Chapter 740: Dominating Power

    Chapter 740: Dominating Power

    It was his first time releasing his powers in battle since ascending to Paragon. The feeling of protogenia flowing through him was intoxicating, and even his enemies were in awe of the primordial lightning flashing in the sky. Aliens witnessing their brood's destruction from a distance didn't dare approach the Driver.

    The Gourmet walked idly along the ground. In his passage the world withered away and the sky blanched. A gray-hued stillness and death spread from him like a pestilence. Aliens that came to close were also painted in the monochromatic color then burned away in a painful and silent demise. Their bodies turned to ash and floated in the breezeless air. The Gourmet brought to them a universe of ruination and despair.

    The Keeper and Bookworm made the most dramatic display. Above the Keeper's crown was an array of small stars arranged in a matter. All of a sudden they shot out, spreading in all directions. They swelled into beams of energy ten meters in diameter. He looked like a human battleship.

    Meanwhile, the Bookworm was not much different. The blasts issued from him were five meters wide and looked like beams of sunlight. The earth shook in their passage, belching fire and thunderclaps. The two scientists were showing restraint, for if they used powers like the ion cannon it could clear away huge swaths of enemies, but the North may misunderstand and accuse the East of using Capital ships on the planet.

    Where the Keeper and Bookworm were commencing their shock and awe campaign, the Pauper tore through the enemy with a ferocity to match a wild beast. He didn't use any long-ranged abilities, deigning stead to throw himself in the thick of the alien horde. The loud and clear roar of a dragon hung in the air as he ripped a bloody swath through his foes. The image of a golden dragon slithered through the air around him.

    An enormous but slow-moving monstrosity that looked like a turtle came trundling his way. The Pauper leapt into the air, arc high over the aliens' heads, then brazenly smashed into the creature's armored back. The impact forced the turtle monster to the ground.

    It screamed in protest while the Arhat of the Descending Dragon lifted his fists high. When he brought them down, armor that deflected warship fire shattered like glass. A tempest of golden light swept through the area.

    He sprung at the next alien, never pausing to catch his breath. He was a protogenic warhead, and where he went the cries of dragons marked the death of his enemies. As he moved through them the golden dragon pulled aliens within reach of his fists and were summarily exterminated.

    In sharp contrast, the Clockmaker's strategy was much calmer, though no less monstrous.

    Gentle multichromatic colors danced across the field in waves. Some areas moved sluggishly while others were swift and abrupt. When the aliens tried to strike at the Clockmaker, they suddenly found themselves moving in slow motion to tear apart an ally that'd had inadvertently rushed in front.

    It was absolute chaos. The monsters tore each other to shreds, and all the while the Clockmaker calmly walked among them unscathed.

    Bize's sector was the bloodiest. 'Granny Bize' swiped the air with claw-like hands, leaving crimson streaks were her long red-lacquered nails passed. The streaks lengthened and spread like bloody knives through the crowd. Moments later groups of aliens would tumble to the ground in several pieces and fountains of blood.

    Twinkling vital crystals flew over to her as her enemies were felled. According to the agreement, she got to keep whatever she got. They were an important factor in how the Wine Master had convinced her to come. Both she and Aubert had been around for a staggeringly long time. Both of them could benefit from the restorative properties of the crystals.

    Eight directions, eight Paragons! They spread out like a fishing net, and not a single creature evaded them. This was the benefit of individual strength. Without cost or crisis, the initial stages of their mission were complete.

    Majesty found a landing sight, relinquishing scores of figures the moment it touched down. Mechas, twinkling in the purple light. They quickly arranged into teams then spread out to secure the landing zone.

    Compared to the last time Star Division took to the field, they had matured quite a lot as soldiers. Lan Jue, suspended overhead, nodded in approval. Retaking the planet would not be a problem.

    Following on the heels of Majesty were the Bloodiron Khans' transport vessels, and finally normal An Lun ground troops. Altogether there were five companies responsible for taking back Monteux - the smallest operation force by comparison.

    Scores of engineers had come with the soldiers. They deployed with machinery that had come with them on the transports and immediately got to work. However they quickly discovered a problem. As they tried to work the ground would wriggle and sway to throw them off, as though it had a life of its own.

    Lan Jue spread out his hands and pressed them downward. A curtain of blue light descended and spread over the forces below. When it reached the ground it began to pitch and shake. The cancerous vessels buried deep underground atrophied under Lan Jue's power, collapsing and cutting off its poisonous flow. Gradually the poison hue drained from the earth and its natural color returned.

    All-Heaven Lightning - the evolution of Lan Jue's Disicpline and the thunder essence - was a bane to all things evil. By virtue of its power he was able to overcome the toxic influence of his enemies. Clearing the vestiges of their sickness was an easy task.

    Without the tendrils of the beasts to trouble them further, the engineers got back to work - installing railguns. Recapturing the planet was a priority not just in principle, but because they could be turned against their aggressors.

    The guns themselves were provided by the North. The plan was to install them once an area was secured then press on to the next sector. Once they were ready to go they would be used to assist other teams until the planet was entirely under human control.

    Lan Jue stepped forward. Thor appeared as though summoned from the ether, and its pilot was swallowed in a beam of sapphire light. Once Lan Jue was settled in its cockpit the storied mecha's eyes lit up.

    At Lan Jue's levels of power a mecha suit was unnecessary. However, as commander he needed its communications equipment to keep in contact with his teams. It afforded him immediate command and control.

    Star Division was on the move with Thor directing activities overhead. By now the Pharmacist had recovered. She was seated on Thor's shoulder, but no matter how fast the mecha moved she did not struggle to keep her balance.

    Flashes and explosions lit up the skies from one horizon to the other, signs of humanity's spreading dominance. Star Division followed their leader as he raced forward in search of a specific target. If they wanted to retake the planet they had to find the progenitor. Once it was slain, the tendrils of its influence would wither and die. If they were lucky they might find survivors as well. They would be alive only as bait, but saving them was a priority.

    Lan Jue headed first for the Driver. The two of them were Brigade commanders, so he was the natural choice for a first direction.

    "Feels good! My Primordial Lightning is pretty damned impressive, isn't it!" The Driver called out to Lan Jue when he saw him approach. He needed no mecha, the sector he was sent to manage was already clear and the aliens routed.

    "Save your energy. Let our people handle things, we'll fill in the gaps." He ordered. Performance was an important part of the Division's structure. It was how rewards were decided, not the least of which being access to the exuvium process for them and their families. The promise of an extended life was at the core of their motivational strategy. If the Driver killed them all, how could their people prove themselves?

    Battle was the best way to prove and improve themselves. If Star Division wanted to continue to better themselves, they would have to do it in the fires of war.

    "Got it!" The Driver knew what Lan Jue was getting at and answered right away. Below them, Star Division spread out to take control of the situation.

    First Brigade was in the lead, followed by Second Brigade as support. They nimbly set off to do their jobs. Lan Jue, the Driver and the Pharmacist followed. Now their task was to penetrate the enemy lines and hunt down their target.

    "Guoguo, come here." Lan Jue ordered.

    A figured separated itself from the crowd below and rose to meet them. It was a beautiful golden mecha, Lin Guoguo's newly refurbished war machine. She rushed to her boss' side. "Your command?"

    "Use your psionic abilities to scan the enemy," he said. "See if you can find any human mental energy. We're going to see if there's anyone left to save."
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