Chapter 729: Enemy Objectives

    Chapter 729: Enemy Objectives

    Lan Jue was overjoyed. "That's excellent! Figuring out their motive has been the biggest headache."

    "Mh." The Pharmacist nodded. "He was dispatched with earlier scout teams, lured in by the fact that they looked like normal planets. They approached with their guard down, and made curious by the strange energy readings. None of them expected it would be their last journey."

    "When they got close they found the lesser aliens. His squad was elite, and after a bitter fight they put the enemy down. That's when they found the vital crystals. But, just as they were preparing to leave with the information another beast appeared. It was the one we now call Monarch. The leader of these evil creatures."

    "My husband didn't tell me what he looked like. Only that he was strong... so strong. They had no way to fight back. He and his compatriots were captured. They weren't killed, but rather imprisoned. My husband is a smart man, so he didn't use Ultus in the fight against the Monarch. He couldn't fully control the blade, and he wanted to give himself a chance to escape."

    "Once they were captures the aliens used some alien method to drain their life force. Then they used psychic force to probe their minds. My husband realized that hiding Ultus held no more purpose. Once his life force was entirely drained they would kill him, so he chose to risk his life for his fellows. But, even with the Banishing Blade Monarch was too strong, and they were recaptured."

    Here the Pharmacist paused. Her face was pained, as though she were drawing on her own memories. She deeply understood the helplessness he'd felt, the pointlessness of his fight. No one would come to save them. He was facing death.

    "After their failed escape the aliens began to dissect them to learn what they could from their bodies." She growled the words, a flash of anger in her eyes. "My husband had to watch as they were killed one by one. He knew eventually his turn would come. But before it came to him the Monarch called its Queen. She devoured his team leader, absorbed her DNA, and took on her likeness. She wanted to use my husband to..."

    Her face reddened and she paused.

    Lan Jue nodded. "I understand. Go on."

    "That was the situation he faced," she continued. "He loved me, and how could he even consider being defiled by such a loathsome creature? He summoned all of his energy from his Core. When he and I joined with our weapons we were inexorably tied to them. However, as my husband's mind and body burned from the effort, a portion of his will was seared into Ultus. It became something like a sword spirit. He tried to call all of that power to take him and Ultus away from Monarch, but somehow the alien master was able to seal him away. So in a way he is did, but he is also alive. If we can get Ultus then I can see him again, the same way we see Jun Yongye."

    The pain in her features gave way to burning hope. The chance of seeing her long-lost husband again was the only thing keeping her going.

    Lan Jue sighed and took the Pharmacist's hand into his own. "We will do everything we can to get that sword back."

    "I know." She said, nodding her head gently. She continued. "The Violet Monarch is very interested in Ultus. He must have felt its power. But he is not human and can't use it. So my husband decided to use that to his advantage. He pretended to capitulate so the sword would remain whole and unsealed. If the Monarch locked the sword away he would have no chance to flee. So, he controlled the sword so that the Monarch might use it and bided his time. We were accidentally the chance he's been waiting for."

    As he listened Lan Jue couldn't help but be filled with admiration for this man he'd never met. He endured the unendurable for years, waiting for his chance. It wasn't for himself - his body was gone - he suffered unimaginably for the future of humanity! So that mankind could survive the alien threat!

    No wonder he could impart his knowledge to the Pharmacist in such detail. He was never fully under the Monarch's control. After all, the Banishing Blades were legendary weapons created by humans, how could an alien creature master it? Even the mightiest immortals feared facing them. No matter how strong the alien planets became, they could never surpass the power of the immortals of old.

    The Pharmacist went on. "He told me that the planets are living things, the source of the alien horde. In many ways the other aliens are like cells from a host. Already they have evolved to their apex, any further would call the wrath of universal protogenia. They rely on tricks and other methods to hide themselves from notice."

    Lan Jue's eyes sparkled as he listened. No one understood the aliens better than the Pharmacist lost love. Anything he shared with them was priceless.

    "They've come up with many ways to protect themselves," she continued. "Hiding as planets is one. The resonating power of a planet veils them from universal retribution and slows down the cost in loss of lifespan. Constantly stealing vital energy also restores that which universal protogenia consumes. We've guessed all of this, and my husband confirms it. He also told me that teleportation comes at a great cost in life force, so it isn't something they can perform often. They must first accumulate enough power before they can attempt it, and to do this they shed 'cells' to gather what they can. Those are the lesser aliens we see."

    Lan Jue blinked. "So those aliens are actually part of the bigger ones? Actual cells?"

    She nodded. "Yes. They all look differently, but they all have something in common and that is their vital crystals. They are the cells of the alien worlds. What accounts for their outward appearance is the DNA they absorb from the creatures they kill. Put another way, the smaller aliens are cells wrapped in the best traits of their victims. Even creatures like the Violet Prince and Princess are inexorable parts of the planets they come from."

    It was the first time the thought occurred to him. Obviously it was an important piece of information for their struggle. The Pharmacist kept going.

    "Their evolutionary process has been long and full of struggle. When they discovered humanity and the potential our DNA possesses, they found a way to evade universal protogenia. The Prince and Princess are their first trials, as well as the Monarch himself."

    "While experimenting on their human captives, the aliens also may have discovered a way to create a new realm of their own, like the Heavens of the ancient days where immortals resided. But to do so they need more ancient genes from our people. If they get enough it can help them research the methods needed to build their paradise. What this means for us is that their search will never stop until we're all dead. They'll slaughter every one of us to find what they need."

    Lan Jue was stunned. "That's their ultimate goal? To create their own immortal realm?"

    "No!" The Pharmacist shook her head. "Ultimately their goal is evolution - forever adapting and growing. A realm of their own is a manifestation of that singular purpose, so that they have a place to continuing getting stronger. They believe that eventually they can develop the ability to face and overcome universal protogenia. When that happens they can make their own. In essence, rule the laws of the universe, and thus the universe itself. That is their goal, in fact the goal of any intelligent race, humans included. The only thing that makes us different is we aren't willing to commit genocide to achieve it."
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