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Chapter 782: Unstoppable

    Chapter 782: Unstoppable

    The eagle-type alien was destroyed by the sword array moment after calling the signal. At present no one in the Avenue could match the Pharmacist in sheer attack force. Her Domain fed off of slaughter, and the more she killed the stronger she became.

    Many aliens from the surroundings came to heed the eagle's cry. If it were not for Lan Qing and his army in the space around the planet, Lan Jue's team could have twice as many Paragons and they would have quickly fallen. But as it was the situation was made easier by the beast's reduced numbers. There were few enough that the Pharmacist was able to defend them by herself. She was unstoppable, and the path she carved was lined with the mangled corpses of her enemies.

    Strangely, the vital crystals that emerged from the slain aliens vanished as soon as they appeared in flashes of pink light.

    Under the Pharmacist's guidance the team continued toward the far side of the planet.

    Elsewhere, Zeus-1 was racing for another world, bringing the next team to its target. Mika was squeezing every bit of speed from the ship as she could. She didn't know the situation her boss was facing, all he knew was that her way of helping was to put pressure on the other planets under alien control.

    Zeus-1's systems were operating and overloaded capacity. So long as they held this pace, they would reach their destination in a matter of hours. Once they were free of Angel's orbit they locked in to a trajectory, free from alien menace.

    Mika turned her head just as Satan was approaching. Right away a chill came over her face. She defiantly turned her eyes back onto the screens.

    "Mika!" His deep voice intruded.

    She didn't respond, as though she hadn't heard.

    A biter grin spread across the former leader of the Dark Citadel. "Don't be angry with me, not now. Perhaps I won't be coming back from this fight, and I wanted to use this opportunity to explain a few things."

    A slight change came over Mika's harsh countenance. Yes! This fight held the future of humanity in the balance. Her boss had accepted the most important and most dangerous task. So had her father.

    Her features softened ever so slightly. Whatever their history, she was Satan's daughter. His demonic blood flowed through her veins.

    "What do you want to say?" She offered.

    Satan responded with a sigh. "I've made many mistakes, but few fill me with regret. I have come to understand what happened to your sister - who did it isn't important. Whether or not we win against these monsters, Europa is gone. The Citadels are gone. The chances are that I will be gone. I was hoping you might promise me to take over the mantle of the Dark Citadel."

    Mika paused. Eventually she turned her face back toward him. "Take over the Dark Citadel? I have no interest in commanding a group of sordid, evil men. As far as I'm concerned the Dark Citadel shouldn't even exist."

    When Satan looked at her his eyes were bright, burning. "You're looking at it too one-sided. Sometimes that which you see with just your eyes isn't true. Sometimes what's most important isn't immediately visible. You're right, the Dark Citadel was filled with evil and compulsion. Do you think the Pontiff and the other hypocrites are any better? What they've done is far more evil than anything I've ordered."

    Satan made no effort to modulate his voice. The Pontiff, seated a short distance away, heard all. However he did not react, and sat in silent meditation.

    Mika scowled. Her father was right, she knew a little of the dark deeds the Pontiff's men had performed. The former Moonfiend Empress had shared them with her.

    "None of you are any good!" She seethed.

    When she said it the surroundings Paragons looked at her with strange expressions. The Keeper outright laughed. She was probably the only person who would dare to say such a thing to these men.

    Satan was not embarrassed. Instead his grin deepened. "You're absolutely right. But listen to what I have to say; the Dark Citadel commands the dark underbelly of the Western Alliance. Its soldiers are powerful, temperamental, and varied. I'm not sure you've considered how much damage they could cause if you simply let them loose in the worlds of man."

    Mika didn't reply, but it was clear she was carefully weighing his words.

    He continued. "They would cause turmoil, everywhere."

    "What could the 'mighty' Dark Citadel do, now?" She countered. "What is stopping governments and armies from exterminating the rabble?"

    Satan sniffed derisively. "So naïve, child. You believe they hate us - you are wrong. What is light without darkness? Without us, many faiths throughout the human worlds would be rendered pointless. What's more, you underestimate the world of darkness, its ability to repopulate. If there is nothing to control it, the darkness will grow and spread out of control. The chaos it would cause, while not comparable to the destruction these aliens have wrought, would nonetheless consume the worlds of man."

    "The Dark Citadel was not created solely to wield power. It is a check against the spread of evil. It is built to manage it before it becomes unmanageable. Under my vigil the corruption of it is contained, and its deeds curtailed. So long as there is good there will be evil - it will never be eradicated. But, it can be controlled. Have you ever heard of these 'sordid, evil men' causing problems in the West? The Dark Citadel handles these problems before they arise. Our purpose is a service to mankind, which is more than I can say for our sanctimonious counterparts. Do you still think the empire I built is so wretched, now?"

    Mika had grown up in the Dark Citadel, but this was the first time its mission was explained to her in such a way. She didn't know this was their purpose. For years she'd wondered why the Citadel was allowed to exist, why it wasn't simply wiped away by other government leaders. At first she thought it was because of Satan's strength, but now she understood the truth.

    "You see that the poison part of mankind needs to be retrained. If they aren't, think of what these monsters could do in the wake of this tragic time." Satan's disposition became imperatorial. "You are my daughter, the blood of demons surges within you. There is no shirking your responsibility."

    Mika was silent. She quietly felt the weight of this responsibility settling on her heart.

    "Do you think I'm strong enough to command their respect?" She asked.

    Satan smiled. He knew his words had struck a chord.

    "They will respect you - not because of me, but because of who you are, and the man you call your boss. Humanity faces a storm of apocalyptic proportions, and if we lose then there is nothing fret over. Survivors will scatter to any dark corner they could find, every man woman and child fending for themselves. But if we defeat them there will come a period of recovery. During this period much will change, not least of which the disappearance of the Western Alliance. After all, its most important planets have been all but demolished. Who do you think, in this situation, will pick up the pieces? The North's cowardice has struck a mighty blow to their image. You can bet the East will take advantage of the power vacuum. Much of what had belonged to the West will come under Eastern control, or perhaps they will come to some agreement with the North. Already your boss is a commanding voice in the world of Adepts - for all of mankind, in fact. With his support, there is nothing you won't be able to accomplish. I am sure his accomplishments will one day surpass even Jue Di's. What do you have to fear, with such a mountain of a man at your back?"

    Mika's anger flared. "I will not cause the boss any trouble."

    Satan chuckled at her. "This isn't causing any trouble, child. You're preventing it. Do you think he wants to see the dredges of society run amok?"

    "There is the Hades bloodline," she countered. "I'm sure they would want to take control."

    Another chilling sniff was her answer. A flash of yellow light lit up the Paragon's eyes. "After so long do you think the Hades bloodline has what it takes to manage the Citadel successfully? If that were to pass the chaos would be felt throughout all the Alliances. Do you suspect that is what Skyfire Avenue wishes to see happen? Rather than put such an important task in the hands of amateurs, don't you think they'll support a family with a history of achievement? With your Talent you need only give yourself to the demonic blood and becoming a Paragon would be easily accomplished. Once you cross that threshold, there would be no reason the dwellers of the darkness would not follow you."

    Mika paused. Uncertainty filled her heart.

    Satan did not try to convince her further. He rose to his feet. "Think about it. Motivating the strength of your bloodline may affect your character, but you and your boss have been together a long time. With his abilities, I'm sure he would be able to find a way to help you."

    With all said, he turned away and returned to his seat.

    A realization suddenly came over Mika, and she snapped her head around.

    Were these going to be his last words?
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