control board. They'd split up to cover more ground.

    Lan Jue's eyes lit up. "Looks like we got lucky!" Lucky indeed to find it so soon. Lan Qing's battleship was descending through the atmosphere just in time.

    Thor picked up speed, racing to join up with Thunderclap.

    "How do we approach?" the Driver asked.

    "It's time to give it a taste of our thunder magic!"

    "Heh heh heh!" The Driver answered with a sinister chuckle. Thunderclap crackled with purple lightning as it shot into the sky. Lan Jue urged Thor to follow.

    Thunderclap stopped three thousand meters above the water. Its mechanical arms spread out wide to either side. The purple threads of lightning surrounding it grew more intense. The air sizzled as the water element within reacted to the gathering electric energy.

    The sky darkened, and choppy waves appeared on ocean's surface. In the space of an instant roiling clouds appeared in the sky. Purple lightning streaked between the thunderheads like a scene from the apocalypse.

    Lan Jue did not move, content to watch the Driver and serve as backup. He didn't need to fear the errant power of the lightning, it would not harm him. Although their Disciplines were different, they were derivatives from the same source.

    Brrrruhmm-! Thunder roared so loud it rattled bone. The black clouds flashed brilliant shades of purple. A single bolt of lightning shot down, piercing the ocean to the sound of cacophonous thunder.

    Boom-! A pillar of boiling water was launched a thousand meters into the air. Bolts of lightning spider-webbed all along the ocean's surface, wreaking havoc below.

    The whole ocean seemed to vibrate and a sickly purple aura radiated out from within, as though it were trying to isolate itself from the lightning. Wherever they touched, the purple electricity was dispersed.

    "Hmph!" The Driver grunted, another blast of lightning thick as an oil truck fired into the sea. It hit straight and true like a spear from the heavens.

    A terrible roar answered, and the waters churned and became violet, like a great crystal whose ends stretched into the distance. An enormous figure slowly floated to the surface. When it finally breached the massive body jerked and shook. Its body sported several nasty looking wounds. It looked much like the progenitor from Taihua, only smaller.

    After so many encounters with the beasts, Lan Jue was beginning to develop a knowledge of their capabilities. Compared to others on the planet, this was likely the most powerful of the invaders. But in the grand scheme, progenitors weren't very strong. It was clear by the strength of its vital crystal.

    While it was not the strongest, it was one of the most important breeds of alien. It had the greatest influence on humanity, and was capable of overtaking whole planets. Through the world's own energies it made itself stronger, making it the fastest maturing of all the creatures. Lan Jue was convinced that, left unchecked, a progenitor would absorb all the planet's life force and return it to a home planet to nourish them. What he did not know was what would happen if they let it get to that point.

    They were weaker to begin with, and were rarer to encounter. I fact he hadn't come across a single one out in space. If there were enough of them they could invade planets as they pleased. It wouldn't take them long to overtake the habitable planets in all the alliances until humans had no means to fight back.

    And yet in all this time Lan Jue had only ever seen them on Taihua, Moonfiend, and now here. Three only. It made him question just how many progenitors there actually were.

    Already it appeared this one was in poor condition. The destructive power of the Driver's Primordial lightning was too much for the creature to contend with, and the damage was severe. The lightning's devastating effects were spreading al through the alien's body.

    Thunderclap brought its mechanical hands together. Just as the Driver was preparing the final, fatal blow Lan Jue stopped him. "Wait!"

    "Eh?" The Driver stopped, taken aback. "Why?" He was drunk on his power. Ever since transforming his Discipline his combat prowess had leapt to new heights. Outside of a Domain even a first-degree Paragon couldn't match him in direct attack power. The feeling was intoxicating.

    But he also had total faith in Lan Jue. Without the Jewelry Master's help he may never have achieved this level of strength, much less a chance at becoming Paragon.

    Lan Jue explained. "This kind of alien evolves quickly, and is specialized in devouring energy. Keeping it alive may help us learn more about it. The vital crystal isn't the only thing useful about it. A progenitor is much more dangerous than the ones we meet out in space. Let's take this one back alive."

    "How do we bring back something this large?" The Driver asked incredulously.

    Lan Jue smiled. "We can't, but I know someone who can." As he spoke, he looked into the distance.

    A cyan light flickered in the sky, in in the space of a breath Lan Qing arrived to join the two of them.

    Lan Jue explained his thinking to his brother. After a moment of thought, he answered. "It isn't impossible. But you have to promise to keep this quiet. If people knew we were bringing it back we'd start a panic."

    "That goes without saying," the Driver replied. "Come, our Majesty the Peerless Light Emperor of Middle Heaven, let's see what you can do."

    Lan Qing's face jerked like he'd been struck. "Where'd you hear that title?"

    The Driver shot a glance at Lan Jue, who helplessly said, "Dad was talking about it before we left Skyfire. He was trying to advertise the name. By the time we get back everyone will probably know it. Peerless Light Emperor of Middle Heaven."

    The Eastern general's face twitched. Suddenly his body was bathed in a golden glow, and a harmonious sensation flooded the area. The Driver allowed the storm clouds to disperse as Lan Qing's golden aura swelled ever larger.

    The image of Vairochana gradually came into being behind Lan Qing. His Buddha's Revelation Domain spread out, turning the sea into a mirror of golden light. The violet hue was washed away and returned to normal. Vairochana's image extended a hand, and slowly the progenitor rose from the waters. It continued to rise until it was lifted entirely into the air. Desperately it struggled, but under the weight of Buddha's Revelation it was growing weaker by the moment.

    Vairochana waved its hand, and a strange sight unfolded. The massive progenitor began to shrink - smaller and smaller - until it fit within the Buddha's palm. Lan Qing made a motion with his hand and the reflection of his dharma disappeared, along with the progenitor.

    "I have sealed it in my Domain," he said, "its powers are suppressed. It won't cause any problems for the time being. But for the safety of the planet I should bring it back to An Lun as soon as possible. We can study it there."

    Despite its relative weakness, the potential strength of the creature and its energy-devouring abilities were still formidable. It was better to be cautious.

    "Zeus-1, come in Zeus-1." Lan Jue called.

    "Zeus-1 responding. What do you need boss?" Su Xiaosu replied.

    "Perform a flyover and heck the area. Check to see if the purple territory is receding, and if the alien raiders have been reduced. Pay special attention to whether the reduction are uniform or just in one area."

    "Aye aye. Give us a moment!" Lan Jue wanted to make sure there was only one progenitor one the planet. One had to be thorough in their eradication of evil.

    Before long Su Xiaosu gave him her report. She told him that the aliens were gone, along with the purple haze they brought with them. The progenitor they'd captured was likely the only one.

    Evidently progenitors were as rare as Lan Jue had thought. Although he did not know why, it was clear the beasts were in short supply.

    Lan Qing left immediately for his battleship with the progenitor. They docked in the ruins of Lyr's capital to wait for more troops to arrive. Once things were more stable he would leave for An Lun.

    The rescue mission had been a success. What's more, there was no evidence the progenitor had destroyed or consumed any Tears of Neptune.

    ζ

    Dwarka 1, by the sea.

    A figure rose from the sea, glistening with drops of water. Violet hair and clothes clung to a perfectly formed body, but only until she was free of the ocean. Pearls of sea water rolled away leaving nothing behind, and soon she was entirely dry.

    Pinched between her fingers was a glittering blue gemstone. She regarded it with a thoughtful expression.

    1. Lyr's capital
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