Chapter 762: Doppelganger

    Chapter 762: Doppelganger

    "What is it?" The Wine Master asked.

    Lan Jue tried to explain. "There are fewer aliens overhead now, and they're thinning by the second. They wouldn't just let us go, I think we have a stronger one coming."

    "Alright." The Wine Master answered. He was instantly on guard.

    As if in response flecks of silver light appeared in the air, hanging around them like motes of starlight. Thor continued to race ahead but it was somehow less distinct and harder to pin down.

    Suddenly a wave of strange energy washed over them, so strong that it caused the air around them to tremble. It was like they'd flown right into a net, and Thor's speed was sharply reduced.

    The world around them became a sea of violet, and the air was thick as molasses. All of a sudden they were in another reality entirely.

    The Wine Master gasped and thrust out his scepter. A silver light cut through the violet world and expanded, layering dimensions one on top of another


    Upon breaking through to the next tier of power, the Wine Master's Domain had also evolved to dimensional compression. Layers of reality folded over one another produced vast amounts of energy that surrounded Lan Jue and the Paragons. They shimmered like half-real things caught between a dream and wakefulness.

    Where the violet and silver met the air warped. They contended against one another, but the silver continued to carve open a path. However the Wine Master's face changed after a moment, for he saw that the schisms he'd created were getting smaller. The pressure from the violet universe they inhabited pressed from the outside.

    The pressure was stifling and the Wine Master's heart beat rapidly against his chest. If Lan Jue was right, they were about to face a truly fearsome enemy. The Pharmacist was still recovering, deep in meditation. Their safety fell on his shoulders.

    The silvery light slowly began to become infected with violet. Where it had been in stark contrast now the borders began to blur and the Wine Master's Domain began to dissolve. The alien power superimposed itself again and again over the silver light, each time reducing it by degrees.

    It appeared that the alien that had come to stop them didn't understand dimensional manipulation well. They were attempting to simply overpower it and squeeze it close in order to reveal the Wine Master and his friends.

    Whatever creature this was, they were at least Nirvana-level or higher. Only a creature with that amount of power could force the Wine Master's rift closed. But he was not panicked, he held high scepter high and tendrils of light sprang up around him. They joined and spread until the Wine Master, the Pharmacist and Thor were encased in glimmering silver.

    The layers of his Domain continued to retract in the face of the alien's power, but it did not seem to affect them. A moment later there was a blinding flash, and the humans were gone.

    The layers of dimensional power collapsed and the violet worlds rose victorious. But there was no life for it to consume.

    A middle-aged man awash in shining violet light appeared. His face was pinched in thought. Had Lan Jue spied him he would be surprised at how similar this one was to the Violet Prince. Though, this new alien royal was weaker by comparison.

    There was another flash of light, and he was gone.


    Crack! Reality split apart with a glint of silver light ten kilometers away. Short-range teleportation... the Wine Master had struggle valiantly to break the hold of the monster and find a dimensional tear.

    "Jewelry Master, we have to be quick. Whoever that was, they were strong - at least Nirvana. We're no match for them. We must complete our mission as quickly as possible."

    "Understood." He immediately set Thor in motion again. Sure enough, the highest class of aliens had appeared on the planet, but he was not nervous. On the one hand he knew his father was keeping an eye on them. On the other, he was confident that together they had enough strength to defend themselves against a Nirvana-level alien.

    Aliens of comparable level were weaker in strength to their human counterparts. In part this was due to the addition of Astrum to focus and empower Paragons' abilities, but also because of the human process of cultivation. By nature a human's Discipline counteracted the aliens', which was solely derived from their home worlds. Those of particular ability - like the Violet Prince and Princess - had minds of their own, but most only knew how to attack and destroy.

    Thor shuttled back and forth, low to the ground. The area here had been poisoned to a deep wine hue. Hopes of fighting the planet's progenitor had been dashed with the arrival of the royal beast. They had to simply continue with the mission.

    As he continued on the sky began to darken. A black hole appeared in the sky above radiating dark purple. Its interior was so dark nothing seemed to escape. A stifling energy swept over them in waves, and each blast brought with it an ineffable fear. Whatever went in never came out.

    It's the same alien! It was using some special method to try and find them. It went without saying the intrepid humans had nowhere to hide. Thor appeared, and in a flash of light its occupants emerged. Lan Jue hung suspended in air, hand in hand with Zhou Qianlin. If hiding was no longer an option, the only thing left was to fight.

    Although Lan Jue had faced many aliens, he had stood against their strongest echelons only a handful of times. With all the planets he'd been to occupied by alien forces this was still true, so it was safe to assume this would be the only truly credible foe they would have to fight.

    Killing one shouldn't be impossible.

    When Lan Jue and Qianlin appeared, the Wine Master knew his intention. He took a single, light step forward and suddenly he was in the air. His robes fluttering with the breeze, he began to swell. Blinding silver light radiated out from within him.

    Skyfire Avenue's chairman was an old Paragon, one who had studied the secrets of the craft for many years. Every iota of learning had pushed him to be a Reflection of Heaven and Earth, with a foundation solid as iron. In this moment he channeled the whole of his knowledge through himself, calling upon every ounce of his power as a Reflection. He blazed with a silvery magnificence, a giant of a man.

    He motioned forward with his scepter, and a strange sound issued from his mouth. It was a sort of buzzing, so thunderous that the whole planet appeared to shake.

    A strange scene emerged. The black hole stopped expanding, halted by a ring of silver that had appeared at its edges. Meanwhile the Wine Master waved his scepter back and forth, drawing archaic symbols in the air. Silver light flickered erratically and everything around them trembled.

    "Continuum Cataclysm!" The Wine Master's booming voice roared.

    All of a sudden reality fluctuated, it was as though the world were turned on its head. Things seemed unreal as rips in spacetime larger than buildings sprang up in all directions. A flood of dimensional power threatened to fracture the planet.

    Lan Jue had heard of this before. When a space-time Adept reached a certain degree of power, they were capable of tearing apart the fabric of reality. They could teleport whole planets, though that would require truly legendary power.

    Though the Wine Master was hardly capable of that feat, what Lan Jue witnessed was the beginning of it. The tears that stretched from the heavens to the earth were like open wounds that threatened to swallow everything.

    The violet whirlpool of power slowed to a crawl. It could no longer retain stability in the face of the Wine Master's power and the warping terrain of space-time around it.

    Upon Thor's shoulder, the Pharmacist slowly opened her eyes. They sparkled like stars as she peered into the distance.

    Lan Jue and Qianlin stood by, quietly waiting for their opportunity.

    The chaos around then continued for several minutes before slowly dissipating, leaving the violet void half the size it had been. Still its power tugged at them. By now the Wine Master was a hundred meters tall and towered over the land like a god from the old tales. He brandish his scepter and a beam of silver chopped down on the vortex.

    A screeching cry replied and a violet figure appeared before the whirlpool. The energy from it flooded into the beast, causing it to grow as well. The larger it became, the clearer it was to the distant onlookers.

    Humanoid. Familiar.

    Lan Jue gasped. "The Violet Monarch?" His voice was shaky when he saw who it was.

    "No." The Pharmacist was by his side. "That is not the Monarch. The aura is wrong, weaker. He's a piece of him, a sort of doppelganger."

    The violet figure continued to grow before their eyes while a formless aura of terror surrounded it. In a blink it stretched a thousand meters tall. As they watched the beast that looked like the Monarch thrust a single punch, and with the motion the Wine Master's dimensional fissures shattered like fragile glass.

    A gust of pressure made the old Paragon's Domain shudder. He swung his scepter around and traced out a circle but the flood knocked him back before he could finish.

    The Pharmacist's eyes sparkled. She pointed with her right finger and a single beam of white lot shot into the sky. She leapt forward with her hand held aloft in a claw-like swipe. Occisus cutting power pervaded the air.

    The fledgling copy of the Violet Monarch looked her way.
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